What Is The World Coming To?

by Tom Wacaster

According to Moses [Psalms 90] this scribe has just under five years to "get it all together." Sometimes I think it is an exercise in futility. Someone once lamented that when they finally got it all together, they forgot where they put it. I live in a very small corner of this terrestrial globe. It is so small that when I tell someone I preach for the Handley church of Christ, they respond, "Where is Handley?" I sometimes wonder if my two cents worth that I put into this weekly bulletin really makes that much of an impact on anyone or anything outside this small part of the world in which I live. And about the time I think about hanging up my pen, something appears in the news that I simply cannot ignore. Maybe by God's divine providence the few words that I share with my readers from week to week will make a difference. This week's pen has me asking, once again, "What in the world is this world coming to?" Allow me to be more specific.

Forty years ago this baby boomer generation thought they had all the time in the world. So we marched on Washington, participated in week long "sit-ins," picketed our government's presence in Viet Nam, and decided that we were going to make our mark on the world with a "new generation" of free thinkers and liberal philosophers. Many a prodigal made the trek to Canada and/or California where they clouded their brain with LSD and marijuana, waited out the "war," and then returned to their home states to run for congress or some other political office. One would think these "hippies" and "flower children" from the drug crazed streets of San Francisco would have learned to be a little more sensible in their later years, but I am prone to think they inhaled deeply on some weed that one could not purchase at your local convenient store.

No doubt our parents and grandparents observed that "untoward generation" from afar and asked, "What is this world coming to?" It would appear that the baby boomers are now asking the same question. Sometimes I feel sort of like the old Quaker who said to his neighbor, "I think the whole world is going crazy except it be thee or me; and I have my doubts about thee." Consider the following:

Led by their poster boy Al Gore, the environmental movement is pushing for government legislation that will "save our planet." These environmental whackos want to limit how many miles you can drive in a day, restrict the size of the house you can own, and somehow keep tally on how many squares of toilet paper you use at any one time [really! Some are suggesting a maximum of two squares per…well, you know!] Global warming has become the catalyst for government control. What confuses me is, "What ever happened to the ice age that we worried bout in the 60’s?" While we should be good stewards of what God has given us, it seems that some are over-reacting to the warming trend of this world. In my estimation, the "mechanism" that is fueling the liberal power grab today is bundled up in the imaginary threat of global warming. We have seen a lot of "nutty" philosophies come down the pike, but this one is, without doubt, insane.

Abortion continues to make headlines. Even as I write this article we lament the 40th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade and tragic outcome of the Supreme Court’s decision that allows a woman to murder the infant residing within her womb. We are approaching 60 million in number; that is 60 with nine six zeroes after it! Place a letter on a sheet of paper for each baby aborted and you would fill a full set of the Encyclopedia Britannica with little “x’s.” All of this under the banner of “freedom of choice.” It may be freedom of choice for the mother who seeks some easy solution to her irresponsible life style but it certainly denies any choice to the unborn child!

Sometime back a woman in England decided that it was necessary to abort her child and then sterilize herself to help protect the planet. Before you make a trip to Snoops, or Urban Legends website, let me assure you that the following item is indeed true. Here is a portion of what appeared on the London Daily Mail website:

"Had Toni Vernelli gone ahead with her pregnancy ten years ago, she would know at first hand what it is like to cradle her own baby, to have a pair of innocent eyes gazing up at her with unconditional love, to feel a little hand slipping into hers - and a voice calling her Mummy. But the very thought makes her shudder with horror. Because when Toni terminated her pregnancy, she did so in the firm belief she was helping to save the planet...Incredibly, so determined was she that the terrible 'mistake' of pregnancy should never happen again, that she begged the doctor who performed the abortion to sterilize her at the same time...At the age of 27 this young woman at the height of her reproductive years was sterilized to 'protect the planet.'"

As I read such sophisticated silliness, it dawned on me that this whole environmental movement, along with Green Peace, PETA, and other organizations that flaunt human wisdom, is an underhanded effort to again de-emphasize human life, and elevate animals, trees, and west Texas cactus plants to that of humanity. No wonder I find myself asking, "What is this world coming to?" To repeat a line out of the movie, "You've Got Mail," "What we are witnessing is the end of civilization as we know it."

