Well Pleased

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Mark 1: 9-13 TO CHEW ON: "And a voice came from heaven: 'You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.'” Mark 1:11 One day Jesus came from Nazareth to the desert where John was preaching and asked John to baptize Him. Jesus comes to John - Artist unknown John didn’t feel he was good enough to baptize Jesus. But Jesus insisted. Jesus asks John to baptize Him - Artist Unknown So he did it. John baptizes Jesus - Artist unknown At the baptism wonderful things happened. The Holy Spirit in the form of a dove came to rest on Jesus. Then a loud voice from heaven said, “You are my Son whom I love; with You I am well pleased.”...

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Tags: Mark Jesus God’s presence God’s plan baptize

Turnaround

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 9:1-9 TO CHEW ON: “'Who are you, Lord?' Saul asked." Acts 9:5 Saul thought he was pleasing God by killing the followers of Jesus. "Saul was breathing murderous threats" - Artist unknown God saw that Saul was sincere. But he was also wrong. In one amazing moment God turned Saul around. He was traveling on the road near the town of Damascus, on his way to kill more Christians, when a light blinded him. He fell to the ground. A voice asked, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”...

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Tags: Saul/Paul salvation persecution Jesus God’s presence Acts

Too Beautiful for Words

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Ezekiel 1:22-28 TO CHEW ON: " I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord." Ezekiel 1:27,28 Have you ever seen something so amazing you had trouble describing it? That was probably what Ezekiel felt like when he saw a vision of God. Like Daniel, Ezekiel was an exile in Babylon. One day, when he was beside the Kebar River in Babylon, he saw a strange sight in the sky. At first he thought the cloud with flashes of lightning coming from it meant a storm was on the way. But as it got closer, he saw creatures. They looked like people but had many faces and wings. Then he saw sparkling wheels that moved. Finally he heard a voice. Looking up he saw a throne. On it was a man. But what a man! He was glowing and fiery. Around him was brilliant...

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Tags: worship visions God’s presence Ezekiel

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

Thank-you Glory Cloud

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Chronicles 5:1-14 TO CHEW ON: "Then the temple of the Lord was filled with the cloud, and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God." 2 Chronicles 5:13b,14 At last the temple was finished. It was time to move the gold furniture and ark into their places. It was time to begin worshiping God in the temple. Solomon had kept his promise to his father. He had made the temple exactly like his dad had said. Now he wondered, would God be pleased with what he had done? Solomon announced a holiday festival to dedicate the temple. People came from all over the country to celebrate. Priests and Levites got themselves ready to move the furniture. On the big day crowds lined the street and watched as the Levites carried the ark and the gold altar, lamp stands, basins, and all the other furniture from the tent David had made, to the temple. When they arrived at the temple, they placed the ark in the gold-lined Holy Place. Then they put all the other furniture where it belonged. As the carrying Levites left the temple the musical Levites played...

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Tags: temple Solomon obedience God’s presence faith 2 Chronicles

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

Safe

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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Tags: Saul Psalms promises God’s presence God’s care fear David

Runaway

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Jonah 1:1-15 TO CHEW ON: "But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord." Jonah 1:3 Have you ever been asked to do a job you really didn’t want to do?Did you a] do it anyway or b] try to avoid it. If you tried to avoid it - how? Jonah was an avoider. One day God gave him a job. “Go to the city of Nineveh and preach against its wickedness.” But Jonah didn’t want to. Instead, he went the opposite direction. In the city of Joppa he bought a ticket and set sail for Joppa.Illustration by Annie Vallotton from the Good News Bible Soon a violent storm came up. The wind and waves tossed the boat so fiercely the sailors were sure they would all sink. They threw baggage into the sea and prayed to their gods to stop the storm. All the while, Jonah was sleeping. The captain found him. “Get up. Pray to your God,” he said. But still the storm raged. Finally the sailors decided to find out...

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Tags: weather Judah Jonah God’s presence disobedience consequences

Power!

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 2:1-13 TO CHEW ON: "Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, 'What does this mean?'” Acts 2:12 Picture this. A group of people have met in a house for a church service. Suddenly the house is filled with the sound of a loud wind. "Pentecost" by Kelly Nora Tongues that look like fire rest on each person’s head. Then these people begin to talk, but in languages they’ve never learned. Out on the street people passing by hear sounds from inside the building. They gather to listen. These listeners have come from many places and speak different languages. Now they are hearing the people inside the house saying words they can understand. They’re talking about how wonderful God is....

