Author: Michael Heilman

When Christians Play With Fire

When Christians Play With Fire

We all know that when we play with fire we can get burned; we might even die as a result. But why is it that there are Christians who play with fire?

Bible Verse: James 1:15 (NKJV)

“Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”

Reflection and Challenge

Disobedience gives birth to death, not life. For a sin to mature may take years; however, when it does, the result will be death. This progression to death is an inevitable result that the enemy (Satan) always tries to hide from us, but we should never be deceived about.

If we would only believe in God’s Word and envision this final tragedy, we would not yield to temptation.

The world is burning. Anyone with half a brain can see that evil is rampant throughout the world and it is totally consuming the world. That is to be expected since the world enjoys their sin. They don’t realize they are hurting themselves and will end up in hell if they don’t repent.

When Christians Play with Fire

But that is not the real problem. The real problem is lightless and saltless Christians. You’re probably thinking those are not even words. You would be right.

Well, Paul made up words in the New Testament too. So I am in good company. That is why I use them; use them for emphasis. Lightless, saltless Christians are oxymorons. They should not exist. There are too many so-called Christians that live oxymoronic lives.

*Related Article: Death Penalty for Sin, Eternal Life in Christ

Nominal and Carnal Christians

Are there such nominal and carnal Christians? It is true that all Christians are still sinners and they will struggle with sin, but I am referring to the completely ineffective “so-called’ Christians that claim God but don’t live the way they should.

People call me judgmental for questioning whether these type of individuals are even born again because the Bible says there will be evidence of salvation (Matthew 7:15-20). As a born again Christian, we are going to live like it. We don’t get to claim to be a follower of God while enjoying our sin.

When Christians Play with Fire

God saved us to change us into His image. Holier, sinless, righteous and exhibiting a changed life. As much as sin is consuming this world, it will also burn weak Christians. Sin is a choice. We choose to play with fire.

This is a personal matter between you and God though. God does not teach a church or pastor to give us a laundry list of standards. Your personal standard of holiness, that is going to change over time is just that PERSONAL.

Pastors have no business telling you how to live. The Holy Spirit is our only perfect, unbiased guide. All people are biased toward their personal standards. That means we need to be in tune with the Holy Spirit when most aren’t.

Final Thoughts

Satan’s strategy in temptation is to convince believers that the pursuit of their corrupt desires will somehow produce life and goodness for them. So in order to effectively resist the deceptions of temptation, we must always remember that Satan only comes to kill, steal and to destroy (John 10:10).

We all struggle with sin. We all need this reminder occasionally. We all need to talk to God about it. Why not talk to Him now?


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Why Not Just Friends?

Why Not Just Friends?

Over the last few years, I have come to realize the phrase “just friends” is a lie. In the modern vernacular it actually means “just acquaintances.” Most of the time for me, after getting put in the “friend” zone, I never hear from or talk to them again. That is not a friend. That borders on an enemy.

Bible Verse: Proverbs 18:24 (NKJV)

“A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

Reflection and Challenge

While it’s usually true that “a multitude of counselors” assures a wise decision, at the same time, we must avoid running from friend to friend asking for advice. This may indicate that we’re trying to find somebody who will tell us what we want to hear!

We need more than friends; we must have a friend who will stand by us and “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). We can tell a “real friend” by how close he or she is in adversity.

My Story

I am a Christian millennial, but I do not understand why we are putting off marriage or even just friendship. If my assessment is accurate, Christian singles classes always have two cliques: the boy clique and the girl clique. If I didn’t know any better, the Red Sea has been parted.

In my previous post, I shared about my failed relationship with Jo Ann and how I ended up brokenhearted. So now that I have reentered the single category again, my dad gave me some wisdom. “Start as friends.” He heard that from Christian counselors.

They are not talking about the “just friend” category though. You wonder why the homosexual and lesbian population is exploding, all of our friends are of the same sex and we have forgotten how to have relationships with the opposite sex.

One aspect of this problem is we have forgotten how to be friendly towards the opposite sex. Isn’t it interesting how friendly and friends have the same root word?

