What's More Important: Your Works or Your Words?

“Preach the Gospel at all times.  When necessary, use words.” 

The above quote attributed to St. Francis of Assisi is one that many of us embrace as well as repeat to others. It does underscore our need as Christians to be ‘doers of the Word’ whose actions should always demonstrate our love for God and commitment to live in accordance with His will. But all too often we also like the quote because it gives us a justification for not speaking out and sharing the gospel with words, words that well may offend others. But words are necessary to pierce hearts with the truth, set people free from lies, and have the power to lead to salvation. None of us wants to offend anyone. But the truth is that the gospel IS an offense, and we have been commanded by Jesus to proclaim—or preach— the gospel with words, not just glorify Him by our actions as revealed when Jesus told His disciples to “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” (Matthew 5:16; Matthew 16:15) In fact, when we make the focus on our actions rather than upon the finished work of Jesus on the cross, it easily becomes a man rather than God centered gospel. Our actions—no matter how ‘good’— will always be insufficient because there is only One Person Who has ever lived a perfect life and Whose life revealed the truth of Who God is. 

The ‘truth that sets people free’ is the gospel that exalts Jesus and what He did on our behalf, and the Word says that when He is lifted up—not our actions—that men will be drawn to Him, the Source of salvation (John 12:32). Jesus’ actions most definitely testified to the truth of Who God is, but very importantly, He also spoke the truth and said He came to earth for the purpose of testifying to the truth (John 18:37). He is the ‘Living Word made flesh’, and His words were an even greater offense than His actions (John 1:1,14; Matthew 15:11-12; John 6:59-61) It was His claim to be the Son of God, and the only way to be reconciled to God the Father, that most offended people and led them to crucify Him (John 10:30-33; John 14:6). That truth offended the people in the days when He walked as a man on earth, and His faithful followers should be aware that when they share that same truth they too will offend others. However, it is only by speaking the truth of Who Jesus is and what He came to earth to do that others will come to the saving knowledge of Jesus and put their faith in what He did to set them free from the penalty and power of their sin.

We have been commanded to preach the word because faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Romans 10:14-17 ESV (boldness added)

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Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the apostle Paul penned much of the New Testament and wrote not only the passage above from Romans, he also wrote the passage below in 1 Corinthians where he highlights that the focus is not to be on us as human vessels, but upon Who Jesus is and what He has done:

And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 ESV (boldness added)


What is the power of God? God lets us know that it is His Word!  (Hebrews 4:12; Romans 1:16; 2 Timothy 3:15-16; 1 Peter 1:23; John 17:17; Isaiah 55:11; Isaiah 40:8) Specifically, the word of the gospel which has the power to save!

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16 ESV

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18 ESV

Paul exhorts us to know the Word and to speak the Word. He also warns us that the truth will not always be well-received, but we are to share it anyway, and to be willing to endure suffering as we do the work of an evangelist.

…preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:2-5 ESV

It takes effort to be prepared ‘in and out of season’ to share the truth of God’s Word, and all too often we are lazy Christians. If we have a greater ‘fear of man’ than we do a reverent awe and fear of God, we won’t ‘preach, reprove, rebuke, exhort, admonish and teach’ others, because the ‘truth that sets the captives free’ is also foolishness and an offense to those who are perishing (1 Corinthians 1:18;23). 

I was talking with someone the other day who ‘after push came to shove’ reluctantly said he believed Jesus died for his sin. But he quickly followed up that statement by saying that he would never try to ‘convert’ anyone else because he had no right to tell someone else that their belief was wrong. He revealed in that statement that he clearly doesn’t believe that ‘all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’; that ‘the wages of sin is death’; and that all will experience the wrath of God unless ‘they confess with their mouths and believe in their hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead’. (Romans 3:23; 6:23; 10:9-10) My question to him and to anyone else who doesn’t want to share the gospel with others is this: If you truly believe that Jesus’ death and resurrection delivered you from a death sentence, how can you remain silent? If you committed a felony and were condemned to die and your brother stepped in and took your place on the electric chair and died the death you deserved to die, wouldn’t you tell others about that kind of love? Or, if you were in a burning building and knew there was only one way to safety, would you remain silent for fear of offending others in the burning building with the truth that there was only one way out if they wanted to be saved? 

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An unwillingness to share the gospel is an indication of one of two things: 1)You don’t believe the truth of the Word of God that you are a sinner under the penalty of death and can only be saved by faith in Jesus’ atoning death and resurrection or 2) You love yourself more than you love God, and more than you love others. If you really loved God, you’d be willing to ‘lay down your life’ and risk offending others in order to obey His command to share the gospel so that those He loves would hear the truth that has the power to save them.  And, if you love others as God has loved you, you will be willing to accept the risk of offending them in this life so that they can know Jesus, the One and Only Way to have abundant life on earth and eternal life in heaven.

