Saturday, February 27, 2010

John Piper calls it future grace and writes about it in his book, Future Grace.

He  talks about the purifying power of living by faith in future grace and describes it this way:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
do not depend on your own understanding. 
Seek his will in all you do, and he will 
direct your paths.  Proverbs 3:5-6

The call to live by faith is in the words, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart."

The reference to future grace is in the words, "He will direct your paths."

This is also seen in two lines of the song, "Amazing Grace."

The first line: "Tis grace has brought me safe thus far."

The second line: "And grace will lead me home."

Looking to the past we see how He has led us by his grace. This gives us faith in the future to know that His grace will lead us on.


Friday, February 26, 2010

This is not a book review. I just want to tell you about a free book I received from Harper Studios a division of Harper Collins. It's an advance reader's copy and not to be used for review.

I'm excited about Critical Care --A New Nurse Faces Death, Life, and Everything in Between by Theresa Brown.

Author, Pauline Chen wrote, "A beautifully written account of a nurse's first year on the wards, a medical memoir that combines lyricism and compassion with searing honesty and well timed, laugh out-loud wit...I loved this book."  Me too! I'm only half way through but I'm speeding right along because it's so interesting.

I jumped ahead in my reading to chapter eight, Doctors Don't Do Poop. Wow! This chapter is filled with words I rarely use and don't even like to think about. This is one "nasty" chapter. But it's real--very Real!

This is one of the most enlightening books I have read in a long time. It's a must read for anyone who wants to understand health care. This book will educate you and touch your heart.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Do you ever just want to get away--be someplace else?

You don't know where. You don't know why.

You just want to be in another place.

We have heard it said, "Wherever you go, you take yourself with you!"

So if you are frustrated, annoyed, angry, wishing things were different.

You can move from place to place but these feelings will follow you.

IF you can get rid of those negative feelings then you can stay or go and you will have an inner peace.

It's true that "Wherever you go, there you are."


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL - It's an absolutely beautiful day in sunny Arizona. At least it is here in the Scottsdale area.

EARS LOWERED - I got a haircut yesterday. Some would say I got my ears lowered. I have always disliked that silly statement. It may have something to do with the fact that I don't like to get haircuts. I don't mind the actual hair cutting---I just don't like to go have it done. I tried cutting my own hair once or twice. Mistake!

BOOK REVIEWS - Yes, I'm still reading. I'm just not reviewing as many books as in the past.  Charlotte reviewed a good book on one of her blogs today. Here's the link to her review: http://char72.wordpress.com/2010/02/23/you-can-still-wear-cute-shoes/

BLOGS - I have one blog. Charlotte has five. For many months I tried to get her to start a blog or to write something for mine. She wouldn't do either. Our children are concerned about her. They're thinking about trying to get her into rehab. I'm not concerned at all. Charlotte is a five blog woman! She does a splendid job with all of her blogs, never misses church, fulfills all obligations and has plenty of time for me.

CHILI AND CORNBREAD - Today is sunny and bright following yesterday's rain. Today we will be out and about. Yesterday we stayed inside and smiled as we ate the delicious chili and cornbread Charlotte made.

FACEBOOK - I am liking Facebook a little more as time goes by. I will never be obsessed with it as some seem to be. But I am pleased to be re-connecting with friends from the past--from high school and college days.

CONCERNED - I am concerned that our President is leading us into socialism. I don't think he is, I know he is! Many refuse to even consider the thought. All you have to do is look at his history, his background and associations and then look at everything he has done or proposed as President and it becomes crystal clear.

GOD IS GOOD - "For surely,O Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield." Psalm 5:12


Saturday, February 20, 2010

(My post today are the words of John Ortberg written in his excellent book, Faith & Doubt. John's emphasis is on the third day because after Jesus was crucified and buried, he rose on the third day.)

The third day is God's day. The third day is the day when prisoners of Pharaoh get set free. The third day is the day when the people come to the mountains and mountains shake and rivers are parted and people go into the Promised Land. The third day is the day when harem girls like Esther face down powerful kings. The third day is the day when prophets like Jonah are dropped off at seaside ports by giant fish. The third day is the day when idols like Dagon come tumbling down and God starts coming home to his people. The third day is the day stones are rolled away.

The third day is the day a crucified carpenter came back to life.

You never know what God is going to do, because God is "God of the third day."

From that third day on, the world has never been the same. Jesus' followers, who used to observe the Sabbath, began instead to observe on Sunday--on the third day--what they began to call, in the New Testament, the "Lord's Day." The third day is the Lord's Day, because, they said, "we're third-day people now. We're betting the farm on this one."

You never know what might happen on the third day. I cling to that. I put all my hope in a third-day God.

But I live in a second-day world.


