I recently read a blog that contained an excerpt of The Heidelberg Confession. I had to pause for reflection as I read:
“Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?
A. That I am not my own, but belong – body and soul, in life and in death – to my faithful Saviour, Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.”
What is my only comfort in life and in death? I can with all assurance say that I believe the answer above is my confession. But my life experience will show that I have not experienced the truth of those words. Not here, not now. I believe there is a future day when I will be with Christ and my fullness in Him will be realized. But can I experience that fullness now? Can you experience that fullness now? Perhaps. But our potential is blocked by the madness of sin in our lives. The sins that have been committed against us and the sins we have committed against ourselves and others. And these sins, at times, confuse the signals in our brains and cause us to feel empty when we really aren’t. I over-eat to compensate for my emptiness. While I have never been morbidly obese, the eating behavior is still present. It is hard-wired in my brain and tells me that eating is a pleasurable activity and I can feel full any time I want. Of course this is not true and many other people would attest to that, because we have to keep eating more and more. So, what is happening here is at the root of desire.
Every living thing on the planet has been given the gift of desire. Desires drive us toward fulfillment. We desire to be full or to be filled. We are motivated to seek fulfillment over and over. Why? Because we also experience emptiness. When we are empty we look for something to fill us again. We don’t like the feeling of emptiness, so we seek to be filled. This is good desire.
While our desires are common,( need for food, water, intimacy, etc) the expression of those desires (what we desire, where we desire, and with whom we desire) are as varied as each individual. Our past experiences, our culture and our families, in many ways, shape the expression of our desires. While the desires themselves have been declared by God to be “good,” sin and suffering has affected every part of our being as humans and that includes our desires.
The paradox is this: We attain to be filled here and now, and while we can have some fulfillment we can’t have it all. Everytime we engage in eating or sexual relations, sports, recreational activities, building our families, worshiping God (collectively or individually), we have to keep coming back to be filled and filled again. Because we get empty. We don’t like empty. And this is especially true of people who have been abused or are experiencing abuse of some kind.That is because their brain has lost the ability to recognize their own feeling of empty and full. So,some turn to sexual promiscuity, or they develop eating disorders, or eat more than their body can metabolize. They turn to drugs or alcohol to escape the unavoidable emptiness that is so much a part of their life.There is a heightened desire, almost a feeling of desperation to be filled all the time, but they cannot attain it.
Here is the solution: Since we can’t avoid emptiness on this side of heaven, we can choose to be grateful for the feeling of emptiness because it ultimately brings us to the only one who can fill us completely. He fills us with His Spirit for this life He has called us to. Everytime we feel empty we are reminded that we are totally dependent on God for our food, for our health and for our joy in living. Yes,on earth, we need to be filled over and over again. Because we belong to God and He has given every provision for us to come to Him for filling, we can know that in Heaven we will be filled with Himself and we will have no need for any other fulfillment. He is the Bread of Life, the Living Water and the Door by which we will enter into an eternity of riches that have been promised to anyone who is acquainted with physical and emotional hunger in this life. There will be no more cravings or hunger of any kind.
I want to leave my emptiness behind me. I want to be filled by the Spirit of the living God. I can give myself wholly to the Christ who emptied Himself so that I could receive His fullness. The Heidelberg confession lets us realize this dependence on the finished work of Christ, for our fulfillment now, and at the time of our death when we are finally emptied of this body that we carry on earth. Come with me on this journey, together we will discover the endless provisions of an Almighty God!
I am back from taking a break from blogging. Some of you expressed concern over my absence. Trust me, it was noticed and appreciated. I have gone through some times of depression as well as times of stability. I needed to step back from blogging to make sure it wasn’t becoming a “high” for me that I would become addicted to.
Indecision is a good description of my primary feeling as the year 2013 wraps up and the year 2014 looms ahead. There is always uncertainty regarding the future because I do not have a mind that can look into it. While the experiences of this past year have shaped me somewhat for the coming year, there is also much of the past year I would as soon leave behind. There have been times this past year where I have felt the One Who holds my hand. I have wrestled with Him over the uncertainties of this life, and He has held tight when I have wanted to let go. His love is relentless and He wants me more than I want Him.
