Homosexuality and the Church

This summer, “Songs of Praise,” a show on BBC, aired the union of Jamie Wallace and Ian McDonald, which created controversy within the Christian community. It wasn’t necessarily that it was a same-sex marriage that ignited the controversy. It was that it was performed in a Christian church and broadcasted on a faith-based show.

Many people were delighted that the church is coming into a new age of thinking. For some reason people today seem to think that the homosexual lifestyle is a brand-new modern romance and that people who celebrate the traditional marriage, do not understand. The truth is that homosexuality has existed for thousands of years. It is true that it may seem like somewhat of a new lifestyle because it is more widely accepted. This has a lot to do with the ability to spread news throughout the world via TV and the internet.

There are still cultures today that forbid it. According to Biblical teachings, it is a sin. Jesus said while on the cross, “Lord, forgive them because they know not what they do.” A lot of people truly do not think it is wrong. Like Jesus, we as believers pray for God’s forgiveness in their lives and at the same time pray that their eyes are opened to truth.

I am not writing this article to the unbeliever; however, as I understand they are accepting this lifestyle because they are viewing it without the light of truth. I am writing it to the believer, who claims that Christ is their Lord and yet walks in this lifestyle. And I am writing it to those who although, may not walk in this lifestyle, praise and celebrate people who do.

“For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?” 1 Corinthians 4:12 (ESV)

“My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” James 5:19-20 (ESV)

Those who believe in the teachings of the Bible know that there is a community of believers, who are missing the mark.

“The Christian Institute’s Director Colin Hart said: ‘It is deeply offensive to see same-sex marriage celebrated in such a way on what is supposed to be a Christian devotional programme.’” https://www.christian.org.uk/news/songs-of-praise-same-sex-promo-upsets-viewers

He continued to explain that the program was set up for those who cannot go to church and that the majority of Christian churches do not adhere to same-sex unions, especially in a Christian church setting. He stated that a faith-based show was no place to promote that lifestyle.

Jamie Wallace, one of the grooms, said, “Jesus preaches about love, inclusion, kindness and compassion.”

He also stated, “As a committed Christian, being able to marry the man I love with all my heart and soul, before God, in the church I love, with my family, friends and the congregation around us, is something I’ve dreamed of.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7370127/Gay-wedding-broadcast-Songs-Praise-time

He is right. Jesus did preach about, love, inclusion and kindness. But somehow Jamie missed the part about SIN and DEATH. God is a god of love, but he is also a God of justice and will not wink at sin. Instead, he LOVED us so much that he sent his son to DIE for each of us so we can be FREE from sin and death. That was huge!!! He didn’t make that enormous sacrifice so that we could continue to celebrate our sinful lifestyles! That would make Jesus’ blood, his death and raising from the dead, worthless. He wants us FREE from the bondage of sin.

If Jamie is a Christian, as he claims to be, perhaps he does not read his Bible. Or maybe he doesn’t have a personal relationship with the Lord that Christians experience.

If he had read some scriptures, especially in Revelation, he would understand that God instituted the marriage bond as an example of things to come, as he had done many times to explain the spiritual realm. The marriage unit is holy and pure. Scripture references Jesus as the groom who is coming for his bride, who is the church, the body of believers. If he read Genesis, he would understand that God made a man and a woman to become one and multiply the earth.

It is impossible for people of the same gender to become one. They can state that they are married and united but unfortunately will never be able to be one true unit. God created a man for a woman and a woman for a man. Simple biology proves that. To say otherwise, is mocking the institute that God created. And he stated that he will not be mocked. (Galatians 6:7)

All Jamie would have had to do was read the first chapter of Romans. Let’s start at verse 18.

“For God in heaven unveils his holy anger breaking forth against every form of sin, both toward ungodliness that lives in hearts and evil actions. For the wickedness of humanity deliberately smothers the truth and keeps people from acknowledging the truth about God.”

(Interesting how people easily dismiss and forget that God can express holy anger towards sin.)

