I, Pencil. A look at what can be done when government gets out of the way.

The following is an excellent essay on why Government is not the solution to our ills. If one was to take the time to read the story below, you may begin to understand, why the present course we on is doomed for failure. We live in Facebook world where the attention span cannot go past one sentence, but I challenge you to read and to understand what is at stake.

I, Pencil
My Family Tree as told to Leonard E. Read

RP.1

I am a lead pencil—the ordinary wooden pencil familiar to all boys and girls and adults who can read and write.*

RP.2

Writing is both my vocation and my avocation; that’s all I do.

RP.3

You may wonder why I should write a genealogy. Well, to begin with, my story is interesting. And, next, I am a mystery—more so than a tree or a sunset or even a flash of lightning. But, sadly, I am taken for granted by those who use me, as if I were a mere incident and without background. This supercilious attitude relegates me to the level of the commonplace. This is a species of the grievous error in which mankind cannot too long persist without peril. For, the wise G. K. Chesterton observed, “We are perishing for want of wonder, not for want of wonders.”

RP.4

I, Pencil, simple though I appear to be, merit your wonder and awe, a claim I shall attempt to prove. In fact, if you can understand me—no, that’s too much to ask of anyone—if you can become aware of the miraculousness which I symbolize, you can help save the freedom mankind is so unhappily losing. I have a profound lesson to teach. And I can teach this lesson better than can an automobile or an airplane or a mechanical dishwasher because—well, because I am seemingly so simple.

RP.5

Simple? Yet, not a single person on the face of this earth knows how to make me. This sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? Especially when it is realized that there are about one and one-half billion of my kind produced in the U.S.A. each year.

RP.6

Pick me up and look me over. What do you see? Not much meets the eye—there’s some wood, lacquer, the printed labeling, graphite lead, a bit of metal, and an eraser.

Innumerable Antecedents

RP.7

Just as you cannot trace your family tree back very far, so is it impossible for me to name and explain all my antecedents. But I would like to suggest enough of them to impress upon you the richness and complexity of my background.

RP.8

My family tree begins with what in fact is a tree, a cedar of straight grain that grows in Northern California and Oregon. Now contemplate all the saws and trucks and rope and the countless other gear used in harvesting and carting the cedar logs to the railroad siding. Think of all the persons and the numberless skills that went into their fabrication: the mining of ore, the making of steel and its refinement into saws, axes, motors; the growing of hemp and bringing it through all the stages to heavy and strong rope; the logging camps with their beds and mess halls, the cookery and the raising of all the foods. Why, untold thousands of persons had a hand in every cup of coffee the loggers drink!

RP.9

The logs are shipped to a mill in San Leandro, California. Can you imagine the individuals who make flat cars and rails and railroad engines and who construct and install the communication systems incidental thereto? These legions are among my antecedents.

RP.10

Consider the millwork in San Leandro. The cedar logs are cut into small, pencil-length slats less than one-fourth of an inch in thickness. These are kiln dried and then tinted for the same reason women put rouge on their faces. People prefer that I look pretty, not a pallid white. The slats are waxed and kiln dried again. How many skills went into the making of the tint and the kilns, into supplying the heat, the light and power, the belts, motors, and all the other things a mill requires? Sweepers in the mill among my ancestors? Yes, and included are the men who poured the concrete for the dam of a Pacific Gas & Electric Company hydroplant which supplies the mill’s power!

RP.11

Don’t overlook the ancestors present and distant who have a hand in transporting sixty carloads of slats across the nation.

RP.12

Once in the pencil factory—$4,000,000 in machinery and building, all capital accumulated by thrifty and saving parents of mine—each slat is given eight grooves by a complex machine, after which another machine lays leads in every other slat, applies glue, and places another slat atop—a lead sandwich, so to speak. Seven brothers and I are mechanically carved from this “wood-clinched” sandwich.

RP.13

My “lead” itself—it contains no lead at all—is complex. The graphite is mined in Ceylon. Consider these miners and those who make their many tools and the makers of the paper sacks in which the graphite is shipped and those who make the string that ties the sacks and those who put them aboard ships and those who make the ships. Even the lighthouse keepers along the way assisted in my birth—and the harbor pilots.

