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

Friday, February 25, 2011


Thomas said* to Him, "Lord, ... how do we know the way?" - John 14:5 (NAS)

      Do you have a bird feeder in your yard? Do you like to watch the birds that come there to eat? Robert Grey has one in his backyard that he like to sit and watch and that made for an interesting conversation one day when Harold happened to stop by.

      “Hi Grandpa. What are you doing?” Harold asked Robert as he sat in his deck chair staring at his back yard. “Oh, nothing much” was Robert’s response, “Just watching the birds. At the moment there’s one over there.” “Where?” asked Harold. “Over there on my bird feeder and it’s a really pretty bird,” Robert told him.

      “Oh, I see it,” Harold finally said, It looks like the bird I helped Mr. Smith chase out of the church building yesterday.” “How did a bird get into the church building?” Robert asked in return. Harold looked away and muttered something like “I... Um... Let it in.” and with that his grandpa shouted out HAROLD's name.

     Quickly trying to change the conversation Harold started talking about the preacher. “You should have seen how funny Mr. Smith looked,” he said, “flapping his arms while trying to get the bird to fly out the broken window.” “Broken window?” his Grandpa asked?

     Not wanting to explain how he broke the church window, Harold started to talk about turning into a bird. “Why would you want to become a bird, Harold?”asked his Grandpa, “So you could be chased around the building too or so you could fly away?”

     “Actually, I wanted to talk to the bird and lead it to out. We tried a lot of things to get the bird to fly to freedom, but it just wouldn’t listen.” Harold answered. That of course reminded Robert of some people he knew, people that just wouldn’t listen, like his grandson Harold.

     This helped Robert to try to teach an important lesson. “You know Harold,” he said, “God has offered people freedom, but just like the little bird, they keep going around in different directions trying to get free, but never go the right direction. And just like you wanted to become a bird so you could tell the bird how to get free, John 1:14 tells us that Jesus, who is called the Word, became flesh, a person, and lived with us. The verse says And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. And yet people still won’t listen.

     After that quick lesson, Robert went back to watching the birds, that was until he noticed Harold hiding some reflectors behind his back. “Harold,” Robert started to ask, “what are you up to now?” and with that Harold ran off into the woods saying something about scaring his sister.

     "Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. "In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. "If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. "And you know the way where I am going." Thomas said* to Him, "Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?" Jesus said* to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
John 14:1-6 (NAS)

     More than once I've had to try and get a bird out of a building and it's never been an easy job. Even though the intentions of helping the bird are good the bird would keep flying away - the wrong way.

     Like the bird. mankind needs to know the way of escape, the way to freedom.

  • There is a way of escape....
    • John 14:6 - Jesus said* to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. (NAS)
  • Jesus came to show that way
    • John 1:9-14 - There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (NAS)
    • Luke 19:10 - "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." - (NAS)
  • We need to make known that way
    • Mark 16:15 - And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. (NAS)
    • Acts 4:10-12 - let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health. "He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone. "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved." (NAS)

     Here's Something to Ponder
  • Am I thinking about the way God provided
  • How am I making that way known

Saturday, February 19, 2011


People will give account for every careless word they speak - Matthew 12:36b (ESV)
      Do you ever learn anything from your dreams? Stella’s been having some very bad dreams, dreams in which her poisonous tongue kept saying very bad things. Things got so bad that she eventually cried her self to sleep in her dream.

      As Stella lay asleep on the floor, her brother Harold could be overheard asking their Dad if she was going to be okay. “I hope so,” he responded, “But she did get a nasty looking bump on her head when she fell on the floor. We might have to call an ambulance if she doesn’t wake up soon.”

      “What in the world caused her to faint like that Dad?” asked Harold. “Do you think she fainted because she saw my clean room?” “It’s possible,” his dad said, “It’s been over two years since you last cleaned it.” After a few more minutes had passed by Stella suddenly started rolling around on the floor screaming “No! No! No! I am a Christian, I am a Christian”

      A soon as they heard Stella, Harold rushed over to her side and asked her if she was okay. Stella’s response made her brother and her dad think that something was dreadfully wrong. First she told Harold that she loved him and thought he was the best brother in the world, and than she told her Dad it was okay if he wanted to spank her just as long he would never leave her.

      “Are you sure you’re okay,” they asked again. Than Stella told them all about her dream. “It was terrible.” she said, “First I lost Bernadette, she said she wouldn’t be my best friend anymore because I was talking mean. Than dad and mom left me because I was being sassy and said I knew what I was doing. Than I made a fool of myself yelling at somebody I thought I knew. Oh, it was terrible. I’m glad it wasn’t real.”

