Monday, April 4, 2016

Letter to Editor: Things Will Get Much Worse No Matter Who Becomes President!

The below printed letter has been sent to a number of newspapers; in the area where we presently live, home town area in Clarion PA, and areas where I have served as a pastor in years gone by such as the Franklin/Oil City PA area.

Saturday April 2, 2016


Each person seeking the office of president tries to convince us that he or she will transform our republic into a paradise or at least bring us to the very threshold of such.

There are solid reasons why it will never happen and the U.S. Supreme Court is a major contributor of such reasons.

First, the Court handed down a decision in 1963 in which the Lord’s Prayer and readings from the Bible were no longer permitted in public schools. Even students whose families did not attend church were exposed to portions of God’s Word and became aware of something called prayer and communication with our Creator.

Second, the Court handed down a decision in 1973 which declared that a female has a constitutional right to have her unborn child’s life ended by an intentional act of homicide! Tens of millions of unborn children have been victims in what could be termed the United States’ version of Holocaust!

Third, the Court handed down a decision in 2015 which declared that it is now legal everywhere for sodomites to marry each other and for lesbians to marry each other. This is in total defiance of God’s clear revelation as to what marriage is about, namely, a sacred covenant between one man and one woman.

But in addition to the Supreme Court decisions we have monumental problems with our massive idolatry and our pandemic sexual immorality. Billy Graham said it well years ago in these words: “If God allows the United States to get away with what it is doing, then He will have to issue an apology to Sodom and Gomorrah!”

When Almighty God makes His response to these abominations, none of us will want to be here!

Still contending at Circuit Rider's Range, blogging at Musings of a Maverick! and warning at Driving the Final Nails!

Clayton D. Harriger, Pastor
Gipsy Christian Church
Gipsy PA

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Who Will Be the New Supreme Court Justice?

NOTE: Some time after news reports indicated the nomination of Rashad Hussain to the Supreme Court, it was then later reported that the POTUS had nominated Merrick Garland who is chief judge of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. He was born in Chicago (does that sound familiar?) and did his undergraduate work at Harvard as well as obtaining his law degree there. Again, it matters not whom the POTUS appoints -- the individual will share his deadly views in regard to the practice of homicides of hundreds of unborn children each week, the violation of God's standard regarding marriage, a soft approach to Islam, etc.

Original post starts here: President Barack Hussein Obama has nominated Rashad Hussain to be the next Supreme Court justice, filling the vacancy created as a result of the death of Justice Antonin Scalia recently. Rashad Hussain is an attorney of Muslim heritage and was appointed by President Obama on February 13, 2010 to serve as U.S. Special Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the second largest intergovernmental body (with 57 member states) after the UN. In January 2009, Hussain was named deputy associate counsel to President Barack Obama. --- Misc. news sources

Tongues now wagging at full throttle since the announcement has been made that the POTUS has named Rashad Hussain to be the next Supreme Court justice. Republicans are pretty much on record as opposing this nomination and will likely attempt to block it. So a battle is shaping up and we can be assured that the mainstream media will be giving major attention to all the drama that this will involve!

But does it really matter who occupies that vacant seat in years to come? Yes, there will be the cries made that we need a “conservative” as set by the example of Justice Scalia. Others who have written him off as possibly one of the worst justices ever to serve with labels such as “racist,” “bigot,” a denier of “human rights” and “gay rights” applied to him insist we need a “progressive” added to the court!

There are 3 solid reasons why it really no longer matters who the next Supreme Court justice will be. They are based on past SCOTUS decisions.

Reason #1: The Supreme Court in 1963 handed down a decision that literally kicked God out of all public school systems throughout the entire United States. No more prayer and no more Bible reading will be permitted. Obviously the justices did not consult God as to whether this was acceptable with Him! A few of us are convinced that this has helped to pave the way to a future disaster which is of the first magnitude in scope and inconceivable to the human mind! There is a refusal to face honestly the fact that conditions in our public schools are much, much different than they were at the time of the 1963 decision – and not for the better either!

