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

Sunday, November 15, 2015


      “We could have been rich.” Stella Peterson kept mumbling to her self as she sat moping in the food court at the mall. She was not having a good day, in fact she was having a lousy day and it wasn't because her brother Harold had been kidnapped and held for ransom. “So, what's your problem?” came a familiar voice. It was Daisy Smith who happened to walk by and see Stella pouting.

      Before Stella could answer, Daisy said “By the way, is your dad around? I was hoping to stop by your house later to talk to him about Harold.” “Don't bother stopping by.” Stella said in return, “He won't be around for awhile. He went on a camping trip to the mountains.” “Huh?” Daisy responded, “But what about Harold?”

      “He took Harold with him.” Stella said, “In fact, Harold’s the reason they went.” “But I thought Harold was kidnapped?” Daisy said somewhat surprised at what she heard. “He was!” Stella snapped, “And as far as I’m concerned they should have left him kidnapped.

      “How did he get Harold back?” Daisy asked wanting to know, “I know your dad didn’t have the formula.” “He made one up?” Stella said with a sigh. “What?” Daisy exclaimed, “Your dad doesn’t know anything about Chemistry. His formula could have created a dilemma worse then, then…...” “Don't worry.” Stella interrupted, “The kidnapper's never got a chance to see it.” “Then how did he get free?” Daisy asked

      “The FBI found him first.” Stella said. “Marvelous.” Daisy said, “How did they do that?” “I guess the kidnapper's were stupid like my brother.” Stella said, “Do you remember the ransom note they sent? Well apparently the kidnapper used one of his magazines to cut up and make all the words.”
“Yeah,” Daisy said shaking her head, “I remember hearing about that.”

      “Well,” Stella continued, “When the FBI peeled off all the words and letters, they found an address label on the back side of the word 'live.'” “And that led them right to Harold was.” Daisy finished. “More or less.” Stella added, “It did lead them to the kidnapper’s place, which in turn led them to Harold, but I still don’t see what the big worry was.”

      “Stella!” Daisy gasped when she heard that, “He’s your brother.” “But if they would have just left him where he was,” Stella said, “they would have been paying us to take him back in a few weeks.” “The kidnapper said you would never have seen him alive again.” “Oh.” Stella said looking down at her feet, “No wonder Dad made up that fake formula.”

      After a long pause, Daisy started to leave but as she did Stella blurted out, “I still think they would have payed us ten million dollars to take him back. We could have been rich.”

      Everyone must die once, and after that be judged by God. Hebrews 9:27 (TEV) – We all die. Thankfully Harold was found and his kidnappers didn't get a chance to kill him and so Harold's death was postponed again but you know what? We all die. I do not know of any one of us who can escape that fact. Sarah, Abraham's wife, couldn't either. But even with the story of one's death there are things that can be learned. Let us look at Sarah's.

      Sarah lived 127 years; these were the years of the life of Sarah. And Sarah died at Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her. And Abraham rose up from before his dead and said to the Hittites, "I am a sojourner and foreigner among you; give me property among you for a burying place, that I may bury my dead out of my sight." The Hittites answered Abraham, "Hear us, my lord; you are a prince of God among us. Bury your dead in the choicest of our tombs. None of us will withhold from you his tomb to hinder you from burying your dead." Abraham rose and bowed to the Hittites, the people of the land. And he said to them, "If you are willing that I should bury my dead out of my sight, hear me and entreat for me Ephron the son of Zohar, that he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he owns; it is at the end of his field. For the full price let him give it to me in your presence as property for a burying place." Now Ephron was sitting among the Hittites, and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the hearing of the Hittites, of all who went in at the gate of his city, "No, my lord, hear me: I give you the field, and I give you the cave that is in it. In the sight of the sons of my people I give it to you. Bury your dead." Then Abraham bowed down before the people of the land. And he said to Ephron in the hearing of the people of the land, "But if you will, hear me: I give the price of the field. Accept it from me, that I may bury my dead there." Ephron answered Abraham, "My lord, listen to me: a piece of land worth four hundred shekels of silver, what is that between you and me? Bury your dead." Abraham listened to Ephron, and Abraham weighed out for Ephron the silver that he had named in the hearing of the Hittites, four hundred shekels of silver, according to the weights current among the merchants. So the field of Ephron in Machpelah, which was to the east of Mamre, the field with the cave that was in it and all the trees that were in the field, throughout its whole area, was made over to Abraham as a possession in the presence of the Hittites, before all who went in at the gate of his city. After this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah east of Mamre (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan. The field and the cave that is in it were made over to Abraham as property for a burying place by the Hittites
Genesis 23:1-20 (ESV)

      Here is some thing we can learn from this story. Even though Abraham had a good reputation among the people and as a result could have had any place he wanted for free, His integrity would not let him take advantage of the situation and he willfully paid a fair price for the land he wanted. He wasn't in it for gain. Jesus said in Matthew 16:26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life? (ESV) It is not earthly things we need to seek after. Colossians 3:1-2 says If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (ESV) In our story above Stella was only interested in what she could possibly get out of her brother's kidnapping, her mind was set on earthly things, she had no integrity.
  • Proverbs 3:3-4 Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. (ESV)
  • Proverbs 10:9 Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out. (ESV)
  • Proverbs 11:3 The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them. (ESV)

      Here's Something To Ponder
  • When something bad happens to others do you look to profit from it?
  • In what ways doe your integrity show?

Saturday, May 9, 2015


     “How many of you like to get mail?” Randy Smith asked as he opened up the men's Thursday night Bible study. “I know I do, unless of course the mail is a bill asking me for money.” Upon hearing that a chuckle arose from the guys in the room. “Speaking of bills,” Randy continued, “Has anyone seen Bill? He's usually here early checking over the snacks.”

      “Randy.” Came Bill's voice. He was shacking like crazy and stuttering as he spoke, “I….I….I...” he said. Is something wrong, Bill?” Randy asked, “You're shaking worse than a ...” “I got a letter in the mail.” Bill said cutting Randy off. “A letter in the mail!” Randy exclaimed, “That's great because you can help me with...” “NO!” Bill shouted.

      “What?” Randy said taken aback, “You've helped me before.” “NO!” Bill shouted again, “You don''t understand.” “Come on Bill,” Randy said, “It won’t be that hard, and you’re among friends, you don’t need to keep stuttering and shaking. Why don't you tell us about your letter.”

