If your memory doesn’t go back as far as 1964, you may want to get someone to help you read this.
It should be of increasing concern to America at large that we are becoming hopelessly addicted to the the beckoning television networks. I, for one, have resisted the temptation mightily.
The 21 inch screen which sits on the north side of our living room, holds little or no attraction for me. Recently, I remarked to my husband, (as I left the breakfast table to eat with Hugh Downs “Today Show” in the living room), “Television is not as interesting to me any more, not with my busy mornings.”
Later, as my young sons left for school, I noticed Mr. Green Jeans was showing Captain Kangaroo some baby chicks, and couldn’t help but wonder if we aren’t ruining our children’s minds by letting them watch so much television. (The program was almost over, so I watched the rest of the Captain’s program.)
While clearing up the kitchen and absorbing the intricacies of “American Government” on the tv screen, my thoughts strayed to carefree summer days when I could relax and watch the “Detroit Tigers” ball games, which are all televised. After exercising with “Ed Allen” and enjoying my mid-morning coffee break with “Lucy”, it was time to turn off the television and turn on the radio for “Pete and Gladys.
My kindergarten son was off to afternoon session when the “CBS Mid-day News” had finished. After lunch I took some time to watch my favorite serial, “As The World Turns”, which I’ve watched nearly every day for the past eight years.
(It’s only half an hour. One could scarcely call that an addiction.)
The kids get home from school about twenty minutes after “The Secret Storm” and twenty minutes before “News, Weather, and Sports”. I usually try to have supper on the stove so I can watch the forecast to see what tomorrow’s weather will be.
On Monday night, my husband leaves for his bowling league just before “The Donna Reed Show”. Tuesdays find me missing “Mr. Novak and the “Red Skelton Show”, (but not by far), as I leave for my own bowling league at the local lanes.
We try to visit our folks on Wednesdays at five minutes to “The Virginian”, (they have color television and we haven’t acquired one at this time.) Thursdays, about a quarter to “Dr. Kildare”, I like to fix popcorn and soft drinks to spend a most enjoyable evening of relaxing with television.
Fridays bring evening grocery shopping. By ten minutes to “Jack Paar” I’m ready to rest. The groceries are put away for another week.
On Saturday, of course, it’s family night with our kids staying up until almost “Saturday Night at the Movies”. Then they must go to bed so they won’t be too tired to watch “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color” on Sunday evening. I thoroughly believe in letting the young ones watch special programs of such high quality.
You know, now that I think about it, it’s difficult to believe that there are people in this world who get so wrapped up in television viewing they scarcely ever use a clock.
I just cannot understand…..
I’m not sure my viewing schedule has changed too much. I have many more choices. My television screen, (58inches), is much larger. Programs are many and I have more time alone. My children have grown to adulthood and have homes of their own. It’s up to me to choose how to spend the hours in my day.
At the age of eighty-five, I realize I don’t have as much future time to “spend” as I had in 1964. With that in mind, I find myself very interested in the news, the state of the world, and the government.
Occasionally I switch to the “Andy Griffith Show” or “The Golden Girls”. They bring back some laughter and sweet memories. Sometimes a good laugh is relaxing.
When all of the above has filled me with as many political reports and sweet memories as I can handle, I can always return to …
Classic Country is my choice..current country music doesn’t hold an attraction for me. So I turn to Classic Country and find myself singing along with Merle, Loretta, Patti and Reba…the songs I remember.
You know the ones I’m talking about. I enjoy listening to the Statler Brothers singing “Whatever Happened To Randolph Scott?”
They say music is good for the soul and the body. I’m in a good place….
(As printed in the Houghton Lake Resorter Weekly Newspaper- MUSINGS OF A HOMEMAKER)
The pine tree stands in the corner, colorful but lonely. Gaily wrapped gifts beneath its branches have disappeared. The sweet smell of pine is no longer in the air.
Shiny bicycles and curly haired dolls have gone from view.
Our annual celebration of the birth of the Christ Child has filled expectations.
