Wednesday, April 27, 2016

I Don't Like History...So Let's Just Erase It

Someone once said, "If we fail to learn from history, we are destined to repeat it."  What wise words!  What excellent advice...that is being thrown to the wind today.  Allow me to share a portion of an article that was posted last week at: sexist-western-civilization-courses.  The article was written by Kathryn Blackhurst. 

"Western Civilization lost its battle once again at Stanford University when the campus referendum to reinstate the class as part of the school's humanities core was voted down by a 6-to-1 margin in election results released Monday.  Although some of the students at Stanford called for the campus to pass a referendum requiring all students to study Western Civilization, less than 15 percent of the student body supported the effort and the referendum was voted down 1,992 to 342, according to the Daily Caller.

"The Western Civilization dilemma first became an issue during the 1980s when the Rev. Jesse Jackson marched alongside students who were demanding that the course be dropped from its place as a required part of the curriculum because of its allegedly 'racist' and 'sexist' undertones, according to Campus Reform. 

"This year, the Stanford Review campaigned to reinstate the study of Western Civilization as a core course and a key component in shaping the students' studies.  After the Stanford Review passed out a petition to restore the course to its original place, it received more than 370 signatures, Campus Reform noted.  If the referendum had passed, it would have forced faculty and administrators to consider making two courses of study in Western Civilization a core requirement for each student."

I know you are saying to yourself, "What's the big deal?"  The article answers that: "When these issues were announced in February, immediate backlash occurred within several segments of the student body as students described the courses as filled with 'European-Western and male bias' as well as 'sexist and racist stereotypes.' Campus Reform reported."

The attack upon history has become common place in our day.  If you don't like what happened in the past, try to erase it.  You don't like the history of, tear down the Confederate flag; remove statues of Robert E Lee and Stonewall Jackson; remove Jefferson Davis' name from streets and avenues.   So, at Stanford University, the students don't like what Western Civilization has stood for in the past.  But, here is the question that I would ask those students: "All right, you don't like some of the things that happened under the guise of Western Civilization, so which Civilization are you going to honor?"  There is not one civilization in the history of mankind that was the ideal civilization. 

I have really tried to understand their hatred toward Western Civilization.  I believe I am coming to the roots of their hatred.  It has to do with the foundational truths upon which Western Civilization is framed.  And those truths are centered in a strong Judeo-Christian ethic and belief system.  An understanding of God and of His Word have been the historical roots of our Western Civilization.  So, of course, if I deny God, then I certainly don't want to study a civilization that reminds me of His presence within culture.  So, let's do away with it...pretend it never happened. 

Friends, a study of history is critically important.  Yes, there are a lot of things that happened within history that are revolting: the Holocaust, the Crusades, the Inquisition, and slavery, just to name a few.  But refusing to study those stories does not make them disappear; it only causes you to become blind as to why those events happened and how they can be prevented from happening again. 

But we live in a such a self-centered world.  Everything revolves around the "great me."  It is time that we replace the "great me" with the "Great I AM."  That would certainly make for some profound changes in the way we think, the way we believe, and in the way we act.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Passover Blessings; Golan Threats; Transgender Decisions

Friday is the celebration of Passover, a remarkable evening of remembering God's faithfulness in the past as He brought the people of Israel out of bondage in Egypt and into the land He had promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  But, as the question is asked during the Seder meal, what made that night so different from all the others?  Let me share with you some principles that I see every time I either read Exodus 12 or celebrate a Seder with friends.  First, it was a night in which what had been so long anticipated finally was becoming a reality.  The people of Israel had been in slavery in Egypt for four hundred years - that is a lot of nights of agony and heartache.  But, with Passover, those agonies would soon be but a memory.  Second, it was a night of separation as God Himself walked through the land of Egypt bringing death upon those homes which had not been marked with the blood of a slain lamb.  As the Israelites celebrated with joyous anticipation, the homes of the Egyptians were filled with the screams of death.  Truly that night God made a distinction between peoples.  Finally, it was a night in which the faithfulness of God was powerfully displayed.  You see, God had made a promise, first to Abraham, then to both Isaac and Jacob, that He would give the descendants of Abraham a land that would be theirs forever.  And that promised land was not in Egypt.  It was in Canaan.  And now that land was ready to receive the nation of Israel.  Oh the journey would be a long and difficult one - but that length and difficulty were the consequences of Israel's rebellion against God's directives.  But, after forty long years, they did arrive and soon the land of Canaan became the land of Israel. 

