Author Archives: kdmauck

About kdmauck

I'm trying to build up my treasure in heaven, but God has blessed me tremendously here on earth with a great husband and two daughters. I teach college composition and write freelance articles part-time, but mostly I'm a stay-at-home mom.

True Refreshment

The recipe said two servings, so I counted the baby and me, sprayed whipped cream liberally, and dug in...

It was a solitary Friday night. My girls were in bed and my husband was night-fishing until the wee hours. My head was aching from too many hours in front of the computer that afternoon, and my pregnant body felt bone-tired.

Time for me, I thought as I considered how to spend my hour or so of quiet time.

I dug out a DVD set of one of my favorite shows, and made a chocolate cake in a mug. The recipe said two servings, so I counted the baby and me, sprayed whipped cream liberally, and dug in, watching drama unfold in the halls of a fashion magazine office.

An hour and a half later, my stomach was woozy and my brain numb from the superficial, petty antics of characters I used to think were hilarious. In short, I was sick on too much indulgence.

Our bodies need relaxation every once in a while. But instead of grabbing passing pleasures, we should seek true refreshment. No amount of sugar, chocolate, or mean-spirited comedy could have given me that. True refreshment only comes from the Lord.

Proverbs 3:7-8 says that if we trust in God’s wisdom instead our own and turn away from evil, we will receive healing and refreshment for our tired bodies and souls.

The other day, I treated myself to my traditional pre-baby pedicure. A teenaged girl getting neon pink toes sat next to me. While I was adjusting the massage settings on my chair, I overheard her mention starting college the next week, where I teach freshman English. Instead of immersing myself into my magazine and enjoying the massage, I spoke up, introducing myself.

It turns out, she was really nervous about starting school, and a member of another church of Christ in town. Rather than losing myself in total self-indulgence, I found myself delighting in encouraging this girl and giving her advice on how to get involved with the Student Bible Center and do well in college.

Instead of turning to ways we think will relieve our weariness, we should lose ourselves in Christian service: Jesus said He will take our burdens in exchange for His own easy one, and He will give us rest (Matthew 11:28, 29).

Let’s not make excuses for reasons we need guilty pleasures, because that’s all they bring: guilt.

Give your body and mind the rest it needs, but do this in a way that strengthens and refreshes you for the next day.

Give your body and mind the rest it needs, but do this in a way that strengthens and refreshes you for the next day. An opportunity to serve often comes in a form we don’t foresee or would even choose, but it always replenishes our souls when we step up and take it.

A handful of M&M’s and a good book would have given me all the indulgence I needed that night, but instead, I got greedy. Next time I have a free night, I’ll seek God’s version of refreshment instead of my own.

By Kimberly Mauck
Kimberly lives with her husband and two daughters in Durant, Oklahoma, where she is a part-time college English instructor and a freelance writer. She also writes for KatharosNOW, a webzine for teen Christian girls, and her own blog Virtuous Woman…Virtually.

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Filed under Christian living, Encouragement

The Strong-Willed Mom

We’ve all heard this new term for a child who throws fits and won’t take instruction: “the strong-willed child.” But what about the strong-willed mom?

There are times when my daughter tells me she’s sorry for something she’s done, but I’m still so exasperated with her or set on punishing her for what she’s done wrong, that my heart is not ready for those words. She still hasn’t learned her lesson, I think, giving her another spanking or a time-out, even after her apology. Instead of being a strong-willed mom, I must let go of my desire to punish when a child expresses repentance.

After all, that’s what our loving God did, and still does. If you look at the children of Israel in the Old Testament, they seemed to constantly turn away from God in favor of idols. When they made the golden calf, God told them he would not go with them into the Promised Land (Exodus 33:5). But after the people mourned and Moses met with God to humbly ask that He keep the people in His covenant, God showed mercy. God did the same for the Israelites when they’d reached the Promised Land, but were sold into slavery because of their unfaithfulness to God (Judges 10). Nevertheless, when they cried out their repentance, requested deliverance, and put away their idols, God “could bear the misery of Israel no longer” (verse 16).

