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.

Friday, October 31, 2008

We Just Missed It

Tuesday night we just missed it .... and we are glad that we did.  I had a late afternoon doctor appointment and I suggested that since it was late that we should go out for supper.  So we went to T.G.I.Fridays at Park City because I had a gift card to use there.  We were seated at the window where we could observe the mall, right across from the Susquehanna Bank.  We enjoyed the view of the shoppers, had a nice meal, and then headed home.  The next morning we were surprised to hear on the radio that a gang had jumped some other young men in the mall, right outside where we had been seated.  One of the men was stabbed in the leg and another beaten severely.  It happened while diners watched through the window, apparently shortly after we had left to go home.  That was a little too close and I'm glad we missed it.   Lancaster has changed dramatically.  It is no longer the quiet country town that many remember.  You don't see Amish everywhere you look.  Crime, drugs, shootings are now very common.  The population has changed and the racial make-up is radically different.  Some of my best memories are of the years that we lived in the city, on Queen Street, just five blocks from the square.  As an elementary age youngster, I was able to safely walk anywhere in the city or downtown without any fear.  I loved to go through the stores downtown after school.  But that was almost 60 years ago.  Now I would never walk alone in some of those areas when it was dark. And there are even areas I would avoid during the day.  But Lancaster isn't alone with this problem.  With home invasions, robberies, and crime growing, I'm not even sure about walking alone in some areas of Millersville at night.  Sin surely has changed the world that we live in.  What a shame for all of us and especially for our children and grandchildren.   But we can rest in the promise that God is preparing a new home for us in a place where there will be no more crime or fear.  It is a home beyond our imagination.  And someday, hopefully very soon, He will come to take us there.  And that's an event that you won't want to miss.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It's All About Money

Baseball and the World Series used to be special.  In October, kids would rush home from school and their fathers would take off early from work to watch the Series.  Even some teachers allowed kids to watch while in school.  Great games, great memories.  But this tradition has all changed because of one thing - money.  It started when player salaries exploded causing teams to pay huge amounts to attract players.  This put the cost of a game and concessions out of the reach of many families.  Players have lost their loyalty to a team and now move from team to team for huge amounts of money.  Then TV got involved and World Series games had to be played at night - even in cold weather - because they got more money for night games.  Then they added more commercials (like Cialis and Viagra - explain that to your elementary age kids - well I guess the games are now too late for those kids to stay up and watch anyway), extending the length of the games making them go into the early morning hours on the east coast.  And then they make the games start even later - like tonight - when Obama has offered each network one million dollars for his half-hour advertisement at 8 p.m.  Money, money, money!  And baseball cooperates as Obama buys his way into the White House.  Then there was the debacle of Monday night when they played in horrendous, dangerous conditions until Tampa Bay tied the score - then they suspended the game. That game should never have been started and should have been stopped before the weather allowed Tampa to tie the game.  I think Major League Baseball actually hopes Tampa Bay wins the nest two games so that the series goes seven games instead of five.  And with the suspension from Monday, they may now actually have an historic eight games.  Again, money, money, money.  Of course TV and MLB are worried about the prospect of playing Friday night since there are so many high school football games then and their audience might be reduced.  So baseball is now a major business and MLB and TV rake in the money.   And many of us still watch.  But, if the Phillies weren't involved, this is one former fan who would not be watching this year - the Series nor Obama.  My hope is that the Phillies can pull it off tonight and then MLB and TV may say "Ouch"!

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Mistakes - we all make them, we all live with them.  How many have you made today?  Sometimes mistakes cost us - like signing a contract to lock in on a heating oil contract then finding the price declines sharply.  Sometimes they are inconvenient - like making a wrong turn while driving.  Sometimes they are embarrassing - like giving a wrong answer on a test.  Sometimes they are funny - you better be able to laugh at yourself.  Unfortunately, sometimes are mistakes hurt others.  Within the past 15 hours I saw several glaring mistakes on TV.  In World Series game three, the umpire called a runner safe at first when replays showed the runner was definitely out.  Replays, which don't count in baseball, clearly showed the umps mistake, but the call couldn't be reversed and corrected.  His mistake allowed Tampa  Bay to begin a two-run rally and almost cost the Phillies an important victory.  Of course, the players also made several key mistakes or errors.  Then in the Eagles game this afternoon, the Falcons were just six points behind and with about three minutes left in the game made a defensive stop forcing the Eagles to punt.  The punt returner jumped away from the falling punt but the refs ruled it a muff, giving the ball back to the Eagles.  Replays clearly showed it should have been the Falcons ball, but their coach had used all his time outs and wasn't able to officially challenge the call.  The ball wrongly went to the Eagles who then scored a final touchdown to seal, or should I say steal, the victory.  I'm an Eagles fan, but the call was wrong and probably cost the Falcons a victory.   Mistakes!   But isn't it great that we can serve a God who never says "oops".  He is all knowing, all powerful, faithful and in control.  And Deuteronomy 32:3, 4 should be our response.  "I will proclaim the name of the Lord.  Oh praise the greatness of our God!  He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just.  A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He."  So remember, He is God and we are not. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

E-mail Addresses

A few days ago I received an e-mail with instructions for my job as an election clerk - in Fairfax County, Virginia.  It told me when to report, what to do, and told me that I would receive $50 for working half a day at the polls in November.  I replied that I could not afford to drive there for just $50 and that I was already serving as Judge of Elections here in Pennsylvania.  I also suggested that they check their e-mail address.  Every few weeks I receive messages like this for somebody else - get well wishes, announcements, bills, shipment notices, plans to visit us, etc.  Once I even received someone's password for a porn site.  Then, a few hours later, I received an e-mail from this guy's wife telling the husband that she was looking forward to being with him tonight.  So, I passed the information about the site on to her.  I often wonder what happened after she received it.  All of these wrong e-mails come to me because somebody forgot to add a required number or a letter to DBLK.  And, what a difference that missing letter or number makes.  That reminds me of one of my favorite stories.  A couple from Minneapolis decided to go to Florida for a long winter weekend to thaw out.  They planned to stay at the same hotel where they spent their honeymoon 20 years ago.  Because both had jobs they found it difficult to coordinate their travel schedules.  It was decided that he would fly to Florida on Thursday and his wife would join him on Friday.  Upon arriving, the husband sent his wife an e-mail back to her in Minneapolis.  But he missed a letter in her address and didn't realize his error.  In Houston, a widow had just returned from her husband's funeral.  The husband had been a minister for many years and was called home to glory after a heart attack.  The widow checked her e-mail for messages.  Upon reading the first one, she fainted.  Her son rushed into the room, found his mother on the floor, and saw the message on the computer screen.  It read,  To: My Loving Wife   Subject: I've Arrived.  I know you are surprised to hear from me.  They have computers here now and you are allowed to send e-mails to loved ones.  I've just arrived and checked in.  Everything is prepared for your arrival tomorrow.  Looking forward to seeing you then!  Hope your journey is as uneventful as mine was.  P.S.  It sure is hot down here!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

