Cafeteria Style Religion

pohb75mb48vzcoWhen I was a kid, my family would occasionally go out to eat at Britling’s in Birmingham. It was a cafeteria—old style— and the array seemed infinite to my child’s-eye wonderment. But there was also a substantial problem, in my childish perception: the adults could choose anything they wanted from the cucumber salad at the very beginning right down to the peach cobbler a-la-mode at the end. The kids on the other hand had three choices of meats for their “child’s plates”: a chicken leg, a small hamburger patty, or a little bowl of spaghetti. That’s all. We could not pick the trout almandine, the meatloaf or the shrimp. And, perhaps worst of all, we could not pick the chocolate pie, the peach cobbler or the banana pudding. If we were going to eat any of those things, we had to take what our parents picked off of their own plates and mercifully placed on our own.

Thus, the now legendary question I asked in my nasally, fresh-from the-tonsillectomy voice when I was a mere four years old: “We’re going to Britling’s? Is that the place where the grown-ups get whatever they want to eat and the kids get whatever they want you to have?”

The cafeteria line has never been my favorite. Still isn’t. The thing is, when I was a kid I wanted to be able to pick; I mean from the whole, entire spread. As an adult, it’s the picking that is the problem. Too many choices and certainly too much stress figuring out how much I’m paying for my choices when I’m adding things to my tray one casserole and cobbler at the time. But it’s also the thing about balance. It’s really a cafeteria style temptation to skip the salad, greens and Brussel sprouts and pick the fried fish, the candied yams, the fried okra and the lemon chiffon pie. They even tempt you to get some kind of dessert for your bread…like orange crescents or carrot muffins. (“Muffin” because they don’t want you to think you’ve already picked up a piece of carrot cake when you’re deciding whether or not to take the fudge pie at the end.)

There are drawbacks to the cafeteria system that can make us unhealthy and all-spent out. But the application of the cafeteria-style mentality to our spiritual choices is eternally tragic. Think about it with me.

As I look on the Facebook walls of friends who are LGBT advocates on this week that’s been heartbreaking for me (and actually at any given time), I notice many comments about the Golden Rule, about loving one another and about treating each other fairly. Of course, all of these concepts are straight from the book. They are Biblical concepts that are repeated over and over in scripture. They are truth and we cannot bypass them on the way to the end of the line.

But in our zeal to talk about the God of love and the love of God, we cannot silence the God of law and the law of God. The condemnation of sin—the part of the Book that holds us accountable for the moral, sexual, and religious choices that we make—is too obtrusive in the Word of God, for us to pretend He accepts us all even as we rebel against His expressed commands. Approaching the Word is not standing in a cafeteria line in view of an array of choices. He is God. He is holy. Reverend is His name. He is the supreme authority in the lives of those who will live with Him forever in eternity. He gets to choose—terms of admittance, lifestyles, modes of worship. He gets to dictate life to me.

I understand and am saddened that there are many in our country today who do not believe the Word…at all. They are not even “in line” before the Book.  I get how they can get their heart’s permission to fornicate, to be adulterers, drunkards, licentious, swindlers, homosexuals and to participate in all sorts of sin. With no objective standard of conduct, what, except personal preference and fear of unwanted short-term consequences, is to stop unbelievers from any kind of riotous behavior? The answer is—nothing. At least those people are honest in their rejection of the standard.

I also understand that group of people who have faith in the Word, but sometimes falter in keeping its precepts. I am one of those people. We are saddened by and ashamed of sin.

It’s the third group of people that are perplexing to me. They are the ones who are claiming an allegiance to the Bible, wearing the name of Christ and even engaging in lots of good works in the name of the Lord and, all the while, defending and/or participating in the very actions that are expressly condemned in Scripture. It’s the “Christians” who, on Facebook, talk about how proud they are of someone’s “coming out of the closet” or post pictures of themselves in extremely immodest attire or use profanity (or post someone else’s use of it) or invite friends to the bar. It’s the sisters and brothers among us who exalt what the Word condemns, endorse what the Bible disapproves, and proudly display what the Bible calls shameful.  These are the cafeteria-line Christians. They’ve chosen the parts of Christianity that they find appealing and rejected the rest.