Friday, February 19, 2010

The ancient art of Tai Chi uses gentle flowing movements to reduce the stress of today's busy lifestyles and improve health.

I have enjoyed and profited from my first five weeks of Tai Chi. There is a new phase that begins every ten weeks. It will dismiss in the summer and then continue in the fall. In January I can begin all over again. I will continue as long as I am enjoying and profiting from it.

I have been asked by blogging friends to let them know how I feel about Tai Chi. I like it very much and recommend it especially for people my age.

After five weeks I do not know enough to tell you all the benefits of Tai Chi but the Mayo Clinic does. They write that it is good for:

*Reducing anxiety and depression.

*Improving sleep quality.

*Lowering blood pressure.

*Improving cardiovascular fitness in older adults.

*Relieving chronic pain.

*Increasing energy, endurance and agility.

*Improving overall feelings of well being.

I report. You decide.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

DESPERATE HOPE --When Faith in God Overcame My Despair
By Candi Pearson-Shelton

FROM THE BACK OF THE BOOK: A fiercely honest yet faithful meditation on one family's journey through sorrow. As her younger brother battled for life in the ICU, Candi Pearson-Shelton and her family sat waiting and praying clinging to hope. Rick Pearson died anyway, at age twenty-three. But in those tense ICU days and the painful months that followed, the family discovered a kind of mission: to see God's glory shining through the sorrow of their own broken desires.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Candi Pearson-Shelton is a worship leader, songwriter, and independent artist. Known for her involvement with the Passion worship movement, she also wrote and performed the title track on the Dove-award-winning album Glory Revealed. She and her husband, Jonathan, live in Southern California with their son, Elias.

MY REVIEW: Andy Stanley, pastor of North Point Community Church said, "I personally saw this family triumph despite death's realities and believe anyone who reads this story will find fresh inspiration to stay close to God--even when it's tempting to turn away." I agree with him that anyone who reads this story will find fresh inspiration to stay close to God--even when it's tempting to turn away. That's reason enough for reading this book. I strongly agree with Louie Giglio's words from the Foreword: "It's staggering to grasp, but God's awareness of our lives, and His concern for everything we do, would absolutely blow our minds if we could really comprehend the sum of His thoughts toward us every day."

This book is a Christ-centered testimony that will touch your heart and help you to know how to live in a world of grief, doubt and despair. It will lift you up, turn your eyes upon Christ and give you hope. But hope alone is not enough. Candi writes that "Hope, with faith in our faithful God, can support the questions we have about living with our wounds.

(The book was given to me by The B&B Media Group. Inc.)


The little girl ran up and down the streets of the big town where they lived, but she couldn't find a single landmark. She was very frightened. Finally a policeman stopped to help her. He put her in the passenger seat of his car, and they drove around until she finally saw her church. She pointed it out to the policeman, and then she told him firmly, "You could let me out now. This is my church, and I can always find my way home from here." (This story is from Ann Lamott's book, Traveling Mercies)

Every church should be the kind of place that we can find our way home from but it is not always that way. And when it isn't it breaks my heart.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"You have granted me life and favor, and Your care has preserved my spirit." Job 10:12 NKJV

When you live favor-minded, you'll begin to see God's goodness in the everyday, ordinary details at the grocery store, at the ball field, at the mall, at work, or at home. You may be out to lunch when you "just happen" to bump into somebody you've been wanting to meet. Perhaps that person is somebody you admire or hope to learn from, or possibly he or she is someone with whom you have been hoping to do business, but you couldn't get to them. That is not a coincidence. That's the favor of God causing you to be at the right place at the right time.

When those kinds of things happen, be grateful. Be sure to thank God for His favor, and for His special assistance in you life. Don't take God's favor for granted.

(From Joel Osteen's devotional book, Your Best Life Begins Each Morning)


Saturday, February 13, 2010

"Love is patient and kind." l Corinthians 13:4

This very attractive woman said, "From the day I started to school, clear up through college, everyone made fun of my legs. As you can see, they look like tree stumps." Then she stood up, and they did.

"You know how children are, she said when she sat down to continue her story. They can be cruel. Sometimes when I was little I would cry myself to sleep. As I grew older, I laughed with them to cover up. In high school I dated some but never more than a couple of times with any one boy and you can guess why. "

"When I was a freshman in college I met Mark. He never made one single reference to my legs. But I did. Then one night he took my hands in his and said,'Frances, I want you to quit knocking yourself. I love you the way you are. The Lord gave you good, sturdy legs. They give me a solid feeling and I like it.' You know what I did," she said, "I cried.

"Then one week," she continued, "he took me home, and when I met his mother I wanted to cry again. She was cripple, She wore a shoe that was built up and she walked with a limp. So I looked at him and he looked at me and I think I loved him right then like nobody ever loved a man before

"Do you know," she concluded, "that was thirteen years ago and now I can honestly laugh about my legs. Can you see why I say he's wonderful? There isn't one thing in the world I wouldn't do for Mark!"

