What Foundation Are We Laying?
Heart to Heart

What Foundation Are We Laying?
by Candy Summers

Our Spirits Grieved

 While I was writing this issue’s article on our trip out west, a flood of emotions came over me, as I relived the wonderful time we shared with our friends, the Hamres, and with each other and the deep sense of awe I felt for our heavenly Father when I recalled the majestic mountains He had created. Yet the overriding emotion that continued to plague my spirit was one of deep distress due to reliving the spiritual grief Jon and I experienced.
 For although we greatly enjoyed those two weeks, Jon and I were so spiritually disturbed that Jon even considered turning back and going home after our first week. However, because of our desire to show our children the Grand Canyon, we kept on going. For in spite of the fact that we were greatly enjoying each other and the beautiful scenery, we actually wanted to take flight because of the overpowering presence of other gods. And indeed, everywhere we went, we could feel the spirits of the Indians, the fortune seekers, and the New Age worshippers who were lawlessly living in the land God had created.
 So even though I have always loved the history and romance of the West—I guess because I love open spaces, mountains, trees, horses, cattle, the wilderness, and John Wayne—when I started reading all the information I brought with us on the people who settled the West (Indians, Spaniards, miners, prospectors, outlaws, and all the independent souls who cut their family ties to seek their own way), I realized just how wild the West really was, and for me, it lost some of its shine. Yet taking things into perspective of God’s overall plan, this experience clearly demonstrates the beauty and blessing of homeschooling, that in the process of teaching our own children, we, too, learn the truth about all things.
 For quite frankly, since most of us received a very humanistic education, we come to homeschooling with some very perverted ideas about most everything. And it isn’t until we start studying God’s Word in depth and the truth about history that we realize just how perverted our thinking really is and how desperately we need God’s truth. As I always say, homeschooling truly is our second chance to get it right.
 So here in the West where I hoped to find cattle drives, ranches, and cowboys (which I found), I also discovered the sad truth about the people who settled the West and the legacy of its founding fathers, which still lives on, long after their departure. It isn’t that we are sorry for taking the children out west. We wanted them to see the magnificent beauty that God created there. And it isn’t that we are sorry for what we discovered, for if we had not studied in more depth the facts about the people who settled there, we would have missed a wonderful teaching opportunity to impart the valuable lesson that the foundation that each of us lays now will absolutely affect generations into the far future. And that was the message of Jon’s teaching on the beginning of Genesis 19 on Friday, July 30, 2004 as he encouraged our fathers to examine the foundation they were laying for their families.
 Genesis 19 is the expository ending of Lot’s foolish life—an imprudent man who from the beginning chose foolishly for his wife and children, consequently losing everything he possessed including his wife, children, and a posterity which excluded his future generations from entering the assembly of the Lord (Deut. 23:3-5).
 So let us begin as Jon did, by reading the first of Genesis 19, and then I will be printing excerpts from Jon’s message (excerpts because his teaching lasted two hours), along with excerpts from his written lessons with additional comments from me.

