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Point of Reference

    by Fred Price

What Does It Take To Get Your Attention? You would probably say, 'Not much, I listen pretty well'. Would mom and dad agree? Before you get mad, let me say you're both probably right. You undoubtedly listen more than you let on and as parents we might possibly over-state our case because we're not sure you are.

Is that an attempt to impose our will, deprive you of fun and force you to be what we want you to be? NO! It's because we love you so very much, because we're scared - about you and for you. We want the absolute best for you! Always before, we could steer you clear,…  ( Click for more )

August 29, 2003

No matter how much time we may spend in God's word it can always remain fresh, with new insights, direction and inspiration; it being a peculiar characteristic of God's word to be intensely relevant to any number of different people of various backgrounds, personalities, circumstances and ages. It speaks to us on different levels, at different times according to the changing needs of our lives. Some material is so unique it may surprise, amuse and even confuse us. The Prophet Ezekiel's story of "Dry Bones" could certainly qualify as one such topic. It spoke to those contemporary…  ( Click for more )

August 22, 2003

Johann Gutenberg was born in the city of Mainz, Germany around 1400, into the middle of a movement to make God a personal God by revealing Him to people in their own language, making Him available to any and all who could read. He greatly facilitated and energized this movement with his refinement of the printing press.

Before Gutenberg's invention of moveable type, all copying of printed material was done by hand or on presses that imprinted designs or words on parchment or cloth using blocked images or letters - extremely time-consuming and expensive. It is believed the Chinese…  ( Click for more )

August 15, 2003

Have you ever received contradictory advice? Grow up - but not too fast. You need to take on more responsibility - but not too much. You need to act like an adult yet have fun as a kid. Part of the problem is in your perception, part of it is in others' expectations; while some of the problem is in understanding the issue. Sometimes we confuse the concepts of privilege and responsibility, demanding the privilege while ignoring the responsibility that comes with it. You do need to grow up, but not so fast that you miss out on the fun of being young. You do need to take on responsibility,…  ( Click for more )

The misrepresentation of truth, either intentionally or in ignorance, seems rampant today. God's declaration concerning a previous generation's lack of truthfulness appears applicable to America today. "This is the nation that has not obeyed the Lord its God or responded to correction. Truth has perished; it has vanished from their lips." This resulted in their being rejected as God's spokesmen to the world, which was their true calling. (Jeremiah 7:25-29 and Exodus 19:5,6)

Three incidents suffice to highlight the problem, though it is not found exclusively among the rich,…  ( Click for more )

August 1, 2003

The loss of space shuttle Columbia, the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the ongoing hardships associated with our response to Afghanistan and war in Iraq as well as our continuing involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian quaqmire has altered our sense of well-being and how we view the world. Activities once taken for granted no longer bring satisfaction, some of which may be good. My personal response, after shock and anger, was a need for solitude. Unable to fully comprehend what was happening, I was torn between needing to do something and not knowing what to do. Lacking direction and excitement…  ( Click for more )

July 25, 2003

The opening statement of a July 6 Tribune Star editorial, "Institution Under Siege - Winds of Change Threaten the Tradition of Marriage," refers to a cultural debate intrinsically tied to our religious base as a nation. "The U.S. Supreme Court ruling that outlawed state bans on homosexual sex was the latest loud volley in an ongoing culture war over the shape and nature of personal relationships." The Justices ruled 6-3 that a Texas sodomy law, used to arrest, fine and jail two Houston men caught in the "act" violated their right to privacy under the U.S. constitution.

Although…  ( Click for more )

Enron, Tyco, Andersen Acc. "People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction." ImClone, World Com, Freddie Mac. "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil." Televangelist Jim Bakker and CEO Ken Lay. "Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." (1 Timothy 6:9, 10)

The list of corporations being charged with…  ( Click for more )

July 11, 2003

What kind of question is that? It's not one to be asked lightly or insensitively. But there is deep significance to this question in scripture. Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25,26) Well - do you? What was he talking about? All men die - or do they? I believe in Jesus' eyes, death is embodied in separation…  ( Click for more )

European society, as well as our own, was built upon the beliefs and actions of their forefathers. This truth is at the center of an international debate as to whether we should continue to follow in their footsteps or find our own way. Some question the relevance of these men's faith and the practical influence it exerted in their lives. Some doubt the necessity of faith altogether. Others question from within a number of practices and policies of the church. Many nations stand at a crossroads; as the European Union prepares to vote on a far-reaching continental constitution that…  ( Click for more )

What makes us behave the way we do? Part of what defines us as individuals is inborn. These Characteristic Traits or Inclinations, largely genetic, are passed on to us by our parents; hair and eye color, body size and expressive abilities to name but a few. Patience, math skills (or the lack thereof), a quick temper or an easy laugh, the ability to listen and comprehend may all be tendencies we share with them to some degree - but they don't totally dictate who we are and how we react.

Our Minds or Intelligence, again some of which we acquire at birth; influences our capacity…  ( Click for more )

The Jayson Blair fiasco has raised a number of issues, honesty not the least of them; igniting debates concerning affirmative action, truthfulness in reporting and accountability in the work place. This in turn has cast him as a representative of society's lack of integrity.

Jayson was caught trying to be something he wasn't, or being too lazy to be all he could. He himself said, "I fooled some of the most brilliant people in journalism." Subsequent revelations concerning even more established reporters using material gathered by others yet claimed as their own and "on…  ( Click for more )

June 6, 2003

Mavra Stark is president of the National Organization for Women's Morris County, N.J. chapter. She is protesting the double murder charge in the Laci Peterson case, fearing detrimental repercussions to her organization's goals if Laci's child is accorded the status of having been a person, though unborn. She has said, "There's something about this that bothers me a little bit. Was it born, or was it unborn. (Refusing to accord the child the dignity of using his name, Conner.) If it was unborn, then I can't see charging (Scott Peterson, the victims' husband and father) with murder."