Does this mean that God is inconsistent, or that He changes His mind with His emotions, like we do? No, for He is the same in the New Testament. Jesus told about His father through the story of the Prodigal Son. Remember that the father did not wait to hear those magic words “I’m sorry”: he saw his beloved son returning, proof of his repentance, and ran to him (Luke 15).

Our God does not change: He has always loved and cared for us, and He always will. Our desire to be close to Him, to return to Him, will never fail to stir Him to mercy.

What audacity for me to hold onto my precious hurt feelings when a child seeks my forgiveness! Let us take God as the perfect model of a good parent, in all his beautiful mercy. Rather than following the dictates of some parenting book, which emphatically preaches the importance of “winning your battles,” let us let our children touch our hearts. Let us be “tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave” us (Ephesians 4:32).

There is a difference to be noted here: sometimes parents show mercy not because they’re forgiving, but because they’re taking the easy way out. A temper tantrum flares up, and the parent gives in, bottling up their anger for another day. This is not the result of tenderheartedness, but of weakness. Offer your child comfort, attention, and security, but never proof that bad behavior earns them what they want.

So check your motivations: Are you deliberately showing mercy because your child has touched your heart? Or are you tucking away frustration and even humiliation to avoid a confrontation with your child? If it’s mercy, you’re not being weak, and shouldn’t persevere in being a strong-willed mom. If mercy is your motivation, you’re emulating our God’s tenderness toward His penitent children.

Choose mercy when your child asks for it. They won’t use those words, but you’ll know it when you feel it.

By Kimberly Mauck
Kimberly lives with her husband and two daughters in Durant, Oklahoma, where she is a part-time college English instructor and a freelance writer. She also writes for KatharosNOW, a webzine for teen Christian girls, and her own blog Virtuous Woman…Virtually.

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Filed under Christian living, Practical matters

God Speaks Through A Mascara Wand

Ten-thirty rolled around, and I was still staring at my computer screen. My husband, drained from another long hot day working outside, dragged himself off the couch and said, “I’m going to bed, babe.”

Giving him a quick kiss, I turned back to my computer screen and said good night. The house was quiet, the kids were sleeping, and I thought I should work on. Maybe I was picturing the Proverbs 31 virtuous woman, whose lamp does not go out at night (verse 18).

A couple hours later, I crawled in bed, my head spinning with questions for my new bosses at a meeting in a few days. Although I was bone-tired (and seven months pregnant), I couldn’t go to sleep for another hour, my brain unable to stop its frantic list-making.

Consequences

The next morning, I was still a zombie when my husband’s alarm went off, and when my eighteen-month-old toddled in. Desperate for a few more winks, I dozed while the baby played. When our four-year-old came in, I realized I really had to wake up, and a familiar clicking sound caught my attention.

“That sounded like mommy’s mascara,” I said in a sleepy mumble to my preschooler as I launched my swollen body out of bed.

Sure enough, our baby was squatted in the bathroom floor, her cheeks, ears, and pajama shirt smeared with black goop.

Groaning, I bent to clean her up. But as I did that, my mind was slowly waking up to a powerful message from that coveted mascara wand: “That trade-off was so not worth it.”

Yes, I had kept my lamp on late into the night, but in my attempt to be Wonder Working Mom, I had traded precious husband time and morning energy for my kids. This early-morning mess was as clear as a sky-message from God: Go to bed with your husband.

Daddy Time

Last time, I mentioned the all-important daily Mommy Time: the hour or two that mothers of young children must set aside for themselves each day, for their own sanity and their children’s well-being. This time, God taught me about Daddy Time: those one or two precious hours after the kids are in bed and the dishes are done.

This is not the time for complete immersion in personal projects or pleasure reading. A strong, healthy relationship relies on daily contact, and with the husband and wife relationship, that contact needs to be physical and verbal.

