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, January 26, 2013


     It was a quiet afternoon and Stella Peterson was in her bedroom or at least that is where her Dad thought she was. After the events that had transpired the previous week. Stella had been grounded for a week with only bread and water to live on. Not only was she grounded to her room but she wasn't allowed the use of any thing that required electricity.

     About 3:00 Bill thought he would go lay down and take a nap but instead, he found himself answering the phone. To Bill's surprise, it was Sergeant Halfway on the phone wanting to know if he would come down to the station, he had one of his kids locked up in jail. “So,” Bill thought, to himself as he grabbed his coat and keys, “Harold's in trouble again.”

     When Bill arrived at the police station, he went and found Sergeant Halfway. “Okay,” Bill said, “What do you have Harold locked up for this time?” “Harold?” Sergeant Halfway puzzled, “Who said anything about Harold? Stella's the one I have locked up this time.” “That's impossible.” Bill said, “Stella's at home in her room.”

     “She's in her room?” Sergeant Halfway questioned, “Are you 100% sure?” “Of course, I am.” Bill told the sergeant, “I grounded her my self.” “Grounded her?” Sergeant Halfway questioned, “I thought Harold was the one that always got into trouble?” “Normally, he is.” Bill said in agreement, “But ever since Christmas, he's been being good and keeping his room spotless.”

     “Carry on.” Halfway nodded and grabbed a note pad. “And ever since Christmas Stella has been terrible and the other day she went too far. Instead of cleaning her room like she was told, she sneaked into Harold's room while he was gone and totally trashed it out. That's why she's grounded to her room so she couldn't be in your jail cell.”

     “Well, then.” The sergeant said after jotting down some notes, “Why don't you take a peak around the corner at the holding cell and tell me that the girl in there is not your Stella.” “How can that be?” Bill said as he turned back from looking at the cell. “She's suppose to be in her room.” “She was caught trying to throw a brick through a church window.”

     “Why would she do a thing like that?' Bill asked, “What's gotten in to her?” “I have a suspicion.” Sergeant Halfway started to answer, “That she was trying to frame Harold. As I recall, he broke a window there once before and after that skunk incident last Thanksgiving....” Bill interrupted, “The town would turn on him in a flash and she would be back in the spotlight as miss perfect.”

     “If you'll sign a couple papers.” Sergeant halfway said as he pushed some forms over to Bill, “I'll let you take her home.” “What if I don't want to take her home?” Bill asked, “What if I want her to stay in the cell over night to see if she'll learn a lesson?” “I think we can manage that.” Halfway said with a smile, “And I'll see to it that she only gets bread and water.”

