1) Every day will be a new devotional. I have enough devotionals for every day for three years
2) Also as I can, I'll be posting on my new political blog (see bottom of page).
Some other housecleaning:
A) If you'd like to just get new postings sent to your email, just submit your address in the box on the left just below. There's just one possible downside, though. Occasionally I'll add a music video at the end that's relevant to the devotional, and you won't get them in the email sent to you. If I add a video though, I'll make sure to mention in the posting, so you'll know to come to the site to see it if you'd like.
B) I actually finished writing new blog posting for the TAWG at the end of 2016. So what I'm doing now is at the beginning of every month, I'll move the earliest month from 3 years ago ahead so that a "new" posting appears every day. That's why you won't find any postings for January 2014, for example.
C) When I started this Blog, I was using the 1984 edition of the NIV, and that’s what I linked to on the Biblegateway site. However, in 2011 Zondervan updated its edition and thus reworded a lot of the NIV translation. Therefore, all the links which went to the 1984 edition now redirect to the 2011 edition, which often has slightly different wording. Thus, part of my editing process has been to update my Scripture quotes in my postings. But I might have missed some, in which case you might see my quote in the posting as a little different from what comes up when you click on my citation link, since that redirects to the 2011 edition on the Biblegateway site. It's a good thing that we realize that the work of translation never ends, but it can be a kind of a pain on a site like this. If you see any difference in verbiage between my quote and what shows up as a link on the Biblegateway site, or if you hover over a link and it has "NIV1984" at the end of it, please notify me and I'll correct it.
D) I can't believe I have to say this, but here goes. At the end of every posting is a suggested short prayer that has to do with what we discussed. This is actually what I've prayed when I finished writing it. In no way am I asking you to pray the exact verbiage of my suggested prayer. It's just a springboard for your own prayer, nothing more. Quite frankly, I've never been a fan of praying rote prayers written by someone else. As with everything else I do here, to the degree it helps, great; to the degree it doesn't, chunk it.
As always, thank you so much for reading, even if it's to read one post. God bless.
On the contrary, this upholds his law. How? We’ll get to that soon.
So what’s the problem here? Why isn’t this “Inner Witness” enough?
For the last couple of days I’ve addressed my fellow believers who agree with me about the sinfulness of homosexuality. Today I’m going to respond to those who disagree with me about this very fundamental issue: Does God consider homosexual behavior a sin?
First, let me clarify some verbiage. You might have noticed that I keep referring to homosexual behavior, not just to homosexuality. The reason I use that term is because I make a distinction between same-sex attraction and the behavior that comes from that attraction. If someone's attracted to someone of the same sex, that’s not in itself sinful; if I’m attracted to a woman who’s not my wife, that’s not sinful either. That doesn't mean it's harmless. It just means that I'm not judged by God for being attracted to (or tempted towards) something that he says is wrong. The question for me is, “What do I do with the fact that I’m attracted to her? Do I fantasize about her? Do I look at her improperly?” If I do, that is sinful according to the explicit words of my Savior. But just the fact that I’m attracted to her? No. That's something we need to decisively deal with, but it's not in itself a sin.
Unlike Jesus, Paul did deal with the issue, because Roman/Greek society was rife with it. And he addressed it.
And in a very real sense Jesus did deal with this issue. When the religious leaders came to Jesus and asked him about divorce and cited Moses, he clarified the issue for us. God's pattern for marriage (and sexuality as a corollary) wasn't established in Leviticus or Deuteronomy. It was established in Genesis chapters one and two by the marriage of our first parents. Any discussion of any aspect of human sexuality has to start with the pattern our Creator established at the very beginning of human history: One man with one woman united for life.
Once you get that pattern down, then every other issue regarding human sexuality is pretty much settled: Sex before marriage, adultery, homosexuality, etc.
I know, I know: you’ll see some biblical “scholar” trying to tell you point # 3 above. They’re lying, either to you or to themselves. Here’s the bottom line: Every single time homosexual behavior is mentioned in the Bible, it’s condemned. Not most of the time. All of the time.
What do you want me to tell you? That something that God condemns is OK? Do you want me to tell you what you want to hear, or the truth?
Let's talk just for a moment about the possibility of getting out of this lifestyle. I'm not going to get into a debate about the science or research or the effectiveness of this program or that program. I'm going to stick to what I know: God's word and the testimony of those whom the Savior has pulled out of this mess.
It all starts with recognizing that what you're feeling is not in line with God's word. It just so happens that this particular feeling is celebrated in our modern world, while others (like racial hatred) aren't. I believe that it's entirely possible that someone might have an ongoing struggle with this issue, maybe for several years. And the only appropriate response to anyone struggling with this sin is compassion, never a holier-than-thou or self-righteous attitude.
