Second-Class Displays | Brannon Howse

At the request of one of my readers, I am publishing this article written by Brannon Howse. As usual, Mr. Howse has great insight. This article partially fits with my post on Christians as Second-Class Citizens. Enjoy!
Recently Brandi Chambless was told by a Bartlett, Tennessee branch library staff member that she could not use a public shelf to display a Nativity scene along with an announcement about a Christmas concert at Broadmoor Baptist Church. The shelf is open to the public for advertising upcoming community activities. The library official told Brandi that a donkey, sheep and other farm animals, along with a Shepherd boy, could be displayed but the Wise men; Joseph, Mary and the Baby Jesus were inappropriate “religious figures” and must be removed. The library official cited a written policy that does not allow any display in the library that was religious. This policy of the Memphis-Shelby County Libraries deems “any item which promotes a particular religion or sectarian religious belief” to be unacceptable for display in the library. If this is truly the policy of the Memphis-Shelby County Library then they need to remove every book and resource from every shelf and leave them completely and totally empty. Why? Because Webster’s dictionary, on the shelves of their library, defines a religion as "a collection of beliefs", therefore, every book in the Memphis Library system is promoting someone’s religion. We can thank the wisdom of the Mayor of Bartlett for over-ruling the Memphis-Shelby County library’s ridiculous policy. However, this incident brings to light the need for our local libraries to be influenced by the community and not the liberal American Library Association of which the Memphis libraries are members. The American Library Association has a long history of being hostile to Christian values including suing to stop the enforcement of a federal law that would withhold federal funds from any library or school that does not filter internet pornography from children. Judith Krug, of the American Library Association, bemoaned internet filtering software for libraries saying, “blocking material leads to censorship. That goes for pornography and bestiality too. If you don’t like it, don’t look at it.” Well, two can play that game; if the Nativity scene at the library offends you then don’t look at it. I'm Brannon Howse.
Brannon Howse Brannon Howse is the president and director of Worldview Weekend, a family-centered ministry dedicated to helping Christians think and live like Christians. In Him, David S. MacMillan III

The Star of Bethlehem

Star of BethlehemThe Star of Bethlehem has been laying quite heavy on my mind lately, as evidenced by my recent series, The Rising of Immanuel. As I read over accounts of Christ's birth, I come to wonder why those people alive at that time who saw the star shining every night took no heed of it. It is possible, of course, that the star was visible only to a few, similar to the instance in Acts 9 when Christ appeared visibly to Saul (later Paul) but not to those with him. But I believe the answer goes deeper. Consider this for a moment from the perspective of a long-time resident of Bethlehem. You have seen wars won and wars lost, Messiah wannabes cropping up right and left, and a host of "sensational" rumors quickly proven to be nothing but. Now a bright star makes it hard to sleep at night, and the news is spreading around town that the Messiah has been born. So what? You have better things to do. The Bible says that the Magi or Magoi followed the star all the way from Persia. In this case, it was visible not only in Bethlehem but for hundreds of miles around; a beacon of light for the entire world to see. Yet there is no record of anyone other than these Persian kings inquiring as to the meaning of this star. Indeed, Herod had to ask the Magoi when the star had first appeared. It seems that intense apathy reigned in the hearts of the men of that time. Intense apathy to be sure. It would require an extreme disinterest to totally ignore such an awe-commanding signal of the Messiah's coming. Paul "sheds some light" on this subject in his second letter to the churches in Corinth:
"But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." 2 Corinthians 4:3,4,6
The god of this age. It is the policy of our God to bring hidden things to light, to reveal mysteries, and to shine the Truth wherever confusion is found. 1 Corinthians 14:33 says that "God is not the author of confusion but of peace." But the devil has a different plan. He learned early that rank insubordination was never a good idea; this got him thrown from God's presence in the first place. When he approached Eve in the Garden of Eden, he deceived her before instigating her to rebellion against God. He is one who desires confusion and strife, not understanding. 2 Peter 3 declares that the ungodly "willfully forget" that which would do them good, since they walk after their own lusts. This is what the devil wants most of all: a spirit of intense apathy so that even if people know the Truth, they will not receive it. So how shall we then live? It is our responsibility to shine the Light of Christ in this dying world, piercing the darkness of the apathy that enshrounds our culture and our world today. In Him, David S. MacMillan III


The Rising of Immanuel, Part 2

Please read The Rising of Immanuel, Part 1 before reading Part 2.

