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 31, 2014


      Thing were looking pretty bad for Pupperville. Ever since the conspiracy of rebellion took over things have been getting worse and worse. You couldn't go anywhere in Pupperville without hearing about something that had gone wrong but you couldn't always tell if what you heard was true or not, especially if it came from Gladys Fisher.

      “Well, I'll be.” Gladys said as she entered the beauty parlor, “Is that you Daisy Smith?” “I sure hope it's me.” Daisy answered “Just getting my hair fixed up for the graduation ceremony tomorrow night.” “Does that mean you haven't heard yet?” Gladys said “They called off graduation because the kids quit going to school.”

      “I'd be tempted to not believe you.” Daisy said to Gladys, “But the kids have quit showing up for Sunday school and youth group at our church. Makes me wonder where the kids are going?” “Well I've heard plenty of stories as to where they are going but I won't bore you with that.” “Thank you, God” Daisy mumbled quietly under her breath.

       “But, I will tell you this.” Gladys said, “Things are getting worse.” “That.” Daisy responded, Is something you don't need to tell me because Louie ended up in the hospital.” “But, do you know why he ended up in the hospital?” No that was something Daisy didn't know and when Gladys said that here ears perked up.

      “Things around here have been getting worse, and they have gone beyond vandalism.” Gladys said, “Now things are being destroyed.” “Like what?” Daisy asked, “And what does that have to do with Louie?” “I heard it had something to do with the old abandoned warehouse on main street.” Gladys said. “It was burned to the ground. Two days ago.”

      “How does that affect Louie?” Daisy asked “Louie was in the hospital almost a week before the fire.” “I don't know everything.” Gladys said, “But I know the town is at its wits end. They've tried everything to put an end to the rebellion, but nothing has worked. Maybe they need some kind of super hero like you see in the movies.”

      “You can say that again.” Daisy said in agreement.” “So,” Gladys went on, “What is your church doing about the problem?” “What?” Daisy said “If the entire town can’t seem to stop it, how in the world is the church going to do anything?” “Well,” Gladys said, “From what I hear, the battle is probably a spiritual one. You need to be praying.”

      Thinking about it for a while Daisy said “For once, Gladys, You might be right. We should be praying for a miracle. And who know, maybe God will send us some kind of super hero to help us.” “There's only one way to find out.” Gladys said as her head was dunked under a flow of water in the sink. And without waiting for her to finish, Daisy said “I’ll go talk to my husband right now and see what he thinks. Maybe he will call a special prayer meeting?” and then she left with out getting her hair fixed up.

      In Exodus 12:33 we read All the Egyptians urged the people of Israel to get out of the land as quickly as possible, for they thought, "We will all die!" (NLT)

      After being slaves in Egypt and cruelly suffering at their hands. The Israelites were being FORCED to leave. God had plagued the people of Egypt so bad, they were afraid they would die. But Israel's troubles were not over.

      Then the LORD gave these instructions to Moses: "Tell the people to march toward Pi-hahiroth between Migdol and the sea. Camp there along the shore, opposite Baal-zephon. Then Pharaoh will think, `Those Israelites are confused. They are trapped between the wilderness and the sea!' And once again I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and he will chase after you. I have planned this so I will receive great glory at the expense of Pharaoh and his armies. After this, the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD!" So the Israelites camped there as they were told. … When word reached the king of Egypt that the Israelites were not planning to return to Egypt after three days, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds. "What have we done, letting all these slaves get away?" they asked. So Pharaoh called out his troops and led the chase in his chariot. … As Pharaoh and his army approached, the people of Israel could see them in the distance, marching toward them. The people began to panic, and they cried out to the LORD for help. Then they turned against Moses and complained, … But Moses told the people, "Don't be afraid. Just stand where you are and watch the LORD rescue you. The Egyptians that you see today will never be seen again. The LORD himself will fight for you. You won't have to lift a finger in your defense!" … Then Moses raised his hand over the sea, and the LORD opened up a path through the water with a strong east wind. The wind blew all that night, turning the seabed into dry land. So the people of Israel walked through the sea on dry ground, with walls of water on each side! Then the Egyptians—all of Pharaoh's horses, chariots, and charioteers—followed them across the bottom of the sea. But early in the morning, the LORD looked down on the Egyptian army from the pillar of fire and cloud, and he threw them into confusion. Their chariot wheels began to come off, making their chariots impossible to drive. "Let's get out of here!" the Egyptians shouted. "The LORD is fighting for Israel against us!" When all the Israelites were on the other side, the LORD said to Moses, "Raise your hand over the sea again. Then the waters will rush back over the Egyptian chariots and charioteers." … This was how the LORD rescued Israel from the Egyptians that day. And the Israelites could see the bodies of the Egyptians washed up on the shore.
Exodus 14 (NLT)

