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from K-House eNews:
The Bible in Kentucky and Pagans in Colorado
The Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs has campus worship areas for Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims and Buddhists. It is now adding a worship area for Wiccans, Druids, and other Earth-worshiping religions on a hill above the campus. In the meanwhile, the Kentucky state senate prepares to vote on a bill to put Bible education in high school classrooms. These developments possess politically correct aspects, but they are also part of a greater spiritual battle for the souls of human beings.
Religious liberty is one of the great and vital freedoms protected by the US Constitution. People of all faiths can come to America and practice their religions, as long as they do not sacrifice animals or break other laws. “All faiths” these days include Wiccans, Druids, and other pagans – in large enough numbers, apparently, for the Air Force Academy to permit space to be set aside for their rites and rituals. Inner and outer rings of stones will be formed on a hill overlooking the campus.
Do Druids and Wiccans have a right to worship openly in America? Yes, they do. Does that mean that all religions are equal? No. The Bible is full of warnings against pagan religions and the worship of the created thing rather than the Creator (Rom. 1:23-25, Deut. 4:14-24) and clearly forbids engagement in any kind of witchcraft (Deut. 18:9-12). While they are promoted as gentle and nature-loving, the “gods” and “goddesses” of paganism can be very dangerous, deceptive spiritual entities.
Yet, the American government does not tell people which gods to serve, and the US Air Force Academy is providing a place for Wiccans to worship. We’ll get back to that.
In Kentucky, the tide is washing in the other direction as the state senate considers how Kentucky’s public high schools might legally teach courses on the Bible as literature. The purpose of bill SB142 is to establish guidelines for classes that would teach students about the Bible’s literary structure and its influence on “literature, art, music, mores, oratory and public policy.”
If taught legally, these classes will not be Christian Bible studies, but will have the secular purpose of educating young people about the literature and history of the Bible with no judgment about the truth of any of it. According to David Boswell (D- Owensboro), the primary sponsor of the bill, “Simply put, the Bible is the most influential book ever written.” He says the class would “teach students knowledge of biblical content, characters, poetry and narratives that are prerequisites to understanding contemporary society and culture.”
All faith-based issues aside, a knowledge of the Bible is vital for a well-rounded education. Allusions to the Bible fill Western literature from Shakespeare to Steinbeck, not to mention music, history and politics. Ignorance of the Bible equals ignorance of a great deal of Western culture.
Those in opposition to the bill have sprouted up anyway, concerned that a Bible as literature class in conservative Kentucky is really just a back door for religious indoctrination at the taxpayers’ expense. F. Kagin, national legal director of American Atheists, is worried about this and other similar legislation that has “been popping up all over the country.”
“Why are they doing this?” he asked. “Why not teach courses about the history of the Babylonians and other peoples and civilizations of the time? It is an attempt to teach the entire Bible as truth.”
From a Christian perspective, there should be concern the other way, that the classes will be watered down and dried up, that the Bible will be presented as simply a book of Christian and Jewish myths. The specific curriculum chosen can make a major difference in how the Bible is treated in classroom study. Boswell is right – the Bible is the most influential ever written, and all sides should favor getting young people exposed to it in-depth. If it is truly the Word of God as we believe, then it is quick and powerful and able to touch the hearts of its readers, even in a simple literature class. Atheists who do not believe the Word of God is alive should welcome a class in which students’ education is broadened to include the biggest best seller of all time.
Against The Gates of Hell:
These relatively small developments in two different states present a bigger picture than just rock circles and literature classes. There are real spiritual battles going on that reach far beyond state legislatures or school boards. The real battle, the one that affects all the ones in the public sphere, is fought in our prayer closets, on our knees, where we wrestle for the life of this nation – for our families and neighborhoods – one prayer at a time. God is the One who can change the hearts of human beings, even avowed atheists like Edwin F. Kagin or the Druids and pagans planning their rituals above the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.
We are not going to stop the spread of Earth-worshiping religions by outlawing them. The very religious freedom that allows pagans to worship openly is also that which allows us to spread Christianity freely. Jesus himself never forced anybody to follow him; his disciples were always free to come and go as they wished. Yet, when crowds of people left him and Jesus said to the 12 disciples, “Will ye also go away?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life,” (John 6:67-68).
