The journey began when I was five years old with my dad taking me fishing at a place called The Dead End Road. It was on the banks of the Olentangy River where dad taught me how to fish and began giving me clues on how to live a good life. The book identifies biblical principles that helps sculpture a life that is pleasing to God and glorifies Him. The road ended at the Olentangy, but the journey was just beginning. I learned much about life that has helped my become a better father, husband,grandfather, pastor, brother, friend, neighbor and more.
The Dead-End Road Devotional teaches applicable lessons on hope, restraint, faith, love, peace, and more. The author shares lessons he has learned on the three paths of life: contemplation, transition, and activity.
As you read this book you will be able to identify the hooks that show in your life that may be destroying relationships. You will like the chapter on lures, lies and location and you will find humor in the pole that got away and the hot coals and plastic bucket.
The book is enjoyable, easy to read and apply, but hard to forget. Enjoy the Book.
Targeted Age Group:: Adult
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
i have desired to share the principles that my dad began to teach me at the Olentangy River when I was just five years old. They are very helpful in the way that I navigate life and I think they would be helpful for others. I have been teaching these principles with biblical support for many years. I had begun writing this book many times in my 37 years of ministry. After retirement I was inspired to share the wisdom that I have been given in a series of books. This is the first.
When I go fishing, I use many types and sizes of hooks. Hooks are sharp, and they hurt if they penetrate the skin. I didn’t like playing around with them because I’d often get hooked, and I know first hand, hooks hurt.
Likewise, when I allow my anger, bad attitude, or any number of negative emotions and personality quirks to show, I am allowing my figurative hook to show. Much like when an angry bear shows its claws and teeth, when someone allows their hooks to show, it negatively affects relationships. These hooks can damage and be very destructive. I’m always sorry when I realize my hooks have been showing. I need God to help me recognize my hooks and to be aware of how they affect others.
Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. -1 Peter 3:8 12
I will always be grateful to Dad for teaching me about fishing. He taught me all about hooks and how I had to be careful with them. He also taught me to cast the line. Learning how to cast without getting the hook stuck in a bush, or a tree, or my clothing was very tricky. After many, many attempts, I finally got the hang of it. But hooks can be treacherous.
Starting with that first fishing trip, Dad almost always caught the first fish. I’d been taught to be happy when good things happened to other people, so I was okay with Dad catching the first fish—elated even—because I just knew that I would catch the next fish. One time, after he caught the first one, Dad caught another fish, and another, and then another. I hadn’t gotten even a nibble on my line. I was no longer happy for him. I was full-blown jealous. I may have even yelled out, “This isn’t fair!” or “Don’t you get it, God? Dad is catching fish, and I’m not.”
Dad had been watching me, and I am sure he saw my attitude change. He’d suggested that I place my line closer to his. Maybe there was a school of fish right below where he was fishing. I’d been eager to do that and hoping he would suggest it. The result, however, was the same—he continued to catch fish, but I didn’t. Next, he suggested that I check my bait. I pulled my line in and saw the worm. So I thought the bait was fine. “Looks okay to me,” I said sarcastically.
He then asked if the hook was showing. What did he mean by that? I looked at my bait a little closer. Sure enough, the worm had wiggled its way off part of the hook. That shiny pointed hook was visible. If I were a fish, I wouldn’t bite that worm either. I pushed that Houdini worm back on the hook and cast it back in the water. The next thing I knew, the fish were biting, and I caught a fish. Checking to see whether the hook is showing has become routine for me whenever I go fishing. One of the little secrets to fishing is knowing that the fish won’t bite if they can see the hook.
As a pastor, I cannot think of a single person that I do not sincerely love. I desire the very best for everyone I know. I want them to be saved and know Jesus, live a full and abundant life, and go to heaven. My desire is for them to be happy and have hope, peace, joy, love, faith, and more. All of the things I want for myself—I hope they receive as well.
The truth is, I might not be the very best thing for a lot of people. Some people wear on my nerves, and I’m sure I wear on some people’s nerves, too. I’d help them, but I don’t necessarily want to hang out with them. If certain people don’t come to my dinner table tonight, I will not be disappointed. My love for them does not rely on having a best-friend relationship with them. It might be best if we stay away from each other. Some relationships and personalities mix like oil and water—not very well. My love for all people is sincere. I desire the best for them and, in some cases, I know that I am not part of that.
Some types of people, even though I love them, are tough for me to be around. Things they do, their mannerisms, or things they say make me anxious. They have hooks that are visible to me. Hooks—such as personality quirks and preferences—are displayed through temperament and emotions, and we all have them. Some of these hooks bother me but might not bother you or they may bother you and might not bother me.
I find it difficult, for example, to be around people who are extremely loud and obnoxious. It’s not that I don’t love them. Quite to the contrary! At a football game, my wife, Dottie, usually gets extremely loud and obnoxious. A friend of ours also gets loud and obnoxious, just like her. When our friend is also at the same game, they often sit together, and I often sit a couple of rows behind my obnoxious friend and loud, boisterous, whistling wife. I sit beside my friend’s wife and he sits with mine and this has become somewhat of a joke. I don’t associate well with loud and obnoxious people—not even my wife of forty-eight years. I’m just glad she and our friend are not that way all the time.
Avoiding hooks can be a two-way street. Dottie would rather not sit beside me at a game because she resents me telling her not to yell, scream, whistle, or be obnoxious. She likes doing those things when she is supporting her team. I get it! We both enjoy the game, but we enjoy it better if we do not sit next to each other. She can yell, scream, and be obnoxious, and we don’t have to feel uncomfortable being next to each other.
I am a very organized person. I like to plot our trips: where we will take breaks, where we will eat, where we will spend the night, how many miles we will travel in a day, etc. I often make checklists and work hard to check off everything on the list. My wife liked that about me early in our marriage, but not so much anymore. She gets a little annoyed with me trying to schedule every minute of our vacation. She likes spontaneity, so we compromise and I limit my scheduling.
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