Saturday, June 24, 2006

We all determine our entire life by the choices and decisions we make or fail to make. If there is anything you are unhappy about, it is up to you to take the necessary steps to change things more to your liking.

You are responsible for everything you do and for the results of what you do. You are responsible for the consequences of your actions and your behaviors.

You are where you are and what you are today because you have decided to be there.

You are free to make your own decisions. You are the boss. You are in charge.



Friday, June 23, 2006

From a very early age I have had an interest in New York City. I have traveled to distant places but I have not been to this great city. I still want to go and hopefully someday I will.

And yet, every day there is something that comes out of this city that “drives me up a wall.”

Today it is the New York Times!

This paper needs to be shut down. This is the only way to stop them.

Can it be done? Well, of course not. Or at least—it won’t be done. We just don’t do things like that in America. “Truth must prevail. The people have to know.”

I contend there are things we do not have to know—indeed should not know!

We don’t have to tell everything we know.

The New York Times was asked not to reveal some of the things our government is doing in an effort to find and stop terrorist. Did they cooperate? OUR COURSE NOT! They said, “It’s of interest to the people.”



Thursday, June 22, 2006

It has always been difficult for me to be flexible. I don’t know why, but I do know that I have a real problem with this. However, I have observed that flexible people are happier. They seem to be calm and confident.

I have resolved to remain flexible and open, no matter what happens. I keep reminding myself there is always a better way to accomplish any task or to achieve any goal. I just need to stay alert and aware of what it might be and then to discover it and to take action in that new direction as quickly as possible.

The important thing is to have goals and to reach them even if they are reached in unexpected and surprising ways.

Be flexible!


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

There’s an old song with the words, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, sweetest name I know...” For close to fifty years I went to the pulpit on Sundays and talked about Jesus. Benjamin Franklin understood Jesus as a wise man worthy of imitation. Thomas Jefferson regarded him as a moral teacher. George W. Bush named Jesus as his favorite philosopher.

I’m reading, Jesus In America, Personal Savior, Cultural Hero, National Obsession by Richard Fox. Fox says, “This book is for believers and non-believers alike. It is not a book about whether one should believe in Jesus, but about how Americans have believed in and portrayed him.”

And yet, with all the talk about Jesus and the belief in him, we are now being told you can’t talk about him in certain places. A young girl was giving a speech to her graduation class and she was told she couldn’t talk about God or Jesus. She did it anyhow and the students cheered. But those in charge of graduation turned her mike off when she started talking about God.

What a shame. I never thought I would live to see this happen. But it is happening, right here in America. What a shame!


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

“The kind of food our minds devour will determine the kind of person we become.”
--John R.W. Stott, Your Mind Matters

“Books shape us, dynamically molding our minds and souls. You are never the same person when you finish a book—even one that is read purely for escape or entertainment. A conviction may take root or deepen, the imagination may be sparked, a new perspective may dawn. A.W. Tozer has aptly stated that “the things you read will fashion you by slowly conditioning your mind.”
--Scott Larson, Indelible Ink


Monday, June 19, 2006

A man entered a pet shop, wanting to buy a parrot. The shop owner pointed out three identical parrots on a perch and said, "The parrot to the left costs 500 dollars."
"Why does that parrot cost so much?" the man wondered.
The owner replied, "Well, it knows how to use a computer."
The man asked about the next parrot on the perch.
"That one costs 1,000 dollars because it can do everything the other parrot can do, plus it knows how to use the UNIX operating system."
Naturally, the startled customer asked about the third parrot.
"That one costs 2,000 dollars."
"And what does that one do?" the man asked.
The owner replied, "To be honest, I've never seen him do a thing, but the other two call him boss!"


Sunday, June 18, 2006


One of my favorite pictures is from an old calendar produced by Dr. James Dobson and Focus On The Family. It is a picture of a man sitting on a porch holding a baby close to his breast. I love it!



Saturday, June 17, 2006

If God is really our Father, and cares deeply for us, and if he is Almighty, so that he can move mountains, then why does he permit us to suffer? Why doesn’t he simply stop the cancer from eating and prevent the earthquake from destroying homes and make the deserts spring up with wheat to feed the millions of people who are starving?