(The above was adapted from Charlie Shedd's wonderful little book, Letters to Philip on how to treat a woman.)


Friday, February 12, 2010

Yes, sometimes it is. There are some things that continued in, do more harm than good.

Generally speaking we should never quite. Certainly we should not quit just because we find the going too tough, too boring or because somebody tells us we should.

During my years of ministry (1957-2004) preachers moved on the average of every two years. It seemed to me, that some friend of mine was always quitting full-time ministry. Sometimes--many times, they were fired. Which means the congregation quit on them.

I didn't quit! I was fifteen years at my last church and twenty the one before that. About most things I agree with Winston Churchill: "Never, never, never give up."

However, over the years there were many "church" projects that I gave up on and quit. It would have been silly to have continued with failing programs and cherished projects that were not working. The church is slow to recognize when it's time to stop pouring time, money and energy into projects than cannot succeed.

Our government and society in general is the same way. Think of all the government run programs that need to be scrapped. For one thing, we should have term limits for congress and all their perks and huge retirement benefits should be taken away today. Stop it! Quit, in other words.

I never thought I would say this but I will, "Some marriages need to stop." I can hear all the screams now!

And Sarah Palin is probably the only one who can honestly know if she should have quit being governor of Alaska. If you say, "She should have finished the term she was elected to." I ask, "Why?"

Don't just bumble along through life following all the rules and regulations that we have made and placed upon ourselves unless it is the best thing to do.

Never, never, never give up--unless you and everybody concerned will be better off.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Charlotte is and always will be my favorite woman--no doubt about it!

But I like Sarah Palin and Charlotte knows it. In fact, I may have even picked up the idea from Charlotte. She likes Sarah too. She likes her a lot!

I like what Sarah said Saturday in her interview with Fox News' Chris Wallace. She said, "First and foremost, I want to be a good mom and I want to raise happy, healthy, independent children. And I want them to be good citizens of this great country. And then I do want to be a voice for some common-sense solutions. I'm never going to pretend like I know more than the next person. I'm not going to pretend to be an elitist. In fact, I'm going to fight the elitist, because for too often and for too long now, I think the elitists have tried to make people like me and people in the heartland of America feel like we just don't get it, and big government's just going to have to take care of us. I want to speak up for the American people and say: No, we really do have some good common-sense solutions. I can be a messenger for that. Don't have to have a title to do it."

Would I vote for her for President of the United States? Absolutely!

Washington Post writer, David Broder closed a recent article he wrote about Sarah with these words: "The lady is good."

I agree.

Charlotte's my Valentine. But I like Sarah.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hey fellows, why do we have to have a day like Valentine's Day to express our love for our wives?

What's wrong with expressing that love every day--including Valentine's Day

  TELL HER SO                                                    

Amid the cares of married strife
  In spite of toil and business life
If you value your dear wife--
  Tell her so!

When days are dark and deeply blue
  She has her troubles, same as you
Show her that your love is true
  Tell her so!

Don't act as if she's past her prime
  As tho' to please her were a crime
If ever you loved her, now's the time--
  Tell her so!

She'll return for each caress
  A hundred fold of tenderness,
Hearts like hers were made to bless;
  Tell her so!

You are hers and hers alone;
  Well you know she's all your own;
Don't wait to carve it on a stone--
  Tell her so!

Never let her heart grow cold
  Richer beauties will unfold
She is worth her weight in gold
  Tell her so!
                             Author Unknown


Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Before I opened this page I was sitting, staring at my screen saver. It is a picture my wife took of the New Hampshire sea shore. The sky and ocean are a beautiful blue, the waves are lashing up on the shore and rocks.Charlotte captured the picture which we brought home in her camera and our hearts. I look at it every day now on my computer screen.

The New Hampshire sea shore is still there. The waves are still rolling. But we are not there. We are many, many miles away in the desert.

I can relive those moments--precious moments, when I look at the picture Charlotte took back in October.

Pictures, imagination, memories--treasures!


Monday, February 08, 2010

It melts in your mouth.

It really does. It melts in your mouth.

Well, I should say it melts in my mouth, not your mouth. I don't know what it does in your mouth, but I would think that it would melt just like it does in mine.

I like pie( especially coconut cream) a lot more than I do cake but I really like Pepperidge Farm coconut cake.

Did I tell you it melts in your mouth?

It does!


Saturday, February 06, 2010

"For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all."   2 Corinthians 4:17 (NIV)
"It is the fire of suffering that brings forth the gold of godliness." Madame Guyon

God has a purpose behind every trouble.