It’s important for us to know that our works can never save anyone; only the finished work of Jesus on the cross can! People you know desperately need to hear from you what Jesus’ death and resurrection has purchased for them. Your ‘good works’ can point the way to Jesus because if your life has been transformed people are going to pay attention and want to hear why you love in a world full of hate, why you forgive those who do the unforgivable to you, why you live in every way counter to our sinful culture. Your good works are designed to glorify God and to draw people to want to listen to the gospel you preach (Matthew 5:16), but it is only in hearing the words of the gospel that people will be set free from their sin and accept Jesus as their personal Savior and Lord. Let us never be ashamed of the gospel which alone has the power to save!

For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. Luke 9:26 ESV

Lord, release me from all fear of man and the deception that my ‘good works’ have the power to save anyone! Increase my love for You and for others and give me a vision of eternity so that by the power of the Holy Spirit I will boldly proclaim the gospel, which alone has the power to save! May I never be ashamed of You Who willingly laid down your life for me! In Jesus’ Name. Amen. 

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Addressing the Fear of Financial Ruin

I have been having discussions recently regarding the fear of financial ruin.  This fear of or the reality of not having enough money to cover your debt can cause such a ripple effect in your life.  Some people allow fear of their own expected and/or looming financial disaster to create so much anxiety that they will avoid opening bills and financial statements because they don’t want to think about it.  The idea of ‘not thinking about it’ or not answering the nagging phone calls from debt collectors seems to them a better alternative than learning.  Learning the truth about exactly how much they owe, exactly how much money they have, exactly how much money they spend on other things, and how much God loves them.  The truth will set you free.  The person who hates correction is stupid (Proverbs 12:1 NIV) and the person who gets wisdom loves his own soul. (Proverbs 19:8a)

Another person I learned has been avoiding the IRS for years, refusing to open letters, and acting as if throwing the letters away or burying them in a huge pile of other unopened obligations somehow makes the problems go away.  There’s an old saying that says, ‘ignorance is bliss,’  but that is not found in God’s Word.  God has something very different to say about ignorance and avoidance.  God tells us that His people die because of lack of knowledge. (Hosea 4:6)  Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, and when you fear God, follow His ways and believe His promises you will not fear debt, the IRS, bills, or anything else.  God sees your debt and knows what your situation is.  Our God is a God of details, He counts the very hairs on your head and He most definitely is able to count the pennies in your bank account.  God has so many promises of His provision for His children.  When you choose to not gain wisdom and knowledge by avoidance, your actions convict you of a lack of faith. 

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Let’s learn from the event that occurred with the widow’s oil from 2 Kings 4 (AMP) and we will pull action items from this which I’ve listed in bold below:

The Widow’s Oil

4 Now one of the wives of a man of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha [for help], (Step 1, Ask a wise, godly person for help & counsel) saying “Your servant my husband is dead, (Step 2, Acknowledge the income source and any problem that exists there) and you know that your servant [reverently] feared the Lord; (Step 3, fear God) but the creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves [in payment for a loan].” (Step 4, acknowledge who is owed money and what they are requesting as payment) 2 Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have [of value] in the house?” She said, “Your maidservant has nothing in the house except a [small] jar of [olive] oil.” (Step 5, determine what you have of value) 3 Then he said, “Go, borrow containers from all your neighbors, empty containers—and not just a few. 4 Then you shall go in and shut the door behind you and your sons, and pour out [the oil you have] into all these containers, and you shall set aside each one when it is full.” (Step 6, create a plan) 5 So she left him and shut the door behind her and her sons; they were bringing her the containers as she poured [the oil]. (Step 7, act in faith) 6 When the containers were all full, she said to her son, “Bring me another container.” And he said to her, “There is not a one left.” Then the oil stopped [multiplying]. 7 Then she came and told the man of God. He said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debt, and you and your sons can live on the rest.” (Step 8, obey and trust God to help you pay your debts.  God is able to multiply, redeem, and provide a plan to help you in your time of trouble.)  I found it interesting that God stopped multiplying the oil once there were no more jars left.  He provided for as much as they prepared to receive.  What are you preparing to receive?  Do your actions convict you of fear or faith?  

When fear is running your life, you are a prisoner being driven by fear which is in direct relation to your unbelief in God and His promises.  God wants you to be free from the prison of fear and be led by faith instead.  In Him, all things are possible.

