Welcome to my blog, or should I say to the ramblings of an old man. I doubt that my ramblings are of much value, but at least I have an opportunity to share them.  So, please be kind and humor me. If nothing else of value stands out in these thoughts, I hope that you at least sense the value I place on a daily walk with the Lord.  That walk is what has provided me with motivation and a sense of purpose throughout my lifetime.  My prayer is that you, too, are experiencing this direction and joy in daily living which is available to everyone who puts his trust in Christ.  So, thanks again for joining me.  Please don't go without leaving some comments here so I can get to know you better as our paths intersect today in this blog.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

When God Says "No"

         Recently a dear friend sent me this article by John Piper.  It came at a good time and I felt that I should share it with you in case you sometimes have the same questions.

          How do you respond to a no from God when you pray for good things?  "No" often hurts..   I think few things have caused me to search my soul and search the Scriptures more than the fact that I have called upon the Lord to do things - which I think are in perfect accord with his will, according to Scripture - and yet he has not, or not yet, seen fit to grant, or at least grant in the way that I asked or hoped for. I don't look upon the problem of unanswered prayer in a theoretical way, but in a very personal and sometimes gut-wrenching way.
          I don't claim to have a final answer. I hope someday to understand this better and to have gone deeper with God in prayer so that I understand both from Scripture and from experience how he deals with his children.   He has taught me some things, and it might be helpful if I give two Bible passages for you to think about and see whether or not they take you deeper than I've gone into the mind and heart of God with regard to the way he answers his children when they ask him for things.
          One of the texts is Matthew 7:7–11. I saw it years and years ago, and so it's had a wonderful effect over the years. The other one is a brand-new insight from Genesis 17, and it's right off my devotional front burner. So let me take this one at a time.
          Fish and Serpents - Here's what Jesus says in Matthew 7:7–11: "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened." Then he uses this analogy, which helps me so much: "Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!"
          That's an amazing analogy that draws us in to thinking about how we treat our children, and how God treats his children. What's striking here is that God promises to give good things to his children when they ask. It's striking, because it doesn't say he gives them precisely what they ask for.   Since he's comparing himself to our own parenting, we know that's the case. We don't give our children, especially when they're two or three years old, everything they ask for. They don't know all that is good for them.
          I remember once my son Benjamin asked me for a cracker. I'm totally eager to give him a cracker at snack time. I reached for the box, and I noticed they have mold on them. I tell him I can't give him a cracker because it has fuzz on it. He says, "I'll eat the fuzz." I wouldn't give it to him, because I knew better than he did. I knew that mold was not good for him. That day, he got something he didn't ask for and didn't want as much as he wanted a cracker. But deep down he would have wanted it more if he knew what was good for him.
          I think the words of Jesus point us in this direction when dealing with unanswered prayer. Now, that may sound like a nice solution, but I know what some people are thinking - just like what I'm thinking. We ask glorious things of God, like the conversion of our family, and we can't imagine how it could be bad for us. How could it be moldy to have God save our family?
          I don't presume to say this is a quick fix, and yet I do think the principle laid there should be embraced even if the application of it to all situations is a little harder for us to grasp. That's the first help that God has given me in regard to how prayers are sometimes answered differently than we would ask.
          Here's the other one. In a sense, this passage from Genesis 17 is an application in one way of what we've just seen in Matthew 7. Here's the text: "And God said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her." Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, "Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?" And Abraham said to God, "Oh that Ishmael might live before you!" (Genesis 17:15–18)
          In other words, Abraham prayed, "God, let Ishmael be the chosen seed." The text continues.  God said, "No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him. As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation." (Genesis 17:19–20)
          Now, Abraham had asked God in prayer that Ishmael would be the son of promise. God says explicitly, "No." Now, God might have just left it at that, gone on, and done to Ishmael whatever he was going to do to Ishmael. Instead, he takes pains to say, "I have heard you. That's what makes me do what I'm going to do to Ishmael. I have heard you, and that's why I'm going to bless Ishmael the way I'm going to bless him. You have asked me to bless Ishmael, and I'm not going to do it the way you ask, but I am going to do it, and I'm doing it because I heard you."
          God Never Does Nothing.   Now, what should we learn from this about God's no to our prayers? Here's the least I think we can learn. Even when God says no to the specific intention of our prayer, it does not mean there's no blessing in response to the prayer. In fact, I would go so far as to say (bringing in other texts, especially Matthew 7) that when we pray with a right heart, we never, never pray in vain.
          My colleague Tom Steller used to say, "God never does nothing in answer to prayer." These two passages - Matthew 7, Genesis 17 -  along with numerous others, have kept me for sixty years crying out to God even when it seems that the specific thing I'm asking for is not granted. I really believe that God always gives good things to his children precisely because we ask him, and always because we ask him.  The blessings we receive may not be in the form of the things we ask for, but they are owing to our prayers. They're owing to our prayers, and they're good.