So, to my Jewish friends, I want to wish you a most Blessed Passover Season.  May the joys you experience as a family as you sit down on Friday evening for the Passover Seder be a reminder of the blessings of God and of His faithfulness.  As He was in the past, so He is in the present, and so He will be in the future.  And to that promise, I will say a hearty "Amen!"

I will be leaving with another tour group for Israel in a couple of weeks.  How I am looking forward to returning to a land that I dearly love.  One of the places where we take our tour groups is to Mt. Bental, located on the Golan Heights near the Syrian border.  It is a strategic place taken by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War.  But I read an article this morning that alarmed me.  The article was posted at the United with Israel website:  The article begins: "Israel's cabinet held its weekly meeting in the Golan on Sunday to affirm the Jewish state's sovereignty in the area.  'Israel will never come down from the Golan Heights. ... In the 49 years Israel had controlled the Golan, it has been a place of peace and prosperity.  Israel today is the solution, not the problem,' Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.  On Monday, Arab League General-Secretary Nabil al-Arabia said Netanyahu's comments marked 'a new escalation that represents a brazen violation of international law.'  At the same time, Germany's Foreign Ministry on Monday said that Israel's decision to unilaterally maintain control over the Golan Heights would violate international law.  German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said it is 'a basic principle of international law and the U.N. charter that no state can claim the right to annex another state's territory just like that.'  The U.S. State Department also said that the American position on the Golan Heights has not changed, and that it does not recognize the territory as part of Israel.  Following Netanyahu's comments, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mekdad said his country would 'retake the Golan Heights by any means necessary, including using military force.'  According to recent reports, a negotiated deal on the Syrian civil war that is being worked on by world powers would declare the Golan Heights as Syrian territory."

Once you have been to the Golan you understand its strategic importance to the nation of Israel.  The integrity and safety of the farmlands of the lower Galilee are dependent upon an Israeli presence on the Golan.  There is no fighting today on the Golan.  I have traveled through many villages in the Golan, both Jewish and Druse.  The fruit trees are abundant.  Industry is flourishing.  Peace reigns.  Why is that?  Because Israel is in control.  To be perfectly honest, I often wonder at the lack of wisdom on the part of the personnel within our State Department - they don't seem to have a clue as to reality.  Just another strong anti-Israel shot across the bow from Washington to Jerusalem.  It is little wonder that the people of Israel feel betrayed by their so-called partner from the West. 

I also want to share with you an article from the Washington Post and published yesterday.  It was written by Moriah Balingit and titled "Federal appeals court sides with transgender teen, says bathroom case can go forward."  You can find the article at:  The article begins: "A federal appeals court in Richmond has ruled that a transgender high school student who was born as a female can sue his school board on discrimination grounds because it banned him from the boys' bathroom.  In backing high school junior Gavin Grimm, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit deferred to the U.S. Education Department's position that transgender students should have access to the bathrooms that match their gender identities rather than being forced to use bathrooms that match their biological sex.  The department has said that requiring transgender students to use a bathroom that corresponds with their biological sex amounts to a violation of Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination at schools that receive federal funding." 

This is a lengthy article but one that should be read.  The "bathroom fight" is the new battle front in the LBGT war for total acceptance.  In recent weeks we have read of decisions in South Dakota, Texas, Mississippi, Virginia, and in North Carolina where this "fight" has been waged.  Here, in the state of Minnesota, just yesterday, Target Corporation, which is headquartered in Minneapolis, issued the following policy declaration: "We welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.  Everyone deserves to feel like they belong."  (Quote is taken from article posted at: 