If God answered all our prayers the way we want, then who would be God? God wouldn’t be God, would he? God would only be a genie doing magic tricks to keep us happy. We would be God, wouldn’t we? We would make the decisions, call the shots, run the universe.

Jesus taught us to call God our Father but He looked at suffering differently than we do. There wasn’t any “If you don’t help me out here, I won’t believe in you any longer.” He said, “Not as I will, but as thou wilt.” Submission. Obedience. Letting God be God. Letting the Father be Almighty. This is a different spirit from the one we usually have, isn’t it?

In Romans chapter 8, the Apostle Paul tells us that nothing can separate us from the love of God. Paul knew that things do not always work out in this life as we would like. But he believed that the Father loves us and that nothing will ever destroy that love.

It’s a matter of faith. Believing in God the Father Almighty doesn’t save us from suffering and loss, any more than believing in our earthly parents can save us from suffering and loss. But believing makes all the difference.


Friday, June 16, 2006

Many weeks ago my wife and I got the “smart idea” that we would have our pictures put on our Bank of America credit cards. It seems like a simple thing to do. It doesn’t take a lot of experience and she had done it before. We went to our local bank and had our pictures taken, filled out the necessary papers and in just a few minutes the task was completed. We were told we would receive the new cards in about a week to ten days. The cards came and we were happy to receive them UNTIL we discovered our pictures had been switched. Her picture was on the card reading Clifton L. Ditmore and mine was on the card reading Charlotte J. Ditmore.

No big deal. They just made a simple mistake.

When we called, the lady at Bank of America was appalled. She didn’t see how it could have happened. She apologized over and over and promised to make the correction. We were to receive the cards in a week to ten days. We received the cards and were happy to have them UNTIL we discovered they were just like the first ones. My ugly face was still on Charlotte’s card and her pretty face was on mine.

No big deal. They just made another simple mistake.

The lady at the Bank of America was appalled. She didn’t see how it could have happened. She apologized over and over and promised to make the correction. We were to receive the new corrected cards in a week to ten days. We waited ten day and then two weeks and then a few more days and finally we called Bank of America. The lady at Bank of America was appalled and promised to get the cards out as soon as possible. They had no records of us ever calling.

We waited and waited and waited and finally yesterday I called again. You guessed it—no record of us calling. They apologized and promised to get it corrected. Will they? Your guess is as good as mine but with the way things have been going I would say, “No way, Jose”—it’s not going to happen! Nope, it just can’t be done.

I am resolved to the fact that this is the age of the goof-off. I can live with it. I don’t really even need a Bank of America card.


Thursday, June 15, 2006

Everybody needs a father. I had a father, of course, but I never knew him. I can only remember meeting him one time, although I think I met him twice. The first time I was too young to remember and the occasions is just a faint memory. The other time I was a teenager and I have strong memories of that meeting. My father was in a mental institution all of my life. He died there a few years ago.

During my lifetime I have met many wonderful fathers. One great father and a great man that I knew was an elder at the El Monte, California Church of Christ. He was everything I hope to be as a father and a man. Scott Williams was a real man.

Two of my favorite fathers from books, movies and television are Atticus Finch and Charles Ingalls.

Atticus Finch was an attorney and hero of Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird. He was a man of conviction who taught with his deeds even more than with his words. Charles Ingalls was a man devoted to his family and friends. He was loyal. He was a man’s man!

What about today? Any good men around now? You bet! I see a lot of them. There are not as many as there should be—but there are a lot of them.


Eternal Punishment

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

You don’t have to live in Phoenix very long to fully appreciate the crude, old expression, “It’s hot as _ _ _ _.”

From a very early age I have known about hell. I have not known much about it and still don’t. I have heard sermons about hell and it was “hell” to have to listen to some of them. I have read everything the Bible says about it and many books. In my opinion the best book (and it contains a lot of scripture) is by Edward Fudge, The Fire That Consumes.

All my life I have believed the old tradition that those who end up in hell will burn for eternity. Fudge doesn’t believe that and I no longer believe it either. We both believe in hell and believe that those who go to hell will be consumed by fire and separated from God for eternity.

Man, its hot here today. It makes me think about cleaning up my act.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

In his book, Bunkhouse Logic, Ben Stein says, “Nothing happens by itself.” I agree.