         I think a day is coming, according to Revelation 8:1–5, when all the prayers that have ever been prayed by God's faithful people, which over thousands of years served as a pleasing incense and aroma before the throne of God, will be poured out on the earth in the consummation of history. They will bring about the consummation of history, and it will be plain that not one expression of "hallowed be thy name" or "thy kingdom come" or "thy will be done on earth" will have been prayed in vain.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Lexophiles


Lexophile is a word used to describe those that have a love for words, such as "you can tune a piano, but you can't tuna fish", or "to write with a broken pencil is pointless." A competition to see who can come up with the best lexophiles is held every year in an undisclosed location.

This year's winning submission is posted at the very end.

... When fish are in schools, they sometimes take debate
... A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months. 
... When the smog lifts in Los Angeles U.C.L.A. 
... The batteries were given out free of charge.
... A dentist and a manicurist married. They fought tooth and nail 
... A will is a dead giveaway.
... With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress. 
... A boiled egg is hard to beat.
... When you've seen one shopping center you've seen a mall. 
... Police were summoned to a daycare center where a three-year-old was resisting a rest. 
... Did you hear about the fellow whose entire left side was cut off?  He's all right now. 
... A bicycle can't stand alone; it's just two tired.
... When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds. 
... The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine is now fully recovered. 
... He had a photographic memory which was never developed.
... When she saw her first strands of grey hair she thought she'd dye. 
... Acupuncture is a jab well done. That's the point of it.

And the cream of the twisted crop:
 .. Those who get too big for their pants will be totally exposed in the end

          So how clever and original are you?  Why not add your entry in the comment section.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Horrendous Pain


          You are having a good day and then you begin to feel some mid back pain on either the right or the left.  Soon the pain intensifies.  Then it might begin to radiate to your groin.  You feel some urgency to urinate and possibly you even see some blood in your urine.

         The pain gets worse and you can't get any relief.  On a scale of 1 to 10 for pain, you have a 14!  Most likely you are the owner of a dreaded kidney stone.  Been there, done that, too many times.
         Probably you will go to the ER where they will most likely do a CT scan to verify that there is a stone and where it is located.  If you are fortunate it may already be on its way out or it is a small smooth stone.  But maybe you won't be that fortunate and you are destined to endure the pain every time the stone moves for days or maybe even weeks.  Been there, done that too.
          The ER might give you pain meds by IV and eventually decide to send you home with pain pills and pills for nausea.  That is something you don't want to do, but you may not have any choice unless they decide to admit you.  You will spend your days at home collecting and sifting your urine hoping to find that the stone has passed.  You will pace and try other things to bear the pain.
         The pain can be horrendous - actually much worse than labor.  My wife has experienced both and will testify to that.  With labor the pain comes and goes.  With a kidney stone it is continuous.  If the stone is large or jagged it is worse.  Pray that it is small and smooth.
         Should you not pass it naturally, there is a process called lithotripsy where they try to break it into pieces with sound waves.  Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't.  There are also some surgical procedures that they can use if nothing else works.  But surgery does have risks.
         I have had a history of stones dating back about 50 years.  Some passed quickly, others lasted for weeks.  They do run in families.  Both my father and son suffered with them.
         Several years ago I had my regular checkup with my urologist and had an x-ray before my appointment just to check on any possible stones which might be developing.  I met a gentleman there from Manheim who was scheduled for an x-ray following mine and he also had an appointment with the same doctor following my appointment.  He was there because he was having real problems with a stone.  His name was also Kauffman.
         At my appointment the doctor shocked me by telling me that my stone was so large that it would need to be smashed.  I was stunned.  I didn't have any pain or symptoms.  I knew what it felt like to have stones.  I asked the doctor if he was sure that he had my x-rays and not his following patient  also named Kauffman.  He was upset that I would ask such a question and said that I needed to schedule lithotripsy.  So I did.
         The procedure was not that difficult.  I was put to sleep and the procedure used the properties of an ellipse, an application of which I had often shared in my advanced math classes.  When it was done I was told that it was successful and that I would have some difficulty and blood when I passed the pieces.  I was also told that I would possibly be black and blue.  Days passed and none of these things happened.  To this day I still wonder if they had the correct Kauffman.
          They were able to analyze some of my previous stones and placed me on a medicine, Urocit-K to try to eliminate future stones.  While I have been carrying a large one which they think will never move, I have been free of stones for the past 20 years.  But two years ago a specialist took me off of that med because of my low magnesium levels.  And after my heart surgery they added to my meds 3,000 units daily of Vitamin D.  I just read that Vitamin D can cause stones.
          And guess what?  On a recent Thursday afternoon the familiar pain began once again.  Some recent x-rays of my back had shown that some new stones had formed, so I shouldn't have been surprised.  So off to the ER once again.  The CT scan showed a 3 mm stone which was beginning to move.  They gave me an IV which helped with the pain and after about five hours they sent me home with more pain meds to fight with it there.
          Finally on Saturday my pain began to lessen.  The stone probably had moved to my bladder.  And then, on Sunday evening, I found the stone in my urine.  What a relief!  And, PTL, it was a smooth black one which apparently didn't cause any bleeding or damage on its way out.
         For your information, a 4 mm stone has an 80% chance of passage while a 5 mm stone has a 20% chance.  Stones larger than 9 mm to 10 mm rarely pass without specific treatment.   Most smaller stones will typically pass within a few days to a few weeks. Provided you are in good health, you can try for up to 6 weeks to pass a stone, although most patients elect for earlier intervention.  But I hope that you never have to worry about this.
          And so life goes on.  The one good thing about stones is that the experience gives you a model to compare when in the future you are asked to give a number from 1 to 10 for your current pain.  Kidney pain certainly is the top of the scale.  Other than that, I can't think of any additional benefit of the experience - unless maybe you save your stones and make a necklace out of them.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

