Saturday, May 19, 2012

Times are Changing!

"Times have changed. Today’s kids live will inherit a world where gay marriage is accepted and affirmed, even by the President of the United States. Christians who maintain the biblical witness against this practice will be labeled 'bigots.'" Tony Kummer

Pastor brought up an interesting point during his sermon on Sunday concerning gay marriage -- have you noticed that in gay couples one assumes the "male" and the other the "female" role? One of the partners in a homosexual relationship assumes a role they were never meant to fulfill. Seems as if the enemy has tried to counterfeit another one of God's ideas with an inadequate imitation. God's plan was for a tender and loving father and a compassionate and training mother.
Another quote from Tony Kummer's article at:
“Marriage is God’s idea”
"Before there was any human government or even churches. God invented marriage between Adam & Eve. It was supposed to be one man and one woman, promising to love and care for one another in a special way for all their lives. He said it was a pattern for all their children to copy. Marriage was a good gift from our Maker. It helps us to have strong families and live happy lives. When men & women follow God’s plan, it shows a little of God’s own faithfulness and love. The Bible event talks about human marriage to explain the way Jesus loves his church. At the core this is a theological issue."
..."We must love all people, but not hide God’s truth. There are many smart and nice people who don’t agree with what the Bible teaches. To speak up for what you know is not wrong, especially when done with attitude of respect. Christians should find way to be friends with all types of people, even when we disagree with something as important as marriage."
We are commanded to love our neighbor as ourself -- that includes those who disobey God's law, the sinner, while at the same time hating the sin. Which means we can not ignore or turn a blind eye to what we know grieves the heart of God -- His desire is for repentance which will be answered with forgiveness and restoration of our relationship with Him.
Food for thought...

Friday, May 18, 2012

New Directions

“The greatest Christians in history seem to say that their sufferings ended up bringing them the closest to God - so this is the best thing that could happen, not the worst.” ~ Peter Kreeft

David Jeremiah has been sharing most requested sermons this month and what struck me today in the message I got to hear back to back (helps with retention -- short-term memory these days craves it) was considering opportunities from God. Often they are clothed in tests/trials/problems. The really poignant point that stuck out -- sometimes when we're sure God has led us in one direction and He would like to adjust our sails to change our path on the journey we may be so content with where we are that we miss it. Makes me think of my current situation and how once again God is altering the journey by changing the heading but keeping the same destination.
My soul can sense the change and is grateful for the opportunity but also blessed by those who were sensitive to God and began this adjustment in my sails. It would not have occurred to me that this change was possible but they have offered it and it seems to be an answer to a prayer not even prayed!
So what is the lesson? God is always at work refining us and offering new opportunities as we walk closely to Him. Am I willing to have my sails modified? Am I willing to follow into new territory which will offer blessings and burdens?

A question my husband brought up this week also reflects this -- do our neighbors consider our witness to be genuine? It comes as a man on our block who is so outspokenly "Christian" compromises his witness by complaining and nit-picking about others, always the first to find fault, etc. We are getting new neighbors across the street as they move into a rental home. How can we best welcome them and let them know we're here if they need us and yet not to impose ourselves upon them...
Lord, help us to be discerning and sensitive as we begin this new relationship. Help us to be open to the leading of Your Holy Spirit in our lives.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Least Come First

Well, it's time to take to doing what this blog was named for and documenting it.

Interesting newspaper articles these past weeks: Finding Freedom in Prison and Serial Killer is Video Guest at Suffolk Prayer Event.
The first was a eulogy for Chuck Colson by his mentee, Michael Gerson.
"In him, I found my greatest example of the transforming power of grace."
"... Many wondered at Chuck's sudden conversion to Christianity. He seemed to wonder at it himself. He spent each day that followed, for nearly 40 years, dazzled by his own implausible redemption. It is the reason he never hedged or hesitated in describing his relationship with Jesus Christ. Chuck was possessed, not by some cause, but by someone." (emphasis mine)
"...If everyone matters and counts, then criminals do as well. Chuck led a movement of volunteers attempting to love some of their least lovable neighbors. This inversion of social priorities--putting the last first--is the best evidence of a faith that is more than crutch, opiate or self-help program. It is the hallmark of authentic religion -- and it is the vast humane contribution of Chuck Colson." (emphasis mine)Op-Ed page 11, The Virginian-Pilot, April 25, 2012.
Chuck Colson spoke at one of the NILD Conference Banquets a few years ago. It was my opportunity to see the man who had lovingly brought Prison Fellowship into being and the Angel Tree Program which was a part of our world in ministry at First Baptist Tarrytown. In ministering to the needs of families who had loved ones in prison a new world was opened for us to see -- some of our neighbors had great burdens that they carried without any support.
The other article that caught my attention was a person from my past, the Son of Sam, David Berkowitz. I remember being in NY in the summers during the 70's when these killings and trial were taking place. It was the first serial killer (other than Charles Manson) trial that made national headlines. The fear before he was captured was palpable in NY -- an unknown devil loose in our midst. David Berkowitz came to know Jesus Christ as his Savior as a prisoner after 10 years in jail. David Berkowitz has changed his identity from "Son of Sam" to "Son of Hope." Could this be a link to Chuck Colson as well? Only the Lord knows. In The Virginian-Pilot article by Linda McNatt and Jeff Sheler (page 1 May, 4, 2012), it says,
     "In 1987, he became a born-again Christian after an invitation from another prisoner and now devotes his time to a prison ministry. He has in recent years refused to attend his parole hearings, saying he believes he needs to spend the rest of his life in prison."
                 "I came to prison with no hope, no direction, no reason to live," 
                 ..."After 10 years in prison, I met Christ, confessed to God. I asked him to please forgive me."
                 ..."You're one prayer away from God doing something miraculous in your life," Berkowitz said.
                 "God bless each and every one of you."
Lord, may I be known by others as a daughter of God who was in an intimate relationship with Christ and that was a hallmark of my life.
Connections -- there are so many in life and yet do we notice them? Is there a connection between Chuck Colson/Prison Fellow and David Berkowitz/Son of Hope? What do you think?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Bible Memorization

2 Corinthians 4        Present Weakness and Resurrection Life
Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.”Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
[Memorized sections are Bolded]