Monday, November 10, 2008

Going Through the Fire

It's been a while since I've blogged. I've thought of many things to write...while driving around in the car. I never seem to have the desire to put it all down once I get home.

I wrote about cast iron skillets a while back. I mentioned how part of the process in seasoning a good skillet is the heating of it. The heat purges it, cleanses it. Makes it ready for use.

Does it make me a bad Christian to say, "Lord, I'm tired"? I am so tired. I find myself getting to the point of feeling as little as possible. I want to just sleep all the time. In my heart I am willing to go on. It's just that the rest of me is done. Mentally I'm exhausted beyond explaination. Physically I'm ready to drop. I no longer enjoy doing the things I use to do, like feeding my chickens and collecting the eggs. Now I have to force myself to do it.

I've heard two sides to the arguement of depression and Christians. There are those who believe that if you're a Christian and depressed that you lack faith in God. Then there are those who say that being human, with all its emmotions, can include depression at times. I know I have faith. I know I trust God. I know that He has handled all of this for me and my family already.

But I can't pray about the situation anymore. I'm just done begging God to bring this to an end. It's been a long three years.

Matthew 11:28 says, "Come unto me all who are weary and burdened, I shall give you rest." But as I sit here fighting the tears that are burning in my eyes, someone PLEASE tell me when this rest will come.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


It's difficult to accept and understand the full forgiveness and grace of Jesus Christ if we are unable to give it to others.

Just a thought.

Homosexuality and the Christian Response

I had an Uncle who was gay. I loved my Uncle and was very upset when he was told to go away and not come back until he was a Christian and out of homosexuality. The way it was explained to me, I understood that his sin was just too big and I needed to be protected from it. Well, even at a very young age I understood that no one's sin was too big for God. It was simply our job as Christians to love all sinners and through our love, bring them to Christ. Unfortunately, Christian love has a human time table it has to work in. That time table had come to it's end, and at the end his sin was so egregious that he was to be put out of my life forever. Or until he came to accept Christ as his Savior and leave homosexuality.

I still wonder how he was expected to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ when the only Christians he knew turned their backs on him. How was he to learn the love of Christ when churches shunned and/or wagged their fingers at him and shouted, "Abomination unto the Lord!" before asking him to leave?

He eventually got a job working on the barges. His job took him to Texas in the mid 80's. A man there invited him to church. My Uncle politely refused the invite, but the man was persistant. After a few invitations my Uncle said he was gay so he couldn't go to church. The man responded along the lines of, "Yeah, I know you're gay. We're all sinners. That's between you and God. I'd just like you to come to church."

It really touched my Uncle, this love, but he wasn't so sure the rest of the church would feel this way. So the man went to visit my Uncle again with a few other men, deacons and elders from his church. They all felt the same way. Sin is sin. They were in no position to condemn him. They just wanted to share the grace of Christ with him.

That Sunday my Uncle went to church. After several months in a church that taught grace instead of condemnation, my Uncle accepted Christ as his his late 40's! Consider the chances of that. A study conducted by Abilene Christian University revealed that 85% of people who do not accept Christ by the age of 18 never will. So here's my homosexual Uncle in his late 40's accepting Christ. What an amazing miracle!

He didn't leave homosexuality right away. It took some time of prayer and growth in Christ for him to be delivered from this lifestyle he'd been living in for over 25 years. It was after being a Christian for six months that he finally left homosexuality. He ended up meeting a woman in his church who could look beyond his past and they married.

He contacted my mother who decided he could come see us. By this time I was married with children of my own. I got to dance a Texas Two-Step with him again.

Three months later he died from cancer.

My Uncle is alive and well in heaven right now because of Christians showing LOVE, COMPASSION, and GRACE. They did not condemn him. They did not feel that they were any better than him. He was the same as they were. He was a sinner in need of Salvation. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Now I could end here and everyone would be happy. But there is more. This isn't a post about just my uncle, but a post about how Christians treats homosexuals.

I have a friend who has been with his "husband" "partner" "significant other" for two years longer than I have been with my husband. When he was in a serious car wreck a few years back, his husband had to lie and say he was his brother in order to see him in ICU. Had he told the truth he wouldn't have been allowed in.

But heterosexual couples in the same situation (not married) are routinely allowed "family only" visitation.

I do not condone homosexuality any more than I condone fornication, alcoholism, or thievery. I just try to look beyond the sin to the sinners and their heart. The sinners in a homosexual relationship may be two people who deeply love each other. Even though that love may not be Biblical, they are people with deep feelings. Those feelings need to be respected in the same way we respect the love of a Christian who marries a non-Christian, despite 2 Corinthians 6:14, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?"
Sin is sin. Sin brings condemnation. Jesus brought grace.

It's amazing the amount of grace we are willing to show an unequally yoked couple or a heterosexual couple living in sin. Yet we don't show that same measure of grace to the homosexual couple though, and it has it's costs.

My friend in the car wreck is a Christian. I know him personally. Yes, you can be gay and a Christian. Just like you can be a Christian and still be involved in fornication, adultery or pornography. And his heart breaks because the man he loves and has been with for over 20 years is not a Christian and will have nothing to do with church, the Bible, or Christ. Why? The judgement passed on homosexuals by "Christians".

My gay Christian friend use to be a big brother to a little boy in foster care with HIV. The foster parents, Christians, said that NO ONE had helped this boy the way my friend had. People were afraid of his illness. Through my friend the boy grew and was happy and was doing better in school and was intersted in God. Unfortunately, months later they found out my friend was gay. This Christian couple yelled and screamed at him, in front of the young boy, and told they'd call the police if he ever contacted the boy again. All the good that had been done was completely UNdone by their "Christian" response.

