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 29, 2012


Better is a little with the fear of the LORD – Proverbs 15:16a (ESV)

      No-one likes to be sick especially while on vacation and especially when that vacation is Christmas vacation. It was two days after Christmas, Stella Peterson was on vacation and she was sick, so sick that she needed to go to the doctors office where she had to sit for what seemed like ages waiting for a nurse to call her back to the examination room.

     “Sorry it's taking so long, Stella.” said the nurse, “We are short handed because a lot of staff are on Christmas vacation.” The nurse was Rhonda Clay, and Stella knew her from church. “Did you have a good Christmas?” Rhonda asked as she had Stella step on some scales to be weighed.

     “NO!” Stella growled, “I didn't get enough presents.” “I thought I got too many presents.” Rhonda replied as she had Stella move to get her height. “Too many presents.” Stella growled, “How can anyone ever have too many presents? I know I can’t and I didn’t and, and, and I think I'm going to throw up.” In a flash Rhonda had some kind of bag ready for her to throw up in.

     “So?” Rhonda asks after Stella settles down, “Just how many presents did you get?” “I don't know.” Stella tells her, “I just know it wasn’t enough.” “So how many is not enough?” Rhonda asks as she prepares to check her temperature. “Five or Ten” “Five or ten!” Stella gasps, “Is that all you got for Christmas?”

     “I got seven” Rhonda said as she started writing down some numbers. “How many did you get?” “I don't know.” Stella growled, I lost count after a hundred.” “A hundred!” Rhonda gasped in disbelief. “Maybe it was two hundred.” Stella added, “All I know is wasn’t enough.” “What in the world did you get?” Rhonda asked.

     “I don't know what all I got.” Stella said as she laid back on the examination table, “I haven't opened all of them yet.” “Let me get this straight.” Rhonda said, “You got over two hundred presents.” “Make it three hundred.” Stella injected, “So, you got over three hundred presents, you haven’t even opened all of them, and you want more. Why in the world do you want more?”

     “I'm bored” Stella said. “Your sick.” Rhonda added. “I'm already tired of playing with what I got.” Stella continued. “You haven't opened everything and your already tired of everything?” Rhonda said in disbelief. “Well, I'm not tired of everything.”Stella replied, “ Some of them, no, lots of them are already broken. Besides I can’t let Harold have more than me.”

     “You're impossible.” Rhonda said and headed for the door. “Harold's impossible.” Stella growled back. “I'm sick.” “You sure are.” Rhonda said “And the doctor will see you shortly, but I'll be surprised if he can help you.”

     Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. Malachi 3:10 (NIV) God says test me and see if I will bless you with more than you can hold, imagine, need, want, desire, and we know that God would keep His promise, yet, more can cause more problems than its worth, even the desire for more can be a big pain. People who want to get rich (have more) fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money (more)is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Timothy 6:9-10 (NIV) So goes the story of young Prince Midas.

     I'm sure many have heard of the story of King Midas and how he got a wish for more gold and everything he touched turned to gold but lets twist the story around just a little bit.

     In the eyes of most people, kids included, Prince Midas was greatly blessed with an abundance of toys. He would spend hours and hours playing with them. He should have been happy but he wasn't and it was noticed by a stranger. The stranger offered the prince a wish and the prince asked for more toys. The prince's wish was granted and everything he touched became a toy. Elated with his new ability, the prince played with new toys all day long. Full of excitement, he ran to his parents and gave them a big hug and instantly they turned to toys. That wasn't what he wanted. Hungry he grabbed some food to eat but as he bit into it he found that it had turned to a toy. In fact, everything he touched turned into a toy if he wanted it to or not..

     Here are a few good reminders for us when we start wising we had more.
  • Proverbs 15:16 - Better is a little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble with it. (ESV)
  • Hebrews 13:5 - Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." (ESV)
  • 1 Timothy 6:8 - But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. (ESV)
  • Luke 3:14 - Soldiers also asked him, "And we, what shall we do?" And he said to them, "Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages." (ESV)
  • Philippians 4:11 - Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. (ESV)
     Here's Something To Ponder
  • How much of what you have do you really need?
  • What would your life be like if you desired less?

Saturday, December 22, 2012


Whatever is good and perfect comes to us from God above - James 1:17 (NLT)

      It was almost Christmas in Pupperville and a gentle snow was falling on the ice skating pond as Louie practiced his Figure eights. Unfortunately, he wasn't paying attention to where he was going and crash, he ran right into a young lady and went sprawling to the ice. As Louie pushed himself up, he turned to apologize.

     “I'm sorry.” he said, “Are you okay?” “NO.” came a muffled reply as the young lady lay face first into a snow bank. Hearing that made Louie feel really bad. “Are you hurt?” He asked. “No,” came another muffled reply and than the young lady sat up and said “It's almost Christmas.”

     As it turned out, the young lady was Bernadette, and Louie knew her well. “It's almost Christmas?” Louie puzzled out loud, “What's Christmas got to do with anything?” “We're opening presents in two more days and I'm nor ready!” Bernadette growled. “ I got my Dad finished first, than all my friends but I don’t know what to get for my MOM!”

     “That shouldn't be hard since you're both girls.” Louie said trying to calm her down. “I didn’t think it would be either but I want to get her the perfect present.” Bernadette told Louie, “I’ve gone through every catalog in the house at least a dozen times and I’ve searched and searched on the Internet.”

     “Did you check all the stores in Pupperville?” Louie asked as he started to think of some way to help her. “Stores?” Bernadette replied in disgust, “Stores? You mean actually go out with all those other people and shop? Are you crazy?” “It's not that bad walking through the stores.” Louie tried to encourage her, “Besides, I thought girls like to shop.”

     “Well, I guess it wouldn’t be so bad if I knew Harold wouldn’t be there.” Bernadette told him. “But he has a booth set up outside the mall and he's trying to sell a ton of things. He even tried to sell me a bunch of dead frogs. He said they would be the perfect present for my Mom.”

     “Where in the world would Harold have gotten that much stuff?” Louie asked. “He wouldn't say.” Bernadette told him. “Every time I asked, Harold said it was a secret. And then tried to sell me some other gross thing.” “Were people actually buying stuff from him? Louie asked. “I don't know.” Bernadette told him “But his booth was the busiest one there.”

     After a few minutes of silence, Louie told Bernadette “You could give yourself to your mom.” “I guess I have enough wrapping paper to wrap myself.” Bernadette sighed, “So, what did you get Daisy for Christmas?” “Uhm, I, Uhm.” Louie stammered, “I think I forgot. I better rush over to Harold's booth and see if I can find something?” “What!?” Bernadette exclaimed when she heard that but Louie never heard her for he was on the way.

     In Isaiah we read of vineyard, a vineyard planted by God. I will sing about the one I love, a song about my loved one’s vineyard: The one I love had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. He broke up the soil, cleared it of stones, and planted it with the finest vines. He built a tower in the middle of it and even hewed out a winepress there. He expected it to yield good grapes, but it yielded worthless grapes.
Isaiah 5:1-2 (HCSB)

     God loves to give and when it came to the vineyard that He planted, he gave it everything it could need so as to produce the perfect grapes but what He got was worthless. God's giving doesn't always end up being for naught.