RP.14

The graphite is mixed with clay from Mississippi in which ammonium hydroxide is used in the refining process. Then wetting agents are added such as sulfonated tallow—animal fats chemically reacted with sulfuric acid. After passing through numerous machines, the mixture finally appears as endless extrusions—as from a sausage grinder-cut to size, dried, and baked for several hours at 1,850 degrees Fahrenheit. To increase their strength and smoothness the leads are then treated with a hot mixture which includes candelilla wax from Mexico, paraffin wax, and hydrogenated natural fats.

RP.15

My cedar receives six coats of lacquer. Do you know all the ingredients of lacquer? Who would think that the growers of castor beans and the refiners of castor oil are a part of it? They are. Why, even the processes by which the lacquer is made a beautiful yellow involve the skills of more persons than one can enumerate!

RP.16

Observe the labeling. That’s a film formed by applying heat to carbon black mixed with resins. How do you make resins and what, pray, is carbon black?

RP.17

My bit of metal—the ferrule—is brass. Think of all the persons who mine zinc and copper and those who have the skills to make shiny sheet brass from these products of nature. Those black rings on my ferrule are black nickel. What is black nickel and how is it applied? The complete story of why the center of my ferrule has no black nickel on it would take pages to explain.

RP.18

Then there’s my crowning glory, inelegantly referred to in the trade as “the plug,” the part man uses to erase the errors he makes with me. An ingredient called “factice” is what does the erasing. It is a rubber-like product made by reacting rape-seed oil from the Dutch East Indies with sulfur chloride. Rubber, contrary to the common notion, is only for binding purposes. Then, too, there are numerous vulcanizing and accelerating agents. The pumice comes from Italy; and the pigment which gives “the plug” its color is cadmium sulfide.

No One Knows

RP.19

Does anyone wish to challenge my earlier assertion that no single person on the face of this earth knows how to make me?

RP.20

Actually, millions of human beings have had a hand in my creation, no one of whom even knows more than a very few of the others. Now, you may say that I go too far in relating the picker of a coffee berry in far off Brazil and food growers elsewhere to my creation; that this is an extreme position. I shall stand by my claim. There isn’t a single person in all these millions, including the president of the pencil company, who contributes more than a tiny, infinitesimal bit of know-how. From the standpoint of know-how the only difference between the miner of graphite in Ceylon and the logger in Oregon is in the type of know-how. Neither the miner nor the logger can be dispensed with, any more than can the chemist at the factory or the worker in the oil field—paraffin being a by-product of petroleum.

RP.21

Here is an astounding fact: Neither the worker in the oil field nor the chemist nor the digger of graphite or clay nor any who mans or makes the ships or trains or trucks nor the one who runs the machine that does the knurling on my bit of metal nor the president of the company performs his singular task because he wants me. Each one wants me less, perhaps, than does a child in the first grade. Indeed, there are some among this vast multitude who never saw a pencil nor would they know how to use one. Their motivation is other than me. Perhaps it is something like this: Each of these millions sees that he can thus exchange his tiny know-how for the goods and services he needs or wants. I may or may not be among these items.

No Master Mind

RP.22

There is a fact still more astounding: the absence of a master mind, of anyone dictating or forcibly directing these countless actions which bring me into being. No trace of such a person can be found. Instead, we find the Invisible Hand at work. This is the mystery to which I earlier referred.

RP.23

It has been said that “only God can make a tree.” Why do we agree with this? Isn’t it because we realize that we ourselves could not make one? Indeed, can we even describe a tree? We cannot, except in superficial terms. We can say, for instance, that a certain molecular configuration manifests itself as a tree. But what mind is there among men that could even record, let alone direct, the constant changes in molecules that transpire in the life span of a tree? Such a feat is utterly unthinkable!

RP.24

I, Pencil, am a complex combination of miracles: a tree, zinc, copper, graphite, and so on. But to these miracles which manifest themselves in Nature an even more extraordinary miracle has been added: the configuration of creative human energies—millions of tiny know-hows configurating naturally and spontaneously in response to human necessity and desire and in the absence of any human master-minding! Since only God can make a tree, I insist that only God could make me. Man can no more direct these millions of know-hows to bring me into being than he can put molecules together to create a tree.

