TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 9:10-19
TO CHEW ON: "But the Lord said to Ananias, 'Go.'” Acts 9:15
Saul had a reputation. Followers of Jesus (Christians) knew him as someone who showed no mercy. Imagine Ananias’s (not the same Ananias as “Ananias and Sapphira”) surprise when God told him, in a vision, to go to Straight Street in Damascus and pray for Saul, his dangerous enemy.
At first Ananias argued, “God, You can’t mean that! Don’t you know who this man is?”
But God’s answer to Ananias was “Go.” For God knew what had happened to Saul three days before. He didn’t tell Ananias that it would be safe. He just asked Annanias to obey. So Annanias went."Saul and Ananias" by Benjamin West (1738-1820)
When he got to the house, Ananias didn’t meet the dangerous persecutor Saul he expected. Instead he met the blind and helpless baby Christian Saul.
Ananias put his hands on Saul’s shoulders. “Brother Saul,” he said, “the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit."
Immediately something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes. He could see again! He asked to be baptized, ate some food...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Jeremiah 38:1-6
TO CHEW ON: "This is what the Lord says: ‘Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine or plague, but whoever goes out to the Babylonians will live. They will escape with their lives: they will live.’" Jeremiah 38: 2
None of us likes to bring unwelcome news. Yet when God told Jeremiah to say things that were opposite of what everyone wanted to hear, he said them even though it got him into big trouble.
It was now about sixteen years after Jehoiachim had burned Jeremiah’s scroll. Jehoiakim had died. Babylon was getting stronger every day. Its king Nebuchadnezzar had made Zedekiah king of Judah. But Nebuchadnezzar really wanted Judah for himself. When he came with his army and surrounded Jerusalem, King Zedekiah asked Jeremiah if God had any message for him.
“Yes,” Jeremiah told him, “the Babylonian army will capture the city and burn it down.”
Zedekiah and his officials didn’t like the sound of that, so they put Jeremiah in prison. But he had more to say. “Give yourselves up to the Babylonian army,” he told everyone who came to see him. “If you stay in this city, you’ll die.”
Jeremiah’s words enraged Zedekiah’s officials. “He’s...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Jeremiah 26:1-15
TO CHEW ON: "As for me, I am in your hands; do with me whatever you think is good and right. Be assured, however, that if you put me to death, you will bring the guilt of innocent blood on yourselves and on this city and on those who live in it, for in truth the Lord has sent me to you to speak all these words in your hearing.” Jeremiah 26:14,15
Josiah was dead. Jehoiakim, his son, was now king in his place. Jehoiakim didn’t follow his father’s ways. Quickly the country slipped back into sin.
One day early in Jehoiakim’s reign, God gave Jeremiah another assignment. “Stand just outside the temple,” He said, “and tell the people if you follow my laws and listen to my prophets with all your hearts, then I will change my mind about destroying this city. But if you don’t do these things, I will really destroy Jerusalem, just like I destroyed Shiloh.”
Jeremiah did what God said. But instead of listening and obeying, the priests and false prophets got angry. “How dare you say Jerusalem will be destroyed?” they asked. Soon the king’s officials arrived on the scene. “This man should be...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Judges 6:11-16
TO CHEW ON: "The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.' ” Judges 6:16
After Joshua died the people quickly forgot his final instructions. They began marrying their Canaanite neighbors and were soon praying to idols. So God allowed the nations around them to pick fights with them and win. The kings of these nations took their cities, made them servants and stole their crops.
When this happened, the people prayed for help. Then God raised up rulers called judges. These judges trusted God. They helped the people turn back to God. They led them into battle, helped them get back their land and live in peace again.
But the peace never lasted for long. No sooner was the danger past than the Israelites went back to worshiping idols. Then God allowed their enemies to trouble them again.
In one of these times the people from Midian – the Midianites – were hassling the Israelites so much they had to leave their homes and live in caves. They were running out of food because the Midianites stole their crops and cattle, and wrecked their land.Gideon, threshing wheat in his hideout...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Exodus 14:1-14
TO CHEW ON: "Moses answered the people, 'Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.' ” Exodus 14:13,14
After a few days of traveling in the desert, the Israelites’ excitement at being free started to wear thin. Even though they were no longer slaves, walking for miles every day under the hot sun wasn’t exactly easy either.
