TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Peter 3:3-13
TO CHEW ON: "But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day." 2 Peter 3:8
How long is it from one Christmas to the next? From this summer holiday to next summer holiday? From your 10th birthday to your 11th? You know it’s only a year, yet it seems like a long time.
So when we read in the Bible that a thousand years is like one day to God, we realize that He’s in a different time zone than we are altogether. The idea of a 1000-year day makes the year which feels long to us only a few minutes to God!
The people in Bible times were a lot like we are. Forty years after Jesus had gone back to heaven and still hadn’t returned, people said, “Where is this ‘coming’ He promised?”
Now it’s 2000 years later and though Jesus has still not returned, we know that He will keep his promise. After all, in the way God looks at time, it hasn’t been that long at all – only two days and a few minutes!
He could return any...
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Tags: research Jesus’ return Jesus heaven God’s timing faith 2 Peter
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
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Nahum 1:1-11
TO CHEW ON: "The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him, but with an overwhelming flood he will make an end of Nineveh; he will pursue his foes into darkness." Nahum 1:7-8
Remember Nineveh, the city where Jonah went to preach? Though the people turned to God after hearing Jonah’s warnings, they were soon back to their idol worshiping, cruel and warring ways. God gave the prophet Nahum a message about Nineveh.
Nahum explained that God was patient and good. But there would come a time when He would act.
God had used Assyria (the country of which Nineveh was the capital) to discipline the people of Israel and Judah. But that didn’t mean God wouldn’t make them pay the consequences of their idol worship and cruelty. Nahum prophesied that the city of Nineveh and the nation of Assyria would be completely destroyed. And this is exactly what happened.
Illustration by Annie Vallotton from the Good News Bible © American Bible Society 1976, 1992
Today, Nineveh is only a mound called Tell Kuyunjik which means ‘the mound of many sheep.’
God hasn’t changed in His fairness. He still watches individual people and whole...
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Tags: prophecy Nahum judgment God’s timing God’s plan consequences
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: Luke 1:1-25
TO CHEW ON: "Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him ... When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear." Luke 1:11, 12
What do you want the very most in the world - a pet, a skateboard, a brother or sister, a friend?
Zechariah and Elizabeth wanted a baby - a son. But they were old and no son had been born to them. They had given up hope. But God had other ideas.
God was planning to answer their prayer.1. What surprise did He send to Zechariah in the temple? (Luke 1:11) _________"The Vision of Zechariah" by James Tissot 1886-1896
2. What did the angel tell Zechariah? (Luke 1:13) ____________
3. Zechariah found out some surprising things about the baby which would be born. Which statements are NOT true? (Luke 1:14-17)
a. They were to name him Johnb. He was to drink only wine and fermented drink.c. He would be sickly.d. He would be filled with the Holy Spirit from birth.f. He would preach but people wouldn’t listen.g. He would prepare people for the Lord....
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Tags: visions true/false research prophecy promises Matthew God’s timing God’s plan
TODAY’S SPECIAL: I Corinthians 15:51-58
TO CHEW ON: "Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed." I Corinthians 15:51-52
How do you feel about surprises? Most of us like surprises that are good – wrapped parcels at Christmas, a surprise party on our birthday, an unexpected visit from a friend.
Someday there will be a surprise bigger than any Christmas or birthday. Jesus will return! The dead will be raised. We will transform into our new bodies."The angels sound their trumpets" - Artist unknown
Did you know this could happen at any time? It could happen today while you’re still alive (“We will not all sleep” means not everyone will die). Or it could happen at a time after you have died. If you have trusted Jesus for eternal life, His coming will be the most wonderful surprise ever.
If you have not trusted Him - you still can (“Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts” Psalm 95: 7,8). Then you too...
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Tags: resurrection prophecy Jesus God’s timing God’s plan 1 Corinthians
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Esther 2:12-18
TO CHEW ON: "Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti." Esther 2:17
Esther gathered the few possessions she was planning to take with her. She said goodbye to Hegai and all her friends in the harem. This was the night she would go to the king. She would never come back to live here again. For after this night, the king would either choose her as his new queen or she would be sent to live in another part of the palace.
Even though this night was the most important night in her life, Esther kept things simple. Though she could have taken anything she wanted from the harem to impress the king, she didn’t do that. Instead she took only what Hegai suggested.