This scribe does not think that Washington, the environmentalists, or any other liberal element is going to save this planet. Nor do I believe we are in danger of the ice caps melting, the climate over heating, or the oil in Arabia running out. I am not overly concerned about how high the price of gas will get, whether or not Hillary Clinton will make another run for President, or if I will have enough money to pay next month's electric bill. And though I may find myself asking from time to time, "What is this world coming to?" - I will be content to rest upon God's promise that He will take care of me. As someone has noted, "I'm not concerned about what the world is coming to, as I am encouraged by Who has come to the world!" I don't know who wrote the following, but I think it is a good way to end this week's "Tom's Pen":

He Maketh No Mistake

My Father's way may twist and turn,
My heart my throb and ache,
But in my soul I'm glad I know,
He maketh no mistake.

My cherished plans may go astray,
My hopes may fade away,
But still I'll trust my Lord to lead,
For He doeth know the way.

Tho' night be dark and it may seem
That day will never break;
I'll pin my faith, my all in Him,
He maketh no mistake.

There's so much now I cannot see,
My eyesight's far too dim;
But come way may, I'll simply trust,
And leave it all to Him.

For by and by the mist will lift
And plain it all He'll make,
Through all the way, tho' dark to me,
He made not one mistake.

A Day That Will Live In Infamy

 by Tom Wacaster

Fifty-seven years ago, on a bright Sunday morning, more than 2000 servicemen lost their lives as a result of an attack by Japan on Pearl Harbor. President Roosevelt predicted that December 7th would be a day that would "live in infamy." A Memorial has been erected on the very spot where the USS Arizona sank. More than 45 years ago I stood on that Memorial and gazed down into the water to view the remains of that once mighty battleship that now serves as a tomb for the sailors who lost their lives that bright Sunday morning. I was not yet born when those men lost their lives, but my visit to the Memorial reminded me that freedom does not come cheap. But I fear, as do others, that with each passing generation the memorial becomes less and less significant. Frank Michel, columnist for the Houston Chronicle, once wrote:

"Time carries out little sneak attacks on our collective memory and too few still feel the shock and pain. Too few are ready to rally 'round. Too few still see the relevance. Too few know the history! That, I suppose, is part of why so many lie below the water at Pearl - and beneath the ground in places all over the globe. So that Americans of the late 20th century can wallow obliviously in the luxury of not knowing much and not caring much how, and at what great sacrifice, we got here."

The value of Memorials was implied when Joshua led Israel across the Jordan into the promised land. Twelve stones were taken from the bed of the Jordan River to use in setting up a memorial of that great event. Future generations would ask, "What mean ye these stones?" And they would be reminded that "Israel came over this Jordan on dry land...That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the Lord your God for ever" (Joshua 4:21-22).

Almost 2000 years ago a humble Galilean met with His disciples. On that night before His betrayal He took bread and fruit of the vine, and instituted the single greatest Memorial this world has ever known. Shortly thereafter He was arrested, hurried through a mock trial, and crucified between two thieves on a cross outside of Jerusalem. That, too, is a day that will live in infamy! Since that time, millions have observed that feast in His memory. But once again, the passing of time has taken its toll, and a generation has arisen that seems to have forgotten that spiritual freedom has a price! The Memorial is neglected by too many of God's own people. Trivial things take precedence over the really important. The Supper is spread; the invitation stands; but alas many a place is vacant when it comes time to "do this in my memory."

Memorials neglected tend to become nothing more than relics of a by-gone era. Each generation must be taught afresh. Once educated, there must be observance of the same so as to repeatedly impress upon our minds the event or thing which the memorial itself represents. It is not enough to simply acknowledge a memorial. We must observe it as well.

Let us not neglect partaking in that Memorial ourselves, and let us dare not fail to teach our children the significance of that one and only Memorial that carries with it eternal consequences if we neglect it.