     There was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, looking forward to Israel’s consolation, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he saw the Lord’s Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, he entered the temple complex. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform for Him what was customary under the law, Simeon took Him up in his arms, praised God, and said: Now, Master, You can dismiss Your slave in peace, according to Your word. For my eyes have seen Your salvation. You have prepared [it] in the presence of all peoples— a light for revelation to the Gentiles and glory to Your people Israel.
Luke 2:25-32 (HCSB)

     Although it happened 8 days later, God gave Simeon his wish. Simeon was aloud to see the Christ child and when he did, he praised God. Sometime later it was men giving gifts to God. After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod, wise men from the east arrived unexpectedly in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” When King Herod heard this, he was deeply disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. So he assembled all the chief priests and scribes of the people and asked them where the Messiah would be born. “In Bethlehem of Judea,” they told him, “because this is what was written by the prophet: And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah: because out of you will come a leader who will shepherd My people Israel.” Then Herod secretly summoned the wise men and asked them the exact time the star appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. When you find Him, report back to me so that I too can go and worship Him.” After hearing the king, they went on their way. And there it was—the star they had seen in the east! It led them until it came and stopped above the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed beyond measure. Entering the house, they saw the child with Mary His mother, and falling to their knees, they worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their own country by another route.
Matthew 2:1-12 (HCSB)

     There are two types of giving in the Christmas story. There is God's giving
  • John 3:16 - For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (ESV)
  • 1 Timothy 2:5-6 - For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. (ESV)
     And than there is our giving
  • 2 Corinthians 9:7 - Each one must give as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (ESV)
  • Luke 6:38 - give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you." (ESV)
     Here's Something To Ponder
  • Are you willing to accept God's gift of His Son.
  • Are you willing to Give yourself to God

Saturday, December 15, 2012


And they went with haste and found … the baby lying in a manger. Luke 2:16 (ESV)

      As Stella stood at the kitchen sink washing dishes and dreaming about all she would get for Christmas, she was rudely interrupted by a loud Bamm, Bamm, Bamm, Bamm. “Knock it off, Harold!” She yelled out, not realizing it was someone knocking at the door, or should I say beating on the door. Again a loud Bamm, Bamm, Bamm, Bamm. Echoed through the kitchen.

     “Open it yourself, Harold” Stella hollered out “I'm busy!” but all she got in response was another loud Bamm, Bamm, Bamm, Bamm. In disgust, Stella grabbed a glass full of dirty dish water to throw on her brother when she opened the door but when she opened the door it wasn't her brother that was standing there. “WHERE IS HE!?” Tracy screamed at her, “I'm going to kill him”

     “I thought you were him.” Stella said and brought her glass of dish water back tot he sink, “Do I dare ask what Harold did this time?” “He tried to kill me.” Tracy said, I was minding my own business trying to do some needle work when he came into the barn and.” You were doing needle work in the barn?” Stella interrupted,

      “In the hay loft, to be precise.” Tracy told her, “I have cozy little a hide-a-way up there.” “So how dis Harold try to kill you?” “He said it was a surprise.” Tracy told Stella, “Don't ask me what kind of a surprise because he wouldn't tell me. What I do know is he tried to borrow one of my Dad’s tractors, the one with the front end loader on it.”

     “Why in the world would Harold want your dad's tractor?” Stella questioned. “I don't know.” Tracy answered, “I don't even know how he got it started but before I had a chance to see what he was up to, POOF!” “POOF?” Stella repeated Tracy's word, “Did the tractor blow up?

     “Harold put the tractor in gear, plowed over the support beam for the hay loft and down I went along with everything else and now I'm going TO KILL HIM.” “If you're going to kill him, I can't even begin to imagine what your dad is going to do to him.” Stella told her. “He's not doing anything to him.” Tracy said in disgust, “But then again, he doesn’t have to go looking for my needles in the hay stack. AUGGHH, I’ll never find them.”

     “Your dad's not mad about the hay loft?” Stella said in disbelief. “Dad says he's knocked it down several times himself and Harold will put the beams back up tomorrow.” “Good!” Stella exclaimed, “That will teach him.” “Don't count on it.” Tracy warned, “Dad is going to let him use the tractor to put them and all the hay back up.”

     “If you'll help me finish these dish quick,” Stella said to Tracy, “I'll come over and see if I can help you find your needles. “I suppose.” Tracy said and walked over to the sink, “I can always kill Harold tomorrow – if he's still alive.”

     Luke 18:27 – Jesus replied, "What is impossible with men is possible with God." I'm sure we can all think of impossible things, things that are impossible for people to accomplish like making predictions more than 400 years in advance and having them come true. Some of those predictions relate to the coming of Jesus into this world.
  • 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. - Isaiah 9:7 (ESV)
  • Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. - Isaiah 7:14 (ESV)
  • But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. - Micah 5:2 (ESV)
  • Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time. - Daniel 9:25 (ESV)
  • And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." - Luke 2:12 (ESV)
     Now imagine trying to find Jesus at His birth – it would have been like trying to find a needle in a hay stack but with God's help in the form of some angels a group of shepherds found Him.

     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.
Luke 2:8-20 (ESV)

     The Lord Either God Himself or Jesus Himself are not that hard to find and the truly wise do seek Him as we all should.
  • I love those who love me; And those who diligently seek me will find me. - Proverbs 8:17 (NASB)
  • But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul. - Deuteronomy 4:29 (NASB)
  • His purpose in all of this was that the nations should seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. - Acts 17:27 (NLT)
  • Seek the LORD while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near. - Isaiah 55:6 (NLT)
     Here's Something To Ponder
  • Had you been with the shepherds would you have gone looking for Jesus?
  • Are you willing to look for Jesus this Christmas?

Saturday, December 8, 2012


There was no room for them in the inn. - Luke 2:7b (NASB)

      It was Tuesday after school at Barney was sitting in the library studying for a report he had to write on winter weather. Well, he was suppose to be studying but he kept day dreaming about Christmas. He kept thinking about Christmas morning when his family would gather around the tree and read the Christmas story, open presents and than there was the big turkey dinner.

     As he took a deep breath wishing he could already smell the turkey, he got a strong whiff of chili. “Chili?” he said out loud and started sniffing the air. “Yeah, it's chili.” came a voice from behind him. “There wasn't any more tomato sauce left in town.” “Oh, no!” Barney said and hid his face in his book, “Please tell me I'm still dreaming and Harold isn't standing behind me.”

     “You're not really reading that book are you?” Harold asked. “No Barney replied, “I should be but I'm too excited for Christmas to get here.” “I'm not.” Harold said disappointedly. “I'm not getting anything for Christmas and it's all Joey's fault.”

     “Joey?” Barney asked “Who's Joey? I know everybody you know, and I don't know any body named Joey.” “Joey was the name I gave my skunk.” Harold said sounding very disappointed. “If he would have stayed under my coat in church I would still be getting lots of stuff. But no, Joey had to squirm out of my coat and start spraying.”

