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, May 25, 2013


Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things... 1 Corinthians 13:7 (ESV)

      After hearing her husbands story about his run in with Bernadette and her story about Giant June bugs, Daisy felt inspired to write one of her poems. As she strolled through the park she kept muttering possible lines and rhymes to herself but once and a while she said things out loud and people would look at her funny. On one of those times she blurted out “Giant June Bugs” and someone she knew heard her.

     “Giant June Bugs!!!” Martha called out, “Not you too!!!” “Well, hi Martha.” Daisy said as she looked up, “Beautiful day for a stroll in the park.” “Were you just talking about Giant June Bugs?” Martha asked. “The ones that are the size of a moose?” Daisy asked in return. “I thought so.” Martha said, “You were talking about them.”

     “Well, yeah, I was just talking about them.” Daisy said, “I'm working on writing a poem about them.” “I take it you’ve been talking to Harold?” Martha sort of asked. “No.” Daisy said shaking her head, “I haven’t seen Harold for quite some time. I heard about Giant June Bugs from my husband who heard about them from Bernadette.”

     “From Bernadette?” Martha said in surprise. “Yeah,” Daisy replied. “Randy said She was convinced that they would come and destroy us if we planted a garden.” “So, she's the one behind all this!” Martha injected. “Actually no.” Daisy continued, “Randy said “Harold told her about them. I presume he was the one that made them up.”

     “Your probably right on that.” Martha said. “He has been using them to keep from planting our garden.” “But I thought Harold liked food.” Daisy said a bit puzzled. “He does.” Martha affirmed, “But have you ever known Harold to like work.” “Now that you mention it.” Daisy said shaking her head. “No!”

     “He’s been telling everybody that Giant June Bugs will come and attack us if he plants the garden.” Martha said, “I’m beginning to believe that child is a hopeless case. I keep hoping for the best and getting the, the, well what ever is worse than the worse.” “Sounds like our Harold.” Daisy laughed, “Have you ever thought of fighting fire with fire?”

     “But he hasn’t started any fires, at least not yet.” Martha said a bit puzzled as to what Martha meant. “Not a real fire!” Daisy laughed, “I mean, if he won’t plant because of Giant June Bugs maybe you could tell him about the Red Ringers that will come if he doesn’t plant the garden.” “What are Red Ringers?” Martha asked, still a bit puzzled.

     “Nothing,” Daisy said with a smile, “But with Harold’s imagination it just might get him planting.” “I get you now.” Martha grinned, “Maybe there’s hope yet. Well, I better get going. I've got some Red Ringer Rumors to spread.”

     Psalm 39:7 reads - And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you. (ESV) This Psalm, this verse, was written by King David, who according to the Bible was a man after God's own heart. And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, 'I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.' Acts 13:22 (ESV) Even though David was a man after God's own heart, he was still human and like us, he made mistakes. In 2 Samuel we read of some of those mistakes in a familiar story starting in the 11th chapter.(ESV)

      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. Then she returned to her house. And the woman conceived, and she sent and told David, "I am pregnant." … 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." And as Joab was besieging the city, he assigned Uriah to the place where he knew there were valiant men. And the men of the city came out and fought with Joab, and some of the servants of David among the people fell. Uriah the Hittite also died. … When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she lamented over her husband. And when the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD. … And the LORD sent Nathan to David. … David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." And Nathan said to David, "The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die. Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the LORD, the child who is born to you shall die." Then Nathan went to his house. And the LORD afflicted the child that Uriah's wife bore to David, and he became sick. David therefore sought God on behalf of the child. And David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground. And the elders of his house stood beside him, to raise him from the ground, but he would not, nor did he eat food with them. On the seventh day the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, "Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spoke to him, and he did not listen to us. How then can we say to him the child is dead? He may do himself some harm." But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David understood that the child was dead. And David said to his servants, "Is the child dead?" They said, "He is dead." Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. He then went to his own house. And when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate. Then his servants said to him, "What is this thing that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive; but when the child died, you arose and ate food." He said, "While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, 'Who knows whether the LORD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?' But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me."

     Love hopes all things. David loved his child, David loved God, David held on to hope in hoping that God would change His mind and spare the child. Hope can keep us going when things look impossible, hope can keep us looking for the best when nothing good can be seen

     Here's Something To Ponder
  • Do you easily give up on others when things seem impossible?
  • When other have hope in you do you let them down?

