Saturday, January 27, 2007

And That Was Good

My wife, Carol, and I are very blessed to have been children of the fifties in rural Mississippi. Although we lived and grew up in the town of Ackerman, there was no hospital in that town or even Choctaw County for our deliveries. Therefore, our parents went to nearby towns of Kosciusko to the West and Starkville to the East for our births; Carol in 1953 and me in 1951.

How were you so blessed, you ask? What follows is an anonymous observation of the advantages that sadly the children of this generation will never fully understand.

And That Was Good

Were you a kid in the Fifties or earlier? Everybody makes fun of our childhood! Comedians joke. Grandkids snicker. Twenty-somethings shudder and say "Eeeew!" But was our childhood really all that bad? Judge for yourself:

In 1953:

The US population was less than 150 million...Yet you knew more people then, and knew them better... And that was good.

The average annual salary was under $3,000...Yet our parents could put some of it away for a rainy day and still live a decent life... And that was good.

A loaf of bread cost about 15 cents...But it was safe for a five-year-old to skate to the store and buy one... And that was good.

Prime-Time meant I Love Lucy, Ozzie and Harriett, and Lassie...So nobody'd ever heard of ratings or filters... And that was good.

We didn't have air-conditioning...So the windows stayed up and half a dozen mothers ran outside when you fell off your bike... And that was good.

Your teacher was either Miss Matthews or Mrs. Logan or Mr. Adkins...But not Ms Becky or Mr. Dan... And that was good.

The only hazardous material you knew about...Was a patch of grassburrs around the light pole at the corner... And that was good.

Most families needed only one job...Meaning Mom was home when school let out... And that was good.

You loved to climb into a fresh bed...Because sheets were dried on the clothesline... And that was good.

People generally lived in the same hometown with their relatives...So "child care" meant grandparents or aunts and uncles... And that was good.

TV was in black-and-white...But all outdoors was in glorious color... And that was certainly good.

Your Dad knew how to adjust everybody's carburetor...And the Dad next door knew how to adjust all the TV knobs... And that was very good.

Your grandma grew snap beans in the back yard...And chickens behind the garage... And that was definitely good.

And just when you were about to do something really bad...Chances were you'd run into your Dad's high school coach...Or the nosy old lady from up the street...Or you little sister's piano teacher...Or somebody from the church...All of whom knew your parents phone number...And YOUR first name... And even THAT was Good!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Bloodiest War

In commemoration of Sanctity of Human Life Week, January 21-28, 2007, I want to call your attention to an excellent commentary from Paul Heil's "The Gospel Greats" newsletter. Paul Heil's “The Gospel Greats” radio program is the a syndicated Southern Gospel music radio program. Click here to learn more about “The Gospel Greats” program and subscribe to his free weekly online newsletter.

Paul's Epistle...
"The Bloodiest War"

The war rages. The killing goes on unabated. Innocent victims of the most heinous terror are shedding their precious lifeblood daily. Atrocities are being committed in the name of freedom. Millions of the most defenseless of mankind are dying gruesome, painful deaths, hacked apart, slaughtered by merciless invaders, armed with their bloody weapons of death.

"Paul, did you say 'millions?' Because I haven't heard that the war has claimed millions of lives. Many thousands, perhaps, but not millions."

Yes, millions. Because I'm not talking about THAT war. I'm talking about a war that, according to Dr. D. James Kennedy, has claimed more human lives than all of the traditional wars of human history — right up to the present day — combined.

The war I'm talking about is the war on the most innocent and defenseless of all human life — the pre-born. We have another name for this warfare: "abortion."

Oh, yes, it is war! And the death toll is staggering. Since the U. S. Supreme Court's infamous Roe. v. Wade decision of January 22, 1973, more than 46 million surgical abortions have been conducted in the U.S. And the American Life League says an estimated 1.3 million more babies are killed annually through surgical abortion. (The numbers are many times this large if "chemical" abortion totals are added.) Note that this is the total in the United States alone. Abortion is even more common in many other parts of the world.

