Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Wanda loves to work in our yard. She just loves it. I enjoy the results, but she just loves doing it. I love the flowers and all the colors and blooms and birds and butterflies and smells. It is lots of work, but the results are worth it. That what I enjoy. I enjoy the final product.

We have needed to do some pruning of trees around our yard. We have delicious grape fruit and oranges. We also have a Japanese plum tree and a fig tree. There is a bottlebrush and crepe myrtle trees. All of them needed attention.

Wanda suggested renting an extender chain saw. I have a small saw that works by my elbow grease. Now that turns into work! That is why I love the results, the end product, the beauty of completion. Now doesn't that sound like a lazy guy or what?

I told Wanda I could do it without the rental saw, but she knew better. We rented one and worked several hours on the trees. There was a pretty good pile of limbs and greenery cut. Pruning doesn't look pretty. It cuts back and takes away growth, but that is so new growth can come. Man that extender saw worked great! It was worth every penny.

We really have enjoyed our fruit this year, but more fruit requires the pruning process. That is true in our lives. New growth in us take some pruning too. Jesus said that in John 15. Sometimes pruning in us is difficult and hurts, but God sees the end product. He chastens, corrects, and cuts away. Yet, it is for our good. It is so new fruit can come.

So Lord, prune away. I want to grow new fruit, good fruit, sweet fruit. Prune away Lord. Make me all you desire.

Monday, February 27, 2012


This past Saturday morning I ran the 5 m Ortega River Run. This is a tune-up for the 15K Gate River Run in a couple of weeks. There are some 2,000+ runners in the Ortega Run.

I beat my time from last year by almost 4 minutes. It was hotter last year, and I don't think that I was in as good as shape last year. I have done far more in training this year especially in strength training. That helps a lots.

Wanda went with me. She always is my biggest fan and supporter. In fact, I don't recall anyone else there who was my fan. There are always people cheering you on in the neighborhoods you run through, but she was the only one there just for me.

I goal was to run the 5m in 50 minutes or in 10 minutes miles. I came close to doing that by less than 30 seconds. I think I could have done it in 10 minute miles, but the field was packed at the beginning which made for a much slower start. I guess I need to get closer to the front. I will definitely try that at the Gate River Run.

So the goal is life is to finish. I must cross the finish line. I want to hear my Lord say, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Finishing is important. Starting is half the job it seems, but if you don't finish nothing counts. Only those who finish win the prize. That is true in the race of life.

Many start, but starters only win if they complete the race. I finished the Ortega River Run. Now it is on to the greater race.

Friday, February 24, 2012


I ran seven miles early Thursday morning before work. The first half mile looked impossible. I kept thinking about the six plus miles to go, but I kept running. I passed the 1 mile marker. Then I passed the 2 mile marker. Then I went on to 3 miles, then 4 miles, then 5 miles. Then it got a little harder, but I kept running.

The extra exercises that I have been doing is strengthening my core muscles. They are getting stronger each day which makes me feel better and helps in these long runs. The stomach and trunk of your body are vital in carrying yourself. It is amazing how much better I feel, and how stronger I feel.

Wanda was working in our home office and watched as I completed my run coming back towards or house. She told me later that she couldn't understand why anyone would put such stress on themselves in running 7 miles. She does support me in running, but she also sees the strain it takes.

Yet, anything of value in life requires sacrifice and effort. What is the old saying? "No pain, no gain."

Well I did finish that 7 mile run. It was tough, but I did it.

Now, I just have to work a little more to get up to 9.3 miles. I believe I can do it!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


I am running longer runs training for the 15K Gate River Run which will be Saturday, March 10. When I started training again back the first part of January, I strained somewhat to do a slow 2 mile run. Now I am running 5 and 6 mile runs with relative ease and running at faster paces.

They say little by little that anything is a cinch. There is a lot of truth to that. Incrementally you can get a lot done. I think that sometimes we see a mountain and cannot conceive how to overcome it. I've heard that the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. Ha!

People refuse to start big things because they often seem totally impossible. But the first step must be taken to start any journey and repeated steps lead to a completed journey.

I cannot tell you how many times I have thought it was too cold, or I was too tired, or too short of time, or too challenged to run. However, breaking barriers takes disciple.

Wanda has me getting up earlier to do workouts to strengthen my muscles which will help in the run. I am tightening up stomach and core muscles as well as arm and leg muscles. That just gives strength to help in the running.

The big plus is that I feel stronger and better and enjoy my day more.

The Bible says that physical exercise profits little, but someone else said that we need that little. That is true.

