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, September 29, 2012


Let us grow in every way into Him who is the head—Christ. Ephesians 4:15b (HCSB)

      Harold sat alone in his secret hideout. He wished he could have been out playing with his friends but after his tantrum the last several weeks, he wasn't sure he even had any left. Not even Barney, who had been his best friend was talking to him. So he just sat in his secret hideout and stared at the ground.

     As he sat there he thought he started making a list of all the things he could hear. There was the light drip drip of water left over from a shower earlier in the day, There was the sound of geese flying high over head. An occasional Chickadee would call out. There was the scurry of a mouse in the leaves in the corner of his hide out and there was what sounded like the whimper of a small puppy.

     Soon enough, Harold's curiosity got to him and he got up off the floor and started scrounging around looking for the source of the whimpering. And soon enough, he found what looked like a picnic basket that was wiggling around. Carefully opening the lid, Harold looked inside and too his delight, he found a little tiny puppy.

     “Hi there, young fella.” Harold said as he carefully picked the puppy up. “Don't you have any friends either?” With a smile on his face, the puppy started licking Harold's nose and that made Harold start giggling. “At least you're happy to see me!” he said, “Do you live around here?” Harold asked the puppy but the puppy just kept trying to lick Harold's nose.

     Carefully, Harold put the puppy back on the ground. “Now that I've let you out of that basket you should go on home.” Harold told the puppy, “And I should be going home too.” But instead of going home like Harold thought the puppy would do, it followed him.

     When he got home, Harold's sister was the first to comment on the puppy. “How cute!” she said “Who's is he?” Harold just shrugged in response. When Harold went in the house, the puppy scurried through the open door and started chewing on one of Stella's dolls. “Maybe I can keep you.” Harold said out loud when he saw the puppy chewing on Stella's doll.

     “Keep what?” Harold's dad asked and then he saw the puppy. “Can I? Can I?” Harold asked with excitement, “He's not very big and he'll probably be a little forever, and I'll take really good care of him. Can I? Can I?” “I don't see why not.” Harold's dad responded “But, you do realize, he won't be a baby puppy forever, he will grow up.”

     With a big grin on his face, Harold picked the puppy up and gave him a big hug. “You're my new best friend.” he said, “And dad's wrong, you'll never grow up.”

     Have you ever wished that someone or something or maybe even yourself, never had to physically grow up. Kind of like the lost boys in Never Land in the story of Peter Pan. I know that as a parent I sometimes wish my little ones would stay little. They haven't and I don't think Harold's puppy will either.

     Of course some of us fail to grow up mentally or emotionally or spiritually, etc. And sometimes its by choice. Years ago Amy Grant sang a song called Fat Baby written by Steve Miilikan and Rod Robinson that went like this:

I know a man, maybe you know him, too. You never can tell; he might even be you.
He knelt at the altar, and that was the end. He's saved, and that's all that matters to him.
His spiritual tummy, it can't take too much. One day a week, he gets a spiritual lunch.
On Sunday, he puts on his spiritual best, And gives his language a spiritual rest.

He's just a fat. He's just a fat little baby! Wa, wa, waaaaa....
He wants his bottle, and he don't mean maybe.
He sampled solid foods once or twice, But he says doctrine leaves him cold as ice.
Ba, ba, ba,,, ba!

He's been baptized, sanctified, redeemed by the blood, But his daily devotions are stuck in the mud.
He knows the books of the Bible and John 3:16. He's got the biggest King James you've ever seen!
I've always wondered if he'll grow up someday. He's momma's boy, and he likes it that way.
If you happen to see him, tell him I said, "He'll never grow, if he never gets fed."

      In the book of Hebrews, the author had to chew out his readers for their failure to grow up. - By now you should be teachers, but you need someone to teach you again the first lessons of God’s message. You still need the teaching that is like milk. You are not ready for solid food. Anyone who lives on milk is still a baby and knows nothing about right teaching. Hebrews 5:12-13 (NCV)

     Likewise, Paul as he wrote to those at Corinth growing up as well.
  • 1 Corinthians 3:1-2 - Brothers and sisters, in the past I could not talk to you as I talk to spiritual people. I had to talk to you as I would to people without the Spirit—babies in Christ. The teaching I gave you was like milk, not solid food, because you were not able to take solid food. And even now you are not ready. (NCV)
  • 1 Corinthians 14:20 - Brothers and sisters, do not think like children. In evil things be like babies, but in your thinking you should be like adults. (NCV)
  • 1 Corinthians 13:11 - When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I stopped those childish ways. (NCV)
     The bible reminds us to grow up, to grow in....
  • 2 Peter 3:18 - Grow in grace and understanding of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ. Glory to the Master, now and forever! Yes! (MSG)
  • Hebrews 6:1 - So let us stop going over the basics of Christianity again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don't need to start all over again with the importance of turning away from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. (NLT)
  • 1 Thessalonians 3:12 - And may the Lord make your love grow and overflow to each other and to everyone else, just as our love overflows toward you. (NLT)
  • Ephesians 4:15 - But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head—Christ. (HCSB)
     Here's Something To Ponder
  • In what ways do you still act like a baby?
  • In what way do you strive to grow?

