Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Healthcare Reform - Why Governmental Involvement?

Here is the question that I think most Americans are beginning to ask themselves as the healthcare reform discussion - or is it now the health insurance reform - continues with its series of town hall forums. When was the last time that governmental involvement made anything better? Think about that for a moment. Now be realistic. Drug prescription reform - the infamous Part D - created a nightmare of paperwork for most seniors. Has it significantly made obtaining prescriptions easier? Probably not.

Then there is the most recent CARS program - you know, the cash for clunkers. Yes, it has gotten some vehicles off the roads that needed to get off the roads. But at what cost? Car dealers are awash in paperwork with federal payments sporadic. Nonprofit organizations that depended upon people donating those very same vehicles to help subsidize their programs have found that those resources are now not available. Even junk dealers are finding it difficult as salvageable parts become increasingly more difficult to find. Yes, the concept was good...but there was little consideration given as to the consequences such a program would have upon others.

And now we want the government to operate our entire healthcare system. Medicare and medicaid - both governmental programs - are nearing insolvency. How soon before a total government-controlled healthcare would be in a similar straight? I have been told that, if the healthcare bill is passed, it will create 17 new governmental bureaucracies. How much money will it take just to run those entities? In spite of all the disclaimers, two things are true. One, someone - or should I say someones - will have to pay for this. That can only mean higher taxes for some, but also increased fees for all of us. And second, there will be a system of rationing that will be put into place. There has to be. If the pot of money is limited...and remember, the government has already assumed many other obligations with the debt load soaring to astronomical proportions...then thee will have to be a system as to how to distribute those funds available, thus rationing. Some will get the benefits; others will not. Who will and who won't will have to be determined by someone and I am not thinking it will be your doctor or your family who will decide.

There is already too much government intrusion into our lives today. Do we really want more? Perhaps it is time for the people to rein-in government. I know that will be difficult to do because we have become "entitlement conscious" - the government owes us. But perhaps it is time for the government to get back to doing with the founding fathers ascribed the federal government to do: to coin money and to equip an army for defense. It was not to regulate healthcare. It was not to purchase old cars. It was not to purchase shares in GM or AIG. Perhaps it is time for each one of us to take a refresher course in our country's Constitution. We just might learn a thing or two.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Weekend to Remember!

One of the great words in language is "family." The dictionary defines "family" as: a group consisting of the two parents and their children. Somehow that definition seems so sterile, doesn't it? Over this past weekend, Marlys and I had the privilege of discovering once again the wonder of "family."

This coming Saturday marks our 40th anniversary. Yes, it is a milestone. And we had celebrated an early anniversary with our children and grandchildren last summer during a week in Estes Park, CO. (We celebrated a couple of 60th birthdays as well). And we had a great time that week creating memories that still bring smiles to our hearts. So, when our daughter, who lives in Rochester, MN, called a couple of weeks ago and said that her family would like to come up for the weekend to help us celebrate, we said we would love to have them come. We enjoy when Merideth, Dan, and Abby and Annie come. Because they live closer, we can see them more often. So, as we walked into the Timberlodge Restaurant in Maple Grove on Friday evening, expecting to meet Merideth, Dan, and the girls, we suddenly became speechless. Sitting around the table were our Iowa kids Barry, Carol, and their three children: Josiah, Meghan, and Carson; and our Texas kids Beth and Greg and their two boys: Ethan and Max; and my Mom. I was at a loss for words. Our kids and grandkids had pulled off one of the best surprises ever. And so our weekend plans were changed!

Our daughter-in-law, Carol, who suffers from MS, had written a special song for the occasion which all sang with glee. It was about the "Frazier Clan." Each family participated in a family worship experience on Sunday morning. What a blessing! And our seven grandkids were as near perfect as they could get the entire weekend.

