Tag Archives: Homosexuality

The Consequences of Faithlessness

sodom-and-gomorrahMonday, January 30, 2017

Daily reading assignment: Genesis 16-19

Today’s Bible reading brings us not only to a crisis of faith in the lives of Abraham and Sarah, but also to a crossroads for humanity as we realize the failure of one man’s faith in God’s promises bears consequences that shadow the world in our day…twenty-three centuries after Abraham’s sojourn on this earth.

call-of-abrahamGod chose Abraham, promising to bless him, make of his seed a “great nation”, and make him a blessing to “all families of the earth” (Genesis 12:2-3).  Already “seventy and five years old” (12:4) and his wife Sarah beyond the childbearing years, Abraham believed God would fulfill His promises and Sarah would bear a son.

Years passed and Abraham’s longing for a son went unfulfilled.  Abraham complained, “I go childless…to me thou hast given no seed” (15:2-3).  God patiently assured him his posterity would be in number as the stars of heaven (15:5).

Genesis 16 introduces a crisis of faith for Abraham when we read, “Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children” (16:1).  85 years old (16:16) and his wife 75 years old, Abraham’s faith waned and the complaints (the word “voice” in Genesis 16:2 indicates a constant complaining, like the bleating of sheep) and barrenness of his wife Sarah moved the man to make a faithless decision.  Contrary to God’s will, Abraham turned his back on God’s promises and yielded to Sarah’s proposal that he have a son by her Egyptian servant Hagar (16:1-3).hagar-and-ishmael

Hagar conceived Ishmael (16:4); however, instead of joy, the conception and birth of Ishmael brought division and sorrow into Abraham’s home (16:4-10).  Ishmael, the son of Abraham born of Hagar, is the father of the Arabic people who are the followers of Mohammad and Islam.

The character of Ishmael and his lineage is described as “a wild man [lit. “wild donkey”]; his hand will be against every man [i.e. a man of hostility], and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren” (Genesis 16:12).  The perpetual turmoil afflicted on Israel and the world by Ishmael’s lineage has fulfilled this prophecy.

God renewed His covenant with Abraham in Genesis 17 and ten years later when Abraham was nearly 100 years old, God announced the impossible:  His 90 year old Sarah “shall be a mother of nations” (17:15-17).  Betraying his lack of faith, Abraham laughed, saying in his heart, “Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?” (17:17)

Willing to content himself with less than God’s promise and best, Abraham suggested Ishmael would be his heir (17:18); however, God refused Ishmael.  Comforting Abraham with the promise the son of Hagar would be father to a “great nation” (17:20), God renewed His covenant that Sarah would bear Abraham a son and his name would be Isaac (17:19).

Genesis 18 contains the fateful message from the LORD that the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah would be judged and destroyed for their wickedness (18:20-22).  Knowing his nephew and Lot’s sons and daughters lived in Sodom; Abraham made intercession to the LORD that Sodom be spared if ten righteous people could be found living in the city (18:23-33).

sodomIn Genesis 19, two angels appeared in the physical form of men and, entering Sodom, found Lot sitting “in the gate” (the place where city leaders transacted business and made judgments in disputes).  Somehow realizing the visitors were not like the wicked of Sodom, Lot urged the men to find refuge in his home (19:2-3).

The wickedness and depravity of Sodom was on display that night when the homosexuals of the city encircled Lot’s home and demanded he turn his visitors out into the street to be assaulted (19:4-6).  Lot pleaded with the sodomites, describing their lusts as wicked (19:7), he offered his daughters to satisfy their lusts (19:8-9).  Finally, the angels saved Lot when they struck the sodomites with blindness (19:10-11).

Showing God’s grace, the angels urged Lot to flee the city with his family, warning him the LORD would destroy the city for its wickedness (19:12-13).  Sadly, Lot’s married sons and daughters refused his plea to flee God’s judgment (19:14).  Being warned to not look back, Lot, his wife, and two daughters were led out of the city (19:15-23).  Adding sorrow to sorrow, Lot’s wife looked back and “became a pillar of salt” as God rained fire and brimstone upon Sodom and Gomorrah (19:24-29).lots-wife

I close with a final observation: One would hope Lot’s straying from the LORD would end with the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah; however, he became drunk with wine and his daughters committed incest with him (19:30-36).  The eldest daughter conceived a son she named Moab, the father of the Moabites (19:37).  The youngest daughter conceived a son she named Ammon, the father of the Ammonites.  Both nations, the Moabites and Ammonites, would become a curse and perpetual trouble for the nation of Israel.

