That's the eighth car I've seen off the road in 45 minutes of driving.
I'm cruising up the fast lane of interstate 390 North at a bold 40 miles per hour.
The Park Avenue, with it's anti-lock brakes, traction control system, and low-slung air suspension, is proving to be a great winter vehicle. The tires are 50% and I have about 120lbs. of ballast in the trunk.
Most of the weight is my 3-ton floor jack. I should take it out, but I use it so often, changing farm tires. The 5-gallon pail of diesel engine oil is definitely fifth-wheeling though. A cardboard box of tools and brake parts are left from my work on the car Monday morning.
All told, I'm stickin' tight to the road and moving through the snowstorm pretty well.
But in what does my confidence lie? My winter driving skills? Even the best New Yorkers have had some ditch time.
My car? I like it pretty well, but I've owned it for less than 2 weeks and know very little about its quirks. Anything could fail any time in a $650 car.
Better put my trust in my Jesus. He's never failed me yet. And although He doesn't owe me a safe ride home I know he'll be with me the whole way.
Let's not test the angels, though. Slow and steady.
Town of Clarendon. 3/4 of the way home.
Why does it feel like I'm driving over frozen mud....? Oh, no.
It's 9 PM. I'm not home from work yet. I'm in the parking lot of the Clarendon Fire department, kneeling in the snow, straining with all my might on stubborn lug nuts. Finally, with the help of a pry bar to push the ratchet, they come loose, one by one.
The donut tire pops on, the heavy jack is back in the trunk, and the flat tire, its sidewall sliced clean somehow, takes its ease on the leather back seat.
10 PM. Finally in the driveway.
Let's get some supper, sit and relax, and thank the Lord for His goodness.
I think I'll leave that jack in the trunk fro a while.
Friday, December 5, 2014
What makes us happy?
I'm not talking about joy - that is found in Jesus Christ and a personal relationship with God.
I'm not talking about peace - that comes through knowing your sins are forgiven and the Holy Spirit's indwelling
I'm talking about plain happy.
Because joy comes from the inside, but happiness is a product of your environment.
Oh, I know what they say, but it's wrong. In a way. Happiness is when something external stimulates you; brings a smile to your lips; or even breaks out a hearty laugh.
It can be a product of foolishness, but as my parents used to say, "When everyone is laughing foolishly, pretty soon someone's gonna be crying." Because foolish happiness is vanity. Doing stupid stuff with friends makes you grin, but there is leanness in your soul.
So how do I extract happiness out of my environment?
Learn where to find it.
When I step out the door and the sun is shining, the birds are singing, the dew sparkles on the clover...
I know it sounds cliche but it makes me happy.
When I step out the door and the wind chill is -26 and the snow is slapping me in the face like a sandblaster..
I get in my old truck and the mighty Cummins roars to life on the first try. That makes me happy.
I see the autumn leaves fall.
I watch a tire fill without leaks.
I listen to children playing.
Watch the sun set over the lake in a blaze of fiery colors.
Hear the harmony of the congregation praising the Lord.
Watch the crackling flames of a wood fire.
All these make me happy. Because all these I count as a gift from my Father in heaven.
I'm going to go out now and work on rusty brakes in 20 degrees.
And I am going to find something to be happy about.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
A Common Cause or a Colossal Curse?
By Elliott R. Parfitt
Chapter 1: 1 kings 22
Jehoshaphat – a breath of fresh air; a ray of light. Asa his father had been a good king, but the later years of his reign had been increasingly turbulent with political and spiritual unrest. He had relied on the world for help, had been sternly rebuked by God... and had thrown the prophet Hanani into prison. Then came the disease. Jehoshaphat could only watch helplessly as his father wasted away without once asking for a priest or prophet of God to go to the Lord on his behalf.
And as the great fire of honor and lamentation for the old king lit the faces of his new subjects, Jehoshaphat could see in the flickering shadows the lean, bitter countenance of oppression. It was time for change.
At thirty-five, Jehoshaphat was mature, capable, enthusiastic, and in the prime of his life. With God's Help he turned the nation of Judah to a prosperous country. Three years into his reign he sent out groups of men to educate his people in the ways and commandments of the Lord. The king led by example; the people followed with joy. Young men flocked to his military standard and soon the godly leader not only had made the entire nation a veritable fortress, but had enlisted a military of 11.6 million men who were the picture of bravery and courage.