      With his head bowed low, Bill started to read the letter. “Dear Bill,” he read. “Sounds like a normal opening.” Randy injected. “If you ever want to see..” Bill continued. “There’s a lot of things I would like to see.” Randy added. “Your Son again.” Bill said. “The sun is outside right ... “ Randy started to say but then stopped and asked, “Bill, how did they spell sun?”

      “S - O – N” Bill spelled out. “What?” Randy said, “What kind of letter is that?” “A ransom letter.” Bill said. “A ransom letter?” Randy said a bit confused. “They said I would never see Harold alive again if I didn’t give them the formula.” “You're sounding serious.” “John McDonald said, “Are you sure this is for real?”

      “I'm scared.” Bill said. “What did they say they wanted?” Dr. Henderson asked. “The formula.” Bill answered, “The one that created the Peterson disease.” “But you don't have that.” Tim said, “We couldn't even replicate it in the hospital lab.” “What am I going to do?” Bill asked, “I’ll never see Harold alive again.”

      “Why wasn't I informed about this.” Sergeant Halfway piped up. “Did the letter say why they wanted the formula?” “No” Bill said, “It just ended with a big Ha, Ha, Ha.” “Did the letter say who it was from?” Sergeant Halfway asked. “No.” Bill Said, “Not only that but the letter was made form words and letters from Magazines, so the FBI can’t even cross check the hand writing.”

      “FBI!?” Sergeant Halfway shouted, “How did they find out about this before I did?” “Your fellow officers have been trying to get a hold of you all day.” Bill said, “Is your radio on?” After making a quick check, “Sergeant Halfway gulped, “It is now. I better get to the station and see if I can help.” “And I think, instead of talking about letters tonight.” Randy added, “We should simply pray.”

      The LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did to Sarah as he had promised. And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him. Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore him, Isaac.
Genesis 21:1-3 (ESV)

       God had promised Abraham that he would one day have a son with his wife Sarah, a promise that he kept but then came the test. How much did Abraham really Love Isaac, Would he trust God to see him through, and would he see his son alive when all was done?

      After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here am I." He said, "Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you." So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. … And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. And Isaac said to his father Abraham, "My father!" And he said, "Here am I, my son." He said, "Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" Abraham said, "God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son." So they went both of them together. When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" And he said, "Here am I." He said, "Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me." ...
Genesis 22:1-19 (ESV)

      There are some things we can learn from this story, there are things we can look at and ponder such as…
  • We will be tested
    • Exodus 20:20 Moses said to the people, "Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin." (ESV)
    • Psalm 11:5 The LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. (ESV)
  • Obedience is required
    • Deuteronomy 32:46 he said to them, "Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law. (ESV)
    • Joshua 1:8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. (ESV)
  • Faith Will Be Needed
    • Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (ESV)
    • 2 Corinthians 5:7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. (ESV)
     Here's Something To Ponder
  • In what ways have you been tested?
  • In what ways do you trust the Lord to see you through times of testing?

Saturday, April 18, 2015


     “Why would they be putting in a nursery?” Stella Peterson kept asking her self, “Is their mom going to have another baby?” And the more she pondered the questions the more curious she became until she decided she needed to get to the bottom of this and took off for the Miller house. Before she could even get to the front door, Mindy came running at her screaming “HELP!! HELP!! HELP!!”

     “What's wrong, Mindy?” Stella asked as she was plowed into. “Its MOM” Mindy said, “She keeps siding with Cindy.” “Siding with Cindy?” Stella said, “What are you talking about?” “We're trying to divide up our stuff and MOM keeps siding with Cindy.” “And that's a problem?” Stella asked. “It is when she keeps letting her have all the neat stuff.” Mindy replied.

     “Like what?” Stella asked. “Like all the stuff that is actually mine.” Cindy answered running up to them. “And don't believe a word Mindy tells you.” “It is not yours!” Mindy said. “It is too.” Cindy answered back, “And Mom even agrees with me.” “That's because she likes you best.” Mindy snorted “Probably because you’re such a neat freak and take care of all your stuff.”

     “Well,” Cindy said, “If you would take care of your stuff, maybe you would have something to claim as your own.” “So, who's stuff is it?” Stella asked, “Is it yours, Mindy or is it Cindy's?” “Well, I use it sometimes.” Mindy started to say. “Only because yours is broke.” Cindy said cutting her off. “So what.” Mindy said, “I don't care.”

     “That's just the problem.” Cindy said, “You don't care. I tell you what. I have an idea. Why don't I just give you all my stuff.” “What”? Mindy and Stella said in unison. “What are you plotting?” Stella tacked on. “I just got to thinking.” Mindy said, “Stuff only crowds up my room, besides I don’t use most of the stuff, so I’ll just give it to you so we can live in peace.”

      “Oh no you don’t.” Mindy shouted “I insist.” Cindy said politely, “Besides, we need to get our old room cleaned out for Mom to make her nursery.” “There you go talking about a nursery again.” Stella said when she heard that, “Is your mom having a baby?”

      “No.” Cindy said, “Our mom is going into daycare.” “And to think Cindy thought Mom was going to have a baby.” Mindy tacked on. “You thought she was too.” Cindy said. “Did not.” Mindy added, “Did too.” Cindy snapped back. “You both did.” Stella injected, “And I guess I did too.”

     “By the way, Mindy,” Cindy said, “Mom said you need to go finish cleaning.” “What do you have left to clean, Cindy?” Stella asked, “Oh, I'm done.” Cindy said, “I'm heading to the park. Do you want to go with me?” “Sure.” Stella said and the Cindy and here took off running and skipping to the park. “Oh, no you don't!” Mindy hollered after them, “Get back here. I'm not going to let you get away that easy.”

      And Abimelech said, "Behold, my land is before you; dwell where it pleases you." - Genesis 20:15 (ESV)

     Abraham had traveled to Gerar where he had caused problems for Abimelech. Once the problem was solved, Abimelech let Abraham stay. While there, Sarah gave birth to Isaac but now Abimelech comes back and another problem needs to be solved.

