Bible Mike Wonders

Think What It Says

July 4, 2010
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In the past few weeks I have not written much as my physical condition has made that difficult. My disability can be very limiting at times. Due to sever muscle spasms my neck pain has gotten much worse, but the pain radiating down my shoulder and across my chest is no slouch. Turning to my left is extremely painful, but sneezing, coughing or simply sniffing a dripping nose is terrifying. I swore nearly thirty years ago that I would never take medications like this, but today I have taken methadone for chronic pain and vicodin for what is called breakthrough pain and I hate doing so. It could be worse for nearly six years I was on 200 transdermal units fentynal to deal with even worse chronic pain. Pain so debilitating that I could not move without whimpering like a baby. I finally agreed to the narcotics after weeks of being curled up in a ball on the floor unable to move. For years I prayed for healing, but always ended my prayers with an irresistible statement that not my will but His be done. I figured that healing was in my interest primarily and it should not take place except if it were for His glory or would extend His plan. I fully believed that He could heal me if He willed it, but I also believed that it must be His will not mine that dictated that healing. It took many years for me to understand why I felt that way.

After I lost my abilities to read, write, walk on my own or even recognize common things I eventually became nearly totally unaware of my surroundings. For nearly three years I was bedridden. Needing to be carried to the tub for bathing, helped on the toilet and fed by hands of others. In June of 2008 I became more aware and noticed that a black senator from Chicago was vying for the presidential nomination against Hillary Clinton and that John McCain was running for president with someone who looked like a reality TV star as his running mate. That was quite confusing, but not as confusing as seeing my children who had changed so much when I was gone. Two of my older children were gone and had rejected any relationship with me refusing my requests for contact. My younger ones were a little resentful about some of the things I had apparently said and done when I was not myself. My real grieving began. Why would God awaken my to such horrible rejection and sorrow? There should have been rejoicing, but there seemed to be only indifference and rejection. I was heart broken. Things got a lot worse before they got better.

I wanted to call my old pastor, but he was no longer around. In fact my church hade dissolved while I was out of it and all my Christian fellowship was gone. I turned to radio and the internet and due to God’s grace discovered some great teachers like John MacArthur, John Piper, Alistair Bigg, R. C. Sproul, Charles Stanley, and Chuck Swindol. Studying the book of Job as wells as James and Jude also helped immensely. James and Jude directed me to clear teaching and Job helped me realize my right relationship with God and helped me to truly recognize God’s sovereignty. My turmoil was one of the greatest blessings of my life.

I am clay that is being formed just the way the great potter needs me to be formed in order for His great Will to be fulfilled. Like Job I may not know the what or the why, but like Job I am learning that it really none of my business. It is the potter’s business and I am here to be used by the potter for his purposes. That and to worship Him are my only purposes for existing. Any other purpose I give myself is just my ego getting in the way. It is not a matter of fairness or what is right from my perspective. I am the created not the creator. If only I had realized that sooner in my life.

James tells us in chapter 2 that we are to be doers of the word not just listeners. Actually I think that is not quite enough. If we are doers of the word only we can become trapped in a legalistic mindset that will steal from us all the benefits of knowing God’s grace as fully as we should to experience His joy. We need to change our entire mindset about God and our relationship with Him. He owes us nothing. NOTHING. We owe Him everything and are unable to repay Him for what He does give us. Not only is our salvation a gift of His grace, so is the faith by which we believe for salvation, so is the heart that softens enough to turn to Him. Everything is a gift of His sovereignty. More on that another time.

My main point is that God wants us to think not just feel our way into a relationship with Him. Most Christians today don’t believe that Satan is real, fully one third believe that Jesus actually sinned while He was on the earth, 25% dismiss the authority of the Bible in directing our moral lives. These are professing Christians not atheists or agnostics we’re talking about here. Why? Because they are ready to believe anything that makes them more comfortable with themselves and more secure in defining God as they want Him to be. They deny the very sovereignty of God and set themselves up to be among those who will be told by Jesus to be gone because He never knew them. They have chosen to believe in a god of their own making rather than the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The God who is rather than the god they want.
Isaiah 1: 8 tells us to reason together or in the Message version to sit down and argue this out. We are not to leave our brains at the door when we come to Christ, but we are also not to leave God outside the argument while we make our own decisions. It is reasonable, even logical to have faith. We just need to think biblically and not just go by our “feelings” suppositions, desires or ‘gut instincts.” Romans 12 says we are to renew our minds and Philippians reminds us to put our minds on things above. We need to do away with “I think”, I believe”, “I feel” or “My god would never do such and such.” Our personal opinions are based on false information and a depraved nature and will always be suspect because of that.

We need to move to “The Bible says,” because then we will learn to think, feel and believe the right things, the things that our sovereign God has put in place. We need to recognize His sovereignty and our own depravity in order to move in the right direction. Experience is not a good basis for theology. Experiences can be confusing and deceiving by themselves. However, good theology can be the basis for the right experiences. I don’t know where he said it but I know it was C.S. Lewis who said that not listening to theology doesn’t mean you have any ides about God, but it does mean you will have many bad ideas about God and your life. Too many of us have been listening to the latest trend in thinking and experience that feels good to us, but therein lies a downward slope that gets steeper all the time. I have learned to understand my experiences in light of God’s Word not to try to make God’s word fit my experiences.

