Author Archive

Our Pitiful Mess – Denying Victory over Sin – The Continuing Gay Dilemma

Posted by on November 27, 2016  |  No Comments

gay christian identity
Theologically and practically, we have done a sad disservice, not only to gays, but to anyone struggling with sin and with temptation.  We give the impression that you’re stuck just the way you are. That even if you think about a sin, you must identify by it.
We are in such a mess! Because we don’t really believe and make application of the sound gospel of Jesus. We’re telling Him, He has to do everything, including making our decisions. Paul makes it very clear to us in 1 Corinthians 15:31 that we have to die to sin daily. But just as many other words from God’s Word that don’t “feel” good, many are saying we really can’t rely on Paul, because of his mental condition.
Really?  So… You’re going to say that God, allowed some directions to be put in His Word that we can’t really rely on, that would confuse us, making it difficult to know His will and His plan for us?  I don’t serve a God like that.  My God knew exactly what I would need to know for such a time as this.
For years the Adventist church pointed to all that we have to do, without emphasis on what Jesus did for us, and surrendering to Him as a result of the love relationship that we need to develop with Him. We pointed to works, rather than to Jesus.  We had it a bit backward.  Why would you give up your nasty dirty, thoughts, deeds and actions for someone you don’t really even know?  In fact we cling to them and even try to justify identifying by them.
Let me spell it out a little more clearly. Satan is allowed to tempt and try to convince us of his lies. We are born with the stain of sin on us.  Some arrive with anger issues. Some arrive with inborn addictions.  All of us have traits that condition us to naturally respond to sin. Heredity coming all the way down from Adam, has damaged us. “Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins. Ecclesiastes 7:20” We try to discredit whatever pricks our flesh and doesn’t “feel” natural or in agreement with what we desire. But it’s always been, that sin is that comes natural to us.  This is what God is trying to alert us of, if we would pay close attention to HIS Word, instead of falling to Satan’s lies and deceptions. We’ve been digging in our heels.
We want to hear things that make us “feel” good and agree with what our flesh agrees with.  Oh that awful, desperately wicked heart. Jeremiah 17:9 it’s terribly contagious. Especially when we are sharing public messages that soothe it.
We need to call sin by its rightful name, but not leave it there. God has commissioned us to spread the sin solution which is found in falling in love with Jesus, surrendering to Him, and walking with Him.
As a church, we are blessed with such awesome truths and light that God has given. We need to provide great love and compassion for the sin afflicted soul, just as Jesus counsels.  He hates sin and wants us to hate it as well. He has provided solutions and has asked us to share them.
Misconceptions bring disillusionment. So it is important not surmise about the topic, but be Biblically educated on it. We can’t share what we don’t have. All of us need an intimate walk with Jesus.
Many think that in the ministry God has provided me today, that I would speak as though I’m “cured” of homosexuality. Jesus offers healing to all that will acceptance His guidance and wisdom.  “Curing” is a life-long process. Jesus forgives any genuinely repentant sinner, but He does not promise to remove the temptations.  And as we have indulged heavily in sin or sinful desires, we have not done ourselves any favors, causing lasting results of which requires a fight.  But we are not alone in the fight and God provides us the strength we require. We still have a choice about accessing His strength and making right choices.
“Wrongs cannot be righted, nor can reformations in conduct be made by a few feeble, intermittent efforts. Character building is the work, not of a day, nor of a year, but of a lifetime. The struggle of for conquest over self, for holiness and heaven is a lifelong struggle.   Without continual effort and constant activity, there can be no advancement in the divine life, no attainment of the victor’s crown.” MH 452, 453
Protecting our sin and sin temptations by promoting ideas that that’s just how we are, only anchors us in Satan’s lies and deceptions. We are in a lifelong battle against sin. Our only hope is not in taking advantage of fun things to do in life and satisfying the flesh continuously, but by putting on the armor of God and recognizing where the arrows from Satan are coming from.  Many of those arrows are in believing in an identity originated and advanced by sin, rather than by choosing an identity and a life that is accelerated in Jesus.
From my personal walk with Christ, allow me to share this please…  If I chose an identity of being a “celibate gay,” you would immediately see that my focus is on my desires and temptations in same-sex attractions.  It puts the focus on me, and being anchored to this identity, rather than putting a focus on Jesus and all that He promises me.  You would think, poor Wayne… he wants gay sex, but can’t have it.  How many people do you know who go around identifying as a “celibate heterosexual?”  The emphasis would not be on Jesus, it would be on their struggle or condition that would make you think that God is ineffective and not acknowledged as king in their lives.
King is always the top priority.  If I refer to myself as a “gay Christian,” or a “Celibate gay Christian,” you are likely to instantly have a sensual or sexual concept about my priorities. So much so, that I have chosen to identify by them.  Instead of seeing Jesus, you begin to have a focus on me and my desires.  If I tell you I’m a “non-practicing gay,” you’re not thinking about Jesus, you’re thinking… oh… Wayne… Hmmm he’s gay and likes men. And your mind heads off in a direction that is not redemptive or healthy.
In actuality, as a church body, or teaching institution we begin to accommodate the language of others, (a world language) we’re sending the wrong message.  We’re limiting the advancement and healing of Jesus in that person’s life, by using a world identity, rather than pointing those to the King who greatly desires to gift them with an identity in Jesus Christ and holiness.
I surrender myself and my past to Christ, He washes me clean and sets me free in every moment that I claim my new identity in Him, 2 Corinthians 5:17.  And… I claim the promise of 1 Corinthians 6:11. “…such were some of you.”  I have the freedom to choose to walk back into my past at any moment. And I also have the freedom to walk in God’s paths of righteousness in every moment.  Satan can’t force me to sin, and Christ can’t force me to remain in His righteousness. The choice is mine.  I live in free will. I can give my will to Christ, or I can put self first, and gratify the flesh.  I can live in sin, or I can choose to die to sin.
By dying to sin and sinful desires, I accept moment by moment, my God-give identity as a “New Creature” in Him.  Isn’t this the true meaning of identifying as a “Christian?” Christ is first!
I don’t go around making cases to remain the way I am, or insist that I cannot be changed. What is change? What happens when you are converted? You say “no” to sin and self, and “yes” to who you are becoming in Jesus Christ.  If you want to hang on to your past, or your desires, you can do so. Or you can accept that awesome gift of becoming a “New Creature” in Him.
You don’t have to make some “sexual” preference demonstration to accept the gift of your new identity. You don’t have to have a girlfriend or boyfriend of the opposite sex, or marry, to prove that you’ve been redeemed. You don’t have to be shaped by the stereotypes of others, simply give your heart to Christ and let Him free you from this world’s preconceived notions.  Take God at His Word. Leave behind the language of others and be who God has designed you to be. A follower who has picked up his cross and abides continually in Jesus Christ.
Millions of gays, as well as misdirected Christians are settling for a world identity sunken in sexuality. A lie from the enemy. “Sexual Orientation” is from Satan. Jesus didn’t give you life to be driven by sex or oriented by sex. He’s invited you to be oriented to Him. 
Choosing to identify exclusively in Christ, does not convey hate toward any suffering soul, let alone gays. It says that whoever believes in Jesus, can choose to put self aside and claim the right to all that Jesus offers. Self dies, and Jesus lives. There is not discrimination at the foot of the cross. All sinners our welcome, however, we must acknowledge our sinfulness.
My prayer is that you will contemplate the love in truth message of Jesus Christ and allow Him to rule in every moment of every day, preparing for eternity with Him.  Be a child of the kingdom.

