Thursday, March 27, 2008

Convince Me

I'll be the first to admit there are some things I just don't understand—a lot of things, actually. I know I'm not the most intelligent of persons, but I would like to think I'm smart enough to make reasonably sound judgments on things. And I'd like to think I'm smart enough to not be arrogant or closed-minded about the things I believe in. I'll be the first to admit I'm often wrong about a lot of things. But there's one thing I can't seem to escape thinking I'm right about, and wishing I were wrong. And that's whether or not God forbids gay sex.

I keep having people tell me that gay sex or homosexual relationships in confines of a committed, monogamous and loving relationship are okay with God. I've been in many conversations with people who support that view who can offer some fairly reasonable and intelligent explanations for why they believe that. But, so far, none of these people have convinced me. Every argument they present, every interpretation of scripture they quote, I've been able to counter. But I'll admit I'd like to believe them.

Now, some of these people have accused me of making the Bible say things it doesn't, or that I make it say what I want it to say. I reject that completely! I wish more than anything I could read the Bible and find something that would cause me to believe that homosexual relationships are okay with God. But when I read the Bible, I read what I don't want to read. I read that all sexual acts outside of marriage between a man and a woman is wrong. And that includes gay sex. I'm not trying to make the Bible say things that I want it to say. I read the Bible and I see that it says something I wish it didn't. And I can't escape that. But I want to hear what other people read. I want to know what you think. If you think gay sex is okay with God, tell me why. I'll listen and consider whatever you have to say. If I'm wrong, I want to know I'm wrong. If I'm wrong, it means I can finally go out and get the boyfriend I've always wanted. So, please, by all means do your best to convince me.

Now, I'm going to try my best not to respond back to any of your comments to this post, because what I'd like to do is respond back in another post. So, don't worry about getting into a back and forth argument with me. I don't intend to get into that with any of you. I just want to hear what you think.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

He Lives

I hope all of you have had a good Easter this year, rejoicing in the resurrection of our wondrous Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I had a pretty good day myself.

I wanted to post something on this day to express how I feel, but the muse just isn't working in my favor to write something incredibly beautiful or awesome. So I'll just keep things brief.

I love Jesus. I love Him for loving me so much, even when I don't feel very lovable myself. I love Him for always being there for me. I love Him for teaching me, correcting me, and showing me a better way to live. I love Him because He loves all. I cry tears of joy just thinking about how much good He has brought upon this world. I cry tears of joy just thinking about how great His love for us is, that He would willingly lay down His life as a sacrifice for our sins—accepting the punishment we all rightly deserve ourselves.

I think about when Jesus appeared to Peter after the resurrection and He asked Peter three times, “Do you love me?” And I cry when Peter finally gets it and realizes Jesus is asking him in order to take away the guilt he'd had for having denied knowing Him. I just love that story. I love how it shows that Jesus is willing to come to us no matter what we've done. He has so much compassion and love for all of us. He's just so amazing in every single way.

I wanted to include here the lyrics to one of my favorite gospel songs. It's called “He Lives,” written by Alfred H. Ackley. I think it sums up pretty well how I feel right now. I hope all of you enjoy. And Happy Easter!

He Lives”

I serve a risen Savior, He's in the world today,

I know that He is living, whatever men may say;

I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer,

And just the time I need Him, He's always near.


He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today?

He walks with me and talks with me along life's narrow way;

He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!

You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart.

In all the world around me I see His loving care,

And tho my heart grows weary I never will despair;

I know that He is leading thru all the stormy blast,

The day of His appearing will come at last.

(Repeat Chorus)

Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian, lift up your voice and sing

Eternal hallelujahs to Jesus Christ, the King!

The hope of all who seek Him, the help of all who find,

None other is so loving, so good and kind.

(Repeat Chorus)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Trouble With Prayer

Sometimes I find it difficult to pray. I feel sometimes a shame about my sins that I know causes me to distance myself from God. I don't feel worthy of talking with Him. I don't feel worthy of His forgiveness. I don't feel worthy of being in His presence. And because of that, it's very difficult for me to bring myself to Him in prayer. I feel like a little kid whose been caught by his dad doing something wrong and now he has to face his father's disappointed eyes and punishment. So it's hard for me to pray when I feel like that, even though I know God loves me and wants me to do that so I can be forgiven and move on.

