Saturday, August 30, 2008

Another Pot vs. Kettle Incident!

“No experience!” from a mighty chorus of Democratic voices responding to John McCain’s choice of Alaska governor, Sarah Palin, for his vice presidential running mate in the November 2008 election.

At least you can say one thing – they always manage without fail to be consistent in their inconsistency! In the dirty world of politics it has always been that way for many decades in a republic known as the United States.

So this time it’s the Democrats hammering on the issue of inexperience on the part of Alaska governor, Sarah Palin. Granted she hasn’t been into the political game for very long. But this much can be said – she has rattled a few cages among even the Republicans and wisely distanced herself from Alaska’s two prominent senators who are being investigated on charges of corruption.

This amounts to nothing less than the traditional pot calling the kettle black! Think seriously about this for more than 60 seconds – what about the Dem’s “shooting star” of the moment? B. O. doesn’t have very much to offer either – limited time in the Illinois legislature in which one of his “triumphs” was blocking efforts to try to protect late term unborn children from being executed before being born! Then on to the U. S. Senate in January 2005 – so that he can hardly be referred to as a seasoned veteran in dealing with domestic and foreign affairs.

B. O.’s running mate, Joe Biden, has been in the senate since January 1972. Joe is considered to be an “expert” in foreign policy matters. The problem, however, is this – when Joe speaks about anything, foreign or domestic, is he expressing his own thoughts or is he stating what someone else has said? He’s been known to “borrow” statements and ideas of others and present them as though they were his very own!

One thing of which we can be certain – whichever “team” moves into the White House come January 2009, there will be no serious confronting of the ethical, moral and spiritual crises that are provoking the Creator of this universe to pour out His wrath upon us because we have rejected His laws and live as though He doesn’t even exist! And God has made it abundantly clear -- the governing powers of a nation are responsible not only to set a personal example of holy conduct and exhibiting that obeying God is a priority issue each day, but to challenge the citizens also to seek and obey God in order that the nation will be blessed rather than go through the chaos of chastising actions and ultimately judgment if repentance does not take place!

By the way, one of the last pot vs. kettle incidents involved George Bush saying we had to take out Saddam Hussein because he was a brutal and cruel dictator as well as a threat to world peace – and so we did, learning that there were probably 1 million or so victims of his and his sons’ brutality.

Now how many unborn children do you think have been brutally mutilated and murdered since March of 2003 when we set about to deliver the citizens of Iraq from Saddam’s brutality? Bush has been silent about that – but he’s not the only one – so have a lot of other politicians and a number of church leaders as well. Among the church leaders, United Methodist bishops have been notoriously silent.

Check the numbers at A Quick Look at the United States' Massacre Tally! Use reverse feature on your browser to come back here.

In the meantime watch for those many occasions in which the pot calls the kettle black – it happens quite often in the “land of the free and the home of the brave!”

The above comments are not to be construed as being an "endorsement" of the McCain/Palin ticket. Neither major party has anything of substance to offer when it comes to healing the ills that plague this country -- ills which have to do with repentance and establishing a favorable relationship with Almighty God!

Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who "will render to each one according to his deeds": eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness; indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God. --- Romans 2:1-11

Friday, August 29, 2008

How NOT to Start a Riding Lawn Mower!

Before cleaning, repairing, or inspecting, make certain the blade and all moving parts have stopped. Disconnect the spark plug wire and ground against the engine to prevent unintended starting. --- Part of safety instructions from lawn mower manual

It was not a major repair job, but the next thing to it. This Dynamark riding mower has been around quite a few years. I had gotten it new and eventually left my son have it for his lawn which is rather large. But things happened eventually, including starting problems and a frayed cable which engages the blades in the mowing operation.

So I found a place which specializes in parts such as what I needed and fortunately they had the parts in spite of the fact that the mower now qualifies to be labeled “antique!” Those replacement parts included a starter, a solenoid and a cable assembly for the blades.

It proved to be a bit of a drawn out procedure – the removal of shrouds covering the 18 HP twin cylinder Briggs & Stratton engine and then getting the bolts removed which held the parts in place – I won’t go into detail other than to say that I told Jean that I hadn’t experienced a nightmare nut and bolt experience like that since I worked on airplanes at Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station in North Carolina a long, long time ago! Engineers who design things should first be made to work on those things for a few weeks before they go out the door for sale! Trust me – there would be a lot of re-designing before sale time!