When all has been heard, the conclusion of the matter is this: Fear God and keep His commandments, because this is the whole duty of man. - Ecclesiastes 12:13

Written by Jamie

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How To Escape the Snare of ‘Fear of Man’

As she approached me, a feeling spontaneously arose within me…the feeling of dread. When in this woman’s presence, I feel judged by her; as if I don’t measure up to her standards; and that she is looking to find fault with me. I’m not saying that I’ve ever heard her say anything derogatory about me, nor that she has any intention of intimating me, or even any awareness that she does: I am just saying that's a feeling I often have around her.

Is there a person in whose presence you often feel intimidated? Have you thought what is behind the feeling, and how you can respond in a God-pleasing way when you feel judged and intimidated by someone?

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The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe (Proverbs 29:25 ESV). We need to recognize whenever we feel intimidated by another person that Satan is at work to try to entrap us. Usually we fall into Satan’s trap by succumbing to one of the following responses: we develop vain imaginations about the person and assign a negative connotation to their verbal or non-verbal communication, which can lead to our ‘becoming offended’ and in turn, retaliating against the person by gossiping about them, and/or becoming fearful of, resentful, or bitter toward them. We can wonder ‘what’s wrong with me’ that the person would treat me in such a way, and then fall prey to negative self-talk that can lead to despondency and depression. If we think a person is intimidating, we usually choose to avoid them, as well as situations where they may be present. I know of people who have left jobs or who’ve stopped attending church because of a person who intimidates them. 

It is so important that we don’t respond to other people based upon our feelings, but out of obedience to God and His Word.

God tells us that we have no need to fear others, and that’s true whether we perceive them to be judging or attacking us, or if they do in fact taunt or revile us. 

“Listen to Me, you who know righteousness (right standing with God), The people in whose heart is My law and instruction; Do not fear the reproach and taunting of man, Nor be distressed at their reviling. Isaiah 51:7 AMP

Whenever I allow myself to feel intimidated by someone, my focus is upon myself—or the other person— and not upon God, who should always be the object of my focus (Col. 3:1; Hebrews 3:1; Psalm 119:6; 12:1-2). When my focus is fixed upon God, I will know that there is only one opinion of me that matters: and that’s God’s! And He says that I am ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’, His child, and lavishly loved by Him! (Psalm 139:14; Romans 5:8; Romans 8:32; 37-39; 1 John 3:1) When my focus is upon God, then it won’t be on me and my subjective ‘feelings’; I won’t become fixated on the real or perceived ‘offense’ and become judgmental myself or buy into self-deprecation. Instead, I will be asking questions like,“How can I respond in a way that pleases and glorifies God in this situation?” and  “How can I be a blessing to the person and reveal to them God’s heart of love for them?”

The only reason to look to yourself when you feel intimidated is to examine your own heart toward the person, and ask God to give you a ‘clean heart’ before Him so that you don’t fall into Satan’s trap and become offended or downtrodden (Psalm 51). God’s word tells us that ‘love is not easily offended’ (1 Corinthians 13:5), and we are always to respond to others in love (John 13:34). God’s desire may be for you to humble yourself and go to the person to see if you might have offended him/her (Matthew 5:23-24; 18:15), and to do whatever God leads you to do to pursue a harmonious relationship with them (Romans 12:16-18; 14:19; Colossians 3:12-13; Hebrews 12:14). People who intimidate others because of a condescending, judgmental spirit  reveal they don’t fully understand God’s love for them, His love for others, and His desire that people love others ‘as He has loved’ them. So, rather than focusing on yourself, you can look at the situation as a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate to the other person the love that Christ has shown to you! When you feel intimidated by someone, ask God to give you His view of and love for them, and the strength to respond to them with the grace and love He has extended to you!

So I, the prisoner for the Lord, appeal to you to live a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called [that is, to live a life that exhibits godly character, moral courage, personal integrity, and mature behavior—a life that expresses gratitude to God for your salvation], with all humility [forsaking self-righteousness], and gentleness [maintaining self-control], with patience, bearing with one another in [unselfish] love. Make every effort to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the bond of peace [each individual working together to make the whole successful]. Ephesians 4:1-3 AMP

Prayer: Lord, help me to keep my focus upon You and Your will at all times, and give me the faith to believe that Your view of me is the only one that matters so that I do not succumb to the fear of man. When I do succumb, immediately convict me so that I do not sin against You by believing the lies of the enemy about myself, or by having unloving thoughts about or actions toward the person I find intimidating. May my identity be firmly rooted in the truth of who you say I am, based upon Your lavish, unchanging love for me! Lord, help me to be a vessel through which your love flows into the lives of others—-those who are easy for me to love, and especially to those who intimidate me and are impossible for me to love in my own strength. Give me Your heart of love for them, remembering at all times that they too are ‘fearfully and wonderfully made in Your image’ and precious to You! May the people I find intimidating become rooted and grounded in Your love so they will have the power to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is Your love for them— love that surpasses all knowledge—so that they will be filled to the measure of all the fullness of You!