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The Cost of Sin

Posted by on October 19, 2016  |  No Comments

mans best friendbloody knife Father Forgive them

How’s your life today?

Different day…. Same ol’ sin?

I had the opportunity to reflect a bit through my devotion this morning, on the cost of sin and its impact on my life.  I would do well to contemplate this theme much more frequently.

Do we see ourselves stuck on this earth, wandering about, just waiting for God to make up His mind about Jesus return?  Is there nothing required of us? What is He waiting for?

I was provided with a more intimate look at the Old Testament today. Contemplating what was at stake before Jesus went to Calvary.

We often read about Bible history sometimes, as though there is no practical application to life today. But the pivotal point of the Old Testament, confirms our dire need of our Savior. Human nature and Satan’s deceptions provided the need for a New Testament. And as Romans 5:8 confirms, Jesus is so patient and died for us while we were still sinners. But we don’t have to keep on sinning.  We have a part in bringing to an end… this seemingly unending madness. We don’t have to murder each other. We don’t have to have racial divides, we are equals in God’s eyes. Every life is of immeasurable value.

We don’t have to rape, commit adultery, fornicate, conjure up lustful images and masturbate, gossip, hold ourselves in high self-esteem, or choose a same-sex partner that God does not ordain or sanctify. This sins are not His will for us.  Let’s look at the cost of sin.

For the sake of understanding and great clarity, think about your pet.  A dog bright with personality, or a cat… or whatever. We place great value on them because they love us without judgement. We develop very close attachments to them. Often as though they are members of our family.

Imagine that because of your sinful indulgence today, you are required, as in the Old Testament, to take your sweet pal to a designated alter.  He or she is in perfect health, and is lovingly devoted to you day and night. But today… because of your sin, you must put your pet on an altar of sacrifice and cut its throat and watch it bleed to death.  All because of you. Your sin… you did this.  No one else can bring this sacrifice, it has to be you.

No doubt the impact of such an act would devastate you. To the point that you would never again carry out the act which brought such great cost.

But something even worse happened. The spotless, sinless son of man came and lived a life like us, yet choosing not to sin. A friend of sinners. A healer. A man of great compassion and tenderness, willing to go to Calvary because of the cost of sin. To offer Himself up as a scapegoat for our all misery and self-indulgences that displease and dishonor Him.