Saturday, May 18, 2013


Love bears all things, believes all things, - 1 Corinthians 13:7a (ESV)

      It was another beautiful spring day and this time Randy didn't need to work at the office. His sermon was finished and he now had time to get his garden planted. After spending most of the morning pushing a tiller through the black dirt, Randy decided it was time to take a break and have a tall cold glass of lemonade.

      As he stood looking over the freshly tilled dirt, Bernadette came running up to him breathing really hard. After giving her a couple minutes to catch her breath Randy asked her if he could help her. “What are you doing?” Bernadette asked almost as if she was scolding him. “Just standing here drinking some ice cold lemonade.” Randy answered, “Would you like some?”

      “You're not planting a garden, are you?” Bernadette asked, “Please tell me you're not.” “Of course I'm planting a garden, Bernadette,” Randy replied, “I do it every year. This year I'm panning on planting corn and potatoes and onions and carrots and beans and..” “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!” Bernadette screamed when she heard that cutting Randy off in mid sentence.

     “What's wrong, Bernadette?” Randy asked, “Are you okay?” “We're all doomed.” Bernadette muttered, “You planted a garden and now their going to come.” “Who's coming?” Randy asked. “The ... Giant ... June ... Bugs.” Bernadette said, “Their bigger than a moose.” “Did you see one?”, Randy asked, “Or are you making this up?”

     “I'm not making it up.” Bernadette pleaded, “It’s true. Harold told me all about them. He said he even saw one. He said they come every time you plant a garden and then, then, then, they destroy everything. We’re doomed. And it’s all your fault.” “Are you sure Harold isn’t making this up to get out of planting his own garden.” Randy asked almost positive Harold was.

     “Harold would never do that.” Bernadette pleaded, “He loves food too much. He said he heard all about them from his friend Bert.” “I didn't know Harold had any friends.” Randy injected, but Bernadette continued, “He said they came from outer space and there is nothing in the world that will stop them. He said they came back from the moon a the space shuttle.”

     “Space shuttle.” Randy said. “Now I know Harold is making this up. The space shuttle doesn’t even go to the moon.” “It doesn't?” Bernadette asked a bit puzzled. “Tell me” Randy said, “Do you believe everything you here?” “Of course not.” Bernadette cheerfully answered, “I only believe the believable stuff.” “Like space monsters?” Randy asked. “Yeah.” Bernadette answered.

     “If I don’t believe everything I could get in trouble.” Bernadette said after thinking about what she had just said yeah too. “One time my mom told me veggies were good for me. I didn’t believe that and I got in trouble so...” “I think you need to go practice some discernment to figure out who is telling the truth. And I need to get back to my garden.” “I'll try.” Bernadette said as she started to leave, “But I'm still keeping my eyes open for those Giant June Bugs.”

     1 Corinthians 13:7 tells us that love believes all things. If we are to experience and share God's love are we really suppose to believe everything? Are there times when we shouldn't believe things? In Matthew 24:23 Jesus says “if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There he is!' do not believe it.” (ESV) Jesus talks of times when we are not to believe. When it comes to everyday life, there ends up being times when we should believe and we don't and times we shouldn't and we do like in this old Aesop fable.

     There was once a young Shepherd Boy who tended his sheep at the foot of a mountain near a dark forest. It was rather lonely for him all day, so he thought upon a plan by which he could get a little company and some excitement. He rushed down towards the village calling out “Wolf, Wolf,” and the villagers came out to meet him, and some of them stopped with him for a considerable time. This pleased the boy so much that a few days afterwards he tried the same trick, and again the villagers came to his help. But shortly after this a Wolf actually did come out from the forest, and began to worry the sheep, and the boy of course cried out “Wolf, Wolf,” still louder than before. But this time the villagers, who had been fooled twice before, thought the boy was again deceiving them, and nobody stirred to come to his help. So the Wolf made a good meal off the boy’s flock, and when the boy complained, the wise man of the village said: “A liar will not be believed, even when he speaks the truth.”

     While the focus of this story tends to be the boy who cried wolf, I tell it because of those who refused to believe the boy after they had been lied to several times. In a way, they failed to show love, they failed to over look the wrong, they failed to forgive.

