Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My Testimony



In this video, Brian Anthony Bowen reveals Scriptures the Church never talks about which prove that Jesus taught that LGBT people are born this way...and that prove the Apostle Paul ordained Gay Marriage...IN THE BIBLE!

This changes EVERYTHING!
More info:
http://BrianBowenMinistries.com

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I share now some of my own personal history and testimony.  I do so not for self-centered or prideful reasons, but simply to give you some insights into the life experiences that moved me from living as a sinner under grace, who backslid into just a plain old sinner, who came to repentance after 24 years, and went on to receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and bearing fruit for God.  In this testimony, I openly and honestly share my heart with you in hopes that you will realize first and foremost that God loves you no matter what, and that He has a divine destiny just waiting for you to lay claim to!

I want you to know that victory in every area of your life is yours already!  I hope to reveal to you that no matter what your past looks like, you still have an awesome future with God!  I know!  Because if it happened for me, it will happen for you and whosoever will believe!  In fact, it’s happening for millions of Believers all over the world right now!  Day by day, step by step, and from glory to glory!

For me, life began with a violent and abusive childhood, which then devolved into a self-destructive adulthood, and then one day the tide turned as my walk with God resumed, and continues to become the fruitful, purposeful, and victorious lifestyle I enjoy today!  Like many people, I am not proud of much of my past, but I can tell you that I am infinitely joyful to be walking out of the mess that I was in, and moving towards the message that I now share with you!  No, I’m not going to share with you how I changed from being gay to being straight.  But I am hoping to take some time to share with you how I went from being lost to being found.

As I continue to grow in my knowledge and experience with the Lord and the leadership of the Holy Spirit, I find I have a gift for openly sharing personal truths from my life’s experience without much reserve or embarrassment.  Somehow, shame never prevented me from sharing my experiences, even when I was walking in the world apart from God.

I figured if it could help somebody to know that they were not the only one going through pain, shame, sadness, depression, disappointment, abuse, suffering, or violence, then I wasn’t going to stay silent.  As I now follow Christ wholeheartedly, I believe part of God’s plan for my life all along was to be able to empathize with others who have lived through similar experiences.  People need to know they are not alone or unique in their sin or suffering.  I know, because I always felt alone in mine.  But we have ALL fallen short of the glory, and thankfully, there is hope for whosoever will believe!

After more than 20 years of living without God, I didn’t know how God could ever use me to help anyone else, especially Christians!  I had always attended churches that placed more importance on the appearance of righteousness, and less on teaching us that the righteousness of Christ was given to us the moment we accepted Him into our hearts.  I didn’t know how I could ever show my face in church again.  I didn’t know that millions of people have had to face down these same lonely, self-loathing attitudes, and are now serving God in mighty ways that impact His Kingdom in a positive manner that can only be explained by knowing that God IS!

I pray this testimony blesses you with the realization that you can do everything that God has called you to do, no matter where He found you, no matter what’s in your closet, and no matter what you may have been told to the contrary!  It’s never too late, you’re never too bad, and you’re never too broken for God!  Best of all, He’s never too far away!

That was the sweetest thought I had as I began confessing my sins to Him in repentance.  I realized through that process that He had always been there girding me up, picking me up, and holding me up!  I look back and realize how many times He kept me safe, kept me out of trouble, and kept me as His own!  God created you and me for a unique purpose!  As I share with you how I began the process of discovering mine, I pray it will help you discover your own, and that you will live the fullest life in the perfect will of God which He has planned for you and your future!  Jeremiah 29:11-12 says:

For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.  

Then you will call upon Me, and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear and heed you.

I found the words of this passage difficult to believe about myself in September of 2004, when I was first invited by a coworker to go to Lakewood Church here in Houston, Texas.  I just knew there was too much sin, too much pain, too much guilt, and too much doubt in my life to ever live for God again.  But when I first read this Scripture, it began a life changing process in me that can only have come from God!  As you read on, I pray that any condemning or guilty feelings you may harbor about yourself will fade away into the past from whence they came, and that you will be awakened anew, as your eyes are flooded with the glorious Light and Truth that are in your future with God’s Love and Promises, and the Holy Spirit’s Leadership!

I first received salvation from the Lord at the age of 9 in 1975.  I was raised on a farm in rural Midwest Missouri and was brought up in a violent and abusive environment.  Days began at 4:30am with my father turning on my bedroom light and then rapping his fist on the wall 3 or 4 times.  Some way to wake up!