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Tags: worship prayer Holy Spirit God’s presence God’s help Acts

More Than Skin Deep

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Deuteronomy 6:1-12 TO CHEW ON: "These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates." Deuteronomy 6:6-9 Moses knew that after forty years of wandering in the desert, it was finally time for the Israelites to go into Canaan. But Moses wouldn’t be leading them. Because it was also time for him to die. He gathered the people together to hear his last words. We can still read them today. They are the book of Deuteronomy.Moses speaks to the people - Paul Hardy In this long speech Moses reminded the people how God had helped them in the past. He challenged them to obey God always. He warned them against ever praying to idols. He talked about their covenant with God. He begged them to honor God and stay faithful to Him by following God’s rules and worshiping the way God had told them....

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Tags: Moses memory verse God’s presence game Deuteronomy

Jailed

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 28:11-16;30-31 TO CHEW ON: "Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ." Acts 28:31 Three months after the shipwreck Paul, his guards and companions set sail again. Soon they arrived in Rome. When they got there, the soldiers took Paul to a house."Arrival at Rome" by Johann C. Weigel, 1695 For two years he had to stay in that house with someone guarding him all the time."Paul preaches at Rome under guard" - Artist unknown Even though he was a prisoner, Paul didn’t whine, sulk or feel sorry for himself. What did he do? (Find the words for the blanks in the word bank below - Acts 28:31)...

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Tags: problems Peter persecution Matthew Judges Jeremiah God’s presence God’s help God’s care Genesis Acts

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

God’s Errand Boy

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Samuel 3:1-21 TO CHEW ON: "The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, 'Samuel! Samuel!'Then Samuel said, 'Speak for your servant is listening.'” 1 Samuel 3:10 One night after everyone had gone to bed, Samuel heard Eli call him. Because Eli was very old and blind, Samuel helped him with many things and was used to coming when Eli called. Now Samuel jumped out of bed and ran to Eli. “Here I am,” he said. “You called me.”  “No I didn’t,” answered Eli. “Go back to bed.”"Eli and Samuel" Original oil painting © 2001 by Darlene Slavujac Thau A few minutes later, Samuel thought he heard Eli call his name again, and again he jumped out of bed to see what Eli wanted. Again Eli sent him back to bed. When this happened a third time, Eli thought of something. Maybe this was God wanting to speak to Samuel. So he said, “Go and lie down. If He calls you a third time say, ‘Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went back bed. Sure enough, in a few minutes the voice came again, “Samuel! Samuel!”...

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Tags: tabernacle storytelling Samuel rebellion obedience judgment God’s presence God’s plan 1 Samuel

God Comes Near

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Nehemiah 8:1-18 TO CHEW ON: "Ezra opened the book. All the people could see him because he was standing above them; and as he opened it the people stood up. Ezra praised the Lord, the great God; and all the people lifted up their hands and responded, 'Amen! Amen!' Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground." Nehemiah 8:5,6 The wall was finished. It was time to celebrate! But instead of a lively party, the people gathered in the square at the Water Gate and asked Ezra to read the law. They had just been part of an amazing project. They had seen how God had helped and protected them. Now they wanted to know how to keep pleasing Him. Ezra stood on a high platform with the people all around. As soon as he opened the book, everyone stood up. After he praised God, the people raised their hands and said, “Amen! Amen!” and bowed to the ground in worship. Then Ezra began reading. Nehemiah and the priests and Levites joined him on stage. From time to time they explained what the reading meant. Soon there was a sound of sobbing from the crowd, then weeping,...

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Tags: worship obedience Nehemiah God’s word God’s presence

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

Fire Test

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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Tags: prayer God’s presence God’s help drawing Daniel courage consequences

Fake 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

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

He’s Back!

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Genesis 35:1-15 TO CHEW ON: "Jacob set up a stone pillar at the place where God had talked with him, and he poured out a drink offering on it; he also poured oil on it. Jacob called the place where God had talked with him Bethel." Genesis 35:14,15 Jacob and his family had spent many months moving around, living as nomads. One day God talked to Jacob again. He told him to go to Bethel and settle there. Jacob hears the voice of the Lord - by Frederick Sandys Jacob had been at Bethel before. 1. Why did he stop there the first time? (Genesis 28:11) 2. What happened during the night? (Genesis 28:12) 3. What promise did God make to Jacob the first time he was in Bethel? (Genesis 28:15) 4. Now, years later, Jacob had a large family. He was rich with servants and cattle. And he was back at Bethel. Had God kept His promise? (Genesis 35:14,15) PRAYER: You are a God who keeps promises. Thank you! Amen.MORE: PromisesBelow are three Bible promises. Choose one. Why is it important to you? You might also want to memorize it. • "When you pass through the waters I will be with you; and when you pass through...

