Friday, April 28, 2017

True Reporting/ Fake News
The character that Thomas Engle spoke about was Isaiah and his vision of the condition of the land of Israel in his life. Israel was the apple of God’s eye and they chose to rebel against God and against his leading. Isaiah saw that his land had become evil and forsaken the LORD, provoking Him to anger and gone backward. They were a people of putrefying sores without any soundness. Israel had become a desolate country in national crisis.
God began to withhold water and bread from them, stinting in harvest and rain. Isaiah saw that mature, prudent male leadership was on the decline and that children would be princes to rule over them. Children had control over their parents and a person will force his neighbor to take care of him with a lack of responsibility. There was a lack of respect for the elder generation, little respect for authority, and a lack of reverence and respect for God.
Isaiah saw that the leaders’ teachings were causing the people to err and stray from the path. Isaiah said, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” He goes on to describe being wise in one’s own eyes, those who drink strong drink, and they take away righteousness having rotten roots.
Isaiah was seeing his country for what it had become and warning them of the impending wrath of God. What about America today? Are we seeing the same circumstances today? Are our leaders prudent? Are our children taking control of us, shunning the wisdom of the older generation? Are many people still living off their parents or forcing those who work to support their idleness?
There is definitely a lack of respect for our heritage, for the Constitution, and a lack of reverence for God. There is a lack of respect for life as well with abortions and murders. Is America in a national crisis? Is America beginning to taste God’s wrath? Will we see the error of our ways before it is too late?

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Caleb: A Man That Wholly Followed God
I usually only write a post every other day, but because of Evangelist Thomas Engle’s sharing of biblical characters, I am posting so I don’t shortchange any of the men and the messages about them. Our Wednesday night lesson was on Caleb, one of the original twelve spies sent by Moses to evaluate the promised land of milk and honey. When the spies came back, they reported that it was indeed a fertile land, so fertile that one bunch of grapes was so heavy it took two men to carry it. They also reported that there were walled cities and giants in the land. The ten were focused on the problems they saw and not on the promises God made to them.
They infected the Hebrew children with an attitude of discouragement to the point they wanted to return to Egypt also saying it would have been better if God had allowed them to die in the wilderness. God gave in to their wishes and the rebellious people died in the wilderness from the forty years of wandering. Estimates say there were 600,000 men at that time and only Joshua and Caleb lived to enter the Promised Land.
Caleb took God at his word and wanted to “saddle up’” go in, and take the land. He was focused entirely on the promises of God and not on the problems of the land, the giants and walled cities. In our lives today, focusing on the problems, no matter how large they may seem instead of God’s promises, allow defeat into our lives and not lives of triumph. If we stay focused and seek God, we can gain victory.
Another point brother Engle said, just as in Caleb’s time, when we avoid the conflicts of sin, we pass those problems along to our children and grandchildren. It becomes a battle of morality left for their generation. Sin never lessens. It only grows if not dealt with, only more firmly entrenched..

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

But God Meant It Unto Good
Each night thus far, Evangelist Thomas Engle has shared a different character from the Bible and how their story parallels the present and much of our lives today. Last evening he shared his insight on the man named Joseph. Joseph didn’t come from a perfect family. It was a dysfunctional one. His father Jacob had two wives and children from several. Joseph was one child that Jacob cared for more than the others because he was the child from the woman he loved.
Because he was the apple of Jacob’s love, his brothers hated him to the point they planned to murder him, but instead, sold him to be a slave. Joseph ended up in Egypt as a slave to an important man. This captain prospered and raised Joseph over everything in his house. The wife of the captain falsely accused Joseph of assaulting her and Joseph was thrown into jail.
Even in prison, God didn’t abandon Joseph. God was preparing him for hard times ahead. Prisons then weren’t like today, but were dark, dirty, damp places, but even here, Joseph’s character remained strong and his uprightness remained unchanged.
The Pharaoh heard of Joseph’s ability to interpret dreams and brought him from the jail, eventually placing him over his entire kingdom. A seven year famine followed seven years of plenty. Joseph gathered from the plenty and saved it for the lean times.
Joseph’s brothers came to buy grain, not knowing with whom they were dealing. Joseph could have been vengeful, but he recognized God’s hand in it all. Later in life Joseph said, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, and brought to pass this day to save much people alive.”

