Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely , whatever is of good report, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, ponder on these things. - Philippians 4:8

Saturday, December 31, 2011


I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

      How many of you have put together a list of New Year’s resolutions for the new year? When it comes to making New Year’s resolutions, some of us are like Barney and think “I can do it,” and some of us are like Harold and think “No way”.

     It was late in the afternoon on the first day of January and Barney was working hard trying to memorize the 23rd Psalm. Back and forth and round and round he would walk as he would try to memorize and recite one verse after another. After several hours of hard work he finally shouted out in triumph, “I DID IT! I DID IT!”

     Upon hearing Barney’s excitement, Muffy, thinking he was missing out on something came running in to Barney’s backyard, plowing into Barney, knocking him over and than of all things, he sat on him. “HAROLD!” came a some what muffled yell, “GET YOUR STUPID DOG OFF OF ME!”

     “Here, Muffy. Come here Muffy!” Harold called out as he came in to Barney’s backyard and suddenly Muffy got up and ran off in the opposite direction. “Harold!” Barney yelled at him, “Why don’t you teach that dog some manners?” “Sorry,” Harold replied, “Muffy heard you yell with excitement and had to come see what you were doing. By the way, what are you doing?”

     “I’m working on one of my New Year’s resolutions.” Barney told Harold. “A New Year’s Res... Roos... Ra.. A new Year’s what?” Harold asked with a confused look on his face. “A New Year’s Resolution,” Barney repeated, “They’re goals you set to accomplish during the coming year. Memorizing verses is one of mine.”

     “I could never do that.” Harold told him, “Memorizing is boring, besides I don’t have time, I’m too busy chasing Muffy.” “Well,” Barney suggested, “Maybe you would have time if you trained Muffy to obey. Maybe you should make that YOUR New Year’s Resolution. You could train Muffy to obey.”

     “Yeah, right! Tell me another one.” Harold laughed, “I could never do that. Muffy doesn’t listen to me.” “Maybe Muffy would learn to listen,” Barney told him, “If you did, besides if you put yourself to it you can do it. Philippians 4:13 says I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

     “You really think I could say - ‘Here Muffy,’ and he would actually come?” Harold asked Barney but before Barney could answer Muffy came running at them. “It worked!” Harold shouted and than boom, Muffy ran over both of them and kept right on going. “Than again” Barney laughed, “Maybe not.”

     Which is easier, setting goals or fulfilling them? Starting a task or finishing it? Often times we look at a task or a goal and say I can't and it never gets done. What if Nehemiah had said “No way!” when it came to the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem? His story can be found in the book by his name “Nehemiah” I'm just going to highlight a few points and let you read the story for yourself.

     Jerusalem's walls had been destroyed and its people taken, one captive named Nehemiah eventually became a cup-bearer to the king. He is saddened by news of Jerusalem and how it lays in ruins and sets himself a gaol to restore it.

     In reaching his goal he starts where many of fail, he starts by fasting and praying and than with God's help he secures permission from the king to go and rebuild Jerusalem's walls. Once he arrives at Jerusalem he spends 3 days surveying the walls in secret and than gathers together a work force and starts building the walls.

     Once the work is under way, the goal stoppers come out in force to try and stop Nehemiah from accomplishing his goal. In response Nehemiah shifts people around and eventually arms some of them but the work never fails and 52 days after the project got under way there was a 23 foot thick wall surrounding Jerusalem and the enemies became afraid saying this was a work of God.

     An important verse to remember when it comes to getting things done is the only verse I'm using this week - Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (NKJV) Yet, despite such a great promise we often fail to accomplish what we set out to do.

     What is it that hinders you form accomplish a task or reaching a goal? Could any of the following be a problem for you?
  • Is the goal or task too big or too small?
  • Is the goal or task too hard or too easy?
  • Do you find there isn't enough time or maybe too much time?
  • Do you find there isn't enough money or resources or maybe too much?
  • What about friends and family – do they encourage you or discourage you?
  • What about past failures or triumphs?
     I'm sure the list could go on as well as a list of potential goals for the year ahead. Whatever the task or gaols you may have for the new year or even for the next week always remember I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

      Here's Something To Ponder
  • Do you set goals with a goal of failing?
  • Is Christ a part of the goals you do set?

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace - Luke 2:14a

     A passage that is often read at Christmas comes form Luke 2:13-14 where it says And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased." (NAS) While one of the many themes of Christmas is that of peace, at the Peterson household peace was hard to be found the Christmas they were told a baby was on the way.

      Ever Since Martha had told Harold and Stella that a baby was on the way, fighting and arguing had become the rule of the day. “IT IS NOT!” Harold would yell at his sister and than Stella Would yell back “IT IS TOO!” and after a few rounds of shouting at each other the fists would start to fly until Dad stepped in to break up the fighting.

      Before Their Dad ever had a chance to say anything to them about their fighting, Stella would start in trying to blame Harold, “It’s all Harold’s fault.” she would say. Of course Harold wasn’t going to stand by and take the blame and would quickly try to pass the blame back onto his sister “It’s her fault, she started it.” He would say. And the next thing you know, the shouting, and arguing and fighting would start all over.

      “Started what?” Bill shouted trying to get the kids attention. “Harold thinks we’re having a baby brother.” Stella yelled out. “That’s because it is.” Harold yelled back, “We don’t need another girl in this house, one is too many.” “Oh, Yeah.!” Stella shot back, “If you ask me we have too many brothers in this house and that’s why it’s a sister.” and than for the next half an hour Stella and Harold kept trying to out do each other with their yelling. Harold yelling “IT’S A BOY” and Stella Yelling “IT’S A GIRL”

      As the kids started to quiet down, Bill started to tell them about Mary in the Bible and how she responded when she found out she was going to have a baby. “That’s right.” Harold said , “God told her she was going to have a boy just like we are...” but before he could finish Stella started shouting “It’s a girl” again. And that started the shouting match all over again.

      Before long they started pushing and shoving each other around and the yelling kept getting louder. Finally Bill went and got some duct tape and cotton balls. He taped the kids mouths shut, sent them to their rooms and than put the cotton balls in his ears And at least for a couple hours he had some peace and quiet.

      How sad it is that in many families Christmas time becomes a time of contention as family members fight with one another as Harold and Stella or even worse. Imagine for a moment that first Christmas and how much fighting took place between the shepherds. Can you see them sitting around a fire yelling at each other about how lazy they are and how bad they smell and arguing over who's turn it is and using their shepherds staff to hit each other in the head while wolves are slaughtering their sheep.

      Suddenly the sky lights up and they start arguing with each other as to what is causing the light only to be interrupted by an angel and a message. As soon as the angel leaves they turn to arguing again and a fist fight breaks out. Suppose it had been like this on that first Christmas. What we read is quite different.

      Luke 2:8-20 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!" When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. (ESV)

      The message of that first Christmas was not one of contention but of peace. In Isaiah 9:6-7 we read For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. (ESV) Jesus was to be the Prince of Peace – no wonder the angels sang of peace on earth.

