Sunday, August 31, 2008

We reach for God in many ways. Through our sculptures and our scriptures. Through our pictures and our prayers. Through our writing and our worship. And through them He reaches for us.

His search begins with something said. Ours begins with something heard. His begins with something shown. Ours, with something seen. Our search for God and His search for us meet at windows in our everyday experience.

These are the windows of the soul.

...we must always be looking and listening if we are to see the windows and hear what is being spoken to us through them.

We must be aware, at all times and in all places, because windows are everywhere, and at any time we may find one.

Or one may find us.

(From WINDOWS OF THE SOUL Experiencing God in New Ways by Ken Gire)


Saturday, August 30, 2008

The problem is not entirely in finding the room of one's own, the time alone, difficult and necessary as that is. The problem is more how to still the soul in the midst of its activities.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Gift from the Sea


Friday, August 29, 2008

It loooks like John McCain may not be the simpleton I though he might be.

He has selected a woman--a conservative, good looking woman as his running mate for Vice President.

Way to go John!


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary says: Nincompoop A fool; simpleton.

I have decided that all politicians are nincompoops!

It's just my opinion mind you, but I feel no need to provide proof.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

So many people I know just do not vote.

I don’t know why they don’t and I doubt that they know.

There are a lot of things I don’t like about John McCain but he will get my vote.

If you do not vote you “cast a vote” for Obama.

Don’t do it!

Extreme liberalism is what must be defeated!

Vote for McCain—even if you don’t agree with him on everything. He can’t win without you.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

It was a Sunday morning in 1989 in Phoenix, Arizona.

I was standing at the front of the sanctuary at the Lincoln Heights Christian Church in Phoenix, Arizona waiting to preach and tears were streaming down my face—not just a few tears, but streams.

For one of the few times in my life I was worshipping God when instruments of music were being used. I had always felt guilty when doing so. Not that day.

My chains were gone and I had been set free. I love the songs of the church. I love to sing without the use of instruments. I now also love to sing with the use of instruments.

I love to praise God!

Amazing grace—my chains are gone. I have been set free! Praise His blessed Name!

(Listen to the first song on my playlist, Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Broken) by ChrisTomlin. It will help you praise Him!)


Monday, August 25, 2008

Most people I know spend a lot of time being agitated, uptight and stressed out!

Life just seems to be coming at us too fast.

When I was a kid we moved at a much slower pace.

Let’s face it folks. There is a lot of craziness in this old word today.

We read and study books on how to escape from the “rat race” but nothing seems to work.

Maybe we should try this: “I give you my own peace and my gift is nothing like the peace of the world. You must not be distressed and you must not be daunted.” John 14:27 (Phillips)


Sunday, August 24, 2008

If you like a good story as much as I do--you will love this one:

His name was John Blanchard. He was waiting at Grand Central Station for a girl whose heart he knew, but whose face he didn't, the girl with the rose. His interest in her had begun thirteen months before in a Florida library. Taking a book off the shelf he found himself intrigued, not with the words of the book, but with the notes penciled in the margin. The soft handwriting reflected a thoughtful soul and insightful mind. In the front of the book he discoverd the previous owner's name, Miss Hollis Maynell.

He found out she lived in New York City. He began a correspondence with her and then he was shipped overseas for service in World War II. During the next year and a month the two grew to know each other through the mail. Each letter was a seed falling on a fertile heart. A romance was budding. He requested a photograph,but she refused. She felt that if he really cared, it wouldn't matter what she looked like.

When he returned from Europe they had a meeting scheduled at Grand Central Station. He was to recognize her by the red rose she would be wearing on her lapel.

I'll let Mr. Blanchard tell you what happened: "A young woman was coming toward me, her figure long and slim. Her blonde hair lay back in curls from her delicate ears; her eyes were blue as flowers. He lips and chin had a gentle firmness, and in her pale green suit she was like springtime come alive. I started toward her, entirley forgetting to notice she was not wearing a rose. As I moved, a small, provocative smile curved her lips. "Going my way, sailor?" She murmured. Almost uncontrollably I made one step closer to her, and then I saw Hollis Maynell. She was standing almost directly behind the girl. A woman well past 40, she had graying hair tucked under a worn hat. She was more than plump, her thick-ankled feet thrust into low-heeled shoes. The girl in the green suit was walking quickly away. I felt as though I was split in two, so keen was my desire to follow her, and yet so deep was my longing for the woman whose spirit had truly companioned me and upheld my own.

Blanchard looked at the pale, plump face and her gray eyes had a warm and kindly twinkle. He did not hesitate. This would not be love, but it would be something precious, something perhaps even better than love. As he spoke to her he felt the bitterness of disappointment. He introduced himself and asked if he could take her to dinner.

