Keeping things given to us by God simple, even though we live in a very complicated world.
Friday, December 28, 2007
This got me to thinking that this is both an honor and a great responsibility. Since I don't have a site meter on this blog, I don't know how many hits I get here in a day, and I don't know where the hits come from. But what I do know is this: there may be someone in need when they come across our blogs, someone who may need a word of encouragement.
Shortly after I got saved in 1980, I asked the Lord to give me a ministry. In the past 27 years I have been a song leader, assistant choir director, sang solos in church, taught Sunday School, and preached a few messages. Most of these gave me a good ego stroke. When it hit home that one coming to this blog comes looking for spiritual food, that really humbled me.
Pray that I don't disappoint my friends who stop here. I will pray that those who minister here in the blogosphere can help feed those who are starving spiritually, and we all can maintain the sweet fellowship we have.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
The article is about how churches sometime beautify and sanitize the Christmas story. Terry also writes that the story of Joseph should be an example for people of all faiths to follow.
It should be of interest to those who find themselves raising a child that they didn't bring into the world themselves.
Take some time to reflect on the very humble beginnings of the greatest man who ever lived.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Some of the related features include other clips from this special. Other Christmas carols include a clip from the Tonight Show of Sandy Patty singing "Go Tell it on the Mountain." As Johnny Carson introduces Sandy Patty he holds up her latest record album. Seems strange for him to hold up something so big as a 33-1/3 RPM album.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
I hope you're still with me. The reason that I am posting this is because of a Christian publication that feels that there should not be "Christian" blogs. Their reasoning is that anyone can have a bad experience against some church or Christian college, which would be of their own doing, and are in the position to influence millions with their views.
What hurts is this reasoning paints anyone who wants to express their faith with a broad brush, and I take exception to this.
There are those who read these words that inspire me to do my best. There are also those, such as Kathy, who utilize their blogs to read like a good devotional. There are also those who I have learned to rely on as prayer warriors.
I am not going to give a link to the Christian publication which I referred to in the second paragraph, as I don't want to risk offending anyone who reads this. I didn't agree with the article, but the same ministry that publishes the paper also published the booklet I was reading over 27 years ago which put me under conviction that I needed Jesus in my life.
I just wish the folks who cast aspersions on the Christian blogosphere would read blogs like "Kathy's Klavier" or "This and That."
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Sunday, December 9, 2007
There are times when I wonder why it's so difficult for a Christian to act human.
We put on our clothes the same way as others. We get tired at the end of the day. We eat . We sleep.
Just like those who don't claim to be Christians.
And just like Jesus when he walked the Earth.
This month we celebrate the birth of Jesus. Jesus is God in the flesh. when He walked the Earth, He showed mercy on those who would accept mercy, gave answers to those who inquired of Him, and love when others demanded judgement.
Jesus had human emotions. He got hungry and thirsty. He got angry when He needed to. His anger was towards the religious leaders, not those who those leaders looked down on.
We sometimes think WWJD- What would Jesus do. The only way for us to find out what Jesus would do id read His word. Be a student. Ask for God's love, agape love, to flow through you and read His word through eyes of love,
Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law-Romans 13:8
And notice in the above verse, it doesn't say love only Christians, but love one another. It's hard, but it's possible.
Saturday, December 8, 2007
With Christmas swiftly approaching, you may have some ideas about either wanting to avoid certain people or tell them what you think of them, neither of which is the Christlike thing to do. The voices in our heads may be telling us not to listen to others because their problems are their own fault. Or that person's testimony is always the same when they stand up.
Fact of the matter is, some folks only think of Jesus twice a year-Christmas and Easter. There could be a reason why. Maybe the voices in our heads are telling us to just have fellowship with those we know, or see more often. Maybe that's the reason. The voices in THEIR heads are telling them that there are no friendly people in church. Maybe the voices in their heads are telling them that they aren't good enough to have fellowship with the more regular church goers.
Remember, the only Bible some people see are how much Jesus we let shine through us.