Saturday, September 22, 2012


I will be joyful in the God of my salvation. Habakkuk 3:18b (NLT)

      Ants are pests. Flies are pests. Bees are pests, Mice are pests, Cockroaches are pests. Harold Petersons are pests. Thankfully, there is only one Harold Peterson and as of late he has been a bigger pest than, well, everything that can be considered to be a pest and all because he didn't get a birthday present.

     The fact that Harold had not got a present for his birthday was his own doing, for his parents were more than ready to get him what he wanted – as long as it was within reason. But Harold had to choose things that were not acceptable to his parents, mainly a pet skunk or a pet rat. That was over a month ago.

     For the last several weeks Harold pestering has taken many forms. In school he kept being load and obnoxious shouting at everyone that his parents wouldn't let him have a birthday present. He knocked peoples books on the floor, spray painted graffiti on the front of the school and took 15 trips to the principals office.

     Around the neighborhood he tried kicking every cat and dog that came across his path. “Stupid pet!” he would yell as he would kick it. Doing that got him a talking to by the police and a trip to the emergency room when the Doberman Pincher he kicked broke his chain and came after him. It only took sixteen stitches to sew him up.

     At home he pulled his sister hair, dumped his mom's clean laundry in a mud puddle, took his dad's riding lawn mower and tried to jump the creek with it leaving it submerged in three feet of water and he even took his favorite video game and tried blowing it up with some fire crackers. I won't tell you what he spray painted all over the house.

     It got so bad that no one, not even his friends wanted to talk to him. Eventually he cornered Barney at school to find out why. “No one wants to be around a sore loser.” Barney told him and took off. “I'm not a sore loser!” Harold hollered out at Barney, “I just didn't get a present.” but no one was listening.

     The week following his encounter with Barney, Harold calmed down and any time some one bumped into him he quietly said “I am not a sore loser.” but then something happened and he forgot all about his birthday and not getting a present.

     Have you had to be around a sore loser? You, know, the kind of person who does not take losing very well. Sometimes sore losers just go and sulk in a corner like King Ahab. King Ahab had a palace in Jezreel, and near the palace was a vineyard owned by a man named Naboth. One day Ahab said to Naboth, "Since your vineyard is so convenient to the palace, I would like to buy it to use as a vegetable garden. I will give you a better vineyard in exchange, or if you prefer, I will pay you for it." But Naboth replied, "The LORD forbid that I should give you the inheritance that was passed down by my ancestors." So Ahab went home angry and sullen because of Naboth's answer. The king went to bed with his face to the wall and refused to eat! 1 Kings 21:1-4 (NLT) Ahab wanted something and he was told no!

     Sometimes sore losers get angry and seek revenge a lot like Cain. At harvest time Cain brought to the LORD a gift of his farm produce, while Abel brought several choice lambs from the best of his flock. The LORD accepted Abel and his offering, but he did not accept Cain and his offering. This made Cain very angry and dejected. "Why are you so angry?" the LORD asked him. "Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you respond in the right way. But if you refuse to respond correctly, then watch out! Sin is waiting to attack and destroy you, and you must subdue it." Later Cain suggested to his brother, Abel, "Let's go out into the fields." And while they were there, Cain attacked and killed his brother. Genesis 4:3-8 (NLT)

     Some sore losers like to go around blaming others because things didn't go there way. As I was searching for thoughts on being a sore loser I came across an article about a man whose marriage was suffering. The mans response was to sue McDonalds claiming he broke his tooth on a bagel and which in turned ruined his marriage.

     Of course, many sore losers are just like Harold and through a temper tantrum and cause problems for everybody.

     It's very unlikely that anybody will go through life and never lose, never have anything go wrong, etc. When it does, we have a choice in how we will respond, we could respond like a sore loser, but that is unlikely to make anything better and can often make things worse.