     Change – It's not always easy to accept and sometimes, we would rather go after the one who reminds us that we need to change Like Stella. Stella really was as perfect as she thought but when she compared herself to her brother she looked great. Now that her brother had cleaned up his act, she didn't look so good but instead of changing, she went after the one who reminded her just how bad she was. Are you like Stella? The Bible has many stories of people going after the reminder instead of making change.
  • Jehoiakim and Jeremiah - Jeremiah 36:1-3,21-26 In the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the LORD: "Take a scroll and write on it all the words that I have spoken to you against Israel and Judah and all the nations, from the day I spoke to you, from the days of Josiah until today. It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the disaster that I intend to do to them, so that every one may turn from his evil way, and that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin." … Then the king sent Jehudi to get the scroll, and he took it from the chamber of Elishama the secretary. And Jehudi read it to the king and all the officials who stood beside the king. It was the ninth month, and the king was sitting in the winter house, and there was a fire burning in the fire pot before him. As Jehudi read three or four columns, the king would cut them off with a knife and throw them into the fire in the fire pot, until the entire scroll was consumed in the fire that was in the fire pot. Yet neither the king nor any of his servants who heard all these words was afraid, nor did they tear their garments. Even when Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah urged the king not to burn the scroll, he would not listen to them. And the king commanded Jerahmeel the king's son and Seraiah the son of Azriel and Shelemiah the son of Abdeel to seize Baruch the secretary and Jeremiah the prophet, but the LORD hid them. (ESV)
  • Asa and Hanani - 2 Chronicles 16:7-10 At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him, "Because you relied on the king of Syria, and did not rely on the LORD your God, the army of the king of Syria has escaped you. Were not the Ethiopians and the Libyans a huge army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet because you relied on the LORD, he gave them into your hand. For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him. You have done foolishly in this, for from now on you will have wars." Then Asa was angry with the seer and put him in the stocks in prison, for he was in a rage with him because of this. And Asa inflicted cruelties upon some of the people at the same time. (ESV)
  • Ahab and Micaiah - 2 Chronicles 18:25-26 And the king of Israel said, "Seize Micaiah and take him back to Amon the governor of the city and to Joash the king's son, and say, 'Thus says the king, Put this fellow in prison and feed him with meager rations of bread and water until I return in peace.' " (ESV)
     When It comes to change, repentance, which means to change, is found many time in scripture. Here are some verse related to change.
  • Acts 17:30 - The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, (ESV)
  • Ezekiel 18:31 - Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? (ESV)
  • 2 Chronicles 7:14 - if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (ESV)
  • Ezekiel 18:21 - "But if a wicked person turns away from all his sins that he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. (ESV)
     Here's Something To Ponder
  • When confronted with the need to change, do you turn on the messenger or yourself?
  • Do you ever try to look good by making others look bad?

Saturday, January 19, 2013


Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. - Ephesians 5:1 (ESV)

      After taking her daughter to the hospital to be checked out because she looked at Harold's spotlessly clean room, Martha was back to normal and Harold was actually keeping his promise to keep his room clean. Everything was going just perfect at the Peterson household or that's what Helen Grey thought until she bumped into Stella.

     “Grumble, grumble, grumble.” Stella grumbled as she bumped into her Grandma at the shopping mall. “Whoa.” Helen said, What's all the grumbling about?.” “Harold!” Stella snapped, “I hate him.” “Does this mean he's no longer keeping his promise?” Helen asked. “I wished he wasn't” Stella snapped again.

     “I would have thought everyone would be happy to see Harold finally keeping a promise?” Helen said a bit puzzled. “Not this one.” Stella snapped again. “But he's being good.” Helen reminded her. “Yeah,” Stella replied, “And even when he’s being good he causes trouble for me.” “What's he doing this time” Helen had to ask. “Keeping his room clean.” Stella replied, “And I hate it.”

     “Excuse me?” Helen said with a stern face, “How is Harold keeping his room clean causing trouble for you? Is he dumping everything in your room?” “He’s not dumping it any where.” Stella responded, “He’s just keeping his room spotlessly clean, and I mean spotless.” “Well, good for Harold.” Helen said “That means everything should be great.”

     “Are you crazy!?” Stella shouted when she heard that, “Would you like your mom to see Harold’s room.” “What?” Helen said a bit puzzled, “My mom isn't even living.” “Well, if she was,” Stella snapped back, “And she saw Harold's room she would make you go clean yours.” “Now, I think I'm starting to understand.” Helen said “You're jealous.”

     “Mom always used to think my room was clean and I never had to clean it up.” Stella said, “Now that Harold’s room is soooooo clean she thinks my room is a disaster waiting to happen.” “so what's the problem?” Helen injected. “I can’t stand it any more!” Stella continued, “He’s getting all the attention and I have to clean MY room or I won’t get any supper.”

     “There's nothing wrong with cleaning your room.” Helen said. “Are you crazy?” Stella snapped back, “Do you now how much work that would be? I wish Harold had never cleaned his room then Mom wouldn’t know what clean was. I wish his room was still a big big mess.” You don't really mean that, do you? Helen asked in shock.

     “I meant every word of it.” Stella claimed, “I wish his room was still a disaster. It would be a lot easier than cleaning mine.” When she heard herself say that, Stella got a nasty grin on her face, “I wonder.” she said and than with a sinister laugh she took off on the run.

