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Saturday, 28 February 2015

"Can a leopard change its spots?"

The heading to this post comes from the Old Testament book of Jeremiah (13:23).  In context, the answer is "No!".  However, the prophet did not know of the saving grace of the Lord Jesus, the Christ!

The following is a report from Christian Press (also in Charisma News) that came to me in one of my regular mailings, and Prayer Guides (The International Daily Prayer Bulletin, published by Revival, Eastbourne.  Tel. 01323 725231; www.revivalmedia.org  Copies on request).

"Amy had been in a nine-year lesbian relationship that had broken up, leaving her wondering why her deepest longings could never be satisfied.  She and Rachel had just started hanging out when they decided to attend Gateway Church in Austin, Texas, on a Sunday morning.  'I came on a mission to shock people', Amy admits.  'Rachel and I would hold hands in front of people but, instead of the disgusted looks of contempt we expected, people ... treated us like real people.'

'Not long after that, Rachel and I stopped seeing each other, but I kept coming to church because I was searching for something', Amy recalls.  'The more I learned about the teachings of Jesus, the more I actually started to believe that God really did love me.  I heard more and more about being His masterpiece and, in time, I actually started to believe it. ... As I moved closer to Christ, He gently took me on a very surprising journey. ... First, I found out that my father had nine affairs while I was growing up - a secret that rocked my world.  Jesus began to show me the roots of my issues - I was, just like (dad), using people to find comfort, life, and love, outside of God.'

As she grew in her trust of God's love, further recollections were brought back.  She recalled the day she was pinned down and raped by three boys when she was only nine years old!  The Lord had been drawing her near to strengthen her to see the source of so much sexual struggle, hidden for years beneath layers of protective mud.  'After that', she shares, 'I realised God knows more about me than I know about myself.  As I continued to seek intimacy with Him, the lesbian struggles fell away. ... The more I focus on God's intimate love for me, and try to see His masterpiece emerge, the less I want anything to get in the way of His work in me.'

Seven years later, Amy leads Gateway Church's ministry to help people find healing and wholeness from all kinds of sexual, and relational, struggles.  She is helping others become God's restored masterpieces."

Now, of course, not every lesbian has had the same experiences that Amy had; homosexuals will have had completely different ones; others with sexually relational difficulties will have yet other ones.  However, there is one thing that is common to all of us - lesbian, homosexual, heterosexual, whatever.  That one thing is sin.  I am a sinner; you are a sinner; and there is nothing that any of us can, by ourselves, do about it.  That's the wonder of the Good News - that "... anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!" (II Cor.5:17); and that "The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure." (I Cor.10:13).

You may 'meet' Amy in the video at http://www.gatewaychurch.com/sexuality/   The whole of the message is well worth watching - by anyone!   Please feel free to contact me via the e-mail address at the top of the page, if you think that I may be able to help - or, at least, point you in the direction of someone who can.

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