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, March 26, 2011


Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. - James 5:13a

     It had been nearly two hours since the ambulance had pulled into the emergency room at Pupperville Hospital. And for nearly two hours all that Bill had been able to hear was the quiet beeping of a heart monitor and the occasional voice on the intercom asking Dr. Johnson to call extension 772. That was about to change.

     “Hi Bill,” came a familiar sounding voice, “I came as soon as I got your message.” As Bill looked up he saw Preacher Smith walking towards him. “How bad is it? Randy asked as he reached out and put his hand on Bill’s shoulder. “Pretty bad,” Bill told him, “ They rushed him right into surgery as soon as the ambulance got here and they’ve been in surgery for almost two hours now”

     After a moment of silence, Bill proceeded to tell Randy what had happened. “It all started when he scared Martha. He took of running and hid in the old gravel pit. When Martha had told me what he had done I went to find him and when I got to where he was he took off running. Than, without even looking he ran right out in front of a truck. Even thought the driver tried, there was no way he could have stopped in time.”

     “Do the police know who was driving the truck that hit him?” Randy asked. “Yeah,” Bill replied, “They said the driver was someone named John McDonald.” “John McDonald!” exclaimed Randy. “I know him.” “You do?” asked Bill. “Well, sort of.”Randy told him. “I have been talking to him over the phone for the last several weeks. He was going to be moving to the area and attend church with us.”

     Randy was going to tell Bill what he had learned about the McDonald’s but Bill started to cry. “What am I going to do if Harold dies?” Bill said. “I don’t know,” Randy replied, “But I do know something you can do right now. Since the Bible says in James 5 that ‘if anyone among you is suffering then he must pray and prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick.’ You could do some praying.” “I already am.” Bill replied.

     “Speaking of prayer,” Randy said, “I’m going to have Daisy get the prayer chain going.” “Thanks Randy.” Bill replied “And you may want to talk to the McDonald’s, they were both pretty shook up.” “I would be too.” thought Randy. “And maybe you can find who ever was hiding in the bushes with Harold.” Bill continued as a doctor came walking over to talk to him about Harold.

     Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
James 5:13-16 (NAS)
      How important is intercessory prayer (praying for someone other than self) in the lives of Christian's? Hardly a day goes by without someone requesting prayer for someone because of injury, sickness, loss, etc..

     When we turn to the scriptures we find both commands to prayer for one another and examples. Besides James 5 above here are some more commands.
  • Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. - Philippians 4:6 (NLT)
  • With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, - Ephesians 6:18 (NAS)
     As for examples, in the New Testament, Paul was one who was great for praying for others if they asked or not. Here are for examples from for of his letters.
  • Brethren, my heart's desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation. - Romans 10:1 (NAS)
  • I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. - Philippians 1:3-5 (NAS)
  • We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, - Colossians 1:3 (NAS)
  • To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power, - 2 Thessalonians 1:11 (NAS)
      Here's Something to Ponder
  • Are you praying for others?
  • Are you going to Pray?

Saturday, March 19, 2011


     It seems like people are moving all the time but how often does church life become an important part of a move. Hebrews 10:25a says Let us not neglect our church meetings, as some people do... (TLB) For a new family moving to Pupperville church life is very important.

     It had been a long drive for Tracy McDonald and like most kids, she just couldn’t resist asking her dad John how much longer. You see, Tracy and her dad were farmers and the land they had been farming since who knows when was no longer available for them. The owner of the land decide it was time he farmed it himself and he told John and Tracy they had to move.

     “If all goes well, we should be there before long.” John answered. “Good,” Tracy responded, “This trip is getting boring, and I’m starting to get a little ‘down’ in my mouth from sleeping with all the birds.” “Well,” John replied, “Maybe I’ll let you ‘duck’ out of sleeping with the birds tonight.” “Very ‘punny’ Dad.” Tracy said with a laugh, “You really ‘quack’ me up.” “Well,” John replied, “I really know my birds, and I never ‘fowl’ up.”

     A little later as Tracy woke up from a nap she decided to ask her dad a question that had been nagging her. “Why are we moving to Pupperville?” she asked, “Why didn’t we move to Poptown, or Stageville? They were a lot closer, and we know people there. In Pupperville we don’t know anyone. I’ll have to make all new friends, and go to a new school...” “And go to a new church.”John finished.

     “Huh?” Tracy questioned, “What does church have to do with are move, I thought we were farmers?” “A lot.” John replied. “While it is true that Poptown and Stageville were a lot closer, neither of them had a good church. When I was looking for a new place I wanted to make sure they had a good Bible believing church, as well as some good farming land. Pupperville had both. I talked to the preacher there and asked him a lot of questions before making my decision.”

     “But I’m not going to know anyone there.” Tracy complained. “What if they don’t have any kids there my age?” “But they do.” John reassured her. “In fact they there’s one now.” “Dad!” Tracy yelled “He’s running on to the road. We’re going to hit him!” John quickly hit the breaks and skidded to a stop, but it was too late.

