Archive for August, 2013

The Art of Christian Bullying

Posted by on August 29, 2013  |  No Comments

 

I have been blessed to write an article for Advindicate.com about reaching out to gays with love.

Here is the link.   The Art of Christian Bullying

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Perils and Blessings

Posted by on August 27, 2013  |  No Comments

Life is unpredictable.   He giveth and He taketh away.

Isaiah 61:1-3 “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”

As a Christian, trust and faith are basic. When we humble ourselves, we give ourselves over to God and allow Him to take charge.  The challenge is in remaining humble. Self and the enemy are continually trying to reemerge. Without an unbroken intimacy with God, we are quickly out of His control.

 At birth, I was a throw away child. My mother was grieved that she had a boy instead of a girl and purposely broke my arm before I was two years old. My father was a career air force man and would not be able to care for me. In essence … I was abandoned by both of my parents.

 I praise God that my aunt and uncle, who are firmly planted in the faith of Jesus Christ, were impressed to adopt me. But oh what severe damage and disconnect had already taken place. I arrived broken and remain broken to a large degree today. But unlike earlier in my life, I have HOPE because of Jesus Christ. Today I believe that He has my very best interests in His heart.

 However there are still times that I question this and begin to ride the rapids without my life jacket on. In order for us to learn valuable lessons, God allows us to go through some pretty intense trials. You don’t have to look far. Perhaps not any further than you. It’s easy to recite verses about Jesus not leaving us or forsaking us. But there are times of incredible pain and misery that pretty much all of us are tempted to say “really?”

 Living by fact rather than feeling is the great challenge before us and the devil is certain that we will believe what our feelings are telling us. For many, feelings equal truth. If I don’t have a solid grounding in God’s message to me through His Holy love letter to me, I’m going to cave into my feelings.

 I recently experienced months of what I was certain was a gift from God. I believed that I mattered, belonged and am loved. I had affirmation and confirmation and well… become somewhat dependent on those “feel good” messages. Having had such a brutal childhood that lacked solid, meaningful, nonjudgmental friendships, it wasn’t long before my focus was slightly and dangerously shifting to a dependence on others.

 God truly created us to be relational. There is strength in unity. There is also danger. Even in a marriage, it is vital that God remains “King” in our lives. I have watched some around me suffering through broken marriages and relationships. It can shake someone’s faith in God if they are not deeply connected to Him, allowing Him to bind our wounds and carry us through. Our faith and confidence in God is continually tested through life’s experiences.

 No matter what the extent of our brokenness, Jesus is always there to put us back together in Him. He truly has our best of interests in His heart. We may be in pain…but He will never let us down. Be wise and don’t allow Satan to rob you of the joy and comfort that is always available to us to claim in Jesus.  

 Satan is counting on us blaming God for every scrape, cut and injury that enters our lives. Refute the enemy with the many truths and promises God has given us for such a time as this. Sometimes even a painful lesson has to keep repeating itself for us to fully recognize that we are totally and completely reliant on Jesus and Him alone. In the end….nothing in our lives matter more than our relationship and connection with Him.

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Scars

Posted by on August 16, 2013  |  No Comments

Recently a practicing gay man sent two scathing emails to me within a couple of weeks of each other chastising me for my “claimed” and renewed relationship with Jesus as a “New Creature” in Him. He proceeded to tell me how he was meant to be gay and have multiple monogamous relationships which he believes God blesses, because that is just who he is. He advocates for living according to the flesh.

He goes on insisting that no matter what I claim, I’m still gay today. He renders Jesus powerless.

As you might imagine, I am frequently challenged by those who believe I am living a lie and that I should live as I was born. I wish I had understood the power of the love and truth of the gospel when I was younger. It could have prevented me from making numerous wrong choices in life. Perhaps you can relate as a result of some of the choices you have made in your own life.

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:17

I am grateful that Jesus has told me that He loves me while I am still a sinner. Sins leave scars.  Jesus carried those sins for us and they left scars on Him as a reminder of His deep everlasting love for us.

In this He does not give us permission to live in sin, but to call on Him to deliver us from sin. He invites us to pick up our cross and follow Him. He calls us out of bondage and asks us to deny our flesh… die to self daily.

Life with Jesus today is not without reminders of my natural, fallen, sinful flesh. We inherently have thorns in our flesh. As believers we have not always considered what we are to do with these feelings. It has only been over the most recent of years that we are exploring what an intimacy with Jesus really looks like. We can’t have intimacy with Him or know Him very well if we are not spending quality time with Him.

