Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Hope And Help For Your Turbulent Times
By Max Lucado

OVERVIEW: You fear you won't make it through. You fear that the depression will never lift, the yelling will never stop, the pain will never leave. Will this gray sky ever brighten? This load ever lighten? Yes! Deliverance is to the bible what jazz music is to Mardi Gras: bold, brassy, and everywhere. Consider the Old testament story of Joseph―tossed in a pit by his brothers, sold into slavery, wrongfully imprisoned. But God wove what was meant for evil into good. God is in the business of redeeming the broken. He was then. He is still. Do you crave some hope for these tough times? Then this is the message you need. (From the back of the book.)

AUTHOR: More than 100 million readers have found comfort in the writings of Max Lucado. He ministers at the Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, where he lives with his wife, Denalyn, and a sweet but misbehaving mutt, Andy.

MY REVIEW: What can I say that hasn't already been said about Max Lucado's writing. There is nothing I can say that 100 million readers have not already heard. This book is no different. Once again Max brings comfort, hope and help for all of us going through turbulent times.

"You'll get through this" are not just words off the top of Max's head. Thoughtfully, carefully and respectfully Max takes readers deep into the Old Testament and into the life of Joseph. He points out that the God of Joseph is still alive today and is able to do for us what He did for Joseph. You'll get through this. Whatever "This" is―financial woes, relationship valleys, health crises.

Max says, "You'll get through this. It won't be painless. It won't be quick. But God will use this mess for good. Don't be foolish or naïve. But don't despair either. With God's help, you'll get through this."

Buy this book. It will help you regardless of how good you feel. Read it and then pass it on. You know somebody who needs it. Who? I don't know. But you do.

(I received this book from Book Sneeze a division of Thomas Nelson Publishing Company in exchange for a fair and honest review.)


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Seven Steps to Overcoming Depression,
Anxiety, and Anger
By Dr. Linda J. Solie

OVERVIEW: In this book Psychologist Linda Solie guides you through seven steps to dealing with negative or destructive feelings. You will learn and practice time-tested skills that offer relief from painful emotions, including how to: *Identify exactly what you are feeling, *Understand the connection between your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, *Choose new ways to think that produce emotional and behavioral change. No matter where you are emotionally or what you are dealing with, you can change the way you feel and behave. With nearly thirty years of hands-on-cognitive/behavioral experience, Dr.Solie provides tools designed to help you find freedom and joy.

AUTHOR: Linda J. Solie (Ph.D, University of Minnesota) is a licensed psychologist who has been helping clients overcome emotional challenges and specializing in issues of depression and anxiety for nearly thirty years. She began her practice as a hospital staff psychologist working with children and adults and has been in private practice for more than two decades. A member of the American Psychological Association, Solie speaks nationwide at churches and retreats as well as other venues. She makes her home in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

MY REVIEW: Do you sometimes have emotions you can't explain or don't want? If you do, this is the book for you. However, if you go into a book store, pick up this book and thumb through it, you will probably not like it. There are many small charts, points that are numbered, points that are noted by letters of the alphabet, and tables to be studied. At first glance, this appears to be confusing. But if you go by your first impression you will be mistaken. The way to approach this book is to begin with the introduction and slowly read page after page. It will not take long for you to realize the great value of this book.

I agree with Dr. Kevin Leman who said, "This book gives you a road map to the life you've always wanted." That's good isn't it? The life you've always wanted. That's a big order. Will this book completely remove depression, anxiety and anger from your life? It may for some. It may not completely remove these problems―but it will help, and in a big way. "Relief is on the way."

(I received this book from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group in exchange for a fair and honest review.)


Monday, September 23, 2013


Carmel, California is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Of course I cannot say it is the most beautiful place in the world. I have not seen everyplace.

Charlotte and I went there on our honeymoon fifty-five years ago. It was our first time there. We loved it then and we love it now. We love the entire Monterey peninsula.

While living in Stockton, California not far from Carmel we invested in a real estate venture. It was a beautiful house being built close to downtown Carmel that should have sold for a lot of money and brought us a nice profit. It did not sell. The builder went bankrupt and our money went with him. The builder fell out of our favor―but not Carmel!

If you have never been to Carmel, put it on your Bucket List.

I cannot guarantee that you will love it, or even like it. We all are different.