     Habakkuk lived in gloomy times, nothing was going right and yet listen to his words in Habakkuk 3:17-18 Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vine; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation. (NLT)

     Many years later the Apostles found themselves in trouble for doing what God wanted them to do. In Acts 5:41 it says they left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer dishonor for the name of Jesus and later in chapter 16 as some were sitting in flogged and thrown in jail they were found praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening.

     I suppose the Apostles could have been sore losers and acted like Ahab, they could have sought revenge like Cain, they could have tired blaming others and I even suppose they could have acted like Harold but they simply rejoiced. Psalms 118:24 says This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.(NLT)

      Here's Something To Ponder
  • When things don't go your way, how do you react?
  • Would those around you ever consider you to be a sore loser?

Saturday, September 15, 2012


Do not cheat a widow or an orphan. - Exodus 22:22 (NCV)

      Talk about excitement! After learning that he might be getting a brother Harold went wild. Everything became a trampoline as he jumped up and down with excitement; he was even bouncing off the walls. When lunch time came he couldn't even sit at the table long enough to eat more than two bites. Not only that, had he been able to stay still long enough, he even thought of cleaning his room.

     That night, Harold couldn't sleep. Several times he went outside and ran around the house howling, and when the sun started creeping up over the horizon he got in the car, buckled himself in and impatiently bounced around waiting for his parents who were still in bed sleeping soundly. Three hours later, the rest of his family finally came out of the house and they were ready to go.

     As soon as Bill had backed the car out of the driveway, Harold started in with every parent's nightmare. “Are we there yet?” Every two minutes for the entire two hour drive, Harold asked “Are we there yet?” with an occasional “How far away is the orphanage?”

     When they finally arrived, Harold was the first one out of the car and he took off on a run to the door, ran smack into it, and fell backward and bonked his head. “Serves you right!” Stella laughed as he got back on his feet. When his parents made it to the door, they all went in and met with the person in charge.

     After a round of introductions, Harold's mom said “We are thinking about adopting.” When the Lady heard that, she got a big smile on her face and started telling them how wonderful adoption is and all about the things they would need to do and finally she told them it could be expensive. “How expensive?” Bill asked, and when she told them Harold's mouth dropped open and he started thinking to himself, “We'll never be able to afford that.”

     After several minutes of silence, Harold spoke up. “Dad, since it costs so much, what if we were to make a swap?” “A swap?” Harold's dad questioned in response, “What would you swap?” “That's obvious.” Harold said with a grin, “Stella! We could swap Stella.” When Stella heard that she quickly jumped into the conversation and suggested that they swap Harold instead.

     After several rounds of who should be swapped, Bill firmly stated, “We're not swapping anybody?” Once Harold and Stella calmed down, Bill turned to the lady and asked what they had for boys Harold's age.” “Boys?” the lady laughed, “We don't have any boys, all we have is girls.” “Girls!” Harold shouted, “I Do Not Want Another Sister!” and then he ran out to the car and waited for his parents, secretly hoping they would leave Stella behind.

     While I haven't put together many stories about him, one of Harold's friends knows what it's like to be an orphan. Do you know who that could be? I'll let you try and figure it out but for now let's think about orphans.

     I've never been to an orphanage but I have a basic idea of what one is. I've never adopted and orphan either but I know many who have adopted one or more.

     The term orphan refers to a child without parents and in biblical usage may also refer to a child “without a father.” Orphans are often mentioned in connection with widows, since in biblical times both would be dependent primarily on a father or husband for their livelihood. Orphans are also mentioned in connection with strangers since both would easily be neglected and mistreated. God’s concern for orphans is seen in His own provision for them and in His directions to His people to treat them with justice and care.

     Some people become orphans because they had lost their parents, not in a grocery store but to death. Others become orphans because they have been abandoned by their parents, maybe because they were unable to care for them or simply did not want anything to do with them. What ever the reason, orphans are orphans and God has set down some rules for dealing with them for just like you or me, they are created in God's image and He cares about them.