Trade off on that contact, and you’re choosing to start the next day with a total mess, whether you can see it like I did with a misused mascara wand or not.

Our Purpose

When God made women, it was because it was not good for man to be alone (Genesis 2:18). We were created to help him, and if we leave him alone during the only time he has for us in his busy day, we’re not fulfilling our purpose.

A man needs the security that comes from having a wife who gravitates to him at night, who wants to know about his day, to share about hers, and to laugh and talk about nothing together. He needs that time to not be in his work or dad roles, but to just be completely himself with his wife who loves him. That’s his Daddy Time: the moments to remember why he became a dad in the first place.

The Mascara Mess Lesson

Use your Mommy Time wisely: strive to reach a stopping point during the day, so that your evenings are free for your husband. God taught me this lesson through a mascara wand. I’m just thankful I didn’t have to learn it through an injury to my unsupervised toddler or an adulterous thought or deed by my husband.

Children need a well-rested mommy, and husbands need an attentive wife. No project is more important than these.

By Kimberly Mauck
Kimberly lives with her husband and two daughters in Durant, Oklahoma, where she is a part-time college English instructor and a freelance writer. She also writes for KatharosNOW, a webzine for teen Christian girls, and her own blog Virtuous Woman…Virtually.

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Is Your Smart Phone Making You Dumb?

When was the last time you checked your phone? Your e-mail? Facebook? If you’re one of the coolest people on the planet, you can check all three of these at once on your smartphone. Yep, these phones can be great tools. But it’s sometimes unclear who exactly the tool is. If you’re not vigilant, this smartphone can make you and those physical, breathing human things standing around you look pretty dumb.

Really? 

I love that commercial that shows people who cannot yank themselves away from their phones long enough to engage in life: the dad who’s supposed to be playing catch with his son (gets nailed with a baseball), the husband whose wife is trying to seduce him (gets hit with a pillow), the girl jogging in the park (collides with another runner), and the one that shatters my funny bone every time, the dude using a urinal—who then drops the phone in the potty (yep, I’m a mom, I say potty).

I could hit you with all kinds of statistics about the dangers of distracted driving, the possibility of technology actually becoming an addiction, or the shortening of the adult attention span because of our constant connectivity. But the most sobering point of all is not any numbers or psychologist opinions: it’s an image at the end of that commercial of a cherub-faced baby girl staring into the camera while her mommy, out of focus, in the background, is completely absorbed in her phone.

Is that what we are to our children, spouse, friends, and coworkers during the day? Out of focus, in the background? Sure, you’re physically there, but when you’re on your phone, you’re connected with everything but the people physically with you.

God’s Whole Attention

I know you’ve probably got hundreds of “friends” on facebook, but think about how many people God has to keep track of. Do you think He multitasks? When we pour our souls out to Him in prayer, He hears every word, despite how many demands He has on Him or how whiny, impatient, or selfish we’re being. In Psalm 34:15, David wrote that God’s eyes are on the righteous, and His ears hear their cry.

I don’t think that means he glances over at us, and then gets back to more interesting things going on in the world. He knows not only how many hairs are on our heads, but every thought that’s inside it. He knows us.

We’re human, and that level of knowledge is unattainable for us about other humans, or even ourselves. But we can heed the verse that says to be quick to listen and slow to speak (James 1:19). True listening requires sustained attention and eye contact, neither of which are possible when you’re coiled like a spring to check your phone.

We also need to be in control of our own spirits. Scripture tells us that he who has a calm spirit has understanding (Proverbs 17:27). That word “calm” in Hebrew means self-possessed. My translation: Don’t let the phone posses you.

True Mommy Time

Mommy Time is a vital part of every stay-at-home mom’s day. Trust me, I know that talking baby-talk, explaining “why?”, playing tea party, picking up toys, and cutting food into bite-sized pieces all day can make you feel like letting loose a Home Alone-style scream. Moms need some contact with the adult world during the day.

