Friday, May 20, 2005

BoatUS Hurricane Center

This is a site I found last year which provides some of the best tracking coverage of hurricanes. Unfortunately, it looks like there will be plenty of use for it this year as well.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Britain, UK news from The Times and The Sunday Times - Times Online

Interesting (but also frightening) article out of the UK on implications of life-saving treatments. Here's the opening paragraph:
"The Government today intervened directly in a right-to-life case being heard at the Court of Appeal with a message to judges that giving patients the right to demand lfe-prolonging treatment would have "very serious implications" for the National Health Service."
Since my sister got married & moved to the UK, I've been following news over there a little more closely.

The article goes on to discuss the efficient use of resources in the NHS, which I'm assuming is the nationalized health system over there (or nationalised, if you are over there), and then says this:
"But the patient cannot require his doctor to offer him any treatment option which, in the doctor’s view, is not clinically appropriate or which cannot be offered for other reasons - having regard to the efficient allocation of resources within the NHS."
Now, I can understand and appreciate wanting to use resources wisely (some would call this stewardship), and also making sure that physicians are making recommendations on treatments, rather than patients. But from my reading it seems as though what's being said, between the lines if not outright, is that treatments need to be looked at not only from a health of the patient perspective, but also on a cost-benefit analysis to the organization (in this case, the national health-care system). And that is what frightens me.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Anne Rice gets Biblical?

Fascinating news item about Anne Rice's upcoming book. Best known for her vampire novels, Ms. Rice's new book is titled "Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt." The interesting thing about it is that it claims to tell the story of Jesus' early years in his own words. One wonders if she'll have source material (none of it Biblical, since there is no record of that time), or if she'll just presume to put words in the Lord's mouth.

Blog Copyright Info

It looks like I need to have copyright info posted somewhere, so here it is. This may change or move if I find a better place for it.

Site contents © 2005 Matt Gumm. Thoughts reflected are my own, not my family, employer, etc. (I see this statement on most everyone's website, and I always think, well duh! Anyway...)

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Confident in Judgment

In our sermon this week, the pastor talked about our boldness before the throne of God. At first glance, it seems odd that we would have any reason to be bold before God as judge, particularly if we acknowledge that we are sinners. But when we come to understand the source of our boldness, then we are able to be bold, able to stand confidently, before the throne of judgment.

So what is the source of our boldness? One place we learn about it is Psalm 130. In vs. 3, the Psalmist asks this question: "If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?" And rather than continuing on by reading his answer, we would do well to pause a minute and ponder this question. If the Lord kept track of sins, who indeed could face his judgment boldly? Many who currently ignore the reality of God's final judgment would do well to consider both this question and its answer.

But the Psalmist doesn't leave us hopeless. He continues on in verse 4 with this: "But with you there is forgiveness, so that you may be feared." Despite our guilt, the Lord forgives, and his purpose for forgiveness is so that we will learn to fear and respect him. Amazing!

He's still not finished, though. In verses 7-8, the writer completes his thought, telling us about the magnitude of his forgiveness:
"O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is plentiful redemption.
And he will redeem Israel
from all his iniquities."

This great God, before whom none can stand with a clear conscience (because we are all sinners from the inside out), chose to provide an alternative to our own punishment; a payment that upholds his righteousness and holiness but also allows us to go free; a sacrifice so perfect that all of the wrath stored up by mankind for the Day of Judgment was poured out upon him, and by his blood we have been redeemed. This is the source of our boldness.

I'll close with a quote from an old hymn, "And Can It Be." I love how the words express this thought of boldness, and focus on the true reason for it.

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior's blood!
Died He for me who caused His pain!
For me who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

'Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th'eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

(All scripture quotations are ESV. See copyright page for full details.)