"A sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red serpent. This great dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter." Revelation 12:1-5
The Magoi knew that the appearance of the Virgin, the Lion of Judah, and the Serpent, all appearing on the eastern horizon, signaled the birth of the prophesied King. The King that would rule the nations with a rod of iron. And as they gazed on the brilliant star shining over the east, they knew they had to see this great sight for themselves. Almost a thousand miles away, in the tiny town of Bethlehem, shepherds gathered around a smelly cave in the side of the mountains. Above their heads a brilliant light made the night around them brighter than noonday. Inside the cave, surrounded by livestock, manure, and dirty hay, a man and his wife huddled around a feeding trough that contained a child wrapped in cloth used to clean newborn lambs. Remembering the awesome display of the angelic host a few minutes before, the shepherds were amazed at the relative simplicity of this heaven-announced birth. They fell to their knees and worshipped.

The Magoi had long since set out on their journey. And what a host they had with them! Each of the astronomers rode a mighty Persian elephant, guarded by a troop of mounted archers, the finest warriors in the Parthian military. Each of these in turn had an entourage of servants and slaves. This mighty caravan, exemplifying the strength of the East, numbered over a thousand. Over a year later, the Magoi and their troop neared the Judean border. Sentries guarding outposts sent couriers galloping to the palace of king Herod in Jerusalem. A young messenger made his way through the flanks of Roman legionnaires posted at the entrance to the chambers of Herod. "Personal message of highest import for the king. Personal message of highest import for the king." These words cleared the way as the young man entered the presence of the wrathful king. "Your majesty, our outposts have detected a vast Parthian army headed toward this city. Over a thousand of them, sir." Herod gnawed his lip in anger. The Parthian mounted archers were famous across the known world for their decisive tactics. The stiff, powerful ranks of the Roman legions had no defense against the volleys of lethal arrows rained down by the swift horsemen. "Send out a strong mounted skirmishing party under a flag of truce. If they come in peace, bring their leaders here. If not, turn out the Legions. All of them. That will be all." Herod terribly feared an overthrow of his precarious throne. He was an Edomite, and though the Jews were his distant cousins they hated each other bitterly. Who might know if the Parthian war horde would trigger another Jewish militia movement? The fearful king gritted his teeth in rage.

Atop his gigantic elephant, the leader of the Magoi spotted a group of armed horsemen coming toward them. "Emissaries from the Judeans, no doubt, coming to welcome those who would worship the newborn prince. Send out a truce party."

The small group of Magoi stood in the palace of Herod. "Where is the newborn King of the Jews?" asked their leader. "We have seen His star from the East, and we have come to worship Him." Although relieved to find that the Parthian army came for a peaceful purpose, Herod was greatly troubled by rumors that a king had just been born. He sent for the temple priests. "Where is the Messiah to be born?" the king demanded. "In Bethlehem of Judea, sir. The prophet Micah said His birthplace would be there."
"But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel." Micah 5:2
Herod, after telling the Magoi that Bethlehem was the birthplace of the new King, inquired when the star had first appeared. "We first saw the star over 15 months ago. We have come as fast as we could travel." "Well," replied the king cordially, "come back to my palace after you have found him. I would like to worship him as well." The Magoi left Jerusalem with an uneasy feeling. How would it be that the king would not know immediately where the newborn Prince was? Then they saw it. The star, brighter than ever, lit the way to the north. The Magoi set off at a gallop, their hearts ablaze. Finally, they would see the King.

"The kings of Tarshish and of distant shores will bring tribute to Him; the kings of Sheba and Seba will present Him gifts. Yes, kings shall worship Him." Psalm 72:10,11
On December 25th, 2 BC, the contingent of Persian astronomers with their vast cohort of bodyguards and servants galloped into the small hamlet of Bethlehem in Judea. The people of Bethlehem had grown accustomed to the brilliant light that shone over the slums in their city. When the shutters of their homes were closed, it was still as dark as ever. The Magoi rode straight to the home of Joseph Barjacob. Dismounting from their elephants, the men walked into the home of the boy Jesus and laid a fortune in Oriental spices and gold at His feet.

"A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more." Jeremiah 31:15
Herod gnawed his beard in rage. His spies had just brought word to him that the Parthian Magoi had departed from the land of Judea without coming back or telling him who the upstart king was. He barked an order to one of his men. "Kill them all!" "Kill whom, sir?" the orderly asked in confusion. "All of them!" the king howled. "Kill every male toddler in Bethlehem tonight!" "But sir, my family is in Beth--" The soldier dodged as a jewel-studded scepter flew past his head and crashed against a suit of armor on the wall. Herod leapt from his seat, clutching his sword. His face was livid. "Kill them!" the king screamed, the veins standing out on his throat.

Joseph, having been told in a dream to take his wife and son to Egypt, left that very night. Just minutes later, Herod's troops swept through the town, killing every male child they could find.