So make your mommy time count. Make it Mommy Time, with capital letters, something your kids recognize and respect. Let it be an hour or so of an activity that requires your whole attention, and your child understands that time is not to be interrupted unless there’s an emergency. Read a book, exercise, write, compose e-mails, or talk with a friend on the phone. Do something that requires sustained attention, something that feeds your spirit and keeps you sane.

But don’t take your mommy time in ten-second, five-minute, and half-hour spurts throughout the day. If you do that, your kids never know if they’re going to be heard or tuned out depending on what sound your phone makes. Don’t pop in and out of the here-and-now with no warning. Your kids shouldn’t have to wonder if they’re going to get mommy’s full attention, or some blurry, out-of-focus version of mommy.

I’m not saying you’re not allowed to check your phone until Mommy Time. But please, don’t do it in the middle of your son telling you all about the picture he drew, or reading a book to your kids, or watching your daughter show you a new skill.

These moments are so precious; your full presence and attention is crucial for it to have both meaning and impact for you and your child.

I’m still listening…just checking my phone at the same time

Even if you’re not a mom, you still have the option everyday of engaging people face-to-face or choosing to stay always a bell tone away from checking your phone. How does it make you feel when you’re having a conversation with someone, only to have that person pull away from you to check some message that just bing-bonged in? In that moment, when that decision to check his or her phone rather than listen to you is made, you can see exactly where you lie in that person’s priorities. You’re second to whoever is sending that message—and the really pathetic thing is, the compulsive phone-checker doesn’t even know who the message is from until he or she checks.

I’ve had conversations with friends who insist on reading or recounting status updates from friends. Really? I’m trying to talk to you here, not our friends, or your friends.

Look at me when I’m talking to you, young lady!

Don’t cheat yourself out of real conversations and real relationships in favor of virtual ones, whether it’s with your children, spouse, friends, or coworkers. Business is often handled over the phone, I understand that. But relationships are not. Those need to be nurtured and tended with face-to-face communication, uninterrupted by technology.

I’ve seen how-to articles on this topic that recommend setting rules for yourself on your technology use. Instead, I’m just going to suggest this: be here now. Don’t watch this moment with a sidelong glance and an “umm-hmmm” before slipping back into your virtual world. Stay with those right in front of you.

By Kimberly Mauck
Kimberly lives with her husband and two daughters in Durant, Oklahoma, where she is a part-time college English instructor and a freelance writer. She also writes for KatharosNOW, a webzine for teen Christian girls, and her own blog Virtuous Woman…Virtually.

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America: Home of the Gay? (Part 3 of 3)

Part Three: “Neither do I condemn you”: how to love the sinner, but hate the sin of homosexuality

Last week, I got really angry. It wasn’t a slow, simmering, internal anger, either. I shouted and said mean things. Thankfully, my husband let me cool off. He didn’t fight back or call me names. He didn’t quote Scripture at me, throwing Colossians 3:8 or James 1:19 in my face. He waited until I was ready to talk rationally, and then we tried to come to an understanding.

So what does my struggle with anger have to do with the sin of homosexuality? This sin that I confess to you nailed Jesus to the cross, just as the sin of homosexuality did. Therefore, these sins are equally repulsive to God.

But praise be to our merciful God, all of us sinners are still precious souls in His eyes. He desires for every one of us to conquer our sin through Christ.

In Part 1 of this series, we established that homosexual actions are a sin. In Part 2, we discussed how we can refuse to participate in tolerance, acceptance, or celebration of homosexuality. This final installment will explore how we can engage in understanding and dialogue with those struggling with same-sex attraction, in an effort to bring them to Christ.

“Our heterosexual sin includes hatred toward homosexuals”

David Lane, a psychotherapist and minister for the Marsalis Avenue Church of Christ in Dallas, contributed to a June 2011 article in The Christian Chronicle titled “Same-Sex Attraction: How Should Churches Respond?”

Lane stands by Scriptures that condemn homosexuality, but he says hatred of a sinner is also sinful, since we have all sinned.

