Browsing Tag

Homosexuality

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Persecution. Here and Now.

We all knew it was coming and we all know it is only the beginning. But we know that God still has His people in His bundle (1 Samuel 25:29) of life. Faithful elders in one of our American towns are under public attack for withdrawing fellowship from a member who has divorced her husband and entered a very public lesbian relationship.

Notice just three important key points that Christians should remember:

1. The denunciation of this sin and the withdrawal are Biblical requirements for those who are following Scripture. (Romans 1: 26-28; 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11, 1 Corinthians 5:1-8). The Holy Spirit left no room for disputation about that.

2. Publicizing sin is never the purpose of withdrawal of fellowship. Elders did not/do not wish to make it known in communities that there’s sin in the church. (That’s antithetical to their purposes.) The sinner announced her sin in a broad and public way. The addressing of the sin was done/is done in private communication up until the date of withdrawal . Even then, the nature of the sin is not always specified and the announcement of withdrawal is made only to the members of the local body for which the elders are responsible. 

3. When one becomes a member of the church in a community, it’s an exercise of religious liberty. No one forces anyone to be a member of the New Testament church. People willingly place their souls under the care of the shepherds of a church, willingly giving elderships the responsibility to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance in protecting their souls from loss in this commanded way.  The assigned task of elders is grave (Hebrews 13:17).  May we support and encourage those who are serious about their responsibilities. 

True persecution of godly men and their families has ensued as a result of their commitment to following the Scriptures. I would ask each woman who reads to pray fervently for the church right now; especially for her elders and their families. This is the quickly emerging and fiery persecution that the people of God are facing in a country in which religious liberties are at stake. This one thing is sure: Our citizenship in heaven is secure. Romans 8:28 is happening this week. Things will work out for the ultimate benefit of His people even if that benefit is the ultimate rest around the throne. There IS a way of escape for godly people who are determined to follow the directives of the Holy Spirit given in Scripture, even if we find that way to be fraught with peril and even if the escape route guides us more quickly to death and victory (1 Corinthians 10:13). Let’s be prayerful for the men of God who are privileged to partake in a significant way right now in the sufferings of our Lord (2 Timothy 1:8). As mothers and grandmothers, let’s be doubly vigilant to prepare our children for life in the new America in which there will be fewer and fewer lukewarm members of the body. Those who commit to being in the body will be signing up for persecution like we’ve never faced in this country. Our kids have hard days ahead of them.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #4

My husband, Glenn, is sharing these daily lessons from Philippians 4:8 for our West Huntsville family as we are necessarily (because of the virus) spending less time physically together in worship, study and fellowship. We may be “socially distanced,” but  we’re a close-knit family and we want to keep it that way! One way to stay on track together, spiritually, is to think about a common passage and make applications for our lives together even when we are unable to assemble as frequently. I’m sharing these daily family lessons here for those in other places, whose families (or even congregations) might benefit from a common study in these uncommon days of semi-quarantine. Blessings.

From Glenn:

 

Thursday — Whatever Is Pure

When Paul wrote that we are to think on things that are pure, he used a word defined by Strong’s as, innocent, modest, perfect: — chaste, clean, pure. This is in sync with other passages that place our sexuality in an elevated category when it comes to protection and purity.  Paul showed us the uniqueness of sexual sin when he wrote “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body” (1 Cor. 6:18).  He went on to say “…because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband” (1 Cor. 7:2).  Jesus put sexual sin in a unique category when He taught, “…whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery” (Mt. 19:9).  Of the plethora of instructions older women could give younger women about marriage and the home, Paul makes a short list and includes this: “…Admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste…”(Tit. 2:4-5).  

Think of all the harmful behaviors that potentially destroy marriages and consider that Jesus elevates this one sin—fornication to be the exclusive basis on which divorce and remarriage can occur with God’s approval.  I doubt we will ever fully understand the depth of spiritual significance involved in this act. Fornication is a sin with profound consequences, and God always references it with great sobriety. 