God Will Make A Way

Today the application of my pastor's sermon was an important reminder to me.  At times we all need such reminders.  Concluding the story of Esther, pastor reminded us that there weren't any coincidences in the story of Esther and there aren't coincidences in the lives of believers.  God is in control.  He knows all things before they happen, whether those things are in our lives, the lives of other believers, or even in the life of our country.  Sometimes problems and trials seem to come at us in waves, one after another. I guess that recently I've felt somewhat battered by the waves of bad news and unexpected problems.   In fact, on Friday night, after having received some very bad news, I had trouble sleeping and at times even trouble praying while I tossed and turned throughout the night.  Then, early in the morning, I heard one of my favorite Christian artists, Janet Paschal, sing a favorite song, by Dan Moen, with the reminder that I needed at that moment.  It's based on the story of the Israelites facing the Red Sea with the enemies closing in from behind.  "Must have felt strange to end up stranded between an army and the sea.  They must have felt forsaken wondering why God wasn't all He said He'd be.  When your back's against the wall, it's the hardest place of all. But somewhere between provisions and impossibility - God will make a way, when there seems to be no way.  Forever He is faithful. He will make a road when you bear a heavy load.  I know, God will make a way ... When a wall of circumstances leaves you crying in the night, and you struggle til your strength is almost gone.  God will gently hold you in the shelter of His heart and carve a road for you to carry on. So carry on. God will make a way, when there seems to be no way.  Forever He is faithful.  He will make a road when you bear a heavy load. I know, God will make a way."  So if today the waves seem overwhelming, remember, there are no coincidences.  God is in control and He will make a way.  So carry on!   (Hear it now on You Tube)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Supporting Death

How do you defeat a presidential candidate who openly distorts the truth and gets away with it because of his charisma?  How can you run against him when he has twice the money to spend on false advertising because of his backing by Hollywood, TV stars, abortion supporters, the homosexual lobby, other special interest groups, and the national media?  What recourse do you have when it is not possible to refute publicly his distortions because the media is in his pocket?  Today I heard of another sad case of this distortion of the truth.  On Christian radio, several folks shed light on Obama's radical stance on abortion, detailing how he's voted multiple times against born-alive infant protection acts — even when such legislation was supported by the majority of his Democratic colleagues.   In 2001, he argued that he thought this born-alive infant protection act would overturn Roe v. Wade, and he voted against it in committee. He went on to be the sole senator to speak against it on the senate floor two years in a row.  Over the course of three years, he voted against this bill four times.   Effectively, he voted to prohibit to withhold critical treatment from any child born after a botched abortion test if the child had any physical disabilities.  This is the same Obama who even voted against the partial birth abortion ban.  Now, to make it worse, he claims - even in the debate - that he would never vote to withhold such medical treatment.  That is a lie,  the public records show otherwise.  Then, he supports negative ads which chastise McKain for daring to even bring up such a matter.  This is the same candidate who has promised to eliminate any restrictions on abortion, promote homosexual rights, and fight any attempts to define marriage as being between two adults of different sex.   There is much more I could say, but that is plenty for you to think about today.    His is a sick ultra liberal agenda and it appears that this country is now going to elect such a man.  I guess America may get what we deserve.  We have turned our backs on God as a country and now we - including many Christians - are being deceived by charisma.  How do we defeat this?  Pray and vote.   

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Cost of "Going"

Today I read the following interesting note.  A Hong Kong jeweler named Lam Sai-Wing built a bathroom in which almost everything is made of 24 karat gold: the toilet, the floor tiles, the mirror frames - even the chandelier. The only thing that's not all-gold is the ceiling, which is studded with 6,200 diamonds, pearls, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds. Cost to build: $3.5 million.  The high cost of "going"!  I'd be afraid to have visitors use it for fear that they might chip out and pocket one of those precious jewels.  Now we just recently remodeled two of our bathrooms, but we skipped the gold, diamonds, pearls, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds.  We did use plaster, wood, vinyl, chrome, corian, cast-iron, plastic, paint, and ceramic tile.   Cost to build:  Much less than Sai-Wing's.  And guess what, Sai-Wing's and our's both serve the same purpose.  And, we are very happy and satisfied with ours.  And, we don't need to worry about insuring or protecting our bathrooms or replacing golden fixtures when they wear out.  I am reminded of the admonition in scripture to not lay up for ourselves treasures on earth where moth or rust can corrupt them or thieves can break in and steal them.  But we are to lay up our treasures in heaven.  One day we will walk on streets of gold - a greater reality and hope than a bathroom of gold.  But it does make me wonder, do you think we'll have bathrooms of gold in heaven?  

Monday, October 13, 2008

Losing Weight

Most of us have been there - we step on the scale and the scale just doesn't cooperate with us.  Or, we put on our Fall clothing and everything seems to have shrunk from last year.  You know the routine.   We lose a few pounds one month and then put it all back, with a few more, the next month.  Oh well, it could be worse.  Did you know that a baby blue whale gains ten pounds per hour?  Now that should make you feel better about your weight gain, unless, of course, you feel like a baby blue whale.   Well if that news wasn't good enough for you, this might help.  I came upon an article that is titled, "Health Benefits Of Being Overweight".  Here is the article. "A new report suggests that being overweight is not as harmful as is commonly believed, and actually confers some surprising benefits.  Being five to ten pounds overweight could protect people from ailments ranging from tuberculosis to Alzheimer's disease, research indicates. Those carrying 15 to 25 extra pounds are better able to recover from adverse conditions such as emphysema, pneumonia, and various injuries and infections, states the report. Thirty to forty pounds of flab could help fend off breast, kidney, pancreatic, prostate, and colon cancer. And an extra fifty pounds on the scale may improve eyesight, reverse baldness, cure the common cold, and reduce global warming.  In general, the report concludes, overweight people are happier, more successful in business, smarter, and friendlier."  Oh yes, the fine print.   "The study was funded by a research grant from McDonald's, Burger King, Jack in the Box, Taco Bell, Domino's Pizza, Starbucks, Haagen Dazs, Sara Lee, and Krispy Kreme."   Oh well, just enjoy another doughnut and have a great day! 

Friday, October 10, 2008

Greed, Greed, Greed!

Then He said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." Luke 12:15.   The past few weeks we have been affected by the devastating results of massive greed in our country.  It includes greed in the leaders of big companies who have used their power to build huge personal fortunes at the expense of honest handling of the investments of others.  It includes our congressmen in Washington who have used greedy, faulty decision making to protect their positions, their party, their power, and their empires at the expense of the country and the people they represent.  It includes those on Wall Street and leaders in corporate America who have schemed to get rich quick. They should be fined, stripped of their pensions, and thrown in jail, not bailed.  But greed has also colored the decision making of those like us from Main Street America.  Our "wanters" are out of control.  Recent generations have wanted everything ... and NOW - expensive houses, appliances and furniture, several fancy cars, technology, exclusive educations for their kids, club memberships, expensive meals and vacations, and the newest and best "toys".  And to feed their greed they have used credit cards, huge mortgages, and loans.  The average American has huge debts on several credit cards, gigantic and unreasonable mortgages, and no plan for paying any of this off.  They have fallen for the traps of advertisers - you must have this - everyone does, buy the most expensive one on time, buy now with nothing due until next year, or no down payment needed, use your credit card. They have no savings for emergencies or for retirement.  Now many stand to lose everything - unless, of course, the taxpayers (that's us) bail them out.  Could a world-wide bank be around the corner or maybe even a charismatic leader who promises change with programs to help everyone (I wonder who will pay for this)? Hmm, I wonder what the Bible says about this.  As a Christian, I would strongly suggest the following:  (1) Get on a strict monthly budget and stick to it;  (2) Make it a priority to work hard to get debt free (this includes churches with several million dollars in debt);  (3)  Ask the Lord to give you wisdom in handling your money and give your tithe to Him;  (4)  If you have credit card debt, tear up those cards now;  (5)  Determine what is really a need and what is a "want", as one family did as written in Reader's Digest; (6)  As the passage in Luke says, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed" in your life. And, one more suggestion, (7) Ask the Lord who you should vote for - the charismatic liberal spender from Chicago who is promising the average American everything, or the senator from Arizona who promises to cut spending and reform Washington.   These are very tough times that will affect us all - even those who are debt-free and conservative with their spending.  But God will honor His children who honor and worship Him by being faithful in handling their money according to Biblical principles.  He will provide for them all that they need - He always has ... and He always will ... in times of plenty ... and in times of deep need.   

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Poor Advertising

Earlier this week I was coming home from Park City when a little old lady - maybe my age - pulled out from a bank, right in front of me.  Fortunately I was able to hit the brakes to avoid hitting her.  I then had to follow her until we reached route 741.  Then, with no traffic in front of her, she took off going at least 55 mph in a 35 mph zone.  I quickly lost sight of her.  The interesting thing, however, was her huge bumper sticker.  It said JESUS, in very large letters.  It was either poor advertising or an acknowledgement that she really needed Him when she was driving.  That reminded me of another story which I read recently.  A man is being tailgated by a stressed-out woman on a busy boulevard. Suddenly the light turns yellow just in front of him. He does the right thing and stops at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection. The tailgating woman hits the roof, and the horn, screaming in frustration as she misses her chance to get through the intersection with him. As she is still in mid-rant, she hears a tap on her window and looks up into the face of a very serious police officer. The officer orders her to exit her car with her hands up. He takes her to the police station where she is searched, fingerprinted, photographed, and placed in a cell.  After a couple of hours, a policeman approaches the cell and opens the door. She is escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting officer is waiting with her personal effects. He says, "I'm very sorry for this mistake. You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping the guy off in front of you, and cussing a blue streak at him.  I noticed the "Choose Life" license plate holder, the "What Would Jesus Do" bumper sticker, the "Follow Me to Sunday School" bumper sticker, and the chrome plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk. Naturally I assumed you had stolen the car."  Oh yes, another case of poor advertising.  While we might laugh at that story, maybe sometimes we as Christians are guilty, too, of false advertising.  An old song says, "What you are, speaks so loud, that the world can't hear what you say.  They're looking at your walk, not listening to your talk, and judging from your actions everyday."  How good is your advertising? 

Monday, October 6, 2008

Style Watching

Today I spent time sitting and waiting in two doctors' offices and I had a chance to do one of my favorite things - people watching.  But today as I watched I couldn't help but notice the wide variety of clothing styles of the waiting patients.  There were some dressed in coats and ties (probably coming from work), more dressed informally, some in shorts (even with a frost warning declared), some in sweats, and even one farmer whose clothing looked like he just came from the fields.  We now see the same variety in church.  Now I admit, I don't wear ties to church anymore - 39 years of wearing them six days a week was enough.  But I still dress in my very best, informal clothing - I personally would feel uncomfortable coming to worship in anything less than that.  But not all folks feel as I do and they even come in gym shorts, short shorts, very short dresses, low necklines, sweat shirts, etc.  But at least they come and that is what church is all about. I think Jesus would accept them.  It appears that today anything is acceptable when it comes to dress.  Last week we attended a wedding where the same variety was evident.  At breakfast, in our motel, we met a man who was dressed in shorts with a t-shirt celebrating the NY firemen.  To me it looked appropriate for somebody who had just gotten out of bed to eat breakfast.   But seven hours later we were surprised when he came to the wedding dressed the very same way.  There were others dressed informally.  I wore a suit - and a tie!  Then there were the numerous "fashionable" young women who came in their formal cocktail dresses - very short skirts with extremely low necklines.  In fact several of the women there were joking that they were watching these women expecting that when they leaned over, "something" surely would pop out.   I admit, I was too embarrassed to look their way since I would have seen much more than I needed to see.  But today if you watch people, you will see a wide variety of dressing styles - as I said, anything goes.  A few days ago I read the following.  "In 2004 researchers at Odeon Cinemas determined that celebrities making appearances at awards shows and movie premieres expose an average of 59 percent of their skin. That's up from 39 percent in 1994. After scanning thousands of celebrity photographs and videos, they also determined that the least skin-flaunting decade was the 1970s, when stars showed off just seven percent. If the trend continues at this rate, the researchers say, movie stars will be completely naked by 2030." Unfortunately, based on our experiences at the wedding, I think this might happen much sooner than 2030, and it might not just be the movie stars!   

