What is the value of your soul? Don’t miss this 28-minute video! Three lives search for true worth as their worlds crumble. Follow their unexpected journeys as Franklin Graham addresses the real value of the soul. Just click on the link below or copy/paste into the address block on your Internet browser.
This time of year “Happy New Year” is everywhere. The greeting is repeated so often, it almost seems as if it is on autopilot. The New Year is celebrated with parties, prayers, parades, and football games. But how can we assure happiness in the New Year?
Happiness is often equated with momentary or short-term excitement. “My favorite team won the Super Bowl!” “I got an ‘A’ in chemistry!” “She said ‘YES!’” There is no doubt about it; everyone enjoys that type of feel-good excitement. But it is based on emotion; it does not last. No one can live on a perpetually emotional high.
In contrast, a lifetime of long-term happiness has deeper spiritual roots that provide the support to withstand life’s challenges and hardships as well as celebrate the victories. That dimension of happiness reflects an inner joy anchored in a robust faith in God. Ever since Adam and Eve were evicted from the Garden of Eden for disobeying God, every life has experienced occasional or sometimes long-term suffering. But a robust faith provides a clear vision of the light at the end of the tunnel and an appreciation of the character building opportunities associated with the hardships. The inner joy may be severely challenged but remains secure despite the pain.
Although my late wife never suffered any real physical pain, she did endure the progressive loss of physical mobility and mental capacity. Did her suffering have a purpose? Absolutely! Her experience dramatically and permanently changed my life and has had a rapidly expanding rippling effect on everyone with whom I come in contact. I explained to a rather large crowd at her memorial service that she and God gave me one of the greatest gifts I have ever received—the wonderful and glorious gift of tears. As a man, an engineer trained in logic, and the product of a rather stoic family, where there was not much room for a manly expression of tears. But the wonderful and glorious gift of tears stirred by seven years of accommodating her progressive loss opened up to me whole new realms of life experience both emotionally and spiritually that were not previously available. I became much more sensitive to the needs of disabled people and virtually everyone else as well. Her experience also contributed greatly to the motivation to write a book.
Here’s the deal: Ultimately, happiness is the result of living a virtuous life. How boring is that? Actually, a virtuous life is not boring at all; it is very rich, satisfying, and happy. During George Washington’s First Inaugural Address, he emphasized, “…there is no truth more thoroughly established, than that there exists…an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness…” To President Washington, the link between “goodness and happiness” was plain and inescapable.” Further, Noah Webster found that, “If a republican government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the divine commands, and elect bad man to make and administer the laws.” A life based on virtues anchored deeply in the soul produces goodness of choices and actions that ignite a happy and joyful spirit within an individual and ultimately across cultures.
Happy New Year to YOU!
After being banned from Egypt, Moses barely survives a devastating trek across the desert wilderness. He is rescued by a group of shepherd girls, daughters of Jethro, a Midianite priest. Just before their marriage, one of the girls, Sephora [Yvonne De Carlo] profoundly compares traditional and secular values for Moses [Charlton Heston]. Moses has just described an Egyptian woman looking “as beautiful as a jewel.”
Sephora: “A jewel has brilliance, but gives no warmth.
- Our hands are not so soft but they can serve.
- Our bodies are not so white, but they are strong.
- Our lips are not perfumed, but they speak the truth.
- Love is not an art to us; it is life to us.
- We are not dressed in gold and fine linen; strength and honor are our clothing.
- Our tents are not the columned halls of Egypt, but our children play happily before them.
- We can offer you little, but we offer all we have.”
Moses: “I have not little, Sephora; I have nothing.”
Sephora: “Nothing from some is more than gold from others.”
The conversation between Sephora (Greek form of Zipporah) and Moses just prior to their wedding is a clear contrast between:
- traditional Biblical values, focusing on strong character and serving others (overcoming pride), and
- secular values that recognize little significance in character and seeks to serve self (feeding pride and magnifying materialism).
Which would you marry? …the wealthy and materialistic, but shallow and self-centered Egyptian girl or the shepherd girl who understands the importance of virtue and strong character and is committed to a life of loving (serving) others.
- Traditional Biblical values emerge from the wholeness of one’s soul as a conduit for God’s enduring love.
