Firehouse Chronicle #3
Firehouse Chronicle #3
“Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you” (Psalm 37:5 NLT)
“Commit your works to the Lord [submit and trust them to Him], And your plans will succeed [if you respond to His will and guidance]” (Proverbs 16:3 AMP).
One morning I lay in bed weeping, telling the Lord all about the things I did not understand, and asking why after obeying Him in writing, “The Elephant Gospel,” and doing what I thought He wanted, my life looked so grim. Why did I feel like a failure? I begged God to give me something more to do that really mattered for His Kingdom. I felt sidelined, not amounting to much of anything and wondering if God thought of me the same way others had treated me. I poured out my heart in grief and sobbing.
From this experience and the following answer,I believe we can pour out our hearts to God with honesty, authenticity, sorrow, and even travail and it not wasted time; rather it can bear fruit. It did for me. The Lord has built my confidence in Him showing me that He is near to the broken-hearted (Psalm 34:18). He often hears and answers my questions and prayers in ways that are unique, delightful, and exceptional to experience. The beauty of relationship with the Lord, and the growth He provides, can be more apparent and manifest at different times in our lives. This third Firehouse Chronicle is one of those great times. This encounter also built my faith and increased my desire to know God and His Truth in a deeper way. It gives me such peace to know that I can bring complex and challenging issues to Him and then allow Him to point me to resources, information and answers.
I want to walk with Him into the future He has for me. I hope this encounter will challenge and inspire you—give or increase a longing in You to experience God and His messages so that you can better navigate the questions and issues of our lives. God is so personal and loves us so very much—more than we often think. He has a purpose for everything. God knows our longings.
“O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you” (Psalm 38:9 ESV).
Within a week of that weeping, crying out to God episode, the leader of a local ministry, (I had been attending their free prayer counseling sessions), called me and said that while he was praying, the Lord put it on his heart to call me and invite me to an event. He asked me to attend the first ever Mass Resistance Conference in Texas, also called Teens4Truth. He shared the details and invited me to have what would become my first book booth and official introduction as an author. I was to be interviewed and be a part of a team representing this local ministry. I was very excited and began reflecting on what God would have me say.
At about this same time, I was invited to go to Tennessee for a “LifeWay Leaders Conference”. This conference was taking place the weekend before the Texas conference. It was the first time I would travel two weekends in a row for ministry events. It seemed God had answered my deepest desire and had activated me. I was excited to not only attend the Leaders Conference but also the “Mass Resistance Conference” in Texas.
On one of the days during the Leaders Conference, I was on my own at lunch. I ventured out to find a place to eat. I came across a Firehouse restaurant. I prayed, OK Lord, this would be a 3 for 3 if you brought me an encounter here. I looked around the restaurant and many fellow conference attendees were eating together. None were alone. I approached an empty table and sat down. I started eating and reached for the newspaper that had been left on the table where I sat. It was the Section B of USA TODAY 11/09/2017. At the bottom of the page my eyes landed on an article that was titled, “German Records Must Allow Third Gender Option.” The word gender caught my eye and I wondered what it was about. The subtitle was: “Country Leads Europe in Recognizing Intersex.” I wondered about this term: “intersex.” So I began to read the article by Austin Davis, a Special for USA Today article.
“BERLIN - Your newborn could be registered as a boy, a girl or a different gender entirely if you live in Germany after the country’s high court ruling Wednesday that lawmakers must recognize a ‘third gender’ from birth.”
As I read this short article, I began to realize that perhaps this newspaper was my third Firehouse encounter. This time, though, the encounter was with myself and it involved critical questions of our day. After reading the article, I had so many questions and thoughts soaring through my head. From the title of the article, my impression was that any baby in Germany could be registered third gender. Was this true? “Could any baby be registered third gender?” That did not make sense to me. What was intersex? How precisely is it defined? What is the underlying cause and basis for an intersex child? Is intersex rare in the United States? What is the comparison to cases in Germany? What is God doing in and through my life as a result of this article?
On that day at Firehouse, I asked the Lord to teach me and show me what He wanted me to learn from this article. My career of many years was as an Obstetrics nurse, both full time, then part-time. I had never seen an intersex baby. Also, there was NEVER any question of the sex of a newborn. The sex of a baby was always very clear and obvious at delivery.
