Category: Bible Reflection & Challenge

Judging Your Brother in Faith

Judging Your Brother in Faith

Do you know of any brother or sister in Christ who only eats vegetables? What could be the reason behind it? More importantly, how do you feel about it or your reaction to it? Perhaps you know some Christians who consider one day more sacred than the other while you consider every day alike.

Do you condemn or judge them for their weak faith?

Bible Verses: Romans 14:10-14

But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: “As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” So then each of us shall give an account of himself to God.

Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way. I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

Condemning the Weak Believers

The whole chapter of Romans 14 is talking about Christian liberty and unity. Paul addresses those who were strong in the faith, that is, those who understood their spiritual liberty in Christ and were not enslaved to diets or holy days.

Who are the weak believers? The “weak in faith” were immature believers who felt obligated to obey legalistic rules concerning what they ate and when they worshiped. Many people have the idea that the Christians who follow strict rules are the most mature, but this is not necessarily the case.

Romans 14:1

We don’t have the responsibility to decide the requirements for Christian fellowship in a church, only God can do this. To set up human restrictions, based on personal prejudices (or even convictions) is to go beyond the Word of God. We receive one another because God has received us (Romans 14:1-3).

Our first responsibility is to the Lord (Romans 14:8). If Christians would go to the Lord in prayer instead of going to their brother or sister with criticism or condemnation, the fellowship in churches would be stronger. See also John 21:15-25.

Every church has weak and strong believers. The strong understand spiritual truth and practice it, but the weak have not yet grown into that level of maturity and liberty. The weak must not condemn the strong and call them unspiritual. The strong must not despise the weak and call them immature.

God has received both the weak and the strong; therefore they should receive one another (Romans 14:12).

Do Not Judge Your Brother; Love Them Instead

The first part of Romans 14:13 admonishes us to stop judging one another. But if we stop with this, we might give the impression that Christians should leave each other alone and let the weak remain weak. But the second admonition explains things further.

The emphasis is not on master-servant but a fellow believer. It is the principle of brotherly love. If we love each other we will seek to edify each other and build each other up in the faith (Romans 14:19). In the succeeding verses of Romans 14, Paul shared several facts to help his readers help their brothers.

Stop judging your brother in faith. Stop condemning the weak believers.

In the meantime, we must help each other grow. All believers, strong and weak, need to grow. Strong believers need to grow in love; weak believers need to grow in knowledge. So long as a fellow believer is weak in the faith, we must lovingly deal with that person in his or her immaturity.

But if we really love the weaker believer, we will help them to grow. For a Christian to remain immature, having a weak conscience is wrong.

Unity Does Not Always Mean Uniformity

If you have been following the late Dr. Ravi Zacharias, you should be familiar with the phrase, “Unity does not always mean uniformity.” He always used this every time he had to deal with the question of the differences in minor theology among Christian denominations.

Paul is telling us the same thing in Romans 14. Sure, God wants us (and expects us) to set standards in our lives. Sometimes those standards will be different from other Christians and there is actually nothing wrong with that.

God does not want unity based on conformity. God does not want Christians to live by a set of rules given by their pastor. This then results in Christians having different standards in many different areas.

However, disputes arise when believers start judging other believers for having stronger standards. In Romans 14:10, God is telling us, “Don’t worry about what other Christians are doing.” In other words, how they live their Christian life is none of your business. At the end of the day, we will all stand before Jesus to give an account of ourselves. You are not responsible for them.

This is actually what I use to completely ignore what other Christians are doing. All I’m saying is, don’t get all offended over what people do. You are not their judge so stop acting like one. Romans 14:14 implies that God has given all Christians the liberty to decide what standards they want to have. Thus, we must be convinced of the standards we set for ourselves.

Closing Words

If you do not know yet the standards you should live by, go figure. Nothing is inherently wrong, but if you believe Christian rock music is wrong and drinking alcohol is wrong, then don’t do it. You are responsible for your own actions.

We will all give an account of the way we lived our lives. On that day, we won’t have time to look at everyone else. Are you prepared to stand before God?


Get a copy of my devotional book “Life According to the Truth.”

Publisher’s Description

Life According to the Truth by Michael HeilmanDo you know what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? Did you know that God wants to prepare you during this life to live in heaven with Him? Does your purpose for life evade you? In Life According to the Truth, disciple of Jesus Christ, Michael Heilman, honestly writes to the issues facing the church and how to live the victorious Christian life.

Michael expounds on biblical principles God has applied to his life and led to God’s blessing in many areas of his life. With illustrations, humor, and most importantly Scripture, he explains to any born again believer who is spiritually wandering through life, how to be spiritually blessed by God as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

In this devotional Bible study, you will be enlightened in regards to:

  • Why God must be the key focus of your life.
  • How to love God
  • How to love others.
  • How to discern God’s will for your life
  • How to be confident with your identity in Jesus Christ

Life is difficult, but God can enable you to have abundant joy. If you are a born-again believer that needs encouragement, this book is for you.

In the World but Not of this World

In the World but Not of this World

While teaching believers about the essential doctrines of the faith, the apostle Paul never failed to admonish them how to live their lives as followers of Christ. Clearly, Paul had a constant concern for Christians living in the world while remaining free from the world.

Bible Verse: Ephesians 4:17-18

“This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.”

In Ephesians 4:17-23, Paul used action words, such as walk, put off, and put on to describe the intentional way in which believers in Jesus Christ should live. Paul never described a passive faith but a faith that proved itself in action.

Putting Off the Old Man

When I was first ushered into my church family, I often hear our senior minister say, “We are still in the world but we should not be of this world.” And he always emphasizes how we as believers should no longer be conformed to the patterns of this world (Romans 12:2), simply because we are not citizens of planet earth but heaven (Philippians 3:20).

I never realized it in the beginning but as I listened to God’s Word through my church leaders and began reading the Bible, all these biblical truths started to sink in. Christians should start living out their faith.

Paul wrote, “You should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk” (Ephesians 4:17). Looks like he just re-worded what he told the Roman church (Romans 12:2). Paul is saying that Christians are not to imitate the life of the unsaved people around them or pattern their lifestyles on them.

These people are dead because of their disobedience and their many sins (Ephesians 2:1), while the believers have been raised from the dead and been given eternal life in Christ.

Paul went on to describe this “walk” as a way of thinking – the futility of their mind” – and behaving – given themselves over to licentiousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness” (Ephesians 4:17, 19). Their thinking and ways were futile and depraved because they were so darkened in their understanding and had hard hearts.