I don’t want justice from God. Neither His definition of Justice nor mine will do me any good. His definition will put me in hell and mine will put me in a place without Him at all now and for all eternity. I want and long for His mercy, His grace and I am prepared to live whatever life on earth fits His plan for all of us in order to receive His grace in the end. Think about it. Read His word and you will find that there is joy even in the most difficult of circumstances when you do things His way.

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God’s Truth Versus The Biggest Abortion Lies

June 6, 2010
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Everyone knows the great historical decision that made abortion on demand legal in the United States: Roe v. Wade. What many people do not realize is that the decision in Roe v. Wade was rendered based on blatantly false factual data. One of the main arguments for allowing abortion on demand was that so many women were dying in this country from back alley abortion induced trauma and infection. That information was provided by Dr. Bernard Nathanson of the organization National Abortion Rights Action League, also known as NARAL. Nathanson would later admit that only thirty-six women were known to have died from abortion related injury at the time of his testimony and that the death rate of one in ten thousand from abortion remains at a similar rate now as it did before Roe v. Wade. Because thirty-six women died as a result of their own bad decision combined with medical or personal error, we have now killed millions of unborn children and created a permissiveness in our society that has permeated numerous other areas.

The argument was also made that women were dying because of back alley abortions, but most of the illegal abortions were being performed by medical doctors in their own offices. The balance were spread from nurses, medical students, self induced abortion and finally a few unskilled and untrained abortionists. Nathanson’s own records indicated that at least 91% of the illegal abortions were performed under medical conditions similar to those of today. With that spread of performers the rate of death was one in ten thousand as it is today. That percentage did not change. What changed was the number of abortions being performed. We went from hundreds a year to nearly a million. Nothing changed except the number of murders of unborn children.

Another reason given was that unwanted children were being born and then savagely abused. Therefore, legalizing abortion would decrease the amount of child abuse in our society. The facts are that less than two percent of abortions are done as a result of rape/incest or for the health of the mother. In a University of California study it was determined that 91% of abused children were from expected or planned pregnancies. The other 9% were spread across a group comprised of adopted or foster children, children abused by strangers or non-custodial caregivers and finally a very tiny few who were a result of an unwanted pregnancy. The reality is that reported child abuse incidents increased 500% in the decade after the legalization of abortion by the Supreme Court and has continued to grow annually ever since. Children are not abused because abortion isn’t legal, but rather because we live in an irresponsible and permissive society in which legalized abortion is only one symptom of that irresponsibility. We don’t want to change our immoral behavior, so we try to find ways of erasing the consequences of that behavior in this life.

A fetus is not an appendage of the woman’s body to do with as she see fits. The fetus is a distinctly separate entity with totally separate DNA as part of his/her identity. The fetus is another person entirely, no matter how inconvenient that news may be for those who wish to live their lives at the expense of others, including a child struggling to live.

GOD IS LIFE AND THE GIVER OF LIFE

(John 1:4 NASB) In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.

(Gen 2:7 NASB) Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

(Job 33:4 NASB) “The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

(Eccl 5:18 NASB) Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one’s labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward.

(1 Tim 6:13 NASB) I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus

(Gen 30:2,22; Deut 32:18; 1 Sam 1:5; Psalm 71:6)

MAN IS MADE IN GOD’S IMAGE

(Gen 1:26-27 NASB) Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…{27} And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Killing unborn children is nothing less than a satanic act of aggression against God by beings who resent or are revolting against His authority over them! Simple truths can really bite can’t they?

GOD CREATED THAT PERSON IN THE WOMB

Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was barren; and the LORD answered him and Rebekah his wife conceived.  But the children struggled together within her; and she said, “If it is so, why then am I this way?” So she went to inquire of the LORD.  The LORD said to her, “Two nations are in your womb; And two peoples will be separated from your body; And one people shall be stronger than the other; And the older shall serve the younger.”
When her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.
(Genesis 25: 21-23 NASB)

God knows you in the womb! Long before birth, God is aware of the child’s life and
interacts with that child in the womb. The fetus is a person in the eyes of God.

Now the word of the LORD came to me saying,
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
(Jeremiah 1:4-5 NASB)

Each new human being begins at the moment of conception. The first detectable
heartbeat is heard at 18 days. Brainwaves are present and all internal organs are in place
at just 6 weeks. Virtually all of the abortions in America are performed after 8 weeks
gestation. By the time a woman knows for sure she is pregnant, the individual
characteristics of being human are completely detectable by man, but God is aware of
them from the moment of conception. Abortion stops a beating heart almost 100% of the
time. That’s right, I said almost. Sometimes the fetus ends up being delivered alive and
is murdered by the doctor or other staff after the birth. In fact, in the case of late term
abortion this happens every single time. The child is murdered after being born!

For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.  I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.  My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them. (Psalm 139:13-16 NASB)

God weaves us together at the time of conception inside the womb of our mother. Life clearly begins at conception! Abortion is nothing less than killing a life that God has begun.

GOD FORBIDS KILLING YOUR CHILDREN

Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
“You shall also say to the sons of Israel: ‘Any man from the sons of Israel or from the aliens sojourning in Israel who gives any of his offspring to Molech, shall surely be put to death; the people of the land shall stone him with stones. (Leviticus 20:1-2 NASB)

The Greek word “brephos” is used to mean child when referring to John the Baptist in Elizabeth’s womb leaping for joy (Luke 1:41 and Luke 1:44) The same word is used to describe the child Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes (Luke 2:12). The same word is used to mean child still in the womb and child outside the womb. Therefore killing one is the same as killing the other!

