Tag Archive: character


I was saddened recently.  Someone I have come to respect, for his willingness to seek and share truth, is seemingly being ensnared.  As I listened to him extol Donald Trump, his reverence for him was obvious.  It centered on the fact that Trump is a billionaire–and his apparent assumption that to be a billionaire implies that a person has attributes that we should admire.  (I’ll break it down for you–that fact that a person is a billionaire means that he has a lot of money–nothing more, nothing less.)

Yes, I will pray for this man.  As I’ve said before, we all have our ‘blind spot’ and our ‘Achilles heel’.  My intention here is not to criticize him, but to illuminate a way in which the thinking of many Christians does not line up with the perspective that God wishes us to have.  Instead, I would venture to say that most Christians have the same attitude toward money that ‘the world’ has.

Jesus made it clear that while we are on Earth we are stewards of what is God’s.   God decides how much to entrust to each of us.   If we prove faithful in little things, He will entrust us with more.  However, that does not mean that everyone who has a lot has proven himself faithful.

God chooses how much to entrust each of us with.  Not only does He entrust those who have proven faithful with more, sometimes He chooses to entrust a lot (at the beginning) to those who will merely squander it–or to entrust little to one who is worthy of more.

While God promises to bless those who are faithful, one cannot assume that all who are blessed are faithful–or that all who seem not to have  His blessing are not.  (And God’s blessings do not all involve money!!)

This reminds me of Jesus speaking about someone who was crippled from birth, and saying that some wondered who had sinned–the man, or his parents.  At that time, it was understood that those who sinned would see consequences, so this thinking was perfectly logical.  The problem was, that not everyone who had the ‘consequences’ had sinned–sometimes people are just ‘born that way’.   Although b may follow a, a does not always precede b . . .

At the risk of overstating it, here’s one more example: all apples are fruit–but not every fruit is an apple.

Many wealthy men have nearly (or literally) ‘sold their souls’ to acquire that wealth.  Many have trampled, oppressed, and exploited others along the way; cast aside their wife; and neglected or alienated their children.

We cannot assume that a man is good, merely because he has wealth.  Yes, you can ‘know them by their fruit’, but take care that it is the fruit you are examining!  Jesus was not referring to wealth as being fruit.  He was referring to how we treat God and other people!

My fear for this man, however, is that this wrong perspective towards wealth is only one aspect of the problem.  It seems to me that those in ministry have a tendency toward a particular temptation–and I believe it has been the root of destruction for many men of God.

After God gives them a ministry and blesses them with some measure of success, they begin to grow restless and think of how many  more people they could reach–if they just had more money.  Slowly, imperceptibly, their focus changes from seeing God as their source, to contriving ways in which they can obtain more money.

As they scheme for ways to raise more money, they begin to relate differently to people.  Suddenly, it seems prudent to them to make friends with those who are wealthy.  (The early church was admonished for showing favoritism to the wealthy.)  In wooing the wealthy, they seem to have a sort of tunnel vision, focusing on the best qualities in the other while being blind to things that aren’t convenient to see.

Of course, that is what we all tend to do when we make friends–but the danger of a Christian leader doing it is that they are giving spiritual credibility to the wealthy man, and leading their flock to do the same.  Often, because of wrong assumptions regarding wealth (as I first explained), and eagerness for a benefactor, they do not take the necessary time to get to know the wealthy man and prove his character.

Make no mistake, many who are wealthy are clever and have an agenda of their own.  Often they are willing to part with some of their money in turn for more credibility.  If they are strategic as to who and what they donate to, they can manipulate the assumptions that people make about them.

While it may be true that the average Joe donates to causes that are close to his heart, the same assumption should not be made about the wealthy.   Donations are a form of advertising, a means to marketing themself–a business expense, if you will.

Just because a wealthy man donates to a ministry, doesn’t mean he supports what they say or believe in.  He may be trying to purchase spiritual credibility in the eyes of men.  (Or, he may be trying to buy God’s favor.)

Whatever the case, a pastor who provides credibility for a man, without really knowing his character, may be allowing a wolf in sheep’s clothing into the midst of his flock.

