Sometimes I hate money.

What is wrong with people???

The story involving Martin Shkreli, the founder of Turing Pharmaceuticals, disgusted me to no end.

Turing backs down on Daraprim pricing

For those of you who are short on time or patience, Martin Shkreli should be one of the candidates for the Worst Person of the Year 2015 award. In brief, his company acquired a drug named Daraprim and raised the price from $13.50 for ONE tablet to… get this… $750. SEVEN HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS FOR ONE STINKIN’ TABLET. This price gouge occurred almost overnight and the rationale behind it was that the price increase would allow the company to break even or even manage a small profit, which then could be used toward pharmaceutical research.

I am waiting on someone to tell me why health care and everything about it in America costs so much, yet fails so many. It is pathetic. I take plenty of precautions to avoid getting sick. I wash my hands, cover my sneezes and coughs, avoid public places during flu season, get a flu shot, etc. What I have learned that in America apparently getting sick is only okay if you are rich. Employers typically have crappy sick leave policies, as if it makes more sense for you to come to work and cough and sneeze your virus all over everyone else so that more people end up on sick leave; and co-pays, medications, hospital stays, etc. have the possibility of coming together and bankrupting a person. I have said it before and I have said it again. It is downright pathetic, absolutely despicable, that people have to decide between eating or paying their mortgage and paying for their medication or medical bills in a nation allegedly as great as America. WE ARE DOING A TERRIBLE JOB TAKING CARE OF AMERICANS, PERIOD.

Do people understand that we need every type of people to make this nation run? Not everyone is going to be rich. Not everyone SHOULD be rich. Yet we don’t need to look down on people who are trying to make their way up. I get incensed when I see someone yelling at a cashier or someone behind a fast-food counter or someone in a similar job–do people understand that those people working those jobs are performing a necessary service for us? I’d rather have a person make my hamburger than a robot, and I have gotten used to seeing some of the cashiers at my local grocery store to the extent that I know a bit about them. Everyone is not meant to be an overpaid CEO. Why can’t we just appreciate the next man’s contribution to society? And what is so bad about helping our brother or sister out if they come up short? Why is it so offensive to some people to see someone use a  Bridge card? Should they not eat because they are on hard times?

I definitely agree our social services should do better in terms of propelling people toward independence. However, I am tired of America’s capitalistic, individualistic, I-got-mine-you-get-yours attitude. I don’t know why people are so blind to the fact that our selfishness is ruining this nation from within.

Only after a major uproar did Martin Shkreli agree to drop the price of the Daraprim, but I am not sure what he is dropping it to. Perhaps $700? Anyway, Mr. Shkreli, it disgusts me that a young man would be willing to play a role in perhaps denying someone a life-saving treatment. I don’t know a single person that would be able to afford one of those pills, even with insurance, because I am not too fond of the concept of insurance either–it is generally a racket in my opinion, and insurance companies are far too involved in health care decisions than they ought to be, in my humble opinion–and I highly doubt many insurance companies would cover the entire cost of the drug.

This is for you, Mr. Shkreli. Take your greed with you and…

I just don’t get it. Our lives are short. We only have so much time to make an impact. For the life of me, I can’t understand why more people don’t resolve to make a positive lasting impact before they leave this earth. Do people realize that they can’t take their bank accounts with them? That when they die, someone else will live in their huge house? That some day, their big huge fancy expensive car is going to be worthless? That within a day or two, their fancy expensive clothes will be out of style?

The best investment one can make is into another person. The benefits of investing your time, money and other resources into actual HUMANS are numerous. Think of the last time you unselfishly did something for someone–and try to think of a time it was for someone who was not a family member. Didn’t you feel good about it afterward? I cannot think of a single volunteer experience where I did not feel accomplished after it was over. There is something about being altruistic.

This guy said a lot of wise stuff, I tell you.

Speaking of wise stuff, let’s begin Deuteronomy, shall we?

