Avoid the temptation to trade fundamental truths for approval

Are we scared to speak out?  Are there times where someone says something about Christianity and we try and merge into the background, not wanting to comment for fear of judgment or ridicule?  Are there times we avoid those conversations altogether, steering the conversation away from anything challenging?

Tim Farron, leader of the Liberal Democrats refuses to answer directly the question, does he think homosexuality is a sin.  Tim is a Christian politician and avoids the direct question by answering that we are all sinners, which is indeed the truth.  But how much stronger would his message be if he spoke out about his beliefs and the word of God.  God tells us it is a sin and if we are followers of God then we are called to be obedient to his word.  More important than calling out people’s sin is the message that we should not judge, God calls us to love others as we love ourselves, to forgive others as God forgives us and to be salt and light in this frail world.

I’m not condemning Tim, indeed he has been open about his faith, I’m just maybe a tad frustrated that we are so beaten down by the secular world we seek to fit in with their views rather than shout out God’s message of love and salvation from the rooftops!

2 Timothy 1:8 – So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God

Romans 1:16 – For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile

Romans 12:2 – 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.

RUFFLE SOME FEATHERS

Don’t conform, born into this world not to fit in but to ruffle feathers, not born simply to indulge in earthly pleasures, born to fulfil a plan, born of man but a citizen of heaven, stand firm in your faith, avoid temptation to trade fundamental truths for approval, renewal of the mind is liberating,  negotiating life’s potholes not a problem when moving in the right direction, swimming against the tide it’s better to abide in God’s truth alone than stand with a crowd who will never know him, I have absolutely no desire to fit, refusing to let the world corrupt me, God didn’t make me different to be indifferent, he didn’t give me freedom so that I would join those beaten down by the need to conform, harmony with the enemy not part of my story, I will never influence the world by trying to be like it, never effect change if I remain silent, I won’t be compliant or anxious to match my opinions to earthly dominions, I am a Christian, proud of the Gospel, stand with me in truth for the fight is colossal.

Allowing Satan’s diseased thinking to shadow our thinking

I’ve been thinking about light and darkness today and how Christians are all little pinpricks of light on the earth, illuminating the area around us.  Some of casting a small light, others casting a vast light, all of us contributing in our way to lighting up the world.  I then got to thinking about Creation and how God created light and saw that it was good.  In the same way he sees our light and sees that it is good.

Before the fall of man, all was good, all was light and there was no evil.  It was through eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil that man came to a close acquaintance with the darkness.

That got me to thinking about our role as Christians to help keep the light shining into the darkness.  The example I want to use is based on my personal experience of being a Christian called out of a gay lifestyle.  Today a Facebook friend, a Christian, posted a picture of two men kissing with the comment “Love who you love! That’s what I’ll be telling my children”.  This was then agreed with by another couple of Christian friends.

My issue is that I believe every time a Christian promotes homosexuality, a tiny bit of their light goes out.  I’m not saying be homophobic or non-welcoming of homosexuals, that’s not what Jesus taught us, he taught us to love each other.  What I am saying is be clear on God’s teaching and let his light shine through us, do not let the darkness overcome, overshadow or taint God’s message of love and truth.

  • Genesis 1: 1-4 – In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.
  • Genesis 3: 6-7 – When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

DARKNESS THEN LIGHT

There was darkness, then God created light, brightness illuminating every corner of the globe, strobes of light penetrating the shadows, the light turned on and the darkness fled, now we are the light of the world, anointed and called to speak of God’s redeeming grace, to light up space as beacons of hope, yet we walk a tightrope when we get lost in the darkness of our own making, faking it to fit in with secular beliefs, allowing Satan’s diseased thinking to shadow our thinking, the lights start blinking, not quite so bright now we’re masking the light, what’s right, what’s wrong, how long oh Lord how long before your people let this go, before they grow in maturity, before they gain clarity, your word unveiled, your word prevailing, no more bending Biblical teaching, no more watering down of their preaching, no longer desiring to placate the devil but ready to stand up against evil, there was darkness but you brought the light, Father God pour out your light on this nation, open their eyes remove the blinkers, may they be faithful witnesses, heavenly citizens ablaze with your Glory, their minds no longer bleary, standing up for the truth as faithful servants, Christian’s with a message, a belief and a purpose.

