“Fitna” Film Foreshadows Europe/Islam War

“Fitna” Film Foreshadows Europe/Islam War

Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

A controversial new movie is stirring violent passions in the Muslim world—and showing that some Europeans are ready to push back.

“I don’t hate Muslims. I hate their book and their ideology.” Geert Wilders is a politician, but he’s not politically correct. While many of his Western contemporaries are bending themselves out of shape finding ways to accommodate increasingly belligerent Islamic ideology, Wilders is bent on showing the world “the real face of Islam,” as he told the Observer.

Head of the Dutch right-wing Party for Freedom, the outspoken Catholic has consistently made headlines with confrontational anti-Islamic rhetoric calling for radical mosques to be shut down, labeling the Koran “an inspiration for murder” and saying that if Mohammed were alive today, he would have him “tarred and feathered as an extremist and deported if he were in Holland.” His latest and shrillest sos save-our-society distress call is called Fitna. And if Muslims didn’t hate Geert before, they do now.

Fitna, an Arabic word that connotes a schism or conflict, is a provocative, if low-budget, 15-minute presentation that links six violence-promoting passages from the Koran with footage of Islamist extremist terror attacks. Flight 175 piercing the South Tower in a stomach-sickening orange explosion of fiery shards; survivors of the initial explosion limply hanging out of windows billowing out choking smoke; the falling man. A horrific clip of a thick, bustling throng of commuters at Atocha disappearing in a violent, blazing concussion. Warped wreckage of trains in Spain and double-decker red buses in London. Theo van Gogh’s stabbed body lying in the street. And worse: Executions; hangings; blasted, burned corpses; amputated bodies being dragged through the street; and ghastly beheadings.

Sprinkled into this gory, homicidal mix are clips of Muslims crying out: “What makes Allah happy? Allah is happy when non-Muslims get killed”; “Annihilate the infidels and the polytheists”; “Allah, count them and kill them to the last one, and don’t leave even one”; “Throats must be slit and skulls must be shattered”; “[The Jews] are the ones who must be butchered and killed”; “Even the stone will say, ‘Oh Muslim, A Jew is hiding behind me, come and cut off his head”; and “[The Jews] are apes and pigs.”

Most of the quotes are from fanatical clerics. But that last one was from one of the most beautiful, precious 3-year-old girls you ever could see.

Outraged Islamists have reacted with e-mails, placards and rhetoric advocating a simple precept: Kill Geert Wilders.

Westerners offered slightly softer denunciations, with the European Union, the United Nations, and political and business leaders criticizing the film as inflammatory and, as Australia’s foreign minister stated, intended to “generate discord between faith communities.” At the same time, many have defended the right to free speech—a right Islamists who carry “Freedom go to hell” signs couldn’t care less about. Although such blunt and provocative leaders as Wilders are toward the fringe of power politics, Europeans are recognizing a growing threat in Islam, and leaders like Edmund Stoiber, Pope Benedict and others are tapping that sentiment.

This is why Fitna foreshadows a conflict more dire than Wilders could ever imagine. Islam and historically Catholic Europe are on a collision course. And Europe is beginning to ease off the clutch and onto the gas.

Notwithstanding the criticism Geert Wilders has received, he is forcing an issue that is starting to resonate with many Europeans. And when Europe as a whole grows intolerant of Islam’s pushing and pushes back, watch out.

It’s going to be a fitna like no other.

And radical Islam thinks it is ready, judging by Islamists quoted in the film: “Islam is a religion that wants to rule the world. It has done so before and eventually will rule it again.” “The message of the [Islamic] revolution is global ….” “You will take over the usa! You will take over the UK! You will take over Europe!” “The day will come when we will rule America. The day will come when we will rule Britain and the entire world!”

Islam has integrated with its neighbor/host continent like hot cooking oil and water. Like a hijab-clad figure goes with a Frankfurt Internet cafe. Like ritual cuttings of children goes with a Provence nursery school. Like “honor” killings go with the Zurich evening news. Values and traditions like these seem out of place, to say the least, amid neo—yet classical—Europe.

Something’s got to give. Islam cannot and will not be absorbed into Western culture. It will die before it does—literally. Islam will find that it can only push a German-dominated Europe so far.

This can go one of two ways. Europe can allow the raging fire of radical Islam to push and push until it achieves its goal of taking over the Continent, as it has generously proclaimed well ahead of time. Or: fitna.

