God Created Male and Female

While hiking in the Smoky Mountains a few years ago I met a hiking couple at the base of a beautiful waterfall. We talked a few minutes, introducing ourselves and making polite conversation. Then the lady asked me a question.  The conversation went like this:
Her:  Did you see that big water moccasin stretched out over the trail?
Me:  Did you hear anyone scream like a little girl?
Her:  No.
Me:  Then no.  I didn’t see a snake.
According to current “progressive” thought I had made a sexist remark probably brought on by my toxic masculinity. I had implied that little girls scream and that little boys don’t. I must be a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal to think that.  Surely, I know that boys and girls are the same and it is only a wrong-minded, sexist culture that raises them otherwise.  I guess the theory is that if we cast babies into the wild, with no social construct, they would eventually grow up to be exactly alike in thought, demeanor, and physicality.
Nope. No way. Males and females are different in a variety of ways. Genesis 1:27 says “so God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”  Take note that both are created in His image.  Both sexes were created in the image of God and thus have equal value and worth.  One is not better than the other, but they are different.   A forensic scientist can look at skeleton and tell you whether it is a male or female skeleton because they are different.
While sitting in a hospital wait room once I picked up a booklet that spoke of all the services that the hospital offered.  There were three pages, front and back, of “women’s services” and one page, front only, of services designed specifically for men.  Do you know of any hospitals that have built a “Men’s Center”?  Males and females are quite different.
That doesn’t mean one is inherently smarter that the other or that all men are better than all women in everything. There are plenty of women who are smarter than I am and there are many females who are in better physical condition that I am.  Serena Williams would make mince meat out of me on a tennis court and Rhonda Rousey would squash me like a bug in the fighting ring.  But they can also bear children and feed children.  They can nurture children, and even adults, better than I can.  And yes, they are mentally and emotionally different than I am.
God didn’t create two sexes so that one could play sports better than the other.  He didn’t create two sexes so that one could be a CEO or President and the other couldn’t.  The next verse about the creation of the two sexes says this: “then God blessed them and said to them ‘be fruitful and to multiply’”. (Genesis 1:28).  You see, Gods creative purpose for the sexes was to become a family unit.  His purpose is for a man and a woman to unite as husband and wife and raise a family, instructing them in God’s Word and raising them in the fear of fear and knowledge of God. Their God-given differences and abilities will naturally flow out in their other endeavors, but family is the most important construct God has ever given us.
All this noise and smoke about men and women being the same, people determining their own gender, masculinity is toxic, et al is just that…a smoke screen by Satan to destroy yet another facet of God’s creative purpose. The Bible tells us to relate to each other and both sexes would do well to treat each other with respect and honor.
Say good things about your Savior and His Church on the Bluff

Bro. Tony


To Judge or Not to Judge?

    Who am I to judge? You’ve heard heard people say that, haven’t you? You have probably said that yourself. I think even the Pope responded to a question with that remark.  And, indeed, who are we to judge others?  The Bible specifically says that we are not to judge people (Matthew 7:1-2).  Or does it? If we read the next few verses, we discover that Jesus is speaking of holding ourselves to the same standards we expect of others and to make sure we are in a right relationship with God before we even think of others relationship with Him. That’s important. Hypocrisy doesn’t work well when we are trying to help others.
    And I think the “helping” aspect is important.  Are we correcting someone concerning Christian doctrine because we care about them or because we are mad at them for doing it?  Are our motives pure and honorable or are we just being “holier than thou”?  You see, we are specifically supposed to discern truth and speak truth. That is not judging people; it’s judging sin.  We not only have the right to reveal sin we have the responsibility to do it.  Just a few verses after the “do not judge” verse we are told to watch out for false prophets and that we will recognize them by their fruits.  In other words, we are to judge their doctrine and point out the untruths.
    I like to think of it like this:   Suppose you are on a beach and the weather is cloudy and windy and the red flags are flying that indicate it is dangerous to go in the water.  A young couple run onto the beach and head toward the water.  If you tell them that the red flag is flying, and it is dangerous to swim, are you judging them? When someone is doing something that the Bible says is contrary to the will of God and therefore dangerous, pointing that out with love and concern isn’t prohibited by the Bible.  It is encouraged.  Romans 10:14 says they cannot hear if no one tells them.
 Say good things about your Savior and His Church on the Bluff
 Bro. Tony




          Sometimes we see Winter as just a cold, dreary time we have to endure until Spring makes its glorious appearance.  I, too, look forward to Springtime but I think we should also take time to look at the beauty of Winter and understand that it is a vital part of God’s wonderful plan.  An atheist once said: “There is no purpose for winter unless you believe in God and if that is so, ask Him”.  That’s a very backward way to look at it, for if you look at what happens in Winter it will encourage you to see God’s handiwork.