In general, unrepentant sinners are unable to recognize their sinful ways, their rebellion against God, and the ultimate consequences of their sins: eternal condemnation.

In the World Out of this World

Loving the World and Everything in It

We cannot deny the influence of the world especially with social media and the entertainment industry. As it has always been, the world dictates what is acceptable and what is not. The world almost always controls the way people think, how they should dress up and carry themselves in public.

But the Bible gives a strong warning for Christians not to love the world or anything that is in it because everything that this world has to offer is not from God (1 John 2:15-17). Loving the world and living as the world does may gain us some rewards such as honor, prestige, and comfort. But even the best earthly rewards last only as long as we live.

Another downside to loving the world and everything in it is that love for the world is incompatible with love for the Father. So, if one claims to love both God and the world, there must be something wrong with his love for the Father.

The New Life in Christ

The Christian life must go beyond head knowledge. Of course, learning Christ must include head knowledge. But it must also include the ability to set our mind on the right things that will eventually lead us to live for and with Christ.

Christians should no longer lead a destructive, sinful lifestyle. They have been redeemed from the power of sin and even death, the penalty of sin. Through Jesus’ work on the cross, they have been reconciled to God and the Father and can obtain power from Him to resist temptation.

Subsequently, those who have truly accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord should put off their sinful habits (Ephesians 4:22), renew their minds (Ephesians 4:23; Romans 12:2), and put on the new nature created by God for true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:24).

Conclusion

Paul’s description of the life of a believer in Ephesians reveals a marvelous process, in which God works within a believer to change him or her. Relying on Jesus Christ’s saving works for us does not mean that we are inactive.

From a life filled with sin and futile efforts to gain merit before God, our lives can be transformed by our relationship with God (which has been made possible through Jesus). As Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:8-9, it is only “by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

With Christ’s help, we can learn how to put on the “new man” who He freely provides to all who trust in Him, and will enable us to live in this world without forgetting that we are not of this world anymore.

Safety and Security in the Arms of God

Safety and Security in the Arms of God

Do you ever have trouble falling asleep? Do the pressures of your job, family, or finances push a restful night’s sleep out of reach? Considering everything that is going on today not only in your community but also in many countries all around the world, I can’t really fault you for having sleepless nights.

But know that you are not the only one asking questions such as, “When will this pandemic be over? Will I ever get my job back? When will my kids be going back to school? Will things ever get back to normal?”

I get it. It’s human nature to want a comfortable life. Who does not want safety and security in every area of their life? Of course, we all want that. But if you are looking to your riches and possessions, friends or family, and your government leaders for answers and solutions, you’ll end up disappointed.

Safety and security can be found only in the arms of God.

Learning from King David

While on the run for his life from his own son Absalom and his men, David faced great pressure and yet found a peaceful night of sleep in God’s arms. Absalom and his forces were in hot pursuit of David, hoping to kill him. In fact, they had camped all around the cave. We read this in 2 Samuel 17:1-29.

From within the cave, David calls on the Lord to hear his pleas and have mercy – just as the Lord had done before (Psalm 4:1). “Hear me” is a passionate and concerned call to God. David had been praying for God’s help and was desperate to receive and answer.

Safety and Security in the Loving Arms of God

With assurance in God, David asks his enemies how long they are going to mock him and imagine that they can overthrow him, and reminds Absalom that God has anointed him and that he is set apart from ungodliness and is separated from God (Psalm 4:2-3).

In a cold, damp cave surrounded by soldiers and listening to David compose another song, David’s close friends question if they have followed the wrong man (Psalm 4:6). They want to see results now with a swift victory, not wait on God. While they whine, David writes songs of praise to the Lord.

David Puts His Joy in the Lord

David’s thoughts drift to the annual harvest festival – a time when barns were full of grain and vats were bulging with wine. He lost a palace and the fortunes that came with it. Now he has nothing. Yet David’s joy is boundless.

With tears running down his cheeks, he sings, “You have put gladness in my heart, more than in the season that their grain and wine increased.”

David puts his joy in God – not in goods. In all his adventures and with all his thoughts of the “good” days, David had seen nothing he wanted more than his relationship with God. This gave him peace; he felt safe and secure. He said, “I will both lie down in peace and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8).

Though Absalom’s armed forces circled around, David had the only One necessary to keep him safe. No arrow could touch him, no sword could harm him, and no army could conquer him. He had God. He had peace – perfect peace – the peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7).

Give Thanks in All Circumstances

If you lost your palace, i.e., your job, properties, or wealth, what would your reaction be? Would you scream and cry, or would you write songs of praise to the Lord? Would you sing praises to God and thank Him despite your circumstance?

It won’t be easy, I know. Some may ask, “How am I supposed to rejoice and be glad knowing that I have a family to feed and I don’t know where the money and food will come from?”

When I first found out that I would be the one to do the tithes and love offering (TLO) exhortation for our virtual church worship service this weekend, I must admit that I got a little worried. Why? That’s because most of us were affected by the recently imposed lockdowns due to the COVID 19 pandemic and as a result, we were not paid in full by our employers.

What could I possibly say to make my fellow believers in Jesus feel comfortable financially helping the church despite experiencing scarcity in their finances? Everybody has their needs and in this kind of situation we are in right now, the phrase “job security is a lie” that most financial educators often use in their lectures is becoming more and more real to us.

Stewards of God’s Riches

Where else could we find assurance if not the word of God? So I took out my Bible and was led to 1 Timothy 6:17-19, which is part of Paul’s final exhortation to young Timothy, his disciple. So, Paul tells Timothy to remind the church, especially those who are well-off, not to put their trust in riches.

Instead, they must put their trust and confidence in the living God who richly gives all we need for our enjoyment. The rich are to do good by being ready to give and willing to share.

We are not to trust in wealth. We may think we own what we have but the truth is, we don’t. We are not owners; we are stewards. If we have wealth, it is by the grace and goodness of God, and not because of any special merits on our part. The possessing of material wealth ought to humble us and causes us to glorify God.

As Christ’s followers, we are to employ what God gives us. We should use our wealth to do good to others; we should share, and put our money to work. When we do, we enrich ourselves spiritually and we make investments for the future. If you are still wondering how exactly you are going to do that, giving to the church in support of the Lord’s work is one of them.

The earth is the Lord's and everything in it

Secure in God’s Promise

Facing many of life’s problems, how can you sleep in the Master’s arms? First of all, you must be saved, and secondly, you must be like David and lead a sanctified, separated life. When you get saved, you change (2 Corinthians 5:17). What you love changes. What you love to do changes. Your priorities will change.

