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Turning toward Jesus Christ

Clearly we have witnessed a momentum to evil. One desecrating act begets another, broken boundaries fan out like myriad wildfires on dry forest.

But the momentum of repentance is more powerful still. As we turn back to Him, the Author and Redeemer of who we actually are, our spirits resound with the music of Heaven. We discover quickly that the enemy’s design for humanity is infinitely less satisfying and secure than God’s original design for His creation.

Budziszewski writes: “We are put together in such a way that although we can be pushed and pulled and drowsied by flickering images, we can’t be satisfied by them; we know too much, even in oblivion. Fallen knowledge troubles our sleep. We lie under a prickling enchantment of the image carved in our hearts, which is stronger than the counterspell and can never be quite scratched out.”

We turn Jesus, who alone has unique authority to summon the true (albeit slumbering) image in us. He invites us to surrender unto Himself—He who is the true image of God in humanity and He who alone possesses the authority to recover that design in us.

Paul in his letter to the Colossians highlights the supremacy of Jesus Christ—“the image of the invisible God.” (Col. 1:15). The Apostle claims that Christ created everything. As the Source of God’s image in humanity, Jesus is also the redeemer of its brokenness.

Paul underlines His work on the cross as Jesus’ authority to reconcile us back to the Father and His design for us. His death cancels out the desecration of His image in us; Hi s life raises us up ‘holy in His sight, without blemish, and free from accusation.’(1:22)

That requires one thing of us: turning to Him in full as the Hope of our recovery. (1:23)

Turning away from the damage done to marriage specifically and God’s image in general requires more than just hating the devastation; it involves cleaving to the Redeemer of the broken image in humanity. He alone holds the keys to our restoration.

We love Him. He is the only One who can rescue us from the dominating power of sin. Our first goal then is not the recovered marriage, the flood of pure feelings, the freedom from addiction—the first goal is setting our hearts on Him as the Author and Finisher of our redemption. He made us; He alone can redeem us.

Honor Jesus by honoring marriage. Vote YES on Proposition 8.

The best way to overcome false desires is to cultivate true ones (C. S. Lewis); in turn, let us not be overcome by evil, but rather overcome evil with good. (Rom. 18:21)

“Jesus, we acknowledge You as that highest good. We want to cultivate desire for You. We place our confidence in Your mercy and design for our lives.”

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Repentance for Breaking Natural Boundaries

In the Los Angeles earthquake of 1994, I witnessed power lines under and over ground breaking and igniting into flames. Showers of sparks flew from the broken lines as they lashed out, like huge snakes striking wildly at anything in their path. Broken power lines did more damage in our neighborhood than anything else.

Like those damaged lines, we as a people are guilty of breaking natural boundaries in our relationships. We have scoffed at the 6th Commandment: ‘Thou shall not commit adultery.’ Not only have we refused marriage as the one context for sexual behavior, we have allowed our minds and hearts to be filled with lustful thoughts for those we have no business sexualizing. We have violated the 9th Commandment: ‘Thou shall not covet your neighbor’s wife’, referring to the ways we envy or long to possess another that is not ours to have.

In our neediness and rebellion, we have broken holy boundaries. We have perverted God’s creation. The lines of protection break and lash out; loose wires ignite desires that are exaggerated and inflamed. Our emotions become similarly distorted and incline us to dangerous unions. Misbegotten relationships speak for themselves, a result of our separation from God rather than of our obedience to Him.

J. Budziszewski writes of how breaking natural boundaries perverts desire and behavior: “Although sex consummates the friendship of wife and husband, it perverts the friendship of comrades, just as it perverts the friendship of family members.”

I remember the seismic shift that occurred as a teenager when my male friend became a lover; I see that now with men and women on the journey out of homosexuality who break boundaries with others on the way to freedom. Friends lose friends when they become lovers. There is forgiveness for perverting a friendship, but there is no return to its original innocence.