Reason #2: Just a short ten years later the Supreme Court handed down a decision that declared a female has a “constitutional right” to have her unborn child murdered, if she so chooses! This has been about the most dividing issue ever to take place within our republic. And obviously we can no longer point the finger at Nazi Germany and accuse them of being savages by the intentional murders of at least 15 million people in death camps, with this including 6 million Jews! Our version of “holocaust” far exceeds that number – our total number of unborn children intentionally murdered is moving toward 60 million since January 1973 when some justices said it is ok to dismember and murder unborn children – the U.S. Constitution gives its approval!

Reason #3: In 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a decision regarding marriage. As a nation for a long time since our beginnings back in the latter part of the 1700’s marriage was based on clear Biblical revelation that marriage was a covenant entered into by one man and one woman. That revelation started at the beginning of the human race as God revealed that a man would leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and the two would become one flesh. (Early chapters in book of Genesis). This was further confirmed by Jesus in the New Testament as He made reference to the Genesis statement. Now some individuals holding the title of “justice” on the U.S. Supreme Court have nullified God’s design for marriage and say that sodomites can marry each other and lesbians can marry each other in the United States! God’s position on human sexuality and the boundaries He has drawn for sexual expression and experience are crystal clear with nothing left to the imagination – it is one man and one woman within the covenant of marriage! Anything outside of that is regarded as sinful immorality and condemned by the Creator! In fact, same sex intimacy is not merely regarded as sinful – it is labeled to be an abomination in God’s sight!

These 3 decisions have brought us to the threshold of experiencing the pouring out of God’s undiluted wrath in judgment! God has been speaking in various ways – issuing the call to repent and turn back to Him, but is anybody really listening? That means among other things that those decisions have to be reversed, but reality tells us that it likely will never happen! And whoever is appointed to the Supreme Court will make no difference in the ungodly and very deadly decisions made over the last half century!

And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God………..The Lord shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow. [Deuteronomy 28:1-2, 12 (KJV)].

But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field. Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store. Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out. The Lord shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me………..[Deuteronomy 28:15-20 (KJV)].

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Most Critical Issues Not Yet Faced by All 2016 Candidates!

For if ye throughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour; If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt: then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever. Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; and come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, “We are delivered to do all these abominations?” Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the Lord. -- Jeremiah 7:5-11 (KJV)

Lots of excitement and lots of activity taking place as a number of persons are now seeking to be nominated as candidate for president of the United States. A few debates have already taken place and the end is by no means over. It will be settled finally on election day in November of 2016.

Different issues have been discussed by the candidates and their comments are on record as to what they would do about these concerns if they should be elected to the nation’s highest office.

However, in all the discussing and debating that has taken place, the most critical issues which have a direct impact on the future destiny of our republic have not been faced nor discussed!

The most critical issues facing our republic are moral and spiritual in nature. That is likely the reason those competing for public office do not want to mention them and the mainstream media certainly do not want to give attention to them.

Consider these accepted practices that absolutely guarantee the pouring out of God’s wrath in judgment upon us at some point in the future:

ONE: Our ongoing destruction of unborn children which has been taking place since the infamous Supreme Court decision in January of 1973. We have intentionally murdered and mutilated over 59 million unborn children since that insane decision was handed down! Even worse, it is now known that some who are in the abortion “business” have harvested certain parts of those murdered victims and sold those parts for big bucks! There is no real solid united front in opposing such abominations as this. There are even church groups and leadership within such groups that give the “green light” to these atrocities. I am an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church, which officially gives its sanction to abortion on demand. All a United Methodist woman has to do to get an abortion is to claim that having the baby will bring undue psychological or financial stress or circumstantial pressure to her and she has her “ticket” to get rid of the child God is forming within her! (see Jeremiah 1 on this).

