My song has no melody, so I hope you like the words

Friday, November 9, 2012

Thankful for the Living Word

Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself,"The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him"< Lamentations 3:22
I thank God for all of the promises like this that he gives us through his word. I need the reminder in black and white that he will always love me and treat me with compassion. He wants me to know that I start each new day with a clean slate, a fresh start, no matter how badly I messed up the day before.
God is always faithful, even when I am not. His proven faithfulness is what makes it possible for me to trust him in this moment, and wait for him to show himself at the right time. This morning I am going to savor the words of these verses, let them sink deep into my soul and take root. I want God’s word to become a part of every fiber of my being, like the DNA that determines the growth of every cell in my body.
He is always present with me through the scriptures, never out of reach, always teaching, always encouraging. There are over 31,000 verses in the bible I read, giving me that many opportunities to hear God speaking to my heart. Every one of them is a gift from my Father in heaven, a love letter given to each one of us to meet us at our point of need.
Thank you, Lord, for the gift of your living Word.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Trying My Hand At Fiction

Now for something different... I'm writing a fictional story about social collapse and redemption in a future country lost in governmental social engineering policies. Sounds fun, doesn't it? I am not as paranoid or sold out to consiracy theories as this seems to indicate. It is a picture of a world I hope will never be, more nightmare than reality.
Anyway, here is the opening paragraph, so far. If it grabs you, let me know!
Ruth held the steering wheel so tightly that her knuckles were white, and it took every fiber of her being not to go over the speed limit. That would have only made things worse by triggering the automatic cameras linked into the city’s database. Today is not a good day for my car to be noticed, she reminded herself grimly. Silently willing herself not to hunch over the cracked and fading wheel or do anything else to attract the attention of curious onlookers, she kept her eyes focused on the busy road straight ahead. The main city artery was crowded with cars swerving to avoid the numerous potholes and cracks that bore silent witness to the decaying city infrastructure. She was surprised by how many cars were still on the road here, and wondered how many of them were driven by government workers.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Writing Out Loud

I did something new and different today, and am enjoying the accomplishment. My last post mentioned that I was working on a devotional book to be published as an e-book. Today I sent it on to the editor, and am excited to see what happens next.
Obviously I hope other people will read it. Why else would I put my writings out in the public realm? Even more, my prayer is that it will be a blessing to others, that God will use my written descriptions of lessons He has been teaching me to encourage others along the way.
Most of the entries deal with how God reveals himself in the midst of trials or in the face of our own weaknesses, because that is where He has most faithfully revealed himself to me. It takes courage for me to let others see how the Lord has been working on this messy lump of clay, but I believe it is worth the risk. My prayer is that readers will gain a greater sense of God's amazing light where darkness once prevailed.
In the meantime, there are a lot of innovative home school tools and other devotionals available at the website where my work will eventually be published. Please check out and see what my lovely friends have to offer!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Crayon Scribbles

The following is a part of my next project, a 30 day devotional for people with a chronic illness. I think most of it applies to all of us. Please let me know what you think!
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, Luke 4:18b
I’m not very good with crayons. As a small child, I colored outside the lines and was punished. I don’t know if I just missed the lines a little bit or colored all over the page, but I was punished and became very fearful. All creative expression felt dangerous.
God has gently pointed out that pattern in other areas of my life. I tend to look for the rules or lines in every situation. Where there are no clear guidelines, I’m a nervous wreck. This is no way to live. Jesus came to set me free from bondage, and He did. I only need to walk in faith through those prison doors. He wants me to feel the sweet fresh air and warmth of sun on my face, and doesn’t demand perfection from me to get there.
So often we live our lives in prisons of our own making, believing we cannot ever be free. We are so concerned with staying on the path we believe is our only choice that we never see that the walls have been torn down. We never even test the door to find out that Jesus has removed the locks that held us captive.
Sometimes our lives are sloppy, with marks all over the page where they don’t belong, but God’s love is not bound by our actions. He forgives us instead of condemning, He even accepts our pitiful crayon scribbles, knowing that we are actually becoming His masterpiece. Our creator doesn’t punish us every time we make a mistake. He is a loving Father who erases the sins of our past through the forgiveness given by grace at the cross.
Thank you, Lord, for freeing me from the bondage of sin.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Fall Viewed in a Frame

Its been too long since I posted here. I hope you enjoy the view from my window...
Acorns leaching brown on new cement
Leaves curled cold by frost’s first kiss
Bright mums rounded yellow
In clay planters by the door
All seen through the breach
Framed in rectangles of glass
Trace of grass lying fallow
Mustiness of leaves
Gentle scents that seep inside
Announcing shorter days
Damp and fog now spreading tendrils
Of warming mist across the ground
Morning in a world at dusk
The sun is glowing gold

Saturday, June 9, 2012

First Love

I've been asked to give a little devotional, and decided to post part of it here since I haven't blogged much lately. I hope these words encourage you!
Nothing else matters if we don’t have love. But where does it start?
1John 4:19 "We love because he first loved us" We love because God first loved us. We can only give away what we have, and he has given us his boundless, powerful, tender and eternal love. Sit with that for a moment. Drink deeply from that well, because nothing else compares. Start your day by realizing you are surrounded by the amazing love of your Father in heaven. The only response to that love is to love God in return. And when we are overflowing with the love of God, we can’t help but share it with those around us.
In Revelation chapter 2, Christ addresses the church at Ephesus first. That is no accident, and his message to them is clear. Yes, they are working really hard doing what we might call “Kingdom work”, but he tells them they’ve missed the most important thing, their love for God.
"I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
"Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first."
Do you remember what it was like when you first asked Christ into your heart? When was the last time you were overcome with joy at realizing how deeply and tenderly you are loved? That is a priceless gift we have been given, and the world desperately needs us to share that love.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Why Write, Take 2

I'm entering a contest at a website for aspiring writers, moderated by Jeff Goins, whose own website often motivates me. The following is an attempt to explain/expose my inner writer...
I've always wanted to write a book, which makes me just as unique as millions of other people who thought the same thing. Of course, I made lots of excuses for why I couldn't do it today, or this month, or this year. That is what millions of other potential writers have also probably said, so nothing else that follows will be unique either.
For whatever reason, it has recently occurred to me that I'm running out of time to make this dream into a reality. Maybe I just matured enough to realize it wasn't going to fall into my lap without some consistent effort, or maybe I'm finally growing up. I know one big thing that has changed is that I find my own story much less interesting than it once appeared, and so the desire to write about my own life has faded. (Are those sighs of relief I hear?) I enjoy writing poetry, but can't really see myself publishing most of it. Besides, if I ever did publish my own story or most of my poems, it would have to be done under a pen name to protect my privacy, and where's the fun in that?
There are ideas I think are important, and a gripping story is an effective way to communicate ideas. I have a story concept that I'm enjoying writing and that I hope someday others will enjoy reading. Sounds simple enough, right? Write something people want to read, and somehow the magic fairies will turn it into a book on the shelf at the local bookseller. What do you mean that's not how it works???
Now my mind is churning with concepts such as 'building your platform to get published', and 'utilize search engine optimization' and 'draft a powerful proposal', and 'self publish for success', and 'e-books or printing on demand', and.... excuse me while my brain explodes.
All I want to do is write, right? The process of stringing words together is intimidating enough for me, let alone all of the other tasks involved in getting a book into print. Lord, please help me focus on you first, and trust that all the rest will come together in your time!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

When a Man of God Compromises...