I am going to end this post with a plug for my friend Terry Pluto. He is a sports columnist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. He also loves the Lord and writes a faith column every other Saturday. Terry has written over 20 books on sports and some on faith. A great gift idea would be one of his books. Check out the selection at www.terrypluto.com.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
9.Waitress from chicken house calls. Wants to know if everything's okay.
8.Airport calls, says the snoring of congregation is too loud.
7.You go on a two day fast before you go to church. It's half over before you leave.
6.Instead of tithes, ushers are collecting rent.
5.Says morning message is only 60 minutes which actually means what will be on TV when message is over.
4.When he says he may be taking too much time, the amen corner responds with "AMEN"
3.Young man falls from third floor, dies and is brought back to life. See Acts 20:7-12
2.During miracle service, many are cured of insomnia.
And the number one sign:
People depicted in stained glass windows are looking at their watches.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
My in law's were getting ready to go to Florida for the winter when the stroke occurred. It turned out to be a "mini stroke." Well they spent Christmas in Ohio, which meant they got to see their great grandchildren on Christmas Eve. Sometimes things like that turn out to be compensation for a minor inconvenience.
The day after Christmas, it was on to Florida, traveling tandem with a couple from their church. Health wise the stay in Florida was nothing out of the ordinary, but they flew my wife and her sister down to help with the drive back this past spring.
My father in law had a couple of setbacks during the spring but nothing major. His heart doctor told him late in the summer that his heart was in the best condition in years. The plan was to drive to Florida on their own, which went well until late September he was showing his neighbors how to do something they were doing easier and his defibrillator went off. At this poing my wife got a call from her mother. She said that she was going to call her sister and have them sell their trailer in Florida. Kathy told her that I had vacation time and would drive them down if they could fly me back. I had told my father in law the day my mother died, when he called me and told me how much they appreciated the care I gave my mom. I told him if need be, I would do the same for them.
They took me up on the offer, and insisted that I take time to enjoy myself there. I've never been to Florida, so there are things I will see in person for the first time. I will also get to go to the orange juice processing plant, where I can drink all the juice I want. They will take me to the ocean(another first), and I will get away from the rat race for a week.
Monday, November 5, 2007
On October 16, I posted about Terry Pluto on my Seek Him First blog. I sent him a link to it and he responded by a very nice email asking for my home address. He sent me a book he co-wrote with Bill Glass titled "Champions for Life-The Power of a Father's Blessing." He autographed it-"To Cliff-You are a Blessing!" That, in itself, really blessed me.
I was reading this book as I was waiting to see the doctor late this afternoon. What I was reading was what Bill Glass, former Cleveland Browns player and current prison evangelist, had written about men and women needing blessings from authority figures. I am taking this book to Florida with me and I will review it in the weeks ahead.
This occurred to me: Those who read these blogs are a real blessing to me. I get encouragement from those who leave comments here. Those who find these blogs through other blogs, just about all of the time, usually begin with "I really enjoy your blog." I fear that sometimes I may not respond in kind. I've gotten email from those who are concerned about my emotional state and they always pick me up. Sindi just did that for me last week, and it's touching that someone whom I've never met could be such a blessing me.
Those who wished me a happy birthday last Tuesday really blessed my heart. Those who consider me a friend and say so on their blogs or in my comment section, your words are priceless.
And before I post this, I want to say this to those who are my friends but aren't bloggers:Your comments here give me something to brag about to other bloggers I want to be a blessing to everybody and some of you show me how to do it.
One final exhortation:Be as much a blessing to others as you are to me.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
There are also some things happening, in my life, which has made feel like I'm the everyday variety white trash. My world seems to be crashing around me at this point. An expression I always use to give me some motivation in these occasions is "this too shall pass."
Anyway, I've been doing some moping around this weekend, just doing enough to get by. Then I thought as I was surfing the web, I wonder what Terry Pluto wrote in his faith column yesterday. So I checked it out. It's amazing how the Lord works. Terry's column was titled "Getting up again and again after falling down". It was about how Christians keep having to ask the Lord to help them up time and again after feeling low.