                Winter is a time when all of nature takes a needed break.  Trees and plants go into dormancy, recharging and preparing for a bountiful spring.  Without a certain amount of freezing temperatures, fruit trees will not produce a good quantity and quality of fruit. Flowering trees will not be as vibrant without a season of cold weather. Oaks, maples, and poplars wouldn’t have as many or as large leaves to shade the forest grounds that produce other plants. Cold temperatures even decrease the presence of certain insects and pests that would make otherwise pleasant times outside in the spring somewhat miserable.


                Winters differ in areas, and that is a good thing. Yes, a winter in Hawaii will be more pleasant to humans but try growing apples there. A certain variety will grow, but they are much smaller and arguably not as tasty or diverse. You want good apples? Try Washington state or Tennessee. On the other hand, I wouldn’t try a pineapple farm in Minnesota.


                Cold weather isn’t comfortable but at the same time we look forward to hot chocolate while sitting by a fireplace or having a steaming bowl of soup or chili on a cold winter’s night.  It’s all good.  God knew what He was doing when he formed the seasons and if we take the time to enjoy the gray landscapes and chilly weather while God does His work through nature, we can appreciate His magnificent creation even more year around as we see the perfectness of God’s provision for us.


Say good things about your Savior and His Church on the Bluff.


Bro. Tony



How about some resolutions for 2019? There is just something about a new year that points to a fresh start. Some, however well intended, often fall by the wayside.  For that reason we sometimes find it easier to simply not make any; it removes the pressure.  Some, though, are worthy even if difficult:  Exercise more, Lose weight, Eat healthy, Quit (insert your bad habit here), Be nicer to people, etc.  But  how about we set some spiritual goals as our resolutions?  Here are a few suggestions.

  1. Read/study the Bible more. A time of daily devotion will help for that.  There are so many devotional resources.  Our church provides “Open Windows” and people enjoy the disciple and spiritual wisdom found there. We have several books in our library and we are welcome to use them.  Lifeway Christian Store has many to choose from.


  1. Pray more. The time of daily devotion certainly helps this one but there are so many opportunities in a given day to have quick, yet meaningful times of prayer. Turn the TV off a couple of minutes or take a few minutes during your lunch break.  Pray as you drive (but don’t close your eyes for this one).  If there is a desire to pray there will be time to pray.


  1. Be more useful for Christ. Many will say “oh, I’d love to do that, I just don’t know how”.  Let me offer a suggestion.  I always say that prayer time is also a time to listen to God.  So when you pray about a person or situations always close that prayer by asking God how He wants to use you in answering your desire.  Then listen.  I think you will be surprised how often God shows you how to be useful.


  1. Love more. By that I mean to learn to show Christ’s love to people who are difficult to love because of their behavior, unbelief, and/or demeanor. Remember that He loves them in their current state and we have to reflect that love.  Admittedly that one will take practice and discipline, but it is important.


  1. Live unashamed of Jesus and by association, the Word of God, the Bible. Never be ashamed to tell people that the reason for the way you live and the way you think is that you live by the Bible as you walk in the footsteps of Jesus; that you follow His teachings and obey His every command.
    And…as you practice and accomplish these things…say good things about your church!
    Bro. Tony


Christmas Greeting

Merry Christmas!  I know that every year we lament the  generic “happy holidays” greeting. We grumble about sales associates that assault us with that somewhat cowardly greeting, as if they are afraid of offending someone who doesn’t believe in or celebrate Christmas. I’ve gotten over it.  They may greet me as they please; I can’t control their actions.  But my reply to those and my greeting to others is and always will be “Merry Christmas”.
Why? Because I truly want each and every person to have a wonderful, joyful, loving Christmas season and especially a Christmas Day. It doesn’t matter if a person is atheist, Jewish, Muslim, a naturalist,  a Wiccan, or even a satanist, I want them to know the joy of Christ and be able to celebrate His birth in the true sense of the event. Not just a time of bright lights, gifts, and family gatherings, but a time of celebration of the birth of the Savior of the world.
You see, the only way we can honesty celebrate the birth of Christ is when it is the culmination of a life lived in the power of Christ. Celebrating Christmas means we are celebrating Jesus birth, yes, but it also means we are celebrating His atoning death on the cross and His resurrection from the grave.  It means we are celebrating the forgiveness of our sin and our righteousness before the father because of his spilt blood. It means we are celebrating the power of the Holy Spirit that enables us to experience joy in troubled times, happiness in times of struggle, peace in times of conflict, and faith in days of doubt.  We are, in fact celebrating another year lived in the glorious presence of God in our lives. We are celebrating the certainty of an eternal life because our names are written in the Lamb’s book of Life.
So yes, I greet people with”Merry Christmas” because that is what I wish for them; to know and experience Jesus on a daily basis and to know heaven awaits them.  I really feel for them if that makes them mad.
Say good things about your church and about your Savior.
Bro. Tony


