Monday, January 29, 2007

The Most Beautiful Funeral

Last Friday, January 26, 2007, I attended what had to be the most beautiful funeral service I have ever attended. It was excruciatingly painful for those in attendance. I can’t even imagine the pain of the family involved. Joel Morris departed this life on Tuesday, January 23, 2007. He was three years old. You can read his story at this website:

Joel contracted a form of childhood cancer known as Nueroblastoma. He was diagnosed on December 5, 2006. On January 3, 2007 Joel entered a coma after suffering a reaction to seizure medication given him by the hospital. It was not long after that when the hospital declared him “brain dead.” However, Joel’s family, and his father in particular, did not accept that diagnosis. What happened next was 20 days of pain and anguish driven by a love for a son, and strength from the Lord God Jehovah. Joel’s father stayed by his side practically the entire time only breaking once in a while for a shower. He was fighting on two fronts: the medical and the legal side. Though the law tried to declare Joel “dead,” Joel’s little heart continued to beat, and Joel’s family fought for his life.

Our family prayed every night for Joel. My two year old Paton always prayed for Joel during our family worship time.

When Joel passed away we attended his funeral together as a family. What happened there amazed me and showed me just what a Godly Christian family looks like. Joel’s father and grandfather stood up to speak about Joel and read encouraging letters they had received from as far away as Iraq. They showed a slide show complete with music arranged and played by Joel’s brothers. Two of Joel’s older brothers and one of his older sisters played “It is Well With My Soul” on the piano, violin, and trumpet. Joel had 12 brothers and sisters. It was obviously that they all loved him very much. At every funeral I’ve ever been to, the family who has suffered the loss has always sat quietly by mourning their loss while those in attendance ministered to them. Yet, at this funeral, this family who was so weary from fighting for Joel’s life turned their attention to the family and guests at the funeral and reached out to minister to them.

This touched me beyond description. Joel’s family is now the subject of Paton’s prayers every night. I join with Paton in petitioning Father God on behalf of the Morris family, May He strengthen them and give them peace in the midst of this time of great loss. I only hope that we can get to know this remarkable family better over the course of time, as their homestead is not far at all from ours.

Monday, January 22, 2007

34 Year Old American Holocaust

Today, January 22, 2007 marks a grim anniversary in American history. 34 years ago today, the United States Supreme Court handed down two decisions that display judicial activism at its worst. Roe v. Wade “legalized” abortion for any reason in the first trimester, and provided an exception for “health of the mother” for the remainder of the pregnancy. The simultaneous case Doe v. Bolton defined “health of the mother” to be anything that a woman and her doctor decide it to be, including mental “health” or even “financial health.” Therefore in two crushing decisions a black robed oligarchy shoved abortion down the throats of God fearing Americans, even in states where the people had voted to keep it illegal. These two cases, when combined, legalized abortion throughout all 9 months of pregnancy for any reason whatsoever.

Over 47 million babies have been slaughtered legally since 1973. Some pro-aborts complain of the pro-life side pinning the “holocaust” label on this tragedy. Yet, American abortion is the best example of racial genocide since Nazi Germany. “Only” six million Jews were killed by Germany’s eugenics machine. Almost 8 times as many babies have been killed through America’s Holocaust. Although black people are in the minority in this country, they make up the majority of those killed through abortion. 1 in 5 white babies are killed through abortion compared with 1 in every 3 black babies! This is Margaret Sanger’s dream! She was the founder of Planned Parenthood and a white supremacist to the core. Why do you think the vast majority of Planned Parenthood facilities are located in minority neighborhoods? This is “by design.” “Ms.” Sanger (addressing her by her obviously feminist title) was vitriolic in her writings concerning eliminating the “inferior” such as racial minorities or the disabled.

It is high time to end this legacy of child sacrifice our country has endured over these 34 years. We need to return to our founding documents to read what the founders had in mind when this country was formed. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life...”