There was never a day of my childhood that was free from fear, pain, and physical abuse.  I witnessed my father beat my mother, pulling her hair, shoving her around, and screaming obscenities at her for the slightest of misunderstandings and mistakes.  My mother would spend much of her time at one of her 3 jobs, in order to avoid the situation that she found herself (and us kids) trapped in.  I would begin my days by milking 4 cows, giving feed and water to various farm animals, and then throwing a couple of bales of hay into the feeder where the cattle fed.  In winters, I would have to endure temperatures of often times 5-10 degrees below zero.  Summers were spent free from school work, but also free from friends, and free from relatives, except for Mother’s Day when the family would gather at my grandmother’s house and celebrate the women in our family.  Somehow Father’s Day was never really recognized much.

Every year, I would pray that I would have enough courage to let one of my relatives know about the abuse and violent situation at home, but feared my father’s threats of retaliation so greatly that I never breathed a word.  Occasionally, my mother would muster up enough courage to threaten to leave my father, and even had my sister and I packed up in the car ready to go one time, only for my father to talk my mother into staying.

Each attempt at my mother’s leaving would leave my father so frustrated and angry that inevitably, he would turn his wrath towards me or my sister, and find any small failure with which to launch a physical and verbal attack against one of us.  This went on for the first 14 years of my life, and did much damage to our self esteem, our bodies, and our emotions.

Again, I had given my heart to the Lord at the age of 9.  Each day after accepting His salvation and learning of his healing power, I would slip away to our barn, climb up into the hay loft, and pray to God for deliverance from the pain and turmoil of life with Dad, while kneeling at a bale of hay.  I had a genuine piety in me until I turned 14, and then all hell broke loose.  After 5 years of daily prayer, God had finally granted my pleadings for relief with the divorce of my parents in August 1980, but by then it was already too late to keep walking with Him.  Through the enemy’s tactics, doubt had begun to creep into my thinking, and it spiritually paralyzed my walk with the Lord.

At the prompting of a family friend, we joined the Mormon Church and moved to Salt Lake City, Utah.  It was a chance for us to be far enough away from my father that we could finally know he couldn’t hurt any of us anymore.  But for the next 2 years, my rebellious nature against the teachings of the Church on homosexuality, and the unsettled emotions in my mind would rage within until I finally rejected my family, the Church and God Himself altogether.  During those 2 years, the enemy finally defeated my faith in God with fear, and I began to turn my back on God.  At that point, I was indeed an enemy of God.  I didn’t hate Him, but I didn’t find much use in worshiping or knowing Him either.

I grew very bitter and cold toward God and blamed Him for all the damage that had occurred in my spirit and in my family by that time.  I was angry with Him for “making” me gay, and for “allowing” so much damage to occur in my family, my life and my soul.  I blamed myself for being so helpless to intercede on behalf of my mother and sister, which gave me a very poor self image.  As my mother settled into the role of single parent, my rebellion began to manifest itself with a life centered amidst sexual sin, drugs, pride, and a defeated attitude.  I figured if I was going to burn in hell, I was going to damn well earn my place there.

As puberty hit and the hormones raged in my already tormented mind and body, I began to experiment with sexual sin.  While I know it didn’t “make” me gay, the disconnection from my father did leave me with a sense of drift, rage, disappointment and depression.  Every son wants to know that his father is proud of him.  While my father never made a habit of it, I look back and realize there were a few times he uttered the words.  For the next 24 years, I lived in a downward spiral of failed relationships, financial lack, and a growing bitterness toward God, my family and myself.  My self-destructive behavior led me to continue exploring the fleeting pleasures of chance sexual encounters as a form of “self-medication” for the pain that was now raging inside of me.  What I did not know was that the temporary pleasure I felt was actually bondage taking root as I continued to fall ever more deeply into the darkness of the self-gratifying human nature that everyone since Adam is born with.  But it wasn’t the bondage of homosexuality.  It was the bondage that comes with a life absent of faith, and filled with fear, anger, bitterness and unforgivness.  However sexual sin did indeed leave me feeling empty, used and unfulfilled each time.  I found this is the same for all men who so engage, whether gay or straight, and whether they admit it or not.  Every man needs to feel the love and fulfillment that comes from that one special someone, even as we all struggle from time to time with never truly being satisfied sexually with just one person.  It’s the hunter instinct in us, I believe.  But God is an even greater and more skillful hunter, and one day He found me!

My father passed away in 1992, 12 years after my parents divorced.  I didn’t go to his funeral, I didn’t cry, and I didn’t even visit his gravesite.  I simply went emotionally numb as I pushed down every emotion I had towards him.  Polarized emotions of anger mixed with love, sadness mixed with joy, bitterness mixed with relief, unforgiveness mixed with sympathy, resentment mixed with admiration, and disappointment mixed with excitement all began vying for my validation when it came to my father.  I felt all these emotions towards him, but never allowed myself to experience and process them, and learned much later in life, that indeed I didn’t know how to process them.

