TODAY’S SPECIAL: Colossians 1:13-20
TO CHEW ON: For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him. Colossians 1:19
You are a real person who lives on earth, right? Describe yourself:Who are you?What do you look like?What have you done?
Jesus was a real person who lived on earth too. He could have written a description of himself much like yours. It could have told us about His family, what He looked like, where He went to school, what His grades were like, all the things He had learned to do."The Transfiguration" - Titian, 1560-1565
But Paul in Colossians 1 tells us that Jesus was and is far more than someone who just lived on earth a long time ago. Let’s build a description of Jesus....
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Tags: salvation prophecy Jesus good news God’s word God’s plan Colossians
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Romans 7: 14-25
TO CHEW ON: "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." Romans 7:15
What happens when someone says, “Close your eyes and don’t peek”? Do you have a big urge to open your eyes and DO exactly what you’ve been told NOT TO DO?
That seems to be what happens when you concentrate on the things God tells you not to do. You know that disobeying our parents, stealing, lying and being jealous are things God tells you not to do. But have you ever found that the more you concentrate on those ‘don’ts’ the more you find yourself doing them?
In his letter to the Romans, Paul talked about the way people tend to act and feel this way. It is what makes it more natural for us to disobey God than obey Him. Later we feel sorry that we did what God said we shouldn't.
How do we escape from this circle of knowing we shouldn’t do something but doing it anyway? Paul gives us the answer....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Titus 3:3-8
TO CHEW ON: "But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy." Titus 3:4,5Who is the worst person you’ve ever heard of? What did they do that made them so bad?
We may think of some people, like mass murderers or violent thieves as beyond help. People may say things about them like, “Put them in jail and throw away the key. That’s the best they deserve.”
This may be true. But then, none of us deserve any better as far as God is concerned. For though you and I may not have done really big bad things, we have sinned. And the punishment for our sin is death. All the good things we could ever do are not enough to earn God’s pardon and to make us His friends....
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Tags: Titus Saul/Paul salvation love hope good news God’s plan forgiveness
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 18:1-4
TO CHEW ON: "And because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them.” Acts 18:3
What do you want to be when you grow up – a musician? a pilot? a cook? an artist? a road builder? Could you do these things – and be a missionary too?
Paul would say “yes.” He was a missionary, but when he needed money for rent and food he also had a job. He made tents. When the church in Corinth was small and there weren’t enough people to pay the salary of a full-time missionary pastor, Paul worked with his friends Priscilla and Aquilla at tent-making during the day. In his time off he worked for the church."Paul worked as a tentmaker" Illustration by Annie Vallotton from the Good News Bible © American Bible Society 1976, 1992
We still use the word “tentmaker” to describe people who do a second job to support themselves while they work for God. These modern tentmakers don’t literally make tents. They do many jobs, from teaching English to nursing to engineering. They can often get into countries where pastors and missionaries aren’t allowed. Sometimes they work in places where the local...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL:Romans 1:1-17
TO CHEW ON: "Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle.... To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints.” (Romans 1:1, 7)
Paul spent a lot of time traveling from place to place telling people about Jesus. After people decided to follow Jesus, they wanted to spend time with other Jesus-followers. So they started churches.
Sometimes the baby Christians in these churches needed more teaching. Sometimes they had questions or there were problems. Because Paul couldn’t be everywhere at once, he helped these new churches by writing them letters (also called epistles). The book of Romans is such a letter."Romans" by Johann C. Weigel, 1695
These letters are a little different than the letters we write. They usually have the writer’s name at the beginning.This letter was written by 1.______________. (Romans 1:1).The people to whom the letter is addressed is further down. This letter was addressed to 2. ________________ (Romans 1:7)
In his letters, Paul does more than chat about the weather and what’s new in his life. In Romans he explains that everyone needs to be saved (chapters 1 & 2) and worship God, even those people who worship other gods or...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Isaiah 55:8-13
TO CHEW ON: "As the rain and the snow come down from heaven,and do not return to it without watering the earthand making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty,but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." Isaiah 55:10,11
Words are funny little things. As marks on paper or a screen they can make us laugh or cry, tell us good news or bad, prove little things like we’ve passed the test or big things like we’re the citizens of a certain country.
Spoken words have a lot of power too. I’m sure you’ve heard the playground rhyme: “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” Do you believe it? I don’t! Because spoken words have the power to do a lot of things, including hurt us.
If we think human words have power, how much more God’s words. These are the thoughts and ideas...
