TODAY’S SPECIAL: Jeremiah 38:1-6
TO CHEW ON: "This is what the Lord says: ‘Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine or plague, but whoever goes out to the Babylonians will live. They will escape with their lives: they will live.’" Jeremiah 38: 2
None of us likes to bring unwelcome news. Yet when God told Jeremiah to say things that were opposite of what everyone wanted to hear, he said them even though it got him into big trouble.
It was now about sixteen years after Jehoiachim had burned Jeremiah’s scroll. Jehoiakim had died. Babylon was getting stronger every day. Its king Nebuchadnezzar had made Zedekiah king of Judah. But Nebuchadnezzar really wanted Judah for himself. When he came with his army and surrounded Jerusalem, King Zedekiah asked Jeremiah if God had any message for him.
“Yes,” Jeremiah told him, “the Babylonian army will capture the city and burn it down.”
Zedekiah and his officials didn’t like the sound of that, so they put Jeremiah in prison. But he had more to say. “Give yourselves up to the Babylonian army,” he told everyone who came to see him. “If you stay in this city, you’ll die.”
Jeremiah’s words enraged Zedekiah’s officials. “He’s...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Jeremiah 26:1-15
TO CHEW ON: "As for me, I am in your hands; do with me whatever you think is good and right. Be assured, however, that if you put me to death, you will bring the guilt of innocent blood on yourselves and on this city and on those who live in it, for in truth the Lord has sent me to you to speak all these words in your hearing.” Jeremiah 26:14,15
Josiah was dead. Jehoiakim, his son, was now king in his place. Jehoiakim didn’t follow his father’s ways. Quickly the country slipped back into sin.
One day early in Jehoiakim’s reign, God gave Jeremiah another assignment. “Stand just outside the temple,” He said, “and tell the people if you follow my laws and listen to my prophets with all your hearts, then I will change my mind about destroying this city. But if you don’t do these things, I will really destroy Jerusalem, just like I destroyed Shiloh.”
Jeremiah did what God said. But instead of listening and obeying, the priests and false prophets got angry. “How dare you say Jerusalem will be destroyed?” they asked. Soon the king’s officials arrived on the scene. “This man should be...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Micah 5:1-5
TO CHEW ON: "But you, Bethlehem, Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be a ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times." Micah 5:2
Royally dressed strangers on camels were asking to see the king. “Bring them in!” Herod commanded. “What do you want?” he asked when they stood before him.
“Where is the king of the Jews? We have been following his star. It has led us this far and now we want to worship him.”
Herod called the priests and teachers. “Where is the king of Jews to be born?
“In Bethlehem,” they replied. And then they read these words from our reading today: "But you, Bethlehem, Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be a ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times." They are words Micah had written 750 years earlier.
Micah’s prediction of where Jesus would be born came true. Jesus was born in Bethlehem. This fulfilled prophecy is another proof that the Bible is no ordinary book. Only God could know...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Jeremiah 14:13-16
TO CHEW ON: "Then the Lord said to me, 'The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds.'” Jeremiah 14:14
Have you ever been outvoted by the majority? Perhaps you were working on a project and most people in your group didn't like your idea. Or you had a suggestion for a family outing, but everyone else wanted to do something different.
It’s not fun when no one agrees with you and you have to stand alone. Jeremiah found that out when he gave God’s messages to the people of Judah. “Unless you change your ways, God will send plague, war and famine,” he said.
But other prophets said the opposite: “Don’t worry about war or shortages of food. There will be lasting peace.”
Of course the people liked the message of the other prophets more than the Jeremiah’s message. The people thought he was annoying and simply ignored him.
Jeremiah talked to God about this. God told him, “I haven’t sent those other prophets. They aren’t saying my words. They’re telling lies. As a...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Isaiah 6:1-10
TO CHEW ON: "Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?'And I said, 'Here am I. Send me.'” Isaiah 6:8
God sat on a high throne. The train of his majestic robe was more glorious than any bride’s. It filled the temple. Angels were all around. Some flew back and forth calling “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty. The whole earth is filled with his glory.” At the sound, the temple pillars shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
These are things Isaiah saw in a vision. He would never forget what happened next. As he saw God’s glory and heard the angels, Isaiah suddenly felt like he wasn’t good enough to be there. “Woe is me,” he said, “for my mouth is dirty with bad words.”
Then one of the angels came to him. He had a coal from the altar, and touched that coal to Isaiah’s lips. “God has taken away your guilt and sin,” he said.
Then Isaiah heard God’s voice: “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
Without knowing what God would ask him to do, Isaiah replied, “Here am I,...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Jeremiah 7:1-13
TO CHEW ON: "This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel says: Reform your ways and your actions, and I will let you live in this place. Do not trust in deceptive words and say, 'This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord!' " Jeremiah 7:3,4
People thronged to the temple after Josiah’s clean-up. Looking at the crowds in “church” you’d think that everything had changed in Judah. But for many people, once they were away from God’s house, nothing had changed.
Crime and murder were common. Widows and orphans were ignored. Foreigners were mistreated. People thought that these things didn’t really matter. They thought Jerusalem would never be destroyed because the temple was there. They had a superstitious faith that the temple would save them no matter what they did.
