2014IsisThe first January entry is priceless. February has a gem, too.

 A terror group that most Americans had never heard of prior to this year, known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), took brutality to a new level with graphic beheadings and the brutal takeover of entire towns in Syria and Iraq. Satan is on the move. Radical unreasoning violence has no place in humanity regardless of the claimed intent.

 

January

What People Think; Don’t worry too much about what people think. They don’t do it often enough to make any difference. 

Comparisons; To compare ourselves to others leads to despair.

This Month, This Year; The staff is going to try The Voice as the new name for the newsletter.

Also New This Year – Our past presidents’ birthdays (and year) will be on the Calendar page, starting with January in last month’s issue. 

Burma Shave Signs; Remember them? Here’s one from 1932.
You’ll love your wife
You’ll love her paw
You’ll even love
your mother-in-law
If you use Burma Shave

 

February

Classroom Justice; A boy came into the classroom one morning and asked the teacher, “Should someone be punished for something they didn’t do?”

“No, absolutely not!” the teacher replied,”

“Good,” the boy said, “Because I didn’t do my homework.” From Country magazine.

When I Grow Up; The teacher asked his class, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

One rambunctious girl surprised the class by saying, “I want to be a minister.”

“Why a minister?” the surprised preacher asked.

“Well, I figure I have to go to church Sundays anyway,” the girl replied, “And I’d much rather be the one standing up and talking than one of the people who have to sit and listen.” From Country magazine.

Excuses; Take it like a man – blame it on your wife. From Kentucky Explorer magazine.

Words, in the order of their importance;
The seven most important words in the English language are:
I made a mistake and I’m sorry.

The six most important words are:
You did a very good job.

The five most important words are:
And what is your opinion?

The four most important words are:
How can I help?

The three most important words are:
I appreciate you.

The two most important words are:
Thank you.

The least important word is:
I.

From Kentucky Explorer magazine.

Opening Crackers; For the boxes of crackers that have 4 plastic wrapped packages inside, I have discovered that the end of the plastic wrap opposite the box opening is much easier to open than the end near the box opening.

Stress Management, Doggie Style; If you can’t eat it or play with it, then pee on it and walk away.

Horlick’s Malted Milk; Do you remember Horlick’s Malted Milk? It sponsored The Lum and Abner radio show. The following web site has links to recordings of some of the broadcasts. http://www.angelfire.com/my/otr/jw.html

There was no March issue

 

April

Birthday List; There are two ways to get a birthday listed on the calendar; The first way is to become president: The second way is to give the name and birthday to me. The first way is admirable, but the second way is far easierJ

Opening Crackers; Last issue’s cracker opening suggestion applies to Ritz crackers, too.

Daylight Saving Time; Daylight-saving time is founded on the old Indian idea of cutting off one end of the blanket and sewing it on the other end to make it longer. From the March issue of Kentucky Explorer.

More about Adam Clarke; (1760 or 1762–1832) was a British Methodist theologian and biblical scholar. He was born in the townland Moybeg Kirley near Tobermore in Ireland. He is chiefly remembered for writing a commentary on the Bible which took him 40 years to complete and which was a primary Methodist theological resource for two centuries. His work is in six volumes of about 1000 pages each. If you Google Clarke’s Commentary or Adam Clarke you will learn much more. The Editor recommends doing so.

Also, Clarke’s Commentary is available on the internet in its entirety.

 

May

Sunday School Attendance; Our May 4th Lesson Commentary Introduction “Part A. Sunday school on trial” paragraph stated that declining Sunday School attendance is a nationwide problem and that several Churches have eliminated Sunday school altogether.

When I was a kid Sunday School had more attendees than the Church Service.

Newsletter Name Change, Again; “There you go again,” Ronald Reagan once said. Well, here the Editor goes again. He’s changing the newsletter name again, but this time it’s back to the original name. While rummaging around in the Church file cabinets the Editor found three issues of Christian Chatter written in late 2000. So far, no more have been found until it was restarted on a regular basis in February of 2003. After trying two other titles, the Editor remembered the truth contained in the saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” So The Christian Chatter it is.

Ginger and Fred ; Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, except backwards and in high heels.

More about crackers; Some cracker boxes do not have “open here” on the proper end to open. It’s usually the end with a tab. Anyway, if you have trouble opening the inner wrap at one end, try the other. One is usually easier than the other.

By the way, the same is true about maze puzzles. They are much easier to solve by starting at the “finish” point and heading toward the “start” point.

 

June

Accident, Coincidence or Angel Aid?; A few days a go, I bought some cat food for my fat cat. For some reason, even though I could have easily carried it at the time, I felt that I should leave the cat food in the garage and bring it in later.

Then I forgot to bring it in. The next morning, while still pretty dark, I started to feed my cat only to discover I had no cat food in the house. That meant I had to go out to the garage and bring in the cat food I had left there.