Looking over at his brother country, Israel, Jehoshaphat could find it in his heart to pity Ahab their king. He was in a bitter struggle with the greedy Syrians, who were pushing in at the borders of Israel and taking choice cities and towns, like a bully taking toys away from a child. Ahab was a weak king who made innumerable mistakes and thought about God only when some pesky prophet showed up and informed him that he had again made a bad choice. Ahab's protection from God's messengers was at last to surround himself with hundreds of men who called themselves prophets. Some were dramatic, others funny, while others uttered long mysterious incantations and adorned themselves in ludicrous apparel. But they made the unhappy king feel better, and helped him feel he was doing his religious duties. Besides, his wife Jezebel liked them; in fact had taken it upon herself to hire most of them.
Everyone in the land had long forgotten the God of their fathers, it seemed, and worshiped whatever, and whomever and however they pleased. What a mess.
Jehoshaphat began to turn over ideas in his mind. Israel was of Judah's blood. Ahab, poor soul, was still his brother. Maybe a little encouragement was all that was needed. Maybe Judah's military might, coupled with their godly influence, could save the day! Why not go down and break the ice with Ahab; just test the waters.
Ahab received him very cordially, and even broached the subject himself.
“Wilt thou go with me to Ramoth-Gilead?”
Jehoshaphat had no hesitation. This was definitely an answer to prayer! If Judah helped Israel materially by helping them gain back a key city, would not the doors fly open spiritually? He turned his energetic, smiling face back toward the battle-worn Ahab.
“I am as thou art, and my people as thy people;and we will be with thee in this war.”
As was natural for him, Jehoshaphat asked if they could inquire what the Word of the Lord was in the matter. Before he knew what was happening, a horde of four hundred “prophets” were there. What a confusing mess! What a foppish disaster! Could Ahab really have some kind of confidence in these clowns? Over the loud chanting, the demonstrations, and the beating music, The godly king made a humble suggestion. Might there be a prophet of the true Lord around?
“Yes, but I hate him.”
Maybe this wasn't going to be as easy as Jehoshaphat had hoped. And when godly Micaiah showed up, what a prophecy he gave! Well, the guy was a bit sarcastic and gave nothing but doom and gloom, no encouragement or even a chance to repent. Still, Jehoshaphat swallowed hard as he watched the man being dragged away to prison. Hopefully he and his men could save the day (God was with them at least, right?) and Micaiah would soon be released. His confidence rose again, and he willingly accepted Ahab's cunning offer of giving him the honor of a king by wearing his robes on the battlefield. After all, he would be the recognized leader in the victory this way.
But how different was the battle to turn out! It had scarcely begun to rage when the king of Judah found himself looking into the snarling faces of a score of Syrian warriors as they ranged around his chariot. Suddenly, his proud confidence crumbled. He cried out an inarticulate prayer for mercy, and the Lord came to his aid. Realizing of a sudden that this was not their man, the Syrians parted and Jehoshaphat escaped. At the end of that terrible day, when the crash and the screams of war had died away, and the setting sun shone red as the blood that covered the battlefield, that single prophecy from that lonely prophet came true. The wicked king of Israel, wounded by an apparent accident, ceased to breathe. As Micaiah had foretold, Israel was indeed without a shepherd.
Chapter 2: 2 Chronicles 20
History repeats itself. Or is it that the mistakes and failures of our ancestors we repeat over and over through the ages, even when we know that they accomplished nothing but heartache?
Jehoshaphat returned to Jerusalem in peace, but with all dreams of prosperous allegiances and religious conquest shattered to pieces. Truly God had been merciful, but when the king came into his city, he was greeted by God's messenger. The son of the prophet Hanani met the son of the king who threw his father into prison. Was history doomed to repeat itself yet again? But Jehu the prophet faithfully delivered the message of God's wrath, and His remembrance of righteousness. Jehoshaphat was at a great crossroad in his life, and what a relief that he chose the right way! Turning back to God, the spiritual king went on to establish a godly government of righteous judges and stewards. The chain was broken, but another test was soon to come.
Fear? Judah would never know it in the face of any of the countries around them. But when the news came that three nations were confederated against his nation, Jehoshaphat feared. Again, the remembrance of Asa came before him. He had the wealth to pay any army to come to his aid, perhaps several hosts. But again, Jehoshaphat broke the chain of generational sin. He turned to the Lord and his people followed suit.
