Monday, July 31, 2006

Since it is the 17th most popular site on the internet, you probably already know about it and use it often. But just in case you don't, I want you to be aware of this wonderful source of information. My feeling is, "If you can't find what you want to know here, you probably don't need to know it." Well, that may be a little over stated--but this is a good place to find "stuff."

Give it a try. You will like it.


Sunday, July 30, 2006



Saturday, July 29, 2006

Tomorrow is the Lord’s Day. All over the world people will gather together to sing praises to God—to worship in song.

I miss the “old” songs. I love many of the “new” songs –contemporary music. But I especially love the “old” songs and miss singing them. Songs like:

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride.

It’s not that we have given up on this song completely—we just don’t sing it much anymore. Sometimes we sing it before the Lord’s Supper, but not often.

I don’t worship the song or the singers. I worship the Lord! I can worship him with just about any music. But I like the “old” music. I hate to see it fading away and being put on the shelf.

I’m old and fading away—but I don’t want to be put on the shelf.

See from , His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down;
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?


Friday, July 28, 2006

At church, at the mall, at the grocery store and just about every place I go—I keep running into old people. Is it because I go where old people go? Do I attract old people? I think it’s because I am now able to be out and about when younger people are working. I also tend to go out more in the day time and younger people go out more at night.

I have now become an observer of the elderly. I have always paid attention to them but not as much as I have lately.

Old women seem to have more on the ball than old men. Old men just shuffle along in a daze. Old women are all juiced up and running about, talking a mile a minute. They appear to be having fun. The old men look like they want to go home and take a nap.

Old women don’t seem to complain as much about their pains. Old men have serious pains and a lot of them. There is one area where men and women seem to be running neck and neck—they can’t remember diddly squat!


Still, I had rather be an old man than and old woman.

Good thing!


Thursday, July 27, 2006

THE BEST TIME to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today.
Chinese Proverb

TELL ME who’s your friend, and I’ll tell you who you are.
Russian Proverb

A JOY that’s shared is a joy made double.
John Ray, English Proverbs

WHEREVER the heart is, the feet don’t hesitate to go.
Togo Saying

THE DEATH of an old person is like the loss of a library.
African Proverb

WHEN “Do no evil” has been understood, then learn the harder, braver rule, “Do good.”
Arthur Guiterman
A Poet’s Proverb


Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Beth Moore has written a great book, Believing God.

From the dust jacket: “Is it working? Your belief system, that is. Is it really working? God’s intention all along has been for the believer’s life to work. From divine perspective toward terrestrial turf, God meant for His children to succeed. Are our Christian lives successful? Are they achieving and experiencing what Scripture said they would?

In the words of Dr. Phil, “How’s that working for you?” Belief in God, that is.

God has always intended for His children to succeed.


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

They call him the Baseline rapist. He is a killer. But he is not the only one. The other one is referred to as the shooter. And then of course, in addition to these two there are others in town that are raping and killing occasionally.

It’s hot all over the country but one day recently it got up to 118 in Phoenix. I talked to a man in Scottsdale that had moved here from Washington, D.C. He had only been in town 11 days and one of those days it was 117. I haven’t talked to him since it hit 118.


It’s July but October is coming!

Hopefully by October we will have the rapists and killers behind bars—at least some of them. And I know (well, almost know) that by October the weather will be cooler.

Will this make the news? There will be a one time blurb about the capture of the killers. There will be no mention, none, noda, that temperatures have dropped in Phoenix.

You know, in a way—that’s a good thing. Why tell everybody that nine months out of the year the weather is fantastic here. It’s crowded enough around here already.

Aunt Matilda needs to stay in Oshkosh and off the freeways. She drives too slowly.


Monday, July 24, 2006

May 2, 2006, Shelby Steele wrote the best thing ever written on the way America now fights wars. It appeared in the Opinion Journal of The Wall Street Journal. I called it to your attention at that time. I hope you read it.

I can’t get it off my mind. I read it again today and here is what I see:

(1) It is now unimaginable that we would use anything approaching the full measure of our military power.

(2) Clearly since Vietnam, America has increasingly practiced a policy of minimalism and restraint in war.

(3) Today words like “power” and “victory” are so stigmatized with Western sin in some quarters, it is politically incorrect even to utter them.

(4) There is no will to truly regulate the southern border when for this we are slammed as bigots.

(5) If America is going to remain great and in control of our own destiny we must once again feel the moral authority to seriously tackle our problems.