Glittering and once lovely wrappings lie crushed in empty cartons awaiting the end of their usefulness. Under the tree lies a ribbon of red. Nearby lie wrinkled bows; red and blue, gold and green promising new life in the coming year.
Mixed emotions now wrap our package of memories; sadness and laughter, hope and regret, there remain faith, tenderness, and a colorful memory of the quickly fleeting twelve months.
1963 has flown away swiftly, never pausing for a moment.
Ahead lie twelve unfolding months of new experiences. Once more, at the end of the year, we will reminisce about our newfound treasures.
We’re starting anew. The final design will be original and personal, full of twists and turns.
Gracious living to you and yours in the exciting new year of 1964.
The sweet smell of pine can always be purchased in a spray can from the store.
The artificial tree is stored in a box to be retrieved from the storage room next December. There are no pine needles to be vacuumed and no shiny bicycles on display. There are no more snowy excursions to the nearby woods to look for the perfect tree.
We now delight in flannel shirts and an occasional bottle of after-shave. Perhaps there will be a sweater for me and a current book I’ve been thinking about.
In a few moments the gifts are unwrapped and the shirts are checked to make sure they will fit the intended one. Paper and bow must be carefully folded and used again next year.
The grandchildren are in their early thirties now but determined to spend Christmas morning with Grandpa and Grandma. Our Christmas morning tradition is to have breakfast together and open our gifts.
It’s a happy time.
We once gave our 6-year-old granddaughter a goat for Christmas. Recalling her expression when she found “Peppy” in a special pen in the barn with a big red bow tied around his neck, brings a sweet memory each year.
We’re starting anew.
Life has become more precious as each year passes.
The future is shorter and the past went by too quickly.
Life is good!
Tomorrow is Christmas.
Awaiting the morning, there are new memories to be made.
My husband and a son have passed on to another life. I’m blessed with two great-granddaughters to love and enjoy in the coming years.
A small artificial Christmas tree stands proudly before the East window. Sixty years have passed in this wonderful old farm home where memories are enjoyed every day.
The snow has been slow to arrive this year, but the joys of family are exciting. We have four great-granddaughters to celebrate Christ’s birthday with us this year. Wonderful memories are here and now. Looking forward to the treasures of the future bringing love and happinessto the family.
One day, when I was seventeen, my sister asked me to baby-sit with her infant son while they went out for the evening. I loved the little boy dearly.
The baby was suffering from a slight cold; my sister’s instructions were to give him a spoon full of cough medicine from a bottle which she had left on the counter in the kitchen. When the time came to administer the cough syrup, I picked up the bottle, poured the medicine into a spoon and offered it to the baby.
As was my habit, I didn’t bother to turn on the light in the kitchen.
The child immediately began to cough and cry, as he choked and spit out most of the medicine on his pajamas. This was not really an unusual response to bad tasting medicine, or so I thought. I turned on the light in the kitchen to assess the situation.
There was another small bottle on the counter. Upon checking, I saw that it contained the cough medicine.
The liquid I had poured into the spoon, was Tincture of Benzoin Compound, a substance used in vaporizers to help in easing breathing problems. Two bottles sat on the counter; without the light to show the names on the labels, I had chosen the wrong one. ‘
I was devastated. This child who I dearly loved had nearly been poisoned by my irresponsible action. The little boy was fine. He suffered no ill effects from my carelessness, since most of the liquid had fallen on his pajamas.
Because of that experience, I have adopted a discipline; never administer or take a medication without first carefully checking the directions in the light.
This has become my custom and it has served me, and others, well.
I was reading an explanation of a “parable”, recently. The reference said Jesus often used parables for his listeners to quickly understand the point he was making. What idea would come into a person’s mind when they heard the story he told them?
The article went on to say, the best thing to do to help a person, is to get them to think for themselves.
Is a “habit” the same as a “custom”?
When the habit of attending church becomes a custom to us, we are ready to live; to worship and praise, to love and be loved, to listen and share His word within the congregation of Christ on Sunday morning.
We are no longer burdened with a weekly decision; should I go or should I stay home? It’s no longer a habit…it is now our custom.