". . . out of Egypt I called my Son." Hosea 11:1
A few years later, Joseph left Egypt with Mary and the boy Jesus, and traveled to Nazareth to set up a carpentry shop with the last of the money left by the Magoi.
In Him, D3


The Rising of Immanuel, Part 1

"The Gentiles shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising." Isaiah 60:3 "there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Scepter shall rise out of Israel," Numbers 24:17
2007 years ago today a contingent of Persian astronomers with a vast cohort of bodyguards and servants paid a surprise visit to the small hamlet of Bethlehem in Judea. Why would these dignitaries visit tiny Bethlehem? The answer spans eternity.

"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the skies show His workmanship." Psalm 19:1 "God said, 'Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky, and let them serve as signs. . . ." Genesis 1:14
When the temple of Solomon was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, many young, bright Jewish men were taken captive to Babylon to be educated in the ways of the Babylonians. One of these young men was Daniel. But Daniel found favor with God. He quickly rose to become one of the king's advisors. After one episode, when God revealed to him a dream that the king had dreamt, Daniel was elevated further to the position of chief advisor and wise man. It was here that he no doubt began to educate the soothsayers, astrologers, and wise men of Babylon in the ways of the one true God. As time passed, Babylon fell before the Medo-Persian Empire. But Daniel retained his position as an influential leader in the new regime, and continued to work with the pagan astrologers. It was here that he taught them that although the stars do not control us, our God controls the stars.

"A sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red serpent. This dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter." Revelation 12:1-5
In early September of the year 3 BC, a group of Parthian 'kingmakers' stood in a tower overlooking their citadel. These men had a reputation for their ability to predict when a king would be born based on the stars. This gained them their title, 'kingmakers', or in the native Persian, "Magoi". The skeptics in the kingdom no doubt noticed that those marked for kingship by the Magoi usually rose to power because of this distinction, not the other way around. But through the reputation carried over from the days of the great prophet Daniel, these Magoi still held sway over the public policy of the Parthian empire. On this night, aides ran frantically to and fro making measurements and sighting the stars carefully. Near the top of the tower, several of the head Magoi conversed quietly. "The 'little king', Regulus, has lined up with Jupiter, the 'ruler of kings', for weeks now. And Regulus is the lead star in the Lion of Judah that Daniel spoke of." The Israelites used the constellations to represent the twelve tribes of Israel and told the story of the Torah using the skies. The lion we know as Leo they named the Lion of Judah. Having been well schooled by Daniel, the Magoi were quite aware of this. "What I am more interested in is that our view of Judah has just been obscured by the Virgin," said the leader of the small band. "And she is lying due east, next to the sun's rising. The Serpent has hung below this whole structure for a few days now." Yet another of the Magoi nodded, tugging his flowing white beard. "If my predictions are right, the sun will be at the hip of the Virgin and the moon at her feet tomorrow morning. And it appears that the Lion, with Jupiter, will pass from the sun to the moon at the same time." A wizened old man in the corner straightened up. "Remember what was taught us. A virgin shall conceive and bear a son. His name will be called 'God with us'. Immanuel." The first speaker, now excited, assented. "A scepter will rise out of Israel." The leader stopped the conversation by slowly rising. "It is the Sign." The group stood and spoke in unison. "It is the Sign." The next night, the group stood gazing to the east from the top of the tower. "The sun will rise in a few moments," whispered the youngest of the Magoi. As the first rays of our nearest star broke the horizon, clothing the Virgin in golden light, the leader spoke. "Look there! The Virgin gives birth!" The men watched as the Lion of Judah with Jupiter at its head came from behind the moon and out from the feet of the Virgin. They gasped in awe as a brilliant light lit up the sky to the east. It looked so small and far away, but it gave off such light. And it was so clear, the men felt as though they could reach out from their tower and touch it.

"Now there were in [Bethlehem] shepherds living out in the fields. And behold, the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid." Luke 2:8,9
In Him, D3 UPDATE: click here to read Part 2!


Christ is the Season!