Monday, January 15, 2007

Coins, Metal, and Tyranny

When I was in high school a friend of mine visited East Germany (the fact they have dissolved, similar to the Soviet Union seems to be an important fact to keep in mind). Anyway, I’m a very amateur coin collector with a little shoe box half full of interesting finds from across the world. My friend brought me an “East German Mark.” He told me he had to smuggle it out of there because it was illegal for that money to leave the country. I remember thinking, “Wow. I’m glad I don’t live under such an oppressive regime.” That was somewhere around 1983. Fast forward now to 2007. Americans know, if they remember or if they were told, that U.S. coins (half dollars, quarters, and dimes) prior to 1965 were minted in 90% silver. At some point silver rose in value and the dollar dropped in value such that the metal content in these coins began to be worth more than the face value of the coin. Now back in the “good old days” before the establishment of the Federal Reserve (1913), this concept wouldn’t even make sense. After all, a dollar was defined to be 1 oz of silver. A “half-dollar” was 1/2 oz of silver. A “quarter-dollar” was 1/4 oz of silver. A dime was 1/10 oz of silver. Back then, even gold coins were minted, and the face value really was the value of the coin. So, anyway, silver coins are now a commodity and our dollar is now nothing more than a promise from a government who hasn’t exactly proven their moral character lately. Lurking in the background is the lowly penny. Its composition prior to 1982 was mostly copper. As copper prices began to rise, it also succumbed to the same fate of its superior brothers. The metal content was changed to only a little copper with mostly zinc. Well, throughout 2006 copper and zinc continued a steady rise in price, so that at the end of 2006, both the penny and the nickel were worth slightly more in metal content than their face value. Better yet, though, is that pre-1982 pennies were worth about two cents each! That means one could get a 100% rate of return just by hanging on to old pennies and spending the newer ones. I was in the middle of thinking through a business plan on how to capitalize on this concept when I caught wind that the feds have passed new legislation making it illegal to either melt down pennies and nickels or to take more than $5 (face value) out of the country. The penalty is up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. Suddenly 1983 flashed back to my remembrance. It seems as though I do now live under “such a regime.” When coins are obtained lawfully, by working, selling goods, investing, etc. don’t we actually “own” these coins? It’s not like a Microsoft Licensing Agreement where you are just authorized to “use” software. I’ve always thought “mine” meant “mine.” If I have a copper penny, no one should be able to tell me I can’t melt the thing down or sell it to a Chinese man. The government complains that those who do such things are “taking advantage of the American taxpayer.” Excuse me? How do I, by doing things with my own property, take advantage of the American taxpayer? If waste is happening like this, the fault lies squarely on the idiotic institute that would continue to produce a product that costs more to manufacture than its end value represents. I’ve got several suggestions for the government:

1) Stop making pennies. It’s insane to keep on producing things that cost more to make than they’re worth.
2) Make pennies out of a different material. You’ve done it once in 1982. What’s the big deal if you start generating them out of aluminum?
3) But the best suggestion I have is…return our money supply to a gold/silver/copper? standard where the value of our money actually reflects the value of the underlying metal.

Only then will we be able to stop trading in “slugs and rags” and actually possess real money that has actual value. If they did this, then I wouldn’t want to sell my U.S. copper coins or my 90% silver coins either for that matter.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

I’d Love You Even If You Were Dumb

This little phrase was spoken to me often by my grandmother, Mrs. Wanda Southerland. She was and is known to me as “Gran-Gran.” I’m told that I gave her that name being the oldest grandson and trying to say “grandmother” at her prompting when I was just learning to speak. Gran-Gran taught me to read by encouraging me to take our church bulletin and circling every word I knew. We did the same thing with newspaper ads, etc. She also read to me. I will never forget her reading “Floating Island” to me as a young child. Gran-Gran used to take me, my brothers, and my sister to the library. We’d end up getting the limit of 25 books each. By the time there were four of us, we’d be sitting in her car with 100 books between the four of us. Many of these we would read before getting home from the library. My brother, just under me in the birth order, and I would often stay with my grandparents for a week or two during the summer while the “little kids” remained home with Mama and Daddy. Most every year, Gran-Gran would enroll us in the Summer reading program at the local library.