Then let’s skip to verse 24-28. (TPT)

“This is why God lifted off his restraining hand and let them have full expression of their sinful and shameful desires. They were given over to moral depravity, dishonoring their bodies by sexual perversion among themselves, all because they traded the truth of God for a lie. They worshiped and served the things God made rather than the God who made all things—glory and praises to him for eternity of eternities! Amen!

For this reason, God gave them over to their own disgraceful and vile passions. Enflamed with lust for one another, men and women ignored the natural order and exchanged normal sexual relations for homosexuality. Women engaged in lesbian conduct, and men committed shameful acts with men, receiving in themselves the due penalty for their deviation.

And because they thought it was worthless to embrace the true knowledge of God, God gave them over to a worthless mind-set, to break all rules of proper conduct.”

Let’s make it clear, Christians, or believers of the teachings of Jesus are not cruel, mean, judgmental accusers. Reading the Bible, we realize that God is to be revered, even in our own lives. We try to live a life acceptable to the Lord because we love him and we seek to help those who are living a life that will lead them to destruction.

God loved us enough to destroy the sin in the world with a flood, destroy Sodom and Gomorrah by fire because of sexual perversion, and inspire Paul, by his Spirit, to write the book of Romans for the Christians then and now. God does not change. If he said it then, why would he change now?

We should humbly remember:
1. It is extremely important that we speak truth in LOVE. (1 Corinthians 13:1)
2. It is extremely important that we FORGIVE those who are confused. (Luke 23:34)
3. It is extremely important that we teach people TRUTH. (John 8:32)

I heard someone state how strange it is that the rainbow became the emblem of the homosexual lifestyle. The Lord used the rainbow as a promise that he would never flood the earth again, which, ironically, he did because of rampant sin throughout the earth.

What do you think? Where are you on this matter? Is the church behind times? Should we close our eyes and our mouths and simply say, “Que sera, sera. Whatever will be will be? Or do we just preach love and grace, ignoring the warning of his justice? Should we not warn those who call themselves Christians and perhaps save them from walking away from their eternity with Jesus? Should we not reveal hope to the lost so they can taste real freedom?

Do you think that God is, indeed, the same yesterday, today and forever as was stated in Hebrews 13:8? Or has he changed with the times and has accepted what he once called sin? If so, why bother going to the cross at all?

What do you think? Where do you stand? What will you do?

 

OBEDIENCE

During the Christmas season we may think about gifts, Santa, sleigh bells, cookies, music and joy.

To those that are believers Christmas day is also a day to remember what Christ did for us. So powerful was the day he was born that angels rejoiced, filling the heavens with song.

As powerful as that was, his life of obedience overshadowed it. While on this earth he set people free from sickness and death, replacing those strongholds with hope and joy.  Still more incredible was the death he endured taking on all our sins, all our sickness to the pit of hell with him and leaving them there. It was in his death that he became victorious, rising to new life, so that we might live forever with him.

All of these events melted down to his obedience to his heavenly Father. He often stated that he only did the things his heavenly Father told him to do. At any time he could have called legions of angels from heaven to fight the battle for him. It would have been more epic than any war in history or any Hollywood movie attempting to portray the battle of good vs evil.

Instead, the angels prepared for battle, alert and with swords drawn, keeping their eyes focus on Jesus. They waited and watched as the Son of God laid down his life for each of us. His life was not taken, he gave it. He gave it because of his ultimate love of the Father; his ultimate love for us. He didn’t want to endure that cross.

BUT…he said to his Father in desperate prayer, “Not my will, but yours be done!”

“During his life on earth, Jesus prayed to God, who could save him from death. He prayed and pleaded with loud crying and tears and he was heard because of his devotion to God. Although Jesus was the Son of God he learned to be obedient through his sufferings.” Hebrew 5:7-8 (GWT)

We will not be void of suffering in this world. But in the end, obedience will be the only way to bring real joy.

