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       When a minister has an extramarital affair, what goes through your mind? When television evangelist Jim Bakker was sentenced to prison for fraud, what did you think? When television evangelist Jimmy Swaggart confessed to using the services of a prostitute, did you think 'more of the same'? When Catholic priests were accused of enticing young altar boys into homosexual acts, did you get angry? Hypocrites! They are all alike! They all belong in prison! None of them can be trusted!

       Do you feel betrayed? Why do you feel that way?

       If you are like me, then I expect ministers of God to be loving, giving, caring, and moral people. I expect them to counsel people to be good, to follow God, to serve people in-need. I expect them to do what they preach.

       I do not expect them to hire prostitutes; I expect them to be faithful to their wives. I do not expect them to steal; I expect them to be honest and trustworthy; after all, many poor people believed the message from the lips of the PTL Club's Jim Bakker and generously contributed what little they could afford. I assume that a minister of any Christian church follows the teachings of the Bible, which states in several passages including Matthew 19:9 that people should not divorce; so, then, is it okay for the minister to divorce or even remarry and continue in his church ministry?

       These are thorny issues. What about ministers who are divorced? What about ministers who embrace the "gay" lifestyle? What about divorced, homosexual ministers? What about church denominations (or organizations) that honor and uphold the teachings of church officials, even though their teachings are contrary to the Bible?

       If we pick-and-choose the Biblical teachings we follow, how do we know we are picking the right ones? Are the moral views of society more reliable? Are my dreams more trustworthy? Are my feelings better indicators of right-versus-wrong? Maybe, it could be summed-up by these song lyrics:

If it feels so right,
How can it be wrong?
(From "It Feels So Right" by Elvis Presley)

       We are told to 'love the sinner and hate the sin'... what happens when it becomes simply 'love the sinner'? What happens to our moral compass when we embrace the notion of "it feels so right, how can it be wrong?"

       On the weekend of Halloween, 2003, the Boston diocese of the Anglican (Episcopal) Church consecrated an openly homosexual bishop. "Supporters of V. Gene Robinson said his elevation had sent a powerful message of love and tolerance". Mr. Robinson was divorced from his wife and continues in a 14-year relationship with his current male partner. "If it feels so right, how can it be wrong?"

       It is an inherent duty of Christian ministers to teach their parishioners. They teach from a combination of sources, including their primary source the Holy Bible. After all, the Bible is the source for all Christian teachings. From the Bible I am reminded of a verse in the Book of James: 'Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.' (James 3:1 NIV). James states that those who attempt to teach God's Word -- who claim to interpret God's Scripture -- will be judged by God more strictly. Why? Because God wants His holy Word communicated accurately, so that people will be encouraged to reach out to God, to His eternal Light, to His goodness, to His wonderful love. (Much like a little girl reaching up to give her daddy a great big hug.)

       Those who teach a perverted Scripture lead people away from God... A person is either led toward God and His Light… or toward evil and darkness. In God's viewpoint, there is no gray area; there is only light... or darkness; only Truth... or lies. The Apostle Paul also teaches, 'Find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.' (Ephesians 5:10-12 NIV).

       [Jesus said to the religious leaders,] "He [Satan] was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies... He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God." (John 8:44,47 NIV)

       Paul the Apostle taught in his Letter to Titus: "For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers, and deceivers... They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach... Therefore, rebuke [the deceivers] sharply" (Titus 1:10-11, 13 NIV). Paul continues to describe the spiritual condition of the deceivers: "but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny Him." (Titus 1:15-16 NIV). This passage from Scripture speaks directly to those church leaders who pervert the teachings of God or allow the perverted teachings to be taught in their churches. We are encouraged -- no, we are commanded to right the wrongs of errant teachings. The Episcopal Church leaders who participated in this Halloween consecration must be sharply rebuked.

       My soul was quite troubled after I heard news reports that religious leaders of the Anglican Church approved Mr. Robinson's consecration. I do not understand how a "man of God" can say that he is a Believer in Jesus Christ and accept only parts of God's Holy Bible.

       Their belief in God's Holy Bible appears to be a "belief" of convenience - let me believe only in those parts of the Bible in which I wish to believe. For those other parts that are inconvenient - well, they no longer apply to us in this superior, modern age. Pick-n-choose. It sounds like a supermarket slogan or a vending machine mentality. It is man in his prideful, arrogant self-righteousness attempting to make himself equal with God.

Dear God, I really want this. Please make it happen. May my will be done. Amen.

       What is wrong with this prayer? Who is God? Me? You? Or the one true GOD? Do your prayers take the form of want-after-want as if God is a vending machine? When you pray, do you consider your wants - the coins; your "Amen" - the lever? And then, do you just sit back and wait for God to deliver? Are your prayers successful?

       God's son Jesus knew what terrible, terrible, agonizing pain He would suffer on the cross. So, the evening before He died for you and me, He prayed to the Father, "...yet not my will, but Yours be done" (Luke 22:42 NIV). Why do we try to make God do our will? Shouldn't we bend our will to serve God and follow the example of His son? Who do you consider god? God? Or you?

       God clearly loves you and me. God is perfect and pure and does not tolerate sin. (Do not confuse patience with tolerance.) God will not tolerate sin. God sent His son Jesus into this world, so that through the act of Jesus' crucifixion (and all the suffering, humiliation, and agony that it entailed), Jesus would take our sins upon Himself, die for us, and give Believers in Him the gift of eternal life in Heaven. Why would a loving God cause His Son to suffer in agony the way Jesus suffered on the cross? Jesus suffered because it was God's perfect plan of redemption -- we will never be "good" enough to reach Heaven by our own abilities -- and only Jesus was perfect and without sin for His entire life on this earth.

