Archives for January 2007

WHAT IN THE WORLD “The Essential Element”

I write a little column some of you may see from time to time that I call “Car and Driver Tips.” As a believer, the area of my life in which I have found it difficult to apply what I am talking about today, is in the area of my driving.

Having been in Christian circles every week of my life for the past fifty-two years, I can say that I have seen a lot. On the one hand, I have experienced many kindnesses directed to me over the years– very many. Lots of them, I assure you, have been undeserved by me.

On the other hand, I have known too many Christians who have been on the receiving end of severe unfair play, to say the least. I mentioned driving my car. As with you, probably, I have been on the receiving end of numerous unkind actions while on the road over the years. I ask myself, “How do I respond when someone on the highway is very unkind and thoughtless to me?”

God’s Word is crystal-clear on my responsibility to those roundabout me, regardless of their actions to me. I am to love them. This is the “essential element” of the entire Christian life. Read again, the story in John chapter 13 of Christ’s lesson to His disciples at the table of the “Last Supper.” While His disciples maneuvered among themselves for the choice seats around His table, Christ left the table, took the garb of a lowly slave and with love and tenderness washed the feet of each of them.

Oh, if the essential element of self-less love could be again restored to every Christian church in America, the world would soon see a new and dynamic church in every city and village in our great country and it would make a difference.

Tip #5 – Driving on Ice and Snow

You have probably seen television pictures of what happens to some drivers at the first snow of the season. Often these pictures will be of incidents and accidents in southerly areas where drivers seldom experience ice and snow driving.

The other day I saw one such picture. A mid-size car was shown, driving at a high rate of speed, and just going into a full spin-around. The car went in a full 360 -degree spin and more. Meanwhile, a huge semi-truck rig passed the spinning car, also at high speed. Thankfully- no crash!

Some years ago, I had just left my place of employment and was driving slowly and as carefully as I could over a very slippery and snow-covered roadway, a freeway, north to my home. Suddenly, as though out of nowhere, a young man, a work companion of mine, blew by me in his late model car like I was stopped.

At that point, we were approaching a curve. The turn at this curve is to the left, about forty degrees. The young man who passed me was almost on the turn when I saw his brake lights come on. At that moment his car went into a skid as he fought the wheel to make the car turn left. In moments he spun around backward and went into the right side guardrail with a mighty crash. He was okay but his dignity and his car were much the worse for wear!

Here are the four rules I practice on ice and snow:
Rule #1: Drive no more than 2/3 as fast as you are sure it is safe to drive.
Rule #2: Drive without using the brake pedal.
Rule #3: Drive without using the accelerator.
Rule #4: Drive without turning the steering wheel.

You say, “That is silly, you couldn’t make any time at all driving like that!”

What I mean, of course, with my four rules, is that every function of normal driving is to be ABSOLUTELY MINIMIZED. And, by the way, you are not driving on ice and snow to make good time. You are driving to keep everybody alive and to get where you are going shiny side up.

Drive Safely.

TIP #4 – Dealing With a Flat Tire on the Highway

In years gone by, the situation on the highway was much different than it is now. As a young sailor, I hitchhiked many hundreds of miles. Later, driving on the open highway, when I had a problem, I wasn’t greatly alarmed. Even with my family with me, I felt little sense of danger.

Things are different these days. To be sure, there are many “Good Samaritan” folk on the roads today and some of them have helped me. I have helped others over the years. But, due to an increased crime rate and a very independent public, hurrying on their way, a car problem on the open highway can be a serious matter.

Though automobiles are much more dependable these days and problems fewer, a flat tire is still not an uncommon experience. Here is how I recommend such a problem be handled. If you are a man in good health and acquainted with you car and tire changing techniques you may not want to follow my advice here. But for older folk and women traveling alone, here is what I recommend.

When you have a car disabled with a flat tire you can, of course, pull to the side of the road, place a white cloth out your window or raise your car hood and hope for help. If you have a phone with you, then you can try to contact a tow truck or gain help some other way. Here is the problem: While you await help, you do not have your choice as to who stops and offers “assistance.”