Satan’s a liar, how quickly he sucked them in

A friend referred me to Ezekiel 2 the other day and I have been reading this quite avidly this afternoon (plus reading on into Ezekiel 3).  There were two passages that stood out to me, the first as pointed out to me 2 v 7 and additionally 3 v 4 to 5.

  • Ezekiel 2:6-7 – And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or be terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people.  You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious.
  • Ezekiel 3:4-5 – He then said to me: “Son of man, go now to the people of Israel and speak my words to them. You are not being sent to a people of obscure speech and strange language, but to the people of Israel

Thinking in context today of all the hype surrounding yesterday’s debate in the Church of England synod about gay marriage and the depth of feeling on both sides, this spoke to me deeply.  Whatever we speak from God to a rebellious people will go unheard.  Despite these being “people of Israel” or what we would say to be “believers” they are still unhearing and unyielding.  We on the other hand must never give up speaking God’s truth.

DARKNESS

Do not be afraid, do not fear, their words are but words, their words are meaningless, empty, hollow, they say they follow Jesus but they fail to believe in all he said, they seek to follow the thoughts of man who has twisted the truth about God’s divine plan, man who interprets the Bible to suit his lusts and desires, we all know that Satan’s a liar, how quickly he sucked them in, how deeply he penetrates into their minds, rebellion leading to oppression, a deep depression amongst those who cannot determine God’s way because of all the lies these false teachers say, do not be deceived for you can believe all that God tells us, you can trust in the love of Jesus, God sends us to speak his words knowing that many will go unobserved, words falling on empty ears, on those who simply choose to hear what they want to hear, like thorns and briers they surround us, we live in rebellious times with rebellious people, speaking the unspeakable, touting their lies, perverting the truth of God’s gospel, a colossal misrepresentation, conning a nation, misleading a generation, yet we are the catalyst for liberation, anointed to proclaim freedom, to rescues the prisoners from darkness, to break the yoke and release from the harness, here I am Jesus use my witness, help me to bring your people out of the darkness.

God’s laws have been hurled as far as eat from west

I know that before I gave my life to Jesus I had a stronghold in my life that I hadn’t handed to him.  My sexuality was the overriding issue, a stronghold of the enemy that he was not wanting to give up without a fight. The simple question in a sermon, “Have you opened every door of your heart to Jesus” blew this wide open.  I now know the quote from A. W Tozer –

“You can’t truly rest until every area in your life rests in God”

How very true, it wasn’t until I handed that area to God and repented that I could even start to find the peace that I feel today.

How awesome to know that I have that rest and I am reminded of how special that is when I read this verse in Psalm 27.

Psalm 27:4 – One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.

ASHES TO BEAUTY

No rest, mind in turmoil, like a coiled spring, nothing going out and nothing coming in, sin weighing heavy on my mind, difficulty finding my way, not wanting to say to God that this sin was hard to give up, this was me, my identity, my sexuality and I had difficulty recognising that I wasn’t born to be this way, I wasn’t born gay, I am a product of a fallen world, a sinful world where God’s laws have been hurled as far as eat from west, man thinks that he knows best, he laughs, he scoffs, he pays the cost, I was lost but Jesus found me, I was heading down the path of sin and shame but Jesus never pointed the finger of blame, his love for me incredibly gentle, he understood the fragility of my mental state, he offered me escape, with Grace he forgave me, with strength he made me capable of turning my life around, I have that promised rest and I ask one more thing of the Lord that I will dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, I praise him that I am alive and I can gaze on his beauty, truly I know that I am blessed, what I had then was nothing less than the lies of the enemy who sought to keep me chained and bound, yes I was lost but now I’m found, freedom from the ruler of the heavenly Kingdom, through the ashes I have come.