 (Ephesians 3:14-19)

Written by Julie Van Gorp

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5 Reasons You Need to Stop Saying This Word

The word never, is only beneficial when describing things that God has said will never happen or to keep a person safe.  Here are a few examples:

God is never going to change

God will never sin

God will never flood the earth again

Never do drugs

Never drink & drive

dictionary.com defines ‘never’ as:


Nev-er

1. not ever; at no time:

2. not at all; absolutely not:

3. to no extent or degree:

Often I hear people use this word in a way that does significant damage to their spiritual walk.  Here are a few examples about the times we may be tempted to use this word:  

“We know that’s never going to happen….” in response to a relationship problem, marriage issue or work dilemma.

“She’s never going to change” in response to a person

“He’s never going to get accepted” into that program/college/trade school

“They will never agree to that” in response to a governing body or place of employment

“I would never do that” in response to judging someone else’s sin

“He would never say/do that” in response to a bad report from a teacher about your child

“God will never answer this prayer/perform a miracle for me/care about this.”

The word ‘Never’ is a life killer, dream stealer, hope thwarter, and prayer thief.

5 Reasons Why We Need to Stop Using the Word ‘Never’:

1. ‘Never’ is faithless word & without faith we cannot please God  

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”  Hebrews 11:6 NIV

2. ‘Never’ brings death to a situation vs. hope & life which God is the author of

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”  Proverbs 18:21 NIV


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3. ‘Never’ is not the truth  (unless you’re repeating something God said will never happen.)                                                                  

“Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”’ Matthew 19:26 NIV

4. ‘Never; completely diminishes the power of God in our lives because it is a lie

“Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie!” Psalm 40:4

5.   Saying ‘Never’ is worse than doubt, it is making yourself ‘God’ over that situation or person you are praying for or talking about.  The word ‘never’ declares that you are the authority in the matter and it is blasphemous and idolatry.  Our God is a redeemer, an expert in the restoration of all things, He makes all things new, He regenerates people from death to eternal life, and specializes in the impossible!  When you say you believe that God raised Jesus from the dead, and with the same mouth proclaim that He will “never” fix your marriage or change your friend you are a double-minded man!  Look what James 1:6-8 says: “But he must ask in faith, without doubting, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”  (bold letter added for emphasis) 

The use of the word ‘never’ in your life keeps you from living a life of faith. 

I challenge you to stop using the word ‘never’ and begin today to replace it with life-giving words of hope and truth from God’s Word.  

“You were wearied with the length of your way, but you did not say, “It is hopeless”; you found new life for your strength, and so you were not faint.”  Isaiah 57:10 ESV

“Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping–believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, "That’s how many descendants you will have!”  Romans 4:18 NLT

In what situation do you find yourself in that there may be ‘no reason for hope’ as was the case with Abraham?  Choose to keep on believing in God’s truth today. 

What are you hoping for?  Write out some Bible verses to study and repeat that will bring hope to your life.

Our God specializes in the impossible!

Written by Jamie Shaver

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If We Love God, Silence is Not An Option!

NOTE: This blog was originally published on June 26, 2015. In rereading it, I realized the truths the Lord led me to write at that time are even more vital for us to heed now as our culture has even more fully embraced the lies being perpetrated by those who are against God’s Word, His will, and His divine purpose for creating mankind in His image as ‘male and female’. From Drag Queen story hour at libraries throughout our nation to even elementary public schools’ curriculum promoting the LGBT lifestyle to churches with gay and lesbian clergy as well as ‘baptized parishioners’ to movies and popular TV shows promoting the LGBT lifestyle to the widespread promotion of PRIDE month every June, there is a preponderance of evidence that our nation has totally embraced the LGBT agenda. It is interesting to note that the LGBT movement coopted the rainbow— the well-known sign of God’s covenant promise to Noah after He destroyed those in Noah’s day whose pride led them to rebel against God, and that they have chosen the word PRIDE as their rallying cry, which is at the root of every sin and always ‘comes before destruction’ (Proverbs 16:18). It is also important to note that there is an increase in the assault against those who do not accept and endorse the LBGT lifestyle; they are labeled as bigots, intolerant, haters. Those who speak out against the movement make themselves ‘a prey’ (Isaiah 59:15) in the marketplace, and there are governmental entities at work to silence those who oppose the ‘politically correct’ LGBT agenda as well, as evidenced by California’s proposed bill AB 2943, which passed the CA Assembly in April and is expected to pass the state Senate before the end of summer. The UN Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech which was recently released could also impact the freedom of speech of those opposed to the LGBT lifestyle. We must recognize that the goal of Satan is always to silence the truth of God’s Word and His will…for it is the truth of the gospel that alone is able to set people free!

