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, April 27, 2013


Love does not delight in evil - 1 Corinthians 13:6a (NIV)

      “Has anybody ever read from the book of Third Corinthians?” Randy asked as he started off a discussion for the youth group. His goal was to teach a little history from the early church fathers but before he could ever get to the lesson, he decided he needed to talk about role models instead mostly thanks to Tracy McDonald.

     “Third Corinthians?” Stella smirked when she heard that, “There’s no such book in the Bible.” “You’re right.” Randy told her, “There is however a letter written to the Corinthians by a man named Clement.” “Cement?” Bernadette exclaimed, “That must be a hard to read.” “Clement not cement, Bernadette.” Randy replied “And it’s possible he is the same Clement that Paul mentions in his letter to the Philippians. Isn’t that cool.” Randy knew teenagers liked to use the word “cool.”

     “Maybe.” Tracy responded, “But it’s not as cool as the Boppin Pig.” “The Boppin Pig?” Randy questioned, “Who or what may I ask is the Boppin Pig?” “That's the code name for Tom Smith” Tracy answered. “And who is Tom Smith?” Randy asked. “Just a man about the size of a semi truck.” Tracy said, “And he's so cool.”

     “The size of a Semi Truck?” Randy asked. “Just about.” Tracy replied. “According to the farm news on TV last night he weighs in at 852 pounds. He is so cool.” “852 pounds!” Randy exclaimed, “No one ways that much.” “But he does.” Tracy said, “They interviewed him while he was eating and I can see why. He ate like a pig. I wish I could eat like that.”

     “What! You want to eat like a pig?” Randy asked in shock. “Yeah.” Tracy replied, “I'm tired of table manners.” “Sounds like your Tom Smith needs someone to teach him manners.” Randy claimed. “I don't think so.” Tracy laughed, “The interviewer tried and it was so cool.” “What was cool” Randy asked. “You don’t tell a 852 pound man what to do.” Tracy responded, “He bopped him.”

     “He bopped him?” Randy questioned. “Yeah.” Tracy giggled, “He sent him flying clear across the room and then it was the camera mans turn. He scolded Tom for boppin Joe. So Tom got up knocking over the table, picked up the camera man and threw him out the window. It was so cool.” “That doesn’t sound cool to me.” Randy shuddered, “In fact it’s sounds out right terrible.”

     “I guess he does it all the time.” Tracy responded, “He even has a fan mail club and a web sight. WWW dot Boppin Pig.” “You mean People actually like what he does?” Randy asked. “Of course,” Tracy replied, “After all, he’s so cool.” Trying to turn things back to God, Randy asked, “Do you think God likes what he does?” “As big as he is,” Tracy replied, “I don’t think God would even try to stop him.” With those words, Randy set aside his scheduled talk on history and focused on God's size and our role models.”

     Now the Philistines fought against Israel, and the men of Israel fled before the Philistines and fell slain on Mount Gilboa. And the Philistines overtook Saul and his sons, and the Philistines struck down Jonathan and Abinadab and Malchi-shua, the sons of Saul. The battle pressed hard against Saul, and the archers found him, and he was badly wounded by the archers. Then Saul said to his armor-bearer, "Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it, lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and mistreat me." But his armor-bearer would not, for he feared greatly. Therefore Saul took his own sword and fell upon it. And when his armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell upon his sword and died with him. Thus Saul died, and his three sons, and his armor-bearer, and all his men, on the same day together.
1 Samuel 31:1-6 (ESV)

     A tragic end comes to king Saul and his sons. They are at war with the Philistines, again, and this time an arrow hits Saul. To avoid capture he asks his armor bearer to kill him but he refuses. Saul kills himself and than the armor bearer follows suit. But somebody was watching. Here is a summary of 2 Samuel 1:1-16
     On the third day, behold, a man came from Saul's camp, with his clothes torn and dirt on his head. And when he came to David, he fell to the ground and paid homage. David said to him, "How did it go? Tell me." And he answered, "The people fled from the battle, and Saul and his son Jonathan are also dead." Then David said to the young man who told him, "How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?" And the young man who told him said, "Saul said to me, 'Stand beside me and kill me, for anguish has seized me, and yet my life still lingers.' So I stood beside him and killed him and I took the crown that was on his head and the armlet that was on his arm, and I have brought them here to my lord." Then David took hold of his clothes and tore them, and so did all the men who were with him. And they mourned and wept and fasted until evening. And David said to the young man "How is it you were not afraid to put out your hand to destroy the LORD's anointed?" Then David called one of the young men and said, "Go, execute him."

