Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Birthday Reflections after Passing Four Score!

Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." [Jeremiah 1:4,5 (KJV)].

It all began on a small farm in Monroe Township, Clarion County in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on August 5, 1933. From then on life would never be the same for Russell and Helen (Sedgwick) Harriger since their lives had been invaded by a young one whom they named Clayton Duane Harriger!

As I observed the date in 2014, with a reminder that I am older than I have ever been before, I was blessed with numerous greetings from friends who live in many different places throughout the world. And I was likewise blessed with greetings and gifts from family members as well.

However, I gave some thought to two main things:

First, I have been blessed by a God of love and mercy far, far beyond what I deserve. This love and mercy became very real to me back in the latter months of 1957 when I received Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of my life. Shortly after that I sensed His call to enter pastoral ministry and in June of 1959 was appointed to serve the Greenwood and Simpson Methodist Churches in New Castle, Pennsylvania.

I have been blessed in the ministry for over 55 years in every place where God has led Jean and me to serve. We have made many friends in the faith in those places. I have been blessed with good health, taking a limited amount of medication on a daily basis. I “officially” retired from the United Methodist ministry in June of 1996. In November of 1999 I agreed to work with the congregation of the Gipsy Christian Church in Gipsy PA on a part time basis. So I am still doing some pastoral work and will continue so long as God gives me strength to do so.

Blessings have also come over the years since God put it on my heart to start a web site and then a short time later a blog. The web site is Circuit Rider’s Range and the blog is Musings of a Maverick. Both deal with controversial issues as well as related subjects involving faith and responsibility.

Second, I have thought about changes which have taken place in our nation and world in the four score years I have lived. Lots of wars and conflicts of different kinds, starting with WW II in my time. It was noted in today’s news that the 69th anniversary of the dropping of the atom bomb on Hiroshima in Japan was being observed with thousands in attendance. The United States is now more often than not being painted as a very bad guy for having done this. My response is rather simple – who were the people who started something at a place called Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941? I rest my case on that one!

But the more critical changes that have taken place over those 81 years that I have lived are spiritual and moral with pollution in these realms spreading like a fast growing destructive cancer!

God has made available a special revelation to us commonly known as the Bible. He took a period of about 1,500 years and used 40 or more persons in the process to put it all together. It tells us accurately Who God is, what He has done in the past, what He is doing now, and what He plans to do in the future.

His greatest act of course was the sending of His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world for the express purpose of becoming the sacrifice for all the sins committed by the entire human race so that we could be totally forgiven, receive eternal life, and be a citizen of His Kingdom forever!

For over half a century the Christian faith has been viciously attacked and heretics have undermined basic doctrines so that it is no longer unusual to see immoral conduct readily accepted as “normal” in United States culture. When even church leaders conduct “weddings” for same gender “couples” it is obvious we are on the skids racing toward sure and certain judgment!

The two main driving forces in any nation are political and religious in nature. When these become corrupted, then there will be trouble manifested in many different ways. Our own nation is fast approaching its own death throes unless drastic action takes place on part of the leadership followed by the citizens – that drastic action is called repentance – turning from all forms of sin on a personal level as well as collective. However, our political and religious leaders are providing no evidence whatsoever that they are really concerned about getting squared away with Almighty God! And if there is no concern about recognizing the reality of sin and how it is being so readily accepted, nor a serious concern about repenting and seeking God’s mercy, then there is only one thing to which we as a nation can look forward – the undiluted wrath of God poured out in judgment! It is now a question as to how long it will be since God has been increasing the calamities and issuing the call to turn back to Him!

And it shall come to pass, when thou shalt shew this people all these words, and they shall say unto thee, Wherefore hath the Lord pronounced all this great evil against us? or what is our iniquity? or what is our sin that we have committed against the Lord our God? Then shalt thou say unto them, Because your fathers have forsaken me, saith the Lord, and have walked after other gods, and have served them, and have worshipped them, and have forsaken me, and have not kept my law; and ye have done worse than your fathers; for, behold, ye walk every one after the imagination of his evil heart, that they may not hearken unto me…. [Jeremiah 16:10-12 (KJV)]