As the old saying goes ‘a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’.  Who Pastor, is really more valuable–the Christian man in the pew, whom God has entrusted to your care, or the man you might reach in the street?

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It’s too much to expect people, who haven’t yielded themselves to the authority of Christ, to accept ‘because God says so’ as a reason.  But, ultimately that IS the reason.  I’ll try to shed a bit of light on why God says that homosexuality is wrong.

God made the world, and all that is in it, and it belongs to Him.  He gets to make the rules and set the boundaries.  Some of you aren’t going to read any farther than this–and THAT is your problem.  You don’t accept the authority of God.

Unlike the culture that we live in, that defines people’s worth by their position, wealth and accomplishments, the kingdom of God is open to all.  God does not seek to hide His truth, revealing it to only a few chosen individuals with a title and capital letters following their name.  He has made it simple enough that a child, or a mentally challenged person can understand.  He has written His story all over creation.

When God speaks, there are layers of meaning in His words.  Beyond that, He speaks to us through the natural world, and through patterns and foreshadowings.  This universe is His creation, His work of art, and all of it is imbued with a message.  Over and over again, in harmony, His creation speaks of Him and His nature, so that everyone will have an awareness and an understanding of His presence, His character, and the unspoken rules of how to live in harmony with Him.

Satan was not pleased with the nature of God and thought himself better than his creator.  So, he set himself in rebellion against God, to try to remake God’s creation in his image.  Wherever Satan has been, the wondrous masterpiece of God has been blurred, smeared, marred and painted over, in his attempt to silence God’s communication with man, and make his own message preemminent.

Satan, unlike man, has no power of creation within him.  All he is able to do is pervert what God has created.  Everywhere he has influence, the creation and purposes of God have been perverted.

God’s plan for our sexuality must be very sacred, and powerful, because it is an area that Satan targets most often, and that seems to yield him the most power through its perversion. So, we probably have to look beyond the message Satan has painted over the surface, and beneath the smudges and smears where he has tried to obliterate God’s plan, to get a glimpse of what may lie beneath.  I believe his plan has been two-pronged: to downplay the power and sanctity of sexuality as God created it, and to play up the ‘merits’ of his version of perverted sexuality.

God’s design was for sex to be between a man and his wife–only.  If that’s all it is, for a lifetime, then we must not be experiencing the depth of what He intended for us.

Having grown up promiscuous, I can only guess at what the love life of a deeply committed, monogamous, married couple, who were virgins on their wedding night must be like.

Marriage is a symbol of Jesus’ relationship to Christians.  The relationship between a believer and Jesus is one of deep caring, sacrificial love, lifelong loyalty and fidelity, honesty, tenderhearted devotion, patience, protection, forgiveness, kindness, humility, respect, trust and complete acceptance. This kind of a relationship gives birth to a depth of intimacy that heals the soul, provides health, security, peace and joy.  Outside of this kind of love, no one will ever reach their full potential.

Besides a person’s relationship to Jesus, marriage is the only other environment where a relationship of such depth could exist.  This environment, with such a depth of love and commitment, is necessary for people to bring forth children and raise them in such a way that they can reach their full potential, and go on to create the same kind of relationship upon which they build their own family.  A community, built of families such as this, is what God had planned for mankind.

Into this framework, God wove his design for human sexuality.  I believe that sex between a man and wife was to be a kind of superglue that could permeate every space between them and bond them firmly together in unity–a means of complete connection, a deep form of communication, a continuous affirmation.  I think it was meant to provide a level of satisfaction that we can no longer come close to understanding.  We are so far from what God created for us, because of sin–in ourselves, our culture, and our world–that it must seem like a fairy tale to imagine it.

When two wounded people come together, especially if there has been promiscuity on the part of one or the other, it is nearly impossible to attain the level of loyalty, fidelity, honesty, devotion, patience, forgiveness, kindness, humiliy, respect, trust and complete acceptance that form the sturdy structure in which such a profound intimacy can thrive.  I believe, without this depth of intimacy, that sex cannot completely
fulfill the purpose God intended.

You’d have to understand my history to know that I am in no way judging.  I am a broken, wounded person myself.  I was never able to sustain a successful marriage and my own children grew up in a ‘broken home’.