And another thing I can't do, is that if you do not like it, I can't keep from thinking that you are a little different. Not necessarily bad different―just different.


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Most people I know do not especially care for cemeteries.
But most of us have visited a few and will again.
In fact, most of us will end up there. If not in a grave in a columbarium.
When I say end up there, I mean as far as this world is concerned. 
The first cemetery I visited was in the little town of Fletcher, Oklahoma. We had gone there to bury my mother. I was eleven years old. So many sad things about that day are locked in my memory.
Watching the casket being lowered down into the ground. Hearing the dirt clods hitting hard on top of the casket as the men shoveled the dirt in to fill the grave.
Over the years I have visited many cemeteries and helped bury many people---young and old.
As a minister I have walked that lonely trail of tears to cemeteries in Southern California, Northern California and Arizona.
Officiating at funerals was one of the most difficult things I did as a minister. I realized my job was to comfort those who had lost a loved one. Every funeral message I preached was bathed in prayer.
I have always felt closest to God when preaching.
There are some beautiful cemeteries in this world. But we do not like to leave our loved ones there.
I'm writing on this topic today only because it makes up a large part of my life.
We may not like to think about cemeteries and there is no need to dwell on them but we should think about them occasionally and what they represent.
Hebrews 9:27 says it is appointed unto man once to die and after this the judgment.
Something to think about-------occasionally.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Finding Hope And Healing
Through The Losses Of Life
By Rita A Schulte

OVERVIEW: Shattered explores how unidentified or unresolved loss impacts every area of life, especially your relationship with God. The long-range impact of these losses is often obscured, buried beneath the conscious surface in an attempt to avoid pain. This books calls you to "notice" the losses of life, and fight the battle to reclaim and reinvest your heart after loss through faith-based strategies.

AUTHOR: Rita A. Schulte is a licensed professional counselor in the Northern Virginia/DC area. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and a Master's in Counseling from liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. She is the host of Heartline Podcast and Consider This radio programs. Her show airs on several radio stations, as well as on the Internet. Rita writes for numerous publications and blogs.

MY REVIEW: "Grief and loss touch people in countless ways. Millions are affected by divorce, death and disease, suicide, the rise of mental health disorders, war, terrorism, abuse, and economic failure." I was pleased to find wisdom and honest direction in this book for those who have had their lives shattered.

I think many of us at some time in our life could say what Fantine from Les Miserables said, "I had a dream my life would be so different from this hell I'm living." Ah yes, a dream of a different life! But sometimes that dream is shattered. Jesus said, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33 Rita Schulte shows the way to reclaim and reinvest the heart.

I agree with author, C.S. Lakin who said, "Shattered is a thoughtful and insightful approach to processing and moving beyond the debilitating pain of loss. Rita Schulte explores both the necessity and the empowering ability of accepting and working through brokenness to a place of peace."


Tuesday, September 17, 2013


 She can never hear anything I say―it seems.

But let me put my hand in the cookie bag and she hears it―even when she is off in some other room.

Cookie jar? No. We don't need one. Cookies at our house don't last long enough to bother with taking them out of the bag for a more permanent residence.

There is nothing permanent about cookies at 5617 E. Marilyn Road.

I am told that children and elderly people are especially fond of cookies. I fall into the elderly category.

Once while visiting with Charlotte's elderly parents we took her mother grocery shopping. We were buying the groceries and were putting into the basket the things we knew they needed. Her mother kept putting in bags of cookies. Finally, Charlotte said, "You don't need anymore cookies you already have bags of them at home." Her mother dropped another bag in the basket and said, "We like cookies."

We like cookies. We surely do!

I'm tempted to start naming all the cookies I like. I won't though because the list would be too long.

Think of all the cookies in the world. Which one is your favorite? If you could have only one cookie and for the last time, which one would it be?


Saturday, September 14, 2013


No. I have never owned a cafeteria. I never have and never will. But I would like to.

There was a Clifton's Cafeteria in West Covina, California where we once lived. I have happy memories of eating there.

There may still be a few cafeterias around but I never see any.

I miss them!

Lubby's Cafeteria is the last one I remember eating at. The one we went to was located in the Paradise Valley Mall a few minutes from our home. I enjoyed eating there because you could select just the things you wanted. Of course you can do that at a buffet too but since they are billed as "all you can eat"---that's what I tend to do. Since I lack self-control, cafeterias are better for me.

