Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Divine Abandonment

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. (Romans 1:26-28 ESV)

This is called Divine abandonment. God, after much grace and abundant warning, finally gives people over to their own unnatural passions and desires. God designed a woman for a man and a man for a woman. Right down to the DNA, Even at the chromosome level, God designed XX to naturally be a "helper" or complement to XY, woman for man, and vice versa. Sins against this nature are unnatural and against God's design. When a country's high court condones this unnatural arrangement of women marrying women and men marrying men, it is the last straw and leads to Divine abandonment.

Even those who don't have faith enjoy God's grace in many ways. Those without the Gospel are without excuse however, because God reveals Himself through nature. When man rebels against that very nature, he rebels against God and attempts to make his own way. God says, okay, not a good idea, and lifts His hand of protection and grace.

This is where we are as a country. We are ruled by 5 SCOTUS judges, who just officially lawlessly initiated the last straw against God according to this Biblical passage. This passage also says, "Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them."(Romans 1:32 ESV) we as believers must not be found giving approval to these things. Some churches have actually come out and applauded this decision and say "love wins" along with those who don't know the Word of God. This is a lie from the pit of hell, love did not win with this decision. This kind of love leads to destruction (of relationships, of God's design for family, of God's favor). This is a poor substitute for the true, overwhelming, abundant love of God.  God's love will win in The End, but this decision is not a win for anyone but the Deceiver. Many have been deceived into thinking this is a loving thing to do for those who have same sex attraction, but the Truth is, we have, by our action, asked God to leave us alone and His Word says He will do just that. That is a very vulnerable place to be, in the hands of the Destroyer. We have the illusion we have done something loving by calling something that is, by nature, and by Biblucal statement, sin, by saying it is a human right. 

At some point all those businesses, agencies, churches and schools who hold to Biblucal standards will be accused of hate crimes and forced to approve, even celebrate this decision, or loose tax exempt status and Federal Grants or even be shut down. Agencies that do good things like place kids into adoption or foster care, or help rehabilitate addicts, or help people in many other ways will be forced to go against Biblical standards, face legislation or go out of business. When same sex marriage was legalized in Massachusetts all of the religious based agencies that placed homeless children into homes were forced to shut down, because they wouldn't give kids to same sex couples for Biblical reasons and the state said that was illegal.  The kids were the biggest losers, because 30% of the kids placed in that state were placed through religious based agencies.

Pray to God, you who are faithful and stand on His Word. Pray that many will come to faith in this time of trial. God is sovereign and He is not surprised by this . He is still full of grace for those who call to Him, and repent. Be loving and full of grace to everyone. Pray for those in authority and obey them in everything except those things that are in direct conflict with God's Word. Be wise as serpents, but gentle as doves. Many will try to deceive Christ followers into believing that the Bible actually allows same sex marriage. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

What Is The Most Loving Thing to Do?

After a high profile former athlete recently decided to become transgender and reported that he/she had suicidal thoughts, I wondered how common suicide is among transgender people.  As I was channel surfing, I stopped briefly on a channel that was talking about this very topic. They reported a staggering 41% suicide rate among those who transition to another gender.  To be honest, I don't even know the channel or the show. But I googled it and apparently the Williams Institute has done research on this topic. Here is the article highlighting the findings: http://www.vocativ.com/culture/lgbt/transgender-suicide/

If the suicide rates for transgender people are really this high, then shouldn't we be loving these people and finding them healthier ways to deal with their gender issues?   If we don't discourage people from engaging in this situation with a documented 41% death rate, and in fact, encourage them by calling them "heroes."aren't we guilty of being complicit in a hate crime? Why don't we help them understand the truth about the thoughts they struggle with.

I understand that when sin entered the world, all kinds of awful things happened: lying, murder, stealing, adultery, and yes, gender confusion. But there is an answer, Jesus Christ. Jesus reiterated in Matthew 19:4 (NIV)  "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,'" There is something deep within our DNA that tells every cell in our body which gender we are. The X and Y chromosomes determine our gender: XX for women and XY for men. When we try to we go against the very nature that God designed, it has to be stressful to the point of wanting to end our life.  Jesus wants to bring life and hope and goodness, to change our gender seems to steal emotional health, kill relationships and destroy life... Jesus says in John 10:10 (NIV) "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

I understand that there are chromosomal disorders and people with these disorders need love and sensitivity just like any of us with a disorder, but those are rare. The truth is, we all have a natural sin bent, a personal sin that reaches out to us and seems to easily lure us in, but we don't have permission to indulge that bent.  Why don't we encourage those with impulses to be ax murderers or pedophiles to act on those impulses?  Because it is harmful to them and others. So, why then do we encourage people to "embrace" and "act on" transgender impulses when we know it is going to be harmful to them and others?

We need to take another look at this issue in the light of the Truth.  Jesus said, "I AM THE TRUTH."
I believe Jesus would handle this just like he did with those he healed of other issues... He would pray to the Father and lovingly restore people to health and faith in Him.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Best Laid Plans

My youngest are on a mission trip that was well planned and prayed for. The students had prepped and studied, the travel arrangements had been made, the teams were working together well. And with great promise the much anticipated departure time had come.

The bus, coming from another state was right on time when the driver decided to stop for gas before load and departure. He was about to pull out of the gas station when the brake line broke. No problem they would just send another bus. The 9 pm departure would just be slightly delayed. The next bus arrives 2 hours later. but misses a turn and attempts to turn around and falls into a ditch. No problem,  they can have it towed out and be on their way. But when the tow truck pulled them out the oil pan was destroyed. No problem, bus number three can be sent. Finally, at 4 AM the bus arrives, the kids load up. They had been sleeping around the church like it was O'hare during a snow storm. They make it to their first stop and the doors won't close. But alas the doors close and they are on their way. 
Not a fun 24 hours, but the kids finally arrived in Texas only to find out there's a housing issue. Needless to say parents several hundred miles away are praying fervently for this trip.
The second 24 hours yielded an AC breakdown in fry-an-egg on the sidewalk temperatures. 
I don't know what is going on, but it's definately one of those prayer and patience kinds of trips. 
One of the most difficult mission trips I ever experienced was as a student minister, the facilities were much more primitive than promised and the folks we were ministering to were much more hostile than expected. A seasoned mission trip going volunteer suggested an old fashioned prayer vigil. Each of us would take a half hour through the night to pray. Each one woke the next one at the end of their vigil to pray. The Lord answered in miraculous ways. Children came to salvation, teens were discipled in life-changing ways and through it all, God was glorified.

We sometimes make the plans, but it's the Lord who orders our steps. And he causes all things to work together for good for those who Love Him and are called according to His purpose.