Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Everybody's Talking About Gay Marriage...

And I'll be honest - I've a  little bit had it with the whole thing... both sides. 

I'll preface by saying this, so I get out immediately where my stance is on the subject (as if it matters, it's really just so that I've made it clear as I progress through the blog).  I am a Christian, and to have any other stance than to say anything besides that I am against homosexuality (in all forms, regardless of whether those participating are 'married' or not) would be to go against the very faith that I profess.  Period.  If you are a Christian in support of homosexuality (again, in any form) I ask you to go read your Bible and pray that God would remove the scales from your eyes.  I don't mean that to sound harsh.  I mean to say that our faith is not a buffet.  We can't choose the 'get out of hell - yay Jesus saves" stuff - and deny all of the guidelines He has set forth to allow us to better serve and follow Him.
(need some scripture? Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13, Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11 is my favorite.  It shows us that God pulls people out of their sin, sin that most of us were in before Christ.  We seem to often forget that.)

Now - if you are still reading, and not fuming at this point, let's get down to the nitty gritty.

As Christians I think we are missing it HUGE in this whole spectrum of what our role in this 'gay rights' debate looks like.  Let's look at a few things here:

A.) One thing we must be very clear on is that we can (and should!) hold Christians to Biblical standards.  (Galatians 6:1-2, or visit the link here for a good bit of info on accountability in the church.) There is plenty of scripture that says that if you profess to be in Christ, that other Christians have a duty in love to affirm that and hold you accountable.  Whether that means approaching,  in love, a Christian brother or sister who is struggling with gluttony, an affair, or homosexuality, we are not called to allow or encourage or brother / sister to sit in their sin.  Period.

If a person is not a Christian, why then are we surprised that there is sin in their lives? Why are we surprised that they don't understand our point of view?  Why are we surprised that they have no desire to be or live in a different manner?  The problem, friends, is not with a specific sin in which they struggle, the problem is that the person is lost.  SHOULD THIS NOT BE OUR GREATEST CONCERN?  For the love of God is available to all who will hear it, and quite frankly, if I were lost and all someone wanted to do was attack the sin in my life but never showed me the Gospel in love, it would be of no interest to me.

Friends - I urge you to see this... the problem we have is a heart problem, a flesh problem, and for those of us who are Christians, it is a problem in which we all suffered.

Which brings me to point B.

B.) The Gospel - the sacrifice and love of Jesus Christ, our great Savior - HE is the redeemer.  Not the governing laws of this land, or any land for that matter.  Regardless the decision made, sin is still sin.  If we all were to rally together holding our big ugly signs with lame, tasteless jabs plastered all over them, and somehow win this 'battle' - though not in love, it does nothing to deal with the heart issue at hand.  Whether homosexuals are married or not, the sin is the same.  The marriage is not a marriage as approved by in God's eyes... but read through the Old Testament and you'll see most 'marriage' acts are performed in the bedroom.  How many of us heterosexuals have our own sin buried in that department?  Thank God for grace and love and compassion and forgiveness.  That is the redeeming force here.

I urge you - sisters and brothers - in supporting your faith and standing firmly on not only the promises, but the convictions, that come along with it, let us remember that the things of God are foolishness to those who are not believers, and that is our  biggest hurdle, the fact that they are not believers, not the sin in which they struggle.  God has promised to forgive and redeem of sin.  Let's not forget to be Kingdom minded in what we are fighting for.  Let's pray for souls and for the Gospel to be advanced more than we fight for our political agenda.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Who I Am

In this fleeting world in which we live, I've been finding myself looking towards eternity with an increased focus lately.  With Bryton asking Jesus questions and myself having an ever deeper perspective of the eternal states of the people in my life, the after life, and this life, have become ever more pertinent.  

After-all, this life significantly effects the afterlife.  

And it seems with every layer deeper I come into my relationship with Jesus, another layer is - quite painfully - peeled back from myself.  The one who knit me together, who has known me from the foundations of the Earth, is offering me glimpses of the girl I never knew existed within me.  Sometimes it's dark, sometimes it's deep, and quite frankly, sometimes it hurts.  