     Unlike the man who claimed to kill Saul, unlike Tracy who thought the Boppin Pig was cool, David did not delight in evil. Problem is, too many of us do and God warns against such behavior for it does not match with the Bible's definition of Love.

     There is much danger when it comes to treating evil as good. Here's is some of what the Bible has to say:
  • Malachi 2:17 - You have wearied the LORD with your words. But you say, "How have we wearied him?" By saying, "Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delights in them." Or by asking, "Where is the God of justice?" (ESV)
  • Proverbs 17:15 - He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the LORD. (ESV)
  • Proverbs 24:24 - Whoever says to the wicked, "You are in the right," will be cursed by peoples, abhorred by nations, (ESV)
  • Isaiah 5:20 - Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! (ESV)
     Of course, Love does not delight in evil.

      Here's Something To Ponder
  • How many things that are “evil” find there way into your “Good” list?
  • Are you truly saddened by what is being called good that is evil?

Saturday, April 20, 2013


Love does not count up wrongs that have been done. - 1 Corinthians 13:5b (NCV)

      “Where is she?” Randy asked himself over and over as he kept looking at the clock and then out the window. “I'm sure I said to be here at 3:00” Randy thought, “But then again, When you get old, the first thing to go is your mind. Maybe I didn't tell Robert the right time or day to tell his wife. If she doesn't get here soon I'll have to go on with out her.”

     With a no show, Randy finally decided he had waited long enough and started to go with out her but as he did, he noticed the Grey's car pull in the parking lot. “Well, what do you know,” he said, “It looks like Martha finally made it.” But a few minutes later it wasn't Martha that stepped through the door to his office but her husband Bill.

     “Here I am. Are you ready?” Bill said as he walked into the office, “I’m in a bit of a hurry so if we could go ahead and get started it would be much appreciated.” “Uhm, okay,” Randy stuttered, “Where are we going?” “How am I supposed to know?” Robert asked, “You were the one who asked me to help you.”

     “I never asked you to help me.” Randy said. “Yes you did.” Robert claimed, “You said, 'Robert will you ask your wife to help me this coming week?” “That's right.” Randy exclaimed, “and are you your wife?” he asked. “My wife? Oops.” Robert said turning red in the face. “Is there anything I can do since I messed up?”

     “I thought you were in a hurry to get going?” Randy asked. “I was?” Robert asked in return. “That's what you said when you got here.” Randy reminded him. “I did?” Robert asked, “Where was I going?” “How should I know?” Randy replied, “You never said.” “I didn't?” Robert said, “Oh well, it's a good thing I remember to write things down in my notebook.”

     “It sure is.” Randy said in agreement, “So, where is your note book?” “At home. I forgot to bring it with.” Robert told him and then added, “I suppose I should go home and get it.” “Sounds like a good idea.” Randy said, “And maybe you could get your wife.” “By the way.” Robert said, “Why am I here?' “You thought you were your wife.” Robert replied

     “Oh, yeah. Almost forgot.” Robert said with a laugh, “Well, I better head off to the park.” “The park?” Randy questioned, “I thought you were heading home to get your notebook.” “Oh, yeah” Robert laughed again, “Just testing you. You you’d think I was losing my memory or something. See you later.”

     “I hope I'm never like that.” Randy thought to himself after Robert left. But before he could get back to what he had been trying to do, Robert stuck his head back in the door, “I thought you left?” Randy said. “I did.” Robert said, “But I forgot where I was going.” “Home!” Randy said, “HOME.”

     Jesus said "When the world hates you, remember it hated me before it hated you. The world would love you if you belonged to it, but you don't. I chose you to come out of the world, and so it hates you. Do you remember what I told you? `A servant is not greater than the master.' Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you! - John 15:18-20 (NLT)

     Jesus has done nothing to deserve hatred, Jesus had done nothing to deserve persecution and yet he was killed. Since His coming there has and continues to be great hostility towards Him and all who follow Him. Stephen was one of those men who followed Him. Stephen was one of those men that felt the persecution. Stephen was killed.