      Could Israel save it's self from Egypt? Sometimes we need God / hero to save us. When troubles that seem overwhelming, like being backed against a sea with an army closing in or a town's kids are out of control we need to remember we have a super hero and about that super we need to remember...
  • Matthew 6:8 your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him! (NLT)
  • Psalm 28:7 The LORD is my strength, my shield from every danger. I trust in him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. (NLT)
  • Psalm 34:17-19 The LORD hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous face many troubles, but the LORD rescues them from each and every one. (NLT)
  • Isaiah 40:31But those who wait on the LORD will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. (NLT)
     Here's Something To Ponder
  • At what times or in what ways have you needed a super hero because things looked impossible?
  • In what ways have you been a super hero to others?

Saturday, May 24, 2014


     Mr Grey's findings were becoming the talk of the town. Robert had done a great job of presenting his findings to the town council meeting and when he got done, nearly fifty more residents stood up and told the council how weird things had happed to them as well and their kids were almost always behind the happening.

     As Bill and Robert sat around Robert's kitchen table going over the meeting minutes, Helen came running in to the house yelling “STOP THE PRESSES. It’s happened again. “What's happened again?” Bill asked. “Not more weird things?” Robert added. “YES!” Helen yelled out, “ I thought the town council was going to put a stop to all this weird stuff.”

     “The council would love to put an end to all this weird stuff.” Bill said, “But the truth be known, they don't know how.” “Huh?” Helen said, “What do you mean?” “Well,” Robert spoke up, “You already know that we've learned all the kids in town have become part of a conspiracy, and in our meeting we sort of learned that it seems have something to do with something called “Rebellion Rules.”

     “How did you learn that?” Helen asked. “Believe it or not,” Bill answered, “From your granddaughter. “When I confronted Stella a few days ago she 'Rebellion Rules.” When I pushed her more for an explanation as to what they were rebelling against she said 'Anything and everything. parents, teachers, police and even God.”

     “This is really getting serious.” Helen said. “We know.” Robert answered. “No.” Helen said, I mean it is REALLY getting serious. Louie just ended up in the hospital.” “What?” Bill said, “Is he okay? What happened?” “I don't know.” Helen said, “But if these kids keep rebelling I have a feeling things are going to get worse for everyone.”

     “I wish I knew what in the world has gotten into these kids.” Robert said a little sad, “The vandalism was bad enough but now people are getting hurt.” “Maybe that's what's gotten into them.” Bill Piped up, “The World.” “Huh?” Robert and Helen questioned.

     “You know.” Bill said, “The me first attitude, and the I only want to do what I want to do attitude. All of that together leads to chaos, confusion, and calamity.” “Well, if something doesn’t happen soon,” Helen responded, “The whole town could be ruined. What is the council's next move? I was too busy serving refreshments at the last one to here how it ended.”

     “I don't know.” Bill answered, “They’re having another meeting tomorrow to discuss the problem and possible solutions. “Well, if you want my two cents.” Helen said, “I think a large whip would do wonders. I'll talk at you later. I'm meeting up with Daisy at the hospital to pray for Louie.”

     And God spoke all these words, saying, "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. "You shall have no other gods before me.
Exodus 20:1-3 (ESV)

     You may recognize this passage as the beginning of the ten commandments. God asks first place and obedience but Israel was not one to quickly follow God's laws. As we look deeper in to Israel's life as God's people we find them rebelling more often than they should.