Ourstudy group with other Christians has now become our custom.Whether we join together on Sunday morning or another time during the week, we place ourselves in a position to grow and incorporate the meaning of His Word into our lives.
It has become, our customto listen, to learn, and to share.
Jesus, once again, has given us the example of His own life. “He went to the synagogue, as was His custom.
Are your habits serving you well? Would you like to turn them into customs? Your answer may be a life saver.
(Lord; ” Teach us Your ways. Help us to develop customs that will allow us to be used by You in Your ministries.” Amen)
***Note-The “child” is now in his seventies; in good health.
The Pharisees are investigating the healing of the blind man. (John 9:13-34)
Pharisee One – “That jerk that just came in says he was blind but now he can see”.
Pharisee Two – “Nothing is that simple.”
Pharisee One – “Well, ya know what they say. If it seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t.”
Pharisee Two – ” The guy must have done something really bad to be blind in the first place.”
Pharisee One – “Probably his father was blind. They say the apple never falls far from the tree.”
Jesus (Sitting at the Counter) – “I just healed the man as my Father led me.”
Pharisee One -“Well that was quite a lucky break for the guy, you healing him. Just who do you think you are anyway?”
Jesus – “You’ll have to take my word for who I am.”
Pharisee Two – “Hey mister! Who’s responsible for healing your blindness?”
Former Blind Man – “A man called Jesus.”
Pharisee One – So where is this guy now?”
Former Blind Man – “He’s sitting right over there at the counter.”
Pharissee Two – “Let’s just let the law handle it.”
Lawman to Former Blind Man – “Buddy, you’ve been traveling on a restricted license because of your blindness. You haven’t been wearing your seatbelt either. You’d better come clean about this cured blindness. What’s going on here?”
FormerBlind Man – “All I know for sure is that I was blind and he helped me to see.”
Pharisee One – “So what is he, a doctor?”
Pharisee Two – “Call the guy’s parents.”
Blind Man’s Dad – “He’s ours alright. But he’s a big boy so he can speak for himself.”
Pharisee One – “If that Jesus guy is a doctor, I’d call him a quack!”
FormerBlind Man -“For a couple of guys with so many questions, you sure don’t have many answers. When I tell you what happened, you don’t listen to me.”
Pharisee Two – “Hit the road buddy. Your kind never changes.”
Pharisee One – “How much do we owe ya for the coffee, lady?
“What this adds up to, then, is this. No more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we are all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself.”
All Things Are Possible
“What this adds up to, then, is this. No more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we are all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself.”
"Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents."(The Message)
The question is, am I a part of the body of Christ?
I attend church somewhat regularly. I pray sometimes but maybe not as often as I could or should. I joined the church. I sing songs in the church. I give some of my money to the church. I’ve been baptized. Do these things I have done make me a part of the body of Christ?
Are my sins forgiven? How do I know if I have the Holy Spirit?
These were the questions the gathered brothers asked Peter in the book of Acts.2:37. So now what do we do?
Peter said, “Change your life. Turn to God and be baptized. Do this each of you in the name of Jesus Christ, so your sins are forgiven. Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is targeted to you and your children. (The Message)
I admit there are times when I’m tired of being me. I’m tired of experiencing defeat. I’m tired of feeling guilty and alone. I wonder if I’ll ever reach the point of trusting Jesus Christ so much that I want Him to take control of me? Am I ready to live that kind of life? If I am ready, what happens then?
"I must know Jesus Christ as my lord and Savior before His teaching has any meaning for me. Other than that (it's just) a lofty ideal which only leads to despair. But when I am born again by the Holy Spirit of God, I know that Jesus Christ did not come only to teach. He came to make me what he teaches me to be. Jesus says..."Then you're in a wonderful place, let me show you how it's done". (My Utmost For His Highest-Oswald Chambers)
It is good to work against racism even if one should fail. It is good to work against poverty even though the poor will always be with us. These things are so because a moral choice and moral actions reflecting God’s nature are good in themselves, whether or not they are successful.