Monday, April 24, 2017

Dynamic Dou Plus One
Yesterday Mt. Zion Community Church began its week of revival services. We are blessed to have Doyle Robertson as song leader and choir director and his wife who accompanies on her keyboard. He masterfully prepares our hearts and souls for the messages presented by Evangelist Thomas Engle.
Doyle has a unique way of drawing out a readiness to worship God and stir souls to hear the message. He was a music director for the Bill Rice Camp in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. I can remember him from one year our church took our youth there for summer Christian camp week.
Thomas Engle is our speaker for the week and he is a marvelous speaker, bringing new views on Bible characters, sharing and showing that these men were much like you and me. He shared insights of their strengths and weaknesses and their position with God.
Sunday morning, he explained Jacob was a trickster and one who ran from his problems and how Jacob had a personal experience with God in Bethel. He knew the God of Abraham and Isaac, but it took another twenty years of running before his heart was changed and decided to follow God’s leading. It took another confrontation with God to get Jacob’s attention. He wrestled with God until God drew him near, touched him and made Jacob lame, preventing him from running away when problems occurred. Now, God could use him. The message was that many of us know God, but have been doing our own thing and not following God’s will in our lives.
Sunday evening Evangelist Engle shared the story of Job. He was a righteous man, but had a hard heart. It took the trials and troubles to bring Job to the point that he understood God more deeply and that his heart was softened.
There are services throughout the week and next Sunday morning. The Mt. Zion congregation welcomes you every evening at 7 pm. Please come to hear the messages. You are sure you will be challenged and blessed.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Yesterday, I was in charge of the writers meeting in a side room of the Mt. Pleasant Public Library. I was in a hurry and ran off tips for better writing to share with the fellow writers. I snatched them off the printer and left the house. I needed to pick up my Granddaughter Hannah after school and watch her until her mom got off work. As I’m sitting, waiting out a rain storm, I begin to read the print out. Oh, no. It was something I’d read or had shared with me before. I thought it might have been for our group. There was no time to go back, search the internet for another topic.
It stopped storming and I was able to take Hannah home without drowning. Hannah was talking about the storm. One of her classmates tried to explain the thunder as “someone bowling in heaven.” First she asked, what is bowling, then she asked if her grandmother Cindy was bowling in heaven. I had to explain that God made the thunder and that there were no bowling lanes in heaven.
I was fortunate that none of the fellow writers had heard the tips and that was a pleasant surprise. Several of our writers shared their creations. As I read mine, I noticed it needed much more work, too much repetition, my biggest fault.
We were all impressed when a young woman who occasionally attended the meetings shared several very emotional pieces of prose. With deep felt sentiment, she described the trials that she has been having. The entire reading was intense and to a person, the other writers told her the trials had made her a much better writer. The hardship endured had poured through into her writing. I was glad that her writing was so much improved, yet my heart went out to her for her problems. Sometimes an artist doesn’t have to be like Van Gogh and cut off an ear to suffer for art.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Discovering Dad
I spent another Tuesday evening at the Chestnut Ridge Historical Society located in Stahlstown, Pennsylvania across Route 711. The Society is in the Cook Township Community Center. The speaker for the evening was Mr. Bruce Shirey. His talk was more of a slide show, sharing multiple photographs of the Pennsylvania Turnpike from several different time periods and the highway was built. He received the slides when the museum discarded them. There was a question and answer time after the presentation was finished. Many of the people in the audience either recalled the views on the slides or had relatives that collected tolls, surveyed the proposed routes, or held other positions. It was a give and take session where the audience learned much and Mr. Shirey gained new facts about the pay to drive road, Route 76.
There were stories of the bridges, the difference of exchanges then and now, and occurrences that happened on the pike. I shared the story of my dad driving hid 12 cylinder Lincoln to Shamokin, Pennsylvania to sell it, but the man said it had a cracked block. My dad was so upset, he told us he had the rear end sliding around the curves and the toll taker said to him, “I’ll just sit on this ticket for a bit or the police will be coming to your door.”
As is my norm, I arrived early and was looking over the displays. Hanging on the wall was a school photo of the students from Longwood School 1935 - 1936. I remembered my dad telling us that he went to school there. I looked closer and what to my surprise, there was someone who looked as though it might be him. The president of the society pulled it from the wall and on the reverse were the names. Yes, it was my father, Edson Carl Beck. He was standing in the back row, third from the right. Our family didn’t have photos of him as a kid. The society was generous and made a copy for me. Thank you all.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Picture This: Easter 1950’
What do I remember of the Easter holiday as I was growing up in the 1950’s and 60’s? Bits and pieces only, if it weren’t for the photographs of me as a chubby, pigeon-toed child, I wouldn’t recall much. Those photos show different members of my family posing in front of our hoe, usually with a different car in the background. My younger sister in a new outfit, white patent leather shoes, lace ruffled socks, a frilly dress, and perhaps a hat. My brother and I would be wearing a new pair of pants, a new shirt, and if it was chilly enough a newer jacket. Dad had dark dress pants, a lighter jacket, and possibly a new tie; his new Easter item was usually parked in the driveway. Mom was a different story. She would shop for a new Easter outfit for a month or so. She always complained that “nothing fit her.” She was smaller across the top and fuller across the bottom, but eventually, she would find something, then buy shoes to match.
Easter sunrise service was a must with breakfast tucked in before regular service and Sunday school. I remember going to my grandparents Miner’s farm. The house was huge with plenty of room for cousins to run and play. I don’t remember what we had to eat, but I’m sure that we did. It was usual to gather there for the holidays for a potluck dinner, each family contributing something.
There would always be an Easter egg hunt, with hiding of real cooked and dyed eggs. This worked well until the older and taller cousins hid one on the top of a cinder block pillar of Grandma’s porch. It fell down inside where it couldn’t be reached and its sulfurous fumes made it difficult and almost impossible to use the porch swing all summer. That ended the wild abandon searches for the hidden treasures.

