Salvation ... comes from the Lord ... because they take refuge in him. (Psalm 37:39-40)

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Gender Identity

Do you (or someone you care about) think you want to be a person of the opposite sex?  Or a person with no gender, or intergender, or …. (or one of the many variations these days)?  
If ever you should be thinking about your identity, and your future,  it is now, before you do something irreversible.  There are so-called doctors who want to make money from doing procedures that are so horrible, they were unthinkable until recent media propaganda has made them acceptable.  But what is the truth, and who REALLY cares about YOU?  There are so-called civil rights advocates twisting the numbers to make it look inviting, popular, or progressive to show disrespect for age-old traditions that serve to protect humanity from oblivion.  But, what is the truth, and who really cares about yout rights?   There are even so-called scientists who create studies to skew results for people to think distorted sexuality is a biology issue.  But, what is the truth, and who REALLY cares about YOU?
Here are some basic facts.  God created the human race.  The human body is a biological wonder.  Sexuality is one of those wonders.  It exists in only one of two forms, male or female.  Except in a very rare genetic defect, every individiual is born with body parts that identify them as male or female.  The biological sex is the primary contributor to gender identity.  Other factors contribute to shaping a person’s identity in adulthood, but none is as significant as gender.  Confusion about gender will lead to discontentment  and distress about almost everything else in life.  A so-called sex change will not resolve gender confusion.  Practicing behaviors (dressing, styling, posturing) more typical of the opposite sex will not resolve gender confusion.  Nor will obtaining the endorsement of a therapist or mental “health” professional provide lasting peace of mind about who you are as a person.  Some may just tell you what you want to hear in order to relieve guilt feelings.  But in fact, guilt is a good thing, when it is not confused with shame.  Shame condemns, and tells you  that you are not worthy of the person you were created to be.  Guilt warns you that your behavior is off track, and is a friendly reminder that you need to make some changes to get back on track.  Shame is never a good thing, and always has the goal of proving yourself worthless.  
God is a huge and undeniable factor in identity.  His creation built in unique worthfulness,  purpose, and meaning for each person.  To the degree we are disappointed, ungrateful, and dissatisfied with our innate circumstances and personal characteristics, we hold God in contempt (rebellion).  In doing so, we therefore miss out on the blessing of enjoying who God made us to be.  For example, let’s say I am born with brown hair and brown eyes, short, and stocky build.  If I  idolize blond hair and blue eyes, tall, and thin build, and constantly wish to be someone I was not created to be, I set myself up for frustration and unhappiness.  Maybe I constantly blame myself for needing a step-ladder to change a light bulb.  Maybe as a child I am ridiculed for being a blimp.  Maybe I feel less valuable because I do not have the quickness and agility of more athletic classmates.  These are shame thoughts designed by the enemy of our soul to steal our true identity.  The same is true for family circumstances.  We do not get to choose our dad and mom.  They are pre-determined for us, but they are the ones who give us the gift of life.  Wishing we had different parents or siblings  than the ones we have will not accomplish anything good.  
Gender is in the same category. Questioning God’s decision about your gender puts you in contempt of His divine assignment.   Nothing good will comes of complaining to, or blaming God for connecting the gene that made you a male or female in your mother’s womb.  The raw truth is that it wasn’t your decision, wasn’t ever meant to be your decision, and it cannot be altered.  
And then there are the mental health gurus.  Recently the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Diagnosies (DSM-V)  removed transgender ss a mental problem.   In my opinion, this is a slap in the face to people who are genuinely struggling with gender identity.  It seems mental health professionals who support this change have abandoned their commitment to core common sense principles of human nature and divine providence.  Sometimes they seem  too quick to label people for whom a label is the last thing they need.  But in the case of gender confusion, a label helps reveal thoughts and behaviors that need transformed rather than accepted and assimilated as normal.  Not accepting the reality of biological gender is pathological (sick), and has root causes that need to be discovered, worked through, and transformed into a life-affirming direction.   
I see God at the center of that change. I’m not talking about religion.   You don’t have to be religious to believe that God created people male and female from the beginning of time.  Some things in life are simply out of our control.  Fighting those things is foolishness.  The ancient Proverbs are right when they say that respect for God and his ways is the beginning of knowlege and understanding.  I’ve learned over the years that for many things out of my control, it’s better to cooperate with God and his path through circumstances, rather than fighting for a self-made identity with no foundation upon truth. A person’s perspective change  (based on truth about God, who he makes people to be, and how he created them to relate with each other), is the starting point to clear up gender identity issues.    
You may need a counselor to help you sort out truth from falsehood and fact from fiction.  I encourage you to talk to someone who believes in God’s unconditional love for every person.  When we receive God’s love in our heart, we can begin to see (perceive) our true value and worth which is the basis for true identity.  I want you to know I DO care for you, and there are many others who care as well.  You are not alone in your pain and struggle.  Silence the voice of shame by reaching out for help today.  You’re most certainly worth it.  All because God cares, and He REALLY DOES love you most of all!

by Ed Hersh, Blue Rock BnB Healing Ministry

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Psalm 31 Refuge

The 24 verses of Psalm 31 show how pressing into God’s love will give us true meaning and purpose in life.