... the Word of God is shamed. I'm sitting here in tears over something I just saw on TV, grieving over what has become of our Christian leaders in this once great nation.
What I heard was a pastor saying he changed his mind about a biblical issue because he "heard from my base." He didn't hear from God, because God's Word on the issue is clear. There is behavior that is sinful, and sin should not be celebrated or "tolerated." It doesn't even matter what the issue was, though you can probably guess, given the recent headlines. Yesterday this pastor spoke out and he said he could no longer support President Obama and would not vote for him because the president has come out strongly and publicly supporting something that the Bible clearly condemns.
One day later, this supposed shepherd of God's people told the world that the opinions of men matter more to him than what God has said in the bible. He is Rev. Emmett Burns, PhD, pastor of The Rising Sun Baptist Church in Baltimore, and I feel sorry for the members of his congregation. Apparently Rev. Burns got a lot of calls today from his "base", and when he saw that standing on principle might be costly, he chose to deny what he knew in his heart to be true. It would have been better for all of them had Rev. Burns kept his opinions to himself in the first place, since he apparently didn't have the courage of his convictions or trust God to honor his faithfulness. Instead, a man of God has been revealed as just another guy who cares more about what people think of him than doing the right thing and standing on biblical truth. Great lesson to teach the flock that God put in your care, sir.
I'm sure that he got hammered today for speaking out. 97% of the black community is in lockstep support of President Obama. But gay rights are NOT the same as the rights regardless of color fought for by the civil rights movement. The level of melanin in your skin, or your ethnic background, is not something you choose or can change, anymore than you do your height or hair color [ok, many women do choose the latter]. All of us DO choose our behavior, and one day we will ALL be held accountable for that.
I wish that Rev. Burns had met Rev. C.L. Bryant, because he might have been able to encourage the older man that the fight was worth it. Pastor Bryant was raked over the coals for standing on principle, and is still proclaiming the truth fearlessly every day, despite receiving the same kind of attacks leveled at Rev. Burns. The difference is that Pastor Bryant chose to put his trust in God, not in the opinions of men. When I met him, he told me that the two issues he believed most of the Christian community could agree on were abortion and gay marriage. Sadly, he was proved wrong today.
Most of us will never be placed in the same position as Rev. Burns. But if I ever am, I pray that I will value God's opinion of me more than the world's.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Think On These Things

I wrote a post on Phil 4:8 a couple of months ago, from the perspective of dealing with pain and loss. Today I find myself reminded of this verse for another reason. My sons are home from college for the summer, and we've been having some wonderful late night conversations about the state of the world and our response. It is a blessing to hear the wisdom that comes from the mouths of these people that I once held in my arms. They are held by far stronger and wiser arms than mine these days, and it shows.
We've all done a lot of reading and listening this year, and been profoundly impacted by what we've learned. I often feel overwhelmed by it all, seeing so many issues that need to be addressed and feeling quite incapable of having any impact. My youngest son probably encouraged me the most, with a reminder of something he learned from a Frank Peretti lecture his literature class watched. Mr. Peretti spoke about the rebuilding of the wall in Jerusalem, and Dan took the lesson to heart.
Rebuilding the wall around an entire city was a huge task, far too much for any one person to accomplish on their own. Instead of looking at the whole wall, each worker was instructed to focus instead on their one section. He described the action of laying one brick at a time, spreading the mortar to hold it securely, then placing the next brick. One person, one piece of the whole. This makes sense, which is why I didn't think of it myself.
We want to be smart about how we lay our bricks, and want the wall we build to be straight and true. 'Many counselors make for wise decisions', and the books we read often provide that counsel. I am grateful for the teachers and friends who have pointed us toward many of these books.
To give you an idea what the shelves around here look like these days, here are some of the books we shared ideas from [in no particular order]:
The Bible, by God; Joni, By Joni Eareckson Tada; Free To Choose, by Milton Friedman; Something Beautiful For God, by Malcom Muggeridge; Why We Should Call Ourselves Christians, by Marcello Pera; Be Amazed, by Warren Wiersbe; Modern Times, by Paul Johnson; Scribbling in the Sand, by Michael Card; The Normal Christian Life, by Watchman Nee; Born Again, by Chuck Colson; How Do You Kill 11 Million People? by Andy Andrews; We Won't Get Fooled Again, by Jackson & Deace; Politics According to the Bible, by Wayne Grudem; A Patriot's History of the United States, by Schweikart & Allen
What books have been helping you build your section of the wall lately?
What books would you recommend to your fellow wall-builders?

Monday, May 7, 2012

What Is a Parent To Do?

As a mother, I often think about what kind of legacy I am leaving for my sons. As a Christian, my highest hope is that they will know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and have a lifelong relationship with Him long after I am gone. Beyond that, I want them to be like salt and light in their world, pointing others toward enduring truth. My words matter, but have my own actions showed them how it can be done? Have I not only talked about making moral choices, but modeled them as well? Have I showed them by my example what it means to be a good citizen, or how to have a positive impact on their community and world?
I've dedicated most of the past 25 years to those ends, through homeschooling and actively working in my church and local community. Now I look at the world around me and wonder what I've missed. The moral foundation of our culture has crumbled as "truth" has become whatever someone wants it to be, where our leaders say one thing and do another. Disrespect for life is rampant, the God-ordained institutions of marriage and family are belittled or transformed into something entirely different, the selfish ends seem to justify any means.
It would be easy to give up, or even worse become apathetic, and just retreat into my own safe little comfort zone. But I don't believe that is what God's people have been called to do. His command to Joshua was clear, "Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
As Americans we have the unique opportunity to choose those who will represent us. I believe it is our responsibility to choose wisely how we exercise that right. It is just as important to hold our representatives accountable, and that requires effort and discernment. Our input is needed. We need to be prepared to give wise counsel and not assume that others have done it for us.
You have two opportunities right now to make a positive difference in our state. Action is needed TODAY to let your Delaware State Representative know your opinion on the issue of parental rights regarding school health clinics. Go HERE for information on the bill and easy links to contact your Representative.
Tomorrow, school board elections are being held throughout the state. See my previous post for more information.
If you're tempted to let these opportunities slip away, please first ask yourself this: If not you, then who? If not now, then when?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

School Board Election May 8

As a veteran homeschooler, I must admit that local school board elections haven't been much of a priority. This year is different - my interest has been piqued by the obvious and excessive money being spent to garner my vote. Why the huge investment in a small race? Then I did a little research on the candidate and found a social progressive with big union money behind her, and decided it was time to pay attention.
On Tuesday, May 8th, you can make a difference. Delaware is holding 10 school board and referenda elections throughout the state. You only need to be a resident of the district to vote, and can vote at any location in your district. Go here for a quick source of official information.
In 2011, we spent $12,390 per student, with 126,801 students. Do the math, we spend about $1.5 Billion a year on our schools. With a 2010 population of 897,934, that means every one of us is pitching in about $1,750 a year. Are we getting our money's worth?
The most recent figures I could find rank us 6th in the nation for education costs. But our test scores are just average according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress
Our situation in the Christina District is far worse. We are ranked 15th of 15 districts statewide according to with a dropout rate of 7.8% last year. To put that in perspective, Delaware overall had the 5th highest dropout rate nationally in 2007-08 with a rate of "only" 6%.
Whether you are a student or not, as a taxpayer you have a vested interest in the quality and cost of education. Our future is being molded in the classrooms of today. Do you agree with how and what is being taught? Information on the candidates is not easy to find. The best resource I know of is the Delaware Family Policy Council. I also found general information with candidate statements here

