Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Serpent Approaches

A Serpent Approaches

An Austrian born German politician made some wild and unbelievable declarations in the 1930’s. He said he wanted to control Germany, take over all of Europe, form a perfect Aryan race and destroy the Jews. No one took him seriously. He was just another nut case. Countries and persons could have intervened but they ignored him until it was too late. Britain’s Prime Minister Chamberlain sacrificed Czechoslovakia to appease the mad man. Hitler was enraged about the Munich Agreement and was determined to have his war. Because they appeased him instead of stopping him 60 million lives were lost in World War II.

Roll the calendar to the year 2010. Wasn’t it Churchill who said, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” There is a mad man making wild and unbelievable declarations. His goal is to develop nuclear weapons and has openly declared he will destroy the Jewish nation. His hatred for the “Great Satan”, the United States and all of western civilization is alarming. We can take him seriously and stop him before it is too late or we can take the Chamberlain approach of appeasement as President Obama seems willing to do which Ahmadinejad will interpret as great weakness. We ignore Iran’s Ahmadinejad at our own peril.

We are encouraged by our politically correct leaders to believe that Islam is a religion of peace. Who would disagree that there are millions of Muslims who desire to live in peace? But their religion is NOT a religion of peace. Their Koran declares that Christians and infidels must be destroyed if they do not convert to Islam. If Islam is a peaceful religion, why did Mohammed engage in 47 battles? He was a man of the sword, a man who shed much blood. If Islam is a religion of peace, why did they fly airplanes into the Twin Towers and kill 3,000 innocent people? Consider the historical Islamic leaders: Saddam Hussein, Khomeini, Ghadafi, Idi Amin, Yasser Arafat. These are not men of peace!

Why is there no freedom of speech in Islamic countries? Christians are persecuted if they express their opinions about Christianity. Why was there not one country who expressed disgust with the actions of the radical terrorists after 9/11? Instead, there were celebrations in the streets of many Islamic countries. Is it because they dare not refute their own Koran?

Muslims want to take over the world for Allah. They are directed to do so in their Koran. There are two methods they use to do this. One is fatah or cultural invasion and infiltration. They change a culture non-violently from the inside out. France is a good example of how well this works. It is projected that France will be 50% Muslim in 20 more years and 89% Muslim by 2040. Those who live in Islamic ghettos in London protest loudly when they must submit to English common law instead of their own Shariah Law which allows for certain ‘honor killings’ in Muslim families.

A second method of conquering the world for Islam is Jihad, picking up the sword and instigating a holy war. These religious warriors do not respond to appeasement. I heard PC wimps declare after 9/11 that the reason they attacked us was because they were envious of our wealth. If we would be willing to redistribute our wealth among the poorer Islamic nations all would be well. Wealth doesn’t change religious conviction. They don’t want welfare and they don’t want political compromise. They want us to convert to Islam or they want our heads!

Ahmadinejad is so fanatical because he feels a religious conviction for what he is doing. He pictures himself as a sort of John the Baptist, a forerunner of the Islamic messiah yet to come, the 12th Imam. The great hope of the Islamic people is to create fitnah, or collision and disorder within western society. This 12th Imam cannot appear until a state of chaos exists in the present world. Ahmadinejad believes he has been chosen to create that chaos. A quick memo to President Obama, sanctions will not dampen his religious fervor. He will only respond to a heavy fist.

(8:39) "And fight with them until there is no more sedition (fitnah) and religion should be only for Allah" from the Koran.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

We Know How You Feel, Elin.

We know how you feel, Elin.

I thought I was watching Obama at a foreign press conference. The apologies were thick and heavy but it wasn’t Obama, it was Elgin Woods. (Maybe he should go by his real name now that he is searching for a new identity. I honestly thought that Elin was hiding behind that big gray curtain with a driver just waiting for another misstep.) I was okay with the whole drama until that very last, most dramatic statement, “Finally,” Elgin said, “there are many people in this room and there are many people at home who believed in me. Today, I want to ask your help. I ask you to find room in your heart to one day believe in me again.”

When we all believed in him he was participating in an extramarital sexual marathon that would have put Geraldo to shame. In order for us to believe in him again Elgin is going to have to become something he obviously has never been. The choirboy image we were sold was a farce. It’s not a matter of believing in him again, we played that game and lost, it’s a matter of seeing a man worth believing in. Now, it’s hard to believe that his handlers aren’t trying to wheel out yet another cardboard figure that is far from reality.

