Archive for January, 2008


I haven’t had to get a prescription in two years. Before I had a Prescription Card with a $20 co-pay. No big deal. We always used the same pharmacist (CVS). Now we have a health plan that is designed for major sickness only. (High deductible etc) All we have is a “discount” Medco RX plan card. I think it only saves us if we do mail order.

I had heard people in my church crying over prescription prices, Medicare, etc. I heard how much some of their prescriptions were costing, but it went in one ear and out the other. I went to a clinic today and got three prescriptions. Since I was paying cash I wanted to do some ‘comparison’ shopping.

Here are the surprising results:

Store A

Store B

Store C

Store D

Store E

$152.99

$245.65

$206.54

$210.99

$214.99

49.99

46.69

43.36

28.89

25.75

24.99

25.89

28.99

36.89

20.99

Money in pills What is wrong with this picture? Why is there as much as 50% difference between prices from one pharmacy to the next? As it worked out, I bought the prescriptions at three different pharmacies!

I think that prices are all over the place because consumers don’t really care. We either pay a co-pay or let Medicare pay or go without! It seems that there could be more uniform pricing on drugs. By the way-the high price drug was branded, the others were generic. I can understand the difference in generic, because it depends on the wholesaler or brand. But the branded drug-come on, a $93.00 difference? Who is getting ripped off here? I assure you, it is we, uncaring consumers.

Solomon wrote: “A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight”. Proverbs 11:1 (ESV) 19:35

False BalanceThe Law warns: “You shall do no wrong in judgment, in measures of length or weight or quantity. 36 You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin: Leviticus 19:35

I believe prescription pill pricing borders on the “abomination” scale of God’s Righteous expectations. I hope something is done about it in the upcoming administration. We need to bring sense back to Pharmacy prices.

With the mushrooming growth in our “older” population, I can understand why there are so many Walgreen’s and CVS pharmacies being built. Pills must be very profitable. A gal told me that her daughter graduated from college as a Pharmacist and is earning $130,000 a year. That is the starting salary! There is gold in them thar pills!

I suspect that something will be done soon, to bring justice to pill pricing. In the meantime-it pays to call around if you are paying cash!

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I had to go see RAMBO. Having gone to Burma (Myanmar) in 2006, and learning of the atrocities taking place, I wanted to see Hollywood’s depiction. I was shocked by the depiction of violence. I had heard of some of the atrocities, but to see them visualized in such a violent way made my blood boil. I know many watching are simply caught up in the violence. But for me, my heart goes out to the people fo Burma. We were not allowed to go to the “black” areas of Myanmar, where the violence and warfare take place. And many of the people and pastor’s we met did not dare speak out about it. The military junta has a death grip on the people. We were supposed to say a word at the Judson Baptist Church in Mandalay, but a governement spy was recognized and we were told not to. In another instance near Taungyyi, we were to have a welcome service of native dance and food at the Seminary, but the word came down that the province governor would be displeased. You do not want to displease the governor. They have been known to suddenly take your property over.

The people have no rights, they have only a semblance of freedom. Fear is the atmospher. I was so hoping that the Buddhist Monk uprising would cause some change, but no, things are the same, and any resistance has been broken. I know several people who are helping with the influx of Karen and Chin refugees that our State Department has green-lighted for placement into the United States. These people have been living in refugee settlements in Thailand for over 10 years! I met one couple that had been living in a tent for 12 years.

The situation in Burma will not be changed in a peaceable way. The stories I heard indicate the junta is beyond reason, and operate from a state of paranoia. They are truly evil. There is a solid Christian organization in Burma started by Adoniram Judson. There are Seminaries, missionary organizations, and growing evangelistic efforts. But the 1.8 million Christians are a drop in the bucket. They tell me there are Christians in the Army, but they do not have much influence. I am afraid that the only change that will come will be in a bloody coup of some sort. But that is highly unlikely in a Buddhist state. They believe that suffering only prepares them for the next level of life.

In the meantime, we can only cry out to El Elyon, the God Most High! As His servant David constantly cried out to Him, so we must unite with the Burmese and Cry Out to God! 

56:1 Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me; all day long an attacker oppresses me; 2 my enemies trample on me all day long, for many attack me proudly. 3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. 4 In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me? 5 All day long they injure my cause; all their thoughts are against me for evil. 6 They stir up strife, they lurk; they watch my steps, as they have waited for my life. 7 For their crime will they escape? In wrath cast down the peoples, O God! 8 You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? Psalms 56:1-8 (ESV)

I wish it was as easy as sending Rambo to teach the Army a lesson. But I believe it will take the Strong Arm of God to bring about His Justice! In the meantime, this trailer is pretty cool!


