Monday, August 17, 2009

A President's Call for National Repentance and Prayer


President John Adams on the Need for Repentance and Prayer
A DAY OF FASTING & HUMILIATION, 1798
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES -
A PROCLAMATION -- 23 March, 1798.

As the safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and the blessing of Almighty God, and the national acknowledgment of this truth is not only an indispensable duty which the people owe to Him, but a duty whose natural influence is favorable to the promotion of that morality and piety without which social happiness can not exist nor the blessings of a free government be enjoyed; and as this duty, at all times incumbent, is so especially in seasons of difficulty or of danger, when existing or threatening calamities, the just judgments of God against prevalent iniquity, are a loud call to repentance and reformation; and as the United States of America are at present placed in a hazardous and afflictive situation by the unfriendly disposition, conduct, and demands of a foreign power, evinced by repeated refusals to receive our messengers of reconciliation and peace, by depredations on our commerce, and the infliction of injuries on very many of our fellow-citizens while engaged in their lawful business on the seas - under these considerations it has appeared to me that the duty of imploring the mercy and benediction of Heaven on our country demands at this time a special attention from its inhabitants.

I have therefore thought fit to recommend, and I do hereby recommend, that Wednesday, the 9th day of May next, be observed throughout the United States as a day of solemn humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that the citizens of these States, abstaining on that day from their customary worldly occupations, offer their devout addresses to the Father of Mercies agreeably to those forms or methods which they have severally adopted as the most suitable and becoming; that all religious congregations do, with the deepest humility, acknowledge before God the manifold sins and transgressions with which we are justly chargeable as individuals and as a nation, beseeching Him at the same time, of His infinite grace, through the Redeemer of the World, freely to remit all our offenses, and to incline us by His Holy Spirit to that sincere repentance and reformation which may afford us reason to hope for his inestimable favor and heavenly benediction; that it be made the subject of particular and earnest supplication that our country may be protected from all the dangers which threaten it; that our civil and religious privileges may be preserved inviolate and perpetuated to the latest generations; that our public councils and magistrates may be especially enlightened and directed at this critical period; that the American people may be united in those bonds of amity and mutual confidence and inspired with that vigor and fortitude by which they have in times past been so highly distinguished and by which they have obtained such invaluable advantages; that the health of the inhabitants of our land may be preserved, and their agriculture, commerce, fisheries, arts, and manufactures be blessed and prospered; that the principles of genuine piety and sound morality may influence the minds and govern the lives of every description of our citizens and that the blessings of peace, freedom, and pure religion may be speedily extended to all the nations of the earth.
And finally, I recommend that on the said day the duties of humiliation and prayer be accompanied by fervent thanksgiving to the Bestower of Every Good Gift, not only for His having hitherto protected and preserved the people of these United States in the independent enjoyment of their religious and civil freedom, but also for having prospered them in a wonderful progress of population, and for conferring on them many and great favors conducive to the happiness and prosperity of a nation.
Given under my hand the seal of the United States of America, at Philadelphia, this 23d day of March, A.D. 1798, and of the Independence of the said States the twenty-second.
By the President : JOHN ADAMS.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah!

Hallelujah, praise Jehovah, O my soul, Jehovah praise;
I will sing the glorious praises of my God through all my days.
Put no confidence in princes, not for help on man depend;
he shall die, to dust returning, and his purposes shall end.
Happy is the man that chooses Israel's God to be his aid;
He is blessed whose hope of blessing on the Lord his God is stayed.
Heav'n and earth the Lord created, seas and all that they contain;
He delivers from oppression, righteousness He will maintain.


I was privileged to sing Psalm 146 in Boston last week at the Reformation 500 event hosted by Vision Forum. I'm standing here by Charlie Zahm, balladeer exceptional.
(photo credits: Anna Friedrich)

Food He daily gives the hungry, sets the mourning pris'ner free,
raises those bowed down with anguish, makes the sightless eyes to see.
Well Jehovah loves the righteous, and the stranger He befriends,
helps the fatherless and widow, judgment on the wicked sends.

Hallelujah, praise Jehovah, O my soul, Jehovah praise!
I will sing the glorious praises of my God through all my days.
Over all God reigns forever, through all ages He is King;
unto Him, thy God, O Zion, joyful hallelujahs sing.

AMEN!


(copied from the Trinity Hymnal, p. 53, published by Great Commission Publications. This selection was taken from the 1912 Psalter, the tune arranged by Lowell Mason in 1829, from a Gregorian chant entitled 'Ripley.')


(I'm singing this psalm in the photo above in San AntonioTX, at the SA Independent Film Festival in January of this year.)


Link to purchase (95 cents) my recording of this psalm--(for some reason, they chose to sample the men's chorus rather than my voice) at Behemoth.com:
http://www.behemoth.com/search/hallelujah%2C+praise+jehovah/

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Empathy, Impartiality, and Justice - Vision Forum Ministries

Joe and Bob Renaud on the Island of Iona in July of 2008.







“[Sotomayor] thinks that her job is to ‘empathize’ with the parties before her as opposed to judging ‘in righteousness.’”







Bob Renaud is in his final year of law school at the Oak Brook College of Law. He has authored or co-authored numerous articles, including a published law review article, dealing with law and public policy issues. He is currently writing a book on the proper understanding of the separation of church and state.




[My guest blogger for this post is our friend, Bob Renaud, who is in his last year of law school. Bob's excellent article appeared first on the Vision Forum web site recently. He is a prime example of how we moms hope our sons and brothers will grow up -- focused, smart, intuitive, a true Christian gentleman, a dapper dresser, and above all, devoted to pursuing a deeper understanding of God's Word and how to consistently apply it to all of life. (And, by the way, he's still single if you are an available, godly young lady ... oops, I think I'm in trouble for that unpaid advertisement!)]




President Barack Obama was just past his first “100 days in office” when David Souter’s retirement gave him the opportunity to submit his first Supreme Court nominee to Congress. He had been planning for this moment. During his campaign for the presidency, Obama explained what he would look for in a nominee to the high court:

"We need somebody who’s got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it’s like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it’s like to be poor, or African American, or gay, or disabled, or old. And that’s the criteria by which I’m going to be selecting my judges.”[1]


President Obama reiterated his commitment to “empathy” last week when he commented on Justice Souter’s resignation. He promised to seek someone “who understands that justice isn’t about some abstract legal theory or footnote in a casebook.” Apparently, to President Obama, a basic understanding of the plain text of the Constitution is now “abstract legal theory.” But empathy, he says, will produce justice.

Once again, President Obama has demonstrated that the “change we can believe in” is not the change we need in this country. What we need is a change towards constitutional and biblical fidelity.


Writing in 1833 in his famous Commentaries on the Constitution, Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story explained that empathy is not the same as justice. Justice must be “freely, fully, and impartially administered.” Without impartial justice, “neither our persons, nor our rights, nor our property, can be protected. And if these, or either of them, are regulated by no certain laws, and are subject to no certain principles, and are held by no certain tenure, and are redressed, when violated, by no certain remedies, society fails of all its value; and men may as well return to a state of savage and barbarous independence.”[2]


By seeking to nominate to the high court, judges who “got the heart, the empathy” — as opposed to judges who are faithful to the law of the land — we are heading toward that “state of savage and barbarous independence” that Justice Story warned about. That was two centuries ago. Justice Story wasn’t the first.


Writing 3,500 years ago in the book of Leviticus, the ultimate Law-giver explained the proper role of judges:


Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour (Leviticus 19:15).


In this text of Scripture, there is no reference to how judges feel about a matter, or how judges should “empathize” with the parties to the case, or even how judges should use their own ethnic background to decide the matter before the bar. The command is to “not respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty.” Not feel their pain!

Contrary to what the ACLU or even the president himself might want, our legal system has codified this biblical command not to respect either the “poor” or the “mighty” in our own republic. The United States Code prescribes the oath that all federal justices or judges are to swear or affirm before performing their duties. The oath states:
I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as [job title] under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God.[3]

President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, was picked for her empathy rather than her impartiality. In fact, Judge Sotomayor has a record of showing partiality both in her written opinions and as well as outside the courtroom.

