Thursday, July 2, 2015

I Told My Friend She was Ok to be Gay {And Why I Regret It}


She sat across from me at McDonald's.  I knew it was important.  She needed to talk to me.  Desperation poured from her lips as she sought my advice ( for some reason, she thought Miss Poor Decisions 1994 was the perfect person to ask.)

My friend was married.  She and her husband had a child together.  I never expected the words that flowed from her mouth that day.

She began to explain how she was attracted to another girl and she wasn't sure what to do about it or if she should tell her husband. 

I will always regret what I said to her that day.

Please don't judge me for what I'm about to disclose.  I was twenty.  Lost.  Remember Miss Poor Decisions 1994?  Yes.  I could have been crowned. 

My advise to her:  Follow your heart. You deserve to be happy.  Tell your husband. 

My heart aches typing those words.  Lord, forgive me.  Forgive me of any part I had in wrecking a marriage, hurting a child, and hurting my friend by encouraging her to go down a destructive path paved with sin. 

Why do I share this with you today?  Because I know I'm not the only one who will ever have this conversation.  And I want to help you make a better choice. 

To my friend, please forgive me for not having the courage nor the wisdom to have led you to a life-giving choice.

Here is what I wish I would have said to you that day twenty-one years ago:

Don't go there.  If you choose to go down that path, it will be full of heartache and brokenness. Resist the temptation. Run toward God.  Love your husband.  Love your child.  Be the best wife you can be to him.  Pray for your husband and marriage.  Pray for your child.  Go to church.  God loves you and wants to deliver you from temptation and sin.  God has such a good plan for you.  Choose Him.   

There is much controversy around the gay marriage issue and I have mostly remained silent on it until now.  Regardless of your position, I want you to consider this question: 

Which advice is truly the most loving?

I saw my friend a few years later.  She had traded her beautiful long black hair for a short bleached butch cut.  She was with the girl she had told me about.  Her daughter in tow.  My heart sank the moment I saw them.  She had followed my ill-given advice.  I thought it was the loving and accepting answer. 

Encouraging others to go against the Word of God is never loving nor accepting, it is dangerous.

What was my friend really desperate for that day?  Approval or rescue?  I believe she knew she was about to jump off a cliff and was crying out for someone to stop her.  Instead, sadly, I gave her a push. 

For those who say Christians are full of hate for not agreeing with homosexual marriage are misinformed.  It is because we love that we are against it.  I personally know the bondage of living in sin (and homosexual sex is sin) (Leviticus 20:10-18, 1 Tim 1: 8-11, Rom 1:24-28) and I want all people to experience living in the fullness of God and freedom in Christ.  Sin hinders our relationship with God.  I have lived both ways.  Trust me, freedom is decidedly better! 

Will you join me in displaying love by praying for my friend from twenty-one years ago? 

Father, I pray for this friend.  I don't know how she is or where she is but you do.  I thank you that you love her so much and that you laid her on my heart this day.  Lord, I pray for you to help her.  I pray for her to come into a life-saving relationship with Jesus Christ.  I pray for you to rescue her and deliver her from bondage and free her from sin.  Lord, I pray for you to work in her life in miraculous ways and reveal yourself to her mightily.  Lord, save her and her family. And I pray for salvation and healing for her, her child, her husband and the other girl.  In Jesus' Name, Amen












Saturday, June 27, 2015

Checking Motives


While cuddling and reading devotions with my eight-year-old, Philippians 1:15 tore my heart wide open.

"Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill: The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel."  Phillipians 1:15-17

Pressure for platform and numbers can distract attention.  The moment envy rises its ugly green head in our hearts when it comes to fellow ambassadors of the gospel, we can be sure Phil 1:15 isn't far from describing our state.

As ministers of the gospel of Christ, we need to be keenly aware of our motives.  And this not only goes for ministers, but every service in the church body.  There is a key question we must continue to ask ourselves...Why do we do what we do? 

Do we like the attention?

Does it make us feel good about ourselves?

Money?

Is position and favor our conquest? 

There are other questions to ask as well.  But, there should only be one answer.  The only reason for proclaiming the gospel of Christ is simply to preach Christ.

Thankfully whatever the motives, still Christ is preached, as Paul admirably points out in Phil 1:18.

"What then?  Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in trust, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice."

Anyone is subject to fall.  Anyone at any time can be tempted with envy and jealousy.  No one is immune.  We are all human.  We just all need to be aware.

Do you find yourself comparing your ministry to others?  Check your motives.

Do you find yourself begrudging the fruit in others' lives?  Check your motives.

Do you think you are right in how you do things and others are wrong?  Check your motives.

Do you ever feel like someone "stole" something or someone from you?  Check your motives.

