White As Snow

As I write this blog post, Christmas is just 20 days away. The holiday season brings so many demands for our time and attention, doesn’t it? It should be a time of celebrating and considering Jesus’ birth and it’s ramifications for the world. I urge you to take time each day to intentionally contemplate the wonders of His birth. If you take your eyes off the true “reason for the season”, due to the craziness of the season, you will end up experiencing a Christmas that leaves us spiritually bankrupt! It’s my hope, Lord willing, to share a few personal contemplations of this Christmas season with you, praying God will use them to bless you, my Bridge of Hope Ministry friends… as well as those with whom you may share these posts.

I begin with some thoughts from a few days ago! Where I live, for many of us, it just doesn’t seem like Christmas without snow on the ground. We continue to have above IMG_3125average temperatures; therefore, we have no snow on the ground. But a few days ago, I got up in the morning to find just enough pure white snow had fallen to cover the ground, trees, and so on! It was absolutely beautiful!  (This picture doesn’t do it justice!)   As I sat looking out on the seasonal beauty of God’s creation, I thought of how it reflects Him. The Bible tells us He not only reveals Himself in His Word, but in His creation.  (Psalm 19:1-5) I began to thank God for the beauty of the pure white snow and how it reflected Him… His glory, His holiness, His righteousness and so much more.

As I continued to look at this beautiful, white covering, I thought of how brown, grey, dirty and ugly this same scene had been yesterday. What a change! Then, an old Maranatha song, White  As Snow, popped into my head… and I began to sing it, meditating on the words that reflect the truths of Isaiah 1:18. I immediately decided to find it on a YouTube video (click here) and I played the beautiful video several times, singing with the singers in heartfelt worship.

“White as snow, white as snow,

Though my sins were as scarlet.

Lord, I know, Lord, I know,

That I’m clean and forgiven.

Through the power of Your blood,

Through the wonder of Your love,

Through faith in You, I know that I can be white as snow!”

When I was first saved, this song so moved me whenever we sang it in church. And we sang it often! In all honesty, it still moves me today. Our first pure white accumulating snowfall of the year, always reminds me of the truths found in this song.

This month, that baby in the manger that we celebrate, came to die, the perfect sacrifice for my sin (and your sin). His blood sacrifice covers my dirty, ugly sin (past, present & future) and makes me white as snow, in God’s eyes! Amazing! Oh, the power of His blood and the wonder of His love that He would do that for me. Through faith in Him (not works), I know that I can be white as snow. How about you?

Do yourselves a favor and watch this beautiful video… more than once. When the singers finally begin to sing, join in with them… with a grateful heart engaged.  May the beauty of this video reflect the glory of the Lord in your heart. Let the truth of this song go deep. Pray! Ask God to take you to new depths of understanding and intimacy as you explore the wonder of Christmas this month. As a child of God, let this be your gift to your heavenly Father; time alone with Him, appreciating and giving thanks for “His indescribable gift”. (2 Corinthians 9: 15)

Evangelize… Don’t Moralize! Part 2

The unbelieving homosexual, no matter what they believe about homosexuality, is a sinner and needs Jesus! In my case, after I was lead to tell my new Christian friend, Jill, I had been leading a lesbian lifestyle for many years, let’s remember how she spoke the truth in love. She responded by telling me that it’s wrong because the Bible says it is. And she balanced it out with “but God love’s you and I love you… that is something you need to take to God.” It was a word fitly spoken (Pro. 15:2; 15:23b). Had she been in my face that it is an abomination… or had she begun to espouse her beliefs that it is unnatural, harmful, and destructive to civilization, all of which may be true, it would not have gone well with me. All those answers are to a certain degree subjective. They can be and will be dismissed as just your opinion. Because Jill didn’t do that, and she humbly and lovingly pointed me to the Lord and His truth; no defensiveness surfaced on my part, and I didn’t feel or sense any condemnation.

The important truth we want to remember here is that homosexuality is wrong is because God, who gave us our sexual capacities, simply said so in His Word! When we present the case in that light, we remove our personal opinions and experiences from the argument, thus bringing the person face to face with God Himself and the truth of His Word. This was my situation. Jill knew I believed in God, but I was not born again and she sensed I was opening up to spiritual things. She looked for an opportunity to be a minister of reconciliation, sharing the gospel of peace with me. That opportunity came the next day!

