Winks of Jesus

As I have written before I am enjoying watching the TV series The Chosen.  I am frequently struck by how often within each episode there is so much about the person and purpose of Jesus being portrayed; if one pays close attention to the details of the actions and words I think you will be intrigued.  May that intrigue stir your heart towards Him.   

One such thing that caught my attention was in Episode 1 of Season 2.  Jesus is about to read Scripture in a synagogue and in walks a man who has been miraculously healed by Jesus.  Their eyes meet and what does Jesus do? he smiles and winks at the man.  I was struck by the significance of such a simple facial gesture and expression.  Consider it, what does the message of a wink convey?  I see you.  I get you.  I’ve got you.  It’s okay.  I love you.  A wink is a subtle acknowledgement and connection that is really only fully understood by the two individuals.   When winked at our response is quite likely a smile and a warming of our heart. An intimate, personal connection that triggers emotional bonding.  

Image by OpenIcons from Pixabay

The wink of Jesus depicted here causes me to wonder about my relationship with him.  How does Jesus wink at me?  Do I have that type of intimate and uniquely personal connection with him?  Does he wink at me and I miss it?

I remembered this following a really simple situation I found myself in last week.  While it is not quite as significant as being miraculously healed it demonstrated how He’s got me.  I was working on a small DIY project of replacing a torn screen on a deck door.  If you have ever attempted this on your own you may understand it can be tricky to not damage or tear the screen.  Since that was my past experience I was putting it off but finally decided to go after it. This time when I bought the replacement screen I noticed they also had a cool little tool that supposedly was made to help.  It wasn’t too expensive so I went ahead and bought it, yet remained skeptical.  To my amazement the tool worked great!  I love this cool little bright neon green tool. It made the job super fast – this was going to be a successful DIY project.  I completed one part and then stepped away for a bit and then went back to finish up.  Hmmm…where did I place that tool?  I was just using it after all yet it was not right by the spot I was working.  I retraced my steps several times and I could not find it.  My frustration level rose quickly.  Seriously!  I was just using this thing!  What on earth did I do with it!  The thing is bright neon green too, how can I not see it!  After several attempts to find it I even called my sister to vent my silly frustration to her.  As I hung up I uttered a prayer out of frustration – Lord help me find this thing, and was prepared to take a break and engage in doing something else.  At that moment I glanced to my right looking outside AND what caught my eye?  A bright neon green tool that I had placed on the mantel.  Ha!  I laughed, I smiled.  It was a wink from Jesus.  I got you, I’ve got this and here is your little green tool.  Now get the job done.  🙂

How has Jesus winked at you?  Are you watching? 

Again and Again

Shame. Shame so quickly and easily builds in our hearts often without us realizing it. It’s what keeps us from sharing our sins and struggles with anyone including our Father in Heaven. It entraps us in a feeling and sense on continuous defeat. Have you been there? Have you been there, gotten out and then find yourself in that place yet again?! I suspect you have. News Flash — You know what you are not alone! Isn’t it just maddening and you want to scream and throw a little temper tantrum in crazed frustration.

I was encouraged and reminded of some important truth this week through a song that eloquently puts to words where you and I need to run. Again and again. May we keep running to Him- no reason to hide any longer – His mercy is calling out. I love the lyrics of this song and the emphasis of again and again and again! After all He is the only Savior! Because of Easter! ~Stan

In His Image

Our culture, ourselves, and our experiences are significant influences of how we think about ourselves. It has left many people really confused. Gay, gay-Christian, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender, gender fluid and more.

A primary purpose of this blog is to challenge others including myself about our beliefs about our identities; is what we are thinking based on God’s truth? Unfortunately that message of Truth is often misrepresented, misunderstood and simply not heard. Today I share with you a link to the full documentary entitled “In His Image”. This documentary thoughtfully shares God’s plan for gender and sexuality while taking a look at culture, science and the Word of God. It also includes some powerful stories of men and women and how their identities have been rescued by the power of God’s truth. ~Stan

Here is a preview:

In His Image: Delighting in God’s Plan for Gender and Sexuality

Truth: Identity & Purpose

It is 2021! Often at the start of the new year, I, like many others do a little reflecting and wonder about what the next year may bring and consider some of the changes I would personally like to see in the year ahead for myself. I think we also all like to have something to look forward to, something to motivate us to really live and experience life. Unfortunately we often find ourselves driven by the wrong things and can be easily deceived into pursuing things such as money, sex, possessions, food, the job promotion, a relationship. While all those things can be good and very good for that matter what is my purpose. What will really make 2021 the year of truly living to the fullest?!