If it is nighttime or on a lonely stretch of highway, you may be in some danger. I do not recommend that you remain stopped and wait for help. Most highways, particularly major ones, have a wide paved berm. Often they are striped to indicate that they are to be used for emergencies only. When you realize you may have a flat tire, of course, you will want to pull safely to the right onto the berm and, with your emergency flashers activated, carefully inspect for the problem.

As an alternative to simply waiting for someone to appear who may or may not have your best interests in mind, when you have a tire problem, here is what I have taught my wife to do: With your emergency lights activated and staying well clear of the driving lane, drive your car very slowly to a point you are sure is safe to exit the car. You may ask, “Won’t that ruin the tire?” Yes, the tire, in such cases is finished. However, very often driving only to a stop from highway speeds on a flat tire will already have ruined the tire. You and your safety are more important than a $50 tire.

If you sense you are far from an interchange where you may obtain help, you may have to drive some distance on a flat tire. The two most important things are: 1) Drive very, very slowly. Two or three miles per hour is still progress. Any schedule you previously had is now a thing of the past. Your present safety is the issue. 2) Be absolutely sure you do not interfere with traffic in any way. Your full and most vigilant attention must be given to this emergency driving. Stay as far from the driving lane as you can.

If you encounter a law-enforcement officer during your emergency drive, he or she will offer help which you should accept. If you are approached by someone appearing to be law enforcement but with a vehicle that is not so marked, I would, myself, not stop. Anyone can buy a flashing red light. Unfortunately, there are criminal-types who masquerade as “helpers” who ply the highways for victims. Rather than being one of them, it would be better to look unappreciative to a well-meaning stranger, if it comes to that.

“But I could damage the wheel rim too, couldn’t I?” Yes, you could but unless you had to drive a good number of miles, you can control the car at very slow speeds without much collateral damage. For my part, I would greatly prefer a ruined tire and a damaged rim to what might happen should my wife stop and ask help from the wrong person!

Drive safely!

NO POWER

Two A.M. according to my watch, but why was the clock face dark? “Oh, Oh, no power.”

When we retired Sunday night I was afraid something like this was out in front of us. An ice storm brought a fresh challenge to our community. I stared through the blind- “Yep,” I remarked to myself. “Everything else is out too.”

Monday morning brought some serious discomfort to bathroom activity. The living room thermometer showed 57 degrees, not terrible but far from comfortable too.

The power company estimate came to me over the automated voice on their line, “Your estimate is 11:59 P. M. Tuesday.” This was Monday morning. We had taken a serious hit.

Monday evening and Jane was finishing with work. Mercifully, her office building had not lost power or heat. It was quitting time but, understandably, she wasnt relishing coming home. We ate at Wendys.

Tuesday morning brought more cold but also jogged my memory. We still had hot water as the water heater has a standing pilot light and is served by gas. It was a little odd though seeing steam rise over the hot water coming from the shower.

Tuesday evening, still dark. I called the electric company. New estimate! “Your power is scheduled to be restored by 8:00 P.M. Wednesday.” We ate at Wendys.

As a Christian, my mind went to the winter before in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The earthquake victims lost their homes in the mountains and spent the whole winter in the cold– very cold. My problems, I decided were nothing.

Wednesday in the forenoon the power actually came on. The Lord had taught me a lesson on how soft I was, how prone I was to demand the creature comforts. I couldn’t say I was glad the power went off but I was glad the Lord used it in my life. Then there is appreciation. In 51 years of marriage this three days was the worst such difficulty we had experienced. The Lord has been very good to us.

A Little Cardboard Suitcase

WHAT IN THE WORLD

I sat in the large chapel yesterday. It was crowded beyond capacity. This was the chapel building on the campus of Midwestern Baptist College in Pontiac, Michigan.

