“Old Days”

This morning I woke up thinking about the Burger Hut in Orange, Texas. It has been closed for years now, but my formative years were spent sitting around the back table with many of my friends, enjoying good food, Dr. Peppers, and hilarity. Of course, I inhaled enough second-hand smoke in that place to rival the Marlboro man, and it was not out of the ordinary for me to eat our modern day’s yearly intake of fat in a twenty-four hour period. (The “burro” was a huge burrito filled with meat [I never asked what kind], refries, Spanish rice, covered with copious amounts of chili, grease, cheese, and jalapeño peppers. And, since I weighed in at a sopping wet 155 pounds, I could eat two of them. Such activity today would require a visit to ICU.)

These memories remain (I can almost taste the “burro” to this day–in my mind, not because of heart burn) because those days were special to me. It was then that I was learning about life, relationships, and most importantly, about God. Although the church that I grew up in was definitely program driven (I have often wondered if it was a good thing that I kissed a girl for the first time on the church bus during youth choir tour—I still think fondly of red-headed Sally) and more stress was put on Flake’s Formula for Sunday School growth than on theology; it was there where I was confronted with the Gospel, was called to faith by God’s Spirit, and was given a love for God’s Word that has never waned in these last 40 years.

I did not deserve to experience God’s grace, but I will be forever grateful that God is not only holy, just, and a consuming fire, but that He is also a God of mercy and grace, who through Christ’s keeping of the Law, and sacrificial death, provided the means for my salvation for “we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.” (Galatians 2:16)



  1. Renee, Lindsey, and Lauren said,

    June 23, 2011 at 9:13 AM

    Funny thing, I woke up with a lingering dream of you singing hymns to your dog to get him to obey your commands. I think that some how was related to Father Tim of Mitford, he quoted scripture to his lab to keep him from jumping on people.

    • cliftonr said,

      June 23, 2011 at 9:24 AM

      It was definitely a dream since my dog never obeys any commands. (Although I haven’t tried singing hymns to her–Maybe, “Trust and Obey?”)

  2. Ellis Hayden said,

    June 23, 2011 at 1:00 PM

    Those were “The Old Days” …God used those experiences and people to mold and shape our lives. Our first experiences with God were in those places with those people. When I think back to those days in my life, I am extremely grateful. Especially, for friends like you, Clifton, and your parents, George, Roy, Bro. Tony, the Armstrongs, the Sunday football games, McDonald Memorial, Der Weinerschnitzel, the Huckaby’s, and all the stories and sermon illustrations they have provided

    • Renee, Lindsey, and Lauren said,

      June 23, 2011 at 3:07 PM

      : )

    • cliftonr said,

      June 23, 2011 at 5:17 PM

      The Lord truly was good to all of us.

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