Why are Americans so totally engrossed with Tiger’s tale? Maybe we relate much better to this whole episode than we are given credit for. You see, ‘we the people’ know what it means to be lied to. We know how it feels to have a spouse who spends mountains of money on every street whore he can find. The marriage of the people to their government was a marriage of convenience. In those early days it seemed to be what was best for both parties. He wrote us flowery letters promising us ‘unalienable rights’ and freedom and liberty. He promised to protect us and be faithful to our desires.

But, somewhere along the way it all started going wrong. Elin is wondering, “Where is the guy I married? Where is the guy on bended knee with a sparkle in his eye as he held up that expensive diamond?” We know how it feels. Our guy is now only interested in himself. He has almost no interest in us at all. He worries only about his own comfort and his own future. Reelection is the name of his game and he’ll sacrifice any remaining trace of integrity or honesty to retain his position in the standings.

We know what it’s like to be married to a wealthy spouse. Our guy used to be the envy of all the other tournament participants. He was the wealthiest, strongest most attractive guy on the planet. Now all that is lost. They aren’t lining up any more to sponsor his foreign policies and we no longer trust him because he has handed out so many undeserved entitlements to his girlfriends. The vast amount of mistrust has put his domestic policies in great jeopardy.

We, like Elin, are staying with the old bird. We largely suspect that our retirement together will not be nearly as prosperous or happy as we thought it was going to be. We’ve heard him apologize many times to just about anyone who will listen. People aren’t looking for apologies. We’re looking for honesty, integrity and someone capable of applying strong common sense principles. He tries on many different jackets but he is the same dishonest, self-aggrandizing guy no matter what he wears or which party he attends.

We know how it feels to have your children done wrong. In one of our family’s more dire financial moments our guy took his hammer to the children’s piggy bank and used their money to make his own life more comfortable. What sort of father who would sacrifice his children’s future for his own comfort? Now our children worry if they will have it as nice as their parents had it. They wonder why their father would do that to them. We have no idea just how their bitterness will eventually play out.

Apologies are warm and fuzzy and have a way of putting a band aid on the wound. But real healing won’t happen until there is evidence that dishonesty has been replaced with integrity.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Who Dimmed the Lights?

Who Dimmed the Lights?

I looked in the mirror today and saw that the number of gray hairs are now in the hundreds. Impossible to ignore any longer. I won't cover them with color, I've earned them and I'll wear the gray proudly. It is like the trophy you receive when crossing the finish line, you don't hide it, you display it proudly. That three letter question did enter my mind: WHY? Are genetics turning me gray or is it the fact that I've taught feisty teen-agers for nearly thirty years. I'm putting my money on the latter.

I have taught through a group of students we refer to as the Millenium Generation, those born between 1985 and 2000. I took the easier path seven years ago and deserted the public classroom for the private setting because I truly believed that those best equipped to face the challenges of the future would be those home-schooled or private-schooled. I want to say up front that I have loved teaching and I have certainly taught some of the best students a teacher could ever hope to teach. So, what I am about to say is not born in a bitter heart but a concerned heart. Please note that I am making broad generalizations about a generation of youth to make a point. There are many, many exceptions in which I base my hope for our future.

This group began to define themselves when their parents plunked them down in front of the electronic baby sitter to watch Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers. They were told daily just how 'special' they were and subsequently they grew up with no lack in self-esteem. In fact, the problem they have is facing the reality that they aren't so special after all. I coached basketball in the public schools for over fifteen years and nearly every one of those players was convinced that one day they would earn millions playing for the Chicago Bulls. There is nothing wrong with feeling you are special if you've done something to deserve feeling that way. But, our major companies now have 25 year olds walking around in their flip-flops and flashing their i-pods expecting any moment to be invited to become CEO of the company. There is an unfounded sense of entitlement. It's not about working harder than the guy in the next cubicle, its about having it handed to you on a silver platter.

Call me "old-school" if you like but I see nothing wrong with a young student experiencing failure. Isn't all success really built on a succession of failures? Do we not actually learn to succeed first by experiencing the pain of failure? When my four year old forms a really good letter with his pencil I commend him. When he writes his name all "scribble-scrabble", I reprimand him and admonish him to do better. This doesn't hurt his self-esteem, this helps him to get in touch with the reality that performance matters.