Friday, May 4, 2012

Life of Julia - a Nightmare Come True

There is currently a slideshow at President Obama's reelection campaign website that sends chills of horror down my spine. Some pundits are making jokes about it, but honestly I'm way too appalled to see the humor. It was intended to gain support for him, but it had the completely opposite effect on me. It documents how the federal government, under Barack Obama's guidance, takes care of a fictional woman from age 3 to 67. A government that takes pride in having that much power in our lives frightens me, and does not at all resemble the freedom our nation once championed. I have no desire to live in a country where the government takes the place of a parent or spouse for a capable citizen from 'cradle to grave.'
The text that accompanies the slides is a gross distortion of reality. I know many people are making jokes about the whole presentation, but I'm much too upset about what it represents to laugh it off. Since when did we give a bloated bureaucracy the power to control every decision we make in life? Since when is it a positive thing for parents to relinquish the care and well being of their children to the state?
I think what troubles me most is that this campaign actually brags about playing the role of 'god', meeting all of this imaginary citizen's needs. Why depend on the real God, if a government program will do?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Serving, or a Disservice?
My son sent me this article from one of his college classes recently, and though it was new to me, it was written in 1989 and may be familiar to you. John McKnight's premise is that when agencies look at a community as being in need of 'services', they often damage the community as a whole. I encourage you to read the author's own words as they are more eloquent than my own.
My first reaction was, "Aha! I knew that government attempts to 'help' us were a bad idea!" I see the damage done to our inner city communities where the government has taken over the role of a parent. Communities that once functioned together despite their poverty have lost their sense of being able to provide for themselves. Why go to the effort of working together in difficulties if there is an agency of "professionals" that are not only willing to do it, but have convinced you they can do it better?
My second thought was to wonder how often I am guilty of the same assumptions on a personal level, and my righteous indignation melted away. I take seriously the biblical command to love my neighbor and serve others rather than seeking selfish gain. Sometimes I'm just not so good at being able to tell when I'm being helpful or when I am doing something the other person should do for themselves. Even worse, there have been times when I've given in to the temptation to help someone, and my help has only made their situation worse.
An intersection near my home hosts a parade of sorry looking souls holding up signs with some variation of 'will work for food', or 'down on my luck please help me.' I often see people reaching their hands out the driver's window to hand cash to whoever is collecting donations that day. I squirm in my seat and feel guilty for not doing the same, even though I know that most of the money probably goes to anything but food. I was once told by someone that ran a homeless shelter that they would actually kick out any of their guests who were seen panhandling in such a way, because the money invariable went to drugs or alcohol and the panhandler still showed up at the shelter for all their meals.
I'm not a heartless person, though, and it troubles me. How can I know if a person is truly in need, since only God can see the heart? Then I have to remind myself that God 'don't make no junk.' He created mankind and told us to fill and subdue the earth. Clearly he would not have told us to do something He knew we were incapable of doing. He made exceptions for widows, orphans, and the sick, but that's about it. I'm not doing anyone any favors by doing something for them that they are capable of doing for themselves. I only rob them of their dignity and self-respect.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Delaware's Next U.S. Senator

Kevin Wade was officially nominated last weekend as the Republican candidate for Delaware's U.S. Senate seat, and Tom Carper should be worried. His acceptance speech was an inspiring call for common sense conservatism, and a celebration of the people who have made this country great. Mr. Wade is a concerned citizen who has had enough of the damage done by career politicians like Senator Carper.
Many of us are concerned, but few have the experience to actually do something about the problems confronting our nation. Mr. Wade knows what it takes to succeed in what he called our "great country of boundless opportunity," having worked his way up from the steel mills of Pennsylvania to running his own engineering firm here in Delaware. His company has focused on problem solving in the energy industry, making him uniquely qualified to steer our country towards energy independence. He is a man of integrity with the kind of vision and problem-solving skills we need in Washington. We all know that Washington is broken, but our government won't change until we change the people running it. It is time for Delaware to elect a senator who will represent the people, not his political cronies.
Please take a few minutes to visit Kevin Wade's website for yourself, and learn why I am excited to support his candidacy.
Note: This blog reflects my own personal opinions and is independent of any party or candidate. However, in the interest of full disclosure I feel the need to state that other members of my family share my strong support for Mr. Wade and are actively working on his campaign.
His acceptance speech starts at 17:30, but the nominating speeches are great, too!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Health Care - Another Point of View

My last two posts have been about the contradictory world views that impact our position on healthcare in general and on specific problems with the plan passed under cover of night in December 2010. I'll be the first to admit that a lot of it is tedious and depressing, but sometimes reality is just that. I'll summarize part of Dr. Gray's solution here, and put in my own two cents worth in the second part of this post.
Thankfully, there is a better way forward. Dr. Gray has written a paper entitled "Cutting the Gordian Knot" and I highly recommend you check it out at his website, He describes five guiding principles that he thinks provide a way forward. They are: 1- craft a series of reforms, each addressing one clearly identified problem with the current system 2 - pass each reform separately. Don't try to change everything at once or you'll never know what really worked 3 - write understandable bills of a reasonable length whose proposals can be clearly communicated 4 - Keep each bill 'clean' and free of any payoffs, pork or other attachments 5 - make the final language public for 7 days before voting to allow for public viewing
Dr. Gray has listed 17 reforms on his website that he believes are essential. The one reform he mentioned Tuesday night was transforming Medicaid to a system of block grants to the states. He believes this one reform alone could save as much as $300 billion.
I believe that the current system we have of 'third party payors' through insurance of any kind contributes significantly to the problem. My own doctor can't tell me what a specific test will cost, for example, because it varies depending on what insurance company I use. If I choose not to use insurance, the price is higher. I can't think of any other area of commerce where using cash is actually the most expensive option, can you? Different insurance companies also cover different medications based on contracts with manufacturers rather than on patient need.
In addition, paying a flat rate for medical care leads to the "all you can eat buffet mentality." If someone is paying a flat rate whether they use a service or not, the human tendency is to get as much out of it as you can. Making the real cost of medical care inaccessible to the patient keeps all of us from recognizing its true value.
Medical Savings Accounts and limited insurance for catastrophic medical needs could go a long way toward curbing the abuse of the healthcare system. The price for services would likely come down for basic care, allowing greater access.
I believe we have a moral obligation to care for those in genuine need. Does that mean I am morally obligated to pay for an emergency room visit (the most expensive method of healthcare delivery) to treat an addict's non-life threatening healthcare needs? What if it is because the addict chose to rely on taxpayer funded healthcare that costs him or her nothing no matter where they go for treatment? I know this sounds harsh, but where does a civilized society draw the line?
A personal example: I have diabetes. This means I have to be more careful about what I eat, and my health in general, than someone without diabetes. Should I have the right to demand that you pay for my expensive medical needs if I decide not to take care of myself? If I develop heart disease because I decide eating candy is more important than maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, is it fair of me to send you the bill?
"Personal responsibility" is an awkward topic to bring up in a healthcare debate, because we all know that it is hard to draw a concrete line between personal habits and lousy genes or environment when our health fails. Some people who live extremely healthy lifestyles still get very ill, and some people live long healthy lives with terrible habits. But at some point we need to acknowledge that life just isn't always fair.
As individuals, we can come alongside those in genuine need, and make these difficult decisions on an individual basis. There is no way that a large government program can evaluate the difference between medical need and a lack of personal accountability.