My original walking partners in the ‘brave new world’ of homosexuality both died of AIDS. Having annihilated natural boundaries in all manner of addiction, we became subject to all manner of infection. Today Annette and I spend much of our time helping others rebuilding boundaries in the aftermath of their breaking them, not to mention the equally slow process of restoring trust with those they love.

Breaking boundaries is costly and devilish. We are slow to come to our senses. We must pray for clarity of truth and sight here; we must ask God for an awareness of the depth of denial and deception at work. I never cease to be amazed at how long and how far violators will go to defend their moral crimes.

“Behind your doors and your doorposts, you have put your pagan symbols. Forsaking me, you uncovered your bed, you climbed into it and opened it wide; you made a pact with those whose beds you love, and you looked on their nakedness…You were wearied by all your ways, but you would not say ‘It is hopeless.’ You found renewal of your strength, and so you did not faint. Whom have you so dreaded and feared that you have been false to me, and have neither remembered me nor pondered this in your hearts?” (Isaiah 57: 8, 10, 11)

“Thank you God that we have come to our senses. The loose wires have lashed out at us; we have been burned by the fires of our lust and fiery emotions. Thank You for waking us up through the bitter consequence of sin.

Forgive us for the ways that we have violated You in our broken boundaries. Forgive us for the ways we have violated Your creation, including our own bodies and souls. Sensitize us to the damage done, that we would not take lightly the ways we have abused sacred trust as Your image-bearers.

Have mercy on us; give us grace, humility and courage to rebuild the boundary lines. Help us to manifest trustworthiness to those who we love and who need our faithfulness. Your faithfulness is our hope that we too can become faithful.”

We pray as Nehemiah prayed: “You see the trouble we are in: we are in ruins, our gates burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall, and we will no longer be in disgrace.”(Neh3:17)

Honor marriage for the good of all. Vote YES on Proposition 8.

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Repentance for the Desecration of God’s Image in Humanity

Those who honor God and His image regard other human beings as a kind of sacrament, a living witness of God’s grace on earth. That involves a good kind of shame and a fear of the Lord; we dare not transgress the boundaries of one who bears His image! To do so is to blaspheme God and His creation.

For example, in my journey out of homosexuality, there were several men with whom I would have enjoyed sensual pleasure. But I refused, not because of a lack of desire, but because of a reverence for God and His creation. Proverbs 23:10 says it all: “Do not move an ancient boundary stone, or encroach on the fields of the fatherless, for their Defender is strong; He will take up their case against you.”

The denial of God results in the desecration of His image. If He is not recognized as God, if the creature fails to fear Him, then we begin to treat one another without shame.

Today His image is in shambles. The fact that we even have to fight ‘gay marriage’ is a prime example of how far we have fallen. Truly we have become a people without shame; we now regard one another as objects of our consumption—to be used and discarded according to our lusts. Jeremiah asks: “Are we ashamed of our loathsome conduct? No, we have no shame at all. We do not even know how to blush.” (6:15)

Many would wrongfully point to the gay community as the main source of this desecration. The push for ‘gay marriage’ is rather a symptom of the arrogance and self-concern in our land which places ‘personal happiness’ above the common good. Sexual civil rights follow wherein the state is coerced into protecting the hedonism of its citizens.

This began in the 1960’s with the free love movement: sex no longer cost one a lifetime commitment to another. We declared our bodies our own, and other’s bodies a sensual drug, to be used without the consent and discipline of marriage.

In the seventies we declared marital commitment an option. With ‘no-fault’ divorce, we could marry then quickly exit our covenants when ‘love’ became inconvenient.

In the eighties, with the advent of VCRs and then Internet porn, we made our homes idolatrous temples where we and our children compulsively bowed down to sensual images. The Justice Department declared: Never in history has so much obscenity been so accessible in so many homes by so many minors with so few legal restrictions.