And SUDDENLY!  The years of torment from my father’s rejection, rage, and bitterness (exasperated by the emptiness I felt by engaging in my own sinful lifestyle) finally spawned a severe emotional (or nervous) breakdown while I was at work one day in July 2004.  At this point in my life, I was 38 years old, I had managed to establish a successful accounting career for myself, and was enjoying some measure of financial prosperity.  But without warning, at hearing of the news of a co-worker’s father passing away, all the memories of my own father came rushing to the forefront of my mind and burst forth, as my emotional embattlement finally imploded “in front of God and everybody at work.”  In the process of my utter humiliation, pain, and weakness, God showed me a glimpse of His beautiful, marvelous Light, which I now refer to as His Glory!  What I now realize actually happened was I had been spontaneously baptized with the Holy Spirit.

I will never forget that day for as long as I live!  I was suddenly in the throes of a full-fledged emotional battle for my mind while simultaneously experiencing the most intense, earth shaking, mind boggling, life-changing spiritual battle for my soul.  I had been following darkness for so long that I had forgotten what it felt like to be in the presence of God’s Light.  It was wonderful and frightening all at the same time.  That day, the Holy Spirit and Satan had a knock-down, drag-out battle for my soul, and praise God:  The Holy Spirit won!

I can only describe the event as I have found it described in the Bible, but basically the Holy Spirit has since shown me that Jesus interceded on my behalf.  He not only cast out the evil spirits that had taken up residence in my spirit, but then also baptized me in the Holy Spirit, through a sovereign act of Adoption into His family.  My God-appointed time to return to the Lord as one of His prodigal sons had come to pass.  While I realize many Christians believe the only “evil spirits” is the “spirit of homosexuality,” I can attest that there are many others that come against many people, including Christians.  They are nothing to be frightened of, and can creep into one’s life without our even realizing it.  But they indeed do have to be dealt with and evicted from our spirit before God can do His work in us through His Holy Spirit.  It doesn’t “hurt,” but it isn’t pleasant either.  I’ll just leave it at that.

The scene that transpired is too embarrassing to talk about, let alone publish in a manuscript.  I didn’t spew columns of projectile vomit or turn my head 360 degrees, but suffice to say that I had to leave work that day so I could finish having something of a nervous breakdown.  What I didn’t know was that I had been touched by God Himself, and the sin in my life clashed with His Glory in a way that left me shaking, trembling, crying, and completely bewildered at the happenstance I found myself in.  But it wasn't my sexual sin so much as my rejection of God Himself and His Church, and everything both stood for that actually caused the reaction I experienced.  The years of anti-gay preaching I had heard from every preacher I had ever listened to had left God and me enemies—and this at the hands of his very own Church itself!

I have learned since then, that I had been drawn into His Presence for a reason.  Actually, Scripture refers to it as being translated out of the kingdom of darkness, and into the Light of His Dear Son.  God had finally drawn me to my knees in repentance.  My rebellion against Him had proven futile, had lost the battle for my soul, and was being evicted from my spirit.  For the next three days, God and I had a heart-to-heart, son-to-Father, man-to-man talk about my past—and about my future.  He showed me things that happened during my breakdown at work that took 3 days for me to process the memories of.  I don’t mean that I kept remembering the same thing over and over again for 3 days.  I mean that what transpired in only 20 or 30 minutes of actual time left me with so many memories of that awesome battle for my soul, that it took me 3 days to process all of them!  (Weird, I know…but true).

God and I talked many times during those 3 days.  While not in an audible voice, He communicated to me nonetheless.  He told me that because of my rebellion and bitterness toward Him that He had no choice but to leave me to struggle on my own until I finally asked Him for His help.  Somewhere during that soul battle at work, I remember shouting the name Jesus so loudly that it could have shaken the rafters of that old barn back on the farm.  In the course of our conversation, He taught me that He had left me in darkness until I called upon the Name of the Lord again, and that He did so in order for me to understand just how little I was capable of without Him, and how much more I could do with Him.

He caused me to not only understand the contrast of walking in darkness compared to walking in His Light, but by walking in darkness for so many years myself, He was using my brokenness and my wanderings to prepare my heart, my mind, and my spiritual attitude toward Him and his Church, so that I would be able to minister to people who found themselves in similar circumstances.  That was in July 2004.  From that day until this writing, there hasn’t been a day go by that He has not used me to strengthen someone who was struggling with emotional issues, drug addictions, alcoholism, sexual addictions, fear, worry, doubt and a lack of faith in Him; the very same things I had been struggling with myself for so many years.