      When it comes to peace we should:
  • Love it - Zechariah 8:19 This is what the Lord All-Powerful says: “The special days when you give up eating in the fourth, fifth, seventh, and tenth months will become good, joyful, happy feasts in Judah. But you must love truth and peace.“ (NCV)
  • Look for it - Psalms 34:14 Stop doing evil and do good. Look for peace and work for it. (NCV)
  • Pursue it - 2 Timothy 2:22 Flee from youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. (HCSB)
  • Live it Romans 12:18 If possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone. (HCSB)

      I hope your Christmas goes better than the Peterson’s. Merry Christmas and don’t forget who’s Birthday we’re celebrating - Jesus’, the Prince of Peace.

      Here's Something To Ponder
  • Are your actions bent towards contentions or peace?
  • Are you willing to be at peace?

Saturday, December 17, 2011


And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid,...” Luke 1:30 (ESV)

      It was the last night of practice for the big Christmas play the Pupperville Church kids were going to put on the Sunday before Christmas. The practice had gone very well and the kids were ready for the big night. Soon the parents would be dropping by to pick up their kids but tonight one of the parents was going to need to be picked up.

     As Randy was putting away the props from the play, Bill Peterson met him with a bit of a scowl on his face. “I need to talk too you.” he said “I want to know why you told Stella she needed a baby sister and why you’re teaching my kids songs like ‘Christmas Time In My Heart.’”

     “Oh, boy,” Randy said as he shook his head, “She didn’t really ask for a baby sister, did she?” “I’m afraid so.” Bill answered, “And it’s going to cause some problems.” “Well,” Randy started to answer, “It all started about a week ago as I was putting together a song list for Sunday School. Mindy and Stella had written a new song and they wanted me to include it in my list but it wasn’t a good song. As I tried to convince them to think about sharing instead of getting, Mindy told Stella how great sister’s were to share with and, well, you know the rest of the story.”

     “Oh.” Bill said in response to Randy’s answer, “I guess that explains that, but, how am I going to tell Stella she can’t have a sister for Christmas? As it is now, she’s not only asking but telling everyone that she’s getting one.” “How do you normally tell her she can’t have something?” Randy asked, but Bill just stuttered “I always get her everything.” “I suppose you could tell them what sisters are really like.” Randy told Bill, “Maybe that would change her mind.” “Can’t.” Bill answered, “I never had any sisters.”

     As the two of them stood there trying to figure things out, a giggling Martha came walking up. “What are you two up to?” she asked. “Randy and I are trying to figure out how to tell Stella she can’t have a sister for Christmas.” “I wouldn’t even bother.” came Martha’s reply. “Why not?” Bill asked as his lovely wife started giggling again.

     “SURPRISE!” Martha shouted back “We are going to have a baby.” Upon hearing that Bill started to stutter and than fainted falling flat on his face. Seeing her husband laying on the floor, Martha said “I think he took that well, now to go tell Harold and Stella.” and she stepped over Bill and left.

     As Randy helped Bill back to his feet, he thought about another surprise pregnancy, one that took place in Luke Chapter 1 for it is there we read these words The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus and he wondered if Joseph fainted when he found out as well.

     How many of you like surprises? I suppose it might depend on the surprise. Like Bill in our story, my wife has surprised me seven times but unlike Bill I never fainted at the news. Sometimes God surprises us. As we close in on Christmas Day I think of Joseph and Mary and the surprise God gave them. Maybe we can learn something form them on how to react when God surprises us.

     Fist we'll read of Mary's surprise from Luke 1:26-38 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, "Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!" But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." And Mary said to the angel, "How will this be, since I am a virgin?" And the angel answered her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God." And Mary said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her. (ESV)

     Do you see the surprise – Mary was to have a child – and her response - let God's will be done – How many of us would respond in such away?

     But let's not forget Joseph in all this for while he was to be married to Mary he was not the one who got her pregnant. We can read about him in Matthew 1:18-25 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel" (which means, God with us). hen Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus. (ESV)

     Just imagine the surprise for Joseph when he learns his bride to be is pregnant an he had nothing to do with it. How did he react – Under the laws of the day he could have had Mary put to death but instead he wants to quietly call things off so as not to publicly disgrace her – he responded with mercy in love. Than an angel shows up in his dreams and tells him the rest of the story and that he is to go ahead and marry Mary and with out hesitating he does what God asks of him – he responds with obedience.

     Next week we'll look at Harold and Stella's response to Martha's surprise but until than...

      Here's Something To Ponder
  • In what ways has God surprised you?
  • How have you responded to the surprises God has sent your way?

Saturday, December 10, 2011


It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35b (TLB)

      As the Apostle Paul prepared to leave the town of Ephesus for the last time in Acts 20 he told the people there in verse 35 that Jesus had said “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” At Christmas time we often get that verse mixed up like Mindy and Stella did.

      It was a few weeks before Christmas and Randy Smith was putting together a list of songs to sing for Sunday School Since it was almost Christmas he wanted to include several Christmas songs. As he sat in his office thinking about which ones to use, Mindy and Stella came bursting through his office door all excited about a song they wanted to sing.

      “Randy, Randy.” they hollered, “We have a new Christmas song we wrote and we want to sing it this Sunday. Can we? Please, Please, Please.” “Maybe,” Randy told them, “What is it?” He went on to ask them. “It’s called Christmas Time in My Heart, and you sing it to the tune of “It Is Summer Time In My Heart.”

      “That sounds like a great song.” Randy told them, “What are the words? “They’re real easy to learn,” Stella told him and than Mindy proceeded to sing it for him. “It is Christmas time in my heart, I want everything in the shopping cart, Every toy and every game, Just for me yes just for me yes just for me.” And when she was done singing Stella piped up and said “That goes double for me.” And than together, with big smiles on their faces, they asked Randy “Please!?”

      Upon hearing their song, Randy just shook his head “That’s not a good Christmas song,” he said, “It’s a selfish, greedy song, and no, I’m not going to sing it.” “But..” Mindy said, “That’s what Christmas is all about.” “Yeah,” Stella added, “It’s Christmas and why wouldn’t you want everything in the shopping cart, I know I do.” “So do I!” Mindy added, “I’ve already got my Christmas list up to 37 pages.”

      “At Christmas time we should be focused more on giving and sharing than on getting.” Randy told the girls. “But who do we share with?” the girls asked in return. “How about you sister, Cindy?” He asked Mindy “I don’t have a sister.” Stella injected, “All I have is.” she started to say and than she got a big grin on her face and turned to Mindy and asked her “Do you want to trade?”

      “No way!” Mindy told her, “ Nobody in their right mind would want to have Harold for a brother. Sorry, but you’re stuck with him.” “That figures.” Stella responded. “Maybe,” she continued, “Maybe.” and than she ran out of the office yelling at the top of her longs “MOM!!, CAN I HAVE A BABY SISTER FOR CHRISTMAS?” All Randy could do was stand there and shake his head.