Walking into a cafeteria I always smiled to see the dessert displayed so beautifully, the first thing in line.

I don't know why cafeterias went out. Maybe they will return some day. Maybe not.

There was a time when families gave Mother a break on Sunday and the whole family went to the cafeteria after church. Today many families don't go to church, to the cafeteria or any other place together.

Maybe cafeterias are still going strong in other parts of the country but not in the Southwest.

The longer I sit here the better "all you can eat" sounds. Maybe Hometown Buffett is not so bad after all.



I would never try hugging a cactus, but I do like them a lot.

Until we moved to Arizona I never gave cactus much thought. I had seen a few in other places where I had lived, Oklahoma, Texas and California, but not many.

But Arizona is different. They are everywhere.

The Saguaro is my favorite. We have one in our back yard.

When we moved into our new home in Arizona we had it professionally landscaped―Arizona style.

The one thing we didn't get was cactus.

Our friends, Homer and Bessie wanted us to forget about California and start feeling more at home in Arizona. So they brought us some cacti and even did the planting.

That was almost twenty-four years ago. Homer and Bessie have passed away. But their cacti still live and are growing in our yard. We miss our friends but we are blessed with their gifts and memories.

I love to drive out into the desert.



Friday, September 13, 2013


"No, I don't want a bagel. People from New York like bagels. Not me. I'm from Oklahoma."

"I think you will like these. They are different." " I don't think so. I've never cared for them before."

"Well, someone brought these to our Bible Class one Sunday and they are delicious."

"You say that because you love bagels―any bagels."

"Just try one. These are Einstein Bagels."

"Hey, I do like these. Einstein huh?"

Jews in New York helped start the bagel craze when they began to long for bread from the old country, rye, challah and bagels. This once-mysterious bread now seems to be an all-American delight.

I'm still not crazy about bagels but I do enjoy almost all of the different ones made by Einstein Brothers. They are good.

Einstein's new ads encourage you to "Spice Up Your Fall With Pumpkin."

I tried these last fall. And you know what, I think they did spice up my life.




In the old days Jack went to the Barber Shop. Jill went to the Beauty Parlor.

Today Jack and Jill both go to the Hair Salon. Sometimes they go together.

In the old days Jack went to the Barber Shop and waited his turn. Jill did the same thing at the Beauty Parlor. Today they use their computer to check in on the wait time before ever leaving home.

The Barber Shop is where Jack heard some of his first dirty jokes. Much of the same thing may have been going on at the Beauty Parlor but I think it was mostly gossip. I think!

I have been going to a hair salon to get my hair cut for years. Most men do. But a few still wouldn't go to a salon of any kind if their life depended on it. So a few barber poles are still turning.

I was always fascinated to see a man getting a shave. I watched with great interest as the barber placed a hot towel over the man's face, lathered his face and then slowly and carefully used his sharp straight edge razor to give the man a clean face.

I rarely saw a woman in a barber shop, but some did go there on occasion. Even today at the hair salon I see more men than women but it may just be on the days I go.

In our modern, improved age checking in by computer can be a good thing. But it can also be confusing to some. One elderly man sat patiently waiting while one after another went before him. Finally he jumped up and said loudly, "Sally Jo, I was supposed to be next. I have been waiting too long. I'm leaving and I won't be back" and out he went. The door closed slowly behind him but before it closed all the way he came back in, sat down and said he wanted to be next. He was!

Jack looked around the salon and said to Jill, "You think Spot would like this place?"
"JACK―Spot's a dog!"


Thursday, September 12, 2013



Don't ask me how many times I have sung this song. I can't give you an exact number―but it is many. This has often been the song sung following someone's baptism. As a preacher for almost fifty years, I went down into and come up out of the water with many who were baptized.
On a cold, November night in Oklahoma when I was sixteen years old I was immersed in water as an expression of my faith in Christ. I don't know if we sang "O Happy Day" or not―but it was for me.

This is not a doctrinal treatise on baptism. That needs to be handled in another post. Beginning with the Bible I have read just about everything I could put my hand on about baptism. There is a lot to be said about the subject and it is important. But in this post I am writing only about the experience of baptism―mine.

