Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The new morality

Nine new graphic cigarette warning labels were unveiled Tuesday by the Food and Drug Administration, part of the agency's sweeping new powers to regulate tobacco and tobacco products.

The government can't "legislate morality" -- unless it wants to. Living in a world that moves further and further from traditional morality, the anti-moralists nevertheless have to get on their high-horses once in awhile to fight evil. I guess that's OK as long as they don't get on the same side of an issue with biblicists -- like no homosexual marriage and such like. Seeing it is not enough to simply warn folks of the dangers of smoking, now they will have pictures. A dead guy with his chest sewn up. A smoker exhaling through a hole in his neck. Despite all the rhetoric of the anti-tobaccoites, a few graphic pictures will not have the desired effect. I particularly like this one: "Tobacco smoke causes fatal lung disease in non-smokers." Now that will frighten the smoker to death!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The sea

The sea.

If for a time the air be calm,
Serene and smooth the sea appears;
And shows no danger to alarm
The inexperienced landsman's fears.

But if the tempest once arise,
The faithless water swells and raves;
Its billows, foaming to the skies,
Disclose a thousand threat'ning graves.

My untried heart thus seemed to me,
(So little of myself I knew)
Smooth as the calm unruffled sea,
But ah! it proved as treach'rous too!

The peace, of which I had a taste,
When Jesus first his love revealed
I fondly hoped would always last,
Because my foes were then concealed.

But when I felt the tempter's pow'r
Rouse my corruptions from their sleep;
I trembled at the stormy hour,
And saw the horrors of the deep.

Now, on presumption's billows borne,
My spirit seemed the LORD to dare;
Now, quick as thought, a sudden turn
Plunged me in gulfs of black despair.

LORD, save me, or I sink, I prayed,
He heard, and bid the tempest cease;
The angry waves his word obeyed,
And all my fears were hushed to peace.

The peace is his, and not my own,
My heart (no better than before)
Is still to dreadful changes prone,
Then let me never trust it more.

John Newton (1725-1807)
Olney Hymns, 1779

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The time of judges

In a period called the time of the judges, the sad commentary on the people was that "every man did that which was right in his own eyes." In that sad time, when things got bad enough, God raised up judges -- leaders who would deliver the people.

We too live in a sad time. But the tables have turned. Now the world has raised up "judges" who do (and rule) that which is right in their own eyes. A pitiful example comes from a few days back in Corpus Christi, Texas. District Court Judge Jose Longoria (and some prosecutors share blame, and family members), accepted a plea in the case of Rosalina Gonzales for Injury to a Child for spanking her daughter. I am not acquainted with all the details of the case, so this commentary does not deal with all the details. But...the judge, so-called, charged Gonzales, "You don't spank children today." This was clearly his opinion which he tried to pass off as the force of law.

"You don't spank children today," said Longoria, "in the old days, maybe we got spanked, but there was a different quarrel. You don't spank children. You understand?"

In contrast to Longoria, the Texas Attorney General's website says, for example, "Texas law allows the use of force, but not deadly force, against a child by the child's parent, guardian, or other person who is acting in loco parentis. Most parents do, in fact, use corporal punishment..."

Ultimately for the Christian, it does not matter what the judge or the attorney general says. What does God say? We live in a rapidly degenerating time. Soon laws may prohibit spanking. If so, Christians will have to decide whether they will obey God or men.

judge Longoria: You don't spank children today.
The Word of God: He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

judge Longoria: You don't spank children today.
The Word of God: Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.

judge Longoria: You don't spank children today.
The Word of God: Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

judge Longoria: You don't spank children today.
The Word of God: Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.

judge Longoria: You don't spank children today.
The Word of God: hou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.

judge Longoria: You don't spank children today.
The Word of God: The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.

judge Longoria: You don't spank children today.
The Word of God: And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Who are you going to believe?

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Voltaire and the cottager

The path to bliss abounds with many a snare;
Learning is one, and wit, however rare.
The Frenchman, first in literary fame
(Mention him, if you please. Voltaire?—The same),
With spirit, genius, eloquence, supplied,
Lived long, wrote much, laugh’d heartily, and died;
The Scripture was his jest-book, whence he drew
Bon-mots to gall the Christian and the Jew;
An infidel in health, but what when sick?
Oh—then a text would touch him at the quick;
View him at Paris in his last career,
Surrounding throngs the demi-god revere;
Exalted on his pedestal of pride,
And fumed with frankincense on every side,
He begs their flattery with his latest breath,
And, smother’d in’t at last, is praised to death!

Yon cottager, who weaves at her own door,
Pillow and bobbins all her little store;
Content though mean, and cheerful if not gay,
Shuffling her threads about the live-long day,
Just earns a scanty pittance, and at night
Lies down secure, her heart and pocket light;
She, for her humble sphere by nature fit,
Has little understanding, and no wit,
Receives no praise; but though her lot be such
(Toilsome and indigent), she renders much;
Just knows, and knows no more, her Bible true—
A truth the brilliant Frenchman never knew;
And in that charter reads with sparkling eyes,
Her title to a treasure in the skies.
Oh, happy peasant! Oh, unhappy bard!
His the mere tinsel, hers the rich reward;
He praised perhaps for ages yet to come,
She never heard of half a mile from home:
He, lost in errors, his vain heart prefers,
She, safe in the simplicity of hers.

From the poem Truth by William Cowper

Saturday, June 04, 2011

An early appointment

I received the following story via e-mail. I don't know whether or not it is true, but I thought it had a good sentiment.

It was a busy morning, about 8:30, when an elderly gentleman in his 80's arrived to have stitches removed from his thumb. He said he was in a hurry as he had to be somewhere by 9:00 am. I took his vital signs and had him take a seat, knowing it would be over an hour before someone would to able to see him. I saw him looking at his watch and decided, since I was not busy with another patient,
I would evaluate his wound.

On exam, it was well healed, so I talked to one of the doctors, got the needed supplies to remove his sutures and redress his wound. While taking care of his wound, I asked him if he had another doctor's appointment this morning, as he was in such a hurry. The gentleman told me no, that he needed to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with his wife. I inquired as to her health. He told me that she had been there for a while and that she was a victim of Alzheimer's.

As we talked, I asked if she would be upset if he was a bit late.

He replied that she no longer knew who he was, that she had not recognized him in five years now.

I was surprised, and asked him, "And you still go every morning, even though she doesn't know who you are?"

He smiled as he patted my hand and said, "She doesn't know me, but I still know who she is."

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Truth by William Cowper

Man, on the dubious waves of error toss’d,
His ship half founder’d, and his compass lost,
Sees, far as human optics may command,
A sleeping fog, and fancies it dry land;
Spreads all his canvas, every sinew plies;
Pants for it, aims at it, enters it, and dies!
Then farewell all self-satisfying schemes,
His well-built systems, philosophic dreams;
Deceitful views of future bliss, farewell!
He reads his sentence at the flames of hell.

From the poem Truth by William Cowper