     A few minutes later the sound of an ambulance could be heard as a boy lay in the road. John was all shaken up by the accident and Tracy started crying. “Is he alive?” Tracy asked, “Is our new home going to be a jail?”

      Let us not neglect our church meetings, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near. 
Hebrews 10:25 (TLB)

     In an article for On Mission Magazine, Dianne Butts, gave the top ten reasons she's heard why people skip church. Here's what she wrote,
  • 10. I've been thinking I'd like to go to church. But I don't know anyone. And I don't know what to do, where to go, what to expect when I get there.
  • 9. I don't believe in God. Christians are dangerous fanatics, politically unpopular and always trying to shove their beliefs on others.
  • 8. There are so many denominations… even Christians can't agree among themselves what the Bible means.
  • 7. There are so many churches… I don't know which one to go to. Why should I come to yours.
  • 6. Church is for "good" people who haven't messed up. You don't know where I've been or what I've done.
  • 5. Church is not important.
  • 4. I don't need to go to church. I can worship God, even when I'm fishing.
  • 3. I don't have nice clothes to wear to church.
  • 2. I don't have time. Sunday morning is the only day I can sleep late.
  • 1. People in churches are hypocrites.
(ON Mission, July/Aug 2001, p. 46-48 - Fresh Illustrations)

     How important is "Church" in your life? Do you make it a point to gather, to you take joy in attending?
  • I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” - Psalms 122:1 (NLT)
  • One day spent in your house, this beautiful place of worship, beats thousands spent on Greek island beaches. I'd rather scrub floors in the house of my God than be honored as a guest in the palace of sin. - Psalms 84:10 (MSG)

     Does it matter what is being taught? Does it matter if the church really believes and teaches God's Word?
  • I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. - 2 Timothy 4:1-5 (NAS)
  • Jesus answered, “Isaiah was right when he spoke about you hypocrites. He wrote, ’These people show honor to me with words, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is worthless. The things they teach are nothing but human rules.’ You have stopped following the commands of God, and you follow only human teachings.“ Mark 7:6-8 (NCV)

     Here's Something to Ponder
  • Do you take Joy in going to church?
  • Does it matter to you where you are going?

Saturday, March 12, 2011


You are the light of the world. - Matthew 5:14a
     Robert Gray was finding that chasing after Harold was hard work and left him a little short on breath. “I guess I’m just not as young as I used to be,” he mumbled to himself as he went to sit down at the picnic table in the Peterson’s back yard and then Bill scared him half to death when he asked him how he was doing.

     “I’d be doing a lot better if it weren’t for you and your son.” Robert said, “An old man isn’t meant to run that hard or have someone sneak up on them.” “I didn’t sneak up on you,” said Bill “I was already here when you sat down.” “Oh,” replied Robert as he closed his eyes for a quick nap.

      A few minutes later Bill looked up from his Bible and asked Robert a question and when he did he scared him again. “Would you quit doing that!” Robert yelled back. “Sorry,” Bill said “I was just going to ask you about the light house story for my Sunday School Lesson I’m working on. You know, the one about George Vinson.”

     “George Vinson! My old high school Buddy.” Robert said with a smile. “I remember him. When we graduated he got a job working for a Mr. Randall at a light house on a small island of the coast of Maine. Three years after he started working there, Mr. Randall died leaving him there to run the light house all by himself. The only company he would have was an occasional visitor, and the coast guard every three weeks to drop off supplies. Many times I tried to talk him into moving back here with us, but he just wouldn’t do it. He seemed to have so little in his life, yet when ever asked about it he would simply reply, No not since I saved my first life.”

     “That’s the story I’m looking for,” Bill said, “I want to tie that to Matthew 15:16 where Jesus said ‘Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.’”(NASB) “That’s a good idea, Robert said, “Maybe you could use it too teach Harold a thing or two.”

     “Speaking of Harold,” Bill started to ask, “Why were you chasing him?” “I can answer that.” replied Martha, who had walked up behind them. “I believe he was trying to scare Stella, but he got me instead. Do you think you can take care of him?” “I think I might know where he is,” Bill said, “He must have forgot Stella was out of town.” “Good luck,” Martha said as he headed off into the woods.

     “You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:14-16 (HCSB)