In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus referred to a group of people who did lots of good things and even did them in His name, but yet were lost. Why? Because they did not comply with the full will of the Father in Heaven. They chose to do some good works, while at the same time, rejecting commands of the One Who has all authority over all of the lives of all people in all generations.

May I always remember that The Word is not a cafeteria line. It is sustenance for my soul, as the Psalmist said:

I opened wide my mouth, and panted; For I longed for thy commandments (Psalm 119:131). 

And finally, this wonderful paragraph from Psalm 119 is a divine mantra for those of us today who are finding it hard to digest all the “love talk” from those who are blatantly disobedient to His clearly expressed will for human sexuality:

Many are my persecutors and my adversaries,

but I do not swerve from your testimonies.

I look at the faithless with disgust,

because they do not keep your commands.

Consider how I love your precepts!

Give me life according to your steadfast love.

The sum of your word is truth,

and every one of your righteous rules endures forever (vs.157-161).

 

Love or Hate? Which?

Wire_AP_9673b3bba0d9471ab228d8fc95beac7b_16x9_992It’s one of those days when I can’t find words. I don’t know how to breathe deeply enough to be calm in my soul when I think about the ramifications of last weekend’s Supreme Court  announcement. But I know I have to move on. WE have to move on. A huge premium of morality has been lost in America.  The night when our government dollars would light our grand old White House with the LGBT rainbow is a night I thought I would never see. And, in the shadows of those lights, it is as dark a night as it has ever been in the short history of the United States of America.

My nine-month-old grandson, Ezra, sleeps a few feet away from me tonight. To think that Ezra will never be able to even remember a time in America when marriage necessarily implied the union of a man and a woman is surreal to me. To think that his parents are going to have to talk to him, at least on some level, about the very adult subject of homosexuality, even in his early childhood, is very sad to me. To know that his father, grandfathers, and great-grandfather, all preachers of the gospel,  might very feasibly be placed in a position in which they would have to go to court and maybe even to jail for disobeying the laws of this land when they are called on to perform marriage ceremonies for gay couples, is a frightening prospect. The acceptance and legality of homosexual marriage in our United States has happened so relatively quickly. And this final ruling by the Supreme Court which forces all states to issue marriage licenses to gay couples is nothing short of a direct frontal attack on Christianity.

Twenty-three years ago, when my own children were very young, I vividly recall walking into a Walker County, Alabama library in which was being aired the live inaugural parade of the newly elected William Clinton, President of the United States. I could not believe there was a “gay pride” demonstration in that parade, for the first time in history, endorsed by that new administration. I remember the sadness of that moment and asking in my own heart “What will America be like when my kids are raising my grandchildren?” But I could not have imagined that the sacred institution of marriage could be so defiled by the rulers of our land as to legally acknowledge gay marriage. I could not have imagined that, to celebrate such an acknowledgment, our President would make the White House, the national seat of our government, a symbol of the LGBT movement, by shining the gay pride rainbow colors on it.

Several charges are being leveled at people like me, who are still writing and speaking about the sinfulness of homosexuality. The first is that we are hypocritical. “You just pick out one sin to hate, while ignoring the sins of your own hearts and lives.” Let’s make it crystal clear that Christians hate all sin of all kinds, especially the ones that beset us personally.  We understand that all of us sin and that none of us has any hope of eternal life without the blood of Jesus. But while continuing in any sin can keep you out of heaven, there are  certain sins that have greater consequences in this lifetime, than do others. Purposefully bringing up children in homes without a mother AND a father is a sin against those children. Recognizing nationally a “right to marry” for gay couples leaves Christian justices and ministers in a position in which they must disobey federal law or violate their convictions based in clear passages of the New Testament (Romans 1: 26-32). For the first time in United States history (at least of which I am aware), the federal government is obligating Christians to violate the law or violate their consciences. It is difficult for me to see how this conflict is going to play out without resulting in persecution of preachers and their families, among others (cake-makers, caterers, formal shops, and jewelers, to name a few).