Imagine, if you would, a terrorist attack that would completely annihilate the entire populations of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana and South Carolina. Not a person left alive! The entire Southeast would be gone! What would be our nation's response to such an attack? All-out war!!! And yet the total population of those states, based on U. S. Census Bureau figures, roughly approximates that 46 million total of pre-born infants killed since 1973. Americans themselves have killed, through surgical abortion, as many pre-born children as the entire total population of those states!

Where's the outrage? Where is the mobilization for battle? In the immortal words of the cartoon character Pogo, "we have met the enemy and he is us."

It is impossible to consider the abortion issue without considering the spiritual component of this matter. Abortion (and its widespread acceptance and promotion) is readily identifiable as the result of sin. What is sin? Sin is anything that goes against God. What caused (and causes) sin? Selfish pride. It's the foolish belief that one can put one's own desires, pleasures and ambitions ahead of God's precepts. Indeed, polls indicate that, by far, the most common reason for abortions is simply that the child would interfere with the mother's lifestyle. My, my. We can't have that.

"What's in it for me?" "My desires, my 'freedom,' my 'rights' trump those of anyone else -- including those of God." What utter rubbish. That's what got Satan kicked out of heaven and Adam and Eve kicked out of the garden and started this whole sin-mess.
Scripture makes it clear that God is the giver of life. "For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb.... My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought... Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed, and in Your book they were all written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them." (Psalm 139:13-16, excerpts, NKJV.) And in Galatians, Paul says that "God chose me before I was born. By His loving-favor He called me to work for Him." (1:15, NLV.)

Dr. Bill Maier of Focus on the Family recently wrote, "In God's eyes, every life has inestimable worth and value -- from conception to the grave. Each of us is made in God's image... That means abortion is never a compassionate option, regardless of the circumstances. It is the deliberate taking of human life -- a life that is loved and cherished by God."

The abortion death-war is the antithesis of a life of peace. Mother Teresa once said, "The greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching the people to love but to use any violence to get what they want." What does that say about our society and our nation?

Chuck Swindoll, in his book "Sanctity of Life," noted, "Medical authorities determine a person to be 'alive' if there is either a detectable heartbeat or brain-wave activity. With that in mind, it is eye-opening for some to realize that unborn children have detectable heartbeats at eighteen days (two and one-half weeks) after conception and detectable brain-wave activity forty days (a little over five and one-half weeks) after conception. What is so shocking is that essentially 100 percent of all abortions occur after the seventh week of pregnancy."

Well, that's the bad news — and there's plenty of it. But there is some good news from the front. Abortions in America have declined more than 28 percent since their peak in 1980, according to Planned Parenthood's own Alan Guttmacher Institute. And there has been a one-third reduction in the number of clinics, hospitals and private physicians who perform abortions. Perhaps the tide is slowly turning.

The even better news for anyone who has had an abortion is that God can forgive even this sin. (See Ephesians 1:7.) And God's forgiveness is total. What's more, Christian crisis pregnancy centers are becoming more readily available, offering counseling and life-affirming alternatives to abortion (such as adoption).

January 21-28, 2007, is Sanctity of Human Life Week, spanning the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. Many churches will have special sermons or programs about this theme. Each of us needs to be aware of the warfare against life fostered by the abortion industry and to resolve to stand firm, in Christian love, against this sinful and destructive practice.

- Paul

PS: Here's an excellent resource site regarding abortion:

END – The Bloodiest War

Read this story out the UK titled – The Crowded Womb. I have posted *3 photos in the above article from this remarkable story revealing scans which are a highly developed form of traditional ultrasound where very high frequency sound waves are used to produce images of what is inside the body.

Photo 1 - New 4D scans reveal how twins and triplets bond before birth: He's my brother: A silicone model of fraternal twins, also aged 20 to 30 weeks old. Unlike identical twins, fraternal twins have their own placenta and amniotic sac, which prevents them from actually touching each other.

Photo 2 - Inside view: By the end of the second trimester, triplets are usually too large to be captured on one scan. This computer-generated image is a rare chance to look into the triplets' world.