      And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people. Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and disputed with Stephen. But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. Then they secretly instigated men who said, "We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God." And they stirred up the people and the elders and the scribes, and they came upon him and seized him and brought him before the council, and they set up false witnesses who said, "This man never ceases to speak words against this holy place and the law, for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and will change the customs that Moses delivered to us." And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face was like the face of an angel. And the high priest said, "Are these things so?" And Stephen said: "Brothers and fathers, hear me. … Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, "Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God." But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
Acts 6:8-7:2, 7:54-60 (ESV)

     Stephen was performing great wonders and signs, people tried to argue against him but were unable so they created lies and drug him before the council. A history lesson follows ending with an accusation. The men refused to listen, grabbed Stephen, drove him out of the city and stoned him. Just before he died he called out “Lord, do not hold this sin against them."

     Love does not count up wrongs that have been done. Love forgives. Ephesians 4:32 - Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ. (NCV)
  • Luke 23:34 - Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, because they don’t know what they are doing.“ The soldiers threw lots to decide who would get his clothes. (NCV)
     Jesus also said:
  • Mark 11:25 - When you are praying, if you are angry with someone, forgive him so that your Father in heaven will also forgive your sins.“ (NCV)
  • Luke 17:4 - If he sins against you seven times in one day and says that he is sorry each time, forgive him.“ (NCV)
     Here's Something To Ponder
  • Why do you hold onto past wrongs when you know you should forgive?
  • Do you willing want God to forgive you the way you forgive others?

Saturday, April 13, 2013


Is not provoked, 1 Corinthians 13:5b (NASB)

     It was Wednesday evening and almost time for youth group to start. Randy already knew that Mindy and Cindy we're not going to be around after their recent incident at the last church potluck and it didn't really surprise him when Bill popped in to say that there was no way that Harold or Stella would be showing up either.

     “Just thought I'd let you know,” Bill said, “Harold and Stella won't be here tonight as they had to go somewhere else.” “That's too bad.” Randy said, “I know they were looking forward to being here tonight. Where did they have to go?” “Too bed.” Bill told him. “Too bed?” randy asked a bit puzzled, “I thought their bed time was later?” “It usually is.” Bill answered but “Doctor's orders.”

     “Doctor's orders?!” Randy exclaimed, “Are they sick? Is it contagious?” “I'm not 100 percent certain, but they appear to be suffering from S.T.” “Ooh, sounds bad.” Randy exclaimed, “How bad is it?” “Well,” Bill explained, “it gave Harold a broken arm and as a result it's in a cast and he can’t come out of his room for several weeks..

     “That's bad.” Randy said in agreement. “What about Stella?” “It gave her a broken nose and a very bad head-ache.” Bill claimed, “Furthermore, she’s grounded to her room for several weeks.” “I sure hope I don’t get this S.T.” Randy said “Is there a cure for it?” “I think there is.” Bill said, “but each case is a little different.”

     “How did Harold and Stella get it?” Randy asked hoping he would be able to avoid it. “I’m not sure,” Bill told him, “but I think it got started over Stella’s new bicycle.” “I didn’t know bicycles can make you sick.” Randy interrupted. “Apparently,” Bill continued, “Harold was riding it with out permission and he was doing wheelies on it.” “And that gave them S.T.?” Randy interrupted again.

     “I think so.” Bill continued, “Stella saw Harold on the bike, lost her temper, ran over and through him off the bike breaking his arm. Then Harold lost his temper, swung his unbroken arm and punched Stella in the nose sending her backwards into a tree.” “And all because of S.T.” Randy exclaimed, “That must be some powerful disease. What does S.T. stand for?”

     “It is.” Bill claimed, “It loses it’s self over the littlest things. Kaboom!” “Yes,” Randy agreed, “But what do the letters S and T stand for?” “Oh,” Bill said, “That's easy. The S is for short and the T is for temper. Well, I better get going.” “Wow,” Randy thought to himself after Bill left, I wonder if I could use that for an illustration in my sermon on self control?