Judas HangingJudas is one of the saddest people in the Bible, maybe in all of time. He walked with the Son of God for three years. He saw all those miracles. He saw all those mighty displays of power over earth wind and sky. He saw all the lives that were healed and made whole. He saw Lazarus walk out of that tomb. Yet his heart became harder and harder to the Son of God, as his greed and lust for the things of this world hardened his heart and soul to the King of Glory.

The truth of Judas is that we can have no effective or powerful witness for Jesus if our heart is set on the riches of this world. In Acts 1:6 the disciples were still curious to know when the Kingdom would be restored. Jesus quickly pointed them in the right direction. He said don’t worry about the Kingdom to come, worry about your purpose on earth-to witness to the world about me.

You make a choice everyday of your life. Is it more important to be comfortable in your home and your possessions, or do you stretch yourself, do you get out of the boat and tell others about Jesus. If the things of this world are more important to you than the power of Jesus, you might as well join Judas in the field of blood. You have the presence and the power of God in your life, and yet you are too busy chasing 30 pieces of silver to witness to your friends and family about this LIFE you supposedly have.

More than once I’ve heard people ask, “How could Judas betray Jesus? Do you think he went to heaven or hell?”

Judas Kisses Jesus

Those are not the questions we should be asking. We should be asking ourselves: Have I betrayed Jesus by not telling someone about Him? Is Jesus really my Lord and Savior? Am I really a child of God? Do I want Jesus in my life to the point that nothing in this world matters? Is anything in this world so important to me that I would choose it rather than Jesus?

We pity Judas and pat ourselves on the back. We could never have done what he did. But the truth is that many Christians are doing the very same thing. They are choosing possessions or pleasure or fame rather than being a witness to the Living Power of the Resurrected Savior. And when we choose that, instead of a river of living water flowing from our innermost being (John 7:37,38), we become bloated and are in danger of bursting, spilling our putrid guts over our worthless possessions. The picture of Judas and how his life ended should serve as a reminder that none of us are so spiritual that we could never be wooed away from following Jesus. Judas lived and preached and witnessed with Jesus Christ for three years! Yet he failed miserably.

We each make a decision to live for Jesus Christ. Justas Daniel purposed in his heart as a young boy, so we must purpose to always be a witness for Jesus.

Read this illustration, and then ask your self, what kind of witness for Christ will I decide to be?

 

A few years ago a man was waiting for a friend at the airport in Portland, Oregon. He wrote in to an internet site to record an experience that changed his life.

As he was straining to locate his friend among the passengers leaving the plane, he noticed a man coming toward him carrying two light bags. He stopped right next to our visitor to greet his family. First he motioned to his youngest son (maybe six years old) as he laid down his bags. They gave each other a long, loving hug. As they separated enough to look in each other’s face, the father said, “It’s so good to see you, son. I missed you so much!” His son smiled somewhat shyly, averted his eyes and replied softly, “Me, too, Dad!” Then the man stood up, gazed in the eyes of his oldest son (maybe nine or ten) and while cupping his son’s face in his hands said, “You’re already quite the young man. I love you very much, Zach!” They too hugged a most loving, tender hug. While this was happening, a baby girl (perhaps one or one-and-a-half) was squirming excitedly in her mother’s arms, never once taking her little eyes off the wonderful sight of her returning father. The man said, “Hi, baby girl!” as he gently took the child from her mother. He quickly kissed her face all over and then held her close to his chest while rocking her from side to side. The little girl instantly relaxed and simply laid her head on his shoulder, motionless in pure contentment. After several moments, he handed his daughter to his oldest son and declared, “I’ve saved the best for last,” and proceeded to give his wife a long, passionate kiss. He gazed into her eyes for several seconds and then silently mouthed, “I love you so much!” They stared at each other’s eyes, beaming big smiles at one another, while holding both hands. For an instant they reminded me of newlyweds, but it was obvious by the age of their kids that they couldn’t possibly be.

Our bystander puzzled about it for a moment then realized how totally engrossed he was in the wonderful display of unconditional love not more than an arm’s length away from him. He suddenly felt uncomfortable, as if he was invading something sacred, but was amazed to hear his own voice nervously ask, “Wow! How long have you two been married?”

“Been together fourteen years total, married twelve of those,” he replied, without breaking his gaze from his lovely wife’s face.

“Well, then, how long have you been away?” the bystander asked.

“Two whole days!” came the reply

Two days? Our bystander was stunned. By the intensity of the greeting, our bystander assumed the man had been gone for at least several weeks, if not months. Almost offhandedly, hoping to end his intrusion with some semblance of grace the bystander said, “I hope my marriage is still that passionate after twelve years!”