     In Exodus 22:22 God simply tells the people Do not cheat a widow or an orphan. (NCV) In Deuteronomy 27:19 God takes things a little farther when He says “Anyone will be cursed who is unfair to foreigners, orphans, or widows.“ Then all the people will say, “Amen!“ (NCV)

     Of course, avoiding doing wrong to an orphan is good but God sets down laws for taking care of them as well.
  • Deuteronomy 24:19-21 When you are gathering your harvest in the field and leave behind a bundle of grain, don’t go back and get it. Leave it there for foreigners, orphans, and widows so that the LORD your God can bless everything you do. When you beat your olive trees to knock the olives off, don’t beat the trees a second time. Leave what is left for foreigners, orphans, and widows. When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, don’t pick the vines a second time. Leave what is left for foreigners, orphans, and widows. (NCV)
  • Don't go back for what you forgot – leave it for the orphan

  • Don't try a second time to get more shaken from a tree - leave it for the orphan

  • Don't go back an pick grapes a second time - leave it for the orphan

  • Isaiah 1:17 - Learn to do good. Seek justice. Punish those who hurt others. Help the orphans. Stand up for the rights of widows. (NCV) 

  • James 1:27 - Religion that God accepts as pure and without fault is this: caring for orphans or widows who need help, and keeping yourself free from the world’s evil influence. (NCV)
     Most of us may never be in the position to adopt or run an orphanage but that doesn't mean we can't help take care of orphans.

     And NO you shouldn't try to trade your siblings off like Harold did for even sisters are created in the image of God.

      Here's Something To Ponder
  • Are you willing to treat orphans God's way?
  • Would you ever be willing to share what God has given you with an orphan?

Saturday, September 8, 2012


Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD. - Psalm 27:14 (NASB)

      It was Harold's favorite part of the day, it was breakfast, well, any time Harold got to eat was his favorite part of the day. As his family gathered around the table for pancakes and bacon, Harold thought it would be a good time to bring up his idea he got the night before about his birthday present which he still hadn't got.

     “Dad, mom,” Harold said right after they prayed, “As you know, I still haven't got my birthday present.” “I know.” said his dad, “And you're not getting a pet skunk or a per rat.” “I think you made that clear,” Harold continued, “What I want now is not a pet, it's something even better. Dad, mom, I want a brother.”

     With out thinking Martha said, “That's a nice idea Harold.” and took a bite of pancake and almost choked when she realized what Harold had just asked for. As for his dad, Bill had a mouth full of hot coffee which went spraying in every direction. “You want a What?” Bill shouted out trying to regain his composure.

     “Of course, I don't need him today.” Harold calmly added. “That's good.” Martha coughed as she continued to choke on her bite of pancake. “Because that's not likely to happen any time soon.” Next week would be fine” Harold continued. “What?” Bill injected when he heard that. “Well,” Harold responded, “The way I have it figured we could go on the internet and order one and we could have him by next week.”

     When Stella heard Harold's plan she started laughing hysterically. “You can't order a baby over the internet.” she snorted. “And,” she continued, “There's no way in the world that dad or mom would ever allow another boy in this house.” “I didn't say I wanted a baby.” Harold calmly injected, “I said I want a brother.”

     What happened next landed Stella on the floor. Instead of laughing she was moaning “No way!, No way!” for to her surprise, her parents thought Harold might have a good idea. “I don't think you can order a brother over the internet though.” Bill had to say “But,” Martha continued, “We could possibly adopt a boy from the orphanage.”

     When he heard that, Harold jumped up from the table and dashed to the door. “Let's go right now!” he said excitedly. “Sit down and finish eating.” Bill said as he calmly took a bit of pancake, “Or we won't go at all.” Without hesitation, Harold sat down and finished his breakfast, and than, just to want to do anything that would cause his dad and mom to change their mind, he even cleared the table and washed all the dishes. As for Stella, she just sat on the floor in shock.

      The Philistines gathered to fight Israel with three thousand chariots and six thousand men to ride in them. Their soldiers were as many as the grains of sand on the seashore. The Philistines went and camped at Micmash, which is east of Beth Aven. When the Israelites saw that they were in trouble, they went to hide in caves and bushes, among the rocks, and in pits and wells. Some Hebrews even went across the Jordan River to the land of Gad and Gilead. But Saul stayed at Gilgal, and all the men in his army were shaking with fear. Saul waited seven days, because Samuel had said he would meet him then. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the soldiers began to leave. So Saul said, “Bring me the whole burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.“ Then Saul offered the whole burnt offering. Just as he finished, Samuel arrived, and Saul went to greet him.
1 Samuel 13:5-10 (NCV)

      Do you like to wait? Do you like things now? Harold did not want to wait to have a brother, he wanted it next week. As a father, I have seven children and I had to wait for each of them. As much as I wanted to be able to hold them, I had to wait all of 41, 42, or even 43 weeks to be able to. I was not able to hold them the week after I found out we were having one.

     Likewise, Saul didn't want to wait either. He was told to wait but when he didn't see Samuel right away, he took matters into his own hand. He payed for it dearly.