Mankind shakes a fist at heaven over God’s sexual laws.  Hell has persuaded people to embrace homosexuality and to proudly espouse the joy of the fluidity of  gender. A man can choose to be a woman if he likes and people are bound to use pronouns that suit that unfortunate pretense. God has given such people up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, (Rom. 1:24).  Some of the strongest condemnations of Scripture are aimed at sexual sin and perversion.  We understand why. Sexual immorality is dark and destroys lives and homes. 

Even members of the body of Christ sometimes make the sad mistake of flirting with sexual sin by wearing revealing clothing, by dancing inappropriately, and by participating in other lustful and reckless behaviors.  They sin against their own bodies and invite haunting ghosts of regret into their future lives.

In contrast, consider the bright light of purity—not the absence of sexuality but the safety and joy of sex within God’s prescribed boundaries.  In Biblical marriage, sex knows no broken violation of God’s holy word, no guilt, no bitter and lingering heartache, no young girls with shattered lives facing unwanted pregnancies, no teen boys with STD’s. This sexuality is pure. It is God-designed, God-approved, and, in fact, it is God-commanded for those who are married (I Cor. 7:1-2).  It is joyful. It is bonding in an incomparable way.  It is the ultimate embrace. Its purity is traditionally depicted by a white dress, and a honeymoon that is physically fulfilling and holy at the same time.  Sexuality is a deep celebration in marriage because the act of marriage binds husband and wife to one another for their entire lives.

Not all sex is equal.  We must force ourselves to contrast and separate the world’s corrupted sex and the purity of sex in a happy, God-approved marriage.  Then we are doing what Paul teaches us here:  We are thinking on the things that are pure and lovely.

Tonight’s Story Time Earlier in the day, prepare yourself for family story time by reading carefully Genesis 41 so you’ll have all the details in mind. 

Tell the children that Joseph spent two additional years in prison, after God interpreted the dreams of the baker and butler.  But God had not forgotten Joseph.  He had big plans for  Joseph to lead his family into the protection of Egyptian abundance. (Say this in terms your kids will understand, of course.)  After telling the account (Gen. 41:1-32) leading up to revealing Joseph’s revelation to Pharaoh, move on to these discussion questions:

1.  When God gave Joseph the interpretation of the baker’s and butler’s dreams, what future purpose did He have in mind?  God is not limited as a man and He makes plans into the future.  You do not know everything about God’s purpose for your future, but you do know some things for sure. What are those things?  (Have a discussion here about being faithful through all of life, finding a follower of Christ to marry, working hard in a career that God approves or raising children to be faithful to God.)

2.  Why do you think God had Pharaoh dream about cows and ears of grain instead of just having him dream about years of plenty and of famine in Egypt?  How did God make a picture in Pharaoh’s mind so that this dream would be “stuck” in his head? Tell your children the cows were sacred, like gods or idols, to the Egyptians. Imagine how shocked Pharaoh would have been to dream about sacred cows being eaten up! God is brilliant! 

3.  In 41:16, after Pharaoh had invited Joseph to interpret the dreams about the cows and grain, Joseph again gave full credit to God, not himself. You should practice doing that now so that it will be a natural thing to speak of God’s will and blessings in your life for all your lifetime.  What important blessings in your life right now can you point to and say, “I didn’t do that. God did.”? When we are staying well, having enough food to last us through this time of sickness, being able to enjoy being with our families at home, who is it that gives us this place to be safe and well? When we are ill, to whom do we pray for strength and healing? Practice asking your children if they are well and healthy. Have them respond “Yes. God has been so good to us…” or “Yes, and we are thanking God..” or “Yes. Praise God.” 

Tonight, have your children make a card for someone they know who is sick in your congregation or neighborhood. Have each child draw a picture and write “We are praying for you…” followed by the words from Genesis 41:16 “God shall give an answer of peace.”  Help those children who can’t yet write. You might write the text out and then have the very young child put his handprint on the card with paint or ink or just draw around his hand.  Be sure to remember to mail these tomorrow.

Remind your children that Joseph was doing something in this chapter that was going to save many lives. 