For much of the 20th century, Herbert W. Armstrong forecasted the rise of a Middle Eastern power bloc that would push at and ultimately war against its northwestern neighbor in one of the most consequential actions of the next world war. Today’s headlines are fulfilling the early stages of that forecast on a daily basis. To find out more about radical Islam’s rapidly consolidating power and pushy agenda, as well as Europe’s ultimate response to the conflict, read The King of the South and Germany and the Holy Roman Empire.

Moscow’s Middle East Strategy

Moscow’s Middle East Strategy

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Russia is undermining America and empowering Israel’s enemies under an ideology of peace.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Kremlin cohorts have proposed that a sequel to the failed U.S. Annapolis conference on Israeli-Palestinian peace be held in Moscow. Yet, if this Moscow conference is to be held this June, as suggested, Putin has a lot of preparing to do. That is why he is divvying up planning responsibilities between himself and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

On March 19, Lavrov began a three-day visit to the Middle East with the purpose of garnering support for the conference. His first stop was Syria, where he met with Khaled Mashaal—the exiled leader of the Hamas terrorist organization. Mashaal—whose organization has pledged to destroy the Jewish state—asked for Lavrov’s help in pressuring Israel to lift its blockade of Gaza, while Lavrov focused the discussion on ways to promote reunification between Hamas and Fatah.

After meeting with Mashaal, Lavrov went on to meet Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus on March 20. Assad was very excited about the prospect of a Russian-led peace conference and was even more excited about the possibility of re-launching talks over the disputed Golan Heights region, currently under Israeli control, that Syria wants for itself. “The Israeli-Syrian peace track is guaranteed to be on the agenda. Syria is very interested and is making efforts for the conference to succeed,” Lavrov commented.

Lavrov ended his trip in Israel on March 21 where, over the course of the day, he met Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Israeli President Shimon Peres, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Of these officials, only Abbas was excited about the proposed conference.

An Israeli-Arab peace conference hosted by the Russians would definitely be biased in favor of Israel’s Arab neighbors. Moscow is one of the few world powers actually willing to negotiate with Hamas even though the terrorist group’s core belief is that the State of Israel must be completely destroyed. That fact alone must certainly be making Israel skeptical, even though it is unlikely that any Hamas officials would actually attend the conference.

Israel has remained noncommittal to the proposed conference so far; Olmert has been very careful by not publicly supporting or condemning the idea. For now, the Israelis are just watching and waiting. Israel certainly still has the option of boycotting such a conference if it chose, but such an action would probably draw intense international criticism if Moscow is able to garner a large support base over the next few months.

Moscow certainly has the beginnings of such a support base. In addition to zealous support from the Syrians and the Palestinians, the Kremlin’s efforts are now being supported by Egypt. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak traveled to Moscow on March 25 to meet with Putin. Both Mubarak and Putin reiterated the views that Hamas and Fatah must come to a reunification agreement and that there was definitely a need for Russia and Egypt to step in as peace mediators between Israel and the Palestinians.

“We are holding talks with the Americans, Israelis and Arabs” on the issue, Putin said.

It remains to be seen if plans for a Moscow conference will actually materialize, but regardless, Russia is exerting itself as an influential force in the Middle East. Why?

One Israeli government sourced summed up Moscow’s agenda this way: “For the Russians, we are just a small pawn in the greater game. They are going to go ahead with the conference no matter what we say, knowing we will have no choice in the end but to go along.”

Attempts to reconcile a Palestinian power base and create Arab solidarity rank high on Putin’s agenda, not because these attempts will help Middle East peace, but because they undermine America. Putin obviously knows that Israel and Hamas cannot come to a peaceful agreement through dialogue—Hamas terrorists do not even recognize Israel as existing and are willing to give their lives in an attempt to destroy it. What Putin does know is that by empowering Israel’s enemies, he can help keep America bogged down in the Middle East peace process for years to come.

As long as America is distracted in the Middle Eastern conflicts, Russia is free to continue its rise to power. Russia is doing exactly as the Soviet Union did during the height of the Cold War: empowering the Palestinians in an attempt to undermine America’s position in the Middle East.

For more information on how America’s enemies are uniting against it, read “Superpower Under Siege.”

Russia’s Balkans

Russia’s Balkans

Alexander Zemlianichenko/AFP/Getty Images

What is at stake at the coming NATO summit? Why is it “an issue of survival” for Moscow? Why does Russia want to keep Ukraine and Georgia out of the alliance?

The conquest of Russia by any foreign power has always been difficult. With the exception of Genghis Khan, no power has ever been able to subdue it. It’s just too big. Both Hitler and Napoleon met their comeuppance trying.