Sanctification makes you love the things you once hated and hate the things you once loved. Why? It’s because you are set apart for God (Deuteronomy 14:2; 1 Peter 1:15-16). You are in the family of God (Romans 12:5). You are saved – sanctified.

How should Christians deal with the economic, social, and health crisis that the whole world is experiencing right now? First of all, we must put our trust and confidence in God knowing that nothing is beyond His control. Even when the world seems to be falling apart, we must never forget that we are safe and secure in the loving arms of God.

We are secure in God’s promise because He is faithful and will never let us down.

Closing Thoughts

Meditate within your heart the promise of peace, safety, and security that are found in God alone, and be still.

For a clear conscience and a right relationship with the Savior, makes for sweet slumber. Remember that no pillow is as soft as God’s promises, no blanket is so warm as His presence.


Why did God Test Abraham’s Faith?

Why did God Test Abraham’s Faith?

We often hear many believers in Jesus say that trials are part of the Christian life. And most of the time they quote James 1:2, the story of Job, the temptation of our Lord (Matthew 4:1-11), and of course the classic example of God testing Abraham’s faith.

Genesis 22:1-24 records the greatest test that Abraham ever faced. But why did God test Abraham? Although the passage presents a beautiful picture of our Lord’s sacrifice at Calvary, the main lesson is obedient faith that overcomes in the trials of life.

Abraham eventually became known as the father of faith as a result of believing God’s promise despite the impossible circumstances.

Bible Verse: Genesis 22:1-2

Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”

Trials vs. Temptations

As I said earlier, trials are different from temptations and we need to learn how to distinguish between the two.

Temptations come from our desires within us (James 1:12-16) while trials come from the Lord who has a special purpose to fulfill. Temptations are used by the devil to bring out the worst in us but trials are used by the Holy Spirit to bring out the best in us (James 1:1-6).

Temptations seem logical while trials seem very unreasonable.

Why did God Test Abraham's Faith

God Tests Abraham’s Faith

In Genesis 22:1-2, we read God asking Abraham to go out early the next day to Mount Moriah with his son Isaac and sacrifice him there as a burnt offering. Why would God give Abraham a son and then ask Abraham to kill him?

So, let me get this straight. God told Abraham to sacrifice his son. What? Consider how unreasonable God’s request was. Isaac was Abraham’s only son, and the future of the covenant rested in him. Isaac was a miracle child, the gift of God to Abraham and Sarah in response to their faith. Abraham and Sarah loved Isaac very much and had built their whole future around him.

When God asked Abraham to offer his son, He was testing Abraham’s faith, hope, and love, and it looked like God was wiping out everything Abraham and Sarah had lived for.

Jehovah Jireh – The Lord Will Provide

Two statements reveal the emphasis of the passage: “God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering” (Genesis 22:8), and “Yahweh-Yireh” which means, “The Lord will see to it,” that is, “The Lord will provide” (Genesis 22:14).

As he climbed Mount Moriah with his son, Abraham was confident that God would meet every need. Abraham could depend on the promise and provision of the Lord. He had already experienced the resurrection power of God in his own body (Romans 4:19-21), so he knew that God could raise Isaac from the dead of that was His plan.

Apparently, no resurrection had taken place before that time, so Abraham was exercising great faith in God. According to Ephesians 1:19-20 and Ephesians 3:20-21, believers today have Christ’s resurrection power available in their own bodies as they yield to the Spirit of God.

We can know “the mighty power that raised Him from the dead” (Philippians 3:10 NLT) as we face the daily demands and trials of life.

In times of testing, it is easy to think only about our needs and our burdens; instead, we should be focusing on bringing glory to Jesus Christ. We find ourselves asking, “How can I get out of this?” instead of “What can I get out of this that will honor the Lord?”

Isaac, a Type of Christ

If ever two suffering people revealed Jesus Christ, it was Abraham and Isaac on Mount Moriah. Their experience is a picture of the Father and the Son and the cross and is one of the most beautiful types of Christ found anywhere in the Old Testament.

Jesus said to the Jews, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad” (John 8:56). In Isaac’s miraculous birth, Abraham saw the day of Christ’s birth, and in Isaac’s marriage (Genesis 24:1-67), he saw the day of Christ’s coming for His bride. But on Mount Moriah, when Isaac willingly put himself on the altar, Abraham saw the day of Christ’s death and resurrection.

We sometimes waste our trials and sufferings by neglecting or ignoring opportunities to reveal Jesus Christ to others who are watching us go through the furnace. But we make good use of difficulties by developing Abraham’s attitude, “God will provide.”

Trusting God means we keep moving forward even though we don’t know exactly how things will turn out. The outcome we leave in God’s hands.


Bottom Line

The greatest thing that can happen as we experience the trials that God sends is that we grow closer to our Father and become more like the Lord Jesus Christ. Calvary is not only the place where Jesus died for our sins, but it is also the place where He sanctified suffering and, by His resurrection transformed suffering into glory.

Every experience that God allows into our lives comes with the possibility of glory for God. He can take those times we find unspeakable and make them fountains of praise to Him. But we can’t see this until after we have trusted and obeyed, the same way Abraham did.

Let us then seek to glorify the Lord even when God tests our faith by bringing us trials, and He will do the rest.

Sowing in Tears, Reaping in Joy

Sowing in Tears, Reaping in Joy

The Christian life is likened to a journey where there would be good times and bad times. So if you expected a comfortable, easy life the day you made a life-changing decision to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior then you’re definitely in for a big surprise.

While the joy that fills one’s heart when he or she receives God’s forgiveness and assurance of eternal life is so real, we need to remember that oftentimes that great joy is preceded by a season of tears. As Psalm 126:5 says, “Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.”

The Amazing Work of God

Psalm 126:1-6 with the title “A Song of Ascents,” thought to be composed after the Babylonian exile in gratitude for God’s restoration, is the seventh in the series of fifteen songs for pilgrims coming to Jerusalem.

When Israel’s rebellion became so great that the land itself was being defiled, God took them out of the land and sent them to Babylon for seventy years. After they had been set free, they could not believe what was happening.

They knew that both Isaiah and Jeremiah had promised this “second exodus,” but it was too good to be true. During long years of waiting, they had dreamed of returning home, and now that dream had become a reality. God in His grace had forgiven them (Isaiah 40:1-2; 44:21-22) and they could make a new beginning.

The surrounding nations, some of whom hated Israel, were utterly astonished at this event and openly confessed that the God of Israel had done great things for them. The Jews replied that indeed He had done amazing works for them, and they give God the glory (Psalm 16:2-3).

