Smoke, nothing but smoke. [That’s what the Quester says.]
There’s nothing to anything–it’s all smoke.
What’s there to show for a lifetime of work,
a lifetime of working your fingers to the bone?
One generation goes its way, the next one arrives,
but nothing changes–it’s business as usual for old
–Ecclesiastes 1:2-4 (The Message)
I’m not hopeless, but there some pretty despairing times that I face. The main thing is that I’m realizing that there is alot in my life that I must face and that the change in my situations begin in me. I’m still trusting God to redeem me and my life… I’ll write more soon, but know that I’m ok… I’m in God’s hands… and we’re gonna make it throug this too!
Sunday May 7, 2006 – 02:22pm (CDT)
Sing to the Lord, O you saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment, but His favor is for a lifetime or in His favor is life. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. —Psalm 30:4-5 (Amplified Bible)
Romans 6:1What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?22I love God’s law with all my heart. 23But there is another law at work within me that is at war with my mind. This law wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin? 25Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.Romans 7:22-25 (New Living Translation)
Sunday March 12, 2006 – 03:16am (CST)
In part one I reflected on a scripture from 2 Corinthians Chapter 1 where we lean how God is the God of All Comfort. I belive that it’s part of our commission as the church to reach out and comfort those who are hurting. Specifically I belive that those with same-sex attractions as well as the self-identified Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) community, should able to come to the church for comforting and healing.
Now I’m looking again at God’s message of Hope to all people. It’s a message that reminds us that if we use our free-will to choose HIS WAYS that there is hope for these hopelessly human lives that we now live. I’m challenging us as the Chruch to find ways to open God’s real-life love to people who live in our current soceity.
This is God’s message to his people concerning those who choose to come to Him:
“Make sure no outsider who now follows GOD ever has occasion to say, “GOD put me in second-class. I don’t really belong.’ And make sure no physically mutilated person is ever made to think, “I’m damaged goods. I don’t really belong.'” (Isaiah 56:3 The Message)
God who looks out for everyone addresses those who are already ‘his people’… this could be looked at as the Church today. He wants the ‘outsider’ not to feel like ‘an outsider’ when they are among us. I’m not saying that this is an easy task. But who is going to minister to the mutilated? So often we talk about people with tatoos, with extreme piercings, and even the transgendered… and we do so with such disgust… but how will we make them feel that they could ever have a place in the church? Some changes are permanant– they are mutilated if you will (for the sake of the scripture). But God says that these too should be made to feel they belong.
I’m challenging myself to ask these hard questions because it forces me to confront myself in how I view people.
In my previous post, some were concerned about the issue of repentance. I believe it’s clear that God does call all of humanity to repent, to turn away from sin… this is a process that is prompted in our hearts by God, but we RESPOND to him with our decisions.
For GOD says: “To the mutilated who keep my Sabbaths and choose what delights me and keep a firm grip on my covenant…” (Isaiah 56:4 The Message) (Emphasis Added)
Yes, we can choose how we RESPOND to our feelings and desires… EVEN if we didn’t choose to have those desires or feelings. This isn’t the old message that has been echoed by many of condemnation and rejection. God is welcoming all people to himself… it’s my prayer that we join in the grand welcoming party in our churches and figure out make that real in our ministries.
I’ll bring them to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. They’ll be welcome to worship the same as the “insiders,’ to bring burnt offerings and sacrifices to my altar. Oh yes, my house of worship will be known as a house of prayer for all people.” (Isaiah 56:7) (Emphasis Added)
People are hurting and rejected in the very place where they should be healed and accepted. As the Church, we must move beyond REACTIONS to the GLBT demands in the political and social marketplaces, and begin to RESPOND in a way that will welcome people to reconcile their relationships with God and with others. It is in relationship with God that I belive we find deliverance and change — as God works this out in our lives… in his own timing. Who could convince you better than God if your sexuality is being expressed in its ideal form? In openness, honesty, and freedom we find out that God’s grace really is sufficient and that we can become all that God desires for us.
This is a beatuful passage of scripture, please read Isaiah 56 at BibleGateway.com
Again, the comments section is open to thoughtful comments and questions — if you agree or disagree, your views are welcome! I’m working out my salvation… join me in my journey- we can learn something together!