What I have learned by ministering to these good people was that outside of Salvation, we need the Holy Spirit indwelling our spirits in order to know what God would have us do in any and all circumstances, so that we may truly find and fulfill our God-given destinies for His glory!  I mentioned that Jesus baptized me in the Holy Spirit.  Actually, all I knew of the Holy Spirit at the time was that He was God’s own Spirit living in me.  Like so many people (even Christians), I never knew what the Baptism of the Holy Spirit was.  I never knew about casting out demons.  I had a very sketchy idea of what the Bible said about anything other than what I remember from the pastors preaching against being gay, and how I was going to hell because of it.

In my early childhood and on into adolescence, that was the full extent of my knowledge of the Word of God, because I simply didn’t take time to read it.  In fact, during those many years of a rebellious life I didn’t even own a Bible.  I just took preachers’ words for it when they said AIDS was a curse for being homosexual, and yet never offered me the opportunity to understand why I was who I was, and most often without ever teaching me about Jesus.

What I have learned since then is not only is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit a God-ordained event for the new Believer to experience, but that He is a gift from God Himself that Jesus sent into the world after His resurrection, as we find written in John 16:13:

When He, the Spirit of Truth (the Truth-giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all the Truth (the whole, full Truth).  For He will not speak His own message [on His own authority]; but He will tell whatever He hears [from the Father; He will give the message that has been given to Him], and He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come [that will happen in the future]. 

Friends, in July 2004 I had not been to any church for 24 years.  As it happens, God had a witness at my job who attended Lakewood Church here in Houston.  She invited me to go with her and I accepted, knowing that was what I needed to do in order to re-establish the relationship I had lost with God.  As we approached the driveway to the church, she told me that I may see and hear some things that I may not understand.

She said that some people may be dancing, and some may be speaking in tongues.  I told her through nervous laughter that it was alright with me as long as it was alright with God.  She assured me that not only was it alright with God, but that God Himself was the One actually speaking, through the Holy Spirit.  I simply said something like, “oh.”

I was extremely nervous about going to church again after being away for so long.  I had no idea of what to expect.  I had been raised on “fire and brimstone” pastors who scared the living daylights out of me when they screamed about how mad God was at everyone and how we had all better straighten up and fly right, or we would burn in hell for all of eternity!  The two years we attended the Mormon Church was much more sedate, but I’ll never forget the reaction of the Bishop when at the age of 15, when I confessed that I not only masturbated but was gay.  He told me I needed to marry a woman, but must wait until I was of legal age.  When I asked what I should do in the meantime, his only answer was, “don’t masturbate, and don’t be gay.”  They never told me about the Biblical truths I have share with you within the pages of The Bed Keeper about the awesome greatness and goodness of God.  No, I had to find most of that out on my own, though I did have some great teachers along the way once I became connected at Lakewood Church.  But even they didn’t teach me some of the things I shared, although I do believe they are now listening in and watching to see where all this leads in context of the Body of Christ.

I’m sure many Christians—especially gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Christians—experienced those same fiery messages, but thank God He is progressive, and has planted many Spirit-filled churches all over the planet!  He has brought into our lives, a collection of vibrant, encouraging, edifying and life-impacting messages of how to apply the Word and promises of God into everyday modern life.  He is showing the world how a Holy Spirit led church can be an awesome place of worship, learning, and growing in the things and ways of God, the Holy Spirit, and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  He’s also showing me the truth of His Word concerning eunuchs, vis-à-vis gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, and our important and prophetic role in the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanks to the inspiring and encouraging messages of hope and love from Pastor Joel Osteen, in September 2004 I finally found the courage to walk down to the altar and rededicate my life to the Lord.  I was scared, but I knew that God was calling me into His Presence and I knew there must be a reason why!  His mom, Dodie Osteen met me at the altar and gave me a huge hug.  I often credit her hug for squeezing the revelations I share in The Bed Keeper out of my heart.  For the first few months following my rededication, I believed God was calling me to chastise me, but on the contrary; He was calling me to forgive me, and to put me on assignment in His Kingdom work!

It was the beginning of a whole new way of living and thinking as He began to lift me up out of the darkness and began the process of pruning off the dead branches of sin, bitterness, resentment, and anger that had become overgrown in the Eden of my heart.  The results have amazed and astonished myself, my family, and my friends!  At that point in my life, I had a lot of old habits to break, a lot of old wounds to heal, and a lot of sin to turn my back on—and not just sexual sin.  Suddenly, God delivered me from two of my oldest bondages; marijuana and alcohol addiction.  In their place, He brought Peace back into my soul!  It was the first time in my life I knew what Peace felt like.  Suddenly, I was enjoying life more, and gradually I began to study the Bible and learn and grow more into the realization of the Holy Spirit and His purpose in my life, and in the life of every Believer regardless of their denominational or religious backgrounds, and regardless if we are gay or straight.