Family: a group consisting of two parents and their children. Dictionary writers, you have it all wrong. Family is about relationships. It is playing baseball with seven eager grandchildren, even getting eaten by mosquitoes on the way to the diamond. It is quiet talk with our kids after the grandkids have gone to bed. It is playing Phase 10 while stretched out on the floor. It is having one of your grandchildren lead in prayer around the dining room table. It is eating sweetcorn and watching the melted butter drip down your chin. That's what "family" is all about. It is building into the lives of each other. It is "iron sharpening iron" as Solomon would say. It is giving encouragement when it would be easier to be discouraged.

On Monday evening, as Marlys and I sat in the quiet - somehow that is always the most noticeable after everyone has gone - we still asked ourselves if the whole weekend had been a dream. But we had the pictures to show that it had not been a dream. What a wonderful way to celebrate what had begun 40 years before! Yes, this past weekend was one that was 40 years in the making. And I would not trade those years for anything.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

More Signs of the Times - The Hour is Getting Late

August 4-6, over 2000 members of the Fatah Party are meeting in Bethlehem. This is the first Fatah Party convention in 20 years. The purpose of the convention is to determine the leadership of the Party as well as that of the Palestinian Authority for the coming years. The battle lines are being drawn between the present PA Chairman, Mahmoud Abbas and his main challenger Marwan Barghouti, who is presently serving five consecutive life-sentences in an Israeli prison for murder. Barghouti once made this comment concerning Israel, "After we attain a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria, there will be greater things for which to strive... There is no room for more than one state between the Jordan and the Mediterranean." We all know how the Palestinian Authority has, on more than one occasion, resorted to violence in their struggle to create a State - which they want in name only. The sole purpose of the Palestinian Authority, as well as Hamas and Hezbollah, I might add, is the total destruction of the State of Israel. Watch as the world continues to isolate itself from Israel and side with the Palestinians.

Also, it is reported that the Russian and Iranian navies are set to begin joint naval maneuvers in the Caspian Sea. This according to the Iranian Mehr News Agency. As I read this article I was immediately drawn to Ezekiel 38 where the 6th century BC prophet described a coalition that included Russia and Iran - in fact, I think they will be the powerhouses for this coalition. This joint naval exercise is not just another coincidence. It is part of God's plan!

Another interesting topic concerns the temple in Jerusalem. According to a recent poll, 64% of Israelis are in favor of building a temple on the Temple Mount. And this included a large percentage of what we would call secular Jews. Last Thursday, members of the Temple Institute began construction of the sacrificial altar that will be used. The altar, built of stones gathered from the Dead Sea will be cemented together with a mixture of sand, clay, tar, and asphalt. It will measure 12 feet tall, 18 feet long, and 18 feet wide. Not exactly something you could keep in hiding. And it will be transportable. According to Daniel 9:27, a temple will be rebuilt upon the Temple Mount. Can it be far away?

This news comes from the Prophecy News Watch website. According to a banking official in Australia, Peter Evers, cash will be replaced for most transactions by computer chips in five to seven years. These chips can be embedded into your cell phone for instance. It seems to me that I recall that the mark of the beast will be the means for buying and selling during the days of the Tribulation. Could these chips be the forerunner? Frightening thought.

And, what is going on in Europe...I mean, besides the great influx of Muslims. Well, according to another article from the Prophecy News Watch, the European Union is developing a new security system. It is known as the "Stockholm Program". What this plan will do is to create an European Union ID card register, create an internet surveillance system as well as a satellite surveillance system, establish automated exit and entry border systems operated by machines to read biometrics - fingerprints and eyeprints. Could this be another step toward a one-world governmental control, much like the one the Bible tells us the Antichrist will create?

And, I have not even discussed the proposed Healthcare Reform that our President is so eager to have passed by Congress. We will save that discussion for another time. Yet I believe it is all part of a plan that will make people more dependent upon government - something that is absolutely essential for a one-world government to be successful. We are replacing the Declaration of Independence for a Declaration of Dependence.

But we should not despair. Our hope is not found in governmental resolves, but in the return of our Redeemer Jesus Christ. How we need to keep our eyes fixed upon Him as we anticipate His soon return. "Come quickly, Lord Jesus!"