Stop saying yes when God says no

I was watching a panel discussion this morning and all the panellists had come out of a gay lifestyle and are now Christians.  One of the questions to them was around the process of transition.  One panel member stated that it wasn’t until her Father passed away that she was able to change.  The reason being her Father and his new Partner were so accepting of her lifestyle, to the extent of fully embracing and celebrating their “Gay” daughter that she was able to turn to them at any stage for endorsement.  It wasn’t until they were no longer there that she was able to receive the “love and truth” being spoken to her by her Mother. Her Mother (a Christian) had always spoken to her in love and truth, telling her she was “wrong” about her choices and she now appreciates that fully for how it saved her.  Her Mother never condemned her, never stopped loving her but was always open and honest about what her lifestyle meant for her salvation.

So the question I pose to you is this, by being accepting (permissive) of friends and family in a gay lifestyle are you blocking the way for your loved one to change?  Are you basing your support on human rules or God’s rules?

  • Isaiah 29:13 – These people come near to me with their mouth and honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.
  • 1 Samuel 16:7 – But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’
  • Mark 8:36 – What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?

FLAWED

We are all more flawed and sinful than we could ever believe yet we are more loved and accepted than we ever dared hope, we all fall short of God’s glory whatever our story but what are you telling your gay sisters and brothers about sin.  God shows us quite clearly we were not called to fit in with secular culture, but the vultures keep circling when you speak about this carnal sin, it’s like we are being pressured to give in and deny the truth of the Bible, like being a disciple of God is OK so long as you say it’s OK to be gay, but today I urge you to think this through, what can you do to make a difference to convince others that forgiveness and grace are freely given but also be clear that if you want to get to heaven then you’ve got to get it together, we are valued, God loves us but here’s where it gets tough, love is not enough, let me talk about the eternal consequences of continuing on the path of disobedience; that is, death and separation from God.  And OK yes it’s hard to hear and I’m not judging, just loving, I’m not preaching, just reaching in with God’s wise words tempered with kindness, don’t become blind to the mess, stop saying yes when God says no, our God does not lie, he wants you, he want me, don’t be afraid to do the one thing that sets others free, encourage each other, build up your brother as you walk together, speak freely as family, you want them set free right?  You want them to see the light then don’t hide yours under a bushel, don’t go along with the majority because you’re too timid to speak out, don’t think you’re doing me a favour by condoning my behaviour, love me unconditionally but help set me free from the lies that surround me, speak in honesty, speak biblically, speak freely so that I can see that the place God has ordained for me in eternity can become reality with my church family surrounding me with truth tempered with love, no more permissiveness, less of the anything goes, more truth, remember to let God’s love show.

I want to expose the lies that you are believing

I have been drawn again to this passage: Malachi 2: 17 – You have wearied the Lord with your words. ‘How have we wearied him?’ you ask. By saying, ‘All who do evil are good in the eyes of the Lord, and he is pleased with them’ or ‘Where is the God of justice?’

I looked a bit more into this and found a commentary that said that God often postponed judgment to give us a better chance to repent and get straight with God.  Like it says in the Bible God wants us all to be saved and to him a day can be a thousand years and a thousand years can be like a day.  You may carry on sinning without immediate judgment or punishment from God but does that make it OK?  And does that therefore mean we as Christians are called to speak the truth in love to other Christians and not keep silent about the truth and if so how do we do that?

I suppose the biggest issue for me is balancing the “he who is without sin cast the first stone” with “speaking the truth in love”.  My passion is about helping gay people receive God’s forgiveness and mercy as I have.  That requires repentance and obedience to God as shown clearly in the Bible to turn away from that sinful behaviour.  But it’s not all about homosexuality, there are many more “sins” that are being openly committed by Christians without repentance, for example sex outside of marriage.  There’s also the issue of permissive teaching.  If our church leaders are not teaching Biblically then how can we support those in our churches who continue along this path but without really comprehending that it is not what God wants for their life?

