Homosexuality & Other Issues

Draw Near

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As a longtime online religious forum contributor, I can honestly say I have witnessed a fair share of people state they reject Christ because of their opinions on homosexuality or abortion or some other other political issue. As a longtime church member, I can also say I have heard the true-life stories of a fair share of people stating they are homosexual or that they received abortions—yet they still committed their lives to Christ. It seems ironic that people would feel so strongly that they must defend someone else’s political rights that they themselves would reject their God and opportunity to obtain eternal life based on the “Christian view” of certain political issues. This is especially disturbing considering the fact that opinions of Christians vary so greatly. Today, I want to implore the strong-minded, Non-Christian political activists reading this blog to reconsider their rejection of Christ. I am not asking…

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God Created Us in His Image

This is something that has been on my mind a lot lately. I know I’m probably going to get a lot of flack for this, and maybe even lose some people in my life over it (I hope not!), but I feel like I just need to say it. Homosexuality IS a sin! That being said, I do not hate gay people. You know why? Because God doesn’t. God loves us all unconditionally. But, just because you love someone, it doesn’t mean that you have to agree with everything they do. We should not be too ashamed to tell people the truth of God’s word.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. – Romans 1:16 (KJV)

As Christians, we are all required to love one another as we love ourselves.

And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. – Matthew 22:39 (KJV)

We are all sinners who fall short of God’s glory, and every one of us is susceptible to sexual immorality. I don’t pretend to be innocent of sexual immorality. I still struggle with it. Before I was saved, I had been with both men and women alike. I had no idea what the spiritual ramifications were when I was doing those things because I didn’t have God in my life. I had pushed Him out. One of the things I’ve learned is that Jesus wants nothing but love and peace for us in our lives. To do that, and truly follow Jesus, we need to be truly repentant of the sins we commit and ask God for help and forgiveness.

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;  Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:  Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;  To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. -Romans 3:23-26 (KJV)

A lot of the current argument is about whether or not homosexuality is even mentioned in the bible. Yes, it is. The bible is constantly telling us that homosexuality is a sin. Here are some of the verses where it says homosexuality is a sin:

 And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;  And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant’s house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night.  And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat.  But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter:  And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.  And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him,  And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.  Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.  And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door.  But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door.  And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door.  And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place:  For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the Lord ; and the Lord hath sent us to destroy it. – Genesis 19:1-13

Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. -Leviticus 18:22

If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. – Leviticus 20:13

For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:  And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. – Romans 1:26-27

Romans 1:26-27 says that homosexuality is a result of denying God. When we push God out of our lives like that, He gives us over to more sinful ways. Not because He just gives up, but because God is a gentleman and does not want to force Himself on us. He wants us to come to Him and love Him willingly.

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,  Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. – 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

This verse states that all who are unrighteous (of any sin, not just homosexuality!) will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. God created man in His own image. That being said, he cannot create someone with homosexual tendancies. People become homosexuals because of sin.

Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:  Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.  For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:  And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. – Romans 1:24-27

After saying all this, there is no sin that is greater than another (except of course for blasphemy against the Holy Spirit). Sin is sin, period. And we are all susceptible to it. God’s forgiveness is just as available to homosexuals as it is for adulterers, idolators, murderers, etc. I realize that a lot of the verses are from the Old Testament, but whatever God has said, Jesus said also!

See Yourself As He Sees You

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A lot of people today have a tendency to compare themselves to others in an effort to seek the approval of others. There’s this huge misconception in the world of what confidence looks like. We’re taught that in order to be humble we have to downplay ourselves in such a way that ultimately tears ourselves down, whether we know it or not. What we fail to realize is that when we tear ourselves down, we are insulting God because He made us and He never makes any mistakes. The world tries to tell us what success and beauty is by its own standards. As Christ followers, we are called to not be of the world, even though we are in it.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. – Romans 12:2 (KJV)

