Wednesday, April 22, 2015
We're happy to have June Foster with us today talking about her book Ryan's Father.
Hope and Help for Homosexuals Who Would Like to Find Freedom From the Lifestyle
Several years ago, the Lord laid on my mind a story in which a Christian young man experiencing same sex attraction desires with all his heart to break free of the lifestyle. Writing the story, Ryan's Father, was a challenge but also a blessing. Now, two years later, I ask myself. Was the story based in reality? Could others like Ryan actually find freedom, or was my story merely wishful thinking?
As I was praying for homosexual Christian believers recently, several truths from the Bible made impact with my spirit.
A person desiring freedom must first ask himself, "Am I a Christian? Have I trusted Jesus to save me from this world order and have I asked Him into my life as Savior?" Unless a person has the power of God in his life, there is no hope.
The next step is to come to terms with the fact that homosexuality is a sin. Romans 1:26-27 says "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 and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion." Leviticus 18:22 is plain. "Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman. That is detestable." There are many other scriptures in the Bible. Do a Google search to see them all. Though many try to twist the scriptures, the message is plain. God doesn't excuse homosexuality. It is against His holy will.
But the book of Romans brings good news. Romans 6:6 says "For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin." When a person becomes born again, they are a new creature in Christ. Our old self is dead and crucified with Christ. We are no longer slaves of sin. That means that a homosexual is free and not compelled to participate in the behavior.
That's easy to say, but how do we do this, especially when confronted with temptation? If a person is an alcoholic, it would be unwise to hang out in bars. Or if someone suffers from gluttony, he wouldn't want to frequent bakeries or ice cream shops. Turn away from the places and people that evoke the desire to sin. Remove yourself from homosexual friends, gay bars, and literature that says it's okay to practice homosexuality. You've made up your mind to be set free, so walk away.
In the place of these things, participate in church activities, go on mission's trip, join a prayer group, serve at a homeless shelter. Ask God to show you how best to serve Him.
The bottom line is not whether you are a homosexual or a heterosexual. The question is how deep is your relationship with God. How much of yourself have you handed over to the Lord? Settle these issues first. Give yourself to Him one hundred percent. Don't hold anything from Him. Seek Him first and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Maybe you've done all these things and the desires are still there, no matter how hard you try. Well, there's the problem. Stop trying. Those deeply set feelings are not going to let go easily. You can't change by trying hard. You'll only become discouraged and exhausted. So instead of striving to change your thinking, throw yourself on God's mercy and tell Him you can't do this. If He wants your thinking to change, He'll have to do it for you. And remind Him that what you seek is in line with His stated will in the Bible.
Isaiah 40: 30-31 brings us an amazing promise. "Even youths grown tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." When you completely give your life over to the Lord and trust Him, He is faithful to His promises.
Remember what His word says in Ephesians 3: 20-21. "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever."
Ask the Holy Spirit to control your mind. Don't become discouraged when you don't see changes right away. Remember: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake. I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, the I am strong." 11 Corinthians 12: 9-10.
So, the answers to my questions are, yes, the message found in the fictional story Ryan's Father is grounded in reality. The principles in my story are valid today. Do you trust the Creator of all the heavens and the earth? God has a glorious future for you. Don't settle for a lie.
Sunday, April 19, 2015
God's Mercies after Suicide: Blessings Woven through a Mother's Heart will be released for free at my Love Truth blog through installments over a seven month period on March 16, 2015.
I'll post three times per week on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays. There are three parts to each chapter, the devotions, My Mother Memories, and a journal page for the reader.
Until the book comes out in print you could journal on your own, using the suggested headings as shown below:
* ~Your Mother Memories~
* †~Your Prayer of Praise~
* †~A Scripture of Encouragement~
On March 16, 2015, it will be eleven years since my son left his family and friends with our grief, questions, and the memories of him.
When our children die, we want their lives to have mattered. We long for the world to know they were here.
God's Mercies after Suicide: Blessings Woven through a Mother's Heart is a devotional of two hundred and nineteen pages, 30,000 words, and is intended for mothers who've lost children to suicide. This book is a friendly, approachable, inviting book that helps mothers feel welcome and at ease to allow them a peaceful time to reflect on their loss and the child they miss. Each chapter has three sections. The devotional begins with Scripture and where the author tells the story of her loss and then ends in a prayer. The second part is of the author's anecdotes and memories of her son. They are short and sweet, with a dramatic style rather than a how-to. The author reenacts moments in her child's life and recalls how she felt to see the different stages of growth and challenges he faced in life. The concluding part to each chapter is a journal page for the readers to write their memories of their child. It allows them space for both memories and grieving, a prayer of praise, and a Scripture of encouragement.
When a mother has lost a child, there are times when it's hard to mingle with other people. Each God's Mercies after Suicide chapter can be read and journaled in within the privacy of a mother's home, giving her a bit of hope and rest for another day. The book is distinctive in that it combines coping with the pain of loss while encouraging mothers to search for their own blessings. The book reaches out from its pages and wraps mothers in the warmth and love of their heavenly Father.
It has been stated by sufferers of loss to suicide that the topic of suicide is taboo, and that the survivors feel they've been isolated from the normal hum of life. In truth, the ones left behind after the suicide do have a valid point.
Mothers of loss from suicide face separate concerns that are not taught nor thought about when they become parents. No one wants to consider that they'll give birth to a child who could die by suicide. The mothers who endure this type of pain need a resource that considers their exclusive struggles and offers honest help from one mother to another not in a step-by-step format but in story form, which draws the reader into a world they may know all too well.
Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth,
do you not perceive it?
I had a dream. I dreamed the nightmare never happened. Our son Joshua never passed on to the hereafter. He married and had children. Then I woke, and knew the dream was only that, a dream. We live with our reality.
I've written these devotions for those of you who have shared the deep heartache of a child's suicide. Through my writing, I believe God wants me to share from my heart to yours, by encouraging you and giving you ways to cope. You can have hope and peace after a suicide. God has helped me and He wants to help you. The loss is horrific, but God is faithful. He brought me through this dark time, and He wants to do the same for you.
A yearning to write this story came five years into my journey of loss. I sensed a dawn of courage within myself, but I haven't come this far in a blink, nor on my own. Although I knew I'd lose my nerve, only to gain it back time and again before I completed my story, I also knew I'd have the help from Lord God, and the folks He sends my way.
Am I full of courage? Yes! Yes, I shout, with God's hand upon me.
God, when I falter, I pray You will renew my strength. In Jesus's name. Amen.
Jean Williams Bio
Jean Ann Williams lives in Southern Oregon with her husband Jim. Although one of their children has passed on to the Great Beyond, their two remaining children have blessed them with thirteen grandchildren, their Baker's Dozen. To learn more about Jean Ann Williams visit her on Twitter, and her blogs Love Truth and Jean Ann Williams: Author.
For additional information, please click on Jean's blog Love Truth, where snippets of the book are posted three times per week.
Jean has a Facebook account under her name. You can click on her links for Twitter and Writer Jean Williams blog.