Read with me, what I read this morning. “In the olden days, when sin comes to your knowledge, there was only one way you could confess it. You had to bring a sacrifice, an animal to slay. You brought the animal and the priest helped you tie it down so it could not get away; and then he hands you the knife, and if you like to quibble about it he would say to you, “I didn’t do the sin. You did. It is your sacrifice, not mine. This animal is not dying for me, it is dying for you.” You hold onto the knife and take a good look at it, and you take a good look at that animal. …

We always wish there were some other way, but the Bible says that without the shedding of blood there is no putting away of sin. … It makes me miserable to think that my sins are like that. It isn’t very pleasant to think that an animal should die for me. All I can see is its innocence. Why should it die? The ceremonial law said the sinner must put his hand on the animal’s head, which to that person meant that he was transferring his sins to that innocent animal. He must die because I sinned, not because it sinned.

Friend, there was no other way to find forgiveness in the Old Testament except this way. Some people think it has changed for the better. In reality, it changed for the worse. In the place of the lamb, it is the Lamb of God now. In the place of the animal, it is Jesus, the priceless son of God. Our sins crucify Him afresh. Does that make you feel better?” – Christ our Righteousness – J.W. Bill Lehman

I don’t linger at the foot of the cross contemplating how my sins killed Jesus. And how every repeat of a sin is what He had to bear. And because I don’t confront this cost, I underestimate its value. The precious blood of Jesus. It is there to cleanse me from my sins, not make provision for me to keep sinning.

Dear friend, we are truly at the end of earth’s history. The patience of Jesus, the fulfillment of Satan’s mastery of sin has played out. All that remains is God’s precious remnant.  Is that you?  Is it me? Can we say “no” to the enemy of Jesus Christ? Or will we go on sinning and give our lives to the great deceiver? We killed Jesus.

The good news is that because of that costly blood, He is offering us full pardon and forgiveness. He is offering to impart His righteousness in our lives.  How about making room for it.  How about choosing Him over the sin that killed Him.  In accepting Jesus, in repenting for our natural, sinful ways, we can keep before us that cost, walk with Him and choose Him over anything that displeases Him.

Salvation through Jesus is ours. My prayer is that we will not be blind sighted by all that seeks to extinguish our lives forever.

No Longer Hiding Under a Church Pew

Posted by on May 12, 2016  |  No Comments

church pew

 

 

Please read my latest article on Compass Magazine:

Click on title

No Longer Under a Church Pew

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Who’s Knocking

Posted by on January 22, 2016  |  No Comments

There wasn’t so much as a freckle on this pristine earth. Like all other days, the sun had risen and every living organism sparkled reflecting the perfect light and life instilled by its Creator.

A dazzling river flowed by an amazing tree, unlike any other tree.  Fruit hung from the tree, conspicuously peculiar and inviting.

Essentially, in the beginning there was only one commandment.  “Thou shalt not eat of it.” Pretty simple huh? It wasn’t about “choice,” as God wasn’t offering a choice. He was demonstrating His authority with a reminder that obedience to God is vital in the creation and existence of man.

Undoubtedly the fruit was supremely good… as when God created all things He declared that it was “very good.” God had made His instructions clear and they had been lovingly and cautiously conveyed.

Can we take God at His Word?  Is He trustworthy? Has He ever lied to us?

The tree, regardless of its beauty and inviting appearance, came with a warning.  “Don’t eat of it, or you will surely die.”

Even today we have this reminder.  There are trees and shrubs that bear beautiful berries or fruit that are fatal if we eat them. Knowing these consequences, pretty much everyone doesn’t want to experiment. They’re not tempted, knowing the end result. But what if a creature was introduced to the tree or shrub with a cunning voice that assured you that your perceptions were incorrect. Quite the opposite would occur if you were to indulge in sampling the voluptuous produce.

What’s peculiar is that this simple illustration is what we face at many crossroads today. Before us are many great truths. However, the element of temptation seems to introduce “foul” at so many levels. By positioning ourselves where we shouldn’t be to begin with, “doubt” is introduced and “trust” wavers.

Instead of a convincing beautiful creature blatantly and cunningly intriguing you, he has convinced willing subjects to tempt on his behalf.  Through the language of others. Through visual advertising.  Through convincing arguments. Through our senses…just as he convinced Eve in the Garden of Eden.

Over six thousand years, Satan has all but succeeded in convincing us that God’s commands don’t really matter and that we can use our sin flawed knowledge to equate and argue with the giver and Creator of knowledge. Satan is reproducing his tactics and all that are willing to turn against their Creator with debate, self-elevation and self-gratification. Much in the same way a third of the angels were convinced to leave Heaven with the rebellious one. He’s recruiting for his last stand, and he wants you standing there with him proposing that he can overtake the kingdom of which he was cast out.

Oh what a sick and twisted mess we are in as this world continues to indulge itself in following “feelings” rather than God’s rich, loving truths that have the ability to secure eternal life. Why are we playing with fire? Why do we protest?  Why do we question God and His perfect plan for our lives?  Why don’t we believe in His love for us?  That He only desires good for us, not evil.

