cross species

the idea of cross gender creates some hard issues for christians. as a follower of Jesus, i believe God created us male and female. He orchestrated marriage by saying a wife will leave her family and cling to her husband. but then, male and female alike were cursed for betraying God, their maker. they world is broken. the ground became hard to tend to, women had pain added to childbirth. we no longer live in teh perfect garden of Eden. We live in a world that has denied God or flat out blasphemed. so, the things God ordained for us are all fragile in this ungodly world.

CS Lewis wrote of an absolute moral law people live by but now, there is an agenda to cut out morals- even ones that seem inherit to men. murder is easily excusable. theft is forgiven. Gods name is used in vain everywhere. lies are acceptable and white lies actually encouraged, parents are often blamed for the child’s issues rather than being honored. there are no days that are set aside to rest and even holidays are being taken over by consumerism, women leave husbands and men leave wives whenever they crave something different, and money and status and things create a sense of worth. many many different types of gods are worshiped even among so called Christians.

How can we then legislate transgender or homosexuality or worship places or money or divorce laws or oaths? i just think, “in those days there was no KING in the land. everyone did what was right in his own eyes”

we are a cross species. made in the image of God yet trying to make an image for ourselves.

Here’s my view on the cross gender bathroom issue.

In a public restroom no one should be peeking through holes to see if the occupant is a biological male or female.  I would think that a person who feels the ladies room would be appropriate will probably not appear to be strongly male. If they ‘identify” as a female then i would think they are going to be in some state of appearing like lady like.

for grade school? thats tough. maybe if they have counseling? and are taught how not to show off their genitals? if they refer to themselves a certain way adn dress a certain way, and play a certain way, then wouldnt it be awkward for them to go into a different bathroom. I mean, for someone to just walk in one day and say, im gonna be a girl, or im gonna be a boy, then that makes no sense. as a different subject- i dont think parents of lower grades should be making changes like that too early, the kids  are still in flux of learning and growing and puberty. i dont know, hard issues.

locker rooms i could see could create some awkwardness. but really, if you are a guy who wants to be a girl yet still has biological male anatomy, then please go into a stall or curtained area to dress so i wont see nor my child . but if gender is part of a spectrum (as i have heard is being reported) should we just have all locker rooms be open to everyone and all?

anyway, yes there are people who are over the top, mean and intolerant of others with any differences that they dont understand. but by the same token, this cross gender stuff isnt considering those they claim to be intolerant.  they have legitimate concerns too. the cross gender or gender ambiguous people need to stop bullying them the way you claim we bully them.

Autism File 1

 

                    What is Autism?

Autism is a spectrum of

pervasive and complex disorders of

brain development.


Autism is different for each

individual.


Characteristics are severe deficits in

social interactions

and communication


a person with autism may

  • have trouble talking or listening

  • have difficulty making friends and interacting

  • find it hard to make eye contact or tolerate touches


they may have

repetitive behaviors or thoughts

sensory processing difficulties

intellectual and/or emotional delays


these issues commonly result in

anxiety and actions

that could be mistaken as “acting our” or misbehaving


there is a difference between

a tantrum and a meltdown!


With a tantrum the child seeks to control others

a meltdown occurs when a child cannot control their own

thoughts or feelings resulting in

outbursts” or “shut-down”.


A person with autism may

  • flap their arms or rock

  • move or yell at inappropriate times

  • cover their ears or hide in a tight spot

  •          or they may appear “normal”.


How can we help?

  • Be happy when they are happy

  • be patient and understanding when they are overwhelmed

  • support and encourage parents/ caregivers

  • be careful not to judge parenting, instead offer help

 

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Christmas is over

How did you just say that title in your mind? there are many different tones you can use. Christmas is OVER . some of you may say it like this- emphasizing “over” because you are so glad it is done. CHRISTMAS is over. when you emphasize like this i get the idea Christmas is just one event in a list of things we must endure. Christmas is over. straight, no emphasizing, there is a simple statement of fact.