      At that time Abimelech and Phicol the commander of his army said to Abraham, "God is with you in all that you do. Now therefore swear to me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me or with my descendants or with my posterity, but as I have dealt kindly with you, so you will deal with me and with the land where you have sojourned." And Abraham said, "I will swear." When Abraham reproved Abimelech about a well of water that Abimelech's servants had seized, Abimelech said, "I do not know who has done this thing; you did not tell me, and I have not heard of it until today." So Abraham took sheep and oxen and gave them to Abimelech, and the two men made a covenant. Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock apart. And Abimelech said to Abraham, "What is the meaning of these seven ewe lambs that you have set apart?" He said, "These seven ewe lambs you will take from my hand, that this may be a witness for me that I dug this well." Therefore that place was called Beersheba, because there both of them swore an oath. So they made a covenant at Beersheba. Then Abimelech and Phicol the commander of his army rose up and returned to the land of the Philistines. Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba and called there on the name of the LORD, the Everlasting God. And Abraham sojourned many days in the land of the Philistines.
Genesis 21:22-34 (ESV)

     Like Cindy, Like Abraham, sometimes we need to take the initiative and make peace, we need to work to solve problems. To solve problems we should...
  • Use wisdom as Solomon did – 1 Kings 3:16-28 tells how he used wisdom to solve the problem of which of two women was a baby's true mother.
  • Work Together as the Apostles and Elders did - Acts 15:1-29 tells of a problem that revolved around rules that should be followed and how the Apostles and Elders got together to solve the problem.
  • Solve it quickly as Jesus taught – Matthew 5:23-26, part of the Sermon on The Mount, tells tells how we should solve problems quickly, before things get worse.
  • Be humble and think of others as better than self - Philippians 2:3 Don't be selfish; don't live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. (NLT)
  • Strive for peace - Romans 12:18 Do your part to live in peace with everyone, as much as possible. (NLT)
     Here's Something To Ponder
  • In what ways do you work toward peace?
  • In what ways do you stop peace from happening?

Saturday, April 4, 2015


     Mindy and Cindy Miller are identical twin sisters but only a few people can tell them apart at first glance. Stella Peterson thought she was one of them but when she bumped into them at the mall she got them all mixed up. “What are you doing at the mall?” one of the twins asked Stella. “My mom though she needed me to help her do some shopping.” Stella said, “But somehow I managed to lose her. This is suppose to be our meeting point if we got separated.”

     “Sounds about right.” Mindy said. “Our mom drug us down here to help her do some shopping as well.” “Yeah,” Cindy added, “She wanted us to help her get some stuff for the move.” “MOVE!” Stella gasped, “What in the world are you talking about?

     “We're moving.” Mindy said, “And if all goes well we will be moving by the end of next week.” “But you can't move.” Stella said, “You're my friends and I'll miss you and....” “Hold on, hold on.” Mindy interrupted, “We’re not moving, moving were just moving.” “What?” Stella asked with a confused look on her face, “That doesn't make sense.”

     “She means we're getting new bedrooms.” Cindy said. “So, You're not really moving, moving you're just moving.” Stella said. “I get it.” “Yeah,” Mindy added, “And mine is going to be in the attic, and hers is going to be in the basement.” “And its all her fault.” Cindy added. “It is not.” Mindy shot back, “It's your fault.”

     “Well, if you would keep your stuff picked up we probably wouldn’t have to move.” Cindy said. “Well, if you would quit throwing my stuff in the garbage.” Mindy continued. “Alright” Stella injected, “I didn't mean to start you two arguing, especially here in the mall.” “But it is her fault.” Mindy said. “No it's not.” Cindy countered, “It's yours because you're a slob.” “Can I help it that your such a neat freak.” Mindy said.

     “I am not a freak.” Cindy protested, “Besides, Mom and Dad are always telling us to keep our room clean, and to do our school work.” “But that’s too much work.” Mindy protested this time. Trying to keep this from becoming a big argument, Stella quickly asked, “So, what’s going to happen to the room you’re in now?”

     “Mom said she was going to turn it into a nursery.” Cindy said. “That's why we're here. She wants us to help her pick out some wallpaper, some decorations and some furniture.” “What is your mom going to do with a nursery?” Stella asked. “What do you think you do with a nursery.” Cindy snickered, “She going …..” “Oh no.” Mindy interrupted, “She can't be.” “MOM!” the twins hollered together and took off. “Does this mean what I think it means.” Stella said with her eyes growing as big as saucers.

      Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said to Abram, "Behold now, the LORD has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her." And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram's wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife. And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress. And Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael.
Genesis 16:1-4,15 (ESV)

     God had promised Abraham a son but when Sarah wasn't getting pregnant, she devised a plan to have Hagar get pregnant for her, she did and now, many years later, after Sarah had her promised son, problems arose. Here is the story

     The LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did to Sarah as he had promised. And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him. Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore him, Isaac. … And the child grew and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, laughing. So she said to Abraham, "Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac." And the thing was very displeasing to Abraham on account of his son. But God said to Abraham, "Be not displeased because of the boy and because of your slave woman. Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your offspring be named. And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring." So Abraham rose early in the morning and took bread and a skin of water and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba. When the water in the skin was gone, she put the child under one of the bushes. Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot, for she said, "Let me not look on the death of the child." And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept. And God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, "What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Up! Lift up the boy, and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make him into a great nation." Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. And she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink. And God was with the boy, and he grew up. He lived in the wilderness and became an expert with the bow. He lived in the wilderness of Paran, and his mother took a wife for him from the land of Egypt.
Genesis 21:1-21 (ESV)

     In this story we can find a story of conflict between Sarah and Hagar and their sons. What does the Bible have to say about unnecessary conflict and the arguments that often pursue.
  • Proverbs 13:10 Pride only leads to arguments, but those who take advice are wise. (NCV) Can you see potential conflict in the story? How about between Mindy and Cindy?
  • James 4:1 Spells out another source of conflict when he says Do you know where your fights and arguments come from? They come from the selfish desires that war within you. (NCV)
  • Acts 5:29 shows us another source - Peter and the other apostles answered, “We must obey God, not human authority! (NCV)
To combat conflict and arguing or fighting remember the words of Solomon..
  • Proverbs 26:20 Without wood, fire goes out; without a gossip, conflict dies down. (HCSB)
  • Proverbs 17:14 To start a conflict is to release a flood; stop the dispute before it breaks out. (HCSB)
  • Proverbs 15:18 A hot-tempered man stirs up conflict, but a man slow to anger calms strife. (HCSB)
     Here's Something To Ponder
  • In what ways do you stir up conflict?
  • In what ways to you strive to keep conflict from turning into fighting?

Saturday, March 21, 2015


     Everything in Pupperville was back to normal, or at least, Randy thought. As a result, he, along with several other church board members, decided to have a special Sunday evening service to honor Bill Peterson and encourage him after everything his family had put the town through. But there was a problem. Bill was missing.

      “Psst” Martha called out to Randy from a side room near the front of the church. “Not yet, Bill” Randy whispered back. “I'm not Bill.” Martha said in return, “Bill is missing.” “Missing!” Randy shouted catching the attention of everyone in the congregation. “What do you mean Bill is missing?”
“He's missing.” Martha repeated.

