Tag Archives: transformation

Take Jesus to the World

“These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

 Take Jesus to the World

The last two months have been tough for America; we were horrified by the Orlando massacre and the Dallas assassinations. We sense evil amongst us and we can easily fall into despair.

What will happen next? How do we stop the carnage?

When senseless horrors like these occur, we are confronted with the reality that we live in a very imperfect world.

We are all broken people living in a broken world where every community, every profession, and every human system is broken.

But there is a solution to all of the chaos and healing for the brokenness.

That solution does not rely upon fallible human beings but upon our infallible Creator.

How do we mend a human heart? (We don’t. God does.)

No man-made laws (however well-intentioned) can change the human heart. Only Jesus Christ can change our hearts.

Jesus proclaimed, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)

Jesus has overcome the world and he is, moment by moment, person by person, changing hearts and transforming lives.

Even now, Jesus is fixing our broken world by fixing broken hearts one by one. As people are adopted into his kingdom, healing will spring forth into changed hearts, which in turn, will change the world.

Senseless violence will cease to exist when the whole world realizes the truth of who Jesus is and what he can accomplish.

Let us take Jesus to the world for healing and restoration. We can rely on him. He is, after all, the Savior of the world.

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Ask God! (He just might surprise you.)

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” – Matthew 7:7-8

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Some regard Jesus’ words as Pollyannaish or simply too good to be true. But what if they’re not?

Those with faith in Jesus’ promise have already experienced his bountiful goodness. We can, too. The promise Jesus gave is to “everyone” – without qualification or limit. All we have to do is ask in faith.

As the apostle James said, often we do not have because we do not ask. Rest assured that when we go to God in prayer, he hears – and he answers! The whole of heaven is open to everyone who prays.

Prayer is a passionate, personal conversation with God. When we speak from our heart, when we openly share our inner being with the One who created us, God is pleased.

When we share our hearts with our Father in prayer, he gives us more of himself. He changes our hearts and transforms our lives beyond our imaginations.

Surrounded by the here and now, distracted by the world around us, it is all too easy to miss the spiritual reality that prayer is an invitation to connect with eternity.

Jesus called every broken believer into a life of continual prayer that eternally changes life. In Jesus, we can be healed and become whole.

Jesus instructed us to “Ask … Seek … Knock …” and he assured us that our Father would respond generously, lovingly (verses 9-11).

Let us trust him.

Father, let Your will be done in our lives.

Vicky Beeching and the Lesbian Gospel

Vicky Beeching is a well-known Christian worship leader who has embraced a lesbian gospel and advocates for same-sex marriage.

Beeching

Vicky’s gospel is couched in politically-correct terms of universal inclusion which are biblically inaccurate. Vicki says,

What Jesus taught was a radical message of welcome and inclusion and love. I feel certain God loves me just the way I am, and I have a huge sense of calling to communicate that to young people. When I think of myself at 13, sobbing into that carpet, I just want to help anyone in that situation to not have to go through what I did, to show that instead, you can be yourself – a person of integrity.”

I’ll get back to her concluding words – “a person of integrity” – in a moment.

“Search Me”

I purchased one of her CDs many years ago and enjoyed its content. I was particularly struck by one simple song, “Search Me,” which reminded me so much of King David’s plea that God create a pure heart in him. Search Me seemingly also draws its inspiration from Psalm 139:23-24, which reads:

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

In her own reflective ballad to the Father, Vicky beseechs God to search her to discover anything in her which does not reflect His purity. Vicky asks to be refined “in the fire of Your gaze” in order that she “might be holy in all of my ways.”

Vicky further asks, like David, for “a heart after Your own heart” and “a mind that is pure and pleasing to” Him. And she asks to be filled with love, and His power and joy, so that she might reflect God’s image to the world.

I’ve always liked that song and see it as a good model for meditation, reflection and prayer. It’s sentiments are certainly biblical.

Searching the Heart

Searching the heart is a good thing and God does it perfectly (Jer. 17:10, Rom. 8:27), while we, as imperfect beings, do so imperfectly. We might ask God for what David prayed and Vicki sought, and yet not see the answers God gives us. Often, our own human nature and natural desires get in the way.

The point of Vicky’s song was to experience spiritual transformation so that Vicky “might be holy in all of my ways.” This reflects God’s own heart, as expressed by the apostle Peter in his first epistle (1:13-16):

“Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance;  but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,  because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’”

But being holy – as desired by God and sought by Vicky – requires God’s intervention and our cooperation. The apostle Paul, in a host of places, expresses the struggle Christians have aligning their wills with God’s.

