The Fearful Otherness of God

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Exodus 19:16-25 TO CHEW ON: "On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain." Exodus 19:16,17 Who is the person you would most like to meet in the world?Suppose you knew you were going to meet this person. What are some things you would do to get ready? The day Moses and the people got to Mount Sinai in the Sinai Desert, God called Moses to meet with Him on the mountain. There He told Moses He Himself would come down and meet the people in three days. But first they had to get ready. They must wash their clothes and put a fence around the bottom of the mountain. If you met the person you most wanted to meet, what are some of the things you might see? limousine, flowers, police guards, red carpet, cheering fans, bands, paradesI wonder what the Israelites expected to see when they knew they would meet God. Perhaps they thought He might look like...

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Tags: worship Moses God’s presence God’s holiness Exodus

The End of the Story

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Revelation 20:7-15 TO CHEW ON: "And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night forever and ever." Revelation 20:10 When you read a book, do you ever skip to the end, to see how it turns out? Today’s reading is the place we’d go to see how the story of the Bible, the story of the fight between God and Satan, ends. "The Fall" by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, Published 1907 Throughout time Satan has tried every trick to win. He started out by lying to Eve and persuading her to disobey God - to sin. Through the centuries he has lied to, stolen from, scared and tricked people. When Jesus came, Satan and his demons worked hard to destroy Him. Jesus was killed. But God used Satan’s plan to backfire on him. For Jesus didn’t stay dead. He rose, won over death and now everyone who trusts in Jesus’ death as payment for their sins wins over death as well. 1. What is Satan’s end (Revelation 20:10)?...

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Tags: Satan Revelation John heaven God’s timing God’s plan God’s holiness

Tempest in the Temple

TODAY’S SPECIAL: John 2: 13-17 TO CHEW ON: “...Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” John 2:16 Jesus and His disciples went to the temple in Jerusalem for Passover. To celebrate the Passover, every worshiper had to offer an animal sacrifice and pay a tax. In Jesus’ time, the priests sold the sacrifice animals in the temple court (the outside section, like our lobby or foyer). They charged huge amounts of money for these birds and animals. They wouldn’t sacrifice any animals that weren’t bought from them. "Jesus clears the temple" - Artist unknown The tax had to be paid in temple coins. Money changers changed people’s everyday money into temple coins but they charged extra to make the exchange. Jesus was furious when He went into the temple and found the priests were more concerned about making money than worshiping God....

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Talking Bush

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Exodus 2:23-3:12 TO CHEW ON: "And God said, 'I will be with you.'" Exodus 3:12a Moses got away from Pharaoh that day. He ran to the desert. There he lived with a nomad family. He lived with them for forty years. He tended sheep for the man, married one of the family’s daughters and had two sons. I wonder what he thought about during those lonely hours when he was tending sheep. Perhaps he wished that he had the day he killed the Egyptian to live over again. Maybe he felt bad because now he was sure he would never help his people like he wanted to. He may have thought his life had been wasted. Then one day while tending the sheep: - What strange thing did he see? 1] (Exodus 3:2) _________________- When he went to check it out, what did he hear? 2] (Exodus 3:4) ____________- What did God tell him to do? 3] (Exodus 3:5) ______________- Then what assignment did God give him? 4] (Exodus 3:10) ________- When Moses said he couldn’t do this job, God gave him a promise. Put the words of God’s promise (below) in the right order: 5] ____ ____ ____ ____ ___...

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Tags: worship puzzle Moses God’s presence God’s holiness God’s help Exodus Egypt

Pride Before a Fall

TODAY’S SPECIAL:2 Chronicles 26:16-22 TO CHEW ON: "But after Uzziah became powerful his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense." 2 Chronicles 26:16 Back in Judah, years had gone by since King Joash’s reign had ended. Now sixteen-year-old Uzziah, Joash’s grandson, was king. Like his grandfather Joash, Uzziah was trained by a priest. Just like Joash he started out well. He strengthened the army, defeated his Philistine enemies, built cities, and gave lots of people good jobs on his farms and in his fields. Soon he was famous in the nations all around. Best of all, during this whole time he was careful to do what pleased God. That is, until one day when his success went to his head. That day he decided there was nothing he couldn’t do. So he went into the temple, lit the incense in the portable burner called a censer, and was about to make a sacrifice on the altar when Azariah and a crowd of priests stopped him. “What are you doing?” Azariah asked. “This isn’t right. Only priests are allowed to go into the temple...