I also am not intending to add to anyone’s despair, because when the intimacy and sexuality of a couple are not filling the spaces between them, as God intended, it can be DEVASTATINGLY painful.

Nor am I saying that it is a lost cause, if this describes your relationship, because God can redeem all things.  Perhaps this will give you an understanding of how to pray, and help you to understand that it is not outside your marriage where you will find satisfaction.  Rather, it is through a supernatural work of God to renovate the structure of the relationship between you and your spouse, that the environment can be created where this kind of intimacy and sex can be birthed and grow to maturity.

Another aspect that is important to understand, is that God didn’t intended it to be about the sex itself.  Not about the sex act, the orgasm, or the measure of ‘sexual satisfaction’ achieved.  It IS about the depth of feeling, love, vulnerability and connection between you and your spouse.  It is like the difference between

  • listening to the words someone is saying, taking into account their volume and tone, to understand the message they are trying to convey or
  • only listening to the volume and tone, thereby completely missing the message

Please forgive me for being explicit, but it’s not about focusing on the technique or position, but rather holding each other, looking into each others eyes and talking to each other about things that are deeply personal, as you make love.

So much has blurred what God created our sexuality to be, and the context in which He intended it, that few of us find it.  Then it becomes easy to be dissatisfied with what we have and look elsewhere.

Here is something I observed, as homosexuality made its way into the mainstream.  It seemed to start first with the wounded souls who had been living a secret life of homosexuality.  Then, as time went on, a number of older men joined up.  I could be wrong, but I sense that these men were heterosexuals who had not been satisfied in their marriage, had sex outside of marriage and didn’t find fulfillment there, and were seeking something new.

This is the problem inherent with focusing on the sex act, outside of the full context that God intended–it doesn’t fulfill us, and we grow bored.  First we try to spice things up with our spouse–new positions, toys, pornography.  Then we’re tempted to look outside the marriage, then on to the next thing . . .  and we come to the conclusion that what we had is all that God intended, and that it just isn’t enough.  (But we haven’t really had what He intended!!)

Not surprisingly, it’s easy for Satan to paint his version over top of God’s original design, and we’re ready to try it–whatever the ‘flavor of the day’ is*–believing it will bring the satisfaction we crave.

Perhaps now you can see why homosexuality, or sex outside of marriage, isn’t what God intended.  And you may be of the impression now that homosexuality isn’t God’s best, but is still acceptable as a consolation prize for those who are not blessed enough to have found the ‘real thing’. To be honest, I probably haven’t said enough to actually convince you that there is anything wrong with homosexuality.

Here’s the thing, I’ll lay it out for you, but it may very well not convince you.  Our culture is so perverse and depraved now, that purity seems ridiculous and old fashioned.  I’m not going to contrast homosexuality with heterosexuality, or even with a monogamous marriage.  I believe American heterosexuality is now so far from what God intended, that it is a mere ‘skip and a jump’ from there to homosexuality.  Instead, I will contrast homosexuality with what God created for mankind in the first place.

First of all, physically, homosexuality is a filthy practice.  The amount of disease causing organisms you are exposed to during the act, and the manner in which those organisms are transported around, leaves you vulnerable to every sort of disease and infection, throughout your entire body.

While we don’t adhere to the laws in the Biblical book of Leviticus, at the very least they should serve as good guidelines for sanitary living.   (To get an idea of what I’m talking about, you can read Leviticus 15.)  Leviticus was written in a period of time before modern medicine.  Good hygiene and sanitation were vital to keeping sickness at bay. What may now seem like extreme measures, were in fact necessary to ensure that a community of people, living in close contact, could remain healthy.

  • So, one of the reasons God declared it to be sin is that it affects your health, and that of your family and your community.

Leviticus also reveals to us that certain acts or events rendered a person unclean in a way that an atonement had to be made.  Because God actually lived among them, a person could literally drop dead when near Him, if they were unclean.

  • Thus, another reason is for your own protection–that the physical presence of God wouldn’t literally knock you dead.  Also, for your family and community, so that God wouldn’t have to withdraw His presence from them because of your sin.