In a 2001 speech at the University of California at Berkeley, Judge Sotomayor said that the ethnicity and sex of a judge “may and will make a difference in our judging.” She went on to declare that “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”
Fast forward to 2008, where we see how Judge Sotomayor applies her judicial philosophy of “empathy” in the case of Ricci v. DeStefano (now before the U.S. Supreme Court). In that case, local firefighters in New Haven, Connecticut, took an examination in hopes of getting promoted. When the results came out, the majority of those who took the test and passed were “white.” The town decided to disregard that exam. The firefighters who passed the test were passed up for promotion, and they sued the town for reverse discrimination. On appeal to the Second Circuit Court where Judge Sotomayor sits, Judge Sotomayor refused to examine the issues of the “white” firemen and threw out the case. So much for Judge Sotomayor’s “empathy” for both sides.


And finally, one cannot forget the gaffe committed in 2005 in which Judge Sotomayor explained at a Duke Law School forum that it is at “the court of appeals is where policy is made.” Isn’t that the job of the legislature? Judge Sotomayor caught her mistake and quickly said, “We don’t make law, I’m not promoting that, I’m not advocating that, you know.” However, you have to ask yourself, how does an “extremely qualified” judge make a mistake like that?


Jesus Christ said that “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”
I think it’s clear where Judge Sotomayor’s heart is — she thinks that her job is to “empathize” with the parties before her as opposed to judging “in righteousness . . . thy neighbour.” And this is why she is disqualified to be our next U.S. Supreme Court justice.



1. A widely quoted 2007 speech that then Sen. Obama gave to Planned Parenthood. http://voices.washingtonpost.com/supreme-court/2009/05/obamasempathystandard_drawin.html?hpid=news-col-blog
2. http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/preambles21.html
3. Title 28 chapter 21 § 453.



Bob was an able and amiable companion on our Scotland expedition last June/July...here, we are rejoicing that we are realizing a life-long dream: we're on the ancient Isle of Iona off the mainland coast of Scotland.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"A Highlander Parson Named Joe"




I received an 'anonymously' written poem from an admirer of my husband this morning and thought you may enjoy reading it...my warmest thanks go out to the author of this masterpiece!




The Highlander Parson Named Joe




Antiquity boasted its Augustine,


And England had her Tyndale,


The Puritans, Foxe, and the Scots had Knox,


But for the best listen to my tale.




The last real Frenchman was Calvin,


The rest of them moved to the States,


Although Lafayette made a good show of it,


Madame Guillotine finished his mates.




En Deutschland, sie haben Bach und Luther,


Uber alles, sie est zehr fantastisch


But compared to our “am besten Held”


Zie “Fatherland” is simply cold fish.




In America, our heroes ain’t dandies,


They don’t come from blue blood or pedigree,


And they’re just as liable to quote you the Bible,


Then boast of a Latin degree.




In general, they shun the big cities,


With all their pomp and great fuss,


They prefer the quiet of country life,


And a pickup truck to a bus.




They hunt from the trees like savages,


And roast their kill au jus,


But they’ll clean up for church on Sunday,


And put away mead and their hooch.




It’s from this stock comes our hero,


With his thick “Shakespearian” drawl.


And his powerful frame puts the fairies to shame,


And makes the “enlightened” crawl.




It’s not that he’s brash or a bully,


He really is quite a nice fellow,


A preacher, by trade, without the parade,


And bold as a lion—but not yellow.




He comes from the hills and the mines,


He’s the pride of Appalachia,


And sure as Pete, he has all his teeth.


Which for Rednecks --a feat let me tell ya!




But, oh, when that man mounts the pulpit,


And opens the Word to be read,


The congregation grows silent,


As the preacher in black bows his head.




And the powerful man from the mountains,


With eloquence to rival the Sages,


Trembles at each inspired verse,


As tears trickle on the pages.




His name, you would think from this tale,


Is descended from kings clad in mail,


But truth be told, the man we know,


Is the Highlander Parson named Joe.




--Anonymous (MC)


May 2009

Monday, May 11, 2009

"Quit Work To Help Your Husband" - Thanks, we're ahead of this curve.


This photo of Joe and me was taken at the home of Matt and Jennie Chancey, fall '07. Jennie was pregnant with her eighth baby and prepared a full seven-course meal with all the trimmings for a dinner for 15 that was the culmination of a week-end Matt planned in honor of my husband! They made a great team! A few months later, Matt delivered the baby--Jennie didn't make it to the hospital--great teamwork put to the ultimate test!!!
(Guest host of my blog is my dear friend, Jennie Chancey. I copied this entry from her excellent blog, Ladies Against Feminism. Link to it and read her posts to garner needed strength and encouragement as we wage our daily battles against the world, the flesh and the devil!)
By Mrs. Chancey
May 9, 2009 - 6:08:34 PM


A LAF reader shared a link to a story about Michelle Obama quitting her high-paying job to support her husband's run for the presidency and to serve as stay-at-home First Lady. While we're definitely not fans of the Obama administration and its liberal, socialist policies, this article shines the spotlight on something very important: the notion that a wife is invaluable to her husband's success and that an intelligent, savvy helpmate really does play an irreplaceable role in the family. Here's a sampling from the original piece:


It’s not what Germaine Greer and her ilk had in mind for this generation of highly educated, successful, independent women. But it’s a lifestyle choice at the heart of a new theory expounded in Megan Basham’s book, Beside Every Successful Man. The title is not just a trite twist on the familiar concept behind every successful man; it has much greater meaning than that. Basham argues that by using all your talents, skills, education and qualifications, you can make your husband’s career a stellar success, and your family life spectacularly happy. We’re talking an equal professional partnership, where the woman gets the best of both worlds — enjoying using her honed professional skills to enhance her husband’s career, but at the same time having the freedom and pleasure of spending more time with her children.
I realise Basham’s theory feels like taking a cheese grater to the most precious principles of feminism — independence, autonomy, equality, self-development, career. But let’s face it, whose life-work balance would you rather have: Michelle Obama, constantly extolling the joys of being in a strong partnership with a man doing something important, even as she enjoys her children; or Cherie Booth QC, the hard-done-by career woman famously complaining about the hardships of juggling family and career? Basham, an American author, dyed-in-the-wool feminist and successful career woman earning significantly more than her husband, explains it this way. ‘What my friends had in common is that they left school planning to spend most of their adult years working in their chosen fields, and expecting always to derive a lot of satisfaction from their careers.‘Several years ago, I started to notice that among many of us, as other areas of our lives expanded, the enjoyment we derived from our jobs began to shrink. Work began to seem more like an intrusion on our real lives than a vital part of it.’ She and her successful career girlfriends wanted to spend more time enjoying being mothers and wives. But there was a financial imperative as they were all fully paid-up members of the two-income economy.‘We realised we had to start looking at our dilemma from a new angle, and to start seeing our marriages as our own little business enterprises and our husbands as partners in that enterprise.’