(6) By using our full military power we can control our borders and win wars. In the long run more lives will be saved this way and life will be better for everybody involved.

We absolutely must get over the guilt we feel from sins of the past. We must determine what is the right thing and then do it!


Saturday, July 22, 2006

Saturday morning scramble for some guys means golf.

Saturday morning scramble for some other guys means eggs.

For me—it means work!

Got up at 5:30, read the paper and around 6:00 charlotte fixed me a great breakfast patted me on the back and said, “Go get’em Tiger.” Well, she didn’t really say that, but I could tell by the look in her eyes, that’s what she was thinking.

A storm blew through last night, so I cleaned the pool. I moved pots around in the back yard and raked up leaves.

I moved to the front yard and swept up leaves, watered plants and hosed off the walk way.

Inside I vacuumed carpets upstairs and down, mopped floors, cleaned toilets and did general cleaning.

It’s now 11:00 and I think I have the rest of the day off. At least, I hope so!


Friday, July 21, 2006

Yogi Berra, the legendary former catcher for the New York Yankees is famous for his use of words. One of his famous “Yogisms” is: “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

This piece of advice is not as strange as it sounds. There is the truth that when we come to a fork in the road of life, we have to go one way or the other. We can’t just stand there forever. And we can’t wait for someone else to come along and make the choice for us.

We are constantly facing forks in the road of our lives—and the road we take at these decisive moments will help to shape our lives. It is important that we learn to recognize the true nature of the choices before us, and then make the right choice. This is the first step toward a life of integrity.

Don’t just take the easy road—take the narrow road. Jesus said that is the road that leads to life. Tough decisions? Yes, every day. But you don’t have to go it alone.

If you do what is right, it will be alright!


Thursday, July 20, 2006

I have always admired the athlete who was able to play even though he/she was hurt. I don’t think any sporting event is all that important. And it shouldn’t be necessary to play when you are hurt. But it is that important to some, and given their attitude—they must play. It takes guts! So what I admire is the do or die spirit.

Life is a lot like that. There are times when we must play hurt. We must go on. It takes guts.

Over the years I have learned that I don’t have to go it alone. Christ suffered and He will suffer right along with me. I can square my shoulders and try to go it alone or I can suffer with Christ. I have found out the hard way that it is better to suffer with Christ than to suffer alone.

Paul said, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3:10, 11)

I may have to play hurt, but I don’t have to do it alone!


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Since retiring from “full-time ministry” I have wondered why God didn’t open doors of service for me. He did, but I didn’t recognize it. I had my eyes on the pulpit and couldn’t understand why I wasn’t being “called” to preach. In over two years I have had one invitation (back at my last church, Lincoln Heights Christian) to preach on Sunday.

I have preached a few funerals and have another one this week. I have written a fourteen chapter book and I write this blog every day. However, I realize the blog probably doesn’t help anybody but me and the book won’t help anybody if I never get it published. I do a little counseling (sometimes through E-mail) when consulted.

An article from Edward Fudge has calmed my anxiety and answered my questions about future ministry. God sovereignly gives spiritual gifts and he also sovereignly provides occasions for their use according to his own plan. He has given me the gift of speaking and comforting the bereaved. He continues to provide occasions for me to minister in this way. I foolishly have had my eyes on the “professional ministry” when God has never intended for our service to be professional. The modern sense of professional ministry is rarely found in the New Testament if it is even there at all. The primary picture we see there is one of all God’s people, men and women alike, serving one another in God’s strength with the various gifts God gives to them all.

Like Jesus, wake each morning to serve God and he will show you the way.


Monday, July 17, 2006

Monday used to mean the beginning of a busy work week for me. Not anymore. Monday is just like every other day—the same.

For some strange reason I woke up this morning thinking about the future. I don’t know why. It may be because I keep hearing about the fighting going on in the Middle East and wondering what will happen next.

It’s really a good thing that we do not know the future! I could illustrate this truth a dozen ways, but I won’t. I’ll let you run the thought through your own head and come up with your own illustrations.

The Bible makes it clear that we cannot know the future and that we need to live life one day at a time. It also makes it clear that one day is enough for us to handle.

So when I say, “Have a good day” I mean it sincerely. That one day is all you have—so have a good one!


Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Scriptures remind us that it is appointed unto man once to die.

My friend, Tony Crane called yesterday to say that his mother had passed away. I will be speaking at her memorial service sometime this week.

