TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Corinthians 6:14-18
TO CHEW ON: "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?" 2 Corinthians 6:14
In Bible times, teams of oxen were used to do farm work, like pull a plow. A heavy wooden yoke was placed on the necks two oxen. The yoke was attached with leather straps to the plow.
Together the oxen pulled the plow, while the plowman walked behind them working the plow parts and breaking the ground. This yoke kept the oxen moving and pulling in the same direction....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Luke 5:27-31
TO CHEW ON: "Jesus answered them, 'It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.'” Luke 5:31,32
One day Jesus saw a tax collector named Levi (also called Matthew) sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him. So Levi left his tax booth and went with Jesus."The Calling of Levi" - James Tissot, 1886 - 1896
Levi liked Jesus so much he wanted others to meet this new friend. He prepared a banquet and invited all his tax collector friends and Jesus.
Not everybody would have been comfortable at Levi's dinner. Most people hated tax collectors. One reason was they collected taxes for the Roman rulers. The Jews hated the Romans ruling over them.
Even worse, tax collectors usually asked for more than the Romans charged. Then they kept the extra to get rich themselves. People called them thieves and thought of them as sinners.
When the Pharisees and religious teachers saw Jesus at Levi’s party, they criticized Him. If He was such a wise teacher, how could He not know these men were sinners?...
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Tags: Luke love Jesus God’s help friendship
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Joshua 23:1-16
TO CHEW ON: “But if you turn away and ally yourselves with the survivors of these nations that remain among you and if you intermarry with them and associate with them, then you may be sure that the Lord your God will no longer drive out these nations before you. Instead, they will become snares and traps for you, whips on your backs and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land, which the Lord your God has given you.” Joshua 23:12,13Joshua speaks to the people - Artist unknown
Years passed. Joshua led the people in many battles. They won most of them and were now living in their new homes in Canaan. When Joshua was an old man he gathered the leaders to hear his final words. Here are some of the things he told them. Cross out the one thing he did not say:
1. Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the book of the Law of Moses.
2. Associate with the survivors of these nations; pray to their gods and swear by them.
3. One person can beat a thousand because God fights for you.
4. If you are good...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Isaiah 11:1-9
TO CHEW ON: "The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.9 They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." Isaiah 11:8,9“And a Little Child Shall Lead Them” Original oil painting © 2007 by Darlene Slavujac
Would you let your baby sister play near the hole of a poisonous snake? Of course not! That would be almost certain death. Yet in this prophecy, Isaiah tells about a time when people and animals will get along without fear of each other. Match the creatures who will live together without fear (Isaiah 11:6-7)...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 4:32-36
TO CHEW ON: "All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had." Acts 4:32
It was only weeks after Jesus had returned to heaven. But the people who believed in Jesus lived with Holy Spirit power and amazing things happened. The Apostles - Peter, John and others - preached boldly. Signs and miracles happened everywhere. As a result thousands believed in Jesus.
These new followers of Jesus spent a lot of time together - meeting in the temple courts, praising God and boasting about what He had done. They even ate their meals together."The Apostles preaching" - Artist unknown
Another thing they did was share – everything they had. In fact, people were so generous, they sold their things and brought the money to the leaders to help pay for the needs of those who didn’t have enough. Not one of those early Christians needed to beg, use food stamps or go to the food bank....
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Tags: love generosity friendship Acts
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Ruth 1:1-18
TO CHEW ON: "But Ruth replied, 'Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.' " Ruth 1:16,17
Naomi was sad. As she trudged down the road toward Israel she thought of the last time she had been on this road. Then she had been with her husband and her two sons. Then, even though they were hungry because of a famine, they were together.
They had found plenty to eat in their new home in the country of Moab. But something terribly sad had happened too. Naomi’s husband and both her sons had died there.
Now she was on her way back to Israel – alone. Well, not exactly. Because beside her walked Orpah and Ruth. They were her daughters-in-law. These women her sons had married were now widows too. But she was sure they didn’t really want to come back to...
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Tags: Ruth friendship
TODAY’S SPECIAL:Philippians 4:4-9
TO CHEW ON: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Philippians 4:8
You’ve probably heard the proverb, “You can’t stop a bird from landing on your head, but you can stop it from building a nest in your hair.”
Our thoughts are a lot like that bird. The first time a thought occurs to us is like the bird sitting on our head. We can’t help that it landed there but we can choose what happens after that. We can choose to invite the thought to stay by thinking about it more, or shoo it away by replacing it with a better thought.
For example, suppose you stop by your best friend Jessica’s house to walk her to school. Her Mom tells you that she’s already left with Danielle. Immediately you have the thought: “Danielle’s trying to steal my friend.”
Now you have a choice. Do you encourage that jealous thought by telling yourself things like:I never could trust Jessica.Next time I see Jessica and Danielle I'll give them a piece of my mind.
Or do you replace...
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Tags: truth thoughts Philippians memory verse God’s help friendship
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Mark 10:13-16
TO CHEW ON: “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” - Mark 10:14
Circle what you think Jesus was like: kind? gruff? liked kids? impatient? funny? mean? happy?
At different times Jesus reacted in different ways. But we know He loved kids."The Little Children and Jesus" - Artist unknown
When He found out the disciples were scolding people for bringing children to get His blessing, He was not pleased....
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Tags: Mark Jesus God’s care friendship
TODAY’S SPECIAL: I Peter 4:12-19
TO CHEW ON: "If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you." I Peter 4:14
Which of these things has happened to you because you are a Christian?- called names- left out- teased- made fun of
It’s not fun going through things like that. But it shouldn’t surprise us. People in the past were insulted and persecuted because they trusted in God:"Goliath" - Artist unknown
David’s older brother made fun of him when David came to the battlefield and started asking questions about why no one was challenging Goliath when he insulted God. (1 Samuel 17:28)"David" - Artist Unknown
Nehemiah was teased by Sanballat and Tobiah when he began rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem. They made fun of his work, joking, “..if even a fox climbed up on it, he would break down their wall of stones.” (Nehemiah 2:19; 4:3).
Jesus said that his followers would be arrested, persecuted, even killed (John 15:20)....
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Tags: write true/false persecution Nehemiah Jesus friendship David 1 Peter
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Luke 10:29-37
TO CHEW ON: "...so he asked Jesus, 'And who is my neighbor?'” Luke 10:29
One day when Jesus was teaching in the province of Judea Mr. Scripture Expert came to Him with a question. He looked proud of himself as he asked, “What do I do to get eternal life?”
“What’s written in the law (Bible)?” Jesus asked.
“Love the Lord with all your heart ...and love your neighbor as yourself,” Mr. Expert replied.
“Do this and you’ll get that life,” Jesus told him.
“And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus answered that question by telling a story (today’s “Read”). In it bandits robbed and beat up a Jewish man. As he lay unconscious beside the road a priest came along. He saw the beat up traveler and crossed to the other side of the road. A Levite did the same thing. Then along came a Samaritan....
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Tags: parable Luke love Jesus God’s plan friendship
TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Chronicles 24:17-25
TO CHEW ON: "After the death of Jehoiada, the officials of Judah came and paid homage to the king, and he listened to them. They abandoned the temple of the Lord, the God of their fathers, and worshiped Asherah poles and idols." 2 Chronicles 24:17,18
Though Joel warned King Joash that bad things would happen if he didn’t return to God, he refused to change his ways. When Jehoiada’s son Zechariah warned him too, he killed Zechariah. After that things quickly fell apart.
Soon a small enemy army from Aram easily defeated Joash’s large army. In the end, Joash’s own servants murdered him in revenge for murdering Zechariah. Though Joash started out well, he ended badly.
The change in Joash came after Priest Jehoiada died. This man who saved his life had been just like a father to him. He encouraged Joash and helped him to follow God. But it seems Joash didn’t know God himself. For as soon as Jehoiada was gone, Joash turned away from God....
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Tags: prayer Judah God’s word God’s presence friendship 2 Chronicles
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Isaiah 55:1-7
TO CHEW ON: "Come all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come buy and eat!" Isaiah 55:1
Have you ever been very, very thirsty? What did you want more than anything?
Thirst is our body’s way of telling us we need water. In fact we would eventually die if we didn’t get the water we needed.
In today’s reading, though, when Isaiah invites thirsty people to come to water, he isn’t talking about physical thirst. He’s talking about a thirst in our hearts. Perhaps you have felt such a thirst. It might come as a fear in the night - wondering what would happen to you if you died. It might come as a need for love, praise, popularity or excitement. It might come as a desire to do something big and important in your life.