As so often happens, Basham says a book changed her life — in her case, David McCullough’s biography of America’s second President, John Adams. ‘While everyone else was caught up by the relationship between Adams and Jefferson and Washington, I was fascinated by the relationship between Adams and his wife. He relied on her in almost every aspect of his work — and in the midst of the goal-setting and strategic planning they wrote each other intimate, teasing and tender love letters that revealed the sweet partnership they had in all things.’This feminist author is experiencing an eye-opening revelation -- but it's one that most of us stay-at-home wives and mothers have known and lived for years. If we've said it once, we've said it a hundred times: a homemaker is not a drudge, a housekeeping automaton, a doll, or arm candy. A wife of vision understands that what she does impacts her family now and in the long term. None of the epiphany experienced by Basham comes as a surprise to women who embrace Proverbs 31 and live it to the fullest. A husband and wife dedicated to a single vision are far more effective and powerful than a divided household where each half pursues its own interests and goals. This is why a wife who submits to her husband's vision and leadership is anything but a doormat--she is a powerhouse for serious, long-term success.
As wives, homemakers, and mothers, we get the most fulfilling, well-rounded "career" imaginable. We wear many hats, all of which have been laid out in Scripture for thousands of years. To us, they're second-nature. So it's a little amusing to see a "dyed-in-the-wool" feminist "discovering" truths that most of us have just practiced quietly for years--all while being ridiculed, put down, sneered at, or mocked as "baby machines," mindless drones, slaves, and all manner of other ridiculous invectives.All I have to say is, "Welcome to our world, Mrs. Basham." Here at LAF, we've been proclaiming for years the beauties and benefits of supporting our husbands, educating the next generation, running hospitable households, caring for the needy, and, yes, even running successful home businesses that involve our children and allow us to use our God-given talents in an amazing variety of ways. Abigail Adams has long been a model for homemakers. No matter how the feminists tried to twist her into a closet women's libber, we knew the truth.

We've read the letters she and her husband wrote each other. We've seen Abigail as a Proverbs 31 heroine for years. She understood that God created man to need woman--and for far more than simple physical companionship. We are truly the other half of the whole, and when both halves work together, the results are astounding. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says it best: "Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up."When women work for their own husbands and make their own families successful, they enjoy all the benefits and none of the heartaches of the nonsensical work-family "balance." Being a part of a family is work. And it's hard work. But it's rewarding because it is done for and with our own kith and kin. We aren't selling our labor to strangers or working thankless hours to please a man we don't love. Choosing to make our husbands successful means we enjoy the rewards of work and family at the same time--no balancing act required other than the ordinary everyday decisions about priorities and goals that are a normal part of life. The article continues:


Basham says this working partnership also means abandoning a few precious feminist precepts. ‘Some aspects of feminism encouraged women to treat their husbands as rivals and their homes as battlegrounds where couples questioned whether they were both doing the same proportion of the dishes and the earning. ‘So yes, it does mean biting the bullet and taking care of the household chores that stop him from earning. It doesn’t mean you have to do them yourself (by all means hire help), but your role is to free his time so he’s spending more time making money.’And while much of this argument may feel like an excuse for women to stay at home, she argues it is far from it. It extols and explains the fiscal and personal rewards to be gained if a woman should choose to give up her career and place her professional skills alongside those of her husband. It becomes like a two-man business, a partnership. He may get the public acknowledgement, but she gets the benefits of a significantly improved family income because he’s better at his job — plus, if she seeks it, the joy of spending more time at home being a wife and mother. In Basham’s conclusion, she returns to John Adams’s wife Abigail, whom she takes as her strongest role model. ‘Her strength, confidence, intelligence and eloquence were nearly as significant to her husband’s success as his own were. Adams so clearly valued his wife’s insight, and cherished her companionship, that there could be no question of her being anyone’s lackey.’ They eventually grew to become ‘almost one soul in two bodies’. [Emphasis mine.]Finally! A feminist comes around to see that a marriage is a genuine partnership--a mingling of souls and not just a joining of bodies. The wife at home is a real, significant help to her husband. She can be CFO, COO, nutritionist, master chef, teacher, gardener, photographer, artist, musician--you name it. The scope is as wide and deep as the talents and abilities God has given her, because there is an outlet for every single skill she can put to use. And what can be better than working for a man who not only appreciates your work but can love you for it? It really is an incredible life, and we're glad at least some feminists are finally seeing the light.


Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also , and he praises her: Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all.” Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, And let her own works praise her in the gates. ~ Proverbs 31:28-31
© Copyright 2002-2009 by LAF/BeautifulWomanhood.org

photo of Matthew Chancey and his eldest son, John Nathan, Jamestown, 2007

Friday, May 1, 2009

Your Opportunity to Study Under One of the Great Reformation Scholars of Our Day On One of the Most Important Topics of 2009




500 years ago a man was born whose work would help spearhead the doctrinal foundation of the Reformation and establish the Scriptural foundation for liberty in the West. His name was John Calvin, and he was one of a small, determined army of Christians who turned the world upside down by explaining the true implications of a Christian worldview.
Your children need to know about this man, and the men and movements of the Reformation which built the best elements of Western Christendom.

But it is one thing to read a book, and it is another to have Calvin and his comrades come alive as you study under one of the foremost scholars of the Reformation in America. For four decades, Dr. Joe Morecraft has been studying, writing, preaching, and defending the lives and testimonies of these heroes of Christendom. I have listened to thousands of CDs and teaching tapes in my life and Dr. Morecraft is hands down the finest church history teacher I have heard. For Dr. Morecraft, teaching is not simply an exercise in training the next generation, it is an expression of love of Christ and honor to the heroes of the past. His lectures are thoroughly researched, plain and simple to understand, full of passion, and rife with practical application.

He is simply the best, and this may be your only opportunity to study underneath him.
You might want to drive many miles to learn from this great man, but now you can learn directly from him with the click of a button using our live Internet course.

Dr. Morecraft’s works include How God Wants Us to Worship Him: a Defense of the Bible as the Only Standard for Modern Worship, and his soon-to-be published magnum opus, Authentic Christianity: An Exposition of the Theology and Ethics of the Westminster Larger Catechism. Pastor Morecraft holds a B.A. in history from King College in Bristol, Tennessee, a M.Div from Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia, and a M.Th. and Th.D. from Whitefield Theological Seminary.
Sign up today—registration is only open for a little while longer. Click here for more information.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Doug's Blog: Press Release: Alamo City Tea Party: Phillips Calls Attendees to Honor our Fathers and Seek the Lord







“Message to Washington, D.C.: If you want our guns, our businesses, our constitutional freedoms, come and take it!” -- Doug Phillips of Vision Forum Ministries






(photo of Doug Phillips and his eldest son, Joshua, at the Alamo TEA Party last week)








From the speech:

The Tenth Amendment reads:

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution,nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

What does this mean in plain English?


Here is what that means:

The federal government...
is NOT our nanny.
It is NOT our mother.
It is NOT our doctor.
It is NOT the high priest of a new secular religion.




And despite the remarkably arrogant statements of politicians...the state is NOT our Savior.
That designation is reserved to one person only — The Lord Jesus Christ who is King of kings and Lord of lords and to Whom (the author of Psalm 2 declares that) the nations of the earth must bow.



(click on the link above to read and/or hear the entire speech delivered by Doug Phillips at the Alamo TEA Party last week.)

Here is a sample letter of thanks to Doug and Vision Forum Ministries posted on their web site:


"Just wanted to take a moment to thank you for you wonderful ministry. I just finished listening to Doug’s tea party speech and was warmed in my heart. What a tremendous blessing the Lord has bestowed upon us! I have been supporting your ministry for the last couple of years and I have been blessed beyond measure by the many resources your ministry provides. I have learned the importance of family worship, I have learned the importance of presuppositional apologetics. I have been given the bullets that were missing in the gun. I have learned that the sovereignty of God is not merely something religious people say, I have learned that God is sovereign and that His Word is the ultimate authority. Thank you for your hard work, thank you from revealing the inconsistency of autonomous man theology. May the Lord bless you all! May you know the warmth that I feel in my heart for you. May the Lord bless you and keep you, and make His face shine upon you.
Sincerely in Christ, WO1 Eric S. C. B Co. Unmanned Aircraft Systems Training Battalion"
THE TAX POEM
author unknown