      “He can't be.” Randy said. “I asked him this morning to help me tonight. I was going to have him tell me more about his past experiences with the Peterson disease. He said he would.” “Well,” Martha said, “He's missing. He's disappeared. He's gone.” “But he can't be. He's suppose to be helping me.”

      “I think he went into hiding.” Martha said, “Hiding?” Randy said, “What would he be hiding from?” Martha pointed to the people in the church and said “Them, He's hiding from them and everyone else in Pupperville.” “But why?” Randy asked, “We're here to honor and encourage him.” I know that.” Martha said, But he doesn't. He’s afraid that everybody is going dip him in tar and cover him with feathers and then torture him.”

      “I thought he told me an angel had told him everything was going to be alright.” Randy said. “He did.” Martha replied, “But after he stopped to think about the meeting tonight he panicked and now no one can find him.” “But there's no one here that wants to tar and feather him.” Randy said, “In fact, nobody in town wants to tar and feather him, they want to thank him.”
      “I know that!” Martha said. “even though I don;t know why?” “It's because of what Harold did.” Randy said. “After all, It's what Harold did that brought all of this on.” “Actually,” Martha interrupted, “Stella was the one. She tried to sabotage Harold's lab and it blew up and somehow caused the disease.”

      “Well,” Randy said, “Even if that is true, the people still rememberer how Harold almost died when he came to help the town during the great conspiracy.” “Yeah, he did do that.” Martha said, “that was a scary time.” “Not only that,” Randy continued, “But most of the town’s people think they have better memories now since the disease hit.” I guess that angel was right.” Martha said. Now if that angel was just tell me where Bill is hiding.”

      The two men said to Lot, “Do you have any other relatives in this city? Do you have any sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or any other relatives? If you do, tell them to leave now, because we are about to destroy this city. The LORD has heard of all the evil that is here, so he has sent us to destroy it.“
Genesis 19:12-13 (NCV)

      Lot was living in Sodom and Gomorrah but it was soon to be destroyed because it was so evil. Yet, Lot was hesitant to leave and then his wife turned back and was turned to salt and now more problems arise. Let's look at what happens next.

      Early the next morning, Abraham got up and went to the place where he had stood before the LORD. He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and all the Jordan Valley and saw smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace. God destroyed the cities in the valley, but he remembered what Abraham had asked. So God saved Lot’s life, but he destroyed the city where Lot had lived. Lot was afraid to continue living in Zoar, so he and his two daughters went to live in the mountains in a cave. One day the older daughter said to the younger, “Our father is old. Everywhere on the earth women and men marry, but there are no men around here for us to marry. Let’s get our father drunk and have sexual relations with him. We can use him to have children and continue our family.“ That night the two girls got their father drunk, and the older daughter went and had sexual relations with him. But Lot did not know when she lay down or when she got up. The next day the older daughter said to the younger, “Last night I had sexual relations with my father. Let’s get him drunk again tonight so you can go and have sexual relations with him, too. In this way we can use our father to have children to continue our family.“ So that night they got their father drunk again, and the younger daughter went and had sexual relations with him. Again, Lot did not know when she lay down or when she got up. So both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father. The older daughter gave birth to a son and named him Moab. He is the ancestor of all the Moabite people who are still living today. The younger daughter also gave birth to a son and named him Ben-Ammi. He is the father of all the Ammonite people who are still living today.
Genesis 19:27-38 (NCV)

      After making it out of Sodom and Gomorrah, thanks to Abraham, and being afraid to stay in Zoar, Lot heads to the mountains and lives in a cave. His two daughters, thinking there is no men left, get their father drunk and then use their father to get themselves pregnant. Both had children that became problems to Israel and the world event to this day. There are lessons that can be found here.
  • We need to prayer for others to be saved as Abraham prayed for Lot. James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. (ESV)
  • Lot didn't really need to fear when God was looking after him. Neither did Bill Peterson, neither do we. Isaiah 49:14-16 But Jerusalem said, “The LORD has left me; the Lord has forgotten me.“ The LORD answers, “Can a woman forget the baby she nurses? Can she feel no kindness for the child to which she gave birth? Even if she could forget her children, I will not forget you. See, I have written your name on my hand. Jerusalem, I always think about your walls. (NCV) Hebrews 6:10 God is fair; he will not forget the work you did and the love you showed for him by helping his people. And he will remember that you are still helping them. (NCV)
  • Sin can have a lasting affect. Look what Sodom and Gomorrah did for Lot's daughters and how the worlds suffers yet today. Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. (ESV) Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (ESV)
      Here's Something To Ponder
  • Do you needlessly hide in fear?
  • Are you willing to trust God when he says all will be fine?

Saturday, March 14, 2015


     Bill Peterson had been at church for a long time, a very long time. Ever since an angel told him everything was going to be alright, he had been at the church praying. Bill didn't even go home to eat or sleep. When he got tired he slept on a pew and when he got hungry he went to the church kitchen or his kids brought him something to eat. As a result, he had no idea the town had gotten better.

      As Bill lay sleeping on a pew, he was suddenly awakened by a loud “YAHOO!” FOLLOWED BY “I'm here to round up the cows.” “Not another farmer running loose.” Bill thought as he sat up to see who it was he had heard. To his surprise, it was a farmer, or at least a farmer's daughter. It was Tracy McDonald but Bill couldn't tell if she was who she was or not.

      “So, are you some kind of cow girl rodeo star?” Bill asked “No.” Tracy said sadly, “I'm me. Boring old Tracy McDonald E I E I O.” “WOW” Bill Exclaimed in excitement, “Somebody else is themselves.” “Yeah ha.” Tracy sighed. “But that's great news.: Bill said, “How about the rest of the town, is it better too?” “Yeah, I guess so.” Tracy said with a sigh and plopped down on a pew.

      “Uhm,” Bill Said, “You don't sound to happy about that.” “It was fun when everybody was somebody else.” Tracy said. “But it was dangerous.” Bill reminded told her. “No it wasn't.” Tracy protested. “But what if there had been a fire.” Bill said, “Who would have put it out. The fire department thought they were NASCAR drivers, they would never had come.”

      “Well, I’m sure somebody would have thought they were fire fighters and came.” Tracy said. “But would they have known what to do?” Bill asked. “And what if somebody needed an emergency operation at the hospital?” “I guess I wouldn't have wanted my Dad to be the one doing the operation.” Tracy said.

