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 28, 2013


     Christmas was over, and for the most part, Bill Peterson thought everything had gone quite well. With that behind him, he thought he should start thinking about what came next. That is what he was doing when Stella came stomping down the stairs. “Resolution #27” Bill thought to himself, “Make it so Stella can't stomp down the stairs.”

      “What are you doing?” snapped, “Writing Christmas thank yous?” “Resolution # 28 remember to write Christmas thank yous before summer is over.” Bill thought to himself and then turning to Stella, he said “You know what time of the year it is.” “Oh, yeah.” Stella replied, “It's that time of year when you sit down and make a list of New Year resolutions.”

      “So, have you started yours? Bill asked. “Yeah.” Stella answered, “I've started mine. Do you want to hear it?” “Sure” Bill said, “What do you have on your list?” “Well,” Stella said, “The first thing on my list is to make sure I always get even with Harold.” “What!?” Bill gasped. “The second thing on my list” Stella continued, “Is to torture Harold at every opportunity.”

      “Hold it right there young lady.” Bill interrupted her, “That is not the way we are to treat people, not even Harold.” “Who said Harold was a person.” Stella started to argue. “Not only is he a person, he’s your brother.” Bill reminded Stella, “Well, I don’t care.” Stella said, “He deserves it. He never hesitates to make my life miserable so I’m going to make his twice as miserable.”

      “Does than mean you plan to be twice as bad as him?” Bill asked “Nobody can be that bad.” Stella snorted. “Well,” Bill said, “If you treat Harold like you are planning to, you’ll have to become just like him.” “I never thought of that.” Stella sighed. “Besides,” Bill added, “I thought Harold has decided to change.” “If you believe that...” Stalla scoffed, “I have some lake front property to sell you in the desert.”

     “You don’t believe Harold will change do you?” Bill asked. “Never in a million years.” Stella said, “He will always be the same. Rotten to the core.” “This time he said he was going to let Jesus change him” Bill said sticking up for Harold. “Yeah, right” Stella scoffed again, “Tell me another one.” “Well, “ Bill went on, “How many bad things has Harold done since the sleigh ride?”

     “A hundred!” Stella said with confidence. “Well,” Bill Bill said, “What are they?” “Well, uh, uh, uh,”Stella stuttered, “I don’t know but he had to have done something wrong.” “I thought you just said he did a hundred things wrong.” Bill questioned, “Did you see him do a hundred things wrong?” “Well, he's Harold!” Stella snapped “He had to have done something wrong.”

     “Sounds like you need to make some change.” Bill said. “You know.” Stella snapped, “I don’t have to stand here and listen to all this talk of Harold changing. I’m leaving,” and then back up the stairs Stella stomped mumbling under her breath, “I don't need to change. I'm already perfect.”

      And Saul approved of his murder. That very day the church in Jerusalem began to suffer cruel persecution. All the believers, except the apostles, were scattered throughout the provinces of Judea and Samaria. Some devout men buried Stephen, mourning for him with loud cries. But Saul tried to destroy the church; going from house to house, he dragged out the believers, both men and women, and threw them into jail. Acts 8:1-3 (TEV)

     Can God change a person? We nay think of Saul the persecutor but we think more often of Paul the persecuted. They are one in the same but what happened? Let's look at his story.

      But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And he said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do." The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank. Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias." And he said, "Here I am, Lord." And the Lord said to him, "Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit." And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; and taking food, he was strengthened. For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus. And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, "He is the Son of God." And all who heard him were amazed and said, "Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?" But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ. And when he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple.
Acts 9:1-31 (ESV)

     There is a little more to the story if you want to read it all but you can get the point, Saul changed but the people didn't believe it. He changed because God can change a person.
  • Ezekiel 11:19 And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, (ESV)
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (ESV)
  • Titus 3:5 He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, (ESV)
     Change can happen, it can happen for Harold, it could happen for Stella, and it can happen for us if we are willing to let Him.

      Here's Something To Ponder
  • Are you willing to let Jesus change you?
  • Are you willing to accept the change Jesus makes in others?

Saturday, December 21, 2013


     Trying to do some last minute Christmas shopping, Daisy Smith wandered through the mall. After hours of walking sh sat down for a bite to eat in the courtyard As it turned out, the table she sat at was right next to a group of girls from church and she couldn't help over hearing several them talking about the sleigh ride that had been held at the McDonald's farm.

      “Speaking of last night.” Daisy heard Tracy McDonald say, “I think I received the biggest surprise of my life.” “Hi Tracy.” Daisy said wanting to get in on the conversation, “Did I hear you say you received the biggest surprise of your life last night?” “I think we all did.” one of the other girls piped in.

      “Did it have something to do with the sleigh ride last night?” Daisy asked. “Yes and no.” Tracy answered. “So,” Daisy said, “What was the surprise then?” “Harold!” The girls all yelled out at once. “I should have known.” Daisy said shaking here head. “What did he do this time? No, Let me guess, Harold did something to the horses.”

      “No,” Tracy shook here head. “He covered the seats with super glue?” Daisy asked next. “He did that last year.” Tracy said. “Then what kind of trouble did he get into this year?” Daisy wanted to know. “Actually,” Tracy replied, “He didn’t do anything wrong.” “I can see why that would be a big surprise.” Daisy said a bit surprised her self, “Was he sick or something?”

     “I'm not sure.” Tracy said, “But I do know he wasn’t acting his normal self.” “Did he say why he was acting different?” Daisy asked. “He said it had something to doing with Christmas and giving Jesus the unperfect gift.” one of the other girls answered, it was Bernadette. “The unperfect git?” Daisy questioned, Don't you mean the perfect gift?”

     “Yeah,” Tracy went on to explain, “He said he wanted to give Jesus the perfect gift but Barney’s list didn’t have anything good on it. So, Harold decided to give the unperfect gift.” “Well,” Daisy said wanting to know, “What was the unperfect gift that he gave?” “Himself!” The girls all said in unison. “Harold gave himself.”

     “What?!” Daisy shouted out in surprise. “That's right.” Tracy said, “He decided to give himself to Jesus. And he wasn’t going to try to be good on his own anymore.” “Since when did Harold ever try to be good?” Daisy injected, “Do you think he was serious?” “I doubt it.” Stella sneered. “I sure hope so.' Tracy added, “But I wouldn't hold my breath. But then, he was well behaved last night. Makes you wonder.” “Wonder indeed.” Daisy said and then got up to do some more shopping.