Pray with your children. Have your children help you make a list of people they know who are sick. Pray for each by name. Remember to pray for all of those people who are sick with COVID. Pray that your family will be healthy both “in our bodies and in our pure hearts.” 

Repeat the Golden Rule with your children. 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Teen Vogue: Not just about Hairstyles and Makeup, anymore.


I hope there are no parents reading BYH who think  magazines like Teen Vogue should be accessible lifestyle information for our teen girls. I think not. But what I’m not so certain about is our diligence—even our ability –in the prevention of that access. (After all, I’m posting quotes today that are just a click away…)  Even more important (and more difficult) is the prevention of influence that almost always comes through access; even through second-hand access to incredibly wicked stories put out by authority figures, who apparently have no conscience.  In other words, while your daughter may not read Teen Vogue, someone she knows, and who may have some influence in her circle of friends, probably does.

The material that’s the subject of today’s post IS, at least in the case of the sodomy tutorial, adults peddling sexual information to minors. Some of the information readily available in Teen Vogue magazine would be classified as criminal if privately texted to a minor by an adult. Unbelievably wicked. 

Examples are plentiful, but let me give you just three recent ones:

An article touting the decriminalization of prostitution and even encouraging the sex trade as legitimate work for income. Here’s a snippet: 

“I am a doctor, an expert in sexual health, but when you think about it, aren’t I a sex worker? And in some ways, aren’t we all?”  (https://www.teenvogue.com/story/why-sex-work-is-real-work)

 

A tutorial on how to engage in sodomy (although it has been recognized, even by the CDC, as the riskiest type of sexual behavior.)  This article is perverse and obscene (and, frankly, unbelievable) on many levels, giving graphics of anatomy and telling teens about nerve endings in the anus that  “feel awesome when stimulated.” Here are a couple of blurbs, but these are not the the most explicit statements made, obviously: 

This is anal 101, for teens, beginners and all inquisitive folk,” author Gigi Engle wrote in “A Guide to Anal Sex.”

“There is no wrong way to experience sexuality…” (https://www.teenvogue.com/story/anal-sex-what-you-need-to-know)

Talk about “…Claiming to be wise, they have become fools.” This has to be the epitome of that phenomenon.

A  guide to obtaining an abortion without parental knowledge of the pregnancy or consent to the procedure ( i.e. the murder of their grandchildren).

“But if teenage me had a hard time broaching the subject of a hypothetical pregnancy with my pro-choice parents, I can only imagine how overwhelming it might feel to announce an actual pregnancy, much less a desire to get an abortion — in any circumstance, really, but especially to parents who are against it, and especially during a time in American history when the bodily autonomy of people with uteruses is under serious threat,” … “it’s only logical that if teens are mature enough to become parents, they are mature enough to decide whether or not they want to give birth.”  (https://www.teenvogue.com/story/how-to-get-an-abortion-if-youre-a-teen) 

Moms in 2019 have to be vigilant. Perhaps it would be a good idea to pick up a stack of Teen Vogue magazines at your grocery store or Supercenter, take it to the service desk, ask to see a manager, and ask him if he’s good with his daughter or grand-daughter reading about any of the above (or whatever the perversion of the month happens to be). Sobriety and vigilance are Biblically recommended tools against the one who is prowling to devour our children (I Peter 5:8). He’s on the prowl, for sure, in 2019.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Guest Writer: Reflecting on Homosexuality and the Slow and Painful Death of a Family Dynamic

Recent work in several areas has glaringly portrayed to me that even God’s people can, over time and with the right exposure to and stimuli from a wicked environment, come to accept sinful behaviors and even to be sharply critical of the people of God who do not come to celebrate the culture’s accepted sins. Things that could have been said twenty years ago with the unanimous approval of Bible-believing people are today the catalysts of division in families, both physical and spiritual. (Darwinian evolution, even given millions of years, can never be accomplished. But the evolution of sin’s acceptance happens with the passage of much briefer periods.) I have a friend who was an advocate of holy marriage twenty years ago, but is now a confessed impenitent adulterer; another who stood squarely for the submissive role of women in worship who now worships in a church where women are fully incorporated into leadership positions; yet another who believed in the sanctity of Biblical marriage just 15 years ago, who now is married to her same-sex partner. I ache in my soul for these friends, understanding that the changes in their perspectives came, not because God’s perfect Will evolved with the times, but because they looked away from His Will –they got distracted, coming out of the Word and into the world.