Since we are looking to celebrate another anniversary of our nation’s founding, and recently our Supreme Court ruled in favor of gay marriage, I can’t help but reflect upon how drastically our nation has changed since my childhood. Freedoms—like the freedom of speech, religion, and the right to bear arms– that our God-fearing founding fathers sacrificed their livelihoods and even their lives to obtain, and that I and many have long taken for granted, are under attack and before long could be just a memory. We are definitely living in a day when that which is evil is being called ‘good’, and good is being called ‘evil’. (Isaiah 5:20) It is growing increasingly difficult to speak out against gay marriage in our nation without being accused of being intolerant, a bigot, a ‘hater’, or worse. As several florists, photographers, and bakers can already attest– and perhaps many more of us will find out– it can be very costly to take God at His Word and to refuse to condone ‘gay marriage’ —which in fact is an oxymoron since God created marriage and defined it as being between a man and a woman. (Genesis 2:24) Regrettably, the fear of real or imagined reprisal from family, friends, or even the government, is causing some professing Christians to remain silent on the subject of ‘gay marriage’ and the entire LGBT movement.

Others remain silent because they lack knowledge of what the bible has to say about the subject–whether because they are ‘unchurched’ or have not personally studied it or because their pastor avoids preaching on the topic; some are confused and not sure what they believe because what they hear in the mainstream media from certain religious leaders, politicians, Hollywood stars and other media personalities contradicts what they have been taught to believe and they do not feel confident that they know how to respond to this crucial issue which has temporal and eternal significance.

It is time that we as the Church—Jesus’ Bride– speak up and stand on and for the Word of God!

Rather than acquiescing to the accusation, “Who are you to judge someone else’s lifestyle?’ Christians need to make it clear that we are not judging anyone! We need to assert that we are not expressing our opinion. We are just agreeing with God, the Ultimate Judge, and what He has clearly stated in His Word regarding both the sanctity of marriage and the sin of same gender sexual relations. (I wholeheartedly agree with those who say we also must not remain silent on what God has to say about sexual relations between heterosexuals who are not married to one another!)

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Rather than remaining silent when people assert that a person who claims to be gay was born that way and has no choice in the matter, we need to speak the truth in love that since the fall of Adam and Eve ALL of mankind has been born with a sin nature and we all of us will continue in our sin unless we receive a ‘new’ nature. We need to share in love that it is only when a person receives a ‘new nature’ by being ‘born again’ through faith in Jesus’ redemptive work on the cross that ANYONE—whether they are ‘gay’ or ‘straight’, male or female, rich or poor, black, white, yellow, or red, or anything else that might distinguish individuals from one another—can have the power to overcome the temptation to sin. Praise be to the Lord Who gave us both the power to resist the temptation to sin and the power to overcome the penalty of our sin, which is death, through the power of the Holy Spirit Who’s at work in all who put their faith in Jesus’ finished work on the cross!

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1st Corinthians 10:13 (ESV)

We need to make it clear that homosexuality, being a lesbian, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, or any other choice regarding sexual behavior is not the ‘unforgivable sin’. The ‘unforgivable sin’ is refusing to receive the free gift of salvation that God offers through the death and resurrection of His beloved son Jesus.

So why should we focus on this particular sin? Why are we considering this sin rather than any number of other sins like fornication, adultery, lying, drunkenness, gluttony, or gossip? Because this sin– which not so long ago was considered ‘abnormal’ even by the American Psychiatric Association – is now being promoted as an acceptable ‘lifestyle’, even one that is to be embraced and celebrated. Those who label it ‘sin’ are increasingly under attack and considered to be an abomination, and pressured to adopt the culture’s view.

Why is it critical that we label sin for what it is rather than calling it our ‘choice’, our ‘lifestyle’, a ‘disease’, or something else?

First, we can call something anything we wish but our calling it something else does not make it so. Only God Who created and rules the world has the authority to call something sin, and He has already written in the bible what sin is. It is rebelling against Him and going against His Word. Both the New and Old Testament make it clear that same gender sexual relations is sin because it violates His commands and His will.

