In 1729 Jonathan Swift sarcastically presented a “modest proposal” in which he suggested that to combat the problem of poverty and overpopulation that the children of the poor could be sold for meat to the wealthiest of Englishmen, thus helping to provide the poor with a lucrative source of income and reduce the burden of the lower class. Perhaps his was the more sane suggestion.
Last week conversations erupted in regard to tiny little Amelia Rivera and her treatment at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Amelia is nearly three-years-old and has a lower than average IQ and some developmental delay. She also has a rare condition called Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome (WHS) that will soon require a kidney transplant. The entire Rivera family is eager to find a donor within their family in hopes of helping their little gift have a long and happy life. Yet tears still streamed from shocked faces as her parents talked with her doctor.
The sobs and jaw on the floor is in response to what the doctor just said. Apparently little Mia is not eligible for a transplant because she is too stupid. The doctor said it almost as delicately, suggesting that mental retardation excludes her from the transplant surgery, even if a donor is found within the family. The social worker seated next to the nephrologist suggested that with a life-long regiment of taking anti-rejection drugs, they cannot trust Mia to be able to care for herself as the reason to justify condemning her to death. The hospital has the resources to save Mia’s life, but they would rather see her die. Read more about this conversation.
Interesting argument by Derek Prince about tithing.
We often think of tithing as an Old Testament idea, and many people argue that it is not Christian right along with the sacrificial laws that were only in effect for a time and were fulfilled in Christ. Yet the first indicator for the tithe comes from Abraham. Still obviously from the Old Testament, Genesis 14:17-20 tell how Abraham received a blessing from the King of Salem, called Melchizedek and a priest of God Most High. In response to that blessing (which accompanied a meal of bread and wine), Abraham gave him a tenth, a tithe, of all his spoils.
This event takes on more significance when we read in Psalm 110 about the coming Messiah who is called “a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” Who is this priest who will be established forever? The author of Hebrews speaks in depth about the significance of this title in chapters 5, 6 and especially 7. Christ is this priest. He is our high priest who makes intercession with God the Father on our behalf. He has given us his richest blessings by laying his own life down for us to ensure that with him we would receive a rich inheritance of salvation, his righteousness, and eternal life.
And so, in essence, the author of Hebrews establishes a bridge. To Abraham God promised that he would be the father of a nation and that all nations would be blessed through him. What God promised was to bring about the Messiah, the savior of the world, through Abraham’s descendants. After receiving that promise, Abraham modeled paying a tithe to Melchizedek, a shadow of Christ who would come as our priest. It certainly makes sense to me that as Christians we stand with Abraham as he receives that promise, the promise that we have seen fulfilled, and pay our honor to Christ for his rich blessings by sharing a part of our income.
The last few weeks have been chocked full of milestones and improvements in Tinsley’s overall health. He continues to show terrific stability in his ability to maintain his breathing and oxygen saturation with only normal “room air.” His head control continues to improve and all of his therapists through First Steps are regularly surprised at his progress week to week.
He only had one serious incident, which was last week. Tinsley had a small skin irritation from one of his sensor stickers. We loaded him up in the car and he did not look especially well once we got to the doctor’s office. We put him on oxygen and he appeared to improve. However, once we got him in the car again he had significantly decreased his respiratory rate and was foaming at the mouth.
In one of the perhaps 4 times that my wife and I have been able to leave the house together since our son became seriously ill, we happened to run into a friend we used to attend church with. It had been a few years since we had spoken, yet she greeted us with, “Tell me how are things going with your son. We have heard so much about him from Facebook.”
I have to say that I reacted with quite the concoction of emotion. I first wondered why, knowing what was going on, she had neglected to visit, call, send a message, something to let us know that she was praying for us. Then it occurred to me, “Even though Facebook has been around for some time, perhaps people are not sure how to use it to enter into these situations with those of us who are struggling with life’s circumstances.”
Here, then, are tips that I have come up with to specifically address how to use Facebook to help offer care, support, and prayer for people who are ill or in need. If you think of any more, please feel free to contribute by adding your thoughts in the comments.
What a year! With all the joys that come with the birth of my son and the trials regarding his health this year, I am so thankful for the way that God has shown me his grace in the books that I have had the privilege of reading either that were sent to me for review, given as gifts, or ones that have been sitting on the shelf for some time. I am constantly surprised at how God show himself to me through the books that he offers to me just when I need them.
Of the 53 books I have read this year, I wanted to share the ones that have meant the most to me. Perhaps they would make great Christmas gifts for people in your life or you may find that they mean something to you as they did for me.
Here, then, are my top 3 picks of the year, followed by some honorable mentions:
Holiness by Grace
by Brian Chapell
This was a fantastic book! I read this in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit when my son was under sedation for days and on full ventilation after his trachostemy surgery. Dr. Chapell tells a moving story about a mother whose child turned blue during the baby’s first feeding after birth. It was a great comfort to me in a time where I was completely helpless to do anything for my son, just as each of us are helpless to do anything that is truly pleasing to God, apart from the finished work of Christ. Holiness by Grace is about how not only are we saved by grace, but we are perfected and sanctified by Christ’s work on our behalf.
Click here for full review.