It doesn’t take a lot of time and effort, in an environment that’s spiraled so quickly, to make the change. You get to ride the strong waves of culture’s tide.  But coming back is a herculean battle against that tide. It’s easier for people to go with the current and lash out against those who believe the very things that they, themselves, knew to be true only a few short years ago. It’s self-gratifying to use words like backward, unloving, intolerant, bigoted, holier-than-thou, and judgmental in describing those who believe the very things that they once, a short time ago, knew, from the Bible, to be truth. On the other hand, it’s conscience-soothing to use words like enlightened, matured, liberated, discerning, loving, accepting and open-minded about one’s self, when one has traveled with the current.

Today’s guest writer chronicles the short trip so many have taken in a culture of subjectivity and spiritual death. She shares it with a heavy heart and a flickering light of hope that could still be fanned into flames if hearts will turn.

Growing up, I was always taught that marriage was between a man and a woman.   My parents are still married after raising all their children to adulthood, and for as long as I can remember, they stood against those who would defame marriage with homosexuality.  While I did not grow up in the church, my parents professed a belief in God, and homosexuality was never a gray area for us — we knew that it was wrong, even with our limited exposure to true Christianity.   The same was true for pornography.  Although I grew up with virtually no “modesty” standards, we knew that viewing pornography was bad.    I don’t remember ever even being tempted by either of these sins (homosexuality or pornography), because the teaching on these was so absolute that I knew I never wanted to get close to them.

However, the devil works in crafty ways.   He can penetrate even the most resolute hearts if we give him entrance and do not immerse ourselves in God’s word.  After I moved out of the house and started my own family, one of my younger siblings engaged in some behavior online that resulted in punitive action from the internet and email providers. My parents were stunned.  Surely a child raised in their home could not have engaged in such horrific behavior under their watchful eyes!  They had done all things “right” in that sense.   The computers were in prominent locations in the house. Screen time was limited.  We were told to be careful where we clicked and looked.   The internet company had surely made a mistake!  We were “good” kids. However, after investigating the browser history on the computer, it became obvious that there had, indeed, been inappropriate behavior occurring in their home. So began the tearing down of strongholds in our family.   Slowly but surely, things that had once been deemed terrible sins by my family began to have “another side to the story.”   One thing led to another, and gradually our family values were torn apart.   

I still remember the day years ago when my sister called me out of the blue.   I was shocked (and yet, not surprised) when the confession was made that her ever-present same-sex roommate was actually way more than a roommate and was, in fact, a “partner.”    Even though I suspected this for a long time and knew deep down that this was the case, hearing the actual words from my own flesh and blood destroyed something in my heart and in our family.  I found out that my parents had encouraged this hidden life and secret-keeping because they knew my stance on the matter and wanted to protect my sister from my “judgment.”     In that moment, I knew we were at a crossroads and that life would never be the same.    We talked for a long time, and I let her know in no uncertain terms that she was living in sin.  Yet, I reminded her that we were family and that I still cared for her soul.    We ended our conversation on heartbroken terms, and we rarely see each other now.   I still pray for her often, and I still try to find opportunities to teach her and to love her while hating her sin.    

It has been unbelievable to me to see how my parents have progressed through the years.   What was first appalling and disgusting to them has now become acceptable and even glorified.     When my sister and her partner decided to “marry” according to the law, there was great rejoicing and celebration among my family (although not from me or my husband).   The rest of my family considers this “marriage” to be the same as mine to my husband, and they can’t understand why I cannot accept it as such.   They have begun justifying her choices and accepting this sin that once was incomprehensible.   They view us as judgmental, unloving, and intolerant, and they constantly encourage us to “accept her just as God made her.”   What they once reviled, they have now determined is “the way she was created.”      