You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. Leviticus 18:22 (See also Leviticus 20:13)

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 1st Corinthians 6:9-10 (See also 1st Timothy 1:9-11; Romans 1:18-32; Jude 1:7)

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Secondly, if we ‘misdiagnose’ something we won’t know to take the necessary action to remedy the situation. For example, if I have swallowed something poisonous, I need to know what it was I swallowed in order to take the appropriate antidote. Similarly, I must recognize that I have sinned so that I will go to Jesus, the Great Physician, Who alone has the power to save me from my sin. If we do not label sin for what God clearly states that it is in His Word, then rather than going to Jesus to receive the forgiveness that He promises to all who confess their sin, we will continue in our sin and ultimately receive the penalty that our sin deserves—death and eternity in hell. In other words, if we refuse to acknowledge that our sin is indeed ‘sin’, we will not realize our desperate need for a Savior Who alone can ‘cure’ us from our sin.

Can you imagine being around a person who you know has an incurable disease, and choosing not to tell that person that you know there is an antidote for it? Could you stand by and do nothing as they or even others celebrate the person’s condition because they are ignorant of its fatal nature? Would a loving person say or do nothing if it was in his or her power to share the antidote that was the only way the person’s life could be saved?

Then how can we as Christians be silent when we know that belief in Jesus’ atoning work on the cross is the ONLY way that sinners can be saved? Wouldn’t remaining silent when you have the ability—as well as God’s command (Matthew 28:19)— to share the necessary and only way of salvation be the ultimate act of ‘hatred’? And, wouldn’t remaining silent also be an indication of your lack of love for God, Who expressed His lavish love for all of mankind by sacrificing His beloved Son Jesus to be the ‘antidote’ for mankind’s sin?

Are there some people who oppose gay marriage who hate those who are homosexual and lesbians? Regrettably, I am sure that there are some. But there is also a large number of people who oppose gay marriage and the entire LGBT ‘movement’ who do so because they love God, and they know that if they love Him they will support and obey His commandments, commandments which He gave for the good of all mankind. (John 14:15, 23)

Secondly, because they love God, they share His love for those who are homosexual, lesbian, and bi-sexual. It grieves them to think that if those who have succumbed to such sexual sin do not repent of it that they will spend eternity in hell. Those who truly love God and share His heart of love for others who are caught in sin—ANY and EVERY to kind of sin– will feel compelled to speak up and share the redemptive power of the gospel with them. They will also pray for them to be set free from their sin, and not deride them. Have you extended the love of God by sharing the gospel with anyone you know who has been taken captive by the sin of same gender sexual relations, or anyone who has bought our culture’s lies regarding other forms of sexual sin?

The real ‘haters’ are those who hate God and want to do away with the commands He has provided in the bible for our good because He loves us and knows what is best for us. They hate those who represent God and His Word because they have been deceived by Satan and falsely believe that those who oppose ‘gay marriage’ and the LBGT agenda want to keep them from something good. The truth is that those who oppose ‘gay marriage’ for biblical reasons want to protect those who identify as LGBT from the sorrow and destruction they will experience if they continue in their sin.

After God created the world and made Adam, He said that it was not good that Adam be alone. So He designed the perfect helpmate for him, a woman. A woman whom God designed in every way—including physically–to complement, or complete man. Then God gave them the joint assignment ‘to be fruitful and multiply and to fill the earth’. That was an assignment that neither could do alone; they needed each other. Clearly, God did not choose to put two men or two women together as two of the same gender could not have fulfilled His command to reproduce. God knew that the very best helpmate for man was woman, and that man was the very best helpmate for woman. Not just for reproductive purposes, but in His infinite wisdom He created them in His image– both men and women– to reflect different aspects of the triune Godhead and to assume different– but equally vital– roles. His plan for marriage was for man and woman to be united as one flesh, and to reflect the mystery of Christ’s love for and oneness with the Church. (Ephesians 5:22-35)

As Our Creator Who made us for His pleasure and glory (Isaiah 43:7), God alone has the right to define what marriage is, which He did in the beginning when He created man and woman for oneness and fruitfulness. Throughout the bible God reaffirms the role of marriage and the importance of family, and throughout the bible God consistently addresses the issue of same gender sexual relations as sin. His design for marriage and family has not changed, nor has His Word regarding same gender sex. Unfortunately, mankind has not changed either. Like Eve and Adam in the Garden of Eden who doubted that God’s Word was for their protection and for their good, we too in our pride think we know better than God and we too rebel against His perfect word and will.

