California, Gender Identity, and Rebellion

Not surprisingly, California has again jumped into the headlines over gender issues in recent months. First with legislation passed what began as Senate Bill 219 – a measure to legislate the use of gender pronouns (specifically geared to nursing and care facilities), but with far-reaching fallout possible. The legislation actually codifies as a crime punishable by up to a year in jail, the use of the wrong gender pronoun!

As if this wasn’t disturbing enough in many ways, the same California legislature has now passed SB179 – an additional legislation that formally and legally recognizes three gender identities: male, female, and non-binary (also sometimes known as gender-queer) for state identification and other purposes. Not only does this fly in the face of reality and facts, it flies in the face of sanity!

unidentifiable-genders.pngOne can rebel all day long against God and His design – but one thing remains true, regardless of what a state wants to “recognize” – and that is DNA. Our DNA clearly and consistently identifies us as either “Male” or “Female“. Period.

Gender is not something one chooses (though many choose to act in rebellion to what they are biologically). Even if one submits to surgical mutilation to remove or create gender-identifying body parts, you still, biologically, are either male or female – and that remains unchanged.

Yet another reality is – even if you go through hormone treatments and surgical mutilation, the record is clear – you will never have peace with yourself – and it makes finding peace with God even more difficult. Depression rages on in those who have attempted to change their gender. And it goes back to – we are created by God as male or female. It is WHO you are, even if you “don’t feel like that gender”. Attempts to side-step that and self-identify or even “reassign” your gender to match your personal preference only makes things more complicated and damaging to the very soul.

And this is why we must seek our identity, not in our gender feelings, in our personal preferences, or in other people’s opinions, but in the God who created us…Male and Female.

What we see unfolding before us is what happens when mankind decides he (or she) knows better than the One who created us. We decide to go “our own way” (Isaiah 53:6). What began primarily with adults who decided that their feminine feelings (for men, male feelings for women) were more than simply strengths to be appreciated – they became more who they thought they were.  Our society had for so long lifted up men as only REALLY men if they “never cry”, to “never eat quiche” – and any softness – any emotion was taboo.  Likewise, women who felt strong, who were natural leaders, who enjoyed traditionally male work, hobbies, or activities were somehow looked down on.

Then came the Women’s Liberation Movement, which went from simply making sure women had equal rights, to the radical, rabid feminism of today – that actually encourages women to rebel against not only biblical gender roles, but to subject men and ultimately eliminate gender identities altogether.

And along comes a movement to legitimize same-sex attraction and sexuality – which,

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despite the adamant declarations to the contrary, were voluntarily merged into the same umbrella as the whole gender dysphoria debacle to produce the ever-growing alphabet identity war (LGBTQ). And all support each other because of one commonality – rebellionagainst the God-cr

eated, God-ordained order of things. And while it was one thing when restricted to adults who have a right to be wrong, to do wrong, and to make bad decisions (and face a consequence for those), the movement to totally legitimize the movement ultimately led, as many predicted, to spread it intentionally to ever-younger children. What use to be seen as absolutely normal – little girls who were “tomboys” – often all the way to adulthood, and little boys who enjoyed playing with girls, dolls, and more “feminine”-identified activities, are not immediately scooped up and wedged in to the LGBTQ moniker – and being subjected to medical procedures, hormone abuse, and essentially brainwashing – all to firmly anchor them in this identity.  Last year, a 4 year-old underwent gender reassignment procedures – Yes, 4 years old! Exactly what does a 4 year old know of gender?

The reality is – all of this ongoing battle, and the ever-younger victim base of those involved in the war, are trying to legitimize their own fleshly desires – that they know, down deep in their heart, are wrong. But they also have succumbed to the deception that simply forcing the world to “accept” their choices and behavior will somehow alleviate the deep guilty and conviction that they experience. It is all an effort to smother the pain – equal to the effort to use alcohol,  illegal drugs, or opiates to dull the pain.

Gender identity debate reflects broken, corrupt, prideful, and unregenerate souls who are in desperate need of hope and restoration that can only be found in a right relationship with their Creator. And this right relationship will never be found in hormones, surgery, or legalizing your feelings over what is true and right. Peace will never be obtained by forcing others to accept your choices. Comfort cannot be found in the arms of laws that squash the rights of others (for legalizing what is wrong does not make it right).

