Our Kingdom-adopted, Jesus-redeemed, hearts are straining mightily under the growing burden of the spiritual seisms of our day. It is impossible to completely escape the searing impact of animosity-fueled vitriol rampant in culture. So now, more than ever, I want to encourage us to dig deep in Scripture, savor our Savior in prayer, affirm our faith, all the while acknowledging we’re on a journey, with plenty of hard lessons to learn but with lots of delightful surprises ahead, too. As we interact with fallen culture, our response must always be a clear testimony of the loving heart of our Heavenly Father. That’s our mission and, let’s be honest, it goes totally against the grain to love people while abhorring their God-denying actions and decisions and lifestyles. (Imagine! Jesus really loves these lost people just like he loved – and loves – us!) Before reading the 2,000-year-old words from Romans 1, below, it may create some extra, open, heart space by taking a few minutes to listen to this song: 

Y’all are greatly loved and surrounded and prayed for – and loved some more!  PD

“I refuse to be ashamed of the wonderful message of God’s liberating power unleashed in us through Christ! For I am thrilled to preach that everyone who believes is saved—the Jew first, and then people everywhere! This gospel unveils a continual revelation of God’s righteousness—a perfect righteousness given to us when we believe. And it moves us from receiving life through faith, to the power of living by faith.  This is what the Scripture means when it says :“We are right with God through life-giving faith!” 

For God in heaven unveils his holy anger breaking forth against every form of sin, both toward ungodliness that lives in hearts and evil actions. For the wickedness of humanity deliberately smothers the truth and keeps people from acknowledging the truth about God. In reality, the truth of God is known instinctively, for God has embedded this knowledge inside every human heart. Opposition to truth cannot be excused on the basis of ignorance, because from the creation of the world, the invisible qualities of God’s nature have been made visible, such as his eternal power and transcendence. He has made his wonderful attributes easily perceived, for seeing the visible makes us understand the invisible.  So then, this leaves everyone without excuse.

Throughout human history the fingerprints of God were upon them, yet they refused to honor him as God or even be thankful for his kindness. Instead, they entertained corrupt and foolish thoughts about what God was like.  This left them with nothing but misguided hearts, steeped in moral darkness. Although claiming to be wise, they were in fact shallow fools.  For only a fool would trade the unfading splendor of the immortal God to worship the fading image of other humans, idols made to look like people, animals, birds, and even creeping reptiles!

This is why God lifted off his restraining hand and let them have full expression of their sinful and shameful desires. They were given over to moral depravity, dishonoring their bodies by sexual perversion among themselves—all because they traded the truth of God for a lie.  They worshiped and served the things God made rather than the God who made all things—glory and praises to him forever and ever! Amen!

For this reason God gave them over to their own disgraceful and vile passions.  Enflamed with lust for one another, men and women ignored the natural order and exchanged normal sexual relations for homosexuality. Women engaged in lesbian conduct, and men committed shameful acts with men, receiving in themselves the due penalty for their deviation. 

And because they thought it was worthless to embrace the true knowledge of God, God gave them over to a worthless mind-set, to break all rules of proper conduct. Their sinful lives became full of every kind of evil, wicked schemes, greed, and cruelty. Their hearts overflowed with jealous cravings, and with conflict and strife, which drove them into hateful arguments and murder. They are deceitful liars full of hostility. They are gossips who love to spread malicious slander. With inflated egos they hurl hateful insults at God, yet they are nothing more than arrogant boasters. They are rebels against their parents and totally immoral. They are senseless, faithless, ruthless, heartless, and completely merciless.  Although they are fully aware of God’s laws and proper order, and knowing that those who do all of these things deserve to die, yet they still go headlong into darkness, encouraging others to do the same and applauding them when they do!” VOICE

You might need to go back and listen to that song again!?!

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