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

Standing at the Precipice of God’s Judgment

Friday, January 6, 2017

Daily reading assignment: Isaiah 1-6

The Book of Isaiah is the first prophetic book in our yearlong “Read-Thru the Bible” challenge. The prophet Isaiah lived in the 8th century BC during the final days of Israel before the armies of Nebuchadnezzar conquered the nation and the Jews were taken captive to Babylon.  His prophetic ministry was directed to a rebellious people who had maintained an outward formality of religion; however, whose hearts had turned to idols and rejected God and His Law.

Isaiah stands out as the foremost among the Old Testament prophets; however, in his lifetime his people viewed him as a traitor. He was a fearless preacher, courageously confronting the sins of Judah’s kings and boldly calling the Jews to repent.  His preaching was powerful, his style soaring, and his prophesies vivid.

isaiah-5-20Isaiah foretold the judgment of God in a series of “Woes” pronounced against the nation should the people not repent of their sins (Isaiah 5:20-23, 26-30). In a parallel to our own day, the first “woe” condemned the nation for rejecting God’s Laws leaving the people with the dilemma of no moral absolutes. We read:

Isaiah 5:20 – “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

Such is the condition of our nation and world. I will illustrate with one example, “Gay Marriage”. Our nation’s leaders, judicial courts, secular schools and liberal churches have rejected God’s definition of marriage, condemned those who embrace the biblical and historical definition of marriage between one man and one woman, and now promotes the lunacy of men marrying men and women marrying women (Romans 1:26-27)! Condemning moral virtue, our society has embraced wickedness and depravity.

A second “woe” describes the people as unteachable.

Isaiah 5:21 – “Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent [wise, shrewd] in their own sight!”

Paul’s letter to Christians in Rome described the same in these words, “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22).

A third “woe” illuminated the narcissistic nature of the people and the “pay to play” sin of 21st century politicians.

Isaiah 5:22-23 – “Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine [drunkards], and men of strength to mingle strong drink [boasting of their drunkenness]23 Which justify [acquit] the wicked for reward [bribe], and take away the righteousness [innocence; justice, rights and liberties] of the righteous from him!”moral-absolutes

I close with a fourth “woe” stated by Isaiah of himself.  Shaken by a vision of the LORD sitting on His heavenly throne (Isaiah 6:1-4), the conviction of his own sinfulness overwhelmed the prophet:

Isaiah 6:5“…Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”

When God asked, “Who shall I send [i.e. to preach to the nation], and who will go for us?” Isaiah answered God’s call, “Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8).

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

“REMEMBER LOT’S WIFE”?

christians-under-attackA recent article published in the Evangelical magazine Christianity Today and titled “Fairness for All: Evangelicals Explore Truce on LGBT and Religious Rights”, evidences why I refuse to be associated with the label “Evangelical”.  The Evangelical crowd is rife with compromise and many of its members are at best nominal Christians.

I am not at war with members of the LGBT crowd, but only a fool believes there is room for compromise when the leaders of that movement oppose and are at war with Biblical Christianity, traditional marriage and family values.

I have engaged with members of the LGBT movement on a personal level and in political skirmishes.  Contrary to the assertions of LGBT militants, I have the same love for them that I do for all sinners.  My heart goes out to their struggles with their sin as much as it does to those struggling with other enslaving sins.militant-gay-houston-mayor

However, the militant LGBT crowd is another story!  They have a fervent passion for their “cause” and an unbridled hatred for any who will not bow to their demands.  Make no mistake, militant members of the LGBT movement will accept nothing less than capitulation and accommodation of their sin, even at the sacrifice of your moral values, innocence of your children, Christian family owned businesses, and Constitutional liberties (freedom of religion and free speech).

Adherents of the militant LGBT crusade are seeded in all levels of government, including judicial activists who will punish and annihilate any who dare oppose their demands (including Christian family-owned businesses that refuse to participate in “Gay weddings”).  While politicians trumpet the LGBT cause under the guise of “Rights”, liberal educators rob our children of their innocence using secular classrooms as a platform for opposing Biblical moral values.

A warning to Evangelicals:  “Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:32)?  Moving his family into Sodom and sitting among the elders of that wicked city did not work out so well for Lot, did it? (Genesis 19)

2 Peter 2:7-8 – “And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: 8 (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)”

Copyright 2016 – Travis D. Smith

The overwhelming majority of the voting public might tolerate the intolerable, but few have any desire to celebrate it.

gay flagDear Heart of a Shepherd Readers,

The following is my public statement read before the Hillsborough County Commissioners this Wednesday, July 20, 2016, opposing the motion of County Commissioner Kevin Beckner who is once again promoting the militant LGBTQ agenda in our communities, city, and county.   His latest attempt is to designate the month of June as “Gay Pride Month”; to my knowledge, the county has no other such designation for any cause, group, or organization.