“He saw the JOY set ahead of him, so he endured the death of the cross and ignored the disgrace it brought him.” Hebrews 12:2 (GWT)

Obedience is a word that is peppered throughout the Word. It is a key that unlocks the joy that Christ desires for each of us. But sometimes it feels like death to obey.

Joseph obeyed and took Mary as his wife, although he did not really understand. Several times he obeyed and moved Mary and Jesus because Jesus’ life was being sought from the day of his birth. His obedience saved our Savior.

It isn’t easy to obey when you feel left out. Everyone wants to belong. It isn’t easy when you look strange or weird because everyone wants to be accepted.

I am sure it wasn’t “easy” for Noah to build an ark when there was no water. People mocked him and surely thought he was crazy. But he and his household were saved.

It wasn’t easy for Joseph to obey and run from a woman who tried to seduce him, losing all that he had because of a lie. Nor was it easy for him to see his brothers after so many years apart and forgive them for selling him into slavery. But because of his obedience he saved a nation from starvation.

It definitely wasn’t easy for Jonah to tell the people of Nineveh to repent. In fact he didn’t obey at first and found himself in the belly of a huge fish or sea creature. But later, because of his obedience, the nation repented of their ways.

Ananias obeyed the Lord and laid his hands on Saul (who became Paul) to receive his sight again. Just days earlier this man was rounding up followers of the Lord to be killed. Through Ananias’ obedience Paul did receive his sight, was baptized, filled with the Holy Spirit and immediately spread the gospel, writing many books of the Bible.

Obedience is a key.

So today, who do you obey? Do you listen to the voices of a people who pressure you or do you obey the Lord? Each person has to give an account whether they choose to obey their Lord. Even in America, the land of the free, we see people who stand alone trying to obey their Lord. Remember the lady who decided not to give out marriage license to people of the same-sex? She was mocked and ridiculed and called names. But she felt she had to obey her Creator instead of the overwhelming crowds. People also have lost their businesses in similar cases. Obedience to their belief over road what society believes as truth.

But that is nothing.

I just read on social media about a pastor and his wife from China who have been thrown into prison for not abiding by the governing laws regarding their beliefs. It isn’t that they did a horrific act of disobedience. It was that they chose to obey God over manmade rules. This is going on in several countries that disregard freedom of religion. Some are beaten, some are killed and yet the faith of Jesus Christ prospers in the face of persecution because of obedience.

Daniel did the same thing and was thrown into the lion’s den. The king was amazed that his God protected him from the lions and worshipped the God who can close the mouths of lions.

You might ask why a God of love would allow people to walk to their deaths. I don’t have all the answers but I do know that he gives grace and mercy to those who ask for it. I also know that he desire that all people are saved from the fires of hell. Only he understands what our act of obedience will do for each of us and for those who witness our walk. Perhaps it will save a soul.

Not everyone will give their lives for our Lord. But each of us will come to a crossroad where we will need to decide if we are going to obey our Lord. Do we mean it when we state that we are believers? Or is our lives filled with mushy compromise? I am asking myself this question, too. I am not saying something that the Lord isn’t already asking me. When the heat goes up (and it will) will we walk away from our Lord?

We celebrate Christmas with a world that really may not understand the power of its meaning. Some celebrate while enjoying freedom. Others may not have freedom, but celebrate the freedom that Christ can bring.

During this holiday season, I pray that you will come to know the God of creation and understand that he loves you. And if you already are a believer, I pray that this next year will be one that will draw you closer to your Lord.

Remember the old hymn, “Trust and Obey”, written in 1887 by John H Sammis. The refrain goes:

“Trust and obey for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”

How true that statement is!

God bless and have a Merry Christmas.

 

 

 

Phrases like “he isn’t acting normal” or “that isn’t the normal way to do it” are broad at best. What is normal to me may seem completely abnormal to my neighbor. The definition to the word normal according to dictionary.com is “-conforming to a standard, or what is common, usual, regular or natural.”