But one thing this crowd of about two million people didn’t need to worry about was getting lost. From the beginning God showed them the way. In the day He led them with a cloud. In the night that cloud lit up as if filled with fire. Whenever the cloud moved, the Israelites moved. When it stopped, they camped.Israelites leaving Egypt - Artist unknown
In a few days they found themselves camped in a dead end, between rocks, desert and the sea. But God had led them here, so it must be okay.
Meanwhile back in Egypt, Pharaoh couldn’t believe he let the Israelites go. What was he thinking? Such a huge...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Samuel 2:12-26
TO CHEW ON: "Meanwhile the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord....And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor with the Lord and with people." 1 Samuel 2:21, 26
Do you think it’s possible to live as a Christian in a neighborhood where you have no friends who love Jesus? What about in a school where people tease you if they find out you read the Bible, or in a family where you’re the only one who trusts in God and prays?
You would expect for little Samuel, the tabernacle, where people came to worship God, would be the easiest place in the world to get to know God. But it wasn’t. Instead, it was a place full of rebellion, disobedience and sin.
The trouble was not with Eli, the old priest, but with his sons. They had no respect for God and pretty much did as they pleased. They demanded offering meat before it was ready and had sex with the servant girls who worked near the Tabernacle. Even after Eli scolded them, they didn’t change.
Meanwhile Samuel was growing up. Every year he got stronger and taller. Every year his parents...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Jeremiah 14:13-16
TO CHEW ON: "Then the Lord said to me, 'The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds.'” Jeremiah 14:14
Have you ever been outvoted by the majority? Perhaps you were working on a project and most people in your group didn't like your idea. Or you had a suggestion for a family outing, but everyone else wanted to do something different.
It’s not fun when no one agrees with you and you have to stand alone. Jeremiah found that out when he gave God’s messages to the people of Judah. “Unless you change your ways, God will send plague, war and famine,” he said.
But other prophets said the opposite: “Don’t worry about war or shortages of food. There will be lasting peace.”
Of course the people liked the message of the other prophets more than the Jeremiah’s message. The people thought he was annoying and simply ignored him.
Jeremiah talked to God about this. God told him, “I haven’t sent those other prophets. They aren’t saying my words. They’re telling lies. As a...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 7:51-60
TO CHEW ON: "Then he fell on his knees and cried out, 'Lord, do not hold this sin against them.' When he had said this, he fell asleep." Acts 7:60
Stephen was known for his wisdom. He was full of the Holy Spirit. He did many signs and miracles. But even such a special man had enemies.
Some important people argued with him about Jesus, and lost the argument. They decided to silence him. So they got people to tell lies about him. Then they arrested him and put him on trial. Stephen used his trial to talk about Jesus even more."Stephen before he is martyred" - Artist unknown
When he told the High Priest (his judge) and the crowd, they were enemies of God because they had killed Jesus, it was too much for them. In anger they dragged him outside the city and threw stones at him....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 11:19-26
TO CHEW ON: "Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch." Acts 11:25, 26a
- You studied hard but still didn’t do well on the test.- You’d like to join the badminton club but you don’t know any of the kids.- It’s youth night at church, but the friend with whom you usually go is out of town.
Q: What do you need in each of these situations?
A: An encourager, like Barnabas.
Barnabas was a well-known and respected leader in the early church. When Jesus’ followers were scattered because of persecution, he stayed at headquarters in Jerusalem. But then news came that everywhere Jesus’ followers had moved, people were believing in Jesus. The leaders sent Barnabas to check things out.
When he came to Antioch he saw God was blessing Jewish people and Greeks as well. He encouraged these new followers of Jesus.
Then he went to Tarsus to look for another new Christian named Saul. When he found Saul, he brought him to Antioch and put him to work, teaching the new believers.
