Archive for April, 2014

The Exchange

Posted by on April 25, 2014  |  No Comments

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The air had a crisp briskness.  Just enough coolness to hint that change was on its way.  Shortened days and the blaze of the warm, inspiring sun was fading rapidly.

In the amazing beauty that surrounded me, I wondered how much more beautiful the Garden of Eden could be in its perfection.  Then I wondered how someone could have chosen self in the face of such a warning that would result in being ushered out of that beautiful place with the costly penalty of certain death.

Viewing my own life, it was clear that God was preserving me.  Unwanted from birth, I had been adopted by my Aunt and Uncle who continually taught me about God’s love, grace, goodness and truth.  The focus in the private school I attended, and in the church, was an emphasis on Biblical rules and law.  Do this! Don’t do that! In Bible class and in Bible studies and church discussions, the comment – “Because it is so” was frequently stated.  

My parents (aunt and uncle) were deeply in love with one another.  My brother and sister were dating and I often saw my classmates “going steady.” Many of them appeared to be so “in love” with one another.  What could heighten the experience of life more than a sense of belonging and being in love other than companionship? We all deserve such an experience right?

My life progressed… or at least that seems to be the term people use. Family was important at our house. A fairly strict schedule was in place and we rarely detoured from it.  Early risings for work and school, breakfast, worship and prayer, off to work and school, chores, dinner, study & relaxation, Sabbath School lesson study, prayers, bedtime and repeat it all over again.

Life was modeled after Christ and His plan for our lives. We were preparing for “end times” and getting ready for Jesus to come.  My body began to wake up while living under these distinct Christian beliefs. 

I had been reading God’s Word and found His advice about those who suffer from same-sex attraction. I was stunned to find out that I was turning out to be one of “those” described in God’s Word to us. How could this be possible? I certainly didn’t choose to “feel” this way.  But one thing was certain in Christian homes, schools and churches; we didn’t talk about “feelings.”  We’re actually just barely scratching the surface of those issues today.  And some are being resistant to talking about “feelings” and “God’s Word” and the importance of how they relate to each other.

I bathed in God’s great gift of beauty to us through nature.  Particularly through walks on the beach where I would bellow songs while waves crashed around me drowning my off-key tones. I was a blemish on God’s earth. At least it seemed that way.  I was not popular at school and due to my effeminate tastes and physical traits I was often teased into great embarrassment and deep depression.  I wanted to disappear off the face of the earth.  How could God have allowed me to have been born this way?  The ocean became my best friend.

In this beauty I experienced, I wanted someone special to enjoy and share it with.  That’s the very least of what I deserved isn’t it?  Wouldn’t God desire for me to have a friend… a companion?  In the physical changes and awakenings in my body, less of a focus on God was in place. I don’t think I was prayerfully seeking what “His” plan was through study and prayer.  I wanted to seek out that special someone who would give my life meaning and validation.  And God let me veer off course with my insistent search for that validation.  He must have shook His head while another one of His children insisted on doing their own thing rather than letting the One who loves us above all others reveal His perfect plan.  He has demonstrated over and over again the power of choice He has provided us through examples of those written about in His Word. 

Had it not been for that unfortunate incident with the serpent in the Garden, we wouldn’t be at these crossroads.  But there is a plan and a people who will ultimately confirm that our God is a just God. It’s playing out right now. You and I can choose to be part of God’s “peculiar people.”  But it certainly has to be our choice.

My youth had been sensually aroused and awakened by a couple of heterosexual guys I frequently encountered and engaged with. Wow!  Excitement! Adventure! … And another detour from God’s plan. This occurs far more frequently than we would care to acknowledge, denying it as abuse. It’s simply experimentation.  But where does it lead?  I craved it and was indulged. It was our secret. And harmless right?  

There are a myriad of scenarios.  You might likely have your own. Each one has a detour carefully orchestrated by the enemy to take charge just as quickly as our focus is moved off of Jesus and the model of what our lives are to be. As we shift to allowing our desires and feelings to take charge, I wonder if at this point you might be seeing how we are rapidly being transformed into the enemy’s “world view.” It’s based on desire, feeling, self-gratification, mentally and physically and falls short of anything God designed for us.  But as we insist, He allows us to pursue what becomes important to us. It’s clearly no longer Jesus.