Satan’s successful ploy in the Garden of Eden was to get Eve and Adam to doubt the legitimacy of God’s love for them when He restricted them from eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. God was very clear in His instruction; there was no equivocation or room for doubt. Yet, Satan appealed to the desire of their eyes and the lust of their flesh. Rather than calling upon God to deliver them from their temptation, they gave into it. Unfortunately, all too often that has been the story of mankind ever since. Rather than believing that God loves us and that every command He gives us is for our good, we have doubted His love and falsely assumed that His commands are to keep us from something good rather than to protect us. Those who are caught up in the sin of same gender sexual relationships have bought the same lie that Adam and Eve did: the lie that God’s Word is not to be trusted and that they know what is better for them than God does.

God warned Adam and Eve that if they disobeyed His command that death would be the result. And it was. If people today rebel against His Word and do not repent and turn to Jesus, they will face the consequences of their sin too, which is death. (Romans 6:23) There will be consequences not only for those who themselves rebel against God, but also for the nation that turns its back on God’s commands (Psalm 9:17; Jeremiah 13:25; Ezekiel 14:13), which is also why we as Christians should be concerned about the direction of our nation and vocalize our opposition to laws that are made which are contrary to God’s commandments. We also must pray for those who have been taken captive by this sin to be open to hear God’s Word, and pray that we who know and love God will lovingly and boldly share with them how they too can be delivered from the power and penalty of sin and enjoy the peace that is only found in a life surrendered to God’s will.

In His love and mercy God made a way for Adam and Eve—and all of us who inherited their sin nature– to be fully reconciled to a Holy God. The question for each and every person regardless of their sexual ‘orientation’ or ‘preference’ is the same: Will you accept the free gift of deliverance from death that God has provided through trusting in Jesus’ death in your place on the cross, or will you choose an eternity in hell by rejecting the free gift He has provided? Will you live your life in rebellion against God’s commands, or in submission to them?

In this nation we have enjoyed the privilege of sharing our faith without fear of being fined, imprisoned, or facing physical suffering. We cannot be certain of how long we will continue to have that privilege; hostility toward Christian values in this country is growing more intense and increasing at an alarming rate, as is global persecution. I believe that you and I and all believers are at a crossroads where we are going to have to choose between the fear of man and the fear of the Lord. Are we going to stand on and for the Word of God, or are we going to bow down to ‘political correctness’? Do you love the applause of men—as the Pharisees did (John 12:43)—more than the praises of God? Are you more concerned about offending a Holy God, or of offending people who are ignorant of God’s Word or who purposely rebel against Him? Do you love yourself and your comforts more than you love the souls of those who will perish for all eternity if they do not turn to Jesus and repent?

God has put governmental authorities in place that we are to respect and obey. However, as we see from the example given in Acts 5:29 after Peter and John were told by the authorities that they were not to declare the gospel, Peter responded, “ We must obey God rather than men.” Is that your conviction too? Think how different history and even your life would be had the apostles remained silent because they were unwilling to face persecution for the sake of sharing the truth of God’s love and His commands in a hostile culture. The Holy Spirit in them compelled them to share the gospel regardless of the cost. Are you listening to and following the leading of the Holy Spirit, or are you responding to the world, your flesh, and the devil that conspire to keep you silent?

Jesus told us that if we followed Him that we would be persecuted; that we as His servants are not above our master who willingly suffered and laid down His life out of obedience to the command of His Heavenly Father. If we are persecuted for remaining faithful to God and to His Word, our response should be the same as Jesus’: ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)

Jesus also said, Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:10) Have you considered that the greatest blessings of your life may be found in the days ahead in a culture that wishes to silence you, but desperately needs to hear the gospel message that you have been commanded to share?

If you love others– and especially if you love God– silence is not an option.


Written by Julie Van Gorp

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Your Freedom is Costly: Treasure It, Share It!

I enjoy gathering with family and friends for food, fellowship and fireworks on the 4th of July holiday, and I imagine you do too. As I participate in the festivities, I’m reminded that our founding fathers and their families paid a tremendous price in order for us to enjoy the freedoms we have in this great nation— like the freedom of religion and speech— that are in jeopardy today and that we all too often take for granted. Although they had security as far as the world measures it, each of the signers of the declaration valued liberty more than their belongings, even their lives. They pledged the following to one another:

“For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”

Many people are unaware of the sacrifices they did in fact make. The British captured five of the signers during the war, including Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, and Arthur Middleton, and George Walton was wounded as well as captured. Richard Stockton was captured and never recovered from his incarceration by British Loyalists and he died in 1781. John Adams received a letter from Thomas McKean who wrote that he was "hunted like a fox by the enemy - compelled to remove my family five times in a few months." The British captured two of Abraham Clark’s sons during the war.

