Saturday, May 10, 2014

There's no place like home!

We have a mobile society in America and many are moving and establishing new homes in new locations. This has been the history of our family over the years, mostly because of changes in ministry. This last Christmas our daughter Mary Ruth and son-in-law Phil Taylor took a short furlough from their missionary work in Curitiba, Brazil, South America, and visited us here in Crawfordsville, as well as family in North Carolina and Iowa. We celebrated both holidays with them in our one-room bedroom apartment here. We have a system for entertaining overnight -- our clothing finds corners and shelves here and there, and we sleep on the hide-a-bed sofa in our livingroom, while our guests occupy the "bridal suite" bedroom. It works out quite well for all of us, although it's not quite a Holiday Inn experience. In the case of Phil and Mary Ruth they brought some coffee from Brazil which helped to provide more comfort! Looking back over the years we recall entertaining loved ones and friends in all kinds of settings -- for example, our "honeymoon cottage" on Mary K.'s parents' farm was was without electricity, heated by a cold stove and consisted of three rooms and a "path"! But our best memory of having our family home for Christmas was while serving in Portage, Indiana, during our first winter there in 1974. Our four children with their little ones were snowed in by one of those lake-effect storms, so we celebrated together in the roomy parsonage which had been the church's first meetingplace. There were three upstairs bedrooms, one on the main floor and another in the basement, along with an open kitchen-diningroom area and large livingroom, plus one and-a-half bathrooms. As the kids say, "we had a blast!" We enjoyed entertaining in our parsonage in Brazil, Indiana, but later at Bloomfield, Indiana, we packed kids and grandkids into the mobile home parsonage and Mary K. and I slept in the church basement! The main consideration is not just comfort, but the joy of being together with dear ones. Just recently we "rolled out the red carpet" to welcome our daughter Judy to our humble abode, coming all the way from Gig Harbor, Washington, for a two-week visit. Although Mike couldn't come with her we let her occupy the Bridal Suite at no extra charge, but she did send some scrumptious coffee on ahead by mail. Judy was a blessing to us and other residents in the building, and especially helpful in going with us to a neuro-ophthamologist (BalanceMD/"DizzyDr.") for follow-up on her mother's vertigo/balance problem. And, by the way, Mary K. is doing better as this goes to press, thanks to the Lord and all who are praying. Well, in summary, just want to stress the thought that the living accommodations are not all-important, but it's the company that matters. The Lord Jesus is the key, and He reminds us that "where two or three are gathered together in My Name, THERE AM I in the midst of them!" (Matthew 18:20). His presence and blessing make any abode a palace!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Where To Go With "Vertigo"?

For some time now Mary K. has been struggling with a vertigo problem, complicated by reflux esophagitis. Simply said, vertigo is dizziness that makes the room spin, whereas just being plain dizzy is when you spin! The past few months we have consulted with a gastroenterologist and neurologist, followed by therapy, and it seems that we have found help for her condition. It appears that crystals in the inner ear move around, causing the dizzy feeling, and medications plus a simple maneuver called the "Canalith repositioning procedure (CRP)" does provide relief...but no "cure" yet. The inner ear defect may be caused by infections, circulation problems, dehydration, aging, or body position changes like swinging or traveling by ship or plane. So, we are thankful for her improvement so far, and ask our Christian readers to pray for her. Frankly, I'm pondering the wisdom of poeple who bring on dizziness or a "high" purposely through the use of addictive drugs or alcohol. And now we are seeing the legalization of marijuana in several states, which can only produce more problems in the home and society. My experience with alcohol goes back to rejecting parental advice and listening to my peers in the Navy in World War II. After a night of imbibing in New Orleans, I woke up out in the Caribbean enroute to the Panama Canal and the South Pacific war zone, and my head was spinning like crazy from the hangover. I can honestly say that my every encounter with booze during the war, and briefly thereafter, was most UNpleasant...and I have some bodily scars to prove it! They don't hand out purple hearts for such foolishness, believe me! God's Word, the Bible, is precise: "Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.... Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea...!" (Proverbs 23:29-34) Surely, "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging, and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise!" (Proverbs 20:1). So, in life you may develop true vertigo through aging, etc., but self-induced vertigo is NOT the "way to go!"

