“God Kills Gay People…”

562312_10202549229916967_277776572_n
Luna Demands Attention with her Gigantic Paws!

 It almost never fails.  Soon after I take a seat at my desktop to write, Luna, the nemesis gracing the headline of this blog, comes and plants herself in the center of my chest, gazes at me with demanding eyes and taps the side of my face with her gigantic polydactyl paws.

I used to be one of these writers that believed when inspiration “hit” you’d better write it down quickly before it slips away.  I no longer subscribe to that idea.   I’ve found if the general idea is of any worth it lodges itself in my psyche and patiently awaits for my retrieval.  However, it is good to have paper and pencil in hand to jot down the random ideas that pop into my head, but I don’t feel the pressure to rush to my desktop to write like a mad woman before the well of inspiration runs dry.  Later, when I sit to write I glance at my scribbled scratches and the ideas materialize and become a creative energy that blossoms like a rose.

As a writer, I’ve learned to rely upon this creative energy, and so I don’t panic when Luna jumps into my lap for love.  I may become impatient, and if I do I remind myself that this little creature finds joy in my presence.  My heart warms at the thought, so I hold her in my arms, and talk to her like a doting mother would talk to her baby, and I am filled with joy.

Isn’t it amazing how joy can be found in something so simple?

What a concept!  It’s so simple that most of the time we overlook and even bypass those things that contain great nuggets of joy.

The disciples of Jesus were guilty of this.

One day, some two thousand years ago, Jesus was teaching in the region of Judea beyond the river Jordan.  The Pharisees came and asked him a trick question hoping to trip him up. Jesus was in the throes of this important conversation when a group of parents attempted to bring their children for his blessing.

His well-meaning disciples told them not to bother Jesus with such trivial matters…after all, he had a theology to debate, sick to heal, and souls to save.  But, Jesus looked up from these “important tasks” to witnesses the children being turned away.  I’m sure he noticed their disappointed faces.  Surely, the children felt rejected by Jesus, even though it had been his disciples that turned them away.  No doubt the children faces were streaked with tears from the hurt of his rejection.  Jesus, they thought, was too busy and had no time for mere children.  Seeing what was happening, Jesus became angry at his disciples and he called out (I believe with a loud voice)…

“Let the children come to me.  Don’t stop them!  For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.”

Can you relate to these children?  Do you feel Jesus is too busy for you?  Perhaps you feel his rejection because of “this sin” or “that sin” you may harbor in your life.  Have you felt the judgment of others and mistakenly believed it to be God’s judgment as well?

Once, many years ago, a “well-meaning man of God,” warned me of God’s imminent judgment.  I can still hear his voice saying…

“God is going to kill you.  It may not be today and it may not be tomorrow but mark my words, if you don’t repent of your sin of lesbianism, He will kill you.” 

I remember that night well.  I was standing in my kitchen with the phone to my ear hearing his words…

“God hasn’t told me to stop praying for you, yet…but when he does I’ll know it’s time to get in my car and head south in order to attend your funeral.”

As I listened to his words, I became just like the children who had been turned away by Jesus’s disciples.  Tears streaked my face and the darkness of God’s rejection shook me to the core.  For days and weeks afterward, I was paranoid, carefully watching for some wayward driver careening out of control, and on a collision course for me and my little Toyota Tercel.  In time and through my constant faith in a loving God, my fears eventually subsided and gave way to a peace I didn’t understand.

As a Christian lesbian, I look back upon the unsure days of my “coming out” and realize Jesus’s presence was with me through all the tears and sleepless nights.  Just as he did to the rejected children, Jesus beckoned me to come, and he took me in his arms, placed his hands upon my head, and gave me the blessing of his unconditional love.

There are so many “religious folk” who still worry about my eternal soul, and to them, I’d like to say that my relationship with Jesus is far sweeter…far closer than it ever was when I was living a lie as a straight Christian.  There is no comparison.

Friends, Jesus is not too busy for you.  He longs for you to come to him like a child.  He doesn’t care if your face is dirty or if your knees are skint, he opens his arms to ALL of his children…and that includes you, wherever you find yourself to be.

Relationships with God are meant to be as simple as cuddling with your kitten.  There is no contract to read or sign.

No Ph.D. is required.

Go to him with child-like faith, and He will open his arms and never reject you.

Great Joy is found in the Simplicity of His Love.

***

"You may pet me now."

Restore to me again the joy of your salvation… (David)

However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them.  (Jesus)

***

Daily Addictions:  Gigantic 

 

Advertisements

The Lord is my Shepherd

When, blessings like a river, swarm.

the-lord-is-my-shepherd-lg

“The Lord is my shepherd.”  And thus begins Psalm 23.