THOSE WHO DID NOTHING WERE ALSO TO BE PUNISHED

‘If the people of the land, however, should ever disregard that man when he gives any of
his offspring to Molech, so as not to put him to death, then I Myself will set My face
against that man and against his family, and I will cut off from among their people both
him and all those who play the harlot after him, by playing the harlot after Molech. (Leviticus 20:4-5 NASB)

Before anyone makes the mistake of thinking that I am one of these espousing aggressive activism against abortion in the streets or outside abortion clinics, let me clearly say that I am not. Much of that aggressiveness is counter productive to say the least. Instead of leading people to the One who can solve their heartache, such activity is chasing them away instead. It drives them into the arms of the tender, “loving” care of the abortion workers. We do need to speak out, but without stepping outside of the peaceful walk of Christ.

Jesus had no problem telling the Pharisees that they were like rotting flesh inside the cemetery. He did not resort to screaming at them or yelling obscenities in their faces. He did not spew hateful comments and curse them to hell. He did not have to. The truth was sufficient. Spoken quietly and directly, the truth is more powerful than any shout, sign or violence of any kind.

We are called to speak and live the Gospel. The Gospel is sufficient to change the hearts and mind of others if we let it. God does not need our help to do that. We cannot change people. God calls. God convicts. God changes. We merely live and represent the Gospel to the world. Our salt and light, our example of living provides the image, God handles the rest.


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He Is Love And I Am Not

May 18, 2010
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Recently I read something I wrote about eight years ago after reading First John for the thousandth or so time.  John had a direct and stunning approach to making our relationship with Christ so clear.  After reading his words I began to ponder the greatness of God’s love for us, for me in particular.  I clearly did not deserve anything God has given me.  As a father, I could not imagine doing as He had in sacrificing or allowing His Son to voluntarily sacrifice Himself.  It seemed beyond comprehension.  I began to write a poem that would talk about how small my love is compared to God’s , but it came out differently than I had intended.  I hope you enjoy it.

He Is Love And The World Knows Us Not

 

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son

To suffer humiliation, torture, pain and shame even to the draining of His blood

That you and I might find redemption hope and life eternal

When we lacked any right to claim it or be justified by it.

 

What kind of God would give so much to those who turned their backs on Him?

Why would He open His heart and pour out mercy on the undeserving?

I am a father and I love my children.

Gladly I would sacrifice myself for them.

But allow my child to die so that someone who disdains me would live instead?

This I know and truly say in sight of God and Man I would not do.

 

I am ashamed that I would stand before my God in knowledge of His grace

And say that despite all He gave, I can’t imagine I would give the smallest piece

And even then I would likely test the one who sought my aid to be certain

That my sacrifice would be sufficient to bring this one to God and turn him around.

 

Then I read First John and realize all I’ve said is untrue.

For God has come into me and His Spirit fills my soul.

I could no more deny that love He fills me with than go back to ways of old.

Christ is Love and God is Love and in me His Spirit dwells.

So I am bound in joyous love to beat down the gates of hell.

Would that I could give Him just the smallest taste

Of the mercy, hope and joy He gave me in His place.


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Just Thinking About Romans 8:28

April 27, 2010
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One of the reasons that so many Christians fail to grasp the real beauty of Romans 8:28 is that they fail to realize that everything good, and everything bad that God will turn to good is there in the first place because Jesus Christ died on that terrible stake of death, the cross. This has resulted in a church that is neither Christ centered nor cross focused. American Christianity and its terrible heresy export the prosperity gospel have caused so many to act on an attitude that personal goods, friends, family, health, life, even our very breath are ours by right rather than grace. That fact is we do not deserve what we have, no matter how little or how much. We do not own what we have. We only have temporary use of it and even that is not by right or earning.

We are creatures. We were created by the One, Eternal Creator and He is not bound by any rule or obligation to provide us with breath, life, health, personal goods or anything else. Our very existence is at His Will. We have all heard political appointees say, “I serve at the will of the President.” Well we live at the Will of God, Himself. We forget that at our peril.

Besides being created beings who have no say in how we are created, we are egregious sinners who fall so short of His glory as to be inconsequential except for His grace. (Romans 3:23) He can give, He can take and He does us no injustice in that process for all is His to do with as He sees fit. (Job 1:21) All we deserve from Him is judgment. (Romans 3:19)

Every time we take a breath, every time our heart beats, every spark that passes the synapses of our brain, every sun rise, all we see, all we hear, all we taste, every step is a free and undeserved gift to sinners who deserve only judgment. If we fail to see His grace in these gifts at some point they will change from gifts to evidence of ingratitude and high treason. There are many who will be surprised that day to hear the words, “I never knew you.”

Scripture tells us these things are gifts of grace “the riches of His kindness, forbearance and patience” that direct us to repentance. (Romans 2:4) However, when we take these things for granted and do not acknowledge God’s grace in them, “Because of your hardened heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.” (Romans2:5)

Everything in life should point us at Christ. Jesus is the creator of all that we care about. He is the giver of life, physical and spiritual. He purchased with His blood all that we hope for, all that we should treasure, all that we should dream. He is our hope, our treasure and our dream. Every experience in life should magnify the cross of Christ in our hearts and minds, because every good thing, or bad thing that will be changed into good, is meant to magnify Christ and Him crucified.