Monday, February 20, 2012


I went camping Friday night with our Royal Rangers, a program for young boys in our church. There were 12 or so of them as well as five or six adult leaders. Royal Rangers is a tremendous ministry to train and nurture boys into adulthood.

We left the church around 5 PM just as it started to rain. They asked my to pray over the trip before we loaded up, and I prayed for a safe trip, no rain, and that all would go well. As we loaded up it began to rain harder. The longer we traveled the harder it rained. I thought that maybe I shouldn't have prayed for no rain as the boys would wonder whether God heard my prayers or not.

We drove for about an hour and a half to get to the camp site. It rained all the way until just before our arrival. Then it stopped! Praise God!

We didn't have to set tents up in the rain or mud. Late in the night, I heard a very slight drizzel hitting the tent. It was only for a few moments and then it stopped. That was the extent of the rain.

Rain and camping don't go together very well. I was so thankful for good weather, and that maybe some of the guys would realize that God does answer prayer.

All the little guys had a ball, and the men seemed to enjoy the outing too. Camping is a nice way to get away from the hustle and bustle of life. It was a nice time.

Friday, February 17, 2012


There are many voices in the world today saying all kinds of stuff. Some are voices filled with negative words. Others are voices that contradict God's Word. Some are just misguided or foolish or dumb.

I choose to listen to what God has to say.

He says I have eternal life.
He says that I can do all things through Christ.
He says that my needs are met according to His eternal riches.
He says I can make it.
He says that He gives second, third, and fourth chances.
He says that His mercies are new every morning.
He says He will take all things and work them together for good.

If I listen too much to others, then I'll head the wrong way. I need to listen to His quiet and faithful voice. He never fails.

I have been thrilled to see God answer so quickly in so many different needs in the last week. I know that more are on the way!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


I stopped to pick up a Valentine's Card for Wanda at a local store. As I was checking out, a clerk was putting some magazines on a rack next to the cashier.

"Here," she said, "You can be the first one to get this edition."

I turned to toward at her and what she had in hand. It was the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.

She thought I would be a taker, but I surprised her.

I said, "I have a beautiful wife at home. I don't need that."

She said, "You are blessed."

Now I am a red-blooded male, but when you have a beautiful wife, why would you sell your soul for someone on the front of a magazine who could care less about you?

Wanda, you are beautiful. I am so thankful for you.

Monday, February 13, 2012


God has ordained marriage where a man and woman covenant for life. Marriage is a life-long commitment of heart, faith, mind, and body. Though 2 are joined in marriage, they yet become one.


That is God's plan. It happens physically and it includes every aspect of our beings. God created sex for procreation and pleasure. It is to be enjoyed and experienced only in marriage between a man and a woman. Any variation of God's plan releases harsh consequences of eternal impact. Sexual relations are uniquely planned by God to literally join a man and a woman together as one.

But oneness in marriage is more than sexual union. It is oneness of every part of our being. We don't lose individuality but we blend into a union of common purpose. It is connection of life.

What are barriers to oneness?

Infidelity, selfishness, aloofness, criticism, and general lack of love.

The sad news is that because marriage opens the door to oneness that failure to care for the needs of the other actually hurts one's own person. When we hurt our mates, the truth is that we are hurting ourselves. The pain doesn't just affect the other. It affects both because you are not 2 but 1.

Women need love. Men need respect. Striving for oneness understands the needs of the other and works diligently to focus on those needs. That releases a return of love and life.

So women, honor, submit, and respect your husband with cheerfulness and regard.

Men love and cherish your wife. Make her know she is special, cherished, and secure.

In marriage we are one. It is God's way of blessing.

Friday, February 10, 2012


God doesn't bless complainers. In the Old Testament He killed more Israelites for complaining than anything else. Complainers and whiners never get very far. They are too focused on their present and past problems to see anything ahead.

Yet, God heard David's complaint. Read Psalm 142:2

2 I pour out before him my complaint;
before him I tell my trouble.

Hanna offered her complaint of childlessness to God and God heard her. God gave her Samuel, who see gave back to the Lord.

The place to take our complaints is the same place David took his complaints. We take them to the Lord. He can hear all of our troubles, trials, and needs.

Here is the deal, we must not take them to God with:

1. Blame

2. Bitterness or

3. Betrayal of faith

When we blame God, or become bitter at God, or betray our faith, then we are doomed. Nothing is solved and everything gets worse.

I like what David did when he was having to flee for his life due to his own son's betrayal. Absalom was out for his father's kingdom. David ran for his life, and as he fled was cursed by Shemei. Shemei did everything he could to discourage and derail David.