Purpose. What is my purpose, what is your purpose? The Bible directs us many places throughout the scripture.

  • Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul strength and mind. -Luke 10:27
  • Love your neighbor. -Luke 10:27
  • Love one another. -John 13:35
  • Take up your cross daily and follow me. -Luke 9:23
  • We are his workmanship, created in created in Christ Jesus for good works. -Ephesians 2:10
  • So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. – I Corinthians 10:13.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Identity: As part of my story and others that struggle as I, I have found that I often fumble along with my masculinity and sexuality. It seems natural then that as I consider a new year ahead I would want to focus on that. 2021 – to honor God in my masculinity and sexuality. From the very start I was created by God to be a man. The very start – the egg and sperm; the sperm with a Y sex chromosome was the start of me that He knit together. Stan Newton is to be a man. “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made, your works are wonderful I now that full well.” -Psalm 139:13-14. Certainly then it is logical that my identity as a man, the very first character trait of whom I was created to be is significant in His unique purposes for me.

Therefore, as I embark on the story for 2021; may I discover more fully how I am to glorify him as the man He created me to be. Loving others a man, taking up my cross as a man, doing good works as a man; ultimately whatever I may do…as a man for His glory.

Likewise may your 2021 story be an adventure for you to glorify Him in the identity He has formed you in. ~Stan

Unsettled Mess

Nearly three months ago I moved to a different home. The list of “to do’s” are daunting.

Clean Ducts
Patch nail holes
Paint trim and rooms
Clean light fixtures
Electrical work
Unclog drains
Clean stained floors

Photo by KJ Styles on Unsplash

Add Window treatments
Deck repairs
Fix leaking pipes
Replace nasty range hood
Install new dishwasher
Replace stained ceiling tiles
Seal doorways

The list really is longer. This is just a taste of what has been stirring in my mind the last few months. Some things are complete some things are not. Little did I know the impact of the move amongst other things was having on my heart.

Unsettled was a simple word used by my Pastor yesterday when we were talking about some DIY planning while connecting it to my season of struggling with sin & temptation. We had a short but incredibly significant conversation about the spiritual impact of this unsettledness. This conversation was a relief to my troubled heart. In any sin struggle whether it is sexual in nature or an addictive habit it is important to be alert to one’s own triggers. Pure Desire Ministry offers a helpful tool to thoughtfully discover triggers or “alarms” and to create an escape plan. Explore their web page. In particular view the Escape plan tool by clicking on resources. I believe I am very aware of my triggers; emotions of frustration, anxiety, inadequacy, and loneliness are just a few. After my conversation with Pastor Eric yesterday I can add unsettledness.

Beyond the house projects there has been unsettledness in situations at my job, interrupted routines, an easy tendency to get anxious, and all sorts of COVID related craziness. Consequently, that one word “unsettled” put an incredible amount of things in perspective. In an interestingly odd way it brought joy. I had been in state of angst and discouragement really trying to figure out why I was feeling embattled with temptation and sin. Now I had a clear explanation which is allowing me to begin to address some of that unsettledness. Hope restored.

Reject passivity, accept responsibility. I have been challenged by this before. (See previous blog entry: House Cleaning) It certainly comes into play here once again. While some of the situations that have me feeling unsettled are out of my control, there are areas that I can deal with and accept responsibility and just “do”. This is a much better choice rather than just sitting and allowing the unsettledness overwhelm me foddering way towards being easily tempted and struggling with sin.

I share this part of my story with you today to encourage you to be aware of your alarms and triggers that take you down a pathway toward sin. Prayerfully ask for His wisdom to help you discover them. Consider talking with a close brother/sister in Christ that may also help you. Check out the Escape Plan tool.

What unsettled mess can I tackle today? Prayerfully asking for His peace in the things that I cannot control. Pressing on in Hope !