      Once they knew Stella was okay for certain, Harold went to tell Bernadette that all was well and Bill went to find Martha and tell her that she was feeling okay. Stella looked up and started talking to God. “God,” she said, “I know you can hear me. I’m sorry for not acting like a Christian, even if it was a dream. Help me to control my tongue so I don’t say things I shouldn’t. In Jesus’ name, Amen. P.S. I love you too.”

      Stella has learned that she needs to be careful with what she says, but she’s not the only one who needs to be careful, we all do.

      I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."
Matthew 12:36-37 (ESV)

      In each of Stella's adventures in the Dream Zone she let her tongue get the best of her and in each of her adventures her tongue got her further into trouble, What a shame it is when we let our tongues behave in such a manner. We use our tongues to praise our Lord and Father, but then we curse people, whom God made like himself. Praises and curses come from the same mouth! My brothers and sisters, this should not happen. - James 3:9-10 (NCV)

      Like Stella, we may think of ourselves as Christian but the Bible has a stern reminder to those who let their tongue ramble uncontrolled. Do any of you think you are religious? If you do not control your tongue, your religion is worthless and you deceive yourself. - James 1:26 (TEV)

      Sometimes, we may not see the results of a loose tongue for years. Consider the following I came across in my Bible Illustrator.

      An elderly gentleman related that when he was a young man he was on one occasion out with a party camping. They were mostly young fellows, but one or two were middle-aged men. One evening as they sat around the fire, a story that one of the older men told suggested to the gentleman a vulgar comment, to which he gave utterance before he thought twice. He could have bitten his tongue off the next instant. The older man simply looked straight at him for a moment across the fire, and he knew that he was judged by that remark. After a year or two had passed the young man's name was mentioned for a position which was very desirable and which he seemed likely to secure, but the man who had been disgusted at his vulgar comment was one of the three to decide it, and at his suggestion the young man was defeated. He afterward found other work, but he regretted as long as he lived giving utterance to that one vulgar, impure comment.

      The next time you're tempted to let your tongue go on a rampage remember these verses.
  • Those who are careful about what they say protect their lives, but whoever speaks without thinking will be ruined. - Proverbs 13:3 (NCV)
  • Those who are careful about what they say keep themselves out of trouble. - Proverbs 21:23 (NCV)
  • For, "Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. - 1 Peter 3:10 (NIV)

      Here's Something to Ponder
  • Do I think about what I say before I say it
  • Do I make sure what I say is worthy to be said

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall. - Proverbs 16:18 (HCSB)
      Have you ever wondered if things could get worse than they already are? After Stella’s best friend had left her, and her parents had vanished with a poof, Stella didn’t think anything could be worse than what had already happened, but than Mindy showed up and Stella’s poisonous tongue started talking again..

      As the story goes, Cindy’s identical twin sister Mindy was bored so she went looking for a friend and when she did, it was Stella she found. When Stella saw her she became very angry. “I Hate You,” she said. “You better go and tell Bernadette you won’t be her friend any more and that she better come back to me right NOW before I slug her in the nose”

      Now Mindy had no idea who Stella was or why she was yelling at her. When she tried to ask Stella who she was, Stella snapped back “You know who I am Miss Windy.” “Windy? My name isn’t Windy,” Mindy told her but Stella wouldn’t believe her. “Windy, Cindy I don’t care you took Bernadette away from me and I want her back NOW!”

      Now it was Mindy’s turn to get angry. “Excuse me Miss Know It All,” she said, “My name is not Windy, nor is it Cindy. My name is Mindy Miller. Aren’t there any nice people in this town?” Instead of listening and believing her, Stella got even angrier and said something next she later wished she had never said.

      “You are not Mindy! You’re Cindy and you took Bernadette away from me. I know you did, and I’m always right! If I’m wrong let God strike me dead.” As soon as Stella had finished saying those words Cindy showed up and called Mindy by her name. When Stella saw Cindy she began too shake with fear.

      As Mindy and Cindy headed for home Stella over heard them talking about how mean she was and how neat her brother Harold was. Than she heard one of them say she didn’t think she was a Christian and that God couldn’t love a person like her. Hearing that, Stella started to cry and she cried and cried and cried until she fell fast asleep.

      How often do we let pride get the best of us. In her pride, Stella thought she could never be wrong. In her pride, Stella said things she should never have said. In her pride, Stella fell and now she sleeps.