     Let such a person understand that what we say by letter when absent, we do when present. Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding. But we will not boast beyond limits, but will boast only with regard to the area of influence God assigned to us, to reach even to you.
2 Corinthians 10:11-13(ESV)

     Who do you compare yourself to? When I first wrote the puppet play that became this story, my oldest daughter, like Stella had claimed her room was clean – in comparison to her brothers. It wasn't clean. Often times in fun, my wife and I make similar comparisons between “our” sides of the bedroom.

     We often compare ourselves to each other but how often do we compare ourselves to God? How often do we make Him our example to model our lives after?

      When Samuel became old, he made his sons judges over Israel. … Yet his sons did not walk in his ways but turned aside after gain. They took bribes and perverted justice. Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah and said to him, "Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations." But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, "Give us a king to judge us." And Samuel prayed to the LORD. And the LORD said to Samuel, "Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them." So Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking for a king from him. … But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. And they said, "No! But there shall be a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles." 1 Samuel 8 (ESV)

     Instead of looking to God and His words to them, the people of Israel were looking to the nations around them and comparing themselves to them. Instead of saying those nations needed to reject human leaders and replace them with God, they chose to say we need a human leader and reject God.

     Here are some versus that remind us of where are examples to compare ourselves to should come from.
  • In John 13:15 Jesus is speaking and He says I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. (ESV)
  • In Philippians 2:5 Paul says Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, (ESV) – we are to have the mind of Christ
  • In Ephesians 5:1 Paul says Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. (ESV)
     There are many more verse that can be looked at and I would encourage you to do so. In the mean time.....

      Here's Something To Ponder
  • Who do you compare yourself to in attempt to make yourself look good?
  • How do you look when you compare yourself to God?

Saturday, January 12, 2013


If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. - John 14:14 (ESV)

     It was getting late and Mr. Grey was getting a bit nervous. He was suppose to be taking his wife out to eat and she wasn't home. “Where could she be?” he kept muttering as he paced back and forth peaking out the window every few minutes. Finally, about two hours past their scheduled departure time, Robert heard the car pull into the garage.

     “You won't believe my afternoon.” Helen said as she walked in the door. “Try me!” Robert said. “I've been sitting in the emergency room at the hospital.” “Are you okay?” Robert asked becoming a little concerned. “I'm just fine.” Helen told him, “But I'm not so sure I can say the same for our daughter.”

     “What happened to Martha?” Robert asked. “She listened to me” Helen told Robert, “She actually listened to me, like, why couldn't she have done that when she was a kid.” Confused, at how that could have sent them to the emergency room, Robert again asked, “What happened to Martha?”

     “When I went to visit Martha this afternoon, I found her in dream land, dancing around the living room.” Helen said, “She claimed she was having the best dream ever and said it had something to do with Harold cleaning his room for her for Christmas and claiming he was going to keep it clean.” “And that sent her to the emergency room?” Robert interrupted.

     “Weren't you listening?” Helen scolded, “I told you she went because she listened to me. I told her to go look and see if Harold's room was actually clean. So she could know if she was just dreaming or if Harold had really cleaned his room.” “Why would anyone think Harold would have cleaned his room?” Robert interrupted again, “Are you feeling okay dear?”

     “I had good reason to think he had cleaned his room.” Helen said, “And as it turned out, I was right. When Martha opened Harold's bedroom door the shock of seeing his room spotlessly clean was too much. Martha let out a blood curdling scream and fainted or something. I ended up taking her to the emergency room as a result.”

     “Maybe I should go see if I'm still in bed dreaming.” Robert thought out loud, “So, is Martha going to be alright?” “Don't know yet.” Helen told him, “The hospital ran a bunch of tests but when Martha told the doctor what happened, he went into shock and she had to leave. I got her home but she's still feeling light headed and all jittery.”

     “Maybe I'm not dreaming then.” Robert said when he heard about the doctor. “Well then,” he continued, let's go celebrate. Harold cleaned his room and Martha finally listened to her mom.” “Yeah,” Helen smiled, “We better go celebrate before I wake up and realize I've just been dreaming about Martha.”