Friday, April 14, 2017

The Crux of Confusion
Today was supposed to be an easy day, writing a little, breakfast, then I was to attend a writers meeting. A friend who usually rides with me, called to cancel. That was okay, because I wanted to do some shopping after the meeting. As I started from home, I heard a rumble and squeaking sound from my Malibu and decided to cancel the run because nobody was depending on me. I was in Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania by then and decided to make only one stop at Wal-Mart. As I entered the building, my phone rang, giving off its infamous, “Popeye the Sailorman” ring tone.
It was another writer who talked my friend who cancelled into attending. When I said that I was having car problems, she said, “Oh no, I’ll have to call her back.” I felt bad, but I don’t like to go too far from home with a possible needed car repair.
Groceries bought, I headed for home. I made one other stop. It was at a local farmer’s new enterprise. They are selling dairy products at their small store. The shop also sells antiques. The Whoa Nellie’s is located on the White Bear Rocks Road.
At home and groceries stored away, I checked the computer, remembering I hadn’t posted on my blogspot yet. Glancing on a friend’s profile, I noticed he had a friend with the same name as me, Tom Beck. I sent him a friend request. He accepted and we chatted for a few minutes on Chat heads messenger. He’s a young man from northern Illinois and a student. It’s interesting that an old geezer can make a connection with a younger person so far away; a marvel of modern electronics. He also likes to write and is an American and Western Civilization major. Perhaps he will be a published author and we can compete for readers. Ha ha.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Action Packed
Yesterday was another action packed day. I knew that it was to rain and wanted to get the mowing done early. I didn’t want to take time to fix breakfast and ate a bowl of potato salad I’d made the day before. Wrong move, the heart burn lit my pilot light all morning.
After mowing my yard, I continued to rewrite an old story, trying to make it into an actual novel instead of my usual Tommy Two Shoes books of short stories. After several hours hunched over the keyboard, my shoulders began to ache. The effort of driving the mower over my one acre plot and rewriting the plot of my book, I decided a hot shower before my doctor’s appointment was in order.
At the doctor’s office, the P.A. removed the last stitch from my carpal tunnel surgery, peeled off the scab, and advised using a moist dressing to allow healing from the inside out.
I purposely put aside lunch until now. I needed to spend the time between the doctor’s appointment and a lecture I planned to attend. The lecture was from a man who served as part of the flight crew on several of the presidential jets.
John Haigh is a local man who grew up near Masontown. His escape from the coal towns of western Pennsylvania to serve on Air Force 1 and 2 and his ability to help care for multiple Presidents and their First Ladies was very interesting. He shared the personal stories and words of these influential passengers as they flew many places of the world and in the United States. His slide show photos added much to his presentation.
I would like to thank the Mt. Pleasant Library for inviting the community to hear Mr. Haigh to speak. Thank you to the Mt. Pleasant Fire Department for opening the community room for the event.