Tax his land,
Tax his bed,
Tax the table
At which he's fed.
Tax his tractor,
Tax his mule,
Teach him taxes
Are the rule.
Tax his work,
Tax his pay,
He works for peanuts
Anyway!
Tax his cow,
Tax his goat ,
Tax his pants,
Tax his coat.
Tax his ties,
Tax his shirt,
Tax his work,
Tax his dirt.
Tax his tobacco,
Tax his drink,
Tax him if he
Tries to think.
Tax his cigars,
Tax his beers,
If he cries,
Tax his tears.
Tax his car,
Tax his gas,
Find other ways
To tax him fast!
Tax all he has
Then let him know
That you won't be done
Till he has no dough.
When he screams and hollers,
Then tax him some more,
Tax him till
He's good and sore.
Then tax his coffin,
Tax his grave,
Tax the sod in which he's laid.
Put these words
Upon his tomb,
'Taxes drove me to my doom...'
When he's gone,
Do not relax,
Its time to apply
The inheritance tax!
Taxes we pay, in alphabetical order:
Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
CDL license Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog LicenseTax
Excise Taxes
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel Permit Tax
Gasoline Tax (44.75 cents per gallon)
Gross Receipts Tax
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Inventory Tax
IRS Interest Charges
IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax
Luxury Taxes
Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax
Personal Property Tax
Property Tax
Real Estate Tax & lt; BRService Charge Tax
Social Security Tax
Road Usage Tax
Sales Tax
Recreational Vehicle Tax
School Tax
State Income Tax
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Telephone Federal Excise Tax
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
Telephone Recurring and Non-recurring Charges Tax
Telephone State and Local Tax
Telephone Usage Charge Tax
Utility Taxes
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft Registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers Compensation Tax
(Did we leave any out? There are probably new taxes added since this was written!)



Saturday, April 11, 2009

"Death, be not proud..."

( photo taken in Hamilton, Scotland, at the graves of some of the first Covenanting martyrs)

Perhaps no story in the Bible touches me more than the account of Martha's broken heart when her dear brother, Lazarus, died. Jesus had delayed coming to Bethany, even after the sisters sent for Him, pleading for Him to come and heal their brother who was on the brink of death.
(Those who persevere to the end of this post can click on a link to hear Glad, the Acapella Project singing!)

So when Jesus came, he found that he had already been in the tomb four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off; and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary, to console them concerning their brother.

Martha therefore, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went to meet Him; but Mary still sat in the house. Martha therefore said to Jesus, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. Even now, I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give you."


Jesus said to her, "Your brother shall rise again."


Martha said to Him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day."


Jesus said to her, " I AM the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" --John 11:17-26








Some would be aghast at Martha's apparent scolding of the Lord--"Why didn't You come?" she seems to cry out in agony. "You could have healed him and we wouldn't have felt our hearts break as we watched our brother, who we know You love, die as we stood by, helpless."

But I have a different take on this. When we look carefully at Martha's words, we see that first, she calls Him "Lord," bowing to His sovereignty in her life. Secondly, she implies that she believes, even now, that although her brother has been dead for four days, Christ can raise him from the dead. She states, "Even now, I know that God will give You whatever You ask Him..."

You know the rest of the story. Jesus affirms His own deep grief over sin and death, especially the death of His dear friend,Lazarus, and perhaps thoughts of His own death which will come very soon. The shortest verse in the Bible is perhaps the most profound: "Jesus wept." He Who set the planets in their places, wept. He in Whom we live and move and have our being, sorrowed over His friends' suffering. And then, Jesus did what He came to do: He taught about the heart and character of the Father.

And so they removed the stone. And Jesus raised His eyes and said, 'Father, I thank Thee that Thou heardest Me. And I knew that Thou hearest Me always; but because of the people standing around I said it, that they may believe that Thou didst send Me." And when He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice,

"Lazarus, come forth!"

He who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings; and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Unbind him and let him go."

Many therefore of the Jews, who had come to Mary and beheld what He had done, believed in Him. But some of them went away to the Pharisees and told them the things which Jesus had done.
Therefore, the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council and were saying, "What are we doing? For this man is performing many signs. If we let Him go on like this, ALL MEN will believe in Him and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation."

But a certain one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, "You know nothing at all, that one man should die for the people and that the whole nation should not perish." Now this he did not say on his own initiative; but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation; and not for the nation only, but that He might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. So from that day on they planned together to kill Him. -- John 17:41-53


Someone has said that Jesus called Lazarus by name because if He had only said, "Come forth!", all the graves all over the world would have opened and those who had died in Christ would have been resurrected and borne testimony to the power of God over death! That glorious day will come--Jesus' resurrection guarantees it! Death, thou shalt die!













(Greyfriars' churchyard in Edinburgh where many Covenanters perished during the "killing times" in Scotland, during 1660-1688.)
I am reminded of one of my favorite poems, first read to me by my beloved grandfather, Elihu Hiram Anderson, school teacher, storyteller and Presbyterian pastor.

DEATH be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then;
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.
--John Donne

[For those who are interested in poetry, a brief analysis of this poem follows--skip it if you just want to read it and leave the rest to someone else to digest!]
Title and Publication Information
The poem first appeared as “Holy Sonnet X” in a collection of 19 sonnets by John Donne (1572-1631). However, its title came to be known as “Death, Be Not Proud” (after the first four words of the poem) or simply as “Death.” It was written between 1601 and 1610–the exact year is uncertain–and published after Donne died.

Type of Work
"Death, Be Not Proud" is a sonnet (14-line poem) similar in format to that established in Italy by Petrarch (1304-1374), a Roman Catholic priest who popularized the sonnet form before it was adopted and modified in England. Petrarch's sonnets each consist of an eight-line stanza (octave) and a six-line stanza (sestet). The first stanza presents a theme, and the second stanza develops it.

Rhyme Scheme and Meter
The rhyme scheme of "Death, Be Not Proud" is as follows: ABBA, ABBA, CDDC, EE. The meter varies, although most lines are in iambic pentameter.

Theme
“Death Be Not Proud” is among the most famous and most beloved poems in English literature. Its popularity lies in its message of hope couched in eloquent, quotable language. Donne’s theme tells the reader that death has no right to be proud, since human beings do not die but live eternally after “one short sleep.” Although some people depict death as mighty and powerful, it is really a lowly slave that depends on luck, accidents, decrees, murder, disease, and war to put men to sleep. But a simple poppy (whose seeds provide a juice to make a narcotic) and various charms (incantations, amulets, spells, etc.) can also induce sleep–and do it better than death can. After a human being’s soul leaves the body and enters eternity, it lives on; only death dies.

Figures of Speech
To convey his message, Donne relies primarily on personification, a type of metaphor, that extends through the entire poem. (Such an extended metaphor is often called a conceit.) Thus, death becomes a person whom Donne addresses, using the second-person singular (implied or stated as thou, thee, and thy). Donne also uses alliteration, as the following lines illustrate:

Line 4: Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst though kill me Line 6: Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow Line 13: One short sleep past, we wake eternally (Note: One begins with a w sound; thus, it alliterates with we and wake.)Donne ends the poem with paradox and irony: Death, thou shalt die.






Friday, March 27, 2009

God's Principle of Sowing and Reaping Still Intact










Be not deceived, God is not mocked;

for whatever a man sows, that he shall also reap. -- Gal. 6:7



In early March, I impatiently await the appearance of the first brave daffodil that will push it's stubborn way up through the frozen dirt in my front yard and proclaim, "Christ is risen from the dead! Rejoice!" At least, that's how I look at daffodils and all similar ugly brown bulbs I poke into unlikely beds of rocky ground in the fall.






Surely nothing beautiful could emerge from this dead thing? But here is the daffodil, complete in all her blooming beauty to contradict apparent reasonable doubt.


The transforming power of God is evident in every part of His creation--He takes shriveled up bulbs and makes them bloom as delicate, fragrant epistles for our eyes--seeing is believing! The bulb that was 'dead' lives in beautiful testimony to its Creator and Sustainer. And so shall we when our faith rests in the One Who first thought up the daffodil and declared it "very good."





But daffodils are, after all, just plants. The flower withers and fades...mine are mostly finished blooming now. Only the green leaves will remain for a few weeks as a reminder of their past and future splendor, drinking in nourishment from the earth, rain and sun before they again shrivel, disappear into the ground and await God's warming touch, awaking them to new life next year. I will plant more, Lord willing, this fall and watch them take over the hillsides and borders of my lawn, every Spring renewing my faith in the transforming power of God.