     Have you ever heard of King Absalom?

      Then Absalom sent messengers throughout the tribes of Israel with this message: “When you hear the sound of the ram’s horn, you are to say, ‘Absalom has become king in Hebron!’ ” Two hundred men from Jerusalem went with Absalom. They had been invited and were going innocently, for they knew nothing about the whole matter. While he was offering the sacrifices, Absalom sent for David’s adviser Ahithophel the Gilonite, from his city of Giloh. So the conspiracy grew strong, and the people supporting Absalom continued to increase. Then an informer came to David and reported, “The hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom.” David said to all the servants with him in Jerusalem, “Get up. We have to flee, or we will not escape from Absalom! Leave quickly, or he will overtake us, heap disaster on us, and strike the city with the edge of the sword.”
2 Samuel 15:10-14 (HCSB)

     Absalom was King David's oldest son. He decided he wanted to be king. He devised a plan to get Israel on his side and proclaim himself king and his plan was working. But, this isn't about him, it is about David while on the run. Here is the story an how he refused to act like Harold and Stella.

      When King David got to Bahurim, a man belonging to the family of the house of Saul was just coming out. His name was Shimei son of Gera, and he was yelling curses as he approached. He threw stones at David and at all the royal servants, the people and the warriors on David’s right and left. Shimei said as he cursed: “Get out, get out, you worthless murderer! The Lord has paid you back for all the blood of the house of Saul in whose place you rule, and the Lord has handed the kingdom over to your son Absalom. Look, you are in trouble because you’re a murderer!” Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and cut his head off!” The king replied, “Sons of Zeruiah, do we agree on anything? He curses [me] this way because the Lord told him, ‘Curse David!’ Therefore, who can say, ‘Why did you do that?’ ” Then David said to Abishai and all his servants, “Look, my own son, my own flesh and blood, intends to take my life—how much more now this Benjaminite! Leave him alone and let him curse [me]; the Lord has told him to. Perhaps the Lord will see my affliction and restore goodness to me instead of Shimei’s curses today.” So David and his men proceeded along the road as Shimei was going along the ridge of the hill opposite him. As Shimei went, he cursed [David], and threw stones and dirt at him. Finally, the king and all the people with him arrived exhausted, so they rested there.
2 Samuel 16:5-14 (HCSB)

     As David and his men were running for their lives they met a man named Shimei. Shimei was cursing David and throwing things at him. This, in and of itself, may have been enough to get someone to retaliate. On top of this, Abishai, David's servant wanted David to let him go and cut off Shimei's. David could have said, let's do it. David kept control saying this may be from God and he kept traveling on.

     1 Corinthians 13:4-5 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, (NASB) One of the things about love is it's self control, it's not easily provoked, it stays calm.

     Proverbs 14:17 reminds us that - A quick-tempered man does foolish things, and a crafty man is hated (NIV) While Proverbs 16:32 reminds us that Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city. (ESV)

     There are more verses than these in the Bible but these should suffice to get one pondering, so....

      Here's Something To Ponder
  • What things do you allow to provoke you to the point of loosing control?
  • What do you do when you would rather not loose control?

Saturday, April 6, 2013


Love is not rude, is not selfish, - 1 Corinthians 13:5A (NCV)

     It was a wonderful Sunday afternoon, Randy thought, as he walked through the fellowship dinner line at church. He had just finished giving a great sermon on how love is not selfish and now he was sharing in the wonderful cooking of so many of those in the church. Even the teens, at least Mindy and Cindy, were commenting on the sermon and how they needed to work on their sharing.

     After making it through the line and eating twice what he should have, Randy decided he better not go back for deserts, that was until he caught the aroma of a fresh baked pie. The aroma came from the table behind him and he wasn't the only one to catch drift of it and what he heard in relation to that pie made him wonder if the Miller twins had truly been listening.

     “Is that wonderful aroma coming from you?” Randy heard Cindy ask her sister, “It smells delicious,” she continued, “What is it?” “It's you're favorite.” Mindy replied, “It's a … fresh … baked … blueberry … pie. And I made by myself.”