That is where Proverbs 18:24 comes in. Jesus is the perfect example. If you are a born again Christian, Jesus is supposed to be your best, best friend even if you are a woman. Jesus knows everything about you. Do you have any opposite-sex friends that know everything about you? Doubt it.

Why Not Just Friends

This is why I try to be an open book to everyone. The problem I come across is so few people want to read me. That would mean they would have to be friendly to get to know me. I am not talking about chit chat or small talk either. Nobody gets to know anyone with those.

Another example would be the numerous times that my sister and I have been mistaken for being husband and wife because we spend a lot of time together. Whatever happened to a male and female spending quality time together without assuming a serious relationship?

Honestly, I believe women are way better at conversations than men. That is why I have way more female friends than male friends. You cannot have a good friendship without in-depth conversations.

As I said before without in-depth conversations, we end up judging a book by its cover, because we have no idea what their pages say.

We all have a story to tell. If you listen to theirs, they might listen to yours.


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Lessons from the Broken Hearted

Lessons from the Broken Hearted

All relationships take work. The only way relationships can work is if two people have unconditional love for each other. I have learned several lessons from the life of a brokenhearted man like Samson, the last several weeks during and after my broken relationship.

Bible Verse: 1 John 4:18-19 (NKJV)

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.”

Reflection and Challenge

If you want to get to know someone, get to know their heart as Matthew 7:16-20 says. Not only can you see whether they are saved or lost, but also how carnal or godly a Christian they truly are.

That does not tell us how we should respond to those that don’t love us back though. I truly believe Samson loved and trusted Delilah and was not afraid of the consequences of that trust.

The Transforming Power of Love

As did Samson believe the love of God would transform Delilah, I believed God’s love would transform Jo Ann, the woman I loved. Between the entire book of 1 John, Romans 12, and 1 Corinthians 13:1-8 you cannot get a clearer picture of what unconditional love looks like in real life. These verses imply all brethren, not just Baptists. Jo Ann is a Mennonite.

God is pleased that Emily Myer’s testimony is being broadcast across the world on the 700 Club platforms. The 700 Club is a Charismatic organization. Some Baptists have absolute disdain for them for the doctrinal differences.

As Proverbs 10:12 says “Love covers all sin.” Can love cover everything else like differences, quirks, doctrinal differences, and practical differences???? God did not have any expectations when we got saved. Why do we have compatibility lists, which are just expectations for our significant other, friends, and family?

Romans 5:8

I will tell you why. It’s pride! When we say we can’t love someone too different or too opposite, we are actually saying we won’t, because can’t means won’t. 2 Corinthians 10:12 says that is comparing them to you, which is not wise. By the way, I have compared myself to others for years.

We lose the blessing of showing unconditional love and being blessed in the process. I know I have been blessed these last several months. I’ve told a few people that I knew Jo Ann did not love me, but I did not care. I love her anyway because in my heart God would change her heart eventually.

Isn’t that what Jesus did for us according to Romans 5:8? He was willing to wait till we got saved. That takes a lot of humility.

Loving Others Unconditionally

Love is never about us. I think it is interesting that God wants us to love all the brethren like this as well. Marital love is about selfless, sacrificial love given to somebody of the opposite sex that you will never fully understand for the rest of your life.

In our own strength, that should not scare us, it just humbles us. As 1 John 4:19 says, only God can enable us to love. We as people can’t love unconditionally.

As in the case of Samson, I handed my heart to Jo Ann, then she stabbed it with a knife. God handed His heart to us, in His Son, but we stab it every time we sin. We need to consider that.

I have no doubt Samson believed his love and trust for Delilah would lead to her conversion. Most would say that was foolish. (I know I have been called a fool too.) Then why is he in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11. God used him in a mighty way in spite of his “lack of wisdom” as some might say.

Ultimately God used Samson to destroy the Philistine nation. He would not have had the opportunity to kill so many if He attacked the city because everyone would have fled. God used him to push down the house. Why did the Philistines keep him alive? Because God was not done with him yet.