     It's that time of year when we think about gifts both giving and getting. It's that time of year when we should also be thinking of the greatest gift and the greatest gift giver. James 1:17 says Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (ESV) Of all the gifts that God has given, the greatest gift He gave was His Son. John 3:16 says 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)

     Too many times this greatest of gifts is rejected and even attacked but not always. No, I'm not going to look at the Wise men and their giving of gifts but a couple of men, who like Harold, gave themselves to God.
  • The first was an Ethiopian - Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." This is a desert place. And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. And the Spirit said to Philip, "Go over and join this chariot." So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, "Do you understand what you are reading?" And he said, "How can I, unless someone guides me?" And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. … Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, "See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?" And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. Acts 8:26-38 (ESV) He was reading scripture but couldn't understand it. Philip was sent to explain. He gave himself to God.
  • The second was A Jailer - The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bonds were unfastened. When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried with a loud voice, "Do not harm yourself, for we are all here." And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household." And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. Acts 16:22-33 (ESV) He put Paul and Silas in Jail but they kept singing. He tried to kill himself when he thought they had escaped. He heard good new and gave himself to God
     We are told:
  • For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 (ESV)
  • For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, Ephesians 2:8 (ESV)
  • And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." Joshua 24:15 (ESV)
  • For he says, "In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you." Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 2 Corinthians 6:2 (ESV)
     Here's Something To Ponder
  • What kind of gifts has God given you?
  • What have you given God?

Saturday, December 14, 2013


     It was less than two weeks till Christmas and it seemed like everyone in Daisy's Sunday School class was bubbling with excitement, well almost everyone. As Daisy glanced around the room, she noticed Barney sitting off in a corner by himself staring at a blank sheet of paper. “Everything okay< Barney? She asked walking over to him.

     “Yeah,” Barney said with a sigh, “I'm just working on a list.” “Isn't it getting a little late to be making a Christmas list now?” Daisy asked. “I finished mine two weeks ago and I'm almost done with it.” “Oh,” Barney sighed, “I'm done with my Christmas list too. This is a different list I'm making and I'm finding it very hard to make.”

     “I didn't know making lists were hard.” Daisy said hoping to get Barney to let her in on his list. “I didn't think so either.” Barney told her, “But this list is no ordinary list.” “Is there any way I can help?” Daisy asked. “There might be.” Barney said as he perked up, “Harold asked me to make a list of all the good things he has done.”

     When Daisy heard what Barney's list was he was trying to make, she started sputtering and coughing. “A list of all the good thing’s Harold has done?” She said, “That's more like impossible.” “That's what I'm discovering.” Barney said in agreement. “Maybe the kids here can help.” Daisy said and then called out but all she got was a bunch of blank stares like she was nuts.

     “I already tried that.” Barney said. “I got the same results. “Well,” Daisy said, “Maybe I can come up with one. How about the time... No I guess that won't work. How about... No that won't work either. There's got to be something good that Harold has done.” “I thought so too.” Barney said. “But I have been having a very hard time. As you can see, my list is empty.”

     “How long have you been working on the list?” Daisy asked. “About a week.” Barney replied. “Did Harold say why he wanted the list?” Daisy asked. “He figured he could use it to get on God’s side.” Barney replied, “He was sure God wouldn’t want him the way he was so he wants to try and impress God with a list of all the good things he has done.”

     “Oh, bother.” Daisy said in disbelief, “That's never going to work.” “I know.” Barney said, “I can't think of anything to put on the list.” “Even if you could fill the list with a hundred things,” Daisy said in return, “It still wouldn’t work. You can't get on God's good side like that.” “Try telling Harold that.” Barney sighed.

     “I have an idea.” Daisy said, “Why don’t you remind him of the right way to get on God’s good side, Jesus.” “Why didn’t I think of that.” Barney said as he wrote JESUS on his list in big letters.” I think I can do that.”

     In Genesis 2:8-9 we read that the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (ESV) - Imagine being in God's garden planted just for you.... and then imagine if you will - Genesis 2:15-17 The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die. (ESV) How much better could it have been?

     It didn't last – they ate of the tree - Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever" therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life. Genesis 3:22-24 (ESV)

     Man was kicked out of the garden and forced to stay out. Many have tried to get back but unsuccessfully.. God needed to provide away. He told Satan (the serpent) I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel." Genesis 3:15 (ESV)

     So, how did God make a way? Let's go to the Christmas story.

      In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, "Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!" But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." And Mary said to the angel, "How will this be, since I am a virgin?" And the angel answered her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God." And Mary said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.
Luke 1:26-38 (ESV)

      Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."
Matthew 1:18-21 (ESV)

  • As the Scriptures say, "No one is good— not even one. Romans 3:10 (NLT)
  • Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6 (ESV)
  • I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. John 10:9 (ESV)
      Here's Something To Ponder
  • Do you ever feel like Harold – That you need to get on God's good side?
  • Are willing to accept God's way for salvation?

Saturday, December 7, 2013


     “How can one family go through so many eggs so quickly” John McDondald thought too himself as he prepared to drop off another six dozen eggs at the Peterson house. “Most family's go through only 1 or two dozen eggs a week but this is the third time this week.” After ringing the door bell, John waited patiently for what seemed like ten minutes before a young lad answered the door.

      “Hi, Harold” John said as the door opened, “I have some more eggs for you. “Oh, great!” Harold exclaimed, “I need all I can get for my huge egg omelet I'm making.” “A huge omelet?” John said a little puzzled. “Why do you need a huge omelet?” “Well,” Harold said, “Remember that dragon you told me about in the book of Revelation? Well, I read about it.”

     “Oh” John said, “So, how are you going to defeat him?” “I'm not.” Harold responded, “I have decided he is to big for me.” “I thought you might.” John said with a grin, “Nobody can.” “As a result.” Harold when on to say, “I have made a decision to try and get on his good side.” “What?!” John exclaimed in horror when he heard that.

     “There’s no way in the world I could ever beat him, so I am going to try and get on his good side.” Harold went on to explain, “So I'm making him a huge egg omelet. I heard dragons like them.” “Harold,” John said shaking his head, “He doesn't have a good side. Not only that, but in the end, he will be destroyed along with all of his followers.”

