1. The Museum of the Bible opened in Washington D.C. - I'm so pleased to see the Museum of the Bible open in Washington D.C. This is an important step to helping people understand the historical value of the Scriptures and the textual authenticity of the manuscripts.
It also signals to the people of the country a simple fact: The Bible is an indelible core aspect of our history, society and culture. Western civilization has been crafted by the Bible, the reformation and the enlightenment.
2. The Trump Administration officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital - Isn't it interesting how the world often refuses to acknowledge even the most obvious things? Especially when it comes to Israel, the most hated little country in the world at the United Nations, we see time and again that Israel is treated to a different set of standards than the rest of the nations of the world. Why is that? Why does anti-Semitism rear its ugly head time and again in human history? It's a bold move by the Trump administration to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, something most of us already knew, has now be put in ink and recognized for the world to see.
3. Little Sisters of the Poor won at the Supreme Court - A Catholic order was being pressured by Obamacare regulations to provide free birth control, including birth control that causes a mini-abortion against their beliefs. The Obama administration was legislating against these nuns for years, and finally the Little Sisters won at the Supreme Court and are now free to live according to their faith beliefs.
4. Weekly Bible Studies at the White House - Something like this hasn't happened in over one 100 years. So many of us trash the Trump administration and toss around hyperbole and criticism of past remarks made by the man. But the truth is the Trump administration has been more conservative and more friendly to Christians than Bush, Clinton, H.W. Bush and Gerald Ford to name a few. The hypocrisy is a bit glaring. Bible studies in the White House! I'm not saying everyone in the White House is a saint, far from it, but they're studying the word of God. That's always a good thing.
5. The Weinstein Revelation - This ugly event has a strong silver lining, and the silver lining is that women who have victimized, and men for that matter, are now being heard and the people who victimized them are now being called to account for what they've done. It's ugly, but it's the truth and it's coming out. That's always a good thing.
6. Hurricane Harvey - How was this a good thing? Hurricane Harvey was a tragic disaster that caused harm to many, but it also showed how Americans can come together and help each other. The response was amazing, and millions in donations and hours of volunteering help came pouring in. An estimated 80 percent of the aid came from Christians.
7. ISIS is being defeated in the Middle East - hundreds of thousands of Christians in the Middle East have been displaced, persecuted, and murdered amongst the chaos caused by ISIS. The United Nations refused to even recognize the genocide of Christians in the Middle East. In addition the American news media didn't cover this genocide, aside from Fox News. But now we have a new administration that is taking the threat of ISIS seriously, without pushing a "spreading democracy" foreign policy. That's a very good thing.
8. Neil Gorsuch was confirmed to the Supreme Court - A pro-life constitutional conservative was appointed to the Supreme Court. That's a big deal. Imagine the nightmare we'd be facing today if Hillary Clinton was elected, and proceeded to nominate a progressive social justice warrior who views the Constitution as a barrier to secular progress. We'd see the final collapse of religious freedom, and eventually the criminalization of Christianity.
9. Trump's Battle with the Mainstream Media - I was so tired of the last eight years, of so many in our culture calling Christians bigoted, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic and so on and so forth. And there was no firm voice willing to contend with this narrative. And by the end of the eight years of the Obama administration we saw the DOJ pushing transgender bathrooms in public schools. When would the insanity end? The news media has enjoyed open game on Christians for the last 20 years and beyond. We as Christians have often been guilty of being too timid, of being too frightened and afraid of offending anyone, that we fail to speak with a clear voice in regard to truth and falsehood. There is a time to turn the other cheek, and there is a time to speak up regarding the truth. It's been refreshing to see someone fight back against the constant lies and false narratives of the news media.
10. The Supreme Court allowed Trinity Lutheran Learning Center access to public funds to upgrade a gravel playground - Trinity was initially refused access to public funds to improve their playground simply because they were a religious organization. The Supreme Court voted 7-2 to reverse that discriminatory ruling against organizations of faith. This ruling also ensured that religious institutions applying for government aid after the Hurricane Harvey incident would be eligible to receive aid. That's a big deal.
There were many negatives in 2017. We saw a darker side to the media, to Congress and Hollywood. However, we also saw hope, as the truth began to come out. We saw through struggle and tragedy people pulling together to love and support one another in times of need. Isn't that what life is often like on earth? We see trial, tragedy and the depravity of human nature coming out, but through it all we see God's hand of providence guiding us from darkness toward His light. Yes, 2017 was a challenge, but it was a blessing in disguise. Let's pray and hope that the same will be true of 2018.