Social Drinking: Acceptable for Christians?

glass of wine
Is it wrong for Christians to drink alcohol in moderation?

This is a question we recently discussed at our Crossroads round table  due to my college-aged class having questions concerning the subject.

First, allow me to give credit where it is due.  My teaching is largely drawn from Assistant Pastor Mark Sims of Kingwood Church in Alabaster, AL., along with information from Perry Stone.

Many in churches today feel social drinking is no biggie since Jesus turned water into wine and even Paul told Timothy to use a little wine for his stomach’s sake (I Timothy 5:23).

So, was Jesus handing out Cabernat Sauvingion at the wedding?

In order to know whether it is acceptable for Christians to drink alcohol in moderation, we always turn to the Word of God. Bible

Unfortunately, when the King James Bible was translated,  all  Hebrew and Greek words meaning grape juice, whether fermented (alcoholic) or non-fermented (non alcoholic) were translated as the word “wine.”

So, how do we know if Jesus turned water into alcohol?

Aside from His character, it helps to know the original word and its meaning, as well as how the word is being used in a sentence.  We English teachers call this “context clues.”

When Jesus turned the water into wine at the wedding feast in John 2:1, the word “wine” in the text was originally the Greek word “oinos,” which means “fruit of the vine.”

This being a general term, it’s helpful to know how wine in Jesus’ day was made.

How Wine was Made…

1.  Workers would take harvested grapes, press them, which caused the the juices from the grapes to flow through holes or vats, and into large containers for storage.  The juice was drank immediately. This was the preferred method due to is fresh taste.  This juice was also called new wine, and non alcoholic. cluster of grapes

2.  If harvesters didn’t drink all the freshly squeezed grape juice, they dehydrated it by leaving it in large urns where it would become a gel.   At this point, it would ferment over time.  When they became ready to use the gel, they would dilute it with water, causing the alcohol content to drop to nearly 1%, which is basically juice.

3.  Lastly, they would also take the pulp of the grapes, pour it into jars where it would also gel, and when ready to use, pour water through the pulp and strain it to drink.  Once again, greatly diluting the alcohol content to near nothing.

If you read the account of John 2:1, when the governor drank the wine Jesus made, he remarked that normally people served the best tasting wine at the beginning of a wedding feast, but the wine Jesus served at the end was even better that the freshest wine served first!

Jesus’ wine tasted better than the freshly squeezed grape juice!  Likely, it tasted like heaven (pardon the pun)! And since it mirrored fresh juice, it likely had no alcohol content.

So, knowing the character of Jesus, and how wine was made, the answer to the question if Jesus was responsible for making an alcoholic beverage is…
No.

As a matter of fact, Harvard & Yale Universities did a study on the wine of Jesus’s day and discovered…

One would have to drink 27 glasses of wine in Jesus’ day to equal the amount of alcohol in 2 of today’s martinis!


Okay, so Jesus was on the up and up.  What about Paul when he told Timothy

Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.

                                                         1 Tim 5:23

Look how the word “wine” is used.  Timothy had obviously been “drinking” water and was experiencing some stomach issues.  Paul explains to USE a little wine for his stomach’s sake.

Now, this could have very well been a more alcoholic version of grape juice.

When it comes to medicinal purposes, alcohol is widely used as an ingredient to treat sickness. cough syrup

That is why Paul told Timothy to USE a little wine.

A  person DRINKS a beverage but USES a medicine

So, no, Paul was not giving Timothy the right to go down to the local road house and kick back with a glass of alcohol–he was encouraging him to use medicine to solve a stomach issue.


Still wondering….?

Here is another Scripture to help you out:

Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.

                                                             Proverbs 20:1

The word for “wine” in this verse is the Hebrew word “Yayin,” which means “juice of the grape.”  To determine whether it is fermented or unfermented, look at the context clues.

It is a mocker and can deceive you.

Now, unless someone out there has had a different experience than mine, I have never experienced mockery or felt deceived when enjoying a nice glass of Welch’s.

Obviously, this verse is speaking of an alcoholic form of wine.

And let’s not overlook strong drink in this verse either.

The original word for “strong drink” was “shekar,” which meant “what intoxicates.”  It was a grain beverage made from barley and wheat and invented by the Egyptians.

Today’s version of strong drink would be beer and whiskey.

We’ve probably all had the chance at a local restaurant to view people in action who have been “mocked” and “deceived” by a little too much to drink.


Isn’t this view a little old fashioned?

“What about all the great wines and chefs who pair them with delicious foods?” you ask.

Goodness, that sounds good, doesn’t it?  But one must keep in mind that no where in God’s Word are we ever encouraged to pair wine with our meals.

Didn’t they enjoy wine with their meals in Biblical days?


Keep in mind that in Jesus’s day, Coca-Cola,Coca Cola Red Bull, Pepsi, Sweet Tea and Lemonade didn’t exist…okay, maybe lemonade.

All they had was water!

The grapes were harvested only once a year, so they came up with every way possible to keep the grape juice so they could dilute it with water to enjoy at special occasions all year.

Grapes are plentiful now, which makes wine making more available.

Chefs discovered the methods of aging wine and pairing those with meals giving the appearance that doing so is typical.

Just because it’s something many people do, doesn’t make it a good idea.


Everyone knows someone…

I, personally, knew a wonderful lady who was a Christian and enjoyed singing in a southern gospel group who became an alcoholic, lost her marriage and children, was involved in a terrible car accident, and last time I heard was looking at prison.

All because their family doctor encouraged them to take a little wine to help relieve stomach issues.


An awesome minister friend of ours was also once an alcoholic.  He gave his life to Christ, however, and was able to overcome the strong pull to drink alcoholic beverages.

One church service, communion was celebrated.  The little plastic cup passed under his nose and immediately a torrent of urges came surging up as he smelled a familiar smell from the past.  There was alcoholic wine in the cup.

He managed to refrain himself.

After service, a lady of the church he admired greatly explained to him since he had been doing so well with his former drinking problem, that she saw nothing wrong with him having a little drink if he wanted one.

That’s all it took.

He headed for the local pub.

His wife explained in detail that if he stopped, she would be leaving.

They were in such an argument on the way, he drove right past the pub. I wonder if he would still be a pastor today if he had taken the drink on the way home.


One last anecdote…alcoholism

A group of ministerial students were on a trip to Italy when their liberal professor explained it would not compromise their testimony to have a glass of wine while in Italy.  A few students took the offer.

The next day, one young man explained in tears that he took the drink which caused a flood of memories to return to his former days as an alcoholic.  He ended up getting drunk that evening and felt he had lost so much spiritually due to his actions.


The Bottom Line…

No story in the Bible where alcohol was involved turned out well.

People say that wine is good for your blood.  Did you know vinegar will do the same for your blood?

People say red wine is good for you.  Did you know red grape juice has many of the same benefits?

It is common knowledge that alcoholism runs in families.

Call me ignorant, but to my knowledge, there is no alcoholic gene that is passed down.

The Bible does speak of spiritual issues that are passed down through families, however.

Ever known a son to grow up under an alcoholic father and swear he’d never be like his dad, only to find himself an alcoholic later?

Whenever there is a pull to do something destructive, you can rest assure the enemy is behind it.

The first glass of wine is simply an open door.noalcohol

Jesus never intended alcohol to be used as a beverage

This is spelled out in the qualifications of the priests in the Old Testament and standards the elders of the New Testament the elders were to keep.


For Christians struggling with this issue, the fact there is a struggle is likely the Holy Spirit leading you not to open a door for the enemy to affect your life in a harmful way.

Disciplining ourselves is something we all must do every day–this is just another example.

Let me leave you with a quote my Bible teacher’s dad always told him…

If you never drink, you’ll never be an alcoholic

 

 

 

Let It Go

frustratedI bet if I were to ask you to tell me about a time in your life when someone greatly wrong you, that you would be able to give me the specifics of exactly what happened, including what they said, how they said it, and maybe even where you were when it happened.

That’s because it is extremely difficult to forget when others hurt us so badly.  And the closer the person is to us, the deeper the hurt.

For many, it’s very difficult getting past offense, and just when you think you’ve mastered it, the offender crosses in front of you at the supermarket.  You do a 180 with your buggy to keep from having to look at them.  That’s when you know the old wound is still open and still hurting.

It makes verses like the one below seem downright impossible:

“But I say to you who are listening now to Me: [in order to heed, make it a practice to] love your enemies, treat well (do good to, act nobly toward) those who detest you and pursue you with hatred.

Invoke blessings upon and pray for the happiness of those who curse you, implore God’s blessing (favor) upon those who abuse you [who revile, reproach, disparage, and high handedly misuse you].” –Luke 6:27-28 Amplified

Wow!  God really expects us to do that?  I hate to tell you, but it wouldn’t be in His Word if He didn’t.  I’ll let that sink in a minute…………anger


“How is that even possible?” you’re thinking.  “I’ve struggled so long with trying to forgive someone and I just cannot seem to get past what they did to me.”

The secret to overcome is actually found in these two verses.

God does tell us to forgive others, but He asks that we go beyond just forgiving them.  He asks us to bless them.  In this verse, blessing them means to speak well of them.

How often is it that people offend us, we take it to God in prayer and tell Him we are making the choice to forgive them, then curse them with our tongues and rehash the offense over and over with others?

blah

If we truly want to be free, we have to work at forgiving, but also work at blessing.  It is unrealistic, really, to want someone blessed when they have hurt us so badly.  The natural reaction is to want to hurt them back so they will feel as badly as we do.

Good thing Jesus didn’t take that stance while He was on the cross.

Many times when we think of praying for other people to be blessed, we think we are supposed to ask God to bless them with money or more possessions.  What God really wants for the person who wrong us is to prosper spiritually.

When someone wrongs another, there is a matter of the heartheart that needs to be addressed that caused the person to act the way they did.  This is where we can help.

First, we need to pray for our enemies that God would bless them spiritually.  We ask God to open their eyes to the wrong they have done, and help them to have a repentant attitude so they will ask forgiveness and be free from this type of sin.

Next, we need to speak well of them.  Rehashing the offense will keep it alive in our heart and not allow us to move past it.  And so, we simply need to let the matter drop and let it go–for our sake and theirs.

God’s mercy is amazing when we do this!  There have been times people greatly offended me, but because I chose not to keep the matter alive in my heart, I actually forgot what they did to me!


As our actions come into line with what God’s Word tells us to do, we will find that we actually free ourselves from the offense.

“Judge not [neither pronouncing judgment nor subjecting to censure], and you will not be judged; do not condemn and pronounce guilty, and you will not be condemned and pronounced guilty; acquit and forgive and release (give up resentment, let it drop), and you will be acquitted and forgiven and released.”    –Luke 6:37  Amplified

It is not enough just to make the decision to forgive others.  We must go further.  To truly enjoy peace, we must pray for the spiritual condition of our enemies and allow our tongues to only speak well of them.

And if you feel you simply cannot find anything good to say, say nothing, and ask God to help you learn to speak well of those who offend you.

Always remember, you can never go wrong following the Word of God.

Even though it may seem impossible at times, once you make the effort, God will strengthen you on the inside to do what He has asked.

If you are struggling with offense, take the matter to God, choose to forgive, then choose to bless your enemies in your conversations with others and in prayer.

Soon, you will be so free from the matter, you may not even remember the offense.

 

Same Sex Marriage: Where Do We Draw the Line?

What should a Christian’s response be regarding same sex marriages?

Many Christians are at odds with themselves wanting to understand the plight of civil rights, ( an all too familiar topic to us in the South)  yet at the same time trying to understand a Biblical perspective when it comes to same sex marriages.

Christians want to please God and their neighbor, and find themselves at a crossroads as to how to do both.

The Issue

On January 23, 2015 in Alabama, “Judge  Granade of the US District Court for Southern Alabama struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, saying the ban violated gay and lesbian citizen’s equal protection and due process rights.”

This judge’s ruling caused a problem between federal and state government because 81% of the state of Alabama voted to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
When the federal judge decided what marriage would be for an entire state, the decision violated our state’s rights.

In a former case, the US vs Windsor, the court’s decision made it plain that same-sex marriage did not have to be recognized in every state, but that each state has a “well-established right to determine the definition of marriage” (Smith).

And so we find conflicting outcomes of cases dealing with whether or not states must observe same sex marriages.

Judge Granade also said Alabama failed “to provide ‘rational, much less compelling,’ arguments connecting the deterioration of ‘the biological family structure the state wishes to promote'”(Ballotpedia).

This deterioration of the biological family, in my opinion, is difficult to prove since homosexuals only make up 14% of the state’s population.

However, with the legalization of same sex marriage, given time, I am sure the state would see much deterioration of the biological family.

Judge Roy Moore’s Stance

State Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore explained that “the United States Supreme Court is very clear in recognizing that federal courts do not bind state courts,” and that Judge Granade ” ‘ has no control over the state of Alabama to force all probate judges to do anything’.”  Justice Moore went on to say that since Alabama probate judges were not defendants in Judge Granade’s case, they did not have to obey the direct court order to legally recognize same sex marriage in Alabama (al.com).

And Justice Roy Moore is not the only civil authority that feels this way.  Justice Clarence Thomas complained, “the court’s decision was made ‘without any regard for the people who approved these laws…or elected the representatives who voted for them'”(al.com).

Justice Roy Moore was then branded as George Wallace stereotype, reminiscing Wallace’s “schoolhouse door” stance.

 The difference between Justice Moore and former Governor Wallace is that Wallace was trying to fight a ruling from the US Supreme Court which was handed down nine years earlier that dealt with the suppressing the rights of a race of people.

 Our Supreme Court has made so such ruling as of yet in regards to same sex marriages across states.  Therefore, Justice Moore was simply trying to uphold the ruling our state had already made in regards to marriage defined as being between a man and a woman.

Chaos ensued on February 8th, 2015, the day before same-sex marriages were to become legal in Alabama, as Justice Moore ordered probate judges in Alabama not to issue same sex marriage license.

Even though Justice Moore has made it clear that he believes marriage is between a man and a woman, and he was trying to follow his religious and moral convictions, he was also trying to protect State laws.

Governor Robert Bentley’s Stance

Our governor is a Republican and Southern Baptist who reads his Bible daily and believes marriage is between a man and a woman, but he did not want Alabama to be perceived as once again, “against history’s tide.”

Governor Bentley explained he simply did not believe defiance was the route to go because he has “to represent the state of Alabama to the rest of the nation and the rest of the world”(al.com).

My only concern is how is Alabama being represented in the eyes of God who has also made plain His feelings on homosexuality, which we will visit momentarily.

 A question Governor Bentley will one day, no doubt, have to give an answer for.

The Gay and Lesbian Community’s Viewpoint

As mentioned earlier, the gay and lesbian community equate to roughly 14% of Alabama’s population of 4,849,377, but their small voice is causing quite a stir (hrc.org).

More than 1 in 5 explain they have experienced harassment monthly or more at houses of worship and 50% have experienced harassment at school (hrc.org).

Their goals are to prevent harassment and violence against them, increase workplace protections and opportunities, support gay and lesbian youth in schools and communities and ensure homosexual families have the protections through marriage (hrc.org).

Society’s View

Of course, I cannot speak for all of society, but according to the latest gallup pole, over half of society, 55%, supports same sex marriage.  This number has doubled in the last eighteen years, which makes me wonder where we’ll be as a society in the next twenty years (McCarthy).

A recent talk show stated that society needed to re-visit the definition of marriage.

 Viewed as an infringement upon a minority group’s civil rights, society feels that new laws need to be made to ensure the homosexual community enjoy the same rights as heterosexuals do when it comes to marriage.

Many churches are beginning to accept homosexuality as correct as well.  I recently watched on the news at the leaders of one denomination came together from across the US to vote on the issue.

 The vote passed to honor same sex marriages in their churches by 70%.

Same Sex Marriage is Not About Civil Rights

I mean, all this sounds logical does it not?  Admit it, if you were living as simple a lay person in the world, without Biblical convictions, it would seem logical that no group of people should have their civil liberties suppressed, right?

But is same sex marriages a matter of civil liberty?  Or is it simply a choice people make about a characteristic in themselves they would like others to view as normal?

Gregory Kokul, President of Stand to Reason, explained the issue this way:

“Same sex marriage is not about civil rights.  It’s about validation and social respect.  It is a radical attempt…using government muscle to strong-arm the people into accommodating a lifestyle many find deeply offensive, contrary to nature, socially destructive, and morally repugnant.”

Homosexuals are not a race of people

When society compared Justice Moore to Governor Wallace, they missed an important point:  Wallace was suppressing the rights of a race of people; Moore was upholding our state’s law regarding a choice people make concerning their sexual orientation.

Despite many homosexual’s belief they are born with homosexual tendencies, I do not believe this to be so.  Having had association with homosexuals in a church setting, I have an insight as to how they choose the lifestyle.

 One bi-sexual female explained that many people do not understand the pull in the spiritual level of a person toward this type of lifestyle.

Oftentimes, a person’s destructive behaviors, be it physically or emotionally, can be traced back to a spiritual issue.

Two lesbians attended a church where my father served as Senior Pastor.  Both were interested in a relationship with Jesus Christ.

One worked with our freedom ministry, became free from the pull of homosexuality through a spiritual deliverance, and is happily married to a wonderful man and has a beautiful daughter.

The other woman returned to her lifestyle.


 Even Nature Does Not Agree

It does not take a person of great intellect to understand the “birds and the bees.”

Whether you believe in a divine Creator or not, anyone can see that homosexuality is a choice which goes against the very laws of nature that brings forth life.

Think about it…

If the entire world decided to practice homosexuality, reproduction would cease.


A Christian and Re-definition

So, how’s a Christian living in a society that feels a re-definition of marriage is needed, supposed to react when everyone views us as close-minded?

Even Russell Moore, the Southern Baptist Convention public policy head, said that Alabama judges who could not bring themselves to issue marriage license to same sex couples in Alabama  should resign instead of trying to fight the law while holding office (DeMar).

So, is everyone who has a moral conviction over the matter supposed to step down from their civil offices?

Should all our representatives in Washington who define marriage as between a man and woman step down from representing the Christian voice?

The very idea is completely absurd.  God places people in positions of power so they can make a difference in a nation.

If everyone who had a moral conviction stepped down from office, there would be no one for God to use to bring about change.


Basically, it comes down to obeying God’s Word.  As Jeremiah Castille explained,

You cannot look at the situation to decide if you are going to obey God.

Governor Bentley could take a lesson from this former All-American Pro football player.

The Biblical View of Homosexuality

As Christians, we draw upon God’s Word to help us determine whether homosexuality is right or wrong.  This is the same book our country was founded upon, by the way.

“Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their [own] hearts to sexual impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves…” Romans 1:24

“For this reason God gave them over and abandoned them to vile affections and degrading passions.  For their women exchanged their natural function for an unnatural and abnormal one, And the men also turned from natural relations with women and were set ablaze (burning out, consumed) with lust for one another–men committing shameful acts with men…”  Romans 1:26-27

“And so, since they did not see fit to acknowledge God or approve of Him or consider Him worth the knowing, God gave them over to a base and condemned mind to do things not proper or decent but loathsome.” Romans 1:28

“Though they were fully aware of God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them themselves but approve and applaud others who practice them.”  Romans 1:32 All quotes from Amplified Version

In modern English, there were people throughout the Bible that practiced homosexuality. Because the people chose to believe what they wanted to do was morally acceptable, God allowed them to believe it.

It was not that He did not try to show them the correct way.  You can also find His instructions to His people in Leviticus 18:22:

“You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.”

Since people did not feel they needed to acknowledge God in their behavior, He allowed them to do what they wanted, paying a great price in their bodies and emotions.

Those that practiced homosexuality before Jesus’ sacrificial death for our sins were considered lawbreakers against God’s covenant, and were given the death penalty.

Fortunately, Jesus was sent to die in our place so that is no longer the case.  God made a way for every person, homosexual and heterosexual to be able to be forgiven of their wrongs and come to Him for help to break the cycles of sin through the death of his Son, Jesus.

However, psychologists will explain there are certain destructive behavioral tendencies that are more difficult to shake than others.

Having worked in freedom ministry (helping those bound by demonic oppression and possession), it’s been my experience that a tendency toward homosexuality is one of the most difficult to overcome.

It’s very premise is against what God designed, therefore, is in direct conflict with God’s desire for mankind.

A person who allows their very nature to be touched by a demonic force often finds themselves “bound” to the tendencies which drive them to live in a way that is opposite the way God designed.

I have heard homosexuals say they desired not to be gay, and even prayed that God would take it away from them, yet they still practiced the lifestyle.

Once an individual dabbles in the homosexual life style, many find the pull of the enemy toward this life style to be greater than their resistance.  At this point, it will require spiritual intervention to become free plus a great effort on the individual’s part.

How Should We Treat Homosexuals?

God still feels very strongly that homosexuality is a sin that is not to be accepted or applauded. And He doesn’t appreciate us attempting to “re-define” what he Has already made clear.

Homoesexuality was an abomination to God because He created us.  He knows every intricate detail of our inner workings.

The Bible tells us that God knows us even before we are conceived in our mother’s wombs (Jeremiah 1:5).

God knows the affects of practicing that type of lifestyle has on our emotions and spirit, and that is why He is so passionately against homosexuality.

God also does not condone the harassment or violence toward any people.  Hate never won someone–that’s love’s job.

We are to love the homosexual, but not accept their life style as correct.

We are not to shun them in churches or harass them.

We are to love them and allow God to correct them, whether it be a matter of heart or counseling with leaders of the Christian community.

Does God expect us to obey our civil and federal officials no matter what they tell us to do?

“Let every person be loyally subject to the governing (civil) authorities. ”  Romans 13:1

We Christians find ourselves between a rock and a hard place when it comes to this question.  We don’t want to appear as fanatics in front of society, but neither do we want to support what God has spelled out in His Word as morally wrong.

In the verse above, to be “subject” to our government means to be “submissive.”  The Bible does teach unconditional submissiveness to our government, but…

the Bible does not teach unconditional obedience.

Submission deals with the attitude of our heart; obedience deals with fulfilling what we are told to do (Bevere 135).  Whenever we deal with our governing authorities, we are to do so with an honorable, submissive attitude.

The only exception in which we are not to obey authorities is when they tell us to do something that directly contradicts what God has stated in His Word…however, even in those cases we are to keep a humble and submitted attitude”  (Bevere 135)

From Daniel facing the lion’s den to Shadrach, Mesach and Abednego facing the fiery furnace, people have often had to make a choice regarding whether or not to obey God’s Word in times of severe persecution.  The list is endless of those who chose to follow God’s Word instead of the law of the land then and now.

Perhaps Franklin Graham puts it best:

“No earthly court has jurisdiction over the infallible Word of God.” (al.com)

For me, and many other Christians, it comes down to a matter of citizenship.

 Physically, we enjoy freedom in the US; spiritually, we are citizens of the kingdom of God Jehovah.

Spiritual citizenship trumps physical every time.

Why Has Society’s View Changed So Much in the Last Few Years?

Many decisions have been made in this country over the past few decades to push God out of this nation.  In so doing, we have silenced His voice and direction.  Without His providential guidance, this nation is headed for disaster.

“Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint…” Proverbs 29:18 NIV

“There are only two forces that hold back homosexuals from giving themselves over completely to their sin, and they are rejection by society and the repudiation and teachings of the church.
 When society no longer rejects their sin as abnormal and fully accepts them and encourages them in their abnormality, and when the church no longer preaches against it as sin and consoles them in their sexual activities–there no longer exists any hindering forces. 
 The floodgates are open, and homosexuals are encouraged to continue in their sin. I have seen these two roadblocks being swept away.  When that which hinders is taken away, chaos will follow.”

The above statement is taken from David Wilkerson’s book, The Vision and Beyond, which was written in 1973.  At that time, Wilkerson received several visions from God detailing what would happen in society soon, and in the future.

We are now living out his vision.

Alabama is in a state of chaos because the people of this state are casting off restraint because there has not been adequate revelation of God’s Word.

Society now accepts homosexuality as normal, and encourages it to be accepted by every one.  Just tune into any television show on ABC Family.

Churches are ceasing to cry out against this immoral lifestyle as homosexuality is being accepted as an alternate lifestyle.

What Wilkerson saw has happened, and the floodgates are open as these restraints are being removed.  I shudder as I wonder what societal chaos is next.

Generations of sexually-confused young people will grow up with emotional scars as they try to determine their own paths of life.

And the children of the Christians will live in a world that views them as a minority of close-minded people which won’t listen to reason, making our children the laughing stock of society.

What Do We Do Now?

The answer lies in a sermon my husband recently titled, What If? 

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV

This message is to God’s people–the Christians.

1.  We Have to Humble Ourselves

We have to admit we have missed it as a nation in supporting what God’s Word called an abomination.

2.  We Have to Pray

After admitting that we have fallen short of wisdom, we then need to ask God to direct us.  How can we speak out respectfully in a manner we will be heard?  How can we teach others correct sexual choices based upon God’s Word? We must ask for God’s wisdom.

3.  We Must Seek His Face

 In this pampered age, we’ve become accustomed to seeking God’s hand for His gifts–not His face for His presence.  We need to become acquainted once again with our Heavenly Father.

And as we spend time in His Presence, we will find ourselves becoming more like Him.

4.  We Must Turn from Our “Wicked” Ways

We have to stop calling wrong behavior correct.  We have to stop doing whatever we feel like it and believing God overlooks are wrong doing.  We have to put away our sins and get back into right standing with our Heavenly Father.

And when we do these things from our heart, despite what anyone thinks of us, God will begin to move in our nation.

But, what if we don’t…?

I think George Washington explained best what would happen to America if she turned her back on God’s guidance:

“The propitious smiles of heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself hath ordained.”

Truly we have disregarded God’s direction.  Although God is rich in grace and mercy, and is long suffering with mankind, I fear the smile is fading from His face.

View Pastor Keven’s sermon, What If? by clicking the link below:

http://new.livestream.com/amazinggrace/events/3851458

The US Supreme Court will be ruling on this issue of whether all states should recognize same sex marriages in June of 2015.

I plead with every Christian reading this, let us begin to do as 2 Chronicles 7:14 instructs us so that God will can bring healing to our nation.

Suggested Reading:

If you would like to better acquaint yourself with how to respond to issues such as this, I recommend:

john john his more to and t of protection ratings bevere to 130 fear and Materiales Cristianos

A special thanks to everyone who helped me in my research for this topic!

Sources for my research in case you’d like to delve a little further:

“Alabama’s gay marriage battle continues long fight for states’ rights.  The Associated                  Press.  AL.com. http://blog.al.com/news.  February 17, 2015.

“Alabama Sanctity of Marriage, Constitutional Amendment 774   (June 2006).                                     http://ballotpedia.org. February 17, 2015.

Bevere, John.  Under Cover.  Thomas Nelson Publishers. Nashville,  TN.  2001.  135.

DeMar, Gary.  “Oh No! Southern Baptist Leader says Alabama Chief  Justice Roy Moore                   should Resign for Defying Judge’s Order on  Gay Marriage!.  Eagle                                                        Rising. http://eaglerising.com. February 16,         2015.

Everyday Realities for LGBT Alabamians.  LGBT Rights in Alabama  Human Rights Campaign.         www.hrc.org/Alabama.

“Franklin Graham on gay marriage in Alabama. AL.com.                                                                                  http://impact.al.com.2/17/2015.

Koukl, Gregory.  “Same Sex Marriage Challenges and Responses.”  Solid Ground.                        

McCarthy, Justin.  “Same-Sex Marriage Support Reaches New High at 55%.”                                            www.gallup.com. May 21, 2014.

Smith, Cameron.  “Court Biased Own Ruling on Same Sex Marriages.”  The Birmingham                    News.  February 25, 2015.

 

Fifty Shades of WHAT?

Grey.        fifty shades of grey

And what is grey anyway?   It’s a mixture of black and white.  Not really black, and not really white, but somewhere in between.

E.L. James, author of the book Fifty Shades of Grey, explained the title of the book did not simply come from the main character’s last name, but rather from her ability to not look at life in black and white, but in many shades of grey.

From my experience as a pastor’s wife, it is often those grey areas that destroy Christian men and women.  The lines are blurred between right and wrong, causing many to succumb to compromising situations that degrade character, causing a person’s testimony to no longer be effective.

The “Don’t Criticize Unless You’ve Read It” Argument

Let me begin by saying, I have not, nor do I intend to read this book.  One of the main arguments of proponents of  controversial fiction is ” How can you give an opinion of the book if you haven’t read it?”

I also have not tried cocaine because I am wise enough to know it can lead to roads I’d rather not go down.

Lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices
–2 Corinthians 2:11, NKJV

I am also an English major and former high school teacher who has studied and taught the great works of fictions and the literary contributions to society.  The New York Times recently named E.L. James as one of the 100 most influential people in the US due to this book.  It doesn’t take a genius to know what this book is going to contribute to society.

The Book’s Influence

In past experience, when a book sweeps a nation like this one has, there is more at work than good writing. Many critics claim the book is poorly written.  It seems that most readers are drawn in by the erotic content.

The book Fifty Shades of Grey sold 40 million copies in the first year it was written (2011).  The number sold is now more than 100 million worldwide and is being translated in to 52 languages. The book has outsold the Harry Potter series and has spent 100 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list.

Many articles have been published concerning hardware stores running out of the same supplies Christian and Anna use during their sexual exploits due to women everywhere trying to recreate these BDSM (bondage / discipline / dominance / submission / sadism / masochism) sexual experiences at home.

Other women are trying to gain sexual satisfaction in other ways.  A popular extramarital affair site reported that 82% of their members feel more sexually adventurous after reading the book.

The Fifty Shades of Grey has created a new genre in writing called, “mommy porn,” which the author is not happy about.  She feels it gives her books a negative connotation.  You think?

Companies are also jumping on board the bandwagon as the Vermont Teddy Bear company recently released a grey teddy bear in honor of the Valentine’s Day movie premiere of Fifty Shades of Grey.  The teddy even comes with its own handcuffs.  I don’t even want to explore the possibilities of that idea!

And the book’s influence is reaching not only adults, but children as well.  Just this week a school in Pennsylvania handed its middle school children a Fifty Shades of Grey word search puzzle containing words as “spanking,” “leather cuffs,” and “bondage.”  What’s next–a teaching unit on BDSM sexuality for our kids?

What’s the book about?

Fifty Shades of Grey is about the sexual tension between Christian Grey, a young, vibrant billionaire, and his object of obsession, Anastasia, “Anna,” a young literature major.

Christian pursues a relationship with Anna in almost a stalking way and it eventually becomes clear he desires her sexually.  He buys her lavish gifts and she is eventually drawn to him as well.

Christian has Anna sign a contract with him describing what he will do to her sexually.  The book is filled with the sexual exploits of these two in Christian’s “red room of pain,” as Anna describes it.

The books ends with Anna crying because she discovers she has fallen in love with a man who is seriously disturbed.

Readers learn the reason for Christian’s emotional problems stems from the sexual abuse he suffered as a teenager by an older woman who was friend of his mothers.  After the abuse, he entered a six year BDSM relationship with this woman.  And this is the type of sexual relationship Christian has engaged in with various women, and now Anna.


 

Why are so many interested in reading it?

Like Harry Potter and Twilight, there is a darkness to the novel.  There is also a pull to read it.  Call it curiosity, lust, or attraction, but those are the same things that caused an innocent woman to eat an apple. And we all know how that ended up.

Those outside the church aren’t the only ones reading it–the Church is too!

The books seems particularly attractive to ladies in their 30’s and beyond.  Many in the church have read it, including pastor’s wives.