I have had Millennials approach my desk constantly because of low grades. "What can I do to fix my grade?" They wanted a favor. They wanted a miracle. What they didn't want was the truth. "You need to study longer. You need to be persistent in completing your homework. You need to work harder." What did it mean when they looked at me with vacant eyes? This generation doesn't define success by how hard you work or how much you invest. Success is defined by how well you can manipulate the system, whose paper you can 'borrow' before class or how skilled you are in convincing your teacher that your failure is not 'your fault'.

'Smart' is now defined by how well you can master electronic devices or how many 'cool' people you can identify in the culture. I listened recently to one more boring, non-creative redo; "We Are The World". This generation is not lacking in musical talent, they can strum strings and bang drums, but there seems to be a great lack in creativity. When you can't come up with anything original you just redo the stuff of the past. Many Millennials are avoiding flat lining their brain waves by plugging into some electronic game device but beware, on the other side of the world there are some Asian youth who live in the reality of self-awareness, they have a sense of urgency to learn from their superiors because they realize someday they will be rulers of a world of techno-morons.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

"Don't be Afraid"

“Don’t Be Afraid”

Modern Psychologists tell us we have nine basic emotions. We share eight of those nine with God but the one emotion we experience that God has never experienced is fear. Fear is a result of sin and that’s why it is a foreign emotion to God. God knows no sin nor has he ever suffered any consequences of sin.

My students often tell me we have too many rules at Calvary Christian School. So, I ask them how many rules should we have? I’ve never really received a good answer to that question but I think one rule would probably be too many. One rule was too many for Adam and Eve. The problem wasn’t how many rules, the problem was the sinful rebellion they felt in their hearts toward authority. What did Adam and Eve do when they sinned? They ran away and they hid. They experienced fear and fear has been with us ever since.

We all fear something. I stepped in a yellow jackets’ nest when I was nine years old which resulted in nearly 30 painful bee stings. I panic every time a bee comes my way. Some are afraid of the dark. Some fear getting cancer or losing their possessions. We probably live in the most fearful society in history. The more we turn away from God the more fearful we become.

Dr. Samuel Johnson was so fearful of death that he never permitted anyone to speak of it in his presence. Julius Caesar was very much afraid of the sound of thunder. Peter the Great would tremble when he had to cross a foot bridge and Adolph Hitler feared cancer most of his life. We fear violence, we fear debt (unless you work in the Congress), we fear H1N1 and we fear natural disasters. Some people will never board an airplane again after 9/11.

Fear is the expectation that something bad is going to happen. It is the opposite of faith which is seeing and believing clearly that something positive is about to happen. Faith is the tool God uses to help us to grow in grace and love. Fear is one of the few tools Satan has to hurt and destroy us. If you’ve ever read the book of Job you know that he lost everything he had. He placed double guards on his herds, he prayed ceaselessly for his children. He was full of fear. We know this because of his own admission: Job 3:25 “What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me.” He feared losing his children – he lost them. He feared losing his wealth – he lost it. He feared losing his health – he lost it. Fear never brings security, only faith does.

I’ve been watching some of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. There is a very fine line between control and ‘out of control’ when you are rushing down the mountain top at very high speeds. The great ones sometimes have to cross that line to achieve their best speeds. Isn’t fear the feeling anyone gets when they no longer have control? So fear always precedes the fall of one of these superb athletes. Nodar Kumaritashvili, the Georgian luger, told his father that he was very frightened of the luge track. It makes one wonder what role fear played in his tragic death.

One of the most frightening moments in winter Olympics history took place in Nagano in 1998. Hermaine Meier of Austria experienced a devastating crash and everyone feared he may not have survived after taking a direct hit to the head. But, he went on to win two gold medals in the ’98 games.

One of our greatest fears is the fear of failure. How many men should have been great but fear prevented it? How many should have accomplished great things but they were stymied by fear? How many great books were never written because a great writer was fearful to pick up a pen and begin writing?

Christ came walking on the water toward the disciples. It’s not every day you see someone walking on water and they were afraid. Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid.” Peter then learned a strong lesson on what faith can do for you and what fear can take away from you. The Bible tells us over 500 times to “fear not”. We can never be all that God wants us to be nor accomplish all he wants us to accomplish as long as we are governed by fear instead of faith!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Marriage is strengthened by love, not beauty.