On the way back to the house, I noticed through a basement window that the basement lights were on. When I went in to turn them off I found the dehumidifier was off due to a power glitch a day or so before. The dehumidifier is vital to operation in my always damp and humid basement. It needs always to be on. Also, the lights burning for days on end cost money.

I ask you, was it accidental, a coincidence, or was I touched by an Angel?

 

July

About Giving; I had the privilege of opening the door of the Harmany House for the Methodist Mountain Mission pickup men. I also helped them carry some stuff to the truck.

The time spent with them taught me a lesson or two that I think should be passed along to all givers.

  1. Hand trucks are often used to move boxes to the truck. Boxes stack well on them; plastic bags do not.
  2. Plastic bags rip open and dump stuff onto the sidewalk. It’s not fun picking everything up.

  3. Do not donate things that should be trashed. A reasonable rule of thumb about clothing might be – If you would be ashamed to give it to Good Will face to face, then it probably should be trashed. 

Next Month, August; August is a five Sunday month. It would be a good thing if we started setting aside some extra money to give to the Kentucky United Methodist Homes for Children and Youth. That is the long official name for what we usually call The Children’s Homes.

Fifth Sunday gifts to the Children’s Homes have been a long time tradition and are a good ministry in need of all the help it can get.

Children and Youth are the future. Helping troubled children and youth is admirable.

 

August

Answered Prayers ; It was Monday, August 4. It was about 5:00 AM and I was half-awake, half still asleep. That was when I felt comforting warmth rapidly spread over and through me from my chest outward until I felt it in and on my fingers and toes. Then, without words, pictures, or sentences, I felt for certain, somehow knew, I was free of the addiction to alcohol that I have had from about age 25 to now, age 81. It was all over in a second or so.

When you read this, it will have been 28 days from that morning and I still feel I’m no longer addicted. I pray God will help keep it that way. Thanks to all of you who knew my problem and prayed for me. I know God answered your prayers.

Between then and now, Satan has tempted me by creating many situations that would normally have turned me to the bottle for solace. However, this month I have easily resisted the temptation and gone about my Lord’s, my Church’s and my business.

I’m not sure I would believe this if someone told it to me, but it is true. It is as true as when Dad  said to his caregiver on the night of September 30, 1990, “The angels are coming for me at 5 AM in the morning.” Shortly after 5 AM the next morning, Dad’s caregiver found him not breathing. Dad passed on to Heaven right on schedule at 5 AM.

I wonder, is there any significance to both events happening at 5 AM?

Bible Versions; I have been listening to CDs of the New King James Version (NKJV) of the Bible this year while following along in a New International Version (NIV). There are many differences both in word choice and in sentence structure.  One starts to wonder what motivated the writing of the more modern versions.

I was struck by the word “meaningless” in the NIV of Ecclesiastes 1:2 where the NKJV used “Vanity”. It seemed to me “vanity” was better in context than “meaningless”. I looked in a KJV to find it used “vanity” as well. I have access to 32 versions of the Bible in the program used to project the scripture each week. The majority of them selected “vanity” as the word. Other choices were “pointless, futile, and useless.”

I think the NIV authors were trying too hard to please an “international” audience. I am now using the New Revised Standard Version, a proponent of the “vanity” choice.

 

September

The Articles of Religion of the Methodist Church

Preface – I am over half past 81 and have been a member of the Methodist Church since 1946. I discovered The Articles of Religion of the Methodist Church earlier this year while hunting requirements about membership records in The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church Until then I never knew they existed, shame on me.

There are 25 well aged articles plus 2 recently added (1939) articles.

A copy of The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church is in our conference room and can be found on-line at http://www.ctcumc.org/pages/detail/1844. The Articles of Religion of the Methodist Church begins on page 64 as part of Paragraph 104. Section 3—Our Doctrinal Standards and General Rules.

The introduction to the articles from The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church (BOD) is now discussed.. 

Text from The BOD

THE ARTICLES OF RELIGION
OF THE METHODIST CHURCH

[Bibliographical Note: The Articles of Religion are here reprinted from the Discipline of 1808 (when the first Restrictive Rule took effect), collated against Wesley's original text in The Sunday Service of the Methodists (1784). To these are added two Articles: "Of Sanctification" and "Of the Duty of Christians to the Civil Authority," which are legislative enactments and not integral parts of the document as protected by the Constitution (see Judicial Council Decisions 41, 176).]

Editor’s Comments - The Articles of Religion are protected from change by Restrictive Rule 1 found in paragraph 17 Article I of The BOD. It reads, “The General Conference shall not revoke, alter, or change our Articles of Religion or establish any new standards or rules of doctrine contrary to our present existing and established standards of doctrine”.

The paragraph has been the subject of six Judicial Council Decisions. I haven’t looked at decisions because, so far, I can’t find out where they are documented. I guess they do not tamper with the Articles, as the Articles have not changed. The additional two articles were added in 1939.