TWO: God has clearly defined the boundaries of human sexuality in His special revelation to us. Sexual intimacy is acceptable ONLY within the covenant of marriage and involves one man and one woman. Anything beyond that in terms of sexual activity is forbidden! However, over time in our history there are purported “experts” who have led us to the point where now sexual experience and expression are best summed up in the words, “Sex is fun with anyone (or more than one at same time) anywhere and at any time!” As a nation, we took the final plunge into the moral cesspool when the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a decision that says sodomites can marry each other and lesbians can marry each other anywhere within the boundaries of the United States. Even some church “leaders” have been involved in the performing of such marriages. A retired United Methodist bishop did such a “marriage” as did a female district superintendent in marrying two lesbian “pastors!” And there has been a lot of whining and crying over the fact of declining membership in the United Methodist Church – a recent report stating a loss of over 116,000 members in one year!

Related to this whole issue on human sexuality and the destructive path we have chosen to travel in defiance of God’s standards is the rise of STD’s (sexually transmitted diseases) within our culture. Some of these are incurable. Worse yet there are large numbers of very young teen agers getting infected and tests have shown that some have more than one STD at the same time!

But after all, have we adults not taught the little tykes how to do it in various ways by example, the internet, our entertainment industry, and our “education” programs in the public school systems?

THREE: Idiotic court decisions which have been directed toward any acknowledgement of God in the public arena such as nativity scenes at Christmas time, a display of the Ten Commandments, or other quotes from the holy Scriptures. The most notorious was in 1963 when the Supreme Court ruled that the Lord’s Prayer (or any prayer) and reading of the Scriptures could no longer be held in public schools. There is not one person living who can say that our public schools have greatly improved, the quality of education is far superior, and human relationships are the best they have ever been because of that decision! Recently a part of a paper was shown on social media – an elementary student was asked to write about the person who most influenced her life. She chose Jesus Christ and wrote about this. She received an F grade with the note by the teacher saying, “Please remove Jesus.”

FOUR: Our widespread and deeply entrenched idolatry. No, we do not have stone or metallic images on every street corner to which we bow down and utter words of praise and adoration. Our idols take different forms with the prominent one being money. The pursuit of pleasure in its many forms and the idolizing that is connected to the realm of entertainment has captured the hearts of millions. Sports is another realm that has become an idol to far too many. Someone observed years ago that you could get tens of thousands into a stadium at sub-freezing temperatures shouting their lungs out at an NFL game on a Sunday afternoon but you can’t get them into church on Sunday morning if a few snowflakes are falling!

It has been documented in surveys that only about 46 or 47 percent of our population can find its way in to a worship service in a church on Sunday morning.

FIVE: The church scene is a very disturbing one. Over the decades past a deadly infiltration has taken place. In the latter years of the 19th Century a devastating thing took place with much of it occurring in Germany. Simply stated, a fellow got the idea that the Bible cannot be fully trusted and things reported in it did not really happen – miracles for instance! This kind of garbage caught on and eventually was imported to the United States. In early years of the 20th Century controversy erupted within the churches and it came to be known as the “Modernist – Fundamentalist” controversy – conflict between those who did not really believe the Bible and those who did. Later on terms such as “liberal” and “conservative” came to be employed as a distinction. In more recent times there has been a growing tendency to accept all religious expressions in the world as being legitimate and that all are on a level playing field with none superior to any other – Christianity is just one of many – pick and choose what suits you best as you move through the religious buffet!

And so today, when you walk into a church, you have to listen carefully with a sense of discernment and a familiar knowledge of Scripture – does that person standing in the pulpit and preaching a message believe the revelation God has given us via holy Scripture or does he/she NOT believe? This problem can be best compared to a fast spreading melanoma cancer. Check again the purpose of Scripture and how it came to be as shown in 2 Timothy 3:16.

God has been speaking, calling and doing some chastising things in these days. But at this point, very few are listening. The basic call is to search our hearts, confess our sins, resolve to be faithful in representing Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, and that He is the only way of salvation and hope! God holds us as individuals accountable, but He also holds entire nations accountable as well – and this includes religious leaders and government leaders.