On the desecrated ground of sexual promiscuity, divorce and porn addiction, President Bill Clinton ushered in the ‘gay nineties’ by declaring gay rights the next great American civil rights drive.

We started the 21st century with ‘gay marriage’ wars. To be sure, gay marriage and its advocates further abuse the image of God. But they are not the source of that abuse. That involves all of us, beginning with heterosexual idolatry. All of us have a hand in refusing God and His design when we grasp after the creature as if we have a right to him/her.

We all bear the shame of desecrating God’s image in humanity. We do well to seek Him for a holy fear of who He is, and what He desires for His image in humanity.

One thing is sure. Marriage honors Him.

Honor marriage for the good of all. Vote YES on Proposition 8.

“Father, thank You for holy fear. Thank you for the grace that frees us to feel shame when we violate, or are tempted to violate, the holiness of Your creation. Forgive us for the myriad ways we have violated You. We confess the greed of promiscuity, porn, marital breakups, and homosexual behavior. Forgive us for the delusion that our misdirected desires are a ‘right.’ You alone are right, O God.

Do not block our view of the battered image in our land. Help us to see the desecration of humanity as it is. Let us not cry ‘peace’ when there is none. Teach us to blush. Teach us to fear. Teach us to cry once more over the beauty of humanity, now bound in sin and shame. Have mercy on us. Have mercy on Your image in humanity.”

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Repentance for the Arrogance that is Idolatry

The Apostle Paul claims that all of humanity knows something of the truth of God through His design in creation. Our hearts bear witness of His grandeur through the works of His hand. That applies to the duality of male and female in humanity and throughout all of creation.

Humanity that rejects the witness of God in creation comes under judgment. That is because God holds us accountable to the witness of who He is through His design. Paul writes in Romans that “men suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what is known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.” Men and women are without excuse when they reject God and His image in humanity, because God’s qualities are evident in what He made, including His heterosexual design for creation. (Rom. 1:18-20)

In denying God and His creation, rebellious humanity cannot worship the true God. So we make idols to worship. That idolatry ultimately results in sexual immorality, including the futile and compulsive quest to become one with a member of one’s own gender. “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator.” (Rom. 1:25)

Last June, I witnessed the celebration of this idolatry when CA began to issue gay marriage licenses. All the major papers and TV news shows featured glowing accounts of same-gender unions. Every editorial gushed at CA’s noble and courageous effort to serve justice to gays.

I thought: “No-one covering this tragedy has any fear of the Lord and His creation.” I thought of those verses in 1Samuel 15:23 where the prophet likens “rebellion to the sin of witchcraft, and arrogance to the evil of idolatry.” Those who promote gay marriage place their own foolish ideas of justice over reverencing God and His creation. They are without excuse; God has made Himself plain to them through creation and they have rejected that witness. Such arrogance is the evil of idolatry.

Idolatry perverts justice. I recently spoke with a man who lost his wife to a lesbian who was training for the pastorate in the Presbyterian Church USA. The two women began to have an affair. The diocese in charge of the lesbian supported her new relationship, even though it meant breaking up a marriage with kids! While advocating for the ‘poor’ lesbians, the church abused the betrayed husband, and presided over the destruction of a marriage.

Thinking themselves just, the world and the worldly church become foolish and abusive. Isaiah writes: “So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the street, honesty cannot enter. Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey. The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice.”(Is. 59: 14, 15)

Such idolatry and perversion of justice offends God. “Who is it you have insulted and blasphemed? Against whom have you raised your voice and lifted your eyes in pride? Against the Holy One of Israel!” (Is. 37:23)

“Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the Lord, who do their work in darkness and think, ‘Who sees us? Who will know?’ You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to Him who formed it, ‘He did not make me’? Can the pot say of the potter, ‘He knows nothing’?” (Is. 29:15, 16)

God knows all. He knows what He place in our hearts that attest to His grandeur in creation. And He knows our tendency to turn away from Him and thus subject ourselves and others to all manner of perversion. In that delusional state, we become dull, arrogant, and proponents of false justice. We grieve God’s heart.

