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, August 30, 2014


     It was time. Time to fix all the damages that had occurred to the church building from the tornado and what better way to do it than host a WORK AT THE CHURCH AND BARBECUE. With all the work that needed to be done some people thought there wouldn't be enough workers but with the offer of a barbecue when the work was done, well it was supplies they didn't have enough of.

     It wasn't long before John McDonald and his daughter Tracy headed off to get some of those supplies. When they arrived and Frank's Do-It-Yourself Hardware store they not only found the supplies they were looking for but they also found someone who wasn't working. It was Cindy Miller and she was, will, not doing anything.

     “Hey, Cindy.” Tracy called out, “Don't you know what weekend this is?” “I know what it is.” Cindy said with a sigh, “It's a weekend for work.” “So you do know.” John said. “I thought everybody knew this was the weekend we all have to work.” Cindy sighed again. “I guess so.” John said, “But it is also the weekend we celebrate work and all the people who do it.”

     “Celebrate work!” Cindy exclaimed in shock, “Why would anybody want to celebrate such a thing?” “Well,” John said, “Aren't you thankful for all the workers and the work they do?” “I guess so.” Cindy replied, “As long as it isn’t me that has to do the work.”

     “Oh yeah,” Tracy said, “It Mindy who likes to work.” “You can say that again.” Cindy said, “When it comes to work I avoid it like the plague. Why else do you think I’m here and not helping at the church.” “That's too bad.” John said, “There is plenty of work around the building and work is a good thing especially when you are doing it for God.” “You could have even helped Daisy in the kitchen.” Tracy added.

     “What.” Cindy Scoffed, “Did the tornado scatter all the pots and pans?” “The kitchen is fine.” John said. “She working on the food for after were done.” Tracy added, “Obviously you weren't listening to the announcement.” “Announcement?” Cindy questioned. “Yes.” John said, “There having a big barbecue dinner after the work is done.”

     “They are!” Cindy said with excitement, “I better get over there for that.” “It won't do you any good.” Tracy said. “Why not?” Cindy demanded to know. “ I love barbecues.” “That may be.” John sad “But the dinner is only for those who work.” “WHAT?!” Cindy hollered “That's what you get fo not working.” Tracy said.

     “Well then.” Cindy said with her nose in the air, “I guess I might as well go home and do nothing.” And then she hopped on her bike and took off. “I'm glad you're such a good worker.” John said to his daughter as they loaded the stuff in John's truck. “So am I.” Tracy said “And I can't wait for the barbecue. Do you think we should have told her about the hayride she'll miss too?” “I'm sure she'll find out soon enough.” John said, “We better get back to the church.”

For the people had a mind to work. - Nehemiah 4:6b (ESV)

     How many of you enjoy work? How many of you try to avoid work? What happens when we fail to work? In Nehemiah the people had a mind to work and as a result, something got done. It all started in Nehemiah 2:1-5 where we read In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence. And the king said to me, "Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of the heart." Then I was very much afraid. I said to the king, "Let the king live forever! Why should not my face be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' graves, lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?" Then the king said to me, "What are you requesting?" So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king, "If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers' graves, that I may rebuild it." (ESV)

     Nehemiah made a request of the king to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and if we were to keep reading, we would learn that he received it. We would also learn that Nehemiah would ride to Jerusalem and inspect the walls, that he would incite the people to rebuild the walls. We would learn that the people started working everywhere and they were teased and then more trouble came and they had to stand guard but, work went on and 52 days later the wall was done.

     It's amazing what can get done when someone or a group of people have a mind to work. There are some who would think work to be a four letter word – meaning it is a bad thing but work is a part of life and comes from God Himself.
  • Exodus 34:21 Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest. In plowing time and in harvest you shall rest. (ESV)
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:11 Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, (NIV)
  • 1 Corinthians 3:9 We are God’s workers, working together; you are like God’s farm, God’s house. (NCV)
  • Proverbs 16:3 Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established. (ESV)
  • Acts 20:35 And I have been a constant example of how you can help the poor by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: `It is more blessed to give than to receive.' " (NLT)
  • Ephesians 4:28 If you are a thief, stop stealing. Begin using your hands for honest work, and then give generously to others in need. (NLT)
     Here's Something To Ponder as you celebrate Labor Day.
  • Do you value the work that you have been allowed to do?
  • Are you grateful for the work for which you reap the benefits?