Inside ObamaCare

This information comes from Dr. C.L. Gray, who has been speaking out on how world views find their expression in public policy since 1999. He has studied the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (AKA ObamaCare) in more detail than most of us could handle. The following facts come from his recent lecture in Newark, Delaware.
Before I relate specific issues with the bill itself, refer to my last post describing the Complete Lives System published by a member of the White House panel that drafted this legislation. The paper was written in 2009, when our national debt was "only" $10.6 trillion. It is now $15.7 trillion, and interest alone adds up to $640 billion more per year. We hear on the news about the terrible impact of debt on our European allies, but did you know that US debt exceeds the debt owed by the entire Eurozone and UK combined? Americans owe more per capita as well.
These facts necessarily impact the amount of federal funding available for healthcare. In 2010, the federal government spent $524 billion on Medicare for the elderly and $427 billion on Medicaid for the poor. This explains why the PPAFA cuts $500 billion from Medicare over the next 10 years; there just isn't enough money available to meet the need.
The bill itself is over 2,000 pages long, but the regulations written so far to implement it exceed 10,000 pages. The bill grants authority to the Secretary of Health and Human Services to determine "appropriate" costs and levels of care, and whether the quality of care meets required limits for expenditures per patient. Dr. Gray showed us just two pages from Section 3007 of the bill. He highlighted 21 times in just those two pages where power was transferred from the physician providing the care to the HHS bureaucracy. In other words, the fact that your physician believes a particular course of treatment is in your best interest is no longer a valid reason for you to receive the treatment. Federal bureaucrats will make those decisions instead.
Section 3404 of the bill is just as disturbing. That is the section that implements the Independent Payment Advisory Board, or IPAB. This 15 member panel is to be appointed by the President. They are not accountable to the voters in any way, and the members of this panel will have sole discretion to "reduce the per capita rate of growth in Medicare spending."
In a truly hypocritical political maneuver, the recommendations of this IPAB automatically become law unless the Senate votes TWICE to reject their specific policies. This means your US Senator can vote against the board once to claim your support, while ignoring the second vote and allowing the recommendations to become law.
Doctors themselves have woken up to how destructive this plan will be. According to a recent study, 43% of doctors may retire in the next five years, and 9 out of 10 would not recommend healthcare as a profession. The American Medical Association may have heartily endorsed the PPACA, but that group only represents 14-15% of physicians in this country, and most of those are in academics, not patient care.
The health care system in this country has problems, no doubt. As someone with a chronic illness who is dependent on medications and durable medical equipment to get through the day I know that better than most. But the current plan proposes a cure that is far worse than the disease. Knowledge is power, so arm yourself with the facts and join this important national conversation. Next post - another way forward....

Medical Ethics in a Post Modern World

Dr. C. L. Gray, founder of Physicians for Reform and author of the recently published The Battle for America's Soul - Healthcare, The Culture War, and the Future of Freedom spoke at length Tuesday night in Newark. It was an eye-opening and disturbing overview of the current debate on health care in America and the historical trends that brought us to this point. He opened by defining post modern reasoning as the loss of "fixed truth" and the belief that truth exists only as the individual (or state) defines it. He then related this to government policy by reminding us of the Barbara Wagner case in Oregon, which many pro-lifers in the audience remembered all too well. Ms Wagner had cancer, and the state of Oregon refused to pay for her treatment under the state insurance plan but instead offered to pay for her physician assisted suicide. According to the state of Oregon, her life was not valuable enough to warrant medical care and therefore she should benefit the state by dying sooner than later.
Remember Ms. Wagner the next time someone tells you how noble it is for the government to provide medical care out of compassion. Whoever pays for that care has the power to choose what care is given, and in times of increasing financial insecurity, the state's goal is to maintain itself, not individual citizens.
The attitude that the welfare of the state takes priority is not new. As far back as Ancient Greece there were those who promoted the idea that the seriously ill should be allowed, or even encouraged, to die. Judeo-Christian ethics completely contradict this relative truth by asserting the unique value of each individual human life. These two world views stand in direct conflict, and no where is this more apparent than in modern medical practice. Which physician would you rather go to, one who has accepted the post-modern view that all truth is relative and the state has the right to define which citizens are worthy of protection, or one who values every human life and treats his patients accordingly?
Peter Singer is a leader in the modern movement to quantify the value of human life. His views include the idea that babies should not automatically have the right to life until they are 28 days old. He believes that infanticide is not only justifiable but preferable if the parents don't think their child will have a 'good enough' quality of life. As horrific and evil as this sounds, his ideas have been well received and he has been awarded many honors and influential positions in the academic world.
Mr. Singer is not some fringe character. In 2009, the NIH Director of Bioethics actually published a paper on something he called the "Complete Lives System." According to this system, when the government is facing financial problems, there needs to be a way to decide who gets the limited medical funding. His solution was a priority curve that only treats 15-40 year because they are of most value to the state. According to this view, younger people are not as valuable because not as much has been invested in their education and welfare, while older people have fewer useful years left and so do not warrant the investment of resources. This director, Ezekiel Emmanuel, was appointed to the White House Health Care Advisory Panel, and helped write the current health care bill now being considered by the US Supreme Court.
Francis Schaeffer once wrote that over time, ideas that were once unthinkable become thinkable, and ideas that have become thinkable eventually become acceptable. If you believe human life has value, that it is a gift from our Creator and not simply meant to serve the state, the ideas described above should be unthinkable. If we don't take a stand now, it will soon be too late, and we will leave as our legacy a world where relative truth is acceptable.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Faith and Freedom, Part 2

Saturday was too good to cram it all into one post, so here is a bit more... The event was hosted by the Faith and Freedom Coalition of Delaware, and the President of that group, John Radell, worked tirelessly to make it happen. He started the morning by reminding us of our common beliefs. He cited Psalm 33 and stated that we were gathered together because of our common faith in one God whose son died for our sins and our love for our nation. After all of the pastors and Dr. Gray spoke, the event turned more towards applied politics than principles. Gary Marks from the national Faith and Freedom Coalition spoke about that group's plans for reaching evangelical voters in the upcoming elections. He laid out their strategy for getting the message out that Christians need to not only vote in greater numbers, but consider their values and core beliefs as they do so. He delivered a rapid-fire dose of statistics, only a few of which I was able to record. Some interesting numbers to consider: In 2008, 17 million evangelical voters didn't bother to cast a vote, yet they still accounted for 23% of the total votes. That number rose to 32% of the voters in 2010, and FFC is working hard to increase that number even more in 2012. Social conservatives don't necessarily vote on social issues: in 2010, 43$ of these voters said the economy was the number one issue, and only 15% cited 'Obamacare' as their biggest concern. Many people will disagree with me on this, but I believe that honoring the God-given gift of life trumps all other issues. It is the first test of a candidate for me, and always will be. After the event, I spoke to Dr. Bryant and asked him what he found to be the most effective arguments to use in speaking to Christians who support the current administration. He suggested I ask them if they support abortion rights or gay marriage. If they answer no to both, then they can't stay true to their own convictions by supporting a candidate who does. The Affordable Care Act will require all of us to pay for abortion-inducing drugs, so any vote for a supporter of President Obama's health care plan is a vote for federally mandated abortion funding. That is a simple fact that no amount of political spin can alter. Newt Gingrich was the final speaker of the day. He used the opportunity to remind us of our history as a nation of faith and condemned the "gradually increasing anti-Christian bigotry" of our government. He pointed out the difference between our current leaders and President Lincoln, citing the 14 references to God that Lincoln made in his second inaugural address. I also gained a new perspective on Jamestown, the early settlement that I always thought of as a strictly commercial enterprise. I was surprised to learn that the very first act of the settlement founders was to erect a cross, and that they held church services 14 times a week. Good luck finding that information in a history textbook! God has blessed this nation abundantly, but in many ways we have turned away from Him and rejected His commands. There is no hope of restoring our nation's honor until God's people are willing to take a stand for the truth. I pray that you will join me in speaking out for the truth with a clear courageous voice!