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The reserves are coming!

"But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith He unto His disciples, 'The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the Harvest, that He will send forth labourers into His harvest!'" -- Matthew 9:36-38.
As we read newsletters and news reports from around the world we are moved by the willingness of young people to launch out in missionary service to many open countries in a very turbulent and dangerous world.  As we read the call of Jesus to serve Him wherever He leads, we recall our own years of missionary service in post-war Germany, starting less than a decade after World War II.  The task seemed overwhelming in that physically and spiritually devastated land, and the onset of the Cold War made prospects even more dismal and uncertain.  So, we were praying for helpers to come and share the burden of the work with us.  A favorite Scripture passage was Acts 16:9,10, where Paul and his missionary party were challenged to "Come over into Macedonia (Europe) and HELP us!"; that is, "to preach the Gospel unto them!"  We still believe that "the Gospel is still the power of God unto salvation" (Romans 1:16) and many are waiting to hear this message in many places today.  So we rejoice to hear that God has called up more "reserves" for the battle!  This summer we were blessed when Fran Lee called to ask if she and her daughter and son-in-law could stop by for a brief visit.  We first met Fran when she was a teenager in Arcanum, OH, and part of a former Amish family of several children, and we stayed in their home while presenting Germany in their church there.  So what joy to meed Caleb and Melissa ("Missy")
Metzger and little Benjamin.  Caleb and Missy have since then been approved by Baptist Mid-Missions for service in Germany and we hope to see them again as they travel in pre-field ministry.  Then, our granddaughter Rachel Taylor, who raised in Brazil, South America, and graduated from Faith Baptist Bible College and Pensacola Christian College with degrees in Elementary Education, had taught Christian Day School in Memphis, TN, for ten years.  This year the Lord tapped her as a "reservist" for a two-year short-term Ministry to Brazil under our Mission, and she has already arrived there as this is written!  She will be stationed in Sao Jose, Santa Catarina, south Brazil, to help her older brother James and wife Christen and family in the new mission plant - "Redemption Baptist Church" with an outreach to children, youth and families.  So we invite Christian readers to remember Caleb and Missy (with little Ben) to be soon sharing the Good News with German folks, and Rachel now get acclimated to the work in Brazil.  And we expect to hear in the days ahead how that we can expect to meet souls in Heaven one day, whom they have won to the Saviour! "Lord, we thank you for these new reserves, and we ask you to send forth many more to the Harvest Field!"

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day Musings

Following Easter we did a verse-by-verse study of I Corinthians chapter 15 in our Bible Class here at Rosedale Court.  I had made a few sermons on this text over the years of ministry, but must confess I that passed over verse 33 too quickly:  "Be not  deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners!" My King James Version seems difficult to understand, until you really think about the context, which of course, is the chapter theme: .the Gospel based on the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.  I recall shamefully  how some of my peers in early years and later in the Service literally communicated information to me which then did help to "corrupt good manners" or habits or convictions contrary to my upbringing and to the Word of God.  Since I (like everyone else) was already a sinner by nature, it only encouraged wrong thinking and subsequent wrong actions and lifestyle.   My old German Bible puts it:  "evil babbling corrupts good manners" and the modern version says that "a bad lifestyle corrupts good habits."  Another old English view is "bad company good morals doth corrupt" and preacher John Wesley long ago commented that "Discourse contrary to faith, hope or love, naturally tends to destroy all holiness!"  In other words, following worldly unbiblical counsel can destroy a life, a home, even a nation.  On this holiday we duly remember those who have died to protect our country, and we respect and honor those who are presently serving.  But when we hear now that those Christians presently in the Service are forbidden to share the Gospel with their compatriots, and, at the same time we learn that 22 veterans are committing suicide each day (!) we strongly believe our freedoms, especially religious freedom, must be preserved, even fought for.  When we read or hear the misleading teachings of atheists, evolutionists, humanists and "Christian" teachers who deny the truths of creation, salvatio and resurrection of the body, and corrupt the minds and hearts of needy sinners, then I urge my readers to hold fast to the simple, but sublime Good News "wherein ye stand; by which ye are also that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures...that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day, according to  the Striptures!" (I Corinthians 15:1-4).  And, for those of us who have rejected the "babblings" of our day, let us heed the 34th verse of the same wonderful chapter:  "Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God; I speak this to your shame!"  Let (true) freedom ring!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