     In the Greek, the word translated believe has the idea of thinking something to be true, to place confidence in, to trust someone. To be able to do that when we have been lied to we need to be able to forgive.
  • Luke 17:3-4 - Be on your guard. If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and comes back to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” (HCSB)
  • Ephesians 4:32 - Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ. (NCV)
     When someone becomes untrustworthy, unbelievable, yes, they may need to change but we need to be willing to believe, and trust if we are to love and that may mean putting the past aside.

      Here's Something To Ponder
  • What are you willing to believe even when it is unbelievable?
  • How do you react when others fail to believe you when you are telling the truth?

Saturday, May 11, 2013


Love bears all things, 1 Corinthians 13:7a (ESV)

      It was a beautiful spring day and Randy thought he would sit outside while studying for his next sermon on love. As he leaned back against a tree a gentle breeze blew across his face bringing the scent of blossoms and fresh cut grass. As he sat there taking in the scents of spring, he picked up his Bible and started reading, unfortunately the sounds of spring kept side tracking him.

     The first sounds he heard were the birds. “What beautiful sounds they make.” he thought and then there were the frogs which got him thinking about his younger years when he used to catch them and then there was the loud RRROOOAAARRR!!! of a bear.

     “All right, Harold!” Randy called out, “There are no bears around here. Come out with your hands up.” “I’m not Harold!” Bernadette stated as she came out from behind the tree Randy was leaning against. “Bernadette!?” said in surprise, “What are you doing here?” “I thought you could use some help with your sermon.” Bernadette answered.

     “Well,” Randy said, “You might be able to help me. Bye the way, what was that loud roar all about?” “You mean you don’t know.” Bernadette asked a bit puzzled, “I was pretending to be a bear. I thought it would help you with your sermon. “How will pretending to be a bear help me?” asked scratching is head.

     “I don’t know.” Bernadette said putting her hands on her hips, “All I know is I heard you were going to talk about a bear for your next sermon.” Randy scratched his head some more trying to remember saying he was going to talk a bout a bear. “If you talk about “Teddy bears” I can help you out a lot.” said, “I’ve got thirteen of them. My favorite is the pink one with yellow pok-a-dots.”

     “Well, I’m not talking about teddy bears.” Randy said. “How about Panda bears?” Bernadette asked, “There pretty cute. Or maybe some polar bears or black bears or brown bears or maybe even a Big Ferocious Grizzly Bear.” “I am not talking about bears.” Randy interrupted almost shouting, “I’m talking about love and how it bares all things.”

     “A love bear, how cute.” Bernadette chirped when she heard that, but before she could carry on Randy let out a big RRRROOOOAAAARRRR!!!! himself which caused her to scream “AAAUUUGGGHH!!! A bear. Help!!! Help!!! .......” “Calm down, Bernadette” Randy laughed. “Calm down?” Bernadette quipped, “I heard a bear. You’ve got to protect me.”

     “Protect you? Hmm.” Randy thought out loud, “I think you just helped me with my sermon.” “What?!” Bernadette screamed, “ I’m being attacked by a bear and all you can think about is your sermon.” “Calm down Bernadette.” Randy said again, “ There is no bear but if there was I would protect you. As for my sermon, It's not about bears but about how love bears all things.”

     “Love bears things?” Bernadette asked trying to figure out what the meant. After a few minutes her eyes got big and she blurted out, “I'm not going to help you with that. I'm not going to bare myself, I'm keeping my clothes on.” and with those words she left on the run as Randy called after here to no avail “Not that kind of bare.”

     Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Psalm 100:1-3 (ESV)

     What do you know about sheep? – They're black, white, fluffy, dumb and needful of a shepherd? Throughout the Bible people are often represented by sheep. There are many stories in the Bible that teach us lessons using sheep to represent us and some of these stories about sheep well help us with our bear. Let's look at some familiar stories involving sheep.

     And David said to Saul, "Let no man's heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine." And Saul said to David, "You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth." But David said to Saul, "Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. - 1 Samuel 17:32-35 (ESV)

     Did you see the sheep in this story? David, in trying to convince Saul he could handle Goliath tells of tacking care of his sheep, of rescuing them from bears and lions.

      “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. - Luke 15:4-5 (ESV)

     Did you see the sheep in this story? It was lost and needed to be found and it was.