       Do you know of anyone who ever died for another? Yes, you do. You do know of one person who actually died for you. His name is Jesus.

       The Bible clearly states that God hates evil, sin. Through God's Spirit, Paul writes in Romans: "Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good (Romans 12:9)". Our society declares that "tolerance" is good and politically correct, but you will not find 'tolerance' in the Bible. (And do not confuse tolerance, with patience.) In the Romans passage Paul is not stating that 'tolerance' is good. Paul said, 'Cling to what is good!' God is good and everything about God is good. Cling to God!

       In the same Romans passage Paul wrote, "Hate what is evil". What then defines evil? Did you ever steal something that was not yours - from a store - from a friend's house -- from your sister or brother - from your mom's purse or your dad's wallet? Then, you have committed "evil" in God's eyes. Have you ever told a lie - even a white lie? Then, you have committed "evil" in God's eyes. Do you worship God? If not, then you have committed "evil" in God's eyes. God clearly states that you will not -- you cannot -- join God in Heaven when you die. You have sinned and God cannot stand to be in the same room with you. He will not allow you to stay in Heaven. Fortunately, God's loving plan for us includes the crucifixion of His son Jesus. Jesus died for you! And the only thing you have to do is accept His gift. Accept… accept! Why is that so difficult?

       Accept Jesus. Right now. No one can hear you. Tell Jesus that you are a sinner. Tell Jesus that you are sorry for the sins and wrongs that you have done against other people, yourself, and God. Ask Him to forgive you for those sins. Ask Jesus to come into your life, not just for today but forever. THIS WILL BE THE MOST IMPORTANT DECISION YOU WILL EVER MAKE !

       God's definitions of goodness are given to us, as well as His definitions of evil. The source of God's moral compass to us is the Holy Bible. The Holy Bible gives direction to our lives. God had the Bible written for you and me. It is our instruction book. It defines good and evil. If you know the Bible, you can distinguish between right and wrong... and there are no gray areas. Have you ever seen this acrostic?

B
I
B
L
E
Basic
Instructions
Before
Leaving
Earth

       If we humans fall way short of God's holiness, how can we then determine which parts of God's Holy Bible are applicable or not? How can we truly distinguish between good and evil? If we say that this part of the Bible applies but this one doesn't, then we are elevating ourselves to be equal with God, which is false thinking. We can never be good enough, so we do not deserve eternal life with God. Sin separates us from God. How can we ever think that we are equal with God, unless it is through the sin of pride and ego? God loves us enough, so that He sent His son to die for us. YES! THANK YOU, LORD! God loves us! God provides a way for us to join Him in Heaven, but we have to choose to accept His gift of love. Right now, tell God that you want Jesus in your life! Always! And repent of the sins in your life and ask for His forgiveness!

       Everyone has a built-in moral compass called our conscience. Most of us know that it is bad to kill or to steal. If consciences worked all the time, then society would not need prisons. I think that our society has troubled relationships with politicians, for example, because we cannot be certain when they are telling us the truth or the "white lies" of convenience. Unfortunately, many professions from law to business seem to have refined the art of truth-and-lies. They have even invented a name for it, it is called "spin".

       If I am a trusted employee of yours and our store is robbed while you are at lunch and I tell you that 'the thief was a six-foot, over 200-pounds, middle-aged man that ran out the front door', you would believe me because you trust me - I didn't lie - I just omitted the fact that after I dumped the cash into a paper bag and ran out the door, I then stashed the cash in the trunk of my car. Later when I am caught you might think I lied, but my conscience is clear. Therefore, if we are unable to distinguish between good and evil on our own, we need the Bible and the examples it provides us.

       The Bible is God's gift to us… our moral compass to help us navigate through this world, where evil clamors for our attention. God has certain qualities that are absolute and one of those qualities is that He cannot lie because He cannot sin. The Bible is God's Truth for us.

       The point I am trying to make is that the Bible is absolute. It is truth. It is God's Truth to us. We do not have the ability, the authority, or the wisdom to pick-n-choose.

       Therefore, the Anglican (Episcopal) ministers of some god have made themselves equals with their god, whatever idol it is. However, their god is not the one true Almighty God and Creator.

       In the Old Testament it is written in Genesis:
The LORD God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him'... Then the LORD God made a woman… and He brought her to the man. The man said, 'This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman,' for she was taken out of man.' For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. Genesis 2:18-24 (NIV)

       God made a woman for Adam, one with whom Adam would be united in a husband and wife relationship. It is God's plan from the beginning to unite a husband and wife in a God-ordained heterosexual relationship. God did not make a man for a man, or a woman for a woman. God made a man for a woman and a woman for a man. Let the anatomy of the male and female testify to God's plan for human procreation, the "plumbing" fits together perfectly in an exciting monogamous union.

       Sin has caused confusion in our sexual orientation throughout the ages. God had to remind the people 3,500 years ago as recorded in the Old Testament: 'If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable.' (Leviticus 20:13 NIV)

       Then, 1900 years ago the Apostle Paul wrote: 'For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened... Therefore, God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the Truth of God for a lie... God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men... they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.' Romans 1:21, 24-27, 31 (NIV) Throughout history nothing has changed.

Father God in Heaven,
       I pray that You forgive us for perverting Your Holy Bible. Please, create in us a renewed heart, a heart that beats only for You, that loves for You, and that obeys You. Please correct us when we stray from Your love and Your teaching. Please, be merciful to those of us who truly seek to follow Your Word and obey You. I pray these things in my Savior's name, Your holy Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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