What if?



        I'm thankful for the 39 great years that I served as an educator in the same school district.  I thank God that I could spend most of my life in such a great profession and enjoy my work.  Even though I had several opportunities to change jobs and professions over the years, I have no regrets in what I did.

         However, I do often wonder if I were to start all over again today if I would make the same choice.  Quite possibly I might not.  Schools and the pressures of parents and outside groups, like legislatures, have made it so different and difficult that I'm not sure I would enjoy the pressure - even with the better pay that teachers receive today.
         I think if I were to start over there are two professions that I might consider - computer programming or medicine.  I love working with computers although I can no longer keep up with all the changes.  But the logic and creativity needed would really suit me and it would be fun to try.
         As far as the medical field, it is so very expensive to get your degrees and there are many new pressures for doctors today, especially with insurance and government regulations.  But over the past few years I think I have become a "professional medical user" and have many ideas about how I would change the administration of a doctor's practice.
          For example, If I were to ask my patients to arrive 15 or 30 minutes before their appointment  to get checked in I would be sure that I would service them on time.  It is so frustrating to be asked to arrive 30 minutes early for a five minute check-in and then sit 45 - 60 minutes before seeing a doctor.  And some of the check-in could probably be accomplished before arrival for some patients with internet access.
          I would also have a large computer screen or whiteboard which would indicate current waiting times and which doctors are on time and how many minutes behind other doctors are.  This would help patients know what is going on while they wait.
          And if a doctor were more than 15 minutes late in seeing a patient, a coupon would be given to the patient for a discount on a future appointment.  Two would be given for 30 minute waits, three for 45 minutes, etc.
           I would also give each patient a survey to complete when they check out.  That way they could express their opinions about the visit.  This might just improve operations and let doctors know what their patients really think about them and their care.
           I would assign each patient a number when they check in - like at a meat counter -and when the doctor is ready for them the nurse would just call out the number rather than their name.  Or we could issue beepers like they use in some emergency rooms.  In these days of privacy concerns and regulations like HIPPA, it seems to me that your name should never be announced in the waiting room for all other patients to hear.
         I would also instruct the nurses not to say "How are you?" when they greet you.  Why would you be there spending big bucks to be there if you were fine?  I must admit that this question always frustrates me. There must be a more appropriate greeting to give patients when they arrive.
          As a doctor I would look at my patients when I talk to them rather than spending all my time looking and writing on the computer.  The computer isn't sick, I am!  Now I realize that the computer has become a necessity for record keeping, but I also believe that patients would like to talk directly to the doctor rather than watch them work on their computer.   And I think the doctor might learn some important things by actually looking at the reactions of their patients.
          Now if my patient had tests done, I would arrange to have the results shared with them as soon as they are received - even if I am not going to be in the office for a few days.  Let another doctor report them. Patients want and deserve to receive their results promptly rather than wait for several days to receive them.  If nothing else, at least post them on the portal as soon as they are received by the practice.
          And I would reserve several appointment slots each day for those who suddenly need to be seen.  It is terrible when you have a pressing need and can't be seen by your doctor for several weeks.  And preference for these special appointments would also be given to the doctor's regular patients.
          One more minor point.  If patients are called in advance by telephone to remind them of their appointment, the recorded message would be made by somebody who can pronounce "Lancaster" properly.  You Lancaster readers will understand what I am saying.
         Now I guess I should stop.  As an educator I used to get upset with folks, especially elected officials, who had never taught, but were so willing to tell us how to do our jobs.  I guess that having once been a student gave them the "wisdom" to know how things should be done.  
         And so, maybe having often been a patient doesn't really give me the "wisdom" to criticize the medical field.  So probably this is one more useless blog.  But, "what if?"

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Lord You're Holy


          Recently I was searching on the internet for one of my favorite worship songs and I was surprised to find a rendition of it that just stirred my heart and mind.  The song which I think isn't too well known is "Lord You're Holy".  I first heard it sung a few years ago by a group called "Calling Levi" at the Pinebrook Bible Conference.  It touched me then and continues to do so every time I hear it.  And I believe this time the Lord led me to this stirring rendition because I needed it again.  Now the words speak for themselves but it is the section that shares many of the attributes of our God that really touches me.  Now I invite you to listen to this rendition and, if you aren't also stirred, maybe you need to ask this holy God to bring back the springtime in your life.


