Saturday, November 26, 2011

Living Convictions

I just realized I never shared this on the blogs...I love to see how God works differently in different hearts.  We serve an amazing God who uses each of us in unique ways; living our convictions is so very important.  Hope you all enjoy this:


The dual concepts of individual relationships with Christ and unified relationships in Christ form the foundation of Christianity. Blending such contrasting goals requires the work of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit walks with us on the paths of our lives; He never asks us to leap onto another’s walkway but to trust Him to bring others and ourselves ever closer to the Father. Each individual lives within a unique reality that includes obligations of family, finances and careers. The power and willingness of God to enter individual realities and unveil His love grants hope to all.

The recent redefining of marriage in New York State threw an immense obstacle onto the life paths of those whose work intersects the new law. We invite you to listen to the hearts of these individuals who share how God has been speaking in and through them as they seek His face in the Gay Marriage Debate.

New York State Senator Tom Libous, who represents the 52nd District including Broome County, believes marriage is between a man and a woman. He offers his thoughts on the battle, while two town clerks share how they grapple with placing their signatures upon the marriage licenses of gay couples. Martha Baxter is the current Assistant Town Clerk for the Town of Fenton and Laura L. Fotusky is former Town Clerk of Barker. We thank these two women and Senator Libous for having the courage, grace and humility to respond to these very difficult questions.

What is the foundation of the stand you took in the Gay Marriage debate?

Laura: “Colossians 3:3 was the deciding factor for me. I felt that if my life is hid with Christ in God, then it is God’s hand that would have to sign the certificates. I could not agree that God would sign them.”

Martha: “The Word of God and the voice of the Spirit in my heart are always my foundation, but this was confusing for awhile. I was unsure if I could or should fulfill my obligations for the Town of Fenton. The passage of scripture that tells of Lot’s heart being vexed as he stayed in Sodom kept coming to mind. As I read it, I saw that God took care of both judging wrong and delivering Lot. I found comfort in that. I have a job to do; He will care for me as I look to Him.”

Senator: “I was raised in a religious (Catholic) home. I believe marriage is a sacred institution between a man and a woman.”

Everyone faces the need to grow in their ability to stand upon their convictions. The issue of gay marriage created a very heated, public arena. How had God prepared you to face this challenge?

Laura: “I knew God had rescued my soul and my marriage. He built my faith in the hard years of marriage so I trust His Word is true, and I rely completely on it. His Word requires that we trust in His sufficiency and not our own to face the hardships of life. I had to go back to what kind of God is asking me to do this, and I knew He had brought me through other uncomfortable places. I had to obey Him in this.”

Martha: “Years of Bible reading and study allowed the Spirit to bring to mind passages of scripture that answered my questions and quieted my heart.”

Senator: “You always stand up for what you believe in. The outpouring of prayer and support I received provided plenty of encouragement and helped strengthen my convictions. “

What was the most difficult pressure encountered”

Laura: “The hardest part for me is the publicity. I am normally quiet and never seek the limelight. This feeling of being exposed to the world is very hard. I told God if He wants me to speak, I will do it. It is not my natural bent to be so public, but I believe He has given me gifts of teaching and encouraging. I just never anticipated His calling on my life would be so public. God had been working on me for several months previously. God had been teaching me to stand on the shoulders of my fear and anxiety to lift me to Christ. Right after the issue became very heavy, I stumbled across an Oswald Chambers’ devotion entitled “You are not your own” which was based on 1 Corinthians 6:19. I knew then God was asking something very different of me in this situation.”

Martha: “The concerned, piercing questions of a younger family member who is also a committed Christian forced me to examine the root of my struggle. Those questions from one I respect and love required that I search my heart to be sure I understood how to live out God’s condemnation of sin and love of sinners.”

Senator: “For a few weeks, the Capitol was flooded with supporters from both sides of the issue holding signs, chanting, singing and even swearing at us. It's always good seeing people actively participating in government, but it did make it physically difficult to get to work some days.

Most of this pressure, and votes, for Same Sex Marriage came from New York City. It's a stark reminder that we live in a State where New York City makes up 42% of the population.”

What has been the response of your brothers and sisters in Christ?

Laura: “I have received cards, letters and even funds from people all over the US. There has been a wonderful response from the body of Christ. It is my privilege to encourage people to believe God. If that is what He has called me to do, it will build the body.”

Martha: “Everyone has been very supportive. One sister even came to the Town Hall to let us know we were being prayed for; it is so helpful. The words of my friend, Barbara Guernsey, particularly encouraged me: ‘If all of the godly people step out of the municipalities, there will be others of a very different persuasion who will be glad to fill the vacancies created.’ ”

Senator: “The positive outpouring of support has been tremendous. I want to thank everyone who called, wrote letters, emails or Facebook messages for their prayers and encouragement.

They really kept me going during a tough time when I'd been called the nastiest names in the book day after day by folks preaching ‘tolerance’ and ‘love’.”

Was there a passage of scripture which most comforted or energized you in this battle?

Laura: “Psalms 143:8-12 have been my absolute prayer in all of this.” (Note: These verses are a plea for hearing, heeding and trusting in God’s direction.)

Martha: “I needed the Word to help me understand the battle overall. I spent time looking at what God said about marriage and considering His plan that it be a picture of Christ and the Church. I took comfort in the fact that my signature on a license is not a decision on the matter because in the end only God can make a marriage like that. I needed God’s Word to remind me of His work and my own.”

Senator: “There are many inspirational passages in the Bible that provide comfort and encouragement.”

How has this controversy brought new depths to your relationship with Christ?

Laura: “He has shown me His power in the peace and presence of Christ even in this really, really hard time. I have been lifted by the prayers of God’s people. I have grown in my ability to trust Him for the future and believe that whatever He asks, He will be sufficient.”

Martha: “It has deepened my trust in God and reminds me not to worry. His faithfulness has met my dread of being tested, and it will continue to do so.”

Senator: “It's good to see such strong traditional family values held by so many people in our community. I'll keep fighting even harder to defend those values.”

Is there a challenge or charge you would like to give the Christian community?

Laura: “Our lives need to match what we say we believe, but the living sacrifice of Romans 12:1 will look different as each person lays down their life like Jesus did for us. Believing faith shows that God is who He says He is and He will come through for us. I pray for increased faith to believe and obey God. For my fellow Town Clerks especially I want to say that no one should feel like following what I do is what God would have them do. Their only responsibility is to hear and obey God in their own particular circumstances.”

Martha: “My desire is that all would be open to the words of God. I would like to share a quote from a book by Erwin W Lutzer, Matters of Life and Death: Ten Questions no Serious Christian Can Avoid, that expresses my heart well: “The very thing homosexuals so desperately need is what Christians have been most reluctant to give them, namely, love and acceptance (without condoning the lifestyle).”

Senator: “I wasn't happy with the outcome, but I'm not a quitter. If good people don't stay involved, we'll end up with more bad laws.

I'm concerned the next push from New York City will be for the "Bathroom Bill" that makes it a crime to ask cross-dressing men to leave ladies' rest rooms or locker rooms.

It's easy to be discouraged right now, but that only helps their cause. I'd like the folks who still believe in traditional family values to pledge today to do their part either on their own or with groups like New Yorker's Family Research Foundation to stay involved.

Our future depends on it.”

No comments:

Post a Comment