My hope for 2014 is that whether my mind is clouded by confusion or whether there are times of clarity, I just want to remain aware of the One Who holds my hand.
Am I coming or am I going?
Either/or is what it seems.
Am I being or am I doing?
One or the other, or in between.
Do I say it, or display it,
when I’m trying to make a point?
Can I take it, or shall I leave it,
when I’m pushed upon and out of joint?
Do I address with aggression,
or suppress my repression?
The expression of assertion seems so foreign to me.
How do I say it right? Isn’t this just all about fright?
How do I relate without fearing?
Stand tall without tearing?
Face others without jeering
like others who seem to know…
When they are coming and when they are going.
What they are doing and who they are being.
They know when to say it and how to display it.
They can take it or they can leave it when pushed out of joint.
They don’t address with aggression, nor suppress their regression.
They assert what they hurt, and give flight to their fright.
They relate without fearing and stand tall without tearing.
They face others without jeering, because they know…
Who holds their hand.
Earlier today, I checked out a lot of blogs whose main topic was bisexuality. I was looking to see if I could find anyone out there who is bisexual, like me, but whose identity in life is so much more than that. I didn’t find a single one. I feel like Charlie Brown when he shouted from the stage during the Christmas pageant, “IS THERE ANYONE OUT THERE WHO CAN TELL ME THE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS?”
Let’s keep this simple. Our lives do not consist of mere labels. Or if it does, being bisexual is not the umbrella over which all other labels are covered. First we are infants, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, friends, etc. At some point we begin to realize our sexual orientation, whether or not we have chosen it for ourselves. Somewhere along the way, we simply realized that we felt attracted to either the opposite sex, same sex, or both sexes. I am just beginning to learn about all the other gendered possibilities. What I’m saying is that there is so much emphasis on one’s sexuality that it seems it is the only thing that matters. We do eventually go on to find stable, and I hope, monogamous relationships. Children may be born from these and the cycle begins again. Then we become grandparents, great grandparents until we run the course of our lives and return to the earth.
We are all gendered beings and we are all sexual. Our sexuality can be a rich and rewarding part of who we are and how we express ourselves in our relationships. Personally, I believe that the expression of sex in a monogamous relationship can be a very good and spiritual experience. If sexual expression is offered for the pleasure and well-being of the other person in the relationship, and in a non-selfish manner, it can serve to solidify the relationship and bring true joy and contentment.
Enter, my belief in God, Creator of all that is. I am not asking that you embrace my personal belief, but please note my struggle. I refuse to believe that there isn’t another person out there in the world of blogging who doesn’t have this same conflict. When God first created the world, IT WAS PERFECT. He created two genders–male and female. PERFECT. He gave them the command to reproduce. PERFECT. Then evil entered the picture. God did not create evil. He created angels and the highest of His angels decided he wanted God’s place. God cast Him out of heaven altogether. Some of you don’t even believe in Satan, though you have no trouble believing in evil. Where do you think it came from? To make this short, Satan was able to manipulate both the man and the woman to sin. They agreed with him that much more could be gained if they began thinking of themselves as gods, rather than God Himself. As they say, the rest is history. We are all products of a fallen earth, a fallen nature and the result of all of this is total chaos and confusion which crosses over into every aspect of our lives–yes, even into our sexuality.
It wasn’t until I ended my marriage of 26 years, to a man, that I began learning the reasons for my sexual confusion and my attraction to females. I consulted the internet for books on same-sex attraction with a Christian bias and was delighted to find Janelle Hallman’s book, titled The Heart of Female Same-Sex Attraction. I devoured that book like I had been deprived of all food and water for all of my life. I may have mentioned this in another post, but I mention it again for those who may have missed it before. Reading this book and then following up with a therapist was the best thing that I could have done. Make no mistake. I still struggle as there have been some very engrained patterns of self-protection. However, my therapist is helping me work on these one week at a time.
So, with regard to the same-sex attraction. Did I ask for this? No. Do I blame God? No. Do I have a choice? Yes. I choose to believe that I am still made in God’s image and though I am broken and bear labels I do not want, I can purpose to know God intimately and seek His highest good for my life in spite of my limitations. I can help others who have this same problem, by offering hope and a future that though life will be difficult to live here on earth, it will be so much more rewarding when Christ returns for His own, or when He calls me home–whichever happens first.
