How Homosexuality Attempts to Defy Creation

Tulsa SDA

I am writing today from beautiful Tulsa Oklahoma.

So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27 NLT

Many, even Christians do not fully grasp the importance of understanding Satan’s goal in promoting same sex marriages. Marriage, like the Sabbath goes back to creation. While we have the sun to mark a year, the moon to track a month, the earth’s rotation to mark a day, the one and only source of our 7 day week is the creation story, ending with the Sabbath. You simply cannot explain where we got a 7 day week, or where the idea of the Sabbath came from (regardless if you want to keep it or not) without going to the Biblical account of creation. Satan’s goal of making man forget the Sabbath goes a lot farther than just forgetting there is a law. Satan’s goal is for us to forget that there is a God who loves us!

The same with marriage. First of all if you want to believe in evolution, you have to believe that something was here in the first place to evolve. Where did that “something” come from? I heard an atheist, on national TV telling everyone there was no reason to believe in God after we discovered the atom. Really? May I ask who created the atom? If we all just came from a big bang, what exactly went bang, and where did it come from? The creation story tells us. God spoke and bang there it was! So, don’t you believe it is pretty spectacular that we have human life? Some take this as a coincidence from some sort of big bang. Well what is remarkable is not only was there a big bang, but after the big bang we have life. Wait a minute, not only do we have have life, we have humans who just happen to have counterpart reproductive organs where they can create even more life! What a coincidence! Not! Yet that is what those who are promoting gay marriage are claiming, that there we no design or reason for us to be created male and female. It was all a big fluke and you can choose whatever gender you want and marry whatever gender you choose to marry. Homosexual marriage, (well lets stop right here. There is no such thing as homosexual marriage. It simply does not exist. Man cannot make laws creating gay marriage anymore than man can make laws changing the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday.) attempts to defy more than just God’s law. It tries to defy more than just the Bible. Homosexual marriage defies that we have a creator who created us male and female. Homosexual marriage attempts to defy that we have a loving Creator.

The fact that we have so called homosexual churches should not surprise us. If there are churches openly defying the 4th commandment, why be surprised there are churches defying any other Bible teaching? Again marriage and the Sabbath all go back to creation. Marriage and the Sabbath tells us there is a God. This is a truth many people find too inconvenient. As the Bible Sabbath is being attacked, we should not be surprised that Bible marriage is as well. After all it is God Himself Who is being attacked.

I once heard someone say, that they did not think it was fair for God to let someone be born homosexual. Now many argue over whether nor not someone is actually born homosexual. It doesn’t matter. We are all born sinners. We are all born selfish. We are all born with the lust of the flesh, which is why Jesus tells everyone, hetero-sexual and homo-sexual, we all must be born AGAIN! Someone saying they were born homosexual is no more an excuse to stay homosexual, than being born selfish is an excuse to stay selfish. We all must be born again.

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT

Jesus wants to restore all things. He does not want to destroy the sexually immoral. He wants to save them.

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:17 NKJV

There is an old song by Bill Gaither that goes like this,

Something beautiful, something good All my confusion He understood All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife But he made something beautiful of my life.

This world is filled with people who are not only confused about which day is the 7th day, but also confused about their sexuality. Jesus understands! Give your broken sexuality to Him. He can restore your broken and torn spirit. Give Jesus your confused and tarnished sexuality, and let Him make you sexually whole again. God created sex at creation. Let Him recreate and restore your sex as you give your life to Him right now.

You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson on restoration here. 

Texting or Calling When A Loved One Dies

Arkansas River

I am writing today from beautiful Tulsa, Oklahoma.

A few years ago, when a friend of mine lost her mother, she would text me. I tried to call, to be more personable, but it seemed right after the loss, all she wanted to do was text. After my recent loss I get it now.

  1. Immediately after the death of a loved one, there are many arrangements to be made. You are very busy and physically and emotionally drained. It is easier to text someone while in a conference with the funeral home director than it is to take a phone call.
  2. It is easier to text and cry at the same time than it is to talk and cry at the same time. I am not embarrassed to cry over the phone. That is not the point. It is just that crying and talking at the same time is not as effective as texting and crying at the same time.
  3. Right after the death of a loved one, you have a lot to process emotionally. You want to be in contact with those you love and you need their support. Texting on your time table allows you to be more in control of the process instead of answering the phone whenever it rings.

So, if I did not answer the phone when you called immediately after my mother died please do not take offense, and please do not think that your thoughtfulness was not appreciated-it was! I would have never known it was better to text than call right after a friend loses a close loved one until it happened to me. I get it now. Chances are though that some people may actually prefer a call instead of a text. If so please comment and share your feelings below.