His mother was eighty-eight and had not been well. We all realize that death is a release from many of the things that trouble us in this life. And yet, letting a loved one go is one of the most difficult things we are called upon to do. We never want them to stay and suffer and yet we find it almost unbearable to let them go. But release them we must. And in that release we find our peace.

"Let go and let God" is often heard. It is a simple statement, but it is not trite--it is true. It is the only way to live.


Saturday, July 15, 2006

I stared fear in the face and fear won!

They climbed on the bull one by one, boys, girls, men and women. Each one ended up on the floor.

Nope, I wasn’t about to mount that bull. In fact, I don’t think I could have.

The advertisement said that at l0:00 p.m. there would be a sexy girls bull riding contest.

I suggested that at 9:45 we could send the women back to town in one car and that the men could come much later in the second car.

The women said, “NO!”

I kept seeing a tall, sexy looking blond out of the corner of my eye. I’m not a gambling man and my wife would not let me place a bet, but if I was a gambling man and if my wife wasn’t around—my money would be on that blond!

Around 8:30 we piled in our cars and headed back to town. There would be no sexy, girl bull riding contest for me to see. The REAL cowboys got to stay.

The urban cowboys had to head for home.


Friday, July 14, 2006

There are a lot of jokes about relatives.

We all have a few (relatives).

And some of them are pretty funny.

Generally speaking, relatives are wonderful. They are a good thing to have.

So we are excited about the next few days. We will have a lot of fun and share a lot of memories.

I feel confident that most of you will either be going to visit relatives or they will be coming to see you before the summer is over.

When we went to California recently it was extremely hot (for Southern CA.) while we were there and cooled off immediately when we left. The next few days are going to be the hottest of the summer in the Phoenix area and then next week when the relatives leave it is suppose to cool off. GO FIGURE!


Thursday, July 13, 2006

“If you do that one more time I’m going to spank you.”

Don’t say it if you don’t mean it.

“If you help the enemy, you will be considered an enemy.”

President Bush said today that Syria should be held accountable for assisting those attacking Israel.

Ok! Then hold them accountable. Do something. Don’t just talk about it.

Either do something about it, or shut up!


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

It was like a dream. It didn’t seem real.

There they were, standing in front of me, and I didn’t recognize them. I have known five out of the six, for almost forty years. I first met them in Stockton, California, where they still live. Yesterday we “ran into” each other in Scottsdale, Arizona, where Charlotte and I now live. We were standing in line waiting to buy tickets to the movies.

“Clif!” When I heard my name it was like waking up from a dream. I was looking into the face of my dear friend, Carol Smith. She was at the Scottsdale Fashion Square with her husband, Nick, and four other friends from the Central Church of Christ in Stockton, where they all worship.

It was a joy to see them—a surprise, but a joy!

Be careful. You never know who's watching.


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Today is mine and Charlotte's forty-eighth wedding anniversary.

We have enjoyed forty-eight years of happiness.

We feel blessed indeed and we are thankful.

We do not believe that God intends for everybody to be married, but we do believe He intended for us to be married--and to each other.

Today, we rejoice with all of those who are happily married. We pray that God will give you many more years together.


Monday, July 10, 2006

Hebrews 10:16-17 says, “This is the covenant that I will make with them,…their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”

Philippians 3:13-4 says, “Forgetting what lies behind…I press toward the goal.”

The sins and the mess of the past should be forgotten in the sense that we should never bring them to mind in a way that hinders our growth and obedience as Christians.

God promises to forget the sins of his people. We should do the same! The only reason to ever remember them would be if they can cause a deeper dependence on grace and a deeper love for Christ. But most of the time past sins can only drag us down.



Sunday, July 09, 2006

“Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:34.

We need to learn to trust Christ for tomorrow. Often we feel like our strength is not going to last for another day. And the truth it—it’s not. Today’s resources are for today. We must believe that new resources will be given for tomorrow.

Deuteronomy 33:25 says, “As your days, so shall your strength be.”

The old Swedish hymn says:
Day by day, and with each passing moment,
Strength I find to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment,
I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.


Saturday, July 08, 2006

If you read my blog on a regular basis, you know I love books. Today, I stole the following quotes from Victoria Gaines' great blog.