God wanted to humble them one more time. All the recruiting, the training, the discipline, the manufacture of millions of weapons... One of Judah's greatest investments was told to stand by and watch while God fought the battle for them. What a battle! So different from the Israli-Syrian battlefield, the soldiers rejoiced in amazement as the enemies turned on each other and destroyed one another to the tunes of the singing Levites! What a rejoicing and celebration as the entire army returned with never a scratch, worn out only by the three-day task of gathering wagon-loads of spoil!
Another proving-ground was right around the corner for the good king. This time it took the form of an enticing trade route, in corroboration with Ahab's offspring, wicked Amaziah. It was too good to pass up. Perhaps with Ahab gone, things would be better this time around. After all, if Judah prospered because of Israel’s help, God could still get glory, and of course the tithes would be faithfully offered to the Lord. Jehoshaphat, with seemingly total disregard to past lessons learned, plunged wholeheartedly into a ship-building project. Soon a beautiful fleet of trade ships tugged at their anchors in the Ezion-geber harbor. But Jehoshaphat was to see a display of both God's might and His mercy. To the sound of splintering masts and cracking hulls, Jehoshaphat's dreams and schemes disappeared beneath the waters of the Mediterranean.
Chapter 3: 2 Timothy 4:1-5
Spoiling the Egyptians or Spoiling Our Heritage? Jehoshaphat thought he could meddle with the world and the ones who were apostate. He thought he could get away with joining himself to those who did wickedly... as long as there was a common cause. Do we do this today in our churches? Do we strike hands with those that do not the truth, who live in unrighteousness? Do we think that our children will not suffer for our foolish actions? Do we think, as Jehoshaphat perhaps reasoned, that we could “further the Kingdom” while also accomplishing our own desires?
Poor Jehoshaphat. The story comes to an end. We assume he did all right after his last venture with Amaziah. But his hypocritical life may have been the cause of his son becoming one of the most wicked men to rule Judah. Our children catch more from our walk than they hear from our lips. They watch our life.
So does the devil. He knows our weaknesses. Are we bent on increasing the size of our congregation? Do we envy the money that is brought into the New Evangelical ministries. Maybe we wish to experience the popularity that mega-churches and radio hosts enjoy. Satan will always help us come up with some reasoning. He will also make sure we see the hard part of a life of serving God thanklessly. Did you ever wonder what happened to Michaiah?
Jehoshaphat's army won the war with no weapons but the music of the Temple. But the people rejected the godly music and went for the pagan songs of their sister country as soon as a wicked king came on the scene. If a church enjoys the benefits and blessings of a fundamental lifestyle, it does not always mean that they are there in their hearts. Jehoshaphat should have devoted his resources fully to the teaching and admonishing of his people; to the establishing in their hearts the laws and love of God. Fundamentalism today is making the same mistake. They are stepping ever nearer to the apostasy and feel-good complacency of the New Evangilical movement. One song at a time. One program at a time. One clothing style after another. We need shorter sermons, and a more comfortable delivery. We teach our young men that it's “cool” to be a Christian. That it's fine for the young ladies to leave their father's authority and protection to “serve the Lord”. These outward appearances and subtle changes are not the problem. It is the hearts of the people, parents and children alike, which must change.
A day of reckoning is coming. What will our answer be at the appearing of Christ? Will we have clung to the truth, no matter the cost? Will we be able to show Him our families and children , kept safe and sound? Or will we have heaped false teachers to our itching ears, oiled ourselves with conformity, and slipped down the slide of Compromise?
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014
But a necessary thing if you are about to drive over 700 miles in one day.
A classic little place in Ohio.
An awesome store, like Home Depot on steroids.
My first piece of cargo, a new Snapper walk-behind. It rode nicely up on the fifth wheel deck.
And if you are going through Millersburg on a hot day...
Make sure you stop here...
So you can enjoy the challenge of driving steep hills and winding turns in a stick-shift with a 24-ft. trailer while eating a delicious ice cream cone.
Time to change out the stock bumper and flimsy brush guard
A friend had made this for his old Dodge that ended up in the scrap yard.
Painted up and ready to install.
Installed with the custom front plate I fabricated Monday afternoon.
At a John Deere dealer in southern PA.
Taking the truck route through the hills.
A short break.
At a gas station in southern NY