RP.25

The above is what I meant when writing, “If you can become aware of the miraculousness which I symbolize, you can help save the freedom mankind is so unhappily losing.” For, if one is aware that these know-hows will naturally, yes, automatically, arrange themselves into creative and productive patterns in response to human necessity and demand—that is, in the absence of governmental or any other coercive masterminding—then one will possess an absolutely essential ingredient for freedom: a faith in free people. Freedom is impossible without this faith.

RP.26

Once government has had a monopoly of a creative activity such, for instance, as the delivery of the mails, most individuals will believe that the mails could not be efficiently delivered by men acting freely. And here is the reason: Each one acknowledges that he himself doesn’t know how to do all the things incident to mail delivery. He also recognizes that no other individual could do it. These assumptions are correct. No individual possesses enough know-how to perform a nation’s mail delivery any more than any individual possesses enough know-how to make a pencil. Now, in the absence of faith in free people—in the unawareness that millions of tiny know-hows would naturally and miraculously form and cooperate to satisfy this necessity—the individual cannot help but reach the erroneous conclusion that mail can be delivered only by governmental “master-minding.”

Testimony Galore

RP.27

If I, Pencil, were the only item that could offer testimony on what men and women can accomplish when free to try, then those with little faith would have a fair case. However, there is testimony galore; it’s all about us and on every hand. Mail delivery is exceedingly simple when compared, for instance, to the making of an automobile or a calculating machine or a grain combine or a milling machine or to tens of thousands of other things. Delivery? Why, in this area where men have been left free to try, they deliver the human voice around the world in less than one second; they deliver an event visually and in motion to any person’s home when it is happening; they deliver 150 passengers from Seattle to Baltimore in less than four hours; they deliver gas from Texas to one’s range or furnace in New York at unbelievably low rates and without subsidy; they deliver each four pounds of oil from the Persian Gulf to our Eastern Seaboard—halfway around the world—for less money than the government charges for delivering a one-ounce letter across the street!

RP.28

The lesson I have to teach is this: Leave all creative energies uninhibited. Merely organize society to act in harmony with this lesson. Let society’s legal apparatus remove all obstacles the best it can. Permit these creative know-hows freely to flow. Have faith that free men and women will respond to the Invisible Hand. This faith will be confirmed. I, Pencil, seemingly simple though I am, offer the miracle of my creation as testimony that this is a practical faith, as practical as the sun, the rain, a cedar tree, the good earth.

RP.29

 

Leonard E. Read (1898-1983) founded FEE in 1946 and served as its president until his death.

“I, Pencil,” his most famous essay, was first published in the December 1958 issue of The Freeman. Although a few of the manufacturing details and place names have changed over the past forty years, the principles are unchanged.

George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation

 

Thanksgiving Proclamation

Issued by President George Washington, at the request of Congress, on October 3, 1789

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go. Washington

Keeping Christ out of Focus

Christianity is the only world religion that has its major doctrines obscured by imaginary creatures.  At His birth we are given a magical elf and toys. We spend our time running to stores to get photos taken with this gentleman  and then tell our kids he know when they are good and bad, and that he has power to circle the globe in a 24 hr period. A child dreams at night of all the toys he will receive and listens for the sound of hoofs on the roof. But then we are sure to sprinkle just enough Jesus in there so we dont forget the reason for the season. But with all of this we blur the reality of the virgin birth and its necessity.

At the resurrection we are given a rabbit, chocolate and dyed eggs. What these have all in common has never been properly explained to me. But this is the focus of our celebration and to make matters worse we attache a pagan name to it and call it Easter. Again the reality of a living Saviour who rose from the grave is obscured.

These two creatures are designed to help keep the eyes off the glory and salvation that is found in Christ. he walks hand in hand with these mythical beings and we wrap it up in a package and call it the magic of childhood. Is is no wonder that most children will not serve a living God when they reach the teen years. Especially when lied to about magical creatures. But why is it that no other religion has such foolishness? Why is there no such beings in any Jewish holiday? Why no eggs or elf’s in the Muslim celebrations? Why do the Hindus not have a side show to their main event?