Many have enjoyed the experience of smoking and the sensation attached to the habit. But it eventually kills organs and claims people’s lives.  Others will drink alcohol for the numbing effect that brings about relaxation and escape, but experience cirrhosis of the liver as a result. Others fall victim to less obvious vices like unhealthy food that doesn’t immediately produce its possible and likely fatal effects via heart attacks and strokes.

Misuse of knowledge that taints rather than heals has fatal consequences as well. We are creatures of habit. … Bad habits. And without divine intervention and convictions led by the Holy Spirit, we are on a dead end course.

The “language of the world,” rather than the life-giving Words of Jesus is taking its toll. Do we have blinders on? Are we refusing to come together and reason with God… and with each other?

We’ve drifted far from the tree into as sea of rationalizations and self-justifications for the “sin” that we love and refuse to let go of.

A parent often watches their child make decision after decision that brings about negative consequences. Many wonder, how can they keep making these poor decisions that bring about such devastating results. Hearts break. Dysfunctional relationships often develop. Close ties are severed as a result of poor choices.

Unlike some earthly parents, our Heavenly Father, while His heart is breaking… remains faithful to His creations. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

My life has been riddled with poor choices.  Even today… I find myself weak and sometimes resistant to what I know to be God’s truth. Yet He invites me to listen to His still small voice.  It’s only faint because I’ve allowed the world to become so incredibly loud and heavily influence my flesh, rather than exercising faith without the reliance of “feelings” that deceive.

Where does your knowledge come from?  Are you listening to the “language of others?”  Are you taking God at His Word or even reading His Word?  Where is your hope? What’s your destiny?

Today Satan is reaping the results of his cleverly calculated lies. Many of his deceptions are not being instantly indoctrinated. He’s been maneuvering and manipulating for thousands of years. He’s convinced you and me. Or at least he’s counting on it.

Today Christians are boldly defying God’s abominations and telling God He’s all mixed up and doesn’t understand us or know what’s best for us.  Entire congregations and their pastors, leaders and college professors, are providing excuses and justifications to remain as we are in our decaying flesh and mental instability…rewriting God’s Word according to the flesh. Are you numb to God’s clear Word? Have you begun to accept lies as though they were truth? Do you listen to the world and fail to go to the Word to examine God’s purpose and plan for us?

Sex and every distortion and counterfeit of God’s purpose and plan is being readily adopted in every denomination today.  One would begin to think that the world must be about to end. Same sex, bi-sex, extra marital sex, pre-marital sex, pedophilia, animal sex, and a countless array of other kinds of sex are being adapted to and openly promoted unlike at any other time in earth’s history.  Are you comfortable sitting still and observing the destruction? If I’m okay and you’re okay…why hasn’t Jesus come yet? What is He waiting for?

Is He asking me to be who I am… or who He desires me to be? Is my identity in sex?  Or is my identity in Jesus Christ? Is He asking me to live in agreement with Him?

Satan has introduced bold faced confusion by using sex as someone’s orientation and compass in life rather than allowing Jesus to be our compass and inviting us to honor, obey and glorify Him.

Dear reader… It’s not too late. Jesus says: “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” Revelation 3:20

Don’t miss out on this lifetime guarantee!

 

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Which Supreme Court?

Posted by on July 4, 2015  |  No Comments

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In view of the recent Supreme Court Ruling on “gay marriage” and how we look at its effects on Christianity, this article should help draw clarity to the issues before us.

I invite you to read “Which Supreme Court?”  on Advindicate.com

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In The Mirror

Posted by on June 13, 2015  |  No Comments

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I’ve lived most of my life as an active gay man. I don’t remember a day I wasn’t same-sex attracted. Not able to make sense out of God’s word and my “feelings,” I left God and the church when I was eighteen. Six years ago I found myself sitting in my bedroom in front of the computer, about to encounter Jesus one on one.  For years I had opted to live life the way it “felt” most comfortable to me. My decisions were not a result of God’s plan or design conveyed through His Holy Word. They were a result of my “feelings.”  

…. read the rest of this compelling article I penned on ADVINDICATE  click here.

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Who Has Your Heart?

Posted by on June 3, 2015  |  No Comments

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”  Jeremiah 17:9

I’ve given a lot of thought to this verse lately.  Even as a “New Creature” in Christ today, I see how the enemy continues to seem to think that our hearts are on auction and he wants to be the highest bidder. He’s basically a jerk. As long as he thinks he can get a response out of us, he’ll never give up. 

He was so satisfied while the church was silent on redemption from homosexuality. It provided him a long time to try to win our hearts like he did with Eve at the tree in the Garden of Eden.  All he had to do was manipulate her senses conveyed through her “feelings.” Look at how effective that method has been over the last 6,000 years. Yet there’s nothing he can do to force us to sin and God won’t force us to obey. He loves us too much to intrude upon the right to choose that He so lovingly gave us.

This is the foundational information I share before giving my testimony.  I want so much to help others see that Jesus saves us from our sin and not in it.   Today this message is not being readily accepted. Honestly … it wasn’t readily accepted in the time of Jesus either. But the good news is that He waits for anyone who will respond to His tenderness and compassion that He uses to call us out of the darkness we seem to be so fond of.