Though part of the problem is its size, topography is also very much on Russia’s side. On its western frontier, the vast open flatlands of Ukraine, providing no cover to any eastward advancing incursion, and the extensive marshlands plus heavy forestation of Belarus tend to act as a buffer to aggression from the west. In the south, nature provides a fortress. Sandwiched between the Black and Caspian seas is the Caucasus, being a narrow corridor leading up into Russia. This passage is guarded by the vast Caucasus Mountains. If one wishes to invade Russia further east, the vast plains, deserts and mountains of Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan must first be conquered.

The Caucasus is crucial to Russia’s defenses, not just important because of its location. It is key to Russia’s fuel supplies also. In 1940 the French General Gamelen wrote:

Dependence on oil supplies from the Caucasus is the fundamental weakness of Russian economy. The Armed Forces were totally dependent on this source also for their motorized agriculture. More than 90 percent of oil extraction and 80 percent of refinement was located in the Caucasus (primarily Baku). Therefore, interruption of oil supplies on any large scale would have far-reaching consequences and could even result in the collapse of all the military, industrial and agricultural systems of Russia.

Hitler was obsessed with the area, especially Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku. He was convinced Germany needed the oil in the Caucasus and the farmland in the Ukraine to be self-sufficient and invulnerable. Indeed, if Hitler had controlled these two areas, Germany could have produced all its own fuel and food.

Hitler, however, failed. While the Nazis made their way to Baku, the German 6th Army was defeated at Stalingrad. His panzers never made it through the Caucasus Mountains. Some historians believe that, had Hitler made it to Baku, the war would have ended very differently.

Today, 19 percent of proven world gas reserves are within nations bordering the Caspian, not including Russia. This area is expected to become a major area of oil and gas extraction, with oil production levels predicted to reach 4 billion barrels a day. Azerbaijan today has one of the largest known undeveloped offshore reserves in the world.

The Caucasus is the crossroads of Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Not only is there much fossil fuel in the Caucasus and in the Caspian Sea, but the area is also key to transporting oil and gas.

This small area is receiving more and more of the world’s attention. The little nation of Georgia occupies a crucial strategic location on the southern slopes of the Caucasus Mountains and the eastern shore of the Black Sea. Ukraine, on the northern shore of the Black Sea, is also a key to controlling the Caucasus. In addition to housing Russia’s Black Sea fleet and its continental ballistic missiles, Ukraine is a buffer state in defending Russia’s south.

The allegiance of both Georgia and Ukraine is, in a way, crucial to the hegemonic plans for expansion of both the EU and Russia.

Europe is desperate for a fuel supply that comes with no strings attached. It is especially desperate for gas. Unlike oil, which often travels in containers, the only real way to move gas is through pipelines. Europe gets some gas from the North Sea. Some it imports from North Africa. That is not enough. Europe needs to get most of its gas from the east. Currently it comes from Russia, but Russia has no qualms about pulling the plug on the West when the urge arises.

Europe, fed up with this situation, is turning to new suppliers. Though Iran and other Middle Eastern nations such as Egypt have offered to fill the need, these sources may be just as unreliable, if not more so, as Russia. Europe’s only hope for gas with seemingly fewer strings attached comes from the Caucasus, the Caspian Sea and Central Asia. At the moment, all this gas travels to Europe via Russia. However, Europe has a number of projects under way to build pipelines directly from Europe to the Caucasus. Armenia has no diplomatic relations with Turkey, and is under a trade embargo from both Turkey and Azerbaijan, so no pipelines can travel through Armenia in the foreseeable future. All of these pipelines would have to travel through Georgia. It is the only possible route to get oil from the Caspian region to Europe without direct Russian or Iranian involvement.

If Europe can influence Georgia to become a key supplier, then it can secure an independent source of gas. By contrast, if Russia can control Georgia, then the bulk of Europe’s gas must come from Russia or Iran.

This is what is at stake at the coming nato conference.

On the one hand, Russia needs Ukraine and Georgia to be aligned with itself. It cannot afford to have nato forces based in countries so crucial for its own national security. As Stratfor put it, this would mean “relegating Russia to the status of a declining regional power. [F]or Russia, it is not just about its efforts to revive the bipolar world, but it is an issue of survival” (March 28). Stratfor sources say that Russia “would not look for payback on Kosovo if the alliance does not push for Ukrainian and Georgian membership” (March 19).

Recently, however, U.S. President George W. Bush met with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili. At this meeting, Bush said that Washington would push for Georgia to be given a Membership Action Plan (map), a road map to entry into nato. Bush also said it would do the same for Ukraine.