     There are many times in life when we need to have patience and wait for what we want (or don't want). James talks about this kind of waiting in reference to the Lord's second coming by looking at a farmer. James 5:7 - Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. (NASB)

     When it comes to waiting patiently here are some verses to remember.
  • Psalm 25:1-3 - To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul. O my God, in You I trust, Do not let me be ashamed; Do not let my enemies exult over me. Indeed, none of those who wait for You will be ashamed; Those who deal treacherously without cause will be ashamed. (NASB)
  • Isaiah 40:31 - Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary. (NASB)
     While we may not always agree with God's timing and that we may have to wait for things, we can know this:
  • Ecclesiastes 3:11 - He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. (ESV)
  • Ecclesiastes 8:6 - There is a right time and a right way for everything, yet people often have many troubles. (NCV)
     Here's Something To Ponder
  • Do you ever want things sooner than later?
  • Do you patiently wait for what you want?

Saturday, September 1, 2012


Who is like Me? - Isaiah 44:7a (NASB)

      Ever since Harold had gotten home form the mall where his petition drive failed miserably his mind had been occupied with the idea of another self. “I really need to think this through.” Harold said to himself as he was getting ready for bed. “What if I were to find another me? What would he have to be like?”

     “Well,” Harold said as he slipped off his dirty shirt and through it in a wad in the corner, “To be like me, he would definitely have to be a boy. The world has way to many girls in it. In fact, they should make a law banning all girls form the planet except for maybe, mom. Yes, he would definitely have to be a boy.”

     As Harold slipped on his pajama shirt he noticed a big mustard stain on it. “Mustard. That's another thing, he would have to be able to eat and eat and eat. He needs to be able to find all the junk food places too. And he has to like Mexican food, and Chinese food, and be able to burp loader than a hippo.”

      Tugging of his pants, Harold threw them in another corner and tried to find his pajama pants. “I'll never find my pants in this mess. If I were to find another me, he would have to like to be messy for there is no way in the world I'm cleaning up this mess. If I put all this stuff away, I'd never be able to find anything.”

     As Harold made his way to his bed, he tripped over his fishing rod. “That's another thing,” he thought, “He has to be able to fish all day long. He can't be like Barney or Louie cause they only fish for a part of the day and than go home and do chores. I guess that means he'll have to be lazy to. Nothing like spending a lazy day fishing. He just can't eat the bait.”

     Crawling into bed, Harold let out a yawn and thought of one more thing. “He'll have to be able to sleep like a log, especially in this bed. Just think, a boy that loves to eat, sleep, fish, be lazy and loves a mess. That's me to a tee.” and with those words Harold started to drift off to sleep.

     About a half hour later, Harold suddenly sat up in bed “He can't be just like me!” he blurted out “If he was my parents might not want him. Besides no one can be just like me, I'm a one of a kind. I suppose he could be sort of like me though, like a little brother.” And with those words Harold flipped back on to his pillow and was out like a light.

     In Isaiah God makes a statement relating to Himself and than asks a question - Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: 'I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me. 'Who is like Me? Let him proclaim and declare it; Yes, let him recount it to Me in order, From the time that I established the ancient nation. And let them declare to them the things that are coming And the events that are going to take place. - Isaiah 44:6-7 (NASB)

     God is unique. There are many so called gods that the world has created but there is none like the true God who did the creating. God is one of a kind and while me not always realize each of us can be considered one of a kind as well.

     It starts be realizing that God created us different than the animals. In Genesis 1:26-27 we read Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (ESV)

     God created us in His image, unlike the animals, we are the ones that have received God's special attention, we are the ones that God sent His Son to die for. We are different, we are unique, we are one of a kind but let's not stop there.

     I've read a little bit about genetics and the vast number of possibility that can come together in our genetic code to make us who we are. Even identical twins that share the same genetic code in their genes are not the same for God not only created us, He knits us together in the womb, watches over us and thinks about us. Read the words of the psalmist. You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—and how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God! They are innumerable! - Psalm 139:13-17 (NLT)

     There's more. In 1 Corinthians, Paul is talking about unity in the church and in doing so he talks about the body. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, "Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body," it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear says, "Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body," it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? - 1 Corinthians 12:14-17 (NASB)

     Paul is making it clear that we are all different Can you imagine a body where the entire body was the same? Can you imagine a world where everyone was the same, where everyone was identical to you?What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? Imagine everyone having the same ones. Are you glad we're not all the same?

     Each of us are truly one of a kind. We are who we are to a tee.

     Here's Something To Ponder
  • Have you ever wished God made everyone just like you?
  • Have you ever wished God made you like someone else?