     When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, "Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him." So Aaron said to them, "Take off the rings of gold that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me." So all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, "These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!" When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made proclamation and said, "Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD." And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play. - Exodus 32:1-6 (ESV)

      And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals. And they abandoned the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed down to them. And they provoked the LORD to anger. They abandoned the LORD and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth. So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he gave them over to plunderers, who plundered them. And he sold them into the hand of their surrounding enemies, so that they could no longer withstand their enemies. Whenever they marched out, the hand of the LORD was against them for harm, as the LORD had warned, and as the LORD had sworn to them. And they were in terrible distress. Then the LORD raised up judges, who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them. Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they whored after other gods and bowed down to them. They soon turned aside from the way in which their fathers had walked, who had obeyed the commandments of the LORD, and they did not do so. Whenever the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge. For the LORD was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them. But whenever the judge died, they turned back and were more corrupt than their fathers, going after other gods, serving them and bowing down to them. They did not drop any of their practices or their stubborn ways. - Judges 2:11-29 (ESV)

     Over the years, not much has changed. The first chapter of Romans could apply today as much as it did in the time of Judges, and the first century. In Romans 1:28-30 we read People did not think it was important to have a true knowledge of God. So God left them and allowed them to have their own worthless thinking and to do things they should not do. They are filled with every kind of sin, evil, selfishness, and hatred. They are full of jealousy, murder, fighting, lying, and thinking the worst about each other. They gossip and say evil things about each other. They hate God. They are rude and conceited and brag about themselves. They invent ways of doing evil. They do not obey their parents. (NCV)

     Add to this Romans 13:2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. (NIV) and 1 Samuel 15:23 Rebellion is as bad as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you from being king." (NLT)

     Here's Something To Ponder
  • In what ways have you rebelled against God?
  • In what ways do you strive to obey God?

Saturday, May 17, 2014


     It was getting close to supper time and Mrs Grey was busy in the kitchen cooking up some spaghetti. At the same time she was working on some bars for a town council meeting. She didn't normally make bars for the meeting but she was sure it was going to be along one so she volunteered along with several others to make some goodies.

      Soon it was time to set the table but when she got to the dining room, she found Robert going over stacks of papers spread all over the table. “Are all these papers for the meeting tonight?” she asked as she knew her husband had been the primary investigator. “C - O - N -S - T - I - P - A - T - I - O – N” came his reply.

      “Constipation?” Helen said, “You haven't even had supper yet.” “No, no, no can’t you spell.” Robert said looking up at his wife, “I spelled conspiracy.” “You spelled constipation.” Helen said “Conspiracy is spelled C – O – N – S – P – I – R – A – C – Y” “Oh,” Robert said, “I guess you're right. That looks better anyway.”

      “Why do you need to spell conspiracy?” Helen asked, “Is that from your investigation?” “It sure is.” Robert said, “And I think I have uncovered a conspiracy.” “Well, I think you need to uncover the table so we can eat.” Helen said, “By the way, what did you learn from all your interrogating?”

      “Well,” Robert started, “You better sit down. All the troubles around town have been caused by the youth.” “Are you saying the kids are behind all the weird things going on?” Helen asked as she took a chair. “Stella was behind the messy room, and you’ll never guess who was caused all the problems at the church.” “Louie?” Helen said hesitantly.

      “You got it.” Robert said. “The green spray cans were found in his room. I've also learned that it was Barney who was guilty of changing the sermon on Randy, the Miller twins canceled the youth group meeting, shy Bernadette stole the mission trip money...” “What!?” Helen exclaimed, “Bernadette a thief? What's this town coming too?”

      “It keeps going.” Robert said. “Old McDonald’s daughter was found guilty of switching all the seeds around and there were dozens and dozens of other kids around town that were doing the same sort of things.” “But why?” Helen said shaking her head, “Why would they do such a thing?” “I'm not 100% certain.” Robert said, “But I think there is some kind of conspiracy going on and when we meet tonight we might be able to figure it out.”

      “Well,” Helen said, “I sure hope they can get to the root of the problem.” “I do too.” Robert said, “And I sure hope that smoke detector going off isn't supper. I'm starving.” “Opps!” Helen said and took off for the kitchen.

     Then Joab went to the king and told him, and he summoned Absalom. So he came to the king and bowed himself on his face to the ground before the king, and the king kissed Absalom.- 2 Samuel 14:33 (ESV)

      Absalom was the son of king David. After killing his brother he fled for his life. In time, he was allowed back but that became a problem. Look at what he did....

      After this Absalom got himself a chariot and horses, and fifty men to run before him. And Absalom used to rise early and stand beside the way of the gate. And when any man had a dispute to come before the king for judgment, Absalom would call to him and say, "From what city are you?" And when he said, "Your servant is of such and such a tribe in Israel," Absalom would say to him, "See, your claims are good and right, but there is no man designated by the king to hear you." Then Absalom would say, "Oh that I were judge in the land! Then every man with a dispute or cause might come to me, and I would give him justice." And whenever a man came near to pay homage to him, he would put out his hand and take hold of him and kiss him. Thus Absalom did to all of Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel. And at the end of four years Absalom said to the king, "Please let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed to the LORD, in Hebron. For your servant vowed a vow while I lived at Geshur in Aram, saying, 'If the LORD will indeed bring me back to Jerusalem, then I will offer worship to the LORD.' " The king said to him, "Go in peace." So he arose and went to Hebron. But Absalom sent secret messengers throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, "As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then say, 'Absalom is king at Hebron!' " With Absalom went two hundred men from Jerusalem who were invited guests, and they went in their innocence and knew nothing. And while Absalom was offering the sacrifices, he sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David's counselor, from his city Giloh. And the conspiracy grew strong, and the people with Absalom kept increasing.
2 Samuel 15:1-12 (ESV)

      Sitting in the gates, diverting the people to himself, putting down the king, Absalom was winning the hearts of the people. After four years of such conspiring, he declared himself king and David had to run for his life.

      Through the Bible, the Old Testament for sure, there were many different plots, conspiracies.
  • Sin speaks to the wicked in their hearts. They have no fear of God. They think too much of themselves so they don’t see their sin and hate it. Their words are wicked lies; they are no longer wise or good. At night they make evil plans; what they do leads to nothing good. They don’t refuse things that are evil. Psalm 36:1-4 (NCV)
  • The wicked make evil plans against good people. They grind their teeth at them in anger. But the Lord laughs at the wicked, because he sees that their day is coming. The wicked draw their swords and bend their bows to kill the poor and helpless, to kill those who are honest. But their swords will stab their own hearts, and their bows will break. Psalm 37:12-15 (NCV)
  • How terrible it will be for people who plan wickedness, who lie on their beds and make evil plans. When the morning light comes, they do what they planned, because they have the power to do so. They want fields, so they take them; they want houses, so they take them away. They cheat people to get their houses; they rob them even of their property. That is why the LORD says: “Look, I am planning trouble against such people, and you won’t be able to save yourselves. You will no longer walk proudly, because it will be a terrible time. At that time people will make fun of you and sing this sad song about you: ’We are completely ruined; the LORD has taken away my people’s land. Yes, he has taken it away from me and divided our fields among our enemies!’ “ Micah 2:1-4 (NCV)
      In these verse we not only read of those who conspire but of the trouble that is to be fall them.

      Here's Something To Ponder
  • In what ways have you suffered as the result of another's conspiring?
  • In what way's have other suffered as the result of your conspiring?

Saturday, May 10, 2014


     Have you ever been interrogated? To interrogate is to ask questions of a person, sometimes to seek answers or information regarding where abouts, or personal information or some secret. Imagine my surprise working on a puppet story when one of the puppets decided to interrogate me? That's right, he wanted to interrogate me. I know there have been a lot of weird things happening in Pupperville but I never imagined I was going to be a suspect.

     It all happened the other day when Robert Grey sneaked up on me, “Ahem!” he said as he cleared his throat. “Uhm, Hello, Mr Grey.” I said, How are you doing today?” “I'm not sure yet?” He responded, “I’m just getting started.” “What are you starting?” I asked. “An investigation and you are first on my interrogation list.” Robert said making me wonder what he was really up to.

     Deciding to play along with him, I asked “What did I do?” “Do you or do you not write all of these puppet stories?” he demanded of me. “Well, yeah,” I said, “A somebody has to do it.” “GUILTY!!” he screamed, “You’re the one who is responsible for all the things happening in Pupperville.”