Genuine peace, comfort, and security can only be found in Christ Jesus. Repent, believe that He died to break the chains of our sin – including our sinful desires and lusts, and trust Him to work all things out to the good. For the same God that gave us Jesus Christ to suffer and die in our place, is the same God who can liberate us from our sinful desires, and give us the strength to walk upright – and He is the same God who can be our true source of value and identity.

Destruction of a Nation and the Christian’s Responsibility

This post originally appeared on the author’s old blog.

A friend of mine posted his astonishment that America could be on the cusp of electing a bonafide “Socialist” to the office of President, from either primary party. I began to formulate a response then realized that my reply would be far more suited to a full-on blog post, so thank you Donny Parrish for kick-starting this!

“Christians” have remained silent too long. Notice that the paths of ungodliness our nation has actively pursued are 100% based in the “squeaky wheel” principal— homosexuals have “gay marriage” because they screamed and hollered the loudest. God was “banned” from schools because the haters if God screamed and hollered the loudest.
60 million + babies have been murdered in this nation, perfectly legally because the worshippers of self/Molich screamed, hollered, and put their money where their mouth was and swayed the courts (without a single genuine constitutional basis).

And we have become (or are in the edge of) becoming a socialist nation all because of a direct violation of the 10 commandments, particularly the commandment against “covetousness”…  Those who covet what others have are screaming and hollering loudly to get what you have (without working for it). And that gave us the current President, and a few candidates who are now unapologetically pandering to the covetous culture.

And so much more.
There are three fronts in the war for the very soul of this nation—

1. We must begin ON OUR KNEES as God’s children, humbling ourselves in out very knees in repentance for our own sin and ungodliness and for our failure to be the “watchmen on the wall”.

2. We must be far more proactive in sharing Jesus Christ with this list and dying world. It IS NOT ENOUGH to “invite people to church”.  That has NEVER been enough, not does it fulfill the Great Commission.  But just as the first front (and step) towards actually doingsomething is humility before God, we m

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ust also BE the salt and light as Jesus Commanded. We cannot live like the world, yet expect the world to act like Jesus. It just doesn’t work that way! Repeat the first front!

3. And we must be willing to stand for the TRUTH, live out the TRUTH, vote for the TRUTH, even if it means our pocketbooks are affected, even if it means our “friends” might reject us, and even if it is inconvenient and painful (I do not believe Jesus promised an easy road!). Every time we bend our morality for financial or social gain, we betray our hearts and faith. The “fruits” of our faith become very evident – by their lacking of real impact.

Christianity is not a passive spectator sport, it is a way of life. If our hearts are not absolutely broken for the ungodliness (and what the Bible clearly spells out is the coming result for it), if we don’t grieve for the lostness all around us, if we are not so broken that we are willing to speak up for the TRUTH, then stop pretending to be offended by all the garbage around us, and by path this nation is traveling. You are part of the problem. As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord (and be a part of the solution).

A Challenge for Today and Beyond: CD!

This post was originally published by the author on his old blog page.

Here is a thought for today (and every day) – maybe better a challenge: Corum Deo- to live your life each and every day before the LORD.

What does this mean? After all, God sees all things – so everything is done and lived out “before God”! Coram Deo, simply put, is to intentionally live out our lives, our decisions, our words, and our hearts with God at the forefront. It is to really grasp that God is really Omnipresent, and so we also must come to grips with the fact that not a single action or thought in our lives is beyond God’s view! It is also the vivid reminder that we all must give an account one day. Whether we be lost headed for eternal judgment in Hell and the Lake of fire because we are unregenerate sinners, or we are born-again, yet living outside of our professed faith (Jesus said if we love Him, we will keep His commands! – John 14:15). All must give an account.

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Living Coram Deo means to live out our entire lives, every moment of every day, in the presence of, and in submission to God and His Sovereign authority.

To live a life of Coram Deo means to live a life of integrity. It means we will recognize that our lives paint a picture to the world (I have preached it as our lives as a living epistle to the lost world).

Living Coram Deo means that we not only keep Christ’s commands, but that we most importantly act out of love, and speak Truth even in the face of opposition.

Coram Deo will rarely be the easy way. Indeed, living every moment of our lives under awareness of God’s oversight and authority will indeed put all of the trifles and struggles, temptations and frustrations in proper perspective.

How has my life today honored and glorified God? Are my decisions today pleasing to God? Are the words I choose to use going to point others to the Savior? Are the priorities I set, God’s priorities?

Won’t you prayerfully contemplate the challenge?

