Fear of God (cont.)

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As I mentioned in the previous post, we are commanded to fear God. (You may want to read it for better understanding, as I am not going to repeat everything.)  The Biblical meaning of fearing God, as a Christian, is to revere and respect God, to have an overwhelming sense of awe of God and His greatness.  When we consider who God is and what great things He has done, we stand in awe of Him.  Certainly, if He created the universe with a word, He can help us in our change process to be men and women of God.  With God, all things are possible.  If we comprehend but a little of who He is and what He has done and what He will do, especially for us personally, our natural response should be to fear God.  Fearing God enriches our lives and keeps us from sinning.  And I believe fearing God and loving God go together.  

The fear of God and the love of God draw us near to Him.  As we spend time with Him, study His Word and apply it to our lives, we become more and more like Him.  We grow to love as He loves and to hate what He hates.  What does He love? Well, for one, His Word! And what does He hate?  Sin!  “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil” (Pro. 8:13).  Therefore, a Christian should not be living a life of habitual sin.  Through my ministry, I often hear of those who identify as homosexual, but also identify themselves as Christian!  How can this be?  If you, reader, are such a person, “do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil” (Proverbs 3:7).  You say you love God?  Jesus tells us in John 14, if we love Him we will keep His commandments.

As Christians, I really believe our motivation to do God’s will and make changes that are very difficult and deep-seeded, our main motivation must be the fear of God.  For example, when we understand His greatness, certainly we can believe He will heal us from same-sex attractions and a homosexual identity we have acquired, even though it will take some time.  When we respect Him as God, our Father who knows best, we can and will persevere.

If you say you are a Christian, and you can live a lifestyle of habitual sin or continually fall in and out of sin, (and this doesn’t bother you!) it’s my opinion that you certainly don’t fear God.  And I wonder if you really love God above all things, even yourself.  If you don’t really fear or love God so as to turn from sinful behavior, then my question to you is are you really a Christian.  This I know to be true; God knows your heart.

Perhaps you are reading this and you know flat out, you are not a Christian.  You have not been born again; and you have heard the gospel but continue to reject it in its entirety (perhaps you believe in God but don’t believe sin is really an issue to keep you out of heaven; or you don’t belief God’s Word when it says homosexuality or any other sinful lifestyle is sin), here is a verse I’d like you to consider.  “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”  (Hebrew 10:31)  And Jesus said “…Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!”  (Luke 12:5)  This is a fear of God I’m glad I don’t have to worry about it.  What about you? 

Before I conclude this post, let’s look at fearing God from one other person’s perspective.  Solomon with all his wisdom found this life without God to be vanity of vanities… emptiness.  As he pondered this life before the grave, his conclusion was “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all.”  (Ecclesiastes 12:13)  Humans are spiritual and moral beings who find their fulfillment in God’s teachings that lead to a loving relationship with Him, our all in all!  Ask yourself, do you want it all?  Boy, I sure do! 

I believe and have experienced in my own life, the Bible is true… all of it.  When it says fearing God can keep you from sin, there’s no debate.  Submit to God; allow Him to work in your life.  You must take the steps to depart from evil and sin, separate yourself unto God and He will enable you!  He did it in my life.  He can do it in yours.  Christians definitely can and should live a holy life, free from bondage to sin.  Fear Him! Love Him! Live for Him!!!!!!!

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Fear of God

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Happy New Year!!!  Yes, I know, it’s almost March!  I’ve been slow getting back to posting what’s on my heart.  For the past several months, I have had this important spiritual topic on my mind.  I’ve spent much time in my Bible looking at what God has to say about this topic.  When I hear about those who say they have given their heart to Jesus and been born again, but are struggling to come out of homosexuality… or just don’t want to come out and be changed, I believe a major reason they are not motivated to do so is because they do not “fear God”.  I’m talking about the person who is a Christian, but still lives in bondage to habitual sin, like homosexuality.  (But it could be any habitual sin!) 

 Is an understanding of fearing God really that important?  There are more than 120 direct references to “fearing God” in the Old and New Testaments.  Now any Bible study student knows that a topic that is frequently addressed in God’s Word is important!  It’s definitely something our Father wants us to know and understand and apply to our lives.  Also, throughout the Scriptures, we can evaluate Biblical characters by their “fear of God”.  When they are walking in obedience, you can assume that the fear of the Lord is present.  When they fail in their walk, the fear of God is absent.  How can I be so sure?  Because of those 120+ verses that you, too, can check out as a good Berean!

