Sheer Madness – Losing Our Common Sense Along the Way

Have you lost your mind! was the phrase we heard when I was young in response to someone’s expression of a socially unacceptable thought. That would not be a common response today to anyone who may be thinking quite differently than you. Why? Because our whole culture has turned upside-down and it does feel at times like people have lost their minds. Someone from 50 years ago stepping into our world would think it sheer madness at what is being promoted in society today. What has happened?

Are these terms familiar to you? Intersex, Androgyne, Gender expression, Gender identity, Gender non-conforming, Cross-sexual, Unisexual, Transgender, Bisexual.

Gender Confusion

Abigail Shrier, a well-known American journalist, brought to the forefront through her 2020 book called, Irreversible Damage, information about the large number of teenage girls who claim to have gender dysphoria and would like to “transition” to become boys. I can only imagine how difficult it must be for the parents of these girls. This, along with the larger sexual circle of confusion as it relates to gender today, makes me think that we have lost our minds.

It is sheer madness to think that one can change their gender. Someone can attempt to change their physical bodies to appear like the opposite sex, but that is far different from changing who God created them to be.

Her book may interest you to gain an understanding of how this unusual desire is being propagated in our culture, schools, and universities. Our culture has “canceled” those who oppose these progressive, shall I say perverted views, and if you speak out against these new phenomena, you will be ostracized for it. NOTE: You may feel it strong for me to say perverted, but if you do some research about this phenomenon you will see the awful ways in which God’s design for these individuals is thwarted. Young people are ruining their bodies, scarring themselves for life. It is not only the physical pain involved but the emotional pain they suffer from this poor choice as well.

Let’s think this through… 

We now have teenagers, and younger, being told they can decide what gender they’d like to be. If they “feel” like they have the wrong body, they now are affirmed in this and are encouraged to choose to change their sex. 

Much like the birthing of the abortion movement, 50 years ago, the same characters are present. A group of people pushing an agenda of my-body-my-right, onto a culture that has lost its moorings concerning common sense. When we see this manifestation of “choice” we see those who will not acknowledge God as our creator. Instead, they shake their fists in His face and tell him, “We will decide”.

Common Sense

Whatever happened to it? Our senses are so important to functioning well. Recently, I had Covid. I’m thankful that I did not lose my sense of taste and smell, but have friends who did and told me about it. When we are missing one of our senses we are off balance and could end up getting burned, or worse. When common sense is skewed by the influences around us, we can accept as normal something that is very aberrant and not realize it, if the crowd keeps heading that way. Many young people are being swept up in this gender confusion simply because they are taught that it is normal. 

Wisdom vs. Foolishness

 In Proverbs 1:7 we are told that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. In Romans chapter 1 we are told that when someone denies God as their creator their foolish heart becomes darkened. If a person persists in this darkened condition, indulging themselves in their foolishness, their mind will at some point become reprobate. If you stand back and think for a moment about what is happening, I believe many have reached this place already.

 The only way to recover a mind that is tracking down this slippery slope is to turn to God and allow him to renew the mind. His transformative power gives us the ability to change our minds from foolishness to wisdom. 

A Pandemic of Sinful Thinking

The Foolishness of previous generations has so multiplied that we truly are facing a pandemic of sinful thinking, especially as it pertains to sexuality. It’s not only the younger generation who have lost their way.

I could hardly believe what I was hearing on a popular YouTube channel as this “ministry” couple, about 40 years old, was talking about sex within marriage. (The “parent” ministry of this “child” ministry was someone I had respected for their teaching on marriage). After listening for some time, I realized that they were promoting hedonism under the guise of the marriage covenant. They seem to believe that as long as a Christian is married, there is no shame in the sexual games they play. Using the thought that the marriage bed is undefiled (Hebrews 13:4) and lifting it out of context, they seemed to interpret it to mean anything goes. It was disgraceful to listen to their discussion. With the influence of pornography upon our culture, minds within the “church” have also lost their senses. 

Marriage brings two together as one, body, soul, and spirit. The intimacy of sexual union brings a husband and wife face-to-face, looking into the soul of the other. The hormones God created within our bodies are used for bonding purposes in a sexual context. When the eye gate and powerful hormones are used wrongly they will become the curse that scripture warns about.

If you are a married couple engaging in sexual activity as animals would, try talking to one another and evaluate your physical intimacy in light of scripture. Shame must be named and dealt with before healing comes. Many couples have no idea what sexual habituation to pornography does to the brain. Please educate yourself and be careful not to follow the world’s practices.