“‘I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the LORD; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart.”  Jeremiah 24:7

So many of us have relied upon the opinion of others or the pastor’s sermon to give us some idea of whether we’re connected to God.  We’ve become lazy and have even adopted the idea that God’s Word which He wrote for all time, is not relevant to life as we know it today.  We don’t even invest in seeking to trust Him. We argue with Him and dangerously place our knowledge as equal to His.  Blasphemous when you think about it.  There was another who sought to go about these “logic” efforts … and he is no longer in the kingdom. 

Jesus invites us to humble ourselves before Him as children with a thirst for knowledge. His knowledge which He promises will aid in the guidance of our lives as we journey together with Him. 

Without a constant surrender and abiding in Him we can’t possibly know His true will for us.  His will for us is never going to disagree with His Word and there is grave danger in just picking texts out of context that will somehow justify what Jesus has pointed out as sin.

So why do we struggle?  The book of James pretty clearly unravels the temptation process. We allow our minds to get wrapped around our desperately wicked heart’s desires. Our “feelings” are screaming out to us and without divine intervention or a concerted effort to surrender to Jesus… we’re well on our way to dangerous territory. I’m not singling out “homosexuality” here.  Lust, pride, gluttons, covetousness, anger, jealousy, drinking, pre-marital sex, adulterous sex, pornography, etc.  There’s really pretty much something for everyone.

Temptation is not sin. But when you massage it in your mind and toy with it, it’s not long before we are in danger of justifying it. And just like that… the enemy has us.  Once we allow the enemy to convince us… it’s not terribly difficult for Him to regain access.  He hooks you with desire.. and then when sin is conceived, he beats you up and accuses you of being worthless and unacceptable.. and then he entices you again with temptation.  It can become a vicious cycle of defeat if you don’t respond to the inviting and loving call of Jesus.

But let me share something that should put a smile on your face.  There is no low so low that Jesus cannot reach you. There is no sin so bad that God will not forgive you. There is no soul so far gone that God cannot change from darkness into light.  “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My Statutes, and ye shall keep My Judgments, and do them… Without Me ye can do nothing”  Ezekiel 36:26-27; John 15:5

May I urge you to call out to Jesus? Come humbly before Him and listen to His sweet, life-giving voice.  Kneel before your Creator and Savior and close your eyes.  Shut out all distractions that surround you and pour your heart out to He who hung on a cross and shed His blood for you. Cry out to Him. Ask His forgiveness and be regenerated by His promise to create in you a new heart and to give you desires for that which honors Him.  Pray to fall in love with Him.  He will not let you down.  Live your life for Him and let this change keep you from letting Him down.   His peace and comfort belong to you.  2 Corinthians 5:17 promises that now… you are a “New Creature” in Him. 

 

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Under His Wings

Posted by on March 22, 2015  |  No Comments

He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge; Psalm 91:4

Is there a place in your heart that you seem certain that nothing or no one can reach? Is there a pain that gnaws at you that seems like it will never go away? Even though you function well and encounter the lives of others and give them your undivided attention… do you personally thirst for a healing that doesn’t seem to come? “Feelings” mask and confuse so much in our lives.

The patterns often trace back to what troubled us from our earliest beginnings. In this modern world we have become so side-tracked that we don’t stop to think how much damage Satan has inflicted on us. He’s very good at trying to cover his tracks and distract us so that we don’t sense the solution to the simplest of life’s complexities.

From the first day of God’s ministry through me, I have maintained a transparency that many have noted as meaningful and powerful to themselves. I have been painted many colors I am not. Sometimes when you get too close to the wound that has not healed in a person or an institution, they become deflective and reactive in ways that seek lay blame or guilt where it is not appropriate.

We’re all wounded birds on this earth. Some seek healing and others don’t want you to see their wound. They’re busy covering it up and pretending it’s not there. I speak and communicate with many who are in excruciating pain. So much so that they can’t see the immeasurable value that God places on their lives. I suffer still suffer from this at times. Although much more brief than when I wasn’t acquainting myself with Jesus.

It’s really something to contemplate how billions of people are navigating each day while these emotional, deep-rooted pains are like a bag of rocks we dragging around with us. Much of the disturbance is unnecessary. We actually get used to this weighted discomfort. It becomes a protected disturbance we don’t want to confront.   Confrontation….  Interesting… In avoiding confrontation we prolong the effects of that which originally wounded us and never experience the healing that is possible.

From time to time it shows up in my mirror.  What’s different today is that I am more intimately connected to Jesus and I know and believe that He has the solution which He freely offers me. But I won’t experience the freedom and victory unless I let go of the problem. Give it to Him. Stop taking it back and trying to fix it myself with previous, proposed antidotes that don’t work.  LET GO! “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10 

 It’s amazing how simple many of God’s concepts are. We often do a pretty bang up job of complicating them.  And then we do our best to shirk any responsibility. 