Help me Understand

The draw to start this blog spawned from a growing realization the power behind an individual’s story or personal testimony of their life journey. I found myself often intrigued to hear the stories of others struggles with sexual brokenness. What could I glean from their experiences to help me on my journey? I wanted a check list of what I needed to do for healing and freedom from my same sex attractions. While I did not find a perfect set of “to -do’s” I found brothers and sisters pointing to the real hope. The Gospel of Jesus. I also gained an understanding of the causes of my same sex attraction of which I continue to uncover as He (God) reveals to me the sins of my heart.

Without doubt same sex attraction/homosexuality is a complicated issue to understand and many people have their own thoughts. What is true? What does the Bible say? So today I share with you a documentary that may be helpful. You will learn about some of the common roots of same sex attraction as well as the stories of men and women. ~Stan

Source: http://suchweresomeofyou.org/.

Rebellious Heart Within


Praise the Lord
His Mercy is More
Stronger than Darkness
New every Morn
Our Sins are Many
His Mercy is More
…”

Rebellious heart — that thought has been triggering in my mind from a daily devotion on how Adam and Eve were rebellious in eating the fruit from the forbidden tree. I was intrigued and encouraged by the reminder from the author that God was quickly there in that moment; not to judge the sin but to defeat it. (New Morning Mercies By Paul David Trip, Entry for November 26)

As I consider this; I am struck that it was rebellion against the Father. My mind goes toward how often pastors & Biblical counselors share how the relationship we have with our earthly father is often transferred to our relationship with the Heavenly Father. Hmm! I often held a rebellious attitude toward my father. I am not sure what it initially stemmed from; perhaps my unaware bitterness I had toward him on how I ‘felt’ neglected as a boy – longing to be taught what it meant to be man and to be encouraged in anything about my masculinity – perhaps it was there, I just didn’t see it. However, as I have matured and grown up I do know that my dad loves and cares for me deeply.

I find it interesting how a lot of that rebellious attitude was often really hidden in my heart and mind. Thoughts of bitterness, anger and even hate towards him. I held some very strong feelings; they truly were kept in and weren’t visible or uttered. Even now I cannot really think of any strong evidence of when it was overtly evident. Perhaps it was more subtly displayed when my attitude towards farm work, or other things that he wanted me to do- of which I did not want to do. How does that relate/correspond to my current sin struggles? Completely. I like to hide it from the Heavenly Father; well seemingly — as I do know and realize that He knows. Since the Heavenly Father is not physically present with me it seems as if those sins are hidden and not evident. But the TRUTH it is not.

How disappointing my selfish actions must be towards my Heavenly Father. The Father who ultimately created and designed me sees how I rebelliously act and think; not seeing myself as a good thing or “enough” and how I subsequently become filled with selfish greed, envy, and jealousy towards others. Essentially I am entering into an idolatrous worship of man, consumed by it and overtaken by it.

“How dare You! ” That line comes from a testimony of a brother in Christ in how his mother had challenged him to more readily to see himself as the man God created him to be. Likewise my heart & mind is being challenged “How Dare I?” How dare I consider myself as less than. God created me. The God who created the universe created me! Uniquely created for good, the good of His glory (See Previous Post: War for Glory ). This is nothing short of significant value. How dare I think differently! May you recognize the unique value He has in creating you too. You and I created for His Glory. It is good!

Lord forgive me, forgive me for my rebellious heart, selfish heart, ungrateful heart, envious heart, jealous heart, idolatrous heart, and more. No wonder I need a new heart! So the story continues, while I become more aware of my own sin, may my awareness of His grace and mercy increase as well. Likewise my brothers & sisters as you consider the condition of your heart, may you Praise the Lord for His Mercy is More!”

War for Glory

I just posted an entry minutes ago. I turned off the light and intended to settle my mind before drifting off to sleep. I so had hoped. I was starting to contemplate some of the the other things that I have been learning over the past few months that could be “blog worthy”. One of which was how easily I can get side tracked to be self-seeking attention and glory for things that I have said and done. Seems legit right? We all want to be noticed – it is a good thing, good for our self-esteem. Read that again. Did you catch it – my heart is beginning to deceive me from truth and my purpose. My heart naturally wants to be noticed; in fact minutes after I published that post I was looking at the stats of my page – has anyone seen or read my post? I wonder if anybody will comment? Wow, it has been months since my last post yet I see there has been some views. Cool! I am being noticed.