Look how far we have come. This is the fifth and final book written by Moses. The last chapter also speaks of Moses’ death, and since he obviously couldn’t have written about his own death, it is believed that Joshua wrote that part. The book was written somewhere around 1406 B.C. Deuteronomy, which is translated as “second law”, can be divided into four different addresses to Israel by Moses, who knows his time is near:

I. Moses’ first address: What God has done for Israel – 1:1-4:43

II. Moses’ second address: How to live Godly lives – 4:44-28-68

III. Moses’ third address: A call for commitment to God – 29:1-30:20

IV. Moses’ fourth address: Moses’ last days and the change in leadership 31:1-34:12

Israel is just across the Jordan River, preparing to enter the Promised Land of Canaan. These addresses given by Moses took place over forty days and had a simple purpose–to remind the people, particularly before they entered the nation where people who worshiped pagan gods proliferated–of God’s laws that are to guide their lives and of his power. The book also reminds the people of all that God has done for them. In the instances where a lot of detail is given that we have already read in previous books, as Deuteronomy repeats a lot of what we read in Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers, my recap will be brief.

Let’s get to the first speech straightaway while I have free time–Bear is laying down with my husband. She was not feeling well, and he is getting a little sleep before he goes to work. My son is taking a walk with my mother. I am left to my own devices, so what better way to pass the time than some Bible study???

Moses gets down to  business in chapter one while Israel is situated east of the Jordan river by reminding the people how what should have been an eleven-day journey turned into forty years of wandering–because of their lack of faith and rebellion. He recounts the appointment of the leaders of the community–a time when Moses was overburdened with the problems, burdens and disputes of such a large nation and after consulting with the Lord chose wise, understanding men from each tribes to govern the nation. These men were in charge of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens and acted as tribal officials. They were charged with hearing the people’s disputes and judging them fairly, showing impartiality and confidence. Moses then discusses the situation with the spies–the twelve men, one from each tribe, who were sent to spy out Canaan and bring a report back to Israel. We know the story–they saw that the land was good, but their lack of faith in God polluted their report–they were afraid of the people there and their testimony negatively influenced the nation. As such, the older generation was to die out, with the exception of Caleb, the only one to show confidence that God could see them through, and Joshua. After recognizing their sin, the nation attempted to march up into the hill country but they did so without the Lord and were defeated.

With that, we get into chapter two. This chapter recounts the nation’s wilderness wanderings. Emphasis here is not on the fact that the people wandered for forty years, but that God provided for them and protected them the entire time. As is said in verse seven: “…These forty years the Lord your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything”.

I had to think of that for a second, and even went so far as to substitute my age in that verse. It fit. These thirty-three years the Lord my God has definitely been with me, and I have not lacked anything. Were there times in my immaturity and selfishness that I wanted more than I had or needed? Yep. I am so glad I have grown spiritually. As I have grown older I have been able to see exactly how blessed of a life I have lived. I have said before that I would like to eventually have a house with a backyard for my kids and a big kitchen with stainless steel appliances, a space perfect for cooking and hosting company. I’ve always loved the idea of having family and friends over for Halloween gatherings–I am trying to put something together for this Halloween, although I know it is going to be difficult. Now, the house we have now is perfectly fine for hosting gatherings. People will just be a little tight, but everyone is family and no one minds. I don’t think there is anything wrong with dreaming about the house I’d like one day, because when it all boils down to it, I am perfectly content with the house I have now, and I would not be crushed if we ended up staying there forever. It is more than suitable. It is affordable and it is big enough for our family.

It reminds me of the times that the Israelites were dissatisfied. A major complaint they often had was with the food. Instead of being grateful for the food that was being provided for them, they wanted more. Lust of the eyes often brings along dissatisfaction and ultimately complaints against what the Lord has given us. We have to try not to measure up our lifestyles, or our means, more accurately, with the ways of the world. If we paid attention to all the stupid programs on television that want to show us the huge mansion that such-and-such bought or the ten-thousand dollar pantsuit blah-blah person is wearing, as though it isn’t a huge waste of money (or possibly a lie–I tend to think a lot of those figures are fudged just a bit to increase people’s envy), it could easily lead to such an attitude. A materialistic, ungrateful attitude is destructive. Before you know it, money, or the attainment of money, will become your god.