Secondly, there is a broad charge against Christians who believe that homosexuality is a sin and who are opposed to the legalization of homosexual marriage, that we are filled with hate and that we “spew forth conservative venom against innocent people.” There may be some people in the “One-man-for-one-woman-for life” camp that are full of hate. You can probably take almost any platform that has a large number of adherents and find some hate mongers. But may I say that hate mongers are not Christians. If they call themselves Christians, they lie, for, by definition, a Christian is a follower of Christ—the Christ who said “As you would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” He commands, over and over, those who follow Him to love—even to love our enemies. Christians are not militant. They do not hate people. They are a people of self-control. Christians love people and hate sin.

I’ve been privileged to get to travel all over the United States and speak to conservative groups of women. I have often spoken about what the Bible teaches about homosexuality. I’ve engaged many women in conversation who have family members or loved ones who are involved in the sin of homosexuality. I cannot recall a single time when any of these women had anything but hearts of love and kindness toward those who were caught up in the sin of homosexuality. They are saddened, it is true. But they are kind. They are meek, prayerful and broken over the loss of souls that they love. This picture is the spirit of love; not hate. And it is the spirit of the overwhelming majority of those who, basing their opposition on the Word, oppose homosexuality.

The truth is, there are many “haters” in the homosexual camp. They are very critical and angry at those of us who still call homosexuality a sin. Why are they so angered by those who believe what the Bible clearly says about homosexuality? I suggest that it’s not really because we are hypocritical or hateful. We could change “hypocritical” or “hateful”. But proponents of gay marriage are highly critical of Christians because of something we cannot change: the Word of God. We cannot change the very clear truth about homosexuality from the Word of God:

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God (I Corinthians 6:9-11).

Finally, let’s just imagine, without blaspheming the Word of God, that our lives here on earth are done and we come to the other side of death….Only there is no other side. The Bible-rejecting majority was right. Life on earth was all there will ever be and we are all simply and forever annihilated. Who would be worse off? The one who sojourned on earth as a Christian or the one who lived in the sin of homosexuality or some other sin of outright rebellion against the Word? Honest people would have to answer “If we are all annihilated, never to again live, no one is any better or worse off than anyone else.”

But what if people, like me, who have examined the evidence and believe that Jehovah is our creator and sustainer and that His word is absolute moral law, in the end, are right? What if there is a God and the sins of Romans 1 do make us “worthy of death”?  What if there really is a place of eternal punishment and a place of everlasting life?  Who, in this scenario, would be worse off? Ah, in that case, the homosexual couple would give a million lives and “marriages” just like the one they celebrate now to have another chance to renounce sin and live for Him. But, in that scenario, there would be no more chances.

So now I would pose this question: If I really believe His Word (and I do), what is it that motivates me to call homosexuality “sin”?  Is it love or hate? Which is it that compels me to speak against the sin of homosexuality…to beg those who are involved to leave those “vile affections” (Romans 1:26) and be washed and sanctified and justified (I Corinthians 6:7-9)?  Is it love or is it hate if I really believe the Word of God? I submit to you that the convicted cannot help but call sinners to repentance. That’s not “hate speech”. It’s “love speech” at the highest level. It’s love that, in 2015, takes courage. And it’s love that may soon take His people to places of persecution—even maybe to jail.  But, for true believers, it’s worth the risk. We will work beneath the blood-stained banner that calls all men with all kinds of sin to salvation, even if the White House is, of all things, striped. Yes, it IS love that makes us call sin, “sin”.   And ultimately, eternally…love wins.