      How many of you have parents that act like Mindy and Stella wanting everything at Christmas? More often than naught – Parents want to give, I know I do. For a long time now I've enjoyed giving gifts to my children at Christmas and before that my siblings and other people's children. When it comes to giving and Christmas we are often reminded of some wise men. Even though there story takes place sometime after Jesus was born, it is connected with His birth. We find the story in Matthew 2 where we read...

      Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, "Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him." When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: " 'And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.' " Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, "Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him." After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.
Matthew 2:1-12 (ESV)

      When we think of these wise men we might note that they payed attention to prophesy and recognized the sign of Jesus' birth
      They went out of there way to see Jesus and it wasn't just a trip to the other side of town they traveled to a foreign country.
      The gifts they gave had great value and meaning but that's another story.

      There are those who think that the giving of gifts by the wise men inspired the modern day giving at Christmas but giving to other goes beyond Christmas. And, while giving is good for others it is good for us.
  • Psalms 41:1-3 Happy is the person who thinks about the poor. When trouble comes, the Lord will save him. The Lord will protect him and spare his life and will bless him in the land. He will not let his enemies take him. The Lord will give him strength when he is sick, and he will make him well again. (NCV)
  • Psalms 112:5-9 It is good to be merciful and generous. Those who are fair in their business will never be defeated. Good people will always be remembered. They won’t be afraid of bad news; their hearts are steady because they trust the Lord. They are confident and will not be afraid; they will look down on their enemies. They give freely to the poor. The things they do are right and will continue forever. They will be given great honor. (NCV)
  • Proverbs 19:17 When you give to the poor, it is like lending to the Lord, and the Lord will pay you back. (TEV)
  • Hebrews 13:16 Don't forget to do good and to share what you have with those in need, for such sacrifices are very pleasing to God. (NLT)

      Here's Something To Ponder
  • How much of what you get will truly make you happy?
  • How often do you bless yourself by giving?

Saturday, December 3, 2011


God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well Romans 12:6a (TLB)

      There was only one more week before the Pupperville Church’s annual talent show and the puppets were very busy getting ready. Bernadette was practicing her piano, Barney was practicing several passages from the Bible he planned to recite, Mindy, Cindy and Stella were practicing a short play, Tracy and her dad were working on a funny skit of their own, Daisy was practicing a new song she wrote, and April was writing a new poem.

     It seemed like everyone was having a good time preparing except for one little boy. “It’s just no use” He kept mumbling to himself, “I’ll never be good at anything. I might as well quit trying.” That little boy was none other than Louie Blackwood, the red headed, freckle faced orphan boy who lives with the Smith’s.

     “Why aren’t you practicing for the talent show?” some one asked him as he was sitting in the nursery, staring off into space. It was Harold and Stella’s grandpa, who had come to pick his grand kids up from practice. “I’m not going to be in the show.” Louie told him “I’m just no good at anything so I’m not even going to try.”

     “No good at anything?” Robert had to ask Louie, “Are you sure God didn’t give you any special talents or abilities?” “No.” replied Louie, “I think He missed me. I’ve often wished I could be like Barney or Bernadette, or Daisy or even Randy, but I’m not. I’m just plain old Louie. No talent, No abilities, No nothing.”

     “Now, that’s just not true.” Robert tried to reassure him, “God gives all of us special talents to share with others.” “Not me.” Louie complained, “I don’t have any talents and every time I try to do something it turns into a big failure.”

     “Just because you don’t not know what your talents and abilities are now,” Robert said as he continued to try and encourage Louie, “Doesn’t mean you should give up trying to find out what they are. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 2:10 that we are created in Christ Jesus to do good works. We are created to do good things, but sometimes it takes time to figure what it is we have been created to do.”

     “Maybe I can be like Harold.” Louie said as if he wasn’t listening to Robert. “No, I don’t’ think that would be a good idea.” Robert quickly replied “Why not?” Louie quipped in return, “At least he’s good at getting in to trouble. I think I’ll go and find him.”

     Well, it took some time, but eventually, Louie did find one of his talents, but that’s another story.

     How many of you have ever felt like Louie? In Matthew chapter 25 Jesus gives us the parable of the talents. Starting in verse 14 we read - For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. "In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money. Now after a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. (NAS) The story goes on to tell how the three servants had to give an account of what they did and how the master treated each one accordingly with the third servant losing all he had and be cast out.

     Many years ago I did a twist on this parable substituting talents for talents. The talents in Jesus' parable were sums of money – I switched it for abilities and handed out to my listeners papers with various abilities on them and when the story was done they turned their paper over to see what they did with their talents. While I no longer remember everything I wrote down, I do remember that the one who had one talent was given the abilities to listen and all he did was sit in front of a television listening to sitcoms while the others used theirs talents for the good of others.

     The Bible reminds us more than once that our God is a God that gives. Two such reminders are:
  • Matthew 7:11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (ESV)
  • Romans 8:32 Since God did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won't God, who gave us Christ, also give us everything else? (NLT)
     Amongst the things that God gives us are abilities and talents. When you look yourself and those around you, you may notice how somethings come so easy to some people and to others they will always be hard. Some people are talented speakers while others stutter to no end if they even get that far. Of course the list could go on and on. When it comes to our abilities and talents the Bbile has more to say.
  • Romans 12:6 God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out when you have faith that God is speaking through you. (NLT)
  • 1 Peter 4:10 God has given each of you some special abilities; be sure to use them to help each other, passing on to others God's many kinds of blessings. (TLB)
     Some of us know what the talents are the God has give us, some of us are still learning, some of us need to remember that are talents are to be used. James 4:17 reminds us it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.

      Here's Something To Ponder
  • What are the talents or abilities God has given you?
  • Are you using them as God would have you use them?

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, - Psalms 100:4a (NKJV)

      It was the day after Thanksgiving and Helen and Daisy were heading out together to do some early Christmas shopping. Hoping to get to the mall before the long lines formed, they left at 4:30 in the morning but they soon found they weren’t alone. As they pulled into the mall parking lot they found it already full.

     After driving around the parking lot ten times, they finally found a spot to park and headed into the stores. Once inside, they found themselves standing in long lines no matter where they went. As they stood in the line at the shoe store Daisy happened to ask Helen how her Thanksgiving went.

     “Horrible!” Helen told her, “I had my daughter’s family over for Thanksgiving.” “It couldn’t have been that bad could it?” Daisy asked as their line moved forward a couple of feet. “Isn’t Thanksgiving a day to spend in a spirit of thanksgiving, especially to God?” Helen asked in return “It’s suppose to be.” Daisy replied

     “That’s what I thought,”Helen told her, “But the only thanks I heard all day was a short prayer before we ate. I thought Psalms 100:4 says to Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, (NKJV)” “No one was thankful?” Daisy said in shock “You’re kidding aren’t you?”