In the few years that I have been walking with Jesus, I see where I have done this, where the church has done this and where many acquaintances and leadership does this. Often there is a boomerang effect. I can’t change the world and it’s not my assignment. You know… you feel like you want someone, or some group to experience the same clarity and conviction you have. We might be God’s servants and instruments at times, but it’s not our job, nor within our power to be someone else’s conscience. This can lead to a lot of disappointment and damaging feelings that we need not experience.

Jesus tells us to keep our focus on Him.  He is the truth and the light of the world and with Him, you can experience the peace and joy that He promises.  Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Humility isn’t always comfortable. It involves self-denial.  Denying control.  Denying the ability to fix something that needs to be surrendered to Jesus. Becoming one with God and putting Him in control. Resting in Him. Accepting His peace and experiencing the joy that comes from knowing that in Him, all things that please Him are possible.

Over and over Jesus continues to teach, lead and guide me. He never abandons us.  He never gives up on us. As a parent, it would seem that He would grow weary and agitated with us for being such slow learners.  But He only wants good for us.  He wants us to experience all that He offers. He’ll protect us if we allow Him to. We think in terms and intellect that we equate with His knowledge. We think so highly of what we claim to know and we get puffed up. Jesus wants so much for us to be as children and keep coming to Him to learn of His goodness and His ways… His instructions. Follow Him. I know I get in front of Him far too often and He can’t demonstrate to me what I would greatly benefit from.

Take refuge in the feathers of His wings. He is a God of His Word. Stop guarding yourself and let Jesus in to where He can bring about the much needed healing.  I can say that I have had far too few, but most precious and powerful experiences in total and complete surrender.  He blows me away. He can take bad circumstances and past history and bring correction and good from them.

Thank you Jesus for such warm, tender compassion. Thank you that I can always trust you. 

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Straight Through Me

Posted by on September 20, 2014  |  No Comments

A past friend always advised me to always keep it real. Continue being transparent and tell people like it is. And regardless of that which you face – “Keep soaring.”

This is such a day. Another precious friend gifted me a red leather bound copy of “Steps to Christ” some time ago. This passage is marked. “Keep your wants, your joys, your sorrows, you cares and your fears before God. You cannot burden Him; you cannot weary Him.”

Invisible footsteps tip toe through my mind reminding me of days now gone by. Funny how we never live life quite to the fullest of its potential.  The autumn breezes are here. Summer is fading and with it my little four legged friend, now buried in the shade of the limbs at the edge of the woods. The last of the fresh blue Hydrangeas sit in a vase along with lil’ Spikey’s collar marking his grave.

It’s silent and the few people that would be present on this stretch of land are gone. What peace and strange tranquility try to emerge in the breezes and rustling leaves that whisper comforting sounds.

I find myself wondering what Jesus pondered when He would come away from those who leant Him their ear as well as those who spit in His face and jeered at Him.  He must have spent a great deal of time talking it over with His Father who had approved of His mission when they contemplated it while still in the wondrous glory of heaven.

Today my mind tells me that I know God is near and that He knows every care and concern on my heart. “Feelings” don’t always accompany truth. You see I am continuing to witness some of God’s precious children trying to reinvent Him and His Word to us. The vivid example of self-exaltation and rebellion. I try and point to Jesus and yet for some, it seems their ears are plugged and they refuse to hear.  I am called to continued acts of self-denial and surrender. It’s clear to me that it has to be about Jesus.  I seek further humility daily.  Perhaps it is my somber “feelings” today that confirm such humility.  Not sure. Feelings of hope.

“Especially solemn is the apostle’s statement regarding those who should refuse to receive “the love of the truth.” “For this cause,” he declared of all who should deliberately reject the messages of truth, “God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” Men cannot with impunity reject the warnings that God in mercy sends them. From those who persist in turning from these warnings, God withdraws His Spirit, leaving them to the deceptions that they love.” AA pg 262.2

I began to realize that that could be happening.  Introspectively I see so much in my life that needs further surrender and agreement with God. I read today of how Satan made strong attempts through appetite to gain an edge on Jesus and how he will seek to control our appetite and passions.  So many today can’t see with any clarity how Satan is rapidly gaining control while there is a claim of “godliness” among us.

I began to take deeper notice and study of exactly what happened when iniquity stuck its ugly head up in the kingdom of God. It is said that Lucifer bowed with praise as did the other angels, but refused to let go of the desire to be higher than God and in control.  He made it appear as though he were in agreement while he was detouring other angels with his plans and speak against God.

God has made His plan and His ways clear to us. The masked ugly self-serving influence of Satan works like a hidden bacteria.  People don’t even realize the upheaval and rebellion that is materializing as they reject His perfect plan.

“It is a masterpiece of Satan’s deceptions to keep the minds of men searching and conjecturing in regard to that which God has not made known and which He does not intend that we shall understand. It was thus that Lucifer lost his place in heaven.”  Darkness before Dawn pg. 9 

There are those arguing and rewriting the meaning of scripture to mean something other than what it says in order to gain that which the heart desires.  That desperate, wicked heart that fails and refuses to agree with the King.