Sister to Sister: On Caitlyn and Courage

n-CAITLYN-JENNER-large570I don’t want to review the Bruce/Caitlyn saga any more than necessary in order to say what’s on my mind this Monday morning, but it’s amazing to me that we’ve come to a point in America  at which our president takes time out of his busy schedule to applaud the courage of one who should be the object of our pity: a transvestite. A transvestite, only a few years ago, was one who could appear nowhere in society except in some shadowy and seedy venue—a dark street corner in a bad part of town or a gay brothel. But now, he is on the cover of Vanity Fair. His new twitter account, launched to announce the change, one-upped President Obama to become the fastest account ever to reach the one-million-followers mark, “achieving” that status in only five hours.

There are doctors in some areas of our country who administer puberty delaying hormones for children who show early behaviors that are imitative of the opposite sex—just in case the children later want sex change operations. (Delaying puberty, they say, might render the sex change less “onerous.”)

In other news this week, an entire audience in Colorado came to its feet to applaud a class valedictorian who “came out” in her graduation speech. The sexual perversions of homosexuality and transgenderism have been around for ages. The applause of the sins are relatively new in American culture.

Jenner can tweet photos of himself, dressed in leggings and arm in arm with women, but that doesn’t make him a woman. It makes him a feminized man. Liberal media outlets can refer to him as “she” till the cows come home, and he will still be a man. Putting on an extreme costume does not alter who he is. The truth is, when we promote transgenderism, we encourage mental illness. When homosexuality gets a standing ovation, courage is not the object of that applause. Romans 1 still calls the object “vile affection.” The Word is the truth that sanctifies His people (John 17:17). It sets us apart. And it is really doing that these days.

I find it very interesting to notice statistics showing that when children show signs of imitating the opposite sex at very young ages and those signs go ignored and “untreated”, the symptoms “go away”—just vanish—in 70 to 80 percent of those children by the time they reach adulthood (http://cnsnews.com/news/article/michael-w-chapman/johns-hopkins-psychiatrist-transgender-mental-disorder-sex-change). These stats obviously fly in the face of those who, like Bruce Jenner, claim that transgenderism is “just who I am.”  The separate, but collaborating, studies were administered by both Vanderbilt University and London’s Portman Clinic. Dr. McHugh, the psychiatrist who reveals these stats and calls transgenderism a  “disorder,” similar to a thin anorexic person looking in the mirror and believing she is fat, also says that when we affirm and encourage transgenderism—when we turn it into a civil rights issue—we promote mental illness. Dr. McHugh, himself, comes with some pretty substantial credentials. He is the former Psychiatrist-In-Chief of Johns Hopkins University and the current Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at Hopkins. He’s authored six books and at least 125 peer-reviewed medical articles.

I hope you can take the time to listen to the lesson below. Although it addresses a broader picture than transgenderism, and focuses on the homosexual marriage issue, I believe Christians need this. We need to be prepared to meet the challenges about homosexuality that the devil is imposing on us in 2015 and beyond. We need to prepare our children to meet the devil, head on, about sexual sin of all kinds. We need to stop saying we are opposed to homosexuality because it is “gross”. We need to stop saying we are opposed to homosexual marriage because we are of some particular political party. We need to say we are opposed to the sin of homosexuality because we believe the truth of the Bible, the inspired word of God.

It may mean persecution. We need to prepare our children for that, too. We cannot shrink back from believing and teaching truth because we are fearful. We have to remember that persecution is a token (one evidence) of our salvation (Phil. 1:28). We continue to pray for peace and the ability to cling to truth in a climate in which our freedom to do so is protected. But we must prepare for persecution because we very well may face it (some already are) over the defense of the truth of Romans 1:24-32. Courage, in our culture, is not being the  mighty “emperor” of homosexual acceptance. Courage today is saying that the emperor has no clothes. It is being truthful about the sin, even when tolerance  and applause of the sin is expected and, in more and more cases, demanded.

Be sure to follow this blog for one more upcoming video message about the Christian’s response to an increasingly morally depraved culture. I’m praying today for parents who are readying their children for the battle, including the basic training units in my very own family.