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Tags: worship temple Judah God’s plan God’s holiness disobedience consequences 2 Chronicles

No Favorites

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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Tags: water sin Numbers Moses miracles God’s holiness God’s character disobedience consequences

Just a Box?

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Exodus 25:10-22 TO CHEW ON: "There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the covenant law, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites." Exodus 25:22 The first piece of furniture God told Moses to make for the inside of the portable church (Tabernacle) was just a box. But what a box! God told Moses how to make the box (or ark) to the last detail. Using today’s reading, choose the right answers below: God told Moses to use 1. (pine, mahogany, acacia) wood. He told Moses exactly how big to make this box. It was to be 2½ cubits long(3¾ feet or 1.1 meters), by 1½ cubits wide (2¼ feet or .7 meters), by 1½ cubits high (2¼ feet or .7 meters). This would make it a 2. (square, rectangle, pyramid) shape. Moses was to cover the wood with 3. (gold, tin, silver). God told Moses how to make the ark easy to carry – with rings on each side. Gold-covered poles would fit through these rings. Priests were to carry the ark on their shoulders. The cover for the box was to be decorated with gold 4. (palm trees, cherubim, apples). Finally,...

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Tags: tabernacle obedience Moses God’s holiness Exodus

Instruction Manual

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Exodus 20:1-17 TO CHEW ON: "And God spoke all these words..." Exodus 20:1 Suppose you got a new wristwatch. The advertising on the package says it can not only tell the time but it’s also an alarm clock and a stopwatch. You take it out of the package. You put it on your wrist. But when you look at it a few minutes later, it isn’t even showing the right time, let alone doing all that other stuff. What do you need to do to get it working? a. Push and press the stem and buttons to see if you can get it to work.b. Talk to the watch, telling it what you want it to do.c. Read the manual, then follow the instructions on how to set and use it. Just like we need to read manuals (c.) to find out how to use our tools and gadgets, we also need a manual to tell us the best way to live. God has given us this manual in the Bible. One of the important places in the Bible where God clearly tells us how to live is in the Ten Commandments. When God came down on Mt. Sinai, the people had to stay...

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Tags: rules Moses God’s presence God’s holiness Exodus advice

God’s Fiery Smile

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Leviticus 9:1-5, 22-24 TO CHEW ON: "Moses and Aaron then went into the tent of meeting. When they came out, they blessed the people; and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people." Leviticus 9:23 On the first day that the priests sacrificed animals to take the place of sinful people who deserved to die, Moses explained what God had said to him on the mountain. His brother Aaron was to be the person in charge of making these sacrifices. Helpers for Aaron were to be from his family or tribe - the tribe of Levi. They were called ‘Levites.’ They had to wear the special priest costumes we talked about on this day. On the first sacrifice day, Aaron brought animals to pay for his sin. Moses told him how to make each type of sacrifice – the sin offering, the burnt offering, the peace or fellowship offering and the grain offering. Different animals were needed for each one. These animals had to be perfect male animals (goats, lambs, calves or oxen) from the peoples’ own flocks.Choosing animals for sacrifice (Graphic courtesy CC-Art.com) As Aaron and his sons brought and slaughtered the animals, the crowd watched. The sight of...

