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, July 28, 2012


Seek the LORD while He may be found; - Isaiah 55:6a (NAS)

      “Hurry up, Dad! Hurry up!” Harold shouted as he banged on his parent's bedroom door. “It's my birthday and I know what I want.” In response Harold heard nothing so he tried to open the door but it was stuck. Desperate to get going, he pushed harder and harder on the door, yelling for his dad to hurry up and than all of a sudden the door flew open and Harold found himself falling out of bed.

     “I must have been dreaming.” Harold thought out loud as he jumped to his feet, “I need to get going, it's my birthday today and I know what I want.” Quickly throwing on some clean but wrinkled clothes, Harold ran to his parents bedroom and started banging on the door. “Dad, Dad, Hurry up, I need to get to the pet store.” After banging on the door for several minutes and getting no response he opened the door and went in.

     As he walked into his parents room he let out a gasp – the room was empty. Furthermore, he noticed the time on his parents alarm clock, it read 4:25 P.M. “AHHK” Herald screamed, “I slept too long from staying up all night and the pet store is about to close.” In a whirl, Harold took of running through the house looking for his dad but he couldn't find him, in fact, he couldn't find anybody.

     After ten minutes of searching, Harold found a note on the refrigerator that said they couldn't wait for him to get up and went to the park for a picnic and that they would be back around 5:30. “NO!!!” Harold screamed and then started to panic, “I'll never make it in time.” In a flash Harold was out the front door, on his bike and peddling as fast as he could.

     With five minutes to spare, Harold burst through the pet store's front door and frantically ran up and down the aisles looking for the pet he so desired to have for his birthday. “Where are they?” He yelled as tears started to well up in his eyes. “The store's closing and I can't find one. They've got to be here somewhere.”

     “You'll have to leave now boy,” came a voice from a clerk standing behind Harold, “I'm closing the store.” “But you can't,” Harold protested, “I haven't found my birthday pet.” “Well, what is it you're looking for? “ the clerk sighed, “I'll see if I can help you if you’re quick.”

     “I'm looking for a pet skunk.” Harold told the clerk “Right this way.” the clerk told Harold and led him through a door and into the alley. “Skunks are not pets.” the clerk said, “We do not carry them. The only skunks that ever come around here are the ones that try to get into our garbage.” “But I've got to have one.” Harold protested.

     “Do you even know anything about skunks?” The clerk asked as he turned to go back in the store to close it up. “Well, sort of. Maybe a little.” Harold told the clerk. “Then you should know they don't make good pets.” The clerk responded, “Now get lost.” and with those words the clerk shut and locked the door leaving Harold wondering what he really knew about skunks.

     I think the Bible makes it clear that we are to seek the Lord
  • Deuteronomy 4:29 "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. (NAS)
  • Psalm 105:4 Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face continually. (NAS)
  • Isaiah 55:6 Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. (NAS)
  • Matthew 6:33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (NAS)
     We should be seeking the Lord in everything but too often we seek like Harold in his attempts to find a skunk or like Asa the king of Judah – we go seeking in the wrong spot.

      In the thirty-sixth year of Asa’s rule, Baasha king of Israel attacked Judah. He made the town of Ramah strong so he could keep people from leaving or entering Judah, Asa’s country. Asa took silver and gold from the treasuries of the Temple of the LORD and out of his own palace. Then he sent it with messengers to Ben-Hadad king of Aram, who lived in Damascus. Asa said, “Let there be a treaty between you and me as there was between my father and your father. I am sending you silver and gold. Break your treaty with Baasha king of Israel so he will leave my land.“ Ben-Hadad agreed with King Asa and sent the commanders of his armies to attack the towns of Israel. They defeated the towns of Ijon, Dan, and Abel Beth Maacah, and all the towns in Naphtali where treasures were stored. When Baasha heard about this, he stopped building up Ramah and left his work. Then King Asa brought all the people of Judah to Ramah, and they carried away the rocks and wood that Baasha had used. And they used them to build up Geba and Mizpah. At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him, “You depended on the king of Aram to help you and not on the LORD your God. So the king of Aram’s army escaped from you. The Cushites and Libyans had a large and powerful army and many chariots and horsemen. But you depended on the LORD to help you, so he handed them over to you. The LORD searches all the earth for people who have given themselves completely to him. He wants to make them strong. Asa, you did a foolish thing, so from now on you will have wars.“
2 Chronicles 16:1-9 (NCV)

     Asa was in trouble and needed help. He went looking in the wrong direction and found an answer but and it helped him out for awhile but in the end it was the wrong answer for it did not come from God but from men.
  • Jeremiah 17:5 -This is what the LORD says: “A curse is placed on those who trust other people, who depend on humans for strength, who have stopped trusting the LORD. (NCV)
  • Psalm 14:2-3 - The LORD looks down from heaven on the entire human race; he looks to see if there is even one with real understanding, one who seeks for God. But no, all have turned away from God; all have become corrupt. No one does good, not even one! (NLT)
  • Psalm 10:4 - In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. (NIV)
     There are many things for which we may go seeking it may be help in a difficult time, it may be answers to puzzling questions of life, etc. If we go seeking for answers or help from the world we may find answers that seem to work but will never ultimately satisfy.

