Tuesday, June 30, 2015

How God Can Use the Discussion of Gay Marriage

 How God uses gay marriage!

What do we do when facing a myriad of ethical choices that go against the Word of God?

How do we focus our mind, and process behaviors?

Things do not happen haphazardly with God!  We can be certain that through His sovereign nature, there is something to be learned, and something we as believers can grow through in this topic of gay marriage.

Here’s my thoughts…

First, when faced with those that support gay marriage, I immediately explore …MY position in Christ:

I understand that I was born in sin like everyone else.  The only difference in my position, and the unbelievers position, is that Jesus saved me and transformed me from a position controlled by sin, to one controlled by God.  Before my salvation, I was lost and void of any judgment that would let me live a life honoring to God.  If it were not for Christ, and the Bible to which I am to live by, I might as well support homosexual relationships, and marriage, because humanly speaking I would love for all people to be “happy” and express themselves in whatever fulfills their pleasure.  However, because of my position as redeemed, saved, and now a follower of Christ, I am now required to use the Bible as my standard to judge all behavior.

Before we go into other people’s behavior, let’s take a moment and view our position.  Are we in sin? Have we experienced the forgiveness of Christ for our sin?  

If the only grounds we have to “disagree” with homosexuality and gay marriage is that we don’t “feel the same way” as them, then I would recommend a straightway trip to the Word of God; for it is only Christ who separates us from sin, and we are to view this topic according to the Bible.  

Second, I think about the position of the one’s to whom I disagree:

Meaning, I look at where the person is, and can be, that supports homosexuality, and gay marriage.  I understand they need salvation.  For, were it not for grace, I would support any union that brings “happiness”.  Were it not for the Bible, I would not be concerned that people find “fulfillment” in the arms of someone of the same gender. 

Once salvation takes place, and the belief in the Bible is asserted, only then will a proper view of homosexuality become reality.  My interest in discussing any sort of standard to the support of homosexuality and gay marriage is the same regarding any sin…it’s to share the gospel that brings salvation…and proper understanding of how we are to live our life.

Therefore, we must make sure we are living in such a way that we are not a hindrance to the speaking of the gospel.  We must make sure we are living a godly life so that, as Paul said, when we speak the gospel, we are not disqualified because of our ungodly lifestyle.

Third, and finally, I view the potential Position of those supporting homosexuality and gay marriage:

Jesus gave us great examples in scripture of people struggling with sin, and how He dealt with them.  He dealt with an adulterer in John 8:1-11; a wicked tax collector in Luke 18:10; a harlot in John 4; a prostitute in Luke 7:37.

Ultimately, we are to view others that we disagree with  (such as homosexuality and gay marriage) with a view of their potential end…which is one of a forgiven child of God…which will only come if we share the gospel to them with love…as Christ did in the examples above!

So, to recap:

1. Let’s view our position in Christ and realize that we are forgiven

          2. Let’s understand the position of those supporting gay marriage, and homosexuality, and pray for  their salvation! 

      3. Let’s live and reach out to them understanding that the power of God can overtake them, and they (as you and I) can be forgiven, and live as a child of God! 

      Any discussion of gay marriage, and homosexuality can help us refocus our minds on God, and renew our hearts to love others!

      Yes! God can use the discussion of gay marriage for His glory!


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Balance Between Living and Planning

We tend to think of life as a journey!  The potential problem arises when we are more focused on where we may BE one day, and not taking the time to enjoy where we are NOW.

How do we balance the need to plan for the future with the enjoyment of the present?

How do we balance the need to be somewhat systematic in things with the life-bringing element of spontaneity?

Let’s look at a few precepts of scripture, and then I’ll give some of my personal advice…for those who might care:)

First, let’s look at the idea of Planning:

Proverbs 21:5    Hasty behavior will bring poverty
Proverbs 16:3    Commit our works to God…He will establish our steps

Ok, so we see good reasons to plan…

But wait, there’s more:

Proverbs 19:21  Man makes many plans, BUT God’s plan will always win!
James 4:13-15   Tells us that we should exalt the will of God as our priority. 
If God will, we will do this or that.

So, should we plan?

We should first sacrificially present ourselves to God.

Romans 12:1 tells us to commit our bodies as a living sacrifice to God. 

This is the whole being:

We are to mortify every personal, fleshly desire we have:
This implies that we may still want to do certain things
This implies that our PLANS may not be from a pure heart.             

We are to present ourselves to God fully, and must be willing to put away our plans, even if they appear to be wise plans.

When planning, first present yourself to God, and begin the process by being willing to NOT DO what you PLAN, or WANT to do!

We should accept a path that may not be our “natural” first choice
Sometimes we find ourselves doing things that God has called us to do, and if we are honest with ourselves, we would not have picked that path. 

We need to be willing to do things that our natural desires would otherwise not have us do.

Here is something important to understand!

Our calling may not be what WE THINK we are good at!

Get that?  We think we are good at a certain occupation, or whatever you want to fill in the blank…Our calling may be something that when we look back on our “career” which God has called us to…we simply must say…Only God!  Only God could have done this, or that!
What a great place to be!  Doing something that only God could orchestrate, because our “talents” may not have accomplished it!

We should allow God to plant desires within our hearts

Proverbs 16:3 says to commit our works to the Lord, and our thoughts will be established.

