Thursday, March 31, 2011

One of my favorite passages in all of God's Word is Genesis 50:20

"But as for you, you thought evil against me;
But God meant it unto good..."


Yes, God makes the difference.

What was happening to Joseph was evil. But God meant it unto good.

Another of my favorite Scriptures is Romans 8:28

"And we know that God causes everything
to work together for the good of those
who love God and are called according 
to his purpose for them."

I draw strength from these verses everyday.



Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Health, Healing, And Recovery
By Debbie Marrie, General Editor

OVERVIEW: God's Healing Words demonstrates God's desire to restore your entire being to health. This insightful book full of scriptures, quotations and prayers on healing lets you meditate and then pray for yourself and your loved ones to receive the precious promises that God has given us. You will discover: HEALING words for your BODY, HEALING words for your SPIRIT, HEALING words for GRIEF and DEPRESSION, HEALING for your MARRIAGE and other RELATIONSHIPS, HEALING  through FORGIVENESS.

MY REVIEW: This splendid little book is a pocket guide of scriptures and prayers. For me, the greatest value of this book is the pulling together into one place these many scriptures, prayers and quotes on healing. It is encouraging to read scriptures like Psalm 103:2-5 "Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle's!" Of course ever scripture has to be read in context and interpreted with common sense. You may find an example of healing or a story that you do not fully agree with. This is common with any book. But generally speaking, this is a powerful book that  will lift you up and draw you closer to a God that cares, filled with mercy and grace. Again, in my opinion the greatest value of this book is that it is so easy to just pick it up and immediately find scriptures to lift your spirit and give you hope. This is the kind of book that you would like to share with someone going through suffering. They need to meditate on these "wonderful words of life."


Monday, March 28, 2011

Are you going through one of those times when you just want to scream?

Do you feel like if you ever had a mind you have lost it?

Some people feel like this all the time.

The Psalmist felt a little screwed up: "Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? Psalm 42:5

As Eugene Peterson translates it in the Message, this is the guy that "...was always at the head of the worshiping crowd, right out in front, Leading them all, eager to arrive and worship, Shouting praises, singing thanksgiving..."

But then that's when he asks himself, "Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues?" And then answers, "When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse everything I know of you, From Jordan depths to Hermon heights, including Mount Mizar. Chaos calls to chaos, to the tune of whitewater rapids. Your breaking surf, your thundering breakers crash and crush me. Then God promises to love me all day, sing songs all through the night! My life is God's prayer."

Feeling a little crazy are you? There are no simple answers. But read Psalm 42 in the Message. It will help.



Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Apostle Paul wrote these words:
We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not
crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.
We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God.
We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed...So
we don't look at the troubles we can see right now,
rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen.
For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the
things we cannot see will last forever.
                                                                                         2 Corinthians 4:8-9,18

No one is exempt from trouble. But God doesn't want you to live in depression. Depression comes sometimes but you can find healing as you call on God, remembering these wonderful words from Paul.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

There are times when I long for the days when I was so certain about everything.

Ask me a question--about anything and I would give you an answer.

I'm not so certain anymore.

Oh, I still believe in absolutes. Absolutely!

But my views--mainly religious ones, have changed a lot over the years.

Take hell for example. I still believe in hell. I'm just not so certain about every aspect of it like I used to be.

I no longer believe you lay like something that can't be destroyed by fire and burn for eternity.

Oh my Clif. Isn't that what the Bible teaches? No. I'm not certain it does. And yes, I still respect all my teachers, friends and relatives that believe that. And yes, I am still studying the subject and will do so as long as I can.

One thing I am sure of is that I do not want to be separated from God. To me that would be HELL!


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord. -Psalm27:14

Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.- Psalm34:5

Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.- Romans 12:12

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort, who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.- 2 Corinthians 1:3-4


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Years ago Peggy Lee recorded a hit song titled, "Is That All There Is?"

Somewhere along the way, most of us have probably asked that question.