When Prayer Doesn’t Move Mountains

Tulsa By River
I am writing today from beautiful Tulsa Oklahoma.

“For most of us the prayer in Gethsemane is the only model. Removing mountains can wait.” -C.S. Lewis

I was told a couple Fridays ago that my mother, my biggest champion and one of the biggest prayer warriors in my ministry had less than 30 days to live. She had been in poor health for a long while. Actually, in 2004 she was given 2-3 years to live, and here it was 12 years later. My mother, who lived 1,200 miles away was fading in and out of consciousness, mostly out. I had to get out there to see her! Last Sabbath (I am writing this Sabbath June 18, 2016) I was crying and pleading with God to give me at least one more time to tell her that I loved her. Of course I know we will always want one more time. A million emotions and memories were flooding through my soul, as I cried out to God, “One more time God! One more time!” 

That afternoon, after fellowship lunch at church, I took off by myself to one of my mother’s favorite beaches, where she visited me in Florida. While there, my sister called, and told me mother was awake if I wanted to call her. I called her hospital room, and we talked for a few minutes as I stood on mother’s favorite beach, watching the waves she loved so much. I told her I loved her a hundred times. She told me she loved me. I promised I was coming out as soon as I could. She said “I hope so.” The conversation seemed timeless if you know what I mean. It didn’t seem like our last conversation. It seemed like one we would have had during any period of life.

I thank God for that answered prayer, because mom then faded back into unconsciousness, never to return. I flew out to see her, and said goodbye and that I loved her, but she could not respond. I arrived at the hospital Tuesday morning at 2Am. By 6:30AM she was gone. The 30 days were more like just 4.

The Sunday after the Sabbath I talked to mom, right before flying out, I had a real Gethsemane with God. I was crying. No I was wailing! I am sure my neighbors heard. I pleaded with God to save my mother! I did not want to lose her! I told God I believed He could heal her. He can move mountains! But in my Gethsemane, no mountains were moved.

I looked to Jesus in His Gethsemane. No mountains were moved there either. Jesus simply surrendered to His Father’s will. I thought about His mother, later standing at the cross, having to submit her will too. Now remember, Jesus and God the Father were in on the plan of Him being crucified from the very start, but I don’t know that poor Mary was ever given a choice. She was a willing, submissive participant the entire time. I tried to imagine what was going on in her heart and soul during her mother/son separation. Then I realized, as ugly and painful as it was, little did Mary realize at the cross, just how close the resurrection was. Just right around the corner actually!

Life goes by so fast. Things like graduations, weddings, retirement parties, and yes the death of a loved one all come way too soon it seems. We expect these things, we just don’t expect them to come so fast, even though we have been told a thousand times how short life is and how quickly it all goes by.

Even though my mother lived over 80 years, I still can’t believe her life is already over. Yes, we have been promised the second coming of Jesus and the resurrection for years, maybe to the point where we get lulled to sleep by it. But I believe just like every other major event in life, that sneaks up on us, once the second coming and resurrection actually happen, we all, saved and unsaved, will be thinking, “Already?! Wow that was quick!” And of course, after all, didn’t Jesus say,

Surely I am coming quickly. Revelation 22:20

When Jesus comes, mountains will be moved out of their places. For now, I pray the prayer of Gethsemane, “Not my will, Your will be done.” I realize when Mary said goodbye to Jesus she did not realize how close she already was to seeing His resurrection. I am not a date and time setter. I realize I will have to miss my mother more than the three days Mary missed Jesus, but I do know this with all my heart; no matter the pain, no matter the sorrow, no matter the wait, when Jesus comes, we will all sigh with a great joyful, “Wow! Already?!” 

You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here.

Good Night “John Boy”-A Tribute to Earl Hamner

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I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I found out last night that the man who inspired me to write, and was a great influence on my early years, passed away last March. Earl Hamner, created the Waltons TV series based on his adolescent years in  the Virginia mountains.

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In the Series “The Waltons.” Richard Thomas, pictured here, played the role of John Boy, based on the life of Earl Hamner. This picture is very familiar to me, as I remember watching John Boy writing his journal every night, and then Earl Hamner moderating the end of each episode, as he would wrap up the story about his family for that night, giving the impression he got a lot of his recollections from his journals.

This inspired me to keep my own journal as well. I wrote every night from when I was 13 till about when I was 16. After four years I quit, as I realized my life was just not as exciting as Earl Hamner’s. Was that ever a mistake! Now I look back at my journals and learn so much about myself. I see things in my writings that I could not see while things were actually taking place. For example I wrote on a particular Wednesday, “I told “Jennifer” she was a little stuck up at school today.” Then I wrote the following Saturday. “I preached my first sermon tonight at vespers. “Jennifer” was not there. I wonder why?” Duh! I can see why now. Just look back at Wednesday! I could not see at the time how my attitude and behavior was affecting the way people treated me, but now it is very clear when I read the things that I wrote. That is just one little example of how valuable my journal has been to me in helping me discover myself.