1 In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness.
Lasting freedom from shame and guilt comes by trusting God alone as Refuge (shelter, protection, defense, safety, security, safe place).

2 Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me.
God’s strength and willingness to rescue is unmatched by any temporary earthly fix.  No thrill, drug, power, or “high” can come close to the satisfaction of God awareness.  God gives us his attention merely for the asking.

3 Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
Seeking the person of God himself, not just his blessings or benefits, is where we find true inner peace.  

4 Free me from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge.
The greatest enemy of our soul cannot steal our peace when we are walking in the Light of God’s Love.

5 Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O LORD, the God of truth.
God’s reality is absolute Truth.  When our personal human spirit is surrendered to the Holy Spirit, Truth becomes our reality.

6 I hate those who cling to worthless idols; I trust in the LORD.
Beliefs not based on truth cause us to err.  Chose friends and teachers  wisely, so as not be influenced by things that cause you to stray.

7 I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul.
God understands our deepest pain, and always loves us despite the sin (whether our own guilt or someone else’s) that may have caused the affliction.

8 You have not handed me over to the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place.
Although God condemns sinful behavior, he never condemns our personhood, and always gives us an opportunity for redemption.

9 ”Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief.
Our human condition commonly includes heartache. Allowing ourselves to feel the pain, and calling out for mercy, is appropriate.  

10 My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak.
Sometimes the hardships become severe and drawn out.  Our human ability to cope is limited, but God’s ability is limitless.

11 Because of all my enemies, I am the utter contempt of my neighbors; I am a dread to my friends - those who see me on the street flee from me.
Hurting people are not naturally drawn to other hurting people.  Your circle of loyal friends may shrink when they see your hardships.  

12 I am forgotten by them as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery.
Abandonment by others sometimes makes us feel even worse than the circumstances themselves.  God never forsakes or abandons us.

13 For I hear the slander of many; there is terror on every side; they conspire against me and plot to take my life.
Real or perceived threats to our safety seem to be more and more common in the world we live.  Fear is used by media to make tragedies even more tragic.  But there Is no anxiety in Refuge.

14 But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, "You are my God.""
When the feeling of overwhelm comes, we have our trust in God as Refuge.  Turn off the TV, and turn to the God of Refuge.  

15 My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me.
What is the worst that can happen?  God may have a shorter time for me on earth than I had hoped or expected.  Living eternally in the presence of God is a sure thing.

16 Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love.
There is no place like God’s presence.  There is no love that matches God’s love.

17 Let me not be put to shame, O LORD,  for I have cried out to you; but let the wicked be put to shame and lie silent in the grave.
There is both good and evil in this world.  May good triumph, and evil be put in its place.  Pursue good, and shun evil.

18 Let their lying lips be silenced, for with pride and contempt they speak arrogantly against the righteous.
Liars are very dangerous people.  History is full of examples of the destruction caused by deceitfulness.   Make sure what you are believing is the truth.  

19 How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you.
People who respect and honor God, will reap the benefits of God’s blessings.

20 In the shelter of your presence you hide them from the intrigues of men; in your dwelling you keep them safe from accusing tongues.
God’s presence is the most precious treasure of life.  To live in sync with His purposes for your life is the safest place to be.

21 Praise be to the LORD, for he showed his wonderful love to me when I was in a besieged city.
At times when I feel trapped by the enemies lies, God shows up and fights the battle for me.

22  “In my alarm I said, "I am cut off from your sight!" Yet you heard my cry for mercy when I called to you for help.
Sometimes life is scarey, but calling out to God for help is totally appropriate, and the best thing I can do.  

23 Love the LORD, all his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful, but the proud he pays back in full.
God’s love never fails.  God is always faithful, so why wouldn’t I want to faithfully surrender to His ways of preserving my life?

24 Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD.
Refuge is putting our hope and trust  in Jesus Christ as Lord.  He is the true source of Inner peace, love, and courage to heal the weaknesses caused by our broken world.  

Note: The New International Version (NIV) of the Bible is quoted in the verses above.  

by Ed Hersh, Blue Rock BnB Healing Ministry