"No one can make himself pure by obeying laws. Jesus Christ does not give us rules and regulations. He gives us His teachings, which are truths that can only be interpreted by His nature, which He places within us. This comes from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit." Chambers continues; "The great wonder of Jesus Christ's salvation is that He changes our heredity. he does not change our human nature. He changes its source. He doesn't change our natural instincts. He replaces them. Our new instincts come from Him. And with these new instincts He changes our motives as well." (My Utmost For His Highest-Oswald Chambers)
When we’ve accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, the source becomes the Holy Spirit within us.
"Beware of thinking of our Lord as only a teacher. If Jesus Christ is only a teacher, then all He can do is frustrate me by setting a standard before me I cannot attain. What is the point of presenting me with such a lofty ideal if I cannot possible come close to reaching it? (My Utmost For His Highest-Oswald Chambers)
The answer is, I must commit my life to Him and receive His Spirit.
Chambers reminds us; "There is only one master of the human heart.God. Not religion. (My Utmost For His Highest)
Have we ever considered the business of being religious might get in our way of having a relationship with God? In a way, religion can become our God. Who or perhaps what, is the master of my heart?
In Matthew 6:24, Jesus reminded us of this. “You cannot serve two gods at once. Loving one god, you’ll end up hating the other”. (The Message)
This isn’t the end of my quest. It doesn’t end with asking Jesus Christ to become my own personal Lord and Savior. It doesn’t end with the repenting of my sins and the committing of my life to Christ. It doesn’t end at all.
Who, or perhaps what, is the master of my heart? So what’s the point? We have not arrived at this place solely to develop a spiritual life of our own. We are here to take part and to be a part in the building of Christ’s body, the church. We are joined to one another in Him. As the scripture reminds us, we are all connected to each other.
One step at a time and one day at a time, God reveals to us His purpose for each of us in His Body. Absolute obedience to His spirit is required. We are to be used to complete His plan, His purpose, and not our own. In the process, the fruits of our obedience will be revealed within his perfect plan.
God has given us free will. We can choose to be obedient or we can choose to follow our own inclinations and desires. In effect, we can choose to be our own God.
In Mark 8, Jesus says; ” Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat, I am. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose (yourself), the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?” (TheMessage)
We are quite familiar with the concept of obedience. We’ve known since childhood the results of both obedience and disobedience. We are familiar with the rules and regulations of the highway, the state, and the country. We know the price to be paid for disobedience to those rules and regulations. In America, we are free to challenge our government’s laws.
We can appeal the decisions of the courts when we disagree with their judgements. Sometimes we can get a law changed. We can question the meaning of our laws and hire an attorney to argue our position for us if necessary.
It is the duty of the Court to interpret the meaning of the laws which the founders had in mind when they penned the Constitution of the United States.
Currently there are many questions revolving around our government’s constitution and its original intent.
Was the United States of America founded on Christian principles? Were the writers of the constitution Christians? Was the United States of America founded as a Christian state? If it was, does that mean all other religions were to be excluded?
I suggest to you the Holy Spirit, which abides in us, will lead us through the discourses of today as well as the discourses of the scriptures.
The Bible is a living book with revelations of life on every page waiting for us to discover its meanings to us and to our world. The Spirit is our guide.
The sermon on the mount dealt with all aspects of living the Christian life. Among them were being and doing. Matthew 7: (The Message)“Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time.”
“Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do…..The way of life to God is vigorous and requires total attention.”
“Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don’t be impressed with charisma, look for character. Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook.”
“These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned. Knowing the correct password and saying Master Master, for instance, isn’t going to get you anywhere with God. What is required is serious obedience, doing what my Father wills.”
“I can see it now at the final judgment. Thousands will be strutting up to me and saying, Master we preached the message, we bashed the demons, our God sponsored projects had everyone talking. And do you know what I am going to say? You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit.”
“These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life. They are not homeowner improvements to your standard of living. You’re out of here. These are foundational words to build a life on.”
“If you work these words into your life, you’re like a smart carpenter who built his house on a solid Rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit. But nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock. But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up it collapsed like a house of cards.”