Anyway, I got the starter changed. Then came the solenoid which was in a most ungodly location – that is, if you have to change it, which is what I was about to attempt. It got to be a real circus as I attempted to get a wrench on the bolt underneath and then reach into a tight space on top and try to get a wrench on the nut holding down the solenoid. After much time had passed I finally got both the nuts removed and then came the fun of installing the new solenoid. Again – time passed and eventually I saw light at the end of the tunnel. I hooked up the power from the battery and the little wire from the key on one post and then the cable to the starter on the other post. Having done this, I decided to try something which I learned a long time ago about testing starters and solenoids – take a screw driver and touch both posts of the solenoid. Some sparks and fire will fly, but if everything is in working order, the starter cog wheel will jump up, connect with the engine flywheel and start to crank it for running mode. Well, it did and verified that things were in order.

But that cable still had to be installed – another nightmare because part of the hookup was in the same area as the solenoid – a tight place in which the natural course of events results in skinned hands etc.

At one point as I tried to maneuver the piece into place with one hand from one direction, I reached inside from the other direction over top of the solenoid in order to get a nut started on the assembly. My skin was sweaty and all of a sudden sparks flew, the starter cog engaged and the flywheel on the engine started turning – I also felt some pain on the underside of my wrist! I had touched both posts of the solenoid and true to form, it was starting time for that 18 HP engine with my wrist being the conductor of power.

Here’s what happened – I ended up with a burn about ¾ of an inch long and about ½ inch wide about where my watch band is located when I am wearing my watch. I had previously removed it for this installation procedure. Later in the evening I had a water blister about the size of those dimensions I just mentioned.

What’s the point in all this? There are certain “rules” to follow in the starting of a rider lawn mower – don’t try to do it any other way, and that does include the screwdriver “method” as well as the accidental “wrist” method!

That experience, however, is one in which I will survive with a reminder that next time “go by the book” and don’t short circuit the process!

More serious is the fact that humans too often are inclined to want to “short circuit” God’s purposes. We are a people inclined to reject what God wants in light of His revelation to us – He has plainly spelled out the way of forgiveness, salvation and hope through His Son, Jesus Christ, but outside the church as well as inside the church we are hearing that there are “other” ways to come to God! Jesus Christ just happens to be one of many "options" -- sort of like wandering through a super buffet and picking out what strikes your fancy at the moment!

God has given a lot of details of His past actions as well as providing future details as to what He plans to do with this world and the people in it. But for the most part, God's future plans are rejected and the rebel human spirit declaring that we are the "masters of our fate" and will determine what will or will not be!

God has revealed the standards for acceptable morality but we are in times of “change” with humans wanting to set the standards and rejecting the boundaries that God has established by way of acceptable sexual behavior!

The end result of such shenanigans? Why there will be a burn, of course, and much larger than ½ by ¾ of an inch!

There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. --- Proverbs 14:12

Monday, August 25, 2008

What He Said – Are Those Actually His Words, or Those of Someone Else?

"Biden debuts with attack on McCain" --- Internet headline on August 24, 2008

Now it’s really getting interesting since we have been informed that Joe Biden will be the Democratic candidate for vice president of the United States in the upcoming November election.

Some of us will always be wondering each time he opens his mouth – are those words actually his, or did they originate with some other person of genuine prominence? You know, do you not, that Joe has had a problem with a thing called plagiarism in the past? It happened more than once and has been documented.

It seems Joe passed off some statements as though they were his own, but in reality they were statements made by other persons in public settings. This is considered a serious offense when you try to steal statements made by other persons and then use them as though they originated with you without giving credit where credit is due.

It comes down to a thing called ethics and honesty in communication.

I remember a class I was teaching years ago in which a student in doing her assignment of preaching a message made some rather impressive statements. Later I followed up on those and discovered she had literally used some statements by Martin Luther King, Jr. word for word! They were from a message he had given in the past. But she did not acknowledge that she was using his material!

There will be any number who will go to Joe’s defense and the fact that he eventually had to acknowledge his wrongdoing in passing off some stuff as originally his when in fact other persons were the real source of some of those things he stated.

But then, such qualities as high ethical standards and basic honesty are practically looked upon as major irritants these days. Surveys taken are showing the shocking reality that increased numbers of high school and college students do not think it is wrong to cheat and to lie – if you can get away with it, so much the better!

