Some Things Never Change

August 30, 2012

by HLB
Contributor and author of Knowing His Name

You’ve heard it, no doubt: “God helps those who help themselves”. Sorry, it’s not true.

He helps those who come to Him, knowing they can’t help or fix themselves.

That’s me. Unable, weak, prideful (oh, so prideful!), forgetful, distracted (look, something shiny!), needy for help. So, thank the good LORD that He doesn’t give up on us! On me.

He is Good [lit: morally excellent, righteous, of high quality, kind, beneficent].

With a plate that’s more than overfull with things to change, I easily get overwhelmed. Knowing I don’t have it in me to change. I’ve tried. That time, those two times in a row, and that time, oh, and that time, too. Been circling those mountains for years, just like they did, for 40 of them.

And then, just when I least expect it, He moves me. Changes. Morphs. Grows. Stretches. Has me step into the river to cross over, feet wet. Reminds me each day of the things I used to forget. And I get closer to being more like Him. *sigh*

He is Faithful to finish what He starts in us.

What a God we have! One that won’t let us stay where we are, trying (but failing) to help ourselves. He gets in there and does the work, committed to the very end. He’s more committed to me than I am to myself, for sure.

As sure as the sun comes up each day (whether we see it through clouds or not), His unchanging compassion, and restoring/renewing power do, too, for those of us who believe He is Who He says He is.

He is Consistent [lit: not self-contradictory; fixed, firm].

Praise His Name, every day!

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Analog Vs. Digital TV

August 18, 2012

by Mark Polk
Mark is a frequent contributing author

 

A couple years ago all analog television signal transmission came to an end. All analog TVs now require some type of receiver to convert digital, over the air signals, to analog signals that older TVs can display. With a receiver, you can still use your analog TV to receive digital signals, so there is no need to buy another TV. So what is the easiest way to deal with this problem in our RV’s?

Here’s how things work in your RV with an analog TV. Between your analog television set, TV antenna and a built-in NTSC tuner you are able to pick up free off air programming like ABC, NBC and CBS channels. Analog television has been the standard broadcast technology since TV’s have been around. Analog technology uses magnetic waves to transmit and display the picture and sound you are seeing and hearing. When you are spending the night in a rural type area analog reception can be poor, resulting in the poor color, snowy and static picture you see.

Several years ago local television channels started broadcasting a free digital signal in addition to an analog signal. Digital broadcasting technology transmits the information used to make a TV picture and sound as data bits, like a computer. Digital broadcast technology can carry much more information than analog technology, resulting in a DVD quality picture and sound that will never have a poor, snowy or static picture. The problem is your analog TV cannot receive digital broadcast signals.

I mentioned a moment ago you need some type of receiver to convert digital signals to an analog TV. Most of these receivers connect easily between your TV antenna and your analog TV to deliver these digital channels. I also mentioned earlier that local channels started broadcasting free digital signals several years ago. To receive this free, over the air digital programming you simply connect the receiver to your TV and scan in the digital channels for the area you are staying in, using the receiver. The receiver has a built in ATSC tuner that decodes the free digital signals and displays them on your analog television.

Let’s say, for example, that you receive the local NBC affiliate broadcast in your area on channel 10. If your TV antenna is directed towards that station’s origin, and you turn your analog TV to channel 10 you receive the programming. This is an analog channel for the local NBC affiliate. This local channel is also broadcasting a digital signal. Digital channels are multicast, meaning you could pick up as many as six additional channels from the local NBC digital signal. Once you scan the digital signal into memory, on the digital receiver, the digital channel will appear on your TV as the standard analog channel plus a dash (-) or a dot (.) and a number.

It sounds more confusing than it really is, let me try and explain it better. I said a moment ago, as an example, that the local NBC affiliate is broadcast on channel 10 in your area. The digital channels for NBC might appear as 10-1, 10-2, 10-3 etc. 10-1 would be the standard digital channel for regular NBC programming. The additional multicast digital channels (10-2, 10-3, 10-4 etc.) might be a 24 hour news broadcast, 24 hour weather broadcast, 24 hour movie, sports, special features broadcast and more. So, not only is the picture and sound crystal clear, but you are receiving more channels. The same is true of the other local programming available in your area like ABC and CBS. When you tune in your digital channels all available multi-casting channels in your area will be available.

If this particular receiver is connected to a High Definition capable TV you will receive any free, over the air High Definition programming automatically too.