Now I am praying for that transforming power to work a seeming miracle in the hearts of those family members and friends who are left to grieve for those they loved who were taken from this life in a flaming airplane crash in Montana earlier this week.


[Pictured above is the firey crash that claimed the lives of 14 people in Montana near a monument for the victims of abortion. ]
As I looked at photos of the victims published in local newspapers--strong, good-looking parents and beautiful little children--I wept. I cannot imagine losing even one child or grandchild; to lose many at the same time seems unbearable to my mother-heart. And yet, this is exactly what 'Bud' and Pam Feldkamp, as well as their extended surviving family members and close friends, are experiencing at this moment.

I want to take great care as I present this story not to appear to stand in arrogant or unfeeling judgment upon this grieving family. But this is one story that cannot be ignored when the whole tale is told. I tremble before the presence of a God Who preserves the faithful and fully recompenses the proud doer, Psalm 31:23 Below I have copied and pasted the testimony of a pro-life worker who testifies to personally pleading, week after week, with the Feldkamps to repent of their part in profiting from the killing of the unborn (details are spelled out in the letter below). Their pleas were scorned.

Pray that, though God's righteous indignation has been unleashed, He will in His wrath remember mercy. Pray that the Psalm of David, sung as he experienced the sweet forgiveness that filled his life with the fragrance of mercy and undeserved grace (remember, David was a murderer and adulterer?), would become the psalm of the Feldkamp family as they look to Christ to bind their wounds and bring beauty from ashes. God is in the business of defeating His enemies through conversion to the truth! Pray that this family may become a beacon for Christ and use their material blessings to save lives rather than destroy them!

How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity and in whose spirit there is no deceit! ...I acknowledged my sin to Thee and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,' and Thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin...Many are the sorrows of the wicked; but he who trusts in the LORD, lovingkindness shall surround him. -- Psalm 32:1,2,5,11

More questions? Why did God save the big plane that took off in New York from crashing into the Hudson last month and not save this little plane in Montana? There are bigger questions:




[An artist's depiction of 'God' setting the plane down last month in the Hudson River...]

Why has God allowed the murder of millions of unborn babies in our country since Roe vs. Wade? Why does He create life only to sometimes snuff it out Himself through miscarriage? Why do people suffer and die? Why He hasn't killed me for my sins is a question more pertinent perhaps.

We cannot claim to know the infinite mind and will of a God Who is bigger than time and space; but He has given us His infallible Word, allowing us to know enough of His Holy will and what motivates His actions to understand that He is never capricious nor reckless and that He can be trusted, even when life hurts. These are deep waters -- dive in at your own risk!

Search the Scriptures and see that God is always true and all that stand opposed to Him and His clear standards are undeniably false!! A day of reckoning will come for all workers of iniquity, i.e., all those who stand opposed, unrepentantly, to His perfect Law/Order set out in His Word. Indeed, although His ways are often past finding out, sometimes, there is little room left for doubt that He is the righteous Judge of all men and nations. Steven Curtis Chapman, his faith put to severe testing when his precious six-year daughter was killed last year, says it succinctly: God is God and man is not! Keep praying that the killing of the unborn would not go unnoticed by a righteous God Who speaks from heaven in a voice that cannot be ignored. Scripture is clear: Depart from evil and do good; so you will abide forever. --Psalm 37:27

The principle of sowing and reaping has a joyful aspect as well as a fearful one. Like a daffodil patiently awaiting the Lord's renewing touch, we must persevere in doing "good" in whatever soil He has planted us, for the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Sprit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary. --Galations 6:8, 9

[I have attempted to verify the contents of the information in the post below. To the best of my knowledge, the statements of fact are true. The opinions expressed by the author, a young pro-life activist from Hanford, CA, are Miss Edmonds' opinions--nowhere in Scripture are we given to know the 'secret' things of God in His dealings with men. However, I tend to agree with many of her conclusions. I leave it up to you, dear reader, to meditate on your beds and draw conclusions as to the Nature and Attributes of our awesome God Who is there and is not silent. -- RBM]

Mar. 24, 2009 - Breaking News: FPA Owner Irving 'Bud' Feldkamp Family Tragedy

Some of you may have seen the major news story of the private plane that crashed into a Montana cemetery, killing 7 children and 7 adults. But what the news sources fail to mention is that the Catholic Holy Cross Cemetery owned by Resurrection Cemetery Association in Butte - contains a memorial for local residents to pray the rosary, at the 'Tomb of the Unborn'. This memorial, located a short distance west of the church, was erected as a dedication to all babies who have died because of abortion.

What else is the mainstream news not telling you? The family who died in the crash near the location of the abortion victim's memorial, is the family of Irving 'Bud' Feldkamp, owner of the largest for-profit abortion chain in the nation. Family Planning Associates was purchased four years ago by Irving Moore "Bud" Feldkamp III, owner of Allcare and Hospitality Dental Associates and CEO of Glen Helen Raceway Park in San Bernardino. The 17 California Family Planning clinics perform more abortions in the state than any other abortion provider - Planned Parenthood included - and they perform abortions through the first five months of pregnancy.

Although Feldkamp is not an abortionist, he reaps profits of blood money from the tens of thousands of babies that are killed through abortions performed every year at the clinics he owns. His business in the abortion industry was what enabled him to afford the private plane that was carrying his family to their week-long vacation at The Yellowstone Club, a millionaires-only ski resort. The plane went down on Sunday, killing two of Feldkamp's daughters, two sons-in-law and five grandchildren along with the pilot and four family friends. The plane, a single-engine turboprop flown by Bud Summerfield of Highland, crashed into the Catholic cemetery and burst into flames, only 500 ft. from its landing destination. All aboard were killed. The cause of the crash is a mystery. The pilot, who was a former military flier who logged over 2,000 miles, gave no indication to air traffic controllers that the aircraft was experiencing difficulty when he asked to divert to an airport in Butte. Witnesses report that the plane suddenly nosedived toward the ground with no apparent signs of a struggle. There was neither a cockpit voice recorder nor a flight data recorder onboard, and no radar clues into the planes final moments because the Butte airport is not equipped with a radar facility. Some speculate that the crash was due to ice on the wings, but this particular plane model has been tested for icy weather and experts have stated that ice being the cause is unlikely.

In my time working for Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust, I helped organize and conduct a weekly campaign where youth activists stood outside of Feldkamp's mini-mansion in Redlands holding fetal development signs and raising community awareness regarding Feldkamp's dealings in child murder for profit. Every Thursday afternoon we called upon Bud and his wife Pam to repent, seek God's blessing and separate themselves from the practice of child killing. We warned him, for his children's sake, to wash his hands of the innocent blood he assisted in spilling because, as Scripture warns, if "you did not hate bloodshed, bloodshed will pursue you". (Ezekiel 35:6)

A news source states that Bud Feldkamp visited the site of the crash with his wife and their two surviving children on Monday. As they stood near the twisted and charred debris talking with investigators, light snow fell on the tarps that covered the remains of their children. I don't want to turn this tragic event into some creepy spiritual "I told you so" moment, but I think of the time spent outside of Feldkamp's - Pam Feldkamp laughing at the fetal development signs, Bud Feldkamp trying not to make eye contact as he got into his car with a small child in tow - and I think of the haunting words, "Think of your children." I wonder if those words were haunting Feldkamp as well as he stood in the snow among the remains of loved ones, just feet from the 'Tomb of the Unborn'? I only hope and pray that in the face of this tragedy, Feldkamp recognizes his need for repentance and reformation. I pray that God will use this unfortunate catastrophe to soften the hearts of Bud and Pam and that they will draw close to the Lord and wash their hands of the blood of thousands of innocent children, each as precious and irreplaceable as their own. "I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then." (Deut. 30:19) -- Gingi Edmonds












































Thursday, February 26, 2009

Truth wears well...