I had a journal and also wrote poetry. I was so love sick when I wrote those poems about a particular girl. I gave her the poems but kept copies, and now I look back and just laugh at myself for being so hopelessly romantic and pathetic! But I don’t throw them away because they are good for laughs.

I kept writing through the years even though I stopped keeping my journal. When I first moved from Oklahoma to Texas I did not know a lot of people at first. I would go to restaurants by myself, and bring a pad of paper and pen and write letters back home while I enjoyed my meal. Soon enough I made lots of friends and of course went out to eat with them, and the letter writing stopped. About ten years later, I found myself stopped at a red light, looking over at a restaurant where I used to write my letters. I thought to myself, “I miss going to restaurants by myself and writing letters back home.”  So a couple of days later, I went back to that restaurant, just myself and my tablet and enjoyed a nostalgic evening of letter writing. I have even done that a handful of times since moving to Florida. Now I have my blog and my Facebook account to record things, but I think there is something therapeutic about actually writing your thoughts and feelings out instead of just typing or texting. I have a journal again now, which I do write in on occasions and but nearly as often enough.

I was surprised when I learned a couple of years ago that Earl Hamner wrote a few of the Twilight Zone programs. Once again it inspired me to write a couple of my own Willight Zone short stories. 

Earl Hamner had a passion for writing and I caught his passion. I love preaching but as the Internet has evolved and I started my own blog, and am currently writing and moderating for the Sabbath School Network , I believe I love writing more than I love public speaking, or at least just as much.

The Waltons was a simple show, but it brought simple people to life and showed us how important simple everyday people are to our lives. On the Waltons grandparents, parents and siblings were always the heroes. And that’s the way its supposed to be. Every episode ended with the entire family telling each other goodnight. Once again we saw how important family is and the everyday people in our lives. So one last time, “Goodnight John Boy. See you resurrection morning.”

 

 

 

Joyce and Madeline’s Baptism Pictures

Study With Madaleine and Joyce

A few months ago Joyce told me her daughter Madeline wanted to be baptized, and that touched her heart, and made her want to be baptized also. We started studying together, and Joyce and Madeline’s lives began to change right away, as they put into practice what we were studying. Joyce asked me to share on example in particular. After studying about returning our tithe and offerings, Joyce decided to start tithing. Like a lot of us, Joyce was nervous, thinking she needed every dime she has to make ends meet. She decided to put her faith in Jesus, knowing He cared about her, and return her tithe. That same week she received a refund check she was not expecting, which was for the same exact amount that she had just tithed. She knew she could give all of herself to the One who gave all of Himself for her.

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Madeline writes, “These the bible studies have helped me understand God’s word and his word is truth. I am understanding more and more about God’s love for me”

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Joyce, who told me as we prepared for baptism that she wants to learn how to share Jesus in door to door ministry writes, “I am not perfect. I thought that God couldn’t love someone like me. I was so wrong. Through my bible studies, I learned how God loves me and is there for me. Each time I read the bible, it opens my eyes and heart to a loving and forgiving God.”

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Joyce and Madeline were baptized tonight during our Unlocking the Mysteries of Bible Prophecy Seminar  at the Plant City Seventh-day Adventist Church. After the baptism we gave them their Baptism certificates and a plant as a gift. We encouraged them to continue nurturing their relationship and growth with Jesus, as they continue nurturing their new plants. Our friends from Tampa, Mike, Karmin, Kaleb and Eric came tonight to help us celebrate.

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Joyce and Madeline’s family was also present to show their support as well. Joyce and Madeline are also very happy to choose the Plant City SDA Church as their family as well.

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Please don’t let the sun set on your life without giving your life to Jesus, Who gave His life for you. If you are interested in being baptized I would love to help you. You can contact me at Laypastor@TampaAdventist.net.

Was Peter Demon Possessed?

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.
I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead. But Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things. “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!” Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.” Matthew 16:21-23 NLT

Years ago, I was eating at a restaurant with a lady friend. The waitress politely showed the dessert tray to us, when my friend, trying to watch her own figure, put up her hand and said, “Get thee behind me Satan!” The waitress turned red in the face and walked away rather miffed. I did not blame her! I explained to my lady friend that the waitress thought she was calling her Satan. That was very rude, especially when she was only doing her job and being polite. My friend felt terrible and apologized to the waitress even though the waitress really did not want anything to do with her at this point. Regardless if the temptation to eat sweets was actually from Satan or not, the waitress was not Satan!