Saturday, August 9, 2014


      Stella Peterson had just come from visiting her grandparents and was aching to find someone to talk to, to tell them the story she had just heard. She tried finding Bernadette, she tried finding Tracy, She tried finding Mindy and Cindy she even tried to talk to her brother but no-one was around and if they were they didn't have time to listen but then she bumped into Gladys.

      “Do I know you young lady?” Gladys said and than finished her sentence before Stella could answer, “You're Hero Harold's sister aren't you. Stella, I think. Do you always walk around bumping into people?” “I'm sorry.” Stella said and then burst into laughter. “You think that's funny?” Gladys said in disgust. “No.” Stella said “But what I heard was.” and then Stella started snorting she was laughing so hard. That was the wrong thing to say.

      Gladys, being the town gossip and all, was all ears when she heard that and couldn't wait to hear more. “What's so funny?” she asked. “You won't believe it.” Stella said through her laughter, “ Grampa ... said .... he ... saw ... an ... angel.” and then started to snort again. “Is that so..” Gladys said thoughtfully, “And why is that so funny?”

      “Silly.” Stella said, “Nobody sees angels they only saw them in the Bible and Grampa isn’t in the Bible.” “Looking fo a good story Gladys prodded Stella along, “How do you know that?” She asked. “ I thought it was pretty obvious.” Stella said no longer laughing, “Besides, Grampa was a bit hysterical when they got him out.”

      “Got him out.” Gladys thought to herself, “That sound good. Maybe he was drunk and fell in a hole...” “Got him out of where?” She asked out loud. “Out of church!” Stella said, “Didn't you hear about the tornado?” “Oh, that.” Gladys said a bit disappointed. “Well,”Stella went on, “He was one of those trapped in the building and that is where he said it happened.”

      “Where he saw the angel?” Gladys asked. “Yeah.” Stella said and then let out a snort, “He said it told him they would all be safe and that things would be worse on their mission trip but they were not to worry only trust in God and He would see them through.”

      “Sound like some good advice.” Came a man's voice. “It was Randy Smith and apparently he had heard the whole conversation. “You don’t believe he saw an angel, do you?” Stella asked. “I wasn’t there but I don’t see why not.” “Are you cracking up?” Stella asked. “From the way you sounded.” Gladys butted in, “You were the one cracking up.” “Besides,” Randy went on, “An angel appeared like that to Paul, and the Bible says that some people see angels and don’t even know it. In fact, they’re probably all around us.”

      When Stella heard that she started to cry. “I missed seeing an angel?” she said and then ran off. “Are you sure he wasn't a little, well, you know...” Gladys said to Randy but Randy gave her a stern look back and then she ran off.

      Have you ever felt like a stranger in a new place? Sometimes we are strangers, sometimes we see the strangers and sometimes we want to avoid them. In the Bible we see times when strangers showed up but, were they really strangers?

      In Genesis 18 we read of the appearance of three men to Abraham .... He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth and said, "O Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant. … They said to him, "Where is Sarah your wife?" And he said, "She is in the tent." The LORD said, "I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son." And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him. … Then the men set out from there, and they looked down toward Sodom. And Abraham went with them to set them on their way. The LORD said, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do,
Genesis 18:1-22 (ESV)

      In Genesis 32 it is Jacob's turn .... And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob's hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, "Let me go, for the day has broken." But Jacob said, "I will not let you go unless you bless me." And he said to him, "What is your name?" And he said, "Jacob." Then he said, "Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed." Then Jacob asked him, "Please tell me your name." But he said, "Why is it that you ask my name?" And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, "For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered."
Genesis 32:22-30 (ESV)

      Hebrews 13:2 says Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. (ESV) Have you ever wondered if the strange that just walked by or that you just walked by may have been an angel. If if the strangers around us are not angels we do have a duty towards them.
  • Leviticus 19:34 You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. (ESV)
  • Leviticus 19:10 And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the LORD your God. (ESV)
  • Exodus 22:21 "You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. (NASB)
  • Deuteronomy 24:17 You shall not pervert justice due the stranger or the fatherless, nor take a widow's garment as a pledge. (NKJV)
  • Deuteronomy 26:11 So you shall rejoice in every good thing which the LORD your God has given to you and your house, you and the Levite and the stranger who is among you. (NKJV)
     Here's Something To Ponder
  • What would you do if an angel did appear before you as a stranger?
  • When you have been a stranger how have you wanted to be treated?

Saturday, August 2, 2014


     It had been a long busy day for John McDonald working on his farm and he was looking forward to a good nights sleep. Tracy had slipped off to her room and drifted off to sleep hours ago. John laid his head down on his pillow and with a matter of minutes he was sleeping soundly only to be awaken by someone banging on his door.