“We all pray that the goodies of life will somehow come our way because of someone else’s exertions. At least, we expect that a bare minimum of work will be done on our behalf by someone else, sometime in our lives.”

“This world is rich in possibilities. It overflows with the good things that mankind has created for itself. They are out there for the taking. But before you learn how to take them, you must first learn that no one will do it for you.”

“Think enough of yourself to take care that you do for yourself. That is how you will thrive in the world, and that is the only way.”


Monday, June 12, 2006

When I was young I worked in a grocery store. I learned to do everything from checking to butchering. I showed up every day and worked as hard as I could. Did I ever have an off day? Yes, I did. I think everybody has days when they do not perform like they want to. But those “off” days were rare—very rare. I was consistent. Other employees came and went. I remained.

For almost fifty years I was a minister. I showed up and did the best job that I could do. I believe that God blessed what I did. All week I did the things a minister does in serving the church and then on Sunday I went to the pulpit prepared to say something worth while. Did I ever have a Sunday when the message just didn’t go anyplace? Sure! There were days like that—but not many. In almost fifty years of Sundays I gave a consistent performance.

Bragging? I hope not! In my eyes I’m just stating the truth.

I feel qualified to complain about the performance of our Diamondbacks. They have lost seven straight games. They have not only lost—they have lost badly. Aren’t they allowed to lose a few games? Yes, they can lose. All teams lose games and sometimes they slide into a losing streak. At times teams will lose in spite of everything they do. The other teams just do better.

My complaint is not that the Diamondbacks are losing. My complaint is that they are all playing poorly. Even if they showed up and did the best job they could they would still lose some games. But they are not showing up and doing the best job they can, the kind of job they did in their recent road trip. If they were, they would have won some of the games out of the seven they lost.

Consistent performance is what is needed. If you can’t or won't do the work that is required for working in a grocery store, then don’t take the job. If you can’t or won't give 100% in working for the church then maybe you weren’t “called” to that job. If you can’t consistently perform as a baseball player then don’t take the millions of dollars they pay.


Sunday, June 11, 2006

We all have “our story.” When I counsel with someone I often say, “Tell me your story.” I want to know as much about them as I possibly can. I want to know “their story.”

My wife has put “our story” on our computer as a screen saver. I didn’t think of it this way in the beginning. The pictures come up on the screen, one after another, as a slide show. There are a lot of them and they bring back a host of memories from every phase of our lives.

One day while looking at these pictures I realized that I was seeing myself for who I really am. I was viewing “my story.” I mean I was seeing myself for who I really am. Not just who I have always thought I was, but who I really am. I think that seeing yourself as a child, teenager, young adult, young married, husband, father, on the job, at home, on vacation, retired, etc. helps you to see more clearly. It’s very enlightening. You should try it. I have seen some good screen savers—but this is the best.


Saturday, June 10, 2006

Anxiety divides up our energy. We can't keep our mind on today's priorities because we are worried about tomorrow's problems. The result is half-minded living.

Worry is not a disease,but it causes diseases. It has been connected to high blood pressure, heart trouble, blindness, migraine headaches, thyroid malfunctions, and a host of stomach disorders.

Anxiety is an expensive habit that doesn't work. Our frets are futile.

Jesus said, "You cannot add any time to your life by worrying about it." (Matthew 6:27).

Writer, Max Lucado said, "Worry has never brightened a day, solved a problem, or cured a diesease."


Friday, June 09, 2006

Laurie Beth Jones tells the interesting story of a young man who trained for months and months to run in a one hundred meter race in the Special Olympics. When the gun finally sounded and he leaped out in front of the rest, it seems the excitement of the race overcame him. Each foot went in different directions and he came tumbling down right in front of the starting block. The other racers each as eager as he was to compete in this great event, nevertheless stopped running their own race and turned back to help him. The crowd came to their feet as his competitors lovingly lifted him up and then walked arm in arm across the finish line together.

Don’t you wonder what this world would be like if we played by that rule: that nobody wins until we all do.

Maybe playing by that rule would help us find a solution to illegal immigration and what to do about all the illegal people already in our country.

I don’t think it would hurt to give this rule consideration in every tough decision we make.


Thursday, June 08, 2006

U.S. Ambassador John Bolton blasted a U.N. official for criticizing the United States. He called the speech by Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown a “very, very grave mistake” that could undermine Annan’s own efforts to push through an ambitious agenda of reform at the world body.