All my Christian life I have clung to Romans 8:28 like a life raft in a turbulent sea. Each time I read it, thought about it or prayed over it; I saw and experienced the great and gracious love of Jesus poured out for me. Lately as I see the, to me, terrible changes that have taken place in the church over the last decade in particular, I also hear a more somber tone in these words as I read them. Just as hope and great joy can be found here for those who trust in God and acknowledge His supremacy, so is there great judgment for those who ignore the grounding principles and truths that are the foundation upon which this passage is built.

Everything God has made and everything God gives is aimed at bringing glory to His Son, Jesus the Christ, Yeshua Messiah. The aim of God is the honor of Christ. When Paul says in Galatians “Far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,” he is saying that to boast in any other way for any other purpose is the opposite of God’s will and desire for us. Without recognizing God as source and full supremacy over all things and the Lordship of Jesus Christ over all matters we cannot know the wonder of that fruit we call Romans 8:28. That fruit is most flavorful because we understand the basis for it, but if we fail to recognize that we turn it into our own curse.

When we glorify ourselves and our ideas of what is right, we miss out on the One Who  has all right and power to determine our fates. My heart breaks for those who would turn God into servant instead of recognizing what it means to say His gifts are gracious indeed.


Important Words To Remember

April 15, 2010
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For Those Who Suffer or Love Those Who Suffer

The Lord is like a father to His children, tender and compassionate to those who fear Him. For He understands how weak we are; He knows we are only dust. Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die. The wind blows and we are gone – as though we had never been here. Psalm 103:13-16 NLT

Boy! That is kind of a bleak picture isn’t it? It would seem so, but this is why you need to keep reading when the message seems particularly hard or the answer you are looking for does not seem to offer the help that you want. I read this section of Psalm 103 at night, alone and feeling unwell. As I prayed for an answer to the matters troubling me, God kept sending me here to Psalm 103. As I contemplated the words I was struck by the wonder of God’s love. The first verses talk about how God has forgiven David’s sins and ransomed him from death. David is filled with the same wonder I felt. ”He has not punished us for all our sins nor has He dealt with us as we deserve.” When we finally slow down in our reading, we are embraced and filled with hope and a covenant that God is making with each of us as an individual parent. The question is whether we will do our minor part to win the major blessing for our children and our children’s children.

But the love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear Him. His salvation extends to the children’s children of those who are faithful to His covenant, of those who obey His commandments! The Lord has made the heavens His throne; from there he rules over everything. Praise the Lord, you angels of His, you mighty creatures who carry out His plans, listening for each of His commands. Yes, praise the Lord, you armies of angels who serve Him and do His will. Praise the Lord, everything He has created everywhere in His kingdom. As for me, I too will praise the Lord. Psalm 103:17-22

God has given a father’s promise that fathers immediately understand. God’s promises don’t very often fit in packaging or a framework that we easily understand until many years of walking in light and dark and in good and ill weather. God speaks in terms of generations, of thousands of years. He sent the Jews into captivity for seventy years, but made it sound like a gift because it was. Jeremiah was force to prophesy the terrible things that would happen to the Jewish people and end these terrible sayings with words of great plans or designs God had in store for these people. None of the people listening were going to survive the seventy years of starvations, slavery and cannibalism to see those designs begin to come to pass. Many of us have the words of the promise written on a wall or picture in our home, but we conveniently leave out the part that is hard to hear, but absolutely necessary to experience if the rest is to come to pass.

The Lord Almighty, the God of Israel says, ‘do not let the prophets and mediums who are there in Babylon trick you. Do not listen to their dreams because they prophesy lies in my name. I have not sent them,’ says the Lord. ‘The truth is that you will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Imagine the heaviness of Jeremiah’s heart as he had to say the things of trial and suffering that the Jew must face in the next seventy years, but the wise Jews put their hope on a promise. They put their faith in God’s statement that He had an extremely intricate design that man could not understand, but which carried the promise of generations of hope. God did exactly the same thing through David as the great king humbled himself to worship and praise the God who had preserved him. His salvation extends to the children’s children. There are many better-educated men than I who will tell you that the promise in Psalm 138 applies to a single event involving David. I respectfully disagree and with Jeremiah and David announce that my God is bigger than that. The love of the Lord endures forever!!!

As David praised God, the Holy Spirit spoke through him as He had done before and would again. God understands our suffering. He recognizes we are but gnats whose life spans are less than God’s blink. Praise God like His angels praise Him. Stand before Him like His armies of angels stand before Him. Serve Him and do His will. Obey His commandments, a task made easier now by the presence of the Holy Spirit in those who have given Him their allegiance. Serve Him. Do His Will as servant to warrior King. Your life, your goods, your very soul is His to command. He has promised that if you do that which is required of you if you have truly given your allegiance to Him as Old Testament obeisance required, then the promise of God’s blessing on your children and your children’s children is absolute. David knew that and that is why he rejoiced. We know it in our hearts and it is supported in the scripture. God is consistent and unchanging though men will continue to try to change His words and His promises in perversions of the truth.