“Father, we confess our idolatry. We have worshipped our own perspectives on sex and justice. In our deception and pride, we have blasphemed Your very essence. We confess , O God, how gay marriage blackens Your eye, spits on Your creation, and reveal our rebellion. We really think we know better than You. We confess we have little if any fear of who You are, and how You have revealed Yourself to us in creation. Forgive us, O God. Please give us a holy fear of You before it is too late. May we fall on You the Rock and be broken of our arrogance before the Rock falls on us. (Lk 20:18)

“For our offenses are many in Your sight, and our sins testify against us. Our offenses are ever with us, and we acknowledge our iniquities; rebellion and treachery against the Lord, turning our backs on our God, fomenting oppression and revolt, uttering lies our hearts have conceived.” (Is. 59:12, 13)

Honor marriage for the good of all. Vote YES on Proposition 8.

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Fighting in Peace

As we are now only two weeks before the election, I want to shift into a more prayerful, less teaching-like mode. I want to turn unto the Lord in a spirit of repentance. Some of the sins we will be naming and turning from may or may not be ours. At least we are capable of them. Like Daniel, we can as priests represent these sins before God and repent of them on behalf of our fellow humanity.

I want to address and repent this day on behalf of the foolish striving we as Christians conceive when we undertake a battle such as this. We can begin in the Spirit and end up in the flesh! (“Trying to attain the goal by human effort”, Gal. 3:3) We do this when we take our eyes off the Lord, the Creator of marriage, and the One who will be true to His image in humanity.

Having assumed God’s burden in our own strength, we become nasty toward people, like the gay community and its allies. As if our disgust at misdirected movements will fulfill God’s purposes! We must stay mindful at all times that the enemy is the enemy. Satan’s deceptive, destructive power to blind fellow image-bearers should alone be the object of our wrath.

Our anger at people does not ‘bring about the righteous life that God desires’ (James 1:20). We look to God and ask that He would vanquish His enemy. He loves His human image far more than we; we look to Him to open blind eyes and to release His people to stand in this hour on behalf of love: His love for both marriage and those who rail against it.

The Psalmist declares: “Give us aid against the enemy, for the help of man is worthless.

With God, we will gain the victory, and He will trample down our enemies.”(Ps 108:12,3)

In these days, I am caught between high hopes for marriage and the future of CA, and a fear of the relentless advance of an immoralist agenda there if God’s people don’t act. That fear, perhaps a fusion of holy dread and neurotic anxiety, causes me to cast myself on Him. And He meets me beautifully through His Word.

He has given me an awesome peace in this battle—the overarching assurance that He is in control and that His will for marriage will prevail. He spoke to me through Psalm 37:“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desire of your hearts. Commit your way to the Lord, and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him.” (vs. 4-7)

So I wait, deepening trust in Him amid the battle that will culminate at the polls. My hope is in Him, the author and finisher of marriage. I can rest in the One who has already won the war on behalf of His image in humanity. He invites me into the peaceful assurance of that victory.

A few weeks ago, my friend Dean gave me these verses. They are a seal over my soul that guards me from unholy fear. God spoke through his prophet to a small army defending Jerusalem that awaited the advance of opposing forces, much greater in size. He said: “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s…Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance that the Lord will give you.” (2Chron. 20: 15, 17)

Honor marriage peacefully for the good of all. Vote YES on Proposition 8.

“O God forgive us for the ways we fight battles in our own broken humanity. Forgive us for representing You poorly in our vain striving, a strife in which we target mere men as the enemy. And forgive us for ungodly fear. We look to You for strength and peace and clarity—You who alone authored Your image and You who will be faithful to defend and vindicate it. Help us merely to do our part; help us to be still and listen, that we might act according to Your will, O God. Having won the war, O God, we await Your victory in this particular battle for marriage in CA.”

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