I have noticed a number of Christians today justifying their sin based on their “very real” feelings. Many seem to be caving into the lies and deceptions of Satan. We are called in James 5:16 to surround one another, sharing our burdens and lifting one another up in prayer for the promised healing from God. Jesus created us to be relative. There is a certain danger in isolation and seclusion.

Today… more than ever before … we need to “love.”   But this is not a love that is reminiscent of the “flower power” era.  This is a pure reflection of the love of Jesus Christ that neither condones or condemns. It’s a love that invites a believer to experience a change that is possible by falling in love with our Creator.

There are deep pains and scars from pains that many are carrying today. Jesus never intended this. I believe we need to examine more closely, the situations we have gotten ourselves into because we have not taken God at His Word and have acted on what we think is best,  instead of letting the love and truth of God lead us.

Temptations are not going to stop. We must act now in developing a secure relationship with Jesus. Lean on Him. Surrender to Him. Claim His promises to see you through. Claim the victory over sin that He has paid for and given you the right to claim.  It’s a journey that often requires us to live outside of our feelings. It can be tough, but there is great reward in continuing in faith and trust.

Encourage one another and pray for one another. Live in faith rather than feeling.

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

 

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Coming Out? Coming Home!

Posted by on August 15, 2013  |  No Comments

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Higher Ground

Posted by on August 15, 2013  |  No Comments

Men, women.. children.  It doesn’t matter who you are… We have all suffered under the lies of our feelings. Whether you are going through a divorce, suffering the loss of a loved one, struggling to keep your job, living under the temptations of same-sex attraction, or feeling like you will be alone forever; the enemy is trying to win you over with his lies.

From as far back as the Garden of Eden, Satan has been planting lies through our feelings. He is constantly trying to manipulate us to the point of not being able to see and claim the truth which has been provided to us by our loving Creator.

Satan is cunning today, just as he was in the garden. Nothing is off limits to him. He has nothing to lose because he has lost already. He only wants to see if he can have you experience that eternal loss with him.

We arrived as damaged goods. Many think that we arrive as God created us to be, but that’s not the case. He has lovingly provided His truth, (his Word) so that we can recognize our need for Him and make choices with the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. He has given us a spirit of truth so that we would respond to His calling to us. He invites us to surrender ourselves to Him and to abide in Him.  Without Him … we are truly nothing.

But it’s not easy by any means. One person might be emotionally charged and an easy prey to Satan, while another must be challenged by other means such as the enticement of material things or power, control. He has many tricks.

“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.” 2 Corinthians 11:3.  Your mind is where God seeks to communicate with you if you will invite Him in. Satan knows this and so he uses your feelings to try and gain entry. He thinks that you will believe your feelings thus giving him power over your mind. Do you see how dangerous this is?

We don’t have to do much to experience his lies.  And there are a wealth of influences that help him gain access. Television, music, diet, social atmospheres, disgruntled Christians, deteriorating relationships.

 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2

Do you think I might be writing this in response to my own experience?  (Laughing) Well .. It’s not so funny. Yes … absolutely! Like you, I have experienced the lies of Satan since birth. You see, he doesn’t care which lie it takes. It could be one of rejection that infers that you don’t matter or that you don’t belong. Or … it could be one that you belong, but that everyone needs exactly what you have. Your personality, your charm, your wealth, etc.  There are many effective lies and he knows which ones will influence you best.  But so does Jesus.

Jesus provides us His loving, powerful Word along with the presence of the Holy Spirit. I never open His Word and read it without inviting His presence to guide and impress me with His truth and conviction.

I get side tracked sometimes because of the human frailty I have and from becoming vulnerable to Satan’s lies when I am not fully surrendered or living in accordance with God’s will. That controlled much of my younger years. Today I am seeking Jesus, His truth and His ways.  Today, I can detect Satan’s lies more quickly and recognize that God is simply waiting for my invitation to take complete control. I have a right to claim His Word and the beautiful promises He has provided me.

Under the influence of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, I can have peace. I can know that He knows my pain and promises to heal me. I can know that whatever I walk through, He has walked before me and set the example of trusting in His Father who would always see Him through out of trust and faith in Him.

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

So my dear friends… knows that you can have complete confidence today by choosing to be on higher ground. He will never leave or forsake you unlike the one who is continually lying to you.  Rejoice in the Lord always!  Say it again! Rejoice!