By pushing for nato membership for Georgia and Ukraine, the United States pits itself directly against Russia. Many nations within nato agree with the U.S. and support Ukraine’s and Georgia’s nato bids.

A Membership Action Plan is not actual membership, of course, but it does put countries on the road toward membership several years down the line.

Though many in nato are all for giving out the maps, it is interesting to note who is against it. The leading opponent of giving maps to Ukraine and Georgia is Germany. This marks a 180-degree turnaround in German thinking since last year.

German Minister of Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier said, one year ago, while in Georgia, “Of course, it is in the interest of nato and nato members that new nato members do not bring their conflicts into the alliance along with them. On the other hand, it does not mean that we should view the lack of a resolution [to the conflicts] as an obstacle to accession. If we do, then we will enable third parties to drag out the process endlessly.”

A press release on the visit stated, “Federal Minister Steinmeier stressed that the question of nato accession would have to be decided by the alliance and Georgia alone. Third countries must not have any influence on this.”

Now Berlin is arguing strongly against a Georgian map. It says Georgia is not qualified for a map because of unresolved conflicts on its territory. Berlin has also argued, off the record, that “Russia has no veto, but Russia’s views must be taken into account”; “Russia is a factor [in decision making] and this is undeniable,” and “Russian concerns cannot be ignored if we want a real partnership with Russia.” This is the opposite of what Germany said a year ago. Steinmeier is now saying, “I cannot hide my skepticism” about Georgia and Ukraine joining the alliance.

Why the switch in Germany’s, and especially Steinmeier’s, position?

Relations between Russia and Europe have deteriorated greatly over the past year. Russia vehemently opposed the recognition of Kosovo’s declaration of independence. Europe recognized it anyway (to find out why Europe is so interested in the Balkans, read our booklet The Rising Beast: Germany’s Conquest of the Balkans.) Drawing Georgia and Ukraine away from nato would save face for Moscow.

Steinmeier is one of the most pro-Russian politicians in Europe. Toward the end of last year, Steinmeier visited Russia as the first foreign minister to meet with Russian presidential candidate Dmitry Medvedev following his presidential nomination. He also had a private meeting with the real power in Russia, Vladimir Putin.

We have often predicted that Russia and Germany would make a new agreement, similar to the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact forged before World War ii. Steinmeier’s flip means one of two things. He may be worried about just how far relations between Russia and Europe have deteriorated and be trying to stop them from deteriorating further. The alternative is that Russia and Germany have already come to an informal agreement.

Before Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence, Russia took a strong position against Kosovo. Now that the rest of the world has recognized Kosovo, Russia has done little to back up its words.

Indications are that Russia already agreed to let Kosovo go quietly to Europe, so long as Steinmeier scuppers the nato bids of Russia’s former Soviet satellites. It’s a straight swap: the crossroads of Europe for the crossroads of Asia.

If Ukraine and Georgia are not admitted to nato, Russia recovers its reputation of power that was damaged when it failed to prevent Kosovo’s secession.

Already, Ukraine has signaled its backing down from its bid for a map. Just this week, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko said that no nato bases would be built in the country. In Russia’s eyes, that leaves Georgia yet to be dealt with.

Russia is using both carrot and stick to bring Georgia back into its fold. Georgia has two regions—Abkhazia and South Ossetia—that have declared independence multiple times. Georgia says it would regard any nation recognizing that independence as an act of war. Russia’s parliament, the State Duma, has said the government may consider recognizing these states’ independence. It has also recommended that the government send more peacekeeping troops to the area.

At the same time, though, flights between Georgia and Russia have resumed after being halted in 2006. Maritime connections between the two states have also returned to normal.

Moscow is making it clear to Georgia: It can have it the easy way or the hard way, but Russia intends to control Georgia in the end. Control of Georgia means control of the Caucasus. It means that Europe is forced to choose between Russia and the Middle East for its gas.

Both Russia and Germany are on the rise. They are each trying to increase their power in the world. Germany is conquering the Balkans, and Russia has its eye on Georgia. As these powers compete against each other, watch for a new Molotov-Ribbentrop pact to emerge. It may be that dealings are already under way to conclude such an agreement.

The Caucasus is Russia’s Balkans. In Europe, control of the Balkans was imperative for the eastward expansion of the German-dominated European Union. For similar strategic reasons, just as Germany ruthlessly went after the Balkans, watch for Russia to ruthlessly go after the Caucasus to allow the consolidation of its imperialist goals.