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Tags: puzzle obedience Isaiah good news God’s word God’s plan
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 1:3-8
TO CHEW ON: “'But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.'” Acts 1:8
We pay close attention to a person’s last words. When we know we are seeing someone for the last time, we’re careful to listen to the things they say.
The words above are the last words written in the Bible that Jesus said to His disciples before He went into heaven. He told His followers two important things."Jesus before His return to heaven" - Artist unknown
Complete Jesus’ instructions by filling in the blanks using Acts 1:8 and the words below:
1. Jesus had a job for them to do:You will be ______ ________ in __________, ___________, __________ and to the ends of the earth.
2. He would help them do that job:You will _________ _________ when the ________ ______ comes on you....
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Tags: work Jesus Holy Spirit good news Acts
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 16:23-34
TO CHEW ON: "About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them." Acts 16:25
What things would fill you with joy?1. Getting a new pet.2. Winning a contest.3. Being teased about being a Christian.4. Finishing a hard job.5. Being arrested for helping someone.
My guess is you didn’t choose 3. and 5. But Paul and Silas were joyful even after helping someone and being put in jail for it.
After the Philippi officials beat them, Paul and Silas were locked in a jail cell for helping the slave girl. But they didn’t get angry, complain, whine or grumble. Instead they prayed and sang hymns.
What happened next gave them even more reason for joy. An earthquake shook the jail. Their chains came loose. The doors flew open."Earthquake in the prison" - Sir James Thornhill
The jailer, afraid that everyone would escape, was ready to harm himself....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Kings 7:1-9
TO CHEW ON: "Then they said to each other, 'What we’re doing is not right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us. Let’s go at once and report this to the royal palace.' ” 2 Kings 7:9
What do you do when you have good news?- Make very sure no one finds out.- Write about it only in your journal.- Email, phone, text-message and tell all your friends.
Chances are, you do the last. We all love good news – and love even more to share it with others so they can be happy with us.
Four lepers living outside Samaria didn’t have good news very often. Lately life was even worse than usual because they were starving. Their family members who usually brought them food were locked inside the gates of the city.
Standing guard outside the gates and surrounding the city walls was the army of Aram and King Ben Hadad. He wanted Samaria as his own. He was determined to stay as long as it took to capture the city. He was sure that when the Israeli people and their king...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Isaiah 61:1-3
TO CHEW ON: "The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners," Isaiah 61:1
If you’ve ever played Monopoly, you’ll know that if you get sent to “Jail” there are consequences. You must miss your turn. You don’t get to move around the game board like the other players. By the time you’re free again, all the best properties may be bought by others. Unless you have a “Get out of jail free” card. Then you get to go free!
The way Isaiah described the deliverer or Messiah who would come someday sounds a lot like a “Get out of jail free” card. As well as bringing good news to the poor and comfort to the brokenhearted, the promise was that He would free captives and release prisoners.Hundreds of years later, Jesus was about to give His first sermon. In front of the gathered listeners He started by opening the scroll of Isaiah...
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Tags: salvation prophecy Judah Jesus Isaiah good news God’s word forgiveness
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 8:1-8
TO CHEW ON: "Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went." Acts 8:4.
Have you ever had to move because it wasn’t safe for you to live in your old home any more? That’s what happened to the followers of Jesus after Stephen’s death. Everyone, from people in government to neighbors, was out to get them. They were threatened, arrested, and many more were killed.
So they moved to other places in Judea and Samaria. Now there were no more big gatherings in the Jerusalem temple court. The large praise meetings stopped. There was hardly anyone left to go to the prayer gatherings and potluck dinners. Because of persecution the Christians left Jerusalem and were scattered all around."Conversions of the Samaritans" - Matthias Scheits, 1972
But they didn’t stop talking about Jesus. Everywhere they went, they spread the good news. Jesus had died for sins. People could be friends with God again. Everyone could live in Holy Spirit power. People could look forward to heaven when they died....
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Tags: testing persecution good news God’s plan God’s help Acts
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Ezekiel 37:1-14
TO CHEW ON: "Then he said to me, 'Prophecy to these bones and say to them, "Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you and you will come to life."’” Ezekiel 37:4,5"Valley of Dry Bones" © Duncan Long
One day Ezekiel had another vision from God. A vision is something like a dream. Put the parts of Ezekiel’s vision in the order they happened (Ezekiel 37:1-14)
____ There was a rattling sound and the bones reconnected to become lifeless bodies.____ Ezekiel saw a valley of dry bones.____ God’s Spirit breathed life into the bodies.____ Ezekiel told the bones God would make them live again....
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Tags: visions hope good news God’s plan Ezekiel
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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