Israel and the USA

For most of my life, I really didn’t think much about the Jewish people, the nation of Israel, or their place in current history.

I immensely enjoyed visiting the Holy Land, but only for its past–not its future.

To be honest, though I knew the Jews were once “God’s chosen people,” I subtly believed they lost that calling when they rejected the Messiah of the world–Jesus Christ.

But in the past few years I’ve been re-evaluating Israel.

Here are a few of my thoughts.

Israel has been in the news for a number of momentous reasons.

First, this month Israel celebrated the 70th anniversary of their “new birth” as a sovereign nation. Thanks to the courage of  President Harry Truman, many praying Christians, and some extremely sacrificial Zionist leaders, Israel was reborn as a nation on May 14, 1948.

Here’s a quick history, from, or all places, the The New York Times:

“The declaration of the new state by David Ben-Gurion, chairman of the National Council and the first Premier of reborn Israel, was delivered during a simple and solemn ceremony at 4 p.m., and new life was instilled into his people, but from without there was the rumbling of guns, a flashback to other declarations of independence that had not been easily achieved.”

“After World War II and the Holocaust, in which six million European Jews were killed, the United Nations moved to partition Palestine into Arab and Jewish sections. The United Nations adopted the partition plan in November 1947. This plan outraged Arabs, and sparked a civil war in Palestine.”

“The violence caused the United States to withdraw its support for partition. However, when Israel declared its independence, the United States immediately recognized the new state. The Times wrote, ‘In one of the most hopeful periods of their troubled history the Jewish people here gave a sigh of relief and took a new hold on life when they learned that the greatest national power had accepted them into the international fraternity.’”

So the United States was critical to Israel’s modern rebirth.

With our support, Israel became the first nation in the history of mankind to have a 3000 history revival.

Sounds like a miracle to me.

The Times continues its historical brief:

“The armies of Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria invaded almost immediately after the May 14, 1948 declaration of nationhood and the withdrawal of British troops, sparking the Arab-Israeli War. Israeli forces defeated the coalition by the end of the year and, via 1949 armistice agreements, Israel expanded its borders beyond those established by the original United Nations partition plan.”

“In 1967, after the Six-Day War, the country took effective control of the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan, and the Golan Heights from Syria. Today, the country borders Lebanon in the north, Syria in the northeast, Jordan and the West Bank in the east, the Gaza Strip and Egypt in the southwest.”

Happy Birthday, Israel.

A second reason for an Israel focus came into being when President Trump defied the odds (and political correctness) to recognize Jerusalem as its true capital–moving our embassy there last week.

Most presidents over the past fifty years gave lip-service to the concept: all nations have a right to choose their capital and Jerusalem was Israel’s capital city for thousands of years.

But only Trump followed through.

That led to reaction and bloodshed–but all in self defense. (Contrary to popular myth, at Israel’s rebirth in 1948 there were 200,000 Jews in the land and only 40,000 Palestinians. So even by principles of majority rule, Israel has a right to both self governance and their ancient capital.)

Star Parker, president of Urban Renewal and Education, recently wrote a great comparative article on Israel and the United States.

It’s worth reading in its entirety.

Moving the Embassy to Jeruslaem Shows the U.S. is Unique. Just Like Israel

By Star Parker

“I was privileged to attend the dedication of the new American Embassy in Jerusalem on May 14—an event of enormous import that will remain with me forever.”

“I am deeply grateful to Ambassador David Friedman and his wife, Tammy, for inviting me to this historic event. The United States recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is important not just for the United States and Israel but also for the entire world.”

“We might start thinking about this by considering the unique relationship between these two countries.”

“Regardless of how some choose to think about the United States today, the country’s founding generation was largely Christian men and women.”

“Alexis de Tocqueville, author of ‘Democracy in America,’” widely deemed to be the most insightful book ever written about the United States, wrote in 1835, ‘There is no country in the world where the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America.’”

“Perhaps there is no better example demonstrating this truth, and the deep roots of Christian Americans in the Hebrew Bible, than the inscription on the Liberty Bell from the Book of Leviticus: ‘Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all inhabitants thereof.’”

