TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 27:27-44
TO CHEW ON: "Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.” (Acts 27:34)
Have you ever been seriously scared or nervous? Perhaps it was the time your team had to play the championship game, or you had to perform a solo in a piano recital, or you were driving through a snowstorm and the car started sliding all over the road.
Our bodies respond to fear in a physical way. How does your body feel when you are nervous or afraid?
- You can’t eat.- You get sick to your stomach.- You feel shaky.- You get a headache.- Your hands get cold and clammy.- Your face gets red.- You bite your nails.
The 275 passengers with Paul had been in the storm for 14 days. They were terrified the whole time. Many of them hadn’t eaten anything and were growing weak....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Jeremiah 7:1-13
TO CHEW ON: "This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel says: Reform your ways and your actions, and I will let you live in this place. Do not trust in deceptive words and say, 'This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord!' " Jeremiah 7:3,4
People thronged to the temple after Josiah’s clean-up. Looking at the crowds in “church” you’d think that everything had changed in Judah. But for many people, once they were away from God’s house, nothing had changed.
Crime and murder were common. Widows and orphans were ignored. Foreigners were mistreated. People thought that these things didn’t really matter. They thought Jerusalem would never be destroyed because the temple was there. They had a superstitious faith that the temple would save them no matter what they did.
One day God told Jeremiah to stand at the entrance way of the temple. He was to give the worshipers this message from God: “Change the way you act. Don’t put your faith in the temple. Look at what happened to Shiloh where the ark used to sit. I will do the same thing to Jerusalem if you...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Joshua 3:1-17
TO CHEW ON: “Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap .... So the people crossed over opposite Jericho.” Joshua 3:15,16
Excitement filled the air. Today was the day! After living in the desert and in tents for forty years, walking miles in the heat, sleeping in the cold, eating only manna for as long as they could remember, the Israelites would enter Canaan, their new home.
People made manna sandwiches and filled up water skins. They packed their clothes and tools, rolled up their tents and got in line. The priests who carried the ark led the way.
But there was one HUGE – problem. In order to enter Canaan, they had to cross the Jordan River which was wide and fast-flowing. How would they do it?
“Tell the priests to keep walking toward the river,” God told Joshua.
When the priests were nearly at the water’s edge, God gave the next instruction. “Tell the priests to step in the river and stand there.”
So even though the river...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Psalm 91:1-16
TO CHEW ON: "I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.'” Psalm 91:2
What things frighten you?
Do you know one person who isn’t afraid of something?
Even courageous David, when he was hiding from Saul, was probably afraid. He was scared of being found by Saul. He was afraid of being killed....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 John 5:1-5
TO CHEW ON: "In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world." 1 John 5:3,4
Which of these people would you obey?
doctor parent God
Did you choose them all? Name one reason to obey:
a policeman:a teacher:a doctor:a parent:God:
We have different reasons for obeying.
We may obey the policeman because we know if we don’t, he can fine, arrest or put us in jail. We obey out of fear....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 4:13-21
TO CHEW ON: "Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, 'Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges!'” Acts 4:18,19
After God healed the lame man through Peter, many people believed in Jesus. This made the religious leaders jealous."Preaching to the multitudes" - Artist unknown
First they ordered Peter and John to stop preaching. Then they grilled them with questions. Finally they told them not to speak of Jesus any more OR ELSE and let them go."The boldness of Peter and John" - Artist unknown
But Peter and John had no intention of obeying the leaders’ order. They knew in some things it’s more important to obey God than people....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Luke 19:11-27
TO CHEW ON: "He replied: 'I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away.'” Luke 19:26
One day Jesus told the story of a king. Before the king went on a trip, he gave ten servants one mina* each. He told them to put the money to work for him.
When the king got back, he asked the servants for a report. Servant One had made ten minas with his one mina. Servant Two had made five. But Servant Three only had the original mina.
This made the king angry. He took the mina away from Servant Three and gave it to Servant One."Servants reporting to the king" - Artist unknown
This parable teaches us:1. Life isn’t fair.2. It pays to be greedy and get all we can.3. If we don’t use the things we’ve been given, we’ll lose even those things.
I think it’s number 3 - don’t you?
Jesus' stories are not only interesting but they teach us about God and what is important to Him. In this story we learn about how God wants us to use what we have.
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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: 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: 1 Kings 19:1-9aTO CHEW ON: "Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. ... he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. 'I have had enough, Lord,' he said. 'Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.' ” 1 Kings 19:3,4No sooner did Ahab get home and tell Queen Jezebel that Elijah had killed her Baal prophets than Jezebel threatened Elijah’s life. “By this time tomorrow, you’ll be dead like them,” she told him by messenger.If Elijah expected Jezebel to believe in God after the contest on the mountain, he saw now that wasn’t going to happen. Her message terrified him. He and his servant took off, running as fast and as far as they could. When they got to Beersheba, Elijah let his servant rest while he traveled another day, far into the desert.As he ran and walked and ran some more, he probably thought of what had just happened. It seemed that Ahab hadn’t learned anything from the three years of no rain and the contest on the mountain. Even though he, Elijah, had done his...
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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: Numbers 14:1-12, 20-23
TO CHEW ON: "Not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it." Numbers 14:23
When the twelve spies came back from Canaan, only two thought they could conquer the people and move in. The ten others saw only walled cities and fierce, tall people. They were afraid and refused to trust God and Moses.
When the people in the camp heard their report, they started to grumble and cried, “We don’t want to die in a war. We want to go back to Egypt. We want a new leader.”
Joshua and Caleb tried to change the peoples’ minds. “The land is wonderful,” they said. “God isn’t afraid of those people. If He is with us, those people should be afraid.”
But the people wouldn’t change their minds. Instead they ganged up on Moses, Aaron, Caleb and Joshua. “Let’s kill them!” they shouted, and began picking up stones....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Exodus 23:20-33
TO CHEW ON: " Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span." Exodus 23:25,26
What things scare you:- Walking alone in the dark?- Changing schools?- Trying something for the first time (diving, horseback riding, snowboarding)?- _____________________________
It’s easy to be frightened when we don’t feel safe, or when we don’t know anyone, or when we’re trying something for the first time, or a lot of other reasons.
The Israelites had every reason to be afraid. They had gone from living in one spot to moving nearly every day. They went from being safe in Egypt to being easy prey to fierce desert tribes. They went from always knowing where they would find their next drink and meal to having to trust God for all these things.
A. God saw the fear inside them. He answered it with a whole lot of promises. Cross out the one thing, below, that He didn’t promise in TODAY'S SPECIAL reading.God said he would:1. send His angel to show them the way to...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Numbers 13:26-33
TO CHEW ON: "Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, 'We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.' But the men who had gone up with him said, 'We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.'” Numbers 13:30,31
The Israelites had been traveling through the desert for a long time. Now they were near the land God had promised them. To prepare for going in and settling there, Moses sent twelve spies to explore their new home. For forty days these men went from place to place in Canaan, secretly checking out the country.
When they got back, they told of the amazing orchards and farms. They brought back grapes, dates and pomegranates to prove how rich the land was. But they also told of huge walled cities and people who looked as big and strong as giants.
Ten of the spies didn’t think they would ever be able to live there. “The cities are too protected,” they said, “and the people are too tall.”
But two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, didn’t agree. “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we certainly...
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