      In his pride, Nebuchadnezzar said "Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?" ... and he was driven away from mankind and began eating grass like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair had grown like eagles' feathers and his nails like birds' claws. - Daniel 4
      In his pride, Goliath said "Do you think I am a dog, that you come at me with a stick?, Come here. I’ll feed your body to the birds of the air and the wild animals!" ... and he fell face down on the ground where David cut off his head with his own sword. - 1 Samuel 17
      In his pride, Haman thought to himself, “Whom would the king want to honor more than me?“ ... And he was required to honor Mordecai the Jew whom he hated - Esther 6
      For those of us that want to hold onto our pride, we need to think of pride's rewards.
  • A man's pride will bring him low, - Proverbs 29:23a (NAS)
  • When pride comes, then comes disgrace, - Proverbs 11:2a (ESV)
  • Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall. - Proverbs 16:18 (HCSB)
      On the other hand, if we so desire to humble ourselves, we can be encouraged by humility's rewards
  • The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life. - Proverbs 22:4 (ESV)
  • Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. - Matthew 18:4 (ESV)
  • Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you. - James 4:10 (NAS)
      Here's Something to Ponder
  • Have I examined myself for pesky pride
  • Will I humble myself before God and one another

Saturday, February 5, 2011


Fools think they are doing right Proverbs 12:15a (NCV)

      The tongue can cause us a lot of problems. In Stella’s first adventure into the Dream Zone, her tongue turned poisonous and as a result she lost her best friend. If she had only woke up than things might have gotten better. Instead, things got worse.

     Attempting to get her friend back, Stella frantically wandered around hollering for her Mom. She was sure that her Mom would be able to make Bernadette be her best friend again. When she finally found her mom out in the garden she started to tell her about Bernadette but her poisonous tongue wouldn’t let her.

     “Yuck,” she said to her mom, “What kind of an ugly dress is that? Why it’s so ugly I wouldn’t want to be caught dead around you. Are you in some kind of ugly dress contest?” Now Martha, that’s Stella’s mom’s name, didn’t like Stella’s poisonous tongue and quickly let her know that was not a proper way to talk to her mom or anybody else.

     Unfortunately for Stella, she didn’t listen. Instead she kept getting worse. “I really don’t care what you say.” she told her mom. “I will talk the way I want to talk. I’m my own self and you can’t tell me what to do or rule my life.”

     Now Stella’s dad was working on a brush pile on the other side of the house when her heard Martha call for him. When he got to the garden, Martha was almost in tears. “Bill, you need to have a talk with Stella, she’s having a problem with her tongue and she is being very sassy.”

     Before Bill had a chance to say anything to Stella she started talking mean to him too. “Why don’t you go back to your job, you, you, over grown gorilla, and leave me alone.” Stella told him. “I’m not going to listen to you either. I can do anything I want to. I know what I am doing.”

     Instead of arguing with Stella, Bill simply said “You really think you know what you’re doing, you really want to be left alone, than good bye.” And than poof, he disappeared and so did Martha. Startled and somewhat scared by her parents strange disappearance, Stella went looking for her mom and dad but she couldn’t find them anywhere, her wish had come true, she was all alone and she started to cry.

     Did she really want them gone? Did she really know what she was doing? A voice that seem to come from nowhere said “Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”

      People will be rewarded for what they say, and they will also be rewarded for what they do. Fools think they are doing right, but the wise listen to advice.
Proverbs 12:14-15 (NCV)

     No one would ever talk to their parents like that would they? After all the Bible tells us time and time again to "Honor your father and your mother." Recently I heard of a talk show host that said she found it liberating to know she didn't have to love her mom. How foolish people have become thinking they know the correct way to do things.

     When we think we know the right way to live, when we think we know what we are doing we need to beware lest we end up like Stella.
  • All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, But the LORD weighs the motives. - Proverbs 16:2 (NAS)
  • If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know; - 1 Corinthians 8:2 (NAS)
  • For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. - Galatians 6:3 (NAS)
  • Fools think they are doing right, but the wise listen to advice. - Proverbs 12:15 (NCV)
  • There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. - Proverbs 14:12 (NIV)

     When it comes to actually living the right way, to actually doing things right we can again turn our thoughts towards God's word.
  • Jesus said* to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. - John 14:6 (NAS)
  • Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, "He is THE ONE WHO CATCHES THE WISE IN THEIR CRAFTINESS"; and again, "THE LORD KNOWS THE REASONINGS of the wise, THAT THEY ARE USELESS." - 1 Corinthians 3:18-20 (NAS)
  • Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil. - Proverbs 3:5-7 (NAS)
     Here's Something to Ponder
  • Ask yourself if you really know what you are doing
  • Are you looking to the Lord for direction