This ought to be the confession of every Christian and every local church.

Sowing Tears Reaping Joy

God’s Principle of Sowing and Reaping

In His covenant, God gave the promise of adequate food for the people (Deuteronomy 28:1-14), and the people who were planting seeds, were claiming that promise. It pleases the Lord when we water with our tears the seed of the Word that we sow. We cannot reap if we do not first sow the seed, and the seed must be watered with our tears and our prayers.

Some blessings God sends suddenly (Psalm 126:4), and some come as we patiently sow and weep (James 5:7). But His promise is secure so “let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:9).

God is Faithful in Keeping His Promises

If the Lord did not keep His covenant and send the early and latter rains, there would be no crops and their labors would have been in vain. Each raindrop was but a tiny thing, but when dropped on the earth, it was the promise of life.

How gracious of the Lord to send “showers of blessings” (Ezekiel 34:26) to His people. How important it is that God’s people pray for His blessing and prepare themselves to receive it.

Application for Christians Today

Even in the Old Testament, the gospel was already present. The gospel is the seed that we plant in men’s hearts. It is also true that some seed takes more time to sprout than others, but the principle laid out in Psalm 26:5-6 is still true today.

God also gives you the credit for working hard to see the seeds produce. That is what it means when it says “bringing his sheaves.” When we cry and put large amounts of effort into individuals to get saved or to grow spiritually, God will reward that hard work.

Shouldn’t we be more motivated to know the gospel and Bible better and always ready to share when the opportunity shows itself?


Get my devotional book “Life According to the Truth.”

Michael Heilman's Devotional Book

Publisher’s Description

Do you know what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? Did you know that God wants to prepare you during this life to live in heaven with Him? Does your purpose for life evade you? In Life According to the Truth, Disciple of Jesus Christ, Michael Heilman, honestly writes to the issues facing the church and how to live the victorious Christian life.

Michael expounds on biblical principles God has applied to his life and led to God’s blessing in many areas of his life. With illustrations, humor, and most importantly scripture, he explains to any born again believer who is spiritually wandering through life, how to be spiritually blessed by God as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

In this devotional Bible study you will be enlightened in regards to:
Why God must be the key focus of your life.
How to love God.
How to love others.
How to discern God’s will for your life.
How to be confident with your identity in Jesus Christ.

Life is difficult, but God can enable you to have abundant Joy. If you are a born-again believer that needs encouragement, this book is for you.

Is Heaven A Real Place? Where Is It?

Is Heaven A Real Place? Where Is It?

It has been said that everyone thinks about heaven. However, some people say heaven isn’t a real place. Rather, it is a state of mind, a fancy, an abstraction, wishful thinking, a figure of speech, or a sentimental dream. Are these people right? Or is there something that awaits us in the hereafter?

When it comes to the truth about the reality of heaven and where it is, there is no greater authority than Jesus Christ. He came from heaven to earth and then returned to heaven, where He awaits the day when His bride, the church, shall join Him in the mansions He is preparing for her.

Bible Verse: John 14:2

“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”

Heaven is a Real Place

Jesus taught that heaven is a real place. In John 14:2, Jesus told His disciples, “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you.” Jesus calls heaven “a house, a dwelling home.” It isn’t just an illusion. It’s as real as the home in which we live right now.

While the apostles were looking up into the sky following Jesus’ ascension, two angels appeared, saying, “Why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).

Jesus obviously went somewhere when He ascended upward. The Scripture says that He went to heaven (1 Peter 3:22). Jesus went to a real place, an eternal home, not into a state of mind or an abstraction.

Philippians 3:20

Jesus prayed, “Our Father in heaven” (Matthew 6:9). He did not say “Our Father in a state of mind” or “… in an eternal illusion.” Our Father is in heaven, a real place. Luke 20:20 says we are to rejoice not because the spirits are subject to us but because our names are written in heaven.

The apostle Paul writes, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20). One can only have citizenship in a real place. Therefore, heaven must truly exist.

All of these facts from Scripture make it clear that heaven is indeed a genuine place.

Heaven: A Home of Beauty

What a wonder heaven must be! In only six days the Lord created the universe, and yet He has been preparing the homes in heaven where we are going to live throughout eternity for two thousand years.

John describes our eternal home, as a city that is foursquare, 1,500 miles up, down, and across (Revelation 21:15-17). It is as large as from the most northern point of Maine to the most southern tip of Florida and from the Atlantic Ocean to the Rocky Mountains. Each level arises above the other, mile after mile. The twelve gates are built upon twelve jeweled foundations proclaiming accessibility for all believers from every kindred, tribe, and nation (Revelation 21:14)

Paul wrote: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard. Nor have entered into the heart of man. The things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

Closing Words

While many people think heaven is only a state of mind, or a mythological place, Scripture makes it clear that heaven is an actual place that exists. And it is the final destination for believers. Indeed, if you have placed your faith in Christ, you are heaven bound.

How Does One Today Commit the Unforgivable Sin?

How Does One Today Commit the Unforgivable Sin?

In the previous article, we said that the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the one sin that cannot and will not be forgiven in this life or in eternity. In Jesus’ day, this sin was committed by the religious leaders when they attributed the miraculous works of Jesus Christ, performed through the power of the Holy Spirit to the devil (Matthew 12:22-24).

Since the ministry of the Holy Spirit gave clear testimony to Jesus being the Messiah, those who rejected this truth could not be forgiven. Indeed, apart from Jesus Christ, there is no forgiveness of sin.

This brings up and all-important question. Since Jesus is no longer on the earth, how does one blaspheme the Holy Spirit today? How does a person commit the “unforgivable sin?”

In other words, what sin does a person commit that will keep them out of heaven for all eternity?

Explaining the Unforgivable Sin Today

We certainly do not want to be guilty of committing the unforgivable sin. So, how can it be avoided? We need to understand that this particular situation, where Jesus spoke of the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, was unique. 

Jesus Christ was physically present on the earth, performing miracles through the power of the Holy Spirit to testify that He was the promised Messiah. The religious leaders rejected His miraculous deeds as coming from the Lord. Instead, they attributed them to a demonic source.

Thus, how they insulted or blasphemed the Holy Spirit was clear.

How Does One Commit the Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit

But Jesus Christ is not with us today in a physical presence like He was in the first century. Indeed, Christ is not on the earth to personally work His miracles through the power of the Holy Spirit.

How then does the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit occur in our day and age without Jesus’ presence? Can a person still commit the unforgivable sin?