But when Xerxes saw her, he was charmed with her natural beauty. In fact she pleased him more than any other woman. The king liked Esther so much, he named her his new queen....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Genesis 41:1-16, 39,40
TO CHEW ON: “Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Since God has made this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.’” (Genesis 41:39,40)
Two years passed after the cup bearer was set free, Joseph was still in prison.
One night Pharaoh had a dream. It scared him and he wanted to know what it meant. But when he called his wise men and magicians, they couldn’t tell him the meaning of the dream.
Then someone remembered a dream he had had, and the young Hebrew prisoner who told him what it meant. It was the cup bearer. At last he remembered Joseph!
Servants came for Joseph. They took off his prison uniform, put new clothes on him and brought him to Pharaoh.
Pharaoh told Joseph his dream – and Joseph told him the meaning! Then Pharaoh did something amazing. He made Joseph the second boss in the whole land.
I’m sure Joseph often wondered, will the cup bearer ever think of me? Will I ever get out...
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Tags: storytelling Joseph God’s timing God’s omniscience Genesis Egypt dreams
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Exodus 2:11-15
TO CHEW ON: "The man said, 'Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?' Then Moses was afraid and thought, What I did must have become known." Exodus 2:14
Fast forward 40 years. Moses was all grown up. Though he was raised in the palace as a prince, deep inside he loved the Hebrew people – his people.
One day he saw an Egyptian slave master beating a fellow Hebrew. He looked around to make sure no one was watching.Moses kills the Egyptian - Artist unknown
Then he drew his sword, killed the Egyptian and buried him in the sand.
The next day he happened to be walking by when he saw two Hebrew men fighting. He tried to break up the fight. But one of them said to him, “Who made you our boss? Are you going to kill me like you killed the Egyptian yesterday?”
Now Moses knew the news of the murder was out! The palace was no longer a safe place for him. He ran for his life. And sure enough when Pharaoh heard of the killing, he ordered Moses killed.
Moses probably lived most of his life...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 3:1-10
TO CHEW ON: "When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money." Acts 3:3
The man who sat at the temple entrance to beg had always been crippled. As a boy he had never climbed trees, played tag or walked to a friend’s home to play. By now he was used to not being able to walk. He didn’t ask for much any more -- just a few coins to buy food and pay rent.
His life was hard and disappointing. He had few nice surprises. I’m sure he didn’t expect much to change. Probably after he asked Peter for money and heard his answer: “Silver and gold I do not have...” he was already feeling disappointed."St. Peter and St. John cure the lame man" - Nicolas Poussin 1655
But in the instant that Peter took the man’s hand and lifted him to his feet, God’s power came into his body. His feet and ankles became strong. He could walk for the first time -- and leap and skip and jump! God gave him, not what he asked for but something far, far better....
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Tags: prayer miracles God’s timing God’s plan God’s help Acts
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Genesis 45:1-15
TO CHEW ON: “And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.” Genesis 45:5
After hearing Judah’s offer to take Benjamin’s place, Joseph knew his brothers were changed. Suddenly all the feelings he had been holding inside – the sadness at being hated and sold by his brothers, the fear, the homesickness, the years of being away from his family, the mixed-up feelings he got when he saw his brothers again – needed to come out.
Joseph dismissed his servants, and began to cry. “I am Joseph,” he told his brothers between sobs. “Is my father still living?”Joseph greeting his brothers - Artist unknown
His brothers were scared of him. Now Joseph was the powerful one. He could do anything he wanted with them. Would he want revenge?
But he told them, “Don’t worry. God was in everything that happened. You meant to do a bad thing to me, but God made something good out of it. Because I am here in Egypt, our whole family can be saved from the famine.”
We too may have experienced things we don’t understand....
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Tags: storytelling problems Joseph God’s timing Genesis Egypt
TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Samuel 9:15-20
TO CHEW ON: "Now the day before Saul came, the Lord had revealed this to Samuel: 'About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin. Anoint him leader over my people Israel...'” 1 Samuel 9:15,16
When Samuel told the people to go home after they had asked for a king, he didn’t know who that king would be. But God did.
Some time after that some donkeys got lost. Their owner Kish, from tribe of Benjamin, sent his son Saul and a servant to look for them. They walked for miles and miles but they couldn't find the donkeys. Finally Saul was ready to give up. “We’d better go home,” he said, “or Dad will start worrying about us.”
“Let’s try just one more thing,” the servant suggested. “A prophet lives nearby. Let’s ask him if he knows where the donkeys are.”