But God didn’t stop there!  What I didn’t know at the time was that He was going to begin speaking to me more directly and clearly than ever before, and that He had placed a desire in my heart to hear and obey Him more directly and clearly than ever before!  I know now that the Holy Spirit of God was already living inside of me since I had accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior at age 9.  But the Holy Spirit had suffered from neglect and spiritual malnutrition from my failing to follow God and stay in His Word.

One of the very next things God led me to do in September 2004 was to check into a hotel for 3 days and do nothing but feed on His Word, completely isolated from the stress and distractions of my everyday life, so He could bring me back into His Love, His Presence, and His Divine Destiny which He had already foreordained for my life before the foundations of the world.  It was another glorious 3 days spent in His Presence.  I didn’t even own a bible yet, but the Gideon’s had left one in the hotel room before my arrival.  (God bless the Gideons!)  I opened and turned to read Jeremiah 29:11 which says:

For I know the plans and thoughts I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.

That passage began the new outlook for my life as it has given me the burning desire in my heart to share the good news of God’s Plan and the role of the Holy Spirit for our lives with anyone who would listen!  I believe that if I had read this verse in Jeremiah as a young gay boy crying out for relief from the pain of an abusive childhood, that I would have had the faith to wait on God to remove my father’s abuse in my life.  As it turns out, He had other ideas.  I believe that He was leading me through the wilderness of the world to be tempted, knowing full well that I would fall and knowing that the experiences I would live out would become the “mess” that would become my “message,” and the “mistakes” that would become my “ministry.”

He was right about the “mess” part.  And I believe He is right about the “message” part too!  I also believe this is true of anyone who has ever taken their eyes and heart off of God before He re-focuses their vision to see what really matters: Eternal Life with Him!  I just thank God that His hand was always there to keep me alive, to keep me out of jail, to keep me out of an insane asylum, and to keep me as healthy as He could.  Unfortunately, due to my own carelessness and sexual promiscuity, in July 2001 I was diagnosed as being HIV+.  This was one thing He couldn’t prevent, but it would still be something He would use to encourage me to follow His plan for my life to teach Believers about the eunuchs of Scripture, and the Holy Spirit.

However, I don’t blame God.  I don’t blame the government for taking so long to say the word “AIDS.”  I don’t even blame myself, though I admit I certainly did blame all of the above for a time.  Now, I simply take responsibility for the fact that I had the information that would have prevented me from contracting HIV, and I simply ignored it.  Because of deception from the enemy, because of the moral looseness of the world, and because of the deep wounds of my past, I was in “self-destruct” mode.  I wasn’t out to intentionally contract HIV, but I didn’t do everything I could to make sure I wouldn’t.  The sad but simple truth is that I didn’t care if I lived or died.  To me, life wasn’t worth living without God, and certainly not worth living if I was going to hell anyway for being gay.  I truly felt “damned if I do, and damned if I don’t”…so I did.

That’s what walking in darkness without the Light of God’s Love will do to a person.  That’s why I believe it’s so important to hold every pastor and Church Shepherd accountable for the words he or she shares from the pulpit, or on television, or in their books.  The plan of the enemy has been to use the issues relating to people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender to tear apart families and keep us out of Church, hoping we would never discover the truth as God’s Word portrays them through the eunuch Scriptures.  While I don’t believe most pastors are bad people, or intentionally out to bring harm to gay youth, it is nevertheless incumbent upon those of us who now see God’s truth on the matter to share it with pastors who themselves continue to walk in darkness on the matter because of the blinding effect of traditions of men upon the Word of God and it’s power.

Indeed, that’s the plan to kill, steal and destroy that Satan uses in churches all over the world.  The temptation for pastors to cave in when it’s time to share God’s truth with the Congregation has been the one thing that has kept the truth about people who are gay hidden for centuries.  And it leads many of us to live a miserable and lonely existence of pain, rejection, and separation from God’s people and His love.  But according to God’s Word, such practices by preachers are unscriptural, and God has much to share in His Word about it for those willing to take the time to really study the Scriptures.

During my special times of rediscovering God and His mercy, He told me that I was to do something about it.  He told me that I would minister to many people, including those living with HIV/AIDS.  He told me that I would begin helping gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people come to understand that God was not mad at us, and that I would bear fruit for God by teaching them the truth, even if the Church never did.  In doing so, He said I would then deliver many of them into His Kingdom.  He told me that I can do even more.  He told me to speak up.  He told me to be honest.  He told me to be compassionate.  He told me that I would reach out to those who felt rejected by their families, their God, and their church, and give them a new hope for their lives.

Through the leadership of the Holy Spirit, I now know that I can do even more.  I can make intercessory prayers that doctors and scientists will discover a cure for this deadly disease before any of the 40 million infected people around the world die from it.  I can believe for miracle healings for myself and anyone I get permission and opportunity to lay hands on and pray over.  As Pastor Joel is always saying, I can’t do anything about my past, but I can certainly have an impact on my future.  It’s my calling.  It’s my mission.  It’s my destiny.  I can also be the one person in my blood line that stands against sexual abuse.

