Beyond the Same-Sex Ruling

It was Friday night, a few hours after the Supreme Court ruling had been announced. The annual Father-Son Campout from a local church was underway.  Following dinner the guys gathered around the campfire with guitars and singing.  Soon the conversation turned to the news of the day.

The boys heard their dads uphold God’s design for marriage. The men shared from God’s Word and answered questions. The evening ended with the fathers leading in prayer for their wives and children. How reassuring for teenagers to hear their dads stand firmly on God’s truth.

There is great confusion in the world today, especially among the youth.  Many are questioning their sexual identity because they don’t know God’s Word and they don’t know right from wrong.  Many adults are mixed up as well!  One teenager asked his father, “How do I know if I’m gay?”  The father’s answer: “You’ll need to experiment to know for sure.”

A teenage girl had never had a boyfriend. The girls at school convinced her that she must be a lesbian. She went to her mother who said, “You have not had a boyfriend because you are not ready for a boyfriend. Someday when you are ready, God will provide the perfect husband. You are to wait on God and trust Him. You must never again allow anyone to pressure you into believing such nonsense.”

The apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 4:1 warned that the last days would bring a marked increase in false teaching. “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.”  In 2 Timothy 3:1-9 we read that the last days are described as “perilous times” because of the increasingly evil character of man and people who actively “resist the truth.”

Do I believe we are living in the last days?  I do now, especially since last week’s ruling.

  • Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.    Romans 1:32
  • It was the same in the days of Lot.  People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building.  But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed.    Luke 17:28-30
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Sin—Not Allowed in Heaven

One night at the juvenile hall, I was talking to the boys about sin:  “We are all sinners. The one thing not allowed in heaven is sin. So everywhere we go, everyone we see up and down the street, EVERYONE is going to spend eternity in hell—IF they don’t have a Savior—and there is only One.

Roger asked, “How can you say that?”                                                                                          Me: “It’s because I believe the Bible, which tells us in Romans 3:23  that ‘All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.’”
Roger: “That only tells us we’re sinners.  So what?”                                                                   Me:  “Romans 6:23 tells us ‘the wages of sin is death…”                                                                 Roger: “Okay, so we’re all gonna die.  But…hell?”

“Yes, Roger, hell.  Revelation 21:8 is clear on the subject. Moreover, Jesus believed in hell. He spoke more about hell than He did heaven.

“The Bible tells us the only person who never sinned was Jesus Christ.  He was tempted, yet He refused to sin. Why was that?  It’s because a sinless life was God’s requirement to be the perfect sacrifice for our sin. That is the reason Jesus came to live on this earth in the first place—to purchase our salvation.”

Roger: “Why would He do that?”                                                                                                           Me: “It’s because He loves us, Roger, and wanted to save us from hell!  Jesus lived a sacrificial life and then died on the cross to pay— not for His sin— but for yours and for mine.  Such love!

“Think about it— He had all the temptations in life that we all have— yet He did not give into temptation even once. Do you think that would be difficult?”

All the boys quietly nodded in agreement.

  • For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.   Luke 19:10          
  • For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way,  just as we are—yet he did not sin.     Hebrews 4:15                                                                                                                             
  • For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.    John 3:17-18                                                                                
  • But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur.  This is the second death.     Revelation 21:8
  • SONG:  JOHN 3:16-18  

 

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If the World Ends, What Should I Do?

Remember the man who proclaimed the end of the world would occur on a particular date? It apparently caused some people to re-think their strategy for when it does occur.

A 22-year-old male and frequent writer from an Asian country wrote (via Global Media Outreach):  Dear K,  Please send me information on how Christians should react when the end of the world is actually happening. For example, if I am in the office working at my computer, should I leave and go home, or else just remain where I am and pray?  Or should I announce to my co-workers that this is their last chance to repent and to call on Jesus for salvation?  Thank you. R J

Dear RJ,
I believe the next thing to occur is the Rapture of the Church. We read in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 that the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and who remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.