King David is the author of Psalm 23; however, as much as we Christians would like to believe, David was not the first to pen the idea of God as shepherd.

History tells us, this metaphor, of comparing god to shepherd, was common place within the Eastern world.  For example:

  • There was a song written about Marduk, patron deity of the city of Babylon, during the early 18th Century BC, describing his care for the weak like a “benevolent shepherd.”  
  • Another song written of Shamash, Mesopotamian sun-god, proclaims, “You shepherd all living creatures, together, you are the herdsman, above and below.”
  • Hammurabi (c.1750 BC) claimed kingship by providing “the people with pastures and watering places, having settled them in peaceful abodes.”
  • A phrase, which closely parallels Psalm 23, was found inscribed upon ancient Samaritan text and it reads,  “A man’s personal god is a shepherd who finds pasturage for him.  Let him lead him like sheep to the grass they can eat.”

Some Christians, learning of this, may feel it weakens David’s writing, but I feel quite the opposite.  I’m sure David, a learned man, was aware of such comparisons; therefore, when he chose to liken his God to that of a shepherd, he, in essence, was elevating his God, Yahweh, above all other gods.

David spent many of his younger years, tending his father’s sheep.  The book of II Samuel, speaks of two incidents where David had to kill a lion and a bear in order to protect the fold.  David understood the lambs were vulnerable, and without his protection, they would most likely die.  Knowing this fact, when he wrote Psalm 23, he visions himself to a lamb, that is dependent upon the shepherd, and for David, this shepherd could only be Yahweh.  David humbled himself, and placed his entire well-being, within the hands of God.

I love how David makes Psalm 23 personal.  He could have written, “The Lord is a shepherd” and that would have been true, but instead he writes “The Lord is ‘my’ Shepherd.”  By that simple two letter word, David sheds light upon his close relationship to God.

I believe when we read Psalm 23, God desires of us, to make it personal.  He wants each of us to slip our identity within this passage, and when we do, this ancient scripture becomes alive.  We like, David, can proclaim a personal relationship with God, and when we are able to do that, God Himself walks with us.

Oh, what peace and joy this brings!

My Daily Prayer:

Lord, you are my Shepherd.  You care about everything in my life, even unto the minutest detail.  Help me today to ponder this thought.

When I’m tired, help me to remember, “The Lord is my Shepherd,” so I will feel rest.  When I’m afraid, help me to remember, “The Lord is my Shepherd,” so I will know your protection.  When I am lonely, help me to remember, “The Lord is my Shepherd,” so I will know your presence.  When I am guilty, help me to remember, “The Lord is my Shepherd,” so I will know your forgiveness.  When I’m down upon myself, help me to remember, “The Lord is my Shepherd,” so I will know I’m enough.  When I feel unloved, help me to remember, “The Lord is my Shepherd,” so I will know your love.  And in that time, when I face death, help me to remember, “The Lord is my Shepherd,” and I will know comfort and peace.

Lord, thank you for this day, you have made for me.  Help me to live it, with my hand in yours.  Help me, to be a blessing, to those you bring to my path.

In the name of Jesus, my savior, I make these requests.  Amen

***

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”  — Jesus

When blessings, like a river, swarm

.

(Information about comparisons of gods to shepherd was taken from the NIV Study Bible)

 

 

 

 

 

Go Out with Joy

“For you shall go out with joy,
And be led out with peace;
The mountains and the hills
Shall break forth into singing before you,
And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”

mountains sing tree clap 2
Shenandoah Valley

Go “out” with joy and be led “out” with peace

 Sometimes you just need to go out to flourish.

 

Sin…We All Do It

Psalms 6:1-2     Does-freedom-mean-I-can-do-what-I-want.-What-about-sexual-sin.-300x200

Please, Lord,
    don’t punish me when you are angry;
    don’t discipline me when you are furious.
Have mercy on me, Lord,
    because I’m frail.
Heal me, Lord,
    because my bones are shaking in terror! 

I sin everyday.  I try not to sin and try to do good; but none-the-less, sin, in my life, is inevitable.  Just last week I robbed a bank…

Kidding…

                         just kidding…

 Actually,  I try to keep the “big sins” at bay.  Of course, sin is sin, and no one sin is “bigger” than the other in God’s eye.  However, man doesn’t feel quite the same, and that’s why I don’t rob banks!  Also,  I’m sure the orange jump-suit would clash with my hair!  (smile)

There’s scripture in the Bible that speaks of “besetting sins.”  Hebrews 12:1 says, “let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…”  Dictionary.com defines besetting as: constantly assailing or obsessing, as with temptation.  So, a besetting sin is that sin that so easily trips us up in our Christian walk.  I think mine could be Facebook.  (kind of serious this time)  

We all have a besetting sin and some of us have two or three or even more.  I wont give you my list, just the one that trips me up the most…the one I’m the most ashamed of…(might as well keep it real) and that is laziness.