“The United States and Israel are different from other nations in that both are defined by a creed and by principles. I would go so far to say that the extraordinary success of both countries springs from these principles.”

“What are the great principles that can be extracted from the Ten Commandments in the Hebrew Bible?”

“Reverence for the Lord, reverence for family, reverence for the sanctity of life, reverence for private property and personal responsibility, and a prohibition of envy.”

“Some surely will say that the United States has strayed so far from these principles that they no longer define the country. But I travel constantly. I have been in every state of the union. And I have met enough of the many millions of Americans that still subscribe to these truths to know they are still very much alive in America.”

“And I also believe that the problems that plagued America in the past, and that plague America today, trace to abandonment of these great truths—these great truths rooted in the Hebrew Bible.”

“I see President Donald Trump’s courageous step forward to lead the United States to be the first nation in the world to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel, and to move the United States Embassy to Jerusalem, as implicit recognition that the common ground on which both nations stand is our shared belief in these great and holy truths.”

“The achievements of the young state of Israel, which celebrates its 70th birthday this year, have been truly awesome.”

“Writer, social philosopher, and investor George Gilder wrote a book called ‘The Israel Test.’ What is the Israel Test according to Gilder?”

“He asks the question: How do you react to those who excel you in innovation, in creativity, in wealth? Do you envy them and feel diminished by them? Or do you admire what they have achieved and try to emulate them?”

“Those who say the latter pass the Israel Test. According to Gilder, it is the Israel Test that drives today’s tensions in the Middle East. I would take it a step further and say that it is the Israel Test that drives the tensions in America.”

“Gilder says that those who pass the Israel Test tend to become wealthy and peaceful. Those who fail it tend to become poor and violent.”

“The great principles that join America and Israel are equally true and crucial for all of mankind.”

“Congratulations to Trump for helping America pass the Israel Test. Now we wait for the other nations of the world.”

Well said.

Then, how should we view Israel in the present day?

  1. The nation is a sign that God and His promises are alive and well.
  2. “Creeds and principles” (truth) matter in our daily and national lives.
  3. We should not the envy the fruitful; We should imitate their success.
  4. We must pray that many Israelis receive Jesus as Savior (Romans 11:26).
  5. We must pray for the Muslim world to accept the Messiah and His chosen nation.
  6. As people of “grafted in faith” (Romans 11:17), the Church should be inspired by Israel’s rebirth to complete the time of the Gentiles (evangelize the world).

So, let’s rejoice, share our precious faith, and pray.

Dream Releasers

This week an amazing “dream” came true when Jerusalem became officially recognized as the Jewish capital via the moving of the U.S. embassy.  Other nations “sit on the fence” regarding this bold change, but a few others are following suit.

Yes, there was defiant reaction from the Arab world and over 50 deaths as a result of violence at the border. But the re-location was a right, for many reasons.

President Trump gets the lion’s share of credit by honoring a campaign promise no other U.S. president had the guts to achieve. Credit should also be given to Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security adviser John Bolton, and others behind the scenes who had the courage to work on this epic change.

On the other side of the world, plans are now in place for a summit meeting between President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un to decide the fate of nuclearization of the hermit kingdom, possibly leading to the eventual unification of the Korean Peninsula.

Heady stuff. Momentous global happenings.

It appears to me that dream releasers are at work.

Are you a dream releaser?

One of the books I use frequently in my classes at Faith International University is Wayne Cordeiro’s Doing Church as a Team. Wayne is the founding pastor of New Hope Christian Fellowship, with multiple church extensions throughout the Hawaiian Islands.

New Hope is a great partner to YWAM and I’ve spoken in some of their churches. My students strongly identify with Wayne’s book because it is honest, down-to-earth, practical, easy to read, and loaded with revelation on many subjects.

Cordeiro believes in empowering people–being a dream releaser–to see and realize their potential in God. He wants every believer to use those gifts in the Church and fulfill their purpose in extending God’s Kingdom.  Here’s the clarion call:

“There’s nothing more spectacular than seeing people’s dreams released and being used for the glory of God. There’s no greater joy.”

