Thursday, May 12, 2011

P.S. Today...

I graduate :-)

In Summary (the non-exhaustive version of my previous post):

Based on what I've seen the Bible says in regards to homosexuality, it is a sin to give in to those desires. For some people, those desires may be more difficult to fight; however, some people also struggle with desires to have sexual relations with more than one person (their spouse), but just because those ideas have been cultivated in their minds doesn't mean that is right or okay for them to give in to those desires. It's just like the temptation to lie or murder or dishonor; different people struggle with different sins. The word God used to describe homosexuality is "abominable," which is obviously not good :P Haha. Of course, I'm just as disgusted by the opposite view that homosexuals are somehow worse than other people because that's the sin they engage in. In God's eyes, sin is sin. He waits eagerly for us to turn away from our sinful desires, to walk in His ways, and to hold us, regardless of what we've done or who people think we are. I don't see homosexuals; I see people who engage in homosexuality. Just as I don't see murderers; I see people who murder. Or liars; I just see people who lie, etc. because someone isn't defined by what they've done. It is, indeed, difficult to find actual, selfless love in this broken world we live in, but again, the circumstances shouldn't change our outlook.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Presbyterians Clear Way For Gay Clergy

I've seen a lot of commentary today, some approval and some disapproval, about this movement. Unfortunately, most people seem to either (a) hate homosexuals and deny the unconditional love of Jesus, or (b) accept homosexual behavior. Neither are biblical.

"Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God."
~1 Corinthians 6:9-11, NASB

Point #1: homosexuals (and other sinfully behaved people) will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Point #2: you were just as sinful in your former state of being, yet you are saved by the washing, sanctification, and justification of Christ. [so don't be a Pharisee and think yourself to be better than others].

"But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching,
according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I [Paul] have been entrusted."
~1 Timothy 1:8-11, NASB

"You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination..... Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled.... But as for you, you are to keep My statutes and My judgments and shall not do any of these abominations, neither the native, nor the alien who sojourns among you.... Thus you are to keep My charge, that you do not practice any of the abominable customs which have been practiced before you, so as not to defile yourselves with them;I am the LORD your God.'"
~Leviticus 18:22, 24, 30, NASB

Point #3: homosexuality is, indeed, a sin, and that is why the Law was written, that they and other sinners may learn what is sound teaching [the Bible, God's Holy Word].

So who is a sinner?

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..."
~Romans 3:23, NASB

Who, then, can be saved?

"...being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus."
~Romans 3:24-26, NASB

Point #4: The one who puts his faith, his hope, his love in Jesus...this man can be saved. But by the grace of God, and not the works of men.

"When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, 'Then who can be saved?' And looking at them Jesus said to them, 'With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'"
~Matthew 19:25-26, NASB

"Where then is boasting? It is excluded By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles [if you're not a Jew, you're a Gentile] also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one."
~Romans 3:27-30, NASB

And since God has given us the grace of His salvation, does that give us the right to purposely sin against Him?

"Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law."
~Romans 3:31, NASB

"If you love Me, you will keep My commandments."
~John 14:15, NASB

"He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him."
~John 14:21, NASB

Point #5: you cannot ignore God's commandments and still love Him.

Well, can I just believe in God and be saved, anyway?

"Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. But someone may well say, 'You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.' You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?"
~James 2:17-20, NASB, emphasis added.

Point #6: if we truly love God, we will obey His commandments, and through our faith we will do good works. Our faith allows us to receive salvation; our works prove our salvation [thus, justifying our salvation].

Point #7: it is not enough to believe in God; we must also strive to obey His commandments, and by doing so, we prove our love to God.

"You see that faith was working with his [Abraham, being used as an example to prove a point] works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected.... You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.... For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead."
~James 2:22, 24, 26, NASB

"I [Jesus] am the true vine, and My Father [God] is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.... My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples."
~John 15:1-7, 8, NASB

So what's the point?

Point #8: If someone is clearly disobeying the Word of God through sin and not even attempting to attain holiness, then his fruit is bad, and he will be cut off.

Point #9: You can not only be partially a Christ-follower. It's all or nothing.

"Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."
~Matthew 5:48, NASB
***the Hebrew word for "perfect" here simply means "mature, complete, lacking in nothing." It's a state of maturity; we, as humans, cannot be perfect...but with God's help we can attain righteousness and attempt holiness through His strength, guidance, and love.

"And someone came to Him and said, 'Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?' And He said to him, 'Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.... If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.'"
~Matthew 19:16-17, 21, NASB

"So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth."
~Revelation 3:16, NASB

So why all the information on what true salvation and godliness is? We should NOT be putting people in places of leadership within Christianity who not only sin, but flaunt their sin, and even PROMOTE their sin as though it is something sacred and holy, when the Bible goes as far to say that homosexuality is an "abomination."

"To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed."
~Titus 1:15-16, NASB

Point #10: We should love people who struggle with homosexuality, and even love those who claim to be homosexual, but we should NOT encourage or tolerate their sinful behavior.

"The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they said to Him, 'Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?' They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, 'He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.' Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. Straightening up, Jesus said to her, 'Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?' She said, 'No one, Lord.' And Jesus said, 'I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.'"
~John 8:3-11, NASB

"Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure--pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return."
~Luke 6:36-38, NASB

"First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time."
~1 Timothy 2:1-6, NASB, emphasis added.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Foolishness of God Is Wiser Than Men

Straight from the Word itself.

Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, "LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD." 1 Cor 1:25-31

***photo courtesy of Stephanie Carmack***

Lies Vs. Truths

Lies: It's a lie that I have to look a certain way to be beautiful. It's a lie that I have to have a husband to be beloved. It's a lie that my past and my current struggles define who I am.

Truths: God formed me in my mother's womb, and I am a dim reflection of His beauty. God is my Husband, and no longer the one whom I call my Master, and I am His beloved bride. He loves me with jealous passion. God defines me as pure, perfect, and acceptable because He has thrown my sins as far as the East is from the West, and His Son's blood covers me. I am beautiful, beloved, and made whole.

And that's the truth.

"I don't need to see it to believe it.
I don't need to see it to believe it.
'Cause I
Can't shake
This fire burning deep inside of me."
~"Tear Down The Walls" by Hillsong

***photo courtesy of Stephanie Carmack***

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Is God Evil OR Does He Just Give Us What We Ask For?

"They have chosen their own ways,
and they delight in their abominations;
so I also will choose harsh treatment for them
and will bring on them what they dread.
For when I called, no one answered,
when I spoke, no one listened.
They did evil in my sight
and chose what displeases me.”

Isaiah 66:3b-4.

In other words, My people, Whom I created (see verse 2), have turned against me and whored their hearts among things I despise in place of Me. FOR THIS REASON, I will bring judgment upon them. BECAUSE THEY ADULTERED AGAINST ME, their God Who has loved them, I will punish them severely. I tried to speak with them, but they ignored Me. I tried to tell them my Words of life, but they denied them. Instead, they chose to abandon Me and rebel against all I had taught them, choosing instead a life I didn't desire for them. sure sounds like we're bringing the "bad stuff" in the world upon ourselves.

***photo courtesy of Stephanie Carmack***

Darkness and Ashes/Is There Hope For This City?--05/03/11

All I knew was darkness.

All I saw was darkness.

All I breathed was darkness.

All around me--


I live in a city made of ashes. The buildings, the bushes, the streets...everything, even the clouds are made of ashes.

But the people around me can't see it; refuse to see it. I try to tell them, but they won't believe me. I understand, though, because I used to think this world we live in is all there is to life, as well.

That is, until I met a man. This man glowed with the light of love, and he spoke words of hope. His very presence felt...

Good. Clean. Beautiful.

Something about him changed the appearance of earth. It was as though light broke through the city--light--breaking through this city of ashes.

He didn't seem fit in this place, yet nothing about him caused me to believe he intended to be anywhere but here. He told me, "Follow me." I asked why, and he simply said, "Come and see." I followed him. I am following him. And although for now I see as in a dim reflection, only light amidst this dark city, I know--I can feel it when He looks at me--that there is hope here for this city, if they follow.

He WILL have his way; He will make