     “I wish I was.” Helen complained, “All Robert and Bill did all day was sit in front of the big screen TV watching football and yelling at the referees. Instead of helping me in the kitchen, Martha just stood in my way and complained about Harold and Stella. And as for those two grand kids of mine, I should have taken them out back with a whip.”

     “On Thanksgiving!” Daisy said with a gasp. “All those two kids did in the morning was fight and argue about which parade to watch.” Helen continued, “Stella even broke one of my good plates on Harold’s head. At lunch Harold turned into a pig spilling lots of food and gulping down everything in sight. I didn’t think anybody could eat that much and still be hungry. At least Harold didn’t leave any leftovers”

     “I guess you’re right.” Daisy told Helen, “Your Thanksgiving was horrible. How about you? How thankful were you yesterday?” “Me?” Helen replied “What was there to be thankful for? Besides, I was too busy in the kitchen.” “Sounds like you had more of an Un-Thanksgiving to me.” replied Daisy as their line moved forward two more feet.

     What was your Thanksgiving like? Was it anything like the Helen had with her family? More often than not we are guilty of having a Thanksgiving much like theirs. Thankfully we have many examples of thankfulness in the Bible that we can turn to for encouragement like the story of Belteshazzar.

     Who was Belteshazzar? Belteshazzar was a young man who had it all and nothing. More than once he found his life on the line while living in a foreign country where he was loved and despised.

     As a young man he was taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar and brought to his court where he was trained up to serve the king. One may wonder if he had any reason to be thankful especially when we find that he was to be executed along with his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah and many others

     You see, the king had, had a very bad dream and it scared him. He wanted to know what the dream meant but he couldn't remember what the dream even was. He called for the magicians, the conjurers, the sorcerers and the Chaldeans to come and tell him what his dream was and what it meant but none of them could do it. This angered the king and he issued the execution of all the wise men which included Belteshazzar.

     Upon learning that he was to be executed Belteshazzar also known as Daniel went in and requested of the king that he would give him time, in order that he might declare the interpretation to the king. Daniel was given the dream and its meaning and Daniel responded with these words.

     "Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, For wisdom and power belong to Him. It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men And knowledge to men of understanding. It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, And the light dwells with Him. To You, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, For You have given me wisdom and power; Even now You have made known to me what we requested of You, For You have made known to us the king's matter.”

     We don't need to wait until Thanksgiving day to be thankful. We don't need to wait until we go through situations like Daniel went through to be thankful. We can be thankful 100% of the time
  • Deuteronomy 8:10 - When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. (NIV)
  • Psalms 100:4 - Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. (NKJV)
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:18 - Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (HCSB) – This verse is the theme of one of my other blogs called Everyday Thankfulness
     In Luke 17:11-19 we read of the cleansing of the ten lepers and how only one – a foreigner – came back, bowed down at Jesus' feet and thanked Him. Let's not be the other like the other nine.

      Here's Something To Ponder
  • Were you truly thankful on Thanksgiving?
  • Do you find ways to be thankful everyday?

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Test everything that is said 1 Thessalonians 5:21a (TLB)

     There are several verses in the Bible similar to what we read in 1 Thessalonians 5:21 where it says “test everything that is said to be sure it is true, and if it is, then accept it.” (TLB) But all to often we fail to check things out as happened to Bernadette one month after a trip to the super market..

     For a whole week, Bernadette had been walking around scared, scared form something she had read while standing in line at the supermarket. This day was no different and Daisy could tell something was bothering Bernadette all through Sunday School. As all the other kids were leaving the class room, Daisy called Bernadette to her desk.

     “Are you okay?” Daisy asked Bernadette when she made it to her desk. “We’re all doomed and there’s no way to escape.” came Bernadette’s reply. “It’s coming from outer space and it’s going to eat all of us.”

     “What’s coming form outer space?” Daisy asked. “The ‘Great Octo’ space creature,” Bernadette told her, “It has eight legs and arms and huge bulgy eyes and it’s the size of a 20 story building and it eats people and nothing can stop it and....” “And I think you’ve been hanging around Harold too much,” Daisy interrupted, “How can you believe such a corny idea?”

     “I haven’t seen Harold in weeks,” Bernadette replied, “He’s too busy chasing Muffy, and the story isn’t corny, it’s true, I read it in the news magazine at the supermarket. Not only are we in trouble from the ‘Great Octo’ space creature, but people are starting to burst into flames while taking showers. I’m afraid to even go near the bath tub.”

     “What news magazine have you been reading?” Daisy asked as she tried to think of one that would publish such corny stories. “The ‘Blue Moon News’,” came Bernadette’s reply. “I read it while I was waiting in line at the checkout stand.” Upon hearing that, Daisy started to laugh, but Bernadette didn’t think it was funny. “What’s so funny?” she asked.

     “Bernadette,” Daisy answered her, “The ‘Blue Moon News’ is nothing but a gossip tabloid. Those stories aren’t true at all.” “A gossip tabloid?” Bernadette said with a bit of surprise in her voice, “You mean I can take showers again, and we’re not going to be eaten by a space creature?” “That’s right.” Daisy encouraged her.

     “That’s great news.” Bernadette exclaimed, “I need to go tell Stella we can take showers again. Thanks for helping me, Daisy.” And with that Bernadette took off with a smile on her face.

     Have you ever heard stories like those Bernadette mentioned? Or read the headlines in the tabloids at the checkout stand? (You wouldn't actually buy one, right) The two stories Bernadette talked about were based on actually headlines I saw while standing in a check out line. I've seen many other headlines and they often make them appear real but you can't believe you read or hear if you do you may end up like Bernadette or Joshua and the Israelites.

     The story I'm referring to is found in Joshua chapter 9 and when we get to verse 3 we read - When the people of Gibeon heard how Joshua had defeated Jericho and Ai, they decided to trick the Israelites. They gathered old sacks and old leather wine bags that were cracked and mended, and they put them on the backs of their donkeys. They put old sandals on their feet and wore old clothes, and they took some dry, moldy bread. Then they went to Joshua in the camp near Gilgal. The men said to Joshua and the Israelites, “We have traveled from a faraway country. Make a peace agreement with us.”

     When we drop down to verse 14 we read that The men of Israel tasted the bread, but they did not ask the Lord what to do. So Joshua agreed to make peace with the Gibeonites and to let them live. And the leaders of the Israelites swore an oath to keep the agreement. Three days after they had made the agreement, the Israelites learned that the Gibeonites lived nearby. (NCV)

     To sum the story up, the Gibeonites lied, Joshua believed them and instead of destroying them as God had commanded the treaty forced Joshua to save them because it was promised before God.