Another lie the world tells you--correlating with the message in the above paragraph--is that because we believe that change is possible, it must mean we think change is easy. Attempts to change sexual attraction are dismissed as trying to "pray away the gay." If someone is attracted to the same sex, then there are apparently deep-seated issues which need to be worked out. Yes, we believe in the power of God to change anyone, to redeem anyone out of any sinful lifestyle. But same-sex attraction seems to me to be a sign of brokenness which probably needs some special attention. There are godly counselors whom the Lord has provided who have training in this area, whom the Lord has used to sensitively bring people back to wholeness. It's usually not overnight, but it can come.
But the main point of all this is the Good News about Jesus. If you realize and acknowledge that what you’ve been doing is sinful (whatever it is), then he stands ready to forgive, restore, cleanse, and rescue you out of the pit you’ve found yourself in. It all starts with deciding to do things his way instead of your own, asking for his help, and availing yourself of the assistance he provides (his word, the Church, and the Holy Spirit). He might not change you overnight, but that’s the way to get on the right track. It’ll be worth it, I promise.
*I've recently come across a really helpful book in this regard: What Does the Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality? I'm sure there are plenty of other great resources out there, but Kevin here does an awesome job of dealing with this issue. It's short, very inexpensive, and deals with objections in a sensitive yet thoroughly biblical way. I can't recommend it highly enough.
- He also lists some others sins here: adultery (in other words, heterosexual sin), idolatry, theft, drunkenness, slander, or swindling. Is there anyone who can claim they’re completely innocent of the rest of these? If you’re a guy and give into lust, Jesus says you’re an adulterer in your heart. Yes, an unrepentant homosexual is going to Hell. So are unrepentant liars.
- No matter why someone is what they are, they don’t have to stay that way. Apparently some of the believers in the Corinthian church had been involved in that lifestyle. “But [they] were washed, [they] were sanctified, [they] were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” Jesus’ blood covered their sin, both sexual and non-sexual. And not only that, he’d pulled them out of that lifestyle (“And that is what some of you were”). I’ve never been tempted in the area of homosexual attraction, but I have my own transgressions for which God has forgiven me, and I’m still a work in progress. Just when I think I have a sin “handled,” I discover how far I really fall short of where I’m supposed to be. I’m not where I’m supposed to be, but thank the Lord I’m not what I once was, and I’m not what I will be.
Per usual, the genius over at Adam4D puts it sooooo much better than I can. If I could have 5 minutes to address every gay out there, this would be exactly what I'd like to say.
I really feel the need for some clarification at this point. Just because God doesn't judge you for your sinful inclinations (or temptations), that doesn't mean that those inclinations are healthy or need to be celebrated or cultivated. I think it needs to be repeated for emphasis: If someone is attracted to the same sex, then something's really wrong. Not to be crude or anything, but if anyone is sexually attracted to anything besides the opposite sex, then something within them is not working the way it's supposed to, similar to the way my pancreas isn't working the way God designed it.
1) Homosexuality--defined here as same-sex attraction--is completely genetic. It has little or nothing to do with one’s personal choices or the environment in which one was raised.
2) Whatever is genetically predetermined--or that which is a genetic predisposition--is automatically morally neutral or even positive. There are absolutely no genetic predispositions which are morally negative.
3) Therefore, homosexual behavior is morally equivalent to heterosexual behavior, or even to be celebrated more than the norm. People who are attracted to the same sex should never be encouraged to change, and they can never change even if they wanted to.
That’s basically their argument, whether it’s articulated that way or not. And I completely repudiate premise number 2. Even they wouldn’t buy number 2 if they thought about it dispassionately for a moment, if we were talking about anything other than a sexual lifestyle they want to justify. Again, if we found a “cheater gene” in men, they wouldn’t justify adultery, right? They’d tell a man “I don’t care if you ‘felt’ like cheating on your wife. You can’t just go along with your feelings.” Or at least they should. There are plenty of natural instincts which we have which would not only be socially unacceptable; they’d be completely incompatible with basic civilized society.
So my question to my fellow believers is: Why are you invested in disproving that same-sex attraction is at least partially genetically determined? Aren’t you tacitly accepting premise # 2 above? Isn’t the biblical response something more like “OK, let’s assume for the sake of argument that there is a ‘gay gene.’ So what?" The question isn’t "Why do people do the things they do?" The question is, "Does God’s word commend it or condemn it?”
I’m running long on this, so I want to give a fuller answer specifically regarding homosexuality tomorrow.
Here's a great little cartoon courtesy of Adam4d.com: