Friday, June 28, 2013


I love books. There is so much to learn and enjoy in reading. You can travel the world and never leave your easy chair or spend a dime. It is joyous entertainment as well as intellectual inspiration.

It has been my habit for years to make a weekly trip to the library. Books are free at the library, and free is better than cheap.

One book that I am really enjoying is the daily devotional book that Wanda and I are reading through this year. It is the One Year Devotional for Couples entitled Love Talk by Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott. It is so insightful.

They speak where I live. They motivate and encourage. They convict and cleanse. They have blessed our marriage.

Here are a few quotes that stand out:

What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies. -- Aristotle

Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of joy, you must have somebody to divide it with.
--  Mark Twain

Lord, grant that I might not so much be loved as to love. --St. Francis of Assisi

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


From the beginning of our marriage, Wanda and I have prayed daily with each other and shared in a devotional time of reading God's Word. It is our morning ritual with few exceptions. If we ever miss a day, which is rare, then the next day we pick up and start again. This adds power to our relationship and marriage and everything we do.

Whenever there is a need one of us have, then the other prays for that need. Whatever common or family needs we have, we pray together over them. We pray for our children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, friends, church family, Nation, and neighbors.

I cannot tell you how many times our devotional reading for the morning spoke exactly to what we were facing for the day. There have been specific issues that we were dealing with that our devotion spoke to and gave encouragement, guidance, wisdom, and correction. It is amazing.

How valuable is this time we spend together?

I would say it is the most valuable time we spend together on any day. What could be more important than waiting on God together? Or praying together? Or praying over the issues of the day?


Of course I have other study and devotional times that are private and so does Wanda. That is when God speaks to me personally for me as well as to Wanda.

That renews us so we can face the day and do His will. It strengthens us so we can better serve and help others. It is a power source beyond any other source.

Why am I emphasizing this now?

Maybe it will encourage someone to renew their prayer and devotional time with their spouse and family. Maybe it will be a difference maker in someone's future.

Monday, June 24, 2013


I don't believe in magic, at least not magic that would be considered to be mystical or supernatural. Illusions or tricks can confuse the mind and make one believe things that they ordinarily know not to be true, but illusions are not magic and magic is not real.

Or is it?

There are two sources of power and one power is far, infinitely greater than the other.

The great power is the power of God. The weaker power is satanic power, but it is limited and it is filled with lies.

God's ways are are true, righteous, holy, and just. He is faithful and full of mercy, grace, peace and joy. He doesn't trick, fool, deceive, or lie. God's nature is always true. That is His goodness.

Yet, how is it that people can be so easily deceived by satan's lies? Satan is a bait and switch guy. He never lives joy or peace. His lies always lead to death. He is the ultimate deceiver.

This past Sunday we had an illusionist share in our morning service. He told told people up front that everything he did was an illusion or trick. He said that his slight of hand was by design to get you to believe something that you otherwise wouldn't and then he related it to how satan works. It was impressive and caught people's attention.

Here is the point!

God always turns on the light. He doesn't hide truth. There is no darkness nor deception in Him. He has no reason to use illusion. He is the life giver and the light brightener.

So I will run to His light and share His light. There is only goodness found in the Lord.

Friday, June 21, 2013


I am a runner and when I run I love listening to music, but not just any music. I love good christian music that is upbeat, fast paced, and alive. I run several mornings a week at the beginning of my day. The moving music helps me wake up and getting going. It quickens my pace and stirs my soul. Most of the songs I listen to include lyrics that speak of God’s love, power, faithfulness, and goodness. Those lyrics encourage me from deep within, and they help my run go faster with higher energy.

God wants us to be upbeat and alive. He is a God of hope. He is a God of today working in unbelievable and incredible ways. His mercies are new every morning. God is always doing new and greater things in our lives, and if we will trust Him and follow Him we can enjoy heaven’s best.

I have found that to begin my day upbeat and alive sets the pace for a fantastic day. There may be setbacks. There may be unexpected bends in the road, but He is there to see me through. To begin upbeat opens my soul for the good things of the Lord.

Music is a favorite pastime of mine. I love all kinds of music from blue grass to classical to jazz to country to Southern Gospel to contemporary to blues. Of course, my passion is  music that is worshipful and exalts the Lord. 

When I begin my day, I love music that is worshipful, upbeat, and alive. That is how I think we should live our lives. We are worshippers. We should be upbeat. We should be alive. Tomorrow morning, turn on some good music and come alive!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Egoism and selfishness go hand in hand. They are kin. They feed off each other. They are in stark contrast to humility and generosity. The fact is that all of us struggle with the two.

I heard a story of a man in church who once was honored for his humility. Sadly, the church had to take back his award as he became too proud and self-centered.

Ha! Not good.

How does ego and selfishness manifest?

Recently in our devotional time, this issue was addressed in the book Wanda and I are reading. The primary illustration centered around who we talk about. Are we willing to listen to others? Do we ask questions of interest of others? Are we concerned about their story? Their hurt? Their trial? Their triumph?

Too often I find myself enjoying telling my story, my experiences, my issues and spending too much time on my stuff rather than listening, receiving, caring. God is patient to listen and care about every part of our lives. He never turns a deaf hear. We should emulate God's character and manner.

Oh God help me and save me from me. Help me to see and hear others. Free me of ego and self.


Monday, June 17, 2013


My daughters, Julie and Jennifer, called yesterday and wished me a Happy Father's Day. Their calls made my day. They are sweet, beautiful, young ladies, and I am very proud and thankful for them. They love their family and are a joy.

Julie sent text cards:

These text cards say it all.

I also called my Dad and wished him a Happy Father's Day. Thank God for his good health and that he is still with us. He is 88 and I am praying that he'll make it to 100. That is my goal too.

We had a long talk and I told him of a number of things that he did for me that I'll never forget and am extremely grateful to him for.

Some of them were:

He took me fishing a lot.
We made and flew model airplanes. I crashed the one he build.
He also took me flying in a small airplane that he piloted.
We made numerous trips as a family. One trip was to California and Oregon and back home to Alabama.
He and mom had more children than just me. I am grateful for my siblings.
Dad as always had a joke that we could laugh about.
God's Word was always read in our home and followed.
We never went hungry or had need.

The list goes on and on. Happy Father's Day, Dad. I love you.

Friday, June 14, 2013


Henry Ward Beecher said,  “The first hour of the morning is the rudder of the day.” What we do first thing sets the pace for the day. Victories or defeats are often determined by what we do first thing each morning. Our attitudes, goals, thoughts, and actions are impacted by our first actions of each morning. 

David wrote, "Let me hear your lovingkindness in the morning for I trust in You. Make me to know the paths in which I should walk for to you I lift up my soul." (Psa 143:8)

Here are five essentials for every morning:

  1. Connect with God: Meditate and pray. Have a brief devotional prayer time and read the Word.
  2. Rejoice and Give Thanks: This is the day the Lord has made. Rejoice. Be Thankful!
  3. Receive the Mercies of the Lord: The mercies of the Lord are new every morning.
  4. Focus on Today. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow will take care of itself.
  5. Do what is Right: Set your heart to follow the righteousness of the Lord. 

David and even our Lord gave special attention to the first moments of each day. They were early morning devotional people. If morning devotions were essential to Jesus and David, they should be even more vital to our spiritual sustenance. 

The Lord will defend, bless, and show favor to those who follow these patterns. Read Ps 5: 11,12. Tomorrow is a new day. Set your heart to follow after the Lord. It will make you day go 100% better. God has promised.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Good habits and good routines make for a disciplined and blessed life. I have noticed that all of the workings of God are with order. Just look at creation and all of the incredible order there.

That works for mankind too. Order makes life go smoother. I am more productive with things in place, life on track, routines on track. Somethings are daily. Somethings need attention regularly while other life demands are not so urgent. Yet, in everything, order blesses.

We are all creatures of habit. We like certain foods and tend to gravitate toward them. We enjoy certain activities and lean toward constant involvement there. These all set up patterns of life.

I find some of my patterns need improving. My eating habits need attention. My thought patterns need refocusing. My ministry habits need refining. All of that pushes toward a better or lessor life.

My spirit is willing to change, but the problem is with the flesh. Flesh wants to stay the same. It wants gratifying. It wants to feel good. Changing the flesh can be painful, and I don't enjoy that. No one enjoys that.

Yet, when I stay on track in these good areas, I am blessed. And, when I am willing to change to new habits and set a new track pattern, I am blessed too.

The goal is to glorify the Lord. The goal is to be my best for Jesus. It is to finish my race well. He will help me to do it. I am counting on the Lord. He will be faithful.

Monday, June 10, 2013


This past weekend I took a couple of classes on outdoor dutch oven cooking with coals. It was fascinating and the food was delicious! The class was offered as part of a training seminar for our boys program at our church. This program specializes in camping so there were numerous classes offered to make camping more enjoyable.

Wanda and I camp several times during the year when the weather is right, no rain and not too hot or too cold. The cooking has become primarily my chore. She does assist with some dishes and helps get the food items together. The outdoor cooking is some of the fun part of camping. A campfire makes camping, and good food cooked on a campfire or outdoors is what it is all about.

The presenter of the dutch oven class was a gourmet chef. He knew his stuff. I was amazed at all his little tricks and ways. Cooking requires good meat and food items and fire and pots and pans. It also requires some know-how. This guy, Wayne, knew how to make it happen.

He cooked cowboy stew, chicken cacciatore, pork chops, peach cobbler, pineapple upside down cake, monkey bread, and a few other dishes.


He was from Georgia and said he grew up in the country where they often cooked outdoors. He has also taken culinary  classes. I was amazed at his skill cooking over coals. He knew how to make the ingredients come together, how to have the proper heat, how to make sure the heat was even, and what pots to use.

Now I have to go invest in some dutch oven dishes and give it a whirl. Amazing!

Friday, June 7, 2013


I am still on my journey to get in better shape. I run several miles several times a week. I do a work-out video several times a  week. I do calisthenics throughout the week, and I am watching my diet also. I've lost about 20 pounds, but losing that last 10 pounds has not been easy. It is still a work in progress.

Having a workout partner helps. Wanda and I work out walking and doing the videos. It is an encouragement to have an encourager who motivates when the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

Here is my biggest problem:

Wanda is a great cook.

Monday evening she made a peach cobbler.

Today she made a pound cake.

Do you know how many calories are in that stuff?

Too many!

Here is what I see happening: either I eat less or run more. It is just that simple. I guess I am going to have to cut back and run a little more.

Maybe I'll get Wanda to run more and then she might not tempt me so much with all those deserts. Wow are they good.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


Dysfunctional people live dysfunctionally. Abnormally is normal. Everything gets turned upside down and inside out. There is total inability to cope and work life out. Mole hills turn into mountains. Mountains become bigger.

How does one get dysfunctional? How about:

Physiological issues?

Chemical embalances?

Lack of discipline of feelings and desires?

Poor dieting?

Lack of sleep and proper rest?

Distortion of life and habits?

Dysfunctional upbringing?

Unleashed rage and anger?

Poor insight?


I think we're all dysfunctional to some degree. All of us get skewed in our view, approach, and evaluations? All of us fall into the trap of "stinkin' thinkin' every so often. Sometimes more than just every so often.

What is the solution? How about making needed life corrections? How about trying a calmer approach? How about getting rational and reasonable in thinking?

Through the years I have counseled many people bordering on being dysfunctional. Once, I called a psychiatrist in my church and discussed a case with him. The psychiatrist asked me to describe the man to him.

I said, "The man is not sleeping good. He is not thinking good. He is not eating good. He is not relating to others good."

The psychiatrist responded that this sounded like 90% of people!


True story.

Life is challenging enough without adding dysfunctional to the list. I think I'll work on trying to be rational more. Life goes better with calm resolutions. Yes!

Monday, June 3, 2013


There are motorcycle rides and then there are motorcycle rides. To be honest, living in East Jacksonville doesn't offer too many glorious rides. If you go farther East, you ride into the Atlantic Ocean. Going West means riding through Jacksonville traffic. So from my house, the rides are basically going either due North or due South.

This past Friday, I rode "The Loop" for the first time. It is a ride going down A1A South through Stl Augustine and on to Flagler Beach then East to Ormond Beach and then North up U.S. 1. It is a spectacular ride for Florida.

You see the Atlantic Ocean and old Florida. I throughly enjoyed doing this ride. The Atlantic view is beautiful and then you ride into what Florida looked like before all these Northerns got here. Ha!

It is about 185 miles round trip from my house and took most of the day. Friday wasn't too hot and their were some cover clouds to shade all along. I went with some guy friends and we enjoyed cruising down the rode.

I plan on taking Wanda on this ride before too long. Of all the rides we have done in Florida, this one was the best. She needs to see it.