Thursday, September 22, 2016

If Your Enemy is Hungry...In a Time of Crisis

In a time of crisis, the one thing on people's minds is survival. It is a human instinct. It is God-given. Does God want His people to survive during a crisis, and if so, how?

Jesus is Lord over all. He is Lord over everything. As Christians, we know that, and we know that one day everyone else will know that, and acknowledge it. But we know Him now, and because we know Him now as Lord, we also know Him as Savior. This is because we believe in Him, and have chosen Him now.

We were put here on the earth to make choices. We were sent here to choose Him and His ways. To make decisions that will honor Him and prove our loyalty and faithfulness to Him. The earth is a proving ground, a place where our faith is tested. As we make daily choices to follow Him and His ways, we are examples of His way to others in the earth. We are the light, as Jesus was the light, so those in darkness can see the ways of God, and that His way is truth.

So in a time of crisis, we are to pursue survival, but in way that honors the Lord--with choices that prove our faith and dedication to Him. Choices that are in agreement with Him. We don't pursue survival out of fear or selfishness, but in character with the Holy Spirit, in alignment with the Word of God, and in the way Jesus has taught us to walk. We don't strive to survive as cowards, as one who compromises our faith or cowers in fear. We don't look for the easy path, but the right path.

However, this is about more than personal survival. It's survival of the ways of God in the earth. It's the survival of those who will continue His ways in the earth. It's protecting, teaching and leading children who will perpetuate His way. We don't sit back while evil men rise to power. We fight, yet not out of fear, hunger, despair, anger or frustration. We fight so good, honest and innocent people can live in peace and worship God, populating the earth with those who love Him. We each have our own personal battles, but God's people survive as a whole by fighting our common battles. Each generation has their own Canaan Wars to fight.

In a time of crisis we must look to our purpose. The very first purpose God gave man was to be fruitful, multiply, replenish the earth and subdue it. To have dominion. God's plan was for His people to rule over the earth and to fill the earth with people--children--who would learn God's ways and perpetuate it. Of course we know that one day the earth will pass away. Jesus will come again and He will rule in the earth, and us with Him. But just because we know this will happen doesn't mean we sit back and do nothing now. We don't bury our talent, sit back and wait for Him.

Our purpose is not only to rule the earth by filling it with those who love God, but to worship Him from our heart and make personal choices that honor Him and prove our faithfulness to Him in the face of every difficulty. We have both a personal call to draw near to Him, and a call to unite together and take ground for Him. We may get by now without too much dependence on others for survival, but in a crisis, it would be extremely difficult to survive on our own, without a community of people to work with. What would you do if desperate, violent men beat on your door to take those things you and your family need to survive? If you martyr yourselves to them, who is prevailing in the earth?

You will often see missionaries feeding the hungry and preaching the gospel to them. Jesus miraculously fed the people who came to hear what He had to say. A time of crisis is a perfect opportunity to reach out to the needy and not only give them food, but the Word of God as well. However, this takes some planning in advance. Of course God can bless and multiply our efforts, like He did the little boy's lunch, but we give Him something to work with--like the widow with the jar of oil. There is something we have in our house, something we start with that we give to Him, and when we have faith in Him, He will multiply what we have. However, there may be a point at which you have to protect and guard what is in your trust, in order to survive.

In a serious crisis where travel and communication are affected, our neighbors will be our closest friend or our worst enemy. I would encourage everyone to have a plan that includes your neighbors. In a disaster, everyone will be brought back to examining the reason for their existence--their core purpose. Having a job to do during a disaster helps people discover that. Emergency services--police, fire and medical--would be overwhelmed. There are plenty of needs that would have to be addressed right away--security, communication, medical, sanitation, water and food. Realistically, all of these need to be addressed as a community--a neighborhood. Having a plan and assigning people to these teams will bring people together working for the same goal, rather than allowing a desperate attitude that turns to selfishness and violence to rise up. And of course our lights can shine bright as we share the love of Jesus, and our faith in Him, during times like this.

Ephesians 1:20-23, Philippians 2:9-11, James 1:12, Deuteronomy 30:19-20, Revelation 21:7-8, Genesis 18:19, Genesis 1:28, Luke 21:33, Revelation 20:6, 2 Timothy 2:12, Matthew 25:14-30, Proverbs 29:2, Matthew 15-32-38,  2 Kings 4:1-7, Matthew 5:14-16, Proverbs 25:21, Psalm 127

Sunday, September 18, 2016

A Christian's Response to Transgender Children

Your five-year-old daughter makes a comment about wishing she was a boy. Or maybe you notice she likes to play with trucks, play in the mud, or pick up snakes and frogs. Does the thought cross your mind that she might "really" be a boy, or that you should tell her she can be a boy if she wants to? There are some who would tell you that you should consider treating her as a boy and even consider "transitioning" her to the opposite sex. As a Christian, what exactly is wrong with that?