And we wonder why our republic resembles more and more a tissue which has been used to wipe a very runny nose and is immediately flushed down the toilet!

Don’t forget during upcoming presidential campaign – when Joe speaks, ask yourself, “Are those his words, or did they originate with someone of far greater significance and who holds to far higher ethical standards than he?”

Remove from me the way of lying, and grant me Your law graciously. I have chosen the way of truth; Your judgments I have laid before me. I cling to Your testimonies; O LORD, do not put me to shame! I will run in the way of Your commandments, for You shall enlarge my heart. Teach me, O LORD, the way of Your statutes, and I shall keep it to the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law; indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart. --- Psalm 119:29-34

Saturday, August 23, 2008

No Matter Whether a Democrat or a Republican Wins the Presidency, the Holocaust Will Continue!

Moreover Manasseh shed very much innocent blood, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another, besides his sin with which he made Judah sin, in doing evil in the sight of the LORD. --- 2 Kings 21:16

Surely at the commandment of the LORD this came upon Judah, to remove them from His sight because of the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he had done, and also because of the innocent blood that he had shed; for he had filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, which the LORD would not pardon. --- 2 Kings 24:3, 4

It is the one issue that prevails over all the others when it comes to how our republic will fare in the years to come.

That issue is how we treat our unborn future citizens. For years we have, under sanction of the U. S. Supreme Court, been brutally mutilating and murdering over a million unborn children every year for over 35 ½ years. At this point in time the toll is nearly 50 million victims! Yes, it is indeed appropriate to apply the term “holocaust” to such a happening to which a number of politicians, judges, various organizations and even some church leaders give support.

B. O. and his running mate, “plagiarism” Joe, are clearly on record as favoring the continuation of our nation’s version of “holocaust.”

While the Republicans sometimes claim to be pro life, the record speaks otherwise. As clearly pointed out by Chuck Baldwin in a recent column, John McCain Pro Life? What a Joke!, the Republicans did absolutely nothing to stop the shedding of innocent blood while in control of the government for a number of years.

So this is what we have to look forward to starting with the third week of January 2009 – it doesn’t matter if the person taking the oath of office for the presidency is a Democrat or a Republican, the “holocaust” will continue unabated!

However, rest assured the day will come when it will be stopped – not because of human enacted legislation such as the overturning of Roe v. Wade, but due to Almighty God’s direct intervention which will prove to be a most unpleasant experience in ways impossible to imagine!

Cited at the beginning is a reference to an ancient king by the name of Manasseh who thought he could institute the practice of child sacrifice and get away with it – he didn’t and neither shall we!

For further reference as to numbers of victims over the years certain politicians have held office, see A Quick Look at the United States' Massacre Tally! Scroll down further and see the numbers of victims during years United Methodist bishops have been in their positions. These church leaders are cited because they are very, very silent on the issue of mutilating and murdering the unborn in the womb! Not only silent as individuals, but as a group, the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church. Use reverse feature on your browser to return to this place.

They sow the wind, and reap the whirlwind. The stalk has no bud; it shall never produce meal. If it should produce, aliens would swallow it up. --- Hosea 8:7

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Countdown for Newly Elected United Methodist Bishops!

So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom. --- Psalm 90:12

It won’t be long now! September 1, 2008 is fast approaching and is a big day in United Methodism in the United States. That is the day that newly elected United Methodist bishops assume their responsibilities and some other ones will be stepping down as they enter retirement or take on new responsibilities.

A previous post on this subject raised some questions as to whether or not this new group of bishops would be different in some way or would it be a case of the “same old, same old?”

The main issue in this post is to consider the “countdown” in a rather interesting and most challenging way. The names of the new bishops are listed and it is also noted that certain ones are retiring. There is a countdown number to look at as the days pass and eventually September 1 is reached. The new bishops will also be identified with an accumulating number in the days following September 1, 2008.

Visitors to the area are asked to watch and listen closely to see if the new bishops say anything relative to the growing numbers.

Slip on over to United Methodist Bishops by the Numbers! There you will see what the interesting “countdown” is all about. Use reverse feature on your browser to get back here.

For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict. --- Titus 1:7-9

Friday, August 15, 2008

Will the New Crop of United Methodist Bishops Be Any Different?