For those of us who know and love Jesus Christ, there is nowhere else we can go. We cannot force other people to follow Jesus, but, we can pray that the Holy Spirit shines in their hearts to give them the light of the knowledge of Christ (2 Cor. 4:6). May He do so in our homes and in our churches, in our public school literature classes, and even on top of rocky hills despite the efforts of Satan to deceive. May God reign in America through the hearts and lives of His people.
from Nathan Jones of Lamb & Lion Ministries:
Is Israel about to reenter Gaza in armed conflict?
In response to over 6,000 rockets being fired into southern Israel by Hamas militants in Gaza since 2005, Israel launched Operation Cast Lead in December 27, 2008, in an attempt to stop the rocket fire, make their southwestern border more secure, and cripple Hamas enough to end their barrage. For the Gaza Strip, the incursion resulted in a supposed 1,300 Palestinians killed, 5,500 injured, and 4,000 buildings were reduced to rubble. For the Israelis, a mere 13 Israeli troops were reportedly killed in the conflict.
A day before Barack Obama was sworn in as President of the United States, though, Israel ceased their air strikes and brought home their ground troops, signaling to the world that the conflict was over. Progress in the conflict made it look like Israel would be the complete and decisive victor, and yet, they withdrew from Gaza, surprisingly not even leaving a contingent behind.
Was pulling out a way of showing an upcoming American president that Israel was serious in talking peace with this new mediator? Did Israel pull out because United Nations’ pressure was forcing Israel to expedite their maneuvers before a U.N. censure was enacted or peace keeping troops were inserted? Or, is it true as Hamas leader Khalil al-Hayeh had declared, “We say proudly that Gaza has won the war, the resistance has won the war, and Hamas has won the war” (reported in The Jerusalem Post, Friday, Jan. 30, 2009).
Who actually won and what was actually accomplished has left much of the whole world a year later still scratching their heads over these questions. Israelis claimed at the time they had met their objectives, reducing Hamas’ tunnel networks and rocket supply.
The searing reality of Operation Cast Lead, though, is that Israel only temporarily achieved their objectives. Hamas continues to have an iron control over the people of Gaza, abusing their fellow Palestinians like hostages. The launch of missiles into southern Israel continues with more than 280 rockets and mortars fired at Israel since the end of Operation Cast Lead. Aid poured into the country for rebuilding like never before, which Hamas intercepted and used to fund their rearming. In the Muslim world, the scrappy little resistance against the “Zionist regime” won Hamas great honor. In the free world, though muffled comments did arise that Israel had the right to protect itself, the largest gathering of world voices led by U.N. Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon shouted that Israel was the evil aggressor and is seeking to bring up Israel for war crimes. By the end of the conflict, it became too obvious that Israel lost the public relations war, a war that Hamas is clearly an expert at winning.
And now, Israel Today reports in their article “IDF: Southern Israel to Come Under Attack Again Soon” (Thursday, Jan. 7, 2010 by Israel Today Staff) that “The head of the Israeli army’s Southern Command, Gen. Yoav Galant, warned local regional council heads on Wednesday [Jan. 6, 2010] that sustained artillery attacks from Hamas-ruled Gaza are likely to resume soon… Galant told the residents of Israel’s western Negev region that they should prepare themselves for another round of fighting.'”
Adding actions to Gen. Galant’s words, Israel responded by dropping leaflets over Gaza warning residents to stay away from areas where terrorists are operating. Then, on January 7, the Israel Air Force [IAF] bombed “one terror tunnel in the central Gaza Strip, two smuggling tunnels in the Rafah Border area [Egyptian–Gaza border], and one weapons-manufacturing facility in Gaza City” (Bridges for Peace, Jan. 8, 2010, IDF Press Release).
It appears the world is looking at the beginnings of what Israel will have to do in Gaza to finish what they started — an Operation Cast Lead Redux.
Only a year later, though, it is a much scarier world for Israel. Gaza is now better equipped with missiles that can reach as far north as Tel Aviv. Hizbollah well controls Lebanon and has nearly 40,000 missiles pointed south at Israel. Syria and Iran have made a compact to aid each other if Israel defends itself against an Iranian nuclear threat. Turkey has cut ties with Israel and has sided with Syria. The United States is arming Saudi Arabia and other Muslim nations much to Israel’s dismay, clearly indicating it is no longer a friend. And, the world’s public opinion is clearly for the Palestinians.