      Here's Something To Ponder
  • When you need answers or help where do you go?
  • Are there better answers to that which you seek?

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Listen to advice and accept instruction - Proverbs 19:20a (ESV)

      The night before his birthday, Harold laid in bed tossing and turning. For weeks he had been wanting his birthday to arrive, for weeks he had been asking if it was here yet, for weeks he had been driving people crazy, for weeks he had forgotten to figure out what he wanted and as a result he couldn't sleep.

      Around 4:00 in the morning Harold decided to get out of bed. “I'm never going to get to sleep until I figure out what I want for my birthday,” he thought. “And I can't do it on my own.” A few minutes later Harold was on the phone calling all his friends over to help him decide what he wanted for his birthday.

      Calling your friends at 4:00 in the morning is never a good idea and asking them to get dressed and come over to help figure out what you want for your birthday is even worse. For the most part all Harold got in reply was a click and a dial tone. Barney did manage to come over but he had to sneak out of his houses and the wasn't to happy about doing it for he wanted to sleep like everyone else.

      Knowing they he would rather be in bed, Barney hoped Harold wouldn't take too long to make up his mind but he also knew that the only thing Harold was quick to do was eat and get into trouble. “Hurry up and choose already!” Barney told him as he sat down at the kitchen table with him and grabbed a couple of tooth picks to prop his eyes open.

      “I wish I could but I can't,” Harold told barney, “That's why I called everybody over here.” “So where is everybody than?” Barney asked with a yawn. “They didn't want to come,” Harold answered, “They wanted to go back to bed and sleep.” “Well, so do I!” Barney growled, “So hurry up and choose already.”

      “I need your help coming up with some good ideas.” Harold explained to Barney, “What ever I decide to get has to fit me perfectly.” “An all you can eat pizza for a year coupon should fit you perfectly.” Barney told him, “Now can I get back to bed?” “I'll already get to eat all the pizza I want and to tell you the truth I'm getting sick of pizza.” Harold said, shaking his head.

      “What about a bed?” Barney suggested next. “No,” Harold shook his head again, “I just got a new one, besides, I have no room in my bedroom for one.” Well,” Barney yawned, “I'll take the bed and crawl in it. I'm tired.”

      “What I really want is something I don't have.” Harold told Barney “Like a pet.” “Than get a pet.” Barney said and then closed his eyes. “But what kind of pet should I get?” Harold asked Barney but the only response he got from Barney was a loud snore. As Harold got up to go to bed he heard a rattle from the garbage cans behind his house and then he got a whiff of a rather unpleasant odor. “That's it!” He exclaimed, “I know what kind of pet I want.”

      Have you ever had to make a decision? Have you ever had to decide if you would get out of bed or what you would wear once you got out of bed? Have you ever decided what you would eat or where you would go? Have you ever decide on what you would like for your birthday or if you should go to battle?

      When you make your decisions do you make blind choices in a hurry or do you take your time and carefully think things through. Do you seek the advice or counsel of others, of God or do you make all your decisions strictly on your own. Let's look to Jehoshaphat as an example - twice.

      1 Kings 22:1-7 For three years Syria and Israel continued without war. But in the third year Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of Israel. And the king of Israel said to his servants, "Do you know that Ramoth-gilead belongs to us, and we keep quiet and do not take it out of the hand of the king of Syria?" And he said to Jehoshaphat, "Will you go with me to battle at Ramoth-gilead?" And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, "I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses." And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, "Inquire first for the word of the LORD." Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said to them, "Shall I go to battle against Ramoth-gilead, or shall I refrain?" And they said, "Go up, for the Lord will give it into the hand of the king." But Jehoshaphat said, "Is there not here another prophet of the LORD of whom we may inquire?" (ESV)

      2 Kings 3:9-12 So the king of Israel went with the king of Judah and the king of Edom. And when they had made a circuitous march of seven days, there was no water for the army or for the animals that followed them. Then the king of Israel said, "Alas! The LORD has called these three kings to give them into the hand of Moab." And Jehoshaphat said, "Is there no prophet of the LORD here, through whom we may inquire of the LORD?" Then one of the king of Israel's servants answered, "Elisha the son of Shaphat is here, who poured water on the hands of Elijah." And Jehoshaphat said, "The word of the LORD is with him." So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him. (ESV)