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Busier I Get 
 Last week was a busy week and I can foresee another one this week. The busy part managed to stay away until Wednesday. I was reviewing and rewriting a story I’d written many years age. I was trying to resurrect it from the dust bins of my mind.
As I sat at my computer reading and making changes on the script, I suddenly remembered I had a luncheon appointment with other retired nurses from Frick Hospital in Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania. It was 1010 am and it took almost thirty minutes to drive to the restaurant. Lunch was at eleven. After a quick shower, I made it with minutes to spare. I affectionately call them “The Grand Dames of Frick.”
Thursday, I had a writers meeting in Mt. Pleasant Library and of course the usual meal afterwards. We had the weather change, dropping the temperature and about three inches of show. I did a late cleaning of the walks and drive because a diehard Pirate fan conned me into going to the Pirate opening day. Bundled and layered I went to the frigid opener, fortunately, our seats were out of the wind tunnel and tolerable.
Saturday, I met with fellow writers to place our books in “The Twisted Vine” as another outlet for our books. It is a store just outside of Ligonier, Pennsylvania offering a wide variety of things from jewelry to antiques. Once we placed our writings to sale, we went to lunch.
Sunday, I attended church and Sunday school, before eating half of a leftover hoagie, then driving to another writers meeting in Greensburg, Pennsylvania to review a story I am submitting for the new Phantom Detective series. Once that was accomplished, I headed home to eat a bite before goin to Sunday evening church service. Finally, I was able to stay at home and spend a restless night sleeping.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Bowling Lanes
In Connellsville, Pennsylvania, across from the Troutman building, there used to be a hotel called the St. James. I would have never known it was there, but several people would bowl there as a group. When I thought of a hotel, I always thought of a place to use while on vacation or to sleep, but a bowling alley?
I think the most unusual thing about the alley was its location. The lanes were on the second floor. Its position in the building truly fascinated me. Who would have thought bowling alleys on the second floor? It was rare for me to bowl. Money was tight and my brother and sister were too young to go bowling as a family, but my parents allowed mo to occasionally tag along with the church friends.
The bowling lanes were old ones without the pin setting machines. It was necessary for pin boys to gather and reset the pins at the end of the lanes. They would also retrieve your ball and place it in the return trough. The ball would rumble back to you.
I can’t remember which nights of the week we would bowl, but there was a man there who scared the pin boys and sent them scurrying. He had huge muscles in his arms. When he would bowl, he would hurl the ball down the lanes. The ball was air born until halfway down the lane. It would hit with a crash and begin to spin on the polished boards. The torque was tremendous. As it hit the pins, they would scatter in all direction. It was a dangerous situation for the pin boys. They would scatter as well, heading to opposite sides of the room to escape possible injury.
It was almost like a dance with the pin setters waltzing out of the way at the crescendo of the thunderous music. I was amazed at the power of the young bowler and the finesse of the young pin setters at the opposite end of the lane.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Jericho’s Bible Story
Trapped in a computer disc was a story I’d written long ago. It has lingered there for at least ten years. Because of the advancement of computers, it remained hidden until recently. Tom my computer repairman gave me an app that has allowed me access to the words I wrote so long ago. It’s called Libra Office. I was able to read the story again. After several tries, I was able to transcribe the tale from the disc to Office Word. Like I have said in the past, I am computer dyslexic.
I am polishing and reshaping the words with the experience and knowledge I’ve gained from the editing and publishing of my books and from the writers I have met at the meetings I attend. It has been an invaluable asset as I rewrite the fictional love story of Rahab and of the two spies she helped escape Jericho.
I have taken some license by connecting Salmon, the man who eventually married Rahab and the spies that she harbored and rescued. First Rahab was not Hebrew. Secondly, she was a woman with a soiled reputation and not the first choice for many men as a bride. Finally, I made the connection, who would be the most likely male to choose her to be his wife.
One of the two men she saved would be indebted to her would be the most likely candidate. There is no mention of the names of the spies sent into Jericho by Joshua, so one of them might have been Salmon who takes Rahab as a wife. It is my imagination and reading between the lines, but it does give reason for them becoming wed.
I’m not writing this to be the truth or Gospel, only offering it as an explanation of how this woman was in the blood line of David and then into the ancestry of Jesus Christ.

Monday, April 3, 2017

The Inevitable Death and Taxes
Death is the final chapter in each person’s life, It is the one thing that is certain .Only Enoch and Elijah avoided death and were taken up into heaven. So, why am I writing about that? It’s not a subject that people like to contemplate, nor are taxes. What has me thinking on these things?
Saturday I received in the mail, the return of my money from Uncle Sam. I found my income tax check nestled in my mailbox and caused me to rethink a recent story I have been planning to share with you all.
I keep most of my bills waiting to be paid in one spot, but I always kept my local spring and fall taxes in another spot because they were to be paid much later. Well, I forgot and last year’s real estate taxes went unpaid. I recently paid them with the penalties. It wasn’t a major burden because I had money set aside for them and didn’t understand why it seemed I had a “surplus” of money in my checking account. I just thought I was being a good steward.
I told my kids that I blamed my deceased wife Cindy for not paying my taxes. She passed away fourteen years ago, but her habit of holding onto money until the last minute before paying our bills rubbed off on me. She would often wait to send the payment until the check and new bill would cross paths in the mail. I had to blame someone for forgetting I hadn’t paid my taxes. It certainly couldn’t be me.
There are those who don’t know me and will think I am completely mad for blaming her, but they don’t understand that I have a nurse’s warped sense of humor. It allows me to look at many things that should be upsetting or sad and smiling, even death and taxes.