Because of Barnabas’s encouragement the church in Antioch loved Gentile Christians and accepted Saul instead of being afraid...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Exodus 1:22-2:10
TO CHEW ON: “...She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her female slave to get it. She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. ‘This is one of the Hebrew babies,’ she said.” Exodus 2:5,6
Joseph and his brothers eventually died. Their children continued to live in Egypt. Their numbers grew until they were a nation. The Egyptians called them Hebrews or Israelites.
Four hundred years passed. Now a different Pharaoh ruled in Egypt. He was mean. He made the Israelites his slaves. They were forced to work for no pay. Even so, the number of Israelites kept growing.
This made Pharaoh worried. There were too many. What would he do if they decided to rebel and not to obey him any more? So he passed a new law. Every baby boy must be killed at birth.
How terrible! Instead of being happy that a new baby was about to be born, now the mothers were terrified. For it was against the law to let a baby boy live.
We know that at least one family didn’t obey this law. Use the sentence fragments and your Bible (Exodus 2:3-8) to finish the...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Samuel 17:38-50
TO CHEW ON: "All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s and he will give all of you into our hands." 1 Samuel 17:47
Though Samuel had anointed David as Israel’s next king, Saul continued to rule. And Israel was still fighting their old enemy the Philistines. At one time instead of fighting with their whole army, the Philistines picked a nine-foot giant named Goliath to challenge Saul’s soldiers. “Pick one man to fight me,” he shouted. “If he wins, we’ll be your slaves. But if he loses, you’ll be our slaves.”
For forty days Goliath came out and challenged the army like this. Of course no one volunteered. Instead, each day the men grew more afraid and intimidated.
Meanwhile, David was still looking after sheep. One day his dad asked him to check on his brothers at the battlefront and take them some food. He went and had just found his brothers when Goliath came out to shout his daily challenge. “Pick a man to fight me,” he bellowed. “Why aren’t you coming? Are you chicken?”
David heard him and was shocked. “Why...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 16:16-22
TO CHEW ON: "She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her." (Acts 16:18)
Paul went on two more mission trips. On one of them he took Silas as his helper. They visited the city of Philippi and met with the Christians there.
Every day as they walked to their prayer meeting, a slave girl followed them. She made money for her owners by telling fortunes. Every day as she walked behind Paul and Silas she shouted, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.”
What she said was true. But Paul knew the spirit who inspired her to say it was not the Holy Spirit but an evil spirit. One day he had had enough. He turned around and commanded the evil spirit to come out of her. (A word that describes casting an evil spirit out of someone is exorcism.) The spirit did come out of her. But when the spirit was gone the slave...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Daniel 3:1-18
TO CHEW ON: "If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel 3:17,18
One day an urgent message was sent to all the provinces of Babylon: “Come to the plain of Dura. Nebuchadnezzar is putting on a special celebration.”
Daniel’s three friends Shadrach, Meshech and Abednego joined the rest of the rulers. When they got to Dura they saw a huge golden statue as high as a six-story building. An announcer was telling everyone what to do: “When you hear the music, fall down and worship the statue. Whoever doesn’t will be burned in a furnace.”
Shadrach, Meshech and Abednego didn’t want to pray to anyone but God. Yet the price of disobeying was certain death. What should they do?
Soon the music started. Immediately everyone around them fell to their knees. But Shadrach, Meshech and Abednego stayed standing. Many people saw them. Soon someone came to them and said, “Nebuchadnezzar...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 19:23-41
TO CHEW ON: "About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way." Acts 19:23"Paul preaching before the Temple of Diana at Ephesus" - by Adolf Pirsch, 1885
It didn’t take long for the people in Ephesus to notice the enthusiastic Christians. Demetrius, a man who made and sold silver idols of the goddess Artemis, saw that if people kept believing in Jesus there would soon be no one left to buy his idols.
He called a meeting of other silversmiths and crafts people and complained about Paul and this new religion....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Ezekiel 2:1-10
TO CHEW ON: " And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or be terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people." Ezekiel 2:6
As Ezekiel lay on the ground, a voice came from the bright vision of God. It was talking to him. “Stand up,” God said.