'Truth Wears Well'...
a letter to Ann Coulter



Dear Ann,
I was privileged to hear you speak at a fund-raiser in Atlanta in '07 and follow your commentary as much as possible. We own all your books. They're on the shelf, appropriately I believe, right between Uppity Women of Medieval Times and Uppity Women of the New World.
You are a role model for my eighteen-year old daughter for boldly speaking the truth regardless of the consequences to you personally. She has been in a Christian school since kindergarten and then home-schooled since she was 12. It's worked out very well -- she knows better than to believe whomever is speaking on TV or in print unless she cross-checks their opinions with reliable standards for truth such as papers written by the founding fathers and other great men throughout history, the Bible and her daddy who ran for the US Congress in '86 to carry on Larry McDonald's great work as a principled statesman. Although he was not elected, even though President Reagan made a TV commercial for him! I know that he would have been a powerful voice for the Constitution and right-thinking in Washington but I thank God for the benefit his continuing to preach has been for our family and church where he has pastored for 35 years.
Our morning Bible reading (for February 26th) was from the book of Proverbs: The lip of truth shall be established forever; but a lying tongue is but for a moment. -- Prov. 12:19.
Comments from the great 19th-century, English Baptist preacher, Charles Spurgeon, on this verse are worth noting:
Truth wears well. Time tests it, but it right well endures the trial. If, then, I have spoken the truth, and have for the present to suffer for it, I must be content to wait. If also I believe the truth of God and endeavor to declare it, I may meet with much opposition, but I need not fear, for ultimately the truth must prevail. What a poor thing is the temporary triumph of falsehood! It is a mere gourd which comes up in a night and perishes in a night; and the greater its development the more manifest its decay. On the other hand, how worthy of an immortal being is the avowal and defence of that truth which can never change; the everlasting gospel, which is established in the immutable truth of an unchanging God! An old proverb says, 'He that speaks truth shames the devil.' Assuredly he that speaks the truth of God will put to shame all the devils in hell, and confound all the seed of the serpent which now hiss out their falsehoods. O my heart, take care that thou be in all things on the side of truth, both in small things and great; but especially, on the side of Him by whom grace and truth have come among men! -- C. H. Spurgeon, February 26th reading from,Cheque Book of the Bank of Faith.
Thank you, Ann, for standing boldly for the truth, even when it must seem that you stand alone at times. If ever the Morecraft family can be of assistance to you, we'll be happy to do so. Meanwhile, know that we pray for you frequently, especially that the Lord Jesus Christ would be first in your heart and His redeeming, sustaining grace your undergirding strength.
Pro Rege,
Becky (Mrs. Joe) Morecraft
Canton, GA
(Go to http://www.sermonaudio.com/ to hear my husband's excellent series of sermons/lectures on the History of the Reformation and many other topics. They have been downloaded thousands of times around the world and are used as curriculum in history classes in Christian schools and colleges in America, Asia, Africa, South America, Australia and Europe, at least.)
I have copied and pasted your article of today from World Net Daily http://www.wnd.com/ below for my family and close friends to read. Thank you. As usual, it is cogently written, humorous and easily understood by all in my family, none of whom, thank God, were public-schooled (at least, not in the past generation).

The Cal Ripken President
Ann Coulter hails fact 'a mentally retarded woman can become speaker of the House'

Posted: February 25, 20095:56 pm Eastern
By Ann Coulter

As Obama prepared to deliver his address to Congress yesterday, Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner, Fox News' Bret Baier and Charles Krauthammer all gushed that history was being made as the first African-American president appeared before Congress.
Even Gov. Bobby Jindal, whom I suppose I should note was the first Indian-American to give the Republican response to a president's speech, began with an encomium to the first black president. (Wasn't Bobby great in "Slumdog Millionaire"?)

Are we going to have to hear about this for the next four years? Obama is becoming the Cal Ripken Jr. of presidents, making history every time he suits up for a game. Recently, Obama also became the first African-American president to order a ham sandwich late at night from the White House kitchen! That's going to get old pretty quick.

But as long as the nation is obsessed with historic milestones, is no one going to remark on what a great country it is where a mentally retarded woman can become speaker of the House?
Obama spent more than twice as much time in his historic speech genuflecting to the teachers unions than talking about terrorism, Iraq or Afghanistan. So it was historic only in the sense that Obama is the first African-American president, but was the same old Democratic claptrap in every other respect.

After claiming that the disastrous stimulus bill would create or save 3.5 million jobs – "more than 90 percent" in the private sector – Obama then enumerated a long list of exclusively government jobs that would be "saved."

He was suspiciously verbose about saving the jobs of public schoolteachers. Because nothing says "economic stimulus" better than saving the jobs of lethargic incompetents who kick off at 2 p.m. every day and get summers off. Actually, that's not fair: Some teachers spend long hours after school having sex with their students.

As with the Clintons, Obama so earnestly believes in public school education that he sends his girls to ... an expensive private school. He demands that taxpayers support the very public schoolteachers he won't trust with his own children.

It is one thing to tell voters that school choice is wrong, because, you know, the public schools won't get better unless Americans sacrifice their children to the teachers union's maw. But it is quite another for Democrats to feed their own kids to the union incinerator. Consequently, no Democrat president since Jimmy Carter has been stupid enough to send his own children to a public school.

And yet the stimulus bill expressly prohibits money earmarked for "education" to be spent on financial aid at private or parochial schools. Private schools might use it for some nefarious purpose like actually teaching their students, rather than indoctrinating them in anti-American propaganda.

The stimulus bill includes about $100 billion to education. By "education," Democrats don't mean anything a normal person would think of as education, such as learning how to talk good. "Education" means creating lots of useless bureaucratic jobs, mostly in Washington, having nothing to do with teaching.
Apparently, nothing irritates public schoolteachers more than being asked to teach. While 80 percent of the employees of private schools are teachers, only half the employees of public schools are. The rest are "coordinating," "facilitating" or "empowering" something or other.
The Department of Education alone provides more than 4,000 jobs that haven't the faintest connection with teaching. And now the stimulus bill will double the Education Department's funding. (For those of you who went to a public school, that means it will become twice as big.)
We've come a long way from Ronald Reagan promising to eliminate the Education Department, which itself was a Jimmy Carter sop to the teachers unions.

Federal meddling in education has been an abject failure, so the Democrats' plan is to keep doing more of the same. If only there were some aphorism about people who fail to learn from history – oh, well!
It can't be easy to reduce the educational achievement in America year after year, but the education establishment has done it! Yes they can!
Thanks to the hard work of thousands of government workers at the Department of Education and well-paid teachers union employees, American schoolchildren perform worse on education tests for every year they spend in a public school.

It turns out that being in U.S. public schools has the same effect on people as hanging around Paris Hilton does.

In fourth grade, the earliest grade for which international comparisons are available, American students outperform most other countries in reading, math and science. Fourth-graders score in the 92nd percentile in science, the 58th percentile in math and the 70th percentile in reading, where they beat 26 of 35 countries, including Germany, France and Italy.

But by the eighth grade, American students are only midrange in international comparisons. (On the plus side, by the eighth grade they're noticeably fatter.)

By the 12th grade – after receiving the full benefits of an American education – Americans are near the bottom. Let X represent the number of years spent in U.S. public schools, and Y represent average test scores in math and reading – oh, never mind.

With an additional eight years of a public school education under their belts, Americans fall from the 92nd percentile in science to the 29th percentile. While American fourth-graders are bested only by South Korea and Japan in science, by 12th grade, the only countries the American students can beat are Lithuania, Cyprus and South Africa.