But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust. --- 1 Timothy 1:8-11

It’s just a matter of days until they take over and some others hang it up. A new crop of bishops was recently elected to that very high office and as they assume responsibility as of September 1st, what will happen under their respective “watches?”

Will they be unified in their agreement with the standards of morality which our Creator has plainly established, or will there be those who will be very supportive of the sodomite/lesbian “agenda” as a number have already done by means of vocal statements and participation in “witness” demonstrations on such occasions as General Conference?

Will any be VERY different as is the case of Bishop Tom Bickerton of the W. PA Annual Conference and schedule annual conference over Father’s Day coupled with the demand that all pastors be present on Father’s Day morning for an ordination service at the conference? This has happened 3 out of the 4 years that Bickerton has been at the helm of the W. PA Conference! Ask the congregations of United Methodist churches in western Pennsylvania how they feel about their pastors being absent from their pulpits on Father’s Day?

Will any take a departure from what the Scripture teaches about the Person and Work (as it pertains to our salvation from sin) of Jesus Christ? Further, will any dismiss the parting command of Jesus to go into the entire world and preach the Gospel to all, without exception? It can be documented that there are bishops guilty of such positions!

And will there be any who will speak out with deep conviction and without apology, protesting the wanton and senseless slaughter of unborn children. Grand total of victims is now fast approaching 50 million. But to what extent have you heard UM bishops speak out against this, the United States' unique version of “holocaust?” The Council of UM Bishops has been very tight-lipped on this issue as well. You can see how many unborn have been mutilated and murdered under the term of each active bishop at A Quick Look at the United States' Massacre Tally! --- the numbers are all there as you scroll down past the politicians – go ahead, you can survive – you could be shaken up a bit, but you’ll survive! Use the reverse on your browser to return to this area.

It has been said, with a great sense of pride at times, that we are a denomination of “diversity” and that this is a good thing – a wide variety of beliefs and interpretations, etc. A cancer patient in the terminal stages of that horrible affliction can say that he has a wide diversity of cells in his body, but it is highly unlikely that he will say that it is a good thing to have such diversity in his situation!

For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict. --- Titus 1:7-9

Monday, August 11, 2008

So, Edwards Had An Affair – Why All the Fuss, Anyhow?

Drink water from your own cistern, and running water from your own well. Should your fountains be dispersed abroad, streams of water in the streets? Let them be only your own, and not for strangers with you. Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth. As a loving deer and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; and always be enraptured with her love. For why should you, my son, be enraptured by an immoral woman, and be embraced in the arms of a seductress? --- Proverbs 5:15-20

John Edwards finally “fessed up” – he did disregard his marital vows for a time as he was in the midst of seeking to become the Democratic nominee for president of the United States.

So, what’s all the excitement about – other than the fact that the mass media people enjoy chomping on this subject more than about anything else they bite into! As always, it is the repeat of sharks reacting to a big batch of blood in the water.

Some things to keep in mind while salivating on this matter of John getting more than hand-shake friendly with a female other than his wife:

1. He’s not the first to do a thing like this – the list is by no means short when it comes to politicians playing bedroom games with women other than their mates over years past – unfortunately, a number of them are still living today!

2. There is a strong resistance to making an issue of such a happening when it involves a politician – after all, what he does in private is none of our business, is it? Hey, I’m just quoting what appears to be a rather common held belief in our culture!

3. The standards of morality have changed drastically over the past few decades – what God has to say about human sexuality is not at all significant in this country any longer. One of the main reasons for this being that we humans have come to the point of determining for ourselves what is right and wrong, and that includes our sexual activity.

4. Big names in the entertainment industry have set a powerful example in human relationships and have long since lost the ability to even blush a bit when it comes to the practicing of sexual immorality in brazen fashion, and at times conceiving children while doing so. The publicity they receive in all this is worth a fortune and the influence on our young folk is impossible to measure. We do have an interesting statistic in connection with all this which was released not so long ago – one out of every four teen-aged girls has at least one STD (sexually transmitted disease) and some have more than one! Sleep on that one tonight!

5. Churches have begun to capitulate to the pressure to back off from hard line positions on the issue of human sexuality. The battle is especially intense in the area of sodomy and lesbianism. So if we soften up regarding that area, why not include adultery, incest, fornication, child molestation and sex with animals as well?

