Quote for 11/12/2019

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.   Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV

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Look at the religions of the world. How many involve people saving themselves through good works or torment? There’s reincarnation, where you come back as something less if you were bad or something better if you were good. There are the various forms of Gnosticism wherein salvation lies in knowing secret, saving knowledge. That was the one that the Apostles battled the most in their day.

Today we have the religion of self; I have a great car/house/job, etc. I have accomplished all of these things!

Jesus is the one, true Son of the one, true God who tells us He’ll did all the heavy lifting. Our only required action is to say, “OK.” It’s about having faith in Jesus to take care of the crushing debt we owe for our sins. It’s the willingness to let go of self and give Jesus permission to pay our debt for us.

It’s a gift! There is nothing here for people to boast about

Quote for 11/11/2019

But now, O Lord, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand.   Isaiah 64:8

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God indeed formed us by hand out of the ground. He did not speak us into existence as He did with everything else. Special attention was paid in our making.

It is very important that we understand and acknowledge this relationship. We are but dust, as the saying goes, and to dust we will return. God made us. He knows what we are intended for. We are His design for His purpose.

That purpose is love. We were made to be in a voluntary, loving relationship with Him and each other.

If we can only stop putting ourselves first and follow the direction of our Maker, we can be so blissfully happy and fulfilled! We are the work of His hands, and we have His works of love to fulfill on this earth!

Sex Reassignment Surgery

So, God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.   Genesis i:27

For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh.  Therefore, what God has joined together, let not man separate.   Mark 10:7-9

Gender confusion is a persistent topic in our culture. What should I identify as; male, female, other? As a Christian, I take God’s Word as the authority, so my answer is to look between your legs. The answer is there.

Yes, it can get very complicated, but based on a recent article, I’d have to say the issue is more psychological than physical. This is a very loaded issue, so I’ll do my best here to go slow and stick to the facts.

Walt HeyerSex Reassignment Surgery: Walt Heyer was 43 years old in 1983 when he was married and already had two children. That was when he had sex reassignment surgery. The change lasted eight years. He then realized he had made a huge mistake and had surgery again back to being a man.

His experience has led him to believe that troubled people are being pushed toward a sex change when there are really underlying psychological issues that need to be dealt with instead.

He says that “…the notion of Gender Dysphoria as illness and gender re-assignment surgery as cure is, one of the most widely perpetrated and most dangerous lies of our time.”

He goes on to explain that there are a number of underlying issues in gender confusion lie in, for example, child abuse, transvestic disorder, and others. People who are confused are given a premature diagnosis and pushed toward sex change. He says this is especially true when it comes to children.

His troubles started at age four when his grandmother started dressing him in girl’s clothing.

“I was about four years old when my grandmother made me a purple chiffon dress and would dress me up in it when she looked after me and tell me how cute I looked and affirm me in it.”

Not long after he was sexually abused by a trusted uncle. When he tried to report the abuse, his parents refused to believe him. He had no one to go to, no safe haven from all this abuse and confusion. He’s spoken to thousands of others in similar situations. They all confirm that they can point directly to some trauma or abuse that underlies their gender confusion.

“It’s not about wanting to be a different gender. It’s about wanting to be a different person – not wanting to be the boy or the girl who was hurt.”

Saturn VHeyer led a successful life, personally and professionally. He worked on the Apollo missions and later was the National Operations Manager for Honda in America. Still, his childhood haunted him.

Living in San Francisco in 1981, he heard about a therapist who approved people for sex changes. The therapist told him he needed hormone therapy.

Today Heyer shakes his head at the fact that there was never any question about underlying issues, about mental health problems or historic trauma or abuse.

He expressed doubts about going forward with the change, but the therapist kept assuring him that this was the right path. Heyer admits that, by the time he had surgery, he was convinced that he was doing the right thing.

Afterward, he started reading books and started seeing others who were also transgender. They often suffered from schizophrenia or bipolar disorder or dis-associative disorders.

