Wall Street Journal
Courtesy of Christian News Network
NASHVILLE, Tenn.—A gathering of Southern Baptists here opened this week with Albert Mohler, stalwart head of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, apologizing for “denying the reality of sexual orientation,” but saying orientation “can change.”
It closed with a pastor saying “no one goes to hell for being homosexual,” but he added Christians must remind homosexual friends and family members that “the day of judgment is coming.”
The statements from the largest and one of the most conservative Protestant denominations made waves in the religious and gay communities. Some praised the Southern Baptist Convention for softening its tone and message when discussing homosexuals. Critics complained that nothing really had changed.
But others who attended said a shift was taking place. In private meetings and one-on-one encounters during the week, Southern Baptists and gay-rights advocates said they established relationships they hope will carry both sides through a time of deep cultural change, particularly as the church navigates issues such as the increasing acceptance of same-sex ‘marriage’. Click here to continue reading.
By Berit Kjos
(From her book How to Protect Your Child From the New Age & Spiritual Deception)
High on a ridge overlooking the valley stood the King, framed in the sun’s fading light. His form rose like a monument of unyielding strength. Above his head swirled hostile, black clouds. Raging winds snatched at his coat. Yet, he who could quell their assault with a word refused to be distracted. He had fixed his eyes on the valley below. Capturing each tiny detail, he traced the movement of gathering armies. Suddenly, his gaze rested on a shadowy form hidden from ordinary sight. Anger and agony flashed across his noble face.
“I created that imposter,” he mused, “but the Prince of Darkness only loved himself. I made him strong and beautiful, but he used my gifts to build his own throne. Did he imagine that his mutinous force could quench my power and hinder my plan? Has he spoken his own lies so often that he has deceived himself as well as my people? His foolish pride kindled this war, but soon even his blinded slaves will see the triumph of my kingdom.”
The King’s focus moved from the enemy headquarters to the city nearby. Its people slept unconcerned, smug, and oblivious to the scheming, waiting legions.
Tears stung the King’s eyes as he spoke to the city he loved. “If only you had listened,” he whispered softly. “If only you knew. But you ignored my warnings and went your own way. You followed your own foolish dreams—lies and deceptions that were more pleasant to your ears than my saving truth. My foolish people, open your eyes and see. I came to love and care for you, but you turned away. The thief came to steal, kill, and destroy, and you worship him. If you only knew where you are heading.”
Far below, near the edge of the city, where the forest opened to a wide clearing, the grim armies merged into a ghostly, quaking mass. Suddenly, without a sound, a message burst into their consciousness: The prince has arrived. As one, they bowed in fearful surrender, breathing their salute, “Hail, Prince of Darkness! Master of the Force! Hail!”
Before them rose the tall, dark figure of the prince. “My friends,” he purred, “I hear you have done well!”
A wave of relief swept over the mass.
“Report your progress!” his voice cracked like a whip over the trembling slaves. “Have you captured the city? Are its people ready to follow?”
Silence hung like an ominous sword striking terror into the hearts of the trembling warriors. Brash tyrants away from their master, they cowered like frightened dogs in his presence. Finally, a creature stepped forward. “Sir, the coup is almost complete. The city has yielded to your control.”
“How did you win their allegiance?” demanded the prince.
“We followed your plan, Sir. You told us to target the children, to reform their schools, pollute their movies and music, infiltrate their churches—”
“Stop, stop! I want details. Who handled the schools?”
“I did, Sir.” A burly figure lumbered to the front line. Under the heavy shrouded cowl, which hid his features, his body was shaking.
“Explain your strategy.”
“We followed our ancient plan, Sir. You told us to change labels to fit contemporary tastes—and it worked. First, we whispered doubts about the King’s repulsive Book of Truth. Then we planted tantalizing visions of the New World into the minds of educators. We showed them irresistible images of their own greatness, the power of Self, the pleasures of sex, and the peace of global unity under your mighty reign.”
“Slow down and describe their response.”
“Those open to transformation were thrilled with their new discoveries. They quickly fit your ideas into their curriculum.”
“Is that all?”