Photo 3 - Womb for love: A twin kisses the cheek of her sister. Such affection, believed to help fetuses develop, may be mirrored in how the twins interact once they are born.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Tears of a President

The Tears of a President

Tears run from the eyes of U.S. President George W. Bush during a ceremony in honor of Medal of Honor winner Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham in the East room of the White House in Washington, January 11, 2007. Cpl. Dunham was killed when he jumped on a grenade to save fellow members of his Marine patrol while serving in Iraq.

The next picture is of President Bush bowing his head with the family of Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham, left, as they take part in a Medal of Honor ceremony, Thursday, Jan. 11, 2007, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Dunham, a young Marine, fell on a hand grenade in Iraq two years ago, giving his life to save comrades. From left are, father Dan Dunham, brother Kyle Dunham, mother Deb Dunham, brother Justin Dunham, sister Katlyn Dunham and the president.

Great Letter on Our Supposedly Miserable Nation

What follows is an anonymous letter that was written in reaction to a story in Newsweek where someone was complaining about living in America. I admire the person who wrote the letter and think it’s a must read for every American.

"A recent Newsweek poll alleges that 67 percent of Americans are unhappy with the direction the country is headed and 69 percent of the country is unhappy with the performance of the president. In essence 2/3s of the citizenry just ain't happy and want a change. So being the knuckle-dragger I am, I started thinking, 'What are we so unhappy about?' Is it that we have electricity and running water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Is our unhappiness the result of having air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter? Could it be that 95.4 percent of these unhappy people have a job? Maybe it is the ability to walk into a grocery store at any time and see more food in moments than Darfur has seen in the last year? Maybe it is the ability to drive from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean without having to present identification papers as we move through each state?

"Or possibly the hundreds of clean and safe motels we would find along the way that can provide temporary shelter? I guess having thousands of restaurants with varying cuisine from around the world is just not good enough. Or could it be that when we wreck our car, emergency workers show up and provide services to help all involved. Whether you are rich or poor they treat your wounds and even, if necessary, send a helicopter to take you to the hospital. Perhaps you are one of the 70 percent of Americans who own a home. You may be upset with knowing that in the unfortunate case of having a fire, a group of trained firefighters will appear in moments and use top notch equipment to extinguish the flames thus saving you, your family and your belongings. Or if, while at home watching one of your many flat screen TVs, a burglar or prowler intrudes; an officer equipped with a gun and a bullet-proof vest will come to defend you and your family against attack or loss.

"This is all in the backdrop of a neighborhood free of bombs or militias raping and pillaging the residents. Neighborhoods where 90 percent of teenagers own cell phones and computers. How about the complete religious, social and political freedoms we enjoy that are the envy of everyone in the world? Maybe that is what has 67 percent of you folks unhappy. Fact is, we are the largest group of ungrateful, spoiled brats the world has ever seen. No wonder the world loves the U.S. yet has a great disdain for its citizens. They see us for what we are. The most blessed people on earth who do nothing but complain about what we don't have and what we hate about the country instead of thanking the good Lord we live here. I know, I know. What about the president who took us into war and has no plan to get us out? The president who has a measly 31 percent approval rating? Is this the same president who guided the nation in the dark days after 9/11? The president that cut taxes to bring an economy out of recession?

"Could this be the same guy who has been called every name in the book for succeeding in keeping all the spoiled brats safe from terrorist attacks? The commander-in-chief of an all-volunteer army that is out there defending you and me? Make no mistake about it. The troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have volunteered to serve, and in many cases have died for your freedom. There is currently no draft in this country. They didn't have to go. They are able to refuse to go and end up with either a 'general' discharge, an 'other than honorable' discharge or, worst case scenario, a 'dishonorable' discharge after a few days in the brig. So why then the flat out discontentment in the minds of 69 percent of Americans? Say what you want but I blame it on the media. If it bleeds it leads and they specialize in bad news. Everybody will watch a car crash with blood and guts.