Quote Attic: On Books
A house without books is like a room without windows. No man has a right to bring up children without surrounding them with books…. Children learn to read being in the presence of books. ~ Horace Mann (1796-1859)
To read a book for the first time is to make an acquaintance with a new friend; to read it for a second time is to meet an old one. ~ anonymous, Chinese saying
It does not matter how many books you may have, but whether they are good or not. ~ Epistolae Morale, Lucius Annaeus Seneca (3 B.C.-65 A.D.)
A little library growing each year is an honorable part of a man’s history. ~ Henry Ward Beecher
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.~ Francis Bacon (1561-1626)
A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library ~ Shelby Foote
No possession can surpass, or even equal a good library, to the lover of books. Here are treasured up for his daily use and delectation, riches which increase by being consumed, and pleasures that never cloy.~ John Alfred Lanford (1823-1903)
The first thing naturally when one enters a scholar’s study or library, is to look at his books. One gets the notion very speedily of his tastes and the range of his pursuits by a glance round his book shelves. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894)
You must live feverishly in a library. Colleges are not going to do any good unless you are raised and live in a library everyday of your life. ~ Ray Douglas Bradbury


We were strolling up and down the aisles at Albertson’s when all of a sudden a big rubber ball shot up into the air, almost hitting the ceiling and then crashing down on the grocery shelves. It happened three or four times in a row, so I went to check it out. A boy had taken the ball from the shelf and was kicking it as hard as he could. I watched him do it again and then I asked in a loud voice, “What the devil are you doing?” He had a blank, shocked, look on his face that seemed to ask, “Who are you, old man?” I said, “Put the ball back on the shelf and leave it alone unless you want to buy it. And don’t dare kick it again.” He put the ball back and stomped off.

Yesterday two kids were propping the front doors open to a large store. They were swinging on the open doors and annoying everybody coming in and going out. I told the girl to close the doors because she was trying to cool all of Phoenix. She closed them, but when I walked away she opened them up again. I walked back over and said, “I thought I told you to close those doors” She said, “I don’t want to.” I said, “I don’t care what you want. Close those doors right now.” She closed them and then went and cowered behind her mother.

My next blog may be from prison or a hospital bed. I really don’t care! I’m close to the off ramp of life and I am sick and tired of the “don’t rock the boat attitude.”

“Just leave the terrorist alone and they will leave you alone.” “Play nice and everything will be alright.” Bull!

It was a fantastic day in Carmel, California. It was the middle of the afternoon and we had stopped in a coffee shop for coffee and a brownie. It was peaceful and quiet and we were having a great time. A young lady came in with two young boys. She asked them what they wanted to eat and drink and they politely answered and then sat down. They saw a man walking his dog and they went out and talked with him. They came back in and washed their hands before eating. They didn’t splash water all over the counter, jump up and down on the chairs and tables or try to harass their mother and others. They didn’t look like nerds and they didn’t act like sissies—they acted like they had good sense.

Three cheers for this young mother and her good boys. They give me hope!


Friday, July 07, 2006

Over the years I have read, listened to and preached many messages on worship.

Today, I listened to a great message on this subject by N.T. Wright. I have been reading and studying his books for years. I was pleased to listen to this excellent message on worship and I want to suggest you listen to it also. It is fairly long so don't start listening until you have the time to devote to it.

Maybe I should warn you this is not an easy or "light" message to listen to--but it's worth it.

Click on:


Thursday, July 06, 2006

“Oh, what a beautiful morning, Oh, what a beautiful day…” There are a lot of beautiful mornings and they are not all just in Oklahoma.

I cooked breakfast on the grill this morning and we ate it on the patio by the pool. The sky was absolutely beautiful and the weather was fantastic.

Almost everybody who mentions Arizona in the summer—emphasizes the negative. They say, “Man, it’s really hot there.” And what they mean is, “How can you stand it?”

You would think that Arizona is the only place that it gets hot in the summer. Face it folks, in the summer it gets hot all across the country. The one big difference is that it stays hot in Arizona all night but there are other places that have to endure the evening heat also.

The mornings in Arizona are beautiful—all year round. Nine months of the year, Arizona is beautiful, day and night. Why not emphasize that?

Now that we are retired we can live just about any place we want to. We choose Arizona!

The heat feels good on my old, weary, bones.

Come visit us anytime you can. You will probably like the fall best, but who knows, maybe your old, bones might like the summer heat too. Try it—you might like it!


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The sun is nowhere to be seen today in the Valley of the Sun.

This is a rare day for those of us living in Phoenix.

It is cloudy, cooler than usual for July, misting rain off and on—it’s nice.

I’m going outside to plant some flowers.