I have witnessed firsthand the destructive nature of sin.   I have seen the slow progression from covetousness, to lust, to sin, and to spiritual death.   My children have been exposed to things at an early age that I would have chosen to shield them from much longer.   I have not given up on my family accepting God’s word and obeying the gospel, but this sin has torn asunder any shadow of a foundation of truth in their hearts.   Sin is destructive.   Sin is selfish.  Sin is sin.  “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil.”  Isaiah 5:20   May we never be among those who blur the lines of truth.  May we ever be steadfast and resolute in our battle for what is right.   

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: From Thankfulness to Holiness

Often we think of the first chapter of Romans, remembering the fervent denouncement of those involved in what is there called “unnatural” and termed “vile affection.” It is extremely important in a world in which tolerance seems to have been been promoted to the position of executive and operative virtue of society, to be aware of the concluding verse of the chapter. It is the verse that, quite literally, is slicing our culture in half. The verse is clear that it is not enough to refrain from committing homosexual acts. As his people we must never lend our voices to defend such behavior or to show our approval. On the subject of homosexuality, we have to choose between cultural correctness and the word of God. We have to be sure that, neither with silence, nor with words or actions, do we ever indicate approval of the sin of homosexuality. We do not laugh at it in sit-coms, allow it to occur in our homes when others visit, or fail to respectfully express the truth about God’s condemnation of it in our blogs, posts, and conversations. 

But today, as I was reading from the chapter, I noticed that the Scripture details the progression of the trip from innocence to the guilt of homosexuality. In verse 21, it says that those who were changing the “natural” into that which is against nature, failed to glorify God and failed to offer Him thanksgiving.

Moms, how important is it that you and I chart a clear course of thanksgiving in our homes? How important is it that we make sure our children hear us, in abject humility, pour out our praises to God? How vital is it that we have them to make those lists of blessings at Thanksgiving time and, more importantly, all throughout the year…every year? How important, really are crayon colored thank-you notes written in the hand of young children? How important is that never-missed heartfelt table prayer prior to every meal? How important is it that parents control the impulses of instant gratification that are accompanied by little acknowledgement of His providence and of our resultant responsibility to use blessings for His glory?  How vital is it that you, Mom, are displaying constant thankfulness rather than constant complaining about the simple circumstances and problems of this life? Does gratitude matter?

The answer is yes and yes a thousand times over. Romans one clearly details a progression from unthankfulness to unholiness; from the heart of ingratitude to insolence. in fact, in this passage,  it is the failure to glorify and give thanks that predicates the sin of homosexuality. 

Moms have a wonderful opportunity to exhibit and promote a spirit of thanksgiving on this national holiday. But, then again, on which day of the year do we not have a rich harvest of His blessings for which our children should see us praising and thanking the One from whom all blessings flow? 

Our kids might eventually choose to live unholy lives to their eternal loss. Those words are difficult for me to even type. The thought of the loss of one of my children’s souls is more horrible than I can contemplate for very long. The specific possibility that one of my children would ever come to us and tell us that he/she had chosen a life of homosexuality or bisexual behavior is unspeakably grievous. But to look back and realize that I had contributed to a spirit of rebellion by failing to take opportunities to instill gratitude during their formative years would fill me with sorrow. 

Take the time. Look for His glory in all of your world each day. Magnify Him when you see Him in nature, in providence and in specific answers to prayers. Do this in front of your children. Engage them in thanksgiving every time you are in prayer together. Make thank-you notes a weekly or even daily part of your home’s core “curriculum”.  The ‘gratitude chambers” of your kids’ hearts may not be automatically opened in our affluent culture of self-gratification. So make sure  you are putting thanksgiving in those places of their hearts, remembering, as you do, that you are building a resistance against sins of rebellion that are death-worthy (Romans 1:32). 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

One Single Vote

 

4d2660c72722dbea504db6b0882dd079-mediumThere’s more at stake for America today than probably any other day in my lifetime. It’s very rare that a president gets to make a Supreme Court nomination. Yet the president elected today will likely make three or four of those nominations, if time marches on. How much does that matter? More than you or I can imagine. Surely more than I want to contemplate if the Democratic party claims the White House. 