David took his complaint to God and trust God to take care of him. See II Samuel 16: 12, "It may be that the Lord will look on my affliction, and that the Lord will repay me with good for his cursing this day." David trusted God's ability to take care of him even when he was being confronted and literally cursed from every side.

So take your complaint to the Lord. He will hear it.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


I recently read a story about John Wesley, the great preacher, who was traveling to a preaching assignment by horse. This was in the day of circuit rider preachers. It was raining, and he was tired. He admitted to a complaining spirit. It seemed to him that the Lord could at least give a little better weather for him to travel. The weather was miserable.

As he continued by horse, a robber jumped into his path with pistol in hand to rob him. The thief attempted to fire his weapon at Wesley, but it wouldn't fire. The powder was wet from the rain. Throwing his pistol down, the robber fled. Wesley's life was spared.

Wesley promptly got off his horse, repented of his complaining, and gave thanks for the rain.

Wesley learned again that God takes all things, even rain, and works them for good for those who love the Lord.

All of us are tempted to complain at one time or another. There is a place to take your complaints. Take them to the Lord. King David did.

Don't take them with blame, bitterness, or betrayal of your faith. Just take them to the Lord and offer your needs and issues to Him. Maybe He will tell you that "your rain" is yet meant to save your life. Who knows?

Well, God knows!

Monday, February 6, 2012


While training for the 15K Gate River Run, I have hit the wall several times. What I mean by that is I find myself running out of steam before I complete my run. I run out of gas. I find myself used up. I can't seem to go farther.

Thankfully, only one time have I not been able to finish my planned run. That day I just ran out of gas. I quit for the day.

Most runs I will reach that tipping point of not being able to go farther and then get a second wind. I break through the barrier. I just keep going and press on. It isn't easy, but it is doable.

Life is like that too. Sometimes it seems we just can't finish. Life can be tough. The obstacles become too high and too hard, but there is a way through.

In one of my previous Gate River Runs, I was within a half mile from the finish and felt I was about to collapse. I had run about 9 miles. I was exhausted. I could see the finish line, but it seemed almost impossible to reach.

Then I heard a voice behind me. At first I couldn't make out what was being said. It was being repeated over and over. Then, just as a young woman passed me, I heard her repeating, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Over and over she was repeating those words.

I caught a second wind and finished the race. Those words gave me the boost I needed to finish the race.

Through Christ we can do all things. We can break down and pass through barriers. He gives grace, strength and ability.

So repeat it with me, "I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST....."

Friday, February 3, 2012


So imagine you are stranded in a far, far, away desert. It is hot, real hot. You have been walking for miles with no shade in sight. Your shoes are scorching. You’re sunburned, blistered, and weakening. Your lips are parched. No help is in sight. You keep seeing mirages that evaporate just as you think you’re saved. The heat is unbearable.

Then a passerby approaches in the distant. They have water, lots of water. They have so much water they are sloshing it around, even spilling some on the ground.

They see you, but don’t seem to realize your plight. Your thirst is unquenchable. Maybe they don’t realize you are close to death. Your eyes, your dry mouth scream for even a small cup. Can’t they see?

They pass on. Now, they’re gone.

Vultures are circling, round and round they circle watching and waiting. They sense death in the air. Coyotes are howling. Another meal is close. Dehydration sets in. There is no hope.

You die.

All you wanted was water.

No one cared.......


Now, if the roles were reversed would you stop and offer free water?

For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward. -- Jesus

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


In my personal devotions I read Tuesday morning of King Saul's death. It is a tragic ending to a tragic story. King Saul looked like a king. Everything about him made people at first glance take to him and want to follow him. King Saul could have had concluded his reign right, but he didn't.

After being wounded in battle, he plead for his armor bearer to kill him. The armor bearer was afraid and wouldn't kill King Saul so King Saul fell on his sword and died.

I Chronicles 10 reads, "Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord; he did not keep the word of the Lord....11. and did not inquire of the Lord...."

Faithfulness counts. Faith workout works is dead. Another way to put it is that faith without faithfulness is dead. When we are unfaithful, the final outcome is death. That is what happened to Saul.

Why is it so hard to be faithful? Discouragement, pride, short-sidedness, and lack of purpose are all at the root of unfaithfulness. Saul was unfaithful for all the above reasons and more. It cost his kingdom and his life.

I want to be found faithful when our Lord comes or whenever I stand before Him.

Faithfulness counts in God's Kingdom.