     “I thought I read that in the story.” Harold said bowing his head. “I guess that leaves you with just one choice.” John said. “What's that?” Harold asked, “Get on the winning side.” John said. “You mean God's side?” Harold asked “That would be impossible.” “No it's not.” John assured him. “It is for me.” Harold responded, “There is no way in the world God would ever want me.”

     “What makes you think that?” John asked. “Because I’m no good.” Harold claimed “And even when I try to be good I still cause all kinds of problems. Remember last year when I cleaned my room?My Mom ended up in the hospital, the doctor went into shock and Stella became mean.”

     “Sounds like one of the dragons tricks.” John said, “He is a master at deception. Even better than you, Harold.” “So,” Harold said in wonderment, “What kind of trick is he playing?” “Just making you think God wouldn’t want you.” John answered, “Well, I still don’t see how God could want me.” Harold protested.

     “He loves you.” John said. “I suppose He does.” Harold said in agreement, “But He must be an awfully big God to love me.” “He sure is.” John said with a big smile, Now, what do you want me to do with all of these eggs?” “Hmmmm.” Harold said thinking, “Maybe I'll save them for Easter, that's only a about four months away.”

      And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Acts 8:1b (ESV)

     And there arose on that Day .... Six chapters earlier the church had begun with an awesome start – over 3000 – but there were those who didn't want the church to grow and would fight against it no matter what – Saul was one of those men. We read of Saul...
  • Acts 8:3 But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison. (ESV)
  • Acts 9:1-2 But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. (ESV)
  • Acts 26:9-11 "I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things in opposing the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And I did so in Jerusalem. I not only locked up many of the saints in prison after receiving authority from the chief priests, but when they were put to death I cast my vote against them. And I punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to make them blaspheme, and in raging fury against them I persecuted them even to foreign cities. (ESV)
     All this and yet we read that God, that Jesus Christ wanted him. Acts 26:12-18 - In this connection I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me. And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.' And I said, 'Who are you, Lord?' And the Lord said, 'I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles— to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.' (ESV)

     Maybe, just maybe, there are times when you feel like Harold Peterson, you feel that God wouldn't want you, that you've been too “bad.” When that happens, remember Saul / Paul and remember these verses.
  • 1 Timothy 1:15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. (ESV) Paul didn't think you could be worse than himself.
  • Luke 2:8-10 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. (ESV) It is the time of year when we remember that Jesus came for all people.
  • 1 Timothy 2:3-4 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (ESV) God's desire is for you to be saved. We are reminded of this in the familiar verse - 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)
     Here's Something To Ponder
  • Do you fully embrace God's desire for you?
  • Do you desire God?

Saturday, November 30, 2013


     It was that time of year, the time of the year when John McDonald finds himself running all over the county delivering eggs. “I just wish I could sample some of all those goodies being baked.” he would say every time he dropped off another bunch. The last stop he had on this day brought him to the Peterson household and what a bunch he had for them.

     Ringing the doorbell, John was surprised to see Harold answer the door. “Harold!” he exclaimed, “It's good to have you back. Did you have a great Thanksgiving? Did you get a good fill of Turkey and all the side dishes.?” “I sure did!” Harold replied with a big belch, “I think I ate almost half of the Turkey my self.”

     “We're sure glad your Dad finally found you.” John said but Harold paid no attention, “And of course I ate a pile of mashed potatoes and gravy bigger than my plate..” Harold continued. “A lot of people were getting worried that space aliens had taken you.” John interrupted but Harold kept right on talking “Don’t forget the cranberry salad” Harold continued, “And the yams covered with marshmallows.”

     “Even your Dad was worried you would never be found again.” John said trying to refocus the conversation away from food but Harold kept on “Did I mention the fresh baked buns and the green beans and the corn.” “Even the towns folks went looking for you.” John injected. “And I can’t forget about the pie. There were ten different pies this year.” Harold continued as if he couldn't hear John.

     “Your Dad didn’t think praying for you to be found was any good.” John continued, “But it did and now we thank God, who kept you safe. Upon hearing that, Harold turned to John. “You sound just like Preacher Randy.” he said. “You sound just like Harold, food, food, food.” John replied. “I can’t help it.” Harold said, “I was hungry, besides isn’t eating what thanksgiving is for.”

     John didn't like that answer. “Thanksgiving is suppose to be a time when we give thanks to God for all the blessings he has given us.” he said sternly, “And this year we’re thankful that He kept you safe.” “Are you saying 'God kept me safe?'” Harold said shacking his head, “I don’t think so. I had everything under control. There was never a single time that I needed God’s help.”

     “Do you really believe that?” John asked. “Of course I do.” Harold answered, “I don’t need God.” “Well,” Johns said with a grin, “If you don’t need God I would like to see how you plan to defeat the ultimate dragon.” “The ultimate dragon?” Harold said not quite sure what to think, “There’s no such thing as dragons. You can’t trick me.”

     “I take it you’ve never read the book of Revelations in the Bible.” John said, “The BIBLE!” Harold exclaimed, “You mean there are dragons in the bible?” “Yes.” Johns replied, “But if you don’t need God I guess you will have to take on the dragon by yourself.” “Dragons are just make believe,” Harold said a little concerned, “Aren’t they?” “Only one way to find out.” John said and then handed Harold six dozen eggs.

     What are some of the things that you can think of that you need? I think of things like air, water, food, clothes, etc. In Judges 13:1 we read And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, so the LORD gave them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years. (ESV) Israel was again doing evil in God's eyes and He gave them over to the Philistines for forty long years. Finally God sent a deliverer, a Nazarite from birth, a man who would be called Samson, a man who forgot He needed God. His story is found in Judges 16.

