Intersex Torture Must Cease

Intersex Series

The Intersex Series, #2

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein at the 30th session of the Human Rights Council on 14 September 2015 highlighted rights violations perpetrated on those who are intersex. (See What Is Intersex?)

Al Hussein’s findings are reported in an article by Arvind Narrain: “The Right Not To Be Mutilated: Intersex People and the Quest for Justice.” I’ll include a few quotes here, but it was so good, you should read the original article.

Far too few of us are aware of the specific human rights violations faced by millions of intersex people. Because their bodies do not comply with typical definitions of male or female, intersex children and adults are frequently subjected to forced sterilization and other unnecessary and irreversible surgery, and suffer discrimination in schools, workplaces and other settings.

During a meeting focused on ending human rights violations against intersex people, the office of the High Commissioner determined that intersex issues are unique, specific, and not simply add-ons to existing LGBT issues.

While variations of sex characteristics are natural, human cultures treat this natural diversity as a problem. Within human society, this natural diversity of sex characteristics is forced into the gender binary of male and female. It is this imperative of human society, to treat sexual diversity as a problem, which becomes the root cause of the great suffering imposed by society on those whose sex characteristics do not conform to rigid notions of male and female.

Those who don’t fit into the strict categories of male or female are classified as “suffering from a form of pathology.” Once classified, they’re game for surgical modification—often promoted by doctors so that children “fit into a specific sex.” Although such surgery is medically unnecessary, parents often consent to have their child operated on for “psycho-social reasons.”

This amounts to mutilating infants and children simply to make the parents more comfortable because the doctor said it would.

Intersex activists make the point, that to subject children to genital mutilation—which the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture [PDF] considers a form of torture—so that society is not discomfited, is an unconscionable suffering, which is inflicted on children born with the intersex condition.

Narrain points out that “intersex mutilation is not even acknowledged as a rights violation in almost all parts of the world.”

This torture must stop.

God the Creator makes infinite variety, and it’s all beautiful. No children should be forced to undergo the scalpel before they’re able to make their own decision about what, if anything, they want to do with their own bodies.

It’s time for us to refrain from such categorical judgments and accept those who are born toward the middle of the sex spectrum. There are more than two colors in the rainbow of human sexuality. We must ensure that everyone’s light can shine.

More information:
What Is Intersex?

Source: Arvind Narrain: “The Right Not To Be Mutilated: Intersex People and the Quest for Justice” at JURIST – Professional Commentary, Oct. 14, 2015, http://jurist.org/hotline/2015/10/arvind-narrain-intersex-justice.php. Accessed Dec. 13, 2018

What Is Intersex?

Intersex Series

The Intersex Series, #1

Intersex is a general term used for a variety of physical conditions affecting a person’s reproductive or sexual anatomy and chromosomal makeup. The result is that intersex individuals are born with internal or external reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit typical male/female categories.

Examples of intersex

Here are just a few examples of how intersex could manifest itself physiologically:

  • Someone could be born with atypical genetics, some cells having XX chromosomes and some having XY.
  • An individual could be born that looks male externally but with internal female anatomy.
  • A person could be born with genitals that are partially male and partially female:
    • A boy could be born with a conspicuously small penis.
    • A girl could be born with a larger than average clitoris.
    • A boy could be born with a scrotum that is split like labia.
    • A girl could be born without a vaginal opening.

To complicate matters, intersex conditions don’t always show up at birth. Sometimes they’re discovered at puberty, sometimes during adulthood when a reproductive issue crops up, and sometimes they’re never known.

Sex, oversimplified

Intersex is kind of a “kitchen sink” term, covering many conditions. It’s not a “discreet or natural category.” Rather, according to the Intersex Society of North America, “Intersex is a socially constructed category that reflects real biological variation.” The ISNA likens the biological sex spectrum to the color spectrum:

Intersex Spectrum, female to male

Where does pink end and blue begin? How many shades lie between?

Trying to pin down biologic variation in human sex is likewise problematic. Nature doesn’t impose rigid rules on what’s male and what’s female—it produces a wide variety.

However, with our need to categorize and control, we slot nature’s infinite diversity into male and female (and perhaps intersex if we’re magnanimous) to simplify social interactions. To fill out a job application. Or to reduce the threat to our perceived worldview that too often has room for only pink and blue, just another version of black and white.

With our tendency to classify and label, we do injustice to real individuals. There are people out there not quite like the rest of us. They need God’s grace as much as anybody. Christ accepts them as they are. Can we?