Conner…  ( Click for more )

May 30, 2003

In this day of respect for diversity and tolerance of all people and beliefs, we have created fertile ground for the resurgence of paganism; defined as a faith pre-dating Christianity or something other than. The popularity of mediums and fortune tellers and the acceptance of Wicca, witchcraft and animism, renewed interest in Native American practices, radical environmentalism, the New Age movement, renewed interest in Greek mythology and theology as well as the virtual worship of virility, fertility and sex in our society give ample evidence of paganism on the rise. We have gone…  ( Click for more )

In a desire to be sensitive and considerate of others' feelings and the sacrifice of people who go above and beyond the call of duty, we at times make allowances that we shouldn't. For those who perform particularly hard or dangerous jobs we often overlook bad behavior as if it were a perk of that job; after all, their work is demanding, with the possibility of injury or death - let them shoot off a little steam. And when lives are indeed lost in the course of doing their duty, we instantly accord them a place in heaven.

I don't begrudge anyone performing a hazardous job more…  ( Click for more )

Is a quarrel always wrong? "Starting a quarrel is like breaching (breaking) a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out." Proverbs 17:14 Is it ever right to have an argument? "He who loves a quarrel loves sin." Proverbs 17:19 Can a disagreement ever be legitimate? "Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another." Colossians 3:13

What if someone is saying or doing something stupid - really wrong - even sinful, and I disagree with it? Do I have a right, an obligation to say so? "...the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead,…  ( Click for more )

May 9, 2003

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. The danger in this allusion to simple imagery is that we expect it to tell the whole story. That's often impossible. We are image-driven in this generation; too pre-occupied or lazy to investigate a person, cause or incident for ourselves - relying on 15 second audio or video bytes to tell us all we care to know. But these can be misunderstood, misapplied or manipulated to mean something not intended.

We have recently had an image shown on our televisions and in newspapers and magazines that has been heralded as breathtaking…  ( Click for more )

May 2, 2003

"God will make a way Where there seems to be no way. He works in ways we cannot see; He will make a way for me. He will be my guide, hold me closely to His side. With love and strength for each new day, He will make a way. He will make a way." - Don Moen

Do you believe that?

The story of David the shepherd boy who slew a giant, rallied an army, and soothed a king has inspired many; and goes a long way in proving the reality of Mr. Moen's chorus. It also is an excellent example of how fleeting the good life can be. For the young man David, who befriended a king's…  ( Click for more )

April 25, 2003

Susan Ager of Knight Ridder Newspapers recently noted: "The next nine months will be as critical for Elizabeth Smart's survival as the last nine." How's that? She's just been rescued from a terrible ordeal, fortunate to be alive. All she has to do now is rest, recuperate and re-acclimate to her former life-right? There may be more to it than that. As a result of experiencing a lifestyle drastically different than what she was accustomed to, "She will (now) have to decide who she is." Why? Isn't she the same child she was before her abduction? Hardly. Despite a nation's concern,…  ( Click for more )

What do thoughts of spring bring to mind? Bunnies, eggs, new clothes, baskets, green grass, flowers, an egg hunt, toys, candy - a too-early Sunrise Service, Jesus crucified yet risen? For if it weren't for Jesus there would be no reason to celebrate except as the pagans used to. As Easter, like Christmas, has some if it's roots of celebration in paganism. Even the name, Eastre, is Anglo-Saxon; a Teutonic goddess of fertility whose festival was held during the spring time of the year. The rabbit was a symbol of fertility due to it's prodigious appetite for and ability to reproduce.…  ( Click for more )

Is there ever cause for war - a just war? Some believe there is not, that all disagreements and contests of will not only should but can be resolved with compromise and reason. In dealing with man's intractability, God challenges us to, "Come now, let us reason together, ...", promising forgiveness and reconciliation. Sin and rebellion will not be overlooked but forgiven, with us restored to favor. But it is not a one-sided act of appeasement, which often only enables further disobedience, discord and strife; a false restitution, a forced peace, lacking in justice. There are conditions…  ( Click for more )

A new Archbishop of Canterbury, a position of prestige, tradition and responsibility dating from 597 A.D., was recently appointed; making him chief bishop of the Anglican Church of England. Yet this same man, in an apparent attempt at tolerant inclusion, was subsequently named an honorary White Druid as well. Disappointing? Certainly. Surprising? No. In this age of political correctness and universal acceptance, this mixing of profane and holy appears acceptable, even commendable. While any number of so-called Godly men minister in such a way as to de-bunk the gospel of Christ,…  ( Click for more )

March 28, 2003

"Don't be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." - Philippians 4:6

There are times when those in authority over us make decisions we don't understand; either because they have information we don't, they have no regard for what we do know and feel or because they truly understand both sides of the issue and still choose to do it their way. At times, usually when our demands are being met or our needs addressed, we fully agree and support those who represent our country; our ideas, our…  ( Click for more )

To be or not to be - really is a question posed by today's concept of tolerance. In this age of political correctness and an all-embracing of anything and everything as equally good, proper and correct; defining tolerance is a must. Webster's Dictionary defines tolerance as the ability to recognize and respect others beliefs even when we don't share them. To be tolerant does not mean accepting anything and everything as having equal worth and value but treating those with whom we disagree with at least a modicum of respect.

Contrary to popular belief, disagreeing is not intolerant.…  ( Click for more )

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