Often, we fail. The temptation comes to think that God will accept our failings, even though He insists we die daily to ourselves. A further temptation arises in which we can convince ourselves that our own wrong thoughts and behaviors are not only acceptable in His eyes, but that we are actually doing His will when we are allowing Him to accept us as we are.

These are flawed ways of compromising with the world, denying God’s Word, and opposing His will.

LGBT Bible

On her website and blog, Vicky is generating a discussion concerning homosexuality and the Bible. She has offered up a series of resources and recommended reading to further her own point of view. Most of these resources offer up alternative interpretations or refutations of very clearly-worded passages in the Bible which resolutely condemn homosexuality.

(There now exists a “gay Bible” which purports to set the record straight, pun-intended, when it really makes straight paths crooked.)

Does the Bible endorse or promote homosexuality? This excellent article repudiates that notion: “Liberal Scholars Agree: The Bible Forbids Homosexuality.”

Ex-Gay Explains Gay Theology Fraud

In a Facebook response to Vicky’s claims, Greg Quinlan, former President of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, writes:

“The statement ‘I am gay and God loves me anyway’ is narcissistic at its core. You are making a demand of God attempting to manipulate His unrelenting love for you so as to accept and condone your mocking behavior. NO ONE is born homosexual. No one. ‘There are no replicated scientific studies supporting any specific biologic etiology for homosexuality’ (American Psychiatric Assn). There is Zero evidence of a ‘gay’ gene. ‘Homosexuality is not hard-wired’ (Dr. Francis Collins Director of the Human Genome Project NIH). Homosexuality is a developmental gender identity disorder that should never been removed from the list of disorders. Homosexuality is not biologic, genetic but there are vast sociological studies spanning over 150 years showing homosexuality as a disorder that is acquired by many factors including culture. Gay theology is a lie! Homosexuality is not innate but it is sinful. Homosexuality is completely outside of God’s created purpose for mankind.”

Same-Sex Marriage Denies the Gospel

Same-sex marriage is both unbiblical and antithetical to the gospel. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus affirms the Genesis account that marriage is between one man and one woman.

In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul observed that marriage (between a man and a women) typifies the relationship between Christ and the Church. In other words, a godly marriage is analogous to our spiritual relationship with God. A husband and a wife are to become one, just as Jesus and the Church are one, just as the Father, Son, and Spirit are one. Believers are called to know Jesus as intimately as husbands are to know their wives.

God, through Paul, is sharing with us deep spiritual truths. Jesus models His love for His people (the Church) just as husbands should exhibit sacrificial love for their wives. Wives are to be subject to and show respect toward their husbands just as the Church does to Christ. Each marriage – husband and wife – should reflect the godly, holy principles and patterns that Jesus modeled for His people. As you reflect upon Paul’s words, notice the emphasis on sacrificial love and sanctification, cleansing and purification. That we may be holy as He is holy.

Here is Ephesians 5:22-33 …

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

Verses 31 and 33 clearly reaffirm the one man-one woman model of marriage. Why?

Verse 32 gives us the answer: Marriage reveals the nature of the relationship between Jesus and His Church.

“A Person of Integrity”

Vicky contends that by “being yourself” you can be “a person of integrity.” This utterly contradicts God’s Word. The word “integrity” derives from the concept of “wholeness” or “completeness.”

Every human being is broken in one way or another. It is God who brings us wholeness. God imparts spiritual transformation by giving us a new heart which is then, for the rest of our lives, molded and shaped into His image through His refining fire or, as Vicky put it, being refined by the fire of His gaze.

“Being yourself” – an unchanging stay just as you are “self” – is the opposite of God’s desire which is for something far, far better for us: being people who are “whole” – full of integrity – because they are full of God.

Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

“Being yourself” as Vicky expresses it, is to “be conformed to this world,” when God desires that we “be transformed.”

We all have choices to make, whether we will be holy as He is holy, whether we will die daily to ourselves and live daily to Him, whether we will choose God’s will over our own, and whether we will embrace God’s transforming presence in our lives or be conformed to a lesser (ungodly) reality.

Vicky, let God search your heart and clearly show you what He sees. As you embrace His love, embrace His will that you be holy as He is holy.