Beyond that were actions so displeasing to God, so dishonorable and/or perverse, that the person committing them was to be cut off from their community, by capital punishment.  Homosexuality is listed among those actions.  (If it doesn’t seem like that big a deal, it’s because we are already very corrupt sexually, and can no longer discern it.)

  • This was to protect the community/society.  It is based on the understanding that corruption spreads, and that all things reproduce in their own image.  Left unchecked, sinful behaviors will be accepted and adopted by an entire community.

From a purely logical point of view, and given the description above (of the kind of communities and families God intends), it is easy to see that homosexuality would displace male-female marriages and eat into the very foundation upon which society is based.

There are two more reasons I’ll cover, and they are the most important ones.  But, I’ve listed the reasons in reverse order, because most people who are held captive by sin are going to see their importance in reverse order.  When we are in bondage to sin, our first concern is ourself–and our last concern is the authority of God.

As I explained at the beginning of the post, God speaks to us through the natural world and through patterns and foreshadowings.  This universe is His creation, His work of art, and all of it is imbued with a message. In harmony, His creation speaks of Him and His nature, so that everyone will have an awareness and an understanding of His presence, His character, and the unspoken rules of how to live in harmony with Him.

Homosexuality is one of the things that perverts the picture.  It erases the message of how Jesus is related to the believer (husband and wife), and it replaces the message of cleanliness & holiness with one of filth & depravity.  It obscures the pattern God has laid out for the family and society.

That God is concerned with the picture, the pattern and the unspoken message, is reflected in his condemnation of other behaviors too.  In and of itself, it does not seem like a big deal for a woman to dress as a man, or a man as a woman, but ‘cross dressing’ is forbidden.  So is planting a field with two kinds of seed, or wearing clothing woven of two kinds of material. (If someone can show me a logical reason for this, please do!)  These things reflect a pattern that God wants to convey, and wants to have repeated.  His desire is for everything in His creation to be cohesive and give forth a harmonious, consistent message.

And that sums up the most important reason–HE is the creator, and HE gets to make the rules!  That’s the way He wants it, so that’s the way it shall be!

What great artist, upon finding his masterpiece painting vandalized and corrupted, would go ahead and exhibit it anyway?  Wouldn’t he instead be furious that his message had been lost?  Would he honor the one who erased his message by displaying their message instead?

Satan is the author of all perversion.  God will not shrug and walk away, and let Satan obliterate His message and replace it with an unholy one that flows from his heart full of hatred and rebellion.  Not as long as there is still one living soul left on earth whose heart is open to knowing God and knowing the truth.

It isn’t homosexuality, per se, that separates a person from God.  We were all born into sin and are destined to be separated from God, unless we accept the atoning death of Jesus Christ on our behalf.

But, although I can understand WHY homosexuals indulge in this sin, I can’t have an attitude of tolerance to it, and here’s why:  When a person sins, it is like a rock being dropped into a still lake–ripples move outwards from the impact, in all directions, eventually  impacting distant shores.  Although it is the person who practices the sin that faces judgment for it, countless other people are affected, to varying degrees, by their actions.

To those of you who say ‘that’s not fair, God made me this way’–I have to disagree.  Very few of you are hermaphrodites.  God would not establish homosexuality as a sin, then create you to be homosexual.

It is apparent to me that there are some sins that have a definite spiritual dimension to them.  When one engages in these sins they open the door to demonic oppression and/or possession.  Until one is ‘delivered’ from the demonic influences that accompany these sins, they will be continuously tempted and tormented.  Among these sins, I believe, are serial murder, homosexuality, pedophilia, incest, and bestiality, among others.

BUT, even if I am mistaken about demonic involvement, and mistaken about someone being ‘born that way’, consider this:  It is not unfair for God to require that a homosexual not engage in homosexuality anymore!

Adulterers are required not to commit adultery anymore!  We are all forbidden to have sex outside of marriage!  Thieves are required to stop stealing!  Murderers are required to stop murdering!  We are all commanded to stop lying!  The whole sum of the matter is that we are to yield ourselves to the authority of God and live by His rules.

When we accept Jesus’ death on our behalf, we must REPENT of our sins (all of us, every form of sin).  We must renounce our sins and turn away from them, living as images of Him.  By His grace and mercy He did not crush us while we were in our sins, but instead He provided a way that we could be forgiven and made righteous.  But, we must die to our former way of life.