“I began to see that it’s just a cosmetic change. And so, there’s got to be something underlying and pushing this to cause you to not like who you are. So much so that you try to become someone that you can really never become…It’s a costume. It’s a masquerade. It’s Halloween.”

He pointed out that he never really became a woman. “Transitioning back” was no big deal, because he was still a man who had had cosmetic surgery to appear as a woman.

Obviously, Heyer did his research with books and interviews. This isn’t a strictly emotional point of view he’s developed; it’s fact and experience-based.

I Googled the topic, curious if there was any more data on sex change operations. I found Sex Reassignment Doesn’t Work by Ryan T. Anderson. He also wrote When Harry Became Sally; Responding to the Transgender Movement.

His bona fides – Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D., is the William E. Simon Senior Research Fellow in American Principles and Public Policy at The Heritage Foundation, where he researches and writes about marriage, bioethics, religious liberty and political philosophy.

He writes that “…the medical evidence suggests that sex reassignment does not adequately address the psychosocial difficulties faced by people who identify as transgender. Even when the procedures are successful technically and cosmetically, and even in cultures that are relatively “trans-friendly,” transitioners still face poor outcomes.”

Bruce JennerEchoing what Heyer says, Anderson says that men do not become women, nor women, men. Men simply become feminized and women become masculinized. Bruce Jenner included. Heyer’s article starts out with suggesting we see how Bruce Jenner feels after eight years.

Dr. Paul McHugh, the university distinguished service professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine also writes –

When ‘the tumult and shouting dies,’ it proves not easy nor wise to live in a counterfeit sexual garb. The most thorough follow-up of sex-reassigned people—extending over 30 years and conducted in Sweden, where the culture is strongly supportive of the transgendered—documents their lifelong mental unrest. Ten to 15 years after surgical reassignment, the suicide rate of those who had undergone sex-reassignment surgery rose to 20 times that of comparable peers.

Chris Hyde, Director of The Aggressive Research Intelligence Facility, agrees:

“there’s still a large number of people who have the surgery but remain traumatized—often to the point of committing suicide.”

Hyde also admitted that there are those who clearly do well with such operations, but the research doesn’t do well in reassuring people how many do badly and how badly.

I urge you to read both articles for yourself. There’s nothing better than looking at the whole thing before making up your mind.

One last thing as far as the sexes go; get the book Wild at Heart by John Eldredge. Here’s a very broad summary of the theology of sex as I take it from the book.

God is definitely masculine, but He also possesses the feminine nurturing qualities as well. The Holy Spirit has a feminine expression in the original languages. God symbolically split Himself in two when He created Adam and Eve. Their marriage – and every marriage since – is a symbolic reunion of those two essential parts of God. The union of a man and woman in marriage and producing children is our act of creation, symbolically showing God and His creation in earthly acts.

Do you see now why marriage is so important to God? Do you understand now why sexual sins are especially abhorrent to God? Sexual sins are a perversion of His message of marriage and monogamy.

The facts have told us more about gender issues, which are definitely there. It’s important to deal with the issues factually without throwing names at each other. Maybe then everyone will have at least a chance to heal.

Quote for 11/10/2019

because “All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, And its flower falls away, But the word of the Lord endures forever.” Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.   1 Peter 1:24-25 NKJV

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I was in 6th grade when my parents bought me a trumpet. My teacher told us we might want to get a protective case for it when I get to high school and am riding those busses.

Yeah…I should live so long!

That was decades ago. When life was stretched out before me it seemed to be forever. Looking back with most of it behind me, I wonder where the time went. What has passed seems so small. We are indeed like the grass that withers!

But that is only in these bodies on this earth. We will last forever, whether in heaven or hell. We can choose heaven. We can choose God’s Word, which has been in place unchanging since the dawn of time. God announced His plan to save Adam and Eve and their offspring at the very beginning. The plan came to fruition 4000 years later in Jesus.