“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”  Psalm 119:11  When a person doesn’t do with “temptation” that which we are told, it begins to rule a life. It becomes truth for many.  Lies become truth and hearts are hardened. But so unnecessarily. In this there comes this drive to want to say or present God’s truth clearer and more distinctly. But many refuse to listen except to their own rebelling words of shallow comfort in the moment.

It is in contemplation of the loss of my little guy that I thought about how it must feel to be the Creator of someone you love and to see them turn from you in total defiance when you have done everything to draw them out of darkness and into the life-giving light.

Jesus doesn’t force His way in.  In the final book of His loving Word to us He makes a final plea. “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” Revelation 3:20

My continued prayer is that I will continue to invite Him in every moment of every day. And I continue to pray that those who are steadfast in their “theology” according to self will be abandoned and that they will be washed in the blood that makes us whiter than snow.

“The warfare against self is the greatest battle that was ever fought. The yielding of self, surrendering all to the will of God, requires a struggle; but the soul must submit to God before it can be renewed in holiness.” Steps To Christ – pg 43

Feelings will lie to us. We may experience sadness for a time. But God’s Word and His plan for us refresh in knowing who we are in Him. 

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Are You Peculiar?

Posted by on September 18, 2014  |  No Comments

Shared on my website as I have written for “The Compass.”

 

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Titus 2:11·14.

Do Christians have the easy road? Some seem to think that because they believe in God, life will be smooth sailing. Actually, those choosing to live according to God’s perfect plan will face many trials and perplexities here on earth. The Christian way will not be popular or free from challenges.

However, we have not known a time in earth’s recent history that is at all reminiscent of the centuries of persecution endured by the Waldenses as they preserved God’s Word. As true believers we should count all adversity in preserving God’s perfect plan a privilege and joy, sharing all that is possible through Jesus Christ because of the cross.

Christians once suffered great physical abuse, ridicule, and even death in their quest to preserve God’s plan for us. Then it seems that the privilege to worship God and follow His ways became commonplace. Personal deviations from God’s Word to us infiltrated life with more and more elements of error—so much so that Christians have settled quite nicely into a world mixed with nonbelievers, failing to appear much different from the world other than a weekly appearance in church.

That is, until recently. In the last couple hundred years we’ve enjoyed prosperity and luxuries never known to man. We turn the TV on and off as we please and disconnect with lives around the world that are in life-threatening peril. We crawl into our comfortable beds and well-heated or air-conditioned homes and just sleep away any troubling condition. We distance ourselves from uncomfortable feelings and live by the ones that pacify our adulterated desires.

Once a week some of us grace the doorway of a local sanctuary. But even churches are undergoing contemporary changes that seem more fashionable or trendy as opposed to standing out as a preservation of God’s original plan for His children to thrive in a world that is not meant to be their home.

Puzzled? Or are you numb to the quandary we seem to be caught up in?

Dear soul, wake up!

Satan can present a counterfeit so closely resembling the truth that it deceives those who are willing to be deceived, who desire to shun the self-denial and sacrifice demanded by the truth; but it is impossible for him to hold under his power one soul who honestly desires, at whatever cost, to know the truth. The Great Controversy, p. 528.

We’re drunk with desire and an insatiable appetite for the unbridled pleasures of the flesh. Lack of self-discipline and adherence to Satan’s deceptions brought on through our “feelings” are robbing us of eternal life with our Creator, who went to great lengths to help us recognize our dire need of Him.

When was the last time you encountered a Christian who confessed to you their deep need of the life-sustaining power offered by our Savior?

What visible public decision have you expressed recently that set you apart from those in your presence, causing you to appear “peculiar” and uncompromising, declaring your faith in the Author of life itself? What sets you apart from this world, which is heavily shadowed by the Prince of Darkness?

You should keep off from Satan’s enchanted ground and not allow your minds to be swayed from allegiance to God. Through Christ you may and should be happy and should acquire habits of self-control. Even your thoughts must be brought into subjection to the will of God and your feelings under the control of reason and religion. Your imagination was not given you to be allowed to run riot and have its own way without any effort at restraint or discipline.

If the thoughts are wrong, the feelings will be wrong, and the thoughts and feelings combined make up the moral character. When you decide that as Christians you are not required to restrain your thoughts and feelings, you are brought under the influence of evil angels and invite their presence and their control. Mind, Character, and Personality, p. 660.

David confessed, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:5). You may have struggled with many a sin issue from your youngest years. My struggle began while shaped in the womb by a birth mother who only gave consideration and allowance to having a precious little baby girl. Rage, anguish, turmoil, and abuse resulted upon my arrival as an unwanted bellowing baby boy. Imagine what Satan began to do with that. Imagine how he began to whisper lies and sought to control my “feelings” of desire for another male since a female was refusing and confusing me.