The man suddenly stopped smiling. He looked the bystander straight in the eye, and with forcefulness that burned right into his soul, said something that left the bystander a different person. He said, “Don’t hope, friend … decide!”

Then he flashed his wonderful smile again, shook the bystander’s hand and said, “God bless!” With that, he and his family turned and strode away together.

What love for Christ will you decide to have? What kind of witness will you be?


FallingIs it just me, or does it seem this world is on the edge of chaos? Financial markets across the globe have gone crazy the past few days, and investors are crying out for some kind of calm. What they are really wanting is to preserve their riches and see double digit returns again. The housing market in the US is in the toilets, and people keep hoping it is just a temporary thing. Just a year ago I read that home prices can’t really go down because the cost of labor and materials keep rising. Yet in the state of Florida as I well know, homes are going for $100 a square foot when just 18 months ago they were at $140 to $160 per square foot. And that doesn’t include the ocean front prices. Foreclosures will probably double this year, and the banks that made the loans are bracing for tremendous losses. Credit woes are not just isolated to home loans but extend to commercial and industrial concerns as well. There will be blood running in the streets before long.

CandidatesThe political scene appears to be just as chaotic. Americans have to choose between an old Vietnam Vet, a Mormon, a Southern Baptist Preacher, a Black with a funny name and a Woman with an infamous name. Already the fighting has captured headlines and political viewpoints are being obscured. This may be the most confusing and disappointing election America has had in modern history. A strong person capable of leading a nation out of chaos is nowhere to be found. We don’t need a politician, we need a Statesman, with a truly world view and Biblical view of the events that are about to unfold.

Jeremiah, the original Mudpreacher, was watching chaotic events unfold in his home town of Jerusalem. The King was Zedekiah, a totally selfish and inept leader. He was more interested in saving his own skin than leading his country. The city was under siege, starvation was rampant, people were resorting to cannibalism to stay alive, and the King refused to hear any Word from God. He kept listening to the stupid princes around him who kept saying ‘everything will be alright’. It’s like the Fed saying that “we will not have a recession”. It’s like Bush saying “we are winning in Iraq”.

We forget there is The God who still Reigns! He is not idle and powerless. His Plan is still moving forward.

Zedekiah means the righteousness of Jehovah. Funny, because righteous he wasn’t. God issued a scathing rebuke to Judah and her leaders:

“Samaria has not committed half your sins. You have committed more abominations than they, and have made your sisters appear righteous by all the abominations that you have committed. Bear your disgrace, you also, for you have intervened on behalf of your sisters. Because of your sins in which you acted more abominably than they, they are more in the right than you. So be ashamed, you also, and bear your disgrace, for you have made your sisters appear righteous. (Eze 16:51-52)

One of the sisters God referred to was Sodom. Sodom with her sinful sodomy and Samaria with her idol-worship was more righteous than Judah? What does that say about Judah and her inhabitants?

FallingI wonder what God is trying to tell our country, even this world. The last 10 years have seen more cataclysmic events than the previous 100! Our nation has been rocked by terrorist attacks, hurricanes, Katrina, natural disasters, drought, school and college shootings, family decay, mothers and fathers killing their own children and on and on. Surely God does not cover His eyes. Surely God’s Word is righteous and just! Surely God is crying out “You have committed more abominations than they!”.

The words of Amos still Ring with Truth and Clarity:

When a trumpet sounds in a city, do not the people tremble? When disaster comes to a city, has not the LORD caused it? Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets. The lion has roared– who will not fear? The Sovereign LORD has spoken– who can but prophesy? Amos 3:6-8 (NIV)

Weep before the altar

It is time for us to Proclaim the Name of God in our Prayers before the throne.

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.’ (Jer 23:5-6)

As Jeremiah preached before the FAKE King of Righteousness (Zedekiah), we need to find refuge in Jehovah-Tsidkenu (Jehovah our righteousness). All of the combined wisdom and military might of this great nation will do nothing to delay the coming “Jehovah-Tsidkenu.”

The preachers and pastors of America need to heed the words of Joel and cry out before the altar:

Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep and say, “Spare your people, O Lord, and make not your heritage a reproach, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’ ” Joel 2:17 (ESV)

Wesley Preaching righteousness

Our only hope as a nation, as God’s people, is to proclaim the Name of God – Jehovah-Tsidkenu! We need to cry out for His righteousness. We need to declare our sins before Him, of not honoring Jehovah as our Righteous God!

Jehovah is a Tsadik–a righteous One, says the psalmist (129:4). As an El-Tsadik a righteous God, there is none to compare with Him, Says Isaiah (45:21 ). He is the Rock whose work is perfect, all of whose ways are justice. Tsadik–righteous and right is He (Dent. 32:4). His righteousness is an everlasting righteousness and His testimonies are righteous forever (Psalm 119:142, 144). Righteousness and justice are the very foundations of His throne (Psalm 89:14; 97:2). Therefore in all His dealings He is righteous.