The article and the questions it caused brought my mind back many years, remembering the fact that as a child I thought at times I wanted to be a boy. I felt being a girl was inferior to being a boy. I felt my dad favored my brother over me and my two sisters. There were many factors in my young life that caused me to think being a boy would be a better, superior, safer, and more opportune life. I especially wanted to be stronger and better able to protect myself. Being a girl seemed weaker and less esteemed/respected/celebrated. I wanted to feel more valued and loved. If I had been born today and was given a choice, even as a minor, to change my sex, I may have chosen male at that young age. What would that have meant? I realize now that that choice would have been based on temporary feelings and perceptions I had as an 8 or 9 year old. Just thinking about it (the ramifications of such a misguided yet possible choice that I was too young and immature to make) made me queasy. I would have missed the delight of accepting and living out my true femininity and the joys of marriage and children and now grandchildren!
I felt so overwhelmed and saddened by the whole issue. I felt God’s leading to understand this area more thoroughly. I sensed the importance of learning the world’s views on these topics, but even more importantly what God’s Word says regarding these issues. If even something as basic as the determination of the sex of a child can be distorted by the enemy, I believe we need to be prepared to confront the flood of confusion, chaos and immorality Satan seeks to usher in.
The memory of the first and only time I had ever heard of a child diagnosed as being “hermaphrodite” (it is my understanding this would be included within the term intersex today) was when I was in nursing school at the University of Florida, participating in a preceptor-ship with a Head Start Preschool Program. This child’s care plan was addressed at a student nursing gathering that I attended. I had never heard of this diagnosis or known it was a possibility until being involved in discussing this child’s care plan. The school system, the family and the nurses worked hard to understand how to best help the family and child in this difficult situation.
Then I thought of the memory of a recent phone conversation with a friend: she was concerned for her relative and was asking for prayer for her. The relative was a Christian kindergarten teacher in a public school. She had just been called by the principal of the school during the summer break and told, “There is a family that has a child who will be in your class this school year. The child is a female now but she will be having a sex change soon after school starts. So when school starts you are to call the child the boy’s name they have chosen and are to address the child as a boy as soon as school starts.” There was no other information about the child given to the teacher by the principal. The teacher needed prayer about how to handle this situation. She questioned if this was best for the child, especially at the child’s young age. She wondered how it would affect other children in her class and how it interfaced with her own belief system.
Life is not simple in these matters. Issues like these cause us to pause and reflect. Is this the wave of the future? Did the little girl want this because of intersex birth or for other varied reasons such as a gender versus sex consideration? Why did both her parents so readily support her decision at such a young age? Would Christians treat this family with grace or judgment? Should they or would they ask the hard questions and resolve to help no matter the answers?
The world’s morality changes with the culture. What is commonly acceptable today was unheard of, and even if heard of, radically disapproved of, in my childhood. Christ followers face the dilemma of living according to biblical principles and ethics, yet treating those living by the morality of our culture with grace, mercy, truth and kindness.
I was doing a lot of preparing and soul searching during the week preceding the Mass Resistance, Teens4Truth Conference. I thought about that newspaper article and how it had rocked my world. So many questions without clear answers; difficult dilemmas and horizons up ahead. But God is at work and has a plan and He revealed many detailed answers to my questions within a week.
I believe that my call in life is related to abortion, sexual abuse, sexual confusion, LGBTQs, and gender issues—and perhaps in ministry to youth in these areas. The Lord had obviously highlighted the three Firehouse Chronicles in my life and their relation to these issues. I wondered if even the name of the restaurant was significant and symbolic?
I arrived at the Mass Resistance, Teen4Truth Conference and the booth next to the one I was assigned, belonged to Ellie Klipp. She wrote the children’s book titled: I Don’t Have To Choose. She and her husband and I conversed, and we exchanged books. Ellie and I connected in conversation and prayer and shared heart-to-heart. I was moved by her testimony. Nevertheless, I almost missed the answers I would be given through her, because of the reaction I had to a situation with protestors the next morning.
I arrived early that next morning and saw a mixed group of young men and women in front of the conference center. Most of those who picketed with signs appeared to be college and high school age. I stopped and talked to some of them. One picketer told me that most of those picketing were students from a nearby seminary that supports and allows homosexuals to be a part of the student body. As I was talking kindly and respectfully to one student, two men came up and began interacting with the protestors. The talk by the two men with the protestors got heated and sounded unloving and bashing. I asked them to please stop arguing. The men completely ignored me like I never spoke. Then I yelled, “Please stop! Without love we are nothing.”
I felt so angry at the men for the way they seemed to address this group. As a result of their hostility and confrontational attitude, I felt more inclined to side with the protestors than the two men. These men appeared to be associated with the Mass Resistance conference, but at that point, I was not certain. However, I did know that if this was the resistance they wanted and supported, I wanted nothing to do with it. Because of the uncertainty of it all, I felt confused and questioned my continued attendance at the Mass Resistance conference. Yes, we are to stand up for righteousness but if we are not first living gospel love and acceptance (of people regardless if we disagree with their lifestyles), will our voices be heard, let alone will our voices matter? I believe the answer is no. Grace, truth and love are needed. Attacking beliefs by way of accusations and even biblical warnings, may not be the way to go about showing a group of protestors the real Jesus and His resistance to sin, especially when those protestors do not believe that their sexuality is a sin!
