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 3, 2014


     Rhonda Clay was a great nurse and sometimes she liked to volunteer her services as a nurse to help others on the mission field but doing so took money. To help pay for the mission trip she was planning to take, along with a couple others from the church, she was working on a bake sale at the church.

     As Rhonda was working away in the kitchen, she heard a someone scream “HHHEEELLLPPP!!!” Dropping everything she was doing, Rhonda flew out of the kitchen to see who needed help. It was John McDonald, who was going on the trip as well to help train people on farming techniques.

     “John, are you okay?” Rhonda asked as she looked him over to see if he was hurt in someway. “Quick, call the police!” John hollered in response. “It's GONE! GONE! GONE!” “What's Gone?” Rhonda asked, “You're tractor?” “It was right there in the cupboard.” John replied.

      “Well,” Rhonda half laughed, “If it was in your cupboard, I don’t think it could have been your tractor.” “It wasn't in my cupboard.” John said, “It was in the church's cupboard.” “What was in the cupboard” Rhonda asked, “Some dishes?” “Our mission trip!” John said exasperated.

     “Our mission trip?” Rhonda asked a bit puzzled, “What do you mean 'Our mission trip' was in the cupboard?” “Not the trip.” John said looking at Rhonda funny, “The money for the trip.” When she heard that Rhonda's eyes grew three sizes, “Don't tell me our money for the mission trip is gone? That was a lot of money?”

     “It is.” John assured her, “It's gone, stolen, ripped off, what ever you want to call it, it's G O N E gone.” “was it locked in the cupboard?” Rhonda asked? “Of course it was.” John said. “You don’t leave that kind of money laying around for somebody to steal.” “Are you sure somebody stole it and didn't just move it?” Rhonda asked.

     “I'm positive.” John said, “The lock was broke off the cupboard and the box the money was in was smashed to pieces.” “Wow.” was all that Rhonda could say as her heart started to break. She knew a lot of people were counting on her coming to help. “Should we call out the national guard?” John asked. “I think the police might be fine to start with.” Rhonda said quietly.

     “This is just getting to be too much.” John said, “All these weird things happening all over Pupperville. And Harold isn’t even here.” “Who knew about the money?” Rhonda quietly asked. “Just the youth group and .... my ..... self.” John started to say and then stopped, “I just got an idea.” he said. “I think I may know who stole the money, and who has been causing all these weird things going on. I need to go and call a town meeting, can you call the police?” “I'm on it.” Rhonda said and picked up her phone as John took off for the town hall.”

      Now Jericho was shut up inside and outside because of the people of Israel. None went out, and none came in. And the LORD said to Joshua, "See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor. - Joshua 6:1-2 (ESV)

     You may already know the story of Joshua and the battle for Jericho Jericho was a city with walls around it for protection, big walls. Israel wasn't trained as warriors but God had special plans for this city, plans to destroy it and own its possessions. Let's see what happens.

      You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days. Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. And when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, when you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people shall go up, everyone straight before him." … On the seventh day they rose early, at the dawn of day, and marched around the city in the same manner seven times. It was only on that day that they marched around the city seven times. And at the seventh time, when the priests had blown the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, "Shout, for the LORD has given you the city. And the city and all that is within it shall be devoted to the LORD for destruction. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall live, because she hid the messengers whom we sent. But you, keep yourselves from the things devoted to destruction, lest when you have devoted them you take any of the devoted things and make the camp of Israel a thing for destruction and bring trouble upon it. But all silver and gold, and every vessel of bronze and iron, are holy to the LORD; they shall go into the treasury of the LORD." … And they burned the city with fire, and everything in it. Only the silver and gold, and the vessels of bronze and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD. ... But the people of Israel broke faith in regard to the devoted things, for Achan the son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of the devoted things. And the anger of the LORD burned against the people of Israel.
Joshua 6:3-7:1 (ESV)

     Do you think God is serious when He says not to do something? In Exodus 20:15 we read these four simple words You shall not steal. (ESV) Somebody stole the money for the missions trip, Achan stole away something that God had plans for. God said You shall not steal.

     How serious do you think God is when He says You shall not steal? Try these verses.
  • Ezekiel 22:29-31 The people cheat others and steal. They hurt people who are poor and needy. They cheat foreigners and do not treat them fairly. I looked for someone to build up the walls and to stand before me where the walls are broken to defend these people so I would not have to destroy them. But I could not find anyone. So I let them see my anger. I destroyed them with an anger that was like fire because of all the things they have done, says the Lord GOD. (NCV)
  • 1 Corinthians 6:10 thieves, greedy people, drunkards, abusers, and swindlers—none of these will have a share in the Kingdom of God. (NLT)
     Why does one steal? or Where does stealing come from? Matthew 15:19 says it comes from the heart - For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. (ESV)

     What do we do with our wants instead of stealing? Be content with what we have, ask God for what we don't have and work....

     Here's Something To Ponder
  • What would you ever be tempted to steal?
  • In what ways can you be content with what you already have?

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