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, June 30, 2012

Wicked Hearts

For months now the news has been filled with stories about Jerry Sandusky.  And, if you are like me, you are now sick of it and wish that we could just move on.  But we can't.  The trials and accusations will continue, probably for years.  The media continues to press the issues trying to blame everyone and tear down the university and the football program.  Many who have always hated Penn State and Joe Paterno continue to call for NCAA sanctions and even the "death penalty" which would result in the dropping of PSU football for years.  None or this makes any sense since Sandusky was not even an employee of the school or a coach when all of these sad events took place.  But many writers and announcers pour on their contempt for the school and the football program by spreading blatant untruths and nobody seems to challenge their lies and deceit.  I don't pretend to know where the fault, if any, at Penn State may lie nor if there was a cover-up. but I would agree with one thing that Governor "One-Term" Corbett just said when he admitted that it was originally very hard to collect evidence because of the outstanding reputation that Sandusky had around the nation. He was strongly admired for not only his coaching success but for the organization he had built to help thousands of underprivileged children.  He was very well respected, a model citizen to so many. Even today, many still can't believe what he has done.  And so I can understand that administrators, without any concrete evidence, would be very reluctant to make charges against him that probably couldn't be proven.  But it appears that many, whether it be right or wrong, are going to continue to face charges of cover-ups and improper actions.  And so, because of one man, many adults are dealing with the pain of sexual abuse, administrators are going to be charged and lose their jobs, an honest, admired man, Joe Paterno will have a tarnished image, Penn State's fine academic and athletic reputations will need to be rebuilt, and thousands will deal with the deep disappointment and shock of the entire situation. Many will bear the pain. And all of this is because of the sin of one man.  But we should be reminded that is was the sacrificial action of one man, the Lord Jesus Christ, that provided all of us with a way to deal with our sin.  And while we condemn the actions of Sandusky, we need to be reminded that we live in a world of sin where so many are infected with evil desires and sin actions - from the highest ranking officials and celebrities to those with nothing.  God's Word reminds us that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  I often picture a huge wall with loads of ladders of all sizes.  Some are longer than others.  But all fall short of the top.  Throughout this whole Sandusky scandal, I have often been reminded of the verse Jeremiah 17:9  "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"  Only the Lord knows our hearts.  And people often hide that wickedness until some event stirs them to react with the wickedness of their heart.  That's why our hearts need the transforming that only the Lord can provide. The verse which I most often pray to the Lord talks about those inner things that nobody but He can see.  Psalm 19:14  "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in they sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer."  Hopefully the Sandusky affair will one day be an event of the past but in the meantime may we live in complete dependence upon God and in His will.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Billions down the drain

Several weeks ago I wrote a blog about all of the waste in the election process.  In that blog I mentioned the vast sums that were raised to get a person elected.  I commented that this was so sad because of the huge national debt that we are growing.  If only folks, like the Hollywood movie stars, would join and raise support to bring down this debt that has become an anchor around our necks.  But little did I realize how bad this election spending really is.  Then Reader's Digest came out with an article outlining what is spent based on the president's present and past election drives.  To me it was so startling that I feel that I need to share some of the results with you.   Based on Obama's record-setting 2008 expenditures, here are some of the expected 2012 expenditures just for him.  Travel - $61 million, including $3 million for rental cars and $45 million for commercial flights and $5 million for private planes.  About $65 million will be spent on staff.  Then there is the $435 million spent for advertising.  And much of this will probably be negative.  $54 million will be spent on operations, that is for offices, rent and utilities, computer equipment, etc.  Oh yes, $400,000 of that will be to keep staffers and volunteers fed and caffeinated, and, of course, $35,000 for pizza.  Then there will be $30 million spent on fund-raising, including telemarketing, direct-mail firms, postage, etc.  And this will be used to fill our mailboxes with unwanted requests for money, not to mention the many calls that will interrupt our daily lives.  And you can't forget polling for $28 million.  Phone calls and focus groups to let us know before we even vote who will win.  And finally, $34 million with be spent on events. A  5,000 person rally will cost about $75,000.  And don't forget the $2,000 for portable toilets, including flushable units for the candidate and major donors.  So once again, Obama will spend over one billion dollars to get himself reelected.  But so will the Republican candidate.  That means over two billion dollars will be spent to get a president elected this year.  Wouldn't it be nice if we had two billion dollars to put towards the national debt?   But dream on.   But I guess there is a bright side to all of this.  the candidates will be putting two billion dollars back into the economy.  Or would this just balance out what is being taken out?  We need an economist to answer that question.  And it may finally add some jobs throughout the nation.  Maybe this is what Obama meant when he promised to add jobs to the economy.  But as I've said before, remember that poly means many and ticks are bloodsuckers.  So would that make politics many bloodsuckers?

Friday, June 22, 2012

200 Hymns

It was October 19, 2008 when I decided to create a weekly hymn blog.  I'm not sure why I did it except that it seemed like it might be fun.  Since then I've kept this blog going and I am astonished by the results.  While this personal blog is only read by about 60 - 70 readers per week, the hymn blog now averages over 750 hits per week! By the end of June over 42,000 visits will have been made to that blog. I have trouble comprehending that so many people would choose to visit it each week.  And on June 24 I will post my 200th hymn on that blog.  Now I don't receive many comments on these weekly entries, but many that I have received have been very interesting.  Here are a few samples. On "Master The Tempest Is Raging", Betty said, "Thanks for your blog. It's a blessing to me. I was looking for the lyric of the song which our women's group will be singing for Mother's day. I'm excited about it because it means a lot to me. Growing up in Africa with my grandmother, we lived in a slum like area and it would rain for days. We wouldn't be able to leave our bed because our home was filled with water. My grandmother, a devoted Methodist, would sing this song in Kru, a Liberian dialect. And since then when I hear or sing it, it reminds me of faith in Christ in the midst of any storm. Be blessed and continue the good work." On "Since Jesus Came Into My Heart" by Rufus McDaniel, Tania said, "Thank you for posting the background information, I am his Great-Great Granddaughter and had no idea he wrote hymns. I stumbled upon this article by accident."  On "Your Faithfulness", anonymous said, "Amazing. God is truly amazing. When darkness overwhelms everything and even if it seems that all things are nonsense, one thing we must hold on: GOD IS FAITHFUL AND WILL BE FOREVER FAITHFUL."  On "All Hail The Power",  Tammy Jost said, "Thanks for the post on another great hymn. I grew up singing it and then sang another version of it when I was singing with a trio in Bible School. I hadn't heard the background of it before. This is such a special blog. Thanks again."  On "I Shall Know Him", Barbie Shadrick said, "thank you for posting a blog about hymns. Sometimes, when I can't pray for despair or sadness or maybe even sin, I begin to sing. I find that hymns have a soothing ointment for my heart. After I sang the hymn, using each verse as a prayer or praise, I find that I can begin to pray and read His word with peace and even joy. Today, I looked for the song, 'I Shall Know Him', and found this page. You have been a blessing to me, thank you."   On "Wonderful Name He Bears", anonymous said, "Hi. I have been singing this particular hymn since I was a little girl. My aunt actually paid me to sing it at an Easter program because I was so scared to sing in front of people. Today I am almost 50 and my 11 year old niece wants to learn the words so that she can sing it in her church. You are so right, the words are very very touching. I know your blog is old, but I just found it today and it was right on time."  For the same hymn, John Cochrane said, "I remember singing this hymn in sunday school way back in the late fifties and early sixties and have never forgotten it. The sunday school was in the town of Sawtell NSW Australia run by the late Mr Tom E. Towel. A wonderful hymn of praise to our wonderful Lord."  On "It Will Be Worth It All", Terri said, "I also did a google search to encourage a sister in Christ through her trials and found this blog. Perfect!" .  And Karen added, "thank you for the words that I have searched for and not found in several hymn books. Our ladies Bible study is working through 1 Peter and our fellowship is teaching end times. This song is so appropriate. A letter from a missionary today reminded me of that song and I finally found it on your site. We will sing and rejoice tonight." And those are just a sampling of the comments that I have received.  I admit that most times when I go to write I ask myself why am I continuing to do this.  But comments like these make me realize that there is a need for such a blog.  People do miss the old hymns and they do still minister to people's needs.  I never anticipated that this blog would be such an avenue of ministry and I am humbled by the response. And, Lord willing, I will start working on the next one hundred!

Monday, June 18, 2012


Fifty-three years ago I graduated from Warwick High School in Lititz as part of the third class to graduate from that new district.  Since then my brother and sister and two nephews also graduated from Warwick and my father served as president of the Board for several years.  But last week my grandson, Josh, graduated with honors and I had the privilege of returning and attending.  As a former educator I have attended about 40 graduation ceremonies since my high school graduation.  A few were held outside but many were in hot, sweaty, uncomfortable gymnasiums.  However, Josh's was in the comfortable Calvary Church with its padded seats and air conditioning.  That made it easier to enjoy a service that went two and a quarter hours to graduate 356 seniors.  Incidentally, Penn Manor graduated 453 in just an hour and three quarters.  Schools could take lessons from Penn Manor which has learned how to run an efficient ceremony.  The Warwick ceremony had many very nice touches.  The band played two great numbers during the prelude.  Unfortunately most of the audience behaved as they do during church preludes - they talked, laughed and made it hard to listen.  The school board members, seated on the platform, set a poor example by talking and laughing along with the audience.  That was sad.  The entrance of the graduates was impressive since they entered from the balcony, down the open stairways on both sides of the auditorium, and through the aisles to their seats in the front middle sections.  That was a great touch.  The graduates and audience were fairly well behaved during the long program but there was the usual cell phone ringing, crying kids, air horn, and several beach balls (these were quickly confiscated by faculty members).  I was impressed by the fact that 80% of the class will be continuing their education and they earned more than a million dollars in scholarships.  I thought it was unusual that various groups were recognized, in addition to the school's honor students.  These include honor students in French, Spanish and I think German, a few organizations which I didn't recognize, students who attended Career and Technology Centers (formerly Vo-Tech) and members of student council.  This could have been done at an awards program to save time.  And where were the math, science, history, English, and music honor students?  I guess the languages were more important.  The four class officers played a prominent role in the ceremony.  They congratulated each graduate and then received their diplomas last.  The president closed the program by speaking to his class members.  This was a very nice touch.  I was class president my junior and senior years and my name didn't even get listed in the bulletin.  Another interesting touch that took up much time was having the senior homeroom teachers announce the names of their students as they came to get their diploma.  In several cases the students first went to hug the teacher before going to receive their diploma.  However, it was interesting that six or eight of the homeroom teachers weren't there.  I guess their contract didn't call for them to get any extra pay for participating.  Maybe I am being tough on them, but I worked with high school teachers for 39 years and I know how some of them think.  But it was a nice touch for those teachers who attended.  Now the one complaint I have about this ceremony is the same one that I have about all of them.  I've now attended over 40 graduation services and I can't recall a single point from any of the hundred plus speeches that I heard.  I guess the student speeches are traditional and can't be dropped.  But why must the high school principal, the superintendent and the school board president need to speak?  Cut them out and you save 20 - 25 minutes from the long program and nobody will even miss them.  Anything they do say is usually forgotten within 24 hours.  Now if I was ever asked to speak what I think I would do is bring three balls and try to juggle them.  I would say this is what life is like, now get your butts out of here into the real world, get a job, earn a living and pay your taxes so that we can keep this education cycle going.  Short and sweet - might be remembered a little longer.  But I will never get that opportunity ... fortunately.  Oh yes, congratulations Joshua.  We are proud of you and will keep praying for you.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

It's My Birthday

June 14 is my birthday.  But those of you who know me will say that I must be losing it.  My birthday is really April 6.  Yes, April 6 is my first birthday, my physical birthday, and this year I turned 71 on that day.  But June 14 is my second birthday, my spiritual birthday.  And on June 14 I will celebrate my 67th birthday in the family of God.  For you see, I was only four years old when my Aunt Ellen, who we visited last week in Wisconsin, led me to the Lord.  Now I will admit that I knew little about Biblical theology at that time, but I do know that I knew that I was a sinner and that Christ died for my sins.  And in childlike faith I accepted His precious gift of salvation at that time.  And over the years I have learned much more about that gift and I have grown in the Lord.  But nothing has changed the assurance that I received as a youngster that I was now in God's family and nothing could take that gift away from me.  But there are critics out there who don't believe that a child can be saved.  It is sad to hear that argument because Christ himself welcomed the children and talked about childlike faith.  But as we get older and think we are more intelligent we try to make this decision so much more difficult.  We debate the theology of salvation.  We set up our own standards and we often even judge those who believe they are saved.  And at times our so-called wisdom may just build up obstacles for others. In reality, it is so simple that a child can make this decision yet so profound that outside of God's mercy and grace it can't be explained. I guess my experience and the experiences of many others is one of the reasons so much of my life has been devoted to reaching children.  I started helping to teach children in a Good News club in junior high.  In senior high I was teaching Sunday School and then leading the youth department.  In college I worked in DVBS's.  Later I became Sunday School Superintendent.  Then for 25 years we had a family ministry, traveling weekly to present about 100 programs a year for parents and children.  In the summers we would lead an average of six summer rally Bible Schools.  Then it was Awana and for 30 years we have worked in that special ministry to reach children with the Gospel of Christ.  Now if you tell me that children can't be reached for the Lord, then that will contradict what I have personally seen happen in all of these years of ministry to children.  And it will tell me that the decision that I made 67 years ago means nothing.  But that will never happen because the presence of the Lord in my life all of these years is the best proof that I need that children can be saved and their lives can be changed.  For it is still very real to me.  As Jesus said, don't prevent the little children to come to Him for of such is the kingdom of God.  Yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so!

Sunday, June 10, 2012


We just returned from a week in Wisconsin.  It was a great trip because we were able to spend time with a special uncle and aunt who are in their mid 90's. My aunt led me to the Lord as a youngster and both of them stood with my parents when they were married.  In addition, we had a wonderful chance to spend time with my cousin Nancy and her husband Bill who run Honey Rock Camp which is part of Wheaton College's program.  We also loved northern Wisconsin with its many lakes and woods and beautiful scenery.  This was our third visit there and we'd love to return.  And since we had been there before I didn't really rely on maps because I generally knew where we were going.  However, we were surprised when our rental car included a GPS.  We had never used one before.  Where we travel we generally know where we are going and so purchasing one is an expenditure which we have never made.  But we really enjoyed using it on this trip and it did help us around a few detours.  Then the next to last day that we were in Wisconsin, we decided to visit Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison.  We had been there two years ago and were fascinated with its beautiful gardens.  Even though I thought I knew the way, I decided to use the GPS.  We had no problem getting there but on the way home I was sure it was taking us the wrong way.  It was taking us back by a different route that went through town rather than on the interstate.  So we finally stopped and tried to reprogram it.  And again it insisted that we were on the correct route.  At that point, without a map, I had no choice but to follow its directions, even though I was sure that I was correct.  But I wasn't correct - the GPS knew more that I did and we shortly reached our destination.  I should have trusted it instead of my own instinct.  Later, on the radio, I heard the old hymn "Have Thine Own Way Lord".  As I listened, the words reminded me of my recent GPS experience.  I wanted to go my way even though the GPS knew better than I did.  Isn't that the way we often treat the Lord?  He has a plan for us, He knows all of our ways, and He wants to guide us daily.  But often we think we know better and we act according to our will and wisdom and soon we are in trouble.  Fortunately, even in times like that, He is always there.  Maybe He needs to tell us "recalculating" to get our attention and get us back on the correct path.  So today as I recall my GPS experience I am reminded of the words of the hymn which say, "Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Thou art the Potter, I am the clay. Mold me and make me after Thy will, While I am waiting, yielded and still."   Now maybe I do need a physical GPS to help when I am driving, but I know that I do need to daily depend upon my spiritual GPS which is God's special gift.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Sacred Vows

We have just been invited by our newest neighbors to attend a picnic at their house later in June to witness them renew their marriage vows on their 20th wedding anniversary.  We are looking forward to that event to get to know them better, to encourage them in their married life, and to support the sacredness of marriage.  We have witnessed other couples do this, especially on their 50th anniversaries.  Now that is a very nice thing to do and I respect those who do it.  However, we have not chosen to do this because we feel that we remember and obey our vows daily and have done so for 50 years.  On June 2, 1962,  we were asked "Do you take this one to be your true and wedded husband/wife and do you solemnly promise before God and these witnesses to love, honor, cherish, obey, and protect her/him and her/him only ... and we have done that and will continue to do so.  I'd give my life for her if I had to.... to forsake all others ... I have honored that for 50 years ... and we said yes to that vow on our wedding day and we would never consider doing otherwise.  Then the vows continued ... to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer ... the poorer part came in the early days of our married life.  And while we had little then, they were good years as we sacrificed together and saw God work and provide.  All young couples should have to go through such challenging times to learn to depend upon the Lord, to grow closer to God and closer to each other. What precious memories.  As far as the richer, I doubt that we ever experience what some call riches, no matter how many years we have together.  But when I look at what God has provided for us (see my June 2 blog) I realize that even if I had all the money in the world, I couldn't be richer than I am now. ... in sickness and in health ... and we have experienced both.  From kidney stones to cancer, from biopsies to a variety of tests, from feeling lousy to feeling great ... to love, cherish and obey .... not difficult at all .... till death do us part.  I think the worst thing in life is the death of a long time spouse. I can't even imagine the pain and loss that widows and widowers face.  It is something that you wish would never happen.  But, unless the Lord returns first, it is an experience that couples can't avoid.  And if both know the Lord then all one can ask for is the very special peace and comfort that only the Lord can provide in those times of deep sorrow and hurt.  Now I know it is an old fashioned idea, but I believe that a vow made before God and other witnesses is sacred and must be kept.  Unfortunately, more and more couples today never get over caring only about their own personal needs and sacred vows mean very little.  They are just another formality to be forsaken if and when it becomes convenient.  Oh may more couples realize the sacredness of making and keeping marriage vows before the Lord. And so, as we begin our second 50 years together, I don't feel the need to have a special ceremony to renew these vows.  But, I do feel the need to live them out everyday - or 24/7 in today's jargon.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