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The homes and property of eleven signers were destroyed. Francis Lewis's home was demolished and his wife was taken prisoner. John Hart's farm and mills were destroyed when the British invaded New Jersey, and he died while fleeing capture. Carter Braxton and Nelson lent large sums of their personal fortunes to support the war effort, and they were never repaid. They were willing to sacrifice so much because they knew the liberties they were fighting for were their ‘unalienable rights’, given to them by their Creator God.

The reality is that freedom is never free.  There is always a cost. We who have enjoyed the freedoms for which our founding fathers sacrificed much need to be prepared to pay the cost to maintain those freedoms. We must be willing to exercise our freedom of religion and speech in our ‘politically correct’ culture that seeks to silence us who represent the Voice of God that calls people to turn away from sexual immorality, the killing of the unborn, violence, corruption and other evils that have become normative in today’s America, and to turn to God Who alone is the Source of all true freedom.

As much as I am grateful—and I truly am-- for the sacrifices of our founding fathers who were willing to give up their property, their safety and security, and even their lives to establish our nation, I am far more grateful to Jesus Who was willing to lay down His life to secure the greatest treasure I will ever have--freedom from the power and penalty of sin. And that was the costliest purchase ever made. My freedom—and yours—could only be bought with the price of Jesus’ blood. Our Heavenly Father had to be willing to sacrifice the life of His blameless, Beloved Son Jesus in order to redeem my life and yours. If you ever wonder how valuable you are, remember the great price that God was willing to pay for you and your freedom! You are treasured by Him! He was willing to exchange a perfect life for your sinful one in order that you could be set free from your sin.

So as you celebrate the our nation’s independence this year, I hope you will thank God for our founding fathers who valued liberty more than security so that you can have the liberties you enjoy in our country today.  I especially hope you will take the time to thank Jesus for being willing to give up all of the glories of heaven to come to earth to give His life in exchange for yours, so that you can be free from the power of sin in your life and able to spend eternity in paradise with God. Let us walk and rejoice in the freedom that Jesus has purchased for us! And let us use our freedom of speech to boldly and lovingly share with others in our nation that true and everlasting freedom can be their’s too— if they will put their trust in Jesus!

Please join with me in praying that our nation will once again seek after God and His counsel, return to Him, and in every way receive Him as Lord, knowing that God is Sovereign over all nations, the Source of a nation’s strength and blessings, and alone worthy of all honor, glory and praise!

The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
he frustrates the plans of the peoples.
The counsel of the LORD stands forever,
the plans of his heart to all generations.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!

The LORD looks down from heaven;
he sees all the children of man;
from where he sits enthroned he looks out
on all the inhabitants of the earth,
he who fashions the hearts of them all
and observes all their deeds.
The king is not saved by his great army;
a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.
The war horse is a false hope for salvation,
and by its great might it cannot rescue.

Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love,
that he may deliver their soul from death
and keep them alive in famine.

Our soul waits for the LORD;
he is our help and our shield.
For our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.
Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.

Psalm 33:10-22 ESV

Written by Julie Van Gorp

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This is What Courage Fueled By Faith Sounds Like...

In the book of Daniel, 3 friends find themselves faced with death because of a decision they had made to not bow down to a statue of the King, since they only worshipped the One true God. The death sentence was made known to them, specifically that they would be thrown into a huge, hot, fiery furnace and this is how they responded:

“16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up. Daniel 3:16-18 NIV

Here’s what we can learn from these men of God, which John Maxwell writes about in his leadership Bible, when we face situations in our own life that could lead to death. In this example from Scripture they were facing physical death. You may be facing a threat of the death of a relationship, dream, job, family member or even your own physical death. When you find yourself in the moment of crisis what do you say to yourself or others? Let’s look at what these men said:

“the God we serve is able to deliver us from it…” These godly men believed in the omnipotence of God, that nothing was too hard for Him.

“He will deliver us…” They believed in the love of God that acts on behalf of the beloved.

“But even if he does not…” They believed in the sovereignty of God, that He acts on the basis of His own pleasure and will.

“the God we serve”…(v. 17) They not only believed certain things, they acted on them, and had done so all of their lives

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I’d like to add in verse 16 above that these men also knew the truth that “we do not need to defend ourselves.” Jesus is our advocate, He goes before us and God promises to fight our battles. He is the One who alone brings us the victory, the victory that He has promised is ours in Christ Jesus. Be encouraged today, speak life when circumstances arise that threaten you, your life, your God given plans or dreams. With God all things are possible.

Written by Jamie Shaver


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