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I Once Was Blind But Now I See

Following in Believer's Baptism on 11.05.1995 at College Park Baptist Church in Las Vegas, NV. Pastor Bob Williams <><

Charlene following in Believer’s Baptism on 12.05.1995 at College Park Baptist Church in Las Vegas, NV. Pastor Bob Williams <><

Part 2 in The Charlene Hios’ Story

Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me . . .

True are the words of the great hymn Amazing Grace. This song is one that speaks such truth that it rings with clarity into a person’s soul. On November 5, 1995 it struck a chord in me as it was played as the invitation song at College Park Baptist Church in Las Vegas, Nevada. I walked down the aisle that Sunday morning in obedience to the call of Christ Jesus. Turning away from one’s sins and turning towards Jesus is so cleansing. It leaves you feeling like a little kid without a care in the world. Then, following in believer’s baptism, another act of obedience creates an even cleaner sense in one’s very being. This was me at the end of 1995. I was and still am a sinner saved and cleansed by grace, God’s grace, God’s amazing grace. Thank You God for Your grace!

Change and Obedience

Tim Wilkins of Cross Ministries in North Carolina coined the phrase:  The only place change comes before obedience is in the dictionary. I heard Tim speak this phrase as he gave his testimony of how God took him out of his homosexual life. Tim was at a coffee house turned church on Sundays in New Orleans back in 2001. That year the Southern Baptist Convention was there.  I was a messenger for my church and Tim was there for the convention as well. I had gone to this particular church that Sunday to hear Dr. Richard Land preach. Tim’s phrase on ‘change not occurring without obedience’ has been something God has used in my Christian walk just as He has used the words to the great hymn Amazing Grace.

Grace, obedience, and change; three important words in the life of those who are in Christ Jesus!

The Lie Begins

With all of the above said, let us now go back to the late 1970s. I believed in God. I feared Him. I also prayed to Him each night before going to sleep. Jesus was not known to me then.

It was Columbus Day weekend in 1978. I was serving in the United States Air Force and was stationed at Carswell Air Force Base which was located in Fort Worth, Texas. It was this weekend that I personally stepped into the life of one who identifies themselves as a homosexual, a lesbian, a self-proclaimed butch. I experienced the lesbian love of a woman that weekend. I was almost twenty years old and had never been with anyone sexually before in my life.

I Didn’t Do Something Wrong, Did I?

It was the beginning of living a lie, a lie I lived for almost twenty years. Regretfully a lie which sneaks itself into the lives of so many each day. I remember trying to figure out what this was that was happening to me. It felt right, it felt good, so therefore I determined there must not be anything wrong with being sexually active with another woman.

However, deep inside of me, I felt there was something wrong about this new experience in my life. If there was not a sense of immorality here why did I sit there after it all happened and try to figure it all out.  But I was able to push that thought aside, the thought that I had done something wrong.

Rationalizing it Away

As I continued trying to figure it all out, I went through what little I knew about homosexuality. To the best of my knowledge I had never been sexually abused by anyone. All the men in my life were great for the most part. I was even engaged to one.  I really liked his company yet, there just was nothing there physically, there was no sexual attraction.

However the more I thought it out I realized that I had always had these attractions to women, these magnetic draws towards them. Time after time I would imagine them holding me tightly. The need to be held by them turned into sexual desire as I matured into a young woman. I longed to be held, to be touched, to be caressed by the different women in my life.

 Today I understand why those attractions were there but back then I was a twenty year old woman who was full of sexual desires and when lust is present we are pretty good at rationalizing things away.

Transference of Guilt

What I had done was wrong. Making love to a woman was wrong. Deep inside of me I knew this to be so. However, almost in an unconscious manner, I swept aside that underlying voice telling me it was wrong. I rationalized it away.

My conclusion was that God must have made me that way. I was born a homosexual person, a lesbian. In my mind this explained it for me. This took it off of me and placed it on God. God made me this way and I believed it and unknowingly walked into a life against God.

  I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.

My eyes always brim with tears as I think of my wretchedness, my blindness, and God’s amazing unmerited irresistible grace. How blind I was!

Before coming to such wonderful peace which comes only from a true, close relationship with Christ Jesus, I was a wretch who just could not see that God’s very words told me that the way I lived my life was not what He, God, had intended, it was sex outside of God’s design for marriage, it was homosexual sex, it was a sin.