The world will tell you that it’s just easier to give in to societal standards of beauty, success, etc., but what God has to offer us is so much better than what we could ever have planned for ourselves. He offers us a life of love, joy, peace, and compassion and, most importantly, an inheritance more vast and wondrous than we could ever imagine. God would never want us to compare ourselves to other because it really doesn’t help to bring any peace or joy to our lives if we’re constantly feeling like we don’t measure up. We need to realize that God created us as individuals with different strengths, weaknesses, dreams, personalities, purposes… because He has a different plan for each one of us and different ways of making those plans possible for us. If we feel like we’re being called to do something, but we don’t do it because of a lack of confidence, we are not obeying what God is telling us to do. We are showing a lack of faith in Him, even though we might not think that’s true at the time. If we’re not sure about what our purpose is, or how to go about fulfilling our purposes, we should always go to God with our concerns.

But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, “With man this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” – Matthew 19:26 (KJV)

I find that the reason that we compare ourselves to others is because we feel the need for their approval. We have been told since the day we were born what society and the world expects of us and how we should live our lives. But what about our eternal lives? How does seeking the approval of others before God help us get closer to Him? There is something liberating in knowing that God sees us as the wonderful, beautiful creatures that He created. God loves us all so very much, no matter what we’ve done or how we’ve lived our lives in the past, for in Christ we are made new. That, in itself, is extremely humbling and awesome!

Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things have come new. – 2 Corinthians 5:17

Please join me on my journey in trying to see ourselves as God sees us. Thank you, God, for loving us so much that You would send your only son to die for our sins so we don’t have to!

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Reason Enough

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This post is from the notes from the sermon at my church last Sunday. The topic was about giving our fears to God and was called “Reason Enough”.

A lot of people, even many Christians, try to solve their own problems instead of giving them up to God. I’ve been guilty of this more than once myself. I tried to do things on my own and it wasn’t until I was completely at my wit’s end before I gave my troubles up to the Lord. I seem to go back to my old way of thinking sometimes and forget that none of our problems are too big for God to handle. I forget that, no matter what I’ve done or what I’ve gone through, I will always be reason enough for God and so is everyone else on earth. When we give our problems to God, we can experience a peace like no other. I’ve learned that if we know God will take care of all of our needs (even the ones we don’t even think we need!), we have no reason to fear anything. When God is alive within us, we can get through anything that life throws at us.

1 Samuel 17:29King James Version (KJV)

29 And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause?

We are Jesus’ cause. Jesus died so that we can be free from death. Sin is death, and worry is sin. That being said, before we begin to worry, we should always go to God. He will always take care of us, we only need to ask and have faith in Him. The devil knows that this world is full of fear, and he will take advantage of that. We need to be able to stand for God, and not relent to the world. This world is being threatened by the spirit of fear. When we recognize the threat, we must know there is a cure- the good news of Jesus’ arrival! The cure The cure for the cause is to eliminate the threat. If anyone succumbs to the spirit of fear, the devil will dominate their life, causing eternal death for them.

Revelation 12:10King James Version (KJV)

10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

God’s people are full of fear and under the devil’s spell. Fear immobilizes. Fear is an idol. If we give in to our fear and don’t turn to Jesus, we are saying that our problems are too big for God, which isn’t true. We must deny ourselves of all idols, including fear, to follow Jesus.

We need to teach others not to fear as well. If we know someone who is lost, we should witness to them.

Romans 10:13King James Version (KJV)

13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

We preach, pay our tithes, serve in the church, get baptized… because we will always be reason enough for God.

Stewardship of Spiritual Gifts

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I don’t usually get very personal in my posts, just posting about the things I’ve learned in my journey as a Christian, but this lesson ties in pretty well with something that’s going on in my life right now. My fiance had been wanting to move to where I live so that we can be closer, but also for a long time he’s been wanting to play music for the church he’s been attending for the past four years or so. He was supposed to be moving to my town in a week, but yesterday he received an offer to play music for his church and they needed the spot to be filled immediately. That being said, he decided to stay in his town (which is over an hour away from where I live) and serve his church. I am so happy with his decision for many reasons… but the biggest one being that he will have a chance to serve his church, and thus be glorifying Christ. I really do think that music is his spiritual gift, and I’m so proud of him for deciding to use his gift in this way! That being said, I felt inspired to make this post today about the stewardship of spiritual gifts.