Meanwhile Samuel, the prophet, had heard from God. God had told him, “Tomorrow I will send a man to you from the tribe of Benjamin. He will be the new king.”
The next day Samuel was walking outside his house when along came a tall, handsome stranger. “Do you know where the prophet’s...
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Tags: Saul Samuel prophecy God’s timing God’s plan God’s help 1 Samuel
TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Samuel 13:7-14
TO CHEW ON: "He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. So he said, 'Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.' And Saul offered up the burnt offering." 1 Samuel 13:8,9
One day after Saul had been king for a while, Saul’s son Jonathan attacked a Philistine outpost. This was like poking a stick into a wasp’s nest. Immediately the Philistines gathered their army and came against the Israelites to fight.
Saul’s army was only two thousand men. In a panic he sent trumpeters through the land to call back the rest of the army and anyone else able to fight. Then he and his men waited. They waited for more soldiers to come. They also waited for Samuel, the prophet and priest, to offer a sacrifice and ask for God’s help. Saul knew that it would be useless to go to war without that.
Meanwhile every day the Philistine army grew larger. It swelled to three thousand chariots, six thousand charioteers and thousands upon thousands of soldiers.
The men in Saul’s army watched and grew more terrified by the hour. Soon they lost...
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Tags: Saul Samuel memory verse impatience God’s timing disobedience consequences 1 Samuel
TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Samuel 26:1-12
TO CHEW ON: "But David said to Abishai, 'Don’t destroy him! Who can lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed and be guiltless?'” 1 Samuel 26:9
Messengers came running to Saul. “We’ve seen David,” they said. “We can tell you where he is!” So Saul took three thousand soldiers and went to the place the messengers had said.
David had his own spies. They knew exactly when Saul arrived and where his army was camped. One day David went to the hill overlooking Saul’s camp. As he peered down, he saw Saul asleep in the middle of all the soldiers. Even his bodyguard, Abner, was asleep.
After dark, David and his friend Abishai crept down the hill and into the camp. They tiptoed right past all the sleeping soldier to the place where Saul lay.
“Here’s your chance,” whispered Abishai. “God is giving Saul into your hands. Let me kill him for you.”
“No!” David said. “He’s the king that God chose. It’s up to God whether he lives or dies. I won’t lay a hand on him.” But David took Saul’s spear and the water jug that was close to his head. Then they left the camp as quietly as...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: John 11:38-44
TO CHEW ON: "Then Jesus said, 'Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?'” John 11:40
When Lazarus got sick, his sisters Martha and Mary sent for Jesus right away. But He didn’t come. Meanwhile Lazarus got sicker and sicker. Finally he died. They wrapped his body tightly in strips of cloth and placed him in a tomb (most likely a cave).
Finally when Lazarus had been dead for four days, Jesus arrived. “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would never have died,” Martha said to Jesus. She knew that Jesus had power to heal sick people. But she also knew once Lazarus was dead, it was too late for Jesus to do anything.
But Jesus didn’t know that! As He stood before Lazarus’ tomb , He told his sad friends, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”"Lazarus rising out of his grave" - Illustrator of 'Figures de la Bible' P. de Hondt (publisher), 1728
Then He called, “Lazarus come out!” What happened next? (John 11: 44) ___________________...
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Tags: miracles John Jesus God’s timing God’s plan death
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 24:22-27
TO CHEW ON: "As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, 'That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.'” Acts 24:25
The soldiers took Paul to the city of Caesarea to appear before the Roman Governor Felix. Paul was glad to get an opportunity to tell Felix about Jesus, or “the Way” to God.
Governor Felix had heard about the Way. And he enjoyed listening to Paul talk more about it.
"Paul's defense before Felix" - Artist unknown
One day Paul was talking to Felix and Drusilla (Felix’s wife) about Jesus. As he described the kind of life that pleases God and God’s judgment, Felix became afraid. Why do you think he felt that way? (Cross out the one statement that is most likely NOT true).
1. He knew that he needed to decide whether to believe in Jesus for himself.2. He knew that he had done bad things and was afraid of God’s judgment.3. He was scared that Paul would beat him up.4. He was afraid of dying....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Exodus 5:1-23
TO CHEW ON: "Moses returned to the Lord and said, 'Why, Lord, have you brought trouble on this people? Is this why you sent me? Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.'" Genesis 5:22,23
Moses hurried back to Egypt after God talked to him from the burning bush. Sure enough, on his way he met Aaron, just as God had said. When they got back to Egypt, they called a meeting of the Israelite leaders. Moses told them what God wanted him to do and showed them the signs God had given him. The leaders were overjoyed and worshiped God. Now they would no longer be slaves.