     Martha's dream, her wish that Harold would clean his room came true. Have you ever had a dream or a wish come true? I believe I can say I have and I can say I have many more dreams and wishes still waiting......... But I'm not here to talk about me. I want to turn the attention to the Bible. Who there can you think of that had a dream or wish come true? While there are many, I would like to focus for a moment on a famous example of a dream and a wish coming true.

     Solomon had just become king and as the new king of Israel one of the first things he did was to fulfill the dying wishes of his father David. He did and now it was time to receive a wish of his own.

      Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father, only he sacrificed and made offerings at the high places. And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place. Solomon used to offer a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, "Ask what I shall give you." And Solomon said, "You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant David my father, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you. And you have kept for him this great and steadfast love and have given him a son to sit on his throne this day. And now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen, a great people, too many to be numbered or counted for multitude. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?" It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. And God said to him, "Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days." And Solomon awoke, and behold, it was a dream. Then he came to Jerusalem and stood before the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and offered up burnt offerings and peace offerings, and made a feast for all his servants.
1 Kings 3:3-15 (ESV)

     Solomon's dream came true, God gave him wisdom and much more. We are not Solomon but what are the chances that God would grant us our dreams and wishes?
  • Matthew 7:7,8 - 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. (ESV)
  • Matthew 21:22 - And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith. (ESV)
  • James 1:5,6 - If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. (ESV)
  • John 15:7 - If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (ESV)
  • 1 John 3:22 - and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. (ESV)
  • 1 John 5:14 - And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. (ESV)
  • John 14:13,14 - Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. (ESV)
     Here's Something To Ponder
  • Do you believe God can grant you your wishes?
  • Do you trust God to make your dreams come true?

Saturday, January 5, 2013


I will keep my promises to the LORD - Psalm 116:14a (NLT)

      It was the first day of the new year and Martha was in a sort of a daze as she hummed and danced around her living room as she carefully took down Christmas decorations and put them away. As she took some garland of the tree she started spinning it around her head as she continued to dance around the room only to be interrupted by the sound of a door bell.

     After a slight pause in her dancing, Martha said “Nah, I'm not going to answer it.” and started spinning in circles. A few minutes later her daze was broken by the sound of her mom calling out her name. “Martha!” Helen called out, “What are you trying to do to your old mom, keeping her waiting at the door in this cold?” “Uhm...” was all that Martha could say.

     “Are you okay?” Helen asked “I don’t think I could be better, at least at the moment.” Martha replied. “You weren't drinking too much champaign last night were you?” Helen asked. “You know I don't drink that stuff, Mom. But I did have the most wonderful, fantastic, magnificent dream in the whole world.”

     “I suppose it's safe to say you weren't dreaming about Harold.” Helen said but Martha's response almost put her in shock. “It was all about Harold and it the best dream I’ve ever had.” “Wait a minute, time out,” Helen sputtered, “I thought he only gave you nightmares.” “That's only when I'm awake.” Martha replied.

     “So, what was your dream about?” Helen asked a little curious. “Harold cleaned his room.” Martha giggled, “He cleaned it from top to bottom as a Christmas present for me and then he promised he would keep it clean all year.” “That would be a wonderful dream.” Helen said, “But to get his room clean he’d need a Tractor and a a dump truck, and and some way to get rid of all that stuff.” After saying that, Helen's mind started to whir. “Uhm,” she said “Have you been in his room lately?”

     “No!” Martha said like her mom should have known better than to ask. “Well,” Helen started to say, “Rumor has it that just before Christmas Harold was looking for a dump truck, a tractor, and he was selling stuff at a flea market. I even heard he tried to sell Bernadette a box of dead frogs.”

     “Are you saying it might not have been a dream?” Martha said adding “I know, you're not really here and I'm still dreaming.” “I guess there's one way to find out.” Helen told Martha, “Just meander on over to Harold's room and take a look.” “Do I have to?” Martha asked, “I’m afraid to. I don’t think I could handle the shock of finding his room clean.”