Jesus realized Peter was not Satan. Jesus was not calling Peter Satan. Jesus was just looking at Peter while He was talking to Satan. Maybe Jesus just wanted Peter to know where that idea that He should not have to die was coming from.

So why was Satan using Peter to sway Jesus from dying? By the way just because Satan temporarily used Peter, did not mean Peter was “demon possessed.” Let’s relax a little and give our Christian brothers and sisters some slack when they make bad decisions in the church. Even if a pastor or church leader does make an actual error, it does not mean they are demonic and part of an underworld conspiracy to destroy the church. It just means they are human like you and me. Even when Aaron made the golden calf, as stupid as that may have been, and we all agree 4,000 years later it was pretty stupid, neither God or Moses accused him of being demon possessed or intentionally trying to destroy God’s movement. Moses berated Aaron’s actions without ever berating his motives.

But I digress. So why was Satan using Peter to sway Jesus from dying? Because Satan knew that if Jesus died His power would be destroyed.

But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil. 1John 3:8 NLT

Jesus destroyed Satan’s works of deception when Jesus showed God’s true character on the cross. If Jesus had an ego or love for self then Satan would have had power over Him, but Jesus had no ego and no love for self or self preservation, therefore Satan had no power over Him! In order for my phone charger to influence my phone with its electricity, my phone must have an outlet that will connect with my charger. In order for Satan to influence us, we too must have a little outlet where he can connect with us. Our ego and love of self is that outlet that lets Satan connect with us! As long as we are alive to self ego and self interest Satan will have a connection with us. The way to break  that connection is to die to self!

For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.Romans 6:7 NLT

Satan wants us to keep ourselves and our selfish ambitions alive, because by doing so he will always have a powerful influence over everything we do-even in the church! But if we die to self we are free from Satan’s power. Truly this is why Jesus said,

“If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?Matthew 16:24-26 NLT

You may study this week’s SS lesson here. 

Is the Church Infallible?

Tampa Hillsborough Bay
I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.” Matthew 16:19 NLT

Many believe that in Matthew 16, Jesus was setting Peter up as the first pope and giving the church unconditional authority. This comes from reading more into Jesus’ Words than what He intended. Instead of giving the church authority over the consciences of individuals, in making its own laws Jesus was declaring just the opposite. In Matthew 16:9Jesus is not giving the church license. To the contrary He is giving it limits in what it can and should teach. The keys of the kingdom that Jesus gave the church were not keys to authority. The keys of the kingdom are the knowledge of Jesus’ teachings.

What sorrow awaits you experts in religious law! For you remove the key to knowledge from the people. You don’t enter the Kingdom yourselves, and you prevent others from entering.” Luke 11:52 NLT 

Jesus made it clear that no man is authorized to make ecclesiastical laws that man must submit to, much less that heaven must recognize!

Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God. For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.” Then he said, “You skillfully sidestep God’s law in order to hold on to your own tradition. Mark 7:7-9 NLT

Contrary to the idea that Jesus told the church that it could make laws that would be recognized in heaven, Jesus told the church to teach completely those things from heaven alone.

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 NLT

While I was living in Texas, a police officer in a small town was fired, because he was pulling over young girls who were obeying the laws just so he could flirt with them. The town had given him authority to enforce the laws of the city but not to flirt with young girls! Likewise in the passage just cited, Jesus gives the church authority to teach everything He has commanded but nothing more and nothing less!  Just like a police officer cannot make up his own laws and pull people over who are obeying the laws of the land, so a church leader cannot make up his own laws and meddle in the personal affairs of others.

A police officer and even lawmakers are sworn in or inaugurated by an oath to protect the laws and constitutions of the land. In Matthew 16:19 Jesus is swearing in the disciples, simply telling them that they are to bind (lock in or require) what is bound in heaven and are to lose (or allow) only what is allowed in heaven. Matthew 16:19 is a command to His disciples and not a license to make their own laws. Jesus told His disciples, what you forbid should be that which is forbidden in heaven and what you allow should be that which is allowed in heaven. As a young boy, when I would get out of line, my teacher would tell me, “you will march right over to the the principal’s office.” That was a command, not a license! So when Jesus tells the church that what they bind is what will be bound in heaven he was Commanding them to only bind what is bound in heaven.

The doctrine that God has committed to the church the right to control the conscience, and to define and punish heresy, is one of the most deeply rooted of papal errors. –Ellen White, The Great Controversy, Page 293.

I am loyal to my parents without claiming they are infallible. I follow my parents as they follow Jesus. No more no less. I am also loyal to my church without claiming it is infallible. I follow my church as it follows Jesus. No more no less.

You may study this week’s SS lesson here.