Listen to it here:
LORD YOU'RE HOLY

          As I look around and I see 
all the works, your hands have made, 
the awesomeness of you
and how your love will never fade. 
Mere words cannot express what I feel inside,
I can't even describe Your glory divine;
but as a token of my love, this is what I'll do,
I'll lift my hands and cry.
Lord, you're holy, Lord, you're holy
and we lift you up and magnify your name.

There's not enough words that I can say
to tell you how much I appreciate,
all of the wonderful things You've given me,
Your love, Your kindness, Your tender mercies
It's my desire to praise you
And tell you how much I love you
Your worthy of all the honor
And your worthy of all the praise

I don't know how you can love me
Why you give me so much mercy and 
How you would suffer and die for me 
way back on Calvary
But I thank you 
Your worthy of all the praise

Your Wonderful, glorious, holy and righteous,
victorious conqueror, triumphant and mighty,
healer, deliverer, shield and defense,
my strong tower and my best friend,
Omnipotent, Omnipresent, soon coming King,
Your Alpha, Omega, Lord of everything;
holy, holy, holy is Your name.

Your Omnipotent, Omnipresent, soon coming King,
Your Alpha, Omega, Lord of everything;
holy, holy, holy is Your name.

Holy is your name
We cry holy
You are Holy 
Holy is your name

Wonderful, glorious, holy and righteous,
victorious conqueror, triumphant and mighty,
healer, deliverer, shield and defense,
strong tower and my best friend,
Omnipotent, Omnipresent, soon coming King,
Alpha, Omega, Lord of everything;
holy, holy, holy is Your name.

Omnipotent, Omnipresent, soon coming King, 
You're Alpha, Omega, Lord of everything; 
holy, holy, holy is Your name.

Holy, You are holy 
Holy is your name

You are holy 
We cry holy
Holy is your name

Sunday, July 8, 2018

PRAY FOR A MIRACLE

Their faces look out at us from our big screen TVs.

          Twelve Thai boys and one soccer coach huddle in a cave, couched over a narrow ledge. They were missing for nine days, but now that they are found, they are confoundedly trapped. They are safe, but things are deteriorating. The oxygen levels in the cave are lowering and rains are forecast that could flood their exit route. As the old saying goes, all the kings’ horses and all the kings’ men . . . all the world’s resources and advanced technology have been helpless to deliver them to their families and safety.
          Day after day the entire world stands by helplessly.
          I woke up early this morning, turned on the news to see if there was any development on their behalf. They have written letters to their parents. “Don’t worry about me. I am OK.” “I can’t wait to eat everything.” Their boyish assurances, meant to comfort their parents, will not convince parents who know they are anything but OK.
          This morning I also saw a FB post by Wess Stafford, President Emeritus of Compassion and an Awana board member, calling all of us to believe in and practice prayer on behalf of these boys. I agree this is the time for the Kings’ people to pray . . . the kings’ horses and kings’ men need the power of prayer on their behalf. Let’s pray for a miraculous delivery for these young boys.
          I had a conversation with my sister yesterday about prayer. She is hospitalized and in a serious condition right now. She herself needs prayer. As we spent the day together in her hospital room, she shared that she has been studying Mother Teresa’s life. At one time Mother Teresa was trying to rescue a group of special needs children caught behind enemy lines in a war zone. The army general told her there was no way to rescue those children without a cease fire. That tiny woman looked him in the eyes and said, “Tomorrow there will be a cease fire.” When that next morning dawned, bathed in prayers as it was for the release of those children, there was a cease fire and the children were evacuated to safety.
         Let’s pray for these children. Let the prayers rise from God’s people in Kenya and Norway and Bangladesh and Brazil. Let us cover these children with prayers in English and Korean and Swahili.
          Pray. Pray, Pray. Pray that soon there will be a miracle.
(Reprinted from an Awana post by Valerie Bell on Facebook)

Thursday, July 5, 2018

God Bless America


           This week we in the United States will celebrate Independence Day.  Parades and other community activities will help us remember and celebrate the freedoms that we have enjoyed through the sacrifices of many courageous people over the years.

          But over the years we have often failed to remember the religious heritage on which our country was built.  In fact, today organizations like the ACLU have worked to rid us of those facts.  History taught in our schools has been revised and facts about our religious foundation are eliminated.
           But if any open-minded person really looks at our early documents they will see how important faith in God was to our leaders in the days of founding this great country.  So because of the holiday, I have decided to share with you the preambles of the constitutions and documents of our states.

          Alabama 1901, "We the people of the State of Alabama , invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish the following Constitution.."
          Alaska 1956, "We, the people of Alaska , grateful to God and to those who founded our nation and pioneered this great land. "
          Arizona 1911, "We, the people of the State of Arizona , grateful to Almighty God for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution..". 
          Arkansas 1874, "We, the people of the State of Arkansas, grateful to Almighty God for the privilege of choosing our own form of government..". 
          California 1879, "We, the People of the State of California , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom.".. 
          Colorado 1876, "We, the people of Colorado , with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of Universe..". 
          Connecticut 1818, "The People of Connecticut, acknowledging with gratitude the good Providence of God in permitting them to enjoy." 
          Delaware 1897, "Through Divine Goodness all men have, by nature, the rights of worshiping and serving their Creator according to the dictates of their consciences." 
          Florida 1885, "We, the people of the State of Florida , grateful to Almighty God for our constitutional liberty, establish this Constitution.".. 
          Georgia 1777, "We, the people of Georgia , relying upon protection and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish this Constitution.".. 
          Hawaii 1959, "We, the people of Hawaii , Grateful for Divine Guidance ... Establish this Constitution. "
          Idaho 1889, "We, the people of the State of Idaho , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings. "
          Illinois 1870,  We, the people of the State of Illinois, grateful to Almighty God for the civil , political and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors." 
          Indiana 1851, "We, the People of the State of Indiana , grateful to Almighty God for the free exercise of the right to choose our form of government. "
          Iowa 1857, "We, the People of the State of Iowa , grateful to the Supreme Being for the blessings hitherto enjoyed, and feeling our dependence on Him for a continuation of these blessings, establish this Constitution. 
          Kansas 1859, "We, the people of Kansas , grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious privileges establish this Constitution." 
          Kentucky 1891, "We, the people of the Commonwealth are grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties.". 
          Louisiana 1921, "We, the people of the State of Louisiana , grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties we enjoy." 
          Maine 1820, "We the People of Maine acknowledging with grateful hearts the goodness of the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe in affording us an opportunity .. And imploring His aid and direction. "
           Maryland 1776, "We, the people of the state of Maryland , grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberty..". 
           Massachusetts 1780, "We...the people of Massachusetts, acknowledging with grateful hearts, the goodness of the Great Legislator of the Universe In the course of His Providence, an opportunity and devoutly imploring His direction "
          Michigan 1908, "We, the people of the State of Michigan , grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of freedom, establish this Constitution. "
          Minnesota, 1857, "We, the people of the State of Minnesota , grateful to God for our civil and religious liberty, and desiring to perpetuate its blessings:" 
          Mississippi 1890, "We, the people of Mississippi in convention assembled, grateful to Almighty God, and invoking His blessing on our work." 
          Missouri 1845, Preamble "We, the people of Missouri , with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, and grateful for His goodness - Establish this Constitution.".. 
          Montana 1889,  "We, the people of Montana , grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty establish this Constitution.".
          Nebraska 1875, "We, the people, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom. Establish this Constitution." 
          Nevada 1864, "We the people of the State of Nevada , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, establish this Constitution..". 
          New Hampshire 1792, Part I.. Art. I. Sec. V  "Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience."
          New Jersey 1844, "We, the people of the State of New Jersey, grateful to Almighty God for civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors." 
          New Mexico 1911, "We, the People of New Mexico, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty.". 
          New York 1846, "We, the people of the State of New York , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure its blessings."
          North Carolina 1868, "We the people of the State of North Carolina, grateful to Almighty God, the Sovereign Ruler of Nations, for our civil, political, and religious liberties, and acknowledging our dependence upon Him for the continuance of those..". 
          North Dakota 1889, "We, the people of North Dakota , grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, do ordain..". 
          Ohio 1852, "We the people of the state of Ohio , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings and to promote our common." 
          Oklahoma 1907, "Invoking the guidance of Almighty God, in order to secure and perpetuate the blessings of liberty, establish this "
          Oregon 1857, Bill of Rights, Article I Section 2. "All men shall be secure in the Natural right, to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their consciences '
          Pennsylvania 1776, "We, the people of Pennsylvania , grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, and humbly invoking His guidance..".
          Rhode Island 1842, "We the People of the State of Rhode Island grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing...". 
          South Carolina , 1778, "We, the people of the State of South Carolina grateful to God for our liberties, do ordain and establish this Constitution."
          South Dakota 1889, "We, the people of South Dakota , grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberties. "
          Tennessee 1796, Art. XI.III. "That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their conscience..." 
          Texas 1845, "We the People of the Republic of Texas , acknowledging, with gratitude, the grace and beneficence of God. "
          Utah 1896, "Grateful to Almighty God for life and liberty, we establish this Constitution." 
           Vermont 1777, "Whereas all government ought to enable the individuals who compose it to enjoy their natural rights, and other blessings which the Author of Existence has bestowed on man." 
           Virginia 1776, Bill of Rights, XVI  "Religion, or the Duty which we owe our Creator can be directed only by Reason and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian Forbearance, Love and Charity towards each other "
           Washington 1889, "We the People of the State of Washington , grateful to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution "
          West Virginia 1872, "Since through Divine Providence we enjoy the blessings of civil, political and religious liberty, we, the people of West Virginia reaffirm our faith in and constant reliance upon God ...." 
           Wisconsin 1848, "We, the people of Wisconsin , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, domestic tranquility."...
          Wyoming 1890, "We, the people of the State of Wyoming , grateful to God for our civil, political, and religious liberties, establish this Constitution..." 
          And we weren't founded as a "Christian nation" ?   After reviewing acknowledgments of God from all 50 state constitutions, one is faced with the prospect that maybe the ACLU, the liberals and the out-of-control federal courts are wrong! Let us retain God in America !
          GOD BLESS AMERICA !

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Heat Waves And AC


          So do you long for the "good old days?"  Do you yearn to go back to the way things were when life seemed simpler?  Maybe your opinion depends upon how old you are.

          Now for those who have good memories of the past, let me just share with you a simple phrase - heat wave!  Heat and humidity, as we are presently experiencing, can be very hard to bear - especially without air conditioning!
          Unfortunately I remember the days before air conditioning and what we often had to do just to survive.  And survive we did.
          My parents grew up and lived most of their lives without air conditioning.  In their later years they did have two window conditioners that provided some relief.  But they never  had central air and they never complained because that is all they really knew all of their lives.
          As a youngster, I remember "suffering" with the heat. On the worst nights I would take a pillow downstairs to the living room and try to get comfortable on the floor in front of the open side door.  Sometimes a slight breeze could be felt there.  And there was nothing else we could do.  It was the best we could do.
          And until I went to college my parents never had a car with air conditioning.  In the early years only the "rich" had ac in their cars ands we certainly weren't rich.  We drove with all the windows open. Now when you buy a car you just assume that it has ac.
          When we were first married we bought a large window fan that used to pull in the cooler air through other open windows.  That provided a little relief.  A few years later we bought a window air conditioner and that was an excellent improvement.  Finally in 1991 we were able to afford to invest in central air and it was like heaven.  Now I don't know how we'd survive without it.
          But my worst experiences without ac came during my first 25 years of teaching. During those years I taught and had my office on the third floor of a building with a flat roof.  Because of the layout of the rooms there was little cross ventilation.  And my office and the classrooms that I usually taught in were on the morning sun side of the building and caught the early morning rays of sun.  Often when I began the day, the rooms were already at 90 degrees.  And the temperature never dropped throughout the day.
          Teaching and working in those conditions was a major challenge.  I would often be soaked by the end of the first period.  Eventually we bought a floor fan for each math classroom to try and at least move some air.  And while we proposed some possible solutions with large exhaust fans to the administration, nobody was willing to provide the funds to do so.  And they didn't even appear in our area during those times. And, of course, the office area was air conditioned.  It was probably the only time in my life that I actually enjoyed attending meetings when they were held in the office area.
         I don't know how anybody actually learned anything in that situation during the hot days of the late spring and late summer months.
         My biggest joy came when our building was finally remodeled and expanded.  And everything was then air conditioned.  What a change! Teaching then was again fun.
          We also spent a summer in Florida while I was attending Florida State.  And it was hot, but everything there was air conditioned and that made it bearable.  However, it actually wasn't as humid there as it usually is in Lancaster County.
          Now you younger readers really have no understanding of what I am sharing.  Be glad you don't.  But for you older readers who yearn for the "good old days", maybe you should think about how things really were.  And pray that you don't lose your electricity and ac in these miserable hot and humid days.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Phone Menus


          Isn't it "fun" when you are trying to reach somebody on the phone and you first get a whole menu of options which you must listen to so that you can eventually navigate to the person you need to talk to?  Often it can become an Anxiety Hotline, especially if you are in a hurry.
          And often one of the biggest challenges is trying to find a way to actually talk to a real person about your problem.  Then when you finally find the right way to get to a real person you often end up with a message that says "I am out of my office. Please leave your number and I will get back to you as soon as I can" (maybe when they get back from vacation).
         Well for those of us who get bothered by these phone menus, recently I came upon the choices for a real Anxiety Hotline.  How would you like to be greeted by the following choices?
          If you are obsessive-compulsive, press 1 repeatedly.
          If you are co-dependent, please ask somebody to press 2 for you.
          If you have multiple personalities, press 3, 4, 5, and 6.
          If you are paranoid, we know who you are and what you want.  Stay on the line so that we can trace your call.
          If you are delusional, press 7 so that your call can be transferred to the mother ship.
          If you are schizophrenic, listen carefully and a small voice will tell you which number to press.
          If you are manic-depressive, it doesn't matter which number you press, no one will answer.
          If you are dyslexic, press 969696969696969.
          If you have a nervous disorder, please fidget with the hash key until a representative comes on line.
          If you have amnesia, press 8, and state your name, address, phone number, date of birth, social security number, and your mother's maiden name.
          If you have post-traumatic stress disorder, slowly and carefully press 000.
          If you have bi-polar disorder, please leave a message after the beep or before the beep. Or after the beep.  Please wait for the beep.
          If you have short-term memory loss, press 9.  If you have short-term memory loss, press 9.  If you have short-term memory loss, press 9.
          If you have low esteem, please hang up.  All of our operators are too busy to talk to you.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

A Special Man


          Every Father's Day I especially think of my dad and what he meant to me.  He loved the Lord and devoted his life to serving Him.   He knew  how to trust the Lord when facing adversity.  My father knew how to work hard.  He was very wise. He loved his family.   He was a very special man.  I just wish that I could be half the father that he was to me.