The reality is there is an enemy hard at work to keep the focus on make believe than on what is most important. Men need to believe in a Virgin Born Saviour for without it the resurrection is of little value. Then just as we have the Virgin Birth down we must have a risen Saviour. Or else he is nothing more than a martyr. When it comes to the other faiths he has no worries because they dont provide eternal life, and they are keeping men blinded to the truth that is in Christ.  Christian parents have bought into the lie that this is part of childhood and we dont want them to miss this time in their life. After all they will grow up soon and never have the chance to believe such marvelous tales again. trust me they will be fine in fact their focus will have been where the Lord wanted it in the first place, on Him. Yes Virginia there is a Satan and he wants to keep you blinded to a real and living God.

pastormattnj:

I have always been encouraged by this story so I will repost it again.

Originally posted on pastormattnj:

The Following story is not mine but borrowed. The author is unknown, and I trust it will help encourage your heart as it has done mine.

I remember a day one winter that stands out like a boulder in my life. The weather was unusually cold, our salary had not been regularly paid, and it did not most our needs when it was.

My husband was away much or the time, traveling from one district to another. Our boys were well, but my little Ruth was ailing, and at last none of us were decently clothed. I patched and re-patched, with spirits sinking to the lowest ebb. The water gave out in the well and the wind blew through the cracks in the floor.

The people in the parish were kind and generous too; but the settlement was new, and each family was struggling for itself. Little by little, at…

View original 1,477 more words

Tolerance or Surrender

I recently came across this in my reading time

The only thing recognized in matters of morals, the only standard for the definition and measure of God and things divine will be personal experience. Those who attempt to bind the conscience, direct the soul, and set before it a definite concept of God and a fixed line of conduct in respect to Him and to one another will be looked upon, not only as narrow bigots, but as intolerable tyrants, as criminal hinderers to all true knowledge. The new generation is intoxicated with the rallying cry of ‘self-expression.’

The new generation is letting itself go. If it has any standard, it is the standard of exalted personalism and self-pleasing at any cost to old law and old custom, or old manners . . . With the weakening down of law and self-restraint, there is the over-leaping race for material pleasures.

This is the inspiration of the ‘get rich quick’ movement; get money that may be spent on pleasure and more pleasure . . . No one has time; all are pressed, life is too short to stop and think . . . ‘On with the song’ and ‘on with the dance,’ these are the cries, and the music goes faster and more furiously. The very sounds of the music are barbaric, appealing to the animal, to the brute sense within, stirring the blood, adding fuel to the fire till passion is at white heat . . .

‘The life that now is’ forms the horizon of the vast army of young men and women coming out of school and college. All their instruction, all their equipment is for this world . . . Let modernism continue its work of near pantheism, its agnostic attitude concerning the soul and the other side of death, and in a few hurrying years the moral and spiritual ruin of the coming generation cannot be imagined.

To raise a cry against this as ‘divisive,’, to appeal to compromise for the sake of ‘brotherhood’ and ‘Christian charity’ and to talk about love being more important in the church than correctness of doctrine, is emotional weakness and fallacious folly . . .

The word ‘toleration’ must be cut out of the church vocabulary. You cannot find it in the Bible. It is not a nice word. It is not to be found in good company. It is a word much used by middle-of-the-road men. It has in it, no matter how much dissimulated, the crawling, creeping movement of surrender . . . Why should the Church tolerate men who no longer tolerate the Bible as God gave it to us?”

This is a quote from I. M. Haldeman, in “Why I Am Opposed To Modernism”, 1929 

Sad to say its is true today just as is was back then. The only difference is back then the church yelled Amen today they holler a cry phrases like “you have no compassion”  “you are not Christ like” “you are divisive” and on and on they go. True biblical Christianity is one of no compromise and one of proclaiming Gods Word. The Apostle Paul did not concern himself with what others thought of him or the message he gave. Yet the church today is very concerned about what impression it leaves upon a blind and lost world. This is not to say we should act ignorant or unkind but the preacher has a divine obligation. It is his sacred duty to stand between the living and the dead and warn of judgment to come. Where in scripture is said they we must concern ourselves with how men feel? I do not find Jeremiah absorbed in the politically correct culture of his day. I do not see Ezekiel worried that some Israelite will get offended if he says the truth. These men and may others like them concerned themselves with one thing, and that was what was God feeling. Truth must be explained and it can be done in a variety of ways all without compromise. When the church surrenders and begins to give the world the message it wants instead of what it needs there will be serious consequences. We as Christian look at the world and we see it all upside down. What was once wrong is now right and if a man speaks out he is shouted down. The phrase today is “Hate speech” we have freedom of speech as long as its not hate speech. Is this insane and who is it that determines hate speech? Remember it is usually the multitude that determines this and history has proven that the results are dangerous. I think of the crowd at Ephesus who shouted for hours and we not tolerate an opposing opinion. Today it is found most notably in the Muslim culture where they burn and kill and will not allow a dissenting opinion. With all of this the Born Again Christian must not compromise but continue in the path that has been laid. This path is one of blood the blood of martyrs. Do we think ourselves better that those who paid the price before us? Do we think that somehow its a glorious thing for others to lay down their life, but us……well the cost to high?