If you’re one of the many who was born with neat biology at the far ends of the spectrum, be aware there are many who fall somewhere between the poles. They’re just as precious and unique in the eyes of the Creator as you. Christ died for them and longs for them to come to him. Will you help to bring them—or will you drive them away?

More information:
Intersex Torture Must Cease

6 Requirements for Kingdom Christians

Crown

Go to most churches, and you’ll encounter a lot of activity that has nothing to do with building God’s Kingdom.

Prayer books. Electronic worship. Coffee hour. Kids’ plays.

These things are nice, but Jesus never mentioned them.

According to the Bible, what are musts for Christians called to build God’s Kingdom on earth?

The requirements are the things that Jesus did and taught His disciples to do in His Name.

1. You must be born again.

Nicodemus approached Jesus one night and said, “‘Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him'” (John 3:2 NIV).

Knowing Jesus as a teacher from God is not enough. All orthodox churches admit that.

You also must recognize the power behind the miraculous signs that Jesus performed—healings, deliverances, and mastery over nature.

How did Jesus answer Nicodemus?

“‘I tell you the truth, no one can SEE the kingdom of God unless he is born again‘” (John 3:3 NIV).

You can’t understand the spiritual operation of Kingdom power unless you’re born again. In fact, Jesus went on to say, “‘[N]o one can ENTER the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit'” (John 3:5-6 NIV).

To enter the Kingdom of God, you must be born of the Spirit:

4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared,
5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior,
7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
–Titus 3:4-7 NIV

Spiritual regeneration doesn’t result from simply knowing about God or Jesus or from going to church. Rather, “it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Eph. 2:8-9 NIV).

The new birth is received by turning from sin and turning to God in faith: “‘Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out'” (Acts 3:19 NIV).

To comprehend the Kingdom, to enter the Kingdom, you must be born again.

Spiritual regeneration is actually an Old Testament experience: Abraham is father of all those who have faith (see Rom. 4:12-16). What kind of faith?

Saving faith.

This is why Jesus was incredulous that Nicodemus did not understand the necessity of being born again. He should have. For, Jesus said, “‘the Lord, “the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” … is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive'” (Luke 20:37-38 NIV).

Why are we born again? To have living relationship with God. To enjoy eternal life.

Also to enable us to be filled with the Spirit: “He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham [being born again by grace through faith] might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by [that same] faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit” (Gal. 3:14 NIV, bracketed additions mine).

2. You must be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Paul wrote the Ephesians, “Don’t get drunk on wine, which leads to wild living. Instead, be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18 GW). This is a commandment for born again believers.

Jesus told His disciples, “You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you” (John 15:3 NIV). See also Ephesians 5:26 and Titus 3:5. The disciples were regenerate from Jesus words, which are spirit and life (John 6:63).

Then He said,

16 “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—
17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be IN you.”
–John 14:16-17 NIV

Jesus promised them He would send the Holy Spirit, now with them to regenerate and cleanse them through the word, to be IN them.

He commanded them, “‘Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit‘” (Acts 1:4-5 NIV).

One hundred twenty born again disciples received the outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2).

Later, Philip proclaimed Christ in Samaria. The Samaritans “believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, [and] they were baptized, both men and women” (Acts 8:12 NIV).

14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them.
15 When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit,
16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.
17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
–Acts 8:14-17 NIV

The baptism in the Holy Spirit is a separate experience from being converted. The Samaritans, though born again and water baptized, did not receive the indwelling Holy Spirit until hands were laid on them.

The fullness of the Holy Spirit is not automatically received when you’re born again. You must separately receive the Holy Spirit and be “clothed with power from on high” (Lk. 24:49)—the power to be Kingdom witnesses (Acts 1:8).

You need this power to love God, love your neighbor, and move in the gifts of the Spirit.

For more information:

3. You must love God and your neighbor.

Colossians 1:13 says, “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (NKJV). Those who inherit the Kingdom are those who love God (see James 2:5).

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
27 He answered: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
–Luke 10:25-28 NIV

You can’t love God without loving your neighbor (see 1 Jn. 4:8,20-21). And everyone is your neighbor—no exceptions.

If you’ve been filled with the Holy Spirit, love is easy “…because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (Rom. 5:5 NIV). The fruit of the Spirit is love (Gal. 5:23).

They will know we are Christians—Kingdom Christians—by our love.

4. You must move in the gifts of the Spirit.

Jesus demonstrated, taught, and trained His disciples to do the miraculous works He did. He commissioned them, saying, “‘As you go, preach this message: “The kingdom of heaven is near.” Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give'” (Matt. 10:7-8 NIV).