My father and I created a slide show for our church's Sunday service showing just a few of the many prophecies fulfilled by Jesus Christ. The presentation is very effective, if I do say so myself. The presentation uses Microsoft PowerPoint. Click here to download a free PowerPoint viewer if you do not have PowerPoint on your computer. To view the presentation, click here. The file is about 5 megabytes, so it will take a few moments to load. Once you have clicked the link and the new window has opened, do not touch the computer; just allow it to play. Be sure to have your speakers turned up! In Him, D3

Offensive ******mas Carols

As I was surfing the web a few days ago, I came across an article written by Spunky Junior. A group of public schooled students, offended by the many references to the first Advent of Christ in the traditional carol "Silent Night", have created their own version:
Cold in the night, no one in sight, winter winds whirl and bite, how I wish I were happy and warm, safe with my family out of the storm.
Even though I am personally unoffended by references to Christ, I applaud these students for their unflinching tenacity in not tolerating things that offend them. I also have a carol that contains words offensive to me. The verse in the popular "Jingle Bells" contains references to horses and snow simultaneously. This is something that I simply cannot stomach, as I have had past bad experiences with both equestrian mammals and snow. So I have exercised my freedoms as well and composed my own variation:
Dashing through the dirt On a pair of broken skis Flying through the woods Bouncing off of trees Then ahead I see A skier's greatest fear Off the cliff with a hi-de-ho My last jump of the year Oh, Jingle Bells As I fell Whistling through the air Landing in a briar patch But no one even cared Oh, Jingle Bells Now I tell Why I never ski Since that day I've had no way To stand on my own two feet.
Never allow yourself to be offended! In Him, D3 [Disclaimer: the above statements are primarily satirical in nature.]

Bad Blogger . . . again

I heartily apologize for my lack of blogging over the past few weeks. Busy, busy, busy. Hopefully I will be able to step it up over this Advent Season. I have just set up an account with NE1.net. This allows me to have a fastlink to my website. Now, if you type "www.standonbible.r8.org" into your browser, or create a link to it, it will automatically forward you to this site. On a final note, my blog has been nominated in several categories at Homeschool Blog Awards 2005. Vote for me! Merry Christmas! In Him, D3


We're Second-Class Citizens!

In our nation's history, those with darker skin were once relegated to the position of second-class. But today, a whole new group of "second-class citizens" is creeping to the forefront. Who is this group? They are us. I am, as most of you know or can easily discover, a light-skinned, Christian, conservative, "straight", and male. For the liberals, these are 5 strikes against me. The Civil Rights movement, composed of the feminists and the anti-racism group, denounced the maltreatment of minorities for years -- and rightly so! But now, it has been hijacked; the anti-racism groups by the "sodomy rights" movement and feminist groups by the "reproductive rights" agenda. Instead of promoting equal rights for minority groups, the liberals want . . . special privileges. But not just for any minorities. No, in order to get special privileges and consideration, you must be an "approved minority". I am a minority in several ways; for example, I am partly Jewish and I am homeschooled. But homeschoolers are not an approved minority, because the vast majority of homeschooling families teach conservative, traditional values. And that is a ticket away from approval by the liberal left. There are just a few prerequisites for being a minority that gets special treatment. Besides the normal minorities that no one would dream of flaunting (blacks, women, etc.), or you must live a lifestyle and hold beliefs that conflict with a traditional Judeo-Christian worldview. It is really quite simple. Gays? Sure, you get in. Not only do you get the approved minority stamp, but we will allow you to practice criminal sodomy under the auspices of "equal rights". Yes, we know that it is special, unequal rights, not equal ones, but the government does not need to know that. National Organization for Women? Certainly. Never mind the fact that you push for the wanton killing of millions of innocents yearly. It doesn't matter that those in support of abortion are not really a minority; after all it conflicts with a traditional worldview, so you get extra rights . . . to murder. You want same-sex cohabitation, and you want the government to call it marriage? Certainly. This disagrees with the Bible and with Christian morals, so you get in! We are giving you the extra right to "marry" outside the definition of marriage, but we can just call it "equal rights" and slide you in. I have nothing against true minorities. But I have a definite problem with people breaking God's law and calling it a new minority! "We must be tolerant!" they say. Sure, sure, sure. Then why does your tolerance stop when I stand on God's Word? Today, if we do not somehow demonstrate that we are opposed to God's Word and want license to sin, we are relegated to the position of second-class citizen.
"Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God." (John 3:19b-21)
In Him, D3


Breaking News On Wednesday, a Federal District judge ruled that prayers in the Indiana Legislature can no longer "advance a particular faith", specifically declaring that the name of Jesus Christ cannot be mentioned. This, on the basis that such prayers would constitute a "government endorsement of a particular religion" and thus violate the Establishment clause of the 1st Amendment. Indiana Capitol BuildingHistorically, almost every state has allowed legislatural prayers that invoke our nation's Christian heritage. The Constitution of Indiana begins with thanks to God:
". . . WE, the People of the State of Indiana, grateful to ALMIGHTY GOD for the free exercise of the right to choose our own form of government, do ordain this Constitution."
Obviously, such a ruling as this one is in direct opposition to the written documentation of Indiana. But the ego and antichristian bias of the federal judges knows no bounds. To read more on this story, click here. In Him, D3