"How many will watch kids selling lemonade at the corner? The media knows this and media outlets are for-profit corporations. They offer what sells. Just ask why they are going to allow a murderer like O.J. Simpson to write a book and do a TV special about how he didn't kill his wife, but if he did how he would have It's insane! Stop buying the negative venom you are fed everyday by the media. Shut off the TV, burn Newsweek, and use the New York Times for the bottom of your bird cage," and, I might add, every day is better than the one before. Whoever wrote this then said: "I close with one of my favorite quotes from B.C. Forbes in 1953: 'What have Americans to be thankful for? More than any other people on the earth, we enjoy complete religious freedom, political freedom, social freedom. Our liberties are sacredly safeguarded by the Constitution of the United States, "the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man."'

"Yes, we Americans of today have been bequeathed a noble heritage. Let us pray that we may hand it down unsullied to our children and theirs.' I suggest we sit back and count our blessings for all we have. If we don't, what we have will be taken away. Then we will have to explain to future generations why we squandered such blessing and abundance. If we are not careful this generation will be known as the 'greediest and most ungrateful generation.' A far cry from the proud Americans of the 'greatest generation' who left us an untarnished legacy."

I believe the song America Bless God, written by Eric Horner, is a fitting P.S. to this well written letter.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

What Is A Grandmother?

What Is A Grandmother?

(Anonymous – written by 9 year-old 3rd grade girl)

From “Where’s Dad?” -- Taken from the soundtrack of the Focus on the Family Film Series, "What Dads Need to Know About Fathering."

A grandmother is a lady who has no children of her own. She likes other people’s boys and girls. A grandfather is a man grandmother. He goes for walks with the boys and they talk about fishin’ and stuff like that. Grandmother’s don’t have anything to do except to be there – They are old so they shouldn’t play hard or run. It is enough that they drive us to the market where the pretend horse is and have a lot of dimes ready. Or, if they take us for walks, they should slow down past things like pretty leaves and caterpillars. And, they should never say, “Hurry up.” Usually grandmothers are fat, but not too fat to tie your shoes. They wear glasses and funny underwear. They can take their teeth and gums off. Grandmothers don’t have to be smart, only answer questions like, “Why isn’t God married?” and “How come dogs chase cats?” Then she comes to her final paragraph and she says, “Everybody should try to have a grandmother, especially if you don’t have television.” And, then her final line, “Because, they are the only grown-ups who have time.”

Very perceptive. She has in her own way described the extremely important role that grandparents play in the life of a child. I believe that it is a God-given responsibility. It is a little different than parenthood but still very important in the life of a child. But as importantly the little girl made references to the characteristics most typical of the American family. Indirectly she referred to it twice – Fatigue – Time Pressure. Everybody is exhausted. Everybody is huffing puffing and pushing – hurrying back and forth and working on the “to do” list. And never quite getting it done and felling the constant pressure 12 months a year. It’s going to be better. But turns out to be an allusion.

From "Where's Dad?" -- Taken from the soundtrack of the Focus on the Family Film Seriew, "What Dads Need to Know About Fathering," this broadcast addresses the greatest threats to meaningful family life: fatigue, time pressures, over commitment, workaholism and a failure to pass on a spiritual heritage. Urging fathers to make their families a priority, family advocate Dr. James Dobson stresses that values are best learned when children observe how a parent provides moral leadership in everyday life.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Gerald Ford's Testimony

Gerald R. Ford on May 28, 1977, four months after leaving the presidency, gave the commencement address to his son and 180 other Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary graduates. Here are excerpts:

Today I speak not as an office-holder but as a father and private citizen. From this perspective it's easy enough to see how fleeting things of the world are which we consider important. A man can hold high office, command great powers, and be hailed as the leader of the world, but when his time in office is over he must be prepared mentally, emotionally, spiritually, to relinquish the power, the prestige, and the public acclaim that came with the office. He must retain the quiet confidence that he has been the same man all along and that whatever he contributed as president he can still contribute in other ways.