     “That's what you get for being stupid.” Barney said. But Harold never even heard him. “Why in the world did you catch that skunk for in the first place?” Barney asked. “And the worst part is I no longer have the skunk.” Harold responded. “What?” Barney injected. “Oh,” Harold said realizing the conversation had changed. “I wanted him to keep people out of my bedroom.”

     “I've seen your room, Harold” Barney said, “I've even tried to get into your room. You don't need a skunk.” “Yes I do!” Harold protested. “No you don't” Barney replied, You have so much stuff on the floor in your room that no-one can get in. “I can!” Harold interrupted. “I bet you can't even find your bed.” Barney continued.

     “You're right there.” Harold said in agreement, “I took it apart to make a fort.” “Can you find the fort?” Barney asked next. Not wanting to say no, Harold quickly changed the subject. “By the way,” he asked, “Do you know how much dump trucks cost? Not the little toy ones but the big ones like they have down at Bob's construction company.”

     “Dump Truck!” Barney shouted forgetting he was in a library. “Why do you want a dump truck?!” “Shhh!” Harold said, “I can't tell you” Harold whispered in return, “It's a surprise I'm working on. And I don't want anyone to know.” “What!” Barney shouted again. This time he had a room full of people telling him “Shhh!” “I can't tell you.” Harold whispered again. “It's a surprise.” and then he left.

     Do you have a room like Harold's? A room that so much stuff in it that you can't move. And still you want more? I think too many of us are like Harold's room in the way we live. Like Harold's room, our lives are full of stuff, too much stuff and we want more and more and than something comes along that we should have and there is no room for it.

      Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?" "Why do you ask me about what is good?" Jesus replied. "There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments." "Which ones?" the man inquired. Jesus replied, "'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,' and 'love your neighbor as yourself.'" "All these I have kept," the young man said. "What do I still lack?" Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Matthew 19:16-22 (NIV)

     The man wanted eternal life, he wanted something we all would love to have. Jesus told him he needed to keep the commandments which he had done from his youth. And Jesus told him to sell what he had and give it to the poor. The man couldn't do it, the stuff meant too much to him.

     Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Luke 2:4-7 (NASB)

     Like the inn in the Christmas story, too many of us have no room for Jesus, our lives are full, full of stuff, things that don't matter in the long run.

     Matthew 16:26 Reminds us that all the stuff in the world is of no value and won't get us what's important. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? (NIV)

     Matthew 13:32 reminds us that the cares of this life and the lures of wealth, that stuff crowds out what's important. The thorny ground represents those who hear and accept the Good News, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares of this life and the lure of wealth, so no crop is produced. (NLT)

     Here's some advice from Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. (NLT)

     As we enter the Christmas season will you let too much stuff crowd out the important, Jesus, our Savior?

     Here's Something To Ponder
  • Is your life full of stuff?
  • Are you giving room to Jesus?

Saturday, December 1, 2012


I know that my Redeemer lives, - Job 19:25a (NIV)

      Robert Grey sat at his kitchen table staring at some papers laying in front of him. As his eyes scanned the numbers you could here him making strange noises sort of like “Chic a chic a chic a chic a chic a ching. Chic a chic a chic a chic a chic a ching.” over and over again. This was how Randy found him

     “Are you okay?” Randy asked after a few minutes of standing and watching him. “Huh? What? Where did you come from?” Robert stuttered in surprise. “Your wife let me in.” Randy told him, “She said I'd find you in the kitchen. I figured you'd be eating, but, what are you doing?” “Thinking.” Robert told him and started making more “Chic a chic a chic a chic a chic a ching.” sounds.

     “Do you always make such strange noises when you think?” Randy asked. “No.” Robert replied, “Just once in a while, when I'm thinking about Harold.” “I guess I make funny noises too when I think about him.” Randy said and then they both let out a good laugh.

     Once their laughing calmed down, Robert said in a rather somber voice, “Harold's in a lot of trouble isn't he?” “I think letting a skunk loose in the church may be the last straw for Harold.” Randy replied in an equally somber voice. The church board had a emergency meeting and they are seriously thinking of banishing Harold form the church and anything doing with it.”

     “Yeah,” Robert frowned, “That is pretty serious.” “It's worse than that though,” Randy continued, “Most of the church members want him to personally pay for all the damages and no one will stick up for him.” “There is one person that may stick up for him.” Robert interrupted, “That is, if I can come up with enough money. There is no way Harold could pay for all the damage.”

     “Do you really think you'll be able to help him?” Randy quietly asked “I'm not completely certain, but he is my grandson and I think I should try.” “How are you going to help him?” Robert asked not thinking anything could help Harold. “Well,” Robert answered, “I have a friend who owns a grocery warehouse and he said he could get me tomato sauce in the bulk. And I know someone who claims he can get the skunk smell out of the church building in less than a week but it's expensive and will cost me all of my savings.”

     “That will definitely go along way towards helping Harold but I don't think it'll be enough.” Randy said half hopeful. “What do you mean, it won't be enough?” Robert asked thinking what he was doing would be enough. “There's still the matter of getting all the people to forgive.” Randy told him. “Oh!” Robert said, “I hadn't thought of that. And than he put his head down and started making more funny noises.

     For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. - Romans 3:23 (HCSB) While we may like to think of people, at least some people as being good, the Bible reminds us that people are not good. Some people are bad and some people are really bad. Jehoram would likely fall into the really bad category. Jehoram was king of Israel and he lived in Samaria, the capital city. From their he led his people away from God which of course didn't bode well for him or his people.

     Starting in the 24th verse of 2 Kings chapter 6 we find that Ben-hadad, king of Aram, and brought his army to Samaria and held it under siege. In the city things got so bad that a donkey’s head sold for 80 silver shekels, and a cup of dove’s dung sold for five silver shekels which was a lot of money to pay for something to eat. Even worse than that, we read that women were to the point of killing their own children to eat them. When Jehoram heard of this, he tore his clothes and pronounced the death sentence on Elisha, the prophet of God as if he brought all these problems.

     Things looked pretty bleak for Harold and his Grandfather decided to redeem him even though he didn't deserve it. Things looked pretty bleak for Jehoram and the people in Samaria but God decided to redeem them. When one continued to read the 2 Kings we find that when the kings right hand man came to collect Elisha, he was told that the next day there would be food a plenty but because he didn't believe, he would only see it but never enjoy it.

     During the night following, God scared the Arameans away, the fled so fast that they left all their possessions, including lots of food, behind. Some Lepers found it and reported it to the gate keepers who in turn reported it to the king. After checking it out to make sure it wasn't a trap, the people plundered the camp trampling the kings right hand man on the way. The people were saved, Harold will be saved, and all will turn out because someone cares enough to redeem us even when we don't deserve it.

     As we enter the month of December our thoughts often turn towards Christmas and when we think of Christmas we should be thinking of our Redeemer, our Savior. Matthew 1:20-21 reads - But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." (NIV)

     While Jesus work of redeeming us didn't take place at Christmas, Christmas is the time when He made his entrance into the world as a man so that he could one day go to the cross and there by redeem us. Galatians 3:13 says Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree" (ESV)

     I'm not Harold letting skunks loose in church, I'm not Jehoram or the people of Samaria, but I am me and as me, I need a redeemer for just like everybody else, I've fallen short of the glory of God. You're likely not letting skunks loose in church either and your not Jehoram or the people of Samaria but you too need a redeemer, the one that was born over 2000 years ago.