     “Go check his room!” Helen told her daughter in a stern voice. Slowly, Martha headed towards Harold's room leaving Martha holding a pile of garland. A few minutes later came a blood curdling scream and then nothing.

     How do you feel when someone breaks a promise they made to you? Do you feel disappointed, angry, indifferent, joyful, shocked, etc. In today's story we learn that Harold made a promise but....... Harold's not known for keeping his promises. How about you? Have you ever broke a promise yourself?

     David and Jonathan were best friends but Jonathan's father, King Saul, wanted to kill David and the time had come when David and Jonathan had to part and go separate ways but before they go David makes a promise

      Then Jonathan told David, "I promise by the LORD, the God of Israel, that by this time tomorrow, or the next day at the latest, I will talk to my father and let you know at once how he feels about you. If he speaks favorably about you, I will let you know. But if he is angry and wants you killed, may the LORD kill me if I don't warn you so you can escape and live. May the LORD be with you as he used to be with my father. And may you treat me with the faithful love of the LORD as long as I live. But if I die, treat my family with this faithful love, even when the LORD destroys all your enemies." So Jonathan made a covenant with David, saying, "May the LORD destroy all your enemies!" And Jonathan made David reaffirm his vow of friendship again, for Jonathan loved David as much as he loved himself. 1 Samuel 20:12-17 (NLT)

     Now, in the days of David and Jonathan showing kindness or love of any sort to anyone that could potentially lay claim to the throne was a rarity. More often than naught, when a new king came to power he would kill off the previous kings family to secure his position. Not so with David for he had made a promise.

     One day David began wondering if anyone in Saul's family was still alive, for he had promised Jonathan that he would show kindness to them. He summoned a man named Ziba, who had been one of Saul's servants. "Are you Ziba?" the king asked. "Yes sir, I am," Ziba replied. The king then asked him, "Is anyone still alive from Saul's family? If so, I want to show God's kindness to them in any way I can." Ziba replied, "Yes, one of Jonathan's sons is still alive, but he is crippled." "Where is he?" the king asked. "In Lo-debar," Ziba told him, "at the home of Makir son of Ammiel." So David sent for him and brought him from Makir's home. His name was Mephibosheth; he was Jonathan's son and Saul's grandson. When he came to David, he bowed low in great fear and said, "I am your servant." But David said, "Don't be afraid! I've asked you to come so that I can be kind to you because of my vow to your father, Jonathan. I will give you all the land that once belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you may live here with me at the palace!" Mephibosheth fell to the ground before the king. "Should the king show such kindness to a dead dog like me?" he exclaimed. Then the king summoned Saul's servant Ziba and said, "I have given your master's grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family. You and your sons and servants are to farm the land for him to produce food for his family. But Mephibosheth will live here at the palace with me." Ziba, who had fifteen sons and twenty servants, replied, "Yes, my lord; I will do all that you have commanded." And from that time on, Mephibosheth ate regularly with David, as though he were one of his own sons. 2 Samuel 9:1-11 (NLT)

     God / Jesus Christ make promises one of which we read of in 1 John 2:25 And this is what Christ himself promised to give us—eternal life. (TEV)

     When God makes a promise He keeps them. Abraham realized this. Abraham never wavered in believing God's promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was absolutely convinced that God was able to do anything he promised. Romans 4:20-21 (NLT)

     I believe God wants us to keep our promises as well, especially to Him. If you make a promise to give something to the LORD your God, do not be slow to pay it, because the LORD your God demands it from you. Do not be guilty of sin. But if you do not make the promise, you will not be guilty. You must do whatever you say you will do, because you chose to make the promise to the LORD your God. Deuteronomy 23:21-23 (NCV)  Jesus once said that what we do or don't do to others we are doing to Him.

      Here's Something To Ponder
  • Would you like it if God failed to keep His promises to you?
  • How well do you keep your promises?