“No, there’s much more! We also told them that the King’s values hinder the freedom, growth, and happiness of Self. To build a better world, they must discard obsolete boundaries and pave new paths to higher consciousness and spiritual oneness. Quick to catch on, the kids are learning to ridicule the King’s archaic standards and narrow-minded subjects. Soon they’ll hate all who oppose your plan!” He giggled.
“Well done,” grimaced the prince, “but control yourself.”
Scanning the dark mass, he shouted, “Who’s in charge of music?”
A squat, slinking creature crept forward. “I am, Sir.”
“Report your progress!”
“We have revived your fool-proof formula: drugs, chants, sensual delights, and throbbing drums. This formula blocks logic, dulls reason, and keeps our connections open. We show them a good time—and make sure they come back for more. With more advanced subjects, we no longer hide your identity. They crave your savage malevolence.”
“Well done!” The prince rubbed his hands together in sardonic glee before he shouted, “Next! Who transformed television?”
“We did,” answered a shrill voice. A short, stocky figure pushed his way to the front. “One battalion loaded cartoons with wizards amid superheroes winning battles by your cosmic energy. Kids want supernatural power, so we’ve showed them yours. Camouflaged, of course.”
“Splendid!” The prince’s cruel voice rose excitedly. “Soon they’ll want more, and when they’re hooked, they too will be glad to see me. Ha! I will be their god, and they will learn a new form of worship! Go on. Tell me more.”
“We have been showing our vision for the New World Order to reporters, producers, and writers,” he snickered. “We convinced them that the King’s values block progress. Today children choose their own way—or rather, our way. . .”
“My way, you mean!” shrieked the prince.
“Your way, Sir!” quaked the commander.
“You met no resistance?”
“Not much. Your brilliant ideas usually excite them.”
“What about the King’s subjects?”
“Many don’t notice. Since we keep them too busy to study the Book of Truth, they can’t tell your plan from the King’s. Those who notice are afraid to speak up, and the few fools who do complain face our correction squad. Ridicule and exclusion usually silence them.” A cacophony of cheers arose.
For a moment, the prince gazed silently into that dark mass of veiled warriors. Fear and hatred, not love and loyalty, bound these miserable subjects to do his bidding.
“Watch every rebellious subject!” he shouted. “Find loopholes in their armor. Distract and discourage those who pray. And above all, hinder their use of the Book.”
Lightning cracked the sky, and the distant thunder grew to a deafening roar. But the King kept his watchful position high above the city, waiting for the precise moment . . .
Suddenly he raised his right arm. “Be still,” he cried into the storm. And the storm stilled around the summit.
He raised his left arm, and a battalion of soldiers dressed in white appeared before him.
“It is time! I have awakened my remnant. I have spoken to all who have ears to hear and eyes to see. To everyone not blinded and bound by deception. To those who have not bowed to the Prince of Darkness.”
“I have told them to rise, take their swords, and fight for their families and children. You must take your positions at their sides. Sing with them the song of victory, then conquer the forces of evil in the name of the King.”
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. (Revelation 12:11)
By Judith Ritchie
Summer has ended and winter is fast approaching. For those of us in this modern society, we tend to forget that this is harvest time and that our very lives depend upon a good harvest to get us through this next year. But in every culture throughout the world, the time of harvest has always been crucial to their survival.
In the early days in America, the settlers prayed throughout the winter for good weather for planting, plenty of sun and rain during the growing season, and for a good harvest in the autumn. Many prayed to the Christian God of the Bible, leaving their care and future in His hands. But throughout the history of the world, most people sought help from other gods; gods who demanded much more than just faith and prayer from the people.
Halloween, known in ancient Briton and Ireland as Samhain* (“Summer’s End”), is a time of worship to the ancient god Cromm Cruaich, also known as the “Bloody Crescent.”** Unlike the God of the Bible, Cromm Cruaich did not accept simple prayers of faith for a good harvest; he demanded much more. Charles Squire records in his book Celtic Myth and Legend, an ancient poem concerning the god Cromm Cruaich. Here are some excerpts from it:
“Here used to be
A high idol with many fights, which was named the Cromm Cruaich;
It made every tribe to be without peace.