     Samson went to Gaza, and there he saw a prostitute, and he went in to her. The Gazites were told, "Samson has come here." And they surrounded the place and set an ambush for him all night at the gate of the city. They kept quiet all night, saying, "Let us wait till the light of the morning; then we will kill him." But Samson lay till midnight, and at midnight he arose and took hold of the doors of the gate of the city and the two posts, and pulled them up, bar and all, and put them on his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill that is in front of Hebron. After this he loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. And the lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, "Seduce him, and see where his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him, that we may bind him to humble him. And we will each give you 1,100 pieces of silver." … And Samson told her all his heart, and said to her, "A razor has never come upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother's womb. If my head is shaved, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak and be like any other man." When Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called the lords of the Philistines, saying, "Come up again, for he has told me all his heart." Then the lords of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money in their hands. She made him sleep on her knees. And she called a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to torment him, and his strength left him. And she said, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" And he awoke from his sleep and said, "I will go out as at other times and shake myself free." But he did not know that the LORD had left him. And the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes and brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze shackles. And he ground at the mill in the prison. ...(ESV)

     If you were to continue reading the story you would learn that eventually Samson came to his senses and realized he needed God and God gave him back his strength. Like Samson, we need God more than we may realize.
  • Like the church in Revelation 3:17 we often think we are when we are not. - For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. (ESV)
  • We need to Abide in Christ – John 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. (ESV)
  • Jeremiah stated, I know, O LORD, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps. Jeremiah 10:23 (ESV) We need God
  • John the Baptist said A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. John 3:27 (ESV)
      There's is many more verses and stories we could like at that teach us that we need God but these should suffice. In the mean time, Here's Something To Ponder.
  • What are the things you don't think you need God for?
  • Would you be willing to test God to find out if you don't need Him for those things?
     P.S. - The Dragon mentioned in the story CAN be found in Revelation if you're willing to go there and read....

Saturday, November 23, 2013


     It was getting close to Thanksgiving and while he knew he should be happy and thankful, Randy Smith was finding it very difficult knowing that one of the members in the church had been missing for nearly three weeks. To make matters worse, most everyone in the congregation was starting to feel the same way even though they didn't think much of Harold.

     As he sat at his desk staring off into space, trying his best to put together a message on thanksgiving, Randy was brought to his senses by a loud “YAAAAA HOOOOO!” “What was that?” Randy thought to himself and then he heard it again. “YAAAAA HOOOOO!” “That almost sounded like.... Nah, it couldn't be.” Randy thought but then decided to get up and go see.

     It didn't take Randy long to find out who was yelling. As Randy got to the door. BAMB, Bill Peterson came running into him knocking him to the floor. “YAAAAA HOOOOO!” Bill hollered again as he helped Randy up off the floor. “Are you feeling okay?” Randy asked, shacking his head. “I don’t think I could feel any better.” Bill said, “And since this week is thanksgiving, I’ve just got to say it one more time.”

     “Say what?” Randy asked. “YAAAAA HOOOOO!” Bill shouted right into Randy's ear. “I think you've lost it, Bill” Randy said. “Calm down.” “I haven’t lost it,” Bill smiled, “At least not yet. I’m just excited about Thanksgiving this year.” “I guess I'm usually excited about Thanksgiving too.” Randy said, “But what do either of have to be thankful for? In case you forgot, Harold is still missing.”

     “But he isn't missing.” Bill exclaimed with excitement, “I found him and I just have to say it again. YAAAAA HOOOOO!” “What!” Randy exclaimed in surprise, “You found Harold? YAAAAA HOOOOO!” “Are you feeling okay?” Bill asked Randy after he shouted out. “Of course I am.” Randy shouted, “Where did you find Him?”

     “You'll never believe it.” Bill said with glee. “Try me!” Randy said wanting to know. “I found him in the cemetery.” Bill exclaimed, “He had fallen into a pit and couldn’t get out.” “Is he okay?” Randy asked getting all the more excited, “It’s been over three weeks since he’s eaten.”

     “Well, not really.” Bill said and then explained “The pit he fell in was his secret hide away. He had six cases of candy bars and lots of pop stashed in that pit.” “Why couldn't he get out?” Randy asked. “His ladder broke.” Bill said. “I guess this is going to be a great Thanksgiving after all.” Randy exclaimed, “Yeah.” Bill laughed, “Sure beats a skunk getting loose in the church building.” It sure does.” Randy said and started laughing too.

     Jesus liked to teach using parables and like many of Jesus' parables, more than one thing can be learned from the same one. Today we will revisit three of Jesus' parables.
  • #1 - Luke 15:4-7 What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.' Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. (ESV) – Only one sheep in a hundred is lost but it was searched for and found.
  • #2 - Luke 15:8-10 Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.' Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents." (ESV) – Only one coin in ten was lost but it was searched for and found.
  • #3 - Luke 15:11-24 And he said, "There was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.' And he divided his property between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything. "But when he came to himself, he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants." ' And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' But the father said to his servants, 'Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.' And they began to celebrate. (ESV) – Only one boy chose to be lost but was watched for and returned.
     Did you notice some things common to all three stories? Did you notice the rejoicing? Do you ever rejoice in a great find? Or maybe throw a party? Do you stop and say thanks? Rejoicing and being thankful often go hand in hand. Here are some thoughts on rejoicing.
  • Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. (ESV)
  • Deuteronomy 12:7 And there you shall eat before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your households, in all that you undertake, in which the LORD your God has blessed you. (ESV)
  • Psalm 5:11 But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. (ESV)
  • Luke 10:20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven." (ESV)
  • 1 Peter 4:12-13 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. (ESV)
     Here's Something To Ponder
  • For what do you have to rejoice / be thankful for?
  • Are you taking time to show that thankfulness with rejoicing?

Saturday, November 16, 2013


      The prayer meeting had come to a close but Bill Peterson was not feeling any better. Harold had gone missing and no-one had been able to find him. He was hoping really hard that the prayer meeting would help make a difference in the search for his missing son and as much as he trusted God to help, he couldn't keep himself from thinking he would never see Harold again and he couldn't keep himself from crying.

     “I got here as soon as I could.” Sergeant Halfway said walking over to Bill but when he saw him crying he could only think the worse. “You're crying, Bill. Did something bad happen to Harold?” “We still can't find him.” Bill replied between the sobs, “And I'm starting to lose all hope of ever seeing him again.”

     “Is the search team still out looking for him? Sergeant Halfway asked. “No” Bill sobbed, “The search got called off.” “What?” Halfway exclaimed in surprise. “My officers never told me that.” “They've looked everywhere.” Bill said. “There's no where left to look.”

     “How long has been missing now?” Halfway asked. “It seems like it's been forever.” Bill told him, “And, and, I don’t think I can keep going. I’m losing hope.” “What about the prayer meeting you just had?” Halfway wondered, “Surely it did some good.” “I'd like to think so.” Bill replied, “But I'm not sure it will do any good.”