As has happened in the past, this clash of Russian and German interests at the extremities of their buttressing borders will lead to a trade-off in the form of a non-aggression pact, thus leaving Russia and Germany to continue their imperialist policies—in theory, having their mutual borders first agreed. This was the scenario predicted by Herbert Armstrong decades ago. The signs are that such a pact is imminent. Watch the upcoming nato summit for further developments in this vitally strategic region.

Funding the Enemy

From the April 2008 Trumpet Print Edition

One out of every five cranes inthe world is at work in Dubai. This tiny Persian Gulf emirate—one of seven United Arab Emirates—is enjoying a wild binge of expansion. It houses more construction workers than citizens.

Dubai will soon have the world’s tallest building and is constructing another building that will be fully half again taller than that. The world’s largest amusement park—double the size of Walt Disney World in Orlando, which currently has that title—will soon reside in Dubai. So will the world’s largest airport, the world’s largest shopping mall, the world’s largest automated rail system, the world’s largest indoor skiing facility, and the world’s first underwater hotel.

But Dubai is doing more with its wealth than attracting the international jet set. It is also buying up international stock markets. A mere 30 months ago, the Dubai International Financial Exchange was born. Eight months ago, Bourse Dubai consolidated difx and Dubai’s other stock exchange. Today this upstart Middle Eastern bourse has completed a series of deals that has left it owning 22 percent of the London Stock Exchange and one fifth of nasdaq—making it the first government-controlled stock exchange to hold a significant stake in a U.S. exchange.

Where is this monster money coming from? Scary question. You already know the answer—but first consider this.

In Isaiah 46:9-10, the God of the Bible claims the singular ability to bring prophecy to pass. “I am God, and there is none else,” He says. “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.” Fulfilled prophecy is, in fact, one of the strongest proofs of the truth of the Bible.

One way God ensured He could fulfill that promise is through resource distribution. Long ago He carved up the Earth into continents and buried within its soils a specific spectrum of mineral and other natural wealth. The Bible is clear that He had a guiding hand in settling various peoples in specific areas (e.g. Deuteronomy 32:8; Acts 17:26)—thus preparing them via location, geography and custody of strategic resources to fulfill their pre-ordained national roles in end-time prophecy.

The historically unprecedented wealth enjoyed by the United States and, before it, the British Empire that vaulted them to superpower status in recent generations powerfully illustrates this truth. Our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy provides scriptural proof of how this wealth was prophesied to fall into the hands of these peoples—and to be subsequently lost.

Today we are witnessing another dramatic instance of this reality: the meteoric rise to prominence of a tiny clutch of otherwise inconsequential Middle Eastern states by sole virtue of their possession of what has only recently become the most valuable commodity on Earth.

The world’s crushing demand for oil is rapidly rising. A staggering 95 percent of the world’s transportation sector is petroleum-based. At the same time, production is leveling off. As recently as 1998, oil traded at $11 per barrel. Today that figure hovers around $100. This means that within a single decade, per-barrel oil revenue for these states shot up about 900 percent—$89 more for every barrel. And the world uses 40,000 gallons of oil every second—86 million barrels a day.

Do the math. It adds up to a mind-boggling, historically unprecedented transfer of wealth—about $700 billion more per year than just five years ago, much of it from free societies in the West—into oil-exporting nations. Many of these nations happen to be Middle Eastern, Muslim, and increasingly antagonistic toward the United States and other Western states.

This situation places near-nuclear-bomb-level power in their hands.

All the stock exchanges in the world are worth $57 trillion. At current oil prices, opec nations are sitting on $92 trillion.

Some of that oil money is funneling into sovereign wealth funds used to buy up strategic and technologically advanced companies in the U.S. and other Western nations. Some of that money is financing the construction of mosques and madrassas all over the West, including the U.S. And you can be sure, some of that money is flowing into the production of another highly consequential Middle Eastern export: terrorism.

A common argument is that terrorism grows out of poverty among Middle Eastern Muslims caused by Western oppression. The reality is practically the opposite. One could far more reasonably argue that terrorism would wither on the vine if not for steady infusions of oil money—largely from the West. Imagine the Allied powers during World War ii sending a billion dollars per day to Hitler.

Stepping back and evaluating the causes of this problem, several individual reasons present themselves. The juggernaut U.S. economy has grown to consume roughly a quarter of the world’s energy. Oil has proved to be the most viable source of energy, but America’s domestic oil production peaked during the 1970s and has fallen ever since. Rather than investing heavily into new oil exploration or expensive alternative energy sources, the market met supply shortfalls by increasing its dependence on foreign oil producers. In addition, environmental concerns are restricting access to additional domestic oil sources. Congress has blocked efforts to open up Alaska to oil drilling and placed a moratorium on new offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. This is essentially neo-paganism masquerading as environmentalism—valuing animal life and raw wilderness over human welfare.