So, what can we do to re-establish soundness in the area of sexuality? I believe going back to the original pattern would be wise. First, we need to recognize that God created who we are, our gender, and He desires for us to find our identity in Him. He has designed a man and woman to be fulfilled sexually within the covenant of marriage, without the influence of porn-induced minds. Common sense tells us how He designed us to come together sexually. The confusion in our culture today concerning sexuality will not end. But we must learn how to interact and help those in our culture of madness.

A related resource by Rick Thomas in helping us think through the basics of gender issues is: https://rickthomas.net/podcast/ep-323-should-you-call-a-boy-pretending-to-be-a-girl-a-girls-name/ 

Related article on biblical sexuality and the complicating factors https://rickthomas.net/biblical-sexuality-and-its-distortions-from-bad-to-good/

There are many educational resources on the power of immoral sex. Please see my resources page for more info. 

Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Romans 1:21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 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.28 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.

Hebrews 13:4 (Amplified Bible/Classic) Let marriage be held in honor (esteemed worthy, precious, of great price, and especially dear) in all things. And thus let the marriage bed be undefiled (kept undishonored); for God will judge and punish the unchaste [all guilty of sexual vice] and adulterous.

Photo Credit: Google Images

Recipe for Relief

While living in Romania, I would find joy in the morning by sitting on the porch reading God’s Word and watching Gabriel herd his sheep, and goats, down the lane. I would think about Jesus, our gentle Shepherd, and it would bring me peace. We can find ourselves at times in emotional and spiritual struggle and I hope this article brings relief to your mind during these times.

The Recipe

Read God’s Word often and ask the Holy Spirit to help you trust the Father and understand what He has written. Put on the armor of God and pray as the scriptures instructs us. Resist temptation and keep your heart clean.

Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. (Luke 24:45)

Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints… (Ephesians 6:18)

Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41)

Walk humbly before God and thank Him for opening your eyes to see Him. Our real enemy is Satan, the deceiver, those who oppose God are still blind. Pray that their eyes may be opened to Truth from God.

But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. (2Corinthians 4:3-4)

Trust your Heavenly Father, He is at work in ways much higher than we know. He is in control and has authority over this world and He will bring justice in His time. Acknowledge His will above your own and pray as Jesus taught us in Matthew 6:9-15.

Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” (Matthew 26:52-54).

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)

Fast (Isaiah 58) and pray, financially support, and speak on behalf of those who are truly oppressed. Extend yourself to those in legitimate need: children of poverty, refugees fleeing war, orphans, children in foster-care, widows without means of support (no family), preborn babies and their parents who are considering aborting them, and the families of those unjustly imprisoned for their faith.

Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. Isaiah 1:17.

Understand that God is allowing each heart to be revealed. God, our creator and sustainer, is warning us all (our entire world) to reflect and consider if we will submit to Him or not (individuals and governments). He is a loving Father and gave everything to extend mercy to us, but at some point, because He is also a just Creator, His righteous judgement will come. But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. (Romans 2:5)

Remember: For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” (I Peter 3:12)

 Photo Credit: flickr.com/Turatti

Fear Not! or should I?

sparrowFear is something we gain or lose, depending on our ability to trust God and His power to redeem our circumstances.

It was about twenty-one years ago a pastor-leader, who I have learned much from, took a group of men to Armenia to meet with some pastors and their wives from Iran. They met secretly in this neighboring country to avoid the dangers that this meeting would pose to the Iranian Christians. In this meeting, a man who had been arrested by the authorities in the late ’90s told his story of overcoming fear.

The young pastor was imprisoned and the Iranian guards were getting ready to execute him for continuing to share the gospel in his homeland, after being warned not to. Before execution, the custom is to shave the head of the “criminal”. This had occurred and he knew that soon he would be taken from his cell and put to death. While pondering this and thinking of his family he became very distraught, wondering why God would let this happen. Then the Holy Spirit reminded Him that he was being counted worthy to suffer for Christ’s sake and that he should rejoice instead. When the scripture in Matthew 5:10-12 came alive to him, he began to rejoice and sing and dance in his cell. The guards, surprised and troubled over his actions, called their supervisor. They ended up releasing him because they were so troubled over the fact that he was rejoicing that he would be put to death for Christ’s name and for His glory – they would not allow it!