Ezekiel stood and God continued. “I am sending you to be a prophet to the people of Israel. They are rebellious, stubborn and obstinate. They may or may not listen.”
Ezekiel had wanted to be a priest. Now God was giving him a different job – the job of being a prophet. But it sounded hard and dangerous.Then I looked, and I saw a hand stretched out to me. In it was a scroll... On both sides of it were written words of lament and mourning and woe." Ezekiel 2:9
Before Ezekiel had a chance to argue with God about how hard this job was going to be, God encouraged him. Three times God said to Ezekiel, “Do not be afraid....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Daniel 6:12-23
TO CHEW ON: “ 'My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.' ” Daniel 6:22
“Bring them in!” commanded king Darius to his servant.
The Babylon rulers smirked as they entered and bowed before the king. “We’ve found someone who broke your new law,” they said. “We caught Daniel praying to his God.”
Darius was shocked. Not Daniel! He was his favorite servant. And then he understood. The other rulers were jealous of Daniel. They wanted him gone. They knew that he prayed to his God three times a day. So that was why they had come to the king and suggested he pass the new law. It said that for thirty days it was illegal to pray to anyone but the king. Punishment for disobeying was death by hungry lions.
All day King Darius tried to get Daniel freed. But he couldn’t. “May the God whom you serve rescue you,” he said to Daniel as servants tossed him into the lions' den....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Joshua 2:1-14
TO CHEW ON: “'I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you." Joshua 2:9
After Moses died, Joshua became Israel’s leader. “Get the people ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I’m giving you,” God said to him. “Tell them if they do everything I say, I will help them.”
Forty years before the Israelites had been at the same place. Then they refused to trust God. What would they do this time?
“Pack up!” Joshua told the people. “We’ll be leaving soon.”
Secretly he sent two spies to look over Canaan. “Pay special attention to the city of Jericho,” he told them.
When the men got to Jericho, someone saw them and went to the king. “Get those spies!” the king commanded his servants.
The spies hid in the home of a woman named Rahab. “The people are scared to death of you,” she said.
Why? (Joshua 2:10).How do you think this made the spies feel?Picture from CC-Art.com The spies hiding under flax on the roof of Rahab's house
Later Rahab helped the spies escape from...
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TODAY'S SPECIAL: Read Genesis 12:1-7Abraham journeying into the Land of Canaan by Gustave Dore
TO CHEW ON: "The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you....” So Abram went as the Lord told him." Genesis 12:1,4
People move from one home to another for many reasons. Sometimes they move to find work. Sometimes they move to be close to family. Sometimes they move to experience life in a different city. And sometimes they move just because God tells them to.
One day God talked to a man named Abram. (He was a man who was alive at about the same time as Job.) God told Abram to move – and he did, just because God said so.
He had to have a big faith in God to leave the country he lived in, the city he knew, and even his family. He was 75 when God asked him to do this. That's older than your grandparents! To make it even harder, God didn’t give him a map or a moving truck. He just told Abram and his wife Sarai to pack their stuff and go wherever He would show them.
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TODAY'S SPECIAL: Read: Genesis 6:9-14
"Noah and Sons Build the Ark"
TO CHEW ON: "But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. This is the account of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God." (Genesis 6:8,9)
Have you ever been the only person or family doing something, or NOT doing something? That’s what it was like for Noah and his family. While all the other people were sinning and living like they pleased, Noah was famous for something else. He had the reputation of being good. He was known as someone who pleased God....
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The Geography of the Bible
Popular Bible Maps
The Journey of Abraham
Moses and the Exodus
Joshua and the Land
The Kingdom of David
The Kingdom of Solomon
Israel in Jesus' Time
Paul's First Journey
The Land of Israel
The Land of Egypt
The Land of Assyria
The Land of Babylon
The Land of Persia
The Land of Greece
The City of Rome
Noah's Ark and Mt. Ararat
The Tower of Babel
The Old Testament World
The New Testament World
Moses and the 10 Plagues
The 10 Commandments
The 12 Tribes of Israel
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