     “What do you mean?” Halfway asked. “I think we waited too long.” Bill explained, “Besides, half of the people are beginning to believe that Harold was really taken captive by space aliens.” “But there is no such thing as space aliens.” Sergeant Halfway said sternly. “Are you sure?” Bill asked, “Were you at the cemetery?

     “Well,” Sergeant Halfway said, “ What did you see when you went to the cemetery?” “I, didn't actually go there myself.” Bill stammered, “But I heard that something had been out there and some trees were destroyed.” “Well, if you didn't go to the cemetery,” Halfway said, “Who did? Somebody had to have gone there and checked it out.”

     “I don’t think anybody went out there and looked.” Bill said, “Cemeteries are creepy enough, but a cemetery with space aliens... No way.” “Bill!” Sergeant Halfway said sternly, “That should have been the first place any body should have looked.”

     “But why” Bill protested, “If Harold had really been trying to scare somebody do you really think he would have stayed there?” “No.” Halfway answered, “But he might have left a clue as to where he did go.” “Well, Bill said hesitantly, “If it will help me find Harold I guess I’ll go but if I don't come back the space aliens got me.”

     But Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, "Do you wish to go up to Jerusalem and there be tried on these charges before me?" But Paul said, "I am standing before Caesar's tribunal, where I ought to be tried. To the Jews I have done no wrong, as you yourselves know very well. If then I am a wrongdoer and have committed anything for which I deserve to die, I do not seek to escape death. But if there is nothing to their charges against me, no one can give me up to them. I appeal to Caesar." Then Festus, when he had conferred with his council, answered, "To Caesar you have appealed; to Caesar you shall go."
Acts 25:9-12 (ESV)

     Paul had been in jail for preaching - in fact, he'd been there a couple of years. Festus, wanting to please the Jews wanted to have a trial in Jerusalem for Paul but Paul, knowing he had done nothing wrong, made an appeal to Caesar which he could do as a Roman citizen. So, off to Rome he goes.

     And when it was decided that we should sail for Italy, they delivered Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan Cohort named Julius. … the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing for Italy and put us on board. … We sailed slowly for a number of days and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus, and as the wind did not allow us to go farther, we sailed under the lee of Crete off Salmone. Coasting along it with difficulty, we came to a place called Fair Havens, near which was the city of Lasea. Since much time had passed, and the voyage was now dangerous because even the Fast was already over, Paul advised them, saying, "Sirs, I perceive that the voyage will be with injury and much loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives." But the centurion paid more attention to the pilot and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said. … But soon a tempestuous wind, called the northeaster, struck down from the land. … Since we were violently storm-tossed, they began the next day to jettison the cargo. And on the third day they threw the ship's tackle overboard with their own hands. When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned. Since they had been without food for a long time, Paul stood up among them and said, "Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and incurred this injury and loss. Yet now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, 'Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.' So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. … And so it was that all were brought safely to land. Acts 27:1-44 (ESV)

     You can go to the Bible and read the complete story, I've just shortened to catch some of the highlights. Like Bill in our puppet story the men of the ship had lost hope.

     What is Hope? It is to wish with expectation, it is to have confidence or trust that something will come to be, it is to expect or desire something to happen. The Bible has some things to say about hope.
  • Job 8:13 Such are the paths of all who forget God; the hope of the godless shall perish. (ESV)
  • Ephesians 2:12 Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. (ESV)
  • Proverbs 10:28 The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish. (ESV)
  • 1 Timothy 1:1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, (ESV)
     Here's Something To Ponder
  • Like Bill, Have you ever felt hopeless?
  • In who or what do you place your hope?

Saturday, November 9, 2013


     Harold Peterson was still missing and the police department had gotten involved. Robert Grey, Harold's grandfather, had put together a search party with the help of one the police officers and now Sergeant Halfway was trying to follow up on the search to try and figure out the next move. As Halfway walked up the sidewalk to Robert's house, he wondered if he would even find him home.

      After several knocks, Sergeant Halfway turned to leave, figuring nobody was home at the Grey's home when he heard someone call out “Robert, Over here.” Turning around to see who was calling and from where, Halfway almost fell off the steps. After catching his balance, Sergeant Halfway headed towards the garage where he found who was calling him, Mr Grey himself.

      “Did you find Harold yet?” Sergeant Halfway called out. “No Robert replied, “I was just getting ready to come down to the station to see if you or your men had found him yet.” “My officer did say you put a search team together, right?” Halfway asked. “Finally.” Mr Grey answered, “But it took a lot of work to convince the town that Harold was worth looking for.”

      “I take it then,” Halfway asked, “You still haven’t found him?” “No!” Robert said sadly, “And we've looked everywhere.” “Where all have you looked?” Sergeant Halfway asked. “For starters,” Robert started to say, “His dad and mom searched his bedroom. It took them six hours. As you may know, Harold’s room is a condemned disaster zone.”

      “Wow!” Halfway injected, “I didn't realize his room was that bad.” “We’ve checked his tree house but all that we found there was a bunch of empty pop cans.” Robert continued, “We sent nearly twenty people out to the woods where he and Muffy used to go and play but all they found out there were a bunch of uncompleted and half eaten school assignments.”

“Is there any where else he would hide out?” Halfway asked. “We checked with the dock guide at the lake and he hadn't been down there all summer. We did learn though at the supermarket that he had been there and had bought six cases of candy bars.” “That sounds like Harold.” Sergeant Halfway laughed.”

      “We've looked everywhere.” Robert said shaking his head, “ I’m beginning to believe space aliens really did capture Harold and take him away.” “But there is no such thing as space aliens.” Halfway protested, “They couldn't have taken him.” “Are you sure?” Robert asked, “We even tried putting a plate of food out for him and that didn't work. We've tried everything.”

      “How about a prayer meeting?” Sergeant Halfway asked, “Did you hold a prayer meeting and ask God to help?” “Oops.” Mr. Grey said bowing his head in shame. “That should have been the first thing we did and we forgot all about it.” “Maybe you should try that next.” Halfway suggested. “And let me know when you hold the prayer meeting so I can attend.” “I'll do that.” Robert said and then got busy calling everyone.