To Fear or Not…

When Jesus gathered His twelve disciples, He gave them instructions, as recorded in Matthew 10. He told them not to be afraid because our Father cares for His own. Jesus uses the example of a sparrow falling to the ground, He told them of God’s awareness of this and that we should not fear because our value to Him is much more important than many sparrows.

Matthew 10:26 “But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you. For the time is coming when everything that is covered will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. 27 What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear! 28 “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.[j] 29 What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin[k]? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. 30 And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows. 32 “Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.”

Jesus indicates that His followers are precious to our Father. These disciples needed to understand that they belong to Him, they’ve been adopted and have become His children. This relationship is reciprocal, it involves fidelity on both sides; God the Father toward us and us, His disciples, to Him. Jesus reassured these believers that they who possessed this relationship need not fear.

Many live in fear but fear the wrong things.

What about you?

Are you able to see God as your Father who dearly loves you? If not, Find someone who you know honors God and humbly begin a discussion with them. Many are going about living as though there will never be a day of reckoning. Do you wait for something tragic to happen before you consider you’re relationship to God? Has this pandemic caused you to think more earnestly about your life, your mortality? It should, but don’t stop there.

Some people do not realize that there will be a day of judgment when we will ALL stand before God and give an account for our lives. Conversely, there are those who have once known the gospel and are now living in rebellion to God’s will; they will suffer much loss. They are the ones Peter warned about (2 Peter 2:20-22) who once knew God but turned away to fulfill their own lusts, living according to their own desires. “For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.” 2 Peter 2:20-22 (ESV)

Human pride and arrogance defy God’s rightful place in our lives. This attitude of indifference toward our Creator is dangerous and damning. Rather than reckoning with our lost condition as humans, some take the attitude that James describes in chapter 4:13-15: “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’– yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’”

An illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), depicts the 2019 Novel CoronavirusOur current pandemic…

Living through this unprecedented time of the COVID-19 coronavirus should cause us to pause and consider our lives. How are you doing with yourself? Are you at peace and content being alone or contained with your family? What are you truly living for? If everything ended today, would you carry regret when standing before God and having everything in your life made known? Or would you be ready and thankful for the years you were given? What is the substance of your life?

Perhaps you are stuck in a place you never thought you would be. When you look at your life you wonder, “How did this happen to me?” Your gradual slide into the muck began with some offense, a loss, a divorce, a sinful relationship, an addiction; these situations can leave us feeling displaced, removed from a sweet-spot we once enjoyed. Then along comes a confining situation that exposes us to ourselves: a quarantine of sorts. Remember the young pastor with his head shaved and the gallows prepared? Or think of Sampson, tied to the pillars of the temple, disgraced and being made fun of (Judges 16:28-30). Had God forgotten them? God has a way of bringing hope to any situation. His perspective causes us to see differently. He has the power to turn things around for His glory if we will allow Him to.

DSC06758I spent nine months in Romania going through my own pregnancy of sorts, the process of adopting our four children. At times it was very uncomfortable, I suffered physically, and it felt very restricting — I was contained in a foreign land. I thought the main purpose of this experience was adopting our four children, yet God used that time to create in me a new level of faith and understanding of His faithfulness.

I hope this containment time will cause you to reflect upon your situation, and where you are in life. Let us consider where we stand with God. Think about: What is most important in my life? Whom or from what do I draw comfort? Am I obeying His call upon my life or denying Him by living for my own desires.

He’s giving us time to reflect during the coronavirus and giving us the grace to receive His gift. Will you spot Him during this time and receive what He offers? If you do, humble yourself and initiate change by making things right with those you’ve wronged. This is the first evidence of a sincere turning away from self, to God. Your act of building a relationship (as much as depends upon you) with someone you’ve avoided will open the door for God to pour blessings into your life. Then you can confidently say, I will not fear because I belong to God.

Photo Credit: Pixabay, CDC

Painful Pasts

autumn-2857032__480If you have lived through a very painful past then you are able to understand how exhausting and emotionally dark it can be to recount these experiences… you feel the pain and turmoil all over again — as though you have purposely gone back for more. Who would want to do that to themselves? That is why many never come to healing because they fear the process – but you do not have to.