At the beginning of this post, I shared an intimate confession. The Lord used Phil 1:15 to reveal an area of sin in my life.  This sin broke my heart.  And as a fellow sojourner in Christ, my heart is to help others avoid the pitfalls along the journey.

My prayer is that our goal and aim would be One.  My prayer is that all believers in Christ could be joined together in unity rather than me-nity, focused on others and the Kindgom of God rather than self.

It starts with each person doing a heart check and walking in love with one another.  It starts with me. It starts with you.

Father, cleanse my heart and renew a right spirit within me.  Lord, may my only motive be Christ and Christ alone.  Forgive me for times I have been envious of my fellow sisters and brothers in Christ.  Forgive me Lord and rid me of pride and selfishness.  Lord, I pray that as Your children, we would love each other and encourage each other along this journey.  In Jesus' Name, Amen.    




Thursday, June 11, 2015

Don't Forget to Enter to Win!

Friday morning I am giving away a prayer journal!  Don't forget to enter to win.  Click this link below to see how to win!

http://www.livingfreeinhim.blogspot.com/2015/06/results-or-relationship-and-giveaway.html

Also, I posted a new post today on the other blog I write, Deeper Still Devotions.  Click the link below to read this post.

www.deeperstilldevotions.blogspot.com


Blessings to you!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Results or Relationship {And a Giveaway!!}


As soon as my fingers typed the word, I felt a check in my spirit. ...Results. 

The message was a text message sent to a friend as we ping ponged opinions on a theological concept that I won't go into here.

The sentence I typed was along the lines of, "I have gotten good results with this."   This referring to the theological concept and a posture of prayer.  

WHAT???!!!!

Results.  I was sick to my stomach.  Is that what prayer is about?  Is that why I pray?

Do I pray to get results or do I pray to cultivate a relationship?

I think this is a very good question, not just for me.

God doesn't have a problem with us praying with expectation of results.  In fact, He honors those prayers and answers them.  However, if results are the only reason for our prayers, there is a problem.

For instance, what if your children only came to you every time they wanted something.  What if they were only talking to you for results and did nothing to nurture a loving relationship with you?

Being the good parent you are, you would be happy they were talking to you and most likely honor their requests.  However, would you be grieved?  Would it sadden you that results were their priority over relationship?

I believe our heavenly Father is grieved with the number of His children who either never or rarely speak to Him.  I believe it grieves His loving Father's heart.

Friends, I want to encourage you to get a journal and write letters to your Father.  Then listen.  Listen for a response.  Then write His response.  Journaling is one way I speak to, listen and hear the Holy Spirit.

The Lord wants to speak to you.  He wants that relationship with you.  Please don't understand.  It isn't wrong for you to pray expecting Him to answer.  Yes.  Prayer Works.  Prayer bring results.  Let's just not let results be our exclusive focus.  He longs for you to know Him intimately.  He longs for relationship.

"But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." Matthew 6:33

"Seek the Lord and His strength;  Seek His face evermore." Psalm 105:4

"When You said, "Seek My face," my heart said to You, "Your face, Lord, I will seek."  Psalm 27: 8

"But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all  your soul."  Deuteronomy 4:29

This week, I want to help one of you cultivate your relationship with the Father by giving away a prayer journal.  You can enter to win by one of three ways:

1.  "Like" my facebook page.
2.    Invite 10 others your know to like my page.
3.    Share a post.

If you invite others or share a post, please comment below or send me a Facebook message to let me know. I will randomly select a winner from all who entered by drawing a name on Friday morning at 8 am.  

 How fun!!!  










Monday, May 25, 2015

Stop Praying

It was an early morning run.  My friend and I met up, shoes laced and pavement ahead.  Running can be therapeutic, especially with a friend.  As we ran, we talked about life, about God, about our struggles and our victories.  Friendship is a beautiful thing and I'm very thankful for this friend.

That morning she shared how she had been praying and praying about something for years, to the point where she was beginning to get discouraged about this one area in her life.  I listened.  Then, two words, almost counter intuitive, rose up inside of me.  They could seem shocking or even blasphemous...

Stop Praying.

I'm sure my friend thought I had lost my mind on the last hill during those three miles.

Before you start thinking this girl just took the oxy out of oxymoron...

"Answer this question:  Does the God who lavishly provides you with His own presence, His Holy Spirit, working things in your lives you could never do for yourselves, does He do these things because of your strenuous moral striving or because you trust Him to do them in you?" Galations 3:5-6 MSG

My point is actually not to stop praying.  In fact, that would be not be Biblical.  We are called to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thes 5: 17).  However, what does praying without ceasing look like?  Isn't is just continual conversation with the Lord about all things, then trusting Him to work out everything together for our good? (Romans 8:28).