While I continued to enjoy all that God has created; food, air, the beauty of creation, including fleshly desires, I took what was not mine.  I began to feed my fleshly appetite without regard for God and His plan.  Many of us have done this and made God an association rather than a belief.  Almost as though He would approve of our human intuition rather than His divine instruction.  Being in agreement with God’s Word somehow seems to go by the wayside.  We just figure… He’ll understand.  We begin to pride ourselves in our knowledge instead of honoring and obeying His.  What a dangerous web we can weave.  Somehow God’s “pure” love is misconstrued into permission as opposed to guidance.

By now I had ventured so far away from God, I lived simply to satisfy my carnal desires.  If it culminated in a long term monogamous relationship… great!  But it still fell short of anything recognizable as God’s plan.  Nothing in His plan provides for any same-sex sexual union. In His deep love for us He provided the criteria of a union that He honors and sanctifies between one man and one woman. He made it simple for us to understand His plan. It’s our plans that get confusing.

The plans that don’t honor and glorify Him. Why do we insist on them when He warns against them? He even provides direction for those who don’t marry and how to live in a way that continually glorifies Him through celibacy. With our flesh… we insist! So much so that there are those who try to academically and theologically reword the Word of God so that it agrees with the flesh.

Certainly this deeply saddens God as He witnesses those He deeply cares about desert Him for their own calling.

If only we had explored our “feelings” and whether or not they agreed with God’s Word. If only we had discussed “feelings” when we were young and gained control of them before they overtook us with our permission.  If only we had sought to please God in living in self-denial and self-sacrifice as He advises us.  He was not going to abandon or leave us.  In fact He promises never to leave or forsake us.  Would we believe Him?  That’s His question to us. Will you believe me? Will you allow me to be King in your life? Will you seek to please me rather than yourselves?  It’s an invitation. But it’s also so much for than that. He provides a life-time guarantee.

He knew that because of that sad day in that gorgeous Garden, and because of many sad days of fleshly weakness that would follow, sin had a ransom that must be paid in order to replace what was lost in Heaven over the great controversy.  He knew there would be a people who would repent of their sin and cling to His righteousness and the free gift of the blood He shed for us as payment.

And so God allowed me and so many others to seek our ways. They pretty much have life-long consequences.  But His promises remain for us to claim.  If we will recognize that our ways are dangerously inferior to His, He will still redeem us if we will choose Him.

“Feelings” are strongly utilized by Satan to try and rob us of the gift God has promised every one of us. Satan influenced Jesus’ feelings through temptations.  He was flesh and blood just like us.  His temptations were through life-sustaining  attempts.  And through the exercise of power. He was tempted right while He was purchasing our lives with His. But He found you and me of great value and paid for our failures with His life.  If we would but choose Him, that payment for our sin has been paid. If we would choose Him … and to stop sinning.  Choose to live for Him instead of against Him. Stop rebelling and surrender to the one who loves and purchased you.  He softly calls and pleads with your heart to please come and abide in Him… in the safety of His arms with protection from the evil one.

Can you see this amazing plan of salvation for you dear friend?  What amazing love this is. This offer comes from nowhere else. And you can’t let self be in power and have God in power at the same time. He will respect your choice.  But you must choose over your “feelings.”  You can choose His truth.  You and I were born tarnished with a fallen nature, but not without a way out.  Temptation does not have to rule.  Action is determined by you. Your choice. As a witness of what is possible through my dear friend and Father Jesus Christ, I am also inviting you to choose life eternal over the temporary pleasures of this world. 

This world is not my home, I’m just passing through.  Jesus is all I need.

“Love” is not how so many of us have seen it. It is not assessed through our diminished attempts to confirm it through approval and human acceptance.  “Love,” His love is beyond our finite minds. It guards. It protects. It paid for your life. It’s worth your choice to honor and obey.  His “love” is life-sustaining.  Choose Him.

“Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” Romans 13:14

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