“T was a sad evil!
Brave Gaels used to worship it…
“He was their god,
The withered Cromm with many mists…
“To him without glory
They would kill their piteous, wretched offspring
With much wailing and peril,
To pour their blood around CrommCruaich
“Milk and corn
They would ask from him speedily
In return for one-third of their healthy issue; [their children]
Great was the horror and the scare of him…
“They did evil…”
Cromm Cruaich demanded human sacrifice. He was a demonic, bloodthirsty god described as being “withered,” cloaked in darkness by “many mists,” and whose violence terrified the people. He was merciless, evil and brought much sadness, making everyone “to be without peace.” His sacrifices were on the “high places” and under the cloak of darkness. Children and adults were sacrificed to him and to the twelve lesser gods, which were represented by “standing stones” that were placed in a circle around his golden idol. Multitudes were sacrificed all at once. Charles Squire explains, “The same authority also tells us that these sacrifices were made at ‘Hallowe’en’, [or] ‘Samhain’-“Summer’s End”- when the sun’s power waned, and the strength of the gods of darkness, winter, and the underworld grew great.” Later, St. Patrick took a sledge hammer and destroyed the golden idol of Cromm Cruaich. This, then, is the origin of Halloween.
Unfortunately, we still honor this ancient celebration. And as we acknowledge and celebrate it, we are giving honor to a god who demanded the lives and blood of human beings. We are celebrating death, destruction, darkness, demons, violence, hatred, and evil. We are honoring a demon-god who used terror to control the people and whose demands caused strong, brave men to disgrace themselves.
In contrast, Jesus demands nothing from us but asks us to trust Him. He doesn’t demand the lives of our children to appease Him. The only thing that pleases Him is our faith. He is not a God of darkness, but rather Jesus Himself is light. He is a God of love, not fear; of healing and restoration, not violence and destruction. Jesus gives comfort, not terror, to those who look to Him for help. The early settlers who prayed to Him rested in His peace, as we do today, for He is the Prince of Peace. Jesus is the God and Creator of Life, not death. Since there is no evil in Jesus, He never brings harm or disgrace to those who worship Him, and He does not intimidate or deal unjustly. And where Cromm Cruaich is a demon-god, Jesus is holy, righteous, and pure.
The celebration of Halloween is quite obviously a celebration of darkness, death, fear, demons, hatred, violence, and evil. And yet, it’s one of the biggest celebrations of the year. What’s worse, without any thought to what they’re doing, many Christians celebrate it as well.
It is interesting to note that the writers of the ancient Celtic poem referred to Comm Cruaich as having “many mists.” In the same way, 2 Peter 2:17 speaks of those who have turned away from God as “…springs without water and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever.” This is the god of Halloween. This is whom we choose to ‘agree with’ when we participate, in any way at all, in this celebration.
God equates our relationship with Him to that of a marriage relationship. Many times in the Old Testament He accuses the nation of Israel of adultery and harlotry because of their involvement with spiritual practices other than those He has ordained. The prophet Isaiah pleads with Israel, “Come, house of Jacob, and let us walk in the light of the Lord.” But in the next verse, God tells them that He has abandoned them “because they are filled with influences from the east.” Is. 2:5-6
We know that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever and in the New Testament God continues to speak the same to us today:
Do not be partakers with them; for you were formally darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light…do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead, even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things done by them in secret…therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. Eph. 5: 7-8, 11, 15-16
* Celtic Myth and Legend by Charles Squire
** Celtic Myths and Legends by T.W. Rolleston
Written by Judith Ritchie (c) 2011
[This] video presentation is called From Moses to the Arab Spring to Occupy & the 99% by Shalom Mennonite Church Youth. (This is the same church that made the labyrinth video posted on Menno-lite last week.) According to this video, after learning the stories of Moses in the Bible for 2 years, these youth had a hard time knowing which came first, the ten plagues or the ten commandments. So they put together a time line of the events that compares the way people in the Arab Spring and the Occupy 99% movement around the world are like modern day Moseses.
In the video, they hold up papers of the events of the life of Moses which they have organized into chronological order. A girl holds up the first paper and reads a chart that says:
Pharoah represented the 1% wealthy elite in Egypt.
