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, March 29, 2014


     Saturday had been an extremely busy day for Randy Smith. He had wanted to get to the Peterson's rummage sale but every time he tried to go, the phone rang with another problem he had to go take care of. As he returned home from his last trip of th day, the sun was going down and he knew he wouldn't make it to the sale.

      Sunday after church, Randy went looking for one of the Peterson's to see how the sale went and to see if they still had anything left for he was hoping to pick something up for both Louie and the boys orphanage that his family supported. It didn't take long before he ran smack dab into Bill, sending both Bill and himself to the ground.

     “That was weird.” Bill mumbled to himself as Randy helped him back on his feet. “Well, sort of,” Randy said, “I don't usually knock people over but of all the people here to run into, you're the very one I was looking for.” “Oh, Hi.” Bill responded as if he wasn't even there. “So,” Randy said, “How did everything turn out yesterday?”

     “Weird.” Bill responded shaking his head. “Weird?” Randy questioned “Yeah.” Bill said still shaking his head. “How could a rummage sale be weird?” Randy asked. “Not the rummage sale.” Bill said looking up at Randy, “Harold's room.” “Well,” Randy laughed, “I suppose it would be weird to see Harold’s room completely clean.”

     “Yeah,” Bill replied, “It would be, but it isn't.” “What do you mean?” Randy responded a bit puzzled, “I thought you cleaned it out.” “We did.” Bill answered, “And that's part of what makes this so weird.” “Makes what weird?” Randy said even more puzzled. “Harold's room is a complete disaster!” Bill said. “It's as if a tornado hit it.”

     When Randy heard that he started looking all around the sanctuary, “I didn’t know Harold was coming home.” he said as he looked hoping to find Harold. “He didn't” Bill said, “You're not going to find him.” Well,” Randy said even more puzzled, “If Harold’s still at the monastery, how come his room is a disaster?”

     “I don't know.” Bill said shaking his head again. “When I went to bed last night it was clean. When I got up this morning I walked by his room and it was as if it had never been cleaned.” “That is weird.” Randy said in agreement. “Tell me about.” Bill said, “I've been trying to figure it out all morning.”

     “By the way,” Randy said changing subjects a little bit, “Did you sell everything or do you still have some of Harold's stuff left?” “Yeah,” Bill replied, “But all I have left is the weird stuff.” “Maybe I'll stop by and look at it later, and maybe I cn help you re-clean Harold's room.” “Sounds great.” Bill said, shook Randy's hand and than walked off mumbling “Weird” over and over again.

     Afterward Ben-hadad king of Syria mustered his entire army and went up and besieged Samaria. And there was a great famine in Samaria, as they besieged it, until a donkey's head was sold for eighty shekels of silver, and the fourth part of a kab of dove's dung for five shekels of silver.
2 Kings 6:24-25 (ESV)

     Things were not looking good for Samaria. The Aramian army surrounded the city and food was almost gone. What would you do? Blame God and kill His servant? At least that's what Israel's king decided but something weird was about to happen.

      Elisha said, "Hear the word of the LORD: thus says the LORD, Tomorrow about this time a seah of fine flour shall be sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, at the gate of Samaria." Then the captain on whose hand the king leaned said to the man of God, "If the LORD himself should make windows in heaven, could this thing be?" But he said, "You shall see it with your own eyes, but you shall not eat of it." Now there were four men who were lepers at the entrance to the gate. And they said to one another, "Why are we sitting here until we die? If we say, 'Let us enter the city,' the famine is in the city, and we shall die there. And if we sit here, we die also. So now come, let us go over to the camp of the Syrians. If they spare our lives we shall live, and if they kill us we shall but die." So they arose at twilight to go to the camp of the Syrians. But when they came to the edge of the camp of the Syrians, behold, there was no one there. And when these lepers came to the edge of the camp, they went into a tent and ate and drank, and they carried off silver and gold and clothing and went and hid them. Then they came back and entered another tent and carried off things from it and went and hid them. Then they said to one another, "We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news. If we are silent and wait until the morning light, punishment will overtake us. Now therefore come; let us go and tell the king's household." … Then the people went out and plundered the camp of the Syrians. So a seah of fine flour was sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, according to the word of the LORD. Now the king had appointed the captain on whose hand he leaned to have charge of the gate. And the people trampled him in the gate, so that he died, as the man of God had said when the king came down to him.
2 Kings 7 (ESV)

     We don't know everything and there are things that God will keep from us. In Daniel 12:4 and 9 Daniel was told shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. And to Go your way for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end. (ESV) In the N.T John was told similar words in Revelation 10:4 "Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and do not write it down." (ESV)

     Deuteronomy 29:29 Reminds us that The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law. (ESV) For as Proverbs 25:2 states, It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out. (ESV)

     I can see at least two reasons for us not receiving knowledge and I'm sure there are more.
  • Knowledge is withheld because can't handle it - John 16:12 I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. (ESV)
  • Knowledge is withheld so we may Walk by faith not by sight - 2 Corinthians 5:7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. (ESV)
     There are reasons for everything even if we can't figure them out. Things may seem weird, we can try to understand and maybe we will but then again.... What did happen to Harold's room? What did happen to the Syrian army?