The Fear of God Alone Restrains Evil

 “Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening as Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. And he said, ‘Now behold, my lords, please turn aside into your servant’s house, and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise early and go on your way.’ They said however, ‘No, but we shall spend the night in the square.’ Yet he urged them strongly, so they turned aside to him and entered his house; and he prepared a feast for them, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter; and they called to Lot and said to him, ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have relations with them.’ But Lot went out to them at the doorway, and shut the door behind him, and said, ‘Please, my brothers, do not act wickedly. Now behold, I have two daughters who have not had relations with man; please let me bring them out to you, and do to them whatever you like; only do nothing to these men, inasmuch as they have come under the shelter of my roof’” (Gen. 19:1-8).
 Lot insisted that these men spend the night in the safety of his house because he did not want them exposed to the horrific danger posed by the homosexuals in Sodom. From God’s Word, it becomes apparent that once men defy God’s law and order, abandoning the natural function of the sexes for that which is unnatural, the Lord gives them over to degrading passions. And once men’s flesh is left unrestrained, no longer governed by a conscience and the laws of nature, their despicable passions govern them. Furthermore, history’s conclusive evidence teaches us that when nations abandon God and eliminate their restraints on homosexuality, this sin’s proliferation continues to accelerate until God finds it necessary to intervene with His judgment so that His children can once again be safe from forceful aggression. For when the reins of restraint are cut, the headstrong beast runs wild, being evident in the fact that people from every quarter of Sodom, both young and old, flocked to have their way with the new men in town. Homosexuality is infectious, and once it is allowed to infiltrate a nation, it becomes the way of life.
 In other words, whenever men are not reined in by the fear of God, they rush headlong into every form of wickedness because it is the fear of God alone that restrains men from wickedness, and without that fear, monstrous licentiousness prevails.
 This is a clear picture of where our nation is headed if we do not take a strong stand against homosexuality. Starting in the early 1900s, professing Christians let the perversion of this nation happen, and consequently the very underpinnings of this Christian nation are being wrenched out from underneath us. For once the government licenses sin, total corruption becomes a very real and present danger.
 Indeed, for some time now, the radical homosexual community has been implementing a very savvy marketing strategy to refocus our attention off their immoral behavior by painting themselves as victims, confidently absolving themselves on the basis that they were created the way they are, thereby living according to what is normal for them, cleverly making this, then, a civil issue rather than the moral issue that it is. Considering themselves aggrieved, they expostulate, by way of inculpating others, that they have been victimized by an uneducated society; therefore, by playing on the emotions of undiscerning minds, these wicked men have made unprecedented strides of intrusion into the minds and hearts of our nation’s people through educational propaganda.
 And to show the effect of this in my own life, years ago men on construction jobs were openly opposed to homosexuality. Then several years later, men accepted it as long as it did not bother them. Now we have a whole new generation of young men who feel that homosexuals have a right and freedom to do as they please.
 Like the frog in the pot, this is a clear example of the effects of relentless propaganda. If you place a frog in boiling water, it will jump out, but if you place it in a pot of cold water and continue to raise the heat by steps, it will boil to death. We now teach our young schoolchildren that homosexuality is just an alternative lifestyle, while television programming glorifies it.
 Remember, this sin is such an abomination to the Lord that the act itself is named after Sodom, which God utterly destroyed. And contrary to what many pastors are preaching today, and what undiscerning Christians are justifying, God clearly condemns those who practice such wickedness.
 “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them” (Lev. 20:13). “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators … nor effeminate, nor homosexuals … will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9,10).
 Boys, what does “effeminate” mean? It doesn’t mean that we can’t be gentle. A man of distinction is a gentlemen—kind, gentle, selfless. I believe that Jesus was a gentleman, but He was still a man, but a man strong in His righteousness, strong enough to stand against the flow—that’s being a man! I used to think that John Wayne was a manly man, yet he was independent. I also felt that I had to make my own way, but that is not of God.
 Yes, God is patient, loving, and kind, but we will also reap what we sow! “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life” (Gal. 6:7,8).
 Case in point, take the continent of Africa, which on the whole does not support monogamy and is in turn suffering the greatest number of cases of AIDS in the world (25 million out of 38 million worldwide). Yet Uganda has taken a stand for monogamy and has waged a successful battle against HIV through abstinence. Uganda has brought its infection rate down from more than 30 percent in the early 1990s to about 6 percent of the country’s 25 million people in 2003. AIDS is totally preventable!

Sin Is Like a Bruised Apple Which We Must Cut Out

 We can be certain that Sodom did not become perverted all at once. Indeed it began with prosperity (Ez. 16:49,50), which led to luxurious living, which led to idleness and pride, which led to complacency, which led to negligence, which led to cruelty.
 In Romans One, God shows us the steps of rebellion—doing what I want to do—and what that leads to. Do not be deceived that just a little bit of sin in your life is okay, for that little seed of rebellion, if allowed to remain, will eventually grow until it blows out into full-blown defiance. And just like a bruised apple in a barrel ruins the whole bunch, so, too, sin in a nation spreads like a contagious disease.
 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, that their bodies might be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them” (Rom. 1:18-32).
 Some time ago I picked out four big, red, firm, juicy apples. I was really looking forward to eating those apples, but as soon as I bit into one of them, I had to immediately spit it out because it was rotten inside. People and things may appear to be good on the outside, but be rotten on the inside; that is why we must learn to discern what is on the inside that is not evident on the outside.
 What is the matter with this man, Lot? What kind of man would offer his daughters to such vile and wicked men? Instead of taking a club out there and sacrificing himself, he was willing to sacrifice his daughters. But we must remember that God calls him righteous. If God had not put it in the scripture, I would not have believed it, but then how righteous are you or I? Without God, we are all wicked.
 From the world, I have been taught to think that there is goodness in everyone, but God teaches us that is not true. The only goodness that is within us is that which God has given us. If it is of God, it is good; if it is not of God, no matter how good it appears to us, it is wicked.
 “… for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth …” (Gen. 8:21). “No one is good but God alone” (Luke 18:19). “As it is written, ‘There is none righteous, not even one’” (Rom. 3:10). “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not” (Rom. 7:18).
 Take for instance what we think about ourselves. I used to think: “I’m okay, for I’m certainly not as bad as that man down the street.” But I was not okay when I judged myself by God’s plumb line.
 Another example is movies. Years ago the movies that we thought were good, we now find spiritually offensive. Can you think of any good movies? Chariots of Fire was a good movie. Any others? There are movies like It’s A Wonderful Life that give us a warm fuzzy feeling, but God does not give a warm fuzzy feeling. God gives us a hope and a firm foundation! It is very important, children, that you learn to discern between good and evil. And how can you do that? Only by reading and studying the Word of God.