The Hebrews at the bottom of the social pyramid and suffered under the economic and political system.
Then the story of Moses and the exodus out of Egypt is told in order. It is creatively done by these lovely kids – almost refreshing, were it not for what is added to the end of the story where these youth apply it to modern times. With the help of prompts they conclude that Moses freed the people from “an oppressive economical and political system that oppressed them.” Here is a transcript of their modern day application … Click here to continue reading.
For those who love the story of The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom (a Lighthouse Trails author), the following 6 minute audio clip will be a memorable experience. You will think you are sitting in a cozy living room with Corrie herself. This is a dramatic presentation by Susie Sandager who portrays Corrie from the book, The Hiding Place.
Description: At one time Corrie ten Boom would have laughed at the idea that there would ever be a story to tell. For the first fifty years of her life, nothing at all out of the ordinary had ever happened to her. She was an unmarried watchmaker living contentedly with her sister and their elderly father in the tiny Dutch house over their shop. Their uneventful days, as regulated as their own watches, revolved around their abiding love for one another. However, with the Nazi invasion and occupation of Holland, everything changed.
Corrie ten Boom and her family became heavily involved in the Dutch Underground, hiding Jewish people in their home in a specially-built room and aiding their escape from the Nazis. For their help, all but Corrie found death in a concentration camp.
You may purchase this entire audio set of The Hiding Place, a “listening adventure,” at Lighthouse Trails.
Bryce Homes in Kenya – Water Filtration for All, Small Business Project Going Well, the Threat of Disease, and More
By Understand the Times and Lighthouse Trails
We are happy to report that all of the twenty-four Bryce Homes in Kenya now have water filtration systems. Understand the Times began to place water filtration units in each Bryce Home in June after Roger Oakland, founder and director of Understand the Times, returned from visiting the homes this past spring. Many of the children and widows were suffering with disease and sickness because of unclean and contaminated water. In a June report, Roger explained:
[I]t became apparent that one of the greatest needs for our widows and their families was water—both uncontaminated drinking water and water for other basic needs (bathing, washing clothing, etc.). Where our families live in a remote area, they are required to walk long distances to get water from streams, ponds, or community boreholes and then carry the water in five-gallon pails back to their houses. Not only is there the problem of the water source being a long distance away, such water also contains many pathogens that are the cause of serious life-threatening diseases.
Understand the Times was able to obtain water filtration systems from a company called Sawyer that provides such filters to many organizations that help the poor around the world. The Sawyer filters are inexpensive yet durable and easy to use. Thanks to Understand the Times and Lighthouse Trails readers, we have been able to purchase enough systems so that each of the Bryce Homes in Kenya have one. In addition to the water filtration systems, the families will all be receiving a water collection system as we have mentioned in the past. Some of the families already have them, and we hope all the families will have them soon. This allows for the collection of rain water that can be used for drinking, bathing, cooking, and personal hygiene.
SMALL BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY (SBO)
We are also pleased to report that all of the Bryce Home widows now are participating in the Small Business Opportunity (SBO) program started by UTT. The small home-based businesses are up and running. As we have explained in other reports, UTT gives each widow $75 as a start up amount. She, in turn, buys raw materials or finished goods that she sells. Florence 2, the overseer of the project (and one of the Bryce widows), checks in regularly with each widow to talk about the progress and to remind the widows to save enough of their earnings to turn around and buy more material or product. The testimonies coming in from the widows have been wonderful. Each of them is testifying how this and the other Bryce Home projects have changed their entire family life. And best of all, when we hear these testimonies, they give the glory and thanks to God.
SOLAR PANEL FOR PASTOR ACHILLA
We are grateful for some special donations that came in that helped to pay for a new solar panel system for Pastor Achilla’s house. The decision was made to purchase the system after he had gone without electricity for several weeks, making extreme hardship not just for his family but also for the Bryce Home project. Being as Pastor Achilla is the head director of the program, it is essential that he be able to use his computer and also have light in his home. During any given week, many people come by Pastor Achilla’s house for some kind of assistance or to have a meal. We have found Pastor Achilla to be a very kind and giving man, and we are glad we were able to help set him up with solar energy. As God provides, we would like to see all of the Bryce Homes have solar panels in the future. Currently, most of them do not have any form of electrical or solar power.