As a young man I preached in many evangelistic meetings―in California, Nevada, New Mexico and Oklahoma. There were many baptisms as a result of these meetings.

At the local congregations where I preached at the end of every worship service, Sunday morning, evening and Wednesday evening we extended an "Invitation" for people to come to Christ―and many did. I believe that every example of baptism in the Bible teaches that when a person came to faith in Christ they were baptized immediately. So that's what we always did.

I also believe the Scriptures teach that baptism is by immersion. I have baptized people outside in lakes, and inside in a baptistery. When we went to the lake there were usually boats out on water but when we waded out into the water and the gathering on the shore began to sing, the boats came to a stop and reverence was given to the occasion. Because I was a student preacher for a small country church that didn't have a baptistery, in the winter months we would drive several miles into town to "borrow" a large churches baptistery.

Some preachers have records of all those they have baptized. I have never kept that kind of record but the names would fill a large book.

One of the joys of my life has been the wonderful opportunity God gave me to enter into this kind of an experience and relationship with so many.



Saturday, September 07, 2013

Discovering How God's Love Heals Our Hearts
By Anne Graham Lotz

OVERVIEW: In this book, Anne breaks the silence of the wounded and the wounders, in order to break the cycle of pain. Drawing on the biblical story of Hagar, Anne leads those who have been hurt by God's people on a path of discovering the healing power of God's redemptive love. This book is a love story...yours!

AUTHOR: Anne Graham Lotz is the president and CEO of AnGel.Ministries, a nonprofit organization that undergirds her efforts to draw people into a life-changing relationship with God through His Word. Called the best preacher in her family by her father, Billy Graham, Anne launched her Just Give Me Jesus ministry in 2000. She has spoken on seven continents, in more than twenty foreign countries, proclaiming the Word of God in arenas, churches, seminaries, and prisons. She is also the award-winning author of ten books.

MY REVIEW: It's not just because I identify with this book―which I do, I believe this is one of the best books I have read this year. I believe that everyone has been others. But like Anne Graham Lotz, the sad truth is that our most painful wounds have been inflicted by religious people―God's people. This is so sad. It almost makes me cry just thinking about it. And I have shed many tears because of wounds inflicted by God's people. Let me say quickly that as one that has been wounded by Christians I, too, have wounded God's people. I am ashamed and sorry for that and have vowed that with God's help I will never again intentionally wound another person.

The most helpful part of the book is not just the true stories Anne shares about those that have been wounded, but how God helps those who have been hurt by others. She brings the life of Hagar into astonishing relevance. As she tells Hagar's story you will discover how time and again God acts to help those who have been hurt. But while Anne identifies with the wounded, the unpleasant reality is that she also identifies with the wounders because she has been one too. She helps you to see that by God's grace this wounding cycle can be broken.

I agree with Kathie Lee Gifford who wrote, "Anne's extraordinary new book encourages us to find our 'Inner Hagar' and set her free by the power of forgiveness. She has turned her own deep wounds into profound healing for others."

(I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.)


Wednesday, September 04, 2013


Aren't boys grand?
Most boys I mean. Of course there are always exceptions.
There is the old saying, "Boys will be boys" usually referring to BIG boys acting like LITTLE boys.
And that's not always good, We expect men to act like men and boys to act like boys.
Boys are a gift from God. He made them and he doesn't make junk.
His overalls hung on the hook by his hat, and I noticed
his pockets were bulging out fat.
So I emptied them out in a pile on the chair, and I
tenderly touched ev'ry treasure with care;

There were three rubber bands, a parking lot ticket,
Two paper clips and a fishing cricket,
A camphor ball and an empty match box,
A half dozen nails and a couple of rocks,
A yellow golf tee, two lollypop sticks,
A marble, a spool and three tooth picks,
A knife and a pencil, some dry corn silk,
A wire and a cap from a bottle of milk,
A rusty door key and a white chicken feather,
An old clock gear and a piece of leather,
A flash-light bulb and three or four strings,
A broken dog biscuit and two hair springs.

Then I gathered them up, all his "treasures" so grand―ev'ry rock, ev'ry nail and each rubber band,
And I put them all back, than I kissed him good-night,
and he smiled in his sleep as I turned out the light.
And I thrilled as I thought of the fun and the joy such trivial things could give to a boy.
                                                                  Author Unknown