 

Sin Celebration

images-2The pain in my soul is unspeakable. The promotion of damnation just hurts me deeply. I see it more and more each day. Millennials who have grown up in the body of our Lord, who have been to Bible classes multiple times weekly, attended our Christian camps and Christian universities—-those young people…OUR young people—boasting about their acceptance of homosexuality and encouraging their friends who are coming out of the closet. Some attend Sunday denominational services, on occasion, rather than meeting with the saints, to hear a message from an old friend, who once was a Christian and now is a gay “priest”. They quote scriptures about love as if love is a magical umbrella that erases sin. Sin, you know, is the very reason for the greatest act of love ever accomplished, the death of the Son of God at Calvary. If we believe the New Testament at all, we know that every one of these precious souls is lost; influenced by the culture to sacrifice eternal life for the protection and approval of what the scriptures call “vile affections”. The plain truth is “…though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.” (Romans 1:32)

That part “…though they know God’s decree” really is painful. That puts young people who have heard the reading of Romans 1 and I Corinthians 6 all of their lives squarely in this verse. They know. The sinfulness of homosexuality is not an old wives’ tale that has nothing to do with truth. I do not know how God would have made it more clear than he did. These millennials know what He said. They’re just proudly and defiantly rejecting Him.

That part, “God’s decree” is scary, too. The condemnation of homosexuality is not a nuance in scripture—Old Testament or New. It is a strong “decree.” There are some passages that are shrouded in symbolism or must be read in context for clear meaning. These about homosexuality are not among them.

That part “deserve to die” grabs my broken heart, too. Jesus did NOT deserve to die. But He did it for me, a sinner—the one who did deserve to die. He did it so that I could escape the corruption of sin. How can young people (or old) who know the truth of His Word, proudly say “Bring on the sin!” ? And the young people of which I write tonight are the ones who DID escape. Most had parents who taught them how to escape. They knew the Lord. They knew the way of righteousness. That means the end of sin, for them, is worse than the beginning.

For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. (II Peter 2:20, 21)

And finally that part about “giving approval” is the most sobering to me. Most of the millennials I know who are speaking out in boastful tones about this sin are not practicing it. Most of them are not even tempted by it. Most of them are just on the bandwagon of “approval.” They are, in a sense, according to this verse, sacrificing their eternal souls for a sin that they do not even want to commit. They are lashing out at faithful young people who would dare to try and convert a homosexual from that sinful lifestyle. They are, in a big way showing “approval”. They reserve the word “sinner,” in fact, to describe those who would condemn, as God did, the sin of homosexuality.

The rhetoric of these “free-thinking” millennials is full of “Let Him who is without sin cast the first stone.”  Let’s examine that briefly.

It’s important to remember in that context of John 8:7, Jesus was talking literally about whether or not to stone a woman…to death. When people, on Facebook, caustically caution each other about casting the first stone, they are generally not speaking about picking up a rock and throwing it. (None of the young people I know who are still calling homosexuality a “sin” are literally picking up stones.) It is even more important to remember that our Lord said to the woman caught in adultery “…go and sin no more.” He identified the behavior as sin and commanded her to stop sinning. People who believe the Word and love souls today will still do the same.

I want the people of God to refrain from committing the sin of homosexuality, because those who commit it and fail to repent cannot have heaven (I Corinthian 6: 9-11) But, if I’m trying to reach a soul for heaven, I think my chances are better with a person who is practicing homosexuality while admitting that it is sin and being ashamed of that sin than with a person who is not practicing the sin, but is applauding those who do. Both are lost according to the text in Romans. Both are worthy of death. But one recognizes that God’s Word is truth while the other either rejects the very plain teachings of the Word or defies them. One is troubled because of sin. The other celebrates it. The Prodigal Son was not in the mood for coming home while the celebration and riot were happening in the far country. Neither are the celebrants today…these mostly millennials who are shouting their words of encouragement to friends who are “coming out”. They are enjoying the celebration.

But mark it down. Celebrations of sin never end well. Romans 1 is clear about that, too:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth (vs. 18).