VITAMIN C AND EBOLA
As you can imagine, many of the Bryce Home families suffer from poor health. Most of the widows became widowed after their husbands died of AIDS. Needless to say, some of the Bryce Home widows (and children too) have HIV. For privacy sake, we don’t mention which ones do, but even if that wasn’t an issue, there is the ongoing threat of disease and sickness to all of the families. After hearing that Vitamin C could possibly help those with Ebola, we decided to try to make sure that the Bryce Home families each had a small stock of Vitamin C if they became sick with Ebola or other similar diseases. While we know that this is not a sure cure, it is an affordable and easy-to-obtain substance that can help improve the overall health and immune system.
Please join us in prayer as we ask the Lord for wisdom and guidance in moving into the next stages of development for the Bryce Homes in Kenya. It was just about 3 years ago that the project was launched after Roger Oakland made a trip to Kenya where he saw the tremendous and dire need in the lives of these Christian families in Kenya. Since then, twenty-four families have become Bryce Homes in Kenya. New houses have been built, clothes and bedding purchased, family agriculture developed, latrines have been built, cookstoves and stove pipes installed in all the new homes, and much more. And best of all, the widows and children are being taught the Word of God by Pastor Achilla, Pastor Nelson, and other area pastors who have discernment; and many in the community are turning to the Lord in seeing His goodness and mercy. What many of them are saying now is, “God has not forgotten us.”
For those who may not realize it, this project is supported solely by UTT and LT readers. If you would like to help support these dear families, click here to go to the Understand the Times website. Also recently we posted a short piece answering some questions about the program. You can read that piece below. Also check out our newest slideshow (see below) for recent photos of the Bryce Homes in Kenya. And thank you for your prayers and support.
FIVE THINGS YOU MIGHT BE WONDERING
1. Does the Bryce Home project have a U.S. building that it must maintain?
Answer: No, there are no U.S. overhead building costs whatsoever.
2. Does the Bryce Home project have a staff it must pay?
Answer: The pastors in Kenya who run the program are compensated for their time, but there is no paid staff in the U.S. or Canada.
3. How much of the donations from Lighthouse Trails and Understand the Times go directly to the Christians in Kenya who are in the Bryce Home project?
Answer: 100% of the donations received.
4. How much accountability is there in the Bryce Home project?
Answer: Roger Oakland, director of Understand the Times and founder of the Bryce Homes International, travels to Kenya once or twice a year where he meets with the three Kenyan men (Pastor Achilla, Pastor Nelson, and Walter) who are running the program from Kenya. He also meets with each Bryce Home family during these visits. In addition, both he and the editors at Lighthouse Trails have regular communication through the year.
5. Is there an emphasis on teaching the Word of God to the Bryce Home widows and children?
Answer: Definitely. While the program does put donations toward practical needs such as housing, food, clothing, water purification, latrines, standard education for the children, and start up money for agriculture and other businesses for the widows, there is regular instruction in the Word of God presented by Pastor Achilla, Pastor Nelson, Pastor Lawrence, and Pastor Daniel.
By Heather Clark
Christian News Network
REVERE, Mass. – A father in Massachusetts has pulled his son from school over outrage that students were being taught about Islam in a positive light, including a section that includes the sentence, “I bear witness that there is no God but Allah.”
“Muhammad never expected to change the world,” the textbook reads. “He was kind, and his nickname was ‘the truthful one.’”
“Muhammad tended sheep on the dry hills like many young Arabians. Later he became a successful merchant and married a wealthy widow. However, he felt as though something was missing in his life, so he went on a retreat,” it continues. “Muhammad went up to Mount Hira to pray in a small cave. He had studied both Judaism and Christianity, and he wanted to find a deeper meaning for his life.”
The reading assignment goes on to explain that the founder of Islam was “upset about the cruelty of his people” because they “killed baby girls” and “treated their slaves unkindly.” Click here to continue reading.