      Here's Something To Ponder
  • What are some of the weird things that you know of but can not explain?
  • Are you willing to trust God even if it may seem weird?

Saturday, March 22, 2014


     Against her better judgment, Martha sent Bill to the store to pick up some items while she kept busy with her spring cleaning. When Bill arrived at the store, he pulled out the list he had been given by his wife and headed to the hardware section of the store to find some picture hooks. He should have went there last.

      “Well, hi, Bill.” came a familiar voice. It was Doc Henderson or Tim when he was not at work. “Hi Tim.” Bill returned greetings, “Are you enjoying the warm spring weather we are having?” “Sure am.” Tim replied, “I'm helping my wife do some spring cleaning and she sent me down here with a list of things to get. “Same here.” Bill said.

      “What kind of things did Martha send you out for?” Tim asked. “For starters,” Bill started to say, “I need to find some picture hooks and then some markers to make a for sale sign, and then...” Tim interrupted, “”For sale sign?” Tim said, “Are you moving?” “No,” Bill said, “Were just having a cleaning out Harold's room sale.”

      “I thought Harold was gone?” Tim said a bit puzzled, “Did he come home?” “No,” Bill said with a grin, “We just decided that since he was gone we would clean his room and sell all his 'Extra' stuff that he never uses. We're sure he'll never miss it since he never uses it.” Why doesn't he use it?” Tim asked. “Because he can never find it.” Bill said.

      “What have you found so far, if I dare ask?” Tim said, “Is there anything my boys might be interested in?” “There might be.” Bill replied, “So far I've found three extra ball gloves, Almost a hundred different video games, three garbage bags full of school assignments, ….” You're not planning on selling those are you?” Tim injected.

      “No.” Bill laughed, “ Why would anybody want to pay for D- work. Those are going to the trash. Speaking of trash, I think I'm suppose to buy some garbage bags.” “I need some of them too.” Tim said, “Let's head over to the trash can aisle. By the way, when are you having the sale.” “I'd say it will be at least another week.” Bill said.

      “Speaking of sales.” Tim said as they rounded the corner to the trash aisle, “They are having a 50 % of sale over in the tool aisle.” “They are?!” Bill lit up. “Why are we wasting time over here?” “Because are wives sent us shopping.” Tim reminded Bill. “They are counting on us for help.” “Yeah, I know.” Bill sighed, “But a 50% off sale – I can't pass that up.”

      Two hours later, Bill headed for the parking lot pushing a cart full of tools, unfortunately, he forgot what he was there for and when he got home Martha was rather upset and sent him back which was another mistake.

      Now it came about when the king lived in his house, and the LORD had given him rest on every side from all his enemies, that the king said to Nathan the prophet, "See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells within tent curtains."
2 Samuel 7:1-2 (NASB)

      After David had brought the ark to Jerusalem, he decided it was time to build a temple for God, but God said no! And Solomon built the temple instead and what a glorious temple it was but something happened or should I say didn't happen. The temple was left to itself and deteriorated until Josiah decided to do some spring cleaning.

      Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem; He did right in the sight of the LORD and walked in all the way of his father David, nor did he turn aside to the right or to the left. Now in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, the king sent Shaphan to the house of the LORD saying, "Go up to Hilkiah the high priest that he may count the money brought in to the house of the LORD which the doorkeepers have gathered from the people. "Let them deliver it into the hand of the workmen who have the oversight of the house of the LORD, and let them give it to the workmen who are in the house of the LORD to repair the damages of the house, to the carpenters and the builders and the masons and for buying timber and hewn stone to repair the house. "Only no accounting shall be made with them for the money delivered into their hands, for they deal faithfully."
2 Kings 22:1-8 (NASB)

      Like the Peterson's cleaning Harold's room, Like Josiah cleaning up the temple, sometimes we need to do some cleaning up of ourselves. God's word talks in various place of the idea of cleaning up ourselves. Take these verses for instance:
  • Isaiah 1:16 Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil, (NASB)
  • 2 Corinthians 7:1 Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God. (ESV)
  • Acts 22:16 And now, why delay? Get up and be baptized, and have your sins washed away, calling on the name of the Lord.' (NLT)
      In a sense, cleaning ourselves up is like making ourselves new....
  • Ephesians 4:22-24 You were taught to leave your old self—to stop living the evil way you lived before. That old self becomes worse, because people are fooled by the evil things they want to do. But you were taught to be made new in your hearts, to become a new person. That new person is made to be like God—made to be truly good and holy. (NCV)
     But cleaning is not always enough. Once clean we need to take care of what is cleaned or it may become worse off as we see in Matthew 12:43-45
  • Matthew 12:43-45 "When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. Then it says, 'I will return to my house from which I came.' And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation." (ESV)
     So, here is something we can do -
  • Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (ESV)
     And Here's Something To Ponder
  • Do you like to spring clean in your life?
  • Do you work to keep your life clean?