The Tract My Sister Gave Me

My Sister Joanne and Me

My sister Joanne was the first in our family to come to a personal relationship with Jesus. She was concerned about her whole family–none of us knew Christ personally. (Praise God, eventually we all came to Christ. I can securely say when I die I know that along with my Mom and Dad, and the rest of my family, I will be with Jesus.)

Troubled by my sinful life, Joanne sent me a tract which spoke of the unnatural relationship of two women together sexually.

 “For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.”

Romans 1:26-27 NASV 1995

Confusion

I felt such confusion as I read these words in that little tract. Back then I could not grasp these words of the Apostle Paul. They made no sense to me. How my heart breaks looking back as I remember and reflect with you on how lost and blind I was. I was a prisoner to the lie of homosexuality. I was a slave to this sin. How ironic that back then I felt so free. I did not realize how false that feeling of freedom actually was to me. The god of this world had me right where he wanted me, blinded to God’s word, blinded to the Gospel of Christ Jesus.

Almost everyday now I have conversations with those caught up in this same lie. My heart goes out to them. We discuss how they perceive these same verses in Romans. The lesbians I speak with say the same thing I did, that there is nothing unnatural about being with women sexually. After all, didn’t God make them that way? They do not see their chains of captivity.

After reading that tract a second time, I tossed it in the trash. “Geesh Joanne! You just don’t get it!” I thought. I told Joanne that my being with a woman was so natural to me. I told her that this Scripture was wrong about women with women. It did not pertain to me. What I did was completely natural.

Double Standards?

However, I operated under a double standard. I did agree, in the reading of the tract, that two men together sexually was wrong. It even turned my stomach. Here I was a sexually active lesbian, believing that women having sex with each other was natural but it was not natural between two men. The scales on my eyes were thick! In my distorted view, God’s word did not pertain to my sexual situation but it did hold true for men being sexually active with each other.

I praise God for my sister’s diligence. Joanne learned that arguing about this with me was not working, and instead she started praying for me. Almost twenty years later, when the scales finally fell off my eyes and I saw that homosexuality was sinful and not what God intended, I called Joanne and thanked her for her prayers. I thanked her for telling me the truth even when I would not listen. Again, I thanked her for believing that God would answer her prayers to open my eyes to the sin I believed was natural. Praise God!

Hope in Prayer

Can you pray away the gay? This is a question that many who struggle with their same sex sexual attractions ask me. I share with them the story of my sister Joanne praying for me for almost twenty years. I share with those struggling with their unwanted sexual attractions to the same sex to lift that attraction up to God. Lift it up in prayer. Capture the thoughts and give them to God.

Healing and answer to prayer will happen however it could take an instant but more than likely it can be awhile. Personally, once I realized homosexuality was a sin, it took a good five years for the sexual thoughts to get out of my head. Do they come back? They did, occasionally, they tried to get back into my thoughts.

Now, today, I no longer am sexually attracted to the same gender. And yes, I am attracted to the opposite gender.

 I am a child of God, and sin no longer has me in captivity.

Conclusions

The sin of homosexuality effects all of us, not just those caught in its power. I myself personally know of its blinding lies as does my entire family. I was so deceived that I convincingly argued the lie that I was born gay. Some members of my family still believe I am gay and am just deceiving myself that this is a former condition.

Freedom is possible. I am a living witness to this fact, as are the thousands of others who have been unchained from captivity. The power of the Holy Spirit’s convicting is the key to unleashing others from this sin.

First the Church must reflect the love of Christ Jesus. First we must love the homosexual as God loved us!

In his letter to the Corinthians the Apostle Paul speaks to the freedom that is possible. In verse 11 he specifically states this hope for us today.

1 Corinthians 6:9–11 (NIV):

9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Post originally appeared on Earthen Vessel  An Online Christian Journal

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So Many Books So Little Time

So Many Books So Little Time.

So Many Books So Little Time

Back in the 1980s, Michael Card wrote a song by the same title as this blog. It was about running Bibles into a land that did not allow people to own a Bible. Can you imagine not being able to own a Bible, not being able to read the Word of God when you wanted to read it? The words of the song talk about how people would actually wait in line, late at night into the early morning light in order to read some of the Word of God.

More than likely, if you identify yourself as a Christian, as a follower of Jesus Christ, you probably own several Bibles. I certainly do. Let me think, how many do I own? I can envision 14 sitting there on the shelf in my office and then there is one in my San Quentin bag (I teach Old Testament there), and then of course I have one in my car in the side pocket on the driver’s side. And of course I have access to all kinds of Bibles on my smart phone and in my laptop and on my PC.