I recently had a taste of this experience upon my visit home to Wisconsin. After several days into my visit, I scheduled a day to go and visit several friends from the past. I had not previously taken the opportunity to tell some of the details of my recent journey and felt free to share more of my story during this visit. All went well with these friends and I enjoyed my time, but that night in my sleep a floodgate of pain poured into my soul. Upon waking, I felt like I had lost the victorious ground I’d gained – like I had traveled back to a very broken place in my climb; what happened? This experience caused me to think about why this occurred.

When we re-enter the large room of our painful past and relive it, that doesn’t mean wewoman-837156__340[1] are still there. It may feel that way momentarily, but what we do with these feelings will determine how we think. We can choose to restructure our minds and return to the place of peace God has given or continue ruminating upon the feelings that have resurfaced.

Many face fear when thinking of their past, and so leaving it alone is the solution they choose; yet God has a better way. In my view, if you are not holding tightly to God’s healing hand and being guided by the power His Word offers, it is a fearful and dangerous proposition to regurgitate the past. Hope and healing that proceed from your Creator’s heart is the safest arena from which to process the painful experiences you’ve lived through.

Truthfully acknowledging that we have suffered is honest and right to do. Bringing into the light all that is darkness (or sin) is needful (I John 1:7). Forgiving our offender is necessary (Matt 6:14-15) and is a process that we want to pursue; a good counselor/mentor can help with that. Allow God to set things straight (Romans 12:19). Healing from the wounds is God’s will and if you desire that, it can happen — that’s is God’s specialty.

I’m thankful our hearts and minds can be powerfully renewed and rebuilt through the Holy Spirit’s work in us. Sharing our testimony about what God has done for us is good. When Jesus Christ suffered and died for sin, He offered the possibility for us to gain freedom from our past. This includes sin we have committed as well as those committed against us. Jesus suffered the awful price and penalty for our sin on the cross 2000+ years ago, we are now left to respond to this great gift He offers. How we appropriate His sacrifice for sin will determine our freedom and healing, or not.

If you are struggling concerning the pain of your past, through poor decisions made and/or violations committed against you, I hope this helps you in your climb to freedom. God’s plan is to recover and deliver you from destruction. Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy us, but Jesus said He came to give us abundant life! (John 10:10).

There is hope for you! No matter what your journey has been, remember God can redeem it and give you great purpose in your future because of it.

This is part 1 of a 2 part message. We will look at the steps to recovery and deliverance from the pain in the next message.

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

Matthew 6:14-15 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Romans 12:19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Continue to Part 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aloneness

woman-sitting-1232880__340[2]For some of us, moving from a busy family life with daily activity and interaction to one of aloneness creates a feeling of sadness and fear at times. We ask ourselves, “Will these feelings of loneliness I struggle with ever go away? Could this possibly get worse?” These are thoughts that someone goes through when adjusting to the new normal of being alone. I go through seasons of struggle with these thoughts more often than I’d like to. All it takes is a glance at a family leaving church together… walking by a restaurant alone… seeing a golden retriever playing with someone at the dog park down the road. Instances like these remind me of how alone I am. We realize we were made for community and when that is lost we suffer.

I recall a person I knew some years ago stating that divorce is the worse thing that can ever happen to someone. The grief, separation, loss of family, thoughts of what could have… should have been, come to haunt the mind. I understand now what they were saying. I certainly could picture it, but living through it myself makes me realize that aloneness is a battle.

So how do we fight these feelings that can seem so overwhelming at times? It’s true we have comfort in knowing God is with us, but sometimes we need a friend to offer support and care.

I find that God speaks to me often in these lonely hours and reminds me that Heaven is my true home and until I get there, I must recognize that this will be a part of life for me now. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:14-18 ESV

person-1269057__480Remembering this battle is spiritual in nature, helps me understand that when I am struggling with aloneness I need to take action steps to connect with someone. Acting instead of reacting is needful. Rather than ruminating over what brought me to this place in life, I need to focus upon the goodness of God in the midst of my circumstance (Romans 8:28). Blaming another person for our position in life will only turn our hearts inward toward bitterness and more pain. Moments of loneliness are normal and they can be used by God to help us reflect upon His eternal greatness and what He has planned for those who love Him.

I find it helpful to consider Jesus’ life on earth for 33 years. He knew the glory of heaven and relationship with the Father. During His time as the son of man, He suffered in our place, taking our sin; He understood separation and loneliness, along with anguish that we will never experience. When we consider Jesus in this way, we can find Him to be a friend, a brother, who understands. Through this identification, we come to see Him in a new way, a comforting way that reminds us He is here.

Photo Credit: Pixabay