After I plant the flowers, I’m going to come back in the house and curl up with a good book.

After I read for awhile, I may take a nap.

Oh, what a rough life I have.


Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The American flag is blowing in front of our house.

A wooden craft Charlotte made of the stars and stripes with the words: "United We Stand," is in front of our gate with two small flags on each side of it.

Three small flags are in the back yard. One is on the patio and two are around the pool with two red, white and blue “things” that spin when the wind blows.

We will be jumping in and out of the pool, eating hamburgers, hot dogs, and watermelon.








Monday, July 03, 2006

Residence Inn by Marriott in Stockton, California is a great place to stay--really great. It is located in the lovely, Brookside area where you feel safe and secure, surrounded by beautiful trees and flowers.

The rates, with a discount through AAA, were excellent. The room was just five dollars more than the below average Best Western in Bakersfield.

I could go on and on about the suite we had and all it had to offer--but I won't. You have stayed in nice motels before and you aren't eager to hear anymore about this one. BUT I MUST--I JUST MUST, TELL YOU ABOUT THE BREAKFAST. On second thought--you don't want to hear about that either. Just let me say, "They had everything you could possibly want for breakfast--and then some!" The rooms where it was served were so inviting, I wanted to stay long past my last plate of eggs and hash browns. I was eager to get on over to beautiful Carmel but it would have been a joy to have stayed another day.

A lady visiting our church in Stockton, once described the city as the "armpit of the United States". You may feel the same way and never have reason to go there, but if you do, I suggest you stay at the Residence Inn by Marriott.



Sunday, July 02, 2006

Bakersfield, California is probably a wonderful place. I’m sure the people who live there love it. For many, many years I have driven by Bakersfield on the way to some other place. I never gave it much thought. Recently, I spent a week there one night.

It’s hard to believe that I would describe anyplace as “hot” after living in Phoenix. People make jokes about people from Arizona saying, “It’s a dry heat.” But I don’t care what anybody says, “It is a dry heat!” and it makes a difference. When we got out of the car in Bakersfield, I said, “This place is hotter than hell.” Now, of course, I don’t really know but I decided then and there to start cleaning up my act.

Most of the time all you need is a room number and you can find your motel room. That’s not true at Best Western Hill House. They gave us a map and oral instructions and we still couldn’t find it and it wasn’t just us. Other people were wandering around looking and we helped each other. We had to leave the first property, go back out into the traffic and drive down the street and come in another drive. It was like staying in barracks at an army camp or dorms on a college campus. We thought “Ok, just let us out of this heat and into a cool room for the night and it will be alright.” Nope! Not so at Best Western Hill House. They knew we were coming but the AC was not on. However, the room did cool off before morning and time to leave.

Breakfast was crowded into the dark corner of a room. The rolls had just been taken out of the freezer and were cold. There was only one half of a raisin bagel and Charlotte grabbed it. All the other bagels were plain. I hate plain! An oversized woman was crowded into the corner trying to make coffee. She mentioned she was in the way and I wanted to agree with her, but didn’t. The coffee was good—it was hot.

I will try not to slow down if I ever go through Bakersfield again. I will probably get a speeding ticket!

Lest, you think I am just an old, tired preacher who preaches hell fire and brimstone even without a pulpit—check back tomorrow. The Residence Inn in Stockton was wonderful!


Saturday, July 01, 2006

Released from captivity? Well, not really. But we have been away for a week.

We made a trip to Stockton, California to help our friends, Paul and Bobbie Covey, celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary. Their daughters planned and pulled off a wonderful party for them. It was a special occasion and we were thrilled to be a part of it. But we hated to miss the 60th Wedding Anniversary of our dear friends, Ted and Delma Wilson. Their party was here in Phoenix on the same date as the Coveys' celebration. We also missed the big Ditmore reunion in San Antonio, Texas on the same date.

Since we were in California we decided to make a trip over to Carmel where we went on our honeymoon forty-eight years ago. We had a great time there. We enjoyed the cool, cool, weather. We especially enjoyed it after the 103 degree temperatures we experienced after crossing over into California and up through the San Joaquin Valley to Stockton.

From Carmel we drove to the lovely little town of Solvang and spent one night. We have been there many times but we enjoyed it almost as much as the first time we were there. We made a brief stop in the beautiful city of Santa Barbara and then drove on to Norwalk, which is in the L.A. area to visit with relatives.

We had a wonderful trip and it was good to get away but it is always good to come home.