Paul said, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power” (1 Cor. 4:20 NIV). There’s a lot of talk in the Church. But where is the power Jesus and the early disciples demonstrated? This is the Kingdom and the true Gospel: signs and wonders.

To minister Kingdom power, we need the Spirit’s enablement. We must submit ourselves to be used of God through the gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:7-11). We must excel in the gifts that build up the Church (1 Cor. 14:12).

Paul wrote, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Cor. 13:1 NIV). The “most excellent way” (1 Cor. 12:31) to move in the gifts is through love. Love sets captives free.

5. You must live an obedient, holy life.

Even if we’re born again and Spirit-filled, moving in the gifts does not guarantee us heaven. Jesus warned His followers,

20 “Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’
23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”
–Matthew 7:20-23 NIV

Peter preached, “We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him” (Acts 5:32 NIV).

John wrote, “Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us” (1 Jn. 3:24 NIV).

We must obey God and do the Father’s will. How?

The indwelling Spirit leads us to live a life filled with good fruit, set apart and sanctified for the Lord and His Kingdom. “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14 NIV).

6. You must help fulfill the Great Commission.

Ninety percent of what today’s churches are involved in, Jesus never mentioned nor practiced. What was He about? Peter told Cornelius,

37 “You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached—
38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.”
–Acts 10:37-38 NIV

Jesus said, “‘Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons'” (Matt. 10:8 NIV).

“The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work” (1 Jn. 3:8b NIV). What’s your reason for following Him?

Jesus set aside his divine powers (Phil. 2:5-8) and instead received the baptism in the Holy Spirit (Lk. 2:21-22), through which He healed and performed miracles and prophesied.

We, likewise, need to be filled with the Spirit; move in the gifts, motivated by love; and set captives free. This is true Kingdom work.

Just before He ascended to heaven after the Resurrection,

18 Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
–Matthew 28:18-20 NIV

Jesus Christ is Lord of heaven and earth. He has delegated His authority to His born again, sanctified, Spirit-filled followers. We are to go in His name and make disciples.

What kind of disciples? The kind who do what He did. The kind who do what He released the Twelve and the seventy-two to do: heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the leper, drive out demons.

15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.
16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues;
18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God.
20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked WITH them and CONFIRMED his word by the SIGNS that accompanied it.
–Mark 16:15-20 NIV

We must do the greater works Jesus promised we could do (John 14:12). This is “God’s Kingdom come, God’s will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).

Restoration of the Church

Times of Refreshing

Since the Dark Ages, God has been restoring the Church to the power and glory that it demonstrated in the first century. This involves establishing its members in present truth (2 Pet. 1:12) so that the Body of Christ can become mature and prepared for the return of Christ.

19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of REFRESHING may come from the Lord,
20 and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.
21 He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to RESTORE EVERYTHING, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.
–Acts 3:19–21 NIV

What must we do when the Spirit moves as He did on that first Pentecost? Respond to the Lord through repentance and faith (v. 19). See also Acts 2:38; 17:30; 26:20.

What does such a response lead to?

  • Our sins and shortcomings are wiped out
  • Times of refreshing come from the Lord
  • We draw nearer to the day when Christ returns to earth

Cleansing and conversion are not the only benefits of responding to the moving of the Spirit. Receiving the outpouring of the Holy Spirit self-perpetuates revival.

Times of refreshing

Times or seasons of refreshing speak of continued revival.

Refreshing in Greek is the word anapsyxis, used only here in the New Testament. It carries the sense of “to cool by blowing, to refresh, to relieve, to strengthen.” It connotes alleviation and liberation. It refers specifically to the “definitive age of salvation.” This refreshing wind of the Spirit, this reviving with fresh air, comes from the presence or the face of the Lord. (Theological Dictionary of the New Testament)

Seasons of revival are promised before the return of Christ. But we must accept them through repentance and faith and then walk in the truth revealed (2 John 1:4).

God desires to restore to His Church all that was lost during the Dark Ages. Accepting each new restorational move of the Spirit prepares us and brings us closer to the return of Christ.

Christ will not return until God “restores everything” (v. 21). Restore means to renew, to bring back to or put back into a former or original state. If God must “restore” things, then things must have first fallen apart, deteriorated (2 Thess. 2:3).

We must take part in this restoration by welcoming new outpourings of the Spirit and moving in the restored gifts of the Spirit: “Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed” (1 Cor. 1:7 NIV).

God is restoring His Church from the “falling away” of A.D. 400–1500 through repentance, the restoration of sound biblical doctrine, and revivals of His Spirit.