Wayne is a dream releaser.

So is President Trump, regardless of what you don’t like about him. He should win a Nobel Prize for what he’s doing on the world scene.

Israel Dream

The nation of Israel miraculously celebrated its 70th birthday this month and the “present” that President gave to them is what every sovereign nation deserves–the right to choose its capital.

Gary Randall described the joyous occasion this way:

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the US delegation last night in Jerusalem—on the eve of the day America, the most powerful nation in the history of the world, officially moves its embassy to Jerusalem—affirming that Jerusalem is indeed the capital of Israel.”

“Other nations will follow America’s leadership, but not all. Before our eyes, significant history is happening. Promises are being kept.”

“Netanyahu said last night at a reception, ‘Our people will be eternally grateful for [President Trump’s] decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to move the American Embassy here tomorrow.’”

“Among those in the audience were Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog; Christians United for Israel founder John Hagee, American lawyer Alan Dershowitz; new Republican National Committee finance chairman Todd Ricketts; Senators Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Ted Cruz (R-SC), Dean Heller (R-NV), and Mike Lee (R-UT); Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), American Jewish Committee chair David Harris; Guatemalan Minister of Foreign Affairs Sandra Jovel Polanco, and many others.”

“Netanyahu praised President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem and transfer the embassy there, ‘It’s been the capital of the Jewish people for the last 3000 years,’ he said. ‘It’s been the capital of our state for 70 years. It will be our capital for all time.'”

“He said, ‘It took a President Trump to enunciate a simple basic truth.'”

Yes. Nations can choose their own capitals.

In this case, it looks like God Himself had a multi-millennium plan in selecting the capital city of His chosen people. The U.S. Administration, in 2018, helped to release that dream once again.

“When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed” (Psalm 126:1).

Some followers of Christ don’t believe that the resurrection of the Jewish nation means much to history. They think God has “replaced” the Jews with the Church due to their disobedience over the centuries. This is called replacement theology.

They might be right. It’s the Church that is currently extending God’s Kingdom to the ends of the earth.

But I personally think they’re wrong. Israel’s nationhood and now capital city in Jerusalem is too big a “sign” of God’s reality to overlook or explain away. A dream is being released.

But there’s another.

Korean Dream

On the other side of the world another dream appears to be emerging.

On June 12, 2018, President Donald Trump and his team will sit down with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in Singapore to begin the process of ending the eighty year Korean War, division of the Korean Peninsula, and denuclearizing of the north.

The first news of this stunning breakthrough came when three political prisoners of North Korean gulags saw their dreams answered–thanks to American leadership.

Who are the Americans freed by North Korea?

Kim Dong Chul is a naturalized U.S. citizen born in South Korea, who was seized in North Korea on October 2, 2015 and accused of spying. Though a resident of Virginia – he became an American citizen in 1987 – Kim had lived with his wife in Yanji, China since 2001. He worked just across the North Korean border in Rason-Sonbong where he ran a hotel services company. He was also a pastor. After a one-day trial in April, he was sentenced to 10 years of hard labor for his supposed espionage.

Kim Hak-song, in his mid 50s, was born in Jilin, China, and educated at a university in California. He had been working for the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST), founded by evangelical Christians overseas in 2010, undertaking agricultural work with the school’s farm. He was arrested at a Pyongyang railway station in May 2017 on suspicion of committing “hostile acts” against the government as he was boarding a train headed for Dandong, China.

Kim Sang-duk is a former professor at Yanbian University of Science and Technology in China, close to the Korean border. He was arrested in April 2017 at Pyongyang’s main airport as he tried to leave the country after teaching for several weeks as a guest lecturer. He graduated from the University of California Riverside in 1990 with a master’s degree in business administration and had been involved in relief activities for children in rural parts of North Korea. A source described Kim as a ‘religiously devoted man.’

These three men saw their dreams of freedom realized when they landed at Andrews Air Force base early in the morning of May 10, 2018 and were welcomed home by the Trumps. Tears flowed freely. So did hope for a strategic part of the world.