There is no doubt that Israel looks friendless, helpless and hopeless against these staggering odds. And, that’s exactly how God likes it! As 1 Corinthians 1:27 states, “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” In their apparently weakened state, Israel is looking ahead to what will prophetically be their biggest victory — first through the Psalm 83 subjugation of their hostile Arab neighbors and the nuclear destruction of the biggest hot seat of terrorist activity in Damascus (Isa. 17; Jer. 49), and then the Gog-Magog Battle (Ezek. 38-39).
The second incursion into Gaza may only delay the inevitable, but the inevitable eventually has to occur. We could see this all begin to come down in 2010, or not, it all depends on the Rapture.
Both my father and my father-in-law served our country in the military. In their honor and in honor of all men and women who have served to protect and defend our country, I say, “Thank you and may God richly bless you!”
Many families will be ‘celebrating’ Halloween tomorrow night. They will dress up in costumes, pass out and collect candy, carve pumpkins and eat popcorn balls. In general, this is considered a time for fun and frolick for children; however, one church in South Carolina is using this evening for a different type of ‘celebration’.
Amazing Grace Baptist Church, in Canton, North Carolina, is having a book burning on Halloween night. While this event is NOT open to the public or the media, there will be ‘great preaching and singing’ included in the evening,s line-up. There’s going to be “fried chicken and all the sides”, as well. Sound strange?
The members of Amazing Grace Baptist will be having a bonfire, too. Not only will they be burning “Satan’s bibles like the NIV, RSV, NKJV…[which] are perversions of God’s Word the King James Bible”, but also “Satan’s music such as country, rap, rock…contemporary christian…” .
Along with all those evil products, “Satan’s popular books written by heretics like…Billy Graham, Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, John MacArthur, James Dobson, Charles Swindoll…John Piper…Tony Evans…Mark Driskol (sic)…Mother Theresa, The Pope, Rob Bell…and many more.”
No kidding! You can’t make this stuff up! You can check it out for yourself at their website:
Considering bible translations, Compass’s Good Morning, Lord! devotion had a question about KJV that I found to be relevent to the above story.
The King James Version (1611) was translated from a single manuscript (referred to as the “Textus Receptus”). It is a very direct, honest, and accurate, word-for-word translation. Unfortunately, some words today mean the exact opposite of what they meant back in the 16th Century. And it is a translation from Greek and Hebrew, with human logic inserted. Errors were so obvious that the New King James was recently introduced correcting many of the problems.
We use the NASB (1961) because it also is a direct, word-for-word, translation. But it was translated from FIVE manuscripts that all dated 100 or more years prior to the Textus Receptus. And where there is a difference in wording for a verse, it is noted in the margin.
Note: The NIV and Living are more readable because they are NOT word-for-word translations. Therefore their translations are more easily debated.
Here’s some more interesting information about this church:
by Paul Proctor of News with Views
Many, both here and abroad, are wondering now what will become of America. There’s a lot of intense speculation going on these days as to whether we should expect renewal, revival, revolution or the wrath of God.
People are losing their jobs, their businesses, their homes, their families, their pensions and everything they’ve worked a lifetime for. And because the problem is so profound and systemic, there’s really nothing the public or private sector can do to stop our economy from collapsing around us in spite of all the disinformation and outright propaganda to the contrary being manufactured by the government’s mainstream media machine and all those who have a vested interested in keeping the illusion of prosperity alive.
Even the money we use to buy and sell with – the world’s reserve currency – is an illusion that is quickly losing its appeal in the global marketplace. Americans may soon be the only people on earth that take U.S. dollars for goods and services – but for how long is anyone’s guess.
As I write, the Independent is reporting “the demise of the dollar” – that “Arab states have launched secret moves with China, Russia and France to stop using the US currency for oil trading.” Japan and Brazil are reportedly following suit. And, there’s no reason to believe it will stop there.
Because the dollar has long been the world’s reserve currency, most of it has been in circulation and in storage overseas. Imagine what will happen to its value when all of that unwanted currency comes back home to America from the countries that no longer want it or need it.