There is a particular hardness of heart towards God, and an unwillingness to repent of the sin, among homosexuals.  This is because:

‘ . . . they neither glorified Him as God, nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.’

‘They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator . . .

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.

Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, He gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.’

* On the heels of homosexuality going mainstream, acceptance of pedophilia is in the works.  Then we have bestiality and incest trailing not far behind.  Hollywood is now in the process of beginning to desensitize us to both, as it did with homosexuality before it fully emerged.  I’m not yet ready to lay odds on which one will be accepted first.

This may sound extreme, but watch.  It is the natural progression when a culture turns its back on God and walks the other way.




Abortion, Are You SURE You Have The Right?

If This Is True, We’d Better Not Yield To The Temptation

There is a whole group of people that we, in our modern society have ignored, to our own peril. Certain people are just born gatekeepers–watchmen if you will, or whistle blowers.

If you look at our worst disasters, there were people who had been trying to warn us. The 9/11 attacks . . . Bernie Madoff’s ponzi scheme . . . protests against the Vietnam War . . . What about the ‘Green Revolution’, genetically modified crops, exploitation by multinational corporations . . . (oh, I’ll bet you haven’t heard about the results of some of these things, but you will).

Our failure to listen has brought us to where we are now–and there is more to come. We have been ‘sowing bad seed’ for quite awhile. Not all of it has reached fruit-bearing age yet.

Why is it that our society has this blind spot? Certain people are just more tuned in to their intuition, the Spirit of God and/or the ‘collective consciousness’. They are able to forecast trends or see a few steps ahead of the masses.

If a person uses this gift to advance himself by channeling it into creating a business, it rises to the top, they become well-known and we marvel at their foresight. But those who try to use it for the well-being of others, to warn them of impending problems, we label as extremists or nut jobs. Why is this?

One of my theories is that, in our time at least, what they say has tended to conflict with somebody’s bottom line. We have elevated the corporation to the status of a god–and God forbid we should do or say anything that questions the motives, or threatens the intentions of this god!

Capitalism is good, but not perfect. (I am a capitalist too, make no mistake, because I don’t know of a better system. But, in its present form, I think it is completely corrupt–a system that perpetrates greed, exploitation, and corruption.) It is seriously flawed if it operates without ethical oversight.

The reverence and worship for the American Corporation that we hear today, in the words of so many proponents of capitalism, reveals their blind spot, their Achille’s heel if you will. They are under its spell.

Are we starting to see the character of this god yet? Have all the fiascos of the last couple of decades, and especially the last year, not caught our attention? CORRUPT! Without our watchmen at the gates, corruption thrives! Our politicians have long been ‘in bed’ with these multinational corporations (and international banks–just another kind of multinational corporation). Together, they have formed a shadow government that is really in charge of much of the world *.

And who is it that stands to gain the most from silencing the voices of the gatekeepers? The corrupt political/corporate/banking government. They marginalize and discredit the voices of opposition. This is always the way it works–discredit the witness.

But, here is something to consider–what do the parties involved stand to gain? Doesn’t the fact that the gatekeeper/whistleblower has nothing to gain lend him more credibility? Doesn’t the fact that he is willing to speak out, sometimes at GREAT personal risk, lend him even greater credibility? Can we not believe that not everyone can be bought, that not everyone is motivated by greed? No, instead we are suspicious of someone whose motives we can’t uncover.

There IS a certain breed of people, motivated by the desire for justice and the welfare of others! Many people can’t understand such a motivation, and believe it is just a cover for something sinister, or for a mental defect. But most of us respect that calling if it is channeled into a career as a pastor, teacher or social worker!

It is time to wake up and realize that what we have needed has been here all along. Every society has its watchmen. They are legitimate in their calling, and they are our first line of defense–against corruption, tyranny, exploitation, etc., etc, etc. It’s time to seek them out and listen!!

* The Bible refers to this present-day political/corporate/banking government, in Revelation, as ‘Babylon the Great’. Some call it ‘The Whore of Babylon’.

 

It’s Time To Push Back!

America–Hijacked!!