These are exciting times to serve the living God and we must not waver. Hebrews says we are surrounded with a great cloud of witnesses, and if that’s the case then lets press on. Press on and fight the fight that has been waged for centuries, and let us not lower the blood stained banner but exalt the truth.

The Devil

Here is a poem I read many years ago its simply called “The Devil” I have read it from time to time as  I would preach on this subject.  The author is unknown but I feel it has hit the nail on the head.

 

Men don’t believe in a devil now, as their fathers used to do.
They’ve opened the door to the broadest creed to let his majesty thru.
There isn’t a print of his cloven feet or a fiery dart from his bow
To be found on earth or anywhere, for the world has voted it so.
But who is mixing the fatal draught that kills both heart and brain,
And loads the earth each passing year with ten hundred thousand slain?
Who blights the bloom of the land today with the fiery breath of hell?
If the devil isn’t or never was—won’t somebody please rise and tell?
Who dogs the steps of the toiling saint and digs the pits for his feet?
Who sows the tares in the field of time when God is sowing pure wheat.
But the devil is voted just not to be—and of course the thing is true—
But who is doing the kind of work the devil is supposed to do?
Won’t somebody step to the front right now—and immediately begin to show—
How the frauds and the crimes of the day spring up—for surely we want to know!
The devil was fairly voted out—and of course the devil’s gone—
But simply fold would like to know, who carries his business on?

The man who says there is no Devil is a man who never tried to live right

A Lost World is Watching

 

 

 

 

In the summer of 1805, a number of Indian chiefs and warriors met in council at Buffalo Creek, New York to hear a presentation of the Christian message by a Mr. Cram from the Boston Missionary Society. After the sermon, a response was given by Red Jacket, one of the leading chiefs. Among other things, the chief said:

“Brother, you say that there is but one way to worship and serve the Great Spirit. If there is but one religion, why do you white people differ so much about it? Why not all agree, as you can all read the Book?

“Brother, we are told that you have been preaching to the white people in this place. These people are our neighbors. We are acquainted with them. We will wait a little while and see what effect your preaching has upon them. If we find it does them good, makes them honest and less disposed to cheat Indians, we will then consider again of what you have said.”
Red Jacket never became a Christian.

Misappropriating God’s Word.

The following was written by a Godly man in our church. After reading his post on Facebook I asked him if I could share it on my blog site.

I have something to say about Bro. Marvin Winans’ sermon at the Whitney Houston Memorial Service. He is a good speaker and has a good singing voice. But many things he said didn’t sit well with me. If you’re going to quote Matt. 6:33, you should preach on it with as little embellishment as possible, because it’s a very simple verse with a very simple message. I don’t understand all this about cars and owners’ manuals. I do understand “prioritize”. He said you can’t serve God and money. Well and good. Then, when he tried to explain what “seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” means, the whole thing fell flat, despite the yelling, jokes, and gestures. He said it means to be in right standing with God. Well, we are already in right standing with God when we get saved. Rom 5:1 The whole doctrine of justification. If Jesus tells me to go out and seek the kingdom of God, He’s putting me to work in some way. Bro. Winans made it seem like something static and inert. What he did say is God wants us to improve ourselves, to which I totally agree. But this is covered elsewhere in the Bible. Matthew 6:33 is talking about something completely different. First he says you can’t serve God and mammon, then he says as long as you’re in right standing with God, you can go out and seek the things of this world and enrich yourself, thereby completely cutting the legs off of what Jesus was saying. Yes, God is going to take care of us, but the provision is we have to completely devote ourselves to taking care of His business, first. So in a subtle way, this man untaught what Jesus was saying, and taught what our covetous flesh wants to hear. “God don’t want no one broke.” Didn’t Jesus tell the rich young man to sell all that he had, and give to the poor? Matt. 19 Don’t the thorns (cares of this world and deceitfulness of riches) choke the word and make it unfruitful? And wasn’t this Whitney Houston’s tragic mistake? What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and loses his soul? The whole Bible teaches humility, not pride. So, this man misappropriated God’s Word.
Gerard Castanteen