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Tags: worship sacrifice respect Leviticus God’s presence God’s holiness

Glory Returns

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Ezekiel 43:1-5 TO CHEW ON: "Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple." Ezekiel 43:5 It was September of 592 B.C. when Ezekiel had his first vision of the temple. Everything about that vision was horrible. As God took him to Jerusalem he saw an idol of the goddess Asherah set up right in the temple. He saw priests offering animal sacrifices God had never commanded. Women were mourning the death of the Sumerian idol god Tammuz. Men worshiped the sun. Then he saw God’s glory cloud lift and move out of the temple and away from Jerusalem (Ezekiel 8, 9, 10). Now it was about twenty years later. Ezekiel was getting old. Maybe he wondered if things would ever change for the Israelites in Babylon. Would they ever go home again? Would they ever experience God’s glory again? One day God gave him hope in another vision of the temple. Like the first time, Ezekiel felt like he was physically there. The temple was rebuilt. As God showed him around it, Ezekiel measured each room and gateway. Finally he came to the east gate. He looked at...

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Tags: visions hope God’s presence God’s holiness Ezekiel

Darkness or light?

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 John 1:5-10 TO CHEW ON: "But if we walk in the light, as he (God) is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin." 1 John 1:7 Your living room is a dim comfortable place where you spend a lot of time. Then one day someone pulls open the curtains and light shines in. Suddenly you see the dust balls in the corners and the smudges all over the TV screen. Piles of books, CDs, and DVDs litter the floor. The coffee table is cluttered with dirty dishes and half-full glasses of pop. What looked like a comfy room in the darkness is quite a mess in the light! God is the one who lights up the room of our lives. As we get to know Him, talk to Him in prayer and spend time reading the Bible, His light floods in. When that happens we see things that never bothered us before. What are some things God’s light might show us?...

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Tags: sin light God’s presence God’s holiness confession 1 John

Breaking the Rules

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Chronicles 13:1-14 TO CHEW ON: "They moved the ark of God from Abinadab’s house on a new cart, with Uzzah and Ahio guiding it." 1 Chronicles 13:7 One day, sometime after he had become king, David thought of the ark. For many years this special gold box had been sitting in Abinadab’s house in Kiriath Jearim.* Now David wanted to bring it back to the tabernacle in Jerusalem. He went with a crowd to Kiriath Jearim to move the ark. They put the ark on a new cart. Then he and the people celebrated with singing and playing harps, lyres, tambourines, trumpets and cymbals. Behind them came the lumbering oxen pulling the precious load. Suddenly one of the oxen stumbled. Uzzah, who was guiding the animals, saw that the ark was starting to slip. He reached out to steady it. The minute he touched it he fell down – dead!...

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Tags: rules obedience God’s plan God’s holiness disobedience David 1 Chronicles

A Heavenly Sight

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Revelation 4:1-11 TO CHEW ON: "Day and night they never stop saying, 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.'” Revelation 4:8 Have you ever seen an angel? Have you seen Jesus? God? Heaven? Most of us haven’t. But God gave John a peek inside heaven. As we read his description, we get the feeling heaven is so incredibly magnificent, John had a hard time finding words to describe it.An Angel comes to Mary - Artist unknown Look in Revelation 4:1-11 and then list: 1. Some of the sounds John heard:2. Some of the sights he saw:3. Some of the characters he watched: But no matter how amazing everything else was, God was the center of heaven’s attention.4. Where was God and what did he look like?5. How did those who lived in heaven worship Him?...

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Tags: worship visions Revelation John heaven God’s presence God’s holiness

God as Judge

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Read: Genesis 19:12-29 TO CHEW ON: "The two men said to Lot, 'Do you have anyone else here...? Get them out of here, because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the Lord against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.'” Genesis 19:12,13 When the two angels got to Sodom they met Lot at the city gate. He invited them to stay at his home for the night. But even there the visitors didn’t escape the violence of the city. Soon a crowd of men was banging on Lot’s door. They wanted to abuse the two angels - who they thought were ordinary men. When Lot went out to calm them, they threatened him. They were about to break down his door when the angels pulled him into the house and made the men go blind. “Do you have anyone else here that belongs to you?” the angels asked Lot. He talked to the young men who were engaged to his daughters. But when he told them God would destroy the city, they thought he was joking. Before dawn the next morning, the angels pulled Lot and his family out of bed. “Hurry! Get...

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Tags: sin judgment God’s holiness Genesis consequences


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