Saturday March 11, 2006 – 12:55am (CST)
Currently there is an uproar that our nation (and our world) is in right now when it comes to rights for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) people. I’m not even prepared to argue the pros and cons of the rights that they are fighting for: including Marriage, Hate-crime protection, and adoption rights; but I do want to address the topic from a standpoint that isn’t often heard:
What is the responsibility of the Church in regard to where things are today? Right now, much of the opposition for these changes in our laws and society is coming from Christian / Faith-based groups. However, I’m wondering if WE as the church are now reacting to the cries of GLBT people rather than responding the needs of hurting people that have been illigitimized and ignored for years.
What happens when we as the church DON’T comfort hurting people?
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. ” (NIV) 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Our God is the God of all comfort… as believers, he comforts us in all of the troubles of life… so that we can comfort others out of a personal understanding. I believe this to be a key part of our commission to the world… that we extend the love and comfort that God provides to a hurting people.
However, right or wrong, GLBT people have not been comforted (for the most part) by the church. Most of us have had the experience of ignoring something only to have it manifest in greater form later down the line. The fear, shame, and rejection that these people have faced in our society have forced them to organize, unite their individual power, and force their voices to be heard– by everyone.
It’s my belief that homosexuality stems from family and societal imbalances that as we grow up form in us a desire for the same sex. I believe that these are real and godly desires being expressed in ways that aren’t God’s intention for humanity. I believe that just as with anything else, we have a choice to act on those desires or not. But I also believe that finding healing and wholeness is a family and societal matter in much the same way that the issue originated.
When I read the Bible, I see God showing love and compassion for a hopelessly MESSED UP (read sinful) humanity… full of all kinds of situations that are less than his ideal for us. But just as we value our free-will, God upholds this gift in us but still gives us the option (through Jesus) to choose a different path– one leading to the original design. In his justice, he pays the price for sin through Jesus, and in his love he redeems us to our original design – the abundant, God-shaped life.
My hope right now is that we as the church take on the commission of compassion … that we be vigilant in offering hope and resources for two under-served groups: 1) Those who have same-sex desires, but believe change is possible or are seeking change and 2) for those who are self-identified as GLBT and are seeking to know Christ. I classify these groups differently even though some may fall into both categories. Jesus came to reconcile us to relationship with the Heavenly Father. If we’re going to stand in opposition of the rights that GLBT groups are fighting for, then we MUST provide alternatives and real support for those who these rights would benefit.
This isn’t a popular view-point, but it’s mine. One thing that I certainly have learned from the GLBT community is that it’s ok to be different and to speak your mind! (lol) So it’s my prayer that we begin to seriously consider how we can allow God to use us to reconcile relationships and restore people in the context of a society where GLBT isn’t going away anytime soon (at least not before Jesus’ return).
Agree or disagree, I hope to hear thoughtful response to any issues raised from this post. Thanks.
Friday March 10, 2006 – 01:23am (CST)
I’m thinking about this wonderful thing called life and that wonderful topic that for various reasons is filled with shame, wonder, awe, passion, joy, hurt, and a whole host of other emotions. I’m thinking about sex. (Ok… stop giggling).
Now, let’s do a little background: I’m looking at how its becoming unpopular for believers to have convictions. It’s one thing to simply believe something or hold it as true. It’s another thing to be convicted about that same thing. The conviction caries with in that this must be adhered to. In our society, the only absolute seems to be that we must adhere to nothing. So often when one acts according to their convictions, they are chastised as being “extreme” or “too religious” or whatever. There are some people I’ve run across on 360 who’s beliefs I’m not in agreement with, but who’s conviction I admire and realize a need to step up in my own life.
In Romans 1, the people were in the wrong because they had no conviction… they didn’t feel that what they believed about God was important enough to alter or curb their behavior, they did whatever they wanted to and God let them. A lot of times we only hear this passage in relation to homosexuality, but it’s truth in the text is applied to everyone reading! We have to do more than just believe!
What happened was this: People knew God perfectly well, but when they didn’t treat him like God, refusing to worship him, they trivialized themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives. (Romans 1:21 , The Message)
How many of us have felt this way: that there is no sense of direction… or at least no significant one? That somehow what everyone is chasing after (a hot body, a good sex, etc…) isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. That happiness isn’t nestled in the pleasure sensations that rise from between ones legs. Then we ‘evolve’ into the relationship model, but we still don’t go for it God’s way. We come up with a list (albeit simple or complex) of what we would like in our relationship, but we don’t consult God in what we seek for.
