TODAY’S SPECIAL: Genesis 46:28-34
TO CHEW ON: "Joseph had his chariot made ready and went to Goshen to meet his father Israel. As soon as Joseph appeared before him, he threw his arms around his father, and wept for a long time." Genesis 46:29
Have you ever been separated from people you love?
Perhaps you spent a week at camp. Or your parents live apart and you get to see one of them only seldom. Or you moved far away from your grandparents.
What feelings do you have when you’re about to meet them again:
nervous, excited, like crying, like laughing, worried, impatient, scared, happy
I’m sure Joseph was having some of those feelings while he waited for his father to arrive in Egypt. Finally the day arrived. Judah went ahead of the others. He found Joseph and said, “The whole family is here. Where do we go?”
Joseph got in his chariot and rode out to meet his father. What did he do when he saw Israel?_______________________ (Genesis 46:29).
We usually think of people crying when they are hurt or sad. But people also cry when they are happy. Getting back together with the people we love most, like family, is one time we easily cry tears...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 13:42-52
TO CHEW ON: "And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit." Acts 13:52
Barnabas and Paul traveled to Perga and then to Psidian Antioch. When they preached in the church (synagogue), many people listened and believed. In fact at one meeting almost the whole town came out to listen."Through this man (Jesus) is preached the forgiveness of sins" - Artist unknown
But the Jewish leaders didn’t like Paul and Barnabas because they said the good news about Jesus was for non-Jews (Gentiles). When more and more people believed, the Jewish leaders got jealous. They gossiped and lied about Paul and Barnabas and turned the city’s important people against them. Soon persecution started again. Barnabas and Paul had to leave town....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Isaiah 35:1-10
TO CHEW ON: "Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer and the mute tongue shout forjoy." Isaiah 35:5,6
What things make you joyful - finishing homework, seeing an old friend, being greeted by your dog, getting help with a hard job?
Even the greatest joy we feel now will be small compared to the joy Isaiah talks about in today’s reading. It will be the joy people feel when God comes to reign on earth. All of creation – plants, animals and people will know joy at that time.
Why will there be so much joy? Because of who God is. He is a God who makes wrong things right. He is a God who heals – makes the weak strong, the sick well, the blind see, the dumb shout, the lame walk. His power over nature makes even deserts become gardens and wild animals tame as pets....
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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: Leviticus 23:1-8
TO CHEW ON: "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘These are my appointed festivals, the appointed festivals of the Lord, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies.' ” Leviticus 23:2
What do you do on special days? Match the holiday with an activity that may happen then:
God also gave the Israelites special days to celebrate. They were called feasts. In some ways they were a lot like our holidays. The Israelites were to take the day off work and they often ate special food.
But these feasts were also different. Most of our celebrations are only a day or a weekend long. Some of the Israelites' feasts lasted a whole week or longer. And while our celebrations are often all about us – what gifts we’ll get, what we’ll eat, how much fun we’ll have – the Israelites’ holidays helped them focus on God....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Galatians 5:16-26
TO CHEW ON: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." Galatians 5:22,23a
What do you like about fruit - its sweetness? Its juiciness? The way it feels in your mouth? What is your favorite kind of fruit?
If you live in a place where fruit grows, you know only certain plants produce fruit. You don’t expect to pick apples from an oak tree or find blackberries on a cedar bush. Even fruit trees can only produce one kind of fruit. Plum trees will not grow peaches, neither will cherry trees grow pineapples.
We can think of people as plants. Their fruit is the things they do. But unlike plants, people’s lives can grow many kinds of fruit - a real fruit salad.
In the letter he wrote to the church in Galatia, Paul talks about the kinds of fruit a person who has given their life to Jesus should grow. It's Holy Spirit fruit. When we give Jesus our lives and let the Holy Spirit change us to be like Him, our lives will grow this kind of fruit too....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Esther 8:11-17
TO CHEW ON:"In every province and in every city to which the edict of the king came, there was joy and gladness among the Jews, with feasting and celebrating..." Esther 8:17
Quickly things turned around in Susa. Haman was gone. When Esther told the king that Mordecai was her cousin, he gave Mordecai the job Haman had before. But the king’s law still stood. The Jews were still in danger.