Life is short and all the people I love who are suppressing God’s truth about homosexuality will die one day and stand before the King. The thought of those who “knew his decree” standing before Him having openly praised those who committed and promoted the sin of homosexuality or any other sin, makes me shudder. Such a waste of knowledge! Such a squandering of influence and opportunity. Such a blight on the body of Christ. Such a deliberate rejection of the Father’s will. Again, the words of Romans 1 come to mind: “without excuse.” To be without excuse before a fellow human being—my husband or my employer—is not fun. But to be without excuse before God on the day when he divides the sheep and the goats…?  I can hardly bear to think about it.

 

Sister to Sister: Finishing February

10422956_10153120542101322_775683428250343547_n-1As I type this, I’m traveling back from an encouraging seminar in Angels Camp, California. I’m trying to decide what the most encouraging thing about it was and I believe that, hands down, it was the travelers. There were people who traveled to this sleepy little town that boomed way back in the gold mining days and rented a room in the local hotel for three nights so that they could attend all of the seminar. I asked them if they were taking the time to do some fun things while there. One sweet sister answered me; “Well yes. Every night at 6:30 we are taking the time to go and be with the family of God and hear the Word.” I loved that answer! There were visitors who traveled eight hours (four coming and four going) in one day to be at the meeting. This is just something we do not see in Alabama and it makes me want to be better. Many thanks to our brethren in that beautiful part of the country (a part that has some big trees, by the way….That’s me, sitting on a root…) for letting California lights shine for Him!

It’s just a few hours till it’s March! That means several things. One is that our brand new Digging Deep study begins. I am excited about this study of the prayers of two great prophets. I hope you are on it. It will be a good study.

February brought many disturbing things to my inboxes. I’m sad to say that, despite many efforts of good people, homosexual marriages were performed in Alabama for the first time. I hope you are joining me in vigilant prayer for the attorneys in our state who are continuing to fight the sinful homosexual agenda. I have hopes that we might still be able to preserve marriage, as God defines it, in our great state.

February also brought several messages to my inbox that thrilled my soul…like news of the sweet little widow’s Valentine luncheon hosted by five-year-old Genesis Hanna on Grand Bahama. It makes me happy that the Mama’s K.I.S.S. service ideas for kids are benefitting children and widows outside the United States as well as here at home. Here are some pictures:IMG_4166[1] IMG_4176[1] IMG_4185[1]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then there is this sweet little two year old who is singing Proverbs 28:1 from Hannah’s Hundred. If you can’t tell, the words coming from this back seat are: “The wicked flee when no man pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.” It doesn’t take a lot to put the word into the heart a two-year-old; just a mom or dad who can pop a cd into the player beside the crib or in the mini-van. Here you go!

I’m glad for all the good news, but I’m a little glad February’s behind us, too. That time Glenn had to speak 9 times in one weekend and woke up with the wicked stomach flu in a hotel room on Valentines Day in the Smokies was not romantic. And finding my father on the floor after the room started spinning for him and he fell off the bed during his second bout with that virus this winter was even more scary. I hope you’ve escaped it or, if you’ve done battle, too, that you are back on your game and that it’s a meek March for you. The month, at least in Alabama, is coming in a bit like a lamb, though. It could be that the lion is still coming again, weather-wise! I say, keep your sweaters out. If you are reading in Honolulu or the Bahamas or South Florida or Southern California, remember love is not boastful!

Happy March!

Alabama: So Proud and So Ashamed

images-14I’m proud of what’s been happening in Alabama this week. Judges, for the past three days, have been refusing to issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples after Federal Judge Callie V.S. Granade of Federal District Court in Mobile declared Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Monday was the effective date of her ruling. On Sunday night, Alabama’s Chief Justice Roy Moore, instructed Alabama’s probate judges to refuse to honor the order of Judge Granade and refrain from issuing the marriage licenses to same-sex couples. It is difficult to take a moral stand in opposition to the ruling of a federal justice and the judges who have made that decision deserve the support of Christians. They have acted in Daniel fashion and may face some of the lion’s-den consequences that come with standing against such an edict.

