100 Percent

Sin.  Missing the mark.  Falling short of the glory of God.  

We all know what it is to sin and how it feels when we do – both the short term pleasure and the long term pain.

Maybe what we don’t know is how Jesus views sin.  

When he started preaching, he said, “Repent and believe, for the kingdom of God is near.”  I believe he was after the chief sin of unbelief in the human heart.  

Later on he said, “The Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin because they do not believe in me.”  He also said, “He who doesn’t believe has been judged already, for he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.  

And herein lies the judgement: that the light has come into the world, but men loved darkness rather than light.”

Jesus always went right to the heart of the matter.  

Too often, we take aim at the symptoms of sin and not the root cause.  All selfishness and bad behavior is rooted in and fueled by a refusal to believe in or trust in Christ.

Men and women spend their lives in all sorts of destructive behaviors because they don’t want to surrender their lives to Christ.  

The straight and narrow way of Christ may appear too restrictive, too dull, or even too impossible to them.  

Even many Christians find the spiritual life dull and confining (and modern day church may be partly to blame for this.)  It is only when we commit fully to Christ that the light begins to dawn and the road becomes a little more navigable.  

I learned a lesson in surfing, that once you commit to a wave you need to give it 100%; anything less will result in a disastrous wipeout.

The apostle John makes it clear in his first epistle that sin is to be the exception in the life of the believer, not the rule.  

In Christ, we have the power to overcome sin.  

Not always, but most of the time we can walk in love, in faith, and in obedience to Christ.  Habitual sins take time to eradicate and much help and grace from God and from our friends is often needed.

However, surrender to a defeated life is never a good option.  Even if we get knocked down every day, we need to get back up and try again.

The apostle Peter wrote, “After you have suffered a little while, the God of All Grace  will himself perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”  (1 Peter 5:10)

~ Brad Heilhecker

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The Sun, The Moon, and The Stars

Earthly romances fascinate us.  

To find someone who thinks the world of us and who we ourselves adore.  It is the stuff of legends and glorified in a multitude of books and songs.  

Whether we know if or not, the allure might be that, for a time, we get to be the sun, the moon, and the stars for someone else, and this lover, our beloved, is our sun, moon, and stars.  

If only young lovers would listen intently to those who have been married for decades and know the realities of keeping romance alive, we would have far fewer divorces.

In Christ, the vision is more humble. We don’t get to be the sun, moon, and stars for someone else.  

In this romance, God is the sun, Christ is the moon that reflects God glory so that we can gaze upon it, and we are like the far flung-stars that illuminate the night sky.  

The sun gives us life, the moon reassures us that the sun is still there at night, and each of us, like stars, gets to play our part and demonstrate the vastness and the mystery of Our Creator.

So let us “do everything without grumbling or complaining that we may become blameless and pure, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom we shine like stars in the universe”—a sobering yet exhilarating vision, a high calling, a challenge equal to the loftiest of ambitions.  

What a wonderful Creator God is Our Father!

~ Brad Heilhecker

Yokefellows

Our Father has placed us in relationships and given us responsibility in these relationships.  He has done this by his grace to develop Godliness and Christlikeness in us.  

Our relationships and responsibilities are meant to be a blessing, not a curse, a joy and not a burden.

So, what happened?  Where did we go wrong?  Better yet, how do we reclaim our God given favor and blessing in our numerous relationships and responsibilities?  I suppose we are to learn to hold everything loosely – people and even our responsibilities.  I suppose we must remember to constantly relinquish all of our cares into Our Loving Heavenly Father’s loving hands.  If we don’t, we will be crushed by what was meant to lift us up.

Ideally, we will be able to nurture such an intimate relationship with The Father, through faith in The Son, that he becomes our all consuming passion, and all relationships and responsibilities become just various aspects of our multifaceted, multidimensional love affair with God.

Alone, people and responsibilities can become oppressive to us.  As we unite ourselves with Christ, they can become a delight, both to us and to God.  We are co-laborers in the harvest, we are yokefellows; we are a team, and together we are the winning team!