Friends, I thought I would never see anything like this.  One wonders if the sins for which God punished Sodom and Gomorrah were this perverse.  One can only begin to imagine the wrath of God that will soon be poured out upon a world so steeped in sin as is ours today.  I reminded my Ninth Grade Confirmations students last night that Revelation 16 portrays a time that will be unprecedented in the history of the world as God's wrath is poured out upon this world.  But there must be a purging of evil before the arrival of the King.  Can such a purging be that far away?  It would appear that instead of running from it, we are almost running toward it with shouts of defiance before God.  I can easily tell you who will win that challenge. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Bible: Attacked by our Culture, Anchor for our Faith

I had the privilege this past Sunday evening of sharing with a group of high school students.  These students have joined me these past eight months in a study of Worldview.  I have been so richly blessed by these students and have enjoyed watching them grow in their faith these past months.  This past Sunday evening our topic was Government.  One of the things we talked about was the contrast between government as envisioned by our Founding Fathers and what is evidenced today.  Our Founding Fathers strongly believed that the Federal Government should be very limited in its impact upon the lives of its citizens and that belief is strongly stated within the Constitution.  Yet today the intrusiveness of government into the lives of its citizens has exploded.  There is hardly an area of our lives that is not regulated in someway, shape, or form by the Federal Government.

You might remember that I shared with you an article last week about a four-year old who was "kicked out" of preschool in Colorado because her mother strongly objected to the preschool curriculum that focused upon homosexual behavior and transgenderism.  In preschool, mind you!  Let me give you another example.

This article was written by Douglas Ernst and posted at  The article begins: "Parents face criminal charges if they step on school grounds to pick up or drop off their children.  A Texas elementary school regularly threatens criminal charges to parents who enter the property to drop off or pick up their children.  Bear Branch Elementary School in Magnolia requires parents to wait in a lengthy car pickup/drop-off zone each day no matter how close they live to the building.  The policy, which is enforced by Montgomery County constables, was instituted under the auspices of increased safety.  Wendy Jarman, a private school teacher and parent who pulled her children from Bear Branch, told KRIV-26 on Tuesday that Principal Holly Ray is out of line.  'She's threatening to arrest people,' Jarman said.  'This has happened to many parents.  They have been cited.  They have been threatened that if they step one foot on school property [then] they will be arrested and charged with who knows what.  Parent Frank Young knows exactly what Jarman is talking about - he was one of those parents issued a warning under the new policy.  Parent Frank Young pulled his children from Bear Branch Elementary School after he was issued a warning for walking on school grounds at the end of the day.  'Mrs. Ray's policy is implying that a parent doesn't have the ability or capability to decide what is safest for her children and that the school district does, ' Young told the station.  'I disagree.'"  So, let's see if I get this straight: if I live next door to this school and my child goes to school there, I need to put my child into a car, make sure his/her seat belt is safely fastened, back out of my driveway, and get into a long line of cars with children attending the school, when all I really need to do is take my son/daughter's hand and walk out the door and on the sidewalk to the front steps of the school and hug my son/daughter and tell them "I love them" and that they should have a great day? 

I want to briefly cite some statistics from an article written by Paul Bremmer and posted at:  The article begins: "There's a slow erosion of Christianity in America and it flows from the nation's public education system, according to the co-author of the book 'Crimes of the Educators.'  'One of the big things we looked at for"Crimes of the Educators" was how the educators - and by this I think its important to say we don't mean the average teacher in the classroom; we're talking about the education establishment - but what we looked at was how the government schools were systematically destroying children's belief in biblical religion, in Christianity,' Alex Newman told WND in an interview.  Christianity in America does appear to be declining slowly but surely.  While 78 percent of Americans identified as Christian in 2007, only 71 percent did so in 2014.  According to a Pew Research Center report, younger generations are successively less Christian than those before them, so that while 85 percent of the Silent generation considers itself Christian, only 56 percent of younger Millennials do so.  Accompanying this decline in Christian affiliation is a decline in belief in God.  While 71 percent of the American population in 2010 said they were 'absolutely certain' God is real, only 64 percent of those aged 18-29 said so.  Meanwhile, 77 percent of those over 65 were absolutely certain God is real.  Newman, an international journalist and educator, said people are mistaken if they think American public schools are secular or impartial toward different religions.  He said schools do try to force a religion on children, but it's not Christianity; rather, it is humanism."  I strongly encourage you to read this article.  It is an important one to help us understand why we are trending as we are doing as a nation.