Hillsborough County“For several years I have observed members of the Hillsborough County Board of Commissioners, past and present, accommodate the escalating demands of the LGTBQ community.  I have witnessed this board’s courtship of that community, and watched as you slighted the moral sensibilities of the majority of your constituents.

Unless you are deaf, you know there is a growing spirit of concern and anger among voters who are sick of watching elected officials placate the demands of militant groups.

I have charted the rationale of the LGTBQ community for years and long ago recognized their crusade is not for rights, but acceptance of the abnormal, or in the words of the Bible, “vile affections…against nature… unseemly” (Romans 1:26).  The overwhelming majority of the voting public might tolerate the intolerable, but few have any desire to celebrate it.

This board has entertained the LGTBQ community’s argument they want their privacy and the public and government have no business invading the privacy of their bedrooms.  Privacy”, however, was never the goal of the Homosexual Community.Gay Parade

The Homosexual Community demanded the right to revel in their sexuality and the County once again supported vulgar and lascivious behavior parading in the streets violating Florida Indecent Exposure Laws and offending those who adhere to traditional family values.

The homosexuals demanded the “right to marry”, attacking an institution that for 6,000 years was the foundation of civil and moral society

The Homosexual Community demanded the civil rights of a “protected class”, and this board again bowed to its demands. Now, every private, family owned business that embraces traditional moral values faces the threat of crippling lawsuits should any dare not capitulate to the invasive demands of the homosexual community.

Today you are asked to consider a resolution that perpetuates and promotes the sexual exploits and expressions of the homosexual community as though their sexuality deems them worthy of special honor and designation in our county…it does not!

It is one thing to tolerate homosexuality, it is quite another to ask Hillsborough County citizens to dedicate a month of our County calendar to celebrate moral decadence!

Finally, the terrorist attack in Orlando on June 12, 2016 that left 49 dead was a tragedy; however, to memorialize it as anything other than what it was, the murderous actions of a militant Islamic terrorist, is disingenuous. The 49 who died in the attack were not martyrs; they were victims of an Islamic terrorist.Hillsborough Fire and Rescue

Tampa PoliceIf you want to dedicate the month of June, dedicate it to First Responders who have died in the line of duty serving their communities…16 County Sheriffs, 30 Tampa police officers, 16 Tampa firemen…those men and women, and the ones who risk their lives everyday, are the heroes whose lives should be celebrated and whose deaths should be memorialized.”County Sheriff

Travis D. Smith

Senior Pastor

Hillsdale Baptist Church

Tampa, FL

Are you suffering from “Spiritual PTSD”?

Spiritual MinutemenYou are invited to go to today’s blog post on my political website, SpiritualMinutement.net, and consider the reality we are living in a post-Christian world more interested in “controlling the narrative” than in defining and adhering to morality and Right vs. Wrong.

Isaiah 5:20-21, 2320  Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!  21  Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! …23  Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!

Copyright 2016 – Travis D. Smith

A Spoof on “Self-identity” I Believe You Will Enjoy

Dear Heart of a Shepherd followers,

In addition to this devotional and religious commentary blog, I also have a blog that is profoundly and unabashedly patriotic named “Spiritual Minutemen“.

adult high chairToday’s blog is a spoof, a satirical commentary on the progressives “self-identity” movement in America, particularly the Transgenders’ restroom demands.  The title of today’s blog is, “BATHROOM CHANGING TABLES FOR ADULTS “SELF-IDENTIFYING” AS INFANTS AND TODDLERS”.  

I invite you to read today’s blog and consider the insanity of “self-identity”!

With the heart a shepherd,

Pastor Travis D. Smith

Copyright 2016 – Travis D. Smith

“Standing for Righteousness” (part 3 of 3)

transsexualToday I conclude my Memorial Day challenge that considered the question, “How can we, the benefactors of liberty and debtors of the sacrifices of others, express our gratitude to those who died in service to our nation?”

I have suggested believers consider three mandates: 1) We must embrace and exercise our freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution of the United States; 2) We must be willing to sacrifice our time, talents, and strength to stand and defend our liberties; 3) We must recognize the greatest threat to our nation and freedoms is not Islamic terrorists, but our own government.