So, if God gives you an opportunity to minister to a person struggling with homosexuality, keep it simple and focused, praying for an open door to share the gospel. Be patient and let the Holy Spirit work, but don’t moralize by overemphasizing the sinfulness of homosexuality. In the New Testament, homosexual behavior is not singled out as more sinful than adultery, fornication, idolatry, blaspheme, greed, hatred, or any other specific sins. Paul consistently placed homosexual behavior right alongside a variety of other sins (see Rom 1:29-31; 1Cor 6:9-10; 1Tim 1:9-10). Neither should we single it out as the worst of sins. One reason they didn’t single it out was because homosexual sex was as common in the Roman world as it is becoming in ours. That has not been the case with us until recently, so we have tended to overreact to homosexuality more than to other sins. And, some have thought that Paul identified homosexual sin as more sinful in the first chapter of Romans, but I agree with most good Bible teachers, that that is not the case. In verses 26-32, Paul is using homosexual behavior to illustrate the inevitable moral insanity and sexual perversity that follows when people, nations, cultures, and civilizations reject the true and living God. We’re seeing the fruit of turning away from God and doing our own thing in our country, are we not? All unrighteousness is sin!

Once I was born again, then I dealt with the homosexual issue. I thought, ok, I’m a sinner… I’m saved… but is homosexuality really sin? With the indwelling Holy Spirit and the Word of God I was convicted that it was a sinful lifestyle. If I had a problem with that, I would have had to wrestle with God about it. I’m a firm believer that conviction over specific sins is better left to the Holy Spirit. God doesn’t clean us up and then save us. He saves us and then begins His “open heart surgery”… changing us from the inside out. Remember, specific sins are fruit of the root problem: all men and women sinners, who are dead in our trespasses and sins. The only remedy is the salvation that comes through personal faith in Jesus Christ.

In closing, it’s time to get back to the important question. How did I come out of homosexuality? First I received the gospel message, became a new creation in Christ, truly born again, a sinner saved by grace! Praise the Lord! And, very soon after I was born again, I agreed with God that according to the Bible, homosexuality is a sin. I could not and would not lead that lifestyle any longer. Is that it, you ask? No, there were some struggles to overcome. But I was so grateful for my salvation. I loved Jesus much more than the homosexual lifestyle. I allowed Him to be the Lord of my life, and by His amazing grace He opened up His storehouse of blessings that canceled the past, equipped me to deal the struggles of coming out of homosexuality and secured my future! Again, I say, praise the Lord. Stay tuned… more to come!

Prayer thought: Precious Lord, give us the heart of a minister of reconciliation and the opportunity to share the gospel of peace to a hurting world!

Related source:  (Speaking the Truth) In Love  (standupforthetruth.com)


Fear of God (cont.)

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!!!!!!!

God Sent Us a Savior

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!

Loving vs. Unloving

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

God’s Personal Love

In 1986, the woman I was with broke up with me and it started me on a downward spiral into the pit.  By the summer of 1988, I was almost in the pit of despair.  As the saying goes, I didn’t know if I was “on foot or horse-back”.  I could not find relationships that made me happy, that met my needs.  I almost had an affair with a man while I was having a physical relationship with a woman who I really did not like very much.  I had a huge void deep inside that needed to be filled!  I was back living the double life (as I had in the years before I began living my 15 year lesbian lifestyle).  I had no peace in my life.  Simply put, I was a mess.  But this turned out to be a very good thing because God finally had me in a place where He could work in my life.

A young woman shared the gospel with me, and the love of Jesus changed my life.  My new life started when I received Jesus into my life (John 1: 12) and consciously repented of my sin.  And this is the important thing I want you to understand in this post.  From the very beginning, the true motivation for me to walk by the power of the Spirit, and not by the desires of my fleshly feelings and attractions, has been God’s love for me.  I understood He loved me when I was doing my own thing.  I was so grateful and felt I was forgiven much.  His love was manifested by His death on the cross for me, personally!

His personal love for me made a huge difference in my life.  Right from the very beginning, it was my desire to worship Him and live my life for Him.  This kind of love I could not find in any homosexual relationship, nor in any earthly relationship, period!  No other relationship could heal my soul.  No other relationship could give me the deep inner-peace I received when I was born again.  Even with the same-sex feelings and attractions hanging around for a few years, and the need for God to heal me of my tendency toward emotional dependence on another person, I wanted and needed Jesus more than my old life!  It was immediately the desire of my heart to flee the old lyfestyle and like Mary Magdalene pursue following Jesus!  Have I walked a perfect walk with Jesus the past 20 years.  Absolutely not… but love has always been the motivation to get back on track.

Is God truly personal to you?  If you have never accepted the love of Calvary into your heart, He cannot be personal to you.  Only when we, sinful men and women, personally receieve the love of God poured down at Calvary can we say… it was for me! 

(Much of this post is from my book, Love Flowed Down… it was for me.  Pages 24-25, 59-60.)