Yes. Pray. Please. Pray.  But...  After you have prayed, there comes a time when you must enter in His rest and just trust.

Does the Lord who lavishly provides you with His own presence, His Holy Spirit, working things out in your lives you could never do for yourselves, does He do these things because of your striving or because you trust Him?

The answer is simple.  Trust.

It isn't up to you! Now, that is liberating! 













Monday, May 11, 2015

Fear Steals

Fear steals.

The sun shone down warming my shoulders as we road a ski lift up to the top of a fanciful water amusement park.  At the top was a mountain plunging a near vertical 12 story drop!  However, the water monstrosity didn't scare me nearly as much as the ski lift to the top.




I never have noticed a fear of heights in me, but that day, fear was there.  All around me was beauty and a magnificent view as we scaled higher above the trees.  However, the beauty all around me escaped my vision due to fear. 


But, that is what fear does.  Fear steals.  Fear steals the beauty around us and causes us to focus inward instead of looking outward.  

Fear of rejection causes us to focus on our own insecurities instead of the beauty of the people around us.  

Fear of failure can cause us to cower instead of step out in adventure and risk.  Fear of failure can also steal our destiny if left to overtake us.   

Fear of abandonment can cause us to miss intimacy in relationships and open ourselves up to the beautiful friendships the Lord has placed in our lives.  

Fear of the unexpected can paralyze us right out of God's perfect will. 

Fear causes us to miss out on the blessings God has placed all around us.  

And fear of heights can cause us to miss out on the amazing God-given views above our eye level. 

Plain and simply fear steals. From views to value to valor to vulnerability, fear keeps us from freedom.  

Instead of allowing fear to hold us in chains, we need to take fear captive.  

I pray we would rise up with courage, cast down our fear and stand firm in God's love and care.  Fear, we are onto you.  We know how you come to steal.  You are a thief and thieves belong behind bars.  

"We demolish arguments and very pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ." 2 Cor 10:5 

"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment.  But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love him because he first loved us."  1 John 5:18-19

"The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?"  Psalm 27:1

















Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Jill and Tilly

Shortly after I became a Christian, in 1998, the Lord led me to a Bible study with two other ladies from my Sunday school class at church.  It was such a blessing because I really wanted to grow and develop strong Christian friendships.  Due to my past, I didn't feel worthy of Christian friendships and thought anyone in my Sunday school class would surely reject me if they truly knew about my past.

One day at Bible study, my friend, Jill, asked us to pray for a friend of hers who was considering having an abortion.  I said I would pray.  As I began praying, tears began to fall.  Tears turned into sobs to the point where I could hardly even pray.  I apologized and quickly brushed it off as just getting emotional about praying.

That night, the phone rang.  I answered the phone and it was Jill.  She said, "Sue, the Holy Spirit wanted me to call you.  I feel like He wanted me to ask you if you have had an abortion."

Pause.

My heart pounded as I softly answered, "Yes."

Jill was the first Christian friend I had ever told.  She was the first person I had shared openly with about the abortion other than my husband

The response I received from my friend that night was life changing.  I expected that if my Christian friends knew the truth, they would reject me and condemn me.  The enemy had me believing a lie and it was the furthest thing from the truth.  Jill extended so much grace and love to me that night.  My heart began healing that very night, and all because my friend was obedient to the voice of the Holy Spirit and made a phone call.

The Lord was at work and the next week, I was listening to the Focus on the Family radio program when the story of Tilly by Frank Peretti came on the air.  Again, my heart softened and began to heal.  The Lord was revealing that He was at work and wanted to heal my heart.  I can't explain it, but to know the Lord loved me so much and was so interested in healing me, overwhelmed me.  I remember sitting there on the floor of my apartment, on my knees, listening to Tilly, tears flowing and wondering how could this be that the Lord would want to heal me.

He does heal.  And not only does He heal, He desires to heal.  He is very involved in your life and interested in your healing.  Healing is most often times a process.  Just like the couple of steps I just shared with you.  There have been many more steps since that first year the Lord began my healing. And although I have had much healing, I know the Lord continues to heal me even now.

I don't believe we will be finished here on earth.  It is an ever-going process with the Lord.  But, the day is coming when we will be complete in Him.  And oh what a glorious day that will be!

"Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ." Phil 1:6

Lord, I thank You for Your promise that You will complete the good work You begin in us.  Lord, I pray for those who maybe feel like they haven't started the process.  Lord, I pray for you to bring them their Jill and Tilly.  I pray for You to lead them and guide them in the next step and in every step towards complete healing in You.  In Jesus' Name, Amen. 









 
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