     Can you imagine being a light house? Many a light house has been built to guide ships in the dark through dangerous waters to safety. Light houses are built to be seen and so.....
  • Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, - Philippians 2:14-15 (ESV)
  • For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), - Ephesians 5:8-9 (ESV)
      Light houses shine extremely bright but what would it be like if the light bulb in a light house was replaced with a black light......
  • “No one lights a lamp and puts it in the cellar or under a basket, but on a lampstand, so that those who come in may see its light. Your eye is the lamp of the body. When your eye is good, your whole body is also full of light. But when it is bad, your body is also full of darkness. Take care then, that the light in you is not darkness. If therefore your whole body is full of light, with no part of it in darkness, the whole body will be full of light, as when a lamp shines its light on you.” - Luke 11:33-36 (HCSB)
     I found this neat illustration in Preaching the Word - A man returning from a journey brought his wife a matchbox that would glow in the dark. After he gave it to her, she turned out the light, but it could not be seen. Both thought they had been cheated. Then the wife noticed some French words on the box and asked a friend to translate them. The inscription said: "If you want me to shine in the night, keep me in the light." So it is with us! We must expose ourselves to Jesus, delight in his Word, and spend time in prayer soaking up his rays.
  • Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, "I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life." - John 8:12 (NAS)
  • "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself." - John 12:32 (NAS)
     Can you imagine a ships crew trying to put out the light so they can sail in the dark? The world may want to reject the light that Christians are to bring yet we need to shine
  • "This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. - John 3:19 (NAS)
      Here's Something to Ponder
  • Are you filled with the light of God
  • Are you shining the light of God to the world

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Whoever digs a pit for others will fall into it - Proverbs 26:27a (NCV)

      Harold was up to no good again and this time he had conned his friend Louie Blackwood into helping him with his mischievous deed. He almost got caught while talking to his Grandpa but he took off running into the woods where they finally lost him. “That was close,” Louie told Harold as they stopped to catch their breath.

     “I got the reflectors off of my sister’s bike but all my flash lights had dead batteries,” Harold said, “Were you able to get a flashlight?” “I was able to find a small one,” Louie responded, “But the batteries are new and it’s very bright. By the way, what are we going to do with the flashlight and reflectors?”

     “We are going to scare Stella.” Harold said with a grin. “How are we going to do that?” Louie asked. “By making her think we are some where else when we’re not really there.” answered Harold but his answer only confused Louie. So he had to explain it some more. “When it gets dark,” he said, “And Stella comes walking down this path on her way home, we will shine a flashlight at the reflectors. Stella will think we are where the reflectors are, then we will jump out from behind her and scare her.”

     After hearing that Louie thought it was going to be fun to hear Stella scream. The two of them than went to work putting the reflectors on different trees so they would be ready when Stella came walking home. After a while Harold noticed it was starting to get dark so he told Louie it was time to hide.

     No sooner had they hid when someone came walking down the path. It looked like everything was going according to Harold’s plan. They shined the light at the reflectors and when the timing was right they jumped and said BOO! As loud as they could and did Stella ever SCREAM! But there was a problem.

     “Harold,” Louie called out, “That’s not Stella. It sounds like your Mom.” Just than Martha hollered out Harold’s name. “It is my mom!” Harold said, “Let’s get out of here.” As they took of on the run they could here Harold’s Mom saying they were in big trouble and she was going to go get Harold’s Dad.

     Harold made plans to scare his sister but something went wrong. Instead of scaring his sister he scared his Mom. His plan failed and his mischievous deed got him in trouble. We need to be careful of what we plan to do for our evil plans can bring trouble to us. Turn to the story of Daniel and the Satraps.
      Then the commissioners and satraps began trying to find a ground of accusation against Daniel in regard to government affairs; but they could find no ground of accusation or evidence of corruption, inasmuch as he was faithful, and no negligence or corruption was to be found in him. Then these men said, "We will not find any ground of accusation against this Daniel unless we find it against him with regard to the law of his God." Then these commissioners and satraps came by agreement to the king and spoke to him as follows: "King Darius, live forever! "All the commissioners of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the high officials and the governors have consulted together that the king should establish a statute and enforce an injunction that anyone who makes a petition to any god or man besides you, O king, for thirty days, shall be cast into the lions' den. "Now, O king, establish the injunction and sign the document so that it may not be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which may not be revoked." Therefore King Darius signed the document, that is, the injunction .......The king then gave orders, and they brought those men who had maliciously accused Daniel, and they cast them, their children and their wives into the lions' den; and they had not reached the bottom of the den before the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones. - Daniel 6:4-9,24 (NAS)
     If you want to read the rest of the story - the part before and in between you can find it in Daniel 6. What happened to the Satraps, what happened to Harold, can easily happen to us.

     Words of Warning
  • If a person does not repent, God will sharpen his sword; he will bend and string his bow. He will prepare his deadly weapons and shoot his flaming arrows. The wicked conceive evil; they are pregnant with trouble and give birth to lies. They dig a deep pit to trap others, then fall into it themselves. The trouble they make for others backfires on them. The violence they plan falls on their own heads. - Psalms 7:12-16 (NLT)
  • Whoever digs a pit for others will fall into it. Whoever tries to roll a boulder down on others will be crushed by it. - Proverbs 26:27 (NCV)
  • He who digs a pit may fall into it, and a serpent may bite him who breaks through a wall. - Ecclesiastes 10:8 (NAS)

     Here's some good advice for keeping out of trouble - Proverbs 4:25-27 (NLT)
  • Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you.
  • Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path.
  • Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.

     Here's Something to Ponder
  • Are you taking careful thought of what you plan
    • Is it for good or for evil
    • Will you be sorry
    • Will God be pleased