My granddaddy always had a lilting tone on Christmas and over exaggerated the “over” by drawing it out. Christ-MAS is Ooverrrrr.

it describes the Christmas let down. Its all over. The preparations and presents. Now, trees are coming down. Lights being put away. No more santa pictures. and my kids are disappointed to realize there is no more 24/7 Christmas music on the radio anymore. Christ-MAS is Ooverrrrr. How sad feeling. The answer the kids would give granddaddy was “but i still have my toys!” and that s the point! not the toys, but the gift. We still have the gift.

This is the gift God promised Abraham would save all the nations. The gift of the God of Isaac and Jacob. A gift from the line of Judah, the gift on the throne of King David. The gift the prophets and priests spoke of. The Messiah, the Christ, the ANointed one, the Suffering Servant who came to save the sins of the world. And His name is called Emmanuel.

Christmas is over. but we still have Jesus, God with us.

Advent Christmas Eve’s Eve

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My daddy does this thing that I have adopted.  “happy day before the day before the day before you’re birthday”. This can begin at any point before the day itself. It brings about a since of anticipation and excitement that the event is special enough to be celebrated so much.  Holidays are special days like that as well. ” Happy day before the day before thanksgiving. “

Before Christmas is extra precious.

The whole Christmas season is about the anticipation. There is a huge countdown calendar at the front of Walmart. Today it read, “Days til Christmas: 01”

As soon as Thanksgiving is over, sometimes even as soon as Halloween is passed, the stores prepare for Christmas. Presents are advertised everywhere. Houses begin to light up with Christmas decorations and often lit trees can be seen through living room windows. Holiday parties take place with office workers or sun school classes or friends and family.  Season specials come on TV. Rudolf and Charlie Brown for instance. Salvation Army bells ring. Opryland hotel is decorated and lit inside out. The toys aisles grow crowded. Radios play more and more Christmas songs. Churches order and display poinsettias. Christmas musicals are performed. The nativity is presented in many ways- a play, in postcards, living nativities, outdoor displays, small ones on the mantle.

This is all before Christmas. The eve of Christmas Eve. 

Tonight is the real deal though. Christmas Eve is here.  Children are trying to sleep,anxious about the things that lie ahead. Full of excitement about what Santa will bring them. Yet I want to remember the nativity and the gospel that this night brings. I look at the mantle and see where my son has carefully placed all the wise men, shepherds, and animals huddled around looking at the baby Jesus. I think of a statue of Santa my mom has kneeling before the manger.  I want to remember when we give gifts in the morning that these gifts are all from the Father, and that Jesus as our Lord is the greatest gift of all. Amazing, on His birthday, He gave us this gift. When I look in the manger I see a man destined for the cross and when I see the cross that is supposed to stand for death, I see life. Zoe life. 

“Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.”

 

 

Advent part 7 Joy

Light the prophets candle and the Bethlehem candle. Light the pink joy candle.

It seems as if the joy of Christmas time builds in anticipation until it finally climaxes on Dec 25. By that night, santa has already come, presents are all unwrapped, and dinner has been consumed. There is a let down experience as the season suddenly ends and stores, businesses, life returns to normal.

in reality though, the scene of the manger isn’t the end of the season of joy. it is the beginning! Jesus grew from a baby into a man and left a footprint of God. He was born that men no more may die. He is the complete and only way to God the father, to new life, zoe life, eternal life.

so instead of a let down, know that past the presents and the stockings and the tree, the better present begins after the manger. real life begins!

“hark the herald angels sing, glory to the new born King”

 

Jesse tree

ten commandments– stone tablets- as the Israelites wandered in the desert aimlessly God was still in charge with justice and compassion. nothing shows God’s justice like the Law He gave. He took their leader up on a mountain to give the Israelites the 10 commandments. Rules are given to ensure good for all. God desperately wants us to experience the good things He has for us and He knows the things that can blacken our hearts and rob us of those joyous things. * ask your kids about what rules they have at school, at home, with the law. what do the rules God gave us show us His love?

the ladies:

  • Tamar– She posed as a prostitute to get Judah to sleep with her in order to give her a child in the name of her dead husband (Judah’s son). Tamar and Judah were ancestors of Jesus.