God’s Word Discerns Good and Evil

 Last year I was on a job with an unprecedented number of men who openly called themselves Christians. Sounds great, doesn’t it, except for the fact that I would not have known that those men were Christians because they acted no differently than any other construction worker. Indeed, one man told me that he would not want to be a Christian if that is what Christianity was, if it hadn’t been for seeing the difference in my life.
 Even with Christ in your heart, you have to read God’s Word to be able to discern right from wrong. And in the case of Lot, although we are told that Lot was a righteous man, we certainly could not tell it by the way he lived his life. For instance, how could Lot expose his own daughters to such vile and wicked men? Is it not our responsibility as fathers to protect our family from all harm? However, when we study Lot’s choices, the fact that he even chose Sodom for his homeland and then continued to stay in such a vile and wicked place displays a real lack of prudence.
 We would expect that a man of God would act in a prudent and wise manner, ordering all his affairs with the utmost care, and that even in the most unexpected circumstance, he would be able to act with wisdom. But we must remember that it is only those who have continually exposed themselves to the mind of Christ who will be able to act like Christ in all circumstances. “For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil” (Heb. 5:13,14).

Make Careful Preparations for Your Family’s Eternity

 From the very beginning, we can see where Lot was going. Look at what sin does! For in Genesis 13:7-13, “And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock. Now the Canaanite and the Perizzite were dwelling then in the land. Then Abram said to Lot, ‘Please let there be no strife between you and me, nor between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are brothers. Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me; if to the left, then I will go to the right; or if to the right, then I will go to the left.’ And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw all the valley of the Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere—this was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah—like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt as you go to Zoar. So Lot chose for himself all the valley of the Jordan, and Lot journeyed eastward. Thus they separated from each other. Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled in the cities of the valley, and moved his tents as far as Sodom. Now the men of Sodom were wicked exceedingly and sinners against the Lord.”
 The whole land lay before them, and Lot chose Sodom. He lifted up his eyes and saw, yet he did not discern. Right there we can see where his heart is, for Genesis 13:13 says that the men of Sodom were wicked exceedingly. It was an established fact then, and yet he chose to live there.
 How many men do you know who, in order to earn more money or to climb the corporate ladder, make choices without looking at the effect the surroundings would have on their families? “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm” (Prov. 13:20). “Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them. For the ways of the Lord are right, and the righteous will walk in them, but transgressors will stumble in them” (Hos. 14:9).
 Thank God for my wife! Early in our marriage two of my brothers tried to get me to work at the Ford plant, luring me with the promises that I would work lots of hours and make lots of money so I could buy a new car each year and still have lots of money in my pocket. Do you remember what you said to me, Candy? You said, “Jon Summers, if you take that job, you will be coming home to an empty house because I won’t be here!” Why? Because my wife had a vision for our family that I did not yet discern. Hopefully, you young boys will have a better understanding than I did and will look at the entire picture. Where is our reward stored up for us? Eternity! Life is short!
 All three of my brothers worked at Ford, often working nights, 7 days a week, and yes, they made lots of money and drove new vehicles, but each of them has lost his children to the world because they spent their lives amassing treasures on earth with no thought or careful preparation for where their families would spend eternity.
 Lot’s life serves as the perfect example of one who conformed to the world instead of being transformed through the renewing of his mind. And the bitter fruit of his lack of prudence and protection, which kept his descendants from entering into the assembly of God, serves as a warning to us that we should be careful to train our senses to the Lord’s way through studying His Word lest our descendants fall headlong in the world’s ways. For when man continues to expose himself to sin, he becomes insensitive to it, and not only begins to tolerate it, but justifies it as an acceptable behavior. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:2).
 As fathers we must be diligent to teach our children all of God’s Word in a chronological format, teaching line upon line, instead of grabbing bits and pieces. God is a God of order, and we must teach in His order so that our children see God’s order and understand Him fully. If we were building our house, we would not build it haphazardly. We would first build a firm foundation and then build upwards, one stone upon the other. Think of how much more important it is for us to take great care in building up our children’s understanding of our Lord!
 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house upon the rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock” (Matt. 7:24,25).
 Are we building our houses upon the rock—God’s Word?