Moses then moves on to recount the defeat of Sihon the king of Heshbon (one of the kings who would not let the Israelites pass through in the book of Numbers, chapter 21). In chapter three he remembers the defeat of Og king of Bashan, also from Numbers chapter 21. In each case, Moses makes sure to remind the Israelites that those victories were handed to them by God: “…the Lord our God delivered him over to us and we struck him down” (2:33); “The Lord our God gave us all of them” (2:36); “So the Lord our God also gave into our hands Og king of Bashan and all his army” (3:3).

Moses then discusses how three tribes, that of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, were given land on that east side of the Jordan. Specifics are given in terms of the lands–I’ll let you read them. The conditions that those three tribes have to meet are given again–although they wish to reside in that land, they are still required to help the rest of Israel rid Canaan of its inhabitants.

We are reminded that Moses has been forbidden to cross the Jordan, although God did let Moses get a good look at Canaan. Joshua is reminded of all of the things he has seen God do, and what he has seen should give him confidence that God will continue to fight for them as they enter Canaan under his leadership.

Now we are at chapter four. God reminds the people to keep the laws and decrees he is teaching them, so that they may live and be victorious in taking over their new land. Here is a Scripture that kind of reminds me of Revelation 22:18-19 in a sense: God tells the people not to add to or subtract from what he is telling them, just like in Revelation where God tells us not to add to or subtract from the Word.

There are numerous Scriptures from this Old Testament passage that can be applied to our lives today. God tells the people in verse 6: “Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people”. I couldn’t help but think of my life before I fully committed to living as a Christian and after. Only after dedicating myself to wholeheartedly following the Word of God did I feel–actually feel–that I had developed a greater wisdom and understanding of people and the world. Studying the Bible doesn’t just help us learn about God. It helps us learn about ourselves and other people too. Without a doubt, had Israel kept the covenant with their God, who created all and is all, they would have been elevated above all nations. Instead, they chose to be on the same level as them. How unfortunate.

I liked verses 7 and 8 as well: “What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him?” (If you are a Christian, you can claim that verse as well–we are blessed to have a direct line of communication with God through prayer!!) and “And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today?”

God’s Word should be looked at as a blessing. It is the key to a good life. God’s Word is not restrictive. I remember when I first began teaching Sunday school I took an article in for the kids to read. It discussed how Christians tend to live, on average, about 14 years longer than atheists. Numerous reasons were given, but they had one central theme–people who adhere to the Word of God are less likely to engage in behaviors that will decrease their lifespan. We are not supposed to be out there sleeping with multiple partners before marriage and possibly contracting sexually transmitted diseases. We are not supposed to take illicit drugs or be out at the clubs all hours of the night getting sloppy drunk, damaging our lungs, livers, kidneys, etc. Mentally we may be better off because instead of getting bogged down by the weight of the world, we can seek the assistance of the Ultimate Burden Bearer, who will undoubtedly lift the load of those who love Him.

Simply put, God’s Word is life.

God wants the people to always remember what he has done for them and to be mindful not to let the things they have seen him do fade from their memories. They are expected to teach their children and their children’s children the ways of the Lord.

Pause there.

I would ask if you think we are doing that today, but it would be a waste of a question.

OF COURSE we are failing as a society to teach our kids about God. Look at how murderers are getting younger and younger. Bullies are out of control. Kids seem to have no respect for authority, themselves or anyone else. I’ve never known young people to be as hateful as some of these kids are today. You know who I blame? Not the kids. I blame Mommy and Daddy for being too self-absorbed or too smart to teach their kids the Word of God. It is not cool to worship God, and sometimes Mommy and Daddy are more worried about their kid looking cool than being saved. Or perhaps Mommy and Daddy don’t believe themselves, or think their kid is capable of figuring it out on their own. I heard one person say that she took her son to church when he was younger so that he could be “a good person”, and that it didn’t bother her when he refused to go as a teenager. Maybe I’m wrong, but teenagers in particular need to be on those pews Sunday morning.

Do people not see how hard this world is? Look all around–these kids are running out of hope. They are not guaranteed a good job or a good future. College costs are out of control. Beauty standards and celebrity worship is ruining their self-esteem. Sometimes, social media and technology does kids more harm than good. Kids have to know that there is something greater in store for them if they only accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. This world has nothing for them outside of Christ.