… but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,
(1 Peter 3:15 ESV)
I decided to press on in faith that God had brought me there and so I went to the conference hoping for more clarity and further insight on how to navigate these mind-fields (mine-fields) and differences. That afternoon Ellie gave an exceptional, professional, scientific presentation on many subjects related to sexuality, gender, and the like. Her talk included specific information on what intersex is, the known causes and the related gender issues. She also shared statistics on health consequences and suicidal rates after transgender surgery and many related teachings. She was truly a blessing to me. If you want to hear what Ellie presented, here is the link: https://www.massresistance.org/docs/gen3/17d/MR-TX-Teens4Truth-Conf-101817/presentations.html (Gender versus Gender Identity, Ellie Klipp)
I marveled at God’s timing and answers to my questions. It was like God was teaching me and lining up these important insights. The information, teachings, and testimonies in the conference were fascinating. Such new and totally mind-blowing facts about what is and has been happening in America and the world. I did not know these issues existed at all, and I think most Americans have no idea about some of what we were taught either.
There is absolutely no question that we, in the world, should support, love and assist those children born as intersex. The intersex child has as much value, purpose and meaning as any other child. However, the existence of intersex children (estimated at between 0.5 and 1.7% of German newborns) does not change the Christian belief that God made us male and female. We do not want to add to the complexity and often pain of their situation by seeing others use them to validate and support lifestyles and world-views that are distinct from being intersex. An intersex child may need surgeries/hormones to help with establishing the child as male or female. This is not the same as a fully formed male or female wanting to change their sex and seeking medical help and procedures to effect this change. Intersex people are not typically the ones seeking transgender surgery as adults.
Will this decision to use the term “third gender” by the German government, usher in more transgender ideology that could confuse a child’s identity, rather than help establish it? I wondered if people would now say, “See God did not make us male and female: intersex proves this.” Have intersex birth rates increased over the decades? How is this being used to fuel the enemy’s agenda? Intersex is being called a third gender instead of being recognized as a unique and special physical condition as a result of malfunctions in the normal genetic growth process. (Intersex has been explained as a genetically based variance. In this sense it is not a third gender. It is a birth condition often requiring medical care.)
Will Christians go by what the Word of God says, namely that God made us male and female? He did not make a third gender, so will this terminology in the birth registration make it look like He did? Will Christians go by what is promoted in the culture by a minority worldview which strives to make specific fact patterns fit their beliefs? Satan’s challenge has always been “Did God really say?” When we veer from what God really did say we are in enemy territory. God said he made us male and female.
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27 ESV)
In the process of writing this book, we did more research on these issues. It has become clear that the matter of intersex is incredibly complex and filled with a lot of emotion. We completely understand and agree with the desire of the German government to provide the parents of an intersex child with a way to complete a birth certificate in the most sensitive and accurate way. Providing a third option on a birth certificate would seem to be a good solution.
However, we believe that the problem could lie in the title that they are using for the registration since there is not a third sex or gender. This is an intersex birth not a third gender. The title of “third gender” opens the door to misinterpretations and untruths. In other words, the title of “third gender” being used for this registration is a potentially “bad” or confusing one. Using the two words “Third Gender,” will be used to further the LGBTQ goals of recognizing non-binary sexual categories and promoting transgender procedures.
Even though the title of the article led us to believe all babies could be registered third gender, we determined by research that only intersex births in Germany are given this third option. Our concern is whether nations which adopt this registration terminology of “third gender” would ultimately extend the third option to all births and not just intersex births. Would it become commonplace that any parent could register any baby under the new registration so their children could choose their gender at any time in life? Could this be a goal that will be pursued by the LGBTQ community? Would they try to take advantage of this new birth registration, titled “third gender” that is in place in Germany for intersex population (0.5-1.7%) and extend this option to all births? These are crucial questions of our day and the next generations!
It became more apparent than ever, how critical it is that we be prepared to defend our faith and discern the lies of the enemy. The conference content was such that this verse seemed a reality: “Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!” (Revelation 12:12 ESV) The incredible need for God to rescue humanity from the course we are on was evident to me through all I learned at this conference. This verse came to my attention: “Rescue the perishing; don't hesitate to step in and help” (Proverbs 24:11 MSG).
Are we truly in the days of Noah? Just as in the days of Noah we need an Ark. That Ark today is Jesus Christ and the Cross. Jesus is the door and the Way to Truth and Life.