Now That The Past Year Is History

by Tom Wacaster

Someone once noted: “Many people look forward to the new year for a new start on old habits.” I don’t know who wrote those pithy words, but he must have been some blood kin to Solomon. The passing of one year and the dawn of the next always seems to bring out the best of good intentions. Sadly, for most, those good intentions never materialize. The euphoria of starting over gives way to reality. Progress is measured in how well we avoided some “cliff” with the full expectation that another “crisis” lies just around the corner. Case in point: Congress managed to pass a “deal” in the late hours of Tuesday night in order to avoid the dreaded “Fiscal Cliff.” Had Congress not managed to make some kind of deal in the midnight hour, behind closed doors, and with little input from those of the conservative mind set, we were assured that we would be plunged into another recession so catastrophic that all of humanity would be thrust into dire poverty. Life expectancy would be cut in half, computers would freeze up around the nation, the world wide web would shut down, and your grocery bill would quadruple overnight life (OK, so I exaggerated a little). But no sooner had the Congress passed the “deal” that would, once again, bring us back from the brink of economic disaster, when the voices of pessimism warned of the next crisis: the government’s spending limit would be reached this week and unless the debt limit is raised (again), the government will shut down. Actually, it might be best if we let the government shut down, and give it back to the people from whom it has been hijacked. But that is another matter. Now, what is the point of all this? In the words of Solomon: “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything whereof it may be said, See, this is new? It hath been already of old time, which was before us” (Ecc. 1:9-10). Solomon’s astute observation has been proven true on many an occasion. But before you get overly pessimistic and conclude there is no value in New Year resolutions, let me assure you that your determination to do better this year, or any year, is a noble quest. Repentance is encouraged, yea commanded in God’s word. Your determination to “repent” of those things that hold you back from giving the best in God’s service is something that we should do immediately upon realization that there is a need for change. New Year’s Day simply gives us an opportunity to set our priorities in order in view of the next 365 days that God has given us.

It has been a few years since Glen Campbell released what may very well have been his last great hit. For better than two decades Mr. Campbell has traveled the path that many of his Country and Western stars before him traveled. Wealth and popularity have robbed the poor man of what little bit of faith in God he may have had, and decimated his body so that he looks twice his age. Nonetheless, the song to which I refer is titled “Today Is Mine” and the lyrics convey a wonderful message:

When the sun came up this morning
I took the time to watch it rise;
And as its beauty struck the darkness
From the sky

I thought how small and unimportant
All my troubles seem to be
And how lucky another day
Belongs to me.

And as the sleepy world around me
Woke up to greet the day,
All its silent beauty
Seemed to say,
“So what, my friend, if all your dreams
You haven't realized;
Just look around you
You've got a new day to try .”

Like most men I curse the present
Void of peace of mind;
And race my thoughts beyond tomorrow
Envision there a sweeter time.
But as I view this day around me
I can see the fool I've been,
For today's the only garden
That we can tend.

Today is mine, today is mine,
To do with what I will.
Today is mine;
My own special cup to fill.
To die a little that I might learn to live;
To take from life that I might learn to give!
Today is mine!

Now that the previous year is history, what are you going to make of the New Year? Will the next 365 days be a repeat of the previous? Let me encourage you to make this year a year that will make a difference in your life. Someone has said, “Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account” (Oscar Wilde). As you make your resolutions for this year, determine that you are going to truly resolve to apply some of the principles of God’s word to your life. The only significant change is that which is lasting. Anything else is simply wishful thinking. Now that this new year is well under way, perhaps we should remind ourselves that this book titled “2013” has only 365 pages, of which 2 have now been turned. Let’s make the best of what remains. I’ll close with the following:

Another year to stand and watch
The old year passing in review;
And then to know before us lies
Another whence to start anew.
Another year for us to mold
Our lives according to His will;
Another year in which to find
The place that we alone can fill.
Another year prepares for all
A book with pages clean and white,
And what we do or leave undone
Determines what its hand shall write.

-- George W. Wiseman


I Am The New Year
by Tom Wacaster
(re-run by request)

I am the new year; three hundred and sixty five days of unspotted, unspoiled, and unused time. I am a clean slate of opportunity, a reflection of what MIGHT BE rather than what HAS BEEN. I am the youth of an ageless tomorrow bidding farewell to the hoary head of the fond memory of yesterday. I am the fresh breeze of opportunity that blows across the fields of yesterday's broken and forgotten promises. To some I will be nothing more than a fleeting resolution that will blaze across the pale sky of self determination and fade into the midnight of lost hopes and forgotten dreams. To others I will usher in a new day of optimism, hope, and genuine change. My diary contains unlimited resolutions, once made in earnest and then broken in haste. My features are a mystery, for no one can tell what is in store for tomorrow. Each day brings new insight as to what I will be after I have completed my journey. I am the opportunity to achieve those things which for some reason or another were left undone in the previous year. To the financier I am interest accumulated at a fixed percentage rate. To the student I am that one step closer to graduation. To the small child I am another summer camp, Thanksgiving holiday, or Christmas wish. To every parent I contain the joy of watching a child grow and mature for another fifty two weeks. To the young I am dreams and hopes dressed in daily determination. To the child anxious to open another present under the tree, I come too slowly; to the aged, I come too often. For some, this year will bring unparalleled opportunities. For others it will bring disaster and ruin. To all, it will bring us twelve months closer to eternity.