Again, the REAL issue is not economic, terrorism, illegal immigrants, or national security – the critical issues are those matters mentioned above and no candidate has mentioned a single one.

Unless there is nationwide repentance and a genuine return to God, judgment is the only thing we can expect and quite possibly in the not too distant future!

From the prayer of Daniel, these words:

”To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him; neither have we obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him. And he hath confirmed his words, which he spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem. As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the Lord our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth. Therefore hath the Lord watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the Lord our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice.” -- Daniel 9:9-14 (KJV)

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Those Radicalized Christians!

According to federal government sources, the San Bernardino couple which went on a shooting rampage resulting in 14 killed and many wounded had been “radicalized” some time ago. [Various news reports.]

If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. [Acts 4:9-12 (KJV)]

A new term has been added to the political correct dictionary of proper words and terms for use in the United States. That new term is “radicalized” and is applied to those highly dedicated Muslims who select a target involving a number of people and then in a surprise move, start shooting them. As of this writing, the most recent incident took place in San Bernardino CA with 14 persons dead and many wounded in the attack. Federal government sources declare that the couple responsible for these killings and injuries was “radicalized.” In reality what took place was that a couple of persons took their Quaran very seriously and became involved in the mission to purge the world of infidels, prepare the way for Islam to dominate and control the world and insure that all residents are Muslim in faith and practice!

But there is another group of persons who have become radicalized also. These are Christians who take their Bible seriously and believe it to be the absolute authority on matters pertaining to the Christian faith and the practice of that faith in everyday life! “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” [2 Timothy 3:16-17 (KJV)].

These Christians are radical in their convictions that Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, is the only source of forgiveness, peace with God, and the hope of entering Heaven when their earthly life comes to an end. One of many statements as to why they believe this is found in John 3 of the Bible: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” [John 3:16-18 (KJV)].

These Christians are radical in their identification of exactly Who Jesus Christ is. He is Almighty God revealed in human form. His birth was nothing short of a miracle in that no human father was involved in His conception. He was born of the virgin Mary and lived the perfect life here on the earth that He originally created a long time ago! “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. [John 1:10-14 (KJV)].

These Christians are radical because they fully believe all the claims Jesus made concerning Himself. A few of these are: “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst…… I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life….. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep..... I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” [John 6:35; 8:12; 10:9-11; 14:6 (KJV)].

These Christians are radical because they fully accept the demands that Jesus Christ has placed upon all who would come to Him and accept Him as Savior and Lord of their lives. There are four demands issued by Jesus which apply to all members of the human race. It is the choice of each person to either accept or reject the demands. Evidence is overwhelming that the majority of the human race has chosen to reject Jesus’ demands. The first one is this: “Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’” [John 3:3 (KJV)]. The other three are found in Matthew 18:3, Luke 13:3 and John 6:53. The price is obviously very high for those who choose to reject the demands!

These Christians are radical because of what motivates them to act and relate to others in this world. That which motivates them is love – love for God and their fellow humans. This doesn’t mean they have reached absolute perfection in performance, but it does mean that their desire is to please their Lord and to attempt to do His will in each day’s activities. Jesus set the standard by His own example and then told those who would follow Him: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” [John 13:34-35 (KJV)].

As Christians who have been radicalized practice the love of Jesus Christ it means there will never be any threats made, no knife to the throat, and no gun to the head or any act of violence. The invitation is to repent of sin and receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord – if the person to whom this offer is made rejects it, then so be it. There will be no act of retaliation ever taken.

Radical Christians attempt to be sensitive to various needs of others and to help them as opportunity presents itself in a variety of ways. This at times will involve financial assistance, the donating of food items as in the case of a food pantry ministry, etc. It matters not who the person is nor what their religious identity may be – that will not be the issue – if they are in need and the Christian has the means to give help, then the help will be given, no matter what!