     How easily are we tricked into believing things that are false? Proverbs 14:15 says “A fool will believe anything; smart people watch their step. (TEV) When it comes to some things we almost always disbelieve what we hear or read but there are times when we accept things with out question when we should have checked things out.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:21 - but test everything that is said to be sure it is true, and if it is, then accept it. (TLB)
  • 1 John 4:1 - Dearly loved friends, don't always believe everything you hear just because someone says it is a message from God: test it first to see if it really is. For there are many false teachers around, (TLB)
  • Acts 17:10-11 - That same night the believers sent Paul and Silas to Berea where they went to the Jewish synagogue. These Jews were more willing to listen than the Jews in Thessalonica. The Bereans were eager to hear what Paul and Silas said and studied the Scriptures every day to find out if these things were true. (NCV)
     Here's Something To Ponder
  • Do you believe things that you should have checked out?
  • Do you fail to believe things that you should have checked out?

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Stop telling lies. - Ephesians 4:25 (NLT)

     It was a quiet afternoon and Cindy decided to spend some time studying her Bible in the tree house. As she climbed up into the tree house and opened up her Bible she happened to glance up and see her sister sneaking around as if she was trying to hide from someone or something.

     “I wonder what kind of trouble Mindy’s in this time.” Cindy said to herself as she turned her attention to the Bible verse she was trying to memorize. The next she knew Mindy came bursting through the door slamming it behind her. “Mindy!” Cindy yelled at her sister and scared her half to death “What are you doing?”
     I’m not here” Mindy told her sister as she sat in a corner and pulled a blanket over her head. “Yes you are!” Cindy said with an irritated voice, “What’s going on? Are you in trouble?” “I can’t hear you.” came a muffled reply from under the blanket. “I told you, I’m not here.” “Yes you are!” Cindy yelled back, “Don’t lie!”
     “I already did.” Mindy replied with a muffled voice “What?” Cindy replied as she went and pulled the blanket off of Mindy’s head. “Remember how Mom and Dad said I could go to Bernadette’s house last night?” “Yeah.” Cindy said as she remembered the fuss her sister made until her parents said yes. “Well, Dad just found out Bernadette isn’t in town.”

     “What!?” Cindy said, “Then where were you last night?” “On a date.” Mindy replied as she drew the blanket back over her head. “A date!” Cindy shrieked. “You know we can’t date until we’re 17. What were you thinking? You’ll be grounded for the rest of your life when Dad find’s out” “If he find’s out.” Mindy said from under the blanket.

     “What going to happen when your date come’s looking for you?” Cindy asked her sister “Dad will surely find out than.” “Um, ah, I told him I was you.” Mindy told Cindy. “Who is he?” Cindy had to ask. “George Olson.” Mindy told her. “You mean Cherry’s older brother?” “Yeah.” Mindy replied with a look of wonderment in her eyes, “How do you know Cherry?”

     “Cherry,” Cindy said “is one of my friends and she was here last night playing card games with Dad and me” “What!” Mindy shouted when she learned that “No Way! I’m doomed. Do you think I should just run away?” “Actually, I think you should go fess up to your lies, you know, tell the truth.”Cindy told her “And let me get back to my Bible verse.”

     “What verse is that?” Mindy asked. “Ephesians 4:25 Stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. (NLT)” Cindy told her. “That figures.” Mindy responded as grabbed for another blanket to hide under

       In 1 Samuel 8 we learn that when Samuel was old he made his sons judges over Israel but they were corrupt. As a result the people came to Samuel and asked him to appoint a king over them like all the other nations. While this displeased Samuel, with God's help he did what the people wanted and he appointed Saul as their first king, a tall handsome man with a few screws loose.

      On one occasion, Samuel said to Saul, "The Lord sent me to anoint you king over his people Israel; now therefore listen to the words of the Lord. Thus says the Lord of hosts, 'I have noted what Amalek did to Israel in opposing them on the way when they came up out of Egypt. Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.' " 1 Samuel 15:1-3 (ESV)

      As we read further we find that Saul immediately put together an army and headed off to war to do as God had bid him but we read in verse 9 that Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep and of the oxen and of the fattened calves and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them. This brought another visit form Samuel.

       When Samuel arrived, Saul went out to meet him and made a bold claim “I have performed the commandment of the Lord.” Samuel knew otherwise for not only did God tell Samuel, the evidence that Saul had not preformed the commandment of the Lord was bleating. After being confronted with the facts Saul again tried to lay claim that he had obeyed God but Samuel didn't buy it. This led to Samuel famous words in verses 23-23 “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king.”

     Lying is never a good thing.
  • Lies are an abomination to God - Proverbs 12:22a Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, (ESV)
  • Liars will not be allowed in God's presence - Psalms 101:7 I will not allow deceivers to serve me, and liars will not be allowed to enter my presence. (NLT)
  • Liars will not go unpunished – Proverbs 19:5 A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who pours out lies will not go free. (NIV)

      Here's Something To Ponder
  • How many times have lies come back to haunt you?
  • Are you willing to tell the truth?

Saturday, November 5, 2011


I urge you to imitate me. - 1 Corinthians 4:16 (NLT)

      It was late afternoon when Cindy finished her school work and headed outside to play with her sister. As usual, she found her in the tree house in the backyard and as always, she was mumbling on about something. “Mindy,” Cindy called out to her, “Do you want to play?” But all Mindy could say in response was “Oooooooh, Aaaaaaah. I think I am in love.”

     “Mindy,” Cindy called again, “Do you want to play?” And this time Mindy responded with an “Aaaaaaah. Mr. Klinker Klunker .I would gladly go with you.” and an “Oooooooh, I thought you would never ask.” “What?” Cindy replied, “Who are you talking too?” But Mindy never heard her.

     “Me? Be Mrs. Klinker Klunker? You’re so wonderful!” MIndy called out a little but later. After hearing that, Cindy decided her sister needed to be brought back to real life. “Who is Mr. Klinker Klunker?” “My hero.” replied Mindy with a dreamy look on her face.

     “You have a crush on someone, don’t you?” Cindy asked her sister. “Oh, I would do anything for him.” Mindy replied. “Anything?” quizzed Cindy. “And someday I want to be just like him and star in my own movie.” Mindy continued. “Mr. Klunker is a movie star?” Cindy asked. “Heavenly, isn’t it.”Mindy said, still looking dreamy.

     “What kind of movies does he star in?” Cindy asked but Mindy didn’t know all she said was “I’ve never seen one. Mom and Dad won’t let me watch R rated movies” “R rated!” exclaimed Cindy. “Yeah, Mom says it’s because he’s indecent, and Dad says his language is terrible.” Than how do you know who he even is?” Cindy wondered out loud.

     “I saw him on a talk show once and he was Sooooooo handsome,” Mindy replied, “I liked the way he tore down all those people on the show and the way he hit that one guy shows how strong he is.” “Mindy,” Cindy replied, “You know we’re not suppose to have ungodly heros. Mr, Klinker is nothing but a klunker, just like Dad’s old car.”

     “What does God have to do with it?” asked Mindy. “Everything.” answered Cindy. “I was just reading about it this morning in the Bible. It says in 1 Corinthians 11:1 Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ. We need to be sure to imitate godly people instead of the Klinker Klunkers in our life.”

     “You sure know how to spoil a good time.” Mindy said as she climbed down from the tree house. “I’ll see you later.”