For when Moses and Aaron talked to Pharaoh, he laughed at them. “Who is the Lord that I should obey him and let Israel go?” he scoffed.
The Israelites were working for Pharaoh as slaves. They worked on his building projects. One of the things they had to do was make bricks for the Egyptian palaces, temples and pyramids.Egyptian ruins showing brick construction
Now Pharaoh made a new rule. Instead of giving the workers...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Luke 2:1-7
TO CHEW ON: "While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born." Luke 2:6
After the angel’s visit, Mary got pregnant. God, the Holy Spirit, was the baby’s father.
Joseph, the man she was planning to marry, thought she had cheated on him. He was all set to break their engagement. But an angel came to him in a dream. He told Joseph to take Mary as his wife and to be an earthly father to the baby she would have.
Now it was months later. The baby was due to be born any day. That's when Caesar Augustus passed a law about registering for a census. So Joseph and Mary had to take the long trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem where Joseph needed to register. Talk about bad timing!"The Journey to Bethlehem" by Unknown Artist
They didn’t have planes, cars or buses for the trip. Instead they had to walk the 46 to 50 kilometers (or 28 to 31 miles) from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Maybe Mary rode on a donkey. Not only was the trip uncomfortable, but when they got to Bethlehem, the inns were full....
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Tags: prophecy Luke Jesus God’s timing God’s plan God’s care
TODAY’S SPECIAL: I Thessalonians 4:13-18
TO CHEW ON: For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. I Thessalonians 4:16,17
Your grandma, who lives far away, is coming for a visit! You clean the house and make the guest bed. Your mom stocks the fridge with Grandma’s favorite foods. On the day she’s due to arrive, you drive to the airport and wait impatiently in the arrivals lounge. You can’t keep your eyes off the doorway through which she’ll soon appear
Someone else just as special as grandma will arrive one of these days. Jesus promised over 2000 years ago He would someday return to earth. We don’t know when He will come back and we won’t go to meet Him at an airport, bus depot or train station. But He promised someday He will appear in the sky. It could be any...
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Tags: Saul/Paul promises Jesus’ return heaven God’s timing faith 1 Thessalonians
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Revelation 6:9 -17
TO CHEW ON: "For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?" Revelation 6:17
Have you ever read an exciting book where the closer you came to the end, the more bad things happened? You looked at how few pages were left and wondered, how would the author ever straighten this out! In a way John’s vision in Revelation is like that. John saw more and more bad things as more seals were opened.
In the fifth seal, John heard the voices of people who had been killed for believing in God (martyrs). They asked God, how long until He would punish those who killed them. God answered, it would happen, but even more people would be martyred first.
Then came the sixth seal. It predicted some things that have never happened on earth. Read Revelation 6:12-17 and list five things John saw:22.214.171.124.5."The Opening of the Sixth Seal" by John Martin
Every day natural disasters like earthquakes, floods and erupting volcanoes take place somewhere on earth. The size of the disasters John saw here, though, were bigger than any our earth has ever seen. They help us understand how weak and helpless we humans are...
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Tags: worship Revelation natural disaster miracles judgment John God’s timing God’s plan
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Exodus 14:15-31TO CHEW ON: "And when the Israelites saw the mighty hand of the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant." Exodus 14:31Even after God spoke to him, Moses kept crying to God for help. Finally God interrupted Moses’ frantic prayer. “Stop praying,” God said. “Get busy. Here’s my plan.”
The waters are divided by James Tissot
Read the story in Exodus 14:15-31, then cross out the three things, below, that did not happen:
1. Moses stretched out his staff toward the sea.2. The cloud came between the Israelites and the Egyptian army.3. The Egyptians bothered the Israelites all night.4. An east wind turned the sea into dry land.5. The Israelites waded through the sea in waist-deep water.6. The Israelites walked across the sea on dry ground.7. The Egyptian army followed the Israelites into the sea.8. The Egyptian army became confused.9. When Moses gave the signal, the sea rushed back into place.10. Some of the Egyptians got across in canoes.11. The whole Egyptian army drowned in the sea that day....
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Tags: obedience Moses miracles God’s timing God’s help faith Exodus Egypt
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