On top of these factors is the West’s sense of justice and fair play. To this point the West has chosen to accept paying oil-producers their asking price—however steep—without putting up a fight, despite its military superiority. Thus, Middle Eastern states are the beneficiaries of the Western liberalism they often so vehemently denounce.

All of these specific causes contribute to the crisis. But the reason they add up to the epic realignment of global wealth and power we see occurring today depends largely on the resource distribution we spoke of earlier.

The Muslim world has inherited its prosperity by providential design—in order to facilitate its biblically prophesied rise to global prominence. Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt—these nations would never have registered a blip on the radar screen in modern times if not for their God-given oil wealth. Read our booklet The King of the South to see what a pivotal role they are prophesied to play in the time just ahead.

For the same reason, efforts to solve the problem by reversing Western dependence on foreign oil will always prove inadequate. At this stage, it is simply too little too late. The die has been cast. The situation is rapidly moving toward the biblically prophesied financial besiegement and subsequent collapse of the United States and Israel.

The material factors contributing to this crisis are underpinned by a spiritual reality. Likewise, the ultimate solution is not material, but spiritual. It lies not in ethanol and electric cars, but in repentance toward the God who prophesied catastrophe as punishment for disobedience to Him—including a devastating dependence on foreigners that would lead to ruin (e.g. Deuteronomy 28:43-44, 52).

Ultimately, the solution lies in the coming of the Messiah to build a new civilization from the ground up—a civilization free from the greed and rot that permeates the one we have built without His direction. That too is prophesied. And as the God of the Bible says, “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.”

Blueprint for a Happy Home

Blueprint for a Happy Home

Dreamstime

Qualities to build within your family
From the May 2008 Trumpet Print Edition

In a world rife with family breakdown, you need tools. Tools for building a marriage. Tools for making relationships with your children work.

The Bible is an invaluable guide to a family that wants to do things right. It offers a wealth of instruction on how to govern our families—how parents should conduct themselves and how children should respond. It gives you a practical blueprint for how to build a happy home.

God wants your family to be happy. He wants you to have full joy—the abundant life—right now! (John 10:10). “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for [family] to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1). He supplies the instructions on how to achieve that within our families. All we need do is follow them.

Building a happy family is a hugely important project, because the rewards extend well beyond the happiness we can experience in the short term. God created family life to teach us about life in His eternal Family! If we point our family and children to God the Father, it leads to life for evermore! (verse 3).

Here are some Bible-based qualities we can build in our families to make them truly happy.

1. Communication

Out of the 10,080 minutes in a week, the average American couple spends 17 in conversation. What goes on in your household when it comes to communication? Is all you hear fighting, bickering and arguing? Or maybe there is total silence—not a word spoken. Maybe all you can hear is the television blasting in the background.

Communication is a vital ingredient to developing a happy home. If we are to bring happiness to our household, we need to know what goes on in our family.

Mealtimes are a wonderful opportunity for communication, but it needs to extend beyond that. We need to communicate often and without fear.

Family should be an environment where children will come and talk to us simply because something is on their mind—a concern, an achievement, whatever it may be. Will you take the time to listen? Realize that communication is a two-way process. We talk, but we need to listen with genuine interest to what each family member has to say.

A special way of communicating with family members is by instructing them. In Genesis, God holds the patriarch Abraham up as an example: “Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord to do justice and judgment …” (Genesis 18:18-19). God commended Abraham for instructing his household—for communicating His way of life to his family. Proverbs 29:15 shows the need for parental direction and correction.

Paul instructed Titus to teach the Church of God about family relationships (Titus 2:1-5). If this kind of instruction is lacking in an individual family, it is guaranteed not to be a happy home. God specifically instructs us to help our children, to answer their questions and to take time to teach them about the benefits of God’s way of life.

2. Commitment

Commitment means you’re in the family for the long haul. It means valuing each other above our own needs and desires. There is tremendous power in commitment. It holds a family together during the difficult times. Every family experiences difficult times. Every happy home needs security, even in time of testing and trial. Those trials pull strong families together but weak families apart.

When God instituted marriage, He instructed the man to cleave to his wife (Genesis 2:24). God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16; Luke 16:18). He intended marriage to be a lifetime commitment.

Proverbs 31 teaches us that a happy home starts with a happy marriage. The virtuous woman of that chapter is motivated by a strong outgoing concern for her family. In Romans 12:9-10, the Apostle Paul wrote, “Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor” (Revised Standard Version).