The woman's face broadened into a tolerant smile. She told him she didn't understand but that the woman in the green suit who just went by begged her to wear a rose in her lapel. And she said if he were to ask her out to dinner, that she should tell him that she was waiting for him in the big resturant across the street. She said it was some kind of test.

The true nature of a heart is seen in its response to the unattractive.

(Taken and adapted from the book, And The Angels Were Silent by Max Lucado)


Saturday, August 23, 2008

The last time relatives visited they left with one of our cars.

Needless to say, now every time they come and go I check to see what is left.

I never thought to look in the refrigerator. I always expect it to be empty following their visit.

Was I ever surprised--when what to my wondering eyes did appear—one big, fat brat!

I threw that thing on the grill, turned it every five minutes and cooked it to perfection.

Sure it was a little warm outside-- but hey, I couldn’t wait until October to cook the thing.

I stayed outside so I wouldn’t be bothered by my wife eating her yogurt and telling me how delicious and healthy it is.

When it was finally done I took that beauty into the air-conditioned house, put it gently into a warm, toasted bun, added a little mustard, a little onion—and devoured it!

Did I tell you I cooked it to perfection?


Friday, August 22, 2008

As a kid I was interested in everything—and I mean everything!

And then one day the wonder went away. I don’t know why or exactly when but one day is was gone.

But then, just as suddenly as it left, it returned.

Today I am fascinated by everything—and I mean everything!

It is no longer just a rotating merry-go-round or a jet plane streaking across the sky—but television, computers, cell phones, the Grand Canyon, sunrises, sunsets, and the list goes on endlessly.

Our sense of wonder is a blessing from God. Wake up. Look around. You will be amazed!


Thursday, August 21, 2008

A billion (Give or take a few billion) other men and I have never especially liked to watch people playing volleyball—just hitting a ball back and forth over a net.

But for some reason me and men all around the world have taken an interest in women’s volleyball.

I’m stumped.

Why this new interest?


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Time and time again, I have discovered that my first choice—the thing I really wanted, wasn’t best for me.

When the Holy Spirit prevented Paul from speaking God’s message in Asia, Paul had a vision of a man saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” Because Paul went to Macedonia (his second choice) God brought the message of the gospel to the whole world.

Take time to look at and evaluate your other choices. Maybe your number one choice isn’t really the best for you and everybody concerned.

Ask the Lord to help you examine even the small decisions of your life to make sure you are following His lead.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I wrote a few days ago that company was coming. I said that we would be happy to see them come and that we would be sad when they left.

They came. We were happy. They left. We are sad and lonely.

Am I a Prophet or what?

What about the “without honor” part? Where would the honor come from? The only one left behind to maybe give me any honor is my wife of fifty years and the ones leaving were relatives for goodness sake, how much honor can I expect from these people? I harassed them all the time they were here.

I’ll settle for the title: Prophet without Honor!


Sunday, August 17, 2008

If you read my blog you know I am a fan of Max Lucado. Today I want to share something with you from his splendid book, A Gentle Thunder:

…may I share with you a favorite verse of mine? ...I like it so much I wrote it on the first page of my Bible.
“Because he delights in me, he saved me” (Ps.18:19).
And you thought he saved you because of your good works or good attitude or good looks. Sorry. If that were the case, your salvation would be lost when your voice went south or your works got weak. There are many reasons God saves you: to bring glory to himself, to appease his justice, to demonstrate his sovereignty. But one of the sweetest reasons God saved you is because he is fond of you. He likes having your around. He thinks you are the best thing to come down the pike in quite awhile. “As a man rejoices over his new wife, so your God will rejoice over you” (Isa.62:5).If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it. If he has a wallet, your photo would be in it. He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning. Whenever you want to talk, he’ll listen. He can live anywhere in the universe, and he chose your heart. And the Christmas gift he sent you in Bethlehem? Face it, friend. He’s crazy about you.


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Got weaknesses? Sure you have--maybe lots of them!

Can anything be done about them?

Identify a few of them and thank God for them. They allow God to show his power in your life.

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 11 Corinthians 12:9


Friday, August 15, 2008

Rain blew in last night. Man, were we glad to see it here in the desert.

Relatives will “blow” in today. Man, will we be glad to see them. They live across the border (California). Hopefully they will enter our grand state legally.

For many years we lived close to these relatives and we spent a lot of time together. But for the last nineteen years we have lived in Arizona and it has been hard to be together.

I love for company to come but I am terrible at saying, “Good-bye.” I will miss them for days after they are gone.

