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, February 23, 2013


Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant - 1 Corinthians 13:4 (ESV)

     Love and poetry often go together and Randy Smith knew just the place to find some poems for his new sermon series on Love. Ever since she was a little girl, his wife Daisy has loved writing poems and has hundreds of them relating to the subject of love. “Maybe I can get her to write me some new ones.” he thought

     “Daisy, Darling” Randy said as he walked up behind his wife and started rubbing her back, “Would you be willing to write me some of your wonderful poems on love so I could use them in my new sermon series?” He asked, “This may not be the best time for me to help you.” Daisy replied. “If I write you a poem now, it might get you fired.”

     “But,” Randy protested, “You always put together such nice poems. Why would one of your poems get me fired?” “Harold isn't with you is he?” Daisy asked, looking around. “No.” Randy said, wondering what Harold had to do with anything. “Then, how's this?” Daisy said and then rattled off “Roses are red, violets are blue. Harold’s impossible, I quit.”

     “That doesn’t sound like a poem you would write, dear.” Randy said in response. “Well,” Daisy said, “How about this one. Skunks will stink and monkeys will climb. Harold’s impossible, I’d rather be a nun.” “Something isn’t quite right here.” Randy said shaking his head and sitting down next to his wife.

     “I know.” Daisy said, “I was having a little bit of trouble rhyming.” “That’s not what I meant.” Randy responded. “I told you this wouldn’t be the best time for me to help you.” Daisy told Randy again. “Do you want to hear some more?” “Maybe, you should tell me what's going on instead.” Randy suggested.

     “I just put in my resignation from teaching Sunday School.” Daisy said, “I can't take it any longer.” “I thought you loved teaching the kids?” Randy asked a bit stunned at the news. “A person can only try and teach HAROLD for so long.” Daisy told he husband, “He is absolutely impossible. I’ll never get through to him.”

     “No one ever said teaching Harold would be easy.” Randy said as he took his wifes hand in his, “It just takes a lot of time and patients.” “Well after yesterday,” Daisy said shaking her head, “I don’t think I have any more patience left for him. It wasn't the worse thing he has ever done, but its more than I can take. Why in the world did God ever let him be born.?”

     “Now is that the way for a Christian to talk?” Randy asked his wife, “You know God wants us to love everybody including Harold.” “Well, I’m not God.” Daisy replied. “I know that darling,” Randy continued, “But if you ask God, wont he give you the patience you need?” After a moment of silence, Daisy said “I still don’t think I want too.”

     “Well darling,” Randy said one last time, “If you're going to quit, you're going to quit but before you do, I want you to imagine what Harold would be like without our positive influence.” Thinking about what her husband said, Daisy got up and headed out the door. “Where are you going?” Randy asked. “To cancel my resignation.” Daisy said “And look for some patience.”

     Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door. As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord's dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.
James 5:7-11 (NASB)

     When talking of patience James asks us to consider three things:
  • The farmer
  • The prophets
  • Job
     We shall consider Job.

     Depending on the version you read, Job is considered to have perseverance, patience, endurance, etc. To learn his story we could try and read the entire book of Job but I don't want to take up that much room here. You can always read it on your own so I'll some up the first couple chapters and then I'll tell you how it all tuns out.

     One of the first things we learn about Job is how rich he is. Not only did he have 10 kids ( I only have 7) he owned 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 female donkeys, and many servants. He was considered the greatest of all people of the east. Even God said of him, “There is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil.”

     Twice Satan is allowed at Job to try and get him to curse God. As a result Satan went after all of Jobs wealth, took it all away including his children. When that didn't work he went after Job's health and still Job refused to curse God – he worshiped God instead. While the bible doesn't say Satan was responsible for what happened next, I wonder if he was behind the miserable comforters that came next.

     Eventually God steps in and sets things straight. After everything Job had to patiently endure, God poured out a blessing on Job making him wealthier than he was before.

     The first thing love is, is patient. We know that God loves and we know that God is patient. 2 Peter 3:9 - The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. (NASB) Therefore we have a great example to follow for we are to be patient to - 1 Thessalonians 5:14 - We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. (NASB)

     If you want to love, if you want to be patient remember how much patience others need with you. Really stop and think before you start talking – bite your tongue literally if you have to. And one more thing, forgive...

      Here's Something To Ponder
  • Do you show the same patience towards others as other show towards you?
  • Would you like others to show the same patience towards you as you show them?

Monday, February 18, 2013


     How about a series on what love is based on Paul's description in 1 Corinthians 13.  Stay Tuned.....

Saturday, February 16, 2013


Love must be without hypocrisy. - Romans 12:9a (HCSB)

      SLAM! Went the bedroom door. Wham! Went Cindy's back pack against the wall. Plop! went Cindy Miller on her bed. And then to Mindy's surprise, Cindy started bawling her head off. Mindy couldn't remember the last time she had seen her sister act like that for normally it was herself that slammed doors and threw things around.