This is not an easy transition to make, but with the help of one's family and one's friends and with the conviction that God works his own purposes in each of our own lives, it is easier to see that leaving the White House is not the end of the world but simply the beginning of a new chapter in one's life....

More than a century ago, Abraham Lincoln told the story of an Eastern monarch who instructed his wise men to write a sentence to be always in view which would be true and appropriate in all circumstances and in all times. They presented him these words: "And this, too, shall pass away." Lincoln marveled at this very simple wisdom, how much it expresses, how chastening in the hour of pride, how consoling in the depths of affliction.

Jesus took this thought an important step further. "The things of this earth shall pass away," he said, "but my word shall not pass away." This is the most comforting thought of all, especially, for those in this audience who have dedicated their lives to spreading the Word of God through preaching, teaching, and the ministry of service. You have learned by now that God's commandments are not just sterile laws to be repeated in church. They constitute a strong code of morality and conduct by which you can lead successfully constructive lives of compassion and of service. They also represent an agenda for social action in dealing with the problems of this world. You have committed yourselves to do battle with the enemies of this globe—ignorance, disease, poverty, injustice, greed, and war itself—even while building your hopes on things eternal and setting your sights on the gates of heaven. In this commitment, we have much in common.

For almost thirty years I committed my life to public service, to advancing peace among nations, and to social and economic progress among our own people. President Kennedy once reported a survey which revealed that every mother wanted her son to grow up to become president but none of them wanted him to get into politics to do it. It's a hard life. So many are the political compromises one is obliged to make that moral compromise becomes a constant danger, but I found during my time in the White House that in many important ways my Christian faith was strengthened rather than weakened.

When I became president on August 9, 1974, this country was faced with some of its most serious and dangerous problems in its entire history. America had been buffeted about for more than a decade with shocks to its system that would have paralyzed a lesser nation: political assassinations, a long and frustrating war, riots in our streets and on our campuses, economic distress, and scandals at the highest level of government. Underlying these problems was a crisis of confidence, a crisis of the spirit among our people. Above all, I knew in this time of crisis I was about to enter the most powerful office in the world, an office I had never sought, without having an election mandate from the American people. I did not fear the new responsibilities, but neither did I dare to believe that I could carry the load alone by myself.

In the few hours before the presidency was suddenly thrust upon me, one of my aides asked what verse I wanted the Bible opened to when I took the oath of office. I turned to the Bible which Mike had given me when I became vice-president, and opened it to the Book of Proverbs. Ever since I was a little boy I have used a very special verse from Proverbs as a kind of personal prayer. On that August morning nearly three years ago that verse took on a new significance in my life. It says: "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding: in all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." That was the verse I placed my hand on when I took the oath of office as president. It was the same verse I would turn to more than two years later on a Wednesday morning in November, the day after the election.

If the experience of the presidency itself led me to a greater reliance upon God, a greater appreciation of my religion, so did some of the critical events of those two and a half years in the White House. I remember particularly well when in September of 1974, just a few weeks after I had taken office, Betty had her bout with cancer. It was during that time that we came to a much deeper understanding of our personal relationship with Jesus Christ. At a time when human weakness and human frailty was such a real part of our lives, we were able to see clearly for the first time what the Apostle Paul meant when he wrote that Christ's strength is made perfect in our weakness. Having been through that experience, we found that we were better able to give comfort and hope to others in their time of pain.

The White House—those years—also taught us a dramatic lesson in the mortality of man. Twice I escaped an assassin's bullet, and twice I came to understand in vivid terms another message of Paul, that we should trust not in ourselves but in God, who delivered us from death and preserves us still.

Finally, the presidency taught me how limited is the wisdom of man. The great issues of our time are so complex they sometimes seem to defy solution. I made my share of mistakes in trying to deal with these controversial and complex problems, but the achievements of the administration—from limiting the weapons of nuclear war to restoring harmony and confidence in our own country—all had their roots in a policy so simply and yet so wisely proclaimed two thousand years ago: "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."

This speech was reprinted in the July 29, 1977, issue of Christianity Today.

Here is an interesting commentary from -- The Other Born-Again President?