Jesus Never Condemned

     A Christian recording artist made headlines when she said she couldn’t approve or disapprove homosexuality because “I’m not God”. She is absolutely right about the last part, she isn’t God. Neither are you or I. That is why God spoke to us through the anointed leaders of Israel, prophets, and writers. We may not be God but we can know the true character for God and His desires for His people. Each and every time homosexuality is mentioned in the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, homosexual activity is viewed in a bad light and revealed to be sin.
     Many have said that Jesus never condemned homosexual activity. That’s is true. Jesus never condemned a lot of things that common decency and common sense knew were unnatural, harmful, or otherwise unseemly. In fact, He never spoke against any sexual deviance. He didn’t have to; everyone knew there were forbidden….even the heathen and irreligious.
     There is a huge list of things Jesus never specifically condemned. He never vilified rape or incest. He never actually said that it was wrong for a human to think he or she was a horse or goat. They didn’t need a divine edict to tell them those things and we shouldn’t need one today. Common sense and rationality reveals that to us. The Bible certainly backs that up when it tells us to dwell on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy. (Philippians 4:8 )
     I’ve also heard it said that “they didn’t know then what we know today”. First, God gave them the things to write and He knew more back then than we will ever know. That sentiment, though, raises a necessary question: what do we know about homosexual behavior or a transsexual mindset now that they didn’t know then? There is certainly no new scientific evidence of either being natural or normal. There is no great medical breakthrough that confirms either as a fixed result of birth; chromosomes or DNA. In short there is nothing new to know about sexual perversions. A dark and un-Godly culture simply wants to affirm their own unseemly lifestyles.                Again, I want to say that we are to view and minister to those people with great love and compassion. But not at the expense of truth. Affirming their problems will not fix their problems but perhaps interaction with a Christian who kindly leads them to a knowledge of the truth can make a difference in their lives.
Say good things about your church and about your Savior.
Bro. Tony


His Birthday

     A humanist website says this about Christmas: “Christmas is a multicultural festival with a long pagan history, and can be celebrated by anyone”. You’ll probably hear stuff like that from unbelievers. They will tell you that “the church” just decided to appropriate a then-current pagan celebration of the Winter Solstice or the Roman celebration of the sun god, Jupiter. Please understand that whether or not Christians decided to have a celebration at a time when heathen celebrations occurred is irrelevant. That doesn’t mean it has a pagan history.
      The first recorded date of celebrating Christmas on December 25th was in 336, during the time of the first Christian Roman Emperor, Constantine. A few years later, Pope Julius I officially declared that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on the 25th December. It was observed to celebrate the birth of Christ; nothing more and certainty nothing less. There were no Christmas trees, partridges in pear trees, sleigh rides or exchanging of gifts. It was a religious mass (celebration) of the birth or Christ. Santa Claus was nowhere in the picture.
     Since that time well-meaning folks have, however misguided, sought to enhance that celebration with certain symbols and events meant to take the celebration to new heights. In doing so the door was opened for the commercialization of Christmas and from there the religious celebration morphed into a frenzied holiday that contains elements that even pagans can embrace. In fact, I believe that the statement from the humanist website should be corrected to say “Christmas is a Christian celebration, many aspects of which several ideologies have appropriated for their own celebrations”.
     Think about this: All of the characteristics that people say are what Christmas is all about…love, forgiveness, compassion, generosity, family…are characteristics that God commands us to have and empowers us, as Christians, to have to a degree that the “world” can never achieve. But, because of what began with the birth of Christ, people can now love their enemies, do good to those that abuse them, and forgive those that wrong them. They can love their neighbors as they love themselves. They can sacrifice for the good of others. All…to a measure the world cannot copy.
     So when people try to secularize Christmas, remind them that it is His day. And because of what happened on that day love, joy, and happiness in their purest forms are available to all.
Say good things about your church and about your Savior. It’s His birthday we are celebrating.
Bro. Tony