At that point, we learn that we will not be on earth during the great tribulation which will come upon the earth. We will be taken up in the “twinkling of an eye” and “we shall all be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:52).

We will have no time to tell our co-workers about Christ.  That is why we should do it now. I know you love Jesus, RJ, and He has changed your life in a good way.  I pray He gives you the courage to share the good news with your co-workers. Everyone needs the forgiveness that only Jesus can give.  Your friend, K

  • Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.     1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
  • Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.   1 Corinthians 15:52
  • Check out Global Media Outreach – http://www.globalmediaoutreach.com/

 

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Teen Atheist

Most incarcerated minors who choose to attend Bible study are searching for God. They recognize they need help and want to turn their lives around.  But not all.

Jose came to Bible study and boldly stated,  “My religion is Atheism. I don’t believe in God, heaven or hell. If there is a God I don’t see why I need to worship Him or even know about Him.  If I’m wrong then I’m fine with it.”

Yet he had chosen to come to Bible study!  He listened politely at first, then became argumentative. The other guys and I tried to reason with him, but he held firm.

When class ended, Jose hung around. I spent 30 minutes listening to his story.
He’s angry. He’s plagued with nightmares.  At 17, he has a 3-year-old son he’s not allowed to see. He lives with his girlfriend and together they use and sell drugs.

He didn’t know why he had come to Bible study, but I do. He’s miserable and he’s searching. Yet he didn’t want me to give him a Bible, nor did he want me to pray with him. I ended our session by suggesting that he talk with God himself.  Just say, “God, if You are real, then show me!”

Perhaps you have a Jose in your life.  Let’s pray for those we know who need God and don’t yet recognize their need.  Let’s pray that God will reveal Himself in a tender, loving and convincing way—perhaps in a glorious dream, instead of a nightmare.

 

 

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Bedtime Snack with Dad

When I was a teenager the lights were out by 10 PM. Sometimes at 10:30 or 11 I would be studying in my room or reading in bed and I’d see the reflection of the kitchen light go on. I’d hear the refrigerator door.  I knew Daddy was having a bedtime snack.

I would creep down the hall and join him at the kitchen table.  The Italian in him would bring out the wine, a loaf of bread, his own Italian-cured olives, stinky cheese and salami. He’d slice me a piece of bread and salami, hand me the jar of olives and we’d munch together talking about the day.

When I married and moved away, it didn’t change.  I’d come home for a visit and when I’d hear refrigerator activity late at night, I’d get up.

Now I’m a grandma. I’m not one to snack on salami and cheese. I prefer fruit. The grandpa of this house is disciplined and doesn’t eat after supper.  So I take my bedtime snack with the Lord.  I’ll open my Bible in the kitchen and perhaps pray through a Psalm or meditate on Ephesians.  You might say I still have a bedtime snack with Dad—that is, my Abba Father!

  •  Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord   your God is giving you.    Exodus 20:12
  • Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”   Galatians 4:6
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Forgiveness Form Letters

It is not easy to ask forgiveness. Yet as followers of Jesus, God expects us to take care of personal business before we take care of the spiritual.   “Therefore if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift”  (Matthew 5:23-24).

Ideally, the best is to meet face-to-face.  The second best is a phone call.  Yet for many people, those meetings are overwhelming and too unpredictable to initiate.  So I’ve developed some simple form letters!  Rather than do nothing, one can use a form letter and adapt it to his/her own style.