The World Still Needs Forgiveness

To begin with, we find that the work of the Holy Spirit is still the same; nothing has changed. His mission is to testify about Jesus Christ and to show the world it needs His forgiveness (John 15:26).

On the night of His betrayal, Jesus said to His disciples that it is to their advantage that He goes away, for if He does not go away, the Helper will not come to them. But when He comes, He will convict the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:7-11).

Among other things, the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to convict the unbelieving world of sin. His mission is to show them their need of Jesus Christ as Savior.

The Unforgivable Sin Today: Unbelief in Jesus

Today, the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is unbelief in Jesus.

It is insulting or rejecting the work of the Holy Spirit which testifies that Christ is Savior and Lord. This is confirmed by what Jesus said in Luke 12:8-12 (NIV), where He equated the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit with the preaching of the message by His disciples.

The message of Jesus as the Messiah, the Christ, is still to be proclaimed today. Those who reject it are actually insulting the God of the Bible. It follows that those who continually reject the Holy Spirit’s ministry of portraying Jesus Christ as the only Savior of humanity are blaspheming the Holy Spirit.

If this state of sin continues they will not receive forgiveness for their sins but rather the wrath, or judgment, of God, will remain on them. The Word of God makes their fate clear in John 3:36.

Those who reject the Son can only expect to experience God’s wrath. They cannot ever receive forgiveness for their sin, neither in this world nor in the next.

A State of Continuous Unbelief

Today, as in Christ’s time, the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is a continuous state of unbelief rather than the commission of one particular sin. Unless that state of unbelief changes, the person will suffer eternal separation from the Lord.

The Bible speaks of the state of condemnation unbelievers now find themselves in John 3:18. Those who have rejected Jesus Christ are in this state of unbelief. This unbelief will result in eternal condemnation unless a person turns to Christ for forgiveness.

John 3:36

Conclusion

How does one commit the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit in our day and age? Today, one blasphemes the Holy Spirit by rejecting the ministry of the Holy Spirit that speaks of the necessity of accepting Jesus Christ as Savior.

Jesus specifically said the Holy Spirit was to come into the world and convict the unbelievers of their sin. If they did not respond to His work, then there is no hope for them. There would be no forgiveness in this life or the next.

Jesus also made this clear when He spoke of the future ministry of His disciples. Those who rejected their testimony about Jesus would also be blaspheming the Holy Spirit.

Therefore, in our day and age, the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the state of unbelief in Jesus Christ as Savior. It is more of a continuing and persistent rejection of the Holy Spirit than one particular sin.

To sum it up, the only unforgivable sin which will keep people out of heaven is the rejection of Jesus Christ as their Savior. Every other sin we do commit can and will be forgiven.

On the other hand, once a person trusts Christ as their Savior, then there is no possibility of them committing the unforgivable sin.


*Excerpt is taken from“Living in the Light of Eternity” (The After Life Series Volume 1) by Don Stewart.

Ecclesiastes 3 Explained

Ecclesiastes 3 Explained

Ecclesiastes 3 is unarguably one of the most quoted Bible passages not only by Christians but also non-Christians, especially when talking about the meaning of life. Now, why is that? What is this passage all about? What is Solomon, the author, trying to tell us about life?

An Introduction to the Book of Ecclesiastes

Some argue that the book of Ecclesiastes may not have been written by Solomon but by somebody else under his instruction. However, there are powerful arguments that the author was Solomon himself.

The author calls himself “the son of David, king in Jerusalem” in Ecclesiastes 1:1, 12. And Solomon was the best qualified Davidic descendant for the quest in this book as he was the wisest man who ever taught in Jerusalem (Ecclesiastes 1:16; 1 Kings 4:29-30).

The description of Qoheleth’s exploration of pleasure (Ecclesiastes 2:1-3), impressive accomplishments (Ecclesiastes 2:4-6), and unparalleled wealth (Ecclesiastes 2:7-10) were fulfilled only by King Solomon.

Note 1: The Hebrew title Qoheleth is a rare term, found only in this book (Ecclesiastes 1:1, 2, 12; 7:27; 12:8-10). It comes from the word qahal, “to convoke an assembly, to assemble.” Thus, it means “one who addresses an assembly, a preacher.”

The Septuagint used the Greek word Ekklesiastes as its title for this book. Derived from the word ekklesia, “assembly, congregation, church,” it simply means “preacher “ The Latin Ecclesiastes means “speaker before an assembly.”

Ecclesiastes 1:1 in Hebrew reads, “The words of Qoheleth, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.”

The book of Ecclesiastes was probably written late in Solomon’s life, about 935 B.C. If this is so, the great glory that Solomon ushered in early in his reign was already beginning to fade; and the disruption of Israel into two kingdoms would soon take place.

Jewish tradition asserts that Solomon wrote Song of Solomon in his youthful years, Proverbs in his middle years, and Ecclesiastes in his latter years. There are no references to historical events than to personal aspects of Qoheleth’s life and the location was Jerusalem, the seat of Israel’s rule and authority.

A Time for Everything

In Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, Solomon affirms in fourteen paired statements that God is at work in our individual lives, seeking to accomplish His will. It must be noted that all of these events come from God, and they are good in their time.

A Time to be Born and a Time to Die

Ecclesiastes 3:2a

Things like abortion, birth control, mercy killing (euthanasia), and surrogate parenthood may give the impression that humans control birth and death, but Solomon said otherwise.

Birth and death are not human accidents; they are divine appointments, for God is in control. We may foolishly hasten death, but we cannot prevent it when our time comes, unless God wills it, such as in the case of King Hezekiah in Isaiah 38:1-8.

Psalm 139:16 NKJV

A Time to Plant and a Time to Harvest.

Ecclesiastes 3:2b

Farmers may plow and sow, but only God can give the increase (Psalm 65:9-13). “Harvest” translates a word that may refer either to reaping or pulling up unproductive plants.

A successful farmer knows that nature works for him only if he works with nature. This is also the secret of a successful life: Learn God’s principles and cooperate with them.

Casting Away Stones and Gathering Them

Ecclesiastes 3:5

Israel is indeed a rocky land, and farmers must clear their fields before they can plow and plant. To hurt an enemy, you would fill the enemy’s field with stones (2 Kings 3:19, 25). People also gathered stones for building walls and houses.

Whether stones are good or bad depends on how they are used. If your enemy fills your land with rocks, don’t throw them back. Instead, build something out of them!

A Time to Tear and a Time to Sew

Ecclesiastes 3:7

This tearing and mending probably refer to the Jewish practice of tearing one’s garments during a time of grief or repentance (2 Samuel 13:31; Ezra 9:5).

