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, 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?