A dear friend of ours told us that when he and his wife visited his mother and then got ready to leave, she always walked them to the car and said, “Love to see you come, hate to see you go.”

As we get older, it becomes increasingly difficult to say, “Good-bye.”

Spend as much time with your loved ones as you can—while you can!


Thursday, August 14, 2008

One stressed-out secretary told her boss: "When this rush is over, I'm going to have a nervous breakdown. I earned it, I deserve it, and nobody's going to take it from me."
--Billy Graham, The Secret of Happiness

It doesn't matter how great the pressure is. What really matters is where the pressure lies, whether it comes between me and God or whether it presses me nearer His heart.
--Howard Taylor, Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret

(Taken from Charles Swindoll's book, The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

“Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong…Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this…Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him. Psalm 37:1,3-5, 7a



Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I was just loading my groceries into the trunk of the car when an elderly couple pulled into the parking space next to mine. It was up close to the building and a good place to park. However, as I closed the trunk lid and started to get in the car, the old man backed out. He then turned up the lane toward another parking place.

I got in my car and before I backed out I looked in the rearview mirror and I was shocked to see the old man backing up at a high speed right toward the back of my car. I went into shock, my heart skipped a few beats and my eyes rolled back in my head. Fortunately I didn’t pass out and I put all my weight on my horn!

He slammed on his brakes and stopped just inches from my car!

He pulled back out, straightened up his car and slowly backed into the parking space he was in to begin with.

He looked over at me, shrugged his shoulders, rolled his eyes and mouthed, “I’m sorry.”

“Sorry?” “Sorry?” “You think you’re sorry what about my poor wife, trying to clean up my pants?"


Monday, August 11, 2008

“So, humble yourselves under God’s strong hand, and in his own good time he will lift you up. You can throw the whole weight of your anxieties upon him for you are his personal concern.” 1 Peter 5:6 (Phillips)


Sunday, August 10, 2008

“If you are asking if I speak to God, the answer is yes. I talk to God everyday.”

That’s good, but what I really want to know-- is when was the last time you heard from God?

Being close to God means communicating with him—telling him what is on our hearts in prayer and hearing and understanding what he is saying to us.

The reason some of us do not hear God’s voice clearly and develop an intimate relationship with him is because we do not expect to!

Over the years I have joined with many dear friends and loved ones to sing the old hymn, In The Garden—“…He walks with me, and He talks with me, And He tells me I am His own; And the joy we share as we tarry there None other has ever known.”

Why sing those words if you do not believe them? I know many who do sing them but don’t believe them. What a shame!


Saturday, August 09, 2008

WORRY! What a waste of time and energy.

Corrie Ten Boom was right when she said, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of sorrows; it empties today of strength.”


Friday, August 08, 2008

The American dream is to have it all!

My wife and I spent about an hour yesterday in the offices of Merrill Lynch, where we have what little-- what very, very, very, little money we have invested.

The man, who has been our broker for the past eight years, walked out the front door of the spacious, beautiful office building of Merrill Lynch last Friday and crossed the parking lot to become an investment advisor at Smith-Barney.

We just went in to see if he took our money with him (Just kidding). No, he wants us to move with him and so we went in to look into the situation.

This has caused me to look back and realize that almost every problem I have ever had centered around money (and material things, “stuff”). Not every problem mind you, but most of them!

As I get older I’m asking God to help me—if not to release my grip, at least to relax my grip on MONEY!

“Clif, I thought you said you only have a little money.” “I did, but I’m squeezing the daylights out the few pennies I do have.”


Thursday, August 07, 2008

I like these thoughts on friendship:

One of my goals in life is to wind up with eight men who are willing to carry one of my handles. Jay Kesler, Being Holy, Being Human

Soon after Jack Benny died, George Burns was interviewed on TV. “Jack and I had a wonderful friendship for nearly 55 years,” Burns said. “Jack never walked out on me when I sang a song, and I never walked out on him when he played the violin. We laughed together, we played together, we worked together, we ate together. I suppose that for many of those years we talked every single day.” Alan Loy McGinnis, The Friendship Factor

(From The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart by Charles Swindoll)


Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I think most people are like me and need a lot of encouragement.

Proverbs 15:23 says, “A man has joy in an apt answer, and how delightful is a timely word.”

There have been days when I was just dragging around and feeling down. And then, out of the blue, I would hear from a friend.

It seemed like the sun came out (well the sun is always out in Arizona) the sky turned blue and I felt a smile steal across my face.

We all need encouragement!


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Well I didn’t really spend a day there, it just seemed like it.

I didn’t have any business there—my wife did.

The line wasn’t really two miles long—it only seemed like it.