     Here's Something To Ponder
  • Would you be willing to redeem someone who doesn't deserve it?
  • Are you willing to receive the redemption Jesus made available?

Saturday, November 24, 2012


In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NASB)

     It was Friday morning and Randy was more or less expecting a visitor and sure enough, at 9:00 sharp he heard a hard wrap on the door of his office. “Come on in Sergeant!' Randy called out with out looking up from his desk, “I've been expecting you.” “How did you know it was me?” Sgt. Halfway asked as he entered the room

     “After what happened Wednesday night, I figured you be showing up for some kind of statement.” “Yes.” Sgt. Halfway shook his head, “That's why I'm here. So, Randy, What happened?” “It was like my worse nightmare come true.” Randy said as tears started to run down his eyes, “It was suppose to be a Thanksgiving Eve service. A time when we were suppose to be giving thanks.”

     “Suppose to?” Halfway questioned as he pulled out a notepad and pencil. “Well,” Randy said, “I think you’ve heard that Harold had caught a skunk.” “Tell me about,” Halfway grunted, “Half of Pupperville has called the police station to complain about it. I even heard that his mom was trying to give Harold away.”

     “I’m beginning to wish she had.” Randy told the Sergeant, “Didn't you say something in your sermon last week about being thankful for everything and everyone including Harold?” “Yeah.” Randy sighed, “But that was before Wednesday night.” “You mean before Harold brought that skunk to church.” the Sergeant interrupted. “Yeah.” Randy replied.

     “For the record, Why was Harold allowed in to church with a skunk? Couldn’t somebody smell it?” Sergeant Halfway asked as he got ready to jot down Randy's answer. “Nobody thought to check Harold,” Randy answered, “Because we've gotten so used to him smelling like a skunk. Everybody tries to stay as far away from him as possible and that's probably why no-one noticed it hiding under his coat.”

     “That makes sense.” Halfway nodded in a agreement, “Continue on.” “Well,' Randy went on, “About half way through the service, the skunk got loose. When it got loose, Harold started chasing the skunk around trying to catch it. Harold and the skunk were under the pews, over the pews, across the laps of everyone and then... the skunk started spraying. People started screaming and running every which way trying to get out of the building. Eventually the skunk escaped but the damage had already been done.”

     After jotting a few notes down, Sgt. Halfway than asked about the damage that had been done. “The skunk smell is everywhere.” Randy told him, “I'm sure you could smell it when you came in. The janitor said it could take months to get the odor out of the church. And as for the people, there's no more tomato juice in town.”

     “Well,” Sgt Halfway said as he closed his notebook. “You can always look on the bright side? “There’s a bright side?” Randy asked a bit puzzled. “Yeah.” Sgt Halfway said as he headed for the door, “It’s a good way to find out if you really are thankful in all things.” “What an excellent sermon idea,” Randy said as he stood up to walk Sgt Halfway out. “That is, if any one will ever show up in church again.”

     Would you be thankful if Harold showed up at your church and let his skunk get loose and it sprayed? And, would you be thankful if it was during a time set aside just to be thankful? "Three times a year you shall celebrate a feast to Me. "You shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread; for seven days you are to eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the appointed time in the month Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt. And none shall appear before Me empty-handed. "Also you shall observe the Feast of the Harvest of the first fruits of your labors from what you sow in the field; also the Feast of the Ingathering at the end of the year when you gather in the fruit of your labors from the field. Exodus 23:14-16 (NASB)

     The Feast of Ingathering is also know as the Feast of Booths. In Deuteronomy 16 God gives a few more details regarding this feast. "You shall celebrate the Feast of Booths seven days after you have gathered in from your threshing floor and your wine vat; and you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter and your male and female servants and the Levite and the stranger and the orphan and the widow who are in your towns. "Seven days you shall celebrate a feast to the LORD your God in the place which the LORD chooses, because the LORD your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful.... Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which He has given you.

       At the time of harvest a feast was to be had, to celebrate before the Lord – for what He had given and an offering was to be given in return. It was a type of thanksgiving that lasted 7 days. A thanksgiving that was forgotten until the days of Ezra and Nehemiah. The story can be found in Nehemiah chapter 8 if you wish to read it in full but to sum the story up. The walls of Jerusalem had been rebuilt and the people were returning. Upon their return they got together and asked Ezra to read to them form the book of the law of Moses which God had given them. So, Ezra called the people together and read to them explaining things along the way. Along the way they learned of the Feast of Booths and decided they needed to celebrate and did they ever.

     We have 1 day set aside for celebrating, for giving thanks, but have we forgotten to celebrate, to praise God, to give thanks. I know of no place in scripture that the Israelites were told they didn't have to celebrate when they went into captivity, when things were not going their way. Their feast was mandatory, ours is voluntary but even at that should we let bad times, etc keep us from giving thanks, from celebrating and praising God? Do we need everything perfect before we say a word of thanks and than go back to our lives....

In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NASB)
In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NASB)
In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NASB)
In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NASB)
In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NASB)
In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NASB)
In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NASB)
In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NASB)
In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NASB)

     Here's Something To Ponder
  • Are you truly thankful when things go wrong?
  • Are you truly thankful when things go right?

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Give thanks in everything, - 1 Thessalonians 5:18a (HCSB)

     Ever since Harold Peterson had manged to catch a live skunk, people had been avoiding him like he was the worst kind of plague. For some people, however, avoiding him was next to impossible since they lived with him. Martha, Harold's mom, was one of those people and in desperation she headed to church to talk to Randy Smith to see what he would think of her idea.

     As Martha walked into Randy's office, Randy started sniffing the air. “You don't smell like skunk.” he finally said. “Does that mean everything is okay now?” “Not in the least.” Martha replied, “I don't smell like skunk because I found some strong perfume that somehow cancels out the skunk smell.”

     “So,” Randy said as kicked back in his chair, “What have you been up to, and how can I help you?” “well,” Martha started to say as she sat down in the chair opposite Randy's, “I've been doing a lot of thinking.” “That's always good.” Randy told her, “So, what have you been thinking about?” “Thanksgiving.” Martha answered.

     “Oh.” Randy said some what shocked, “I thought you would have been thinking Harold and getting rid of that skunk I heard he caught.” “Well,” Martha admitted, “I guess I have been think a little bit about Harold and the skunk he caught. Well, maybe a lot but I wasn't thinking of getting rid of the skunk.”

     “You're not actually thinking of keeping it” Randy asked as his eye got as big as saucers. “Well,” Martha said, “Being that it's almost thanksgiving, I was thinking about giving God a gift.” When Randy heard that his eyes got even bigger and his mouth dropped open, “You’re not thinking of giving the skunk to God as a gift?”

     “No” Martha told him and Randy gave a sigh of relief. “I was thinking of something else. I was reading in Exodus 22:29 where it says The firstborn of your sons you shall give to me. And I was thinking, Harold's my first born son and....” “Stop right there.” Randy interrupted her. “You can’t give Harold away. He your own flesh and blood.”