They claim it has revolutionized their marriages, causing their sex lives to “awaken” whereas it was dead before.  Thus, making it an okay read for Christian people.


 

The Dangers

The movie, Fifty Shades of Grey is about to hit theaters in time for Valentine’s Day.  Fandango reports advance tickets sales are already through the roof. The film is rated R, but I learned initially the film company intended to make an R version so more people could see it, then a NC-17 rated version because fans “like it dirty.”

So, what about people that are simply curious and have no intention of entering a BDSM relationship, but just want to read the book or see the movie?

Pornography is Wrong

The actor who plays Christian Grey, Jamie Dornan, visited a sex dungeon to prepare for the role.  Upon arriving home, he said the first thing he did was take a bath before touching his wife and baby. It is not unusual for actors to go to great lengths to “become” their character.

Do we really want this type of influence to be played out on the screens of your minds?  The negative affects from reading or viewing pornographic material upon an individual’s emotions and spirit are catastrophic and are one of the toughest type of spiritual bondage to break.

It is proven that once something is in your sub-conscience, you can never get it out.  You can, however, dilute it.

Think of it like a green swimming pool.  You treat it heavily with chlorine to eliminate the slime until it turns blue.

Once these sexual images are in a person’s sub-conscience, it will take mega-doses of the Word of God to get it free.

From my perspective as a Christian who works with others to become free from bondage, I recognize the spirit behind the writing of Fifty Shades of Grey.

Christian and Anna’s sexual exploits are abusive pornography in nature.

In my experience with individuals who abuse others sexually or have been sexually abused, a high percentage of the time a demonic spirit is present creating a pull to abuse.

Have you ever known someone who was abused and became an abuser?  The prisons are full of those type of people.

People often want to be free from this type of behavior, but do not realize it is a freedom in their spirit that needs to be achieved.  When people say, “It is stronger than me,” they aren’t kidding.

Only the power of Jesus Christ can free a person from this type of behavior.  But take hope, we have seen people reach that precious freedom Christ died to give us.

Abuse is Wrong

The mistreatment of God’s daughters is wrong.

Abuse is not sexy–it’s scarring to the person on the receiving end.

There is nothing wonderful about your partner controlling you, and there is nothing alluring about “saving” a man who abuses you.

Sexual Immorality is Wrong

Fifty Shades of Grey book and movie are filled with sexually immoral exploits that negatively affect our emotions and souls.  This is why God warned us not to take part in it.

“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality…because these are improper for God’s holy people.”                                                 –Ephesians 5:3

It’s just a little fun

I won’t lie–sin can seem fun–until its effects are felt.

There is nothing fun about abusing another person or being abused.  God did not intend for us to be treated this way.

It’s the casual attitude toward issues such as these that often gets our lives in a mess.

King Solomon, one of the wisest men to ever live, explained that it was the little issues in life that destroy us (Song of Solomon 2:15).

Even if we think something is okay, we need to hold it up to the light of God’s Word. And God’s Word makes it clear that…

  • We are His children and we are not to mistreat one another
  • We are not to engage in sexual immorality, and that includes reading it or viewing it.
  • A husband is to love his wife as he loves himself
So what is okay?

Hebrews 13:4 tells us

“Marriage is honorable in all and the bed undefiled.”

Which means that a husband and wife should be able to enjoy sexual freedom as long as the husband loves his wife and treats her respectfully, and she, in turn, does the same.

Neither person should ever feel shamed, mistreated in any way, or abused by the other.

It is not wrong to want a wonderful sexual relationship with your spouse.  God made us as sexual beings.

When our love life is less than desirable, we should take it to the Father in prayer, stay in communication with our spouse, and do our part at making it better.

Do not fall for the imitations of the enemy in this area, nor his schemes.

I plead with all those reading this to say no to the book and the movie.

God knows your struggles and your needs. Why not take them to Him right now and allow Him to work His wonderful grace in your life?

Sources for my research:

Fifty Shades of No Way. Deanna Shrodes. January 25, 2015. www.deannashrodes.net

How 50 Shades of Grey Pushed More Women to Have Affairs. Affair reviewer. August 8 2013. http://affaridatingguide.com.

50 facts about Fifty Shades of Grey. Online video. convenant eyes.com.

“Western PA. students given ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ puzzles. February 12 2015. Associated Press. The Evening Sun Pennsylvania. 

For ‘Fifty Shades of Grey,’ More Than 100 Million sold.” Julie Bosman. New York Times. February 26 2014. www.nytimes.com

www.vermonteddybear.com

“Power Thoughts.” Enjoying Everyday Life. Joyce Meyer. Television episode. February 2, 2015.