 What is a good biblical definition of the fear of the Lord?  A word study shows it is the sort of reverence and respect of God that results in obedience to His Word  (Psalm 111:10).  By contrast, the sinner or wicked have no fear of God (Psalm 36:1).  Fearing God enriches our lives and keeps us from sin.  One of the best examples in the Bible of a man who feared God is Job.  He was blameless, upright, feared God and turned away from evil (Job 1).  Notice the connection between fearing God and turning from evil.

Fear of God is important in the life of a believer… it is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom (Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 9:10) needed to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.  I believe our motivation to change and be who God wants us to be is a two-sided coinGod’s love is the first side (and we talk about this quite a bit) and fearing God is the flip side.  Why then don’t we often talk about fearing God?  Why don’t we hear more teaching on fearing God?  Why aren’t more books written on the topic of fearing God?  Or maybe I’m just missing all these talks, messages and books!

If you or someone you know is a Christian but continues to struggle with habitual sin, like homosexuality, the question must to be asked, do you fear God?  Take some time to study what the Bible has to say about “fearing God”.  Allow the Holy Spirit an opportunity to teach you concerning the importance of “fearing God”.  In a few weeks, we can get back together when I post Part 2.  You can start your study with the verse below.  This is a topic God wants us to understand and apply to our lives and be able to help others understand so they can apply it to their lives!  Ok, time to enjoy this important search through the Scriptures!

“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil.”  Proverbs 3:7  (Proverbs 8:13; 16:16)

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God Sent Us a Savior

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This morning, I was enjoying the warmth of my fireplace, gazing at my beautiful Christmas tree and reflecting on that “first Christmas”.  “For unto us was (past) born that day a Savior which is (present) Christ the Lord”.  (Luke 2:11 KJV)

God came to earth as a baby to fulfill the long awaited promise of a Savior.  30+ years after His birth, Jesus willingly laid down His life for us.  While I have some great ornaments on my tree, He was the most precious “thing” to ever hang on a tree.  His tree wasn’t beautiful & glitzy like mine; but barren and hideous.  On that ugly tree of death, the tree or cross of Calvary, the Lamb of God died to take away my sin and your sin.  What love!!  “This is how we know what love is:  Jesus Christ laid down His life for us.”  (1John 3:16)

That gift of the “first Christmas”, Jesus, continues to be THE gift of every Christmas.  It is a gift that keeps on giving, if a person will believe and receive it, because the God of hope then fills us with all joy and peace in believing (Romans 15:13a)…

God knew what we needed more than anything else.  In one of the cards I received, Roy Lessin puts it this way:  “If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator.  If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist.  If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist.  If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer.  But our greated need was forgiveness, so God sent us a Savior.”  Thank you, God!

Take time to adore Him… seek Him… thank Him… and be refreshed as you ponder the true meaning of Christmas.  May you see and know anew how great His love is toward you.  Merry Christmas everyone!

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The Things I Learned

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Recently I was reading Philippians 4, when the following verse I have read many times, really stood out:  “The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things; and the God of peace shall be with you.”  (Philippians 4: 10, NAS, emphasis mine.) 

I thought, wow, Paul found it important to share with the Philippians the things he had personally learned and received from the Lord.  He shared with them by his words and actions; and he tells them to continually practice those things.  As I thought on this, in the quietness of my own heart, God said, “Ruth, that’s the purpose of your book, Love Flowed Down…It Was For Me.”  After thinking on it for awhile, I  responded,  “You’re right, Lord, it is.”  The book testifies of those things I learned from God through His Word and received by faith, which helped me come out of bondage to the homosexual lifestyle and be truly changed.   The things I learned and put into practice were wisdom from God.  When wisdom entered my heart, I learned to discern the fear of the LORD, righteousness,  justice, and every good course.  The knowledge I gained was pleasant to my soul.  All facets of this wisdom delivered me from the way of evil.  (Read Proverbs 2: 5-12a NAS)  Blessed indeed is the person who finds wisdom and gains understanding.  All the paths of God’s wisdom are peace.  (Proverbs 3: 13, 17 NAS)  So, I, too,  can assure you, when you do these things, the God of peace will be with you every step of the way.  I am not unique!  Thousands of others have come out of homosexuality through Jesus Christ.  It’s not always easy, but if you trust God and lean not on your own understanding and acknowledge Him in all your ways, He will be your strength through the process.  (Proverbs 3: 5-6)