Which suggests that if public education were extended all the way through college, by the time a student gets to graduate school he might very well be qualified to be ... speaker of the House!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Judy Rogers, guest post


Dear Friends & Family,
I often hear stories of how God has used my music, and many of those stories leave me utterly speechless & weeping. I have realized that keeping these stories to myself robs you of a great blessing, though you may weep at times as well! Therefore, I will try to be more faithful at relating substantive stories & would ask you to pray that God will continue to do His work with these songs.
Two days ago I received a call from a lady who had talked to me last fall about using Why Can't I See God? songs in the children's choir at her church in Greensboro, NC. She said, "I started to e-mail you but decided that I would rather tell you this story on the phone. A precious & vibrant little girl in our choir suddenly passed away last night. Her name was Karis & she was eight years old. She was one of those vivacious children who tells you everything her family is doing & she loved to sing, especially 'God Made Me!' We sang this as part of our choral presentation & she just LOVED it! Her family recently went on a cruise & she sang it on the cruise ship at a talent show. Karis was one of those children who loved Jesus & radiated His joy wherever she went."
She had complained on that evening that her stomach felt bad, didn't eat supper, and on her way to bed collapsed on the stairs. They rushed her to the hospital but she died shortly thereafter. An autopsy was performed but nothing was discovered as to why this little girl should have died. God gathered this little jewel gently to Himself.
This lady wanted me to know the joy that "God Made Me" had brought to Karis. She sent me her picture from the day of their presentation at church (attached). She has a little sister Olivia who is 6 today, the day of her sister's funeral. The children's choir has volunteered to sing God Made Me at her funeral. PLEASE pray for this family, the Winters, as, no doubt, their hearts are breaking, but at the same time comforted by the life of such a precious daughter & God's grace in her & their lives.
May we everyday see beyond the "daily routine" into the very souls of our children & speak often with them, not morbidly, but joyfully, of being able & ready to meet Jesus one day, for indeed, it is a day which we know not!
"Out of the mouths of children, God has ordained praise!" (Ps. 8) Who knows how many lives were touched by this little girl's singing, especially on that cruise ship 3 weeks before her death? May our praise & that of our children be such that upon our deaths, young or old, our songs will have impacted other lives for His glory.
Karis's exuberant praise has surely impacted mine.
For His Kingdom & His children,
Judy Rogers
www.judypsalm8@judyrogers.com

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Dr. Leila Denmark Celebrates 111 years of life!






Happy 111th Birthday, Dr. Denmark!
(click on title above to access link to a book of Dr. D's advice)




(*see photo credit information below)

Part I

When Dr. Leila Alice Daughtry-Denmark was a girl, growing up in the little town of Portal near the coast of Georgia, she never dreamed she would become a pediatrician. She went to Tift College to become a teacher, but told me she always really wanted to be a hat-maker and took classes to learn how. When the first world war broke out the young men who were her friends left, (including the one who would become her husband later for almost seventy years, John Eustace Denmark, sent to Java, Indonesia with the State Department), she decided to go to the Medical College of Georgia, becoming the only woman in the graduating class of 1928. Maybe she could help the sick and injured regain a life after such a terrible war? One of her prize possessions was a tablecloth she showed me spread out on the table at her 60th wedding anniversary celebration. It's a patchwork of small silk squares intended to be used as parachutes to drop small bombs all over America during that war. Somehow she had come into possession of them and made a tablecloth from them. "Think of it," she said with shining eyes, "those tiny squares that were meant to bring destruction to hundreds of Americans are now on the table of a home that promotes health and life!"

Dr. Denmark was the pediatrician for all four of my children. And we are far from alone! I continue to meet people whose mothers, children and now grandchildren had gone to her for advice and medical help--three or sometimes four generations of families served by this woman who raised her daughter, Mary, at her feet as she helped other mothers learn what their priorities should be. She broke many of the modern feminist's rules for the "emmancipated" woman. She practiced medicine from her home because she longed to help women learn how to care for their own children and never encouraged mothers to leave their children to get a job. She loves to say, "I never worked a day in my life. If you do what you love, it isn't work." Her husband was a vice-president of a large financial institution in Atlanta throughout his long career. She didn't practice medicine because she felt she needed an outlet or that she had to affirm herself as a person or to add to the family income. She never charged ministers or missionaries one penney. She only asked that they pay her cost for any medicine or vaccine she administered, usually $5.00. She said, "I want to encourage those who are doing God's work." She didn't have a receptionist, nurse or associate. She answered her own phone--sometimes the wait would be long as the caller listened to babies crying and Dr. Denmark's calm, assertive but husky voice giving instructions or chirping softly as she looked at a tiny ear, "Listen, can you hear the little bird?" she would croon.

No appointments were necessary with Dr. Denmark. Bring your child, sign the book in the waiting room and wait...sometimes for hours if there were lots of sick children to see. Then finally, it was your turn. Dr. Denmark's head--the wisps of gray hair settling around it like a halo --would appear at the door. Her eyes crinkled at the corners as she smiled, "Now who's my next little angel?"


(*photo of Dr. Denmark and Mary taken in 1936, photo credit information below)

"Dr. D.", as she is still called by her patients and their parents, made medical history for her part in the development of the pertussis vaccine. She told me she had personally witnessed the deaths of over 75 children in one year due to whopping cough and was determined, with God's help, to try to prevent this. (Ironically, our son, John, whose photo is posted below with Dr. D., caught whopping cough from the vaccine administered to him at five months of age. Dr. D. called me, day and night, for three weeks, every day, to check on his progress--it was a horrifying time which God graciously brought us through, largely due to Dr. D.'s valuable advice and assistance.) She held a 'free baby clinic' every Thursday for over fifty years at a large Presbyterian church in down-town Atlanta where thousands of children were treated, free of charge. "Every child Should Have A Chance to be all that he or she can be," was her slogan. She poured her life into making this phrase take on real meaning and wrote a book by this title full of her advice. A photograph (posted below) of Dr. D. with our son John, sitting on her examination table was the picture on the back cover of her book for years. Although the book is currently out of print, you may be able to purchase one from Dr. Denmark's daughter, Mary (Mrs. Grady) Hutcherson, who resides in Athens, GA.

(photo credit, Betty Wolfe, 1978)

We often asked if we could help out around the clinic--maybe answer the phone for her while she saw patients? "Mrs. Morecraft," she replied once to this query, "when you call me, to whom do you wish to speak and when do you wish to speak to her?" 'Nuff said. Instead, I prayed for her and sent her scores of new patients through the 30 years that I knew her.

Despite living through two world wars, witnessing suffragettes put on tent shows to promote the vote for women in her South Georgia hometown, and seeing the age of the horse and buggy transform into a high-tech world of high anxiety, Denmark said the most significant change in her lifetime has been parents giving up responsibility for their children. It's her pet peeve. "Children are not getting parental guidance, and it's wrecking this nation. Parenting has gone out of style," she said. She said she always had her office in her home so she could keep an eye on Mary... "Parents pursue materialistic goals -- new cars, bigger houses -- to the neglect of their children." She advises against putting children in day care, where she thinks kids are deprived of attention and catch illnesses. "Day care supports the pediatricians in the country." she said with a laugh. "Without it, we'd starve." --from July 24, 1998, article appearing in The Atlanta Business Chronicle, by contributing writer Barbara Keenlyside
What else sets Dr. Denmark apart from other pediatricians besides her refusal to leave her own child with another caregiver to practice medicine? For one thing, she says babies should sleep on their tummies. She scoffs at the 'new' practice of putting them on their backs. But what about SIDS and suffocating on spit-up? Nonesense, she says. Put four towels with a sheet stretched across them (I always used two thick towels) to absorb any spit-up and let the little baby develop his/her neck muscles as she turns her head. She says the digestive system works better on the stomach and that this position affords many other benefits. She believes in scheduling feedings for infants as well as scheduling meals in adulthood--wait at least five hours between meals to allow your food time to digest so that undigested food isn't moved into the gut with the digested food. But what if baby cries between feedings? "That's his privilege," she smiles. "Make sure he's alright and let him develop his lungs a little." She reiterated over and over to young parents, "Your baby has come to live with you and must adjust to your needs, not the other way round. If you live helter-skelter, any which way, with no order in your life, letting your baby set the house rules, you will all be miserable!" Dr. Denmark emphasized the value of human life and loved children as the bulletin board set up in her lobby displaying literally hundreds of notes and photos from her patients attested to. "All your life, your baby will need you--do it right from the start," she says,"and he will always know he can count on you."