In you’re an American, ponder this: Imagine that eighty years ago militant thugs took over everything west of the Continental Divide. They killed millions, imprisoned thousands, and cut off all communication with the eastern half of the nation–including families. Over eight decades, everyone in the western U.S. began to starve, while the eastern United States became prosperous.

How would you feel, pray, or dream of change?

That’s what happened to the Korean Peninsula since World War II. A totalitarian “wall” divided a once proud and godly people into slaves and free.

I’m been to South Korea many times, preached in their churches, and prayed for the re-unification of this passionate and vigorous people. As Germany was re-united after the fall of the Iron Curtain, let’s pray that some vestiges of the Bamboo Curtain will be swept away from Korean soil. This remains the dream of the Korean people–and certainly one that comes from the heart of God.

Yes, Jesus is the true Dream Releaser. He died for our sins, longs for our good, and has plans for individual lives and nations (Jeremiah 29:11-14).

As a teacher, during this last third of my life, I find myself being drawn more and more to cheer leading, encouraging, and being a dream releaser of all those who will listen. I want them to know their gifts, find their place in Jesus’ army of love, and help release the dreams of the Trinity upon everyone on Planet Earth.

Are you tracking with that–with Him–to be a dream releaser of others?

Inspire someone today in the cause of world evangelism and the consummation of Christ’s Coming Kingdom.

The New Jerusalem.

The Real Reason for Stormy Daniels

I wanted to title this “The Real Reason for SD” but I thought that some people might think of San Diego, STD’s, or other things–and stop reading.

Honestly, I didn’t want to put an infamous porn star’s name in the headline because I don’t believe she deserves this fleeting moment of fame.

Yet, she’s getting it because her emergence seems to be a primary strategy of the Democratic Party/mainstream media to bring down a sitting U.S. president and influence the 2018 elections. They must not have other issues to run on.

There are many reasons that SD is in the news. But, I’ve not seen one article on the real reason.

Here it is.

First of all, a little confession, but before that, a definition.

I did a Google search on the word pornography and they varied. Then I hauled out my huge Webster’s original 1828 Dictionary–a go-to-source for the proper meanings of words. “Pornography” wasn’t listed. Guess it wasn’t much of a problem then.

Finally I found an Oxford Dictionary definition that seemed accurate:

Pornography: noun. “Printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate sexual excitement.” (Origin: Mid 19th century: from Greek pornographos ‘writing about prostitutes’, from pornē ‘prostitute’ + graphein ‘write’.)

So, pornography literally means “writing about prostitutes.”

Keep that in mind.

Now to my confession. I have looked at pornography once in my life. When I was a young teenager, I remember a classmate giving me a magazine behind an abandoned house one afternoon. The cover displayed a fully exposed woman in a grotesque pose.

I remember being intrigued, but utterly disgusted at what I saw. Growing up with no sisters, I really didn’t have a concept of female “plumbing” and what it looked like. So that was interesting. But overall, I felt like throwing up. It didn’t seem right for my young eyes.

Fast forward  fifty years. During these decades, I have faced the normal male temptation to look at pretty woman in low cut blouses or bathing suits and “admire their beauty” (tongue-in-cheek). Most often, I’ve learned to look away or click away from the web-sites after conviction from the Holy Spirit.

I’ve never looked at Internet porn or a magazine since my youthful surprise. I give God all the glory for any degree of victory I’ve achieved. Pursuing my own will, I’d be as debauched as any man alive.

Which brings back the topic of current porn star–SD–who is becoming a household name.

She allegedly had an affair with Donald Trump over a decade ago, signed a NDI (non-disclosure agreement), was paid $130,000 to not tarnish his reputation, subsequently broke the agreement–and now is being used to tilt the fall elections toward the Democrats so that the president can be impeached. Donald Trump denies the affair. (Only God and a few others know the truth.)

A number of reasons exist for SD. (Life has different levels.)

  • The pursuit of fame and fortune–both of which she’s getting. (A friend believes her lawyer is being paid millions by nefarious groups to keep her story on the front pages through November.)
  • Affecting the mid-term elections–already mentioned. The Republicans tried to do the same thing with Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinski in 1996. Their strategy failed.
  • If the affair is true, maybe God is trying to use it to humble Donald Trump (who was married to Melania at the time). You reap what you sow.