 From listening to people share their hearts, I know strugglers think they can’t change.  Many Christians don’t know how to speak the truth in love, or at least, they think they don’t know how.  In Love Flowed Down… I share my testimony and the things I learned through the change process that can help both these groups.  Both groups have many questions that are answered in the book.  (Dear Christian, it is hugely important for those seeking to come out of homosexuality to find fellowship with believers or chances are they will not be successful!)  But here’s something I did not expect.  In receiving feedback from those who have read the book, the 2 most frequent comments are, “God ministered to me about such and such, which has nothing to do with homosexuality” and “the things you learned would help people come out of bondage to any sinful lifestyles”. So, whomever you are reading this post, as the apostle Paul exhorted the Philippians to practice these things, I exhort you to get the book so you can gain understanding of the lifestyle and practice the things I learned and/or use them to help others. 

Use this link: http://www.bridgeofhopeministry.com/resources.htm.    It will take you to the resource page of the Bridge of Hope Ministry website, where you can purchase the book at Amazon.com, by clicking on the link provided.  Or, there is now another option, as God has put it on my heart to do something new.  Make the book available through the ministry website at a special rate with free shipping.  So, check it out, will you? 

May God use Bridge of Hope Ministry (BOHM) and my testimony book to bring Him the praise, glory and honor that He deserves.  Truly, our God is an awesome God!  Through the life of Jesus in us, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we can be who God created us to be.  It doesn’t get any better than that!

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My Heart

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Greetings, dear blogger, to Bridge of Hope Ministry’s blog.  If you are new to this blog, please do check out the “about” link and the past posts.  If you have been here before, welcome back!  This post will be a time out from the logical progression of the past posts, and more about just sharing my heart.  So, get ready for some open and honest “ramblings” of MY heart concerning the need for Christians and for churches to better minister to those struggling with same-sex attractions/feelings and those seeking change.

  • I continually hope and pray others will find Jesus and His very personal love for them.
  • I so desire for others to find, in Jesus, the same hope and healing from the bondage of homosexuality that I have found.  I’m not unique; it is available for anyone willing to do things God’s way!
  • I have such a burden for people to understand there is hope for those struggling with same-sex desires and THEY CAN MINISTER in this area.
  • Through various ministry opportunities I continue to find a huge need for ministry in this area.
  • I’m burdened by the media’s “marketing” of homosexuality as a wonderful alternative lifestyle.
  • I’m grieved that so many in the church are affected by this “marketing” of evil, a tactic straight from the devil.
  • I feel such compassion for the broken-hearted spouse, parent or friend of a homosexual, who shares their tears and heart with me.
  • I feel frustrated when it takes more than a 5 minute answer from me to help a person who has questions about how to minister in this area… and I can only try to leave them with the hope of help and the encouragement to read my book as a good place to start or check out other resources on my ministry website.
  • I feel frustration that more churches aren’t seeing the need for ministry to equip those who desire to minister to those they know and love who are gay.
  • How blessed I was recently when a pastor told me they are going to have everyone in their church read my book, Love Flowed Down… It Was For Me!  I was blessed not because they were going to read my book, but because he saw the need for equipping all those in his church.  Praise the Lord!
  • I am grieved everytime I read or hear of another church or denomination accepting homosexuality as a God-given alternative lifestyle and defending this decsion by twisting or ignoring or explaining away God’s Word, keeping many in bondage to this lifestyle.
  • I’m grieved as I think of those who will die in bondage to homosexuality; never having real faith in Jesus… knowing the condemnation and, yes, judgment they will face.
  • I am also hopeful that many will be changed because I know my God (and I hope, your God) is compassionate and longsuffering; seeking to do everything He can to draw people to Himself.
  • I pray Christians will understand.  The strugglers did not choose the very real same-sex attractions and feelings that do not immediately go away even if they are born again.  These developed.  So,  the struggler eventually chooses to live the lifestyle.  Knowledge and understanding of this issue is very important and it is not found in the Bible.   
  • I pray many will find real peace and hope for their lives, just as I have, because I can truly say, “My hope comes from Him” (Psalm 62:5).    
  • I pray continually that churches will be a place of speaking the truth in love AND of equipping the saints for ministry in this area.
  • I hope churches understand, fellowship with other Christians is HUGELY important for strugglers seeking change and healing. 
  • It is my extreme hope that it is the heart of every true Christian bible-teaching church and every believer sitting in those churches to minister in this area.  Click on this link for a short video that I have posted previously; but it is a great example of the heart I’m talking about from a pastor whose church has a ministry for the homosexual seeking change.   http://vimeo.com/5280229   