John Cheever said: "The main emotion of the adult American who has had all the advantages of wealth, education, and culture is disappointment."

Even Christians get disappointed and discouraged because, let's face it, every goal is not achieved. There are limits in life.

Regardless of what happened to the little engine that could, there are some mountains too steep to climb.

Back when I was preaching every Sunday, it was Monday that found me pooped out--physically and spiritually. Now, it's after big disappointments but sometimes it's after a great time of joy. After every mountain top there is a valley.

When this happens we need to get our eyes back on the goal.

We're not home yet!

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, 
and no mind has imagined
what God has prepared
for those who love him."
                                                                          1 Corinthians 2:9


Friday, March 18, 2011

For your life is like the morning fog---it's
here a little while, then it's gone.
James 4:14

I don't know about you, but for me, life just seems to be flying by.

So, if you have dreams--and you do, then live them. Do it now!

When I say dreams, I'm not talking about those thoughts and pictures that play out in your mind when you are sleeping. I'm talking about those wild and wonderful "movies" playing out in your mind when you are awake.

I tell you this, not because this is what I have done in my life--but because I haven't-- generally speaking.

A young friend of mine going to school over in California is my friend on Facebook and he is constantly talking about "stuff" he's doing. He's going to school, getting an education (I hope), working, but he's also going here, there and everywhere doing a little bit of everything. He told me once that he learned from his dad that life is too short not to enjoy living.

Got dreams? Good. Enjoy living them!


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Set your minds and keep them set on
what is above (the higher things), not 
on the things that are on the earth.
                                                                                   Colossians 3:2

Are you looking for victory? Then look up!

If you go around looking down--thinking negative thoughts, "seeing" only bad things ahead--then you will fail.

We have a great God and He wants to do great things in and through us.

It is a fact of life, not only psychologically but spiritually, that we move toward what we see in our minds.

What do you expect?

Raise your level of expectancy. Look for God to work in and through you.

When I check in at the Health Club this morning, someone will say, "Have a great work out."
I will respond, "Thank you. I will."

Guess what.  I WILL!

Could we have an earthquake or some other disaster here in Arizona today? Sure we could. But guess what.



Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My tongue will speak of your
righteousness and of your praises
all day long.
Psalm 35:28

What do you talk about all day?

What do you listen to all day?

Do you continually dwell on the negative? Do you constantly think about the negative situations with your co-workers, friends and relatives?

God didn't tell you to do this. He said morning, noon and night we should talk about His righteousness and His praises. Wow! Good stuff!

Follow his instructions and you will experience joy in your home, on the job and in your neighborhood.

Stop talking about the crap of life and begin talking about the Creator of Life!

Don't use negative words to describe your situation, use positive words to praise your Savior!


Friday, March 11, 2011

One man had been an invalid there for thirty-eight years.
When Jesus saw him stretched out by the pool and 
knew how long he had been there, he said,
"Do you want to get well?"
John 5:6 (Message)

At first glance, we think, "What a stupid question." Of course--he wanted to get well! 

But did he really?  Remember, this is our Lord asking the question. I doubt that He would just be "playing" around with the man's feelings.

He evidently wanted the invalid to think about his situation and give an honest answer to the question.

The man gave excuses: "I don't have anybody to put me in the water." "By the time I get there, somebody else is already in."

Sounds like me when the subject of losing a few pounds and getting in better shape comes up. Sounds like many couples I know who can't communicate with each other without help but offer every excuse under the sun for not getting help. Sounds like many, not all, who don't have a job but won't go out and look for one. So many are sitting on the sidelines waiting for something but they don't know what so they just keep sitting.

Jesus said, "Get up, take your bedroll, start walking." The man was healed on the spot. He picked up his bedroll and walked off.

When we get serious about the mess we are in and when we get up and go, God will go with us and we in effect "will be healed."


What, then, shall we say in response to this?
If God is for us, who can be against us?
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all---
how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
                                                                                                       Romans 8:31-32

God is constantly giving you reason for hope.