      When it comes to making decisions, it is a great idea to get advice from others. Look at these verses from Proverbs, written by the wisest king of Israel.
  • Proverbs 11:14 - Where there is no guidance the people fall, But in abundance of counselors there is victory. (NASB)
  • Proverbs 12:15 - The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But a wise man is he who listens to counsel. (NASB) 
  • Proverbs 15:22 - Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many counselors bring success. (NLT) 
  • Proverbs 19:20 - Listen to counsel and accept discipline, That you may be wise the rest of your days. (NASB)
     We do need to remember though that some counsellors need to be avoided for they will give bad advice - Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; (ESV)

      Here's Something To Ponder
  • Do you seek out help when making decisions?
  • Is God one of those whom you ask for advice?

Saturday, July 14, 2012


And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. - Philippians 3:20b (NLT)

      It happens to all of us whether we like it or not, unless of course we're dead. Some people try their best to deny it while others look forward to it with great anticipation. Every year we have a birthday and every year Harold Peterson has a birthday and every year he can't wait for it to arrive and in the process of waiting he drives his entire family crazy.

     The year he got Muffy was most likely the worst year. Most years Harold waited until a month before his birthday before he started in with the “Is my birthday here yet?” routine but on this particular year he started two months early. I'm not sure if he couldn't read a calendar or just loved driving his family, and everyone else for that matter, crazy.

     It started the Monday morning after Stella's birthday when he asked his mom if he could have his birthday early because Stella had her birthday early. “Stella didn't have her birthday early.” his mom told him, “She had it right on her birthday and you know that.” “But it was earlier than mine.” Harold complained “I shouldn't have to wait.”

     Seeing that he couldn't get any where with his mom, Harold next tried to convince his dad that he should be allowed to celebrate his birthday early. “But, two months is too long to wait.” Harold told hid dad, “If I have to wait that long I'll die” “Well than, hurry up and die.” his dad told him, “So we don't have to keep listening to you ask about your birthday. In the mean time you can wait for it like the rest of us.”

     Trying to get his birthday here quicker, Harold tried to trick everybody by messing with the calender but that almost back fired because he eliminated too many days and made it looked like his birthday was already over. Harold finally settled on asking everyone if his birthday was here yet 50 times a day and telling them he couldn't wait for it to come.

     After two weeks of this Harold's mom told him that of he didn't quit asking if his birthday was here yet he would be celebrating it with his uncle Ralph. That sounded great to Harold until he remembered that his Uncle Ralph was buried in the cemetery. Not wanting to forgo his birthday, Harold finally decided to wait patiently or at least try.

     After several weeks of silents and with only one day until his birthday Harold's dad asked him what he wanted to do for his birthday and what he wanted. It was at that point that Harold realized that in all his anticipation for his birthday he had forgot to prepare for it. He didn't know what he wanted to do or what he wanted.. He wasn't ready and secretly hoped his birthday would wait.

     Anticipation, something we eagerly look forward to. While we may not have drove everyone crazy while waiting for our birthdays to come, I'm sure many of, none the less, looked forward to our birthdays in our younger years and maybe still do.

     Birthday's aren't the only thing people look forward to. It could be a wedding day, an anniversary, pay day, mail, holidays, vacations, the fair, the weekend, a visit, supper, the dentist, bills, changing a dirty diaper, well maybe no those last three. Above all of these things there is something that we should be eagerly looking forward to coming but we may not be.

     2 Peter 3:10-15 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, (NASB)

     I suppose if we're living outside of Christ we may not want Christ to return but we are to look for that day wanting it to come quickly and we should live as if we can't wait for it to get here.
  • Jude talks of waiting anxiously - keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. Jude 1:21 (NASB)
  • Philippians talks of waiting eagerly as well as Hebrews - But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. Philippians 3:20 (NLT)
  • so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him. Hebrews 9:28 (NASB)
     We may talk of wanting and looking forward to Christ's return but are we living in a way that says “Bring it on?” If Christ came today would we be ready? IN Luke 12:35-40 Jesus talks about being ready looking for His return because we don't know when that day will come.

     "Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit. "Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks. "Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them. "Whether he comes in the second watch, or even in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves. "But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have allowed his house to be broken into. "You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect." (NASB)

     Here's Something To Ponder
  • Are you eagerly waiting for Christ to return?
  • Can anyone tell?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

New Series.....

     I have no official story this week but over the course of the next 13 weeks I'll be working on a new series based on a story I told my kids years ago while camping.  It was one of those night when the kids didn't want to go to sleep so I made up a story about how Harold ended up with his dog Muffy.  I jotted down the out line of the story the following morning and have thought of doing something with it so I'll have to see how it goes and what kind of lessons I can attach to them. I think I'll title the series "Muffy's Arrival."