In Closing

Let me just sat that this breakup has been one of the most painful things I have experienced but it has taught me a lot. We tend to focus on others’ weaknesses and faults. But that does not mean God can’t use their faults. We all have our faults. Why not use them to make you humble.

I have learned all of these lessons in the last few months during and after my relationship. I hope you can learn something from the broken hearted like Samson and I.

God bless you!

 

What About The Unbelieving?

What About The Unbelieving?

God has promised His people a new heaven and a new earth. The old creation must make way for the new creation, if God is to be glorified. Jesus said this event will occur when “the world is made new” (Isaiah 65:17). By then, God’s eternal purpose in Jesus would have been accomplished and so as Ephesians 1:10.

The overcomers shall inherit the Kingdom of God: the new heaven and the new earth and will enjoy a special relationship with God. What about the rest of the unbelieving world? What will happen to them? They shall not inherit God’s Kingdom!

Bible Verse: Revelation 21:8 (NKJV)

“But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

Reflection and Challenge

Is cowardice enough to send a person to hell? L. Morris says John here isn’t speaking of natural timidity, but of that cowardice which makes a person to ultimately choose himself and his safety over Christ.

Many Christians today say that they believe the Bible, but don’t live the way they should. If we truly understand the seriousness of our sin and the cost for Jesus to pay for our salvation, you would understand the consequence of being an unrepentant sinner. That is true for yourself and everyone else. Do you truly believe it?

Ephesians 1:10

The book of Revelation tells us what will happen in the end: God wins! And those who thirst for Him will be given freely from the fountain of life. This will all happen when the New Jerusalem comes down from heaven (Revelation 21:2). That should be very encouraging for all Christians, but also very humbling. The most important fact about the city is that God lives there with His people.

On the other hand, those who reject Jesus and become apostates are specifically prohibited from entering the New Jerusalem. All of those unrepentant family members, friends, coworkers, and everyone else that did not accept Jesus as their Savior will have to face God and pay for their sin in the Lake of Fire for eternity. Once in, you can’t get out.

The Lake of Fire

Hell or “the Lake of Fire” (Revelation 20:15) is a witness to the righteous character of God. He must judge sin. Hell is also a witness to human responsibility, the fact that people are not robots or helpless victims but creatures able to make choices.

God does not send people to hell; they send themselves by rejecting the Savior (Matthew 25:41; John 3:16-21). Hell is also witness to the awfulness of sin. If we once saw sin as God sees it, we would understand why a place such as hell exists. So to think that people I know could spend eternity there is heart-breaking.

Just seeing how the entire world is falling apart makes me wonder if the end of the world is drawing near. Nobody knows when they will die. Are you prepared to meet God?

If we truly believe that people you know could spend eternity in the Lake of Fire, won’t it affect how you relate to all the people around you?

Have you given them the Gospel? Do you pray for them? It is worth thinking about since every person will spend eternity in Heaven or Hell. How does that affect how you live?

Letting Go And Letting God

Letting Go And Letting God

Romans 1:17 says, “the just shall live by faith.” It does not say the just will only get saved by faith. Genesis 24 is a great example of Old Testament saints living by faith even though they did not have the Holy Spirit. That should convict us, just for the fact that we have the Holy Spirit. Do we live by faith? Are we letting go and letting God take control?

Bible Verse: Genesis 24:14 (NKJV)

Now let it be that the young woman to whom I say, “Please let down your pitcher that I may drink,” and she says, “Drink, and I will also give your camels a drink” – let her be the one You have appointed for thy servant Isaac. And by this, I will know that You have shown kindness unto my master.”

Reflection and Challenge

It is amazing how many individuals in this narrative had radical faith in spite of being only people. Isaac had to trust God, Abraham, and the servant to find him a suitable wife. Abraham had to trust God and the servant to do the same. The servant had to trust God to direct him to the right woman and that Rebekah would be willing to move. Rebekah had to trust God that Isaac would love her. Not to mention, the parents letting her go.