There is no promise of riches or perfect health. I am living proof that terrible illnesses are contracted just by living in this world. My faith is greater now than it has ever been in my lifetime, but I have a debillitating illness. My illness is not caused by a failure of my faith. It is caused by living in a sin infected world that is a thriving greenhouse of disease. I praise God for the opportunity to get to know Him better and to better understand doing His will. The world is at fault for many things and everything in the world not produced to praise God is sin according to the scriptures.

One thing is certainly true if you suffer and you pray about it with the Lord, you can’t help giving praise to God for all the good He is doing in your life and you can’t stop telling everyone else about all the good stuff God does. It operates on the same principle of all that God has created. If you touch something hot, it burns you. It you stand in the rain, you will get wet. If you pray about hardship or suffering, God will give you much to rejoice about. It may not be what you expect. In fact, it usually isn’t, but your heart will be filled with a gladness and thanksgiving. You will be drawn closer to God and He will put His hand on your children and your children’s children.

Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim His greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. Sing to Him, yes, sing His praises. Tell everyone about His miracles. Exult in His Holy Name; O, worshippers of the Lord, rejoice. Search for the Lord and for His strength, and keep on searching. Think of the wonderful works He has done, the miracles and the judgments He has handed down, O children of Abraham, God’s servant, O descendants of Jacob God’s chosen one. He is the Lord our God. Psalm 105:1-7 NLT


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BIBLICAL HOMOSEXUALITY

January 27, 2010
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Leviticus 18:22 “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.”

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 “Do you not know that the wicked will to inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy or drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

Romans 1:21 “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

Romans 1:24-27 “Therefore God gave them over to the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator – who is forever praised, Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts, Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for each other. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.”

1 Corinthians 3:19a “For the wisdom of men is foolishness in God’s sight.”

There is a term being used by those who propose that homosexuality is not a sin in the eyes of God that I personally find offensive. The term is “queer theologian”. Supposedly, anyone who tries to support the acceptance of homosexual activity among Christians is a “queer theologian” These so-called “queer theologians do not view any New Testament references to homosexuality as condemning “natural, committed” gay relationships. Rather they view any negativity as being attached to the use of homosexuality in pagan idolatry. In their view, only pagan worship practices were being condemned not homosexuality itself.

Before going any further with my scriptural examination, let me make my position on the matter clear. I find the behavior of many Christians toward homosexual people to be hateful and out of sorts with how Jesus would handle the issue. All men are sinners and fall short of the glory of God. My sins of fornication with women in the past were no different than of those same activities had been performed with men. A sin is a sin is a sin. Any sexual behavior outside of marriage is sin. An individual involved in a homosexual relationship is no different than a person involved in a sexual relationship with someone to whom they are not wed. If professing homosexuals are not allowed to attend church services, then sexually active heterosexuals should not be allowed to attend either, nor should any known adulterer. Too many pastors and other leaders are addressing homosexual people as if they are the sin instead of the sinner. Homosexuals deserve the same compassion and understanding we give to anyone captured in repetitive sinful behavior.
Having said that, let us look to scripture for answers to how God views the matter. The scriptures already quoted seem clear, but since the Romans passage stands as the most lengthy and significant New Testament reference dealing with homosexuality, we’ll analyze these verses at some length first.
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Romans 1:18-32

This passage forms the “pagan” section of a sustained argument by the Apostle Paul written to prove that (1) Godless pagans and idolaters, (2) virtuous pagans, and (3) Jews under the Mosaic law all (a) are fundamentally sinful and corrupt by nature and by choice; (b) fall short behaviorally of God’s nature and standards revealed in creation and in Scripture; (c) are incapable even by “good works” of pleasing and making peace with God; and (d) in need of his grace through faith in Christ to be reconciled to him.

Thus, Paul’s statements regarding homosexuality must be seen in his perspective that not only many different kinds of sin, but all self-willed “good works” as well, thoroughly disqualify all humankind from relationship with a holy God. And, while the passage we’re looking at does discuss idolatry, these verses have as their primary subjects godlessness, wickedness and their effects, such as idolatry. They also deal with a host of other offenses, including homosexual behavior. Note how the passage begins:

“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (Romans 1:18-20)

Paul’s analysis of factors that bring on God’s wrath begins, not with pagan humankind’s descent into idolatry, but with its outright, willful rejection of God’s clear self-revelation in creation. He explains how the next step to idolatry is taken:

“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles” (vs. 21-23).

Early 20th-century author G.K. Chesterton once observed that when men refuse to believe in God (as Scripture reveals him), they don’t believe in nothing, they believe in anything.
In Paul’s view (which Chesterton shared) humankind are not atheists by nature, but worshippers. When people en masse become foolish in thought and dark in heart, says Paul, and reject the concept of an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, holy, loving, and sometimes wrathful God, they don’t cease to worship, they cast about for something else to worship. They look for an object of worship that is more pleasing to their selfishness.

Those who reject God, says Paul, exchange” the worship of God for something else with some kind of embodiment of the things he created. In primitive societies, people create and worship material images of animals, celestial bodies or other natural phenomena — or idealized images of human beings themselves. In more sophisticated societies, worship of creation may become more “intellectualized”. People may revere “the cosmos” or “the mind of man” or anything else awe-inspiring, but less threatening, than the omnipotent Deity Paul speaks about.