- Evolution-rooted secular values, failing to recognize the reality of a spirit and limiting emotional considerations to Hedonistic highs/lows, emerge from primarily intellectual utilitarian considerations. The latter is a humanistic deification of man, based on the assumption that evolution has reached its highest current level in the human reasoning.
Which would you choose? “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Nearly all Americans (93%) celebrate Christmas. Only an extremely tiny minority would object to the greeting, “Merry Christmas,” a cherry greeting roughly equivalent to, “I love you,” Yet, political correctness, championed by the liberal/progressive movement, has effectively eliminated the Merry Christmas greeting from public life as well as nativity scenes and other symbols of Christmas.
In contrast, consider what three nationally-known Jewish leaders have to say about Christmas celebrations:
Burt Prelutsky, a Jewish columnist for a number of national publications, declares:
I never thought I’d live to see the day that Christmas would become a dirty word. . . . How is it, one well might ask, that in a Christian nation this is happening? . . . Speaking as a member of a minority group – and one of the smaller ones at that – I say it behooves those of us who don’t accept Jesus Christ as our savior to show some gratitude to those who do, and to start respecting the values and traditions of the overwhelming majority of our fellow citizens, just as we keep insisting that they respect ours. Merry Christmas, my friends!
Orthodox Jewish Rabbi Daniel Lapin agrees:
Secular fundamentalism has successfully injected into American culture the notion that the word “Christmas” is deeply offensive. . . . Anti-Christianism is unhealthy for all Americans; but I warn my brethren that it will prove particularly destructive for Jews. . . . Let us all go out of our way to wish our many wonderful Christian friends – a very merry Christmas. Just remember, America’s Bible belt is our safety belt.
Orthodox Jewish radio host and creator of PragerUniversity.com Dennis Prager writes:
As a Jew, and a religious one at that, I want to wish my fellow Americans a Merry Christmas. Not “Happy Holidays.” Merry Christmas…
It doesn’t matter with which religion or ethnic group you identify; Christmas in America is as American as the proverbial apple pie. That is why some of the most famous and beloved Christmas songs were written by guess who? Jews.
- White Christmas—Irving Berlin
- Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer—Johnny Marks
- Let It Snow! Let It snow! Let It Snow!—July Styne/Sammy Cahn
- Silver Bells—Jay Livingston/Ray Evans
- The Christmas Song (Chestnuts roasting on an Open Fire—Mel Torme/Robert Wells
- Sleigh ride-–Mitchell Parish
and many others.
The notion that non-Christians are excluded is absurd.
It never occurred to my Orthodox Jewish family not to enjoy this season. It was a tradition in our home to watch the Christmas Mass from the Vatican every Christmas Eve…Had you visited our home, you would have seen my mother—and my father, my brother and I all wearing our kippot (Jewish skull-caps)—watching Catholics celebrate Christmas…
So when and why did this pernicious nonsense of non-Christians being “excluded” by public celebration of Christmas develop?
It is nothing more than another destructive product of the 1960s and 1970s, when the left came to dominate much of the culture.
There you have it! Say “Merry Christmas” everywhere; say it again and again and again. Say Merry Christmas with love every time. Saying it mechanically, without love betrays the greeting and the Lord.
So—Spread the Deliberate Joy; spread the merriment. After all, love is contagious. And—don’t forget the reason for the season!
Blogging YOU the warmest and merriest Christmas ever!
The first two quotes were abstracted from http://www.wallbuilders.com. The third quote is from wnd.com magazine, Whistleblower, “Of Messiahs False and True,” December 2014.
The short answer? No! Throughout the 1950s, there were a number of highly successful Biblical epics made by Hollywood. The most spectacular was Cecil B. DeMille’s, The Ten Commandments. After a very long hiatus, the spectacular success of The Passion of the Christ renewed Hollywood’s interest in Bible-based movies. Recently, a movie called Noah was released and another, Exodus: Gods and Kings is nearing release. Both were made by directors who claim to be atheist or agnostic. Let’s Compare.