     Have you ever had a klunker for a hero? Have you ever said when I grow up I want to be just like ..... ? Sometimes we lift up everyday people to hero status which is not always a bad thing but sometimes we lift up the wrong people or lift them up to far as happened to Paul - the one who wrote 1 Corinthians 11:1 and a few other versus.

     Paul and Barnabas were on a missionary journey and had entered into Lystra to do some preaching. One day they met a man who had been crippled from birth and as a result had never walked. Lets pick the story up in Acts 14:8 and see what happened.

     As this man was listening to Paul speak, Paul looked straight at him and saw that he believed God could heal him. So he cried out, “Stand up on your feet!“ The man jumped up and began walking around. When the crowds saw what Paul did, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have become like humans and have come down to us!“ Then the people began to call Barnabas “Zeus“ and Paul “Hermes,“ because he was the main speaker. The priest in the temple of Zeus, which was near the city, brought some bulls and flowers to the city gates. He and the people wanted to offer a sacrifice to Paul and Barnabas. But when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard about it, they tore their clothes. They ran in among the people, shouting, “Friends, why are you doing these things? We are only human beings like you. We are bringing you the Good News and are telling you to turn away from these worthless things and turn to the living God. He is the One who made the sky, the earth, the sea, and everything in them. In the past, God let all the nations do what they wanted. Yet he proved he is real by showing kindness, by giving you rain from heaven and crops at the right times, by giving you food and filling your hearts with joy.“ Even with these words, they were barely able to keep the crowd from offering sacrifices to them. - Acts 14:9-18 (NCV)

     Writing to those in Corinth Paul says in1 Corinthians 4:14-16 - I am not writing these things to shame you, but to warn you as my beloved children. For even if you had ten thousand others to teach you about Christ, you have only one spiritual father. For I became your father in Christ Jesus when I preached the Good News to you. So I urge you to imitate me. (NLT) While Paul and Barnabas were definitely looked up to after they healed the crippled man and while that's not a bad thing, the people of Lystra went to far and lifted Paul and Barnabas to god status.

     When one looks at the first couple commandments in the Ten Commandments we are reminded that there is to be one God and we are not to lift another to that status or be god ourself. - Exodus 20:1-6 - Then God spoke all these words: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt where you were slaves. “You must not have any other gods except me. “You must not make for yourselves an idol that looks like anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the water below the land. You must not worship or serve any idol, because I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God. If you hate me, I will punish your children, and even your grandchildren and great-grandchildren. But I show kindness to thousands who love me and obey my commands. (NCV)

     When we raise up people to be our hero - not god status - so that we might follow their examples - let us do so because they are ultimately imitators of Christ as Paul mentions as a reason for imitating him. Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.- 1 Corinthians 11:1 (NAS)

      Here's Something To Ponder
  • What kind of people are you imitating - are they Christ like?
  • What kind of example are you to others - are you Christ like?

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Those who rejoice at the misfortune of others will be punished. - Proverbs 17:5 (NLT)

     It was turning out to be a great day for Tracy. Her dad had been found, although he had never really been lost, and now he was home And to top it all off, she was going to spend the night at the Peterson’s for Stella’s sleep over.

     As Tracy got out of her Dad’s truck in the Peterson’s driveway, she was met by a very giggly Stella. “Are you feeling okay?” Tracy asked her as she picked up her sleeping bag. “Yes. Yes. Yes.” came Stella’s reply “I don’t think today could be any better, not even if Frankie Borison came to town and kissed me.”

     “Wow!” Tracy said, “You must really be having a good day. Can you tell me what happened?” “Sure I can.” Stella replied and started giggling again. “Well, what is it?” Tracy demanded, as Stella kept on giggling, “Guess.” Stella said as her giggling turned to hysterical laughter.

     “What!” Tracy yelled not wanting to play this guessing game. “Harold got sprayed by a skunk and now he has to sleep in the dog house.” Stella told her. “I know that.” Tracy replied “He got sprayed while looking for my dad. In fact I can still smell him.” “That must mean he’s coming.” Stella said as she quit laughing. “I’ve got to hide.” And with that Stella took off.

     The next thing Tracy knew she was laying on the ground with a humongous dog sitting on top of her. “Harold! Get this thing off of me!” she yelled as she tried to stand back up. “Sorry,” Harold said “Muffy and I were looking for that pretty kitty Muffy found. I thought I saw him come this way.”

     About that time came a blood curdling scream from the direction Stella went to hide. And than came an even stronger smell. “I think Stella just found your skunk.” Tracy told Harold and headed back towards her dad’s truck, “Tell Stella I’ll come back another day” she continued as she jumped in to the front sit and shut the door.

     “A skunk?” Harold thought to himself “I wonder if I could keep him for a pet?” but before he could think any more about it, Muffy took off chasing it pulling Harold along with him. Proverbs 17:5b says those who rejoice at the misfortune of others will be punished. (NLT) If Stella had remembered that verse maybe she wouldn’t have been so happy so see Harold in the dog house, maybe she wouldn’t be joining him.

     Have you ever thought of getting revenge for some misdeed that has happened to you? God says that revenge is His but how do we act when it finally happens? How do we act when bad happens to those we do not like? Is it the same as those we do like?

     In the book of Deuteronomy God spells out a terrible promise - Starting in 28:15 we read these words - if you do not obey the LORD your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you: "Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the country. "Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. "Cursed shall be the offspring of your body and the produce of your ground, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock. "Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out. "The LORD will send upon you curses, confusion, and rebuke, in all you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and until you perish quickly, on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken Me.... (NAS) The section continues for many more verse but I think we get the picture.

     Despite having such a promise in their midst, Israel failed to obey God, they failed to observe His commandments and statutes and just as God had promise, Israel become a cursed nation. In 2 Kings chapters 24 and 25 we read of the exploits of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar and how he fulfilled God's promise to Israel for their disobedience, but this is not our focus.

     If we back up a moment to Genesis 19:36-38 we read of a couple of babies being born - Both daughters became pregnant by their father, Lot. The older daughter had a son and named him Moab, the ancestor of the present-day Moabites. The younger daughter had a son and named him Ben-Ammi, the ancestor of the present-day Ammonites. (MSG) It is the decedents of the younger daughter - the Ammonites that I would like to look at for we read in the Bible that they were constantly at war with Israel.

     In Ezekiel 25 we find that Ezekiel was sent to prophesy against the Ammonites for their reactions to Israel's punishment under Nebuchadnezzar. Say to them, ’Hear the word of the Lord God. This is what the Lord God says: You were glad when my Temple was dishonored, when the land of Israel was ruined, and when the people of Judah were taken away as captives. So I am going to give you to the people of the East to be theirs. They will set up their camps among you and make their homes among you. They will eat your fruit and drink your milk. I will make the city of Rabbah a pasture for camels and the land of Ammon a resting place for sheep. Then you will know that I am the Lord. This is what the Lord God says: You have clapped your hands and stamped your feet; you have laughed about all the insults you made against the land of Israel. So I will use my power against you. I will give you to the nations as if you were treasures taken in war. I will wipe you out of the lands so you will no longer be a nation, and I will destroy you. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’ - Ezekiel 25:3-7 (NCV)

     So, how do you react when your enemy falls? Remember these words of Solomon - Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; Or the LORD will see it and be displeased, And turn His anger away from him. Proverbs 24:17-18 (NAS)

      Here's Something To Ponder
  • Have you been glad when someone falls or is punished?
  • Do we really deserve any better?