LETTER #1  Dear ______,  It has been a long time. I am writing because I need to. You are important to me and I have already waited too long. I want to apologize for my past actions. I’m sorry for hurting you.  Please forgive me.  Sincerely, ______

LETTER #2  Dear ______,  You are probably surprised to hear from me.  It has been a long time. I am writing because I need to clear my conscience. In the past, when there were situations or conflicts that were hurtful, I would choose to avoid someone, rather than attempt to resolve the problem.  But the closer I walk with Jesus, He is showing me that closing doors will not heal relationships. It only temporarily helps avoid an uncomfortable situation.  God is good. He has forgiven me for all my shortcomings! Now out of gratitude to Him, I am apologizing to you for my past action.  I am sorry for hurting you.  Please forgive me.   Sincerely,  ______

LETTER #3  Dear ______,   I have been thinking about you. I have also been praying for you and hoping your life is going well.   The reason you’ve been on my mind is because I want to confess to you that I was so wrong in what I did.  I offer no defense and no excuses or rationalizations. I was wrong, and I have lived with the guilt and shame ever since. I am writing to ask your forgiveness. I can understand why you would not give it.  But I want you to know that I am so sorry for what I did.  Please forgive me.  I will continue to pray for you and hope for your best.  Sincerely,  _______

If your letters are returned unopened, you might send a postcard with a simple: “I am sorry. Please forgive me.”

There is great value is asking forgiveness. It could change your life. It could restore a relationship and bring deep healing to both parties. It could also remove any blockage that is preventing you from forgiving someone else.

 

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Ask Forgiveness

Years ago I offended my friend Elizabeth.  In truth I betrayed her confidence.  She was so hurt by my action that our friendship ended. I pushed the guilt to the back of my mind.  It would not be a problem avoiding her since we attended different churches. I would live my Christian life and not think about her again.

One day I saw Elizabeth at a social function.  We greeted one another politely and went our separate ways.  But deep inside I was hurting.  God was speaking to my conscience and I knew it was my responsibility to make things right—I had ignored her for too long.

I wrote a note of apology and asked her forgiveness.  I bought a blooming floral plant and went to her house.  It was not easy!  The mental anguish as I approached her front door was immense.   What relief to discover nobody at home!   I left the flowers and the note by the door and left.

Two hours later she called.  She said the note brought tears to her eyes, she had forgotten the incident and it was “water  under the bridge!”

What joy to my heart!  Our friendship years later has been re-established in a deeper and richer way.  God is so good!  Why did I wait so long?  How foolish for me to think the problem would disappear if I ignored it.

When our children were small and they would get into a squabble, I would do two things. 1. Require the one who caused the hurt to apologize and also to ask forgiveness.                   2. The injured party was required to forgive. They would hug and it was over.

I believe asking forgiveness is difficult for most people.  So I have since written some “forgiveness form letters” to make it easier.

Of course, the best method is to meet face-to-face.  Second best is a phone call. Yet for many, those meetings are too overwhelming and unpredictable to initiate.

I’ll post the forgiveness letters next time!

  • How about you? Do you find it difficult to ask forgiveness? Or does it come easily?
  • If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you to some extent—not to put it too severely. The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him     2 corinthians 2:5-8 
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An Old Boyfriend

I received a phone call from an old boyfriend and there began a big testing in my life.  He called to say he was in town on business and wanted to connect and catch up.  Hearing his voice triggered memories from college days.

I learned our situations are similar: we’re both married with children and grandchildren. Like me, he became a Christian years ago and is involved in Christian service. We talked awhile and exchanged email addresses.

The next day I received an email. The following day there was another.  For some reason, when I’d see his name in my inbox my stomach would tighten–butterflies?  Like a teenager, I was foolishly becoming infatuated. I sensed the feeling was mutual.

It was on the 6th day when I knew in my heart this would only lead to trouble. I knew it was wrong and it had to stop.  I decided to write him my last email.

“There is no good reason for us to continue corresponding. I think it’s best that you not write me again. If you do write I will delete it before reading and I will not respond. I’m glad to know you love the Lord Jesus. I will pray that your love for God will continue to be strong. I will also pray for your marriage—that your love for your wife and her love for you will grow deeper with the years.”  I signed it, “In Christian love.”

The letter was finished, but I discovered I could not click SEND.  I didn’t want to send it!  I was in a spiritual battle held firmly in Satan’s clutches.  I began to cry big tears.  I didn’t really want the emails to stop!  I even imagined running into his arms as I did when I was 19.