~ Brad Heilhecker

A Shift In Loyalties

Jesus said, “Blessed are you when men insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.  Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they treated the prophets who came before you.”  

Really?  Can this be done?  Can we really become not only indifferent but joyful when rejected?  This has to be a work of the Spirit; in the natural, this is a real impossibility.

So, let’s look at this…insulted, persecuted, slandered…rejoicing and gladness…great reward in heaven…treated like the prophets.  

This blessing is going to take great faith to realize.  Are we really going to depend on heavenly rewards instead of earthly rewards?  Are we really going to willingly suffer like the prophets of old?

This is where I would like to insert a hearty “Amen!”  Prudence tells me to be a little more cautious.  It is one thing to listen to the preaching. Another to accept it as true.  But entirely a whole different animal to live it.  

It requires a mentality divorced from natural human expectations and hopes.  So much of what we desire is earth bound.  We need much grace if we are going to shift all of our expectations and hopes to our eternal rewards.  

So, let us “Set our hopes completely on the grace to be given us when Christ is revealed.”  For, “Without faith, it is impossible to please God.  For whoever comes to him must believe that he exists and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.”  

Jesus said, “He who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”

We must have a change of citizenship, a shift in loyalties.  

He also said, “How can you believe when you receive honor from one another and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?”

And I do not think that he meant for this last question to be rhetorical.  The answer is “You can’t.”  They are mutually exclusive.  

To believe in God means that our hopes and our pursuits are grounded in pleasing him.  

And this necessitates forsaking the need to be pleasing to men.  

May the “Only Wise God” be gracious to us and bestow upon us abundant mercy and courage to run our race, fight the good fight, and keep the faith!

~ Brad Heilhecker

Asleep In The Red Zone

The Red Zone, the last 20 yards, make it or break it, win or lose, crunch time.

This football scenario is not unlike our present day condition.

The deterioration of society seems to be escalating and the time seems right for the coming of the Lord.

If this is true, the church has to make a choice to either ignore the challenges facing us or to develop winning strategies to overcome the daunting opposition to Godliness in our age.

Either Christ is our life, or he isn’t. Either we have taken up our crosses, or we haven’t. Either God is pleased with us, or he isn’t.

~ Brad Heilhecker

Asleep In The Red Zone

Five Precious Metals

In this world, we will will need precious metals in our bodies.  

We will need backbones of iron, nerves of steel, foreheads of bronze, hearts of gold, and tongues of silver.

Iron in our backbones – courage to face the vicissitudes of life.

Nerves of steel – patience and long-suffering to wait for the perfect timing for every endeavor.

Foreheads of bronze – tenacity to contend with well entrenched and intransigent adversaries.

Hearts of gold – love for all growing out of a heart for God.

Tongues of silver – commitment to speak only life into the hearts of our hearers.

Iron, steel, bronze, gold, and silver—all precious metals in Our Father’s eyes.  

For we need courage, patience, tenacity, love, and pure speech to overcome in this life. It is a multi-dimensional war that we fight and a multi-faceted gospel that we preach. We serve an infinite, all powerful, and ever loving God. He abundantly provides us with all of the materials that we need in our efforts to work with him in constructing eternal dwellings.

However, conversely, the Bible talks about building with wood, hay, and straw. These things represent temporal and self centered endeavors, and they will perish in the refining fire. Let us be sure that we are building on the foundation of faith in Christ and obedience to his commands.  

If we will, we can be sure that we will be supplied all of the precious metals that we will need in our work.  And, in addition, there will be precious stones in our crowns of gold that we will be awarded on judgement day!

~ Brad Heilhecker

Five Precious Metals

Every Movement Of My Heart

We may have trained our words and actions to be pleasing and acceptable to God, but what about our thoughts and passions?

And “every movement of our heart”…are they pure and pleasing?

So, may the words of my mouth, my meditation-thoughts, and every movement of my heart be always pure and pleasing, acceptable before Your eyes, my only Redeemer, my Protector-God.

~Psalm 19:14 TPT

~XXOO Michelle