          It would take pages for me to write about all that he taught me and what I observed while he was living.  But one thing that always impressed me was how he knew that all that he had was really the Lords.
          Dad didn't have a car until I was in first grade.  But when he finally had one, it was dedicated to the Lord.  For years every Sunday he picked up folks to take to church, even when it meant going way out of his way.  We picked up kids, or more often adults, who needed a ride.  One of those that he often picked up was an overweight lady - probably over 300 pounds - who had to be very hard on the springs of his car.  But dad never complained as we transported her to church.
          Dad was extremely influential in the founding of our church in Lancaster.  He worked with the denomination to get it started.  He helped the builders and spent hours doing things like painting the walls of the new building. and pouring cement walks.  He served as a teacher, an elder, delegate and financial treasurer for decades.  One thing that I learned later in life, that nobody else knew, was though he had little money, when our struggling church couldn't pay all of its bills, dad quietly gave enough to pay them.  Often he bailed out our church and nobody ever knew it.  He showed that all that he had - his, time, money and possessions - belonged to the Lord.
          Dad spent hours behind the scenes doing work for our church, our denomination, CBMC, Berean Bible School, Calvary Homes and Lancaster Christian School.  He was faithful in doing this work and spent many hours serving .  Actually, just hours before he died, he even completed reports for the denomination's Board of Directors which was meeting the morning of his death.  I found the reports ready to go and actually delivered them for him.
          In 1969 when our denomination closed our sister church in Millersville and could not find a buyer for the property, dad bought it.  He sold us what had been the parsonage.  Later he rented the basement church structure to a variety of groups and probably lost money on that.  Finally he was able to sell it to the local Lions Club.  But he still had about two acres of the land that would be too expensive for him to develop.  For many years we and a neighboring farmer grew things there.  I don't think he ever charged the farmer for using it.  So for years the land sat there with no prospects to sell or develop it.  And he still had to pay the taxes every year.
          Then suddenly a developer purchased some adjoining land and offered to buy dad's land,  In the Lord's perfect timing, this was the same time when our church was purchasing another property for our new church.  Dad was able to work out a deal to give his land to our church who then was able to sell it to the developer.  So this land which once belonged to our denomination provided a considerable gift to help get out new church started. Neither he nor I received anything from this sale, but dad was thrilled with the knowledge that after many years this "investment " could return to the Lord's work.
          Dad also taught me the importance of being faithful in attending the Lord's house.  Whenever the doors of the church were open, we were there.  I still remember when I was on little league baseball and football teams dad would pull up at 7 pm and I had to leave with my family to attend prayer meeting.  I now realize that dad knew that I would never be a star player, but he did know that I could become a man of God.  And today I thank him for doing that.
          But I guess one of the biggest lessons I learned from dad came with his experience at RCA.  He worked there for many years.  As a manager he was going through a process of laying off people in his department.  This was hard for him to do.  And after completing that process, when he walked in one Friday he was told that his job also was being eliminated.  He had to pack his possessions and immediately leave the plant.  While this was very hard on my mother, dad accepted it as the Lord's will.  He never complained but went about finding other jobs.  He did things like substitute in schools, complete income tax forms for people and a variety of other things.  He never missed a day of work.  Finally the Lord opened up a job as plant manager for the Osteopathic  Hospital.  Dad trusted the Lord and the Lord never failed him.  What a testimony that was for me.
          I could write much more about dad and his walk with the Lord throughout his life.  I was blest to have such a godly father who was a real example to me.  And I still miss him.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Thinking of Retiring?


          Are you looking forward to retirement?  Well some folks never retire.  General Douglas MacArthur understood this when he famously stated, "Old soldiers never die, they just fade away."  That might be true for five-star generals, but here are some things that happen to others as they age.

* Golfers never retire, they just lose their drive.

* Lumberjacks never retire, they just pine away.
* Accountants never retire, they just lose their balance.
* Bank managers never retire, they just lose interest.
* Vehicle mechanics never retire, they re-tire every day.
* Roofers never retire, they just wipe the slate clean.
* Engineers never retire, they just lose their bearings.
* Beekeepers never retire, they just buzz off.
* Musicians never retire, they just decompose.
* Farmers never retire, they just go to seed.
* Watchmakers never retire, they just wind down.
* Academics never retire, they just lose their faculties.
* Painters never retire, they just put a gloss on it.
* Tree surgeons never retire, they just branch out.
* Old librarians never die, they just check out, become overdue, and lose their circulation.
* Old crossword puzzlers never die, they just go across and -- hopefully -- up.
* Old milkmaids never die, they just kick the bucket and lose their whey.
* Old plumbers never die, they just get out of sink and go down the drain.
* Old teachers never die, they just grade away and lose their principals, their faculties, and their class.
* Old math professors never die, they just go off on a tangent.
* Old mimes never die, they're just never heard from again.
* Old housemaids never die, they just return to dust.

