TODAY’S SPECIAL: John 13:4-17
TO CHEW ON: “Now that I your Lord and Teacher have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.” (John 13:14)
Imagine walking barefoot in sandals along the hot dusty roads of Palestine. Are you thinking dusty, sweaty, grimy feet? When people arrived at someone’s house after such a journey, they wouldn’t walk all over the clean floors with their dusty feet. Instead a servant would be at the door, ready to wash the guests’ dirty feet.
When Jesus and His disciples gathered in an upstairs room to eat the Passover meal, there was no servant there to do this job. Then while the disciples were eating (with dirty feet) an unusual thing happened. The most important person in the room, the leader and teacher, Jesus, took off His outer coat. He wrapped a towel around His waist, poured water into a basin and, one by one, washed His disciples’ feet."Jesus Washes His Disciples' Feet" - Artist unknown
After that, He told them they should wash one another’s feet, like He had washed their feet....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Malachi 3:1-5
TO CHEW ON: "But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? for he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." Malachi 3:2,3a"Malachi" by J. James Tissot
Ezra’s revival soon cooled. The joy of being back in Jerusalem evaporated. Life was hard for the exiles. They didn’t get rich quickly, as some had thought they would. Many felt disappointed with God. Their disappointment showed in the way they no longer respected Him. Instead they lived to please themselves.
No longer did the Levites teach the truth. Men divorced their aging wives and married beautiful young foreign women to take their places. People lied, cheated workers out of wages and were mean to immigrants. That’s when the prophet Malachi came on the scene.
“God will return to His temple one day,” he said. “He will come suddenly and purify His people, like soap washes clothes clean or a searing fire burns impurities out of gold and silver.”...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Joel 2:12-19
TO CHEW ON: "Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity." Joel 2:13
Suppose you did something bad like got mad at your little sister and hurt her. Now you feel really sorry. You wish you hadn’t hurt her and you’re also worried that you might get punished.
1. What thing from the list below will convince your parents you really are sorry and won’t do it again:a] you cryb] you apologize to your sisterc] you promise to never hurt your sister againd] from now on treat your sister with kindness.
Though crying, apologizing and making promises might convince your parents you’re sorry, they’ll know you’re really sorry by watching how your actions have changed.
When the people of Judah stopped following God and again worshiped idols, they were like a kid who had done something wrong. Prophet Joel told them God was going to punish them by sending locusts and drought. But there was still a way to avoid this punishment. It was by coming back to God and showing Him they were truly sorry and...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Habakkuk 1:1-11
TO CHEW ON: "How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, 'Violence!' but you do not save?" Habakkuk 1:2
Have you ever wondered whether it does any good to pray? That seems to be what the prophet Habakkuk was asking at the beginning of his short book.
Habakkuk was another prophet in Judah. He lived at the same time as Jeremiah did. Instead of God giving Habakkuk messages for the people, he talked to God for them.
He asked questions that people from all times and places have asked:- If You’re in control, God, why does evil win so often?- How can You ignore unfairness? Why do evil people get richer and more powerful?- Why do You use evil people to work Your will?
Illustration by Annie Vallotton from the Good News Bible © American Bible Society 1976, 1992
God answered Habakkuk’s questions. Sometimes his answers were surprising. When Habakkuk complained, in today’s reading, that it seemed like God was ignoring unfairness, God replied, “You haven’t seen anything yet!” Then he explained that soon He would use the cruel nation of Babylon even more.\
But God’s answers did finally satisfy Habakkuk. And...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Numbers 20:1-13
TO CHEW ON: "But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 'Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.' ” Numbers 20:12
Now the Israelites kept traveling from place to place. While in the desert of Zin they ran out of water. As usual the people came to Moses to complain. “Why did you bring us here,” they whined. “There is no grain. There are no figs, grapes, and pomegranates. Now we have no water.”
When Moses and Aaron asked God what to do, God said to Moses, “Take your staff, gather the people and speak to that rock.”
So Moses did exactly as God had said – almost. He took his staff, gathered the people at the rock but then, instead of speaking to the rock, he hit it with his staff.
Water gushed out and the people stopped complaining and began drinking and filling up water jugs.