At the beginning of the movie, The Ten Commandments, director Cecil B. DeMille did something remarkable. He walked out on a stage to preface the movie with a few heartfelt comments:
Ladies and Gentlemen; young and old; this may seem an unusual procedure, speaking to you before the picture begins, but we have an unusual subject: the story of the birth of freedom; the story of Moses. As many of you know the Holy Bible omits some thirty years of Moses’ life, from the time that he was a three- month old baby and was found in the bull rushes by Bithiah the daughter of Pharaoh and adopted into the court of Egypt until he learned that he was Hebrew and killed the Egyptian. To fill in those missing years, we turn to ancient historians such as Philo and Josephus. Philo wrote at the time that Jesus of Nazareth walked the earth; Josephus wrote some fifty years later and watched the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. These historians had access to documents long since destroyed or perhaps lost like the Dead Sea Scrolls. The theme of this picture is whether men ought to be ruled by God’s laws or whether they are to be ruled by the whims of a dictator like Rameses. Are men the property of the State or are they free souls under God? This same battle continues throughout the world today. Our intention was not to create a story, but to be worthy of the divinely inspired story created 3,000 years ago in the five books of Moses.
DeMille’s understanding of the importance of God’s laws was further clarified in the souvenir book distributed along with the movie:
The Ten Commandments are not rules to obey as a personal favor to God. They are fundamental principles without which mankind cannot live together—THE TEN COMMANDMENTS are not laws. They are THE LAW. Man has made 32,000,000 laws since they were handed down to Moses on Mount Sinai more than three thousand years ago, but he has never improved on God’s law.
The movie was clearly DeMille’s labor of love.
In contrast, a movie entitled Noah, about the Biblical worldwide flood was recently released. The director, Darren Aronofsky, is a self-proclaimed atheist. He departed widely from the Biblical account portraying Noah as the first great environmentalist and not mentioning God at all despite over ten references to God in the original. Another movie, Exodus: Gods and Kings is nearing release. The director Ridley Scott, is a self-acknowledged agnostic. Christian Bale the leading man has on separate occasions referred to Moses as schizophrenic and a terrorist. Scott’s rendering has God speaking to Moses through an angry child, rather than the burning bush and at least a few supernatural events, such as the Nile River turning to blood, are explained in natural terms. In the case of the Nile, a non-Biblical plague of crocodiles feeds on people whose blood turns the river red.
Can an evolution-driven humanistic director possibly make a God-honoring movie when he disavows the existence of God? The Ten Commandments was made to glorify God; the modern depictions of Noah and Exodus: Gods and Kings were made to glorify Hollywood and the creativity of man. Cecil B. DeMille felt morally and spiritual bound to present Biblical history as accurately and respectfully as possible. Aronofsky and Scott claim no such allegiance. To them, the Biblical “stories” are merely a starting point. They feel free to depart from Scripture as often and as widely as they choose to achieve their goal of an agenda-filled entertaining movie. The state-of-the-art is such that the modern movies can be wildly entertaining but at what price?
Flashback! For decades preceding World War II, Hollywood elites were fascinated supporters of Joseph Stalin and communism in general. The pre-war communist influence in Hollywood has been well documented. At that time, American Communist Party leader Earl Browder discouraged the making of propaganda films. Instead, he encouraged movie makers to slip in “a drop of progressive thought” in regular movies, about five minutes in each movie. In the decades since WWII, Hollywood continued and still does have a love affair with socialism, which is communism-lite. The agendas in Noah and Exodus: Gods and Kings are clear. Despite the entertaining nature of the movies, the makers want to discredit Judo-Christian tradition by displacing it with humanist values and goals.
In 1956, Cecil B. DeMille billed his movie, The Ten Commandments, as the story of “the birth of freedom.” It was the story of the Moses-led exodus of the ancient Israelites, following 400 years of slavery in Egypt. Many centuries after the Hebrews were freed from Egyptian bondage, that God-given freedom was codified successively in the Magna Carta (1215), the Mayflower Compact (1620), the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut (1639) and the Constitution of the United States (1787).
It is difficult to avoid billboards. But YOU get to choose movie, television, and Internet experiences. All are powerful art forms, powerful because they reach the depths of the soul branding an imprint in a powerful and lasting way. No art form is neutral; it will either lift the soul toward God or drag the soul down. There is no movie, television show, or Internet experience that is just entertainment and nothing else. Even if the art form does not have an explicit agenda, it absolutely does reflect the worldview of its creator. As they say in the radio editorials, “That’s our view; we welcome yours.”