Because of one vote in the Court, Americans are allowed to exercise their religious freedom in the work place. You remember that case—the Hobby Lobby case. It’s been huge in the protection of the consciences of Bible-believing business owners. That case was won for Hobby Lobby by a margin of one vote. It was five to four. 

So was the voting in the Heller case. You know, that’s the one that struck down the prohibition of citizens in the District of Columbia owning handguns. It’s the one that protects your right to own a gun. Five to four. We were within one vote of losing the second amendment right to bear arms.  

It was five to four in the case that prevented the removal of crosses from public lands. Justice Kennedy stated the essence of that Supreme Court decision: “…the Constitution does not oblige government to avoid any public acknowledgment of religion’s role in society.” But barely does it “not oblige”. Once again, one vote saved the day.

It was five to four in the case of Dale vs. Boy Scouts of America in which the Boy Scouts were protected from forced acceptance of homosexual leaders. One vote made the difference that day in the year 2000. (In 2015 the Boy Scouts of America ended their ban on gay leaders. But the ramifications for all associations/clubs would have been great, were it not for that one vote that effectively reversed the decision of the lower court.)

The tide will be turned in the Supreme Court today. In one direction or another, the course of our country will be set by the electorate will of the people. The Democratic party platform reads:

“We will appoint judges who defend the constitutional principles of liberty and equality for all, and will protect a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion…”

It’s important to know that this statement is in the first line under the heading of “Appointing Justices”. It’s not even under “Reproductive Rights” or  “Abortion”. This platform would like to make it crystal clear that, of all of the various subjects of appeal heard by the Supreme Court, this is the one subject specifically chosen and lauded to be the litmus test for Court nominees should Hillary Clinton win the White House. Prospective justices will never be pro-life. The fate of millions of babies will effectively be decided today. 

On the other hand, here is a quote from the 2016 Republican platform. This is not found in any section about justices. It’s in a section called “The Fifth Amendment”—a portion of a larger section called “A Rebirth of the Constitution.” There are strong words therein—words that ignite hope in people like me who grieve over the 1.3 million still killed yearly in America. Here are a few of them:

The Constitution’s guarantee that no one can “be deprived of life, liberty or property” deliberately echoes the Declaration of Independence’s proclamation that “all” are “endowed by their Creator” with the inalienable right to life. Accordingly, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to children before birth.

We oppose the use of public funds to perform or promote abortion or to fund organizations, like Planned Parenthood, so long as they provide or refer for elective abortions or sell fetal body parts rather than provide healthcare. We urge all states and Congress to make it a crime to acquire, transfer, or sell fetal tissues from elective abortions for research, and we call on Congress to enact a ban on any sale of fetal body parts. In the meantime, we call on Congress to ban the practice of misleading women on so-called fetal harvesting consent forms, a fact revealed by a 2015 investigation. We will not fund or subsidize healthcare that includes abortion coverage.

We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life. 

One platform will prevail. That’s right. It will not merely be a candidate which wins. It will be a platform. An ideology. A basis for court appointments and, ultimately, decisions that will bear on our ability as Christians to freely practice Christianity. I believe the goodness—even the vitality–of the republic hangs in the balance today. Oh, I know we will go on practicing Christianity whether it is legal to do so or not. I know we will be Christians even if persecution against Christians becomes a reality in America. I know our true citizenship is not registered in the republic of our birth, but in the monarchy of our second birth. Still, I love the gospel and I hope it can have free course in our United States throughout the lives of my grandchildren. I hope they can freely conduct business without spiritual compromise. I hope they can demand rights as parents over the decisions made by their minor children. I hope they can teach all of the counsel of God in America during their lifetimes—even the parts about homosexuality and the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman. (There’s some strong language in the platforms about that, too.)

Today is consequential to that end. Remember when you mark that ballot:  It’s a platform for which you vote…a platform that will permeate the decisions made in the most influential governing body in the United States of America. Let freedom ring for all of our children and grandchildren.14976545_954318208009_7911591685176512923_o