In this “post-modernist” generation, we have abandoned absolutes. NarcissisticAnd as we watch a generation grow up in love with themselves and what they each consider right, our nation will move further and further away from the Righteousness of God. That which was shameful 50 years ago has and will continue to become accepted and even expected. The stench of our hearts will continue to burn before the nostrils of a Holy God. The church needs to declare as Daniel the Righteousness of God. We must never abandon Jehovah-Tsidkenu! May our shame become evident and repentance weigh heavy on our hearts:

To you, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us open shame, as at this day, to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to all Israel, those who are near and those who are far away, in all the lands to which you have driven them, because of the treachery that they have committed against you. To us, O Lord, belongs open shame, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you. Daniel 9:7-8 (ESV)

We must never lose sight of our righteous God. We must see Him loving Righteousness and beholding the upright!

For the Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness; His countenance beholds the upright. Psalms 11:7 (NKJV)

We must continue to preach Jesus Christ to this dying world. Jesus is indeed Jehovah-Tsidken! In his great sermon at Pentecost, Peter accuses his hearers of denying the Holy One and the Just or Righteous (Acts 3:14). Hebrews 1:8, 9 says of Him: But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”

Jesus our righteousness

Jesus, in human nature, lived up to the perfect standard of the divine law, so that His righteousness was of the same complexion and character as the righteousness of God. Still more, as one with the Father, His righteousness was the perfect manifestation of the righteousness of God.

Jehovah-tsidkenu! Such a wonderful name! This name must be on our lips and in our hearts if this nation, even this world is to escape the coming chaos and shame. The Righteousness of our coming King is indeed the only method and the measure of our acceptance before Holy God; cleansed in the blood of the Lamb; clothed with the white robe of the righteousness of Him who is Jehovah–our righteousness–even our Lord Jesus Christ.

I once was a stranger to grace and to God
I knew not my danger, and felt not my load;
Though friends spoke in rapture of Christ on the tree
Jehovah-tsidkenu was nothing to me.

When free grace awoke me, by light from on high,
Then legal fears shook me, I trembled to die:
No refuge, no safety, in self could I see;
Jehovah-tsidkenu my Saviour must be.

My terrors all vanished before the sweet name;
My guilty fears banished, with boldness I came
To drink at the fountain, life-giving and free:
Jehovah-tsidkenu is all things to me.

[Whitelaw, Jehovah-Jesus, pp. 102, 103].


I really hate Monday’s now. Sunday is such a high. The excitement of seeing my folks, meeting guests, standing in the pulpit and declaring God’s Word. But Monday is always a downer. Sometimes there is this gnawing in my gut that people just didn’t get the message. Or that I was an empty shell proclaiming empty words that fell to the ground the moment they left my lips. One of the most amazing sentences in God’s Word describes Samuel’s care and attention to God as he served in the Temple. “Not a Word from God fell to the floor”. What a delight Samuel must have been to God. He must have immediately became His favorite.Would that preachers, me included, treat the Word of Gold like precious diamonds and rubies. Would that our sermons would not have any doubt as to the Power of God to Profit His Word. Would that our people gaze intently, looking for the Cloud of God’s presence as we proclaim the Word that has come from meeting with God through the week. Would that we dig our feet in the ground and beg God for His Power and Presence as we preach His Holy Word.Tent of Meeting Exodus 33 describes an image that God has burned in my heart. Moses walks outside the camp 2000 cubits to the “tent of meeting”. The people all stand at their tent openings, watching Moses as he enters the “tent of meeting”. When they see the cloud of God’s presence descend upon the tent, they know that God is with them, and He is meeting with Moses. The Bible says they stood at their tents and worshipped. I don’t think it was quiet worship. They were praising God with uplifted hands. Hallelujah, Praise be to Jehovah!And then to have been Joshua, who was there in the tent, listening to Moses talk to God as friends do over lunch.

Moses My Idol

And to hear Moses get persistent with God, saying:“If you aren’t going with us, don’t let us move a step from this place. If you don’t go with us, who will ever know that I and my people have found favor with you, and that we are different from any other people upon the face of the earth?”

How bold and passionate Moses must have been! How zealous of God’s presence! Then to cry out to God, his friend, “Show me Your glory!” Moses is my idol. I need his passion!

Monday’s are downers, because I feel emotionally let down. I feel empty, as if I accomplished nothing. I must cry out like Moses: “I Need Your Presence!” I can’t go on if you are not with me, leading me! God, may I see Your Glory this week. May I see You Glory in the lives of my people. I simply can’t go on by myself.