I’m ashamed of what’s been happening in Alabama. More specifically, I am ashamed of what’s happened in my home district of Madison County where sixty marriage licenses were issued on Monday alone to same-sex couples. By the end of that day, 42 same-sex ceremonies had been conducted at Huntsville’s Big Spring Park alone.  I doubt there’s been a Monday in recent history when so many “marriages” have taken place. I’m ashamed of Madison County’s Probate Judge Tommy Ragland, who commented “We’re issuing them. It’s just another day to me.” (All of this in a state in which 80% of voters recently voted to ban same sex marriage.)

It was not, in reality, just another day. It was a day for God’s people to mourn; a day when a segment of society fraudulently  took something that does not belong to them. God is the creator and owner of marriage. He created its constituents (male and female), defined it (Genesis 2:24) and performed the first marriage ceremony in the Garden of Eden. It is not a light matter to mock God as was publicly and blatantly done in Big Spring Park on Monday. In fact, it is not successfully done in the long run. (Galatians 6:7). There will be negative consequences, sorrowful ones…some in this life, and unthinkable ones in the life to come. Sometimes, in my spiritual immaturity, I wish that people could get a temporary foretaste now—just a little sample—of eternal punishment, so they could, knowing the stored-up wrath of God, repent of their evil deeds before it is too late. The experience would be an awakening. Listen to the context surrounding the discussion of the sin of homosexuality from Romans 1.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness; because that which is known of God is manifest in them; for God manifested it unto them…Wherefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts unto uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves: for that they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile passions: for their women changed the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another, men with men working unseemliness, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was due. And even as they refused to have God in their knowledge, God gave them up unto a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, hateful to God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, unmerciful: who, knowing the ordinance of God, that they that practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but also consent with them that practice them.

This is still the very clear word on the subject of homosexuality from the Creator of marriage. It is un-get-around-able for people who believe in the veracity of the Scriptures at all. No matter how politically correct we become, no matter how many television shows glorify the sin, no matter how many times the “heroes” of our culture tell us that  “sexual orientation” is not a choice, no matter how many churches ordain homosexual priests, the God of this universe still describes homosexuality as “vile affection,” a sin “worthy of death.”  The celebrations in Big Spring Park and elsewhere around the state on Monday were jubilant parties centered around a sin that takes people to hell. I Corinthians 6:9 places the centerpiece of those celebrations squarely in a list of sins  which, without the washing and justification of penitence and baptism, keep people from inheriting the kingdom of God. I understand that “sin” is an old-fashioned word. But sin and it’s ramifications for our eternity will, on one final day, be startlingly relevant.

I have known and loved people whose lives have been ruined or lost in consequence of the sin. My husband and I have counseled with young people who have been tempted by or participated in the sin.  Our hearts have been broken as we have seen the hurt that has accompanied it. But just because we are touched by the plights of those who’ve been overtaken in this sin, does not mean we can stop calling it sin. When we stop calling it sin, we stop helping people resign it.  Love demands that we do all within our power to help those involved find a space of repentance and forgiveness (even if the culture hates us for doing so.) We do not love those who commit sin when we fail to warn them of its consequences. Because of the price our God paid at Calvary to atone for sin, we must realize its blackness, humbly work in our own lives to overcome it   and do  all we can to enable others to defeat sin of all kinds. We cannot, as Christians, support same-sex marriage. To do so is to take liberties with something that does not belong to us.

It’s late. Who would have thought, even one year ago that in 2015 there would come a day in Huntsville, AL in which 60 marriage licenses would be issued to same-sex couples? Not I. Some have warned that this judge’s ruling  will open the front door for our ministers to face lawsuits due to their refusals to perform wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples. We must pray, vote and speak out responsibly at this critical juncture. I believe that front door is only a few steps away. In fact, we are already on the porch.