     “You mean his father’s flesh and blood.” Martha snapped back, “Besides, God's word says to give him to Him. Besides,” Martha continued, “I think I would rather have the skunk.” “And just how do you plan to give him to God.” Randy asked “That's easy.” Martha replied, “I’ll just, just, just. I don’t know. How do I give him to God?”

     “Don’t ask me.” Randy told Martha, “Besides, would you like to have Harold given to you as a thank you gift?” “Harold as a thank you gift?” Martha snorted, “I thought he was a punishment. Oh well, so much for that idea.”

     On that day David decreed for the first time that thanks be given to the Lord by Asaph and his relatives: Give thanks to the Lord; call on His name; proclaim His deeds among the peoples. Sing to Him; sing praise to Him; tell about all His wonderful works!
1 Chronicles 16:7-9 (HCSB)

     Imagine, a day set aside to give thanks. Does such a day really exist? Such a day is suppose to exit on the 4th Thursday of November in America but how much thanks is given, and how do we do it? Martha thought of giving a gift as a way of giving thanks, well maybe not exactly. If we want to know more about giving thanks we can look at those in the Bible who were thankful and took the time to give thanks.

     David was a king who was thankful. He was the one who wrote the above verses from 1 Chronicles and we can find much of his thankfulness in his Psalms. The verse above were written just after the return of the Arc to Jerusalem. The following verses were written at various times.
  • Psalm 106:1 - Hallelujah! Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever. (HCSB) – Here's a reason to give thanks – because God is good and His love endures.
  • Psalm 107:1- Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever. (HCSB) – The reason repeats.
  • Psalm 108:3 - I will give thanks to you, O LORD, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. (ESV) – Here's a way to give thanks – with singing, not in solitude but in the open.
  • Psalm 111:1 - Praise the LORD!I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation. (ESV) – Again we can give thanks in front of people and with our whole heart. We need to get into giving thanks.
     Of course, we may not always think it easy to be thankful, to want to give thanks. Imagine being in Daniel's shoes.

     Darius decided to appoint 120 satraps over the kingdom, stationed throughout the realm, and over them three administrators, including Daniel. These satraps would be accountable to them so that the king would not be defrauded. Daniel distinguished himself above the administrators and satraps because he had an extraordinary spirit, so the king planned to set him over the whole realm. The administrators and satraps, therefore, kept trying to find a charge against Daniel regarding the kingdom. But they could find no charge or corruption, for he was trustworthy, and no negligence or corruption was found in him. Then these men said, “We will never find any charge against this Daniel unless we find something against him concerning the law of his God.” So the administrators and satraps went together to the king and said to him, “May King Darius live forever. All the administrators of the kingdom, the prefects, satraps, advisers, and governors have agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an edict that for 30 days, anyone who petitions any god or man except you, the king, will be thrown into the lions’ den. Therefore, Your Majesty, establish the edict and sign the document so that, as a law of the Medes and Persians, it is irrevocable and cannot be changed.” So King Darius signed the document. When Daniel learned that the document had been signed, he went into his house. The windows in its upper room opened toward Jerusalem, and three times a day he got down on his knees, prayed, and gave thanks to his God, just as he had done before.
Daniel 6:1-10 (HCSB)

      His life is on the line and he takes to time to give thanks, would you? There is more to say on giving thanks but I think this is enough to absorb for now.

      Here's Something To Ponder
  • Are you giving thanks when you should be giving thanks?
  • Is your thankfulness for real?

Saturday, November 10, 2012


The eyes of the LORD are in every place, Proverbs 15:3a (NASB)

     It was a cool fall day there was a light mist in the air and the sun was starting to set as Tracy headed to the barn to start her evening chores. “Here Bessy,” she called as she opened the big red door on the barn “It's time for your evening milking” When she heard Tracy's voice, Bessy let out a long moo and then a funny sounding sneeze.

     “Wait a minute,” Tracy said sounding a bit alarmed, “Cows don't sneeze like that.” After a few minutes of silence she heard the funny sneeze again. “Who's out here in the barn?” She demanded to know. “Nobody” came a quiet voice that sounded a somewhat familiar. “Is that you Barney?” Tracy called back.

     “You can't see me, You never heard me, and you don't know where I am.” the voice replied. “So it is you.” Tracy answered back, “What are you doing hiding in the hayloft, Barney, you know you have allergies.” “Is Harold with you?” Barney quietly asked in return. “NO!” Tracy answered, “You don't think he would come around here when there's work to be done?”

     “Yeah,” Barney said as he came out of hiding, “I suppose you're right about that. Besides, I can't smell him.” “Smell him?” Tracy said with a quizzical expression. “Yeah,” Barney said as he sniffed the air, “Why do you think I'm hiding from him.” “How would I know.” Tracy answered, Unless,” she paused for a moment, “He didn't!”

     “BINGO” Barney exclaimed. “I thought he wasn't suppose to be chasing skunks anymore.” Tracy chirped in. “He's not.” Barney assured her, “But you know how well he listens.” “Unfortunately, I know all to well.” Tracy said as she nodded in agreement. “So, how bad did he get sprayed this time?”

     “SPRAYED?” Barney exclaimed, “If only he had gotten sprayed.” “What do you mean?” Tracy asked a bit puzzled, “Isn't that what he did?” “He caught one”!” Barney exclaimed, “And he's going all over town trying to show it to everyone he meets.” “No wonder your hiding in the hayloft.” Tracy told Barney, “I think I'd be hiding in the hayloft too if I knew he was trying to show me a skunk.”

     “You won't tell him I'm here, will you?” Barney asked, hoping she'd say no. “My lips are sealed” Tracy assured him, “In fact...” she started to say and then started to sniff the air. “You better move over and make room for me, I smell him coming now.” and up the ladder she flew.

     “Helloooo.” came Harold's voice as they heard the barn door creek open, “Is anybody here?” Although it was hard, Barney kept from sneezing and after about ten minutes, Harold and his skunk left but just to be on the safe side, Tracy and Barney kept hidden for another half hour before Tracy went back to her chores and Barney sneaked home.

     As a parent, I confess that there are times I purposely hide from my kids and if I'm really good, they don't find me and after awhile they give up looking. There are times when all of us hide from someone or at least we desire too. It could be that we're playing, it could be that we want to surprise them or it could be we want nothing to do with them. If someone came around with a live skunk and they smelled even worse, I would probably want to hide like Barney. For the most part, if we are good enough, we can hide – from people but....

     Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?" And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.' " But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, "Where are you?" And he said, "I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself." He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?"
Genesis 3:1-11 (ESV)

      To sum the story up, God gave Adam and Eve food to eat, lots of food to eat but He also gave them some food they were not to eat. When we think of all the rules, laws, commandments etc that we have to follow, we can see Adam Eve had only a few and one of them was to NOT eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. They ate the fruit, their eyes were opened and they realized they were naked. God came along for a visit and they tried to hide.

     Remember, if we're good enough , we can hide from people but God is not people. O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it. Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, "Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night," even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you

     Hebrews 4:13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (NIV) There is no hiding from God.

      Here's Something To Ponder
  • How many times have you wished God couldn't see?
  • Do you live in such a way that you want things hid from others?