God had answered Moses’ prayer. But He was not pleased with Moses’ disobedience. Even though he was the leader God had chosen, and God had often talked to him like...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Jonah 3:1-10
TO CHEW ON: "When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened." Jonah 3:10
God did ask Jonah to go to Nineveh again. This time Jonah said “yes.”
When he got to this large city, he walked around, shouting: “If you don’t stop being wicked and violent, God will destroy in you in forty days. Instead fast, put on sackcloth and pray to God. Pray hard. Who knows, God might still spare you.”
Jonah was secretly wishing God would destroy Nineveh. It was the capital city of the country of Assyria. The Assyrians were known for their cruelty. They had often been mean to the people of Israel and Judah
But the people of Nineveh were not mean to Jonah. They didn’t tease or laugh at him. Instead, they listened. Even their king came out to hear what Jonah had to say. Then he did exactly what Jonah said. He told all the people to do the same....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL:2 John 1-13
TO CHEW ON: "I ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love." 2 John 5-6
To “walk in love” means different things to different people. To some it means having a crush on a special person. To others it means having a best friend who is always there for you. To still others it means constant reminders of someone’s love in the form of gifts and nice things.
But really loving each other is not nearly as soft and fuzzy as the things above would make us think. It’s all about choices. It’s about not doing the unloving thing and doing the loving thing. It’s about actions. It's about loving things that we do whether or not we feel loving.
I Corinthians 13:1-13 tells us some of the difficult things a person who lives a loving life does or doesn’t do. Which ways to “walk in love,” below, are hard for you?Being patientNot being rudeBeing kindNot getting angryNot boastingProtecting othersNot being proudTrusting othersNot looking after my own interests firstBeing hopeful (positive)Not remembering bad things done...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 John 3:1-10
TO CHEW ON: "See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him." 1 John 3:1
What is the stand-out thing about your family? Is it the way many of you look alike? Maybe it’s a special talent, like being a good athlete, actor or musician. Or perhaps it’s the way your family celebrates Christmas and birthdays in its own special way.What is special about your family?
We probably resemble our physical parents - even though we may not know them. And the way we act is always affected by the personalities and habits of the families we belong to and live with.
There’s another family we belong to, not by birth, but by special invitation. When we ask Jesus into our lives, we become part of God’s family....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL:1 Kings 18:16-24
TO CHEW ON: "Elijah went before the people and said, 'How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.' But the people said nothing." 1 Kings 18:21
Obadiah found Ahab and told him that Elijah had turned up.
“Is it really you, you troublemaker?” Ahab asked when he saw Elijah.
“I’m no troublemaker,” Elijah replied. “You’re the one who is making trouble by ignoring God’s commands and following Baal instead. But it’s time for a showdown. Get all the Baal prophets and gather the people on Mount Carmel.”
When everyone had gathered, Elijah addressed the people. “How long will you go back and forth?” he asked. “It’s time to decide who you’re going to follow. So we’ll have a contest. We’ll prepare two sacrifices. The Baal prophets will put together a sacrifice for Baal and I’ll prepare one for God. Then we’ll each pray to our god. The one that answers by sending fire to burn his sacrifice is the real God. He is the one we should worship."
The people agreed this was a good plan.
PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to know that You are the real...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Chronicles 12:1-14
TO CHEW ON: "Because Rehoboam humbled himself, the Lord’s anger turned from him and he was not totally destroyed. Indeed there was some good in Judah." 2 Chronicles 12:12
We left the story of Rehoboam a while back. He was the son of Solomon who said he would be a mean and bossy king. Ten tribes didn’t want Rehoboam to be their king. They chose Jeroboam to be king and were called Israel. We have been following what happened in Israel (King Jeroboam, King Ahab, the prophets Elijah and Elisha).
Meanwhile back in Jerusalem, Rehoboam ruled over the two tribes that stayed loyal to him. The part of the land he ruled was called Judah.
Rehoboam soon became a strong king in Judah. He forgot all about God and worshiping Him until King Shishak of Egypt started invading. In no time Shishak had captured all the nearby cities and was just outside Jerusalem.
Scared Rehoboam and his advisors were huddled in the city trying to decide what to do next when a prophet came to them. “You have abandoned God,” the prophet said to Rehoboam.“Now He is leaving you to Shishak.”
This made Rehoboam even more frightened. That day he decided...
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