“We should keep in mind that our heterosexual sin includes hatred toward homosexuals,” Lane said. “Whenever we initiate or tolerate slang terms, demeaning jokes or derogatory, offhand comments, we send a strong message that these people for whom Jesusdied are less valuable to him than we are.”

Our reaction to a person’s sin can determine their repentance: look at Jesus’ response with the woman caught in adultery. Did he throw stones at her? No, he told her he did not condemn her, but that she should go and sin no more.

What relief that woman must have felt that she could start over, if she chose to do so! We must hold out the same hope for all those guilty of sexual sin, just as Christ hopes for us to return to Him.

A Christian’s response to homosexuality

Let us use this story of Jesus confronting sexual sin as a pattern for how we can confront homosexuality in an individual:

  1. Don’t judge or cast stones: The stones we throw do not have to be physical ones. If my husband had slammed me with“Get a grip, you spaz!” my wrath would not have dissolved. It would have been a signal to me that my anger made me weak or worthy of his scorn.
    When we wear the name Christian, we cannot judge a person’s soul or make any kind of hateful or cruel comments toward that precious soul. Christ did not come to judge  (John 3:17), and He had no sin: we sinful humans certainly cannot do that, either.
  2. Scriptures aren’t always the best way to begin: Jesus did not find it necessary to tell the woman her actions were wrong: she knew that already. Although our society today is doing its best to manufacture this new standard of sexual sins of all kinds being normal and acceptable, I believe that most homosexuals know that the Bible says what they are doing is wrong. Showing them that does not help them feel understood or see hope for forgiveness. The heart will discover the truth when it is ready, not when truth is thrust upon it. You cannot force understanding.
  3. Stick to what you know about forgiveness and the Bible, not what popular science says. Perhaps a person struggling with same-sex attraction will try to help you see through the lens of modern society and science, which says that homosexuality is not a choice, and that it’s normal. Don’t become frustrated with this attitude; these troubled souls must cling to this belief or make a very difficult change. Understand that turning from this sin will take tremendous effort, and show them that with Christ, it can be done.

Point them to the apostle Paul’s struggle with an unknown issue, and God’s admonition that His grace is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:7-9). Show them that right after Paul lists the people who will not enter heaven, including homosexuals, he also reminds his readers that some of them were these things, but they were forgiven in Christ (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). And encourage them to have hope in the power of Christ to restore a heart to God (Philippians 4:13).

However, if a scientific argument could be presented in a gentle, respectful way, you might encourage the person to look past all the political correctness of the American Psychiatric Association, which says that conversion therapy (psychological treatment to help people change from homosexual to heterosexual) is ineffective and potentially harmful. A group of psychologists, the National Association for Research and Therapy for Homosexuality (NARTH), advocates the “right of all individuals to choose their own destiny.” In other words, conversion therapy is an option for people who want to change.

In fact, a recent survey and analysis of 125 clinical studies by NARTH found three interesting conclusions:  “(1) individuals with unwanted same sex attraction often can be successfully treated; (2) there is no undue risk to patients from embarking on such therapy and (3), as a group, homosexuals experience significantly higher levels of mental and physical health problems compared to heterosexuals.”

Another medical resource is Facts About Youth, a project of a conservative, values-based group of pediatricians that seeks to gather information on the health and psychological risks of the homosexual lifestyle, and also advocates conversion therapy.

These resources offer good information, and Abilene Christian University also operates a support group, CenterPeace, for people experiencing same-sex attraction with resources and retreats. NARTH also has a hotline and e-mail address to provide people with therapists in their area who offer conversion therapy.

Never forget the beam in your own eye: the people Jesus was hardest on were hypocrites, those people who thought they were holy enough to judge others, but were actually just as desperately in need of grace as the people they condemned. Some people practicing sexual sin have hardened hearts and are not ready for the truth. But others need you to bring them the hope, strength, and forgiveness found in Christ.

