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, January 20, 2018

The "Good" Old Fifties


          I am a product of the 50's ...  let me qualify that, despite what you may think, the 1950's, not the 1850's.  Those were great years in my life.
          It was during those years that I gained a sister.  We built a new house.  We moved to Lititz.  I went to elementary school, junior high, senior high and college.  I learned to play the trombone and spent six years in the band. I learned to drive. I had my first jobs.  We started a new church.  I made many new friends.  We got our first television and I actually bought my own, for nine cents.  And I could go on and on - great memories.
          Those years were great years.  We didn't have to worry about terrorism or kidnappers.  It was safe to walk around town and visit friends, even at night.  We didn't need to lock our doors.  We could play pick-up basketball, baseball and football.  Television shows and music were clean and safe to watch and listen to.  Church services played a part in the lives of many people and schools made adjustments for Wednesday night church activities. Stores closed for several hours on Good Friday. Neighbors were friendly and helpful.  It was a different time.
          Recently I received a list of statements that might have been made by folks in those years.  Here are some for you to consider.
     * "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 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 Baltimore or Philadelphia 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."
          It is so interesting, and maybe even sad, that times have changed so drastically.  I wonder what similar thoughts people in your generation might have had when they were teens.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Happy New Year 2018


          Now I guess it is a little late to be sharing wishes for the new year, but somebody recently sent me a list of wishes that I would like to share with you.  I've never been into the "resolution" game for a new year, but this list might include some things that we should at least consider trying to do in the months ahead.  I know there are some, especially the last one, that I need to strive for.
          So read, enjoy, and apply what is needed,

          May you get a clean bill of health from your dentist, your cardiologist, your gastroenterologist, your urologist, your proctologist, your podiatrist, your psychiatrist, your plumber and the IRS.
          May your hair, your teeth, your face-lift, your abs and your stocks not fall; and may your blood pressure, your triglycerides, your cholesterol, your white blood count and your mortgage interest not rise.
         May New Year's Eve have found you seated around the table, together with your beloved family and cherished friends. May you have found the food better, the environment quieter, the cost much cheaper, and the pleasure much more fulfilling than anything else you might ordinarily have done that night.
          May what you see in the mirror delight you, and what others see in you delight them. May someone love you enough to forgive your faults, be blind to your blemishes, and tell the world about your virtues.
          May the telemarketers wait to make their sales calls until you finish dinner, may the commercials on TV not be louder than the program you have been watching, and may your check book and your budget balance - and include generous amounts for charity.
         May you remember to say "I love you" at least once a day to your spouse, your child, your parent, your siblings; but not to your secretary, your nurse, your masseuse, your hairdresser or your tennis instructor.
          And may we live in a world at peace and with the awareness of God's love in every sunset, every flower's unfolding petals, every baby's smile, every lover's kiss, and every wonderful, astonishing, miraculous beat of our heart.
         Above all, may you continue to smile, may your life be filled with laughter, and may you never forget the words found in the Book of Proverbs, "A gloomy spirit rots the bones; but a merry heart is like good medicine."
         Wishing your a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2018!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Winter


          The beautiful Christmas music is now gone for another year.  The decorations are put away.  Football will soon be over.  The nights are so long.  The cold weather is here.  So are the ice and snow storms.  We are shoveling and driving in treacherous conditions.  Spring seems so far away.  Cabin fever and depression can easily develop in our lives. Obviously the months of January and February are not my favorite times of the year.
          Recently a friend reminded me of a hymn written by John Newton that is not very well known but almost seems appropriate for this time of the year.  Newton seemed to understand how much the seasons can model the attitudes and moods that we face in our lives.  He knew that there are times that our attitudes "darken and gray" like the season.  Our spirits can become as bitter and cold as the winter days.
         But he also knew that "When I am happy in Him, December's as pleasant as May."   And January can be so as well. We can, with the Lord's help and closeness, endure those times that seem both "tedious" (long and tiresome) and "tasteless" (dull and without proper season).  
          I love some of the illustrations Newton used that many of us can relate to as we compare them to our lives. "And prisons would palaces prove, If Jesus would dwell with me there."  How does a prison cell become a palace?  That's easy, the King shows up.  
         "Why do I languish and pine?"  This question is one that I am sure all of us have asked at some point in our Christian walk, especially after the Lord has brought us through a tough situation.  Why do we worry?  Why do we fret?  Why do we lose hope when we know deep in our hearts that the Lord's promises are true?  
         In case you've never heard this hymn, here are the words.

1     How tedious and tasteless the hours
When Jesus no longer I see!
Sweet prospects, sweet birds and sweet flow'rs,
Have all lost their sweetness to me.
The midsummer sun shines but dim,
The fields strive in vain to look gay;
But when I am happy in Him
December's as pleasant as May.

2     His name yields the richest perfume,
And sweeter than music His voice;
His presence disperses my gloom,
And makes all within me rejoice.
I should, were He always thus nigh,
Have nothing to wish or to fear;
No mortal so happy as I;
My summer would last all the year.

3     Content with beholding His face,
My all to His pleasure resigned;
No changes of season or place,
Would make any change in my mind.
While blessed with a sense of His love,
A palace a toy would appear;
And prisons would palaces prove,
If Jesus would dwell with me there.

4     My Lord, if indeed I am Thine,
If Thou art my sun and my song,
Say, why do I languish and pine?
And why are my winters so long?
Oh, drive these dark clouds from the sky,
Thy soul-cheering presence restore;
Or take me to Thee up on high,
Where winter and clouds are no more.

         While it's now winter outside, is it winter in your life and heart today?  Does life with its cares seem tedious and overbearing?  If so, then remember the words that Newton has penned, "His presence disperses my gloom,  And makes all within me rejoice. I should, were He always thus nigh, have nothing to wish or to fear; No mortal so happy as I; My summer would last all the year."  
         Is it summer in your heart and life today?  If not, it can be.
         If you are interested in hearing Newton's song, here is a choice   LISTEN