Ouch…that hurt.  

Okay, so…it’s not like I live in a pig-sty.  I do clean my house, cut my grass and cook.  I try to run/walk at least three times a week.  The problem I have is that I put them off as long as possible. (That’s why I mentioned Facebook earlier)  Some may call it procrastination, but I think the two; procrastination and laziness, often go hand in hand.

David was a sinner just like us.  In today’s scripture we find David distraught over his sin, and praying to God. David knows he has done wrong and is aware of God’s chastening hand. And so like any kid before a spanking, he’s reasoning with his parent.  In today’s terminology David’s prayer would go something like this, and I paraphrase, “Daddy, I know I’m gonna get it, but please don’t do it when you’re mad. I’m only a kid and I’m so scared.  Please take it easy on me, I promise to do better.”

I didn’t get many “whippings” growing up, but I remember the time when I got two in one day.  I always tried to be a good girl and was most of the time; however, I was born with a healthy dose of mischievousness, and curiosity often got the better of me.

We lived down a quiet, dead-end dirt road out in the country.  One day,  my Mom went on an errand, but before she left, she walked me across the dirt road, that separated our house and grandma’s house, and left me there to stay while she “went to town.”    After a while, a five year old mischievous girl gets bored, and of course they start looking for something fun to do. Well, I was curious as to what lay beyond the forest that bordered my grandma’s backyard. And so, Todd, my cousin…and partner in crime, and I set off on an exploration.  We walked deep into the woods and didn’t stop until we came to a creek bed filled with deep flowing water.

Straight-away we hopped upon rotted logs and begin to navigate our “boats” upon the water.  Of course it was better if you laid on your tummy, that way you could paddle with both your hands and feet.  That’s exactly what I did.  After a while, we realized it had gotten late, and so we headed back, dripping wet, toward grandmas.  As we neared the house we heard something that sounded like a voice echoing in the breeze.  The closer we got to grandma’s the louder the voice got.  When I realized it was my grandmother calling out to us, my tummy dropped, because I knew we were in trouble.  I may have only been five years old, but I was old enough to recognize the fear in my grandmother’s voice.  It wasn’t too long afterward, I found myself bent over her knee, getting my wet fanny spanked.  Of course grandma told my mom, and so when she and I walked hand-in-hand across the dirt road, my mom stopped at the nearest Lilac bush, broke off a small “switch” and switched my little legs.

I still laugh when I think about it.  Looking back, and thinking about the danger we had put ourselves in, I would have done the same thing to one of my children.  You know, I truly don’t remember  any  pain from the spankings; however, the shame is still fresh in my mind.  I felt guilty that I had done something that had frightened my mom and grandmother so much.  After that “double-whammy day” I never got another spanking.

None of us like to be disciplined, but sometimes there’s just no getting around it.  If done in the right way, it’s actually good for us.  When I give in to one of those besetting sins, I’m convicted and when I’m convicted I feel guilt.  It weighs heavy on my heart and the longer I carry it the heavier it feels. I ponder, long and hard, over what I did wrong, I beat myself up and call myself stupid and dumb.  My self-worth takes a nose dive, and I feel awful.

As Christians we don’t have to carry that burden.  Our Father, in his love for us, provided a way to relieve us from all our guilt and shame.  He woos us to come and to give it to Him.   He doesn’t want us to walk around with that stuff.  He wants us to have peace and joy.  He knew, before we were born, we would sin and sin a lot; and yet, He still chose us to be his children.

David in verse two cries out out to his Father, “Have mercy on me Lord for I am frail…” God knows we are but humans made from dust.  He knows everyone of our weaknesses and loves us any way.  I John 1:9 assures us, “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness.” All we have to do is ask for forgiveness.  In fact once we ask for forgiveness He no longer remembers our sin.  Psalms 103:12 tells us, “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”

If God no longer remembers our confessed sins, then don’t you think we should stop punishing ourselves as well?  Give the guilt and shame to him and accept his free gift of Mercy today.

My Prayer:  Lord, I sin everyday.  Sometimes I’m selfish.  Sometimes I’m lazy.  Sometimes I eat more than I should.  Sometimes I gossip.  Sometimes I say and think things I shouldn’t, and sometimes I lash out in anger.  Father, I’m truly sorry and ask for your forgiveness.  Thank you for your Mercy.  Help me to stop punishing myself.  Remind me, often, of the forgiveness and freedom I have in Christ.  I love you, Lord.  Amen.

bible-quotes-on-love-and-forgiveness