Faith and Freedom 4.21.12

Prayers for America filled the hall at the Chase River Front in Wilmington on Saturday. Hundreds of Christians gathered to hear local and national pastors speak on how we can "engage and transform our culture", in the words of one of the speakers. That same speaker, Pastor Chris Rue, reminded us that the early churches were named not for their unique doctrines, but for the cities where they were located, the world in which they were placed to be examples of order and discipleship. Pastor John Betts cited several statistics that demonstrate how a spirit of abandonment and insecurity has gripped our nation in recent years as God has been removed from the public square. Government can never fill that void, and he encouraged us to bring restoration through the revealed truth of our position in Christ. Pastor Bill Schloneker reminded us that not only do we have a voice, but we are called to use it. He exhorted us to speak with courage and clarity, to call for caution as a warning against irresponsible government policies, and most of all to speak with compassion and consecrate all of our words by bathing them in prayer. Dr. C. L. Gray described the historical world views that define the opposing sides of our current health care debates. Starting with Hippocrates and Plato, he succinctly stated the clear conflict between valuing individual well-being vs the 'collective good.' He implored us to consider the impact of our biblical worldview on politics and health care. Fr. Tom Flowers showed us a video produced by the Catholic church that powerfully asked the question, "will you vote the values that will stand the test of fire?" He reminded us that there is no secret ballot to God and that the virtue of our elected leaders reflects on us as well. Pastor C. L. Bryant exhorted us to protect the endowment God has given us in this nation, including the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. He spoke against the lies being promoted in our culture, including the idea that simply being poor or oppressed necessarily means one is more virtuous. His stand against black liberation theology comes from his own experience as the President of the Texas NAACP. He left that position when he became convinced that theology contradicted God's Word, and he has paid a heavy price for his conviction. Pastor Bryant believes we have been in a defensive posture too long, that we must now stand and be ready for this fight. There were two statistics that brought me to tears on Saturday. The first was that for the first time in American history, over 50% of 8-17 year olds have never been inside of a church. The second was worse; last year more black children in New York City were aborted than were born. As a people we have always banded together to resist an enemy from without, but now we face enemies from within, even within our own government. Will we stand together still?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Do Not Grow Weary

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9

Once again its been too long since my last post here. I've been distracted by things going on around me, and allowed it to drain my energy. The Lord woke me this morning with a reminder of these words from Galatians, and I thought I was getting the point, that I'm not supposed to give up.

Then a dear young man called me, someone who is pouring out his very life to serve others in circumstances more difficult than most of us can imagine. Yet he spoke of knowing that his value and worth comes from God, and not from the things he does. I was ashamed to realize how small and insignificant are the things I do to try and earn God's acceptance. I needed the reminder that those small things do matter, and will have eternal consequences, but they don't change God's love for me one bit.

Experiencing His abiding love fills me with joy, and that joy in turn gives me strength. God has a purpose for each of our lives, and gives all we need to accomplish His will. I can avoid the despair of weariness by reminding myself of His great love. I can do good by sharing that love with those around me. And I can choose not to grow weary in doing that good thing.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Personal Responsibility

I just read an article this morning about the upcoming elections in France and the economic issues that nation faces [] As I was reading it made me realize that our situation here in the U.S. is not all that different. We may not be making the exact same choices as our European friends, but some of the underlying attitudes seem frighteningly similar.

There seems to be an assumption that the government is responsible for meeting all of the citizens' needs. Successful members of the society are condemned rather than admired for their hard work, and personal initiative isn't valued. Our country was once known for it's work ethic and self-reliance, but we seem to no longer honor those traits.

I believe that a people who recognize their accountability to their Creator are more likely to value personal responsibility. If you believe that you will answer to God for how you've lived your life, it makes a difference. Your decisions will be based on something greater than your own convenience.

A government, no matter how compassionate, can never be the ultimate source of our comfort. An attitude of worship for our Creator can't be legislated or mandated. Each individual must choose whom they will serve- the God of all creation,or the man-made constructs of a socialist or progressive state. It is a matter of personal responsibility, and every citizen must settle that issue in their own minds.

This is why I pray for our country. I don't pray for the government to be better [though that would be nice] I pray for the hearts of the people to turn to God, for them to recognize their responsibility to him, and his great love for each of us.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Energy Facts and Fantasies

President Obama is on a tour this week trying to convince the American people how wonderful his energy policy has been for us. Don’t be fooled. Even the Washington Post, a generally liberal paper, has given his speeches two “Pinocchio’s” for less than factual statements.

The Democratic Party has been against domestic drilling for years and our Senator, Tom Carper, has fully supported that party line. Now he is pushing wind energy subsidies for his political cronies here in Delaware. Wind generated power may someday be technologically feasible, but that day isn’t coming any time soon. In the meantime, we have the resources available to be self-sufficient and quit importing our oil from unstable and less than friendly countries around the world.

Kevin Wade has some good ideas for remedies to the energy crisis we find ourselves in, and is running to replace Senator Carper in this year’s election. He knows energy, and supports workable solutions. We need that in Washington. As an engineer, he has owned his own business for years that focused on creating safe and efficient oil drilling platforms around the world. Not only does he understand what it takes to succeed in a free market, but he is also prepared to deal with the issues facing our nation in the 21st century.

Our economy and our energy policy go hand in hand. More affordable energy means more jobs and more opportunity. The President’s green energy fantasies were supposed to create jobs and instead left taxpayers holding the bag for billions of dollars wasted by companies like Solyndra. I get all warm and fuzzy thinking about living in a world that runs on sun and wind, but realize that those daydreams are not reality. In the meantime, we send our hard-earned treasure to nations that want us to fail. It just doesn’t make sense.

In closing, I want to quote a fact Mr. Wade mentions in a recent campaign video. The tallest towers in the world are in the Middle East, but they are built with our money. The madness has to end.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Federal Power Trips

Much has already been written about the overreach of the federal government and infringement on individual freedom of religion. I may write about that again, but today I’m thinking about the way our current federal officials are also steamrolling over state’s rights. We need to be aware of what they are doing if we have any hope of restoring our personal freedoms and we need to elect Senators, Congressmen and a President who will respect the limits of federal power.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has now directed the Justice department to interfere with the Texas legislature’s passage of a voter ID law. 37 other states already have laws that require some kind of voter verification in order to cast a ballot, and Texas lawmakers recently passed their own. It was supported by the Texas Attorney General, and signed into law by the Governor. States have the right under our constitution to do that sort of thing. The people elect representatives, and expect them to promote the state’s welfare.

Red herring arguments from the left abound on this issue. Some are saying it is unfair to the poor and minorities to expect them to show proof of identification to vote, even though they need it to buy a beer, or for that matter, walk into the Justice Department building in Washington, D.C. I heard a phone interview today where a Washington insider whined that because the law doesn’t address absentee ballots it has no legitimacy. His argument seemed to be that since the law didn’t cover every contingency, it shouldn’t be allowed to cover the area that the Texas legislators were most concerned with addressing.

Despite what Mr. Holder thinks, it is not the federal government’s job to interfere here. There is no evidence that Texas has been suppressing anyone’s right to vote. Claiming that the fed can interfere because of 100 year old history is ridiculous. Texas, and all of the other states, should be able to exercise their lawful right to insure a legitimate voting process without interference from federal authorities.

Washington has become bloated and consumed by an arrogant sense of power and control over our lives. We need to elect better representatives if we want a healthier, more constitutionally appropriate Federal government. I’m encouraged that there are people running for office around the country that have a greater vision. Kevin Wade here in Delaware is one of them. He is speaking to groups around our small state and his campaign for U.S. Senate is gaining momentum. I encourage my local readers to check him out. Your vote matters!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

"Velvet Socialism"

The title of this post comes from an editorial by Marvin Olasky in the 3/10/12 issue of World magazine [link to it by clicking title above.] He describes velvet socialism as "governmental conformity.... in the name of providing equality" and reminds his readers that 100 years ago in this country there were over 1,000 elected officials who labeled themselves as Socialists. It was considered a good thing then, before we witnessed a century of horrors in its name through revolutions in Russia and China, Nazi rule in Germany, as well as Viet Nam, Korea, Cuba and Cambodia.

Socialism has a bad reputation now, so adherents of this system call themselves Progressives these days instead. But don't be fooled. Whatever name you use, a world view that believes government is better at controlling the economy to produce positive results instead of letting a free market operate will lead to oppression. The soft, or 'velvety' type of government coercion is just as economically destructive in the end, even without the violent loss of life that resulted from last century's revolutions.

A top-down government-controlled approach to economics, education, health care, or any other aspect of civil society eliminates initiative and competition. It is those last characteristics that lead to advances and improvements, not the complacency of a bureaucracy.

Our freedom to pursue happiness in this country is based on competition. Even the three branches of our government are designed to achieve a balance of powers by competing with one another. President Obama misses this fact, as evidenced by his willingness to ignore the legislative branch through his far reaching executive orders.