Our only hope is Jesus and His gospel being lived out and shared in the world.
Three examples of this type of life, a Christ-filled heart and life, desiring to step in and help rescue the perishing, are as follows:
1. The movie, Audacity, illustrates the above verses and highlights how one man made a difference by living true to the Gospel in these type “mine fields” and “mind fields”. This movie is free on the web: audacitymovie.com or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbPu2rtmDbY. It is a movie that provides an excellent gospel living model. Although many do not love as this man loved in the movie, it is given to show us our need to repent of hate and prejudice and begin to love like Christ loved us.
2. An illustration of the fullness of living true to the Gospel came known to me through a devotional (Day 93 One Year Bible 2019 by Nicky Gumble on You Version). Pope John Paul II experienced an attempted assassination by perpetrator Ali Agca. The Pope prayed for, publicly forgave, visited, became friends with Ali Agca and his family, and eventually asked for his pardoning in June of 2000. The Pope had almost died as a result of the shooting, and his health was never the same. At the Pope’s death Agca and his family grieved because the Pope had been a great friend to them.
This is God’s love and mercy! Jesus did even more for us than this! And when we have had a personal experience of Jesus and His Cross, we grow in Christ’s ways and love, and His gospel fullness begins to manifest in our lives.
3. Another true story of living the way of the Cross is told in the book, Shadow of the Almighty. Jim Elliot, Nate Saint and three others formed a missionary team to the Acua Indians in Ecuador. All five were massacred by these Indians. Elisabeth Elliot and Rachel Saint (family of the martyred missionaries) went in and lived among the very Indians that killed their husband/family member! Revival broke out and transformations among the tribes were astounding. The Gospel was lived out in real time and its impact spread to affect the world. The LORD brought forth harvest in this martyrdom. This well known and true story has been recounted in multiple writings and media presentations including a 2002 documentary called “Beyond the Gates of Splendor” and a 2005 film called “End of The Spear” spearheaded by Steve Saint, the son of Nate Saint, the martyred pilot.
Loving and forgiving those who hurt us and others is Christ-like and brings healing. However, the Holy Spirit needs to teach us when to lay down our lives for our enemies and when to stand up to them. We see in Christ’s life that He did both. He knew how to defend Truth, to testify to the Truth and when and how to have victory by willingly laying down his life. But, loving our enemies does not mean we are to turn a blind eye to their crimes and allow them to continue in their sinful lives.
Do not say, “I will do to him as he has done to me; I will pay the man back for what he has done.” The nature of the flesh to pay back evil for evil must be squelched. The wisdom and patience God gives will provide believers what is needed for this time and the future when we are in tune with His Spirit and obey His leadings. In the act of trusting God and forgiving self and others we can experience the greatness of Christ and His leading and forgiveness (Proverbs 24:29: ESV).
“It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone. It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This signet from God is the first installment on what’s coming, a reminder that we’ll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life” (Ephesians 1:11-14 MSG).
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 1 John 3:16 (ESV)
The world needs the truth: “while we were still sinners Christ died for us” to be lived out in our lives to others. There may be times we are to be willing to die for the sinner to show the love of Christ. This is gospel love, gospel lifestyles. To live is Christ, to die is gain (Philippians 1:21).
Lord, we pray for laborers for the harvest and for You to open the eyes and minds of many to see the truth of the gospel and be rescued from deception and destruction of sin. Please raise up writers and speakers, especially for the youth, to share Biblical truths in humility and with loving attitudes through the Holy Spirit’s leadership. Please help Christian families and schools be true to Your Word and Gospel. Please help your people know how to love all people and how to show compassion, wisdom and caring even in the midst of “gender wars”! Teach us how to present these issues in truth, grace and love. Lord, help us be and stay true to what Your Word says: You are Creator and made us male and female. Help us to learn the facts of what causes intersex and not let media and other sources of information lead us away from the medical facts and biblical creation. May we be wise and loving in our conversations and sharing of facts. May we share our journeys as you lead us and learn to be discerning of how to share discreetly and in ways that show “love covers a multitude of sin” without detailing any sins that would not edify the hearer. May we be confident of our forgiveness through Christ and share the Good News with passion. Bring the wonder of your mercy forth and a greater desire to share Your message of salvation, rescue and transformation to Your people. Help us rescue the perishing and step in and help as you lead. Help us live true to “the preaching of the cross. Help us understand it is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18 KJV). Make the preciousness of your Truths, as clearly reflected in Your Word, connect to our hearts as we are connected to You. Please equip us, grow our hearts in grace, and bring us to be willing to live the great commission in a greater measure. In Jesus Name, Amen.