     “What happened to the bright cheerful girl that crawled out of bed this morning?” Mindy asked, a bit puzzled by her sisters actions. “SHUT UP and leave me a lone.” Cindy replied, “I don't want to talk about it.” and then she pulled a blanket over her head. “No problem.” Mindy said shrugging her shoulders, “I don't have time to talk now any ways.”

     After a few minutes Cindy's bawling turned into a quiet sobbing and Mindy heard her call out from under her blanket “I hate Valentines.” “What?” Mindy asked, “The other day you told me you couldn't get enough of Valentines day and red, pink and white valentine cards from , who was it, someone named Dave.” When Cindy heard her sister mention the name Dave, she started bawling out loud again, this time even louder than before.

     “Um...” Mindy said, “Did I say something wrong?” “That Dave is nothing but a two timing, cheating, rotten scoundrel.” Cindy answered back, “He’s worse than Harold.” After thinking about it for a few minutes, Mindy asked, “Isn't Dave that cute blond haired boy in science class?” “Don't mention his name.” Cindy snapped back in response

     “Why?” Mindy asked, “He's a great kid. I think I even got a red, pink and white valentine card from him. It was cute, It said 'I Love You' on it and asked 'Would you be mine forever?' “You got one too?” Cindy snapped, “What he do, give one to every girl in school?” “Huh,” Mindy said a little confused, “Who else got one?”

     “Molly and Penny for certain.” Cindy whined, “I thought Dave really meant what he said on that card, I thought he really loved me.” “Is that what this tantrum is all about?” Mindy laughed, “You know that no-one really means what they put on those cards.” “But” Cindy protested, to which Mindy added, “You didn't mean what you put on your cards, did you?”

     “No.” Cindy sheepishly replied. “Can I see the card?” Mindy asked next. Crawling out from under her blanket, Cindy found the card and threw it at her sister. After looking the card over, Mindy broke out in uncontrollable laughter. “This card isn't from Dave, it's from Dale, that smelly kid in history class.”

     “What?” Cindy shouted, jumping up and snatching the card out of her sister's hand. After looking it over carefully, she ripped it into shreds crawled back under her blanket. “How embarrassing.” she mumbled and started quietly sobbing.

     What would you rather have, a real $100 bill or a monopoly $100 bill? I think most people would prefer the real bill over the play one. For the most part, I think we want things to be real. Unfortunately, things are not always real, like the love behind Cindy's Valentine Card.

     Throughout out the early part of the Old Testament, God sets down many rules.
  • In Exodus 23:14 He says Three times in the year you shall keep a feast to me. (ESV)
  • In Exodus 30:1-7 He says You shall make an altar on which to burn incense; you shall make it of acacia wood. … And Aaron shall burn fragrant incense on it. Every morning when he dresses the lamps he shall burn it,(ESV)
  • In Leviticus 1:14-17 He says If his offering to the LORD is a burnt offering of birds, then he shall bring his offering of turtledoves or pigeons. And the priest shall bring it to the altar and wring off its head and burn it on the altar. Its blood shall be drained out on the side of the altar. He shall remove its crop with its contents and cast it beside the altar on the east side, in the place for ashes. He shall tear it open by its wings, but shall not sever it completely. And the priest shall burn it on the altar, on the wood that is on the fire. It is a burnt offering, a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the LORD. (ESV)
  • In Leviticus 22:29-31He says And when you sacrifice a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the LORD, you shall sacrifice it so that you may be accepted. It shall be eaten on the same day; you shall leave none of it until morning: I am the LORD. "So you shall keep my commandments and do them: I am the LORD. (ESV)
     God wants all these things from Israel yet Isaiah says Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom! Give ear to the teaching of our God, you people of Gomorrah! "What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the LORD; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats. "When you come to appear before me, who has required of you this trampling of my courts? Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations— I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. Isaiah 1:10-15 (ESV)

     Did you see that? There was no delight in their sacrifices, their offering were vain, their incense was an abomination, and their feasts were hated Why Because they were no longer real, their hearts were far from God, they were just going through the motions. (Isaiah 29:13)

     In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul tells us that without love we're meaningless. If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. (ESV) but the love that we are to have is to be real
  • 1 Peter 1:22 - Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, (ESV)
  • Romans 12:9 - Love must be without hypocrisy. Detest evil; cling to what is good. (HCSB)
     Here's Something To Ponder
  • Are you loving others as you should?
  • Is your love for real or pretend?

Saturday, February 9, 2013


But I say to you, Love your enemies - Matthew 5:44a (ESV)

      It was a few days before Valentines day and Mindy Miller was having a horrible day. “Maybe Stella can help me find a way out of doing it.” she thought to herself as she pounded on the Peterson's back door. After what seemed like ages, the door opened and she was greeted by a friendly “Hi Indy.” by Stella's Grandpa.