I could go on about kids all day, because it disturbs me that parents have screwed society and in turn screwed these kids. Since this is the society the kids are coming up in, they don’t know what they’ve missed out on. And that is a tragedy. Considering all the bad that is happening in the world, I do not know why any parent would deny their kid the chance to know about God.

Moses reminds the people of when they stood before God at the foot of Mount Horeb (Sinai: this can be found in Exodus chapter 19). Remember that? There was thunder and lightning, a loud trumpet blast, a bunch of smoke, mountain-moving, and the voice of God. It was there that God’s covenant was declared and the Ten Commandments were given on two stone tablets.

It interests me that the Lord did not take on a form at that time, but the next passages of Scripture give a clear reason why–idolatry is forbidden, and had the Israelites seen the Lord in a form that could have been duplicated, I am sure they would have made idols in that image from wood or metals and instead of worshiping the Lord, they would have been worshiping those idols. That is a no-no. In addition to prohibiting the people from fashioning images of any shape, man, woman or animal, the Israelites are also not to worship any celestial bodies. Moses reminds the people that the Lord became angry with him because of them and old him he would not cross the Jordan, but they are about to without him, and they must be careful to remember the covenant. This covenant is ever-lasting as long as neither side breaks their promise–meaning it will only be broken if Israel breaks their half of the bargain, because we know God does not. If their children or grandchildren become corrupt and make idols, it is evil, and it will arouse God’s anger. Idol worship will lead to them being cast out of the land they are going to inhabit. They will be destroyed. The few that survive will be scattered to other nations, where they will worship the man-made gods they coveted, those made from wood or stone that cannot see, hear, eat or smell.

Even with that being said, there is always a chance for Israel to be restored, even if the things mentioned in the previous passage come to pass. Even if the people are scattered because of their idolatry and rebellion, God will respond to them if they seek him with all their heart and soul. The Bible says “When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the Lord your God and obey him. For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath” (vv. 30-31).

For those of you who haven’t read the entire Bible yet, I’ll let you in on a little secret. When we start getting into later books, particularly those of the major and minor prophets, we see that this is exactly what happened. Israel ends up divided into two nations–a Northern Kingdom inhabited by ten of the twelve tribes, going by the name Israel, and a Southern Kingdom, inhabited by Judah and Benjamin, going by the name Judah, the larger tribe. Altogether, Israel falls into a pattern of consistent idol worship and overall apostasy from God, and they are punished for it–removed from their land, just as God says here, in a series of three invasions. Years later they are allowed back to their land. Why? Because God promised to give it to them. Although God may punish his people, that doesn’t mean he won’t keep his promise.

Think about that in terms of salvation. It is like a promise that was made to us. When we accept His Son, our salvation is secure. No sin can get our salvation revoked, although a sinful lifestyle will definitely lead to consequences in the form of punishment. But think about it–if each time we sinned our salvation was made null and void, not a single one of us would make to heaven. God may punish us for wrongdoing, but he is not going to renege on our salvation. He may allow us to go through some wilderness wanderings or some invasions and scattering, but it is always with the hope that we will be restored unto him and made stronger in him.

Why should the people keep their covenant with him? Because he is God. “Ask now about the former days, long before your time, from the day God created human beings on earth; ask from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything so great as this ever happened, or has anything like it ever been heard of? Has any other people heard the voice of God speaking out of fire as you have, and lived? Has any god ever tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation, by testings, by signs and wonders; by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, or by great and awesome deeds, like all the things the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?” (vv. 32-34).

Simply put, God trumps all other gods, and Israel no further evidence than what they have already seen him do. God has shown them those things so that they could have confidence and faith in him, that they might know that the Lord is God and that there is no other. Because of everything God has done for them, that they have seen, they must acknowledge him and keep his decrees and commands.

This first address ends with the designation of the cities of refuge.

My sick daughter has awakened from her sickly slumber. Motherhood calls!

granddad feeding layla

granddad and best friend

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