However, radicalized Christians come under fire at times from other “professing” Christians. There are those who claim to be Christian who do not accept the Bible as God’s inspired Word. It is regarded as a human produced series of writings only. The reported miracles did not literally happen. Jesus’ miracles, His sacrificial atonement for the sins of the human race, His literal resurrection after crucifixion, and His promised return to this world to take control and rule it are either questioned or denied altogether! Consequently, those who do believe come under fire and are often labeled as fanatic, narrow, bigoted, prejudiced, etc!

There are those “Christians” who in past decades have compromised the faith through what is called dialog – the willingness to sit down with those of other religions in the world and discuss what they have in common, how they can work together, and always showing respect for each other’s faith! Implied in such gatherings is the attitude that each religion is fully legitimate and addressing the issues of life, responsibility, relationships, and eternal destiny. All are on an equal “playing field” with none superior to any other. Radicalized Christians, however, take the position that all religions beyond Christianity are false and that Christianity is the true faith. This position is based upon the revelation God has given us via the Scriptures and the claims and demands made by His Son, Jesus, as mentioned earlier in these comments.

One of the more recent conflicts involves human sexuality and the growing acceptance of same-gender sex activity and marriage between same sex couples! Radicalized Christians go with God’s revelation on this matter and again, are labeled in the most negative terms found in the English language!

Jesus in His predictive statements such as those found in Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 17 and Luke 21 indicated that those who are resolved to be faithful in following Him will be the targets of attack and persecution as His return draws closer. In fact He said there will be a time when those who kill His followers will think they are doing service to God Himself!

Fortunately rewards await those Christians who have been radicalized and they will have a place in a trouble-free environment forever!

His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. [Matt 25:21 (KJV)]

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. [John 14:1-3 (KJV)]

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Why More Gun Violence? There Are Reasons Not Acknowledged!

WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama vowed to use the bully pulpit for the remainder of his term to draw attention to gun violence following Thursday’s mass shooting on a college campus in Oregon. Mr. Obama, speaking during a news conference on Friday, appeared resigned to getting no traction on gun-control legislation before he leaves office. Instead, he said his primary strategy going forward would be to mount a public campaign. “I’m going to talk about this on a regular basis, and I’m going to politicize it,” Mr. Obama said. “Because our inaction is a political decision that we are making.” …… [Wall Street Journal opening news release of president’s news conference, Friday October 2, 2015]

It happened again with a mass shooting event at a college in Oregon. Before taking his own life the killer took the lives of 9 persons and wounded a number of others. And as could be expected the mainstream media jumped on this more quickly than a cat pouncing on a mouse and continued to keep the pot stirred in a myriad of ways in days following. Constant theme during times such as these is the screaming for more gun control which when translated literally to the bottom line means to confiscate and get rid of all firearms!

Once in a while someone does raise the question as to why we are experiencing more gun violence, especially those happenings that result in the killing of a number of individuals when someone goes on a rampage with more than one or two weapons in hand at the time.

Alright, it is now time to do some common sense thinking for a while. For a few decades now we have been programming our young folk with constant exposure to violence! Electronic games, movies and television have been saturated with themes that are portrayed in violent expressions! Most of this garbage shows the killing of persons or at the very least extensive physical injuries inflicted. With highly developed technology the viewer is treated to slow motion splattering of blood, guts and brains all over the place! There is an endless parade of this junk available at all times.

The young with constant exposure to this kind of “entertainment” are brainwashed and ushered into a state of mind and attitude that when some frustrating moment confronts them – someone has done something or said something that angers them, then the way to settle that issue is to resort to acts of violence. In a milder form it takes place in the form of bullying but when it has reached full bloom then an act of violence is the way to settle it against those guilty of the offence! The gun is the object that gets the most publicity but other objects can be used such as knives or even a ball bat! A recent news report told of a person who, using a cast iron pipe wrench, hit another person on the head, causing severe injury!

Another bitter “fruit” of this process is the increase in what are described as “road rage” incidents. Violent acts have taken place because someone did something in traffic that highly offended another driver. At times this resulted in a shooting incident because the offended person happened to have a firearm with him in his vehicle!