Remember; the more there is of something, the less it’s worth. An item’s rarity and desirability are what determines its value – not the numbers printed on it.
Take a rock from your front yard down to McDonalds and see if they’ll give you a hamburger for it. My guess is, they won’t since the owner of McDonalds can’t buy more hamburger meat and buns from his supplier with rocks that customers offer him over the counter because rocks are not rare and therefore aren’t valuable. A homeless man can fill his pockets with rocks off the street – but they won’t buy him a hamburger no matter how many he gives the guy behind the register or what numbers he scratches on the rocks that he offers. They’re still just rocks.
When Americans wake up and realize that the dollars they have in their wallets and purses and on account at the bank are little more than surplus paper, they’re not going to desire them anymore than China, Russia, France, Japan or Brazil. When this happens, it’s going to be like shopping with rocks.
The day is coming when food is going to become a lot more rare and desirable than green paper with numbers on it. Even though I’ve never tried it myself, I’m quite sure that money is not very tasty, nutritious or sanitary, for that matter, though it could be filling, I suppose, if you ate enough of it. And, if the gas and electric company quit taking dollars, we could always burn them in our furnaces and fireplaces, if we had to, to stay warm in the winter.
As if our declining economy and currency weren’t enough to bear, we Americans are losing our country as well, along with all the rights, freedoms, privileges and responsibilities that came with being a citizen. In fact, it would appear the United States no longer belongs to its citizens. Even the word “citizen” has lost its meaning here. No, our country belongs to men of great wealth, power and privilege who rule from the shadows, recognize no borders and fear little in life but the light of truth.
From the pew to the pulpit – from Main Street to Wall Street and from the voting booth to Capitol Hill – it’s mostly a charade now – driven by “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.” (1st John 2:16)
Should we be surprised? After all, this isn’t the Garden of Eden – nor is it the Promised Land. That means we have no eternal guarantee from God that He’ll sustain us as a nation indefinitely though He did give warning long ago about the hell that awaits nations that forget Him. But, as great and powerful as America once was, I have yet to find any mention of it in scripture. That ought to be humbling and a little disquieting for professing Christians here.
You see, empires come and go. History has taught us that their “15 minutes of fame” is a little over two hundred years which means America has statistically run its course.
So, what do we do now?
Do we take up the sword and our own perceived morality to exact vengeance on those we believe are to blame for the fall of our kingdom or do we take up our cross and follow Jesus to His?
This is the controversial question before us.
America is collapsing not because we have failed to fight our enemies, but because we have forgotten God, and in doing so, have made Him our enemy. Sure, we vehemently claim Him as our own but live day to day like He’s not there or doesn’t care what we think or say or do – like America is God’s home and we have some divine right to reside here forever.
But, that home has become a vain, vulgar and violent place under the throne of a righteous and holy God whose kingdom is not of this world. And, foreclosure is coming friends, because we’ve been living large on borrowed money, borrowed blessings and borrowed time.
“…Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” – Matthew 4:17b
from K-House eNews:
The Hebrew day of great tragedies, Tisha b’Av, falls at sundown this Wednesday, July 29. In remembrance, the Knesset has turned its focus to the Temple Mount, dominated by the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. While the Temple Mount is Judaism’s holiest site, Jews are not permitted to worship on the mount itself for fear of inciting a riot by Muslims.
Tisha b’Av is simply Hebrew for the 9th day of the month of Av. Many disasters have befallen the Jews on this day throughout history. According to Jewish tradition, this was the day that God told the Children of Israel they were prohibited from entering the Promised Land because of disbelief. They were forced to wander in the desert forty more years until that adult generation had died out. That tragic day was just the beginning…
On the 9th of Av in:
586 BC, Solomon’s Temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, and the Babylonian captivity began;
AD 70, the Second Temple, which stood during Christ’s ministry, was destroyed by the Romans precisely as Jesus predicted in Luke 19;
AD 135, the famous Bar Kokhba revolt was squelched when Bethar, the last Jewish stronghold, fell to the Romans;
AD 136, the Roman Emperor Hadrian established a heathen temple to Jupiter on the site of the Jewish Temple. Hadrian rebuilt Jerusalem as a pagan city, and renamed the land as Palestina, to distance its Jewish heritage. The date when the Temple area was plowed under by the Romans was the 9th of Av.