Gran-Gran used to tell me, “You’re so smart. You’re such a good reader. But you know what? I’d love you even if you were dumb.” Only looking back through adult eyes can I realize the impact that those statements had upon me. First of all, she encouraged me in reading. She set expectations that I was smart and that I would always succeed in life. Yet, she gave me reassurance that her love was not conditional on my performance. Contrast this with children who are constantly belittled or told they will never amount to anything. Whether you encourage a child or belittle a child, it is usually a self-fulfilling prophecy upon that child’s life. I’m so thankful for a grandmother who believed in me and encouraged me in my academic endeavors. I owe my love of reading to this dear lady. She may not have set me down to teach me the deep doctrinal works of Calvin, Spurgeon, Owen, Edwards, Dabney, Pink, Ryle, or Erskine. She may not have read me more modern books by Piper, Packer, or MacArthur. But what she did was to cultivate a love of reading in my life that continues to this day. I, in turn, am striving to pass that same love down to my own children.

Today, Gran-Gran is in her twilight years. Most of the time, she doesn’t recognize me, my wife, or my children. She requires the constant care of my grandfather and some part time helpers to meet her needs. We live too far away for me to check on her on a regular basis, but my father is still local and checks on his mother and father daily.

Gran-Gran, you are a very wise lady. But you know what? I’d love you even if you were dumb.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Who Will You Be in January 2008?

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
(Psa 1:1)

I have heard it said that a great measure of who you are is a combination of the books you read and the company you keep. I view the books one reads and the company one keeps as being one in the same. When you read, you “keep company” with that author for the duration of the reading. In this media saturated society in which we live, I believe this statement can be expanded to include “company kept” as those to whom you view on television, the computer screen, and the big theatre screen.

Who or what do you want to be one year from now? Do you want to be a bumbling idiot? If so, spend your entire year wasted away in front of your infernal television set or at play with your video game console. Do you want to be an unfaithful husband or absentee father? Squander your time away watching internet pornography or despicable movies with your DVD player. Do you want to be an expert at rattling off sports stats while not even truly knowing the family members who live in your home? Then spend all day Saturday and Sunday staring at the screen watching modern day gladiators battle it out on the sporting field.

There are several historical figures with whom I would love to become more like over the course of next year. There are several living individuals who I admire as well. The number one personality who meets both of these criteria is the Lord Jesus Christ. By spending time in His Word over the course of 2007, I hope to be much more like him than I am now by the time this year ends. Other historical figures that I would like to emulate include Charles Spurgeon, Captain John Smith, George Washington, Elias Boudinot, St. Augustine, and A.W. Pink. I am learning more about Mr. Smith and Mr. Boudinot through the ministry of Vision Forum. This brings me to some of the living individuals whom I would like to identify with. Mr. Doug Phillips has contributed so much to my life through his recorded messages. Another of Vision Forum’s regular speakers, Geoff Botkin has really spoken into my life over the past year. I hope to continue that influence in 2007. I rejoice in the friendships of the men at our church who are leading their families well. Their company helps to keep me accountable to lead my family with the excellence that they are so aptly exampling. Lastly, but certainly not least, I want to be more like my precious bride, Sheri. Her patience with the children never ceases to amaze me. Her caring attention to the needs of others is a constant reminder of what a true Christian should be.

So, my plan to bring this about is to spend actual time with those living individuals whenever possible. Where not possible to personally visit, at least on a regular basis, I will continue to listen to these men either recorded or in person. My reading goals for 2007 are to read the Bible through in one year with my new Geneva Bible translation I received in December. I also want to read the Jamestown Narratives, George Washington’s Indispensable Men, Stories of the Old Dominion, Confessions of St. Augustine, City of God, and A.W. Pink’s Studies in the Scriptures (a monthly reprint distributed by the Chapel Library at the Mt. Zion School of Ministry).

People are sometimes surprised to learn that we don’t have a television. My reply is that I just don’t have time to waste in such trivial matters. I barely have the time I need to read the books I want to read and visit the people I want to visit with. Why would I waste my precious time with such vulgar time wasters? On those rare occasions when I need to view a DVD, like when watching my monthly subscription to LifeTalk (, the computer fulfills this role just fine.

So, brothers, who will you be in 2008? Surround yourself with men of excellent character, both living and dead, and you will be amazed at the transformation that will happen in your life over the course of a year.