God expects us to sorrow and grieve during bereavement but not like unbelievers who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). At times we must get out of the needle and thread and start mending.

A Time to Love and a Time to Hate

Ecclesiastes 3:8

God’s people are expected to love others, even the unlovable, following Jesus’ example. But are they allowed to hate? The fact that the next phrase mentions “war and peace” suggests that Solomon may have had the nation primarily in mind.

However, believers are expected to hate some things such as covetousness (Exodus 18:21), evil (Psalm 97:10), the deeds of the Nicolaitans (Revelation 2:6), the doctrines of Balaam and sexual immorality (Revelation 2:14), and the seven things that God hates in Proverbs 6:16-19.

The inference in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 is plain: If we cooperate with God’s timing, life will not be meaningless. Rather, everything will be “beautiful for its own time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11), even the most difficult experiences of life. Life is something like a doctor’s prescription. Taken alone, the ingredients might kill you, but properly blended, they bring healing.

Making Sense of God’s Gift: Life

Ecclesiastes 3:10

Given the travail that we experience from day to day, life may seem like a strange gift, but it is God’s gift just the same. We exercise ourselves in trying to explain life’s enigmas, but we don’t always succeed.

If we believingly accept life as a gift and thank God for it, we will have a better attitude toward the burdens that come our way. If we grudgingly accept life as a burden, then we will miss the gifts that come our way. As Dr. Warren Wiersbe said, “Outlooks help to determine the outcome.”

What Does Ecclesiastes 3 Mean

Understanding God’s Plan

Ecclesiastes 3:11

God created man (us) in His own image and has given him dominion over all other creatures (Genesis 1:26-28). Humans, therefore, are different from the rest of creation. God “has planted eternity in the human heart” and we are linked to heaven.

Don Richardson, a well-known missionary and author, used the phrase “eternity in their hearts” to describe the phenomenon of redemptive analogies in almost all aboriginal cultures. Almost every culture has customs, traditions, or ways of thinking that reflect basic biblical truth, and these can be used by missionaries to explain the gospel

The bottom line here is, God accomplishes His purposes in His time, but only when we enter eternity will we begin to comprehend His total plan.

Contentment and Enjoyment

Ecclesiastes 3:12-13

The Teacher hinted at contentment in Ecclesiastes 2:24 and was careful to say that this enjoyment of life was God’s gift (see Ecclesiastes 5:19; 6:2 and 1 Timothy 6:17). Solomon is not encouraging pagan hedonism but rather the practice of enjoying God’s gifts as the fruit of one’s labor, no matter how difficult life may be.

Life appears to be transitory, but whatever God does is forever. So, when we live for Him and let Him have His way, life is meaningful and manageable. Instead of complaining about what we don’t have, let’s enjoy what we do have and thank God for it.

Fear God and Submit to Him

Ecclesiastes 3:14

The proper attitude for us is the fear of the Lord, which is not the cringing of a slave before a cruel master but the submission of an obedient child to a loving parent (see Ecclesiastes 5:7; 7:18, 8:12-13; 12:13). If we fear God, we need not fear anything else, for He is in control.

Proverbs 9:10 also says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

God Controls the Cycle of Life

Ecclesiastes 3:15

This verse helps us recall Ecclesiastes 1:9-11 and gives us the assurance that God controls the cycle of life. The past seems to repeat itself so that “nothing under the sun is truly new” (Ecclesiastes 1:9), but God can break into history and do what He pleases (see Isaiah 46:10).

God’s many miracles are evidence that the cycle is a pattern and not a prison. God’s own Son broke into human history through a miraculous birth. He then died on a cross and rose again, thus conquering the life-death cycle.

The Common Fate of Man and Animals

Ecclesiastes 3:18-21

God will judge when history has run its course, but God is judging now.

In the experiences of life, God is testing humans (“proves to people”). (The Hebrew word means “to sift, to winnow.”) God is revealing what humans are really like; He is sifting them.

For example, when someone leaves God out of his or her life, that person becomes like an animal. (See Psalm 32:9; Proverbs 7:21-23; 2 Peter 2:19-20.) He or she lives like a beast and dies like a beast.

As Solomon thought of an animal dying and its body decomposing, he realized that the same happens to the human body. We sensed that he hoped there was a different destiny between humans and animals, yet in his thinking “under the sun,”  he saw no real reason to believe it.


Enjoying Life Everyday

Ecclesiastes 3:22

Is there a way for man to know what will happen after him? Nothing, because death ends it all, and therefore ultimately his life has no more significance or meaning than the life of an animal.

So in ending, Solomon calls us to accept life, enjoy it a day at a time and be satisfied. We must never be satisfied with ourselves, but we must always be satisfied with what God gives to us in this life.

If we grow in character and godliness and live by faith, then we will be able to say with Paul, “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content” (Philippians 4:11).

Vanity: The Key Theme of Ecclesiastes

The key theme of Ecclesiastes is vanity. It reports the results of a diligent quest for purpose, meaning, and satisfaction in human life. The Preacher poignantly sees the emptiness and futility of power, popularity, prestige, and pleasure apart from God.

The word vanity appears thirty-seven times to express the many things that cannot be understood about life. All earthly goals and ambitions, when pursued as ends in themselves, lead to dissatisfaction and frustration. Life “under the sun” (used twenty-nine times) seems to be filled with inequities, uncertainties changes in fortune, and violations of justice.

But Ecclesiastes does not give us an answer to atheism or skepticism; God is referred to throughout. In fact, it claims that the search for man’s summum bonum must end in God. Satisfaction in life can be found only by looking beyond this world. Contentment and joy are found only in God.

Note 2: Summum bonum is a Latin expression meaning “the highest good,” which was introduced by the Roman philosopher Cicero, to correspond to the Idea of the Good in ancient Greek philosophy.

Conclusion

Although the Preacher concluded that time is short and there is no eternity on earth, He connected beauty and eternity as ideas implanted in the human personality by God. Obviously, beauty in God’s creation or in our own creative efforts awakens in us an awareness of eternity.

When King Solomon wrote the balance and harmony of all the various aspects of human existence, he concluded, “He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time. The word translated “beautiful” in Ecclesiastes 3:11 is not the term translated “good” in Genesis (Genesis 1:12, 25, 31).

The word in Ecclesiastes is much closer to the English word “beautiful” with its emphasis on visible attractiveness rather than internal harmony.