The day has continued to be associated with grief for the Jewish people throughout history. For example, Pope Urban II declared the Crusades on the 9th of Av in 1242. The Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492 on this day, and in 1942, the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto were mass deported to the Treblinka extermination camp in Poland. Thus the 9th of Av, Tisha B’Av, has become a symbol of all the persecutions and misfortunes of the Jewish people, for the loss of their national independence and their sufferings in exile. Above all, it is a day of intense mourning for the destruction of the Temple.
This week, Israel’s Knesset has taken a longing look once again toward the Temple Mount. Israel has technically controlled the site since the Six-Day War in 1967, but the Waqf, a Muslim council, manages the site. Israeli law is supposed to protect free access to the site, but the Israeli government enforces a ban on any non-Muslim prayer on the Temple Mount in order to avoid Muslim riots. The Knesset members took time this week to discuss the Temple Mount and the approach Israel should take on this holy site in today’s world.
In the first session, Dr. Mordechai Keidar commented on the lack of a Palestinian connection to the Temple Mount, saying:
“Jerusalem does not appear in the Koran, not even once, not even in any one of the four different names the city has in Arabic. The struggle for Jerusalem is not territorial, it’s theological. Is Judaism still a relevant religion, or do we give in to the Muslim claim that Judaism is no longer relevant? And that’s why we heard from PA official Saeb Erekat not long ago that they will not recognize the State of Israel as a Jewish state even in 1000 years. Why is this? Because Judaism in their eyes is irrelevant, so how could a Jewish state be founded?”
Keidar also noted that the Palestinians are not moderate on the issue of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, but claim it as their own. He held up a PLO traditional garment, which bore the words, “Jerusalem is ours.”
A Chabad rabbi who spoke argued that Israel would do well to lay a firm claim to sovereignty on the Temple Mount, believing that doing so would not harm Israel but would in fact win friends.”When you tell the nations of the world the truth, not only will they stop fighting against you, but they’ll even join forces with you,” he explained.
East Jerusalem and the Temple Mount have been points of major contention in past efforts to negotiate a two-state agreement. The Palestinians want East Jerusalem, and the Jews do not want to give up this location that is so precious to Judaism. The world would never expect the Muslims to hand over control of the Kaaba in Mecca in order to keep peace, but the Jews are not free to worship on their holiest site because they fear Muslim violence. Knesset members spoke out in favor of educating people about the importance of the Temple Mount to Judaism.
Tisha b’Av is indeed a day of mourning. It is marked with sadness and fasting from food and drink. Observant Jews avoid bathing or washing clothes or enjoying entertainment like music or movies, and the Book of Lamentations is traditionally read both in the evening and during the day. On this day the Jews are reminded of their tragic history.
Yet, this day is also expressly linked with Israel’s glorious destiny. The Jews also look forward to the ultimate rebuilding of the Temple, to a time when Tisha b’Av will become a day of joy and gladness (as it was foretold in Zechariah 8:19).
We do know that the Temple will be rebuilt because Jesus, John, and Paul all make reference to it. But we also know that this Temple will be desecrated by the Coming World Leader when he sets himself up to be worshiped. It is possible this prophetic event will also take place on Tisha b’Av – and may happen in the not-too-distant future
With the inauguration of our new President and the inevitable changes that are soon to take place, we must ask ourselves this important question:
Are you prepared to suffer?
Christians are going to be marginalized in ways that we have never experienced in our lifetimes. Bills and laws will be put forth that fly in the face of what our nation has represented for hundreds of years. We will be asked to allow our tax dollars to be spent on murder, tolerance and corruption. How will you respond?
Mike Ratliff of Possessing the Treasure says,
“… is well known that there is coming a wave of liberalism from the US Government itself at a level that we have never imagined in this country. This “liberalism” will have teeth and will contain mandates, laws, executive orders, et cetera that will present to the Christian an obvious point of decision whether to obey them or obey God. They will be mutually exclusive. I wonder if most professing Christians in the US are ready for this.” Source
Are you ready? Will you be strong enough to stand for Truth? Can you bring yourself to pray for our leaders?
Please prayerfully consider reading this article. Mike points to Scripture for our answers.