Yes, there are some gay men that are pedophiles. But there are some straight men that are pedophiles as well. We seem to forget that.

My gay friend saw a church doing a fundraiser on a corner vending food. They had tables set up and were selling lunch. He decided to buy lunch there and support their church. Sadly, when they found out he was gay they went after him calling him an "abomination unto the Lord". Someone from the church even called the police. The cop couldn't figure out what my friend had done. He wasn't the one all worked up. The "Christians" had surrounded HIM and was shouting at HIM. I'm glad there weren't any stones around!

I wonder if they would have reacted the same way had it come out that he was a drug addict or an alcoholic instead.

So now my friend's partner says he needs nothing to do with Christ. He's witness enough "Christian love" to last a lifetime. He doesn't want to listen to what my Christian friend has to say about Christ because the true lack of love and prevailing judgemental mentality of "Christians" has been showed to him time and again. He is lost in darkness and has no interest in the Love of Christ ... because of the Christian response he's seen his entire adult life.

I can't help but wonder how many more homosexuals out there feel the same way and will never come to know the saving grace of Christ Jesus. It saddens my heart.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Whose Battle IS It?

I periodically go through the documents on the computer. I came across this entry under "Bible Studies" and felt compelled to share. I hope it's a blessing to someone.

Had the greatest Bible study Wednesday night. Exodus 14:10-14, the Israelites had the sea in front of them and Pharaoh's army behind them. After all that God had done, they lost their faith so quickly. Yet God did not forsake them even when they were lacking, when they said they were better off as slaves. He told Moses to tell the people, "Don't be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The Lord Himself will fight for you." (NIV)

The KJV is pretty cool too, "Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord. The Lord shall fight for you, and you shall hold your peace."

So I was thinking about the fear I've been feeling and came home and did a little researching on my own. Came up with:

II Chronicles 20:15&17

"Be not afraid of dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but the Lords...Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you..."

Psalm 46:10

"Be still and know that I am God."

II Thessalonians
"The Lord has not given us a spirit of fear, but of peace, love and a sound mind."

Someone at Bible study had mentioned Hebrews 4 and the place of rest. There I found Hebrews 4:1-3a, "God's promise of entering His rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that some of you might fail to experience it. For this good news - that God has prepared this rest - has been announced to us just as it was to them. But it did them no good because they didn't share the faith of those who listened to God. For only we who believe can enter His rest."

So I started thinking...not my battle...stand my peace...He will fight for will provide all of these if I let Him (which is the difficult part because I have this mind set that it's MY mess and I am responsible for cleaning it up...but I'm working on that one). I should stop trying to find a way to fight and instead, just rest in stillness and faith. The battle is His. Stand my ground and claim Him promise when I need it. And then go on.

Much easier said than done for me in particular, but at least I know it. I've a promise to claim when I need it. Now it's a matter of just claiming it and standing my peace and letting Him take care of my mess.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Cast Iron Skillet of Redemption

So I was laying in bed yesterday morning thinking about this cast iron skillet I bought at a garage sale a month or so ago. Parts of it showed rust while other parts had this thick baked on goo. The entire thing had dirt and cob webs on it. I was pretty excited about my find because everything was going for $1 or $2 and cast iron skillets are expensive. The woman just gave it to me because it was headed out for the trash pile anyway. That was even more exciting. :)

I got it home and start off by rinsing it. The water was just disgusting! Then I used some dish soap to get some of the stickiness off before I started to scrub with steel wool. Layer by slow layer the goo came off. I scrubbed-rinsed repeatedly with a bit of dish soap for about 45 minutes concentrating on the inside of the pan. My nails broke, my knuckles were red, but the inside of my skillet was finally clean!

Now some of you who aren't familiar with cast iron skillets are probably thinking that I was done. I wasn't. Next came the seasoning part. Without proper seasoning the skillet would just get nasty and rusted all over again. I rubbed a thin coat of olive oil over the entire pan and then placed it in a hot oven for an hour. Then I had to take it out and wipe the inside. The heat and oil help to get off the grime that can't be seen. That process had to be repeated several times that day and a even into the next.

After a few days I was finally able to use my skillet. It was awesome! Of course after each use I have to re-season it, but now it just takes a thin coat of oil and the skillet just sat on the burner while it cools.

Why am I telling you about my skillet? It occurred to me that my cast iron skillet is a beautiful picture of what Redemption is! Christ didn't look down on the Earth, find some person with a clean heart and perfect life and call them. He looked down on the Earth and saw me. He saw me with all my my issues, with my thick baked on layers of "goo" and he saw someone worth saving...REDEEMING.

He saw me as a treasure.

Now Christ doesn't come in and scrub everything off in a day. It's an ongoing process. He's allowed some pretty tough situations to come into my life so He could use them as steel wool to scrub off some layers. Then He started in on the seasoning part. Funny, as the fine cleaning and seasoning of cast iron requires heat, so the Lord requires us to "walk through the fire" to purge us of the things we try to hide as well. Just as cast iron needs to be re-seasoned after each use, we also need to be re-seasoned by going to His word and spending time in prayer...and going through the fire.

The great thing about a cast iron skillets though is that it will last your entire lifetime and you can pass it on. In the same way, Redemption lasts for all eternity! Once He redeems us it's forever! And that Redemption also something something we can pass on to future generations.

Isn't God awesome!

I have said these things unto you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
~John 16:33