We live 2000 years beyond that, and God’s Word is still with us. It is still being sought after by the entire world. It is studied by scholars and the uneducated. It will be with us in heaven eternally.

God’s Word indeed endures forever!

Satanist Children’s Ministry

The Knox County School Board (Knoxville, TN) is preparing to vote on a Bible Release Program wherein students could miss class to attend a one-hour bible study at a local church one day a week. I see this as a well-intentioned effort to help bring God – or at least morals – back into society. I’m guessing they think they can skirt the “separation of church and state” nonsense (that phrase appears nowhere in the constitution) by allowing kids time off to attend class at a church. The schools won’t be teaching religion; just allowing students freedom of their religion.

The program is sponsored by the Elgin Foundation and The Church at Sterchi Hills and was agreed to for a trial run by superintendent Bob Thomas. The Elgin Foundation has already sponsored other Bible release programs across eastern Tennessee.

A group of Satanists responded to the proposed program by founding the Satanic Children’s Ministry of Knoxville last Thursday.

They say they hope that the Board’s proposal is voted down, but they are ready to roll out a Satanism Release Program in response. Their argument, which we’ve heard before, is that if a government entity wants to promote religion, all religions should be included.

The Bible has been the foundation of western society and legal system is based on Christian laws and principles. Why would a western government not want to have their citizens understand the good precepts that our society was founded on?

Going further, why would anyone want to educate people on Satanic principles? Is anyone not aware that Satan is the exact opposite of God? He’s been God’s (im)mortal enemy from the beginning. Here’s where we get into what lawyers call Weasel Words and Wiggle Room. It’s using language to deliberately confuse issues.

The Satanists make the claim that they are a “legitimate organization.” That makes it sound as if Satanic organizations are on a par with Christian organizations.

LEGITIMATE – conforming to laws or rules.

OK, but what laws or rules? They are legitimate as far as meeting whatever legal requirements there are in the USA. Are they legitimate according to God’s laws? The obvious answer is no. Do you see how they use “legitimate” to sound as valid as Christian organizations when, as enemies of God, they cannot be?

A statement from the Satanists said that…

This creates problems in the classroom not just for us as Satanists but also any Muslim, Jewish, Hindu or atheist child in the classroom as the children involved in the Bible Release Time are taught to challenge the beliefs of their classmates and promote that their god is the one true god.

The Satanists are obviously seeking cover behind other religions, again making them seem like just another face in the crowd. Plus, the current climate makes it politically incorrect to marginalize any Middle Eastern religion. By linking arms with them, they seek shelter with them. Anything to prevent the spread of Christianity and Jesus’ Gospel.

Here is their logo, and it’s a revolting thing if you look at all aspects of it.

Satanic Childrens Ministry of KnoxvilleYou’ve got a childish, almost Pokémon face. Never mind the devil horns, goat ears, pentagram on the forehead, and the goat legs. It’s a caricature of a Pan figure. Is this the image that they have of the successfully Satanized child?

They’ve hit on an effective strategy to marginalize if not demonize Christianity by invoking “separation of church and state,” which is an incorrect interpretation of the Constitution. They either get one over on Christianity by ensuring it is absent from schools, or they can use the Constitution to ensure they are given a seat at the educational table if something like this Bible program comes along.

Also, I should defend my statement regarding the incorrect interpretation of the Constitution that allows for separation of church and state. If you read your history, you’ll discover that the Founding Father were all for the separation of church and state, but what they meant then and what we choose to read into it now are two completely different things. We currently hold that idea to mean that there should be no religious consideration in government. That is incorrect.

What the Founding Fathers associated with that phrase was state mandated religion, like the church of England. People were jailed, tortured and killed for not bowing to the church dictated by the crown whether the Church of England or the Roman Catholics. That is what they were referring to when discussing the separation of church and state.

Not all the Founding Fathers were Christians. Far from it. Thomas Jefferson was not, but He affirmed Christian values. Following are several quotes taken from a website called WallBuilders.com.

