Archive for August, 2010

Odd Man Out – Embarrassed for Christ?

Posted by on August 25, 2010  |  2 Comments

Fitting in, is not a normal Christians should ever get used to. In fact it is said that the reason Christians are rarely persecuted today, is because their lifestyle is not that decipherable from main stream society.

There are probably not many of us that have not experienced that awkward moment in a public venue where you are the only one who pauses to ask and received God’s blessing on what you are about to eat.

The example can take on an obvious out-of-the-ordinary feeling when you begin to live your life in accordance with the Word of God.  It can be challenging to speak out in opposition of what might feel normal to countless people. 

Society, with the help and influence of the prince of this world, have developed norms that when compared to the divine instruction of God, make obedience to God appear bizarre and out of character.  Over time, instead of opening and reading from the Word of God, people turn on the TV and let it dominate their thoughts and actions.

As we consider our destiny, what we are made up with and look to our Savior, we must begin to make decsions that determine who has power over us. This is between us and God or Satan. 

A short read in the Old Testament will quickly reveal how serious our choices are. God has held back the eternal destruction of this world, because He is waiting for you to realize how important it is for you to surrender your whole life to Him. Your heart, your will… every decision you make.

Joshua 1:9 promises;  “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Identify yourself today! Not as someone stuck in an orientation associated with the world and the one with his princely powers here; but as a redeemed child of God, claiming victory over sin. Claim your God-given  right to choose.  Surrender your will, your life to Him.  Not just in the morning and evening, but all through the day as the tempter struggles to gain access to you.

Live by the truth and promises God’s Word to us, rather than distorted and compromised feelings that Satan inflicts to confuse and decieve you. You don’t have to be gay. It is not forced upon you. You may feel as gay as can be, but based on the truth in God’s Word, you can claim the power of Jesus, to live outside your feelings.

Be BOLD in Him!

May He RICHLY bless you.

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Devil Beware!

Posted by on August 21, 2010  |  No Comments

Each time God’s ministry through me reaches a new level. The oppression from Satan also rings out with accusations and doubt. It’s like a animal catching a fish and viciously wrestling it around in its clutches.  Temptations to cave in and give up on expressing God’s will and expression of His love to others becomes more challenging.  My courage seems to take a hit when this happens.

Today a friend with divinely led advice, sent me to this writing of Ellen White’s from The Desire of Ages. “The Lord is disappointed when His people place a low estimate upon themselves. He desires His chosen heritage to value themselves according to the price He has place upon them. God wanted them, else He would not have sent His Son on such an expensive errand to redeem them. He has a use for them, and He is well pleased when they make the very highest demands upon Him, that they may glorify His name. They may expect large things if they have faith in His Promises.” (page 668)

The errand that Jesus came to fulfill for His Father, cost Him His life. He was willing to walk a road of rejection and hatred from many along the way, in order that we might have eternal life. He was willing to let them take His life. He hung there on the cross with our sins. Our neglect and disregard for Him. All the sins we would every commit pressed upon His heart and burst it.  In that act of love and mercy we were given the most incredible gift.

The focus in life frequently becomes distorted when we turn our eyes away from Him and are distracted by worldly concerns. Often they are self concerns. They are whatever Satan can use to distract us and put doubt in our minds. It’s horrible … if we let it begin to control us.  It is of utmost importance to use the tools Christ left us. His Word!  The New Living Translation says this in Matthew 16:23. “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”

Focus on Christ and going about doing His will, conveying His love, His Truth and His Goodness is where my mind and will should be continually set, demanding that Satan leave in the name of Jesus.

Working to change lives and bring honor to our precious Savior is terribly disturbing to the prince of this world. The deeds and efforts in the name of Jesus will render Him powerless over those who accept the gift purchased with the errand that Jesus went on for His Father.

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Joy, Happiness or both?

Posted by on August 20, 2010  |  2 Comments

I began to contemplate “Joy” and “Happiness,” and began to realize there is a significant difference. It would probably be safe to say, unless you are a very unique individual, that the majority of people strive to be continuously happy in life. But a quick reality check reveals to us that continual bliss is a far cry from life on this earth.

However we are certainly blessed with many joyous occasions and circumstances that result in being extremely happy. When you consider those around you, you will know doubt ponder over an individual who is either happy or sad. There never seems to be any middle of the road. I have been the reflection of such an individual in my life. My lows when I was younger were hurtful, painful and seemed to have a devastating effect on me.  Then something great would occur and I’d be higher than a kite, acting as though no one would ever be able to pop my balloon. And then it would happen. Ouch! and Yikes!

Life today is about living in alignment with God’s plan for me. God does not desire that we be sad. But He knows that things happen that bring about such feelings. It is at these times when we can claim joy in the Lord, even through our tumultuous time.  Joy is more like a belief in the promise of hope and rescue that God gives us. It is a result of our trusted faith in Him to see us through all things. Faith is without feeling. It is believing through the lack of feeling.