Again Esther went to the king. “Please spare the life of my people,” she pleaded.
“My law from before can’t be overturned,” the king told her. “But you can write another one.”
So Mordecai called together the secretaries. They wrote a new command. It said that the Jewish people could now fight back to defend themselves from anyone who attacked them. Couriers on horses raced to the farthest parts of the land to post the new law....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Ezra 3:7-12
TO CHEW ON: "With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: 'He is good: his love to Israel endures forever' And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid." Ezra 3:11
Haggai’s message to put God first got everyone’s attention. Zerubbabel called the priests together. They decided to again worship God even though there was no temple in which to do it. They built an altar outside and again made the sacrifices and kept the feasts the way God had said.
Next they took a collection of money for building supplies. What a busy time followed, clearing away the rubble of the old temple and bringing in logs, cut stones and bricks for the new one.
Finally the day came when the foundation of the new temple was in place. That day they decided to celebrate. The Priests and Levites got dressed in their special clothes. They brought their trumpets and cymbals and praised God with singing and music like in the time of King David. Then all the people watching gave a shout of praise. God’s house was back!...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Chronicles 15:25-16:3
TO CHEW ON: "So all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouts, with the sounding of rams’ horns and trumpets, and of cymbals, and the playing of lyres and harps." 1 Chronicles 15:28
For three months the ark was in the home of Obed-Edom. In that time, everyone noticed how God was blessing him. One day David decided to try to bring the ark back to Jerusalem again.
He arrived at the house of Obed-Edom with a great crowd of people. There were Levites, priests, singers and musicians dressed in beautiful robes of fine linen. There were army commanders. And there were many ordinary people.
This time the Levites lifted the ark onto their shoulders and carried it the way God had told them. As they began their walk to Jerusalem, the priests sacrificed to God. Then the singers sang and the instruments played.
The closer they got to the city, the more people joined the happy parade. Finally a great throng of happy, singing, celebrating people entered Jerusalem. But no one celebrated harder than David. He danced and leaped and spun in joy and praise to God that the ark was finally returning...
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TODAY'S SPECIAL: Genesis 33:1-11
TO CHEW ON: “If I have found favor in your eyes, accept this gift from me. For to see your face is like seeing the face of God, now that you have received me favorably.” Genesis 33:10
The day Jacob had looked forward to and dreaded was here. Today, after many years, he would see Esau again.
1.What happened when the brothers met? Genesis 33:42. Who of the brothers had done something wrong and needed to be forgiven?3. Who did the forgiving?
The meeting of Jacob and Esau
Seeing Esau again and knowing he was no longer angry was a big deal for Jacob. He compared getting Esau’s forgiveness to seeing the face of God.
Are there broken friendships in your life? Be like Jacob and Esau, and mend them.
PRAYER: Dear God, please help me forgive the people who have hurt me, and help the people I have hurt to forgive me. Amen...
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TODAY'S SPECIAL: Genesis 21:1-7
TO CHEW ON: "Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him." Genesis 21:2
I’ll play with you after school today.Never tell a soul– promise?Wait till summer; then I’ll take you fishing.We’ll go to Disneyland next year - it’s a promise!
Our lives are full of promises. Do we keep all the promises we make? Do others keep their promises to us? Probably not.
But there is Someone Who does keep every promise He makes. God promised Abraham and Sarah they would have a son. In fact He said it over and over. Now at last, when Abraham was 100 and Sarah 90 years old, the baby was born.
1. What did Sarah do? (Genesis 21:6)2. Abraham and Sarah named the baby Isaac. What does the name "Isaac" mean?
God kept His promise. What a happy time!
PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for the joy of kept promises. Amen.
MORE: God's promises to you
The Bible is full of God's promises to you. Read the following promises and solve the crossword puzzle below.
1. Eternal life: (John 11:25) "Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will...
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