A man in the market for a new corvette picked up his paper one Saturday morning and saw an ad he couldn’t believe. A brand new, mint condition Corvette for sale across town for only $100.00. Was it a misprint? He would go have a see anyway. Sure enough, it was a beautiful car in mint condition, hardly been driven. He asked the lady selling if the price was correct. She assured him, “One hundred dollars even, sir.” He hastily wrote his check but as he was about to hand it to her his conscience got the best of him. “You know, you could be selling this car for a lot more than that.” “Oh yes, I know, but my husband recently left me for another woman. The car belongs to him. He asked me to sell it and send him the money.”

When justice is distributed ideally it is often called Poetic Justice.

Jacob was the son of Isaac. He didn’t have a very good relationship with his father. He deceived him, angered his brother Esau and found himself fleeing for his life to an uncle’s house. He approaches a well where several shepherd boys have gathered to water their sheep. He strikes up a conversation with them when a young woman approaches. She is strikingly beautiful and of lovely form. Jacob is stricken. He waters her sheep, kisses her and introduces himself. They are ‘kissin cousins’ because her father, Laban, is Jacob’s uncle.

Laban sees a good, hard worker in Jacob. Jacob sees a prospective wife in Rachael and a rather vague agreement is made in which Jacob will offer seven years of labor for a wife.

Those seven years passed in no time because of Jacob’s great love for Rachael. But, on the much anticipated wedding night, love at first sight turns into shock at morning light! Jacob was likely inebriated with much wine on that celebratory night. The next morning he was shocked to find out that he has consummated with Rachael’s older sister, Leah. The great deceiver was just made victim of a great deception. This is Poetic Justice.

Now Leah was the ‘weak-eyed’ sister. I’m not sure what weak-eyed means but I can just imagine Leah stumbling about the tent with coke bottled glasses on. She may have been very homely, or perhaps it simply means she was one with a gentle spirit. In any case, Jacob was very disappointed and agreed to work another seven years for Rachael, the one he really loved.

Jacob, like so many other men, made a very common mistake when choosing a wife. He allowed his physical appetite to overwhelm his rationality. He prioritized beauty over character. When Rebecca was chosen for Jacob’s father, Isaac, she was chosen because of her character traits. But Jacob was giving character traits no thought.

Leah was the wife unloved. She had four sons to Jacob in hopes that he would finally love her but there is no indication that he ever did. But this we know. Both women grew old. Eventually Rachael’s beauty faded just like every woman’s beauty fades. Age wrinkled her face, the sun leathered her skin and gravity and childbirth took its toll on her physique. The same happened to Leah but Leah had character traits Rachael lacked. Those traits grow more distinct with age. A man who loves a woman for her character will love her more and more as she gets older. A man who loves a woman based on physical traits alone will likely find himself shopping for a new model in his later years.

As I get older I’ve recognized some unpleasant changes when I peer in the mirror. I lost my six-pack long ago. My hair is thinning. My brow is wrinkled. I’ve given up plucking those gray hairs from my eye brows. But true love doesn’t diminish with age, it deepens with age when it’s focus is on the internal character rather than the outward attractiveness.

Jacob may not have loved Leah, but God did. He blessed her. She had twice the number of children Rachel had. Her fourth child she named Judah and it was after his birth she began to look to God to fill the void left in her heart due to a loveless marriage. The Messiah would descend through this child, Judah. Leah, though older, outlived Rachael. Rachael died and was buried on the way to Bethlehem. Leah was buried with her husband, Jacob, in a cave at Machpelah.

Marriages are strengthened by character and love – not beauty. “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” – Proverbs 31:30

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Why do so many divorce?

Why do so many divorce?

As some one who has experienced divorce I’m certainly least qualified to exhort on marriage but my father always told me it’s not a shame to make a mistake but it is a shame to repeat a mistake.

The most common theme I hear when I turn on my car radio is the pain of broken hearts. Love gone wrong. Alcoholism, addictions, adultery…and another family left in tatters. One becomes the loneliest number, even lonelier than two. The tears flow, children suffer, friends walk away. The blissful beginning of a fairy tale marriage succumbs to a stark reality. Communication ceases. Hearts grow cold and love dies a slow and painful death. Dissatisfaction permeates. Anxiety seeps through the cracks. And finally the tentacles of despair squeeze the last life from a suffocating heart. The white flag waves and the towel is throne into the ring. Surrender is now made so easy by no-fault divorce. Couples no longer fight for their marriages, instead, they look for greener grass somewhere else. Erma Bombeck once wrote a book : "The Grass is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank."