Job was certainly one who lived outside of his feelings and in the promise of deliverance by God.

” He prays to God and finds favor with him, he sees God’s face and shouts for joy; he is restored by God to his righteous state.” Job 33:26

David says in Psalm 5:11; “But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.”

Now usually when we are seeking refuge, we are not in some happy state of mind. But we can actually have joy in Jesus, knowing, trusting and believing that he will protect and provide for us.

An interesting thing can result when we declare joy in the Lord. A peace and happiness is likely to follow.

Psalm 28:7 ” The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.”

When temptations overwhelm you and struggles abound, have joy in the Lord and know that He will see you through. Trust in His lead. Refuse the doubt and discouragement that Satan tries to force upon you.  We are going to fail ourselves and others. It’s part of our journey in this life. God never intends for us to wallow in the mire of sin and failure.

Get up! Rejoice! Give praise to God for the forgiveness He offers you and continue on in the “Joy” and “Peace” He offers you.

Have a peaceful day in Christ

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Truth, Pride and Deception

Posted by on August 18, 2010  |  No Comments

Adam and Eve were deceived by half truths. II Corinthians 11:3  “But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”

I have been listening to some spiritual talks and once again contemplating the conversion process of  the homosexual. In reading God’s Word, He has made clear to me that hanging on to any part of the world could cost me eternity.  This would also apply to any sin that we hang on to.  Often in letting go of the world, many will still cling to a portion that just seems to hard for them to give up.

When I was baptized, I became a new body in Christ. Neither straight nor gay. My orientation is now one led by the Holy Spirit. To be drawn to holiness and away from a world identity. The word “gay” is a term not found in God’s Word, but would likely replace the word “homosexual.”

Wikipedia says this.  “The term gay was originally used to refer to feelings of being “carefree”, “happy”, or “bright and showy”; it had also come to acquire some connotations of “immorality” as early as 1637.”

Several times since baptism it has been suggested that it would be appropriate for me to refer to myself as a gay Christian or a gay Adventist.  The implication that comes with this reference is that this was just a part of me that God failed to heal. Often the healing doesn’t take place because we keep holding onto something we should let go of.  There are arguments that the sin is not in the orientation. We are all sinners regardless of our sexual preference. But a preference and a temptation should be very separate from one another.

If I keep telling you that I’m a gay Adventist, that certainly doesn’t give the impression that I am open to any other leading that Christ might enlighten me with.  To date, I am tempted with same-sex attraction. But I am not going to give Satan the pleasure of identifying myself as part of a lifestyle that he used to deceieve me.  And that is what “gay” is. It was developed to name a lifestyle of those who found no shame in delcaring their desires for members of the same gender.

I am greatly concerned for ministries that lead with a partial truth. One that for the sake of comfort would have you identify as “gay.”  Pride is as dangerous as other sins used to detour us from our focus on Jesus.  From my conversion and my study, I believe Christ would have us rejoice in a new identity after baptism that says we are washed clean and now choose to die to sin and the labels of sin that once bound us.

If God has reached your heart and won your soul, honor and praise Him for the new creation He has made in you. II Corinthians 5:16-17 “…Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

Look to your future with Jesus and leave the past behind. You are a new body in Christ.  I  pray that those who have given their life to Christ are not weighted down by the world.

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Step by Step – What do you suggest?

Posted by on August 16, 2010  |  4 Comments

A common question we all consider in our relationship with Christ is;  how do we get there? In a confusing and face-paced world, few are stopping to make time for Christ. The very purpose of our existence is all too frequently being ignored.

Sabbath rolls around and we think… OK… it’s time to give Christ my attention and to rest from the work week. But allegiance to this concept will hardly enhance a waning relationship with our glorious maker.

By not taking time to acquaint ourselves with our Heavenly Father, our steps are not sure-footed and the tricks and temptations that Satan cleverly orchestrates along the way, have a strong pull on us if we have a weak connection with God. Falling through… can be painful and disastrous.  We then find ourselves lying in a helpless heap wondering what went wrong. And for many of us… asking why God let this happen to us.

God cannot force us to maintain a healthy relationship with Him. Our human efforts need to be exercised. Spend time talking to God before you head out the door each morning. Contemplate Him and talk to Him on the way to work. Reconnect with Him throughout the day. Whether in a fleeting moment or in a more concentrated way during a break.

At some point in the day, open His letter to you and ask Him to reveal Himself to you. Get to know Him personally. Tell Him your every concern and know that He cares. Ask Him to reveal His truths to you and guide you with His Holy Spirit.

When we have a relationship with Him much the way we would with a spouse or a parent, we are safe and secure.  This truth is not based on a feeling. Although He will bless us with appropriate feelings to accompany our devotion to Him.  It is based on the soundness of His Word and His limitless promises to us.