Getting all caught up in a frenzy over an aspiring politician and his sex life? Forget it – this is the United States in the 21st Century – sex is fun with anyone (or more than one anyone at the same time), anywhere and at any time, aren’t you aware?

Or do you happen to be one of that few who are labeled religious fanatics and who are best described as having very low angle foreheads with little beady eyes located too close together and fire is spewing forth from the mouth – you know, that small minority which still insists that God has established clear boundaries on human sexuality and these apply to all persons, including politicians!

Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge. --- Hebrews 13:4

Friday, August 8, 2008

Bush and Chinese Human Rights -- Too Little, Too Late!

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Just hours before flying to Beijing for the Olympics on Thursday, U.S. President George W. Bush used some of his bluntest language yet in publicly pressing China to improve its human rights record.

In a speech in Bangkok on the eve of the Games' opening ceremony, when the eyes of the world will be on Beijing, Bush voiced "firm opposition" to China's detention of dissidents, human rights advocates and religious activists.

"The United States believes the people of China deserve the fundamental liberty that is the natural right of all human beings," he said in comments likely to anger China's communist leadership.

"We speak out for a free press, freedom of assembly, and labour rights not to antagonize China's leaders, but because trusting its people with greater freedom is the only way for China to develop its full potential," he said...
--- Opening statement of news release by Reuters on August 7, 2008

He’s been president for over 7 ½ years and he’s never confronted the Chinese with one of the greatest violations of human rights committed by a country in recent times

What he said about human rights as the Olympic Games were about to begin in China was in very general terms and the Chinese leadership can weather that very easily knowing all the while the United States is dependent on China for a majority of its imported consumer goods. China also owns more than just a tad of United States’ debt! If the Chinese ever demand that we pay up, we’ll see financial chaos such as never before.

The act of gross injustice and violation of human rights which Mr. Bush has not mentioned in the years of his presidency is the invasion and take over of the sovereign nation of Tibet! That happened some time ago and it is likely a big bunch of U. S. citizens don’t even know it happened, and couldn’t care less anyhow. There are a number of sources on the internet which spell out the grisly details of this event.

How many delegates, including ours, to the United Nations are demanding that China withdraw and completely turn control over to the people of Tibet – that is, simply let them run their own country?

George Bush is the same kind of “human rights” president as he is a “pro-life” president – he can “talk” pro-life talk, but when it comes to aggressively doing anything of substance to protect the unborn, well the massive shedding of innocent blood continues without any real restriction since he became president!

So, human rights in different areas of the world -– rights for the unborn children in the U. S? A fellow by the name of Bush hasn’t much by way of an impressive record on those issues, has he?

See the numbers of unborn victims since George W. Bush became president and number of victims since he said we needed to liberate the people of Iraq from the excessive brutality of Saddam Hussein – just go to A Quick Look at the United States’ Massacre Tally! Do the unborn not have rights also, even in the "land of the free and the home of the brave?"

But there is good news on the horizon in spite of this deplorable thing on the widespread violation of human rights – one of these days such violations of human rights, both of those born and those unborn, will be ended as all government leaders will be relieved of their positions permanently! You think not? Then just what does God mean when He says things such as the following:

Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, "Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us." He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The LORD shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, And distress them in His deep displeasure: "Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion. "I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, ' 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.'" Now therefore, be wise, O kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, And rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, And you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him. --- Psalm 2:1-12

You realize, do you not, that the vast majority want nothing to do with Jesus Christ – to bow the knee to Him and acknowledge Him as Savior and Lord is just unthinkable! But the day is coming when there will be no choice.

Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. --- Philippians 2:9-11

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Three Quarters of a Century of Changes!

The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. Who knows the power of Your anger? For as the fear of You, so is Your wrath. So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. --- Psalm 90:10-12

I just had to do it – first, at the little church I am presently serving on a part time basis and now today, August 5, 2008, which happens to be my 75th birthday.

I “officially” retired from the United Methodist ministry in 1996 after serving for 37 years. Then in 1999 I got a call from a member of the Gipsy Christian Church in Gipsy, PA. The small congregation was seeking a pastor and my name had been passed along to them. We talked and I agreed to work with them on a part time basis. The church is 27 miles from where I live in Belsano. Our “contract” is simple – they can tell me to hit the road any time they want to, and I can walk out the door and never look back any time I want to!

So I thought I would do a bit of remembering over the years God has granted me life on this planet. There are folks who have lived longer than I who have seen a lot of changes also, but there would be not really all that much difference in the changes witnessed.