Still even that can be different according to cultures, religions, languages, customs, countries, cities, neighborhoods, families or even individuals. Age or the era that we were raised in can even promote different “normal” lifestyles. And when we begin to grow accustomed to the way things are done it is sometimes difficult to change. The custom begins to become part of who we are and we identify it as NORMAL.

Tradition plays a huge role in this,” normalcy”.  If you celebrate Christmas  (as I assume most believers do) the tradition in each family can be different. Perhaps you put up a Christmas tree in your house, or pretend that Santa is coming down your chimney or maybe you do not include Santa, at all.  You might celebrate the holiday on Christmas Eve or when the clock strikes mid-night or in the morning hours. There are a thousands of different traditions that are promoted in different cultures and even families. Who said that we must eat a turkey on Thanksgiving, though it is a strong tradition in America.

Tradition can melt into what you might perceive as normal.  I can only relate to what is familiar to me as people from around the world live differently.  But in America the “traditional family” has begun to change. When I was little it was normal to have a mom and dad. Soon it became normal to see a lot of single-parent households, then there was mixed families. From there couples quit getting married and began to just live together. That became normal. Then we began to see homosexual lifestyles evolve into families. And now the transgender lifestyle, though a minority, is fighting to become a new normal.

Life in America and across the world is changing. The normal is changing. People have grown accustomed to the new lifestyles. What was once thought of as “normal” in my era is fading into the background. As much as people want to ignore this fact, at one time in America it was normal to be a slave or have slaves. But THANKFULLY many good men fought to abolish that. And though it is no longer our “normal” in America today there is so much anger over our past, “normal”,  that violence is erupting. And violence, instead of peace, is becoming popular and normal.

What is normal? Does acceptance equate normal?

IF you profess to be a believer –and I write this to believers as unbelievers may have a different standard to base their truth or may believe that truth is negotiable. But as a believer, we must get back to the basics. The Word of God is the basis to use as any standard of truth. Jesus said that HE is the truth.

“I am the Way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 (NIV)

He also stated that we are not of this world and that this world does not and cannot understand, “our normal”.  Read John 17:14-16, John 15:19, 1 John 5:19, James 4:4, 1 John 2:15-17, John 18:36, 1 Peter 2:11-12 to name a few.

What should be normal for the believer is what we read in the scripture regarding the life of Jesus. It should be normal to heal the sick, raise the dead, set people free from darkness. It should be normal to love the lost and forgive quickly. It should be normal to live in freedom and to overcome the darkness that plagues our souls.

Though Jesus died for each of us, because WE ARE ALL SINNERS, it does not mean that we have to change what He stated as truth (or normal.)

I say all of this because different lifestyle choices than what I hold as truth, are all around me and will continue to be as long as I live in this world. Should I love all people?ABSOLUTELY!  Should I change my view of what I consider as “normal” because others think I should? No.

There is a gray line that confuses many. There is an unseen difference between loving people as Jesus did. (And HE LOVES PEOPLE) and living our lives by a standard that holds true to scripture.

I DESIRE to love ALL people–as Jesus did. He loved us so MUCH that he was willing to die for our brokenness and deception and sin.

I DESIRE to love our heavenly Father–as Jesus did.  He loved him so much that he REFUSED to compromise his standards and though he didn’t want to, he went to the cross so WE would be free.

“Lord grant your children wisdom. We need to learn to live a life that shows abundant love, as Jesus did. And we need to live a life without compromising with sin, as Jesus did. We cannot do it without your wisdom and strength.  Amen”

God bless.

 

Rise Up Sleeping Warrior

I don’t know if you like to drink tea. My preferred drink is coffee…black coffee. But there are occasions that I really enjoy a cup of tea. Again that is black tea and it must be HOT,  unless is a very hot day. In that case I like ice tea; REALLY cold ice tea. If at any time my hot tea starts to cool down, or my ice tea begins to get warm, I will throw it down the sink. Lukewarm tea is just gross.