We are not told how many days, weeks, months or years we have on this earth. Maybe 70+ at the most. What is that compared to all eternity? Do you want to spend it as an activist for a label that will turn to dust in your coffin or will you live to the fullest and seek what is healthy for all of your person–your mind, your body, your spirit and soul?
I encourage you to visit Janelle Hallman’s website and her organization: Desert Hope Ministries. They can be found at: www.janellehallman.com. If you live in the Seattle area and desire a therapist who has been trained in Janelle’s program for helping women who experience unwanted same-sex attraction, I would love to share mine with you. You can contact Lisa on her website: www.wilkinsoncounseling.com.
This has not been a good day. I am happy that it is almost over. I have a new obsession and I don’t like it. I need to find out all I can about bisexuality because apparently it is time for me to admit to this life-long orientation of mine. I spent the better part of my day browsing google, my local library website, and of course, amazon .com, for any and all information on what it means to be in the minority of the minority group known as LGBT. I wasted a perfectly good day off of work engaged in research, until it suddenly dawned on me that trying to understand bisexuality for me is really pretty pointless. Number one, there is very little likelihood that I will ever “come out.” I am not open to engaging in the LGBT community or activism just to have new friendships because my past is tainted and my future uncertain. I am the same person I was before I accepted the label and I will continue to be the same person. Another problem with “coming out” is that it assumes I would welcome intimacy outside of marriage. I do not want that. I barely had intimacy inside my marriage (to a man). So, my choice is to stay celibate, even though I am aware that I am choosing solitude. For some, this choice just about takes all the joy out of life, but I really don’t see what I can do and still remain true to my spiritual convictions. I can’t seem to do that when I am in relationship with other people. My marriage left me feeling lacking in just about every way–spiritually, emotionally, socially and physically. I was a big, fat, nothing for 26 years. It is very difficult to see myself any other way than that, and I don’t ever want to be in that kind of relationship again.
This morning, I had my therapy session. I am seriously thinking about stopping. I know my therapist has a lot of faith in Lifespan Integration and the neuroplasticity of the brain to alleviate my depression. I came away from that session feeling worse than I did going in. I felt disconnected and unreal. I was supposed to be connecting with my 5-year old self, which I was able to do for periods of time but she was a very pale, ghost-like image in my brain. She would disappear at times, when I was trying to concentrate on the timeline. Like, “poof” and she was gone. When my therapist told me to open my eyes at the end of the session, I felt disoriented. I felt as though I had gone somewhere and had sort of returned. But I still felt like I was having an out-of-body experience. When I left, I was thinking to myself, “I’m done here. I’m not coming back to anymore sessions. I feel like shit.” Then, I had a moment of panic that I would never see my therapist again (this is my bisexual side speaking to me), and I would be stuck in this damned outer-space world where I will feel disjointed forever.
So, that is the reason for my terrible day. I’m a depressed, bipolar, bisexual, obese, insomniac. Wow. There seems to be a great divide between that and, in Christ, free, loved, and redeemed. Maybe I’m not a Christian after all. Maybe I’ve been fooling myself all this time. Or maybe, that stupid-ass enemy called Satan, is chomping on my own ass to keep me from having a relationship with my Heavenly Father. What do I know of relationship with a father? My own died when I was two. What do I really know about any kind of relationship? They have all been broken and I feel so alone. (Satan talking)
Sometimes I feel like books are my only friends. My books and my music. I have spent my life hidden behind pages and musical notes to keep me from feeling the intensity of my painful relationships. But now I am being made to feel it. I can’t continue to go back in time because there are too many bad memories. Except for the birth of my sons. Those were happy memories and they are the only true happiness in my life.
I can’t end this pity-party on an unhappy note. I think I’ll go sit on my front porch and sip a Summer Shandy before calling it a day. I never count on sleeping well, so when it does happen, I feel better in the morning. I am a caregiver for newborns and their mothers, so that is the bright spot in my work-day. Yes, maybe tomorrow will be okay. I would be happy with okay.
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POETRY, RANDOM THOUGHTS AND STUFF LIKE THAT....