JOHN ADAMS: The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.1

Without religion, this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company: I mean hell.2

The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity and humanity.3

Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their only law book and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited. . . . What a Eutopia – what a Paradise would this region be!4

I have examined all religions, and the result is that the Bible is the best book in the world.

JOSIAH BARTLETT (signed the Declaration of Independence): Called on the people of New Hampshire . . .
to confess before God their aggravated transgressions and to implore His pardon and forgiveness through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ . . . [t]hat the knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ may be made known to all nations, pure and undefiled religion universally prevail, and the earth be fill with the glory of the Lord.

Congress, U. S. House Judiciary Committee, 1854:

Had the people, during the Revolution, had a suspicion of any attempt to war against Christianity, that Revolution would have been strangled in its cradle… In this age, there can be no substitute for Christianity… That was the religion of the founders of the republic and they expected it to remain the religion of their descendants.

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN: As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the system of morals and His religion as He left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is likely to see.29

The body of Benjamin Franklin, printer, like the cover of an old book, its contents torn out and stripped of its lettering and guilding, lies here, food for worms. Yet the work itself shall not be lost; for it will, as he believed, appear once more in a new and more beatiful edition, corrected and amended by the Author.30 (FRANKLIN’S EULOGY THAT HE WROTE FOR HIMSELF)

So much for our modern interpretation of “separation of church and state” and the Satanist claim that they are just another legitimate organization. You can read the full article for yourself.

Quote for 11/09/2019

Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.   Matthew 10:16

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Jesus was that perfect Lamb of God who was sacrificed for our salvation. He was a sheep among wolves Himself! His job was humility and peace. He couldn’t be drug down into the gutter of fighting like the people He came to save. How did He survive?

He was wise in the Word of God. This shone the brightest when Satan Tempted Him in the wilderness after He was baptized and had been fasting. He did not fight back at Satan. He used God’s wisdom and words to stay His course.

He was harmless. He only did good. He never took advantage of anyone. He always showed mercy. He toed God’s line and told others they must do likewise.

He was a sheep among wolves. He succeeded by being as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves.

That’s our example!

Quote for 11/08/2019

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.   Hebrews 4:12 NKJV

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How powerful is God’s Word? I think we often give it short shrift.

EXAMPLE 1 – A Russian woman came to the states several years ago as a chaperone for Russian Orphans brought to the USA for possible adoption. She was a shrew! But my friend took her to visit Chicago as part of the trip. She stayed in in my friend’s sister’s house in the daughter’s room. The daughter’s white confirmation Bible was on the nightstand.

The Russian shrew came out the next morning, having spent the night reading that Bible. She’d opened it out of curiosity and couldn’t put it down. She wanted to accept Jesus and find her own white Bible before leaving Chicago.

EXAMPLE 2 – Crystal Blue Persuasion was a hit song by Tommy James and the Shondells. Tommy found himself in a hotel room and strung out on drugs. He found the Gideon Bible and happened to open it to chapter in Ezekiel that described a great, fiery wheel in the sky. A UFO nut, Tommy felt like God was trying to talk to him. He stole the Bible out of the room and studied it at home.

He later happened upon a Billy Graham TV Crusade one night. Tommy said that the Gospel presented by Graham hit his soul like the most beautiful tone of the purest lead crystal. He put his nose on the TV screen and accepted Jesus during the alter call. Crystal Blue Persuasion is Tommy’s description of the Holy Spirit ringing in his heart. Here’s the interview about it.

For the Word of God is living and powerful!

Quote for 11/07/2019

Therefore, do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.  For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:   Hebrews 10:35-36

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If you don’t think you can do something, you’re probably right. If you think you can, you’re probably right.

No confidence equals diminished or no effort and then no success. Misplaced confidence is potentially destructive!