Saturday, October 22, 2011


And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. - Romans 8:28 (NLT)

      With her dad missing, Tracy new that she had to get the chores done around the farm but she was having a hard motivating herself to do them. All she could think about was her missing dad and the fact that it was all Harold’s fault.

     After doing a few things in the house, Tracy headed out to the barn to start feeding animals. As she was climbing up to the hay loft, she thought she heard her dad’s truck pull up. She quickly jumped off the ladder and headed outside hoping to see her dad but it wasn’t his truck that had pulled in, it was Randy’s.

     “Praise the Lord! Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!” Randy hollered as he climbed out of his truck. “How can you be so happy when my dad is lost?” Tracy shouted back. “Lost?” Randy answered back, “He’s not lost, he’s at the hospital.” “That’s nothing to praise God about,” Tracy thought out loud, “What’s wrong with my dad?” She demanded to know.

     “There’s nothing wrong with your dad and he was never really lost.” Randy told Tracy Upon hearing that, Tracy got a confused look on her face. Seeing that look Randy went on to tell Tracy about her dad’s adventure. “By taking the wrong road God was able to use your dad to save the life of another farmer.” “What?” Tracy said with some excitement in her voice.

     “Yeah,” Randy continued, “When your dad realized he was on the wrong road he went to the closest farm house to call you and when he got there he ended up helping a man who had been pinned under his tractor. They didn’t have a phone so your dad brought him to the hospital and he’s still there with him.”

     “Praise the Lord,” Tracy hollered after she heard that, “I guess God really does work all things together for good like Romans 8:28 says. By the way, did you hit a skunk on the way over?” “No.” said Randy as he started sniffing the air and the next thing he knew he was laying on the ground with a rather large Saint Bernard sitting on him.

     “Did you find him?” Harold called as he came around the corner of the barn. “No he didn’t!” Randy shouted back, “Now get this thing off of me.” “What are you doing back here, Harold?” Tracy wanted to know for she was sure he wouldn’t have come back after what he had done. “Muffy and I are looking for your dad.” Harold told her, “But all Muffy’s found so far was a black cat with a white stripe down it’s back.

     Upon hearing that, Randy and Tracy quickly got in Randy’s truck and headed to the hospital to meat up with Tracy’s dad. As for Harold, he took off chasing Muffy in hopes of catching him before he knocked over any more garbage cans.

     Have you ever been frustrated because things are not going your way? Maybe you have been mad at God for letting some terrible thing happen to you or someone else? Maybe you've wished the "bad" had never happened and than later - maybe years later you learn the rest of the story. Let's go to Genesis chapters 37-45 and look at the life of Joseph.

     Now Joseph was one of the13 children belonging to Jacob and while Jacob loved him the most, his brothers hated him and could never say a kind word to him. Eventually, their hatred for him led them to devising a plan to kill him. Fortunately, one of his brothers, Reuben by name, was able to convince the rest not to kill him bu to just put him into an empty cistern. As time passed a band of traders heading towards Egypt came by and Joseph was taken out of the cistern and sold to them as a slave while his coat was dipped in goats blood to make it look like a wild animal had killed him.

     Down in Egypt, Joseph became the slave of Potiphar and there he worked hard and God blessed everything Joseph did . Potiphar to notice of Joseph's success and put him in charge of everything he owned. Potiphar's wife also took notice of Joseph and tried to get him in bed with her. Joseph refused and as a result Potiphar's wife got him put in jail

     Down in jail, Joseph again worked hard and again God blessed him and one day he got some company, some fellow prisoners that worked for the Pharaoh (the king) as a cup-bearer and a baker. While in jail, these two men had some troubling dreams and with God's help, Joseph was able to interpret the dreams for them. The dreams came true and Joseph asked the cup-bearer to remember him when he went back to work for the king, but the cup-bearer forgot.

     Two years later, It's Pharaoh's turn to have a troubling dream and finally, the cup-bearer remembers Joseph and he is called to interpret the dream. Upon hearing its meaning and realizing that something needed to be done to protect the kingdom from the severe famine to come, he appointed Joseph as second in command to see the kingdom through the difficult time to come.

     It was during the time of famine when Joseph's brothers came to Egypt for food and eventually learned that it was their brother they had plotted to kill and than sold to slavery that was the one from whom they had to buy their food. And while the brother were likely fearing for their lives, Joseph forgives them and leave us with the following verse

     Genesis 45:5 - But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. (NLT) What others thought as bad, Joseph realized God was using it for good. In the new testament we read from Paul's letter to the Roman's the following - And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Romans 8:28 NLT)

      Here's Something to Ponder
  • When things look bad do you continue to serve God
  • When things look bad do you look at things through your eyes or God's eyes

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. 1 Peter 5:7 (NLT)

      Night had fallen on Pupperville and the surrounding country side and over all it seemed like another pleasant evening. The stars were popping out, the moon was shining bright, the crickets were chirping away and a gentle breeze was blowing through the leaves. But for Tracy this night was anything but pleasant.

     As Tracy lay in her bed she kept imagining that her dad had been eaten by giant alligators even though you would have to go over a 1000 miles to find one. And when she wasn’t thinking about giant alligators it was giant kangaroos that had stuffed her dad into their pouches and than bounced away never to be seen again.

     “Where are you, Dad?” she kept crying out as the evening turned to night and the night turned to morning. When she finally crawled out of bed the next morning, with her eyes half closed, she ran to her dad’s room hoping to find him safe in his bed but he wasn’t there. Next she ran to the barn to see if he was out doing chores but before she could get that far a big furry creature plowed her over.

     As Tracy stood back to her feet, bang Harold’s head banged into hers. “Ooooooh, my aching head,” Harold cried out as he fell backward onto the ground. “What are you doing running through my yard?” Tracy asked Harold as he slowly picked himself up off the ground. “Just trying to catch Muffy again.” Harold replied.

     “Have you seen my dad?” Tracy asked Harold since he was there, “He left yesterday and never came back.” “Who Cares!” Harold snapped back “I have enough to worry about trying to catch Muffy. By the way, did you see where he went?” “He went to Jericho.” Tracy replied. “Muffy went to Jericho?” Harold said with a puzzled look on his face. “Not Muffy,” Tracy said, “My dad!” “Uh ho” came Harold’s response

     “Harold Peterson,” snapped Tracy, “Did you do something to my dad?” “Not really,” Harold answered “All I did was point the sign to Jericho the wrong way.” “Where did that road go?” cried Tracy to which Harold said something about an alligator infested swamp with huge sharks and giant kangaroos and than ran off after Muffy.

