Tuesday, August 30, 2005

overlook to love

If you judge people, you have no time to love them. -Mother Theresa

The Bible talks about overlooking other people's offenses, and I see some serious merit to that. It is not my job to fix everyone else's life. It is my job to follow my God, and it is my job to love my neighbors. Love overlooks a multitude of sins.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Should the FDA Regulate Dietary Supplements?

In an arena dominated by powerful drug companies, the debate rages on as to how much regulation should be required for dietary supplements, also known as alternative medicine. Currently, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) exercises limited control over herbal supplements. According to Judy Foulke, FDA spokeswoman, “It is the manufacturer's responsibility to produce a product that will not cause harm.” (Herb) The Journal of Athletic Training wrote, “Under the current legislation, supplement makers do not have to prove a product is safe; the FDA has the burden of proving a product is unsafe. The FDA can only take action if a product is found to present a significant or unreasonable risk of illness or injury” (Winterstein and Storrs). While manufacturers must provide adequate labeling, the FDA can ban any substance they feel is harmful to the public. Herbal advocates accuse the FDA and big drug companies of suppressing dietary supplements, while the FDA and drug companies claim that dietary supplements should be subject to regulation. There are several reasons why FDA regulation is not the answer to this problem. Regulation of a substance by the FDA does not guarantee its safety. Regulation of dietary supplements by the FDA is ineffective. Regulation by the FDA gives drug companies a monopoly on medicine.

Despite their extensive research requirements, the FDA cannot assess all the perils of a product. Some products have long term consequences that cannot be discovered in a study confined to the limits of time. The Herb Research Foundation writes that, “Over half of approved drugs are discovered to have "serious post-approval side-effects" requiring them to be removed from sale or restricted from use” (Herb). In addition, some drugs, although useful in dire circumstances, are seriously injurious to human health. Yet, these dangerous drugs are FDA approved. For example, the pain killer methadone received FDA approval in 1947, yet overdoses last year killed 264 Floridians (Greene). The FDA stamp of approval is no promise that the substance taken cannot have serious side effects.

Inconsistency and inaccuracy do not secure confidence that the FDA can both protect the public and improve the quality of available medicine. If someone is to believe that FDA regulation is imperative, they must also believe that the FDA already fulfills its duties. Sources indicate otherwise. “In fact, dietary supplements are subject to a safety definition stricter than that required for conventional foods and far stronger than for all classes of drugs. A supplement is considered unsafe if it "presents a significant or unreasonable risk of illness or injury. . .drugs are allowed to present significant risks, as long as these risks are outweighed by benefits” (Herb). Last year’s FDA ban on ephedra demonstrates the same inconsistency—the drug was banned based on the deaths of 5 people, and yet 106,000 deaths attributed to prescription drugs don’t have the same effect (Wong). It does not appear that the FDA seeks to increase the availability of safe medicine when their standards are inconsistent, and they ban herbal substances at will on insufficient grounds. Consequently, no one should expect that regulation of dietary supplements by the FDA will necessarily assure a safe product.

The last link in the argument leads to the drug company monopolizing the market. With free license to ban products, the FDA controls the dietary supplement market. Their regulation only gives drug companies a bigger hold on the availability of medicine. One source states that FDA bureaucrats want to regulate all nutritional supplements, and force, “citizens to depend entirely on prescription drugs that are controlled by a monopolistic industry” (News Target). Drug and pharmaceutical companies have every incentive to oppose and encourage opposition of alternative medicine, which, in some cases, can provide the same results at lower costs and fewer side effects.

The original question is: should the FDA regulate herbal supplements? FDA regulation is not the answer. Based on various sources, the FDA cannot reliably, effectively and consistently determine safety of a given product. The FDA’s bias and incentive towards selling expensive drugs prevents the public from receiving potentially useful, affordable, and comparatively safer medicine. Alexander Tabarrok said, “The FDA can make two kinds of mistakes. It can permit a bad drug, and it can fail to permit a good drug” (Tabarrok). Finally, despite the claim that dietary supplements endanger the public, their track record is incomparable to the dangers and deaths associated with conventional drugs.

Contact author for works cited and bibliography.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

I know your innermost being

The other measure of a true relationship is how well one person knows the other. I found this very interesting when applied to God.

He knows me better than anyone else in the world. He knows why I do things, why I don't do things, who I love, what I struggle with, my evilest desires, and yet He still loves me.