Another time when I find prayer difficult is when times are good. There are times when I feel so close to God that I make the mistake of assuming He knows all and so there's therefore no need for me to pray to Him. Big mistake!!! No one should ever do that. Yes, God knows all, but when you stop talking to Him, He stops talking to you, or you stop hearing Him. You break the line of communication between you and God. And when you do that, your destined to eventually fall.

And of course another time is when I'm angry or frustrated about something. When I feel that way it's just so hard for me to concentrate on God. I get a “To hell with everyone else” sort of feeling about things and resort into a go-it-alone attitude. When I'm thinking like that, there's obviously no room for God.

Feeling bad or depressed for a prolonged period of time can also cause me to stop praying. I begin to feel as though I'm all-alone, as if God has forsaken me and left me completely. I cry out to Him to help me, and when nothing happens, I lose hope. I know He's still with me, but I don't feel Him, and I begin to think, what's the point, He's not even listening? I fall into another one of those go-it-alone mentalities, until finally I realize I can't go-it-alone and I come running desperately back to Him.

Prayer is one of those things we shouldn't ever stop doing though. The bible tells us that we should be constantly praying. We should be going to God in all things, keeping Him close to our heart and mind at all times. God wants to know us like that. He wants us to know Him like that.

I read an acronym the other day on a daily devotional sent to me from Beast to help people learn how to pray. The acronym is ACTS and it goes along pretty much with the format of the Lord's Prayer. It begins with Adoration – praising God. Then Confession – confessing sins. Next, Thanksgiving – expressing gratitude to God. And lastly Supplication – praying for others.

It occurred to me that if a person prays daily about all these things, you should never have a reason not to pray to God. I can think of things on a daily basis to praise God for. I can think of sins, almost every day that I should confess and ask forgiveness for. I can think of an abundance of things to thank God for. And there sure are a lot of people who need prayer support. And the thing I've realized is that even if I'm in one of those moods or times when I find praying to God difficult, if I just go ahead and pray, following this format, I find that I begin to loosen up and the prayers become more easy. I begin opening up to God.

So, in short, we should never stop praying. All that accomplishes is to distance us from God and drive us away from doing His will and doing what is right. We become spiritual loners, and that's certainly never a good thing for anyone. It just opens the door for the devil to enter our lives.

AND it came to pass, that as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.” (Luke 11:1-4)

Saturday, March 8, 2008

The Snowmaker

I have to say I really do enjoy the snow. It comes in and covers over all the dark, gloomy, wet, nastiness that is so typical of the winter outdoors, replacing it with such beauty. The pure white just makes everything bright and fresh. The flakes falling through the air brings about such an excitement for me. It's almost like static in the air. There's just an energy about it that can't be described.

It's been said that more people suffer from depression during winter than at any other time of the year. I can see why sometimes. Everything just looks so depressing. The ground is wet and muddy, the sky is gray and cloudy, the trees are all leafless and bare, there are no flowers, it's cold, and daylight itself is cut short. It's just one of those gloomy times of the year. For that reason, of all the seasons, winter is usually represented as death. And death, in itself, is typically looked at as something depressing. Death is an end to life, and brings with it an incredible sadness. During winter, we see that all around us in nature. We see a loss of life.

I like the snow because it's a reminder of what Jesus can do for us when we let Him into our lives. He takes away all the darkness. He takes away all the ugliness. He comes in like the snow and covers over all that is bad and in such a beautiful way. I think God gives us the snow for the same reason He gave us Jesus. He knows that in the darkness, we need to see some light. In the ugliness of life, we eventually need to see some beauty. We need hope for something better.

And in the same way Jesus can transform the landscapes of our lives, in the same way He brings to life what is dead, we have the springtime to look forward to. And just like the snow, I believe God gives us the spring for the same reason He gave us Jesus. He knows that in death, we need life. In the darkness, we need light. In the ugliness, we need beauty. In the cold, we need warmth. Again, we have something better to look forward to. We have something to hope for.

In the winter, I look forward to the snow. It gives me hope for better days. It makes me feel alive. And I thank God for designing a world that would have snow. It would be hard to make it through a cold, drab winter without it.

I'm glad He knows just the right way to always lift my spirit. It's snowing right now, and it's just so beautiful!

I love every minute of it!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A Nod To Mike

I just received the March Newsletter from Exodus Youth and I thought Mike Ensley had written a very great article included in it about the need for people to experience physical touch. I'm going to encourage everyone to read his article, Touch the Sexual Sinner. I think Mike has definitely hit the nail on the head with this one. Great article, Mike.

(Well, for some reason the link doesn't seem to work, so just go to the following: