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.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Prayer for 2015

           As we come to the end of 2014, I want to share my prayer for the future.  I don't make resolutions, but this old hymn states my desires for the future and it is my prayer.  Actually I am sharing the blog that I've written for my hymn blog.  It appeared there on December 28.  I think the hymn should be shared with my readers on both blogs as we approach 2015.  Here is what I have written for that blog:

         Traditionally, when January 1 rolls around, many people make resolutions for the coming year.  Quite often they are about health goals, financial goals, work goals, recreational goals or even family goals.  But what about spiritual goals?  I think that this hymn would make a tremendous goal or prayer for each of us for the coming year.  The Bible teaches us that God's goal for His people is that they "become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ"  (Ephesians 4:13).  Christlikeness is much more than a religious profession or visits to church.  It is a total way of life, a total commitment.  The words for this hymn/prayer were written by Thomas Obadiah Chisholm (1866-1960).  Chisholm was born in a log cabin in Kentucky.  He educated himself and became a school teacher at the age of 16.  By the age of 21 he was an associate editor of his local newspaper. After he was born again, as a believer at age 27, after hearing his mentor, Dr. Henry Clay Morrison, at a revival service, he penned the words of "Oh, To Be Like Thee".  He knew, as a new believer, how his life compared to God's, and so he called out to Him. Chisholm's words show the zeal of this new Christian, as he sought the character traits of Jesus, not merely to admire them, but to shape himself. Later the words were put to music by William James Kirpatrick.  Thomas' physical condition would be a challenge in the period following the hymn's publication in 1897, as he pursued being editor of the Pentecostal Herald in Louisville and then ordained ministry. Both of these efforts were suspended because of poor health. He must have wondered how his desire to serve and be like Jesus would be accomplished, as he was forced to abandon editing and preaching in pretty short order.  But throughout his life he kept writing poetry, ultimately authoring some 1,200 poems, including 800 that were eventually in print.  Probably his most famous hymn is "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" which he wrote when he was fifty-seven.  The words of these two hymns might be his personal diary.  He started his spiritual journey with the stated desire to be like Jesus.  And as he neared the end of his journey on this earth he proclaimed God's greatness and faithfulness.  What a testimony.  May this be our experience and testimony as well.  Why not begin 2015 by making it your prayer to be like Jesus in all that you do. "O to be like Thee! O to be like Thee!  Blessed Redeemer, pure as Thou art;  Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness; Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart".

1.  O to be like Thee! blessed Redeemer;
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I'll forfeit all of earth's treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
O to be like Thee! O to be like Thee!
Blessed Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

2.   O to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wand'ring sinners to find.
O to be like Thee! O to be like Thee!
Blessed Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

3.   O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer, others to save.
O to be like Thee! O to be like Thee!
Blessed Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

4.   O to be like Thee! Lord, I am coming,
Now to receive the' anointing divine;
All that I am and have I am bringing;
Lord, from this moment all shall be Thine.
O to be like Thee! O to be like Thee!
Blessed Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

5.   O to be like Thee! While I am pleading
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love.
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit for a life which Thou wouldst approve.
O to be like Thee! O to be like Thee!
Blessed Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

You can listen to it here.   LISTEN

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Have A Blessed Christmas!

     I almost decided to skip writing a Christmas blog because I was sure that my very few followers would be too busy to read it.  But then a friend shared a special feature with us on Facebook and I felt that this would be a perfect "gift" to share with you on this Christmas Day.   Please take time to watch and listen to all of it.  I hope you will be entertained but inspired as well.  Have a very blessed and happy Christmas Day!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

And the angels sang?

"Hark the herald angels SING, glory to the newborn King!".   Is that a true statement or having we been singing false theology for centuries?  Do angels sing?  It's a question I have been asking myself since I don't want to offend folks by choosing hymns for my weekly hymn blog that might not be theologically correct.

It appears that this question has been debated for many years and many folks are sure that they have the correct answer.  The problem comes with the interpretation of Luke 2:13-14 which informs us, "Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.'"  It appears that the angels here are shouting but not singing as many Christmas hymns seem to say.
Actually the Bible does not have very much to say about angels. I read that much of what people believe about angels today does not come from the Word of God but comes from the Middle Ages, with no scriptural foundation whatever.  It's interesting to note that angels as we know them today have been sent forth as ministering spirits (see Hebrews 1:5-14). We know so little about them and the little that we do know is the contact they've made with earth.
So called authorities and scholars have disagreed for centuries on other scriptures that could indicate that angels might sing, such as Job 38:7 and Revelation 5:11-13.  But the fact that the angels are worshipping and praising God in the Luke passage could seem to argue for singing as the meaning, not just speaking. God has created humanity with an innate connection to music and singing, especially in regard to worship (Ephesians 5:19).  So It might seem logical that God could have created the angels with that same "propensity" for singing.
Some disagree strongly.  The late Bible teacher Dr. J. Vernon McGee says, without any hesitation, "Well, hark, the herald angels don't sing! This Christmas carol that they sing has no scriptural proof at all. We can do something which angels cannot do, and that is sing." Maybe he is right.
Now while we don't want to promote ideas that are false or just tradition, maybe we also need to be careful on this question. Just because the Bible doesn't explicitly state that they did sing does not necessarily mean that they did not. Some who have even argued that angels do not or cannot sing at all must adequately address Job 38:7 and other passages that seem to support the idea that they can and have sung. Furthermore, there is no biblical or logical reason why they could not sing. Angels appear to be highly intelligent beings who are capable of speaking. Why would they be incapable of putting those words into song, especially since other beings in heaven sing (Revelation 5:9–14)?
Charles Wesley must have thought that they did sing when he penned the words of his long famous Christmas carol.  Was he wrong?  Even Charles Spurgeon, the famous nineteenth century preacher, waxed eloquent on singing angels: "And notice how well they told the story, and surely you will love them! Not with the stammering tongue of one who tells a tale in which he has no interest; nor even with the feigned interest of a man that would move the passions of others, when he feels no emotion himself; but with joy and gladness, such as angels can only know. They sang the story out, for they could not stop to tell it in heavy prose. They sang, "Glory to God on high, and on earth peace, good will towards men." I think they sang it with gladness in their eyes; with their hearts burning with love, and with breasts as full of joy as if the good news to man had been good news to themselves."  Interesting opinion.
But maybe a contemporary, Dr. David Jeremiah, sums it up the best.  "So are angels melodious, or tone-deaf? The Bible doesn't seem to care enough to clear it up for us. I guess we'll just have to wait and see! And while we're waiting, there are plenty of places where it encourages us to sing our praises to God!"  
Now what do we do with "heaven's arches rang when the angels sand," or "the world in solemn stillness lay to hear the angels sing." or "Ye who sang creation's story, now proclaim Messiah's birth," or "angels we have heard on high, sweetly singing o'er the plains," or "whom angels greet with anthems sweet," or "sing choirs of angels, sing in exultation, O sing all ye bright hosts of heaven above," or "heavenly hosts sing allelujah," or "hark the herald angels sing!"  I guess that is your choice.  Fortunately your opinion does not affect your destiny.  But I'd be glad to at least to hear what you think.  As for me, I will probably still sing ... or say them ... maybe I should try replacing "sing" with "said"... "Hark the herald angles said."
In any case, when we think about God's amazing gift of a Savior to mankind on that night, we should glorify and praise God, whether in spoken word or in song, just as the shepherds did on that incredible night after they had seen the newborn King.

Monday, December 15, 2014


            "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."   Isaiah 9:6.

This familiar scripture has been shared many times during the Christmas season and it reminds us of the many names and attributes of Jesus.  Likewise there are many names for God that describe His attributes.  If you are looking for a great personal Bible study theme for 2015, you might consider researching His names.
Names are important.  Sometimes they have a special meaning, such as many of those found in the Bible.  Sometimes they bring to our mind good and bad memories of people that we have met during our lives.  If nothing else, usually they are very important to the person who bears that name.
I must admit that one of my biggest weaknesses in life is remembering names and at times I feel very guilty about this since names are so important to people.  As a teacher I struggled to learn the names of my students each time I began a new class.  Some years I even took pictures of my students and reviewed them daily in an attempt to memorize their names.  This has been tough for me even though I know how important it is.  And I am glad that I am now retired, because the very unusual names being given to children today will be nightmares for their teachers tomorrow.  And many children will need to live all their lives with strange names that will be continually mispronounced and strange spellings that will seldom be spelled correctly.
Remembering names incorrectly or spelling them incorrectly can be very disappointing to the person with that name.  Throughout her life my wife has struggled with the fact that the majority of people, including close friends, continue to spell her name incorrectly as Diane rather than the correct Dianne.  They have seen her name so often on greeting cards and in other places, but they still spell it wrong.  I think 75% of the Christmas cards that she has received so far this year have the wrong spelling, even though most of them were prepared after having received, opened and read our Christmas letter - with the correct spelling.  This is especially true at our church where she is well known as the person who sends birthday cards to most people. We laugh about it now and expect it.  But it does continue to amaze us.  Unfortunately, her correct spelling just doesn't matter to most other people ... except her.
But fortunately her heavenly Father knows who she is and cares for her.  He doesn't make mistakes.  And when I think of those spelling her name incorrectly, I often think of a praise chorus that reminds us that He knows our name.  And that is important and I am sure our names are spelled correctly in the Lamb's Book of Life.

I have a Maker
He formed my heart
Before even time began
My life was in His hands
He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
And hears me when I call

I have a Father
He calls me His own
He'll never leave me
No matter where I go
He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
And hears me when I call

He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
And hears me when I call

          What a joy to realize and experience the truth of this great chorus.  If you don't know this chorus, you can listen to it here.  HE KNOWS MY NAME

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


          What would you do if you could be invisible?  That's an interesting question that was recently posed by the editorial staff of the LNP, the Lancaster daily newspaper.  How would you respond?   Now be careful, your responses might reveal quite a bit about you and what you really believe and think about.

          The newspaper printed responses from nine different people and they were very interesting and not always surprising.  A 25 year old male said that he would go swimming in the ocean because he has a terrifying unnatural fear of sharks.  He feels that there would be no way that the sharks would know he was there if he were invisible.  Interesting.  I wonder if you were invisible if you would still give off a scent.
          A 44 year old male said that he would observe big corporate business people in meetings to see if they were really doing the right things to benefit people.  Obviously he doesn't trust the corporate world and maybe he has good reason not to trust it.  Their bottom line is profit.  But if he didn't like what he heard, what could he do about it ... especially if he were invisible?  Would the media listen to a voice out of the air with no apparent source?
          Along a similar line, a 45 year old male said he would like to be in the war room of the White House during discussions of ISIS.  Now that sounds very interesting and with the recent lack of White House security you could probably do that, especially if you were invisible.
         A 48 year old man said that he would help save the city by just doing stuff nobody would see him doing.  Now that is an commendable answer but I wonder what he would actually do.  I'm not sure how anyone, visible or invisible, could repair the infrastructure and improve the financial status of city government.  But it would be worth a try.
          Then there were the answers that revealed more of man's real nature - getting something for nothing by breaking the rules.  A 23 year old female said that she'd probably go to see music all the time and get in free and just hang out in cool places that she typically wouldn't be able to.  Hmm, how honest is that?  By the way, if you were invisible would you get cold in a "cool" place?
          A 43 year old female said that she would sneak into a Steelers game.  Again - getting something illegally - for nothing.  If you are invisible would you be bothered by unruly fans who pelt you with beer?   And speaking of beer, a 45 year old male said that he would steal all the beer.  Wow, visible drunks are bad enough, but an invisible drunk?  By the way, if one was invisible, could you follow the beer as it travels through the body?  Now that would be an interesting sight!
          And then there were two more who gave the answers I anticipated ... getting something ... illegally ... for nothing.  A 24 year old female said she'd rob a bank.  She didn't see any other use of being invisible.  And a 22 year old female also said that she would rob a bank and never get caught.  Maybe this sinful activity is one which many of us would consider, but never admit publicly.  The scripture tells us that the heart is desperately wicked.  It is also interesting to note the ages of these two women.  Are they representative of that generation which has grown up without absolutes and moral standards?  I guess the sample size is too small to draw any conclusions like that, but I do find it interesting.
         Now we'll never get to be invisible but it might be more interesting to know what would happen if our hidden thought life would be shared publicly.  That might be very embarrassing.  But someday it will be shared.
          Knowing this, my daily prayer is that the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart would always be acceptable in the sight of God.   And that should be our desire ... no matter if we are visible ... or even invisible.

Friday, December 5, 2014

To Tell The Truth

There was a time when the Ten Commandments were taught, displayed and served as a model to most folks, even nonbelievers.   But times have changed and they have been removed from many locations.  And atheists continue to challenge them in court.  And this movement certainly appears to coincide with the growth and open displays of sin in our society.  One of the commandments that is openly violated is that we should not bear false witness - we should not tell lies. But public and government officials break this one quite regularly. However, too often believers do the same.  We like to call those sorts of lies "white lies".  But whether they are "white" or "black" they are violations of this commandment. Now sin is not funny and needs to be taken seriously.  However, some of the results of "white lies" have interesting consequences.  Here is a story that I recently read about a "white lie".  It may not be true, and while it might be funny, it should also make us think about what we say.

Alice was to bake a cake for the church ladies' group bake sale, but she forgot to do it until the last minute. She baked an angel food cake and when she took it from the oven, the center had dropped flat.  She said, "Oh dear, there's no time to bake another cake."  So, she looked around the house for something to build up the center of the cake. Alice found it in the bathroom ... a roll of toilet paper.  She plunked it in and covered it with icing. The finished product looked beautiful, so she rushed it to the church.
Before she left the house, Alice had given her daughter some money and specific instructions to be at the bake sale the minute it opened, and to buy that cake and bring it home.When the daughter arrived at the sale, the attractive cake had already been sold.  Alice was beside herself.
The next day, Alice was invited to a friend's home where two tables of bridge were to be played that afternoon.  After the game, a fancy lunch was served, and to top it off, the cake in question was presented for dessert.  Alice saw the cake, she started to get out of her chair to rush into the kitchen to tell her hostess all about it, but before she could get to her feet, one of the other ladies said, "What a beautiful cake!"
Alice sat back in her chair when she heard the hostess (who was a prominent church member) say, "Thank you, I baked it myself!"