      How many of us can say that we know everything? If we don't know something we could just forget it, not worry about knowing, we could wait for the answer to some how appear, we could go look it up in a book or on the Internet or we to could go ask someone. Of course we could find our selves asking the wrong person like Ahaziah. King Ahaziah wanted to know something about himself but things didn't work out they way he had planned for he went looking for answers in the wrong place.

      Ahaziah fell through the lattice in his upper chamber which was in Samaria, and became ill. So he sent messengers and said to them, "Go, inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, whether I will recover from this sickness." But the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite, "Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria and say to them, 'Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron?' "Now therefore thus says the LORD, 'You shall not come down from the bed where you have gone up, but you shall surely die.' " Then Elijah departed. When the messengers returned to him he said to them, "Why have you returned?" They said to him, "A man came up to meet us and said to us, 'Go, return to the king who sent you and say to him, "Thus says the LORD, 'Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are sending to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron? Therefore you shall not come down from the bed where you have gone up, but shall surely die.' ""' … So Ahaziah died according to the word of the LORD which Elijah had spoken. And because he had no son, Jehoram became king in his place in the second year of Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah.
2 Kings 1:2-17 (NASB)

      How often do we look for answers in the wrong places? - like the question - “Why are we here?” Solomon sought out such an answer. Ecclesiastes 1:12-13 I, the Preacher, have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. And I set my mind to seek and explore by wisdom concerning all that has been done under heaven. It is a grievous task which God has given to the sons of men to be afflicted with. (NASB)

      Solomon found the answer and he has shared it with us in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil. (NASB)

      In the New Testament we find more talk on how are being here is tied to not only God but to Christ as well.
  • Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (NASB)
  • John 6:67-69 So Jesus said to the twelve, "You do not want to go away also, do you?" Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. "We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God." (NASB)
  • John 15:1-5 "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. "You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. (NASB)
      When Ahaziah went looking for an answer, he may have got one from the prophets of the so called god Baal-zebub but chances are it would not have been right. People today often look for answers in horoscopes, taro cards, etc

      Here's Something To Ponder
  • When you have questions relating to life – where do you go looking?
  • Is God and His word your first place to look?

Saturday, November 2, 2013


     “I hate this time of year.” Sergeant Robert Halfway thought to himself while he was busy writing reports. “Every year it's the same thing. Why can't we just eliminate Halloween. It would make life here at the station so much easier. And look here, another report about aliens. That reminds me, I still haven't checked out Louie's story. Maybe I should give Bill a call.”

     Reaching for his phone, Sergeant Halfway started to dial the number for Bill Peterson, a number he knew by heart from how many time Harold had been in trouble, but before he could dial the first number, Bill poked his head into the door. “Well, Hi there Bill.” Halfway said putting down the phone, “I was just getting ready to call you.”

     “Have you seen Harold lately?” Bill asked “No,” Halfway said cautiously, “I was just getting ready to call you about him. Is he in some kind of trouble again?” “He seems to have disappeared.” Bill replied. “Disappeared?” Robert asked remembering Louie's story, “Harold's always disappearing.” “That's true” Bill said “But this time no one can find him.”

     “No one can find him?” Halfway questioned, “Isn't that a good thing?” “Louie said some green aliens came and took him away.” Bill said. “Yeah,” Halfway said, “He told me the same story. Aliens that shoot laser beams out of there eyes.” “Louie told you about Harold's disappearance?' Bill said a bit surprised. “Yeah.” Robert continued, “He said they were trying to scare somebody in the cemetery when space aliens came and took Harold away.”

     “The cemetery?!” Bill exclaimed, “Louie never told me about that. That makes things even worse.” “Why?” Robert asked. “The newspaper said something strange landed in the cemetery.” Bill answered, “And it said a whole bunch of trees were destroyed. It was if they had been hit by powerful laser beams.” “Hmmm.” Halfway responded, “Louie said they shot some trees. But there are no such things as space aliens.”

     “But Harold is still missing.” Bill reminded Sergeant Halfway, “And Louie did say that space aliens grabbed him.” “Well,” Halfway said with a humph, “If you want my opinion, Harold is just hiding somewhere. “I sure hope you're right.” Bill said, “After all, it’s not like Harold to miss turkey and mashed potatoes three days in a row.” “You're right.” Robert said in agreement, “That isn’t like Harold.”

     “Gramps is trying to put a search team together right now.” Bill said, “But he's having a very hard time. Nobody wants Harold to be found.” “But if he is lost...” Halfway added, “He might not survive. I'll send one of my officers over to help as soon as I can spare one.” “Thank you.” Bill said and then left.

      So, what has happened to Harold? Did aliens take him? Is he just hiding? Have you ever wished you could hide? Have you ever done something that you wish you had never done? Have you ever felt guilty and not want anyone to know? Have you ever said I don't want to do that and disappeared, just gone into hiding?

     Think about these people
  • Adam and Eve sinned against God and tried to hide. 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. - Genesis 3:1-8 (ESV)
  • Jonah heard God, didn't agree with Him and tried to run away. Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me." But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went on board, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the LORD. Jonah 1:1-3 (ESV)
  • David sinned, left behind evidence and tried to cover it up. In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king's house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, "Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?" So David sent messengers and took her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she had been purifying herself from her uncleanness.) Then she returned to her house. And the woman conceived, and she sent and told David, "I am pregnant." ... In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah. In the letter he wrote, "Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, that he may be struck down, and die." 2 Samuel 11:1-15 (ESV)
      We often try to hide or cover up, We are often lost and unwilling to be found, yet, we cannot hide from God

     We may try to hide behind excuses, we may hide from responsibility, we may try to hide from consequences but we can never hide from God.

     Psalm 139:1-12 - 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. (ESV)

      Here's Something To Ponder
  • What are things in your life you wish could be hidden?
  • Knowing God can see everything and everywhere, what will you do?

Saturday, October 26, 2013


      Sergeant Halfway was standing behind the counter at the police station looking over a report that had just come in. Gladys Fisher had reported seeing aliens down at the cemetery again. “Where does she come up with these stories?” Robert thought to himself. “This is the fifth time this month. When will she learn? Well, I suppose I should go at least look at the sky.”