A Death Notice

Death Notice  

Sister Old Time Prayer Meeting died recently at the First Neglected Church on Wordly Avenue. Born many years ago in the midst of great revivals, she was a strong healthy child, fed largely on testimony and scriptural holiness, soon growing into world-wide prominence, and was one of the most influential members of the famous Church family. She was a great influence for good, gathering the multitude of mankind to her bosom to hear the story of HIM who wore the seamless garment; a story of never failing interest to all.

For the past several years Sister Prayer Meeting has been failing in health, gradually wasting away until rendered helpless by stiffness of knees, coldness of heart, inactivity, and weakness of purpose and will power. At the last she was but a shadow of her former self. Her last whispered words were inquiries concerning the strange absence of her loved ones, now absent from her presence, busy in the marts of trade and places of worldly amusements. Her older brother, Mr. Sunday School, has been in very bad health for years,and cousin Mr. Soul Winning is very seldom seen in public anymore. 

Experts, including Dr. Works, Dr. Re-Form, and Dr. Ecumenical , disagreed as to the cause of her illness, administering large doses or organization, socials, contests, drives and religious education, praise and worship and a little bit of “purpose driven” thrown in but to no avail. Dr H. Calvinist was also contacted and rendered his opinion and said it was predestined that she die this way. A post mortem showed a deficiency of spiritual food coupled with lack of fasting, faith and change of heart. Shameless desertion and non-support were contributing causes. Only a few were present at her death, sobbing over memories of her past beauty and power. Carefully selected pallbearers were urged to tenderly bear her remains away but failed appear.

There were no flowers. Her favorite hymns, “Amazing Grace”, and “Rock of Ages” were not sung. Miss Ima Modern rendered “Beautiful Isle of Somewhere”, but none had any idea where this fancied isle might be and nobody could tell any one how to get there. The body rests in the beautiful cemetery of Bygone Glories, awaiting the summons from above which shall bring her, with her blood-washed garments, into the presence of the GOD of Glory, spotless, blameless and full of glory. In honor of her going, the church doors will be closed on Wednesday evenings, save on the third Wednesday of each month, when the Ladies Pink Lemonade Society serves refresments to the members of the Men’s Wii team.

The above story would be hilarious were it not so true. The American landscape is dotted with closed and rotting churches. They once thrived and were places where the Gospel was preached, but that all changed for some reason. Maybe we have become too blessed and with all our “things” we really don’t need God anymore. After all who wants to go and gather with people at the church house when there is so much “stuff” to enjoy.

The average Christian cannot give a legitimate excuse for why they are not in church when its doors are open. Sure people get sick and people have to work but what it really comes down to is the heart. Today’s Christian does not love the Lord he loves self! He loves his own pleasure and feeds his own flesh. The crucified life is nice but not for us. death to self and love for the brethren are not what we want to hear. After all isn’t it about us!! Are we not suppose to be the center of attention, and what is it that makes me happy. Getting dressed and going to church to mid week prayer meeting!?? where is that in the Bible?? I guess you can find it right there where the Church was praying for Peter to get out of jail in Acts 12:5.

America is sick and the blame rests not on the politicians, nope not them. A politician is a weak and cowardly thing (for the most part) they will do what the people want. Christians have long since forsaken Biblical principals and so the country is going the way of other great nations. America is a (use to be nation) We once had great churches and great morals and now we have become a land where we are biblically illiterate. The fact the Mormon is close to getting in the White House is proof of that. We put our faith in men and what they can do for us. We want hope and change and many a Born again Christian voted for the current President. How can anyone who knows the Bible and what God says vote for such a man! The answer… we are led my emotions and feelings and not the Word of God. Simply because we do not know the Word of God. Because we are never in church to hear the Word of God.