I do not know what “collated against” means in reference to The Sunday Service of the Methodists (1784). I did find an on-line searchable replica of Wesley’s book, all 496 pages. It is worth looking at, but is hard to read, because the letters are 1784 versions. The web address is https://ia601702.us.archive.org/33/items/amernorfm00wesl/amernorfm00wesl.pdf.

Some Words about The Book of Discipline – In order to begin the series on The Articles of Religion (Pastor’s Page) I have been looking at The BOD more closely than before.

I have some not very kind remarks about it. Here they are. The 2012 edition is 879 pages in length. The 1908 version was only 472 pages. There are also many more words per page in the 2012 edition. 

If the worldwide United Methodist Church is not careful, it will organize itself out of business.

Out of the Mouths; In the last couple of weeks, I got involved in a misunderstanding because someone decided something was wrong without first considering the other side of the story.

It is like “putting your mouth in gear before starting your brain.” I have found over a long period of time that there are always two sides to a situation, so before mouthing off and starting a harmful chain of events, be sure you know what the other side is. Pausing and exploring the situation often avoids the need to say, “I’m sorry,” or the guilt feeling if you don’t.

I often use this verse as part of my e-mail signature – “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. - Proverbs 12:18” and try to practice what I preach, not always successfully.

On the lighter side; It seems that many folks these days want to go places and boo things.

There was nothing of general interest in the October issue

 

November

Apology; I apologize for being an absent Greeter this month. As an excuse I could say I have trouble leaving the Sunday School Class. In reality, I just forget to do it.

Beulah Land; Our Sunday School class was recently asked, “Where is Beulah Land?” The internet provided this answer. Beulah is the Hebrew word meaning married. The word appears in Isaiah 62:4 but only in some translations; married is used in the others. The verse says that God and the Israelites would live in Hephzibah (symbolically Zion [symbolically Jerusalem]) as married to one another. Would the Hymn Dwelling in Beulah Land be popular if it were Dwelling in married land?

A 75 year old, or older, recipe; My mother made these cookies when I was around 10 (early 1940s). The recipe was dictated to me and I hand wrote it while we were making them. Our Pastor was kind enough to make them a few weeks ago. They tasted as good now as I remembered and brought back many memories. I pass along the recipe with the hope that it does not die with me. You have read between the words in some places.

Raisin Cookies; 

Cookie Ingredients

2 cups sugar, 2 Teaspoons Cinnamon, 2/3 Cup Crisco, ½ Teaspoon Cloves, 1 Teaspoon Nutmeg, 2 eggs, 
2 Teaspoons Cocoa, ¾ cup milk, 2 cups self-rising flour

In mixer or 300 strokes, then 1 ½ cups more flour to make stiff. Drop (push) heaping teaspoon onto a cookie sheet. Bake until done, 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Filling ingredients

2 cups Raisins, 1 cup sugar, 2 cups water, 2 tablespoons lemon juice or vinegar, 3 ½ tablespoon cornstarch

Mix cornstarch and sugar. Then add the rest. Cook until thickened.

Assembly

Spread filling on one cookie and then place another cookie on top to make a sandwich.

 

December

From Yesteryear; I have a book (One of a series of yearbooks) about 1944. The series is largely based on The Saturday Evening Post. One page is devoted to Facts and Figures of 1944.

Here are some of them:

  1. S. Population 138,397,345

Births                                    2,939,000

High School Graduates
             Male                            424,000
             Female                        595,000

Average Full Time Salary       $2.193.00

Minimum Wage (per hour)            $0.30

Average Cost for:
             Bread (1lb)                    $0.08
             Bacon (1lb)                    $0.41
             Eggs (1 doz.)                 $0.55
             Milk (1/2 gal.)               $0.31
             Gasoline (gal.)               $0.21
             Postage Stamp               $0.03
             Car                          $1,220.00
             Single family home $3,450.00

Judging Others; I have been listening to the Bible for almost a year now. I will finish about January 15. A few days ago, part of my listening was 1 Corinthians 4:3-5. The verses are copied here (NIV).

3I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 4My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. 5Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.

It seems to me we are all, and that includes me, often guilty of judging others, quite often unfairly. Then following our quick judgment we pass sentence and hold a grudge for a very long time. We should pause and try to understand the other side before passing judgment.

When I look at other folks disagreements, I am certain there are always at least two sides to every issue. Unfortunately, when I am part of the issue I do not always pause to consider the other side before shooting off my mouth.

I pray that Jesus, the gatekeeper, is forgiving of my fault. I also pray He will help me not to be judge, jury and executioner.

It is much harder to mend fences than it is to tear them down.

Idaho Potato Truck; You have probably seen the Idaho Potato TV ads featuring the Big Idaho Potato Truck. Well, the truck exists and this year was its third tour for the American Heart Association and, of course, Idaho potatoes. It is presently ending this year’s tour in Idaho. I could find no information about its use in 2015.