Then I read an article posted by the Associated Press which can be found at  "On the latest list of books objected to at public schools and libraries, one title has been targeted nationwide, at times for the sex and violence it contains, but mostly for the legal issues it raises."  Now can you guess what this particular book is - in fact, it finishes sixth on this list of the ten most challenged books.  If you said, The Bible, then you are correct.  Number two on the list was "Fifty Shades of Grey."  The others on the listing completing the top ten were either stories of transgenderism or homosexuality.  Right in the middle was The Bible. 

I believe this article hits at the reason why our nation is in such terrible straights today.  We find The Bible offensive because it speaks strongly against what our culture and society want to affirm as being okay.  We look at The Bible not as a guideline that will lead us toward absolute truth, but as a book that attacks what we want to believe.  A library might have a Bible on its shelves, but it certainly cannot recommend that someone read it.  A teacher might have a Bible on his/her desk, but he/she is definitely not allowed to even open its cover to address a student's concerns.  An employee might have a Bible in his/her office, but he/she is absolutely forbidden to even proclaim biblical truth to those around that office.  For all practical purposes, the Bible has merely become a "dust-collector."

Read the Bible? Well I don't have time!  Ah, but you do have time to watch your favorite sports team on television.  Ah, but you do have time to take an afternoon nap out on the deck with a glass of lemonade nearby.  "I don't have time to read the Bible" is not a viable reason for not reading it.

Read the Bible?  Well, if I read the Bible I don't get anything out of it; I don't understand it!  Hey, I bet you did not understand your first day in German class either, or your first day in Physics class, or even your first day of Accounting.  What did you do?  You kept at it, didn't you?  And soon you began to figure it out.  In fact, some of you made a career out of something that you once found difficult.  Yes, reading the Bible can be difficult as there are many passages that are difficult to understand.  I always invite people to begin with the Gospel of Mark where you can get a good grasp on the life of Jesus.

Friends, I believe that a family that is strongly committed to the Word of God is a family that will have an anchor through these difficult days.  It begins by children learning the stories from the Bible: Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham and Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Ruth, Esther, Elijah, David, Samuel, and Daniel - just to name a few.  These stories need to become a part of your children's lives.  They almost become your child's friends.  As they learn the stories you will have an opportunity as a parent to teach them valuable lessons from those stories.

It is time that we rediscover the power of the Word of God.  It is not a book that is challenged, but a book that challenges toward the truths from God.  

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Israel Condemned Again; Preschool Confusion; But "God Is Not Dead!"

According to the United Nations, can you take a guess at which country in the world is the most evil today?  North Korea - right?  Wrong!  Iran - right?  Wrong!  Certainly it has to be Syria - wrong again! "On March 24, 2016, the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women wrapped up its annual meeting in New York by condemning only one country for violating women's rights anywhere on the planet - Israel, for violating the rights of Palestinian women."  So writeS Anne Bayefsky in an article published at the Fox News website.  You can read the entire article at: 

The writer continues: "In Geneva, Palestinian representative Ibrahim Khraishi told the Council on March 24, 2016: 'Israeli soldiers and settlers kill Palestinian children.  They shoot them dead.  They will leave them to bleed to death.'  And in New York, Palestinian representative Haif Al-Agha told CSW on March 16, 2016: ' directing its military machinery against women and girls.  They are killing them, injuring them, and leaving them bleeding to death.'"

The writer describes some real-life scenarios by way of contrast.  "In Geneva's grand U.N. 'Human Rights' Council chamber, 750 people assembled, pounced on the Jewish state, broadcast the spectacle online, and produced hundreds of articles and interviews in dozens of languages championing the results.  On the ground, Israelis are being hacked to death on the streets, stabbed in buses, slaughtered in synagogues, mowed down with automobiles, and shot in front of their children.  At the New York UN headquarters, 8,100 NGO representatives gathered from all corners of the globe, in addition to government delegates, and watched the weight of the entire world of women's rights descend on only one country.  On the ground, Palestinian women are murdered and subjugated for the sake of male honor, Saudi women can't drive, Iranian women are stoned to death for so-called 'adultery,' Egyptian women have their genitals mutilated and Sudanese women give birth in prison with their legs shackled for being Christian."  She then writes, "Isn't it about time that people stopped called the U.N. a harmless international salon or a bad joke?"