The United States demanded that U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan repudiate Brown’s speech.

Bolton told reporters: “I spoke to the Secretary-General this morning. I said “I’ve known you since 1989 and I’m telling you this is the worst mistake by a senior U.N. official that I have seen in that entire time.”

Three cheers for John Bolton!

Somebody needs to tell the leaders at the U.N. what to do and where to go.


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Jesus believed in himself. You see this demonstrated over and over as you read through the Bible.

Most of us probably believe that 100 percent belief in ourselves equals arrogance. This is not true! Arrogance is a lack of self-confidence. Jesus was never arrogant or cocky.

Believe in yourself. Go for what you want. You can do anything you set your mind to.

“I don’t think I can change my life. Give me some drugs.”

“I’ll never lose all this weight. Give me a Big Mac.”

“I’ll never amount to anything. Give me a double.”

If we only believed in ourselves, the world would be a better place.


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Edward Fudge is a Christian lawyer, writer and preacher who lives in Houston, Texas. For years I have read his books and articles and listened to him preach. Today I have just finished reading his provocative article, Power From On High, The baptism of the Holy Spirit. I feel this is an article that needs to be read by every Christian. So many Christians, know little or nothing about the Holy Spirit.

I may not agree with everything Fudge says in this article but I strongly believe the following:

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you…You will behold me…In that day you will know that I am in My Father and you in Me, and I in you…If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him.” (John 14:18-20, 23).

“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matt.28:18-20)


Monday, June 05, 2006

A man who once worked at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix tells the story of how he got two big scratches on his new Ford pickup. He left it sitting in his driveway and his neighbors's basketball goal fell over and put two scratches in one door. A friend asked him what he was going to do about it since the neighbor didn't think it was his fault. He said that at first he was going to get a lawyer but then he thought about it a little longer. He reasoned that although he loved his new truck he figured he was going to have his neighbor longer than he had the truck and he valued the relationship more than proving he was right.



Saturday, June 03, 2006

The Dallas Mavericks won! The Phoenix Suns have gone fishin’.

Now, I gotta get a life.

That is until the next series when I will be glued to the TV cheering the Mavericks on to victory over the Heat.


It’s hard to be a person of spirit, unless you have a slightly radical streak. That doesn’t mean that you should be a demanding idiot or a dictator.

When your convictions are really convictions you will be a little radical. Don’t be afraid of it. There will be times that you simply cannot stand to see certain things happen.

All lovers of truth are radicals. Don’t seek to squelch this streak. Be glad that you feel strongly on some particular subject.

For example: almost every politician I know drives me up a wall. Not a single one of them has the backbone to stand up for truth. My favorite politician is George W. Bush. However, I am extremely disappointed in his failure to close our borders to illegals.

Just do it, Mr. President—just do it! It needs to be done now—no ifs and buts about it. Stop dancin’ around trying to decide what to do about the ones already here. Deal with them later. Right now, close the darn borders!


Friday, June 02, 2006

“Clif, this will be the best thing that ever happened to you.”

I had just been fired.

I started working after school, when I was in the 9th grade. I worked from then until two years ago and I have only been fired from a job this one time.

I was devastated. I thought my world had come to an end.

“They have done you a favor. You will move on to better days.”

I thought that people, who talked like that, just didn’t get it.


It took awhile for me to realize it, but they were right. My life got better in every way.

I believe that if you do what is right that it will be alright.

Bad things happen but good can come from bad things. Hard to believe, but it is true.



Thursday, June 01, 2006

In his excellent book, Don’t Worry, Make Money, Richard Carlson, writes about transcending problems.

He says, “I can assure you that there is a way to get from where you are to where you want to be without focusing on problems.”

He goes on to say, “What usually happens is that we spend our time and energy dealing with these reactions instead of the actual issue. Simply put, when we are frightened, angry, or impatient, we lose our bearings and get in our own way. Instead of bringing out the best in ourselves and others, we bring out negativity and squeeze out creativity.”

Later he writes, “Deep down, we all know that for every problem there is a solution.”

Finally, he comments, “Quiet down, reflect, and listen. Allow your wisdom, that softer part of your thinking, to surface. More often than not, seemingly out of nowhere, you will have an insight, an answer to your problem.”