     “YUM!” Cindy exclaimed, “You're such a wonderful sister. “Thank you.” Mindy replied. “When do I get some?” Cindy asked next but what Randy heard after that, well, it wasn't pleasant. “Get some?” Mindy snorted, “You gotta be kidding. “I don't care if your my sister, I made this pie by MYSELF and I am going to eat it by MYSELF.”

     “Then why did you bring it here?” Cindy demanded to know. “Why do you think I brought?” Mindy laughed, “I brought it to tease you because I know you love blue … berry … pie.” “That's not nice!” Cindy snapped at her sister. “I don’t care.” Mindy laughed again, “It’s MY pie and I’ll do with it as I please. I'm not sharing with anybody, not even you.”

     Randy sadly shook his head, “I guess Mindy didn't learn a thing.” he thought to himself, “I wonder if Cindy did.” Of course, it didn't take long for Randy to find out. “That’s too bad.” He heard Cindy say, “I guess I’ll just have to eat this all too my self.” “Eat what?” Mindy asked, temporally forgetting about her pie.

     “Oh,” Cindy smirked, “Just this banana split I thought of sharing with you since they are your favorite, but you probably don’t want any since you have a whole blueberry pie to eat all by yourself.” “Well, I, um, um.” Mindy stuttered, “Are you sure you won’t share?” “How about some of that pie?” Cindy asked.

     “Pie!” Mindy exclaimed, “What pie? I don’t smell any pie? Besides, you know I would share with you if I had one.” “Wow Randy thought “Now she's lying through her teeth. What next?” “You're just a big liar.” Cindy snorted at her sister. “Oh, yeah,” Mindy exclaimed, “Well, take this.” and then Mindy stood up and through the pie into her sister's face.

     That didn't sit well with Cindy and she grabbed her banana split, covered it in hot sauce and stuck it down Mindy's back. Before Mindy could retaliate Randy saw their dad step in. “Well, now,” Randy heard him say, “Since you couldn't share you treats, you're going to have to share the punishment for your behavior.” and then he marched them out of the church building.

     How selfish can a person be? How unthoughtful of others can a person be? How unsharing and uncaring can a person be? David had been on the run because the king wanted him dead. The king wanted him dead not because he had done wrong but because he had served faithfully and the king was jealous. While David was on the run and unable to settle down in any one place, he didn't let that stop him from serving his country and protecting he fellow country men of which Nabal was one.

     The story of Nabal can be found in 1 Samuel 25 if you would like to read it in full. Here I'll just try to summarize the story.

     Nabal was very rich owning 3000 sheep and 1000 goats and had a beautiful and wise wife named Abigail. Unfortunately, Nabal was not well behaved and was harsh towards others. Now the time had come for Nabal to have his sheep shaved and was in Carmel, (the place)

     David had been protecting his flocks behind the scenes and decided that it was time to send some men to see Nabal and ask for some handouts in return. What the men received was a harsh no and they were sent away and that didn't set well with David. Nor did it sit well with Nabal's servants.

     As a result of Nabal's treatment of David's men, David prepared to go to war against Nabal while Nabal's servants went to Abigail knowing that Nabal's response was going to bring trouble. Quick to see that the servants were right, Abigail responded by loading up lots of food and immediately heading out to intercept David, all without telling her husband.

     When Abigail saw David, she hurried and fell before him on her face and bowed to the ground and she pleaded with him not to make war on her husband, her household and the servants. Upon hearing Abigail's plea, David blessed the Lord, restrained himself from going to war and accepted Abigail's gift of food.

     Latter, Nabal found out what had happened and to make this long story short, God took Nabal's life and David got Abagail as a wife.

     1 Corinthians 13:5 tells us that love is not selfish or self seeking. It may vary depending on the version you read but the idea is still the same. Selfishness comes in many forms including that of Cindy, Mindy and Nabal.

     The opposite of selfishness could be what we find in ....
  • Romans 15:1-3 We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, "The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me." (ESV)
  • Philippians 2:4 - Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (ESV)
  • 1 Corinthians 10:24 Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. (ESV)
  • 2 Corinthians 5:15 Christ died for all so that those who live would not continue to live for themselves. He died for them and was raised from the dead so that they would live for him. (NCV)
     Here's Something To Ponder
  • In what ways are you selfish?
  • In what ways do you put others first?