God could have kept Joseph out of jail, kept Daniel out of the lion's den, kept Jeremiah from being tossed into a slimy pit, kept Paul from being shipwrecked three times, and kept the three Hebrew young men from being thrown into the blazing furnace--but he didn't. He let those problems happen, and every one of those persons was drawn closer to God as a result.

Problems force us to look to God and depend on him instead of ourselves. Paul testified to this benefit: "We felt we were doomed to die and saw how powerless we were to help ourselves; but that was good, for then we put everything into the hands of God, who alone could save us." 2 Corinthians 1:9 (LB)

You'll never know that God is all you need until God is all you've got.

(The thoughts in this post were taken from Rick Warren's excellent, best selling book, The Purpose Driven Life. I recommend you read the entire book.)


Friday, February 05, 2010

TITHING by Douglas Leblanc

If you are a regular visitor to my blog you know that I made a decision to cut back on the number of books I review each month. In pursuit of excellence I have decided that the quality of reviews is better than the quanity.So I will be reading fewer review books this year. I want to accept for review only those books I am interested in myself.

Tithing is one of the books in The Ancient Practices Series being edited by Phyllis Tickle and published by Thomas Nelson. A text for this series is: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls." Jeremiah 6:16 NIV. I selected a book on tithing not because I am unfamiliar with the subject, but because I am. All my Christian life I have given a tithe and more. I began when I was a teenager and have continued until now. My wife and I have always set aside at least a tithe of our income before anything else came out. My interest in this particular book is the fact that it was written from a completely different viewpoint than any I have known or studied before.

Douglas Leblanc is Editor at Large for The Living Church, and has also written for Christian Research Journal, Christianity Today, Compassion International, and Anglicans United. He and his wife live near Richmond, Virginia, where they attend Saint Matthew's Episcopal church. He traveled to seven states and a dozen cities within those states. He talked to a pastor on Chicago's tough South Side to a progressive Episcopal priest...from an Eastern Orthodox priest to a Seventh day Adventist to an orthodox rabbi. He also talked to political and social activists. In forty-seven years of ministry I have never had a close association with these people. I have been left to assume what they believe on this subject--or any subject. My assumptions have been wrong.

Leblanc discovered they have one important thing in common: a fervent belief that the ancient practice of tithing has enriched their lives and filled them with uncommon joy. For many of them tithing was not necessarily the endpoint of generosity. Those Leblanc interviewed are far more social in their expression of religion than I am. This I already knew. They are compassionate and tenderhearted people. I too want to be like that I just don't put my emphasis on social justice although I believe it to be an important part of the message of Christ. My emphasis is on reaching out to the lost with the message of Christ for the salvation of their souls.

I will close with a quote from the author that sums up his view on tithing: "As we open our otherwise tight grip on what we think of as our money, we begin to realize it has come our way only by the grace of God. As we draw closer to people who need the compassion of Christ, we end up--perhaps even unwittingly--drawing closer to God. It is all God's idea and work,ultimately, but we may choose to become his instruments."

(A free copy of this book was provided to me by Thomas Nelson Publishing Company)


Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Carnegie library was on one corner. Emerson elementary school was on the opposite corner. Emerson was my first school. The Carnegie was my first library. I loved them both!

I learned to read at Emerson. I got some of the first books I read from the Carnegie library.

Many years have passed since the first day I walked into the Carnegie library. I have lost count of the number of libraries I have visited over the years.

I love books. I love to hold a book in my hands. I love the feel of the book and the way it smells.

I love to mark in my books, highlight passages and make notes in the margins.

I drool over book catalogs.

Audio books are helpful but they can never substitute for reading.

Some day I may change my mind, but right now I am just not into reading a book on a kindle. It's just not the same as having the actual book in my "sweaty" little hands.

I have many books. I know where they are on the shelves. I rarely lose a book or have difficulty in locating one.

Do you love books? Besides the Bible, tell me the name of one book that you think everybody should read.


Tuesday, February 02, 2010

I am intrigued by life with its many twists and turns.

We both grew up in the same home town. Graduated from the same high school. Attended the same conservative church. Graduated from the same conservative Christian college.

He did his graduate work at a very liberal university. I attended and graduated from a more conservative university but more liberal than the college where I did my undergraduate work.

I spent almost fifty years as a pastor. He spent that same number of years as a university professor.

Today I consider myself conservative politically and religiously--conservative but not an extreme conservative.

The professor describes himself as very liberal in both areas.

I guess it's the word very that puzzles me. Why very liberal. How did it happen? Why did it happen?

Is being very liberal a bad thing? Not necessarily. But it can be. It usually is! That is, it usually is--in my opinion.

I woke up this morning with a passion to know and understand. We come running or stumbling out of our homes and into "the world." What happens along the way to cause us to become liberal or conservative? What causes us grow in faith--or to lose it altogether?

Along the way. What happens? I would really like to  know.