God has a way of communicating, doesn't he?
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Sometimes I wonder why this is so. There are many reasons given. We live too far away from others we go to church with, people are working all the time and are too busy are two of them.
People are spread too far apart in our church: Sometimes Christians are bound too much to tradition. They stay in the same church even though they live an hours drive away. That's fine when we all gather together on Sunday, but during the week, if we need encouragement of any kind, it's hard to find someone to talk to.
I recall when I first got saved in 1980. We were going to a Southern Baptist church. It was the one my wife grew up in, founded by one who come from Georgia and some of the first members were folks who come from the south to the Cleveland area by lure of good jobs in the auto factories. The pastor had stressed belonging to a "local, New Testament church". My wife, being bound by tradition and not wanting to hurt her parents, felt that it was wrong for me to want to change churches when we moved to Rittman, which was about 20 miles away from that church. After we went elsewhere for about a year, we returned there and stayed for the next twelve years. But by that time, all those that my wife had grown up with had moved out of state.
I stressed to the pastor when we had left that we were urged to go to a "local, New Testament church" but this church, and the other members were long distance by phone.
But that's the problem by and large. Most people in the church don't live in the community that the church is in. It's very difficult for the church to serve that community. The very visible church on Sunday becomes the invisible church during the week. We can't reach the lost by osmosis, and we also can't fellowship by ESP.
I'm enjoying the encouragement that I'm getting from fellow bloggers and messages we all pass back and forth in the comments section. But I really feel for those who don't get the physical pat on the back when they do well, or the hug they need when they are hurting.
We need fellowship during the week over a cup of coffee and piece of pie. If the lost can see believers loving one another and serving one another then maybe they will see what they need through us.
Friday, October 19, 2007
I am way past that and have gotten a pretty good out of town following since that day. In the past few weeks, my faith based blog, "Seek Him First" has somewhat taken off, also with readers from outside of Northeast Ohio.
This past week I blogged about Terry Pluto on the Seek Him First side. I had posted links to Terry's articles before on the WIXY side, but this time was the first on the SHF side.
I had also emailed Terry with the link to the post. Even though Terry answers all his email, I hadn't expected a quick response with so much happening in Cleveland sports this week. He emailed me back right away, telling me how much he appreciated that. He also sent me a book of his and in signing that he wrote that I was a blessing. The times I have met Terry in person, he has always given me the impression that he was regular people. He takes time for everyone where he's at and respects those around him, no matter who they are. In short, he lives the faith he professes.
All the comments on that post were favorable. I will post links to his faith columns there when I know that they are on cleveland.com.
Will this get the comments that the Trivisonno post got? I doubt it, but I'm writing this to let my readers know how much a blessing I got.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
I have some good response from my post the other day about Terry Pluto. I emailed Terry with a link to both of my blogs. One of the posts from WIXY's Gone Bananas concerned a ministry partner of his, named Gloria.
Gloria is a lady whom you can tell by the first minute you talk to her that she loves the Lord. Gloria has a vital part in the Summit County jail ministry. Terry conducts a bible study there. Terry has told me in person that if there was any star in the ministry, it would be Gloria.
During other hours, Gloria works at Sam's Club, passing out samples as a demo person. I was going through a rough period a little over a year ago and I shared some information with her. She wouldn't let me leave until she prayed for me-right there in the store.
Back to Terry. He is head sports columnist at the Plain Dealer, and I figured that he would be too busy to send a response right away since the Indians were in the American League Championship Series. Guess what? He sent me a response yesterday afternoon, a very nice one at that.
Terry has written many books on sports topics. He likes to tell the story about how he would complain about his job to his dad who would then say, "You get paid to go to ball games" which would put things into perspective. He has also written two books specifically on faith topics, "Everyday Faith" and "Faith and You." I know that he sent 10% of his profits of the first book to the Haven of Rest, a homeless ministry in Akron.
He also sent me links about his books and columns.
Plain Dealer column archive(includes sports columns)
Plain Dealer faith columns.
I plan to add these links to my sidebar in the very near future.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
This past Saturday, Terry wrote an excellent column on being offended. Click here for story.
And for all my recent friends click here for something I wrote about Terry on my other blog.
One last thing. I am really enjoying the fellowship in the comment sections in all the linking blogs
Monday, October 15, 2007
Daniel 2:21 KJV
I gave this advice twice this past weekend, once to a fellow announcer at a high school band show and once to a fellow blogger-Be yourself.
You cannot do your best when you use other people's talents.
All too often we envy others for their talents while making excuses about why we aren't all we could be for the Lord. God didn't give me your talent because he has a different ministry for me.
We are responsible for using the tools God has given us for the up building of His kingdom.
God invests in us, and He is a wise investor. If we use these talents the value of our "stock" go up, and God will give us more. If we don't use our talents, they will be taken away from us.
God wants the best for His children but he wants us to use the best for His glory.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
I figure if I didn't post today, some would get concerned since I have some real super friends who stop by here. So as I was showering this morning, I come up with the idea, actually I ripped it off, I mean borrowed it, from the Cleveland Plain Dealer, of Thankful Thursday. I am starting this at 4am my time, and hope to have it posted during my morning break so it will be up before my regular readers take their strolls through the "bloggerhood". And it will be on both blogs.
First, I am thankful that I have good friends who read these blogs, those who have been with me from the start, in August, 2006, to those who who have started reading recently. Your comments brighten my day.
I am also thankful for the job I have even though it's not my dream job and it's 46 miles from my house.
But I'm also thankful that I have reliable transportation to get me there, even if it is a two toned(blue and rust) 1989 Toyota.
I'm thankful that I have a home to go to at night.
I'm thankful that over the years I have always had enough food to eat, to the point I need to lose weight.
I'm thankful that I have those at home who care about me.
I'm thankful that we had enough extra money to eat out yesterday, even if it was Wendys.
Because I am thankful that an old friend of the family followed us in just to say "hi".
I'm thankful that the weekend is coming up, and Rittman has their homecoming game on Friday, and that we have a show to go to Saturday.
I'm thankful God gave a big booming voice and that I can use it to help 44 student musicians.
And that the Rittman Marching Band gives me a good product that makes it easy for me to yell about.
I'm thankful that I have some singing ability, because due to some people not being in church this past Sunday I was asked to lead the singing.
Remember the Bible says that there is power in praise. Start your own "Thankful Thursday" list. It's a very easy post to do because once you start the ideas flow freely.
Thursday, October 4, 2007
So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
Proverbs 27:17 NJKV
One thing that's amazed me in the past few weeks is how many friends I have made through the Internet. First it was Liquid. Then off her blog, I was introduced to Pilgrim. Last week I was introduced to Frasypoo, and through her blog I was introduced to Kathy's Klavier. And before all this I had known through the Cleveland.com message boards a gentleman known as WZZP.
All these good people have taught me a thing or two about living the Christian life. WZZP was there for me when I was going through depression last winter. Liquid has done a great job in making me feel me about my blogging and has been a fantastic friend behind the scenes.
The first post I commented about on Pilgrim's Scrawl, was about Pilgrim being a serial intercessor. By the way, I was just at Pilgrim's Scrawl and Pilgrim has posted that he will be away from the blogosphere for 1-1/2 weeks, and he wants us to pray for him. He and I have had some contact through email, and we also have become good friends.
Another introduced to me by Liquid is Frasypoo. Frasypoo originally is from India, but now hails from Georgia. Frasypoo is very frank about her religious and political views, but will also let you know if you are doing a good job blogging. She is a very committed Christian.