By Kimberly Mauck
Kimberly lives with her husband and two daughters in Durant, Oklahoma, where she is a part-time college English instructor and a freelance writer. She also writes for KatharosNOW, a webzine for teen Christian girls, and her own blog Virtuous Woman…Virtually.

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Filed under America: Home of the Gay?, Christian living, Encouragement, Evangelism, Series

America: Home of the Gay? (Part 2 of 3)

Part Two: Soldiers of Christ, Arise to Face America’s Battle Against Sexual Immorality

In Part 1 of this series, we looked at what the Bible has to say about homosexuality. Just as drinking to excess, stealing, lying, and sex outside of marriage are condemned in the Bible, so is homosexuality. However, just as all the previously mentioned sins are often normalized or even glamorized in our society, so is homosexuality becoming more accepted.

We Christians must stand up for the unrighteousness of this lifestyle that is becoming not only legal, but something to be accepted and celebrated, even by our Commander in Chief.

In a YouTube video posted last October as part of the “It Gets Better Project,” President Obama spoke out against hate crimes and bullying, particularly when it comes to persecuting young gay people. We Christians should be just as committed and active in stopping cruel words and actions meant only to hurt those who are already hurting.

However, the president went on to imply that being gay is not a choice, and that differences, including being “LGBT” (lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender), should be sources of pride and strength. To end his message, he said, “As a nation we’re founded on the principle that all of us are equal and each of us deserves the right to pursue our own version of happiness, and…to be true to ourselves.”

This is a far cry from our nation’s founders: Thomas Jefferson attempted to make castration the punishment for sodomy (the Virginia Legislature rejected this possible sentence). Before 1962, sodomy was still a felony in every state, and some states held onto these laws until 2003, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that these laws were unconstitutional.

Were our nation’s founders discriminators and bullies? Or were they attempting to establish this country on Biblical standards of morality?

I think the latter is true, and unless we Christians shine a light in this dark world, our country could be headed toward the heathen practices of the Israelites described in the book of Judges, when “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25). Sounds a lot like President Obama’s “right to pursue our own version of happiness.”

Our country needs brave Christians to stand up against this encroaching sexual immorality, lest we bring reproach upon our entire nation (Proverbs 14:34).

What does standing up to this sin look like in a Christian’s daily life? We want to reach out to the lost, but be separate and sanctified; to shine a light on what is true and defend the godly definition of sex and marriage.  How can we do this at home, work, or school? Here are some steps for action, both in our private and public lives.