So you can keep your old analog TV in the RV, but the picture will look like it’s being viewed on a brand new TV.

Happy Camping,
Mark

Mark Polk is founder of RV Education 101 and RV University

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Handling RV Odors

August 6, 2012

by Mark Polk
Mark is a frequent contributing author

 

Odors in our RV come in many different forms and are caused by many different sources. Some odors are pleasant, like fresh coffee brewing in the morning, and some are not so pleasant. The “not so pleasant” category includes holding tank odors, pet odors, and cooking, smoke, must and mildew just to name a few. Some of these odors result from normal use of the RV and some from sitting in storage. Today I want to give you some tips to help control and eliminate some of these unpleasant odors.

Because RVs are relatively small in size, when compared to a 2,000 SF home, odors tend to be more pronounced. Add to this the RV sits closed up for periods of time and odor problems are compounded even more. This leads to one of the key factors for controlling odors, ventilation. Ventilation not only helps with odors, but can limit the amount of heat build-up in the RV too. A quick fix for this odor related problem is to install some aftermarket roof vent covers, like MaxxAir vent covers, over the existing roof vents.

They are easy to install and a great feature about these ventilation products is that you can leave the roof vents open, even when it’s raining outside. These ventilation products will keep the air circulating throughout your RV and help prevent musty odors.

With the ventilation problem solved we can focus on other types of odors that linger in our RVs. These odor molecules aren’t just in the air, they get in the fabrics, carpets, ceiling, window treatments and other areas of the RV. Pet, smoke, and musty odors can be extremely difficult to eliminate. During my days of selling RV’s I witnessed RV interiors that were professionally cleaned, but odors, like smoke, still remained afterwards. I also experimented with many different odor controlling products, but perhaps the best product I found for eliminating difficult odors is Fabreze. Lots of air fresheners just mask common odors, but in many cases masking an odor won’t eliminate it. You need something that can kill the odor causing bacteria in the air, which is what Fabreze does. After RV trips, or before storage, clean the RV thoroughly and spray Fabreze throughout. Don’t forget to spray the upholstery, carpet and fabrics too.

To help prevent cooking odors from becoming permanent odors in your RV make sure you turn the range exhaust fan on whenever you are cooking, and it’s a good idea to open a window too. To maximize the efficiency of the range exhaust fan keep the filter clean. On some RVs it is necessary to go outside and open the range exhaust fan door so the cooking odors actually vent outside. Check your RV owner’s manual for more details concerning maintenance and operation of your range exhaust fan.

When it’s time to put the RV in storage there are several steps you can take to assist with controlling and eliminating common household odors. First, thoroughly clean the interior of the RV. Remove all perishable food and leave cabinet doors and drawers open so air can circulate. Defrost the freezer and thoroughly clean the refrigerator. Leave the refrigerator and freezer doors cracked open. Put a small tin of charcoal in the refrigerator compartment to help absorb any odors, baking soda works well too.

If you decide to leave your clothes in the RV during periods of storage use some mothballs to help control musty odors and leave the wardrobe doors and clothing drawers open to promote air circulation.

This brings us to the least favorite topic when discussing odors in our RV, holding tank odors.

The good news is there are some very effective methods for controlling these odors too, and it doesn’t involve strong chemicals that can be dangerous to humans, pets and septic systems. First it would probably be helpful to explain why we sometimes get a bad odor from the RV black water holding tank, especially when you are traveling. RV holding tanks are designed with a vent pipe going from the holding tanks to the roof. The holding tank odors accumulate in the tank and can’t really vent outside because there is no air pressure to force these gasses (odors) up and out of the vent pipe.

The real problem occurs when wind blows across the vent cap on top of the RV roof, which escalates when you are traveling. This higher air pressure forces air down the vent pipe pushing the tank gasses (odors) to the only other way out of the system, the toilet. Whenever the air pressure is higher inside the holding tank, than it is inside the RV, the odor escapes into the RV by way of the toilet when it is flushed.

The good news is there are aftermarket RV products that will help solve holding tank odor problems caused by the design of the RV waste water system. These products are basically a redesigned breather system that attaches to the top of the vent pipe and actually draws the fumes out of the holding tank. These products work when the RV is stationary and when it’s moving.