Most Wonderful Time

      The most wonderful time of the year. That’s what the Christmas season is, isn’t it? I’ve watched three Hallmark Christmas movies (Yes, I watch some of them. So what?) and so far five couples have fallen in love, two parent/adult child relationships have been healed, a couple of miserly hearts have been softened, and two small town Christmases have been “saved”. You can’t get much more wonderful than that, can you? Here is the thing: I knew it was going to happen. That’s what happens in those movies. I watched the first fifteen minutes of one and turned to Angie and said “She is going to fall in love with that guy, he is going to start getting along with his dad, she will quit her city job, buy that store for sale, and move to the little town. There will be a misunderstanding between them but it will be OK. Oh, and the church bells will ring again”. That’s exactly what happened.
      So why do I watch them? They don’t generally speak much about Jesus or proclaim the real message of that wonderful event that changed the course of history. But those simplistic movies do speak of family values, compassion, forgiveness, and the goodness in people. They do it without pushing an agenda on me, whether it is transgender rights, homosexual marriages, racial stereotypes, sexual promiscuity, or violence. No one is trying too indoctrinate me or tell me that I’m a horrible, bigoted person because of my religious beliefs.
     So, yes, they may be formulaic and simple but they are still better than most of the trash that passes for entertainment. They all have religious carols sung without apology and will generally involve a church choir at some point. They may not point right at Jesus but neither do they take time to deny Him. And I guess in this age of humanism and Christophobia that’s a refreshing thing.
Say good things about your church and about your Savior. It’s His birthday we are celebrating.
Bro. Tony


Our Standards

     There are some things that we just cannot measure. As advanced as the field of medicine is there is not yet a machine that can measure pain. When trying to discern the level of pain a patient is asked to point to one of a series of “smiley faces”. Even if there was such a machine, it could not determine a person’s ability, physically or mentally, to handled levels of pain. If, for instance, there was a measuring tool would a nurse be justified in telling me “Man up, Mr. Barber. The machine says your pain is only measuring a 5. You shouldn’t be curled up in a fetal position and crying”? No. The nurse would manage my personal level of pain.
     My point is that people handle things differently; they process things emotionally different. Yet we too often judge people by our own standards. Instead of judging how some should feel according to how we may or may not have felt in a similar situation (or how we think we would feel) we should try to help them manage their situation. Could there be a time where we try to get that person to recognize that he or she should be handling the situation differently? Of Course. But that will come in the midst of ministry after we know more and understand better. It shouldn’t be our first step/reaction.
     That is not saying that there will not be times when a person’s reaction to a situation is blatantly and obviously wrong (“Mr. Barber, it’s a paper cut. I will not give you morphine.”). But we should always look deeper into a situation before we judge someone’s reaction. That is what compassion does.
Say good things about your Savior and about your church.
Bro. Tony


Are You Prepared?

I enjoy watching college football, especially our in-state teams.  It seems that every week there is an “upset” where teams that were projected to win actually lose.  Sometimes there is even a “major upset” where a team that was suppose to get beat by several touchdowns wins the game.  The reason offered most of the time is that the better team took the other team too lightly. I always thought that was a lousy excuse because after a few plays into the game the players should be able to realized they should play harder.  Right?
              But it finally dawned in my thick skull that it wasn’t that they took them too lightly in the game, it was that they took them too lightly as they practiced!  Because they thought it was going to be an easy game, they didn’t prepare themselves properly; perhaps they didn’t listen to their coaches or pay attention to the instructions. They simply did not prepare themselves for the game and when the game started they paid the price.
              I feel that we Christians do the same thing in our battles with Satan.  Through the power of the Holy Spirit we are stronger than the devil: “Greater is He that is in you than he who is in the world.”  (1 John 4:4).  Then how does he win so many battles? We take him too lightly as we prepare. We are pretty good at looking at the wicked thugs napping in our nation and we have honed our complaining to razor sharpness. But what about in our personal lives? Are we on guard against temptation and sin? Do we recognize the devil in our anger, jealousy, selfishness, and lackadaisical attitude toward spiritual matters?
              We are indeed in a large scale battle for the soul of our nation but there are battles in our own life for which we need to be prepared. Satan may want to corrupt our nation in general, but he wants to hurt and destroy you in particular. Study the word of God.  Bathe your family, friends, and church in prayer. One day in your future will be “game day”.  Are you prepared?
Say good things about you church and about your Savior.
Bro. Tony