This time around a painful question has been lurking in the deep places of my brain, "What would be missed about you if you weren't here?"  It's been brought to my attention in my family life.  If something were to happen to me tomorrow, what would be the noticeable difference of my being gone?    It's been a painful time to explore this - as B is definitely preferring Aaron at the moment, and my honest fear is that the cooker / cleaner / planner extraordinaire would be gone.  Things may not get done as quickly, but would my laughter still echo in their hearts?  Would they miss my playing with them?  Would they long for a hug specifically from me?  Would I leave any legacy for them to carry forward?

I ask the same question in my jobs. 

In my relationship with my friends. 

In my church. 

In my relationship with my neighbors. 

I'm a doer, and though I love deeply, probably more deeply than any know, I think it gets lost in translation.  I'm Martha.  I love, but I can't put the to-do list down to do it properly.  I can't shut up.  I can't rest in the love between myself and others.  Every silence must be filled, every second occupied.  

It's insecurity.  It's wanting to be wanted.  It's wanting to leave something lasting for those people I yearn deeply for, pray deeply for and love more than my own life.  Ultimately - if I were to pass tomorrow with the laundry done, it'd need to be done again before I was in the ground.  If I pass tomorrow having had played hard with my kids today - they'll remember that forever.  

What the Lord is stirring in my heart is a critical shifting of priorities, stressors, worries, and fears and should dramatically change my relationships with people, but as usual, it's a tall order and I'm short on faith and ability.  God must make these changes in my heart and they must then present in my walk.  I'm praying for a compassion and love to flow freely from this vessel, genuine and sincere.  Love well to be loved well.  Who I am in Christ --- not just what I've done...

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Conversations With a 4 Year Old

There's something about four year olds that will keep you on your toes.  More often than not, they are honest... brutally honest to some degree.  Just tonight, thoroughly out of the blue, B looked right at me and said, "I love daddy more than I love you."  A knife in the heart would have felt better.  His words hurt me deeply.  It hurt that my heart drowns in love for both of my children, and yet, at the ripe age of four, there's already someone he loves more than me.  (I really thought this would wait until girls entered his life... hmmm.)  But that wasn't what hurt the most, after-all, if he is going to love someone more than me (aside from the Lord), I want it to be his daddy.  No.  What hurt the most was that I wasn't disciplining him, I wasn't upset with him, he said it casually at dinner, like there was nothing hurtful about what he said.  It was honest.  There's that knife again.  

But - believe it or not - that's not the conversation I wanted to write about.  No, this conversation happened yesterday, again, completely out of the blue.  As we traveled in the car to fulfill 'Ans party duties', B was having a conversation with us about something random and completely not serious when he said, "Jesus lives in our hearts."

At this point, I'm used to this part of the conversation.  About a year ago when this subject was broached the first time, I very gently and honestly told him that yes, when we come to know Jesus and have a relationship with Him, and when we have faith in Him to save us from the bad things we do to repair that relationship with Him, then He comes to live in our hearts."  

I never wanted to give him the false sense that he's already saved.  We've been in ministry long enough to see that a lot of times the biggest obstacle to someone coming to faith, is believing they are already in it.  I've vowed not to contribute to that in my kids lives. 

So - when he said again yesterday, "Jesus lives in our hearts," I gently reminded him again that Jesus does desire to live in our hearts when we come to know him.  It was what happened after I said this that shocked me. 

After a very short pause B replied, "Sometime, when I go to bed, and it's dark, and I'm in my room and in my bed, and no one is there but me, I ask Jesus to be in my heart."  

As my eyes well up with tears and I try to wrap my head around what to say I look over at Aaron who is staring at me the same way.  How many salvation conversations have we had with people throughout the years???  But there's something about it being your own child, your own young child that makes the situation SO fragile. 

We asked B if he has done this or if he was going to do this, to which he replied that he was going to, and we continued to talk about what it means, in four year old words, when Jesus lives in our hearts.  

The hubs and I joked with each other that we needed to call the Pastor / Children's Pastor.  We understand, to some degree, why parents always wanted us to deal with the spiritual matters of their youth... it's less responsibility if we can push it on to someone else... it makes it much less scary, but then the minister also receives the blessing... and I want to be part of the blessing of my kids' salvation experiences.  Even if Bryton does love daddy more ;) 

One way or another -- Jesus is moving in the life of my four year old little man.  We are waiting to see what continues to grow and develop in him, and in the meantime we are praying our little hearts out that Jesus makes B's spiritual needs crystal clear, and gives us wisdom to wade these waters we've not even stuck our toes in yet... but I can tell you this, friends, the water is fine...