Some of you might say you are sick of the discussion of homosexuality. But by contrast, we have only begun to explore the pent-up dark secrets of deception. As Christians in the Adventist faith, we have ignored this vital conversation for nearly 150 years. With the exposition of truth, hope, and forgiveness, eternal life is made possible by our merciful Father.

Now that we are finally giving light to the discussion of “feelings,” we can begin to see how the enemy has deceived us, using our “feelings” to bring on a host of temptations. We can no longer afford not to become God’s “peculiar” people. We must discover and claim the truth He has lovingly provided us for the salvation of our lives. Please don’t turn a blind eye or cave in to the worldview of “acceptance just the way you are.”

There isn’t a day I didn’t know same-sex attraction. But there was a day that I decided to cave in to my “feelings,” which were out of alignment with God’s Word. Temptation won out, and I gave up the battle and heeded the call of the enemy.

The Lord permits His people to be subjected to the fiery ordeal of temptation, not because He takes pleasure in their distress and affliction, but because this process is essential to their final victory. He could not, consistently with His own glory, shield them from temptation, for the very object of the trial is to prepare them to resist all the allurements of evil. The Great Controversy, p. 528.

For 55 years I listened to the whisperings that confirmed my same-sex attraction, and I allowed the enemy to direct my paths. God would not force me to adhere to His perfect plan. He never said I had to marry or engage in erotic relations with a woman. However, ever present were His explanations about the cost of sin and its influences on humanity today. He promised that I can still choose Him even in my fallen nature.

How? Christ also walked this earth tempted by the evil one, and He offers me the same strength to claim the rich victory He won for me. “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

Today there are campaigns dealing with homosexuality that instruct you to live by your “feelings.” “Be who you are,” they say. Even a film on this topic whose participants and producers claim to be Adventists never asks, “What does Jesus ask of me?” “What is possible through Him?” “What pleases and honors Him?”

Has He forsaken us? Has He left us helpless? Are we without a Redeemer? Or are we put off by the involvement of “human effort”?

Human effort avails nothing without divine power; and without human endeavor, divine effort is with many of no avail. To make God’s grace our own, we must act our part. His grace is given to work in us to will and to do, but never as a substitute for our effort. . . . Those who walk in the path of obedience will encounter many hindrances. Strong, subtle influences may bind them to the world; but the Lord is able to render futile every agency that works for the defeat of His chosen ones; in His strength they may overcome every temptation, conquer every difficulty. God’s Amazing Grace, p. 252.

Dear reader, you are being fought over. You have been purchased with the precious blood of Jesus, who left a perfect heavenly home and came to your aid. Yet, as in the Garden of Eden where the lies were first believed, He will not force you to live in agreement with Him. Humility and self-denial are necessary components to accepting the gift He purchased for you and me.

God allowed me to experience life-severing choices. I pursued self-gratification. I justified my sin. I had suffered rejection from my birth mother and from countless people thereafter, as I certainly didn’t fit the norm of society. Wasn’t I due whatever made me “feel” better? My focus was self-absorbed.

The whole time Jesus offered me a focus on Him. I resisted. I refused. But Romans 8:1 tells me that He continued to love me even as a sinner—but not without hope that I would one day turn an ear toward Him and listen to His promises and allow Him to instill remorse and sorrow for the sin I indulged in. He’s done that for you, too. He never gives up.

I believe that He will not leave behind any heart that would be softened to His call. He alone knows who will respond. He preserves those who will answer.

His mercy and grace are incomparable with anything offered on this tired old earth. You want to know how He won me? He let me know that I had been blaming Him for all that needs to be put on Satan. Satan caused my confusion. Jesus revealed to me that I didn’t know Him. I hadn’t lived to please and agree with Him. I had reveled in bitterness and sought to fix what only Jesus can heal. He is the Great Physician. After contemplating all that He offers, I finally surrendered and submitted my life to Him, choosing all that is possible through Him, not in me. Continued, powerful intercessory prayer by my loved ones aided in this process.

At my baptism just over five years ago, I asked the pastor to read a beautiful passage found in Isaiah 44:22: “I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.”

There are many churches you can attend today that will affirm you for who you are. They will provide you with pablum. They’ll keep you on a “feel-good” diet and never challenge your relationship with your Creator. Is that what you desire? What will be your statement of defense on the coming Day of Judgment?  Can you not see God’s once-in-a-lifetime offer? The breath you receive each day is a precious gift from God and can be snuffed out instantly without notice. Can we afford the idea of living to satisfy our desires, or will we humbly consider His? He knows you—He desires you for all eternity.

Eternal life comes with a price. Jesus suffered for you and is asking if you would suffer for Him so that you might understand in some degree the cost of heaven. Rebellion will not be repeated. It had too high a cost. God is just and fair and rewards our faith. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).

Today I am blessed to testify for Him in a ministry of His, Coming Out Ministries (www.comingoutministries.org).  My colleagues and I live to share all that is possible through Jesus. We now dispel ignorance by educating those who are seeking to reach out with God’s redeeming love. We have chosen to become a “peculiar” people, and it is in this that we overcome the enemy. “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death” (Revelation 12:11).

 

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