     “Indy who?” Mindy snapped. “Indy five hundred, that's who.” Robert Grey answered and than started laughing. “You're weird” Mindy told him, “And, why do you keep calling me Indy?” “I guess I just have trouble telling you and your sister apart.” Robert told Mindy. “Well, it's not that hard,” Mindy said in disgust, “I'm the one that is blue.”

     “Now that you mention it.” Robert said, “You do seem a bit sad.” “I meant I was wearing blue.” Mindy snapped back, “Is Stella here?” “Well, why don't you wear red?” Robert asked as if he never heard Mindy's question, “I think red would look great on you, besides, it is almost Valentines day. Yes, I think you should wear red.”

     “Red!” Mindy shouted in disgust, “That's the color Cindy wears. Besides, I don't like red because I don't like Valentines Day.” “What's wrong with Valentines Day?” Robert protested, “It's a wonderful day.” “Not when you have to give ooey gooey cards to boys like Harold which you don't love.” Mindy complained, “Why in the world do we have to give them?”

     “Who's making you give them?” Robert asked “My teacher, for starters.” Mindy replied, “She says it tradition for everybody in class to give one to everybody else.” “I remember doing that.” Robert said with a smile, “And if I remember correctly, I couldn’t stand giving them to the girls. How could anybody love a girl?”

     “What's wrong with girls?” Mindy protested, “Boys are the problem. “So,” Robert said not wanting to argue about boys or girls, “Who else is making you give valentines cards?” “My parents!” Mindy scowled, “They said God wants us to love everybody.”

      “So, you're going to give valentine cards to everyone?” Robert asked. “Are you CRAZY?” Mindy blurted out, “I'm giving them bugs. Disgusting Valentine bugs.” "Well,” Robert smile, “If I know boys, they will probably like bugs better than an ooey gooey card.”

     “What?” Mindy shouted when she heard that, “You mean I would be doing something nice to them? AAAAUUUUGGGGHHHH. I'm doomed, doomed, doomed. What am I going to do with all of these.... AAAAUUUUGGGGHHHH the bugs got loose and they're crawling all over me.” And with those words, Mindy took off on a run.

     Let's start by talking about donkeys or should I say taking care of donkeys. Exodus 23:4-5 reads If you see your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering away, you must return it to him. If you see that your enemy’s donkey has fallen because its load is too heavy, do not leave it there. You must help your enemy get the donkey back on its feet. (NCV) You see, taking care of donkeys, especially those of your enemy was ordered by God and if you were to stop and think about it,we could substitute the donkey for many other things. Showing kindness, even to ones enemies, is one way to show love and the day we tend to celebrate love on is just around the corner.

     Now it's easy to be kind and loving towards those who are nice to us but what about those who are not, those we might want to consider our enemies. Let's look at how Joseph, Moses and David acted.
  • Genesis 45:1-11 - So Joseph said to them, “Come close to me.“ When the brothers came close to him, he said to them, “I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold as a slave to go to Egypt. Now don’t be worried or angry with yourselves because you sold me here. God sent me here ahead of you to save people’s lives. … I will care for you during the next five years of hunger so that you and your family and all that you have will not starve.’ (NCV) - Joseph was treated meanly by his brothers. He could have been mean back.
  • Numbers 12:1-13 - Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife (he had married a Cushite). … The LORD was very angry with them, and he left. When the cloud lifted from the Tent and Aaron turned toward Miriam, she was as white as snow; she had a skin disease. Aaron said to Moses, “Please, my master, forgive us for our foolish sin. Don’t let her be like a baby who is born dead. So Moses cried out to the LORD, “God, please heal her!” (NCV) – Moses was treated meanly by his brother and sister. He didn't have to pray for his sister's healing.
  • 1 Samuel 24:2-10 So he (King Saul) took three thousand chosen men from all Israel and began looking for David and his men near the Rocks of the Wild Goats. Saul came to the sheep pens beside the road. A cave was there, and he went in to relieve himself. Now David and his men were hiding far back in the cave. The men said to David, “Today is the day the LORD spoke of when he said, ’I will give your enemy over to you. Do anything you want with him.’ “ Then David crept up to Saul and quietly cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. … When David came out of the cave, he shouted to Saul, “My master and king!“ … The LORD put you in my power in the cave. They said I should kill you, but I was merciful. I said, ’I won’t harm my master, because he is the LORD’S appointed king.’ (NCV) – Saul was looking for David to kill him and had already tried once before. David could have killed Saul to protect his own life.
     What would you have done if you had been in any of these men's spots.
  • Jesus said - This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. - John 15:12 (ESV)
     That may be easy if they're not against you but.....
  • Proverbs 24:17 - Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, (ESV)
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:15 - See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. (ESV)
  • Matthew 5:44 - But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, (ESV)
  • Luke 6:35 - But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. (ESV)
     Here's Something To Ponder
  • Are you a person that is lovable by all?
  • Do you love the unlovable as God does?