      “Your dad thought he was a doctor?” Bill said. “That would have been scary. I've seen how he takes hooks out of the fish he catches.” “It was actually kind of funny.” Tracy said, “In fact, all of it was funny. I wish we were still all sick. I wonder if we could pass the disease around again.” “No way!” Bill said. I never want to go through that again.”

      “Oh well,” Tracy sighed, “I better find that cow and get back home.” “What cow?” Bill asked, there hasn't been any cows in here.” “There hasn't?” Tracy said a bit surprised, “I sure I can smell one in here.” Hearing that Bill started sniffing the air and then himself and then he started gagging. “I think I'm the one that smells like your cow. Maybe I should go take a shower. It's been at least two weeks since I had one.” “No wonder you smell like a cow.” Tracy said. “I guess I'll get back to the farm.

      So the LORD told Abraham, "I have heard that the people of Sodom and Gomorrah are extremely evil, and that everything they do is wicked. I am going down to see whether or not these reports are true. Then I will know."
Genesis 18:20-21 (NLT)

      Sodom and Gomorrah were very wicked and God was going to destroy them. Abraham had made a pact with God not to destroy it if 10 righteous people were found therein but how many were there, in there? As it turned out, there wasn't enough and even those who were allowed to escape wanted to hold back. Here's the story...

      That evening the two angels came to the entrance of the city of Sodom, and Lot was sitting there as they arrived. When he saw them, he stood up to meet them. Then he welcomed them and bowed low to the ground. "My lords," he said, "come to my home to wash your feet, and be my guests for the night. You may then get up in the morning as early as you like and be on your way again." "Oh no," they said, "we'll just spend the night out here in the city square." But Lot insisted, so at last they went home with him. As they were preparing to retire for the night, all the men of Sodom, young and old, came from all over the city and surrounded the house. They shouted to Lot, "Where are the men who came to spend the night with you? Bring them out so we can have sex with them." Lot stepped outside to talk to them, shutting the door behind him... "Stand back!" they shouted. "Who do you think you are? We let you settle among us, and now you are trying to tell us what to do! We'll treat you far worse than those other men!" And they lunged at Lot and began breaking down the door. But the two angels reached out and pulled Lot in and bolted the door. Then they blinded the men of Sodom so they couldn't find the doorway. "Do you have any other relatives here in the city?" the angels asked. "Get them out of this place—sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or anyone else. For we will destroy the city completely... At dawn the next morning the angels became insistent. "Hurry," they said to Lot. "Take your wife and your two daughters who are here. Get out of here right now, or you will be caught in the destruction of the city." When Lot still hesitated, the angels seized his hand and the hands of his wife and two daughters and rushed them to safety outside the city, for the LORD was merciful. "Run for your lives!" the angels warned. "Do not stop anywhere in the valley. And don't look back! … Then the LORD rained down fire and burning sulfur from the heavens on Sodom and Gomorrah. He utterly destroyed them, along with the other cities and villages of the plain, eliminating all life—people, plants, and animals alike. But Lot's wife looked back as she was following along behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.
Genesis 19:1-26 (NLT)

      Tracy was better, the town was better but Tracy wanted the disease back. Lot and his family didn't want to leave. Lot's wife wanted to turn back. God wants something different.

      God wants us to leave sin behind us, not stay with it. Hebrews 12:1 says - Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. (NLT) Earlier in the book God says A righteous person will live by faith. But I will have no pleasure in anyone who turns away." - Hebrews 10:38 (NLT) In Luke 9:62 Jesus says "Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God." (NLT) With all of this in mind, why would one want ot turn back? Why would one want to return to the ways of sin?

      Now for some icing on the cake - 2 Peter 2:20-21 And when people escape from the wicked ways of the world by learning about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then get tangled up with sin and become its slave again, they are worse off than before. It would be better if they had never known the right way to live than to know it and then reject the holy commandments that were given to them. (NLT)

      Here's Something To Ponder
  • Do you hesitate to get away from evil? Why?
  • When away do you want to go back “one last time?” Why?

Saturday, February 28, 2015


      Knowing what their dad was up to, Harold and Stella Peterson starting roaming the streets in Pupperville looking for somebody that was normal. After several hours of trying to find some normal people they met up at the Pizzeria to see if the other had found someone. As they sat down in a booth, Papa Purple came over to take their order. “I see I finally have some normal people.” he said “What'll it be.”

      “How about something normal.” Stella said. “This town is driving me crazy.” “Tell me about.” Papa Purple said sarcastically. “This morning I heard my mom calling “Here Kitty, kitty, kitty. Here Kitty, kitty, kitty.” Stella went on to tell, “And we don't even have a cat. It turned out, she was looking for her lost lions for tonight's circus act.”

      “I didn't really mean you had to tell me about it.” Papa purple said. “But if you are, what can you tell me about the circus or was that not real?” “Not real.” Stella said. “I wish we could find some normal people.” “I'm normal.” Papa purple said, “well, sort of. I guess it depends on who you talk too.”

      “Earlier, I was over at the church building and I saw Daisy walking around sining Amazing Grace.” Harold said. “I thought she sounded normal until I tried to talk to her. I asked her if she was normal and she said she could write a song about normal and call it 'Normal People Need Him Too' by Fanny Crosby. She thought she was Fanny Crosby and when I told her she wasn't she told me I needed to get my eye sight checked.”

      “There's not a normal person in town.” Stella said. “You're normal.” Papa Purple said. “Of course I am.” Stella said, “The doctors cured me.” “Well, why don’t they do something about the rest of the people?” Papa Purple asked. “They can't” Harold answered, “They’re too busy preparing to go to the moon. The doctors all think their astronauts.”

      “What about the nurses?” Papa Purple asked next. “You DON'T want to know.” Stella said. “And my grandma thinks she's Princess Leah.” “And the preacher thinks he's Billy Graham.” Harold added, “And the fire department thinks they're all NASCAR drivers.” “What about your Dad?” Papa Purple interrupted, “Isn't he normal now?”

      “Yeah.” Harold said, “He over at the church praying for everybody.” “And we've been looking for somebody to pray with him.” Stella added. “Say, what about you?” Harold added “You could pray with us. By the way, why haven't you caught the Peterson Disease?” “I have no idea what you are talking about.” Papa Purple replied, “And why am I in this crummy pizza joint. Great Chefs like me belong in Paris.”

      “So much for pizza.” Harold sighed, “Let's get to the church building.” “I'm right behind you.” Stella replied.

      Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled among the cities of the valley and moved his tent as far as Sodom. Now the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the LORD.
Genesis 13:12-13 (ESV)

      When we first learned of Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot had chosen to go live by them and we were told of their wickedness. Later we learned how Abraham went to the rescue of Sodom and Gomorrah when Lot was captured. Guess what? Troubles brewing again for Sodom, Gomorrah and Lot and it Lot is going to need to be rescued again.

      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, … Then the LORD said, "Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know." So the men turned from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the LORD. Then Abraham drew near and said, "Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? ... Then he said, "Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there." He answered, "For the sake of ten I will not destroy it." And the LORD went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place.
Genesis 18:16-33 (ESV)

      God makes a choice to let Abraham know what He is going to do. Abraham, of course, knows that Lot is down their and he is concerned that God would destroy him so, Abraham starts negotiating with God to keep Him from destroying the righteous and God agrees not to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah if ten righteous people could be found.

      Abraham is not the only one in the Bible to intercede, to try and help someone else. Moses did in Exodus 32:31-32 where we read So Moses returned to the LORD and said, "Alas, this people have sinned a great sin. They have made for themselves gods of gold. But now, if you will forgive their sin—but if not, please blot me out of your book that you have written." (ESV) Even Jesus did many times. One time He did was in Luke 22:31-32 where He interceded for Simon (Peter) "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers." (ESV)

      God's word tells us we are to help other by praying for them and to help ourselves by praying for ourselves as well.

  • 1 Timothy 2:1-2 First, I tell you to pray for all people, asking God for what they need and being thankful to him. Pray for rulers and for all who have authority so that we can have quiet and peaceful lives full of worship and respect for God. (NCV)
  • Matthew 5:44 But I say to you, love your enemies. Pray for those who hurt you. (NCV)
  • Ephesians 6:18 Pray in the Spirit at all times with all kinds of prayers, asking for everything you need. To do this you must always be ready and never give up. Always pray for all God’s people. (NCV)
  • Philippians 4:6-7 Do not worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks. And God’s peace, which is so great we cannot understand it, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (NCV)

      Here's Something To Ponder
  • How have others helped you by praying for you?
  • In what ways do you help other by praying for them?

Saturday, February 14, 2015


     After wandering the streets of Pupperville for several hours, Papa Purple decided he better head back to the Pizzeria. Bill Peterson had been sitting in a comer booth when he appeared to come down with the dreaded Peterson Disease and took off. Papa Purple had thought he could help the police find Bill and took off leaving his Pizzeria unattended. Of course he wasn't too worried as he hadn't had any customers for several days do to the Peterson disease.

     As he walked back into the pizzeria he was shocked to see Bill Peterson sitting back in the corner booth where he had been sitting earlier and just like earlier, he was staring at a glass of water. “Is that you, Bill?” Papa Purple asked, “Or are you General George Washington?” “Of course it's me.” Bill answered, “What's it take to get a pizza around here?”

     “I thought you had the Peterson disease?” Papa Purple said to which Bill immediately let out a loud scream. “Are you okay?” Papa Purple asked not sure what to do. “You mentioned that, that, that...” Bill said to which Papa Purple finished by saying “Peterson disease.” When Bill heard that he let out another loud scream.

     “But I was sure you had it.” Papa Purple said. “I did.” Bill said, “But it has been a very strange day. As I was on my way to Valley Forge, I met a strange looking man.” “With this disease going around that's not so strange.” Papa Purple injected. “Yeah,” Bill Said, “But this man was strange. He was glowing.”

     “Glowing people?” Papa purple send with a snort, “You are still sick. You need to get to the hospital.” “But I'm cured.” Bil said, “I don't really know how but I'm cured. I think it had something to do with the strange man that showed up. Do you suppose he could have been an angel?” “Why do you say that?” Papa Purple asked.

     “Because of what he told me.” Bill said, “He told me that I didn’t need to change my name.” “So.” Papa purple said, “I could have told you that.” “But,” Protested, Bill, “You're the only one I told that to. And then the man told me that the whole town was going to get the disease, but not to worry they would all get better and thank me.”

     “You definitely need to get to the hospital.” Papa Purple said, “That message is way too starnge to be true.” “I thought so too.” Bill said, “I even started laughing. I told him that it was impossible that anybody would thank me for all of this.”

     “What happened after that?” Papa Purple asked. “He disappeared.” Bill replied, “Into thin air. And then, I found myself healed and sitting back hear in this booth.” “Wow!” Papa Purple exclaimed, “That is strange.” “Tell me about it.” Bill said and then after a short pause he continued, “Wait, I just told you about it. I need to go. See you later.”

      And God said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her." Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, "Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?"
Genesis 17:15-17 (ESV)

     God reaffirmed His promise to Abraham that Sarah would have a son and Abraham laughed but he's not the only one to laugh because he though it was impossible.

      And the LORD appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. 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 Abraham ran to the herd and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to a young man, who prepared it quickly. Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them. And he stood by them under the tree while they ate. 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. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years. The way of women had ceased to be with Sarah. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, "After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?" The LORD said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh and say, 'Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?' Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son." But Sarah denied it, saying, "I did not laugh," for she was afraid. He said, "No, but you did laugh."
Genesis 18:1- 14 (ESV)

     In Deuteronomy 10:19 God told the people "Therefore love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. (NKJV) In Romans 12:13 the idea is conveyed again where it says Share with God’s people who need help. Bring strangers in need into your homes. (NCV) Abraham saw what to us appear to be strangers and he treated them to hospitality. In Hebrews 13:2 we are reminded Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! (NLT)

     Have you ever showed hospitality to a stranger? Have you entertained angels without knowing it? The angels that Abraham brought a message like the angel brought to Bill in our Pupperville story, a message that was hard to believe, a message that made the hearer laugh. While we could go on to talk about other angelic visits in the Bible, I would like to focus on the angels words in verse 14 “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” If God says He will do something, He will do it because He can do it.
  • Jeremiah 32:17 Oh, Lord GOD, you made the skies and the earth with your very great power. There is nothing too hard for you to do. (NCV)
  • Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, “This is something people cannot do, but God can do all things. (NCV)
  • Luke 1:37 For nothing is impossible with God. (NLT)
     Here's Something To Ponder
  • When God tells you He will do something that seems impossible will you believe Him or laugh at Him?
  • In What ways has God tested you with what seems impossible?

Saturday, February 7, 2015


     It was a quiet evening and Bil Peterson sat alone in a corner booth at Papa Purple's Pizzeria staring at a glass of water. “Are you just going to stare at that glass of water all night or are you going to order something?” Bill heard someone say to him. “You've been sitting here for over an hour.” Looking up, Bill saw it was Papa Purple himself. “It's quiet in here.” he said.