I think it is funny that whenever you must trust God, you end up needing to trust another person (s) as well. How well do we trust others?

I am not saying that I have this type of faith but these people in Genesis 24 are definitely inspiring and we can learn a valuable lesson from them. Technically, the passage deals with the marriage relationship, but radical faith can be applied to every other type of decision in our lives.

Faith is the opposite of fear. In spite of this decision being one of the most important in their life, they let go of control and let God. That is a good definition of radical faith, “Letting go and letting God.”

Faith - Opposite of Fear

As Christians, we say that we get saved by faith, but never live by faith as Romans 1:17 says. WHY? Is it possible we don’t trust God enough to take care of us in our everyday life? He saved our soul. Is He not able to take care of our body as well? That is called fear.

I have heard that the Bible says, “Fear not!” 365 times. That’s one for everyday of the year. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” God will never lead you using fear.

*Read here: The Importance of Faith

Faith is a choice. God shows up when His people trust Him as He did at the end of the servant’s prayer. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). God answers when we trust Him. Why don’t we do it more?

This principle is applicable to every area of life, not just the marriage relationship. God leads us to decisions or crossroads, just to see what we will do. The best decision is to choose to trust Him. He will come through. How well do we trust Him in our lives?

Warning: God Will Humble You!

Warning: God Will Humble You!

It is human nature to claim credit for all the great things that happen in our lives. Like we accomplished them in our own strength. Especially in America, God has blessed us immensely. But as James 1:17 says, “Every good . . . and perfect gift is from above.” So be warned; God can and will humble you. Because God does not allow for pride in the lives of His children. 

Bible Verse: Daniel 4:37 (NLT)

“Now I, Nebuchadnezzar praise and glorify and honor the King of heaven. All His acts are just and true and He is able to humble the proud.”

Reflection and Challenge

The grand lesson God wanted King Nebuchadnezzar to learn – and that we must learn today – is that God alone is sovereign and will not permit mortals to usurp His throne or take credit for His works. We are but creatures, and God is the Creator; we are only subjects, but He is the King of kings.

When men and women, created in God’s image, refuse to submit themselves to Him, they are in grave danger of descending to the level of animals. “Do not be like a senseless horse or mule,” warned King David, who was guilty of acting like both (Psalm 32:9). Like the impulsive horse, David rushed into sin when he committed adultery with Bathsheba, and then like the stubborn mule, he had delayed confessing his sins and repenting (2 Samuel 11; 12).

This is what happened in the life of Nebuchadnezzar. After years of conquest and growth of the Babylonian empire, he was filled with pride. Even though Daniel was his number 2 man, he was still filled with pride. That is also true in our lives as well. After all the things God has done in our lives in the past, why do we still try to take the credit? Why don’t we give it to God, who truly deserves it?

God Does Not Delay

God is patient with sinners, but when the time comes for Him to act, He does not delay. As we read in Daniel 4:31-33, a solemn voice from heaven interrupted King Nebuchadnezzar’s egotistical meditations and announced that the time of probation had ended and judgment was about to fall.

The words were still on the king’s lips when everything began to change. His mind became like that of an animal (Daniel 4:16) and he was driven from the royal palace to live in fields with the beasts. Since he was beastly at heart, God allowed King Nebuchadnezzar’s brutish nature to be revealed openly.

As Nebuchadnezzar learned the hard way, God does not like the credit going to others. God humbled Nebuchadnezzar for his pride. Eventually, he learned the lesson that God wanted him to learn through his difficult experience (Daniel 4:17, 25, 32), and that is, to acknowledge the sovereignty of God.

Warning God Will Humble You

God can and will humble you as well. As Christians become more and more proud, we better turn back to God and realize He deserves all the credit. He will humble us if we don’t. The Bible teaches both divine sovereignty and human responsibility, and when we accept both, we find no contradiction or conflict. No person is freer than the believer who surrenders to the sovereign will of God.

The first thing King Nebuchadnezzar did after his ordeal had passed was to praise the Lord (Daniel 4:34-35). What an exciting expression of worship! When was the last time you praised God for everything He has done in your life?