The Mind Set on the Flesh Is Hostile Towards God

 “But they said, ‘Stand aside.’ Furthermore, they said, ‘This one came in as an alien, and already he is acting like a judge; now we will treat you worse than them.’ So they pressed hard against Lot and came near to break the door. But the men reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. They struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they wearied themselves trying to find the doorway” (Gen. 19:9-11).
 When one is blind, he cannot see, and in this case these men could not see right from wrong. It seems so fitting that God would blind the eyes of those who foolishly refused to acknowledge Him as if He did not exist, yet it is important to notice that God’s chastisement did not stop these wicked men from pursuing their passionate desires. They met with the living God and still continued to fight against Him.
 “Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire. Yet in the same way these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties” (Jude 7,8). “The expression of their faces bears witness against them, and they display their sin like Sodom; they do not even conceal it. Woe to them! For they have brought evil on themselves” (Is. 3:9).
 “For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom. 8:5-8). “The foolishness of man subverts his way, and his heart rages against the Lord” (Prov. 19:3).

Law Restrains Wickedness

 And if the wicked are not afraid to revile celestial beings, how can we stand up against them? This is why we have laws—to restrain the wicked. “But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted” (1 Tim. 1:8-11).
 Listen to what God says! The law is made for the lawless, for the ungodly, for the unholy and profane, for homosexuals, and for that which is contrary to sound teaching. The laws of this nation were established upon God’s law, and that is why sodomy has always been forbidden. Let us, as God’s people, stand strong then against any endeavor to license a sin that God calls an abomination.
 “And if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter; and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds), then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties, whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord. But these, like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed, suffering wrong as the wages of doing wrong. They count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are stains and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, as they carouse with you, having eyes full of adultery that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children; forsaking the right way, they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness” (2 Pet. 2:6-15).
 Some time ago I went to my neighbor and asked him to turn down his radio. He went ballistic and told me that this is America and that he had a right to do what he wanted. I told him that there is a responsibility that goes with liberty. I added that I do not allow my children to listen to that kind of music, and I do not want them to listen to it now.
 “Alas, sinful nation, people weighed down with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, sons who act corruptly! They have abandoned the Lord, they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they have turned away from Him. Where will you be stricken again, as you continue in your rebellion? The whole head is sick and the whole heart is faint. From the sole of the foot even to the head there is nothing sound in it, only bruises, welts and raw wounds, not pressed out or bandaged, nor softened with oil. Your land is desolate, your cities are burned with fire, your fields—strangers are devouring them in your presence; it is desolation, as overthrown by strangers. The daughter of Zion is left like a shelter in a vineyard, like a watchmen’s hut in a cucumber field, like a besieged city. Unless the Lord of hosts had left us a few survivors, we would be like Sodom, we would be like Gomorrah” (Is. 1:4-9).

Do We Mock God’s Laws?

 Rebellion says, “Who are you to tell me?” Lawlessness is rampant, not because we don’t have laws in place, but because the men whose duty it is to mete out judgment according to God’s law are making a mockery of His laws. “Then I charged your judges at that time, saying, ‘Hear the cases between your fellow countrymen, and judge righteously … You shall not fear man, for the judgment is God’s” (Deut. 1:16,17).
 How often are Christians doing the wicked man’s pandering because they fear condemnation from others? Do we make a mockery of God’s laws by justifying the wicked in the face of opposition to His Word? Have you been accused of being legalistic lately? If not, where do you stand? For being legalistic is adhering to God’s law. “He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the righteous, both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord” (Prov. 17:15).
 Christians foolishly fear condemnation from man when it is God whom they should fear. Yes, unrepentant sinners will scorn the righteous, but we must remember that it is our duty to speak God’s truth regardless of the immediate consequences. Whenever men falsely accuse, mistreat, or refuse to listen to God’s chosen children, they bring upon themselves great wrath, for our heavenly Father faithfully protects His children and strongly judges those who come against them. For the fact of the matter is that when men come against those who are His, they are really battling against His Holy Spirit, which abides in them.
 “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me” (Matt. 10:40). “Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet. Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city” (Matt. 10:14,15).
 “The Lord, the God of their fathers, sent word to them again and again by His messengers, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place; but they continually mocked the messengers of God, despised His words and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people, until there was no remedy” (2 Chron. 36:15,16).
 “Because they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord. They would not accept my counsel, they spurned all my reproof. So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way and be satiated with their own devices. For the waywardness of the naïve will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them. But he who listens to me shall live securely and will be at ease from the dread of evil” (Prov. 1:29-33).