Hypocrisy and Current Events

This post originally appeared on the authors old blog.

hypocrisy:

     1. a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not; especially  :  the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religion

 
     2. an act or instance of hypocrisy
The simple definition of the term would be in application – to claim to believe or hold a belief or view, but your actions or words contradict your claims.
I have been reading, watching, and listening to the constant noise regarding the so-called #BlackLivesMatter movement. I have been trying to absorb all I can to try to understand where those protesting (or participating in much more nefarious activities) are coming from. But the more I read, the more I actually look at facts, the more I spend time in prayer for our nation and for those who are involved, I find the more jaded I become. I have been labeled a racist more times than I can count. I have been told that I just cannot understand – after all, I apparently am afflicted with this now dread disease called White Privilege.
Ok – I’m fed up. I’m tire of the labels, and I’m tired of the abject lies and hypocrisy being demonstrated. But as always, I want to take a biblical angle on this, so here goes:
What does the Bible say? It says all people are made in the image of God (Imago Dei). Scripture clearly points to the very reason murder is wrong:we are made in the image of God (Genesis 9:6). Further, Jesus clearly commanded that we LOVE OUR NEIGHBORS. Neighbors in this context is not just literal neighbors who look like us, who live near us, who are parts of the same social circles and do the same activities – or who look like us. Our neighbors are humanity. The easy answer to all the garbage we see would be to “love our neighbors”. But that is shunned – why? Oh, because it means actually seeing people of other backgrounds and races, people who don’t look or act like us – as having intrinsic value in their very lives.
But let us get back to the hypocrisy that spawned this post:
#BlackLivesMatter is probably one of the most hypocritical movements I’ve every witnessed. The movement began with the shooting of a young man on the street in Ferguson, Missouri. The immediate response, before his body was even cold, was a media-fueled frenzy over the claim that he was unarmed, and that he was shot in cold blood with his hands in the air shouting “hands up-don’t shoot!”. Yet when the evidence – the cold, hard facts – came out, the officer was shown to have clearly been clearly justified in the shooting, as his life was threatened by the attack by this young man.
But in response to the shooting, long before any real facts were available, large crowds assembled ostensibly to protest the “wrongful shooting” and in a more broad sense – against the “open season on black men” by law enforcement. Protests led to riots, which led to looting. All behaviors that the core of the black community has tried hard to distance themselves from – chalking such behavior as unfair to label them with. Yet it gave ammunition to those who do indeed still hold racist views of African-Americans.
We have heard cries of “open season” on Black men, over police shootings of black men. Yet the actual statistics show something quite different. Last year, the official numbers show that nearly twice as many Caucasians were killed by police as African-Americans. Yet those claiming to want the truth, continue to absolutely ignore the statistics. Telling lies and repeating lies to gain support for your views is repulsive, no mater who does it. If you want justice, then it must begin with facts.
And now we have, after two high-profile police shootings of black men in two different states, and now police officers are being targeted for murder – police officers that are not even connected to the shootings in question. Indeed, the guilt born by the officers killed this past week was exclusively based on wearing a badge (and having light colored skin).
#BlackLivesMatter – blocking traffic on major roads, delaying medical care for a young girl headed to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis.
#BlackLivesMatter – spawning, inspiring, and encouraging hate towards Police Officers (even if it really is unintentional).
#BlackLivesMatter – using the label of racist to anyone who points to facts and reality.

#BlackLIvesMatter – conspicuously absent in Chicago where young Black men are murdered every day, by fellow Black males.
#BlackLIvesMatter – conspicuously absent from the abortion clinics all over this nation who have killed more African-Americans than all the wars fought, and police violence taken in this nation’s history.

And then we have the politicians who are playing along with this movement, calling for gun bans, stricter gun-control, and other measures that would actually disarm and/or limit access to firearms by law-abiding African-Americans.

Of course, a student of history knows that the earliest gun control legislation in this nation was a response to the freeing of slaves, and was pushed specifically with the intent of keeping guns out of the hands of these freed slaves.

Planned Parenthood, started and built by Margaret Sanger, who had a well-known agenda of eugenics against Blacks. Yet so many in the self-appointed leadership of the Black Community are adamant supporters of…Planned Parenthood, and often are among the biggest supporters of so-called “reproductive choice” (aka – the murder of unborn children).

We are told that #BlackLivesMatter in such a way that it can’t help but be interpreted as ONLY Black Lives Matter. Maybe it isn’t intended that way, but when one brings up one of my original points – that ALL lives matter, as we are ALL made in the image of God, the vitriol and anger is unleashed – and the “racist” card gets slammed down.