When that thirst comes, you could try to satisfy it with a variety of drinks. You could work hard at school to get the best marks so that people will praise you. You could dress in the latest clothes so that you will fit in with the cool crowd and be popular. You could work at sports...
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Tags: trust Judah Isaiah God’s care friendship
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 10:1-8
TO CHEW ON: "At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion...” Acts 10:1
Cornelius was not a Jew but a Gentile. It wasn’t only his race that made the Jewish people want to avoid him. His job was a problem too. He was a centurion (centurion = captain) in the Roman army. Roman soldiers often mistreated the Jews. Jewish people were suspicious and afraid of Cornelius.
But Cornelius had some surprising beliefs for a Roman soldier. Unscramble the words below that tell about him (Acts 10:2):He (dreefa)________ (dgo)________.He (vgae)___________ to those in need.He (yrdepa) __________ to God regularly.
One afternoon an angel talked to him in a vision. The angel told him God had noticed his prayers and gifts. He was to send someone to Joppa, find Simon Peter and bring him to his house in Caesarea. God looked past Cornelius’s race and job, into his heart. He knew Cornelius wanted to know Him better. Peter (who was a Jew) would help with that – or would he?
"Cornelius is confronted by the angel" by Caspar Luiken, 1672-1708
Do you ever jump to conclusions about what a person is like because of their skin color, the fact that they are...
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Tags: Peter obedience love God’s plan friendship choices Acts
TODAY’S SPECIAL: John 13:18-30
TO CHEW ON: “'Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.'” - Jesus, John 13:21
Your brother promises to wait for you after school, but then walks home without you.
You tell your best friend a secret and ask her not to tell anyone. But the next day you find that five people in your class know your secret.
Your baseball team has its own signals. One day you play a team that knows exactly what each of your signals means.
You have been betrayed! Whether betrayal comes from someone disappointing you, telling your secrets or helping your enemy, being betrayed is not fun.
"My Betrayer Is Here" - Artist unknown
Jesus was betrayed too. His betrayer came to the garden where He was praying. He came with soldiers who were planning to arrest Jesus.
1. Who was the traitor? (John 18:1-6)a)____ Johnb)____ Peterc)____ Judas.
2. How did he betray Jesus: (Mark 14:43-46)a)____ He spread bad stories about Jesus all around town.b)____ He lost the money bag he was in charge of.c)____ He kissed Jesus to show the soldiers which person to arrest...
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Tags: trickery storytelling Mark John Jesus God’s plan friendship Christ’s passion
TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Samuel 20:32-42
TO CHEW ON: "Jonathan said to David, 'Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the Lord saying, "The Lord is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever."'” 1 Samuel 20:42
King Saul’s jealousy meant that the palace was no longer a safe place for David. Saul even told his servants and his son Jonathan to kill David if they got the chance. So David left to live somewhere else. This made Jonathan sad. He liked David a lot. In fact, you could say they were best friends.
One day Prince Jonathan asked his father, “Why are you trying to kill David? He doesn’t mean you any harm.”
“You’re probably right,” King Saul answered. He promised to stop trying to kill David. Then Jonathan convinced David to come back and live in the palace again. But no sooner had he moved back when again Saul tried to kill him and David had to run for his life....
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Tags: Saul love friendship David 1 Samuel
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Read Job 2:1-13Job and his friends - Artist unknown
TO CHEW ON: "When Job’s three friends Eliphaz... Bildad... and Zophar... heard about all the troubles that had come upon him they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him." Job 2:11
At the next heavenly council meeting, Satan suggested that God should take His protection away from Job’s body. If he got sick, Satan was sure Job would curse God.
God gave permission. Soon Job was so ill his friends who came to comfort him hardly recognized him.
Job’s friends thought it was his fault he was sick. When Job insisted he hadn’t done anything wrong, they argued, “God always punishes sin. This sickness is your punishment for something bad you did. Confess your sin and you’ll get better.”
Finally a young friend, Elihu, spoke. He said maybe Job’s sickness wasn’t because of something bad he did. Maybe God was just trying to teach Job a lesson....
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Tags: trust problems Job friendship faith discussion
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