An Ungodly vs. Godly Foundation

 Wherever we go we always read about the people who laid the foundation of their community, and in light of scripture, we determine the kind of foundation they laid and then observe the far-reaching consequences of their actions. In the West, a very rebellious, self-centered, lustful, pleasure-seeking spirit became very evident to us. And as we further investigated the source of this rebellion, we found that its founders were the Arapaho, Cheyenne, Comanche, Kiowa, Shoshone, Ute, and Navajo Indians; Spanish explorers looking for gold; miners looking for gold; and entrepreneurs seeking the gold from the rich miners.
 All the towns we visited—Colorado Springs, St. Elmo, Aspen, Fairplay, Breckenridge, Crested Butte, Telluride, Ouray, Silverton, and Durango—were built upon the gold and silver strikes there. And to give you a better insight into the kind of people who settled these towns, consider for example the town of Silverton, which had a population of only 3,000 people, yet had 40 saloons, not counting other brothels and gambling halls.
 This was a rugged land, a wild land, not fit for families. And even today the spirit of these settlers lives on in the lives of those there now. Indeed, even former Colorado residents, Jay and Kathy Hamre, determined early in their marriage that it was no place to raise their family.
 Colorado’s major industry still reflects self-indulgence with entertainment, recreation, and tourism catering to the pleasure seekers of this world. God created a paradise of majestic beauty that man turned into a playground for his own lustful pleasures.
 On the other hand, in May 2004 we visited Pella, Iowa, which was founded by Dutch Reformers with the explicit purpose of settling their families in a land where they could worship God. The roots of each of these places were firmly planted in the 1800s, but that is where the similarity ends. For Colorado’s roots were planted by fortune seekers whose rebellion towards God still exists today, while Pella’s roots were planted by those seeking God, whose godly fruit is still evident in the hearts and minds of Pella’s residents today.
 When we attended Pella’s Tulip Festival Parade, where thousands were in attendance from all parts of the world, the burgomaster (mayor) opened in prayer with thanks to Jesus Christ for their religious freedom and then shared the history of their Christian heritage. Unlike in Colorado where children seemed non-existent, children were everywhere with their families in Pella. The Tulip Queen and all the ladies of her entourage were escorted on stage by their fathers, not their boyfriends. Both the Christian and public school students were in the parade, and yet throughout the entire event, we did not see one pierced eyebrow or lip, no tattoos, no indecency, no wild haircuts, no drinking, and no smoking. All the residents were friendly and polite. On the playground we saw countless fathers playing with their children. Families walked at night on the streets because crime does not exist there. And when we visited the Pella Corporation, we read that all their employees combined missed less than one day of work a year. Incredible? A woman attending our CHEF conference who had lived there for four years confirmed that Pella was as it appeared, adding that they even close all their businesses on Sunday.
 “‘As for Me, this is My covenant with them,’ says the Lord: ‘My Spirit which is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your offspring, nor from the mouth of your offspring’s offspring,’ says the Lord, ‘from now and forever’” (Is. 59:21).
 What foundation are we laying? For what we lay today will affect our posterity for generations to come. America is not reaping blessings today because of our faithfulness! On the contrary, for we have become exceedingly wicked. God is still blessing America because of our forefathers’ faithfulness. But how much longer will we be allowed to ride on the coattails of our ancestors?