*Recommended Resource: 

Determined to Believe: The Sovereignty of God, Freedom, Faith and Human Responsibility
By John C. Lennox

A fresh look at the relationship between God’s sovereignty and human freedom. Challenging widely held assumptions about theological determinism, Lennox explores the different types of predestination and the problems they pose; investigates what the Gospels and Paul’s Letter to the Romans say about responsibility; and tackles the issue of Christian assurance. 

Choose Today Whom To Serve

Choose Today Whom To Serve

Bible Verse: Joshua 24:15 NKJV

“Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.”

Reflection and Challenge

Hollywood knows that they hate God. They do not want to see anyone get saved from their sin by trusting in the finished work of Jesus Christ. Satan even knows that he will eventually lose the war with God, but he wants to take as many people down to the lake of fire with him as possible.

There is no doubt there is one God who created everything and everyone in the world. He is holy and has died and rose again to save you. But Satan is the Father of deception. He can’t allow people to get right with God. So how will he do it? Well, Americans cannot get enough entertainment. Why not movies? Those weak-minded Americans will never know the deception that is manipulating their mind.

How is this possible? It’s kind’a like magic. Make an illusion or a lie that everyone focuses on and then change the context. This is what Hollywood has been doing for the last several years.

Now I could get flack for telling you this but you need to hear what God laid on my heart tonight. Last week Avengers: Infinity War came out. I went to go see it. This movie is going to condition millions of people’s minds to hate the God of the Bible. There are two main elements that were used to deceive the audience. One was an outright mockery of Jesus, even though He died and rose again to save you. The second was a conditioning of hatred of absolute rulers.

Just today I heard a message which included Revelation 6:10a. It says, “And they cried with a loud voice, saying, how long, O LORD, holy and true.” I learned something I never saw before.

The Greek word for “LORD” in this verse is despotes. This is the Greek word where we get despot or an absolute ruler. At the end of the world, God will be hated for being the absolute ruler of the world just as He is hated today for being the absolute standard of right and wrong.

In the movie, Thanos is made to look like an absolute ruler but not an absolute standard of right. Whether he got all 6 infinity stones does not matter, Hollywood made him look like an absolute ruler and second to none. Hollywood and Marvel tried to make several parallels between the God of the book of Revelation, which is in the Bible, and Thanos, but they don’t need to be mentioned here.

Some might say that I am reading into the movie too much but I always remember Matthew 7:16a “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” You can know what is in the heart of men by their actions or in this case, their movies.

I pray that you are now aware that not all despots are bad. God is good all the time and all the time God is good. Will you serve God or Satan? The choice is yours. Whom do you choose?

Choose today whom to serve …

Here’s a beautiful worship song by Aaron Joshua, “You are Holy” written while on his annual mission to the Philippines.

Man’s Way vs. God’s Way

Man’s Way vs. God’s Way

Bible Verse: Hebrews 11:24-25 (KJV)

“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.”

Reflection and Challenge

God rewards faith. Throughout the Bible, God has given us promises of blessings if we would just believe them. And yet people are finding it so difficult to believe them since they are only in a book. Like Moses, he was told of all those blessings and he decided he could trust God with his life, status, wealth, everything. He knew God would reward him for his faithfulness in spite of losing so much.

God has promised us so much, including heaven, peace with God, purpose, hope, and many more, if we just trust His word. This is the gospel message in a nutshell. Trust God’s Word is true and that God is sufficient to save anyone from their sin so that we may spend eternity with God.

It cannot get anymore amazing than that. It is so much easier for us to believe the gospel and suffer ridicule on earth than suffer for eternity because of our sin. This is also true in the lives of Christians. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

More often than not the path of faithfulness is the more difficult path because you have to swallow your pride and trust God. The easiest paths are always sinful and enjoyable. That is never the path God wants for His children. He wants us to take leaps of faith so that He can show us what He is capable of rather than giving credit to us.