The confidence in Hebrews is about confidence in Jesus and His saving power. It is not misplaced! We know He rose from the dead. Recall that the Roman soldiers guarding Jesus’ tomb were paid to shut up about the resurrection. It would have been easy for the Romans or anyone who wanted to discredit the story of Jesus’ resurrection to open the tomb and show everyone His body. But no one ever did!

So, stay confident! It’s well-founded. It’s a confidence and faith that leads to an eternity with God in heaven where He will “wipe every tear” from our eyes.

That’s worth striving for!

Upside Down

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!   Isaiah 5:20

Last Saturday the London Daily Mail reported Chaos in Brooklyn. 1000 protestors held a demonstration in Brooklyn against the NYPD over a series of violent arrests over fare jumping on the subway system. From the article:

Brooklyn DemonstrationWhile flashier banners bore slogans such as ‘Don’t let these pigs touch us,’ ‘F**k the police,’ ‘Punch that cop’ and ‘NYPD out of MTA,’ other signs read ‘Free transit,’ ‘Poverty is not a crime’ and ‘Our subways need more $ for elevators, not for cops.’

I saw another article reporting that the police removed a child from the mother…who was resisting arrest! What does anyone think is going to happen when they put up a fight against the police? Wouldn’t you assume that the arrest would get violent when fighting back against the police?

And what are the police supposed to do? Referencing one of the signs above, if the protestors think they need more money for elevators than police, where do they think that money comes from if police allow people to steal services from the subway system without paying?

Lucy ShrugAnd if someone fights back, does anyone think that the police response should be, “Well, if you feel that way about it, I guess we’ll let you go”? That way lies chaos.

How Everything Became WarI understand that police abusing power is a real thing, but I submit that is a minority of instances that are over-reported by the media. If it was a prevalent problem, the entire nation would be in revolt. I cite a book called How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything. Author Rosa Brooks makes a well-argued observation that civilization is a balancing act of what level of violence is needed to maintain it. Too little violence by the government brings chaos. Too much brings revolt. Think of our own Revolutionary War.

If police violence were a chronic problem, revolution would be the order of the day across the country. Instead, we have spotty, albeit sometimes large protests on the matter. A closer look at the signs noted above tells us that these people are largely agitators…most likely the people that are fare-jumping themselves.

I submit that the inflammatory slogans reflect no desire for cooperation but rather provide cover for their own misdeeds. These are the ones who cause and call for trouble and call their actions good and policemen trying to enforce the law bad.

Finally, let’s consider that there are unjust governments and there is legitimate police brutality. What does Scripture tell us about that?

St. Paul wrote, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.  Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will [a]bring judgment on themselves.  For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.  For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.”

This during a time of Roman occupation!

Whether there is police brutality or not, whether there is a corrupt government or not, we are to submit if for no other reason than self-preservation! Even corrupt governments are used by God to execute His will. Think of the Babylonians who delivered God’s judgment on Israel and were later destroyed themselves for their evil. The American Revolution? This was an entire population finally calling a halt to injustice and pursuing independence through above-board means; specifically, The Declaration of Independence.

Short of something of that magnitude, I again believe that resisting authority is ill-advised at the least. You end up getting the trouble you ask for!

Quote for 11/06/2019

…speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.   Ephesians 5:19-20 NKJV

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Christianity is not a spectator sport. It isn’t an individual competition either. Christianity is a team sport!

I must admit to being a solo player in a lot of things. Group assignments in school were the worst! I knew I could depend on myself when I couldn’t depend on others. Still, I could never make it alone all the time! Sometimes I needed a reality check from someone when confused. Sometimes encouragement was that extra push to help me make it over the next hill.

Can you be a lone Christian? You can believe in Jesus and be saved with no one else around, true. But how long will you last? How hard will it be? Like a lone buffalo, how long before you succumb to a predatory pack without the help of a herd?

Why make Christianity harder than it is? Jesus told us trials and adversity will come. Why would we want to face that alone?

Find a church. Find another group of Christians who will battle through this world with you with encouragement and love and joy!