  1. Pray for our nation. Our churches must reach out in love, but also stand firm on Biblical standards, regardless of what cultural norms are at the moment. We need prayer to do this. Our legislators and judges also need our prayers to do the same thing, and all of us have individuals in our lives who we may or may not know struggle with sexual temptation. We can pray for them, too, with or without names, that we can help them however God gives us opportunities.
  2. Study Scriptures diligently: We must be ready always to defend what is right (2 Timothy 4:2), not just with our passionate opinions, but also with the use of Scriptures, just as Jesus used against Satan in the wilderness.
  3. Teach your children how to love their neighbors, never condemn or hurt anyone, verbally or physically; and most importantly, to know what is right. Children must be equipped with this knowledge, especially as they begin to face misinformation taught in some public schools.
    In 2008, the United States Court of Appeals gave Massachusetts teachers the constitutional right “not only to instruct their students regarding the alleged normalcy of homosexuality, but to do so without notifying parents” (See this Apologetics Press article). Massachusetts was the first state to legalize gay marriage, but eight states have since followed suit. Make sure your children are equipped for the attack on righteousness that will be present in their schools, not just from peers and bullies, but sometimes even included in the curriculum.
  4. Be an informed, vocal citizen and voter. Legislators and judges are the ones making these changes that have profound ripple effects. Anti-discrimination laws being passed in some states have already forced at least one nonprofit Christian adoption center to close, so that it won’t have to allow gay couples to adopt its children. At the college where I work, a transgender professor is now fighting for tenure—if state anti-discrimination laws included homosexuals, this professor would likely be entitled to tenure, leading to a more LGBT-friendly college campus. Affirmative Action right now only includes minorities and women, but many corporations are voluntarily taking steps toward supporting the LGBT community, including Wal-Mart, Walgreen’s, and Starbucks (see this Apologetics Press article).
    I’m not supporting discrimination based on a person’s private life, but for homosexuality to be treated as a civil rights issue does not make logical sense, in addition to defying godly righteousness. Being a woman or being a minority is not a choice, while being homosexual is. We should not support any efforts to expand anti-discrimination laws or Affirmative Action to include homosexuals.
    We Christians must know the positions of our legislators on these issues, know what is happening in our legislatures, and write to those in power to stand up for Biblical principles. Likewise, we must also stay informed of what our schools are teaching our children, and speak out to administrators and schools boards if the curriculum is unacceptable.
  5. Don’t compromise on sexual immorality when it comes to entertainment. When we watch television shows or movies or listen to music that celebrates sexual sin, we participate in that celebration. We not only set an example to others by the media choices we make, but we also desensitize ourselves to the unrighteousness of these lifestyles.
    In addition, we vote with our dollars on what kinds of shows, movies, and music are made. A few hours of entertainment is not worth a compromise of Biblical values; we should instead dwell on “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute” (Philippians 4:8).
    It is difficult to find a mainstream film or TV show that meets these standards; we as Christians have to make an extra effort to evaluate entertainment options before we decide whether it’s worth our time and money. Focus on the Family’s Plugged In media reviews is a good resource for making moral entertainment decisions.
  6. Don’t keep company with so-called Christians who practice sexual sin. Christians may judge people within the church, and must not associate with hypocrites (1 Corinthians 5:11). Of course, before making this decision, we must try to turn this sinning brother or sister back to righteousness (James 5:19, 20). Just like with entertainment that involves sexual sin, when we associate with a person who is caught up in it, we endorse that sin.

We must not feel helpless in the face of this onslaught of sexual impurity and attacks on marriage. There are steps we can take to face it: to wield the weapons and armor God has given us to fight “against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). The time has come to put our armor on.

By Kimberly Mauck
Kimberly lives with her husband and two daughters in Durant, Oklahoma, where she is a part-time college English instructor and a freelance writer. She also writes forKatharosNOW, a webzine for teen Christian girls, and her own blog Virtuous Woman…Virtually.

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Filed under America: Home of the Gay?, Series

America: Home of the Gay? (Part 1 of 3)

Part One: Finding the Truth Hidden in Plain Sight

Turn on the TV and you might find someone’s version of the Modern Family, with a gay male couple and their adopted daughter getting tons of laughs. You could see a teen struggling with his homosexuality while trying to remain full of Glee. Or you could catch a half-naked performance by one of today’s most popular singers—who has been suspected of being transgendered and is Gaga for her gay fans.

If it seems that the gay lifestyle is becoming accepted in the media, that’s because it’s becoming accepted in the United States. Nine states have legalized gay marriage, and twelve others perform legal unions between gay couples.

Even though forty-one states still have laws or constitutional amendments restricting marriage to between a man and woman, the majority of Americans today accept the gay lifestyle, just not gay marriage, according to a 2010 Gallup poll. Last year’s poll was the first time in ten years of administering it that the acceptance rate crossed the symbolic fifty percent threshold, standing now at fifty-two percent of Americans calling gay and lesbian relations “morally acceptable.”

Perhaps most shocking to me, an aspiring author of young adult novels, is the institution of a new award by the American Library Association, the Stonewall Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award, for the best novel of the year relating to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered experiences.

This evidence of today’s tolerance of homosexuality is not limited to atheists, liberals, or the unchurched.

Sally Gary, assistant professor of communication at Abilene Christian University is the director of a nonprofit organization called CenterPeace, devoted to helping college students who struggle with same-sex attraction. According to an article in the June 2011 issue of The Christian Chronicle, Gary says this age of tolerance has led to “a generation of believers who do not see anything biblically wrong with homosexuality.”