Our nation’s drift into the abyss of moral depravity should awaken every believer to the undeniable reality that we are in an ideological war with our leaders, government, media, and much of society.restroom wars

Islamic terrorism is a very real threat to our nation and Constitutional freedoms; however, the greatest threat to our liberties is the terror posed by the occupants of the highest offices of our nation who have followed a pattern of ruling by fiat, apart from Constitutional law with its checks and balances.  Democrats and Republicans who do not represent or share the moral values of the citizenry have betrayed the American people and are actively destabilizing our marriages, families, and communities.

The Failure of American Churches

We, the American public, have ourselves to blame for not only tolerating the lies and imbecility of the immoral left, but also bear the burden of responsibility for our disengagement from the political process.  We are facing the reality that professing Christians, and the American church in general, have failed to be the Salt and Light Christ commanded us to be in the world (Matthew 5:13-16).

The Innocuous Reticence of Biblical Fundamentalism

The GospelMore disconcerting than the failure of American Christianity in general is the dismal spiritual slide of biblically fundamental churches, colleges, and seminaries.  Unlike early 20th century America that had a bevy of evangelistic heralders who called the church to repentance and unapologetically preached the Gospel to lost sinners, 21st century America’s “fundamental” evangelists, preachers, and teachers trumpet “The Gospel”, but cater to a Millennial Generation of fundamental church members who pursue carnality under the banner of “Christian Liberties”.  A failure to be “holy in all manner of conversation” (1 Peter 1:15) coupled with the failure of the pulpit to call the church to revival, has left our fundamental churches, colleges, and seminaries woefully unprepared to address the moral declension of America.

We are living in perilous times.

Knowing the heart of man is wicked and depraved (Jeremiah 17:9), when the restraints of conscience and law are weakened or removed, there is no limit to the depth of sin and depravity into which society will descend.  The Supreme Court’s decision to legalize “same-sex” marriage and the president’s impetus to enforce Transgenders’ access to bathrooms and showers of the opposite sex in public schools is only the beginning of an attack to destroy every vestige of Biblical morality in our nation.

Transsexuality is an abomination.

Men dressing like women and women like men has been a sign of depravity and degeneracy since ancient times.  God instructed Moses to command the people that the dress of men and women was to be distinctively different.  A woman was not to wear the clothing of a man, nor a man the clothing of a woman.

Deuteronomy 22:5 – “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.”

Homosexuality was named as an abomination to God (Leviticus 18:22) and emasculated males (castrated men) were not to be numbered among God’s people (Deuteronomy 23:1).

1st century Jewish philosopher Philo Judaeus, a contemporary of the Jewish historian Josephus, writes concerning the sin of homosexuality and the feminizing of boys and young men:

Jenner“Moreover another evil much greater than that which we have already mentioned has made its way among and been let loose upon cities namely the love of boys, which formerly was accounted a great infamy even to be spoken of, but which not is a subject of boasting not only to those who practise it but even to those who suffer it and who, being accustomed to hearing the affliction of being treated like women waste away as to both their souls and bodies, not bearing about them a single spark of a manly character to be kindled into a flame, but having even the hair of their heads conspicuously curled and adorned and having their faces smeared with vermilion, and paint and things of that kind and having their eyes pencilled beneath, and having their skins anointed with fragrant perfumes…

And some of these persons have even carried their admiration of these delicate pleasures of youth so far that they have desired wholly to change their condition for that of women, and have castrated themselves and have clothed themselves in purple robes…”

In his letter to believers in Rome, Paul warned the church that homosexuality is a sign God has abandoned a nation and delivered it over to moral self-destruction (Romans 1:26-28).  Paul declared in his letter to believers in Corinth that the “effeminate” and “abusers of themselves with mankind” would be numbered with those who “shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

To those who might take the scriptures or me to task out of sympathy with transsexuals and justify that sin with the argument transsexuals are happier dressing and acting like the opposite sex, I will assert that feelings are not a justification for moral perversity no more than anger and hatred is a justification for murder.  Our nation’s embrace of homosexuality and transsexuality is indicative of a people who have strayed from and rejected God’s absolutes!

Good News…There is Hope.

Paul writes: “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11).  The membership of the 1st century church consisted of those who had confessed and turned from their sins, believing Jesus Christ had suffered the penalty of their sin on the cross, died, was buried and rose again the third day. In the midst of the churches were those saved out of the most abominable sins, including effeminism and homosexuality.open Bible

There is hope for sinners when the church fulfills its mission of not only preaching the Gospel, but also warning sinners of God’s wrath and judgment.  It is time for preachers and evangelists of Bible fundamental churches, colleges and seminaries to balance their emphasis on “The Gospel” with a call to the church to repent of its sin.

2 Timothy 4:1-5
1  I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
2  Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
3  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
5  But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

Copyright 2016 – Travis D. Smith