Without Vision the People Are Unrestrained

 “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, but happy is he who keeps the law” (Prov. 29:18).
 In the very beginning in Genesis, God clearly laid out His plan for humanity by creating the family and commanding it to be fruitful and fill the earth, subdue it, and rule over it. And then He chose fathers, implicitly commanding them to instruct their children in the ways of the Lord.
 “For I have chosen him [Abraham], so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice …” (Gen. 18:19). “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4).
 “Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgments which the Lord your God has commanded me to teach you … so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments … all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged…. You should listen and be careful to do it, that it may be well with you and that you may multiply greatly, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you … You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up…. Then it shall come about when the Lord your God brings you into the land … and you eat and are satisfied, then watch yourself, that you do not forget the Lord who brought you … out of the house of slavery. You shall fear only the Lord your God; and you shall worship Him ... You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you, for the Lord your God in the midst of you is a jealous God; otherwise the anger of the Lord your God will be kindled against you, and He will wipe you off the face of the earth…. You should diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God … When your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What do the testimonies and the statutes and the judgments mean which the Lord our God commanded you?’ then you shall say to your son, ‘We were slaves … He brought us out from there’ … So the Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God for our good always and for our survival, as it is today. It will be righteousness for us if we are careful to observe all this commandment before the Lord our God just as He commanded us” (Deut. 6).
 In other words, fathers, we are commanded to diligently teach God’s Word so that our offspring may fear the Lord that it may be well with the nation, so that when we reap God’s unmerited blessings, we do not forget God. And when we are faithful to follow God’s Word to do what is right and good, it will be well for us. And when our sons ask us why we follow God’s Word, we are able to give them a reason for the hope within us—that once we were slaves to sin, but God redeemed us and set us free from the power of sin’s corruption by writing His laws upon our hearts and giving us His Holy Spirit to empower us to do His will.
 Do not be deceived! Nothing has ever, since the beginning of time, successfully replaced the family in transforming a people into a civilization. A nation is only as strong as its families, for it is the only foundation upon which a society can firmly build. For it was God who divinely ordained the family to teach its own children and to pass on His living Word from one generation to the next. Yet the church continues to try to convince us that only through the breakup of the family into men’s groups, women’s groups, youth groups, and nursery groups can the church successfully serve and transform the community. And indeed it is the breakdown of the family within the church that led to the breakdown of the family in society.
 History teaches us that our nation’s foundation was firmly established on Reformed theology, which stood solidly on the inerrant, inspired Word of God, the deity of Christ, the finished work of the cross, salvation by grace alone, and an active, living God who had authority over every area of life, placing the family at the pinnacle of its foundation. The Reformers believed that God was not only the source of everything, but that He also was in control of everything. However, in the middle of the 1900s, religious liberalism infiltrated American churches through the ideas of the European intellectual theologians who, following Darwin’s logic that man was now moving forward to a bright and improved future, refuted the inerrancy of scripture, expostulating that human reasoning could be trusted. Thus, they replaced revelation with reasoning and Christianity with humanism.
 Pastors, then, began teaching that God had been a mean, vindictive Judge who treated His creatures like children, but who saw the error of His ways and so evolved into a God of love, who neither rules nor judges, turning life’s serious matters over to His creatures whom He now treats as adults. Therefore, the archaic notion that sin offends God was just that—archaic—and was eliminated because, after all, God does not allow Himself to be offended anymore, so He refuses to judge anyone. Man, therefore, does not need to become aware of God’s law because God has already forgiven Him for everything. He just needs to be enlightened with positive thinking so that he can transform society himself by encouraging others to think positively as well. So instead of teaching scripture as the basis for living, sermons became feel-good therapeutic sessions where pastors taught everything instead of God’s Word. This was nothing more than humanistic, evolutionary thinking that man is the source of goodness and the hope for the future.