I’ve often seen this pattern heterosexual or homosexual… sex is ok as long as both of you want to do it. That’s about the extent of our convictions (and even that is a blurry line with all the manipulation we throw into the equation).
I’m not criminalizing sex at all.
However I am concerned about our abandonment of God and his desire for our lives (not just sex).
Don’t you realize that this is not the way to live? Unjust people who don’t care about God will not be joining in his kingdom. Those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex, use and abuse the earth and everything in it, don’t qualify as citizens in God’s kingdom. A number of you know from experience what I’m talking about, for not so long ago you were on that list. Since then, you’ve been cleaned up and given a fresh start by Jesus, our Master, our Messiah, and by our God present in us, the Spirit. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11, The Message)
And this is the point of all this discussion: God has given us a fresh chance in Jesus… so often we take the grace and mercy, the love and kindness and run out with full of belief but low on conviction. We believe that God loves us, that sex is good, and that he wants us to be happy. But we don’t have any conviction that he cares how we live and wants a say in our lives. At the very core of this is our bodies and what we do with them.
Since the Master honors you with a body, honor him with your body! – (v.13b, The Message)
Where has the honor gone? Why is it that the most honor we can muster is for the physical appearance of the body… we’ll worship a hot body or a sexual satisfying experience, but we won’t honor our selves any higher than that.
…remember that your bodies are created with the same dignity as the Master’s body. You wouldn’t take the Master’s body off to a whorehouse, would you? I should hope not. – (v.15, The Message)
I’m not saying I’ve been perfect in this avenue, but I feel a conviction to do better. It’s an inward thing, that’s working its way into my actions.
There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, “The two become one.” Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever–the kind of sex that can never “become one.” There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for “becoming one” with another. (v.16-18, The Message )
SEX IS GOOD
It’s our God given desire to become one with another. I think it comes from our desire to become one with Him… it’s a shadow of the most personal intimacy that we experience in true fellowship with God—that closeness where two become one.
Sex is Good, God is Good, now it’s time to be Good and Godly in our sex. Remember he redeemed us so that we could have a chance to get things right and really live. And who could make sex better than the one who made it? Who could show us how to be pleased and fulfilled better than the one who created you, your hot spots, and every part of your body?! God wants us to enjoy sex, but he has a prescription for how to do it right. Let’s seek him and get this thing together!
Tuesday February 21, 2006 – 07:04am (CST)
Why do people get so “caught up” in being “true” to themselves? I so often hear people criticize when someone chooses to make a change in their life/behavior. They often argue, you’re not being true to who you really are. Then they’ll pose the question: What if you still feel the same way or want to go back to what you used to do?
Then I thought about who we are in God. We are made in God’s image and likeness… God makes choices… we do too. God didn’t make us like the animals in that we are NOT ruled by instinct. Yes we have some natural instincts, but we ultimately have the uniqueness of an intelligence to choose to go with the instinct or to do whatever else we can think of.
We use the power of our intelligence in all kinds of ways. We decided that we should be able to fly. We decided that we should be able to communicate over thousands of miles. We decided that no matter what the environment is, we should harness it and make it conform and become liveable to our tastes. Man has great power and we do what we will with it. God noted this in Genesis when man was building the Tower of Babble… he basically said whatever we set our minds to do, we’ll eventually do it. (Gen 11:6 )
We exercise this same liberty in other areas of our lives. We choose to ingest things that we know aren’t good for our bodies. We indulge in activities that we know put us at risk for long-term health problems. We do all kinds of things that we know are contrary to our nature. I’m not going to even get into what’s good or bad but I want to focus on the fact that we constantly choose what we will do above our natural instinct.
So why is it that when someone chooses to “deny himself” we get so staunch on being “true to yourself”. Making it clear that to deny oneself isn’t to pretend or ignore the facts, but rather in light of these things being true or real to make a decision to do otherwise.
Most who’ll read this agree that Jesus is the Son of God come down to save mankind (short version). And just look what he did… (Phil. 2:6-7 Amp )
6Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God [possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God], did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained,
7But stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity], so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being.