My father sexually abused my sister and me both.  (Yes, I was gay before he abused me, and no, his abuse did not cause me to be gay).  The idea that being gay is caused by being abused ignores all the people who are gay, but were not abused, and all the straight people who were abused but are still straight).  My father was a very lost, angry man, and most likely was sexually abused himself as a child.  I don’t know all that made my father become the angry, bitter and lost man I knew him as, but I can do something else:  I can forgive him! 

In June 2005, I did exactly that.  I drove the 1500 miles from Houston to Illinois to visit his gravesite on Father’s Day.  We had an awesome visit.  I lied down on the ground above where he was buried and just let him hold me in his arms and cried on his shoulders.  I opened up to him in ways I never could have while he was alive.  I told him all that God was doing in my life.  I told him about all the wrong decisions I had made with my life and how the power of the Holy Spirit was helping me turn it around—not just for myself—but for gay Believers all over the world.  I told him about how God has so blessed me with His Presence, Deliverance, Healing, and Love.  And I told him something I hadn’t said to him since I was very young.  I told him, “Daddy, I love you! Daddy, I forgive you! Daddy, I’ll be happy to see you when I get to heaven.” 

You may be wondering if such a man could make it to heaven.  My Bible says he made it, and I just have to believe it!  Acts 2:21 says:

And it shall be that whoever calls upon the name of the Lord [invoking, adoring, and worshipping the Lord—Christ] shall be saved.

Friends, if I can live the life I’ve led and still be welcomed in the courts of the Lord, and if my father made it to heaven, we all can!  We simply must believe.  In my mind, even through those 24 years I had my back turned toward God, I believed that as long as I was saved, I could do what I wanted to and God still loved me.  Later, I learned that’s true, but while God’s love is freely available to all people, His promises are reserved for those who enter into covenant with Him.  God doesn’t want us to stay where we are in our spiritual walk with Him, and there are natural consequences to our actions, even those we are forgiven for.

I learned also that He wants to lead us where He wants us to go, by the power of the Holy Spirit.  By following His Holy Spirit, we bear fruit for His honor and glory, and fulfill the purpose He has for our lives.  I just wish now the Church had told me that applied to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people also.  I just may have had a completely different life.  My father’s life after divorcing my mother is a good example.  Daddy had also turned to the Lord later in his life, and even served God in his church.  He finally found peace from the turmoil that had characterized his life while married to my mother, and spent the last 12 years of his life peacefully and happily remarried to his first ex-wife.  They had had two children before he met my mother, and they brought him great joy through their children—his grandchildren.

As my father matured as a man, I believe he matured as a Christian.  I remember being present at his baptism in 1979, a year before he and my mother divorced.  I saw the changes God was working in him for that last year of their marriage.  I know that my father is in heaven right now looking down with pride and love and joy in his heart as his son leaves his own sinful ways, and begins to serve God as well. And I know I will see my father in heaven when I get there!

With my life, and with my father’s, the principal is the same.  We both grew up under a generational curse of sexual, physical, verbal and emotional abuse, and carried those scars and that curse into the next generation.  I have no children and never married, and I don’t think I ever will either.  I believe I am the end of the road for that generational curse, and Satan will just have to go back and pout about it, because I’m not turning back, I’m not giving in, and I’ll not lose the victories Jesus has manifested in my life!

That’s what I bring to the Body of Christ.  A testimony of bitter defeat and sweet victory, all rolled into one.  I think many Believers have the same testimony, whether we are gay or straight.  I think that may be part of God’s overall plan for man to become victorious over comers, so that we may lead others into victory, through our testimony and our witness to the power of the love and blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit leading our lives.

I think that as Believers, God not only invites us to eat from the King’s Table, but that he makes sure we all have something to bring to the King’s Table: our mess and our message!  I believe the meal at the King’s Table is a “potluck dinner” known as life.  Everyone has to bring their own dish of victory, and as I’m sure we all have learned somewhere in our lives, you can’t bake a dish of victory without a dash of defeat!

Further, I believe the conversation at the dinner table is what our testimonies are all about.  Why we are there?  We were invited by God!  What do we bring?  Future manifestations of His will in our lives!  Why else are we there?  To be edified by God as He feeds our spirits so that we may be strong in the Lord, strong in the Word, and strong in our Faith!  Why should we grow strong?  So that we can be empowered to edify the Body of Christ!

I learned that we cannot edify the Body of Christ unless we have ourselves first been edified by God, and that happens through the Church—or at least it’s supposed to!  He has to love us, feed us, nurture us, and let us take our own steps along the way.  We must be walking with fellow Believers though.  In walking with each other, we help each other back up when we inevitably fall and stumble.