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Tags: promises memory verse map Jacob God’s presence Genesis coloring pages

God is Here

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Genesis 32:22-31 TO CHEW ON: "So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, 'It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.'" Genesis 32:30 Soon Jacob was a father, once, twice. three times... As he kept working for Laban, God blessed him with wealth and many children. But things were not going well. Laban and his sons were jealous of Jacob’s wealth. There was quarreling. One day God told Jacob to move back to his childhood home. He sneaked away from Laban with his family. Though Laban came after him, he didn’t make Jacob come back. Now Jacob and his family were really on their own. To get back home, he had to pass through Edom, where his brother Esau lived. This worried Jacob a lot. Was Esau still angry with him? Did Esau still want to kill him? He got ready to meet Esau by preparing a gift of animals and servants. He put the gift in front, with his own flocks behind that, and at the very back his wives and children. The night before they met, he spent time alone, praying and worrying about what the next day would bring. Then a man met him. They...

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Tags: true/false theophany Jacob God’s presence Genesis Esau

A Job Well Done

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Exodus 40: 1-16, 34, 35 TO CHEW ON: "Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle." Exodus 40:34,35 After Moses had cleaned up the golden calf, God rewrote the smashed tablets of stone. Then Moses asked the people to collect things for building the tabernacle. People brought gold jewelry, beautiful cloth, colorful thread, dyed animal hides, gem stones, spices, incense and oil. Soon there was enough.Israelites bring treasures for the Tabernacle - Artist unknown Next God told Moses which talented artists and builders to put in charge of building the tabernacle. They organized and taught volunteers who made all the parts of the tabernacle and its furniture and tools. Finally the tent church and all its furniture was built. On the first day of the first month God told Moses to put up the tabernacle. He also told him exactly where to put each piece of furniture along with each utensil and tool. God told Moses to dress Aaron and his sons in the special priest clothes. As they stood...

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Tags: tabernacle perseverance Moses God’s presence giving generosity Exodus

A House For God

TODAY’S SPECIAL: I Kings 5:1-7 TO CHEW ON: "I intend, therefore, to build a temple for the Name of the Lord my God as the Lord told my father, David, when he said, 'Your son whom I will put on the throne in your place will build the temple for my name.'” 1 Kings 5:5 When Solomon had been king for four years, he decided it was time to keep the promise he’d made to his dad and build a house for God. He contacted King Hiram of Tyre to get permission to cut down huge cedar and pine trees. He called up thousands of men to work. Some felled trees. Others worked in quarries cutting boulders into square building stones. Many moved the wood and stone blocks to Jerusalem. Still others worked in Jerusalem, putting the temple together. After the gigantic stones were in place, workmen covered the walls with wood. They made floors, so that the temple was three stories high. They made the sanctuary – the room where the ark would sit – extra special, covering all the walls and ceiling with gold. Workmen carved beautiful decorations of fruits and flowers for the temple and made fifteen-foot high angel statues to decorate...

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Tags: worship Solomon puzzle God’s presence 1 Kings

Alone - but not alone

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Genesis 28:10-20 TO CHEW ON: “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Genesis 28:15 Have you ever run for your life? That’s what Jacob was doing. After he tricked his father into giving him Esau’s blessing, Esau wanted to kill him. Rebekah told Jacob to go to Haran, where she grew up. Jacob set out alone How do you suppose he felt as he walked away from his family and the only home he had ever known?- Nervous about being attacked by robbers and wild animals?- Worried about losing his way?- Lonely and wishing he had someone to talk to? When it got dark, he stopped walking. He pitched his tent, unrolled his sleeping bag, blew up his air mattress – NOT! He had no tent, sleeping bag, or air mattress. Instead he lay on the ground, under the stars with a stone for his pillow. After he fell asleep, he dreamed. What things were in his dream (Genesis 28:12-13)...

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Tags: storytelling science promises Jacob God’s presence Genesis dreams angels

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

A Clay Jar

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Corinthians 4:6-12 TO CHEW ON: "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us." 2 Corinthians 4:7Perfume in a plastic spray bottle or crystal glass? Which would you choose?- a book with a torn paper cover or one with a mint-condition hard cover?- chocolates in a plastic bag or packed in a fancy box?- perfume in a plastic spray bottle or a crystal glass bottle?- a gift wrapped in newspaper or one wrapped in tissue and a bag? No one would be surprised if you chose the second thing in every case. Even in small things, we tend to look at containers and choose the prettiest and richest-looking. In Paul’s time, clay jars were the plain everyday jars people used in their kitchens. There was nothing special to make people choose them. But they were important in the kitchen because of the water, juice or milk inside them....

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Tags: serving Saul/Paul God’s presence craft 2 Corinthians


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