     “Excuse me?” I said “You’re the one who messed up Harold’s room,” Robert shot back at me, “And your the one that painted green graffiti on the church building, changed the sermon, stole the money...” “Stop right there!” I said interrupting him. “Do you have any proof?” “Didn’t you just admit to writing these stories?” he asked. “Yes,” I admitted, “but writing about something doesn’t mean you did it.”

     “It doesn’t?” Robert said scratching his head, “Are you sure?” “You don’t think newspaper writers did all the things they write about do you?” I tossed back at him. “I guess not.” Robert said a bit discouraged, “There goes that theory down the drain.”

     “Is this investigation a result of the town meeting that John called together.” I asked. “Sure is.” Robert said, “Sure is. We had a pretty long meeting the other day and we learned that everybody in Pupperville has been affected by some kind of weird happenings.” “Did you figure out who's doing it all?” I asked “Not yet.” Robert said “But we have some ideas and we figure if we all work together we might figure it out and than be able to stop it.”

     “Well, I hope you figure t out soon.” I told him and he readily agreed and then with a big grin on his face he said to me. “Now to go interrogate my next victim.” and then he disappeared leaving me to wonder if my puppets had come to life or if I had been dreaming.

     A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together constantly and shared everything they had. They sold their possessions and shared the proceeds with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord's Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved.
Acts 2:43-47 (NLT)

     The church had been growing and all was going well, yet, after awhile problems arose, legitimate problems and while the problems were not weird problems like Pupperville has been experiencing, they were still problems that needed answers.

     One of the problems the early church had was hungry widows. In Acts 6:1-7 we read - But as the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent. Those who spoke Greek complained against those who spoke Hebrew, saying that their widows were being discriminated against in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. "We apostles should spend our time preaching and teaching the word of God, not administering a food program," they said. "Now look around among yourselves, brothers, and select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. We will put them in charge of this business.Then we can spend our time in prayer and preaching and teaching the word." This idea pleased the whole group, and they chose the following: Stephen (a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit), Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas of Antioch (a Gentile convert to the Jewish faith, who had now become a Christian). These seven were presented to the apostles, who prayed for them as they laid their hands on them. God's message was preached in ever-widening circles. The number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem, and many of the Jewish priests were converted, too. (NLT)

     Another problem was related to what laws should be obeyed. This can be found in Acts 15:1-23 - While Paul and Barnabas were at Antioch of Syria, some men from Judea arrived and began to teach the Christians: "Unless you keep the ancient Jewish custom of circumcision taught by Moses, you cannot be saved." Paul and Barnabas, disagreeing with them, argued forcefully and at length. Finally, Paul and Barnabas were sent to Jerusalem, accompanied by some local believers, to talk to the apostles and elders about this question. The church sent the delegates to Jerusalem, and they stopped along the way in Phoenicia and Samaria to visit the believers. They told them—much to everyone's joy—that the Gentiles, too, were being converted. When they arrived in Jerusalem, Paul and Barnabas were welcomed by the whole church, including the apostles and elders. They reported on what God had been doing through their ministry. But then some of the men who had been Pharisees before their conversion stood up and declared that all Gentile converts must be circumcised and be required to follow the law of Moses. So the apostles and church elders got together to decide this question. … we should write to them and tell them to abstain from eating meat sacrificed to idols, from sexual immorality, and from consuming blood or eating the meat of strangled animals. (NLT)

     In both situations, the apostles came together to solve the issues at hand. Both time the answers were agreeable. We don't need to solve problems alone. In Pupperville they got together as a town council and put a plan in to place. Working together, getting wise council is a Biblical idea. Here are some verses to remember.
  • Proverbs 1:5 A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel, (NASB)
  • Proverbs 11:14 Where there is no guidance the people fall, But in abundance of counselors there is victory. (NASB)
  • Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But a wise man is he who listens to counsel. (NASB)
     From Nehemiah we can learn that Working together gets work done. - Nehemiah 4:16-17 From that day on, half of my servants carried on the work while half of them held the spears, the shields, the bows and the breastplates; and the captains were behind the whole house of Judah. Those who were rebuilding the wall and those who carried burdens took their load with one hand doing the work and the other holding a weapon. (NASB)

     Here's Something To Ponder
  • Do you take the time to get council from others?
  • Are you willing to work with others to get things done?

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?