Mr. Olasky explains this far better than I have here. I hope all Americans will think through the big issues at stake, and not get lost in simply fighting the individual battles over specific pieces of legislation. It is our overall belief in the purpose and nature of government that will determine what kind of century we have ahead of us. Let us elect representatives at all levels of government that share our convictions.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

'Think About Such Things'

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

We have this verse posted on our television, with the title "God's TV Guide." Corny, I know, but it has been a helpful reminder at times that a particular program is not one we (or our kids) need to watch.

This week I've been trying to follow this counsel from a more difficult perspective. I've been surrounded by brokenness, loss, suffering and grief in my community. So many of those I love have lost something precious, and so have I. The loss is all too true, but it certainly isn't lovely or excellent.

Some people try to deny their pain, or claim something wrong is actually right, but that doesn't work for me. I can't deny the pain, but I can limit its power over me by keeping my mind focused on the fact that God is with me in every moment. God's spirit in me allows me to face the evil in this world straight on, because His power is noble in the presence of depravity, pure when the world is spoiled, and always worthy of praise.

The pain runs deep right now, but healing will come. That is the good that I need to remember in the midst of the bad. Healing and wholeness will come.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Super Tuesday Musings

I spent the evening watching the ten state primaries' returns and commentary on Fox while reading my Twitter feed [is that what it is called?] Twitter was much more fun, though 140 character posts alone would have deprived me of the opportunity to see Chris Wallace, Karl Rove and Joe Trippi wearing baseball caps and calling themselves the 'space cowboys'.

Mitt Romney won six states [VA, VT, MA, ID, OH, AK] Rick Santorum won three [OK, TN, ND] and Newt Gingrich won one [his home state of GA]

Romney is being called the 'frail front runner', which seems odd since he won most of the delegates on Super Tuesday. He has won 13 states so far, Santorum has won 7, Gingrich only 2. In theory, Santorum still has a chance - 34 of 56 total primaries and caucuses are yet to be decided. The problem is momentum. Neither candidate seems to be able to break through. Romney has enough of a campaign infrastructure to keep going, but Santorum is not even on the ballot in some of the states due to his lack of a national campaign organization.

Romney currently has over twice as many delegates as anyone else [somewhere between 361, 404,or 415, depending on how you calculate them] but out of
2,286 total delegates available a candidate must accumulate 1,144,and only 782 have been allotted so far.

I like Rick Santorum. He has been waaay outspent so far, and that makes a difference. Romney is better organized and better financed, but that doesn't mean he has a corner on good ideas. I worry that Romney will too easily compromise, and that Santorum will not compromise enough to make headway against the big government behemoth facing us. Romney seems much more comfortable with government solutions in general, which troubles me.

There is pressure on Gingrich to get out of the race so votes go to Santorum, but he says no. Ron Paul's determination to promote a strict constitutionalism will keep him in the race right through the convention in August. Mississippi, Alabama and Kansas hold their primaries on Saturday. Maybe the picture will be more clear after that, but as far as I'm concerned, any of these guys would be better than another 4 years of Obama.

A bit of bright news in all this for my pro-life friends: in Oklahoma last night Randall Terry ran in the Democratic primary and actually won a delegate that would have otherwise gone to President Obama. That made me smile more than the silly baseball caps.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

My Heart is Heavy For a Time

Joseph Feeley was laid to rest today in a private family service. Last night there was a public time of remembrance, where hundreds of people came together to pay their respect and mourn the loss of this remarkable young man.

There is a raw, gaping wound in the Feeley family today, a wound that only God can heal. But He will heal them, and all of us. More words right now don't add to that truth.

Even more amazing to me is that somehow, someday, God will make sense of all we have endured here.

“Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Psalm 46:10-11

Friday, March 2, 2012

A Few Brief Comments on the Constitution

In deference to our founders who valued brevity, here is my short summary of a Hillsdale College video I watched last night:

Session Four of this great free series focused on the contrast between our intended constitutional form of governing and our current system of bureaucratic and administrative rule.

Remember: our government, as defined in the U.S. Constitution, was designed to operate with three distinct and balanced parts known as the legislative, executive, and judicial branches.

The federal agencies now operating within the executive branch have each appropriated all three of those distinct roles in the areas they control, which is why we sense that the government is no longer functioning as it should.

When a federal agency [the speaker used the example of the Federal Trade Commission] makes regulations, they are taking over legislative power. When they enforce those regulations through fines and fees, they are acting as the executive, and when citizens must appeal to the agency itself for relief, the agency has placed itself in the position of the judiciary.

These federal agencies are NOT accountable to the people, they are NOT elected by the people, and the citizens in general have NO recourse when these agencies act inappropriately.

The principles of equality and freedom are best served when the institutions of limited government, representation and separation of powers are maintained. Consider your choice and "vote skillfully" in the upcoming elections, your nation is counting on you.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Life is Fleeting

"Great minds discuss ideas.
Average minds discuss events.
Small minds discuss people."

My mind feels small today, as I come to terms with the deaths of two people whose lives touched mine. Joseph Feeley and Andrew Breitbart had nothing in common that I know of, except that they both had an impact on me and they both died this week.

Joseph was only 23 years old, and valiantly proclaimed the glory of his Savior Jesus Christ even as he lost his long battle with the cancer that ravaged his body. His family was praying for a miracle that never came, or at least not in the way they hoped. Joseph IS healed and free from pain now, they just wanted it to happen here on earth instead of in heaven. Joseph's life, short as it was, made a difference in our world. People loved and admired him, both before and after he got sick. Instead of taking any of that credit for himself, he continually pointed others toward his loving Father in heaven, and lives were changed.

Breitbart was a family man in his 40's who spent his days exposing the hypocrisy and lies of America's political left wing. He was a pioneer of the blogosphere and using the internet to instantaneously disseminate information. He worked in a highly charged environment, where people's passions were inflamed. His friends called him fearless, and his enemies were less kind. By exposing frauds he informed people, and attitudes were changed.

I could write much more about these men, and I'm sure that others are doing so right now. What I am left with is a sense of loss, a sense that somehow the world is a bit dimmer today without the passion-fueled lights of Joseph and Andrew. No other person will ever fill the unique place of Karen and Joe's beloved son, or the intense determination of

Those of us left behind to mourn their passing must decide our own legacy. Will the world be a better place because we were here? What is our passion, and are we living it each day?

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Who are the Delaware 2012 Candidates?

Founders Values sponsored a kind of 'meet and greet' event last night for statewide candidate running in Delaware this year, and I was encouraged by what I saw. Yes, I know, it is really early in the year to be talking about this, but now IS the time to get involved if you want to make a difference in your community. We each have a part to play in this citizen ruled country, despite what the career politicians may be telling us.

Nine candidates from various backgrounds and political parties spoke last night, and all of them are stepping out of their comfort zones because they believe they have solutions to the problems we are facing at this moment in history. I applaud their willingness to speak up, even if I disagree with their specific ideas.

The two candidates that most impressed me were Kevin Wade, running for U.S. Senate against Tom Carper, and Sher Valenzuela, running for Lt. Governor against the incumbent Matt Denn. It was my first opportunity to meet either of them, and I liked what I heard. Both of them are long time Delaware business owners who have become increasingly concerned by the direction of our state. Mr. Wade addressed national issues determined to bring an end to the 'professional class' of politicians who "treat the public treasury as a tip jar." (I liked that line) I encourage you to check out all of his positions on the Constitution, sound fiscal policy, limited government and energy policy at his website,

Ms. Valenzuela is concerned about the erosion of our freedoms, and over regulation by a government that seeks ever more control of our daily lives. She believes the Lt. Governor can be more than window dressing, but an effective agent of change. She cites New Jersey as a model where the Lt Governor is actually working to cut red tape in the state. Delaware could certainly use someone in that role, given that there have been 6,000 new regulations passed here in our tiny state in the past decade. She is a mother, business owner, and citizen, not a slick politician. Check out her website at

Jeff Cragg is running for Governor against the incumbent Jack Markell. He is a small business owner and made some good points about the need to reduce both the cost and intrusiveness of state government as well as the corruption that has led to situations like DelDot being investigated by the FBI.