Saturday, February 2, 2013


I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7 (ESV)

      Randy Smith leaned back in his chair at put his feet on his desk not sure if he should take a quick nap or continue working on his message for the evening youth group meeting. Seeing how it was a full month into the new year, he thought he would revisit the idea of keeping ones new years resolutions. He knew that many members in the youth group had made them and wanted to encourage them in their efforts.

     As He was about to drift off, Randy heard a loud crash coming from the fellowship hall. Quickly, he jumped to his feet and ran to see what crashed and if anybody was hurt. What he found was a Barney Lee laying under a ladder and what appeared to be decorations scattered all over the floor. “Are you okay?” Randy asked as he stood the ladder back on it feet.

     “I'm fine.” Barney assured him, “I wasn't on the ladder when it tipped over.” “What are you doing any ways?” Randy asked seeing Barney wasn't hurt. “I was working on decorating for the youth group meeting tonight.” Barney told him, “I thought I would put up some of these New Years decorations since you said you would be talking about new years resolutions.”

     “Well,” Randy said, “I'm still planing on doing it. And I'm thinking of using Harold as my example. What do you think?” “No good.” came Barney's short reply. “He quit.” “I thought he was doing a great job of keeping his promise to keep his room squeaky clean.” Randy commented, “Did something go wrong?

     “Plenty” Barney scoffed, “Under neath that squeaky clean image, Harold was still Harold. His being good and looking clean was just like the Pharisees in the New testament.” “Are you referring to the ones Jesus called white washed sepulchers?” Randy asked a little curious, “Are you saying Harold was only trying to look good on the outside?”

     “Well, sort of.” Barney answered, “I think he really was trying to change and be good.” What happened?” Randy wanted to know. “He was trying to change from the outside in.” Barney answered, “But that doesn't work. When I went over to help him clean up the mess that Stella had made he said he didn’t want to clean it up, He said he missed the mess, and could never find anything.”

     “I thought he couldn't find anything before?” Randy thought out loud. “That's true.” Barney agreed, “I once spent three hours in his room looking for something which I never did find but hat's not the real reason he didn't want to clean up his room.” So what was the real reason?” Randy asked, wondering if he would find a way to salvage his message he had based on Harold's hard work.

     “Laziness.” Barney answered, “He said it was just too hard to keep being the good Harold. However he did think it was fun seeing Stella suffer.” “Sounds like you are right.” Randy said as he shook his head, “Harold never changed on the inside.” “He needed to change from the inside out.” Barney added, “We need God's help if we're really serious about change.” “Well,” Randy sighed, “I'm going to need God's help to fix my message now.

     Have you ever given up on something because it was too hard? Sometimes, when we make a New Years resolution, we start out with great intentions but when things become a little difficult, we're done. Sometimes being lazy is the easy way out. The change we set out to accomplish – if your resolution involved change – is set aside and forgotten.

      In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence. And the king said to me, "Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of the heart." Then I was very much afraid. I said to the king, "Let the king live forever! Why should not my face be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' graves, lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?"
Nehemiah 2:1-3 (ESV)
     Nehemiah was saddened because of the destruction of the walls of Jerusalem. The king notices and gives Nehemiah permission to rebuild. Building a wall with God and the king on your side should be easy but it wasn't. The story of the rebuilding of the wall can be found in Nehemiah 4:1-23 if you would like to read through the entire story.

     As the story progresses we find that trouble comes in the form of jeering, taunting, mocking but instead of giving in we find that Nehemiah prayed, turning the problem over to the Lord so he could continue building the wall.

     The problems didn't go away and soon the enemies decided to go a step further. Instead of jeering and taunting and mocking, they decided to fight and cause confusion. Once again, Nehemiah prayed, set a guard as protection, and kept building.

     When the enemy threatened to kill them since nothing else was working, Nehemiah changed tactics. He still kept working on the wall but now he had half of the people armed and watching while the other half did the work.

     The wall was built.

     As we live the Christian life we can be assured that difficult times will come - 2 Timothy 3:1 says But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. (ESV) In Ephesians 6:12 we are reminded that we struggle against spiritual forces For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (ESV) Since we will have difficulties and struggles, we need to Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 16:13 (ESV) If we do that we may be able to stand with Paul and say, I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7 (ESV)

      Here's Something To Ponder
  • Are you a quitter or do you push on and complete tasks at hand despite difficulties.
  • Do you ever become the source of struggles for others keeping them from completing their tasks.