Beauty gives us a glimpse of what endures forever – maybe as though it were a pale reflection of some aspect of God’s perfect beauty. A sunset, a scene of mountain grandeur, the ocean at peace or in a frenzy, a symphony, a painting, a poem or an innocent child can stab the human heart with a certainty that God – a personal God who embodies perfect beauty – is the source of all this.


References:

New King James Version Study Bible edited by John Hagee

The New Living Transformation Study Bible edited Dr. Warren Wiersbe

Recommended Resource: Found: God’s Will by John MacArthur

Found: God's Will Does God have a path for me? How do I make the right choices in life? Why is it so difficult to uncover God’s will?

Trusted pastor and teacher John MacArthur answers these vital questions and more.

Offering assurance that God does have a plan for your life and that He wants you to know it, MacArthur examines six powerful biblical principles that will give you direction, fill you with purpose, and give you the confidence to live out His plan for you.

When those five fundamentals are operating, we’re free to exercise number six – and do whatever we want!

A Prayer for the Nations

A Prayer for the Nations

With the current situation we are facing today, the nations need prayers desperately. We could blame the COVID-19 for causing this global pandemic, or the wicked for our nations’ lack of moral direction, but the church must bear the responsibility.

Let’s face it, our churches live far beneath the standards of holiness established in the New Testament. The church has become so compromised that they ordain homosexuals, defend abortion, and denies the truth of God’s Word. Let us be warned that when a nation abandons God, He abandons that nation.

Today, more than ever, Christians need to get down on their knees and unite in prayer. But where and how do we start?

How to Pray for the Nations

Praying for the NationsChapters 78 to 81 of the book of Psalms give us a blueprint on how to pray for the nations with a call for praise, repentance, and restoration and concludes with God’s expectations and promises.

In Psalm 78, Asaph recalls Israel’s history, which was saturated with God’s provision, His leadership, His miracles, and His working power. But despite all that, the people had become stubborn and rebellious, and they suffered because of their disobedience.

One thing we can learn from history is that we don’t learn from history. If we study the Bible and church history, we discover that Israel made that same mistake.

Asaph did not want the people to imitate the “exodus generation” that died in the wilderness, or the third generation in Canaan that turned to idols, or the ten tribes that forsook the Lord and established a new kingdom and a false religion.

Asaph wanted the people to trust God, to learn from the past, and to obey God’s word. Only then could they be sure of the blessings of the Lord.

A Call to Praise God 

The first blueprint on how to pray for the nations is a call for praise for the wonderful things God has done in the past and still doing at present. Before we even pour our hearts out at the feet of Jesus, we are to give Him all the praises. As the Bible points out, God inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3).

Going back to Psalm 78, Asaph reminds the nation of Israel God’s law that each generation of Jewish people must pass on God’s Word to the next generation and not hide from their children the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power, and the wonders He has done (Psalm 78:2-3).

This law still applies to the church today. Sadly, many nations have abandoned God. In America, God has been omitted from the public school textbooks to separate church and state even at the expense of truth. Historical revisionists are rewriting America’s history by presenting the founding forefathers as evil and corrupt.

Why? So that the coming generations will ignore what they said and did to make America great. In reality, America’s history is full of God’s grace and power in the establishment of this nation, and there are countless examples of leaders who pursued God’s grace and power in times of trouble.

Remembering the Mayflower Compact

On the Mayflower, the future colonists drew up the first written agreement for self-government ever put in force in America. After sixty-five days at sea, the pilgrims anchored their ship off Plymouth Rock.

Before going ashore, forty-three pilgrims signed the Mayflower Compact, which begins with the words, “Having undertaken for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian faith.” Today, that document would be attacked by the ACLU demanding separation of church and state.

At Valley Forge, as the ragged soldiers braced themselves against bitter winter wind and fought hunger, George Washington knelt in the snow to pray. God answered him. During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln pleaded with God to spare the Union. God answered. Lincoln’s speeches were full of scripture. Today, he would be ridiculed for his faith.

In World War I, America’s doughboys knelt in the trenches, hiding from mustard gas and praying to God for victory. He answered. During World War II, there were numerous times when the war could have been lost – Pearl Harbor, Midway, and Dunkirk – but the hand of God spared us.

Some of you perhaps still remember D-Day or The Battle of Normandy, when General Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was raised by praying parents, sculpted the D-Day invasion on the Normandy Beaches.

The day was not going well as the US troops were pinned down by gunfire. But believers started praying. Hundreds of people gathered and knelt on a gymnasium floor to pray for American troops. Nobody knew what was happening on the front, but they knew they needed to pray and they did, all day and all night. And God heard their prayers.

What does this story tell us today? For us to claim God’s blessings on our nation’s future, we must praise Him for all the blessings He has bestowed in the past. Every nation must acknowledge the work that God has done for them and humbly plead for His help.

Let every nation put God back into their lives, into their government, and into their society. May we always remember to give God all the praises and adoration for all His mighty deeds, grace, and mercy.

A Prayer for the Nations

Repentance is the Key

The next part of the blueprint is repentance. What is repentance? When John the Baptist, the forerunner of the Lord Jesus, went about preaching that the kingdom of God is at hand, he started out by preaching repentance (Matthew 3:1-2).

In the Bible, the word repentance literally means “the act of changing one’s mind.” But true repentance is more than just feeling remorse, regret or feeling bad about your sin. Isn’t it turning away from sin? Sure! But it involves more than that.

In its fullest sense, repentance involves a complete change in the heart and mind of a person resulting in a radical and persistent pursuit of holy living and walking with God in obedience to His command.

In praying for the nations, we must first and foremost repent of the way we have failed God over and over again. We must recognize that God is sovereign and that the national welfare is at stake. Without His intervention, the nations would fall.

In Psalm 79, Asaph lamented over the destruction of Jerusalem

“O God, the nations have come into Your inheritance; Your holy temple they have defiled; they have laid Jerusalem in heaps.” (Psalm 79:1)

“For they have devoured Jacob, and laid waste his dwelling place.” (Psalm 79:7)

Yet, Asaph knew that God isn’t finished with the Jewish nation. He then pleaded for God’s help for the glory of His name but no deliverance came. Then it hit him! He needed to confess his own sins and the sins of his contemporaries and repent (Psalm 79:8).

In the same way, we need to confess and repent of our sins and the sins of our nation. We need to acknowledge that without God’s intervention, we will fall; all the nations will fall. Let us ask God to not hold against us our former iniquities.

“Oh, do not remember former iniquities against us! Let Your tender mercies come speedily to meet us, for we have been brought very low.” (Psalm 79:8)

Here’s a song called, “Stand in the Gap” (Pray for the Nations) by Tom Inglis.