I feel passionately about my role in speaking up and to see how we can help others to walk away from old lifestyles that are not pleasing to God (for more on helping people struggling with homosexuality you could take a look at my other blog https://transformedtotransform.wordpress.com/

SILENCE

SILENCE penetrating the air between us, deafening to me yet I want you to hear the silence, the words left unspoken, do you not hear them?  What is the value of my silence if it goes unnoticed?  I’m called by God to speak the truth in love, persistently trusting God to do the rest, but at best I struggle as I open my mouth the words don’t come out.  Doubt? No I don’t doubt God or his word and I want to expose the lies that you are believing, the way that you’re living is wearying God and it’s hard cos I don’t think I can cast the first stone yet I know that the further you drift from the truth the harder it will be for you, so here goes… I will speak the truth even if my voice shakes, can you handle the truth?  God calls us to be pure and holy, to turn from our way of living that to be frank is wearying him, watching as we live in sin, adultery, sexual immorality, homosexuality, pornography, speaking blasphemy, small sins, big sins, nothings out it’s all in, what are you bringing to this relationship, you can’t have your cake and eat it, call yourself Christian but fail to listen to what God tells you, fail to make changes to your lifestyle, living life freestyle, living a lie.  Are you mad at me for speaking the truth it’s just I believe we are called to live our truth out in the open, it’s not about my opinions it is God who holds dominion, and I am willing to put it out there cos the truth is I care and I want all to receive God fully, yes sin is hard to bring to an end, new leafs, well they’re hard to turn, but we don’t do it in our own strength, God will go to amazing lengths to give us the help we need to bring down the evil in our lives, when he sees sin he doesn’t see good, that’s what you might have misunderstood, just because you don’t see immediate action, a negative reaction from our God of judgement does not mean that he has relented and changed the content of the Bible.  As his disciple he wants you to break the hold that comes from indecision, from misguided opinions about relevance, lack of evidence that Jesus ever said that, he wants you to guard your heart for everything you do flows from it and he has promised to never leave you or forsake you but don’t be mistaken that’s part of a two way conversation, a covenant between you and God, he’s giving us a chance, delaying judgment so we can get our house in order, repent and prepare spiritually but you literally need to take time to decide whether the Bible’s going to be your guide, whether you’re going to believe it all or pick and choose and see how you fall, but I urge you to respond to his call to sit up and take notice of his amazing promise to all those who pick up their cross and follow

 

Take all desires that are not pure and kick their butts right out the door

My daily reading today is from Mark 7 and again underlines to me how important it is for our hearts to be right with God.  God looks at the inside of us, not the outside.  He sees our hearts, he knows our thoughts and our intentions.  I love that, because only then can the Holy Spirit work with us to put things right once we are convicted of our sins.

I also really like the references in Mark 7 to food not being able to make you unclean, contradicting the laws that the Pharisees still stuck to.  I know that today some people still use parts of Leviticus which relate to not eating certain foods (shellfish is often quoted) to mock God’s laws on homosexuality saying that the Bible clearly isn’t relevant in today’s world.  Well here it is, Jesus himself is telling us that nothing we eat can cause us to be unclean but clearly says that it is what comes from within us that makes us unclean, including a specific reference to sexual sins.

1 Samuel 16:7 – But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’

Mark 7:20-23 – He went on to say, “What comes out of people makes them ‘unclean.’ Evil thoughts come from the inside, from people’s hearts. So do sexual sins, stealing and murder. Adultery, greed, hate and cheating come from people’s hearts too. So do desires that are not pure, and wanting what belongs to others. And so do telling lies about others and being proud and being foolish. All those evil things come from inside a person. They make him ‘unclean.’ ” 

LOOK ON MY HEART

God looks on my heart as I look on faces, he traces every line, he sees me in the truest light and he seeks to put me right, he knows my heart, he knows my thoughts and after all I love the Lord so I open up the door and ask him in, convict me of each and every sin, work in me, set me free again, create in me a new heart, renew my Spirit, help me see what you see, a Princess dreamed up in your heart and placed in this world for a purpose, your daughter who is more than worth it, take the great big God dreams of my heart and set them apart for your glory, may my story be that I served tirelessly, I gave enthusiastically and I loved unconditionally, take my pride and foolishness replace it with humility and righteousness, take all desires that are not pure and kick their butts right out the door, may I carry a heart that never hates, a heart on fire for you, cleanse me of anything that causes you sadness and fill me with an incredible gladness.