Kathy(not Mrs74WIXYgrad) came here this week, having discovered me through Frasypoo. I've taken a look at her blog and am impressed. She seems to be a relatively young Christian, but has her feet firmly planted Check out her blog, Kathy's Klavier.
Let me tie this all together. Why have I told you about all these good folks? Because we all need each other. These people have all been working on sharpening me and I hope I have been able to help sharpen them.
It's been said that no man's an island and we aren't. We need contact one with another. God created man in order to have someone to fellowship with. He expects his greatest creation to have fellowship one with another. We can learn from others. We can teach others. Jesus told the disciples to Go therefore and teach all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost. We need to learn from some before we can teach others.
Monday, October 1, 2007
Let the music speak to you.
Sunday, September 2, 2007
Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, "Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!" And God granted him what he requested.-1Chronicles 4:10 NASB
Since I've started posting on the media forums, which led to these blogs, I've heard from others who set out in life to do something and ended up in another direction. I have felt privileged and honored that these fine folks have shared their stories with me.
I've heard from those who set out to get more formal education, something most adults don't want, in order further their lot in life and in doing they help others, whether it be their family or others. I've been told of those who went into another field in order to be with their families. That, in my book, is a sign of someone who has their priorities in order.
There are times that we think we know what we want and we make these decisions out of youthful ignorance. We want to be the next big thing, or leave college and become company president. Most likely, ain't gonna happen.
The bible verse I used for this is called the Prayer of Jabez, also a title of a best selling book form a few years ago. It's listed in Pilgrim's profile as one of his favorite books. Jabez asks the Lord to give him a greater reach and protect him. We all need to pray that prayer. Even though I'm a Pentecostal, I don't believe in the name it and claim it types of prayers. I believe that God will give you the resources in order to expand your boundaries. You also are responsible for what you do with them.
You may need the tuition to go to college. God works in many ways. He may help you find assistance in the way of scholarships, or He may help you get extra work to help pay for it. God gives us intelligence, and he also gives us ability.
First thing we need is a plan. Plan your work and work your plan. Shoot at your goals. You never achieve goals if you never set goals.
Two of my readers are extending their education. One is going for a masters degree the other a Ph. D. My daughter who is right now student teaching has told me that her goal is a Ph. D. These three are looking to have their borders expanded and have a plan in how to do it.
In churches, a plan is always being worked on about how to expand the reach in the community. It might be knocking on doors, it may be feeding the poor, or things that appeal to youth. Some feel that they should be in constant fasting and prayer. I've learned over the years not to knock any method of outreach if it brings people in. Especially if these folks get something(a feeling of belonging) they can't get elsewhere.
I have never set goals and wonder where would I be if I had? Now well in my second half of life, I am looking to work on some goals. If you have goal problems, pray the prayer of Jabez and ask the Lord for guidance and ability to use your expanded territories.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
I saw that sign and went to my own church. I sat down at my seat and meditated on the following verse.
But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;-1Corinthians 1:27 KJV
I also thought about about Pilgrim's latest post where he dwells upon taking his wife, Virtue and Baby Pilgrim to a medical appointment. He was worried about his child being uncomfortable when a parent with a child who was suffering more than Pilgrim's. Pilgrim was worried about the other child being called in before his, but Virtue told him that they should let the other child go before theirs. Pilgrim then mused that even though he was supposed to be the more educated one of the two Virtue, taught him a lesson. Click here to read the post. See if you don't maybe see yourself there.
In these times of powerful computers and emphasis on education, we sometimes forget about the Lord and in doing so we end up working hard and not smart.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
The message today was from Matthew 22, where one of the Pharisees asked Jesus a question; "Master, which is the great commandment in the law?"
37Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38This is the first and great commandment.
39And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Matthew 22:37-40 KJV
Sometimes we don't get it as far as the love part is concerned. If you check out the 10 commandments it's broken down this way: the first set of commandments tell us how we should love God, the other set tells us how we should love one another.