     All Tracy could do after that was sit and cry for now she was sure she would never see her dad again.

     In 1 Peter 5:7 we read these words "Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you." (NLT) Sometimes it’s hard to find some one who cares about our troubles. While Harold may not have cared about Tracy’s troubles or what happened to John because of his so called joke, we can be assured that God will always care.

     Does anybody know what a worry wart is? It's a little creature to which you are to give all your worries and then nothing happens with them. Do any of you ever worry? Do you ever wonder if anybody really cares? Let's head to Luke chapter 12 where we find Jesus teaching the crowds that had gathered around him.

     Luke 12:16-20 - Then Jesus told this story: “There was a rich man who had some land, which grew a good crop. He thought to himself, ’What will I do? I have no place to keep all my crops.’ Then he said, ’This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and other goods. Then I can say to myself, “I have enough good things stored to last for many years. Rest, eat, drink, and enjoy life!“ ’ “But God said to him, ’Foolish man! Tonight your life will be taken from you. So who will get those things you have prepared for yourself?’ (NCV)

     At first glance, the man in this story doesn't appear to have anything to worry about but a place to put his abundance but Jesus uses this story to help teach the crowds not to worry. Let's pick up the rest of the story and see what Jesus had to say.

     Luke 12:22-32 Jesus said to his followers, “So I tell you, don’t worry about the food you need to live, or about the clothes you need for your body. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothes. Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest, they don’t have storerooms or barns, but God feeds them. And you are worth much more than birds. You cannot add any time to your life by worrying about it. If you cannot do even the little things, then why worry about the big things? Consider how the lilies grow; they don’t work or make clothes for themselves. But I tell you that even Solomon with his riches was not dressed as beautifully as one of these flowers. God clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today but tomorrow is thrown into the fire. So how much more will God clothe you? Don’t have so little faith! Don’t always think about what you will eat or what you will drink, and don’t keep worrying. All the people in the world are trying to get these things, and your Father knows you need them. But seek God’s kingdom, and all the other things you need will be given to you. “Don’t fear, little flock, because your Father wants to give you the kingdom. (NCV)

     We live in a world that relies too much on money and money has become more and more unreliable - 1 Timothy 6:17 - Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. (NLT) We need to trust in God instead of worrying. Here are some thoughts from the passage above.
  • Worry is useless
  • When it comes to food - The birds are well fed and God will feed us
  • When it comes to clothes - The fields are well dressed and God will clothe us
  • Basically put - God cares about us and will take care of us if we put Him first
     Psalms 55:22 - Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. (NLT)

      Here's Something to Ponder
  • What are the things that you worry about
  • How has God shown He cares for you

Saturday, October 8, 2011


"Was I not joking?" - Proverbs 26:19b (NAS)

      For John McDonald this day started out just like any other day. He arose before sun up and headed out to the barn to do his morning chores. By 9:00 he was ready to get on his tractor and head out into the corn fields, but something went wrong. When he went to start is tractor, it broke.

      After telling his daughter Tracy what had happened, John hopped into his pick up truck and took off to get some parts to fix his tractor but there was another problem. The tractor store in Pupperville didn’t have the parts he needed to fix his tractor. The clerk at the store told him he could find the parts at the store over in Jericho if he wanted to drive there. 

      Since he couldn’t do anything until his tractor fixed, he decided to go even though he had never been there. According to the clerk, all he had to do was follow the signs, but what he didn’t know was the first sign was pointing the wrong way.

     Earlier in the day Harold had been out taking Muffy for a walk. As it turned out it was Muffy who was taking Harold for a walk, a very fast walk. When they got to the intersection where the sign was pointing to Jericho, Muffy pulled Harold into the sign knocking it over and giving Harold another bump on his head.

     By the time Harold got back on his feet, Muffy was out of sight. As he stood there rubbing the bump on his head trying to figure out how to get Muffy back, he got a mischievous idea when he saw the sign laying in the ditch. Soon, he went over and picked up the sign and placing it back in the ground, he turned it so it pointed the wrong way. “What a great joke this should be” he laughed out loud. After a few minutes Muffy came running back and away they went.

     As John drove up to the intersection, he looked at the sign pointing to Jericho and headed off in the wrong direction. As he drove down the wrong road you could here him happily singing e-i-e-i-o. Only later did he realize he was on the wrong road.

     Do you like to play tricks on people like Harold? Harold is often causing trouble with his tricks and all too often you can hear him say “Can’t you take a joke?”Proverbs 26:18-19 says Like a madman who throws Firebrands, arrows and death, So is the man who deceives his neighbor, And says, "Was I not joking?" (NAS)

     Have you ever told someone something that wasn't true only to get caught and than try to back out of punishment or responsibility by saying you were just joking, teasing, kidding, I really didn't mean it, etc? One could ask why one even lies to begin with. To Ponder such a question, lets go to the book of 2 Chronicles Chapter 18 where we meet up with two kings getting ready to go to war.

     The first of our two kings is Jehoshaphat the king of Judah. The Bible tells us that Jehoshaphat was a good king that followed after God. The second king is Ahab the king of Israel and when it came to following God, Ahab didn't., He followed after false gods.

     As our story gets going, we find that Jehoshaphat had gone to visit Ahab and while he was there he was asked if he would go and fight against Ramoth-gilead. along side Ahab. Jehoshaphat agreed to fight but he wanted to find out what God had to say first.

     Now there were many prophets there making claims that they should go to battle and that they would win the battle because the Lord would be with them but these prophets were not from God. Jehoshaphat knew that and asked if there was a real prophet they could talk to.

     Ahab, didn't like Jehoshaphat's request because he knew there was a real prophet named Micaiah and that he never prophesied anything good for the king but always evil. When Jehoshaphat learned of the real prophet, he had him sent for.

     When the messenger who had been sent to find Micaiah found him he said these words to him. "
"Behold, the words of the prophets are uniformly favorable to the king. So please let your word be like one of them and speak favorably." (2 Chronicles 18:12b) but Micaiah said he could only say what God tells him to say.

     The message that Micaiah had to bring once he arrived before the kings was one of doom. He told them that if they went to battle they would not only lose but that Ahab would be killed. Unfortunately, this did not stop them from going to battle and indeed, they did lose and Ahab was struck by an arrow and died at sunset.

     From verse 12 above, I think we can learn at least three reasons why a person "jokes" or lies.
  • Self gratification - We tell lies for what we can get out of it - for these prophets they would continue to be taken care of
  • Tickling ears - Because it's what the king or someone else wants to hear
  • Peer pressure - Because everyone else is doing it
Can you imagine the false prophets standing before the king as he's dieing claiming they were only joking.

     Here's Something to Ponder
  • Has someone ever been hurt by your joking?
  • Have you ever tried to make things seem right by claiming you were only joking?