Last Lord’s day, in the early hours, Dr. Tom Malone, Sr. slipped away from his sickroom into the presence of Christ. Now, today, January 10th, I sat with hundreds of other preachers and their spouses. It was Dr. Malone’s funeral. As I looked around I was conscious that not only were there many older preachers there, but there was a wonderful and godly-looking cadre of younger preachers as well. I thought to myself, “Dr. Malone would love this,” young preacher boys and those a little older, with their wives, looking for one or two of the scarce empty seats left in this auditorium. Dr. Malone dedicated his life to enlisting people, young and old, in the army of the Lord. He would take great satisfaction in knowing that, though he was gone, there were many fine young people ready to go to work for Christ and to win sinners out of this wicked world.

Tom Malone was born in 1915. He grew up in very humble surroundings. Shortly after he was saved, he knew he had to answer God’s call to preach. There was a small school for preacher boys in Cleveland, Tennessee, called “Bob Jones College.” He determined he would go there. This backward, uncultured boy packed what few belongings he had in a little cardboard suitcase and set off for Tennessee. He prayed it wouldn’t rain on him as a considerable part of the trip would be on foot.

Dr. Malone said, “When I got to college, they put a tie on me for the first time in my life. When they did, I thought I was tied so I never moved.” This humble young man was to be used mightily of God to raise up an army of preachers and missionaries and their wives who now circle the earth. Theirs is Tom Malone’s message: “Get saved and let Christ change your life.”

Eventually, that “uncultured” preacher boy would also become a number of things I’m sure he never dreamed he would that day they “tied” him. Tom Malone learned to fly airplanes. He eventually earned an instructor’s rating on multi-engine aircraft.

Among the numerous academic degrees he received was his bachelor’s degree from Bob Jones College. Later, when I knew him, he was working on a Ph.D. at Wayne State University. One room in the chapel building, where he had a study office, was completely devoted to hundreds of volumes all on the same subject. He was a serious student of Shakespearean literature. His doctorate was awarded to him after studying, directing and performing in numerous Shakespearean plays.

After fifty years as pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Pontiac, Dr. Malone could also look back on the success of Midwestern Baptist College which he founded in 1953. The college rose from a farm field given him to invest for the Lord. Emmanuel Church had been a dance hall before the Malones came to Pontiac.

God allowed many difficulties to come into Dr. Malone’s life, but he rose above them all to yield his life to Christ from that day he left home with the little cardboard suitcase till the day he entered Heaven last Sunday, January 7, 2007.

Two Presidents Die

WHAT IN THE WORLD?

Separated by only a few days in those that closed 2006, the deaths of two former presidents, whose passing has been firmly documented on worldwide television, have spoken eloquent volumes about the nature of two world religions.

The former president of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, was the first to be buried. A lone pick-up truck carted his coffin in silence to the simplest of graves near his hometown in that war-ravaged land he once ruled with an iron fist. A freshly-turned pile of dirt is his memorial.

The former president of the United States, Gerald R. Ford was taken to his final resting place in his hometown too: Grand Rapids, Michigan. A grateful nation set aside the busy routine of life to follow the progress of those farewells which began shortly after his death in California and which proceeded on to Washington, D.C. All this respect and dignity was shown in behalf of a president who led the nation only briefly but that with kindness and compassion.

The National Cathedral, the site of President Ford’s funeral in Washington, rang with Christian hymns delivered by bands, soloists and the public. God’s Word was featured reminding all of President Ford’s trust in Christ.
The atmosphere of cherished civility and faith in the Lord, crowned with the peace of God upon many faces could not have been missed.

The ghastly scene featured Saddam Hussein standing upon a crude platform of ugly gallows. His defiant but whitened face curled as he hurled back the taunts his tormentors shouted at him: “Go to Hell,” they screamed at each other. The hangman’s noose was affixed to his bound body. Just as the platform dropped away carrying him to his death he could be heard to shout: “I do affirm that there is no God but God [Allah] and Mohammed is his messenger!”

The hatred of these “good Muslims” of this “great religion of peace” gave the lie to all for which this and all of paganism stands. It does not represent truth and it does not find God. Ironic though it is, the final half of the verse John 14:6, obviously intentionally omitted from the Episcopal priest’s Scripture reading at President Ford’s funeral, gives the death knell to godless Islam: “… no man cometh to the Father but by me [Christ.]”