Inevitably, people trying to find the ungod object most worth of their reverence end their search with the highest natural manifestation of creation, humanity itself. (We might refer to this stage as discovering the essence of what’s known today as secular humanism.)
In Paul’s frame of reference, the highest of all created beings in spirit, intellect and authority is man. Thus, Paul says, when godless human beings seek an ultimate being to worship other than God, they eventually conclude their search revering the most awe inspiring and esthetically beautiful specimen(s) of humanity itself. At this point, Paul states,

“Therefore, God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator — who is forever praised. Amen” (vs. 24-26).

In most cultures that have taken this direction, fervent admiration approaching worship of human male and female forms becomes common. Often, sexual preoccupation of this sort manifests itself in ritual, religious prostitution as it did in the Baal worship the Israelites contended with and sometimes indulged in Canaan. At other times it resolves into elevating various sexual obsessions to the status of cultural norms. As they combine admiration for creation with sexual estheticism, males pursue passionate, quasi-worshipful sexual relationships with other males. Reacting to male neglect, yet still pursuing a physical manifestation of similar esthetic ideals, women seek sexual relations with other women. At this juncture, Paul says, God lifts any restraints the Deity might have sovereignty placed on such pursuits:

“Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion” (vs. 26-27).

Clearly, if we allow the entirety of Scripture to “comment” on these verses, it is a sheer distortion to try to square their meaning with the “spin” put on their depiction of homosexuality by these “queer theologians.” The text plainly regards both the desires/lusts and physical activities of both males and females who desire and have sexual relationships with partners of the same gender as “shameful” and “indecent,” and as “perversion.”

The references seem as generic in regard to same-sex behavior as those in Deuteronomy. And there seems no reason from the plain sense of the text to assume that Paul is positing that the offenders are heterosexuals deliberately and perversely engaging in homosexual relations, or that he in any way considers homosexuality “natural.” Nor does he conversely spend any time condemning homosexuals for “unnaturally” engaging in heterosexual behavior, which would seem, if the analysis of this passage by those of the opposing view is correct, to be a parallel and comparable sin.

Lest any reader think that in this passage Paul is implying that homosexuality is the “lowest” form of sin, he finishes this first chapter of Romans by detailing a further decline into what Paul calls “a depraved mind.” We must assume from the context that Paul considers this a stage of even greater evil. As such, it is characterized by a whole cluster of “every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity.” A kind of sinful mindset, if we accept Paul’s logic, collectively worse than mere homosexual behavior, that includes …

“…envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 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” (vs. 29-32).

Throughout this passage Paul is talking about descending degrees of “wickedness” resulting from a God-rejecting mindset and about individual behavior not directly related to the formal worship of idols. Therefore, it would be unreasonable to assume that every offense he recounts, including homosexuality, is to be directly associated with cultish idolatry.

Furthermore, Paul doesn’t end his “disqualifying” argument with this chapter. He goes on to demonstrate that not only “high-moraled” pagans but Jews, with the advantage of knowing Mosaic law, are also totally incapable of pleasing God. Not only so, but Paul indicates that God regards Jews under the law as most culpable of all Their responsibility is greater in God’s eyes because of they are familiar with the law, yet fail to adhere to the heart of its precepts.

Paul’s attitude in Romans toward sexual sin is no different than that of Jesus Christ, who was far more condemnatory toward hypocritical religious leaders than he was toward sinners given to more fleshly vices. Not that Paul or Jesus condoned fleshly vices; both regarded such sins as contrary to law and sound teaching, as we will see clearly from analysis of two other New Testament passages that deal with homosexuality.

1 Timothy 1:8-11

These verses include only a brief reference to homosexuality, but the context of that reference is significant:

But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers 1and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.
(I Timothy 1:8-11 NASB)

Some conveniently claim that the word translated “homosexuals” above (also used in the 1 Corinthians passage we will examine shortly) does not refer to homosexuality per se, but to “general moral weakness,” ritual prostitution, or some other form of immorality. Their argument is one “from silence.” They would say there is no pre-Pauline use in koine Greek of this term, so Paul must have invented it, so it doesn’t necessarily have to do with homosexuality. This view conceals the simplest translation possible of the word used: “a male who goes to bed with another male.” If Paul invented this term, it’s quite likely that he did so to make his disparagement of homosexuality as generic as the Deuteronomy references, with which, as a Hebrew scholar, he was doubtlessly familiar.

As in Deuteronomy, no age distinction is made here; the reprehensible nature of any male bedding any other male is what Paul wishes to communicate, in as simple terms as possible. In the context of this passage, it is obvious that Paul regards homosexual behavior as a sin, among those offenses listed that it’s the law’s function to proscribe and control, though he doesn’t single out homosexuality as worse than other sins listed.
It’s also clear, from the final passage we’ll examine, that Paul doesn’t consider the offense of homosexuality unforgivable or irremediable.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

In this third New Testament reference dealing directly with homosexuality, Paul introduces a strong note of hope that, while homosexuality is a sin, it can be forgiven, and homosexuals can be “cleansed,” “made whole” and “made right with God”:

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.” (I Corinthians 6:9-11 NASB)

Here again, the word used for “homosexuals” means “men who bed men.” It sense is active. The preceding word translated as “effeminate” has traditionally been interpreted to connote passive homosexual behavior. Negatively, Paul appears to be saying that neither active nor passive homosexual behavior are acceptable; both are sins. Note the many other offenses he also regards as unacceptable. One should conclude from this passage that Paul does not regard homosexuality as more reprehensible than the other offenses listed — or any less possible to be freed from.