     “Say,” Papa Purple said, “Aren't you Harold's dad? Boy, can that kid eat pizza. Wait a minute, I thought you were in jail? Did you escape?” “No.” Bill said looking back down at his glass of water. “Does that mean your wife found enough money for your bail?” “Actually,” Bill said, “Martha talked to the judge and the judge said I really didn’t need any bail and let me go.”

     “So, how's Harold and Stella doing?” Papa Purple asked, “I think they were why you ended up in jail to start with, wasn't it? “They're doing fine.” Bill responded staring at his glass. “Doc said they could come home, and they have even been acting themselves again.” “Hmpf.” Papa purple said, “You are out of jail, your kids are finally well, and you don’t seem happy. Is there something wrong?”

      “Do you know anybody who can help us change our name and move to another planet?” Bill asked. “What are you talking about?” Papa Purple exclaimed, “Why would you want to do that?” “Because of Stella’s escape,” Bill said, “Over half the town now has the dreaded Peterson disease. That's right, the Peterson disease. They named it after us. I’ll never be able to face anybody again.”

     “It can't be that bad, can it?” Papa Purple asked. “It's worse than that.” Bill started to explain. “Because of the spread of the disease, the whole town has been quarantined, and with nobody able to work the whole town will be ruined, and it’s all going to be blamed on the Peterson’s, and... and... and... If I don’t change my name soon, they’re going to cover me with tar and feathers. The Peterson name has been ruined.”

     “Are you sure of that?” Papa Purple asked. “Positive.” Bill said. “Well, why don't you wait and see.” Papa purple said trying to encourage Bill. “Maybe something good will come out of all this.” “You really think so?” Bill asked. “Of course.” Papa Purple said, “Remember when Harold got shot and how it stopped the rebellion? You never know what God can do with an awful situation.”

     “I suppose you’re right.” Bill said as he picked up his water glass and finally drank it. “I... I.... I better get back to valley forge and round up the troops.” “What did you say?” Papa Purple asked wondering if he had heard right. “I need to get back to valley forge and round up the troops.” Bill said. “The Revolutionary war is going on right now.” and then he got up and left. “Oh, no.” Papa Purple said, “Now Bill has the disease. I need to warn someone.”

     This is the account of Terah. Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran. And Haran became the father of Lot. Genesis 11:27 (NIV)

     I once heard of a man who wanted to be rich and famous so he changed his name to “Rich And Famous” Abram was born and he received his name from someone, likely his father. While Abram is a very important man, we know him better by a different name for his name was also changed, changed by God.

     When Abram was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly." Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him, "Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God." And God said to Abraham, "As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations. This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. … And God said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her." Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, "Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?" And Abraham said to God, "Oh that Ishmael might live before you!" God said, "No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him. ...
Genesis 17:1-27 (ESV)

     Could you imagine being in Abram's place? Can you imagine being 99 years old and having your name changed? Names are important. They were then and they are now or at least they should be.

     In John chapter 3 John mentions two people by name, one with a good name and the other not so good.
  • Demetrius has received a good testimony from everyone, and from the truth itself. We also add our testimony, and you know that our testimony is true. - 3 John 1:12 (ESV)
  • I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. - 3 John 1:9 (ESV)
     Here's what Solomon had to say about a good name.
  • Proverbs 22:1 A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold. (ESV)
  • Ecclesiastes 7:1 A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of birth. (ESV)
     Think about the people around you and what kind of name they have. When you here their name do you think “That's a great person.” or “That person's worthless.”? An what do other think of when they hear your name?

     Here's Something To Ponder
  • What kind of name do you have?
  • What are you willing to do to have a good name?

Saturday, January 24, 2015


     Helen Grey was wondering what she should make for supper, not for herself but for some of the families who's kids had contracted whatever it was that Stella and Harold had created. Rummaging through her pantry, Helen didn't hear her daughter come in and she didn't even hear her walk up behind her until Martha started to sob.

     “Now, now.” Helen said putting her arm around Martha, “It's going to be alright. The doc said they were going to get better.” I know.” Martha said, “But, but, that's not it.” “Is something else wrong?” Helen asked as a look of concern came over her face. With her head bowed low Martha said “Do you have some money I can borrow?”

     “Money?!” Helen responded, “Is that all? That's not so bad. How much do you need?” “Two hundred and fifty.” Martha started to answer. “That is a little bit.” Martha injected, “But I think I can help.” “Thousand.” Helen finished saying. Martha pulled away from Helen and looking her in the eye asked, “Did you say two hundred and fifty thousand?”

     “Yeah.” Martha said and started to cry harder. “That's a lot of MONEY!” Helen said. “I know.” Martha said between her sobs, “But that's what they said it would cost.” “No wonder you're crying.” Helen said, I would be too if I had a two hundred and fifty thousand dollar hospital bill.” “HOSPITAL BILL?” Martha said looking up. “I forgot about that.”

     “Than what do you need two hundred and fifty thousand dollars for?” Helen asked in surprise. “Bill.” Martha said. “What bill?” Helen asked, “Is there another bill besides the hospital bill?” “My husband Bill.” Helen said, “He needs the money.” But why does he need the money?” Martha asked.
Because he's in jail.” Helen said, “He needs it to post bail.”

     “What in the world is he doing in jail?” Helen said in surprise. “The hospital had him arrested and put in jail.” Martha said, “He kept trying to help the doctors cure Harold and Stella.” “Is that so bad?” Helen asked. “It was.” Martha said, “Because he thought he knew better than the doctors and kept getting in the way and making things worse.” “And they put him in jail for that?” Helen asked.

     “It was the only way they could get him out of the way so they could get their job done.” Martha said with a sigh. “Well, I'm sorry.” Helen said, “I don’t have that much money to lend you.” “I didn't think so.” Helen said “Oh well, well, maybe this way the doctors can finish curing the kids. See you later. Is there anything I can do to help you so I can take my mind off of everything.?” “Sure.” Helen said, “Peel me some potatoes. I think I know what I'm going to make.”

     But Abram said, “Lord GOD, what can you give me? I have no son, so my slave Eliezer from Damascus will get everything I own after I die.“ Abram said, “Look, you have given me no son, so a slave born in my house will inherit everything I have.“ Then the LORD spoke his word to Abram: “He will not be the one to inherit what you have. You will have a son of your own who will inherit what you have.“ - Genesis 15:2-4 (NCV)

     Abram was going to make a slave his heir but God said NO! God told Abran he would have a son of his own but guess what? His wife didn't seem to be having children, they were getting old and something needed to be done but who should do it? Should God be allowed or does someone else need to try and get the job done?