Saturday, March 15, 2014


     Finally, warmer weather was on the way and Tracy McDonald couldn't wait. She was getting tired of doing chores in the cold and not being able to ride her bike into town to play with her friends. So, when the temp reached 50 degrees, she decided to jump on her bike and peddle her way through the slush to see her friend Stella Peterson.

      “YES!!! YES!!!” Stella came running out of her house hollering when Tracy pulled up in front of the her house. “Wow.” Tracy thought to her self, “I didn't think Stella would be this excited to see me.” As Tracy jumped off her bike she hollered back to Stella, “You sure sound excited to see me.” “Yesssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss!!!” Came Stella's reply.

     “Well, “ Tracy said hesitantly, “I guess I'm excited to see you too.” “YES!!! YES!!!” Stella hollered again. “Stella?” Tracy said, “Can you say anything besides yes?” “YES!!!” Stella replied. “Okay.” Tracy said, “What else can you say?” “HAROLD!!!” Stella replied, “HAROLD! HAROLD! HAROLD!”

     “You're excited about Harold?” Tracy asked a bit puzzled, “I've never known you to get excited about your brother before.” “He's not coming home.” Stella said gleefully. “That's Terrible!” Tracy scolded, “Does that mean they never found him after the earthquake?” “Oh they found him alright.” Stella said, “They even found him alive.”

     “I guess that would be a reason for being excited.” Tracy said nodding her head. “Are you kidding?” Stella blurted out, “I’m excited because he’s staying at the monastery.” “You mean the earthquake didn’t scare him away?” Tracy asked in unbelief. “This may sound a bit on the weird side,” Stella replied, “But Harold claims he saw an angel when he was buried in the rubble.”

     “Harold?” Tracy questioned, “As in the boy who sees space aliens and giant June bugs?” “Well,” Stella laughed, “maybe it’s not weird for him, but he claims that the angel told him to stay at the monastery and continue to learn.” “Do you miss him?” Tracy asked for even though she knew Harold was a bother, she sort of missed him.

     “ARE YOU KIDDING!!!???” Stella screamed as if she had been hit by a ton of bricks, “I’m planning a big celebration party because he’s NOT coming home.” “And you think somebody is going to come?” Tracy questioned. “I have already received 30 replies saying they would come.” Stella replied smugly. “By the way, would you like to come? Maybe you could help me with the party arrangements?” “No thanks!” Tracy answered, “I think I'll go visit Barney.” and then she left.

      David again gathered all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. And David arose and went with all the people who were with him from Baale-judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the name of the LORD of hosts who sits enthroned on the cherubim. - 2 Samuel 6:1-2 (ESV)

     Some years before this statement was made, the Philistines had captured the Ark - not the one Noah built but the one containing the commandments, and a pot of Manna, etc. and after experiencing troubles, they sent it back. It came Baale-judah and there it stayed. Now David wanted to bring it to Jerusalem. Let us follow the arks journey in 2 Samuel 6 .

      And they carried the ark of God on a new cart and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. And Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, were driving the new cart, with the ark of God, and Ahio went before the ark. And David and all the house of Israel were making merry before the LORD, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals. And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God. And David was angry because the LORD had burst forth against Uzzah. And that place is called Perez-uzzah, to this day. And David was afraid of the LORD that day, and he said, "How can the ark of the LORD come to me?" So David was not willing to take the ark of the LORD into the city of David. But David took it aside to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite. And the ark of the LORD remained in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite three months, and the LORD blessed Obed-edom and all his household. And it was told King David, "The LORD has blessed the household of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God." So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the city of David with rejoicing. And when those who bore the ark of the LORD had gone six steps, he sacrificed an ox and a fattened animal. And David danced before the LORD with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting and with the sound of the horn.

     Do you like to party? Stella wants to Party because Harold won't be coming home. David partied because the Ark was coming home. Celebrating is something we can do and can be found in the Bible. It often comes out in expressions of Joy.
  • Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. (ESV)
  • 1 Peter 1:8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, (ESV)
  • Psalm 118:24 This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. (ESV)
  • Psalm 119:162 I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil. (ESV)
  • Acts 5:41 Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. (ESV)
  • Acts 8:39 And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. (ESV)
     Even in Heaven we can find rejoicing. When you turn to Luke 15 we find three stories of celebrating which is then compared to the joy of heaven as found in Luke 15:10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents." (ESV) Are you rejoicing. We have many things to be joyful for.

     Here's Something To Ponder
  • What are the things you have to celebrate?
  • In what ways do you celebrate before the Lord?