Indeed, for years, we have heard of the unfairness of being judged by the color of our skin (Dr. Martin Luther King said it beautifully when he said “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

Yet we still see hiring practices and quotas, college admissions, and governmental contract requirements that specifically and very explicitly singling out a particular race for preferential treatment, overriding actual qualifications and merit.

How is this not hypocritical?

What is the answer? – What did Jesus say? LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR – something all but impossible if not for a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.


And update since the original publication of this post in July 2016.

Since this entry was originally published on my old blog, many things have happened – including the election of a new President who has been vilified by many, particularly of the #BLM as a racist.  Also since that time, the above group has been joined by another, far more terrorist in nature now as #ANTIFA (ostensibly standing for “Anti-Fascists” – though their tactics are, themselves, trademark fascist tactics).  Since that post, a woman was killed and several others injured by a driver in Charlottesville, SC, the scene of an incredibly ugly set of protests from widely-differing viewpoints, all driven by local government to an obviously intentional clash. Violence meets violence, all set-up by city officials and law enforcement.

Since that original post, I have found myself the center of vitriolic attacks for essentially holding to the viewpoint I espoused in the original. Apparently, believing that all lives matter before God, our Creator, is somehow both racist and hate-filled.

And just recently in Las Vegas, NV – a supposed lone gunman opened fire on over 22,000 music festival attendees outside the Mandolay Casion and Resort, killing (at latest count) nearly 60, and wounding over 500 in a senseless act of cowardice by a man (assuming the narrative holds) who was a pawn of Satan, unregenerate in heart, and completely given over to his evil intentions.

And again I ask – does life matter? Should certain skin colors have more value in the eye of the public than others?  Not according to the Bible.

Pray for this nation – pray for repentance. Pray for revival of local churches – including a rekindling of the fire for the Gospel message and Christ’s command to make disciples.

 

Redefine or Rediscover Church Membership

I have watched with great interest (and concern) at the evolution of “church membership” over the years. This obviously is seasoned with my own personal experiences, from an early background attending (and technically a “member” of) the Episcopal Church while growing up, to various excursions into differing faith groups – and ultimately being redeemed, baptized, and added to Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Carlisle, Arkansas what seems so long ago.  Add to the mix my observations of several modern/contemporary churches which have essentially eliminated the concept of formal church membership, and I have developed rather strong opinion on what Church Membership is.  So much so, that I have been led to begin a Sunday evening sermon series regarding what Biblical Church Membership is – what it looks like – and indeed, what is a “healthy” church member (and membership).  A great help in my chase on the subject is Jonathan Leeman’s Church Membership: How the World Knows Who Represents JesusLeeman’s passion for the local church is evident, and while this book does not mine the extensive (and indeed endless) depths of what Scripture has to say about the local church and membership in her, it does serve as an incredible opportunity and tool to help the reader refocus and maybe rediscover what church membership really is.

In fact, I was going to attempt to put into words what I have formed in my own thinking on the subject of how we have maybe gotten it wrong – but then I recalled that in his first chapter, Leeman has a section that lists off some of the symptoms of wrong thinking in and about the “church” and I am simply going to quote that below.  I pray it will serve to help us all rethink, and ultimately rediscover what church membership really is.


The following is from Jonathan Leeman’s Church Membership: How The World Knows Who Represents Jesus Copyright ©2012 Johnathan Leeman, pp. 23-24.

     Maybe we acquired this understanding of the local church from the Protestant emphasis on the location of preaching and the ordinances. Maybe we’ve been duped by Western democratic society into viewing churches as voluntary associations. Maybe it’s a century’s worth of practice at being consumers. I’m not sure. But here are some of the symptoms of our wrong thinking:

  • Christians can think it’s fine to attend a church indefinitely without joining;
  • Christians think of getting baptized apart from joining;
  • Christians take the Lord’s Supper without joining;*
  • Christians view the Lord’s Supper as their own private, mystical experience for Christians and not as an activity for church members who are incorporated into body life together;
  • Christians don’t integrate their Monday-to-Saturday lives with the lives of other saints;
  • Christians assume they can make a perpetual habit of being absent from the church’s gathers a few Sundays a month or more;
  • Christians make major life decisions (moving, accepting a promotion, choosing a spouse, etc.) without considering the effects of those decisions on the family of relationships in the church or without consulting the wisdom of the church’s pastors and other members;
  • Christians buy homes or rent apartments with scant regard to how factors such as distance and cost will affect their abilities to serve their church;
  • Christians don’t realize that they are partly responsible for both the spiritual welfare and the physical livelihood of the other members of their church, even members they have not met. When one mounts, one morns by himself. When one rejoices, one rejoices by herself.