Let's set aside God's opinion for a moment, even though that alone should be enough to convince you it's wrong. But we'll hold off on that and look at what happens when you try and transition her. First, it's important to know that a child continues to mature in the understanding of their gender after birth. Gender is determined before birth, of course, but during childhood a person learns to become comfortable and accepting of their gender, and of themselves in general. (Ref.) If a child questions her gender, and you respond by suggesting that maybe she shouldn't "be a girl," that she should dress and act like a boy, what are you really teaching her? You are teaching her that she is not okay as she is. Something is wrong with her. She was born with a defect. You are teaching her to reject who she is. Instead of teaching her to love herself, to understand and work through the ups and downs of being a female, which leads to a solid gender identity and acceptance, you are setting her on a horrible path of trying to be something she's not. 

When she has doubts, concerns, questions, maybe even rejection of who she is, (some of which may be completely normal in the maturing process), teach her how to be a girl, not to reject herself. Trying to change who she is brings more than confusion--it shakes the very core of who she is. Rather than learning to work through personal strengths and weaknesses, she is told to reject truth and make up her own reality. Parents who do this are setting her up for failure, as she loses the precious years of childhood. Time when she should be learning to grow and develop in her personal gifts and call, instead are spent trying to change the impossible and convince herself, and others, that she is something she isn't. The more she struggles and becomes confused, the more people say, 'see we were right, she really is having gender issues.' But she has "issues" because they created gender confusion by giving her the idea that gender is a choice when it's not. The pressure of choosing the "right" or "wrong" gender is too much for a child. It creates the confusion she is experiencing, it's not evidence that confusion was already there. It becomes a self fulfilling prophecy so to speak. Kids need to know where the boundaries are. They find comfort in unshakable truths. When we take boundaries and truth away, we leave them feeling insecure and confused.

The funny thing is, those who support transgender students are saying we need to accept them, and claim to be the most caring, yet they are inflicting the worst kind of rejection onto them because they fail to accept who they are, or help them through the questions and struggles of normal gender maturity. Instead, they encourage these children to reject themselves--the truth of who they really are. Who is really being kind to this child? Not the one who lies, but the one who speaks the truth.

This is the kind of deception going on in today's world. Some do not admit that there are certain unchangeable truths. These are truths that God Himself establishes. We see this decline in our society happening as we have declined in giving God first place, accepting Him as the ultimate truth. No matter how hard you try, you cannot change your gender. Changing your gender is like trying to change your birthdate. It's not something that can be changed. Its a fact, not a feeling or preference. The only thing that can restrain this out of control/anything goes kind of behavior is truth. When we reject truth, we become deceived and don't know it. We live a lie and will suffer eternal consequences of rejecting truth unless we change and embrace God and His truth. (2 Thessalonians 2:8-12). 

So what does God say about gender choice? God commanded His people to keep His statutes and said, a man "shall not lie with a man as with a woman. (Leviticus 18:22). He also said "A woman shall not wear man's clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman's clothing." (Deuteronomy 22:5). This covers homosexual behavior and cross-dressing. Homosexuality and transgendering go hand in hand. When you have one you eventually, if not immediately, have the other. Transgendering, in the mind of God, is nothing more than cross-dressing. He formed us in our mother's womb male or female. (Psalm 139:13). The sex He formed us is the sex we are. All this gender changing/sexual behavior which deviates from what God has established is sinful in His eyes. And it's His eyes that matter, our opinion is always subject to His. He establishes truth and righteousness. 

 In Luke 17:26-29, Jesus compares the days of Noah with the days of Sodom. Homosexuality was rampant in Sodom. It is what brought about their destruction by fire and brimstone. So the flood which destroyed every living thing, except those in the ark, happened when homosexual sin, and other sexual sin, was out of control (Genesis 6, Genesis 19). This divine opinion of homosexual related sin was reinforced in the new testament when Paul wrote that those who practice homosexuality will not inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). God is not in favor of homosexuality, gender choice and all of the related behaviors that go along with that. (See also The Bible and Same Sex Love).

So what is a Christian's response? We pray, we love, and we speak the truth. We submit to God's ways and do not compromise. We teach our children truth, and lead them into an encounter with the Lord--the One who loves them more than anyone else, the One who knows them more than anyone else. When a child experiences the true love of the Lord, he or she will fall in love with Him, and things have a way of falling into place.