March Madness

When we Hoosiers think of March it's usually associated (really) with a kind of madness -- basketball!  When I was in Junior High School at Wallace our school janitor, "Putt" Rudisell, was drafted to coach us.  He was a good coach and we thought he was probably better than some of our hired High School coaches.  Anyway, believe it or not, I served on the team (all 5 feet of muscle) and enjoyed being a forward and we did win a game or two, although I can't remember scoring any points.  There was a bonus for the effort, though, when Putt arranged for all the team to see the Harlem Globetrotters in a game at Crawfordsville!  Then, moving on to High School sports (basketball only in winter) we had to undergo a physical examination by Doc Rusk, and that's when my budding (?) athletic career came to a sudden halt.  Doc discovered that I (only age 14) had some high blood pressure which led him to disqualify me, at least for that year.  Eventually that problem was traced to bad tonsils and helped by subsequent surgery, but still lingered through High School and beyond.  However, the disappointment was relieved when I was chosen to be Student Manager, which consisted of making sure the basketballs were waxed and polished before every game and propherly inflated, floor burns and other injuries were properly treated, and towels and drinking water were on hand at each game.  I even made a cart to carry  those essentials out on the floor to the team at timeouts.  It did have a problem...the casters were not scientifically installed and the cart had a tendency to boomerang and so was retired in short order, to my embarrassment.  There were some perks, like riding on the bus with the team and sitting with them and the coach on the bench at the games.  The boys were great and the excitement was electric at every game.  Wallace played hard and fair, but never had great success during those years, and it seemed that we would always draw a much bigger and better team for the county and sectional tournaments.  But I'm proud of those town- and teammates, several of whom went on to serve in World War II with distinction, like Merle Shuler and Kenny Davidson.  And one, Forest Babb, gave his life on the Normandy beach.   Still another, Russell Gooding, who sat next to me in the assembly, married my sister Joan!   Oh, yes, there's still another perk that came my way -- I received a Student Manager sweater with a school letter.  I'm so thankful for those school days and for lessons learned in the classes
and on the gymnasium floor.  We didn't win a state championship, but we had fun and good times and made lots of great memories!  Life is like that, too.  God doesn't expect us to set the world on fire with popularity, fame and fortune, but He does invite us to turn from sin, trust His Son as our Saviour, and then live through Him and for Him on this earth.  As the Apostle Paul (who loved athletics) wrote:  "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all (that is, all run), but one  receiveth the prize?  So run, that ye may obtain (an eternal reward)! -- I Corinthians 9:24.   In Christ we are eternal winners!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

"Freedom isn't free!"