Just answer this question: "If God is for us, who can be against us?"


Remember when all the neighborhood kids got together for a ball game and chose up sides? Sure you do. And you were always concerned who was going to be on your side. Who was on your side usually determined if you would win or not. And Charlie Sheen isn't the only one who wants to win.

God is on your side!

Go with gusto. You are going to win my friend. If not the moment or the day or the week, the month or even the year---you will win in the end.

God is on your side. He not only gives you all things, he does so graciously.


Wednesday, March 09, 2011

6 Minutes to Heal the Source of Your Health, Success, or Relationship Issue
By Alexander Loyd, PhD, ND with Ben Johnson, MD, DO, NMD

OVERVIEW: In 2001, Dr. Alexander Loyd discovered how to activate a physical function built into the body that removes the source of up to 95% of an illness and disease. The neuro-immune system can then do its job of healing whatever is wrong in the body. Dr. Loyd's findings were validated by tests and by the thousands of people from all over the world who have used The Healing Code system to correct virtually any physical, emotional, or relational issue, as well as realize breakthroughs in career success. His testing has also revealed that there is a "Universal Healing Code" that can help cure most issues for most people. In this book, you learn that Universal Healing code, which takes only minutes to do.

AUTHORS: Alexander Loyd holds doctorates in psychology and naturopathic medicine. His private practice has become one of the largest of its kind in the world, as thousands of clients in 50 states and more than 140 countries use The Healing Code system to heal the source of virtually any physical, emotional, success or relational issue. Ben Johnson is the former clinical director of the Immune Recovery Clinic in Atlanta, Georgia. Since being healed in 2004 of his Lou Gehrig's disease by using The Healing Code, he has lectured all over the world about how it works.

MY REVIEW: This is a book you must read! You must read it because if what these two doctors are teaching is true, it will heal your physical and emotional problems. And who doesn't need that? Remember I said, "If." If what they are teaching is true it may very well be the greatest discovery since medicine. That's quite a statement, I know. But I believe it.

Now, is it true and do the Healing Codes they teach actually work? I don't know! I don't know! I did try it once but that's not giving it an "honest" chance. I will try it again over a longer period of time and I will let you know if I think it works. I am a skeptic by nature. So I started out reading this book with the attitude of a skeptic. In fact, I thought and still do think, that the Healing Codes are a little silly. I can't help it. I am just being honest. But I want to go on immediately to say that I found this to be one of the most interesting and informative books I have read in a long time. I will state again: I think this is a book you must read!  I want you to read it and decide for yourself.

I am an independent book reviewer--not a doctor. My purpose in all of this has been to simply review the book. The book is an excellent read. Anyone reading with an open mind will learn many valuable things. I am pleased that both authors are doctors and they are both Christians. They tell you the first thing to do toward healing is pray. In my mind--prayer is the key. The healing may not come just through prayer but if it comes at all it will be because the process began with prayer. So, in this review I have not tried to communicate all the medical advice and the process of healing. You will need to get the book and look into that yourself and make your own judgment. I think it will be a wise thing to do.

(This book was provided to me by Hachette Book Group for this review.)


Monday, March 07, 2011

30 days to grow and deepen your closest relationships
By Kerry & Chris Shook
Authors of the New York Times Bestseller One Month to Live

OVERVIEW: Everything you've been taught about relationships is wrong. The movies and TV make it look easy. Matchmaking Web sites have it down to a science. Two people connect--love at first sight--and the relationship is magical from then on. But the truth is, strong deep relationships that last a lifetime aren't based on the mysterious chemistry of two personalities. Real love in relationships--friends, married couples, siblings, parents--isn't a magic act. It's a journey. A great relationship grows from an investment of time and effort. Kerry and Chris Shook know that deep relationships aren't built on initial attractions, but on last things--the experience you shared the last time you were with someone...the words you spoke with her last week...the effort you made for him the last time you were together. And Love at Last Sight offers a one-month relationship plan that will improve you most important bonds, including a weekly focus and daily readings that guide you through the process.