Friends, these actions grieve my heart.  I love the nation of Israel.  I will be leaving in a few weeks to lead my 10th tour to Israel since 2000.  Over 200 people have traveled with me, many of whom have come back home with a deeper resolve to not only pray for Israel and its people, but to actively support that nation - the only nation in the Middle East that holds to a truly democratic form of government.  Israel is not a perfect nation, but, then again, our own nation does not have a lot to boast about any more with our "mob-mentality" that permeates our streets and our conversations, and the forced acceptance of ideas that defy our God-given moral foundations. 

Speaking of forced acceptance of ideas that our reprehensible to our God-given moral foundations, the following article appeared on the Gopusa website this past week.  It was written by Michael F. Haverluck, and is titled, "Preschooler expelled when parents object to 'gender' ed.  Allow me to share a portion of the article with you: "A four-year old student was kicked out of a Colorado preschool after her parents questioned the administration's controversial curriculum that openly promotes homosexual behavior and transgenderism in the classroom."  (Remember, this is a preschool room - okay!)  "Wanting the opportunity to opt her daughter out of the classroom discussions focusing on sexuality, same-sex relations and gender issues at Montview Community Preschool and Kindergarten (MCPK) in Denver, Colorado, R.B. Sinclair made it clear that she believes her four-yer old is too young to participate in sex education at school.  'I think at this age, they don't know what bias is,' Sinclair told the Denver Post.  'They could have kids from Mars and they would still play with each other.'  She maintained that it is her parental right to judge when, where and how her daughter is exposed to sensitive issues. ... The concerned mother shared her fear about the sexual indoctrination program arose when her daughter returned home from school and expressed that she was worried that her father might not like girls any more.  'She met with the principal over concerns about the books being read in class, including ones that told the stories about same-sex couples and worms unsure about their gender,' CBN News reports.  'School officials from the privately run parent cooperative explained the stories were part of the school's anti-bias curriculum, and because the discussions are sprinkled through the day's activities, they told her that opting out was not possible.'"

The end result, this four-year old girls was "kicked out" of her preschool.  I find it almost incredulous that our culture promotes tolerance of almost every act that is anti-God and anti-Scripture no matter how deviant or perverse it might be.  But, let a family take a stand on a morality that is counter our culture, and tolerance is forgotten.  And to think this "gender confusion debate" begins in preschool.  Is it any wonder that our children are growing up truly not knowing who they are?  God certainly knew what He was saying when He declared that instruction should be declared within the home (Deuteronomy 6).

Over the weekend I had the privilege to see the newly released movie, "God's Not Dead 2."  On Sunday evening I took 17 high school kids who have been attending my Worldview Class, then we had a discussion time following.  Friends, I highly recommend this movie.  It's major story-line is wrested right from the pages of our papers.  In fact, I have written several blogs over the past few months highlighting the theme of the movie - the eroding of our First Amendment right to Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religious Expression.  I strongly recommend this movie if you have children or grandchildren in upper elementary, middle school, or high school.  But, don't just watch it - take them out for ice cream or pizza afterward and talk with them about what they just saw.  This is the world in which they are growing up.  This is the world they encounter every day in many of our nation's schools and universities.  Help them to understand what the Bible says. 

Let me just refer you to one more article.  It was written by Bradford Richardson and posted at:  The Democratic front-runner clearly states her position on abortion.  As I tell people, abortion is considered to be the "law of the land," but it is not - it is only the "legal declaration of the land" for there is no Congressional law permitting abortion.  It is only the Supreme Court's ruling on January 22, 1973 in Roe v. Wade.  It is one of many times in the recent past where the Supreme Court failed in its Constitutionally defined role - it created law.  How our Founding Fathers would have grieved. 

But, friends, do not despair!  Our God is still on the throne - and, as they declare in the movie - GOD IS NOT DEAD!  That fact is worth a hearty AMEN!