 Let us remember, however, that though Jesus loved us enough to die for us, He also proclaimed judgment on the cities where He had preached for not repenting of their sins, and indeed prophesied the complete destruction of Jerusalem, which happened in 70 A.D.
 “Then He began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent. ‘Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you’” (Matt. 11:20-24).
 Then the European idea of Sunday School transformed churches from family integrated assemblies into segregated individuals. This not only undermined the father’s authority over the minds and hearts of his own children, but also perverted God’s divine order for us.
 Satan is not stupid; to destroy godly families, he had to first transform the church’s thinking on families so his design could be given the church’s stamp of approval. And with so many biblically illiterate persons within the Church, this was accomplished quite easily.
 To discover the consequences of this thinking, we must go back to its roots in Europe where we have Luther, the father of the Reformation that led to the establishment of this country by the early Reformers, which became the most blessed nation on earth, and Rousseau, the father of the Enlightenment, in which hedonistic ideas led to the bloodbath of the French Revolution. When men leave behind the laws of God, anarchy reigns.
 Do not be deceived into thinking that this could not happen in America. The Reformation began and proliferated in Europe, until the humanistic ideas of the Enlightenment led to Nazism, Communism, and Fascism and the bloodiest century the world has ever known. And in fact, these ideas so successfully penetrated the minds of men that now only a fraction of one percent of the European people are evangelical Christians today.
 How could this happen? Scripture tells us in 1 Timothy 4:1,2, “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars …”
 Satan has always successfully worked his destruction because of Christian men’s ignorance of God’s Word. For without diligently studying God’s Word, one cannot discern good from evil, the angel of light from God, and the tares from the wheat. Religious, humanistic liberals thereby have effectively taken over one church at a time by infiltrating the assemblies until entire denominations have condoned the very licentiousness that God condemns. But marvel not at this occurrence, for indeed Satan has worked in this manner from the beginning, starting with Eve when he caused her to question God with, “Indeed did God say?”
 Paul writes to his brothers in Galatia, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel, which is not another; but these be some that trouble you, and would pervert the Gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:6-8).
 In other words, once man fails to acknowledge God’s Word as having ultimate authority over all areas of life, man quickly descends into the abysmal delusion that he is the center of the universe, whose decisions are based on what he deems right, whose ultimate goal becomes attainment of his own happiness. This is what is known as hedonism—a nation’s last stage before God’s final judgment.
 Hedonism (the Greek hedone meaning delight) means “the ethical doctrine that pleasure, variously conceived of in terms of happiness of the individual or of society, is the principle good and the proper aim of action; the self-indulgent pursuit of pleasure as a way of life.”
 The telltale signs of hedonism within society are increased activity outside the home; the constant pursuit of entertainment; and the self-indulgent use of drugs, alcohol, and pornography, which leads to illicit sex, divorce, abortion, and child abuse.
 The telltale signs within the church are the elimination of serious chronological study of God’s Word; the elimination of all references to God as a Judge; elimination of the idea of the complete depravity of man; acceptance of the idea of man being good and capable of making changes with the help of positive thinking; a shift from grace alone to works; a shift from godly teaching to therapeutic feel-good messages; a shift from family integrated worship to segregation of the family with programs for individuals, especially with an emphasis on the youth—making them the hope of the future; and finally a shift from the transforming work of the gospel to the transforming of society through church programs instead of supporting the family which God ordained to change society.
 The telltale signs in the family are the shift from operating as a family for the well-being of the entire family to operating as individuals with everyone running in different directions for their own self-fulfillment and the shift from family fellowship to women’s fellowships, to youth group fellowships, to individual computer time, movie time, headset time….
 In homeschooling, the telltale signs of hedonism are the relinquishing of the father’s responsibility to train up the child in the admonition of the Lord to others outside the home and shifting from a God-centered education to a man-centered education, with the emphasis placed on the education rather than on the character of the child, where the child becomes the center of attention with the focus on entertaining and educating the child with activities outside the home instead of the child being trained with a generational vision of working within his own family to benefit the family as a whole.