     Sarai, Abram’s wife, had no children, but she had a slave girl from Egypt named Hagar. Sarai said to Abram, “Look, the LORD has not allowed me to have children, so have sexual relations with my slave girl. If she has a child, maybe I can have my own family through her.“ Abram did what Sarai said. It was after he had lived ten years in Canaan that Sarai gave Hagar to her husband Abram. (Hagar was her slave girl from Egypt.) Abram had sexual relations with Hagar, and she became pregnant. When Hagar learned she was pregnant, she began to treat her mistress Sarai badly. Then Sarai said to Abram, “This is your fault. I gave my slave girl to you, and when she became pregnant, she began to treat me badly. Let the LORD decide who is right—you or me.“ But Abram said to Sarai, “You are Hagar’s mistress. Do anything you want to her.“ Then Sarai was hard on Hagar, and Hagar ran away. The angel of the LORD found Hagar beside a spring of water in the desert, by the road to Shur. The angel said, “Hagar, Sarai’s slave girl, where have you come from? Where are you going?“ Hagar answered, “I am running away from my mistress Sarai.“ The angel of the LORD said to her, “Go home to your mistress and obey her.“ The angel also said, “I will give you so many descendants they cannot be counted.“ The angel added, “You are now pregnant, and you will have a son. You will name him Ishmael, because the LORD has heard your cries. Ishmael will be like a wild donkey. He will be against everyone, and everyone will be against him. He will attack all his brothers.“ ...
Genesis 16:1-16 (NCV)

     In Isaiah 55:6-9 we read - So you should look for the LORD before it is too late; you should call to him while he is near. The wicked should stop doing wrong, and they should stop their evil thoughts. They should return to the LORD so he may have mercy on them. They should come to our God, because he will freely forgive them. The LORD says, “My thoughts are not like your thoughts. Your ways are not like my ways. Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. (NCV) - God knows what He is doing but we don't always know. Sometimes we try to help Him along by “Playing god” ourselves. Trouble usually follows. In the above story we saw how trouble resulted when Abram and Sarai tried to help God along.
  • In verse 4 we saw hatred from pride
  • In verse 6 we saw harsh treatment from jealousy
  • In verse 12 we saw a curse of trouble that would go on always
     We also see how God stepped in after things had been messed up.
  • In verse 11 we see that God knows what He is doing.
  • In verse 9 we see that God asks for submission
  • In verse 10 we see God make a promise
     Here's Something To Ponder
  • In what ways have you tired to help God along as if you knew better?
  • In what ways had God had to fix things after you've messed them up?

Saturday, January 17, 2015


     Somethings are hard to believe and Robert Grey was having a hard time believing that January was over half gone already. Robert was also having a hard time believing what he was reading. As he sat in his rocker paging through the book he had received for Christmas he kept shouting out “No Way. That can't be true. I don't believe it.”

     “I don't think I can believe it either.” came a voice that sounded like it was ready to burst into crying.” It was Bill. “You don't even know what I'm reading?” Robert said “I'm not talking about what you are reading.” Bill said, “I'm talking about – what are you reading?” “Oh,” Robert said, “It some book I got for Christmas called 'Ripley's Believe It Or Not.' These stories are too hard too believe.”

     “So is.... So is.....” Bill started to say and then he did start crying. “This can't be good.” Robert said to himself and put down his book. “Bill, is something wrong.” After asking the question three more times, Robert finally got a broken reply. “It’s Harold and Stella and that funny virus they made.” Bill said through his crying.

     “But there better.” Robert said, “There's no reason to be crying now.” “But they're not better.” Bill said still crying. “They're back in the hospital and, and, and, and they are worse than ever.” When Robert heard that his heart sank. “Gulp, Tell me you're just telling me a story to see if I'll believe it or not?”

      “I wish I was.” Bill said, “But I'm not.” “How bad is it?” Robert asked feeling as if he might start crying too. “They don’t seem to know anything now.” Bill said. “And on top of all of that, they have been running high temps and shaking violently. They looked so bad I couldn't even stay and watch them.”

     “With tears starting to stream down his eyes, Robert finally asked, “What does the Doctor have to say?” “ He thinks that this is the end.” Bill said. “You mean they're about to die?” Robert asked with a very concerned look on his face. “No,” Bill said, “The end of the virus. The doctor thinks they will soon be better.”

     “I think that's good news.” Robert said, “But didn't they say that before.” “Yes.” Bill said, “But, I can’t see how it is possible. They look like they are dying. I just can’t believe it, even though I want too.” “We can always try.” Robert replied, “We can always try.”

     Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." - Genesis 12:1-3 (ESV) – To be a great nation meant having many descendants but there was a problem, Abram had no children so we read again. The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, "Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever. I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted. - Genesis 13:14-16 (ESV) – That is a lot of offspring but again, Abram had no children and while we are not told so in these verses, Abram and his wife are getting up there in years. Could Abram believe God, could he believe the promise?

      After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: "Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great." But Abram said, "O Lord GOD, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?" And Abram said, "Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir." And behold, the word of the LORD came to him: "This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir." And he brought him outside and said, "Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be." And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness. And He said to him, "I am the LORD who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess." But he said, "O Lord GOD, how am I to know that I shall possess it?" He said to him, "Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon." And he brought him all these, cut them in half, and laid each half over against the other. But he did not cut the birds in half. And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away. As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell upon him. Then the LORD said to Abram, "Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. As for yourself, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete." When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, "To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites."
Genesis 15:1-21 (ESV)

     Why was it hard for Abram to believe? Why is it hard for us to believe? Others in the Bible found it hard to believe.
  • Gideon - Then Gideon said to the LORD, “If you are pleased with me, give me proof that it is really you talking with me. Judges 6:17 (NCV)
  • John the Baptist - John the Baptist was in prison, but he heard about what Christ was doing. So John sent some of his followers to Jesus. They asked him, “Are you the One who is to come, or should we wait for someone else?“ Matthew 11:2-3 (NCV)
  • Thomas - The other followers kept telling Thomas, “We saw the Lord.“ But Thomas said, “I will not believe it until I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were and put my hand into his side.“ John 20:25 (NCV)
     Proverbs 3:5 Trust the LORD with all your heart, and don’t depend on your own understanding. (NCV)

     Here's Something To Ponder
  • What keeps you from believing?
  • How willing are you to believe God?