First, the home environment thing -- I was born and raised on a farm. A lot of no’s in the setting such as no indoor plumbing or bathroom, no electricity and no radio. First car I remember was my dad’s 1928 Chevrolet coupe which had wooden spoke wheels and a bad valve in the engine which made a funny sound when it ran! As most rural homes at that time had, so we had the outdoor privy – no luxury of soft toilet tissue, but rather a Sears & Roebuck catalog or a Montgomery Ward’s catalog – however, our privy did offer a luxury option of using the pages of one or the other, depending on your preference! Over the years I experienced a great transformation in the home environment -- the kind of improvements I had only heard about as a kid.

Our lighting was by natural gas with a thing called a mantle over the outlet so that when the gas was burning the mantle took on a bright glow, but by no means matched the illumination of a 100 watt light bulb. My experience of electric lighting in the home along with a radio to which I could listen took place when I was about 7 years of age.

Second, the education thing -- I attended a one room country school for the first 7 years of my education experience – normally, it was an eight year time period, but I skipped one grade, which enabled me to graduate from high school at the age of 16. Teachers in those systems were excellent in their ability to maintain order and teach a lot of stuff to kids between ages 6 and 14. It was some of the best education I ever got in my entire life. I went on to high school, college and graduate school. But that one room country school provides the most cherished memories!

There was something also that went on in that country school which would cause the government people that are always concerned about our health and well-being to sound the sirens and put on their hazmat outfits at the speed of light!

It was quite common for my mother to fry an egg, smash it while the yoke was still soft and put it between 2 slices of bread for my lunch in addition to a few other items I had. That lunch sat at room temperature in the schoolhouse for about 4 ½ hours or more before we ate it. And then the water situation – 2 kids would take a water pail to a farmer’s spring house a short distance away and bring it back to the schoolhouse with some water in it, dump it in a crock that had a spigot on it, and we would take our cups off the shelf and get a drink from the crock. The crock and our cups were never washed or cleaned in any way for the 9 month term of school!

Question for those who are hyper-sensitive on sanitation and food temperature issues – how in the world did we ever survive those one room country schools?

Third, the Sunday activity thing – in those early years Sunday was the day of worship. All businesses in my home town of Clarion PA shut down. Families for the most part in the area where I grew up were found in church on Sunday and also attended Sunday School. Many parents had rather strict rules as to what was acceptable conduct and what wasn’t on the Lord’s Day! But then came the changes over time in which Sunday became a day of transacting business, following professional and college sporting events and pursuing pleasures of every conceivable kind. Today less than half of our 300 million population can find its way to a place of worship on Sunday mornings!

Major changes took place along the way as I grew in years – the 1950’s saw the ushering in of something called rock ‘n roll. Television and Hollywood produced entertainment that began to greatly erode over time in terms of moral and ethical standards.

Major court decisions transformed our culture in ways never imagined – the practice of praying and reading from the Bible in public schools was ruled unconstitutional. A few years later it was ruled by the Supreme Court that it is the constitutional “right” of a woman to have her unborn child brutally mutilated and murdered – a bonus in this is a guy in a white coat being given many bucks to do the deed and never be charged with a criminal act!

Moral and ethical changes have amounted to nothing more than witnessing a person who makes sure a bath is taken every day in order to maintain a state of cleanliness and then abandons that practice, plunging into the nearest cesspool and shouting, "Ah, this is the life -- I like it -- it's the best!"

Much, much more could be said about changes witnessed over three quarters of a century, but what has already been stated is enough to say that the United States in the past 75 years has undergone the kind of changes which amount to nothing less than the digging of a grave, and we stand by the grave side with one foot on a banana skin and the other on three dozen ice cubes!

But as I review the changes witnessed over the past decades with much alarm and a grieving spirit, I also take heart in knowing that the greatest change of all is yet to be and will take place at an hour which I know not – but take place, it most surely will because it has been promised by Almighty God.

The change will take place at the moment Jesus Christ personally returns to this world at some point in the future – here is how it is described by two persons:

We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed. --- 2 Thessalonians 1:3-10

Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!" And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying: "We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was and who is to come, because You have taken Your great power and reigned. The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, and those who fear Your name, small and great, and should destroy those who destroy the earth." --- Revelation 11:15-18

I rest my case!