  • Rahab was a prostitute who lived in Jerico. She knew of God’s people, the Israelites. She knew of their God, the one who parted the waters and helped the slaves flee Egypt. when she found out that God was set on having her town destroyed, she believed it was true. She hid spies who had come in to the city and asked them to save her and her family. By hanging a red cord/ scarf out the window the spies found her and kept their promise. Rahab and her family were saved by her belief. And God chose this beautiful, flawed woman to be an ancestor of our Lord Jesus. ( an ornament depicting a red cord or a wall of Jericoh could serve as the symbol for Rahab.

  • Ruth was a pagan who was grafted into the lineage of Jesus by her faith in her husband’s God. She was the great grandmother of King David. (symbol of stalks of grain)

  • King David (use a shepherds staff) was the youngest and weakest in the house of Jesse. There was a promise from God that salvation would come through Jesse then David.

    Isaiah 11:1 Then a shoot will grow from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit.

    Isaiah 4:2 In that day the Branch of the LORD will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth will be the pride and the adornment of the survivors of Israel.

    David was considered a man after Gods own heart but in his human nature took a woman named Bathsheba for himself and had her husband killed in battle. She was an adulterous woman who after David’s repentance gave birth to the next King in the lineage of Jesus. (a crown can symbolize the birth of a new king)

  • The final woman of questionable repute was Mary. She was a young teeange girl, a virgin, who had to live with the shame of a pregnancy before marriage, appearing to the world to be out of sin. But, God used this innocent young girl to carry the Savior of the world.

Advent part 6, Bethlehem Candle

here’s a song as we light the prophet’s candle and then the Bethlehem candle

O Little Town of Bethlehem
O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.
(prophets words are fufilled) 

O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
  O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!

 (prepare your hearts because the Messiah is born in Bethlehem)

“Abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!”  The God of all creation stepped aside from the glories of heaven and came to live among us. Emmanuel means God with us.

we tend to think of church as the building. when we picture the temple we think of the one Solomon built. when i envision a tabernacle i see a tent that encompassed the ark of the covenant in the desert among the Israelites. But that’s not it. the word “tabernacle” in Hebrew means residence or dwelling place. Literally the tabernacle, temple, church, is where God dwells.  He walked among Adam and Eve. He visited Abraham. He led the Israelites with His presence.  He spoke to the kings through prophets. And, He came to earth as a man. He dwelt among us. John told us in his gospel that “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. “Where is the church? the temple? the tabernacle? for this season of the year, think of a dirty feeding trough for the animals. that’s where our Temple is. Lying in a manger.  Come Lord Jesus, and abide in me, my Lord, Emmanuel.  

Its time to prepare our hearts and celebrate Jesus’ birthday. The best birthday present to Him is your heart. Ask Him to be born in you today. 

Jesse Tree

I have a bible in chronological order. The traditional bibles break up the old testament into History, Law, Songs and Poetry, Major prophets, Minor prophets. When I read through chronologically  I was able to see how those things mingled. I followed the trek of the Israelites through Judges and kings. I found out how prophets spoke with the kings, and how the kings sang songs of rejoicing or ballads of despair. I witnessed the rise of a kingdom, the sin that split it in half, and then i wept as Jerusalem fell to her enemies.  When I read the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew I noticed the names were people I knew. I had met them through their words. I guess that’s the appeal of the Jesse tree to me. It follows along with the lineage of Jesus and the history of God’s people.( I better get with it though, im way behind here.)

Joseph has the coat of many colors– Jacob had 12 sons. Joseph was the son born to his favorite wife Rachel. Joseph was the favorite of his brothers, and he knew it. his was given a coat of many colors signifying the favoritism. His brothers burned with jealousy and sold him into slavery. After many years, God had elevated Joseph to a place where he was able to save his father and brothers during a severe famine. Jesus likewise was sold out by one of His disciples, and yet in the end He is the One who can save the world from sin. Joseph helped save his family, but Judah was the brother God chose for Jesus lineage to go through. Jesus is the lion of Judah. (more about that later)

Passover- Lamb– Exodus 7-12 describe the Israelites being saved or freed from their slave owners. God sent plagues to show Himself to be the one true God. The final plague was tragic. Every first born son in Egypt died under the wrath of God.  But, God saved His people. He was very diligent in preparing the Israelites to cover their doorposts with the blood of a sacrificed lamb. Exodus 12 says “ I will pass through Egypt and kill the first-born son in every family and the first-born male of all animals. I am the Lord, and I will punish the gods of Egypt.  The blood on the houses will show me where you live, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you.”