An additional aspect of this problem is the fact that growing numbers are getting hooked on illegal drugs. The brain gets badly messed up and desperation sets in due to the need for drugs each day and the way one is going to get the money to feed the deadly habit. Guns often become involved in this activity and again it is not uncommon that killing takes place. Big city “missionaries” come into the small towns and rural areas peddling the stuff and there are many willing to traffic in it at any time! It can be expected that gun violence will be a side “benefit” of the illegal drug business throughout the “land of the free and the home of the brave!”

Can this be turned around? That is highly unlikely because now we like our violence and because of money involved the pressure would be to continue as we are down the road of increased violence in our entertainment and gaming industries! In this sense we are very much like the Roman Empire centuries ago – its entertainment was mild and rather non-violent at first but then the lust for more violence crept in as time passed. Finally they reached the point of where it was great to see two gladiators go at it until one was defeated – if not killed by his opponent, the loser was prostate on the ground writhing in his pain from wounds and all eyes were on the emperor to see his reaction – if emperor gave a thumbs up, it meant the defeated one had put up a good fight and so deserved to live. But if the emperor considered the battle rather dull and the defeated one had not really fought valiantly, then thumbs down and the victor ran the loser through with his sword! Seems there were more thumbs down conclusions than thumbs up in these contests. Equally, if not more exciting, was watching the Christians being thrown to extremely hungry lions in the Coliseum. That was entertainment par excellence! And if it came to a vote in present day U.S.A. there likely would be some votes to have the lions vs. the Christians thing repeated once more in the 21st Century! With the growing hostility against Christianity it would be entertainment that would be financially profitable, wouldn’t you say?

What you have just read will be vehemently denied by the majority. Constant exposure to violence from the time they can look at a screen, either held in their hands, or sitting on a desk, or in a theater seating a few hundred people has absolutely no effect on our young people and will not influence them in any way when they become adults! Or will it?

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. [2 Timothy 3:1-5(KJV)].

Friday, September 25, 2015

Claw Marks on the Ark!

The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it. And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die. [Genesis 6:11-17 (KJV)].

For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly……..[2 Peter 2:4-5 (KJV)].

In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights. In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah's wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark; They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort. And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life. And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the Lord shut him in. [Genesis 7:11-16 (KJV)].

And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters. And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered. And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. [Genesis 7:18-22 (KJV)].

The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained; And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated. And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat. And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen. [Genesis 8:2-5 (KJV)].

What a big boat it was and because of it the lives of eight humans along with a number of selected animals and birds were spared when God’s wrath was poured out upon the earth in a devastating judgment that is completely incomprehensible to our limited minds!

If we had been able to have been there when the ark settled back to earth as the waters receded and looked around the outside of the vessel we would have noticed a huge number of vertical markings a few inches long and maybe a quarter of an inch or so in width all along both sides.

Were those marks part of the original design when Noah and sons put it together? No, these marks were made as the depth of the water increased from the breaking up of fountains beneath and pouring down from the sky as noted in the Genesis record. They were made by the fingernails of numerous persons frantically trying to get inside the ark in their final moments of life. Remember that it was said that Noah and his family went in by the door and then God shut him in, which meant that the family was safe but everyone else was shut out!

Now the question – why were those claw marks on the sides of the ark? There are a few explanations as to why a number of people in a sense “engraved” Noah’s ark with their fingernails in the final moments of life!

First, some simply did not believe Noah who is described as a “preacher of righteousness” by the apostle Peter in his writings. Noah’s message was one of warning of judgment to come because of excessive wickedness and a call to repent of sins and be reconciled to a holy God, thus escaping the impending judgment. That, of course, is a very unpopular message to proclaim and there are many who simply rejected it – it was unacceptable. If you are going to speak in God’s name, then give us something that will make us feel good and we can go home with a healthy sense of “self-esteem!”