Church is too boring! We sing those old songs! The preacher is not teaching what I want to hear! I dont want to drag the kids out into the cold! I dont have a ride! I will lose my parking spot! I dont have money for gas! Prayer request time is annoying! This is just a small sample of some of the great excuses that the preacher will hear. Funny thing is though none of them will hold water when (and if) you see Jesus face to face.

I have driven across a good section of our once great country and through the years I see closed churches, church houses converted to everything from schools to dress shops and restaurants. (When was the last time you saw a closed Mosque) It always breaks my heart to see a boarded up church. One time we saw a closed church and my son said “why doesnt somebody go in there and just start preaching!” He was 5 years old when he uttered that. I quickly yelled amen….. with a lump in my throat. Why doesnt somebody go in there? The answer… not enough death to self. Whats my starting pay? What are my benefits? I may have to go without some things. Yes there are problems in the pews but we also have to look at the pulpit. Death to self preacher, death to self.

If the building is not closed or converted to some other entity it just as bad to one that has headed south. By that I mean one that has quit preaching and has become a mere entertainment center for the itchy ear believer. It would be better it it were selling lattes than leading men to hell with a social gospel. I know of one church bragged about its art display. WHO CARES!! People need to hear of Christ and his salvation! Not admiring the water colors and the contrast in the shading. Heaven help us.

If people dont go to church to hear the Gospel message when it is done right the preacher needs not change. The command was “In season out of season” and out of season seems to be the time we are in.

Now one reading this my think that this preacher is discouraged. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is a joy to serve the King of kings. I love my calling and am thankful to my Saviour who has called me into his fields to labor, but it is the coldness and deadness of the saints of God that disturbs me.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
II Chronicles 7:14 

Christmas at a Frontier Pastors House- By a Pastors wife.

The Following story is not mine but borrowed. The author is unknown, and I trust it will help encourage your heart as it has done mine.

I remember a day one winter that stands out like a boulder in my life. The weather was unusually cold, our salary had not been regularly paid, and it did not most our needs when it was.

My husband was away much or the time, traveling from one district to another. Our boys were well, but my little Ruth was ailing, and at last none of us were decently clothed. I patched and re-patched, with spirits sinking to the lowest ebb. The water gave out in the well and the wind blew through the cracks in the floor.

The people in the parish were kind and generous too; but the settlement was new, and each family was struggling for itself. Little by little, at the time I needed it most my faith began to waiver. Early in life I was taught to take God at His word, and I thought my lesson was well learned. I had leaned upon the promises in dark times, until I knew as David did, “who was my fortress and my deliverer.” Now a daily prayer for forgiveness was all that I could offer. My husband’s coat was hardly thick enough for October, and he was often obliged to ride miles to attend some meeting or funeral. Many times our breakfast was Indian cake (corn bread) and a cup of tea without sugar.

Christmas was coming: the children always expected their presents. I remember the ice was thick and smooth and the boys were craning a pair of skates. Ruth, in some unaccountable way, had taken a fancy that the dolls I had made were no longer suitable; she wanted a nice large one, and insisted on praying for it.

I new it seemed impossible, but oh I wanted to give each child its present. It seemed as if God had deserted us, but I did not tell my husband all this. He worked so earnestly and heartily. I supposed him to be as hopeful as ever. I kept the sitting room cheerful with an open fire, and I tried to serve our scanty meals as invitingly as I could. The morning before Christmas James was called to see a sick man.

I put a piece of bread for his lunch – it was the best I could do. I wrapped my plaid shawl around his neck and then tried to whisper a promise as I often had, but the words died away upon my lips. I let him go without it.

That was a dark, hopeless day. I coaxed the children to bed early for I could not bear their talk when Ruth went to bed, I listened to her prayer. She asked for the last time most explicitly for her doll and for skates for her brothers. Her bright face looked so lively when she whispered to me, “you know I think they’ll be here early in the morning, mamma.” I sat down alone, and gave way to the bitterest tears.

Before long James returned, chilled and exhausted. He drew off his boots. The thin stockings slipped off with them, and his feet were red with cold. I wouldn’t treat a dog that way let alone a faithful servant,” I said. Then as I glanced up and saw the hard lines in his face, and the look of despair, it flashed across to me – James had let go too. I brought him a cup of tea, feeling sick and dizzy at the very thought. He took my hand and we sat for an hour without a word. I wanted to die and to meet God, and tell Him his promises were not true; my soul was so full of rebellious despair.