Well, enough of my ramblings.  I think you get the picture where my heart is at, whatever that’s worth to you.  What’s God speaking to your heart!  I do thank you for visiting and I pray you’ll come back again!  Please note, you can subscribe to RSS news feed.  Blessings to all!

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Biblical Love and Knowledge a Must

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We’ve been looking at the necessity of speaking the truth in love and what that really entails.  I hope you read the last post and watched Pastor Bob’s five minute video.  As Christians, may our hearts be the same as his and may our churches deal with the issue through biblical love as his does.  May we be ready to help anyone who comes to us struggling and not liking the lifestyle and wondering if there is a chance they can change.  Our answer must be yes, yes, yes!  But we then must have the knowledge necessary to give biblical advice and direction.  There are thousands of us who had identified ourselves as homosexual, but by the grace of God were able to move forward to real change and healing.

Please keep in mind that as the world is preaching more and more that homosexuality is normal and simply an alternative lifestyle… God is brokenhearted about it.  Doesn’t God love the homosexual?  Yes, He does, but it’s not what He has for them. We must be careful not to let our sympathy and compassion for those caught-up in the lifestyle or for those who have been struggling for years with same-sex attractions/feelings, to take us away from the truth of our faith.  Nor should our sympathy for the struggler cause us to doubt whether they can change; and due to lack of knowledge, remain clueless how to respond to their claims. 

Not all homosexuals that you come in contact with are going to be seeking change and might be quite ugly at any mention of change.  They will defend their lifestyle with a passion.  They may tell you, they have known they were gay since they were 4 years old… that they’ve never had attractions for the opposite-sex.  They asked Jesus into their life, but continued to struggle with same-sex attractions for years.  Now they believe God loves them and they don’t need to change… because Jesus never taught it was wrong in the Gospels.  They have the gay theology down pat.  Would you know how to refute their twisting of certain scriptures.   Perhaps you declare “you were not born homosexual… you chose to be homosexual” and they respond, “that’s not true; I’ve always struggled with these unwanted same-sex attractions/feelings; I didn’t choose them; so I finally came to grips with who I am… to try and change the homosexual is wrong and harmful!”

As I minister to other Christians, I find that many feel inadequate to minister in this area.  Why?  Because the Bible alone does not give them all the knowledge that is needed to answer all the questions and remarks thrown at them from a struggler or someone defending their lifestyle.  Also, they have never personally known someone who God has changed.  As I end this post, may I ask an important question?  Are you willing to prepare yourself to minister in this area? 

You need not feel inadequate.  Check out the resource page of my website www.bridgeofhopeministry.com for help; you’ll find a link for my book, Love Flowed Down, that you’ll find very helpful as I share my testimony and what I learned that helped me come out and be changed.  I’ve listed other ministries and books that can prepare you.  Biblically based help is available for individuals and churches.  How’s your heart?  Are you willing to gain the knowledge necessary to minister the truth to someone you know and love who is homosexual?  Or to be prepared for the struggler God may soon bring into your life.  I pray you are!

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Loving vs. Unloving

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Christians often hear and speak the phrase, “speak the truth in love”.  The Bible calls for a balance between what many people think are two opposing reactions – condemnation and compassion.  The truth is that they are both essentials of Biblical love.  When we interact with strugglers and their sympathizers, whether Christian or non-Christians, we must affirm what the Bible says about homosexuality; it is sin.  But as we share the truth, we show compassion for and love to the struggler. We hope for conviction, so they will turn from sin and embrace the hope of salvation through Jesus Christ. 

I am so grateful the person who witnessed to me used Biblical love, as she told me my lifestyle was wrong and yet showed me compassion and love.  To close out this post, I’ve included a short video clip by Pastor Bob Coy of Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale that illustrates “speaking the truth in love”.  It’s really a heart issue.  What is your heart speaking to you?  Will it please God? 

http://vimeo.com/5280229

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Looking For Truth

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 Is all homosexual behavior wrong; or is it just promiscuous relationships without love and commitment?  Is it an acceptable option for a Christian? Here is a quote from a man who was seeking answers to these questions.