Restoring the glory

Jesus must remain in heaven UNTIL God restores everything to His Church. If we’re not walking in the power and authority of the Church in Acts, then we’re not yet fully restored. That means there will be more change.

25 …Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it,
26 that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
27 that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish.
–Ephesians 5:25–27 NKJV

God is restoring the Church to maturity and perfection so that He can release Jesus from heaven to return to earth! But Christ is not coming back for a broken, helpless Bride. She’s going to be powerful, glorious, and holy!

The first century Church had the full revelation of New Testament Christianity (Jude 3), much of which was lost during the Dark Ages. Since then, God has been progressively restoring what the Church abandoned so that it will become mature so that Christ can return.

We’ll learn more about his maturing process next time.

Prayer for Revival

Prayer for Revival

Council of the Lord Series #7

I listened in on the council of the Lord on August 16, 2018:

My son, we have surrounded you with glory. We have surrounded you with angels. We have surrounded you with saints of the most high. You have come before the throne of God boldly to find grace and mercy in your time of need, and we will certainly provide it.

Ask what you will, and we will hear your request, and we will grant it in the name of the Son, Jesus Christ, that your joy may be full. For we desire that your joy may be full and that you receive answered prayer so that the Kingdom may come on the earth and God’s will be done.

Ask what you will, and it will be given to you. Know that if your heart does not condemn you, you have what you ask for.

Lord, I ask for revival. I ask for revival first in me and then in Jamestown. I ask for an outpouring of your Spirit that people may be drawn unto you and that signs and wonders be done in the name of your holy Child, Jesus.

Give us broken and contrite hearts, Lord. Give us hearts hungry for your presence and your glory and your power displayed in our midst. Do the work of establishing your Kingdom. Pour out your Spirit and let your Kingdom come here on earth, your will be done as it is in heaven.

If you are hearing or reading anything along these lines elsewhere, please comment with a link. Thanks and blessings.

Message of Revival

Message of Revival

Council of the Lord Series #6

I listened in on the council of the Lord on August 14, 2018, during which they again spoke about coming revival:

We are going before you to prepare you and to prepare the hearers of the message that you will bring. There is a message of revival, there is a message of renewal; it is coming on the scene. We desire that God’s people be prepared for the coming move of the Spirit.

Prayer sparks revival. Prayer prepares the heart for the reception of the divine inflow. We desire to pour out the Spirit of God with signs and wonders, with repentance, with healing.

We will speak the word of the Lord to you. We will reveal to you that which is to come. We will show you how to take advantage of this outpouring of the Spirit and to position yourself for greatest benefit. For we desire that this outpouring of the Spirit make the path straight and smooth for the coming of the Lord.

We desire to impart boldness to those who call upon the name of the Lord. Boldness for witness, boldness to testify, boldness to reach out to heal and to perform signs and wonders in the name of the Holy Child Jesus.

We will anoint you with power from on high. We will anoint you with a message, we will anoint you with words, we will anoint you with gifts. We will anoint you with a humility and a brokenness that makes way in the heart for the fullness of the Lord.

We desire fit vessels to contain this glory. We desire vessels to pour out this glory upon others. We will draw you; we will draw them. We will prepare you; we will prepare them.

Doubt not but trust in us to do this work. Prepare your hearts. Call upon the name of the Lord. Ask for rain in the time of rain, and we will pour out upon our Spirit of revival upon you abundantly.

If you are hearing or reading anything along these lines elsewhere, please comment with a link. Thanks and blessings.

Whirlwind of Harvest

Whirlwind of Harvest

Council of the Lord Series #5

In the coming revival, a whirlwind of harvest will sweep the earth. I listened to the council of the Lord on August 7, 2018, and here’s the prophetic message I received.

My son, we have a whirlwind that we would release upon the earth. It is a whirlwind of glory and of power. It contains salvation and healing and deliverance. We desire to loose this whirlwind on those who follow not the way of the Lord.

We will loose it through the Church, we will loose it on the streets. We will loose it on the highways and the byways and everywhere people meet. People will be drawn into the Kingdom. Signs and wonders will follow the preaching of the Word.

Go forth, step forward, make the word known. Share your testimony. Speak of the goodness of the Lord.

We will equip you to bring in the harvest. For this is the beginning of the Great Harvest at the end of the age. Know that we will equip you to bring in that harvest and to raise up sons and daughters for the Lord who are fully equipped and then made ready to go out and work in the vineyard.

If you are hearing or reading anything along these lines elsewhere, please comment with a link. Thanks and blessings.