There came a sound of bells, a quick stop, and a loud knock at the door. James sprang up to open it. There stood Deacon White. “A box came by express just before dark, I brought around as soon as I could get away. Reckon it might be for Christmas. At any rate I said they shall have it tonight. Here is a turkey my wife asked me to fetch along, and these other things I believe belong to you.”

There was a basket of potatoes, and a bag of flour. Talking all the time he hurried in the box and then with a hearty good night he rode away. Still without speaking, James found a chisel and opened the box. He drew out first a red blanket, and then we saw that beneath it the box was full of clothing. It seemed at that moment as if Christ fastened upon me a look of reproach. James sat down and covered his face with his hands, “I can’t touch them.” He exclaimed, “I haven’t been true, just when God was trying me to see if I could hold out. Do you think I could not see how you were suffering?” I had no word of comfort to offer. I know now how to preach the awfulness of turning away from God.”

“James”, I said clinging to him, “don’t take it to heart like this. I am to blame. I ought to have helped you. We will ask him together to forgive us.”

“Wait a moment dear I can’t talk now,” He said. Then he went into another room. I knelt down, and my heart broke. In an instant all the darkness, all the stubbornness rolled away. Jesus came again and stood before me, with the loving word, “daughter!”, sweat promises of tenderness and joy of soul. I was so lost in praise and gratitude that I forgot anything else. I don’t know how long it was before James came back, but he too had found peace. “Now my dear wife,” he said, “let us thank God together,” and he then poured out words of praise, Bible words: for nothing else could express our thanksgiving.

It was 11 o’clock, the fire was low and there was the great box, and nothing touched but the warm blanket we needed. We piled on some fresh logs, lighted two candles, and began to examine our treasure. We drew out an overcoat. I made James put it on; just the right size, and I danced around him. Then there was a cloak, and he insisted in seeing me in it. My spirits always affected him, and we both laughed like foolish children.

There was a warm suit of clothes also and three pairs of woolen hose. There was a dress for me, yards of flannel, a pair of arctic overshoes for each of us. In mine was a slip of paper. I have it now and mean to hand it down to my children. It was Jacob’s blessing to Asher, “thy shoes shall be iron and brass and as the days so shall thy strength be.” In the gloves, evidently for James, the same dear hand had written, ” I the Lord thy God, will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not I will help thee.”

It was a wonderful box, and packed with thoughtful care. There was a suit of clothes for each of the boys, and a little red gown for Ruth. There were mittens, scarves and hoods. Down in the center of the box was another box. We opened it and there was a great wax doll. I burst into tears again.

James wept with for joy. It was too much. We then both exclaimed again. Close behind it came two pair of skates. There were books for us to read, some of them I had wished to see, stories for the children to read, aprons and underclothing, knots of ribbon, a gay little tidy, a lovely photograph, needles, buttons, thread and actually a muff, and an envelope containing a ten-dollar gold piece. At last we cried over everything we took up.

It was past midnight, and we were faint and exhausted even with happiness. I made a cup of tea and cut a fresh loaf of bread and James boiled some eggs. We drew up the table before the fire, how we enjoyed our supper! And then we sat talking over our life and how sure a help God always proved.

You should have seen the children the next morning, the boys raised a shout at the sight of their skates. Ruth caught up her doll and hugged it tightly without a word then she went to her room and knelt by her bed. When she came back, she whispered to me, “I knew they would be there, Mamma, but I wanted to thank God just the same. We went to the window and there were the boys out of the house already and skating on the ice with all their might.

My husband and I tried to return thanks to the church in the east that sent us the box and have tried to give thanks to God everyday since. Hard times have come again and again, but we have trusted Him, dreading nothing so much as a doubt of His protecting care. Over and over again we have proved that “they that seek the Lord shall not want anything.”

* Just as the Lord supplied the Savior so many years ago He supplies today.

* We have been fooled into thinking that we have to have more and more to be happy. When we have so much that we have trouble being happy with our bounty.

* Maybe this story will help all of us to be a little more content with the things we often take for granted