Paul also says that individuals for whom these sins are so dominant as to constitute personal identities will have no place in “the kingdom of God.” One can’t, Paul says, claim to accept God’s rulership and continue to be dominated by these offenses at the same time.

Paul points out that it is possible to be deceived into thinking that you can continue to let your life revolve around these sins and still take part in God’s kingdom. Paul says, “Do not be deceived.” It’s not possible, he says.

In this passage, Paul also strikes three positive notes. And he precedes these with a remarkable observation: “And such were some of you…” In other words, among Paul’s Corinthian readers (Corinth was known to be a “wide open” town sexually in his day) were some who had at one time been active homosexuals but were not any more! What were they? In earlier verses of 1 Corinthians, Paul describes his readers as “saints” (people “set apart,” vs. 1:2), “babes in Christ” (vs. 3:1), “newborn,” new creations saved by God’s power (vs. 1:18).

Because this is true, Paul goes on to say in 6:11, his readers, including former homosexuals, had been washed, cleansed within from their previous sins; sanctified, set apart and made holy, separated from sin and reserved for God; and justified, made morally and legally acceptable to God because of the sacrificial death on Calvary of Jesus Christ. Thus, these offenders, including some who had been homosexuals, were forgiven, restored to right relationship with God, and accepted in his eyes as if they had never sinned, just like every other person who comes to Christ in repentance.

All men are sinners and fall short of the glory of God is a true statement. That Jesus died for all mankind is also a true statement. To repent is to change direction, to reverse course, to regret past behavior and to behave differently in the future. Anyone who is wiling to love God more than themselves through faith in Jesus Christ is welcome in God’s kingdom. That is the Biblical truth about God’s view of homosexuality.


Walking Worship

January 7, 2010
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Would that I were more humble than I have come to be.

 Would that I might reflect the grace you’ve given unto me.

 There could be no greater goal than to please You more and more,

 To give all that I am to You and all Your ways adore.

 

Your will, my Lord, I bow before and humbly seek Your Face.

The Lamb that bore no spot shed His blood to bring Your grace.

No greater love can one man give nor has there ever been

 Since the Son of Man came down to become my sin.

 

 I strive to kiss each stone He walked, each print made by His feet,

 To walk the path He laid before me, which trace is so, so sweet.

 In worship and adoration, in prayer that never grows still,

 My heart sings to my Savior and my hand turns to Your will.

 

 Strengthen me dear Father and mold me ’til you’re done

 Make me ever more a mirror, reflecting Your dear Son.

 Make me a light in this world’s darkness, for lost souls to see

 And when they cannot find a Bible, let them see Your word in me

 

Michael McLarney February 23, 2004


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Good News That Isn’t Good Enough

January 4, 2010
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Each year over ten thousand Christians are killed for their faith. According to statistics from Voice of the Martyrs, that is a minimum number. That does not include the thousands who are sold into slavery and die there. These figures are incredible to our minds. Why were they killed? They died because their faith was seen as a threat to the status quo. Christians have always been killed because they were perceived as a threat or because they lived lives that showed they were different in a way that reflected badly on how others were living. If one person in this country were murdered for the faith, it would produce outrage from coast to coast. It would shake up the people of God. Within weeks someone would be making a movie about it. 

What’s the difference between America and Iran (where converts can be executed on the spot) or between our country and Sudan (where slavery of Christians is common) or Albania (where Christians have been sealed in barrels and cast into the sea)? Why is there virtually no persecution here? There are those who would point to the constitution and its assurance of religious liberty as the reason, but that is insufficient to explain why individuals don’t act on their own as they do in other areas where there is legal protection such as racial, gender and sexual preference discrimination. When people disagree or feel threatened it doesn’t matter what the law says, they will generally take matters into their own hands. Remember it is not so much communism or Islam that stands against the Gospel, but the world and America is part of the world! We can evangelize and preach as much as we want. We have some Godly people in our government, but is the United States a “Christian” nation? Well it is closer than any other, but it’s values and the rules of law prove that it is not.   

We have the highest incidence of drug abuse of any industrialized nation. We are the world’s largest producer and consumer of alcoholic beverages. “Christian” America has the most liberal abortion laws in the world. We have murdered more than thirty million babies since 1973. There is no prayer in our schools and the teachers are predominately liberal thinking humanists who use text books which honor Buddha and Mohammed but deny Christ. Magazines that were hard to find just a few years ago are now found on supermarket shelves where children can see them. We are not a “Christian” nation! We should thank God for America where we have more freedom to preach the Gospel than any other country in the world, but America is still part of the world.   

Why is it God’s people suffer virtually no persecution here? Because our Gospel has no teeth! There is no threat to the ways of the world. We’re buying tickets to the same movies, wearing the same clothes (or not wearing them), voting for the same politicians and denying by our actions that we or anyone else needs Jesus in their lives. We offer nothing new or different and we tolerate instead of rebuke. We hardly expose sin in the body, much less in the world. How are we shining the light? How are we confronting the world with the righteousness of God or His justice? How are we shaking up society? Why don’t we make anyone uncomfortable any more? Maybe its because we’re too comfortable with ourselves. Maybe its because we have become too comfortable with the world. 