Be committed to your family. Children need to know that they’re not just individual beings growing up, being instructed, disciplined and taught, but that they’re part of something bigger—part of a family. Family is greater than the sum of its individuals.

3. Time Together

Take time out to do things together as a family. Families grow close if they are involved in projects. Design your own family projects. Involve the whole family in day-to-day tasks such as keeping up the yard, raking leaves, maintaining and keeping up the home, washing the cars, and planning family goals.

Plan time to be together, and plan time in both quality and quantity—because these things don’t just happen. You must give thought to ensure it happens.

Having a weekly routine can help. What about a weekly family walk, or a regular, scheduled family game night?

4. Individuality

Someone once defined a weed as any plant in an unwanted place. The most gorgeous rosebush, in a location you don’t want it, is a weed. In our families, we don’t want any weeds. Make sure each member is wanted and has room to grow and develop individually.

See what God did with the family of mankind. After creating Adam, God brought the animals before him to name them (Genesis 2:18-19). God allowed him to administer rule in order to facilitate his growth and creativity. God wants each of us to develop our own personality.

Giving family members room to develop brings out their individual qualities and teaches them decision-making within their realm of delegated authority. It teaches responsibility and accountability. After giving instruction on how something should be done, provide your family space to move. If it doesn’t turn out right, then step in and teach why things didn’t work out. If you squash every opportunity, people will never develop. As more responsibility can be entrusted, more character can be developed as well.

5. Appreciation

All of us need appreciation. We need to learn to express and receive appreciation. When was the last time you told your wife what a wonderful meal she cooked? When was the last time you thanked your husband for taking out the trash without you having to ask him? When was the last time you showed appreciation to your son for putting away his shoes, or to your daughter for expressing her love to you when she comes to give you a big hug?

Too often we get focused on the negative and fail to see things that are worthy of praise. Our families should not be an environment of negativity for our children. Be aware of the danger of constant, hard criticism; of arguing and belittling. Talk positively about each other, both inside and outside of family settings. Don’t tear each other down.

Be equal in your attention. If you have more than one child, make sure there are no favorites. Give each child the attention he or she needs without having any “respect of persons.”

“Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others” (Philippians 2:2-4). Does this occur in our families? Do we notice things other family members do? Do your family members feel wanted?

6. Spiritual Well-Being

This point is the most important. Spiritual disease makes the whole family suffer. A family will only be happy if there is spiritual well-being.

Before ancient Israel inherited the Promised Land, Moses reminded the people of God’s statutes and judgments (Deuteronomy 4:1), and then instructed them, “Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments ….Keep therefore and do them …. [T ]each them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons” (verses 5-9). God likewise expects us to provide our children (and grandchildren) with religious instruction—because it leads to incredible blessings. God tells us to impart His knowledge to our children because it brings happiness, joy and pleasure to our families!

“[T]he fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance …” (Galatians 5:22-23). How accurately does that describe your family? If it’s close, your family is on the right track. If not, there’s work to do.

Love is an essential part of any human being’s life. An unloved baby, one who receives no affection, is unlikely to develop into a healthy adult. He or she will suffer psychological, physical and spiritual scars. A child learns to love by being loved. Spiritually it is the same: “We love him [God], because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). John 3:16 explains this as well: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son ….”

That love must flow into our lives from God, and out of our lives through our actions toward God and other people, including our beloved family members.

The Governor Spitzer Disease

The Governor Spitzer Disease

Chris Hondros/Getty Images

It poses a greater threat to humanity than the hydrogen bomb.
From the May 2008 Trumpet Print Edition

New York Governor Eliot Spitzer resigned in the aftermath of a widely publicized prostitution scandal in early March. He reportedly had unprotected sex on multiple occasions with a 22-year-old prostitute who, for her own part, was dangerously promiscuous. Spitzer put his whole family at risk for illicit sex. In an all-too-familiar scene, the disgraced former governor publicly apologized at a press conference with his wife standing beside him. It appeared as if she had aged 10 to 15 years within hours!

God created sex to bind a husband and wife together and to bring exceeding joy into marriage and family. (Request our free book The Missing Dimension in Sex to understand much more about this all-important subject.) Yet deadly sexual addictions—now rampant in American society—are ripping marriages apart and destroying our young people. Americans are grossly addicted to sexual perversion. It’s a disease raging in our society, from the highest levels to the lowest. The pain caused by sexual perversion is now almost unbearable.