A War for the Soul of Our Nation

 There is a serious war being waged against the last remaining foothold of families we have in this nation. It is a war for the hearts and minds of not only our children, but also for the hearts and minds of our nation for generations to come. But it is no different now than it was in the Garden, before the Flood, between Abraham and Lot, in Canaan, or in Europe after the Reformation.
 Feeling hopeless about our nation? Feeling helpless to do anything about it? Let us remember that the key to a nation’s blessings is God, whom we possess as heirs with Abraham. And the God who indwells us has already given us the power necessary to overcome and be victorious. For our greatest weapon is the Sword of His Spirit, not persuasive speech, but the Word of God which we all have at our disposal. And homeschooling offers us an unparalleled opportunity to be able to lay a firm foundation that rests on God’s Word.
 “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:4,5). “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).
 If we stand fast in our faith and skillfully wield His Spirit’s sword, we will win the battle. But we cannot win if we do not know how to use the weapon, and we cannot win if we don’t engage our weapon in battle. For we, as families, have been entrusted as keepers of the faith and have been commanded to take dominion over the earth, so it is we who have been commanded by God to contend for the soul of our nation.
 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:10-17).

Worldly Sorrow Leads to Death; Godly Sorrow Leads to Life

 We must remember that Abraham found the sins of the Sodomites so great that he would not live among them, yet he prayed that the righteous who may be living among them might not be destroyed with the rest of the sinners. Only when we, like Abraham, continually draw near to the Lord, so that His perfect holy light shines upon us, does our conscience become seared with the knowledge of our total depravity apart from Him and the degradation of all men. Then, and only then, can we begin to grieve for the lost, and in gratitude for His graciousness towards us, can we then intercede for them.
 Because without God’s enlightenment, we view everything from our own understanding, which makes it hard for us to conceive that there were not even 10 righteous men in all the city of Sodom or just one other righteous family in the entire world before the time of the great Flood. But the discourse between God and Abraham in Genesis 18 was recorded for our instruction, that we may know that God will execute judgment without partiality, and that His judgment is just and true, and that He judges according to His wisdom and not ours, and punishes men that evil will be restrained so righteous men may live. For if God did not restrain evil, this world would become just like Noah’s time before the Flood.
 “Therefore, listen to me, you men of understanding. Far be it from God to do wickedness, and from the Almighty to do wrong. For He pays a man according to his work, and makes him find it according to his way. Surely, God will not act wickedly, and the Almighty will not pervert justice. Who gave Him authority over the earth? And who has laid on Him the whole world? If He should determine to do so, if He should gather to Himself His spirit and His breath, all flesh would perish together, and man would return to dust. But if you have understanding, hear this; listen to the sound of my words. Shall one who hates justice rule? And will you condemn the righteous mighty One, who says to a king, ‘Worthless one,’ to nobles, ‘Wicked ones’; who shows no partiality to princes nor regards the rich above the poor, for they all are the work of His hands? In a moment they die, and at midnight people are shaken and pass away, and the mighty are taken away without a hand. For His eyes are upon the ways of a man, and He sees all his steps. There is no darkness or deep shadow where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves. For He does not need to consider a man further, that he should go before God in judgment. He breaks in pieces mighty men without inquiry, and sets others in their place. Therefore He knows their works, and He overthrows them in the night, and they are crushed. He strikes them like the wicked in a public place, because they turned aside from following Him, and had no regard for any of His ways; so that they caused the cry of the poor to come to Him, and that He might hear the cry of the afflicted—when He keeps quiet, who then can condemn? And when He hides His face, who then can behold Him, that is, in regard to both nation and man?—so that godless men would not rule nor be snares of the people” (Job 34:10-30).
 In public school, as we studied Greece, Rome, France, Spain, the Jews in the Holocaust, the Germans, the Indians, the famines and plagues of Africa and India, and so many other calamities, we were taught to feel sorry for their pain and suffering and were made somehow to feel guilty for it. Yet it was not until we studied these same things in the light of God’s Word that we now understand that God is just and in control of all things. And had these nations acknowledged Him in all their ways, they would have been blessed instead of punished. And these should serve as a warning of what can happen when we follow our own way. “… If a calamity occurs in a city has not the Lord done it?” (Amos 3:6) “… who works all things after the counsel of His will” (Eph. 1:11).
 See, there is a worldly sorrow that leads to death and a godly sorrow that leads to life. Our tears should be shed for the souls who were lost to an eternity in hell apart from God, not for their physical lives, which are nothing in the view of eternity. After all, we all die, so death is not the worst thing that can happen to us—eternal damnation is. And remember, too, that Jesus is the only innocent person who ever died.
 Americans may one day be thrown into the arms of anarchy, like in the days of Noah, or conquered by a foe who places us in subjugated slavery like the Israelites in Egypt, or dispossessed from this land like the people of Israel because of our rebellion towards God. And there may be those in the future who shed tears for us. But may they not be tears due to a worldly sorrow that leads to their death, but tears of a godly sorrow that leads to life that our self-inflicted punishment be used as an instrument to save others from following the same self-indulgent path that we took.
 “For though I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it—for I see that that letter caused you sorrow, though only for a while—I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death” (2 Cor. 7:8-10).
 After studying book after book on the Dutch Reformation and realizing how many Christian families gave their lives so that their descendants could worship God freely, just imagine how overcome with gratitude we were as we sat in the pews of one of Pella’s churches and worshipped with those Dutch Reformers’ descendants some 400 years later.
 Let us never forget that Christianity alone was responsible for American freedom. “So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed in Him, ‘If you continue in My Word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free’” (John 8:31,32).
 What foundation are we laying? Will our grandchildren’s homes, churches and communities resemble Colorado or Pella, Iowa? Are we like Abraham or Lot? For what we do today will affect our great-great-grandchildren.
 “For the Lord loves justice and does not forsake His godly ones; they are preserved forever, but the descendants of the wicked will be cut off. The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever” (Ps. 37:28,29). “Who is the man who fears the Lord? He will instruct him in the way he should choose. His soul will abide in prosperity, and his descendants will inherit the land” (Ps. 25:12,13).