“I faced this question about the biblical perspective on homosexuality.  As an eighteen-year-old college freshman, I discovered an impressive array of books on homosexuality at the university library… As I read page after page of arguments justifying same-sex practices, my mind wanted so much to believe the words I was reading.  If only I could really embrace this viewpoint, I thought, all of the conflict I feel inside would be resolved.”

But, as hard as I tried to block it out, a stronger conviction refused to budge from my conscience:  This book is wrong.  These arguments are wrong.  Homosexuality is wrong!

Tears of frustration came to my eyes as I realized that, no matter how much time I spent reading why homosexuality was an acceptable option for the Christian, I would never be able to believe it.  I knew too much about the biblical stand on sex outside of marriage.  Whether sex occurred between an unmarried man and woman or between two same-sex partners, the activity would always be fornication or adultery.  No amount of justification or argument would change God’s standard.

So, I had a clear choice to make:  Would I obey God’s Word, or seek to reinterpret it in order to fulfill my sexual desires?”  (This quote is taken from “Coming Out of Homosexuality” by Davies and Rentzel, p. 21.)

My question to you, is what do you think?

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Change You Can Believe In

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We’ve been hearing a lot lately about change… change you can believe in.  In my previous post, I shared that the love of Jesus changed my life.  Actually, there are thousands of men and women like me, who were homosexual and are now heterosexual.  These testimonies are real and powerful and they, like me, would not hesitate to tell you that through Jesus, they have experienced change you can believe in.  Jesus must be your Lord and Savior, which means allowing Him to take control of your life.  I wanted Jesus to take control of my life; I had only made a mess of it.  All of us who have experienced this change, know it is a process that you go through with the enabling power of the Holy Spirit.

Now, you may be thinking I have read or have heard that trying to change a homosexual or a person struggling with same-sex attractions is harmful to the individual.  Or perhaps you’ve heard that it doesn’t really work.  There is a marketing of homosexuality that is being sold to us through various media outlets by those who have an agenda of deception and people continue to fall for their deception.  It doesn’t matter that thousands of us have experienced this real change.  Many people are not even aware of that reality.  And please understand; it isn’t hateful to talk about change or desire change for the homosexual.  It’s quite the opposite; it is for love that I (and others who have come out of homosexuality), want it known that true change is possible.  Many homosexuals at one time or another are not happy and deeply unsatisfied living the lifestyle; but they think they have no choice.  These are the people I call strugglers.  I want any struggler of same-sex attractions to know that they have a choice, just as I did!

So, how did I, when I was a struggler, begin the change process?  First, I understood I was a sinner and needed a Savior to bridge the gap between a holy God and sinful me.  By faith, I believed that Jesus died for my sin, and I repented of my sin and asked Jesus to take control of my life.  This is the most important step for real change, but it can also be the biggest roadblock for many.  Why?  They want God but not Jesus.  Here’s the truth.  John 14:1 says “believe in God; believe also in Me”.  You can only come into a personal relationship with God through Jesus.  The next important step in change, is to take God at His Word (the Bible).  That means I had to agree with God that homosexuality is wrong.  I didn’t let the same-sex attractions cause me to stumble when they didn’t go away for a few years.  After Paul listed homosexuality with other lifestyle sins, he declares, and “such were some of you”.  (1 Cor. 6:9-11)  Paul was confirming change had taken place in some homosexuals lives.  I remember how excited I was when the truth of that verse first hit home in my thinking.  The last key thing I learned early on that I must do throughout the change process… and really until I get to heaven, is I must walk by the Spirit and I will not fulfill the lusts or desires of the flesh (my natual lusts or desires).  This was essential so as not to act upon the same-sex attractions until they were gone.  I wanted to please God and I knew that in His time, He would heal me… and He did.  As early as possible, it is helpful to get an understanding of the underlying unmet needs and emotional issues in your life that lead to same-sex attractions developing, so you can give it all to God for healing. 

Are you seeking change or seeking the truth about change to help a struggler.  Please understand that change you can believe in, comes from a Person rather than a method.  When you surrender your life to Jesus and pursue knowing and loving Him, the process of change will begin and will be completed.  You can be confident that He who begins a good work in you, will be faithful to complete it!  (Philippians 1:6)

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