This caused me to think of the verse found in Revelation 3:15-16 ” I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish that you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold or hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth!” (NKJV)

I suddenly seemed to understand what the Lord was trying to explain. This was a warning to the Laodicean Church. According to the material that I have read about the city of Laodicea, the waters there were constantly lukewarm. The icy waters that flowed towards the city from the mountains became lukewarm by the time they arrived and the hot water from the hot springs that were brought into the city also become lukewarm before they arrived. So this message made a lot of sense to them because they had become lukewarm like their water system.

But what does it mean to us today and why would the Lord want a people either cold or hot? The “hot” terminology usually means that the individual is on fire for the Lord. What he says and the way he lives vibrantly screams, “Jesus is Lord”!  More times than not it appears that this is the individual that is radically saved from a dark lifestyle and suddenly comes into the light and wants the world to understand his transformation. That may not always be the case. There are several people that were raised up in the Christian home that believe likewise.

But then there are the cold individuals. The consensus with these individuals is that they do not believe in the salvation message at all. In fact some of them may actually be atheist. Or perhaps they firmly believe in another religion all together. The funny thing about that is that the “hot” crowd probably believed in the “cold” lifestyle at one time in their lives.

I think about Paul who wrote so much of the new testament. He was from the “cold” crowd. He was so angry with what people who called themselves Christians believed that he was having them arrested and killed. He even watched as the first Christian martyr, Stephen, was stoned to death. But he had such a radical transformation that he went from cold to hot in a short time. There wasn’t any time for the stagnant lukewarm lifestyle to invade his life.

So who are the lukewarm people? I would say they are the ones that are ho-hum people. They really don’t have anything strong to say about anything. They may even be believers, or confessed to be at one time. They may go to church quite regularly but it really doesn’t mean much to them.  They have come to the place of believing the sayings: “each to their own” or “live and let live”.  Compromise and goodness is their theme. That is an easy place to fall into, especially if you were raised in the church. Jesus has become too familiar and unimportant.

It is similar to getting an inoculation or vaccine. A small portion of the actual disease is shot into your body.  Your body is able to build up your immune system against the disease so if the real disease would try to attack your body you would have already built up antibodies and the disease couldn’t destroy your system. So it is with some people . They have heard “Jesus saves” for so long that they have become immune to it and don’t even recognize the real move of the Lord.

That immunity has snuck right into the church. It seems more important to be accepted by the world than being a light that shines in the darkness.  Because we no longer pour over scripture we question the black and white truths we have heard and begin to walk in that all too familiar gray area. We begin to compromise.

Our time may be spent on good things but we have forgotten our need for a Savior. We have fallen out of love with the one that delivered us from sin and death. Instead of spending any time with him we fill our time with entertainment or even “good” causes and cares of this life. Soon we believe we are fine and all is well. We have become lukewarm.

Believe me when I say that I am speaking to myself. I don’t write this blog thinking I know so much or that I have my act together. As I write it I realize I am speaking to myself. And these words I write actually begin to convict me. I realize that I have compromised in so many ways. Like I said, it is easy to do. Somehow we are lulled to sleep and don’t even remember drifting away from truth.

But God is good. He always leads us back to his truth IF we will listen. Chapter 3: 19-22 in the book of Revelation continues with the Lord saying,

“I correct and discipline everyone that I LOVE.

Take this seriously, and change the way you think and act.

Look, I’m standing at the door and knocking.

If anyone listens to my voice and opens the door, I’ll come in and we’ll eat together. I will allow EVERYONE who wins the victory to sit with me on my throne, as I have won the victory and have sat down with my Father on his throne.

Let the person who has ears listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. (GWT)

So I challenge you, as I challenge myself, to listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. It is time to wake up. It is time to ask the Lord if there is any area of compromise in your life. Why? Because the Lord Jesus LOVES you and wants you to be victorious.

Let your light be a hot burning flame of salvation to those around you.

It is time to take your position in Christ.

Rise up sleeping warrior.

God bless.