Truth check. What was my purpose when starting this blog? Pointing others toward Jesus or toward me so I could get some attention? See me! I do legitimately want to point others to Jesus, in particular those that struggle with sexual sin. I can relate to the depths of the hurt, pain and struggle. My compassionate heart is engaged. Yet, I can’t deny I like the attention it gets me. Wait a minute. Who really provides the hope and freedom, who does the rescuing? Who deserves the glory? Not I. Even in the good that I may do, I need to remember how that is even possible. Because of Him! The Glory is due His name. He does the rescuing!

I Corinthians 10: 31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Time has gone by….

Oh my gracious! It has been a long time again – months in fact. Too long. So some explanation:

-COVID laziness
-Back to work after months away
-A broken laptop
-Distracted heart
-Moving to a different home

I do want to get back to sharing thoughts and stories with you that read. Good news, I have a new laptop – so that “excuse” is no longer valid.

Most recently I have been doing a book study with a brother in Christ – we are reading Passions of the Heart by John D. Street. A very good read – a heavy read at times that is brain taxing but it is a good thing. :). The current substance of what I have been reading has been about the deceitfulness of our hearts. It has challenged me to consider truly how subtle the deceitfulness can be. One of the quotes from the opening chapter – “I can’t believe I would ever think such thoughts.” Oh my goodness –unfortunately I have been there. I think I have written before how our sin can easily and quickly take us where we would have never dreamed of going.

The deceit of our hearts taking us away from truth toward sin can be very simple and subtle and happens without us really noticing it. We often can easily dismiss it completely or attempt to diminish it as “no big deal” – deceived! Meanwhile Satan is conniving, scheming and manipulating this win over our thinking and it feeds. I have fallen prey to such. More than once, more than once to the same thing!

I Peter 5:8: Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Oh may we be alert! May God reveal to us individually where our thinking takes us toward sin and guide us back to truth in Him, to be RESCUED by him. ~Stan

Accountabliity to God

Perhaps this isn’t any revelation to you my readers but I share anyway. ;). As noted in my recent entries I have found myself in a season of struggle with old sinful patterns of behavior. In the good moments of this season I have been trying to figure out the why. In that the Holy Spirit has reached my heart and mind in an attempt to remind me of His truth and my vulnerabilities to wander away from that truth.

Piecing together some thoughts and recent insights I am wondering if we approach the idea of “accountability” wrong. Or at least the priority of accountability in the wrong order. I have had and do have a number of brothers in Christ that hold me “accountable” in my journey of purity. They have the freedom and permission to ask the tough and deeply personal questions. Seriously some very personal questions – but in all honesty I do believe they should be asked. In fact one brother occasionally questions me with “What’s the question that you don’t want me to ask?”, “What’s the thing that you don’t want me to know?” It unequivocally brings about a call to personal responsibility & honesty that can be very easily hidden. As believers in Christ we are called to bring things to the light right? I encourage you to prayerfully consider finding those men and/or women in your life that can build such a relationship.

James 5:16 “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”

Here’s the deal, as I have just shared I have found this practice quite significant in my journey, I am challenged today with this. Shouldn’t that accountability partner first be asking me about my relationship and walk with Jesus, God the Father & the Holy Spirit? After all He IS the answer as stated in one of my favorite passages, Romans Chapter 7:

21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! 

I do have one brother that consistently does ask me if I have been reading anything good lately. Unfortunately over the last several weeks I have not had anything to share nor have I really taken his question seriously. Usually my mind was going toward a good read from some Christian living book rather than “the” book. I am going to ask him and the others to be more direct in their questions. What have you been reading in the Bible this week? Anything make you ponder? If have haven’t been reading – why not? What’s your plan for next week.

Ha! Even as I am typing this I’m a little anxious. Do I really want them to be asking me these questions? In reality I do, I want to be moving toward Jesus. How could I not? He know’s the answer, He is the answer! At the bottom of my journal page in which I was generating these thoughts was this scripture “I know the plans I have for you, say the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you future and a hope”. Jeremiah 29:11. Again why wouldn’t I want to be held accountable to building a relationship with our creator and Father; the Lord that knows what is best.

In closing, I share another oldie but goodie song that came to mind about seeking Him first! ~Stan