TODAY’S SPECIAL: Nehemiah 2:11-20
TO CHEW ON: “The God of heaven will give us success . . .” Nehemiah 2:20a
When Nehemiah got to Jerusalem he took a few days to rest. Then he gathered some men and went to look at the wall. As they circled the city, Nehemiah saw that it was every bit as bad as Hanani had described.
What had once been sturdy walls were now piles of boulders and bricks. Where thick wooden gates had once protected the city, there were now only charred posts and empty spaces. He realized this would be a huge project. But he came back from exploring more determined than ever. With God’s help he would rebuild the wall!...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Judges 16:4-22
TO CHEW ON: "With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was sick to death of it. So he told her everything.” Judges 16:16,17
“I’m in love with a Philistine girl,” Samson announced to his dad one day. “Get her for me.”
Samson’s parents didn’t approve. “Can’t you find a good homegrown girl to marry?” they asked. But Samson insisted. And so began his up-and-down relationship with the Philistines.
The marriage soon went sour when Samson’s new wife tricked him. He left her. When he went back, he found that she was now married to someone else. That made him furious. He caught 300 foxes, tied their tails together, lit them on fire and released them to burn the Philistines’ fields of wheat, grapes and olives.
And so it went. Again and again Samson had dealings with the Philistines and got double-crossed. That made him angry and, with his strength from God, he got even. Once he killed 1000 men with only the bone of a donkey as a weapon.
Another time he escaped capture by breaking ropes he was tied with, then busting open the gates of the city by pulling them off their hinges. In this way...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Psalm 1:1-6
CHEW ON: "But they (people who try to please God) take joy in doing all God wants them to. They think about God’s laws day and night. They think about ways to follow him more closely." Psalm 1:2 (The [Simplified] Living Bible)Illustration by Annie Vallotton from the Good News Bible © American Bible Society 1976, 1992
Saul tried to kill David because he was jealous. He kept his envious thoughts growing by going back to them again and again. He imagined how the people were saying David should be king instead of him. He wished David weren’t around. Maybe if he killed David, the people would admire him the most again …
Our minds are always busy, thinking about something. But we don't have to let our minds go wherever they choose. We can control what we think about. If we find ourselves thinking jealous, hateful, revengeful thoughts, we can stop. We can turn our minds to other things – and think thoughts that are good, loving, wholesome and kind.
What are your favorite things to think about? What are some things you try NOT to think about?
Read Philippians 4:8, then make a list of good things to think about.
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Ecclesiastes 3:1-15
TO CHEW ON: "He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end." Ecclesiastes 3:11
From earliest times, thinking people have asked hard questions. Questions like:
- Why is this world and the universe here?- Why am I here?- Is this life all there is?
Ecclesiastes is a book that explores such things. Though the author of Ecclesiastes isn’t named, many people think Solomon wrote it when he was an old man. In Ecclesiastes the writer describes what he has seen in his life. Then he tells us lessons we can learn....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Kings 6:8-23
TO CHEW ON: “’Don’t be afraid,’” the prophet answered. ‘Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’” 2 Kings 6:16
During the time of Elisha, the kings of Aram and Israel were at war. But because God told Elisha where the Aramaens were, and Elisha told the king of Israel, the Israeli king was always getting away.
“Who of you is telling Israel our plans?” the King of Aram demanded of his soldiers.
“No one,” they replied. “It’s Elisha, the prophet. He knows everything – even what you say in your bedroom.”
“Capture him,” The king commanded. He sent a large force of soldiers on horses to arrest Elisha. They came at night and surrounded Dothan, the city where Elisha was staying.
The next morning when Elisha’s servant got up, he saw the army around the city. “My lord, what shall we do?” he asked Elisha.
“Don’t be afraid,” Elisha replied. Then he prayed, “God, open his eyes.”
In the next instant the servant saw that the hills surrounding the city were full of horses – and these weren’t the enemy’s horses. They were surrounded by chariots of fire. God’s army of angels was all around, protecting Elisha...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Zechariah 8:1-12
TO CHEW ON: "This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Once again men and women of ripe old age will sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each of them with cane in hand because of their age. The city streets will be filled with boys and girls playing there' " Zechariah 8:4-5.
After winter comes ________After night comes _________After sadness comes _________
The Israelites had had years of sadness when they lived in Babylon. Now some of them had returned to Jerusalem. There was much to do – a city to clean up, homes to build, a temple to rebuild. Would things ever get back to the wonderful way they had once been?
God sent Zechariah, another prophet, to encourage everyone. His message was as hopeful as spring after winter, morning after night, joy after crying. “Jerusalem won’t always be like this,” he said. “Exiles from all over will come home. Then old men and women will visit in the streets. Boys and girls will play there."Once again men and women of ripe old age will sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with cane in hand because of his age. The city streets will be filled with boys and...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Kings 7:1-9
TO CHEW ON: "Then they said to each other, 'What we’re doing is not right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us. Let’s go at once and report this to the royal palace.' ” 2 Kings 7:9
What do you do when you have good news?- Make very sure no one finds out.- Write about it only in your journal.- Email, phone, text-message and tell all your friends.
Chances are, you do the last. We all love good news – and love even more to share it with others so they can be happy with us.
Four lepers living outside Samaria didn’t have good news very often. Lately life was even worse than usual because they were starving. Their family members who usually brought them food were locked inside the gates of the city.
Standing guard outside the gates and surrounding the city walls was the army of Aram and King Ben Hadad. He wanted Samaria as his own. He was determined to stay as long as it took to capture the city. He was sure that when the Israeli people and their king...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Chronicles 11:1-9
TO CHEW ON: "And David became more and more powerful, because the Lord Almighty was with him." 1 Chronicles 11:9
Now that Saul was dead, the people of Israel needed a new king. They gathered in the city of Hebron where David was staying. David had proved himself a natural leader and a fearless warrior. They knew that God had already chosen him to be king. Now they wanted to make it official and crown him king. They did this at Hebron.
Then the Israelites went with David to the city of Jerusalem. David wanted Jerusalem to be the place from which he ruled.
Rebels who didn’t like David lived there. “You’ll never get in here!” the people of Jerusalem shouted at David from behind thick walls....
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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: Read Job 1:6-22
TO CHEW ON: "At this Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: '. . . The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.'” Job 1:20,21
Sometime after the flood, a man named job and his family lived in the land of Uz. Job was a happy man. He had a wife and a large, healthy family. He was also rich with donkeys, sheep, oxen, camels, and servants. Then one day his good life fell apart. Match Job’s possessions with what happened to them: (Job 1:13-18)
What a horrible day for Job! One after the other, his servants came to him with news of robbers, fire, wind, calamity and death....
Read More about Job’s very bad, terrible, no good day »
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