Another problem associated with RV holding tank odors is the use of strong chemicals to help control these holding tank odors. Some of these are formaldehyde based chemicals and can be dangerous to humans, pets, and the septic systems we empty our holding tanks in to. Because little water is used, in comparison to a domestic waste water system, RV holding tank waste water is far more concentrated. The organic strength from the mixture in an RV holding tank can be fifteen to twenty times stronger than a typical waste water system. This problem is compounded when the RVer gets some odors from the holding tank and dumps even more chemicals in the holding tank in an attempt to control the odors.

As many of you know I am a big advocate for saving our RV dump stations. I recommend using a holding tank treatment that is environmentally friendly and safe to use in septic systems.

Enzyme based holding tank treatments, combined with a redesigned vent breather system, can effectively control holding tank odors. Don’t be afraid to put some holding tank treatment in the gray water holding tank too. When the gray tank is empty add some water, and the holding tank treatment, to the sink drains to help keep the gray water tank free of odors. I add some dish washing liquid to the gray water tank periodically to assist with breaking down and grease and keep the holding tank clean.

So it’s safe to say with proper ventilation and a few good aftermarket RV products you can eliminate all of the tough odors commonly associated with enjoying our RVs.

 

 

Happy Camping,
Mark
Mark Polk is founder of RV Education 101 and RV University

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Christians and Government

August 3, 2012

by Dountonia S. Slack as appeared on BellaOnline
a contributing author on RVchurchesUSA

“We are not looking for power, … We are not looking for prestige. We are here because we care very, very deeply about the nation. … We love God, we love our neighbors and we act out of a love of God and love of our neighbors.” ~ Chuck Colson

Romans 13:1-7 and I Peter 2:13-19 teach that Christians are to submit to government even if that government does not rule biblically. However, if government requires us to do something directly against God’s law, we should disobey the directive and stand firmly on the Word of God in spite of persecution or suffering (Acts 5:29). This is a subtle nuance but an important distinction that must be explored because the line has been blurred between what is a direct affront against God’s law and what ungodly authority/government looks like. As a result, this blurriness has led to non-believers seeing us as fundamental, nit-pickers whose motive is to hypocritically moralize the world instead of living by and sharing the love of Christ.

Even the choices we make for those to represent us in government often contradict the basic tenets of the God of the Bible that we hold dear. Obviously, for some, there is a divide between a holistic Christianity that is lived out in all aspects of life and a compartmentalized faith that becomes significant based upon the day of the week. Furthermore, it is important to note that Christians do sin and the difference between a believer and a non-believer is Christ. The Holy Spirit lives within us to convict us of our sin which leads us to confession and repentance as we progressively become more like Christ. Therefore, a wayward Christian in authority whose lifestyle, practices, and/or policies that I may disagree with has a much better chance of re-aligning with God’s ways than a non-Christian who denies Christ or a person who acknowledges God but not His Son (I John 2:23) even if that person lives a moral lifestyle.

Our Sovereign Lord has everything under control and everything that happens is a part of His entire plan of redemption that He ordained from the beginning of time. In other words, there are no accidents. Yet, this does not excuse or relieve us of our duty to speak up and stand up consistently for the truth of God’s Word. A truth that is not subjective or open to interpretation, but there are many ways that we can diligently apply His truth in our lives by the way we represent Christ at home, at work, in the community, and in the voting booth. Furthermore, we must remember that we are not Democrats, Republicans, Constitutionalists, Libertarians or anything else. Rather we are Christians who stand on the platform of Christ. There are no perfect candidates and government is not the answer to problems that plague humanity. As members of the family of God, our faith should transcend race, culture, denomination, political party, and nationality. Christians are united through the blood of Christ who taught us how to live amid a hostile government.

To compromise the message of the Gospel by supporting/electing/endorsing men and women who reject Christ just because we are discontent or because of our political allegiances, is perhaps the greatest crime an ambassador of Christ could commit. When government does not compel us to sin, we are to “live in subjection,” “submit to every ordinance,” and “honor the king” as Paul and Peter teach in the aforementioned passages. Legislating campus wide prayer out of school does not cause one to sin or prevent individual prayer. However, forcing a doctor to administer an abortion in spite of his/her Christian values does violate God’s law and should not be negotiated regardless of the outcome. This must be so in order for us to share in the proclamation that Paul made in Ephesians 6:19-20, “To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”

It is my prayer that we “declare it boldly” everywhere we go and in everything we do including when we choose those who will govern over us.

Dountonia is BellaOnline’s Baptist Editor

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