These accepting young people are the leaders of tomorrow, and even the Christiansamong them are choosing to respond to homosexuality with Christ’s compassion, forgetting about His attitude toward marriage and sexual relations and the Bible’s condemnation of homosexuality.

Sisters, this is frightening. I don’t know about you, but my first instinct when I see something scary is to cover my eyes. But we cannot do that now.  The city of Sodom did not become evil in one night. It was a slow creep, a steady slide that was ignored by most, and embraced by others. No, turning our heads away in revulsion, apathy, or helplessness will not work now.

This series will explore how Christians can hate the sin by saying “no” to any form of participation or celebration of the gay lifestyle, but also reaching out in love to those struggling with this heavy burden of same-sex attraction.

But first, we must know what exactly it is that the Bible says about homosexuality. Unlike popular opinion, God’s Word hasn’t changed over the years.

Romans 1:24-32 describes homosexuality as an abandonment of the natural way of life for the unnatural. An important thing to note about this passage is that God gave homosexuals up to their vile passions—they could no longer see the unrighteousness of their behavior; they had become hardened to it. Doesn’t this describe the attitude and arguments of homosexuals today?

When Ellen DeGeneres won the Emmy for her television show way back in the dinosaur days of 1998, she told gay teens in her acceptance speech, “There’s nothing wrong with you. Don’t ever let anybody make you feel ashamed of who you are.”

I understand that gay people struggle mightily with same-sex attraction before “coming out,” that shame and feelings of inhuman strangeness are terrifying to them. But the Ellen attitude of “be who you are” is not right, not when the part of yourself you’re embracing is unnatural, both in scientific and Biblical terms.

That’s right, I played the science card. That’s one that gay defenders usually reach for, pointing to many studies that have sought to prove that being gay is not a choice. But the fact is, a “gay gene” has never been found.  What has been discovered is that the human brain is highly elastic: Sally Gary pointed out that gender identity is formed early and is highly influenced by environment and familial relationships. Studies have also shown that what is called “reparative therapy,” or helping homosexuals defeat their sinful urges, has worked.

However, the most compelling piece of science to corroborate the Scripture about the unnaturalness of homosexuality is basic human anatomy: homosexuals lack the ability to reproduce, the primary quality needed for survival.

A Christian knows that this life is not the one that truly matters, though; it’s the next. Can homosexuals go to heaven? Modern society might say, “How could someone as caring and genuine as Ellen burn in hell?” Or “What about homosexuals that attend or even minister at churches where their lifestyle is accepted? Surely these people so full of love and compassion will not be cast out of heaven?”

God hates to see any of his precious children sent to the fires of hell, but the truth is, the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God. In 1 Corinthians 6:9-20, Paul lists many sins that constitute unrighteousness, homosexuality included. Not only will the people who place money before God, or who practice sex outside of marriage, or give themselves over to alcohol not enter heaven, but neither will those who live a lifestyle that includes unnatural lusts and sexual relations.

Many people who seek to wield the Scriptures to justify homosexuality will point only to the teachings of Christ, apparently believing other parts of the Bible to be either fallible or very specific to the culture in which it was written.

It is true that Jesus never condemned homosexuality, but he also only spoke about sexual relations within the bounds of marriage and between a man and a woman. We, too, must speak out on how God intended marriage and sex to be used to further His creation and His Gospel.

In the next article, we will study how Christians can separate themselves from gay acceptance and stand strong for godly romance and love.  We must not allow the media or even the commonly held American opinion to tell us that homosexuality is acceptable. The city of Sodom should show us that this is not a new problem, but it is one that can destroy a society.

By Kimberly Mauck
Kimberly lives with her husband and two daughters in Durant, Oklahoma, where she is a part-time college English instructor and a freelance writer. She also writes forKatharosNOW, a webzine for teen Christian girls, and her own blog Virtuous Woman…Virtually.

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