Saturday, October 4, 2008

America's Pastime?

They say that baseball is America's pastime.  And every October people gather around the TV to watch the baseball play-offs and then the World Series.  For fans of all ages - children through adults - it is a special time of the year, especially if your favorite team is involved.  I can remember watching games as a kid from the time we bought our first TV.  And so this season I've found my way to the TV to watch the play-off games which have run from 3 p.m. to late at night.  But this year I have been appalled - not at the games - but at the advertisements.  It used to be cigarette and beer commercials.  But that wasn't too bad because as a kid I knew that they were wrong.  But now one of the major advertisers of these games - even in primetime - is Viagra.  And the language is vivid - erections, sexual activity, etc. The pictures are very suggestive.  Now, tell me, how does a parent explain these ads to an elementary age child who is innocently watching the play-offs? And thousands do watch.  Call me a prude, tell me I'm conservative and old fashioned.  But, I think a very serious line has been crossed.  But what more should we expect in today's world?  And then there is also another question - why are the drug firms spending all this money on advertising?   When it is costing us about $5,500 for prescriptions a year, out of our pockets, not counting the cost of insurance, I'd rather see them reduce costs rather than spend millions on advertising.  But that is another topic for discussion.  Back to viagra.  At times I begin to question why we still have a television.  The so called situation comedy shows now are boasting about how many gays have their leads and their programs feature sexual content and immoral relationships, right in primetime.  I say that we keep it for the news and sports.  But the news has become so one-sided and liberal that it is getting hard to watch.  Just look at what the media is doing to destroy Sarah Pallin while they anoint the new messiah, Obama.  Now, if your children are watching, you have to even monitor the sports because of the advertisements.  I haven't yet joined the "no TV" crowd, but I understand where they are coming from.  I guess the Phillies, Eagles, Penn State and college basketball keep me watching.  The old days weren't always what we think they were, but at least TV then was clean and moral.   And I miss that.  Is America's pastime still baseball, or is it the glorification of sex?  

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Very Special Privilege

I just read an e-mail from my sister-in-law concerning two specific answers to her prayers that were part of my nephew's wedding on Friday.  What a special privilege we have to come into the presence of the Creator at any moment.  One of my favorite verses, memorized in KJV in Good News Club, over 55 years ago, says, "Call unto me and I will answer thee and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not" (Jeremiah 33:3). So often we experience not only answers to our prayers, but we also see God do abundantly more than we had even expected.  Sometimes those answers are seen very soon, sometimes it takes many years, and some answers we won't understand until we reach heaven.  It is a special privilege to share with Him both our needs and the needs of others, as we do daily, especially with the assistance of our church e-mail prayer chain.  It is also a special privilege to be able to take our needs to him - at any place and at any time. On Thursday afternoon and Friday night we had to drive in unknown territory, in heavy traffic, on the many lanes of major highways near New York City, often in driving rain. Several times I cried out to the Lord when I didn't know which lane to be in or what direction to go, with heavy traffic speeding dangerously all around us. But in every case, even when I thought it was hopeless, the Lord gave immediate answers and safety. Thankfully He wasn't on vacation, conducting a business transaction, or on a telephone call and He could answer immediately in my desperate time of need.  It is also a special privilege to be able to talk to Him and share our deep concerns when we can't even share them with anybody else ... those concerns which bring sleepness nights and dreary days.  He's always there. He's never on vacation, on sick leave or too busy.  And what a privilege is ours to adore Him, thank Him, and praise Him.  I am often reminded of the words of one of my favorite choruses - "Down at Your feet, O Lord, Is the most high place. In Your presence Lord, I seek Your face, I seek Your face. For down at Your feet O Lord, Is the most high place. In Your presence Lord, We seek Your face, We seek Your face. There is no higher calling, No greater honor, Than to bow and kneel before Your throne. I'm amazed at Your glory embraced by Your mercy, O Lord, I live to worship You." May that be your song as you come before Him today.