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, 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?

Saturday, October 1, 2011


A man who has friends must himself be friendly, - Proverbs 18:24a (NKJV)

      How many of you have friends? Well, one of Randy’s friends is a boy named Harold Peterson. Now you may have already met him and if you have you may already know what kind of trouble he can create such as the day Randy asked him to help him with a puppet play for a lesson on friendship.

     It all started when Randy went to call Harold on stage to help him. From somewhere out of sight he heard a loud woof, woof followed by Harold yelling for someone or should I say something called Muffy to come back. It was than that Randy realized he should have asked someone else to help him with his lesson.

     After zipping back and forth across the stage several times, it sounded like Harold finally got Muffy under control but than a cat’s meow was heard and away they went again. “Is that your dog, Harold?” Randy called out as Harold went running by again. “Yes.” Harold replied and than came a terrible crash.

     Soon Harold came staggering back to the stage complaining about his aching head. “What happened?” Randy asked. And with a big moan, Harold told Randy that Muffy went over the fence, while he went into the fence. “I thought a dog was suppose to be a man’s best friend.” Harold said as he finished telling Randy about his dog walking experience.

     “What on earth are you doing with a St. Bernard?” Randy asked. “Trying to catch him.” Harold replied with another moan. “But he’s twice your size.” Randy noted. “I know.” Harold replied, “Mom and Dad said I could have one, and he looked so cute. How was I to know he would get so big.”

     “Why did you get a dog anyway?” Randy asked and Harold started telling him how lonely it was only having one friend and how Muffy was suppose to be a friend that was always there for him. “Unfortunately,” Harold continued, “all he’s been is trouble.” “That sounds like someone I know,” Randy added, “always causing trouble. In fact I heard he put a frog in Mindy’s school box last week.

     Upon hearing those words, Harold took off after Muffy again and this time it wasn’t a fence he ran into but a swimming pool. All Randy could do was stand there and shake his head. “When will he ever learn,” he mumbled. “If you want to have friends you need to be friendly just like it says in Proverbs 18:24.”

     When you read through the Bible you come across many friendships like that of Ruth and Naomi or Elijah and Elisha but what many believe to be the greatest friendship in the Bible is that of David and Jonathan.

     The story of David and Jonathan can be found in the book of 1 Samuel starting in Chapter 18, just after David had defeated Goliath in battle. It is here we read these words:

     1 Samuel 18:1-4 - After David had finished talking with Saul, he met Jonathan, the king’s son. There was an immediate bond of love between them, and they became the best of friends. From that day on Saul kept David with him and wouldn’t let him return home. And Jonathan made a solemn pact with David, because he loved him as he loved himself. Jonathan sealed the pact by taking off his robe and giving it to David, together with his tunic, sword, bow, and belt. (NLT)

     More than once we read where their friendship was put to the test
  • 1 Samuel 19:1-7 - Saul now urged his servants and his son Jonathan to assassinate David. But Jonathan, because of his close friendship with David, told him what his father was planning. “Tomorrow morning,” he warned him, “you must find a hiding place out in the fields. I’ll ask my father to go out there with me, and I’ll talk to him about you. Then I’ll tell you everything I can find out.” The next morning Jonathan spoke with his father about David, saying many good things about him. “The king must not sin against his servant David,” Jonathan said. “He’s never done anything to harm you. He has always helped you in any way he could. Have you forgotten about the time he risked his life to kill the Philistine giant and how the Lord brought a great victory to all Israel as a result? You were certainly happy about it then. Why should you murder an innocent man like David? There is no reason for it at all!” So Saul listened to Jonathan and vowed, “As surely as the Lord lives, David will not be killed.” Afterward Jonathan called David and told him what had happened. Then he brought David to Saul, and David served in the court as before. (NLT)
  • 1 Samuel 20:1-9,42 - David now fled from Naioth in Ramah and found Jonathan. “What have I done?” he exclaimed. “What is my crime? How have I offended your father that he is so determined to kill me?” “That’s not true!” Jonathan protested. “You’re not going to die. He always tells me everything he’s going to do, even the little things. I know my father wouldn’t hide something like this from me. It just isn’t so!” Then David took an oath before Jonathan and said, “Your father knows perfectly well about our friendship, so he has said to himself, ‘I won’t tell Jonathan—why should I hurt him?’ But I swear to you that I am only a step away from death! I swear it by the Lord and by your own soul!” “Tell me what I can do to help you,” Jonathan exclaimed. David replied, “Tomorrow we celebrate the new moon festival. I’ve always eaten with the king on this occasion, but tomorrow I’ll hide in the field and stay there until the evening of the third day. If your father asks where I am, tell him I asked permission to go home to Bethlehem for an annual family sacrifice. If he says, ‘Fine!’ you will know all is well. But if he is angry and loses his temper, you will know he is determined to kill me. Show me this loyalty as my sworn friend—for we made a solemn pact before the Lord—or kill me yourself if I have sinned against your father. But please don’t betray me to him!” “Never!” Jonathan exclaimed. “You know that if I had the slightest notion my father was planning to kill you, I would tell you at once.” .... At last Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, for we have sworn loyalty to each other in the Lord’s name. The Lord is the witness of a bond between us and our children forever.” Then David left, and Jonathan returned to the town.(NLT)
     In time they would briefly meet again and when they did we find that their friendship had not diminished.

     When you look at the friendship of David and Jonathan there are several things we can learn. Here are three of them:
  • A good friend is willing to give of one's self - 1 Samuel 18:3,4
  • A good friend speaks well of you - 1 Samuel 19:4
  • A good friend departs in peace - 1 Samuel 20:42
     Here's Something to Ponder
  • What do like about how your friends treat you?
  • How do you treat your friends?