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 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?