Three candidates for Insurance Commissioner spoke - who knew that was such a popular job? One was a lawyer, one an investment banker, and one an insurance agent. It was interesting, if predictable, to hear the thrust of their solutions to the mess we have in Delaware right now in this area. The lawyer seeks new laws, the businessman seeks transparency and free market policies, and the agent promised to reduce premiums.

Tom Kovach and Rose Izzo are vying to replace John Carney. Mr. Kovach is currently the President of the New Castle County Council, and though his job kept him from attending the meeting last night, my son had good things to say about him when he was working with the state Republican party.

If you want to learn more, check out the links on this website for First State Patriots and Founders Values. Both non-partisan groups are dedicated to educating the citizens of Delaware on issues and have a lot of good information available on their websites and at their monthly meetings.

Remember that this nation only succeeds when we the citizens take seriously our responsibility to participate in the process!

A Special LEAP Day Opportunity

Please view the following video by clicking on the title of this post, then go to to donate today.

A generous donor is matching all of today's donations, so please do something extra special to recognize this special extra day! I wrote at length about this wonderful ministry in a post titled 'Transformation' on 11/13/2010 - you can find it by going to the archives on the right side of this page. Our family has seen many lives changed through the work of this ministry, and right now they are very much in need of a financial boost. Please prayerfully consider donating $5, $10, or more to help them through this challenging time.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Free Verse Poetry

I'm claiming bragging momma rights here and posting two free verse poems written recently by two of my sons. Enjoy!

until in GOD we all abide, by Daniel Schea

it is in us ALL
causing all men to fall
Some call it Anger
i call it
does my belief make you burn against (me)?
i don’t blame you
This Knowledge made me do THE SAME
its flames will not subside
its power cannot be denied
until in GOD we all abide

Days of Creation, By Joshua Schea

Before day found rest or let the night wake
What shall we make?
What then shall I make?

Father son and spirit made the day break
Made the first night
He made the first day

With second day God moves all the water
Some stays under
And some comes over

What then did He name this wondrous cover?
Some call heavens
What He called the sky

Water below left the world unfinished
So ground was laid
Now the earth was made

God wished to fill this earth with His beauty
Now came the tree
Created for me

Fourth day comes without a sun to lead it
No warming light
Still no glowing light

This day closes with the world’s first sunset
And sky was strewn
With stars and the moon

When fifth day comes then here is something new
Skies are singing
The water’s teeming

God gave life to the sky and sea both blue
So fish now swim
While the birds sing hymns

Yet what was left to perfect creation
All things are done
Save for this last one

Land has yet to fill with life of its own
Now the spaces
Hold diff’rent faces

Now to end his making God makes humans
For us to span the whole world was His plan
Though He remains the greatest of all time
We creators have the world in our hands

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Meeting with Senator Tom Carper 2/25/12

We just attended a meeting with our U.S. Senator that was arranged by six patriot groups here in Delaware. My main impression of him was that he is a nice guy who diminished himself by being evasive. I agreed with him on one or two points, and disagreed with him on more, but his avoidance of the questions really annoyed me. Okay, maybe I need to cut him some slack. After all, he told us that all of his advisers [including his barber] thought even coming to speak to a group of conservatives was a bad idea, and he came anyway. That should, and does, count for something. I respect him, even if I won't vote for him. [disclaimer here: my son is working on his opponent's campaign]

He served in the US military for 27 years, and has apparently never worked in the private sector. He has held elective office for the past thirty-five years, and is very good at being a politician. You might guess that isn't exactly high praise coming from me...

Most of the time tonight was divided between moderators asking him questions that the leaders of these various groups had culled from their membership and Senator Carper answering [or sometimes completely evading] those questions.

Some of his answers bordered on silly, as when he spoke at length about the lack of an assistant secretary of acquisitions for the Department of Defense being his reason for supporting the four National Labor Relations Board recess appointments made by President Obama while the Senate was still officially in session. Don't worry if that last bit didn't make sense, it didn't make sense when he was saying it, either.

He stood by his prior comment that the role of the federal government is to "steer the boat" of the country, and expanded that to state three specific reasons he supports subsidies to private companies paid for by our taxes. He believes the federal government should pay for basic research and development of commercial technologies, give tax breaks for technologies the government wants to encourage, and use tax breaks to "create" a market for products the government wants to support.

This statist approach corrupts the free market, and makes a capitalist like me shudder, but as a lifelong government official, it seems quite reasonable to our Senator. He never mentioned how the working people who pay the taxes that are then given to these private firms are ever supposed to be repaid for their investment. As long as the government is 'steering' that doesn't seem to matter.

Leave aside his views in favor of mandated health care coverage and his apparent lack of knowledge on other issues of concern to Delaware conservatives he is supposed to represent, his fiscal policies are enough to lose my vote.

As best as I can figure, Senator Carper is 65 years old. Maybe its time for him to come home and spend more time with his wife Martha. He truly does seem like a nice man, and I'm sure she'd enjoy his company rather than having him serve another 6 year term. And our state and our country need someone who trusts individuals more than government mandates for a change.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Trying to Write Right

I've always wanted to write a book, which makes me just as unique as millions of other people who thought the same thing. Of course, I made lots of excuses for why I couldn't do it today, or this month, or this year. That is what millions of other potential writers have also probably said, so nothing else that follows will be unique either.

For whatever reason, it has recently occurred to me that I'm running out of time to make this dream into a reality. Maybe I just matured enough to realize it wasn't going to fall into my lap without some consistent effort, or maybe I'm finally growing up. I know one big thing that has changed is that I find my own story much less interesting than it once appeared, and so the desire to write about my own life has faded. (Are those sighs of relief I hear?) I enjoy writing poetry, but can't really see myself publishing most of it. Besides, if I ever did publish my own story or most of my poems, it would have to be done under a pen name to protect my privacy, and where's the fun in that?

There are ideas I think are important, and a gripping story is an effective way to communicate ideas. I have a story concept that I'm enjoying writing and that I hope someday others will enjoy reading. Sounds simple enough, right? Write something people want to read, and somehow the magic fairies will turn it into a book on the shelf at the local bookseller. What do you mean that's not how it works???

Now my brain is churning with concepts such as 'building your platform to get published', and 'utilize search engine optimization' and 'draft a powerful proposal', and 'self publish for success', and 'e-books or printing on demand', and.... excuse me while my brain explodes.

All I want to do is write, right? The process of stringing words together is intimidating enough for me, let alone all of the other tasks involved in getting a book into print. Lord, please help me focus on you first, and trust that all the rest will come together in your time!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Using a Thimble to Catch a Waterfall

I spent the day yesterday with three sisters in the faith planning a summer camp program on the life of Christ. Don't worry, all they asked me to do was come up with some fun games, so the children will be doctrinally safe....

At the end of his gospel, John remarked that the whole world would not have room for the books that could be written about what Jesus did. We agreed with him more than once as we attempted to confine the life and work of our Lord to twenty-four specific bible lessons. An entire summer was already spent on his parables, so we agreed not to include those. We also agreed that an in-depth exposition on the end times and Christ's return would probably be over the heads of the youth we will be serving.

You might think, then, that it would be a relatively easy matter to briefly introduce Jesus Christ, but if our experience is any guide you would be wrong. Hours of work had already gone into producing an outline of his life and teachings. The hard part was limiting it to the time available. Hence the title of today's post. When Paul wrote of knowing nothing but "Jesus Christ, and Him crucified" [1Cor 2:2]he was still talking about an awful lot of knowing.