January 30 is International Holocaust Memorial Day.  and Germany is marking the 80th anniversary of Adolf Hitler's rise to power with the opening of an open-air documentation center in Berlin.  Called "Berlin 1933.  On the Path to Dictatorship," the exhibition is built on the actual site of the former headquarters of the Gestapo, the Nazi secret police!  Current Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke at the opening ceremony of the new exhibit and said, in part, "Human rights don't assert themselves.  Freedom doesn't preserve itself all alone and democracy doesn't succeed by itself. ... That must be a constant warning for us, Germans. ... Hitler's rise to power was aided by the MAJORITY'S SILENCE!  We're facing our history, we're not hiding anything, we're not repressing anything.  We must confront this to make sure we are a good and trustworthy partner in the future, as we already are today, thankfully."  Mary K. and I served in Gerany in the 1950's just a few years after the end of World War II  and we'll never forget our first visit to the former  concentration camp at Dachau, just a few miles north of Munich.  It graphically revealed the results, not just of Naziism's inhamanity to man, but also the MAJORITY'S refusal to protest it.  In reading about this today it was also noted that a radio station in Israel had featured a discussion by academic experts on Holocaust history and political science where the conditions that allowed Hitler to rise to power in a democracy were analyzed with an eye to today's rising Europen anti-semitism!  What couln't happen in Germany DID happen...and it could happen in our own country!  With over 200 years of political, civil and religious liberty, America is in danger of losing its blood-bought freedoms.  There are those on the streets and in high places who believe our Constitution is archaic, the Bill of Rights should be changed to more "progressive" rights and the Bible is no longer a basis for right and wrong!  May God help us!  The Lord Jesus Christ makes it clear:  " shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you FREE. ...If the SON shall make you free, ye shall be FREE indeed!" (John 8:32,36).  If the Lord tarries His return and the U.S.A. continues to exist as a FREE naation, we must obey God's Word:  "As FREE, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God!"  (I Peter 2:13-16).  When any government or its leaders seek to replace the true God of the Bible or to become God, then we agree with the apostle as he testified in Acts 5:29:  "...We ought to obey God rather than men!"

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The "Secret" Is Out!

We have had a blessed holiday season so far.  Our Waterford Apartments office staff provided the main dishes (along with the service and clean-up) for our Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners here in the Rosedale Court Community Room.  The residents brought side-dishes and desserts to make truly scrumptious and festive meals.  On the Eve of Thanksgiving our sister Jean and brother-in-law Bob Larsh drove down from Indianapolis to treat us to a delicious dinner at our new Cracker Barrel restaurant here in Crawfordsville.  During the build-up to Christmas we were able to compose our annual newsletter to our friends and loved ones, then to mail it and also some gifts to our scattered family members.  It was a special treat around each holiday to visit via e-mail, phone and internet "Skype" and Facebok with our kids, grand- and great-grandkids from Sao Jose, Santa Catarina, Brazil, South America, to Gig Harbor, Washington.  We enjoyed, too, the greeting cards from family and friends from "all over," some of whom we have corresponded with since our service in Germany in the 1950's! On December 18 we celebrated our 63rd wedding anniversary with dinner out and watching a gift DVD of Andre Rieu and orchestra ("Home For Christmas"), which included some songs in German.  The day after Christmas and since we have had snow on the ground which makes for more seasonal nostalgia ("I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas").  During this time we also watched some Hallmark TVspecials and one proposed to reveal "The Christmas Secret" (which turned out to be that Santa was an ancient Viking working with elves whose raindeer could fly!).  So, in our Rosedale Court Bible Class each Thursday afternoon I set out to set the record straight by bringing a series of studies on the theme "The Real  Christmas Secret"!   Briefly, yes, there was an ancient St. Nicolas, but he was not all-wise and all-powerful. amd, if he had reindeer, they could not fly.  I'm not mimicing Scrooge here, but it seems that we have so commercialized Christmas and tried to make it politically correct to wish others a "Happy Holiday" while they decorated the "Holiday Tree," that we have downplayed the Birth of Christ and the true reason for His first coming.  As Philippians 2:5-8 states, "...Christ Jesus... was made in the likeness of men..and...He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross!"  Praise the Lord, He is a living Saviour and coming again at any moment!  On that basis we trust you have had a truly MERRY CHRISTMAS, and we pray that you will have a Biblically HAPPY AND HOPE-FILLED NEW YEAR ahead!