God loves us so much that he bankrupted heaven to come to earth and pay the penalty for our sins. We, as humans have a problem showing love towards other, even the brotherly love we get the name "Philadelphia" from. God wants us to love one another with the love he describes through the apostle Paul in 1st Corinthians 13. I linked up King James version of that chapter, but you can go to the drop bar and switch to a version you are familiar with.
That love is translated from the Greek word agape, which is the love you can get only from God himself.
I was thinking about this while sitting in church this morning. Most folks who read these words will never come face to face with me in this lifetime, but I love(agape) all those who read these words and want you to be with me in heaven. Click here for the plan of salvation from Billy Graham's web site. (Also remember to pray for Dr. Graham as I saw he was hospitalized yesterday.)
Those who know Jesus as their savior, pray that His love shines through you and others who see this message. And pray the same for me.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
The post that caught my eye last night was one which he describes himself as a "serial intercessor" which to means that he prays for people methodically. He will pray for you without your knowledge, which to me is very cool. This means Pilgrim doesn't want personal glory for his actions. We should all be that way.
Pastor Wesley was one of a dying breed of preachers, one who preached the Word of God without fear of favor, one of those who had a vision to see souls saved. His son Jeffrey Ball will see that vision proceed.
Pray for the family in this time and pray for the church, that we can continue with Brother Wesley's vision.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
We seem to forget those words in this personality driven time we live in. That's unfortunate.
Jesus is our only hope if we want to make it.
We can look up to others if we like, but we shouldn't try to copy them, since as human beings, we all have flaws. Flaws that can only be smoothed out by the masters hand.
We should strive to be just like the master who does the smoothing.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
The Bible tells us to "Cast all our care upon the Lord for he cares for you" It says care and not cares. We are not supposed to pack all our troubles in our old kit bag and smile. What we are supposed to do is hand our problems one by one to Jesus, as they come along. Then we have to praise Him. There is power in praise.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Sitting at my desk at break time this morning, I got to thinking about the book of James, a book that I think Christians should read often, and I will apologize to my KJV only friends right now. They should read the book in several translations.
The main thought I get out of the book of James is that "Faith without works is dead". I've noticed in the past several years that churches say that they have a missionary thrust, but with their lives they pretty much say "bless us four and no more"
Case in point: about 10 years ago, we changed churches after a long painful decision on our part. My wife had grown up in that church, but doctrinal differences between the pastor and her dad had caused a split within the church. We settled in a church where we had thought the people shown love one towards another. The problem was it was a family church. We had about how much people were quick to visit the sick and support those in need.
Fast forward about 3 1/2 years. I was in the hospital having knee replacement surgery. The stay in the hospital was five days. You want to know how many come to the hospital to visit, besides the pastor? Uh, none. One member told my daughter that "Cliff needed his rest".Funny though some time later the assistant pastor's wife was in the hospital having a baby(by c-section). She wrote in the church newsletter about the stay, and commented that "crowd control was needed" when she mentioned about her visitors. I guess that someone who just had a baby didn't need her rest.
Galatians 6:2 says "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ" KJV
Prayer request time comes and we are told to keep it brief when we present our requests. In keeping our worship time in the neat little package we forget that some people are hurting and maybe the Lord wants us to know it. Keeping it brief sometimes only stifles those who are being attacked in a big way by the adversary.
Bearing some body's burden means more than saying "Wonder how so and so is doing?" without actually seeing them and praying for them.
Next time you are in church and you hear a prayer request for the umpteenth time and you are tired hearing about remember our Lord spent nine hours on a cross after being spit upon and beat almost to death for that person(and you too) to give that request. Take note of that request. Turn their burden into your burden. Pray as hard for it as you would pray for your self, and maybe you can shout the victory with that person.
Sunday, January 7, 2007
Our church has a really good sound system with a CD player, cassette player, and mini disc player. We have several musicians playing guitars, drums, piano and keyboard. But simply this morning it was an "old boy", as Brother Sipple likes to call himself, an acoustic guitar, and a voice which for many years has gone from place to place praising the Lord.