The Basic disease behind all of these symptoms, the disease which, I admit, courses through my own veins, is the assumption that we have the authority to conduct our Christian lives on our own. We include the church piece when and where we please.

That is to say, we treat the local church like a club to join – or not. And this assumption leaves us conducting our Christian lives somewhat aloof from the local church even when we do join one: “Sure, I’m a member, but why in the world would I ask the church to help me think through accepting that job in Albuquerque?”

Please understand, I’m not just pointing the finger. These are my cultural instincts, too. I confess that I want to do things my way. I want to avoid taking responsibility for others.

But this is not the biblical picture. We need to take off one set of glasses and put on another. Are you ready?


So what, then, shall we do?If even one of the symptoms above are present in our lives – we have an issue to deal with. I sadly believe that many of us today have many of these symptoms in some way evident in our lives. The reality is – we are either going to redefine the meaning of being a church member, or we are going to rediscover what Christ had in mind when He set up His church – and will mirror what He has established in our actions and our relationship one with another. I believe that if we will take the step of genuinely investing in each other, opening our own hearts to be poured in to, while also pouring into others – all while also recognizing the fact that much of the authority Jesus Christ gave was to the church, not to individual Christians acting alone. And in all of this, we also need to recognize that it is God who leads Christians to the church He would have us be a functional part of. As Paul illustrated so often – a body, rightly fitted together.

Remember – First Baptist Church Cave Springs, Arkansas – Evening service series: A Church Member is __________.  The first installment filled in the blank with “Functional” (1 Corinthians 12:12-31)

Children, Compassion, and DACA

I try not to spend too much time and effort in posting with political material.  Yet int he last couple of days, much has been said, and the faith of many Christians has been questioned in the political realm. What’s it all about?  

DACA –Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

DACA is a policy put into place by President Obama in June 2012 to try to deal with the growing issue of young people who were brought into this nation as children (minors), and who have no legal national identity and therefore were somewhat stuck in a very difficult position (and possibly eventually even be deported, though they have no connection to the country they came from as a child). Obviously, this is a pretty horrible position to be in! Few people on either side of the political isle argued that something needed to be done, but the President decided not to follow the Constitution and the rule of law, and instead chose to use an Executive Order to establish his “solution”.

President Trump campaigned on  many things, including ending the DACA policy. Therefore, once the official announcement was made yesterday (September 5), the vast majority of the media and every Progressive commentator has filled the airwaves and social media with amazingly ugly vitriol and renewed claims of racism.

Sadly, those posting and deriding the President in this case has nothing to do with what he has actually said or is doing, but is just another excuse to deride and defame the President. If they would pause and actually look at what he has said and challenged Congress to do.

According to the President himself, he specifically said that he wants to “help” these children and has no desire to deport or otherwise hurt families, but his intent is to handle this through LEGAL avenues – returning the issue to Congress who actually have the constitutional authority to deal with this.  He has never expressed a desire to deport those affected.  He specifically said he does not want to split up families or cause any harm. 

While I do not hold President Trump up as a bastion of morality, and indeed often get frustrated at his off-the-cuff, knee-jerk (and sometimes rather ugly) reactions and statements, in this particular case, I believe he is actually doing this correctly. And his words certainly seem to be sincere and right-minded. 

So – all of this to be said, we need to first of all pray for President Trump, for wisdom and guidance from God Himself, for protection, and even for a filter for his words!  But most importantly, pray for President Trump’s salvation. If the reports were true of his profession several months ago, I pray it was genuine.  If not, pray that the Lord would indeed regenerate his heart and call him to repentance, and that we would see incredible fruits of conversion even from the White House.

Pray that this nation would CHOOSE to step away from blind hate that only serves to stir the pot, not put to rest old wounds and divisions.

Pray for all of our leaders, both elected and appointed.

Pray that we would focus on what is right, not necessarily what is expedient or convenient, or just fits a certain agenda.

And particularly pray for Congress as they take up the DACA issue, that they would see beyond political posturing and actually seek a genuine, biblical, and compassionate solution.