Second, there were likely those who believed that God is a “God of love” and would never do such a horrible thing as to bring judgment upon the people of the world. After all, we are good people and not deserving of the terrible judgment to which Noah makes reference!

Third, perhaps having heard Noah speak of judgment to come there were those who dismissed it by thinking, “That’s a far off thing – it will never happen in my lifetime, so I have nothing to worry about.” The Scripture stresses the present hour as the time to make things right with God, not tomorrow, or next week, or next year!

Fourth, among the crowd that heard Noah sound the warning trumpet of judgment there would have been some who said to themselves or to one another, “I’ll wait for a while and then I will give attention to this issue of making peace with God. I’ve got a lot of things I want to do yet before I become religious – God will just have to wait!” As previously mentioned, God always deals with us in the present – His call is always now, not later!

Fifth, of the crowd clawing at the sides of the ark as the waters rose higher there would have been some who had second thoughts about Noah now! They had written him off as a deranged fanatic who was really out of his head. Rain? No such thing existed at that time. Flood? Never happened and never will! The weather system was completely different with a kind of mist cycle in operation that nurtured the plant life. No rain nor downpours of the same had ever occurred. So Noah’s boat project and the warnings that went with it as it was constructed over 120 years of time likely became the subject of a lot of mockery and ridicule. Suddenly thought patterns changed -- maybe that old coot was right after all! I better get down there and get on board that boat before it's too late! Can you hear them yelling and screaming as they claw away at the sides of the ark? "Noah, Noah! Let us in -- please, please help us!" And then you hear the gurgling as water is sucked into their lungs and the voices are now silent -- the door into the ark has remained closed during the whole ordeal and for good reason - do you remember? The Scripture says that God shut him in!

Sixth, idolatry was a way of life for large numbers of persons. Yes, they heard about the God in Whom Noah had placed his trust but the deities they worshipped were different than that. The attitude was: “My religion is just as good as Noah’s and maybe a lot better because it is not so narrow and bigoted as his!”

In the 21st Century one does not have to look far to see identical attitudes existing as was the case in the times of Noah before the judgment of the flood took place! The warning is being sounded – there is a judgment that will take place upon an ungodly world. Only those who have taken refuge in Jesus Christ, and knowing Him as Savior and Lord will be delivered from the horrors of that judgment. He is truly our “ark of safety” now and in the future time ahead. If you have not already done so, ask His forgiveness, and receive Him as Savior and Lord today while you have opportunity. Tomorrow may be too late! Remember why there were so many claw marks on the ark!

He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. [1 John 5:10-13 (KJV)].

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. [Revelation 3:20-21 (KJV)].

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

What In the World Does An 82 Year-Old Codger Do Anyhow?

August 5, 2015
Definition: codger - used affectionately to refer to an eccentric but amusing old man

I will never be an old man. To me, old age is always 15 years older than I am. --- Francis Bacon

In youth we run into difficulties. In old age difficulties run into us. --- Beverly Sills

Old age is like a plane flying through a storm. Once you're aboard, there's nothing you can do. --- Golda Meir

Forty is the old age of youth; fifty the youth of old age. --- Victor Hugo

There are only three things that can kill a farmer: lightning, rolling over in a tractor, and old age. --- Bill Bryson

Yes, today's the day -- I confess that 82 years ago today on August 5, 1933 a son was born to Russell and Helen (Sedgwick) Harriger in a farmhouse located in Monroe Township, Clarion County, Pennsylvania.

Time moves swiftly although in those younger years we complained when time did not move fast enough, especially as Christmas approached. And Christmas Eve? Longest night of the entire year according to those just getting started in life!

Enough digression -- getting to the question as to what an 82 year-old codger (that is I) does anyhow with all his time on a day by day basis?

My retirement "officially" began in July 1996 after 37 years as a pastor in the United Methodist Church. I started out in the former Methodist Church in 1959 under appointment to serve 2 Methodist Churches in New Castle PA.

