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, October 26, 2013


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, October 19, 2013


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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