What do you think is the main thing to share about his birth and childhood, let alone the prophesies that foretold it all? What do you consider the foundational knowledge to impart about his relationships here on earth, or his teachings, or the miracles he performed? What do we most need to communicate to others about him as our Savior?

If you only had four short opportunities to tell someone about what Jesus taught his disciples, what would you emphasize? Which of his miracles are the 'most important'? Thank God we don't have to figure it all out. We have God's word, and a lifetime to get better acquainted with him. Even in our own lives all we can really do is keep sticking that thimble in the rushing waters of his amazing power, and drink as much and as often as we can.

My prayer for the children this summer is that they will get a taste of that sweet living water. I pray that they will thirst for more, and enjoy an eternity of dipping their own thimbles into the vastness of God's glory.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Freedom of what, exactly?

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”

This quote from the very first line of the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution is on many people’s minds this week. Our leaders are debating whether or not the government can force Catholic charities to provide contraceptive AND abortion pill services as part of health insurance.

Some try to paint the issue as being about health care and cost efficiency. But make no mistake; this is about our God given rights to exercise our religious beliefs, and whether they will be recognized by our ever-encroaching federal bureaucracy.

The preamble to the Bill of Rights says these first ten constitutional amendments have been added to provide clarity and “to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers.” I believe that the Affordable Care Act, and its implementation by agencies of the Executive Branch, is an abuse of power on many levels, but today I will focus on just one.

The First Amendment does not just protect our right to worship privately; it clearly protects our right to live out our faith on a daily basis, what it calls “free exercise.” My religious faith is based on God’s Word, the Holy Bible, and it makes it clear to me that God creates and values individual human life. Therefore, for me it is a matter of faith to respect what God has made. Providing medicines that terminate a pregnancy violates my conscience, just as directly as paying for an actual abortion would do.

President Obama spoke today, claiming to have found a solution to this debate. His plan is that somehow the insurance companies themselves will provide these services for “free”, meaning that everyone’s premiums will necessarily be increased to cover these services. He claims that forcing all American citizens rather than purchasers of particular group insurance to share the cost of sterilization and “morning after” pills somehow gets around the First Amendment.

Jesus told the Pharisees to pay taxes and “give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” In a nation where our laws tell us one thing (religious exercises are not to be infringed upon) and a particular President is enacting policies that do the opposite, what should we do? I don’t claim to be a constitutional or biblical scholar, but more and more I sense that obeying God requires that I speak against immoral laws. How will you respond in your own life?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Serving Others

There was a time in my life when it seemed like all I did was serve others. Sometimes it was hard, but most of the time it brought me joy to be actively engaged in the world. If I'm totally honest, it gave me a sense of self worth to do things for others. I was what we used to call a "compulsive volunteer" - if there was a ministry that needed something done, I would jump right in.

Listening to a sermon this week on Christian service made me nostalgic for those days. It was easy to believe my life had value and meaning when there were tangible results, when I could look at my activities for the week and see something specific that made a difference. I was physically strong and willing to work hard to meet the needs of loved ones as well as those God brought before me.

My life doesn't look like that anymore. On the outside, it appears that all I do is sit around and leave the heavy lifting to everybody else. My desire to share God's love through acts of service hasn't changed, just my ability to do it the way I used to.

Instead of checking off multiple goals on a list [oh, those lovely lists I used to make!] my daily goals are simple: breathe, pray, breathe, pray, then whatever else I can manage.

The really cool part has been discovering a richer and more satisfying life than I ever imagined, and I thank God for being patient with me long enough for me to figure it out. I have only begun to discover the wonder and beauty of fellowship with my Lord. The quiet stillness of His majesty is even more awesome to me than the sense of His presence in my once busy life.

I have finally started to learn how to pray without ceasing. I pray for the needs that I know about, and ask God to reveal to me what else needs praying about. I listen, which is more central to prayer than any written list.

On the outside it may look like I'm sitting still, but God knows I am serving others by lifting them up to Him in prayer. By all means, do for others as you are able. Make meals, teach, organize, heal, drive on errands, sing, preach - use all of your gifts and abilities. But if there ever comes a time when you cannot "do" anything, simply pray, and watch in wonder to see what God will do.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Unexpected

My dear daughter-in-law was in a car accident last night. She is going to be okay. Both of those facts were unexpected, a surprise to me but not to God. I've seen photos of the car, and can't believe she walked away with nothing more than a concussion and some bruises. Our families held a vigil at the emergency room, talking and praying and grateful for the comfort of each others presence.

Most of all, today I am grateful for the reminder of God's eternal presence and care in our lives, as described in Psalm 77:23:
"But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds. "

More than ever, God is my refuge.

Friday, January 27, 2012

When Those We Love Are Suffering

My heart has been heavy this week because several people in my life are suffering. In some cases it is directly due to their own or others actions, and in some it is just the random brokenness of this world we live in. Either way, people I care about are hurting, and there isn’t a thing I can do about it. No matter how many tears I shed (and there have been too many) I can’t take away their pain or fix the circumstances. I cannot mend what is broken, or restore what has been lost.
The only thing I can do is pray. When I wake up, when I go to bed, when the night is long and dark, anytime my grief feels like it is going to consume me, I pray. There are probably some reading here who are better at distancing themselves from other’s pain than I am, and if you are one of them be grateful. If that is the case, you may not understand why prayer is so vital in my life. If I didn’t absolutely know beyond any doubt that I can lay all of our burdens at my Father’s feet, and that He is big enough to handle them, my life would be unbearable. Even when my own life is skipping along merrily, which it is these days, the suffering of others pierces me and forces me to my knees.
God hears our cries, and is with us in our suffering. No matter the depths of our grief, he understands, and sustains us and brings healing to our brokenness. Is 53:4 promises us that “Surely He[Christ] has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment],” (Amplified version)
John 16:33 In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]
May He who has overcome the world fill us all with His peace, even in the midst of our trials and the trials of those we love. Thank you, Lord, for removing the power of this world to harm us!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Winter Trees

Driving around this week I couldn't help but notice the beauty of the barren trees. Even in this cold winter with no snow to make a shiny white wonderland, God's world provides a lovely view. Lord, help me never take for granted your beauty that surrounds me!

Winter Trees

Shades of gray across an arctic sky
Streaked by silver-tinted clouds
As they reflect the winter sun
Now a canvas for nature’s lace
Flowing up from frozen earth
Looking from my grounded place
My eyes are heaven bound
Graceful etchings dark and twisted
Define the middle view
Random branches, stems and seeds
Twist and turn in ways carefree
Not bound by rules or lines
All to form wild tapestries
Across the frigid sky

Friday, January 13, 2012

Being Who We Are

How embarrassing.... its been so long since I posted here that I forgot my own password to log on!

My son is now a young man, and is doing work he loves and that allows him to fully express himself. It happens to be in the world of politics, so I pray for his soul, but it got me thinking about what a great gift that is, the opportunity to do what brings him joy.

It also got me thinking about how I have tripped myself up over the years and created stumbling blocks (or excuses) to doing the same for myself. Somehow there always seemed to be a good reason for not doing those things that were really about being who I am.

When I did allow myself that freedom, it felt selfish, or silly. Which is why the book I've been reading lately has been such a huge encouragement to me. It is called Scribbling in the Sand, by Michael Card, and I highly recommend it to anyone who thinks about the subject of the book's subtitle: Christ and Creativity. Early in the book he mentions a similar struggle of his own, his doubts about his abilities as a successful musician and writer. I was stunned to read my own thoughts on the page, the same negative lies that fill my head when I sit down to write.

What he figured out, and shares through the book, is that our urge to create is a natural response to our love for our Creator, a way we worship God and respond to His creativity and the beauty all around us.

No matter how much mankind may mess it up, we were made to love and worship. Creative expression matters, because it is an important part of being who we are.