My mind quickly goes back to the words of Card’s song about the people waiting to read the Bible because there were so few available to them. When is the last time I read the Bible? Actually read it, sat down and read it to read it? Yes I am constantly reading books about it and doing word studies and reading about Biblical mannerisms and customs of the land and arguing about interpretation etc, but when have I sat down and just read it to read it?

When have I sat down and read the Word of God with a cup of coffee and sat there and visited with God through His Word? Sadly I can not think of when the last time is I did this.

Of course I have an excuse. I have been so busy with the ministries God has given me. There is just so little time. Well, it is time to make the time. Time to get back into spending quality time with Yahweh!

I hope you have spent more time in the Word of God than I have this past week. I need to go and rectify my error of not putting God first on the demands of my time. Have a great Sunday. Continue reading

Gay and Christian?

Yes, you can be in Christ Jesus and also identify yourself as lesbian or gay, however, if indeed, you are in Christ, the Holy Spirit will eventually, if not already, be convicting you of your homosexual identity. The two can’t exist in you without struggle. Sin has received an eviction notice and can not dwell in you long if you are in Christ. You are a work in progress! Let the struggle begin!

“Go Straight – Go Straight” said my (homophobic?) GPS

As I was driving the other day to pet/house sit for my new clients Arlene and Patti. I was in deep thought on how God is / has been moving in my ministry. My new house sitting clients are a lesbian couple I recently met through a mutual acquaintance and my ministry is about bridging the gaps betweeen the conservative Christian church and the Gay community.  As I thought about the importance of building relationships in order to share the Love of Christ Jesus, suddenly my GPS, a Tom-Tom, brought me out of this deep thought, which is not the greatest thing to be doing while driving mind you!

“GO STRAIGHT! GO STRAIGHT!” the female voice coming from the GPS said to me.

I cracked up laughing as I could not help but remember how back in 1978 I would not have taken so kindly to this command. “Go straight indeed” is what I probably would have replied to this GPS unit. I probably would have thought: “How could they even program this machine to say something like that, how insensitive!” There is a good chance this would have set me off to writing a letter to the company who manufactures the GPS or perhaps even calling them to give them a piece of my mind.

You see from 1978 to 1995 I identified myself as a lesbian, a self-proclaimed ‘butch’.

Also I know I would have found a different voice who said “Go Straight” in a more politically correct way, though I do not know if that was an issue back in the late 70’s. Was it? I probably would have switched my GPS to the Australian Air Traffic Controller who would say in his cute accent: “Proceed forward at your discretion” The Australian’s voice is very calming and gentle and does not use the word “Straight” It would have made me more comfortable and less reactive.

Of course as far as I know there were no GPS devices back then but one thing for sure I can see that I have not really changed that much. When something upsets me I usually take immediate action, when I see or hear something that I think is an injustice I will react. Though I do not see this GPS as intentionally meaning to be offensive, it was just doing what it was programmed to do.

I could go in several directions here and for some of you, well I would imagine you already see what I am meaning but for those of you who do not see it let me unpack this just a bit further.

Back in 1978 gay folks, and as I wrote above,  I was one of them, would speak in code or double talk or between the lines, however you might want to word it. I was in the United States Air Force and although I was quite a bold lesbian airman i would cautiously have said to a person giving me direction that I would prefer to go forward rather than proceed straight. If the person was gay they would give me a smile and tell me they liked my wording better and then we both would know the other was gay.

All of this is merely a reminder to myself that all of us might want to consider the words we use in speaking to those who are not of our same mind set.

I can remember being a new Christan, my mentor, Ruth, slid into the seat next to me. As she did I was shocked at the words out of her mouth:  “S.O.B.!”  “Ruth” I said, “Why are you using that kind of language?” I had her full attention, she smiled and asked what I meant. I told her that when I heard someone say “S.O.B.!” I automactically thought she meant “Son of a Bitch” (please excuse my language) Again, she smiled, her eyes so wide and kind, “Charlene” Ruth said, “When I exclaim ‘S.O.B.’ I mean ‘Scoot Over Baby”

As I communicate today in my blogs and on facebook and twitter I am always asking folks to “define” their words for me. I do not want to assume a person is saying one thing when they mean something totally different.

Let us not allow misperceptions of what people mean by the words they use to cause us to get mad at each other and call each other hurtful names. Hurtful in that there is separation and conversations stop. You see the language and the words we use today hold even more power than they have in the past.

So let us not call my GPS “homophobic” when it is not.