She loved to talk about her own homelife. "I was the third oldest child in my family," she would smile, her eyes sparkling with the memories. "My mother didn't like children much--she only had 12." Then the husky laugh, "Mother always knew what to do if one of us was sick. But occasionally she would call the doctor if she thought she needed his advice. When he arrived, he'd say, 'Alice, what do you think is wrong and what do you think we should do?'" Her laugh was warm with the memory. "Most of the time, he'd follow mother's advice and all was well." She greatly admired her mother and father who both died in middle age.

(*photo credits for the two photos in the opening of this article, the one of a young mother, Leila, and her young daughter, Mary, as well as the photo later below of Dr. D. and her brother on the golf course, from an article published in Georgia Magazine, August, 2002, written by Victoria Scharf Decastro)



Part II


(photo credit, from an online article written for the National Library of Medicine, entitled, Changing the Face of Medicine: Celebrating America's Physicians)


Dr. Leila Denmark

Sugar is anathama to Dr. D. "I started developing arthritis in my mid-thirties and by age 50," Dr. Denmark told me once, "I suspected sugar was the culprit so I cut it out. Haven't had a twinge of arthritis since then," (she was about 80 at that time). In fact, she refused to eat the birthday cake presented to her for her 100th birthday because there was too much sugar in it! Dr. Denmark has all her own teeth. She wears the same clothes she made for herself when she was in her twenties. When the property she and her husband had lived on for over fifty years sold in the late 80's due to an agreement they had made with a purchaser many years prior to the date (they assumed they'd be gone to glory by then), Dr. and Mr. Denmark moved their possessions, lock, stock and barrel, to Cumming, where they had bought some land many years before. It had a nice lake and they would often go walking and fishing there for recreation. They hired an architect to design an exact replica of the home they had vacated at the corner of Glenridge and Johnson's Ferry Roads in Sandy Springs and rebuilt on that Cumming property.
The Denmark home in Cumming
The original house was almost immediately torn down and offices now occupy the space. Dr. D. wanted to put all her furniture, rugs, pictures and the curtains she had made sixty years or more before in the exact spots and thus had the replicated home built. Her new office--an old slave cabin on the Cumming property--was rennovated by her 6' 7" tall grandson, (a remarkable height for offspring coming from his Denmark grandparents since Dr. D. was about five feet tall and her husband around 5' 6"!)



Dr. Denmark's office next door to her home in Cumming, GA



Dr. Denmark believes that pasturized cow's milk is akin to poison. She encourages mother's milk until eight months of age and then, having introduced food at around three months, three big meals a day with a mashed banana as the common ingredient in each pureed meal. Not only is this fruit of choice full of minerals, it's sweet and makes those green beans and pureed beef go down more easily. She swears she did the research and that cow's milk actually destroys red blood cells. That's what she preaches and who am I to argue? A mere no-nothing mother...So, my grown children--all in their thirties--drank virtually no cow's milk growing up. They have (almost) perfect teeth, healthy bones and pretty amazing good looks if I do say so myself! Instead of 'fun foods', they ate three hearty meals a day of very healthy food, mostly farm-fresh vegetables, particularly black-eyed peas, (high on Dr. Denmark's list of good food--she says that's what Daniel ate instead of the king's rich food in the Bible), eggs, whole grains, a little red meat, fish or chicken and whatever fruit was in season. They drank clean water, ran around outside in all weather, climbed trees, helped feed the chickens and worked in the garden, were read to often, loved by parents and grandparents, were taught the scriptures, were praised more than spanked but were spanked when necessary (some days, a lot), played hard, slept well and grew up happy and healthy. Our boys were taught to always show respect, especially to ladies and remove their hats as soon as they entered the house. Our girls were taught to work as hard as boys, who were also taught that work is a virtue, not an option, and were expected to act like ladies always, even when being "tomboys."
The four rules of the Morecraft house were easy to remember if not always obeyed perfectly:
1)Obey
2)obey quickly
3)obey cheerfully
4)"Whatever you do, do it with all your might, as to the Lord."

Three of our children in the photo above in 2007. Below, Joey and his wife, Jennifer, (not present for above photo), in 2008

Dr. D. believes in certain vaccinations but started them later than is common today and didn't give multiple vaccines at the same time. (I think a case could be made that she would question the wisdom of many of the newer vaccines but that's another subject and only an opinion.) Her greatest contribution to three generations of mothers was to urge them to stay at home with their children. "Why do you want to go off to work and take orders from some other man?" she would say to each mother who entered her office. "Stay home and make your husband happy--cook him three healthy, hearty meals a day, raise happy, healthy children and God will smile on you."

Although Dr. D. advised eating three healthy meals a day, she ate very little most of her life, starting the day with a cup of hot water (she never drinks any other drink than water), figs preserved in honey when she had them or a banana, eggs and a piece of toast. She rarely took the time to eat lunch but had whatever she wanted for dinner (minus the sugar and milk, of course) and told us she usually only slept about five hours a night. Once when my husband had caught some nice little fish from her lake, he offered to prepare some for her dinner. "How would you like me to prepare them?" he asked her, expecting to hear her say broiled or baked. "How 'bout frying them up in a little lard," she smiled.

She loved to play golf with her husband. They tried to get away to the Canadian Rockies or White Sulphur Springs when they could to hike and golf. She loved to tell about the time she was hiking around her lake in Cumming. "All of a sudden," she laughed her husky laugh, "I spied a big, ol' copperhead coiled up beside the path. Well, sir, I don't like to kill things--I mean, after all, he was there before I was, so I guess he kind of had squatter's rights. But I started thinking, might someone come along that would be bit by that fella and that could be really bad." Her eyes twinkled. "Now I had just recovered from breaking both my wrists a few days earlier--I slipped on something when I was going out to feed the birds on my patio out back several weeks before and broke both wrists. They had just come out of the casts when I saw that snake. But I real carefully picked up a pine limb that had a knot in the end kinda like a golf club. I aimed at his head and swung and, well...(laughing)...that ol' boy's not ever gonna hurt anybody..."


(photo of Dr. Denmark and her brother playing golf. In one of the last rounds she played while in her 80's, Dr. Denmark sank a 26-foot putt!)

(*photo credit info listed above)

Dr. D. had to quit her practice at age 103 because of macular degeration of her eyes that couldn't be corrected -- she is legally blind. Still willing to talk to parents by phone from her daughter's house where she lives now, this determined, Christian woman who urges women to keep the best job in the world and stay at home with their children, raising them to be strong, productive, courageous adults, is one of my heroines.

Thank you for teaching us to be committed mothers and wives and for helping me raise four strong children who are leading godly, productive, joyful lives, due in large part, to your example and advice. Thank you, for helping me and thousands of others raise the next several generations of Christian leaders and mothers!

Happy birthday, Dr. D.



[For more Denmark advice on baby and child rearing, look online or in your local stores for Madia Bowman's book, Dr. Denmark Said It! http://www.drdenmarksaidit.com/ ]



Her children rise up and bless her; her husband also, and he praises her, saying: 'Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all.' Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates. --Prov. 31:28-31

(photo of John Morecraft, age 14 months, taken with Dr. D. in 1978)
(photo of John and Kim Morecraft and their children, Asa and Izalou, 2008.)

Joy at Home

(a poem written in honor of Dr. Leila Denmark when Mercy was four months old)

The far horizon beckons me

to distant shores unknown,

but I must firmly turn away

and find my joy at home.

Such joys there are, though simple ones--

there's joy in baby's smiles

that bring contentment to my heart

far more than wordly wiles.

And when she's sad, we all are sad;

and when she frowns, we sigh.

Our ears are tuned and listening out

to hear her slightest cry.

Yes, I've found much adventure

as distant lands I've roamed,

but contentment deep and rich

are mine as I find joy at home.

--Becky Morecraft

March 7, 1991