We will inevitably become humble.  In becoming humble, we will ask for His mighty Hand to lift us back up and reset our feet upon the path we are to walk on.  This is how He has operated with man ever since the creation of Adam.  Actually, this differs very little from any parent raising their children in the ways in which he should go.  For me, this entire process can be summed up with the His Holy Word as we read in Romans 8:14:

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

I learned that we are edified by God, by being led by His Holy Spirit living inside of us!  Following that leading is what makes us His children!  It’s His voice!  It’s His counsel!  It’s His strong Hand lifting us up from the inside out, into His glorious presence, and into the inheritance of salvation and eternal life which we all share in Jesus Christ!  What could be more edifying to the Believer than to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are His very own child?  This is very exciting to me, and I want to tell everyone on the face of the earth about all the discoveries I have made in God’s Word and in the awesome life He has in store for us as Believers, and especially for us gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Believers!

The biggest discovery of my life was found on Christmas Day in 2004, when something glorious, powerful, and wonderful happened in my deepening walk with the Lord.  For years, my family (like most families) had always enjoyed expressing some of the more commercial aspects of the Christmas season with some heavy duty gift-giving.  However, I didn’t join them in 2004.  Instead, I stayed home, having decorated with only a small nativity scene.  As midnight Christmas Eve approached, I knelt before the Nativity scene and began praying to the baby Jesus with my head until I could see Him in the flesh….as a baby….in that manger (at least in my mind’s eye).  The birth of Jesus was the moment that changed the world.  It changed our calendars as we began referring to dates in B.C. and A.D.

On Christmas Day, 2004 A.D., celebrating the birth of Jesus changed my life forever!  As I knelt praying, I suddenly made an unusual utterance.  And I kept uttering it!  And then the utterance grew with these little syllables that were coming out of my mouth, but they didn’t make sense to my mind.  I continued this “conversation” for about 30 minutes or so, and as I did I felt the Presence of God fill my entire spirit being for the very first time in my life.  Suddenly, I remembered that day at work back in July 2004 when during that emotional outpouring, I had made a few unintelligible sounds with my mouth.  That’s when I fully realized what had happened that day in July 2004, was that Jesus had indeed baptized me in the Holy Spirit!  What was happening on that Christmas Eve while praying before the Nativity scene was that my prayer language vocabulary began to grow!

I know now that I was praying in the Spirit, although I had not yet actually received any ministering of the baptism of the Holy Spirit from anyone, but I highly recommend seeking mature prayer leaders in a church so that you can not only receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, but so you can fully understand the role the Holy Spirit’s indwelling serves, and how to cultivate your prayer language and use it to edify your spirit.

Again, you don’t need to have someone minister it to you.  In fact, the reason it happened to me the way it does for many Believers (while alone), is because Jesus—not man—is the One Who baptizes us with the Holy Spirit as we learn from John the Baptist in Matthew 3:11:

I indeed baptize you in (with) water because of repentance [that is, because of your changing your minds for the better, heartily amending your ways, with abhorrence of your past sins]. But He Who is coming after me is mightier than I, Whose sandals I am not worthy or fit to take off or carry; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

For the next several months, I continued to experiment with my new gift, and as the vocabulary of the utterances increased, so too did my thirst and hunger for a greater understanding of what was going on.  I began to research speaking in tongues, which then led me to a greater understanding of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.  I had never heard of it.  Was it new?  Was it Scriptural?  What was it for?  Was it for today?  Was it for me?  As you can tell, I had more questions than answers.  So in my newness in Christ, I began to study God’s Word and listen to His anointed teachers who helped me begin to discern for myself what the indwelling of the Holy Spirit was, why I had received it, and why it is so beneficial to the Body of Believers.

In October 2005, I went to the next level, and was actually ministered the baptism of the Holy Spirit with 16 other seeking Believers at a Men’s Encounter hosted by Lakewood Church’s Men’s Ministry.  At last, my questions about what I had considered a “phenomena” had been answered.  My vocabulary was verified as being from the Holy Spirit!  I felt the utterance become more clear and distinct.  I felt a greater sense of confidence in praying in tongues!  I have never been more edified than after praying in my prayer language, and I do it every day!

My life continues to change, as the Holy Spirit unlocks hidden meanings and spiritual truths contained throughout the Bible.  He has led me to make better quality decisions.  He has led me away from danger and evil, and towards the Light of God and my destiny in Christ Jesus!  I know I had been changed forever as I began to be knit into the Body of Christ.  I have grown from knowing God’s Presence in my head, to knowing His very Essence in my heart!  And the same will happen for you too, if you simply believe, seek, and pursue everything the Bible says you are, everything the Bible says you can do, and everything the Bible says you can have!