The signs on the two doors said, “Enter” and “Do Not Enter.” About every other person entering or leaving went through the wrong door.

I was sitting on a bench minding my own business. People kept coming up to me wanting information. “Can I buy a mop here?” “A mop?” “Yea, a Phoenix mop?” “Oh you want to buy a Phoenix Map.” “I don’t think they sell them here.” “What about a gos station?”
“A gas station?” “Yea, I think they may sell them there.” And then a young man asked me if he could buy a regular envelope. He had received a speeding ticket and wanted to respond by mail. He didn’t want a big envelope and he didn’t want to buy a whole package of envelopes. I sent him to a Drug Store but told him he probably would have to buy the whole package. I told him I would give him an envelope but I didn’t have one.

In another part of the Post Office I watched a man labor at getting stamps out of a machine. He pushed every button on the machine and then stood with his hands folded waiting. Nothing happened! Finally, several minutes later he turned to the long line waiting behind him, smiled and left.

Just as I was leaving a couple burst through the door and the lady said to the man with her, “Let’s ask him he may know.” I didn’t! They had turned in a forwarding address when they moved out of the man’s parent’s home and now they are getting all the mail from that address, including his parents.

Moral of the story: When you retire stay busy. Do whatever you have to do, just stay away from the Post Office.


Monday, August 04, 2008

When you read the following prayer you are going to think, “Clif, this is a prayer you should have prayed years ago.” True. But you know the old saying, “Better late than never.”

Lord, Thou knowest better than I know myself, that I am growing older, and will someday be old. Keep me from getting talkative, and particularly from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion. Release me from the craving to try and straighten out everybody’s affairs. Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details—give me wings to get to the point. I ask for grace enough to listen to the tales of others’ pains. Help me endure them with patience. But seal my lips on my own aches and pains. They are increasing, and my love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by. I dare not ask for improved memory, but for a growing humility and a lessening cocksureness when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken. Keep me reasonably sweet. I do not want to be a saint—some of them are so hard to live with—but a sour old woman (or man) is one of the crowning works of the devil. Make me thoughtful, but not moody; helpful, but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it; but Thou knowest, Lord, I want a few friends at the end. Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places, and talents in unexpected people. And give me, Lord, the grace to tell them so.

--From The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart by Charles Swindoll


Sunday, August 03, 2008

We all have heard, “He’s not heavy, he’s my brother.” Well, there’s a big difference between carrying your brother and carrying your burdens.

I am used to having people look at me and think, “Oh Clif’s a preacher. He’s got it all together. I wish my life was like his.” Let me tell you—sometimes the burdens are too heavy for one person to carry. There are times when we all need a helping hand. All too often I find myself saying to my son, “Al can you come over and help me lift this thing?”

The same thing applies to the burdens of life. We need somebody that is able to help when the burden is too heavy.

“Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.” Psalm 68:19


Saturday, August 02, 2008

These words were written by Max Lucado in his splendid book, The Applause of Heaven.

I’ll be home soon. My plane is nearing San Antonio. I can feel the nose of the jet dipping downward. I can see the flight attendants getting ready. Denalyn is somewhere in the parking lot, parking the car and hustling the girls toward the terminal. I’ll be home soon. The plane will land. I’ll walk down that ramp and hear my name and see their faces. I’ll be home soon. You’ll be home soon, too. You may not have noticed it, but you are closer to home than ever before. Each moment is a step taken. Each breath is a page turned. Each day is a mile marked, a mountain climbed. You are closer to home than you’ve ever been. Before you know it, your appointed arrival time will come; you’ll descend the ramp and enter the City. You’ll see faces that are waiting for you. You’ll hear your name spoken by those who love you. And, maybe, just maybe—in the back, behind the crowds—the One who would rather die than live without you will remove his pierced hands from his heavenly robe and …applaud.


Charlie Brown said he doesn’t want downs he just wants ups and ups!

Well Charlie, I’m sorry to tell you that life is just not like that. There are some hurts and trials in this life that we can not change. But we can allow them to change us.

Some problems that seem unsolvable to us offer the opportunity to learn from God in a new way. We can recall lessons he has taught us in the past and apply them to this new problem.

Our hope is in him and sometimes we have to come face to face with hurts and trials that we can’t solve before we drop to our knees and let him show us the way to move on.


Friday, August 01, 2008

Live in the here and now.

This is one thing I have struggled with all my life.

Even as a teenager I wrestled with this. I worried about the future and couldn’t forget past mistakes.

Slowly but surely I am beginning to learn that regardless of who we are, life will not allow us more than one minute at a time.

If we are going to be happy we had better learn to accept who we are and where we are.

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Psalm 23