AUTHORS: Kerry Shook and his wife, Chris Shook, founded Woodlands Church in The Woodlands, Texas, in 1993. Since then, the church has grown to an attendance of more than 18,000 and is counted among the fastest-growing churches in America. The Shooks have been featured on Fox News, NBC, ABC, and PBS. Kerry and Chris have been married for more than twenty-five years, and are the parents of four children.

MY REVIEW: If your most important relationships are less than what you wish they could be, then this is the book for you. This book will motivate you to take steps to reconnect with the people who really matter. This thirty-day program guides you step-by-step to deeper, more satisfying relationships by developing four forgotten but powerful relational arts for changing, improving, and repairing the relationships you care about most. You will spend one week on each of the following topics: The Art of Being All There, The Art of Acting Intentionally, The Art of Risking Awkwardness and The Art of Letting Go.

My wife and I have known each other since we were teenagers and we have been married for fifty-three years. I have retired after almost fifty years of ministry as a Senior Minister. My closest relationships have come from marriage and ministry. All of my relationships will be strengthened by what I read in this splendid book. I was familiar with most of the things in this book but I needed to have them brought back to memory and strengthened. I found the two quotes at the beginning of every chapter to be of great value. This book is not only valuable--it is readable. I found it difficult to put down. I agree with Craig Groeschel, pastor of LifeChurch.tv who said, "Chris and Kerry Shook give sound advice for putting those we love first and practical tips to make our love last."

(I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.)


Saturday, March 05, 2011

A husband and wife were getting ready to go out for the evening. The wife kept doing things that were making them late for a party they were going to.

The husband finally lost it and yelled, "How could God make you so beautiful and so stupid at the same time?"

Without hesitation the wife shot back, "Well, he made me beautiful so you would love me, and he made me stupid so I'd love you."

Many times in stressful situations we point a finger at someone---usually the one closest to us.

If we really want to solve relationship problems and experience lasting love, we have to get over the blame game.

We smile when we think of the first relationship of all time, Adam and Eve and how they got caught up with blaming. (Genesis 3:12)

But we don't smile or think it wrong when we do the same thing ourselves.

Whether it's with our mate or someone else we need to remember the old, perhaps trite but true statement: "When you point a finger at somebody, there are four pointing back at you."

Stop blaming and start gracing! (Is gracing a word?) Hey, don't blame me. I'm not a word smith.


Thursday, March 03, 2011

Once I was young, and now I am old.
Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned
or their children begging for bread.
Psalm 37:25

My wife of fifty-three years is a beautiful woman--always has been.

This morning I was looking at some of our old high school year books. I thought, "Wow. She really was a beautiful girl and now she is a beautiful woman."

A few minutes before that she was sitting in front of a mirror making comments about how hard she has to work to make her face look good. I suggested she needed to think and talk more about how good she looks for her age. She agreed and immediately began to say positive things.

When you realize that you've allowed negative thoughts and words to be copied onto your mental "hard drive," you need to reprogram your mind by changing your thinking.

Keep your mind on the good things of God and He will keep you in perfect peace regardless of what's going on all around you. (Isaiah 26:3)

Program your mind to know that God is on your side--because He is!

Now, we're off to the gym. It's going to be a great day.


Wednesday, March 02, 2011

  "Come tell us what is saving your life now."

A religious speaker scheduled to speak at a church asked, "What do you want me to talk about?" The answer was: "Come tell us what is saving your life now."

 That's my question to you: "What is saving your life right now?"

What is your life depended on?

I have the feeling that many struggle with this question. And not wanting to struggle, will just try to forget it.

What does it mean to you to be human? What gives meaning to your life, every moment of every day?

Think about it? I would really like to know. But even if you do not tell me, I think you should tell yourself.