Saturday, November 3, 2012


Children, obey your parents in the Lord, because this is right. - Ephesians 6:1(HCSB)

      It was getting close to supper time and Martha Peterson was slaving away in her kitchen preparing an awesome meal for her family. As she stood near the stove she couldn't resist taking in a big whiff of of the sauce she was preparing but as she did she started gagging and coughing and her eyes started to water.

     “HAROLD! What have I told you about staying away from skunks!” Martha yelled out at the top of her lungs but when she turned around it wasn't Harold that stood behind her smelling like a skunk, it was her husband. “Bill!” She yelled out in surprise, “I hope you're not planning to sleep with me tonight. You reek!”

      “I was hoping you wouldn't have noticed.” Bill said gagging and coughing himself. “Notice!” Martha yelled back, “I think I could have smelled you even if my nose was cut off. What happened?” “H- A - R - O - L – D is what happened.” Bill told her, “And to make matters worse, I'm suppose to be teaching Sunday School in the morning.”

     “I can't even begin to count how many times I have told him to stay away from skunks but he just won't listen to many.” Bill complained to his wife. “I know the feeling dear,” Martha replied, “I've been telling him over and over to stay away from the skunks too. You would think he would have learned his lesson after getting sprayed the first time.”

     “I would think that the skunks would have learned there lesson by now and stayed away from Harold.” Bill told his wife, “This is the sixth time this month Harold has tried to catch a skunk and this time I happened to be...” “In the wrong spot at the wrong time.” Martha injected, “I know. I can smell.”

     “What I don't understand is why Harold keeps trying to catch a skunk.” Bill told Martha, I would think the smell would bother him, I know it bothers me and everybody else in town.” “Bill,” Martha said shaking her head, “Why does Harold do anything?”

     “You know,” Bill said, “If he keeps this up we're going to go broke buying tomato sauce to wash the smell away. How are you getting the smell out of his clothes?” “I'm not.” Marthe responded, “Instead of washing them, I've been digging a hole in the backyard and burying them.” “That's a great idea.” Bill said with a grin, “Why don't we leave Harold in the clothes next time. His disobedience is costing us a fortune.” “Too late.” Martha grinned, “I've already buried him, well, at least part of him.”

     “At least I was an obedient child when I was his age.” Bill commented. “Obedient!” Martha snorted, “From what your mom has told me, I could...” Bill quickly cut off his wife. “I'm heading to the bath tub.” he said and darted out of the room.

     In Exodus, as God was laying down the law, he gave the people a commandment Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. - Exodus 20:12 (NIV) Sounds great, especially if you're a parent but would anyone obey this command? Move forward to the New Testament and we read these words But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents .... 2 Timothy 3:1-2 (NASB)

     Harold has a problem obeying his parents, It almost sounds like Bill had the same problem so what does it mean to obey ones parents, to honor them? “Tell me what you think about this: A man had two sons. He went to the first son and said, ’Son, go and work today in my vineyard.’ The son answered, ’I will not go.’ But later the son changed his mind and went. Then the father went to the other son and said, ’Son, go and work today in my vineyard.’ The son answered, ’Yes, sir, I will go and work,’ but he did not go. Which of the two sons obeyed his father?“ The priests and leaders answered, “The first son.“ Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes will enter the kingdom of God before you do. Matthew 21:28-31 (NCV)

     I suppose we could plug in another scenario. Aaron and Jason are asked to mow the lawn. Joe said he would but played video games all day. Frank said no way, he'd rather play video games but kept losing so he went and mowed the lawn.

     Or try this, Laura and Melissa are asked to wash the dishes. Laura says she would love to but gets sidetracked playing dolls. Melissa says no way, she wants to play dolls. But after her doll falls apart she decides to wash the dishes.

     I'm sure we could plug in many more examples and I think we can easily figure out who was obedient. More than what we say, obedience is in our actions.

     Heading back to the Old Testament when God was laying down the law, He left some very strict penalties for those who were disobedient to their parents. If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father or mother and doesn’t listen to them even after they discipline him, his father and mother must take hold of him and bring him to the elders of his city, to the gate of his hometown. They will say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he doesn’t obey us. He’s a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of his city will stone him to death. You must purge the evil from you, and all Israel will hear and be afraid. Deuteronomy 21:18-21 (HCSB)

     Here's a couple more verse to think upon in relation to obedience to parents.
  • Proverbs 6:20 - My son, obey your father's commands, and don't neglect your mother's teaching. (NLT)
  • Colossians 3:20 - Children, obey your parents in all things, because this pleases the Lord. (NCV)
Here's Something To Ponder
  • Would you ever consider disobeying your parents?
  • Would you ever consider disobeying God when He says obey your parents?

Saturday, October 27, 2012


Be sure that your sin will find you out. - Number 32:23b (NLT)

      It was another cool October afternoon in Pupperville and Martha Peterson was out shopping again. Since she still needed a costume for herself she headed back to the costume aisle. As she rounded the corner of the costume aisle she walked right into a girl trying on a pirate costume and tipped her shopping cart over.

     The young girl quickly spun around and shouted “IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT!” at Martha. “I’m sorry.” Martha apologized, “I was busy looking for a costume and forgot to watch where I was going.” “Well, maybe you should just quit looking and get lost.” the girl shouted back at Martha.

     “Why in the world would I do that?” Martha calmly asked. “Because you’re messing up my whole life.” The girl answered as she took off her mask. “Are you Mindy?” Martha asked a little unsure. “Yes,” Mindy replied, “And because of you everything is ruined.”

     “I didn’t bump you that hard.” Martha responded. “That bump was nothing.” Mindy snorted, “Because of you Cindy didn’t pretend to be ME at the costume party. She went as herself.” “Well, good for her.” Martha injected. “GOOD?” Mindy shouted back, “You talked her out of it and now Greg won’t even talk to me.”

     “So,” Martha questioned, “are you saying it’s my fault that Cindy did what was right?” “No” Mindy answered, “It’s your fault Greg won’t talk to me and I can’t even pretend to be Cindy because they have some kind of secret code to tell us apart.” “Well,” Martha smiled, “At least you still have Peter.”

     “Peter?” Mindy said a bit confused. “Yeah,” Martha replied, “Cindy said the reason she was supposed to pretend to be you was so you could go bowling with Peter.” “Um” was all that Mindy could say. “You did go bowling last week didn’t you?” Martha asked. “Well,” Mindy drooped her head, “There is no Peter and I didn’t go bowling.”

     “Now I’m confused.” Martha said as she shook her head. “I didn’t want to go to the costume party because my costume got ruined.” Mindy confessed. “Why didn’t you just tell the truth?” Martha asked. “Because,” Mindy said, “I was afraid I would lose Greg’s friendship.” “Looks like you lost it anyways.” Martha replied. “Yeah,” Mindy said in disgust, “And Mom found out as well and now I’m grounded. I guess I’m reaping what I sowed.. I better go before I get in more trouble.” “And I better find a costume.” Martha said as she turned her attention to a oversized bunny.