I know God better than I know any of my friends. His entire Word is a testimony of who He is. I know what His desires are, what He hopes for me, why He put me on this earth, and I love Him for who He is.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

redefining 'relationship' for the Alpha and Omega

Tonight I redefined 'relationship' in regard to my Creator. I've heard books and people speak of a close and personal relationship with God, and I've been disappointed, because I don't feel that close to God. My primary complaint I realized, is that God doesn't talk aloud to me. Here Isees the error of my thinking in that God is not like a human being. He is the I Am. He is the Alpha and Omega. Talking aloud is not the only way that a relationship is supported. A personal relationship involves love.

Love is patient. God is patient with me. He does not give me more than I can handle.
Love is kind. God is kind to me. He has given me a relatively easy life and far more blessings than I deserve.
Love is not self seeking. God seeks to work out everything for the good of those who love Him. He unselfishly sacrificed His son to save me.
Love rejoices with the truth. God rejoices when I do the right thing.
Love does not boast. Jesus came to earth in humility.
Love keeps no record of wrongs. God puts my sin far from Him. He is the only person who loves me unconditionally.
Love never fails. God will never fail me. No matter what happens, He is in control.

A relationship with God is unlike any other. "For my ways are not your ways." A relationship with God is not an equal to equal relationship. It is a father to daughter relationship. God makes sacrifices for me. His son died for me. God seeks good things for me. He has blessed me beyond my wildest dreams. God has written an entire book just for my benefit so that I will know how to live. God has prepared for my future. I will live in heaven for eternity.

Monday, August 22, 2005

fear of?

I received a political correctness jolt this morning when I picked up the paper. The headline reads, “School district reverts to winter: Board votes unanimously to drop the ‘Christmas’ from SK’s ‘Christmas Break’ ” The story continued by explaining how this change of events had cumulated and one quote that caught my eye was, “South Kitsap is not a Christian School district. . . It’s a public school district.” He’s right—South Kitsap is not a Christian school district. However, Christmas is not just a Christian holiday. Who is he afraid of? What is he afraid of? Is he afraid that the ‘Christ’ in Christmas will taint school kids and lead them astray? South Kitsap apparently hasn’t been effective enough in grinding out all common sense and moral standards, now Christmas break has to go.

Friday, August 19, 2005

joyful life

This past week I’ve been struggling with and praying for my faith. The thought that keeps coming back to me is that life is so short, and it is important to live with as much joy as possible. Where can I find joy? The world can’t offer true joy—the people who think it can are depressed and hopeless. I can’t find joy in doing just what I want—selfishness does not breed happiness.

The only person who can provide me with everlasting joy is Jesus Christ. Why? He never changes. I never have to worry that Jesus will change His mind about me, or decide to stop being my friend. Jesus is my best friend forever. He always loves me. Other people in my life may be so offended by my sin that their love for me may decrease, but Jesus always loves me no matter what I do. Unconditional love.

His word provides comfort, joy, admonition, tips for living life, doctrine to live by, standards to uphold, and sins to shun. His word is the ultimate source of life, the ultimate guidebook. There is no book in the world like it, because there is no god like Him.

Jesus is a protector. Whom shall I fear? If God is for me, who can stand against me? Some people live in fear, but I know that my God is always there for me, and no matter what happens, He is in control. I never have to wonder whether I should respond in love or hatred, but I should always respond in love. Hate is only appropriate in regard to sin.

Why am I on this earth? The question of existence is one that most people ask, and yet I know the answer. I am called to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Enjoy Him forever. Have joy in my God forever.

What if I’m wrong? I still haven’t lost. Living a life of joy is something most people do not accomplish. What better way to spend my short life, than to live it with joy? I can have complete joy knowing that I have hope. This life is not the end. What a tiresome existence to be believing that this life is the only life. This life is just the beginning of a bigger story, of a bigger life.

Anticipation causes joy. I joyfully anticipate my entry into heaven. I joyfully anticipate spending all my days with the one Person who knows me best, who knows my struggles, who knows everything I’ve gone through, who knows just how wicked I really am and loves me anyway, and who never changes His mind about me. This Person loves me, and when I get to heaven, I will be surrounded by His love constantly, and my joy will be complete.

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”-Romans 15:13
“Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.”-1 Peter 1:8

“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”-John 15:11