     As Sergeant Halfway reached for his coat to go look, Louie Blackwood, came bursting into the police station shaking in fright hollering “POLICE! POLICE!” “Whoa.” Halfway said walking over to Louie, “Are you okay?” “They got him! They got him!” Louie screamed out. “What are you talking about?” Halfway asked. “They came out of no where and they got him.” Came Louie response.

     “Got Who?” Halfway asked as he kneeled down to look Louie in the eye. “We tried to get away.” Louie said still shaking, “But they got him.” “Louie!” Sergeant Halfway half shouted, “Calm down. You're shaking like an earthquake.” “DON’T LET THEM GET ME TOO!” Louie screamed. “Let who get you?” Halfway said trying to calm Louie down. “THE SPACE ALIENS!” Louie screamed back.

     “Space aliens.” Halfway said with a laugh. I think you've been hanging around Gladys too much. When Louie heard that he started crying. “It's not that bad.” Sergeant Halfway tried to assure Louie. “But they got Harold.” Louie cried. “Who's got Harold?” Halfway asked. “The space aliens got him.” Louie replied.
     “There's no such thing as space aliens.” Halfway tried to explain. “Yes there is.” Louie countered, “I saw them, and they got Harold.” “Is this some kind of Halloween prank?” Halfway asked not believing Louie. “No!” Louie plead, “I really saw them. They were down at the Pupperville Cemetery.”

     When Sergeant Halfway heard the cemetery, his ears perked up. “What were you doing at the cemetery?” He demanded to know. “ Harold and I were going to try and scare somebody.” Louie started to explain, “But we didn’t know there were real space aliens hiding out there too. “If I know Harold,” Halfway said with a sigh, “He’s probably still out there in the cemetery laughing is head off for scaring you and Gladys too.”

     “He wasn't laughing.” Louie said shaking his head, “He was screaming.” “Probably trying to scare you even more.” Halfway said. “But I saw the aliens.” Louie claimed, “They were huge and green with things sticking out of there heads and they glowed and shot laser beams out of their eyes. They even shot up a bunch of trees, I can even show them to you.”

     “Alright.” Halfway said, “If it will make you feel better I'll do some checking around, but I'm telling you, there is no such thing as aliens.”

     From Genesis to Revelation it happened. It happened to the weak as well to the strong. It happened to Louie and it happens to us. From time to time we become afraid and we need to be encouraged Let's look at some people in the Bible who God had to send encouragement to.
  • Jacob – On his trip to Egypt - Genesis 46:2-3 And God spoke to Israel in visions of the night and said, "Jacob, Jacob." And he said, "Here am I." Then he said, "I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation. (ESV)
  • Joshua – As he prepares for battle - Joshua 11:4-6 And they came out with all their troops, a great horde, in number like the sand that is on the seashore, with very many horses and chariots. And all these kings joined their forces and came and encamped together at the waters of Merom to fight with Israel. And the LORD said to Joshua, "Do not be afraid of them, for tomorrow at this time I will give over all of them, slain, to Israel. You shall hamstring their horses and burn their chariots with fire." (ESV)
  • Elijah – Going to meet an enemy king - 2 Kings 1:13-15 Again the king sent the captain of a third fifty with his fifty. And the third captain of fifty went up and came and fell on his knees before Elijah and entreated him, "O man of God, please let my life, and the life of these fifty servants of yours, be precious in your sight. Behold, fire came down from heaven and consumed the two former captains of fifty men with their fifties, but now let my life be precious in your sight." Then the angel of the LORD said to Elijah, "Go down with him; do not be afraid of him." So he arose and went down with him to the king (ESV)
  • Paul – While preaching in Corinth - Acts 18:9 And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, "Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, (ESV)
  • John – While receiving a vision - Revelation 1:17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, "Fear not, I am the first and the last, (ESV)
     When it comes to fear, to being afraid, to being scared Remember this:
  • God delivers from fears - Psalm 34:4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. (ESV)
  • God will give strength - Isaiah 41:10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (ESV)
  • Put God first and do not worry - Matthew 6:33-34 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (ESV)
  • We're valuable to God - Matthew 10:31-32 - Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, (ESV)
  • There's no fear in love - 1 John 4:16-18 - So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. (ESV)
     Here's Something To Ponder
  • What are the fears that you hold on to and why?
  • How can turning them over to God help you?

Saturday, October 19, 2013


     It's that time of year again. The time of the year when people are hard at work getting ready for winter. Tim and Florence Henderson were doing just that. They were pulling the last of their produce from the garden, racking leaves, covering their windows with plastic and so on and singing as they worked. Little did they know, someone was hiding in their garden shed.

     As Tim and Florence entered the shed to put some stuff away, they were talking about how good it felt to get outside and work. When they said the word 'work,' someone, hiding under a pile of gunny sacks called out “Did I hear somebody say a nasty four letter word. You could get in big trouble for saying such things.”

     “Harold Peterson!” Tim called out rather loudly pulling the pile of gunny sacks to the side, “What are you doing hiding in my garden shed?” “What are you doing using nasty four letter words?” came Harold's reply. “I haven't said anything wrong.” Tim replied, “And you didn't answer me. What are you doing in my garden shed?”

     “Yes you did!” Harold exclaimed not wanting to answer the question, “You said 'work.'” “There is nothing nasty about work.” Tim replied, “You should try it sometime. If you really want a nasty four letter word I can give you one.” “You can?” Harold grinned, “What is it?” “Lazy.” Tim told him.

     “Lazy?” Harold exclaimed, “That's five letters.” “No, Harold,” Florence spoke up, “It's four. L A Z Y. You should have known that if you had been paying attention in spelling class.” “I can think of another reason he should know it.” Tim added. “Why?” Harold demanded. “Because it's your first name.” Tim said, “Now why are you in our garden shed.”

     “I am not lazy!!” Harold shouted back. “And that's why you blew up the sewer?” Tim asked. “I had a very good reason for not wanting to clean my bathroom.” Harold said. “What?” Michael Henderson said coming into the shed to put something away, “Afraid you would be attacked by space aliens?” “Very funny!” Harold scowled, “And why not?” Florence asked.

     “Because it was too big of a mess.” Harold claimed. “And why is that?” Florence asked. “Because I never clean it.” Harold answered. “Because you lazy.” Tim chipped in, “When was the last time you worked hard?” “Just last year I cleaned my entire bedroom.” Harold boasted. “You cleaned your room?” Florence started to ask but was interrupted by Tim “Hey!” he said, “ What are you doing out of your room anyway. I thought you were grounded till the end of the.”