      So Jesus again said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, - John 10:7-14 (ESV)

     Did you see the sheep in this story? Did you see how the good shepherd take scare of them? Did you see that Jesus is the Good Shepherd and we are the sheep?

     1 Corinthians 13 :7 tells us that love bears all things. The word for bear in the original language has the idea of holding up, or covering up as in a roof which is meant to protect. This is what love does.

     Try these verses out
  • 1 Peter 4:8 - Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. (NASB)
  • Romans 15:1 - We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. (ESV)
  • Galatians 6:2 - Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (ESV)
     Here's Something To Ponder
  • In what ways have you been protected by love?
  • In what ways are you letting your love protect others?

Saturday, May 4, 2013


Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. - 1 Corinthians 13:6 (NIV)

      It could have been do to the fact that Robert had quietly slipped inside the church without making a sound. It could have been do to the fact that Randy was deeply involved in his study for his next sermon on Love and wasn't expecting it. Which ever it was, when Robert popped through the offices door and hollered SURPRISE, Randy was totally surprised.

     “Woe!” Randy hollered throwing his hands in the air and then Robert started singing “Happy birthday to you, Happy birthday to you. Happy....” “Robert?” Randy interrupted, “Who are you singing happy birthday to?” “Like, you don't know.” Robert said with a smile, “How humble.” “I really don't know.” Randy ensured him.

     “I'll give you a hint then.” Robert said and started to sing again. “Happy birthday dear Robert, Happy...” “Stop! Stop! Stop.” Randy interrupted. “What’s wrong?” Robert asked stopping his singing, “Don’t you like surprises?” “Do you like surprises?” Randy answered with a question of his own. “Of course I do.” Robert replied. “Why?” “Because I have a surprise for you.” Randy told Robert, “Today is not my birthday.”

     “WHAT!!??” Robert shouted “It's got to be!” “Nope” Randy chirped, “It’s not my birthday. My birthday isn’t till next month.” Hearing that, Robert stood silent for several minutes thinking then proclaimed, “I know, you don’t want anybody to know you are turning 40 today.” “Robert!” Randy said next, “It’s not my birthday and I’m not turning 40.”

     “Does that mean there won't be any party?” Robert asked “No party.” randy said shaking his head. “Then what should I do with all this cake and ice cream?” Robert asked next. “I suppose you could feed it to your grandson Harold.” Randy told him, “I'm sure he wouldn't mind.” “And what about all of the party favors I bought?” Robert asked, “I don't want them to go to waste.” “I'm sure the church nursery could find a use for them.” Randy told him

     The next thing Randy knew, there was a monkey trying to climb onto his head. “Where did this monkey come from?” he asked. “Oh, “Robert laughed, “He's the singing monkey that came with the package.... that reminds me, I have a big birthday package here for you too.” When Randy heard that he perked up, “You have a big package for me?” He asked.

     “It was suppose to be your present but I better save it.” Robert said shaking his head, “I can’t believe I got your birthdays all mixed up.” Who's birthday's?” Randy asked, a little puzzled by Robert's statement. “Why, yours .... and .... Bills.” Robert started to answer. “Oops.” he said stopping himself, “I think I’m in the wrong spot. All this stuff belongs at Bills surprise party. I better be going.”

     I could ask if you like surprises but I'll leave the surprises to another day. I could ask if you like birthdays but not this time. But I could ask if you like to party, to celebrate, to rejoice when something wonderful happens.

     Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, "This man receives sinners and eats with them." So he told them this parable: - Luke 15:1-3 (ESV) Jesus was far from what the Pharisees expected. They didn't think anyone who was religious or godly, as they thought they were and Jesus claimed, should have anything to do with IRS agents and sinners and yet that is where Jesus was found. They grumbled and complained. And Jesus answered them three times over with stories of rejoicing

      "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.

      "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."

     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.
Luke 15:4-32 (ESV)

     Love rejoices with the truth – what is right and good. The Bible talks of rejoicing when it says:
  • Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart! - Psalm 32:11 (ESV)
  • Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. - Philippians 4:4 (ESV)
  • Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. - Romans 12:15 (ESV)
     A problem I see today is more people would rather rejoice in what is not true and right and run from what is true but that is not what love is all about.

     Here's Something To Ponder
  • Do you rejoice in that which is true and right?
  • Do you cringe at the truth?