                Commit = “to roll”
                                We are to “roll up” our works, and submit them to God. 
                Works = our “actions/behaviors/occupation”
                                Everything about us (and the things we plan for) is to be given over to our God
                Thoughts = “imagination, invention, PLAN”
When we submit all of who we are (work, play, thoughts) to God, what we imagine in our minds and hearts…what we plan for in the future will be…
                Established = “right, stable, firm, perfect”

How do we know that our planning is balanced?

1.       Sacrifice your full being to the worship of God
2.       Live today, tomorrow will come and you just might wish you had today back
3.       Make everything about you…about God
4.       Plan, but live today as if it may be your last
5.       Don’t just go after what you are good at, go after what God is good at…and let Him use you
6.       Live your life in a way that you can only say…God did it!

Just some thoughts?

What do you say?

Leave your comments!!


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Who is in your way?

Who is in your way?

We should have methods to our day!  We should clearly understand these methods, even if part of the method is living spontaneously (which is a method).

The worst thing we can do is to not make plans, goals, etc.  Even worse, is to not know when our goals and daily agendas are being attacked by outside forces…therefore, not being able to accomplish them.  

I.e.: goal to work out in the morning.  Morning comes, and you sleep through your alarm.  You ask why did not get a workout in.

Goal:  Work out in the morning
Attack: You slept through your alarm
Reason:  You don’t know because you didn’t think about your goals being attacked.

However, if we were to budget our time and understand what is going on with our time, we would look back and realize that the Facebook should have been turned off earlier, the show you got into should have been recorded for later, the late-night snack should have been avoided, and you should have gotten in bed earlier…which would most likely allowed for your goal of getting up and working out to be accomplished.

You with me?

Now, let’s look at that in our spiritual lives.
What was “in the way” of our physical goal was bad choices.  

What is in the way of you growing in the Lord?

In fact, I want to take it further?  

WHO is in the way of you growing spiritually? 
Is it a friend, family member, work partner.  We have a number of potential attackers to our spiritual goal.  Paul tells us to mark those who claim to know Christ, yet choose to live a lifestyle that is against Him.(Romans 16:17)  We are to notice them, and to make a conscience choice to…AVOID THEM!  Wow!  Strong words.  We are to avoid those who live a lifestyle against God.  

Right now…who is standing in your way of growing spiritually?  I bet if we were to budget our relationships, and follow the precepts of scripture of avoiding putting people close to us that go against our goals of spiritual growth, we just might make some advances!

Go after the lost!  Love all!  Avoid those that are tearing you down spiritually!


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Part 1 (of 3): Why Does God Withhold Truth From Some

Guest post by Peter Van Kleek

            When addressing the question, "Why does God withhold the truth from some people?", we are faced with a series of answers.  Three of which are: 1. The great commission is not being fulfilled; 2. some souls do not desire the truth of God; and 3.  It is God’s will to withhold the truth from some.  The following article will address the first of these three answers.

The Great Commission is not being fulfilled.

We begin with the imperative issued by Jesus Christ to, “go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”  (Mark 16:15-16) The handling of this command spans the gambit from certain Protestant sect-types teaching that God has chosen who He has chosen and world evangelism is primary seen through that light and can be subsequently diminished.  The other end of the gambit can be found in the likes of St Francis of Assisi who is said to have preached to the birds out of obedience to the Lord’s command.  For our purposes here we will take this command as one of evangelism to lost souls, or sharing the Gospel with all peoples, tongues, and nations.

            Evangelism is impeded for a multitude of reasons, some of which are: 1. Fear on the part of the evangelist, 2. Resistance on the part of the listener, and 3. Hostility toward/reprisal for sharing such a message.  Each is real and can have significant impact on the presence of truth among a given people group, culture, and/or society.

            We are relational creatures and as a result we desire acceptance.  When we bring a message that is not accepted it can cause significant apprehension on the part of the speaker for fear that the relationship will be hurt or even worse, break.  Really, the question here boils down to whether or not we are soul conscious.  To what degree are you and I aware of the fact that the person/people we speak to are eternal souls with temporal bodies? (Lu 16:19f)  When we can come to grips with the fact that our relationships are primarily eternal, the temporal relationship is maintained and the eternal reality of the situation is heightened.

            The Bible is clear that the flesh wars against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh. (Gal 5:17)   That said it would be an unusual situation where the Gospel is presented and NOT met with resistance.  Christ faced it.  The Apostle Paul faced it.  We face it.  The balance here, though, is to maintain a gospel witness without forcing the listener to accept the truth of Jesus Christ as Savior.  Always remember that you are a witness not a judge.

            Lastly, I would like to treat those parts of the world where the Gospel is met with the threat of death or exile.  There are those examples like David Livingston and Jim Elliot, missionaries to the Auca Indians who put themselves in harm’s way for the sake of the Gospel.  A more recent example is that of Pastor Saeed who is currently imprisoned in Iran for preaching the Gospel.  In cases where death or imprisonment is the result of the spread of the Gospel is the clearest example of the truth that men love darkness rather than light.  Still the courage of these men ought to spurn us to evangelism here and abroad, if God wills.

            In summary, it is not so much that God has withheld the truth from some people but that the evangelist(s) have ceased in their obedience to Scripture with regard to the command to go into all the world and preach the good news of Jesus Christ as Savior.

            In the next segment we will be discussing another factor of why the truth is “withheld” from certain people which is: some souls do not desire the truth of God.

By His Grace and Mercy,
Peter Van Kleeck