     “I don't believe this” John said to himself as he slipped a robe on and headed to the door. Opening the door he found Bill Peterson standing their drenched from head to foot. “Excuse me.” Bill said, “But but do you have a chainsaw?” “I guess that depends on who you ask.” John said leaving bill with a confused look on his face.

     “It's a joke.” John said, “My daughter keeps telling me I don't have a 'real' chainsaw. But yes I do have one.” “Good.” Bill said, Can I borrow it, I need it to get into the church building.” “At this time of the night?” John asked, “What's wrong with using the door? And why can't you wait until morning?”

     “Can't open it and can't wait.” Bill said, “There are people stuck inside.” “then why don't they open it?” John said, “I'm trying to get some sleep.” “Too many trees.” Bill said, “That's why I need the chainsaw.” “Huh?” John said, “What's going on? Why do you have trees in the church building?” “I think it was a tornado.” Bill said, “But it hasn't been confirmed yet.”

     “A tornado!” John said as his eyes popped wide open. “Yes.” Bill said, “The old folks were at the church planning a mission trip when it hit and that's why I need the chainsaw tonight.” “If that's the case than you can use it.” John said, “I'll even get dressed and come help. But just so you know, I don't have any gas.”

     “No Gas?” Bill exclaimed, “What good is a chainsaw without gas?” “Well I had some.” John said, “But it got dumped out. We can get some at the Corner Mart on our way back to the church.” “No can do.” Bill said shaking his head, “The tornado destroyed it.” “I guess I can't help you then.” John said. “Have you tried asking God for help?”

     “Well, yeah.” Bill said, “We asked him first but all he sent was a bunch of kids who said they could help but what help can they be?” “Well,” John said, God can use them just like he uses us and they can get into place we can't. Just think of all the places Harold use to get into.” “Yeah maybe.” Bill said hesitantly and then Tracy came running up behind Bill totally drenched.

     “Tracy?” John called out, “I thought you went to bed ours ago.” “No time to explain, dad.” Tracy said, “We need your tractor to help lift the trees of the church building, can you help us.” What a great idea.” John said, “Let me get dressed and I'll be right down.” “I'll go get things ready.” Tracy called out and took off. “I'll go tell everyone help is coming.” Bill said and then he took off. “What is sleep?” John asked and went to get dressed to help.

     Again Jesus began teaching by the lake. A great crowd gathered around him, so he sat down in a boat near the shore. All the people stayed on the shore close to the water. - Mark 4:1 (NCV) Jesus was along side the sea and a large crowd came to hear His teaching. As a result of the crowd, Jesus got into a boat with His disciples. No, He didn't leave, He sat down and taught till evening. Then He decided to leave and that is where our story begins.

      That evening, Jesus said to his followers, “Let’s go across the lake.“ Leaving the crowd behind, they took him in the boat just as he was. There were also other boats with them. A very strong wind came up on the lake. The waves came over the sides and into the boat so that it was already full of water. Jesus was at the back of the boat, sleeping with his head on a cushion. His followers woke him and said, “Teacher, don’t you care that we are drowning!“ Jesus stood up and commanded the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!“ Then the wind stopped, and it became completely calm. Jesus said to his followers, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?“ The followers were very afraid and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!“
Mark 4:35-41 (NCV)

     After deciding to go to the other side, the disciples started rowing, while Jesus laid down to sleep. In the meantime a strong wind came up and the waves got high and the boat started to fill with water and the disciples thought they were goners and finally one of them woke Jesus up and He said “You better swim for it? No, He said “Peace be still.” and it was.

     Who should we trust in / rely on. In past stories we saw how God sent Harold to be a hero and while other didn't see how, God used him to solve the towns problems. God sent kids to help at the church when the Tornado hit and while Bill couldn't see how kids could help, they came up with the solution. We need to trust and rely on God even if we can't make sense of His answers.

     The Palmists is one who had much to say on trusting God.
  • Psalm 37:3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. (ESV)
  • Psalm 37:5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. (ESV)
  • Psalm 115:11 You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD! He is their help and their shield. (ESV)
  • Psalm 118:8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. (ESV)
     Even Solomon had something to say years later
  • Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. (ESV)
  • Proverbs 28:25 A greedy man stirs up strife, but the one who trusts in the LORD will be enriched. (ESV)
     Here's Something To Ponder
  • What are the times in your life that you have needed to trust God even though His ways didn't make sense?
  • Do you tend to rely on man over God?