Desperate, I cried out to God. “I can’t do this!  Then I used the name JESUS: “Help me Jesus!  Help me Jesus!”

That very moment Jesus saved me from Satan’s power.  I clicked the send button and IMMEDIATELY the infatuation was gone.  It was over!  I was overwhelmed with joy! Satan was defeated!  I went to my dear husband and gave him a hug.

My thoughts of that old boyfriend disappeared.  I praise God that I never heard from him again!

Why did I share this story?   It’s because I believe many of us are vulnerable to the schemes of the devil.  Satan is a thief who wants to steal, kill and destroy. He wants to steal our faith.  He wants to kill our Christian witness. He wants to destroy marriages. We need to be alert to his tactics.

“Thank You, Father, for Your faithfulness in allowing me to remember to call on Jesus, the name above all names, for supernatural help when I needed it.  Thank you for your immediate response to my cry.”

  • There is no other  name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.    Acts 4:12
  • The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.    John 10:10
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My Junk List

When inmates tell me they want to turn their lives around and follow Jesus, I let them know the cost.

“There may be some junk in your life that will pull you away from God and back into trouble. If you mean business with God then you’ll need to show it by getting rid of your junk.

“Some of the junk will be impossible to eliminate without the Holy Spirit’s help. You cannot do it alone.  First you need to surrender your life to Jesus and then you will receive the Holy Spirit. Only then will you have the power to dump the junk. Would you like to know what’s on my junk list?”

They always do.

“Fortune telling cards, Tarot cards, Ouija Board, gambling, magic games, astrology/horoscope, palm reading, seances, psychic channeling, calling up spirit guides, casting spells, hypnotism, New Age role-playing games, Wicca materials, anything satanic, nature worship, paganism, praying through a “medium,” porn (movies, magazines—even trashy books without pictures may be considered porn), fornication, smoking, drugs/alcohol,  Transcendental Meditation, superstitions, herbs/incense used for spiritual enlightenment, crystal power, good luck charms, certain music that will pull you away from God and back into the world, certain movies that will do the same.

“In addition to the junk list, is the issue of forgiveness. Perhaps you have hurt someone. You need to be willing to ask forgiveness. Or, someone may have hurt you. You must be willing to forgive.  Jesus said ‘For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins’”  Matthew 6:14-15.

Some teens have abuse issues and this seems impossible to them.  So I’ll say,  “Actually, it IS impossible on your own. Yet God can give you a supernatural ability to do what you need to do.  Tell God how difficult it is for you.  He will help you.”

If they still refuse to forgive, I might ask, “How long will heaven last?”

“Forever.”

“Try blinking your eyes once. This current life in comparison is less than that.  Is this person so important to you that you are willing to give up eternity in heaven for him/her? If so, then who is the loser here?”

They know.

I’m always pleased to see a small group say they are willing—with God’s help, to give up their junk. They want to turn away from their sin.

Unfortunately, there are others who say the cost is too great. They are unwilling.

  • As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance   1 Peter 1:14
  • If you love me, keep my commands.   John 14:15
  • Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.                 Deuteronomy 18:10-11
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My Name is Kathleen

A young woman stopped at our Bible table at the beach.  One of the guys was answering her questions and sharing the Lord with her.  Then I noticed her glance over at me.  She looked familiar.

After a while, she came over to me and said, “I feel I know you.”

I began to suspect where I had seen her before.  If she knew my first name she would know for sure.

I said, “You look familiar to me, too.  My name is Kathleen. Does that help?”

“Yes!  It IS you!”  Then she whispered, “I attended your Bible class when I was in jail!  Your Bible study was my first introduction to Jesus Christ.  I’ve been seeking a closer walk with Him ever since. I’m so happy to see you again!”

She updated me on her life and her new church. Then we prayed for her and her family. We loaded her down with helpful literature, I gave her a hug and she went on her way.

Thank You, Jesus, for allowing her to be encouraged today.  Thank You for her continued faith.  Continue to lead her and guide her in all her ways.  I pray in Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

 

 

 

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