Satan isn’t worried about the church in America, because the church in America isn’t worried about him anymore. As Christians in America we have spent millions of dollars on our own edification, on comfortable churches. Foreign workers could have evangelized millions of their own unreached countrymen with the crumbs from our tables. To make matters worse, despite all our efforts, our ministry to ourselves has left the church inactive, passive and incredibly uncomfortable with sharing Christ in our dying society.   

If Peter and Paul were alive today would they be persecuted? Of course they would. They would be a threat to the devil’s work. They would be disturbing to the ungodly who enjoy living in sin. Look at the book of Acts. They were beaten, stoned and imprisoned. Eventually they were killed. Their message had an adverse affect on the devil’s business and they had to be stopped at all costs. The church in America is simply not enough of a threat to cause Satan to act out against us.   

The word is perfectly clear:   

Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. (2 Timothy 3:12)   

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: “No servant is greater than his master.” If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you also. (John 15:18-20)   

There is no denying it. If we were living godly lives in the biblical sense of the word, we would be persecuted. The people of the world today are still rejecting Christ. Why aren’t they rejecting us as well?   

In times past, the church went out into the world and converted the lost to the Lord. Today, the world has entered the church and diluted the word of God. Two thousand years ago the world was amazed by the courage of the Christians. Today the world is amused by our carnality. Once we evangelized the lost. Today we entertain them. We have more of a soap opera gospel than a sold out gospel. And here is the greatest tragedy of all. We have adjusted our standards to the declining standards of our society for so long that we do not even realize how far we have fallen. We dress like the world. We watch the same movies and television shows. Too often we tell the same jokes.   

Listen to the standard of God:   

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. (Ephesians 5:3-4)   

Religion that God our Father accepts is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (James 1:27)   

Since we have these promises [of being sons and daughters of God], let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. (2 Corinthians 7:1)   

Paul wrote to the Philippians to “do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God, without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life (Philippians 2:14-16). That must be our goal, to put no stumbling block before the world by our foolish actions, to shine forth and stand out because of our purity and holiness, and to clearly, boldly and uncompromisingly proclaim the word of God. As long as we try to win the world by conforming to its ways, our only battle will be for our own spiritual survival.   

It is time for the church in America to change its ways. We must reorder our lives. We must begin on our knees with open Bibles and broken hearts. Before we can rebuke the sin that is in our land, we must rebuke the sin that is in our own lives. Before we can call for truth and justice, we must disavow untruth and injustice of all types. We must look carefully at ourselves in full light of the Word and ask God to open our hearts. We must not close our eyes and live in complacency. We need to feel the shame of our failure to follow Him, as we should, our failure to keep separate from the world while wandering in it, our failure to be a beacon of light for the lost. We need revival in the church to have revival in the land.   

We have been like the proverbial frog being boiled alive in water. As the temperature rose the frog’s temperature rose right along with it. By the time he realizes what is happening it is too late. The water is hot, but it is not too late for us to get out of it and to call from the shore to the others who are still out there. How can we lead the world to a place of safety, when we are swimming in the same pool they are? What are we showing them that is different than what they already have? Unless we are different, we offer nothing for them to desire. It is not the words we say that will lead them to their Savior, but the lives we lead that will light the way.   

America needs revival. America needs another great awakening. If revival does not come, if the churches continue to adjust to the desires of the world, America will reap the whirlwind. God’s judgment of this nation is on the horizon. We can prevent it from occurring. Revival begins on our knees. Revival begins within the church. We must return to being a holy and separate people. We must return to following God. We must stop adjusting to the ways of the world. We must stop trying to give the world something they want and show them something they need. If we don’t look different or act differently, then we give the lost nothing to desire and we offer them no place to turn. We don’t need to be perfect, but we do need to be seeking perfection. If we aren’t striving to live Christ-like lives, how will they see Christ in our lives? Like someone once said, if Christianity were outlawed to day, would there be enough evidence to convict you?   

O.K. that’s my rant for today. I have been reading some good stuff about the failure of the church in America and I find that it is right on. Only in America would one of the largest Christian denominations ordain a practicing homosexual as bishop. I do not agree with the hate speech being used by some religious leaders toward homosexuals, but an active homosexual is no different than a pastor who is living with a woman to whom he is not married or one who is having sex with anyone to whom he is not married.   

 While thousands of Christians are being tortured, imprisoned or killed around the world every day, American Christians are being ignored. We are seen as foolish and harmless. We are no threat to the status quo. I love Jesus and it breaks my heart to see that we are behaving more like Israel in the time of Isaiah than the apostles in the days after Christ’s ascension into heaven. It doesn’t have to be that way. Pray with me for the next great awakening. Let us glorify God with our hearts, our minds and our lives.   

I am adding a postscript because of something I just heard on the radio. France recently passed a series of laws which outlaw any form of “religious indoctrination.” The definition of indoctrination includes classroom teaching of any kind focused on a specific group, especially children or senior citizens. Any and all religious teaching that excludes other views from the teaching may be considered indoctrination. If such teaching is geared toward children, it is considered child abuse. If it is geared toward seniors, it is considered fraud. Names included in the definition are Sunday School, Bible study, Discipleship training and others all focused on evangelical Christianity. Other countries in Europe are talking of following suit. How long before this idea reaches America? Will we be ready to stand up and be counted? Will we be wiling to face prison or worse for our faith? It looks like some of us may live to find out.   

Thank you for your prayers and support,   

Michael   

  

   

   

  

 

 


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