Faith in Jesus Christ is our response to God's elective purpose in our life. These two truths--God's initiative and man's response--co-exist throughout the Bible. The gospel is "the message of truth" because truth is its predominant characteristic. Salvation was conceived by the God of truth (Ps. 31:5); purchased by the Son, who is the truth (John 14:6); and is applied by the Spirit of truth (John 16:13). To know it is to know the truth that sets men free (John 8:32). Believers are people of the truth (John 18:37), who worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24), and who obey the Word of truth (John 17:17). People have rejected, neglected, redefined, and opposed God’s truth for centuries. Some cynically deny that truth even exists or that it can be known by men (John 18:38). Others foolishly think that denying truth will somehow make it go away. Truth determines the validity of one's belief. Believing a lie doesn't make it true. Conversely, failing to believe the truth doesn't make it a lie. The gospel is true because Jesus is true, not simply because Christians believe in Him. His resurrection proved the truth of His claims and constitutes the objective basis of our faith (Rom. 1:4; 1 Pet. 1:3). Truth is our protection and strength (Eph. 6:14). Throughout history, people have tried everything imaginable to gain favor with God. Most turn to religion, but religion apart from Christ is merely a satanic counterfeit of the truth. At the heart of every false religion is the notion that man can come to God by any means he chooses--by meditating, doing good deeds, and so on. But Scripture says, "There is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). That name is Jesus Christ, and we come to Him by confessing and repenting of our sin, trusting in His atoning death on the cross, and affirming His bodily resurrection from the grave (cf. Rom. 10:9-10). There is no other way to God. False religious leaders and teachers talk much about God’s love, but not His wrath and holiness; much about how deprived of good things people are, but not about their depravity; much about God’s universal fatherhood toward everyone, but not much about his unique fatherhood toward all who believe in His Son; much about what God wants to give to us, but nothing about the necessity of obedience to Him; much about health and happiness, but nothing about holiness and sacrifice. Their message is full of gaps, the greatest of which leaves out a biblical worldview of the saving gospel and replaces it with the worldview of postmodernism with its dominant ethical system of relativism. The Bible describes mankind in the end times: “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3:7). Spiritual answers cannot be deduced by human reason alone (1 Cor. 2:14). It’s not that spiritual truth is irrational or illogical, but that human wisdom is defective, because it’s tainted by man’s sinfulness, and unable to perceive the things of God. That is why the Bible is so important. It gives us the answers we can’t find on our own. It is God’s Word to mankind. Scripture is divinely revealed truth that fills the vacuum of spiritual ignorance in all of us. Post-truth is the word of the year for 2016 and also the philosophy of the day, According to the dictionary, “post-truth” means, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. In a “post-truth” world, people make choices based on emotion and experience rather than objective fact. So in a post-truth world, truth is irrelevant. What exactly is a post-truth culture? It’s a culture where truth is no longer an objective reality. It has become subjective. It’s what’s true for me—my beliefs, my opinions, determine my truth. So in our post-truth culture, man determines truth. Man makes himself the ultimate authority. This starting point, which rejects God’s Word and the idea of moral absolutes, makes truth subjective. Truth will never go away no matter how hard one might wish. Christianity is grounded in objective truth. “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Objective truth exists because we have God’s Word. In the Gospel of John, Jesus says, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Thy word is truth” (John 17:17), and Paul and James describe the Bible as “the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15; James 1:18). The Psalmist says, “The entirety of your word is truth” (Psalm 119:160). Jesus Himself said, “For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (John 18:37). When Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except by me” (John 14:6), He wasn’t expressing His personal belief or opinion. He was speaking the truth, a fundamental reality that doesn’t change from person to person. It doesn’t matter if our culture thinks all roads lead to God. The truth of the matter is “no one comes to the Father but by [Jesus].” This blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." - George Orwell
Defending the Gospel in an Age of Skepticism
"Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life." - Proverbs 4:23
Table of Contents Digest
Encourage ... and build up one another. 1 Thess 5:11.
Walking In My Purpose
Weddings, Marriage, and Relationships for Christian Women
God's Word is nourishment for the soul. These are nuggets the Lord has given Jack Garrott, a missionary in Japan
"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me." - John 10:27
......the Lord's love is with those who fear Him.......
Chaplain, Christianity, God, Ragamuffin
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