What an awesome, joyful and powerful feeling it is to know that we are the temples of the Holy Spirit!  What a treasure with which to enjoy life (and to be guided through it into our destiny), as God’s Holy Word and our destiny become realities to be grasped, treasured and lived!  As I read and re-read the Scriptures through the eyes and ears of my spirit, the Holy Spirit explains to me what I am reading in a new and powerful and applicable way, just as Jesus promised He would in John 16:13:

But when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Truth-giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all the Truth (the whole, full Truth). For He will not speak His own message [on His own authority]; but He will tell whatever He hears [from the Father; He will give the message that has been given to Him], and He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come [that will happen in the future].

What an awesome comfort and privilege it is to have the Holy Spirit explaining to my spirit what it is I’m reading, and how it will impact my future, and those whom He leads me to minster to.  I found that if I simply hear and obey His Word, life can be much more enjoyable and purposeful.  Because the Word of God is His voice speaking to us about His will for our lives, and how to walk as worthy representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ, I found that we can find our place in the Body of Christ to be of service to God.  By being in service to God, I find true happiness comes as His Light shines through us, bringing more souls into the Kingdom for His glory!  This is the fruit we bear for God.  Beyond this great privilege and responsibility is the promise that Jesus gives us regarding the Holy Spirit in Acts 1:8:

But you shall receive power (ability, efficiency, and might) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends (the very bounds) of the earth.

Through my growing obedience to God, the Holy Spirit’s power continues to grow in my life.  As He has, God began to place on my heart to use my gift for writing to communicate to the Body of Christ.  He has placed several subjects in my spirit, but the first and most important one He wants me to complete for His glory is this one.  I truly believe with all my heart that God wants people to KNOW the Holy Spirit and why the Holy Spirit was sent by Jesus after His resurrection, and I believe He wants the entire Body of Christ to learn and know that LGBT people play a vitally critical and prophetic role in the return of Jesus Christ!

I had always enjoyed writing as a boy.  It continues to be a gift that grows within me, and I find that as I yield to the Holy Spirit, that gift has taken on a new purpose.  The words are sharper, clearer and infinitely more powerful as I defer to the Holy Spirit’s leadership and ask Him to make the words I scribe to be God’s words instead of my own.  Now, seven years after receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, I believe God is attempting to take me to the next level in my walk with Him, by giving me the promptings to fulfill that same longing for progress in my walk with God and my service to Him.  I believe that Believers everywhere share that same longing to fulfill their own destiny.  I found that God’s answer is simple:  To have more of God’s love, power, and favor, we must allow ourselves to be submitted to and led by the Spirit of God!  By being led by the Spirit of God, we are truly sons (and daughters) of God!  (Romans 8:14)

As His children, we unlock the awesome plan He has in store for our lives, our families, our ministries, our churches, and our outreach to the lost!  It’s an awesome thing to be a child of the Most High God!  Friend, I can tell you from experience that if you will follow Him, you won’t just be experiencing a lifestyle—you’ll be living an adventure!

If you have ever wanted to explore the heights of God’s love living in you, if you have ever wanted to more clearly hear what He has in store for your life, and if you have ever wanted to move to the next level of glory but felt like you had reached a spiritual plateau, then I pray The Bed Keeper will bless you beyond measure with greater revelation insight and wisdom, so that you may know what is the limitless, surpassing greatness of the Holy Spirit living inside of you!

And that goes for everyone, including gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Believers, or what the Scriptures refer to as eunuchs, born so from our mother’s wombs, created both male and female for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven, for such a time as this!

May God bless you and yours richly and always!

In Jesus’ Mighty Name! Amen!

Sincerely,

Brian Anthony Bowen
Author, The Bed Keeper

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Dear Valued Readers,
This blog continues to be a work in progress. As recent revelations and events throughout Christendom have created an increasingly fluid situation, updates will no longer be published at the end of each post, but rather only at the beginning of the corresponding posts so impacted.  As of August 1, 2013, the only updates to appear at the end of each post will be churches that are personally endorsed by The Bed Keeper as a "SAFE SPACE."

Readers may email thebedkeeper@gmail.com to discuss or comment on any posting.  Please note that while all feedback is highly valued and appreciated, it may not be possible to reply to each email.
 
UPDATE 01.15.12:
Lakewood Church officially endorsed as a SAFE SPACE for LGBT people to worship! Details here.

UPDATE 11.22.11:

Eagle Mountain International Church officially endorsed as a SAFE SPACE for LGBT people to worship! Details here.

THANK YOU for your generous support of this work!
 
Let him who receives instruction in the Word of God share all good things with his teacher, contributing to his support.
Galatians 6:6