How amazing is it when we realize that Jesus is our passover Lamb John the baptist “saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”  When God sees Jesus standing before you He sees you as righteous. His wrath passes over you because Jesus has already taken it.

*talk to your kids about all the first born sons you know of. who would fall under that plague’s judgement? now discuss what it means to have the blood of the Lamb over the doors of our hearts.  to me this is a time for anointing. use oil (christian stores have labeled anointing oils, or there are aroma therapy oils, or you can use baby oil- i have found that the importance has nothing to do with the kind of oil but the symbol of anointing you use it as)

pray for your child that they will be covered with the Lamb of Christ and therefore be presented as holy and righteous before GOd. use the oil to made a small mark on their forehead, maybe in a line or in the shape of a cross. explain that this is a physical symbol of Jesus’s blood saving us. speak the following verse to them :

 “Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.” 

Advent part 5

light the prophets candle again. now also light another- the Bethlehem candle!

the prophecies spoke of hope, the promised salvation of the world. As we light the Bethlehem candle lets think of the preparing our hearts for the coming Messiah.

Bethlehem is literally named “the house of bread”.  We know from John 6 that Jesus is the bread of life and anyone who trusts in him will never be hungry again.

Away from Bethlehem: the book of Ruth begins with

    in the days when the judges ruled in Israel, a severe famine came upon the land. So a man from  Bethlehem in Judah left his home and went to live in the country of Moab, taking his wife and two sons with him.

Think of that. A  famine in the “house of bread”. this famine led Elimelech and family  away from the town of Bethlehem. Elimelech and his sons died and the widows were left by themselves.  Ruth, moabite daughter in law, pledged herself to her mother in law, and her God, the God of Israel. “Your people will be my people, and your God, my God, ” she said.

The widows were eventually taken care of by a family (or kinsman) redeemer Boaz.  Boaz and Ruth were the parents of Obed, who was the father of Jesse. and Jesse was the father of David. David was the runt of the family. Like Cinderella, he wasnt even offered as a choice when the priest Samuel came looking for a king for Israel. But God wasn’t satisfied.

                       the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the                          Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”- 1 Sam 16

 When Samuel was eventually presented with David he saw the youngest son, a scrawny, dirty shepherd, who was later know as King David, the man after God’s own heart.    

To Bethlehem: we read in the gospels that  years later, a census divinely timed drew Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, the house of Bread, the city of David… the city where micah had prophesied

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
    are only a small village among all the people of Judah.
Yet a ruler of Israel,
    whose origins are in the distant past,
    will come from you on my behalf.

Celebrating Bethlehem: during this advent season the journey to Bethlehem calls us to prepare our hearts and minds for the coming of Jesus. Isaiah many, many, years before told about the forerunner before the coming of the Messiah. The disciple John wrote of John the Baptist as this forerunner.

1:23 John replied in the words of the prophet Isaiah:     “I am a voice shouting in the wilderness,    ‘Clear the way for the Lord’s coming!’”        Then the Pharisees who had been sent  asked him, “If you aren’t the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet, what right do you have to baptize?   John told them, “I baptize with water, but right here in the crowd is someone you do not recognize. 27 Though his ministry follows mine, I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandal.”

How can we prepare our hearts? John the baptist called people to be baptized with water as repentance of their sin. They had not yet received the baptism Jesus offered. During this season of the year we can prepare our hearts by repentance and obedience.  Some verses to consider…

  • repent of our sins : Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord- Acts 3

  • love the Lord with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and with all your strength- most important commandment- Deuteronomy and John 14

  • love your neighbor as yourself- John 14

  •  obey“What is more pleasing to the Lordyour burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams. 1 Sam 15

  • control your thoughtsWhatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praise worthy, think about such things. Phil 4

Jesse Tree