For a short time after retirement I filled in for pastors vacationing etc. Then in fall of 1999 I received a call from a member of the congregation of Gipsy Christian Church in Gipsy PA, which is about 27 miles northwest of where we live in the Belsano PA area. After meeting with the folks I agreed to become their pastor on a part time basis. A United Methodist pastor in the area whom I knew quite well upon hearing I would be working with the Gipsy congregation told me I wouldn't last 6 months there! Still uncertain as to whether it was my reputation or the church's or a mix of both as to why he made that prediction. As of today we are moving toward 16 years of service (come November) to the Gipsy Christian Church congregation. So I preach each Sunday and do other pastoral responsibilities as need arises such as hospital visits, conduct funerals, etc.

Now then -- what other things am I involved in? I have had a web site, Circuit Rider's Range, since 1998 and a few years later started a BLOG to which comments on issues are added regularly. Address to web site is on right hand margin of the BLOG plus links to various areas of the web site. There are a lot of pages on this dealing with various subjects plus an area for humor which is titled the Humor Hut! One of my favorites at this page is an incident that is alleged to have really happened over in the Middle East. The Iranians contacted a U.S. aircraft and demanded that the pilot identify himself and the aircraft because it was claimed that he was in Iranian airspace. He said he was in Iraqi airspace. They were impatient demanding that a complete identification be made immediately or they were sending up interceptor aircraft! Pilot responded by saying, "This is United States Marine Corps fighter aircraft F-(whatever number it was)." -- then he added, "Send 'em up -- I'll wait!" Those who had listened on this conversation said there was silence after the pilot told the Iranians he would wait!

I have for years been contacting members of the U.S. Congress, the president, ambassadors, etc. about critical issues affecting our nation and our world. To the members of the Congress I send a copy of the letter which is sent to the president on a regular basis. Copy of that is available if you want to see what it is about -- just go to main page of Circuit Rider's Range, scroll down a ways and see where the link to the letter to the president is. The contacting is done by FAX which is faster and certainly much cheaper than by first class letter since there are well over 500 members of Congress alone! This has not just been a one time contact thing -- I start over the list again after the last state, doing it alphabetically.

I also do a little volunteer work at Fallingwater, the unusual home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for the Kaufmann family which owned a prosperous department store in Pittsburgh many years ago. The home is now owned and maintained by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy group. I go down about twice a month to help out a bit. My present position is that of Ask Me Guide. When people ask what I do I just say, "I tell people where to go!"

And of course there are things about our home and property that need attention time after time. Lately we've been waging war on grass and weeds growing in the driveway. And a new layer of shale will be added in the near future, so my 3-wheeled wheelbarrow and I will be busy doing the shale thing!

For relaxing time, which isn't always that, depending on the internet, I am involved in the game called Farmtown. It is about farming and since I grew up on a farm, this at least takes me back in memory to those earlier years spent on a farm. But there is a lot of interaction with other players and I have made friends through this activity not only in the states but in many foreign countries as well.

So, now you know what this 82 year-old codger does some of the time at least. God has been gracious over the years and I have been wonderfully blessed far more that I certainly deserve! I have a faithful wife who has stood by my side in the best of times as well as the worst of times and there have been some of those too.

And now a bit of brag in closing -- well, its not so much brag as it is plain fact! God called me to preach and teach His Word back in 1958 -- I got started in June of 1959! During these years I have had the privilege of serving a total of 12 congregations, which includes Gipsy at the present time. I am probably close to the top as being a pastor who has preached more sermons than about any other pastor in the Western PA Conference of the United Methodist Church! At Polk Charge 3 times every Sunday plus Bible Studies during the week for 7 years. At Belsano, 4 times every Sunday for 6 years plus Bible Studies each week. And from 1979 until retirement in 1996 did preaching 3 times every Sunday. On top of this there were times through the years I did evangelistic services a week or more at a time in other churches.

This 82 year-old codger intends to keep going so long as God gives him breath and strength to do so -- a rocking chair twiddling-the-thumbs existence is not for me!

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. [Isaiah 41:10 (KJV)].