50 Great Years!

So much to smile about
50 years sounds like a long time.  A half century sounds even longer.  But to me, the past 50 years of married life have gone by so quickly.  And I would not trade them for anything.  Dianne and I were brought together by the Lord who has guided us with His faithfulness and presence.  We may be unusual because in 50 years we have never had a major disagreement or fight.  On our honeymoon the Lord gave us Psalm 92:13, "Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God."  We have tried to follow those words for 50 years and we rejoice in God's goodness.  Now how do you describe 50 years?  Well let me make an attempt by listing 50 things for which I am especially thankful.  1-3  are Craig, Ken and Tim, our three sons.  They love and serve the Lord and are great fathers.  What more could we want?   4-6 are Kisha, Sandy and Wendy, our three daughter-in-laws.  We love them like daughters and thank God for them.  7-13 are Zach, Josh, Taylor, Noah, Chloe, Lexie and Brodie, our seven grandchildren.  All have asked the Lord to be their Savior.  14 -17 would be our parents.  All four loved the Lord and modeled Him to us.  All four are now with Him in heaven. 18 would be our extended family.  We have been blessed with grandparents, uncles and aunts, brothers and sisters, in-laws, cousins and nephews and nieces who love the Lord.  19.  Friends - we have been blessed with numerous friends who have enriched our married life over 50 years.  Many of them are now in heaven.  20-23 would by the four homes that we have lived in.  Each were special provisions with special stories about them. The present one has now been our home for almost 42 years.  24-25 Two estates settled, at the same time.  I'm not sure that I ever want to be an executor again but we learned much and saw so many special answers to prayer during that time.  26 - My special job as a teacher/administrator for 39 years.  Few people can stay that long at one place and say that they enjoyed it all.  It was God's special provision to us and a definite answer to prayer when I had to choose from four job offers nearly 50 years ago.  27 - Many part-time jobs over the years that supplemented a teacher's salary and enabled Dianne to stay at home and be a full-time mother.  These included writing questions for Educational Testing Service, teaching adult ed, doing homebound instruction, coaching, working for the Sunday News for 25 years, Books In Print editorial staff. chief statistician for PIAA basketball play-offs for 25 years, Cherry Hill Orchards, software prep for ISC, consultant for an Addison Wesley geometry textbook and working with my wife for the Lancaster County Election Bureau for ten years.  28 - The opportunity for us to travel and visit 25 major cities in the U.S. and Canada as part of my job responsibilities.  This included speaking at five major national conventions.  29 - Having a family ministry for 25 years including and presenting almost 100 programs a year.  We won't know until heaven how many families were touched by the Lord, but we do know that it taught our boys many lessons and developed in them special strengths and skills which they use today.  30 - Over 40 years of ministry at Pinebrook working with children and music.  For most of those years it was a ministry in the summer but for the last ten it has been with hymn sings and retreats throughout the year.  31 - Multiple opportunities to serve, often side-by-side, for 50 years in our church.  This has included Sunday School (teachers, department leader, superintendent), music (piano, organ, solos, duets, choir, administration, Christmas Eve program leadership), adult Bible studies, elder and committees, prayer chain coordinators.  32 - Awana.  What can I say about the opportunity to lead for 30 years, to minister to children, and to provide training for adults.  Together we have now completed all three levels of Awana college training in Hershey, Pittsburgh and Chicago.  These years with this great program have been very special.  33 - 50 represent 18 operations and procedures under anesthesia.  They include numerous biopsies, only one of which has shown cancer.  In addition there have been many dozens of other tests.  But through all of this we thank God for the health and life that He has given us.  We don't know what lies ahead, but God is faithful and He goes before us.  So there are 50.  I could easily list another 50.  We just say, thank you Lord for 50 great years together.  Our desire is to continue to live for Him and to serve Him here on earth as long as He gives us the health and strength to do so.  And, by the way, 50 years goes faster than you can imagine.  So use your today to live for Him.