     If you throw a boomerang it goes out and.... falls on the ground. If someone who knows how to throw a boomerang throws one, it goes out and comes back. In Number 32 a promise is made and those who made that promise were warned in verse 23 if you fail to keep your word, then you will have sinned against the LORD, and you may be sure that your sin will find you out. (NLT)

     Mindy's attempt to deceive caught up to her, Jacob's ploy at deception catches up to him as well. Galatians 6:7 says Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. (ESV) Jacob sowed the sin of deception and in time, well, let's look at the story.

      Esau hated Jacob because he had stolen his blessing, and he said to himself, "My father will soon be dead and gone. Then I will kill Jacob." But someone got wind of what Esau was planning and reported it to Rebekah. She sent for Jacob and told him, "Esau is threatening to kill you. This is what you should do. Flee to your uncle Laban in Haran … finally arriving in the land of the east. He saw in the distance three flocks of sheep lying in an open field beside a well, waiting to be watered. But a heavy stone covered the mouth of the well. It was the custom there to wait for all the flocks to arrive before removing the stone. After watering them, the stone would be rolled back over the mouth of the well. Jacob went over to the shepherds and asked them, "Where do you live?" "At Haran," they said. "Do you know a man there named Laban, the grandson of Nahor?" "Yes, we do," they replied. "How is he?" Jacob asked. "He's well and prosperous. Look, here comes his daughter Rachel with the sheep." … After Jacob had been there about a month, Laban said to him, "You shouldn't work for me without pay just because we are relatives. How much do you want?" … Since Jacob was in love with Rachel, he told her father, "I'll work for you seven years if you'll give me Rachel, your younger daughter, as my wife." "Agreed!" Laban replied. "I'd rather give her to you than to someone outside the family." So Jacob spent the next seven years working to pay for Rachel. But his love for her was so strong that it seemed to him but a few days. Finally, the time came for him to marry her. "I have fulfilled my contract," Jacob said to Laban. "Now give me my wife so we can be married." So Laban invited everyone in the neighborhood to celebrate with Jacob at a wedding feast. That night, when it was dark, Laban took Leah to Jacob, and he slept with her … when Jacob woke up in the morning—it was Leah! "What sort of trick is this?" Jacob raged at Laban. "I worked seven years for Rachel. What do you mean by this trickery?" "It's not our custom to marry off a younger daughter ahead of the firstborn," Laban replied. "Wait until the bridal week is over, and you can have Rachel, too—that is, if you promise to work another seven years for me." So Jacob agreed to work seven more years. A week after Jacob had married Leah, Laban gave him Rachel, too.
Genesis 27:41- 29:38 (NLT)

     There's an old saying that says “What goes around comes around.” Jacob deceived and he was deceived. Laban deceived and years later he would be deceived. Sin has away of catching up to us, we reap what we sow.

     One more thing 2 Corinthians 9:6 says the person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously. (HCSB)

      Here's Something To Ponder
  • What are you sowing?
  • How are things catching up to you?

Saturday, October 20, 2012


Proverbs 24:28b Do not deceive with your lips. (NASB)

      It was a cool October afternoon in Pupperville and Martha Peterson was out shopping As she finished piling her shopping cart full of candy to hand out for Halloween, she headed over to the costume aisle to see if she could find something for Harold and Stella to wear to the school costume party.

     As Martha rounded the corner of the costume aisle she walked right into a girl trying on a pirate costume and tipped her shopping cart over. “I know you, don’t I” Martha said as stood her shopping cart back up. “You’re one of the Miller twins.” “Yep!” the girl replied, “I’m Mindy” “Mindy?” Martha said a bit puzzled, “I thought I just talked to Mindy in the candy aisle.”

     “You must have us mixed up,” the girl said, “People do that all the time” “Than why does your shirt have the name ‘Cindy’ on it?” Martha replied. “I..I..I..” Cindy stuttered, “I borrowed her clothes.”

     “You know,” Martha smiled, “A couple of weeks ago Harold tried to be some one he wasn’t.” “I was there,” Cindy reminded her, “And he failed miserably. Well, I can do a better job than he can any time.” she continued, “ Beside I look just like Min.......dy.” she went on to say and than ended with a “Oops” as she realized she had just given herself away.

     “Okay CINDY!” Martha said, “Do you want to tell me what’s going on? Have you been around Harold too much.” Actually,” Cindy sheepishly replied, “It’s not his idea, it’s Mindy’s” “Does that mean Mindy’s been hanging around Harold too much?” Martha asked, sure that her son had to have had something to do with it.

     “It’s like this.” Cindy fessed up, “Mindy wants to go to the school costume party with some one named Greg, and she wants to go bowling with Peter, and since we’re identical twins she thought I could pretend I was her so as to keep her friendship going with Greg.” “The Ole Switch A Roo.” Martha said as she shook her head.

     “You’re not going to tell, are you?” Cindy nervously asked. “Don’t you think your parents will be able to tell?” Martha asked. “Well,” Cindy started to answer but Martha went on “God will know too.” “But,” Cindy started in again, “If I don’t I’ll be in big trouble with my sister.” “And if you do you’ll be in trouble with your parents.” Martha tacked on.

     After a few minutes of thinking Martha piped up,“Why don’t you just go as Cindy?” “You mean, pretend that I am Mindy pretending to be me.?” Cindy replied. “No.” Martha answered, “I mean simply be yourself. No pretending at all.” “I’ll think about it” Cindy told her and than put the costume she was trying on back and left.

     In Proverbs 24:28 we read these words Do not be a witness against your neighbor without cause, And do not deceive with your lips. (NASB) Mindy and Cindy are plotting or at least Mindy is plotting, plotting to deceive, or at least have her sister deceive one of her boyfriends. But deception is something the Bible speaks against.

     In the middle of Genesis we read about a gal named Rebekah who's having a problem, baby problems. Apparently she was not able to have children and than she was.... Genesis 25:21-23 Isaac’s wife could not have children, so Isaac prayed to the LORD for her. The LORD heard Isaac’s prayer, and Rebekah became pregnant. While she was pregnant, the babies struggled inside her. She asked, “Why is this happening to me?“ Then she went to get an answer from the LORD. The LORD said to her, “Two nations are in your body, and two groups of people will be taken from you. One group will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger. (NCV) These words were remembered and when the time came, deception reared its dangerous head and someone had to run for his life..