Jesus denied himself to choose to do what he felt was important. He became like me… so I could become like Him. So often, people say… “well you’re only human” as an excuse to just live ‘however you feel’ but I say to the contrary, because I’m human, I can choose to live the way God made possible for me to live through Jesus. So what if I have desires that aren’t like God… I’m going to choose to let Him transform those desires and allow myself to conform more to His image and likeness.
I believe that in making an intelligent decision to conform to what I know to be God’s will for my life I’m indeed honoring who I really am. That is I’m empowered with my choices to do more than my nature dictates. I’m honoring God by using my choice to become more like Him.
So what if I still feel the same way? So what!?! People who take anti-depressants don’t always feel “up” and just because someone in anger management class has an outburst, it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t keep work on managing their anger. Let’s be real… just because air-planes crash doesn’t mean we stop flying… and obviously because certain sexual practices carry the risk of STD’s we haven’t stopped having sex!
Let’s move past this fatalistic and naturalistic limiting of who and what we can be. This isn’t a big statement of faith… it’s quite a small one. I’ll just believe it’s possible!
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the wrold. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.” – Original Author Uncertain, Quoted by Nelson Mandela
Thursday January 19, 2006 – 06:23pm (CST)
17And so I insist–and God backs me up on this–that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd. 18They’ve refused for so long to deal with God that they’ve lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. 19They can’t think straight anymore. Feeling no pain, they let themselves go in sexual obsession, addicted to every sort of perversion.
20But that’s no life for you. You learned Christ! 21My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. 22Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything–and I do mean everything–connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life–a God-fashioned life, 23a life renewed from the inside 24and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.
–Ephesians 4:17-24 (The Message)
Mercy is on my mind this morning. I need God’s mercy SO much! Sin has been my master and whoo… the fact that I’m still alive says HIS MERCY ENDURES FOREVER! It’s just a morning of Thanks and Praise! I’m so greatful to God for coming into my heart and day-by-day transforming me–renewing me.
As I woke up this morning I opened my bible to Jeremiah around the 23rd chapter and read of God’s disgust for the prophets of Jerusalem.
As the Message puts it: “…I saw prophets acting like silly fools– shocking! …And the Jerusalem prophets are even worse –horrible!–sex-driven, living a lie, Subsidizing a culture of wickedness,and never giving it a second thought. They’re as bad as those wretches in old Sodom, the degenerates of old Gomorrah.” –Jeremiah 23:13-14
I’m called to be a prophet… a mouth piece of God. My words are to be useful and edifying… uplifting and encuraging for all. My life should preach the word… when everyone is looking and when no one is around. My choices should reflect God’s heart… not the passions of my flesh. Oh Jesus Thank you for SAVING ME! I know where my help comes from… YOU the Maker of heaven and earth!
(I’m sorry yall… this is public… but it’s personal too!)
Lord, let my thoughts and actions line up with your heart and will today.
Monday November 28, 2005 – 06:27am (CST)
- Psalm 139
A David psalm
1GOD, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand.
2I’m an open book to you;
even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking.
3You know when I leave and when I get back;
I’m never out of your sight.
4You know everything I’m going to say
before I start the first sentence.
5I look behind me and you’re there,
then up ahead and you’re there, too–
your reassuring presence, coming and going.
6This is too much, too wonderful–
I can’t take it all in!
7Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit?
to be out of your sight?
8If I climb to the sky, you’re there!
If I go underground, you’re there!
9If I flew on morning’s wings
to the far western horizon,
10You’d find me in a minute–
you’re already there waiting!
11Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark!
At night I’m immersed in the light!”
12It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you;
night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you.
13Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
14I thank you, High God–you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration–what a creation!
15You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
16Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day.
17Your thoughts–how rare, how beautiful!
God, I’ll never comprehend them!
18I couldn’t even begin to count them–
any more than I could count the sand of the sea.
Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you!
19And please, God, do away with wickedness for good!
And you murderers–out of here!-
20all the men and women who belittle you, God,
infatuated with cheap god-imitations.
21See how I hate those who hate you, GOD,
see how I loathe all this godless arrogance;
22I hate it with pure, unadulterated hatred.
Your enemies are my enemies!
23Investigate my life, O God,
find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
get a clear picture of what I’m about;
24See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong–
then guide me on the road to eternal life.
Wednesday November 9, 2005 – 05:12am (CST)