A good way to help any church is through the spirit of stewardship, which is led of course by the Holy Spirit. In Romans 12:3-5, Paul describes the church as a human body. Because the body is the sum of all its parts, if one part is suffering so does the whole body and we need to put the needs of one member of the body before our own. We are a part of something much bigger than ourselves, we are a part of the body of Christ and, because of that, we belong to one another.

3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:

5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

– Roman 12:3-5 (KJV)

Like the parts in our own body, we as members of the body of Christ each have our parts to play to help the body of Christ be functional. As stated before, if one part of the body suffers, so does the rest of the body. But if the members of the body of Christ function as they’re supposed to, we grow that much closer to God.

22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:

23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.

24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked.

25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. 1 Corinthians 12:22-26 (KJV)

Because we are of Christ’s body and each have a role to play with our spiritual gifts we can serve others and be a light to them to help them grow in their relationships with Jesus. If we serve others when they need us, without complaining, we could help many people come to Jesus not only by witnessing to them, but also by letting them see how we live our lives for Jesus (lead by example!).

My questions to you are these: What do you think your spiritual gifts are? How can you use them to serve your church and your community?

10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 1 Peter 4:10 (KJV)

Unity in the Church

I’m not sure how this topic started in my church’s small group tonight (I have the memory of a goldfish sometimes [okay, a lot of the time lol]), but the topic of discussion this week was unity in the church. I did a lot of thinking about it during and after our bible study ended, and I realized that a lot of people in church (not just my own but others too) don’t always see eye to eye on some things. When this happens, some churches will either change their services in some way, or having two services to accommodate to those with differing views or personal preferences. For example, if a church has members that would rather sing hymns rather than the more modern Christian contemporary music, they might end up having two different services and it essentially ends up becoming two different churches in one (this was an example provided by a friend of mine in the class). Something happens to where the church is no longer organized and the message gets confused because they’re preaching two different lessons or messages. There was a comparison in the group between this and protests that might take place at a college, or a work place, where they’re fighting for change. If everyone agrees on the cause and what should be done about the thing that needs changed and they’re all united and chanting the same thing and they’re organized, it can be a very powerful tool. But if they’re not organized, don’t know what to do or say, or even what their cause is really about, no one’s going to know what the real message is. This definitely goes for the church too!

 

 

I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgement. – 1 Corinthians 1:10

I know that I will probably get a lot of flack for this point of view, but I think this also talks about all the denominations that teach different messages too. There are some denominations (not all) that teach that in order to be saved through Christ you have to do a lot of good deeds. While it’s great to do good deeds and very much encouraged, the only way to really be saved is by God’s grace, not by your good works. But what happens when a person hears both messages from two different people? They’re going to be confused, especially if they’re not a Christian to begin with. It’s important for us all to have this same message to create less confusion, and steer more people to God’s grace and to get to know Him and love Him and come away from their sin as much as they can in order to have a better relationship with Jesus, not through works but through his grace and forgiveness. Let me reiterate that good works are strongly encouraged! But good works alone cannot save you. You have to have faith in Jesus as well.

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. – James 2:14-17 (ESV)

When a church forgets about this message, its teaching becomes broken and ineffective. This is why we, as followers of Christ and as the body of the church, need to be united in our message. We need to be clear on what God wants for us, so that others who either don’t believe or are new to Christianity don’t become confused and stray farther from God. I apologize for the tangent on works-based faith, but that seems to be the most prominent thing that stuck out in my head as I was thinking of an example of what messages seem to be contradicted within the denominations. I will expound on my views about that in another post. At any rate, I hope that one day Christians can become united in their message so the message of God’s love and grace can be a more powerful message, instead of a confusing one.