Usually, it is very difficult to take a bone from a dog. But if you give a dog a juicy steak, it is a whole lot easier to take the bone away. The bone is like a trusting your own understanding of situations and the steak is like the rewards for faithfulness. Which one are you chewing on now? Is it time to switch?

How To Live Like Jesus

How To Live Like Jesus

Bible Verse: John 3:16 (NKJV)

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Reflection and Challenge

For years I have wondered why millennials have been flocking away from the church. There could be several reasons but I want to cover one possibility. Purposefully or not many Christians are known for what we are opposed to. In so many words, we don’t love as Jesus loved.

A perfect contrast would be comparing the account of Jesus and the woman in adultery and how many Christians act today. Many Christians act like they would have allowed her to be stoned because she was an adulterer. Jesus did not do that though. He had compassion and loved her, in spite of her sin. Jesus saw her as a soul that needed saving, rather than a soul that needed punishing. 

*Read here: What did Jesus really mean when He said, “Do not judge?”

It is true that God will punish all sinners that refuse to repent but that is God’s department. You were as guilty as they were. Where is your humility?

Jesus did not scare people into getting saved; He just loved them in spite of their sin. I realize that I am preaching to myself. Sometimes I have been known for being judgmental. In personal relationships that is not a good thing. Many Christians have a tendency to focus on other’s sin and forget to mention God’s love and forgiveness. Jesus did not forget. 

In John 8:11, Jesus offered forgiveness while reminding the woman to turn away from sin; a perfect mixture of the need of repentance and loving her unconditionally. Are you known for harping on sin and personal standards, or showing God’s unconditional love? By the way, every Christian is hypocritical because we are not able to do this perfectly.

This mindset of loving unconditionally is also true for your relationships with other believers. Christians segregate from each other based on personal standards and assume the other is not saved. Romans 14 allows all Christians to have different practices. This is why unspoken church rules are so wrong because God has blessed us with liberty to serve God in every area of our life as God leads. 

The personal standards of a larger group are beside the point. You are responsible for yourself. They can get over themselves. That attitude assumes either carnality or being unsaved if the list of rules is not followed. I have run into this problem all of my life.

I know of people that reject fundamentalism and Baptist churches over this very problem. It is a shame. These churches are filled with born again Christians that have never learned how to love other believers unconditionally.

Nobody can be glorified if they are still alive, including you. All Christians are to become more sanctified until we all get to heaven. This implies that you need to grow as well. Stop being offended by other’s choices. Why not worry about your own poor choices? Can you accept other Christian’s right where they are at in their spiritual walk? That is God’s love for us.


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Why is Satan winning?

Why is Satan winning?

Bible Verse: John 8:32 (KJV)

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Reflection and Challenge

There is an old adage that essentially states that if you say a lie loud enough and long enough, eventually it will be believed. The problem is that it results in large populations being controlled by the liar. This is also called bondage of the mind. Satan has been spreading lies since the beginning as John 8:44 says.

This only reminds me of the numerous lies being spread in society today. Lies in public schools like evolution and socialism. Hollywood pushes hate toward Jesus and bad philosophies. The UN is pushing hate for Israel and global warming. The media pushes Amnesty for illegals and Abortion on demand. Even churches promote lies like prosperity gospel and good works will get you to heaven. Satan is spewing lies everywhere. How do we stop these lies from corrupting us and others?

A lie that is said repeatedly will eventually be believed

Jesus answered that question in John 8:32. “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” What is the truth? Glad you asked. In John 14:6, Jesus said He is the truth. In John 17:17 Jesus also said the Bible is God’s truth. The Bible is Jesus’ words to humanity. So how will the Bible set us free from lies?

It’s simple. Know the truth. Think about this. Do YOU have biblical reasons why ALL those lies mentioned above are wrong? Don’t just say that you don’t believe them but don’t have a reason why. How do we push back the lies without knowing why? How do we push back relativity that permeates the minds of Americans? “I say so” does not cut it anymore. How well do you know the truth? Can you see now why Satan is winning? 

What is truth?