How do you walk with your creator?

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Facts – Thoughts – Feelings

Posted by on August 7, 2010  |  4 Comments

How we feel is often largely different from what one might expect to feel from the truth of a particular fact.

Jesus loves me!  AWESOME  !  I FEEL GREAT!   “For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16

That should make anyone feel incredible right?

“Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman. That is detestable.” Leviticus 18:22   Uh oh… what happens here?  I see God’s dislike for Same-Sex intimacy.  His way is truth and so this becomes a fact that Jesus does not want me to have feelings and intimate relations with another man. He tells me that this is His plan.   Matthew 19: 4-6 “”Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

Wow! There it is. God’s direction to me and His plan. But I don’t feel like what His plan is.

Well His plan for me and what I might feel as natural…is compromised by having been born with a sinful nature.  If I had been born perfect and acted perfect and lived perfect… well … I wouldn’t need a Savior would I?  God is our authority. He is King of Kings and loves us beyond human understanding.   These facts should actually dictate my behavior.

Our thoughts, emotions and feelings as a result of fact, can be dangerous territory. They can be misleading because they are fighting with our sinful nature, but should be submitted to Christ with a request to accept and live by His Word.

When you think about it, this becomes a challenge for more than just sexual feelings, but a fight we constantly fight with our sinful nature and God’s Word regarding our entire lives.

And so once again a reminder is set forth that we are not safe for a moment without abiding in Him and surrendering our will to Him.  This is where the strength of God grows within us. This is weere sin is conquered.  It is so very possible. It is frequently so very difficult because for many of us, our thoughts, emotions and feelings are the truth we believe.

In America, our culture frequently primes us to fight authority. Our freedom allows us to express ourselves and campaign for unthinkable rights simply because we “feel” we are due self justice based on a particular feeling.  ie: gay rights.

“Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”  Romans 13:1

…”if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment. This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority.

Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings; yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord.”  II Peter 2: 9-11

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Endurance

Posted by on August 3, 2010  |  8 Comments

Rough seas hit… and many of us begin to sink. Faith is continuously tested on our journey through life.  Regardless of your orientation, and regardless of your steadfastness with Christ, your faith will always be tested.

Temptations, unwanted desires, tragedy, even an over abundance of blessings. All can be triggers to test our faith and trust in Jesus Christ.   It is yet another temptation to be led by our feelings, instead of what we know to be absolute truth.

Two days later

I began this post a couple days ago. In the meantime, yet more ripples on the sea of life have occurred.  It is so very clear to me that this topic is one in which Satan wants to infiltrate and influence.  If he can bring about confusion or discouragement, he has all but fully accomplished his goal.  He simply wants to get our focus off Jesus. And Jesus is our only saving focus in life.

So many people settle for partial truth. I am continually amazed at why we don’t accept God’s Word, instead of adding or subtracting.  Why do so many insist on bending the Word to make it fit our lifestyle, instead of us repairing our lifestyle to fit God’s Word?

God gives the desire for truth. He sends the Holy Spirit to convict. We need not try and sneak Him into the gay culture.  If we proclaim Him and properly reflect His love, God will change the hearts of those who have been bitter and suffered rejection and return them to Him with a desire for studying and learning what His plan for each individual is.

I fear that the past has leaned heavily at giving love starved souls over to the earth.  It has been done so through ignorance. The church and gays reached a stand-off. Now the forces of Christ and Satan will fight for the souls caught up in deception. 

In this process some fear to deliver the pure truth. Sort of a watered down theology. The thought being… if we allow gays to hang on to certain things… such as continuing to call themselves gay; it will be a compromise that both the church and gays can live with.

To me, hanging onto something that identifies me as part of the core of the devil’s deception, pleases him greatly. It’s like he still has just enough hold to gain re-entry at a weak moment.

When God rescues us, we are identified as a child of God, claimed by none other.  Calling myself gay, does not draw people to Jesus. It continues to put up a barrier of communication.  It is not that there should be an expectation for the converted soul to become straight; it is in placing ourselves in God’s control to be led by Him daily. Listening to Him and letting Him determine our course.  The only expectation we should follow, is the divine direction in becoming more Holy. 

I’m a Christian. One who belives in Christ. One who seeks to do His will instead of my own. I continue to be called to self-denial. I’m not straight, I’m not gay. I’m His. I refuse to let a label control my outcome.

It is my hope and prayer that instead of people developing under one label or another, that their focus will be turned upward. That the church will become a family of support for each individual seeking to be changed daily by His power, love and gift of salvation.

Lots of rocks stick up crossing this sometimes raging river. Some of the rocks are slippery and some are dry and solid. And sometimes the water rushes heavily and we must be picked up and carried by our Redeemer.

Never give up!  Never give in! Let Jesus be your guide!

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