TODAY’S SPECIAL: Revelation 1:1-11
TO CHEW ON: "The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John.... On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said: 'Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches...'” Revelation 1: 1, 10-11
Where would you go to find out what will happen tomorrow? Today’s newspaper? The six o'clock news? The internet?
Of course we know none of these places will tell us. Only God knows what will happen tomorrow. So when God sent an angel to John (Jesus’ disciple) and told him to write down the things God would show him about the future, we need to pay attention. Most of the Bible book of Revelation is what John heard and saw in a vision about the future.John on Island of Patmos - Artist unknown
Though Revelation isn’t as easy to understand as a newspaper, you’ll find lots of interesting things in it. It has disaster and intrigue, dragons and mysterious horsemen, heroes and villains. Best of all, you’ll find...
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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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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 11:19-26
TO CHEW ON: "Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch." Acts 11:25, 26a
- You studied hard but still didn’t do well on the test.- You’d like to join the badminton club but you don’t know any of the kids.- It’s youth night at church, but the friend with whom you usually go is out of town.
Q: What do you need in each of these situations?
A: An encourager, like Barnabas.
Barnabas was a well-known and respected leader in the early church. When Jesus’ followers were scattered because of persecution, he stayed at headquarters in Jerusalem. But then news came that everywhere Jesus’ followers had moved, people were believing in Jesus. The leaders sent Barnabas to check things out.
When he came to Antioch he saw God was blessing Jewish people and Greeks as well. He encouraged these new followers of Jesus.
Then he went to Tarsus to look for another new Christian named Saul. When he found Saul, he brought him to Antioch and put him to work, teaching the new believers.
Because of Barnabas’s encouragement the church in Antioch loved Gentile Christians and accepted Saul instead of being afraid...
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This is the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus. May your Christmas be a day full of peace and joy!
Here is a Christmas story for you to read:
I shiver under my goat hair cloak. It’s cold at night on the hills outside Bethlehem. I wish I were at home in bed. But a few weeks ago my father said, "Joel, you're 12. You need to learn the night watch." And so here I am, cold and sleepy, but I have to stay awake because it’s my turn to watch the sheep.
I look over at the flock, an island of wooly pebbles. Beside me, father snores a soft rhythm. Nearby, Abiram and Kohar, still awake, talk quietly.
"Plugged with travelers," Kohar says.
"Caesar is insane to command a census at this time of year," says Abiram. "He just wants more names for his filthy tax list." Then, lowering his voice so I barely hear, "I met a man in the village who's gathering an army to fight those Gentile thieves. He's training them to use swords." When he notices I’m listening, he stops. "The lamblet has, big ears." He winks at Kohar.
He doesn't want me to hear because of my father....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Zechariah 8:1-12
TO CHEW ON: "This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Once again men and women of ripe old age will sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each of them with cane in hand because of their age. The city streets will be filled with boys and girls playing there' " Zechariah 8:4-5.
After winter comes ________After night comes _________After sadness comes _________
The Israelites had had years of sadness when they lived in Babylon. Now some of them had returned to Jerusalem. There was much to do – a city to clean up, homes to build, a temple to rebuild. Would things ever get back to the wonderful way they had once been?
God sent Zechariah, another prophet, to encourage everyone. His message was as hopeful as spring after winter, morning after night, joy after crying. “Jerusalem won’t always be like this,” he said. “Exiles from all over will come home. Then old men and women will visit in the streets. Boys and girls will play there."Once again men and women of ripe old age will sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with cane in hand because of his age. The city streets will be filled with boys and...
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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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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Isaiah 40: 27-31
TO CHEW ON: "Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:30,31
Isaiah continued to remind the people of Judah what God is like. It’s as if he has heard someone complain and say, “God doesn’t see me and my problems. He doesn’t know me or care about me. He’s ignoring me.”
To that Isaiah replied with some facts about God. Complete the things Isaiah told the people, using words from the word bank below: (Isaiah 40:28,29)1. God is _________2. He is the __________3. He doesn’t get _______ or ________4. Nobody can fathom his ___________5. Instead of getting weary, he gives ___ and ____
power tired weary
But they may have asked – and you might too – How does God give us these things? Verse 31 has the answer. God’s strength comes to us when we hope in the...
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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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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Revelation 22:12-21
TO CHEW ON: "The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say, 'Come!' Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.." Revelation 22:17
“Come!” What a welcome word to hear when we’re homesick. What a comforting word to hear when we’re lonely. What a delicious word to hear when we’re hungry or thirsty.
"Let everyone who is thirsty, Come" Designed by David Hetland (stained glass window Trinity Lutheran Church, Jamestown, North Dakota.)
The book of Revelation ends with this arms-wide-open invitation from God. Though our sins separated us from Him, Jesus made a way for us to be friends with God. God invites each one of us to come to Him by putting our faith in Jesus. When we do, God sees us as clean and holy. And we can look forward to spending eternity (forever and ever and ever and ever... to infinity) with Him in heaven....
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