Thursday, December 26, 2013

MILESTONES: Redemption

Before I returned to God at age 21, He told me I wouldn't live to see my 25th birthday if I didn't change my lifestyle. I remember how that warning stunned me.  Although I had backslidden for four years, I still believed in Him, knew He was real, and I recognized His voice through Holy Spirit's light still flickering within me.

I couldn't get rid of God... no one can.  I couldn't stop His pursuit of me, nor could I squelch His great love.  I tried - I failed.  I've never been so grateful for a truth in all of my life.

Abandoning the crutch of a gay lifestyle wasn't easy.  The flesh and the enemy fought hard to keep me down; I know all of you can relate to the struggle against recurring sin.  If it wasn't a pretty girl rubbing up against me in a grocery store checkout line (sinful, familiar spirits attract other sinful, familiar spirits), it was my own desire to masturbate to fill a perceived "need", or the constant rationalizing that since men were scum and didn't deserve forgiveness, I shouldn't align myself with forgiveness by returning to God.

Excuses.  Lies.  The world, the flesh, and the devil have a million of them.

Thankfully (what an understatement!) all the temptations and chiding and psycho-babble in the world couldn't quiet Holy Spirit's voice, soberly warning me of the certain end I would meet, and of the decision that was solely mine.  You won't live to see your 25th birthday if you don't change your lifestyle.  I just couldn't get it out of my head.

God's lifeline had been thrown out to me, friends, and it was not sinkable in the waters of sin. Homosexuality had no hold on the righteousness of God or His great love for me.  I could not stop the momentum of His floating ring of life as it drew nearer and nearer to me, completely unaffected by the stench and corruption the river of my sins produced.

Here it came... pursuing me... with God's love dripping all over it.  Steadily it floated, nearer and nearer... illuminated with perseverance, forgiveness, and strength.  God's very hand of reconciliation under-girded it as it approached, dividing debauchery's filthy waves like a sharp knife through flimsy paper.

I suppose I could have resisted - we always have that choice, you know.  But I was tired of fighting, even though I was angry.  I was mad at God and at men and at me.  I was hungry and thirsty and confused about living and afraid of dying.  I was in need, and I knew it.  Better said - I was in need of God, and I knew it.  Despite everything of the flesh battling within me, because of how I was raised I knew I needed God.

At some point and to some degree, we've all been there... haven't we?

So, by Holy Spirit's power, I returned to Jesus.  (Click here for the details.)

HALLELUJAH!  I became that 100th sheep God sought for until He found it!  He lovingly draped me over His shoulders and welcomed me back into the fold.  He brought me to His green pastures and nourished me with His strength and forgiveness and unceasing love.  He put His hands on me and filled me with power and security and tenderness.  Then He washed me - again - in His Blood...

...nothing can hold back the tears...

THANK YOU, JESUS for waiting, and pursuing, and saving.  THANK YOU, JESUS for loving me when I did not love myself.  THANK YOU for knowing my heart and letting that knowing be Your compass in wooing me back to Yourself (for, in my heart, I never left You).

Friends, not only did I make it to my 25th birthday, thanks to Christ Jesus I've now lived nearly 30 years on the other side of His redemptive renewal of my soul! That's a milestone of victory against the world, the flesh, and the devil - and a testimony of God's love I will never, ever forget.

Daddy's Girl

"... fervent in spirit, serving the Lord."
(Romans 12:11b)