Stand in the Gap (Pray for the Nations) Lyrics and Chords

A Plea for Restoration

Restoration is the third phase of the blueprint. Three times Psalm 80 carries the prayerful words “Restore us, O God.” (See Psalm 80:3, 7, 19.)

We know that God restored Israel numerous times. And so, this should be our plea as well – for God to restore our nation to the day when “in God we trust” was a way of life and not just a meaningless slogan on a piece of paper or coin.

Psalm 81 proclaims God’s expectations from us. This is the foundation upon which everything rests. As God expected the Israelites to follow His ways, God expects us to do the same.

“But My people would not heed My voice, and Israel would have none of Me. So I gave them over to their own stubborn heart, to walk in their own counsels. Oh, that My people would listen to Me, that Israel would walk in My ways!” (Psalm 81:11-13)

If they had, God would have subdued their enemies and fed Israel with the “finest of wheat” and with “honey from the rock” (Psalm 81:16).

May we learn from Israel’s history and not repeat their mistake. The only thing God requires from us is to heed His voice and walk in His ways.

Promise of Blessings: God Heals a Nation

God’s expectations for our nations or for any nation are no less.

Israel’s history shows how a nation can find and lose favor with God and what God will do if the people repent and ask to be restored. “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

In this well-known text, the Lord promised to answer every request. He was willing to forgive His people when they sinned if only they would humble themselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from their sins.

Although some scholars say this is only applicable to the nation of Israel because God has never made a covenant with any other nation but them, Christian believers today can claim this promise because they are God’s people.

Our nation needs to be restored. Our nation needs our prayers. Let us take our country back to God one heart at a time, one home at a time, one city at a time.


Recommended Resource: The Daniel Prayer: Prayer That Moves Heaven and Changes Nations by Anne Graham Lotz

How to Pray for the NationsIn this book, bestselling author Anne Graham Lotz will teach you how to pray effectively for your nation, for your families, and for yourself.

Many people today find that their prayers don’t “work.” And like a broken cell phone, DVD player, or TV remote, they throw prayer out as unnecessary “clutter” in their busy lives. Anne Graham Lotz has found that while prayer does work, sometimes the “pray-ers” don’t. So, she has turned to the prophet Daniel for help.

The Daniel Prayer is born deep within your soul, erupts through your heart, and pours out on your lips, words created by and infused with the Spirit of God quivering with spiritual electricity.

It’s really not an everyday type of prayer. It’s a prayer birthed under pressure. Heartache. Grief. Desperation. It can be triggered by a sudden revelation of hope. An answer to prayer, a promise freshly received, a miracle that lies just over the horizon.

Join Anne in a thrilling discovery of prayer that really works.

For extended study into The Daniel Prayer message, Anne has also created The Daniel Prayer video study and study guide. Available now.

Trusting God in Perilous Times

Trusting God in Perilous Times

Over the last two thousand years, Christians have been harshly persecuted and even killed for meeting together. The Fox’s Book of Martyrs is filled with many stories of fellow Christians being murdered for trusting Jesus as their Savior.

I know that many times Christians met in the dark or underground in communist countries like China or in Saudi Arabia where freedom to practice other religions besides Islam is prohibited, so they could hide from being found.

Yet, they still choose to meet together. They are trusting God even in perilous times. I’d say that is some serious faith because they trust God enough to meet together despite the risk of being punished or killed. Where has that type of faith gone?

Bible Verses:

Luke 18:8b; Matthew 24:7; Hebrews 10:25

“Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” – Luke 18:8b

“For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.” – Matthew 24:7

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” – Hebrews 10:25

Intended Readers of Hebrews: Persecuted Christians

Although scholars and theologians do not necessarily agree as to the authorship of the epistle to the Hebrews, it is apparent that the recipients were believers (Hebrews 3:1) who had come to faith through the testimony of eyewitnesses of Christ (Hebrews 2:3). They were not new converts (Hebrews 5:12) and they had successfully endured hardships because of their stand for the gospel (Hebrews 10:32-34).

Unfortunately, they had become “dull of hearing” and were in danger of drifting away. This made them particularly susceptible to the renewed persecutions that were coming upon them, so the author found it necessary to check the downward spiral with a word of exhortation.

Participation in the Local Church

The ultimate reason that we should participate in a local church is that it is specifically commanded by God. It is the will of Christ that His disciples should assemble together for the worship of God and mutual edification. But it seems that even in the New Testament days some yielded to the temptation of absenting themselves from the worship services of the local church.

Trusting God in Perilous times

The writer of Hebrews points out that members of a local church have an obligation to one another. They are to provoke one another to good works and to exhort one another to live consistent lives worthy of God. This can best be done within the context of a local church, so believers are commanded not to forsake the assembling of themselves together.

Canceling Church in Perilous Times

Recently I have seen numerous churches cancel their regular gathering over a new strain of flu. At what point did Christians start listening to scientists or politicians when we are allowed to worship?

Faithful Christians did not listen to dictators. We are in a free country, so why now? I am shocked! Pastors are commending to not worship together, and congregations are not demanding a prayer meeting for God’s intervention or a time of worship.

Am I watching Luke 18:8 happen before my eyes? Have we forgotten that before the return of Christ, Matthew says there will be many pestilences? Maybe I should call them in modern terminology viruses or bacteria. It’s not as if this is the first time we are hearing of these things. Haven’t we experienced these before? And yes, these will result in pandemics before Christ’s return. Will we meet then?

It’s been over two thousand years since Jesus walked the earth. We have never been this close to Jesus’ return than now. Shouldn’t we be meeting more and more as Hebrews 10:25 says? How much do you trust God in these perilous times?


Get a copy of my book “Life According to the Truth.”

Life According to the Truth Book Summary

Do you know what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? Did you know that God wants to prepare you during this life to live in heaven with Him? Does your purpose for life evade you?

In Life According to The Truth, a follower of Jesus Christ, Michael Heilman honestly writes to the issues facing the church and how to live the victorious Christian life.

Michael expounds on biblical principles God has applied to his life and led to God’s blessing in many areas of his life. With illustrations, humor, and most importantly scripture, he explains to any born again believer who is spiritually wandering through life, how to be spiritually blessed by God as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

In this devotional Bible study, you will be enlightened in regards to:

  • Why God must be the key focus of your life
  • How to love God
  • How to love others
  • How to discern God’s will for your life
  • How to be confident with your identity in Jesus Christ

Life is difficult, but God can enable you to have abundant Joy. If you are a born-again believer that needs encouragement, this book is for you.