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Spare Change - April 2022

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What is a woman?

It seems like such an easy question to answer but recently this very question stunned Supreme Court nominee, Ketanji Brown Jackson.  She responded that she did not know how to answer the question and alluded to the fact that she was not a biologist.  Before everyone rushes to condemn or defend her we need to understand our culture has made it impossible for anyone that wants to be deemed culturally appropriate to define simple words like "man" or "woman".

It should be a simple question with a simple answer.  We all know that a woman is a female human being.  Biology tells us that almost every species on the planet has a male and female component.  Both flora and fauna operate on this basic level for the sake of reproduction.  We can answer the question, "What is a woman?" by looking at the physical traits of a human woman but also we can look at their DNA and know that they are defined by their XX chromosomes.

I have come to understand this is not an issue of biology, rather it is one of perception.  The reason this is a problem in our culture is because many want to say that transgenderism is right and good.  They would say that a man or woman is not defined by their DNA or even their physical traits; that reproductive organs do not matter. The only thing that matters is what they want to be true.  Now we come to the rub…the real issue is about truth.

If truth is whatever I want it to be then, sure, I can self identify as a purple dinosaur and everyone has to agree with me and treat me as such; however, truth is not whatever I want it to be. Christians should know that God is the definer of truth in all areas of life including our gender identity.  In Genesis 1:27 God defines a man and a woman. He states very clearly they are different genders and thus not interchangeable.

Since God’s Word is the arbiter of truth we must stand on it no matter what culture says.  This will put us at odds with many people.  To say that we know a person is born a certain gender and should remain that gender and even identify as that gender is very controversial.  We must prepare ourselves for this.  

That doesn’t mean we have to be mean or nasty about it.  Jesus never had an attitude of hate or bigotry toward anyone.  We should be as loving and gentle as we can be without backing down from the truth.  If people want to ignore us or call us names we must take it.  On the flip side, if there are people that want our help we should help them; first by sharing the gospel with them but also by being there to help them through their gender identity struggles.  It is not easy being caught up in that cultural machine, as you can see with what happened at the Supreme Court nominee hearing.

Christians should always seek to have a Christ-like attitude in whatever situation they face.  When confronted with the situation of gender identity we must stand on truth and say that God has already defined gender.  We do not question it and it cannot change.  We must never back down from that truth found in God’s Word.  We also need to have tender hearts, understanding that there are many people trapped in a terrible lie propagated by Satan himself.  We must commit ourselves to pray for them and offer to help anyway we can.

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32

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Spare Change - March 2022

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How many of you had buyer's remorse after you got married?  Be honest.  When you go from engaged to married you find out who your partner really is.  Maybe he clips his toenails in bed or she leaves hair all over the bathroom.  Sometimes it's little things and sometimes it's big things.  One person in the relationship may struggle with depression or maybe it is a sinful attitude or action.  Whatever the problem, big or little, we have all had that moment where we want to take our spouse back to the store like we would a faulty toaster.

How should we cope with the fact that our partner is a seemingly different person as our marital relationship persists?  First off, as Christians, we must remind ourselves of the covenantal nature of marriage.  When we said our vows before God and all our friends and family, we became bound to our spouse.  That commitment must be cherished and upheld no matter what.  If you are bound to your spouse you must keep them and, of course, murder is frowned upon so we must find a way to move forward.

One of the things that a Christian must realize is that God uses marriage to sanctify us.  Through our relationship with our spouse our faith is challenged.  If God has brought this person into our lives and has brought us into a covenant relationship with them, then we must trust His plan.  We must realize that the other person is there to encourage and help us, but they are also there to challenge us.  I would encourage all married couples to view their marriage in this light.  To do that you must focus on your personal relationship with Jesus.  Only then will you have a better perspective on these challenges. Make sure your relationship with the Lord is preeminent, even before your relationship with your spouse.  

Another important thing to realize is people are not static.  In other words, people change and can’t be expected to stay the same.  As we age, experience life, and raise kids we change.  We need to embrace the changes of our spouse.  We must constantly be learning what their hopes and dreams are, but also what frustrates them and where they need encouragement.   Don’t get down about their changes, rather embrace them.

There will also be things that will never change.  Things that frustrate and annoy you.  You might lament the fact that your spouse won’t change in a certain area of their life.  We need to stop trying to change our spouse.  You have probably already figured out that it doesn’t work.  If you do manage to change them then they are probably doing it begrudgingly.  Most people will resent being forced to change.  In reality, our spouse might not need to change, rather our expectations of them need to change. Many times, people expect their spouse to live up to an impossible standard of perfection.  Are they not allowed to be imperfect, are they not allowed to make a mistake?  People rarely hold themselves to that standard of perfection.  Why then hold your spouse to that standard?

Instead of trying to change your spouse there are two things you can do.  First, we need to pray for our spouse.  You need to spend time everyday praying for your spouse. If they really do need to change then only the Lord can help them realize it.  He needs to be the one to help them change.  Once they have realized they need to change then you can be an encouragement in that, but it is going to be tough for them to change unless they really want to.

The second thing we need to do is find ways to serve our spouse.  Have you ever heard the phrase “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar”?  This applies to marriage.  Instead of getting onto your spouse or nagging them, try serving them.  Find ways to show them you love them by helping them.  Do more with the kids, do chores around the house, bring them a gift, take them out on a special date, check off that project or honey do list.  There are thousands of ways you can serve your spouse and make them feel special.  Rather than be frustrated all the time, try being positive, encouraging, loving, and service oriented.  Trust me, you will see a better attitude in your spouse, and you will have a more enjoyable marriage.

Isn’t that what we all want – an enjoyable marriage?  As Pastor Alan said in a recent sermon, marriage is meant to be enjoyed not endured.  If you are simply enduring marriage, then take it to the Lord in prayer. He will help you discover what it means to enjoy your spouse and have a long fulfilling marriage. 

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  1 Corinthians 13:4-7

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