Billy Joel sings a song called "Honesty": "Honesty is such a lonely word. Everyone is so untrue. Honesty is hardly ever heard. And mostly what I need from you."

Why are 50% of marriages in America ending in divorce?

A lot of men are disillusioned with love. They harbor a deep anger toward women. See Keith Olbermann on MSNBC for an example of a man eaten away by bitterness toward women.

When Bill Clinton was philandering on his wife the word out on the street was, "That’s just what men do. All men are that way." So many women have been hurt by the lack of honesty from men that they've simply categorized all men as heartless, adulterous, loveless thugs.

If you watch the airwaves you would think that infidelity in marriage is now the norm: Tiger Woods infidelity caused his financial empire to collapse. John Edwards ambitions to be president of the United States were wiped out when he fathered a child to another woman. Mark Sanford, the Governor of South Carolina, referred to his mistress as his "soul mate" and admitted to having multiple affairs while married to his wife, Jenny.

If you asked any of these men, "What in the world were you thinking?" The answer would be that they were not thinking. They were so engulfed in the feelings of euphoria that come with forbidden love that they had ceased thinking. They were so blinded they couldn't even perceive how their actions would hurt their wives, crush the hearts of their children and forever altar their lives.

In 1931 Gustav and Wanda Lutzer were married in a Lutheran Church in Canada. Their fifth child has pastored the Moody Church in Chicago for 30 years.

In an age when ½ of all marriages are a sprint, the Lutzers turned their marriage into a marathon. They recently celebrated their 77th wedding anniversary. Wanda spoke for the couple because she is much younger than Gustav. She is only 100 years old. He was 104 years old. When asked what it was like to be so old they said, "Well, we don't have any peer pressure." When asked about the secret to such a long marriage Wanda said, "The Lord brought us together and devotions and prayers kept us together." Erwin Lutzer, the son of Gustav and Wanda says that marriage is like a phone call in the middle of the night. "You get a ring and then you wake up." Another man said "every marriage has three rings: engagement ring, wedding ring and suffering."

Marriages don’t last because we don’t keep our vows. We stand before a preacher and we makes vows to each other and to God and then we think nothing of it when we break those vows. Ecclesiastes 5:4 “When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow.”

The Lutzers stayed together for 77 years because they walked into the marriage, shut the door, locked themselves in and threw away the key. They had something that is lacking in a lot of marriages today: COMMITMENT. I read a quote recently, “We never considered divorce, murder maybe, but not divorce.” There is biblical grounds for dissolving a marriage but God expects us to keep our vows. Mal. 2:16 "I hate divorce," says the LORD God of Israel”

Monday, February 8, 2010

Tebow's Superbowl Ad - Focus on the Family

Mrs. Tebow practiced her right to choose.  She chose to give birth.  Why are radical women's groups so angry that this ad was aired during the Super Bowl?  Is it because they only support choice when the choice is to abort??  Thanks to Tebow's and Focus on the Family for airing the ad even though they knew they would be much criticized. 

Monday, February 1, 2010

Revised Version of the Ant and the Grasshopper

(A Friend sent me this…I thought it was worth posting)

The Ant and the Grasshopper...updated version

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away..

Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed.

The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Be responsible for yourself!

The ant works hard in the withering heat and the rain all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while he is cold and starving.

CBS, NBC , PBS, CNN, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.

America is stunned by the sharp contrast.

How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper and everybody cries when they sing, ‘It’s Not Easy Being Green.’

ACORN stages a demonstration in front of the ant’s house where the news stations film the group singing, “We shall overcome.” Then Rev. Jeremiah Wright has the group kneel down to pray to God for the grasshopper’s sake.

President Obama condemns the ant and blames President Bush, President Reagan, Christopher Columbus, and the Pope for the grasshopper’s plight.

Nancy Pelosi & Harry Reid exclaim in an interview with Larry King that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.

Finally, the EEOC drafts the Economic Equity & Anti-Grasshopper Act retroactive to the beginning of the summer.

The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the Government Green Czar and given to the grasshopper.

The story ends as we see the grasshopper and his free-loading friends finishing up the last bits of the ant’s food while the government house he is in, which, as you recall, just happens to be the ant’s old house, crumbles around them because the grasshopper doesn’t maintain it.

The ant has disappeared in the snow, never to be seen again.

The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident, and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the ramshackle, once prosperous and once peaceful, neighborhood.

The entire Nation collapses bringing the rest of the free world with it.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Be careful how you vote in 2010.