(From "The Gift of Age" (c)2010 by Richard Lederer)

So what about you?  Why not leave me a comment to tell me what happens to those in your line of work?

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Change



        I grew up in the 50's, graduating from high school in 1959.  Those were good years and I have many great memories. But change happens and things have really changed since then.  Things that we never would have predicted or believed have happened and sometimes we forget all that has changed.  Well here are several comments that could have been made in the 50's.  Enjoy how things have changed.


          "If they raise the minimum wage to $1, nobody will be able to hire outside help at the store."          "Who would have thought gas would someday cost 50 cents a gallon."
          "Pretty soon you won't be able to buy a good 10 cent cigar."
          "Did you see where some baseball player just signed a contract for $75,000 a year just to play ball? It wouldn't surprise me if someday they'll be making more than the president."
          "Do you suppose television will ever reach our part of the country?"
          "I never thought I'd see the day when all our kitchen appliances would be electric. They are even making electric typewriters now."
          "It's too bad things are so tough nowadays. I see where a few married women are having to work to make ends meet."
          "Did you know the new church in town is allowing women to wear slacks to their service?"
          "Next thing you know is, the government will start paying us not to grow crops."
          "There is no sense going to Philadelphia or New York anymore for a weekend, It costs nearly $15 a night to stay in a hotel."
          "No one can afford to be sick any more, $35 a day in the hospital is too rich for my blood."
          "If a few idiots want to risk their necks flying across the country that's fine, but nothing will ever replace trains."
          "I don't know about you but if they raise the price of coffee to 15 cents, I'll just have to drink mine at home."
          "If they think I'll pay 50 cents for a hair cut, forget it. I'll have my wife learn to cut hair."
          "We won't be going out much any more. Our baby sitter informed us she wants 50 cents an hour. Kids think money grows on trees."

         Interesting.  Now I wonder what comments we are making now that we will laugh at  60 years from today.  What do you think?

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Time


          Time - something that we all wish that we had more of ... something that passes too quickly the older we get.  If you are like me, you often reflect upon the past and wonder where all the years have gone.  I look at my boys and my grandchildren and wonder how they can really be that old.  And how can I really be this old?  My how time flies!
         William Penn is said to have remarked, "Time is what we want most, but what we use worst."  Benjamin Franklin said, " Lost time is never found again."  Then it was Dr. Seuss who remarked, "How did it get so late so soon? It's night before it's afternoon.  December is here before it's June.  My goodness how the time has flewn.  How did it get so late so soon?"
        A Denis Waitley said, "Time is an equal opportunity employer.  Each human being has exactly the same number of hours and minutes every day.  Rich people can't buy more hours.  Scientists can't invent new minutes.  And you can't save time to spend it another day.  Even so, time is amazingly fair and forgiving.  No matter how much time you've wasted in the past, you still have an entire tomorrow."  And Tom Bennett has added, "Don't waste time in anger, regrets, worries and grudges.  Life is too short to be unhappy."
         Recently I was going through some items from by Grandpa Wolf's time as a pastor.  I came upon an old copy of "The Evangel", a monthly publication that he produced when he was pastor at the Emmanuel Bible Fellowship Church in Sunbury.  This one was dated February, 1965.  The front page included the poem "There's Time" by a Priscilla Leonard.


Life is never so short
But there's time for a song
To hearten the hours
As they hurry along:
Through the dark and the day
Its brave music can rise,
No matter how swiftly
Each winged second flies.

Life is never so short
But there's time for a deed
Of courtesy gentle
Of kindness in need:
Along the thronged highway
Where multitudes press
Each moment brings chances
To help and to bless.

Life is never so short
But there's time for a word
Of trust and of courage
Faint hearts to upgird;
Through the rush of the mart,
Through the din of the fray,
Hope finds ever its moment,
Faith conquers its way.


          So take some time in your day today to enjoy a good song, to do a good deed for somebody and to do something to encourage a "faint heart".  What a good use of our time that would be.

         A Michael Phillips has said, "The best things are never arrived at in haste.  God is not in a hurry.  His plans are never rushed."    Those thoughts remind me of one of my favorite choruses.  Meditate on these words.
1.   In His time, in His time,
He makes all things beautiful in His time.
Lord please show me every day
As You're teaching me Your way
That You do just what You say
In Your time.


2.   In Your time, in Your time,
You make all things beautiful in Your time.
Lord my life to You I bring 
May each song I have to sing
Be to you a lovely thing 
In Your time.

You can listen to this chorus here.    LISTEN