But, there’s a much bigger reason why SD debuted with George Stephanopoulos, gave all the gory details (true or untrue) during numerous interviews, and appeared this past weekend on Saturday Night Live  to the cheers of the audience.

Here is the primary reason for SD:

To mainstream and legitimize pornography.

This is not SD’s motive or those wanting to sway elections. It is the motivation of the demonic world to destroy human lives through the perversion of the beautiful God-given gift of sex within the confines of marriage. The demons have been winning this battle in our culture for decades.

Here’s the back-drop.

Many years ago, I noticed in the Old Testament that though all sins are equal in their motive (selfish and lawless), they are not equal in their ramifications or consequences. In fact, the teaching of the Bible and human history is that deviating from God’s wise boundaries of a man and woman experiencing sexual love in marriage is extremely hurtful and destructive.

That’s why the Old Testament elevates sexual sins above some others. Just peruse chapters such as Leviticus 18 or 20 and you will get the picture.  Sexual sin is bad.  It hurts and defiles people.  That’s why God told the nation of Israel to hate it, avoid it, and legislate against it.

God does not want human beings to suffer the dreadful consequences of perverting his beautiful gift of sex.

Enter the 1950s. The world had just experienced two dreadful wars in which a total of 76 million people died (16M in World War I and 60M in World War II). That was about 4% of world population at the time. Millions more were wounded, displaced, some nations reduced to rubble, with psychological damage unfathomable.

Out of that devastation, a time of calm prevailed in the Western nations where GIs came back from the war, got married, had kids and begun to live more “normal” lives. At the time, a strong Judeo-Christian world view coupled with an evangelical awakening led by Billy Graham and others gave credence to biblical norms in sexual activity.

Most men and women married. Fornication and adultery were generally frowned upon. Homosexuality, incest, and pedophilia remained taboo.  The Baby Boom generation–now the second largest generation in American history–were about to arrive. I was one of them, born into a normal, religious home in 1953. Those were the days of “Leave It to Beaver,” “Ozzie and Harriet,” and “Father Knows Best.”

That would all crumble in the late fifties through seventies when I graduated from high school.

The change seemed to start in Hollywood and the music scene. Famous actors and musicians began to sleep around. Stars like Elvis Presley,  the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and others encouraged the young generation to rebel against the old, traditional (and biblical ways). The rebellion appeared to be against God, various authority figures, and sexual norms.

I remember the mini-skirts rising, the pot and sex parties, Woodstock, Playboy, and on and on it went.  A new world was being created where sex was simply my desire for you, baby, to “Light My Fire.”

This was the plan: Over the past five decades, the Devil has mainstreamed fornication, adultery, and homosexuality–destroying millions of lives. All of these distortions of sexual love hurt our minds, hearts, marriages, families, children, and society as a whole.

Along comes SD to make some fame and fortune, influence an election etc. But the MAIN reason behind her notoriety is the demonic world wanting to make pornography appear normal, healthy, even exciting–so it can destroy more lives.

Don’t be lulled to sleep. Here’s the truth about SD and porn.

SD is a media prostitute who’s flaunted dirty, shameful sex with countless men to lure millions of others into sin. She’s being used by the demonic world is to obliterate the moral consensus of the West to destroy its blessings and fruitfulness.

Pornography is ugly, cheap, lecherous, dirty, horrible and defiling. Everything my eyes and heart told me fifty years ago when glimpsing a porn magazine proved true. Porn and its purveyors must never be “applauded,”  interviewed, or lusted after.

Porn destroys people.

Don’t be lulled to sleep. You don’t need the  “writing of prostitutes” or visualizing either. Resist becoming the boiling frog in the kettle.

On the grace side, pray for SD and others to be rescued from their sins. Regarding holy living, “flee immorality” as the Bible clearly commands (1 Corinthians 6:18). C’mon men. Look away and help start a new sexual purity revolution!

Don’t be numbed, tempted or seduced by the stardom of SD.

You now know the real reason she appeared.