Continuing Matthew 5:33-37 (TheMessage)..“And don’t say anything you don’t mean. This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions. You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying “I’ll pray for you,” and never doing it. Or saying, “God be with you” and not meaning it.”
You don’t make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your speech sound more religious it becomes less true. When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong.”
And again in Matthew: “Be especially careful when you’re trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding. And when you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, are hoping for stardom.”
“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. Here’s another way to put it. You’re here to be light, bringing out the God colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept.” (The Message)
You and I are here to BE the body of Christ.
John Wesley put it quite simply, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”
Watching what God does and trying to do the same is a full time endeavor. Through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, through the church the body of Christ, all things are possible.
Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE, by Eugene H. Peterson-The Bible in contemporary language.
Copyright 1993, 1994,1995,1996,2000,2001,2002 – “Used by permission of NavPress Publishing group”
Eugene Peterson is a longtime pastor and teacher, and the guy who paraphrased this Bible from Greek and Hebrew (The languages in which the Bible was originally written) into contemporary language that sounds a lot like the language that we use on a daily basis.
MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST by Oswald Chambers (1874-1917)-First published in 1935. Copyright renewed 1963
My husband and I were standing at our living room window, watching a man walking down the distant road. The man lived nearby in a broken down house. Every day he walked two miles to a neighborhood bar where he spent his time.
“Night fell, darkness hid the two from sight”
He worked at walking.
Each night at dusk he turned for home, deaf to traffic sounds. Reeling into roadside ditch, he lay upon the ground in bleak half-conscious stupor.
With effort, he crawled to the ditch’s edge, then worked at walking
The man continued through his nightly ritual.
My friend approached the sodden hulk. Bending down, he knelt beside the fallen man; with strong and steady arms, he began “The Rescue”….
My friend was not a hero. I was only an observer. Though years have passed, the vivid scene remains.
Whose life was changed? Whose journey reached a crossroad? Whose path was interrupted by a chance encounter?
Was it the man? Was it the friend? Was it me?
What are you thinking now?
Night fell. Darkness hid the two from sight.
“The Rescue” had begun.
It has been many years since this incident took place.
We were standing at our living room window, watching a man walking down the distant road. He lived nearby in a broken down house. Every day he walked two miles to a neighborhood bar where he spent the long hours.
We didn’t always see him traveling on the way to his daily destination. Nor did we see him when he was going home.
But this day, we saw him walking toward his home.
He staggered and stumbled, repeatedly falling into the deep ditch
beside the road.
For moments he was out of sight. Then, once more, we saw him crawling up from the ditch and struggling to his feet. Walking a few steps, he fell once more. Again he crawled up the side of the ditch on his hands and knees and attempted to stand.
I became aware my husband had left my side.
Now, in his truck, he was driving down our driveway toward the distant road. Stopping at the place where the man was lying beside the ditch, my husband got out of his truck and approached the figure.
Taking him by the arm, he helped the man to his feet.
He later told me he had intended to help him into the cab of the truck, but the man protested. “I’m not clean enough to sit in your truck. Help me into the back. I’ll ride home there.”
As this scene unfolded before my eyes, I was surely not aware it would remain in my memory and my heart, many years later.
How many of us, including me, would leave the comfort of home to help a drunken, smelly man get safely to his home?
This was a side of my husband about which I wasn’t aware at the time. Yes, he was kind, gentle and caring. The scene I watched was more than that.
The experience changed me. Maybe it has changed you.
At this stage of life it has become clear to me, we all need to be rescued.
Our Friend is on His way.
As time passed, we discussed the incident; facts revealed themselves about the man who was rescued.
He was a veteran from World War 2.
We have since become aware of the experiences our soldiers endured during that time which were too horrible for them to remember.
We now call it PTSD.
It has been found, for some of the veterans, it is easier to drink away the memories than to relive them in their minds.
In our village, there were three World War 2 veterans who spent their days at the same local bar.
The world called them drunks. Should we have called them heroes?