      When Isaac was old, his eyesight was poor, so he could not see clearly. One day he called his older son Esau to him and said, “Son.“ Esau answered, “Here I am. Isaac said, “I am old and don’t know when I might die. So take your bow and arrows and go hunting in the field for an animal for me to eat. When you prepare the tasty food that I love, bring it to me, and I will eat. Then I will bless you before I die. So Esau went out in the field to hunt. Rebekah was listening as Isaac said this to his son Esau. She said to her son Jacob, “Listen, I heard your father saying to your brother Esau, Kill an animal and prepare some tasty food for me to eat. Then I will bless you in the presence of the LORD before I die. So obey me, my son, and do what I tell you. Go out to our goats and bring me two of the best young ones. I will prepare them just the way your father likes them. Then you will take the food to your father, and he will bless you before he dies. But Jacob said to his mother Rebekah, “My brother Esau is a hairy man, and I am smooth! If my father touches me, he will know I am not Esau. Then he will not bless me but will place a curse on me because I tried to trick him. So Rebekah said to him, “If your father puts a curse on you, I will accept the blame. Just do what I said and go, get the goats for me.” So Jacob went out and got two goats and brought them to his mother, and she cooked them in the special way Isaac enjoyed. She took the best clothes of her older son Esau that were in the house and put them on the younger son Jacob. She also took the skins of the goats and put them on Jacob’s hands and neck. Then she gave Jacob the tasty food and the bread she had made. Jacob went in to his father and said, “Father.“ And his father said, “Yes, my son. Who are you?“ Jacob said to him, “I am Esau, your first son. I have done what you told me. Now sit up and eat some meat of the animal I hunted for you. Then bless me. But Isaac asked his son, “How did you find and kill the animal so quickly?“ Jacob answered, “Because the LORD your God helped me to find it.“ Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Come near so I can touch you, my son. Then I will know if you are really my son Esau.“ So Jacob came near to Isaac his father. Isaac touched him and said, “Your voice sounds like Jacob’s voice, but your hands are hairy like the hands of Esau.“ Isaac did not know it was Jacob, because his hands were hairy like.... Esau hated Jacob because he had stolen his blessing, and he said to himself, "My father will soon be dead and gone. Then I will kill Jacob." But someone got wind of what Esau was planning and reported it to Rebekah. She sent for Jacob and told him, "Esau is threatening to kill you. This is what you should do. Flee to your uncle Laban in Haran. Esau’s hands, so Isaac blessed him.
Genesis 27:1-23,41-43
  • Sometimes doing wrong seems great but wait - Proverbs 20:17 - Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be full of gravel. (ESV)
  • How mad would one want to be - Proverbs 26:18-19 - Like a madman shooting firebrands or deadly arrows is a man who deceives his neighbor and says, "I was only joking!" (NIV)
  • Should we not abhor what the Lord abhors - Psalm 5:6 - You destroy those who tell lies; bloodthirsty and deceitful men the LORD abhors. (NIV)
  • Don't deceive yourself -Psalms 101:7 I will not allow deceivers to serve me, and liars will not be allowed to enter my presence. (NLT)
      Here's Something To Ponder
  • How do you respond when you know you've been deceived?
  • Do you ever try to justify deception?

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Even children are known by the way they act,- Proverbs 20:11(NLT)

     Teachers need to have patience, and when you’re the teacher that has to deal with the antics of Harold Peterson everyday, you need to have a lot of patience. Not only do you need a lot of patience, you need to be constantly on the look out for what ever Harold may be trying next as was the case one October morning.

     It was almost time for school to start and Florence was sitting behind her desk going over the day’s schedule when a young man wearing a mask walked into the class room. “Hello, everybody,” He said in a deep voice, “I’m new here!” “Take your seat, Harold.” Florence said as she looked up at him “We need to get started.”

     “Harold?, Who’s Harold?” the boy responded with his deep voice, “Can I meet him?” “Harold,” Florence replied, “Stop using that fake deep voice, take off that silly mask and sit down.” “I’m not Harold,” the boy claimed in a normal voice, “I’m, I’m, I’m George Frankenstein Robert Spookaschmitzal the Third”

     “Where did you come up with such a ridiculous name?” Florence asked as she shook her head in disbelief. “From the movie I was watching,” The boy started to say but quickly changed his story to say he got his name from his parents. “So,” Florence smiled, “You are Harold” “No!” the boy responded, “I’m not me, I mean, I’m Peter Thadeus Sandyberg the Fourth.”

     “What!” Florence exclaimed, “ I thought you said you were George Frankenstein Robert Spookaschmitzal the Third?” “Fine,” the boy growled, “I’m Harold but I’m not the Harold Peterson you know.” “I think you are!” Florence told him and than she told him to sit down.

     “How can you possibly think I’m somebody I’m not?” Harold quizzed his teacher. “Well,” Florence giggled, “Since you asked... you still smell like the skunk that sprayed you last week,” “That’s aftershave!” Harold injected, “You’re not old enough to shave,” Florence continued, “And besides, I don’t know too many pumpkins that talk.”

     “Pumpkin? What pumpkin?” Harold responded. “You’re wearing a pumpkin mask, Harold.” Florence giggled again. “What!!!??? NO WAY!” Harold shouted as he pulled off the mask “I guess I better go find my sit.” He finished saying as he headed to his desk. “I have a better idea” Florence said as she got up, “Let’s take a trip to the principles office - again”

     “I hope he’s not still mad about the water balloons I put above his door? Harold said as he turned and headed toward the door. “So, “Florence chirped, “That was you?” “Oops,” Harold cringed, “When will I learn to keep my mouth shut.” “That’s okay,” Florence added, “I think he already knew it was you.”

     Have you ever worn a disguise? People, kids and adults, often dress up in costumes or disguise this time a year as they party for Halloween. Sometimes we disguise ourselves for fun, sometimes because we don't want to be known.

     As God was laying down the laws for the Israelites, He made it know that there were some people that were not to be aloud is Israel. There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a wizard or a necromancer, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD. And because of these abominations the LORD your God is driving them out before you. - Deuteronomy 18:10-12 (ESV) In this list, one of the people God forbids is a medium which is a person who communicates with evil spirits or spirits of the dead. If one were to be a medium in Israel they would have had to disguise themselves but look who was actually wearing a disguise.

      Now Samuel was dead, and all the Israelites had shown their sadness for him. They had buried Samuel in his hometown of Ramah. And Saul had forced out the mediums and fortune-tellers from the land. The Philistines came together and made camp at Shunem. Saul gathered all the Israelites and made camp at Gilboa. When he saw the Philistine army, he was afraid, and his heart pounded with fear. He prayed to the LORD, but the LORD did not answer him through dreams, Urim, or prophets. Then Saul said to his servants, “Find me a woman who is a medium so I may go and ask her what will happen.“ His servants answered, “There is a medium in Endor.“ Then Saul put on other clothes to disguise himself, and at night he and two of his men went to see the woman. Saul said to her, “Talk to a spirit for me. Bring up the person I name.“ But the woman said to him, “Surely you know what Saul has done. He has forced the mediums and fortune-tellers from the land. You are trying to trap me and get me killed.“ Saul made a promise to the woman in the name of the LORD. He said, “As surely as the LORD lives, you won’t be punished for this.“ The woman asked, “Whom do you want me to bring up?“ He answered, “Bring up Samuel.“ When the woman saw Samuel, she screamed. She said, “Why have you tricked me? You are Saul!“
1 Samuel 28:3-12 (NCV)
     To some it up. The enemy is gathering, God won't talk to Saul so Saul disguises himself and goes to a medium and asks for Samuel, Samuel appears and Saul is found out. I'm sure lots could be said about this story, but the point I would like to draw from it at this time is that you can't disguise yourself from God.

     Even with others, when we try to disguise ourselves, in time our real self with make itself known Jesus said in Matthew 7:15-20 Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves. You’ll recognize them by their fruit. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So you’ll recognize them by their fruit. (HCSB)

      Here's Something To Ponder
  • Are you disguising yourself so the real you can't be seen or known?
  • What kind of fruit do people see you as producing?