Still, few of our leaders are sounding the alarm.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (cdc) recently released this stunning statistic: “At least one in four teenage girls nationwide has a sexually transmitted disease, or more than 3 million teens, according to the first study of its kind in this age group” (Associated Press, March 11).

Twenty-six percent of teen girls in the U.S. have at least one sexually transmitted disease! The most common std among the girls tested was the human papillomavirus, which medical authorities say is linked to cervical cancer. This report doesn’t account for all of the emotional damage that has been done to these young women (and the young men who are also involved).

Dr. John Douglas, director of the cdc’s division of std prevention, said, “High std rates among young women, particularly African-American young women, are clear signs that we must continue developing ways to reach those most at risk” (ibid.).

There is a cause for the sex problems we see in America. And until we root out this deep-seated evil, we will never be free of sexual perversion and all the bitter fruits it produces.

Here is another shameful statistic: Pornography in the U.S. generates $14 billion per year—$2.5 billion from the Internet. Fourteen billion dollars is more money than professional baseball, football and basketball generate combined—all of these hugely profitable sport franchises. Think about how many massive corporations there are in the United States that do not even come close to $14 billion in revenue.

Approximately 40 million people in the United States are sexually involved with the Internet! In addition, America is the number-one supplier of pornography to the world! Pornography is America’s top “entertainment” export. How sexually sick can we get? And how sick are we making the rest of the world?

Ted Bundy’s Final Warning

Ted Bundy was one of the biggest sex perverts and criminals of our time. He was executed on Jan. 24, 1989, for the brutal rape and murder of many women in several states. He talked to Dr. James Dobson only hours before his execution. This is what he said: “I wasn’t some guy hanging out in bars, or a bum. I wasn’t a pervert in the sense that people look at somebody and say, ‘I know there’s something wrong with him.’ I was a normal person. I had good friends. I had a normal life except for this one, small but very potent and destructive segment [pornography] I kept very secret and close to myself.”

Eighty-six percent of rapists admit to regular use of porn, and 57 percent admit to imitating porn scenes in committing their sex crimes. An fbi report found that 81 percent of serial sex murderers admitted to using pornography (www.resourcefoundation.org). Eighty-one percent! Ted Bundy said he didn’t know a violent sexual deviant in jail who wasn’t addicted to porn. In fact, in that same interview shortly before his execution, he said, “You are going to kill me, and that will protect society from me, but out there are many, many more people who are addicted to pornography, and you are doing nothing about that” (emphasis mine throughout).

Is that true? It’s so true it’s painful; and yet, we hide from it. The sex plague rages on, and we do nothing to stop it! How much responsibility should we take for that because we allow it to happen?

Abc News reported, “Cyberporn is not just breaking up marriages. It can have another, even more insidious effect: keeping young people from even forming relationships” (Aug. 27, 2004). That is a frightening statement! What it means is that young people by the millions get hooked on porn before they even know anythingabout dating or marriage and having a family—the most sacred institution on Earth. They never learn anything about God’s view of sex. They’re perverted before they even get to be adults and never learn about God’s awesome purpose for marriage and family life. If that isn’t a tragedy, I don’t know what tragedy is.

Does this staggering sickness have to destroy us before we understand what is happening?

Protect Yourself!

Why would a public official risk everything to get involved in illicit sex or pornography? Why do people in high places fall because of this? The main problem is addiction—they get addicted to it. It’s like heroin, and it’s so difficult to ever overcome.

People don’t grasp just how dangerous it is. The widespread use of porn is deadlier than an exploding nuclear bomb!

America exports its pornography to the rest of the world and calls it “free expression.” In truth, it’s the worst slavery you can imagine! Those who call it free expression don’t know what they’re talking about. It has nothing to do with freedom! It’s all about slavery. Millions of people are getting hooked on pornography and destroyed by it. Marriages and families are being destroyed—and if you destroy the family, you destroy the nation.

You’ll never understand the magnitude of the evil of pornography until you understand God’s master plan—the gospel—of the coming Family of God. Marriage is a type of the coming marriage to Christ. Family is a type of the God Family. As we have a marriage and as we have a family, we should try to pattern it after the marriage to Christ and after the God Family, to become perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48). Marriage and family are God-plane relationships.

Nothing will solve the pornography problem except understanding our God Family potential. Pornography strikes at the very heart of God’s family plan. The Bible reveals that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah as an example for us in the last time (Jude 7). The main cause of that catastrophe was sexual addiction.

How many people believe the Bible? The absolute truth is that we’re going to suffer until we believe God’s Word—and start living by it.