     “I had to escape.” Harold claimed, “Or my mom was going to put me to work.” “Well,” Tim grinned, “What do you think we are going to do with you? I think it's time to put you to work. We need some help tilling the manure we got from John into the garden.” Upon hearing those words, the Henderson's found they had a new back door in their shed.

     Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Matthew 25:1 (ESV) In Matthew 25, Jesus is telling us about the coming of the kingdom of heaven. In the first 13 verses He talks of being ready, then in the next 17 he talks about being busy while waiting in the parable of the talents.

      "For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.' His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.' And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.' His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.' He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, 'Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.' But his master answered him, 'You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sowed and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
Matthew 25:14-30 (ESV)

     Think about it. The lazy servant was punished not rewarded. You do not find the word lazy in most Bible translations but what you do find is the words sluggard and slothfulness which basically means lazy.
  • Laziness brings poverty - Proverbs 24:30-34 - I passed by the field of a sluggard, by the vineyard of a man lacking sense, and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns; the ground was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down. Then I saw and considered it; I looked and received instruction. A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man. (ESV)
  • Laziness bring hunger - Proverbs 19:15 - Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger. (ESV)
  • Laziness brings death - Proverbs 21:25 - The desire of the sluggard kills him, for his hands refuse to labor. (ESV)
     We may not always like the idea but we are to work – it's part of the curse in the Genesis 3:19 - By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return. (ESV) We should take Paul's advice in 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 and aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may live properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one. (ESV)

      Here's Something To Ponder
  • Do you ever work hard to get out of work?
  • How do you feel after doing work?

Saturday, September 14, 2013


     Stella was sitting in her favorite chair watching her favorite television show. To her , life couldn't be better for Harold had been grounded and since he couldn't leave his room, he couldn't bother her. Yes, Stella thought life was just great or at least it was until she was startled by someone banging on the front door, causing her to spill a glass of grape juice all over her favorite outfit.

     “Quick, I need to see Harold!” Mindy said as she pushed the door open, knocking Stella to the floor. “Where is he?” “You can't see him!” Stella snapped back, “He's grounded and isn't aloud out of his room and no one is allowed in it. Now help me up!” “But I need to see him now.” Mindy said as she gave Stella her hand to help her up.”

     “Why would you want to see Harold?” Stella asked, “Do you need to kill him?” “No way.” Mindy said, “I need him alive so he can help me.” “Well,” Stella growled, you'll have to wait until next month and look what you made me do to my shirt.” “Next Month!” Mindy exclaimed, “I need to see him now as in N O W, now!”

     “What in the world could you possibly need Harold’s help for.” Stella asked, “Are you trying to get yourself into trouble so you'll be grounded?” “Well,” Mindy stuttered, “There is this new toy at the store and I just have to have it.” “You just have to have it?” Stella questioned. Are you sure you have to have it?”

     “Everybody’s getting one.” Mindy claimed. “Everybody?” Stella asked. “Yes!” Mindy exclaimed, “Everybody is getting one and I need Harold's help.” “Why?” Stella asked, “why don't you just go and get one.” “Uhm,” Mindy hesitated, “Because mom and dad won’t let me get one.” “They won't!” Stella exclaimed “No.” Mindy said, “They won't”

     “So.” Stella said, “What makes you think that Harold would be able to help you get one?” “That's easy.” Mindy answered, “Your mom and dad let him have whatever he wants.” “Not really.” Stella injected, “And when they don't he always figures out away to get things.” Mindy completed.

     “That's true.” Stella said in agreement, “But you need to remember, that he's always getting into trouble for doing it.” “Better him than me.” Mindy said but then her eye caught glimpse of something. “Hey, is that one of those new toys over there?” “Over where?” Stella asked looking to see what Mindy just saw.

     “I bet somebody lost it and I found it.” Mindy exclaimed with glee, “Finders keepers you know.” “What?” Stella exclaimed, “Wait a minute, that's not lost that's mine.” “Well it's mine now.” Mindy said as she ran to grab it. “It is not!” Stella screamed running after her, tackling her before she could get to it.

     Matthew 7:7-12 - "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! "So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. (ESV)

     God likes to give gifts, especially to those who ask but God doesn't give everybody everything. There are times when God doesn't want us to have something and then we decide otherwise. These three men did just that.

     Achan was told before destroying Jericho that all silver and gold, and every vessel of bronze and iron, are holy to the LORD; they shall go into the treasury of the LORD.- Joshua 6:19 (ESV) but... Achan answered Joshua, "Truly I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and this is what I did: when I saw among the spoil a beautiful cloak from Shinar, and 200 shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels, then I coveted them and took them. And see, they are hidden in the earth inside my tent, with the silver underneath." Joshua 7:20-21 (ESV) Achan wanted what was not his, took it and lost his life.

     Gehazi served Elisha and when Naaman, the commander of the army of the king of Syria was cured. And Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, "See, my master has spared this Naaman the Syrian, in not accepting from his hand what he brought. As the LORD lives, I will run after him and get something from him." So Gehazi followed Naaman. And when Naaman saw someone running after him, he got down from the chariot to meet him and said, "Is all well?" And he said, "All is well. My master has sent me to say, 'There have just now come to me from the hill country of Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets. Please give them a talent of silver and two festal garments.' " 2 Kings 5:20-22 (ESV) Gehazi wanted what was not his, took it and received leprosy.

     Ahab was a king in 1 Kings 21. He wanted a vineyard but when he asked for it he was told no. His wife, the wicked Jezebel, had the owner of the vineyard killed and seized the land for him. Ahab did and God pronounced punishment on him for doing so.

     The last of the ten commandments says - You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's. Exodus 20:17 (ESV) All of these men and many others have coveted – wanted something that wasn't theirs and went and took it and there in lies the biggest problem of coveting.

     The worst part about coveting what another has is things don't satisfy. Ecclesiastes 5:10 says He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity. (ESV)

     The Bible reminds us that instead of coveting what others have we should simply be content with what we have.
  • 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)
     When there are things we would like to have – work for them, ask God for them but don't covet them.

      Here's Something To Ponder
  • What are the things that you covet?
  • Are you content with all that you have?