One day God told Jeremiah to stand at the entrance way of the temple. He was to give the worshipers this message from God: “Change the way you act. Don’t put your faith in the temple. Look at what happened to Shiloh where the ark used to sit. I will do the same thing to Jerusalem if you...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Chronicles 29:1-11
TO CHEW ON: "He brought in the priests and the Levites, assembled them in the square on the east side and said, 'Listen to me, Levites! Consecrate yourselves now and consecrate the temple of the Lord, the God of your fathers. Remove all defilement from the sanctuary.'” 2 Chronicles 29:4,5
What are you most likely to do when your room gets messy?- clean it up- nothingWhen Hezekiah, Uzziah’s great-grandson became Judah’s king, one of the first things he did was a clean-up job, even though the mess wasn’t in his room and it was a mess he hadn’t made. In the first month of his reign King Hezekiah called together the priests and Levites and told them to clean up the temple.
The reasons for cleaning it up were more than that Hezekiah was a neat-freak. After thirty two years of being ruled by evil kings (his father Ahaz and his grandfather Jotham), Hezekiah knew there was a connection between worshiping God and having His blessing. He wanted God’s blessing more than anything. And so he told the priests and Levites to take everything that didn’t belong in the temple out so that they could again worship God...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Chronicles 20:20-29
TO CHEW ON:"As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated." 2 Chronicles 20:22
It was the morning of battle day. The day before, the prophet had told Jehoshaphat that God would fight this battle for him and his soldiers. But the army still had to go to the battlefield. “Have faith in God,” Jehoshaphat encouraged the men, “and you will be successful.
Then Jehoshaphat arranged his army in a strange way. Who did he put at the front? (2 Chronicles 20:21)1. Chariots and horsemen.2. A choir of singers and praisers.3. The most skilled fighters with bows and arrows.
As the army marched to the battlefield the singers, who led the troops, began to sing and praise God. When they did this an amazing thing happened. Trouble broke out in the enemy camp. The Ammonites and Moabites began to fight against the soldiers from Mount Seir. After that they fought and killed each other.
When Jehoshaphat’s army came to the hill overlooking the battlefield, there was no one left to fight. They trusted God and praised Him for helping them...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Jeremiah 40:1-6
TO CHEW ON: "But today I am freeing you from the chains on your wrists. Come with me to Babylon, if you like, and I will look after you; but if you do not want to, then don’t come. Look, the whole country lies before you; go wherever you please." Jeremiah 40:4
The people from Jerusalem, bound and chained, had set out on the long march to Babylon. Jeremiah was with them. Then at Ramah a surprising thing happened. Nebuzaradan, a commander in the Babylonian army, found him.
“I know about your God and how this is a punishment for the sins of the people,” he said. “But today I’m going to set you free.”
With that he took the chains off Jeremiah’s hands and feet. “You can come with me,” he went on, “or go wherever you like in the country. If you stay here you might want to go to Mizpah. There Gedaliah is watching over everyone who is left.”
So Jeremiah went to live with Gedeliah. Again God had helped him. This time He had sent an enemy commander to set him free....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Chronicles 23:11-17
TO CHEW ON: "Jehoiada and his sons brought out the king’s son and put the crown on him; they presented him with a copy of the covenant and proclaimed him king. They anointed him and shouted, 'Long live the king!' ” 2 Chronicles 23:11
Who is your favorite storybook wicked stepmother or evil queen? Did you know the Bible has an evil queen story?
Athaliah was the wife of King Jehoram. After Jehoram died, his son Ahaziah reigned, but for only one year. When the young king was murdered, evil Athaliah went to work. In a few brutal hours she killed all the king’s relatives. Then she crowned herself queen.
But someone escaped. Priest Jehoiada and his wife rescued Ahaziah's baby son Joash and hid him in the temple for six years.
When Prince Joash was seven years old, Jehoiada met with the army commanders. He told them to bring all the priests and Levites to Jerusalem. On a special day the priests, Levites and many people gathered outside the temple. Then Jehoiada and his sons brought out the seven-year-old prince. They put a crown on his head and everyone shouted “Long live the king!”
Queen Athaliah heard the noise. She...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Isaiah 53:2-8
TO CHEW ON: "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way;and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all." Isaiah 53:6
It was the most important day of the year, the Day of Atonement. Everyone came to the holy gathering bathed and in clean clothes. Men, women, girls and boys had watched the High Priest make the offerings. Now it was time for the last event.
A hush came over the crowd as one of the priests led a goat to the High Priest. The High Priest laid his hands on the goat’s head. Then he confessed the peoples’ sins: “We have been selfish. We have been proud. We have not honored our parents. We have been jealous. We have lied. We have stolen...” On and and on he went. As he named the sins, his hands on the goat's head were a picture of laying all those sins on the goat. This goat was called a scapegoat.
When the priest was finally finished, he gave the goat to a servant. The servant took it to the desert and there released it to...
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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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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Joel 2:12-19
TO CHEW ON: "Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity." Joel 2:13
Suppose you did something bad like got mad at your little sister and hurt her. Now you feel really sorry. You wish you hadn’t hurt her and you’re also worried that you might get punished.
1. What thing from the list below will convince your parents you really are sorry and won’t do it again:a] you cryb] you apologize to your sisterc] you promise to never hurt your sister againd] from now on treat your sister with kindness.
Though crying, apologizing and making promises might convince your parents you’re sorry, they’ll know you’re really sorry by watching how your actions have changed.
When the people of Judah stopped following God and again worshiped idols, they were like a kid who had done something wrong. Prophet Joel told them God was going to punish them by sending locusts and drought. But there was still a way to avoid this punishment. It was by coming back to God and showing Him they were truly sorry and...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Habakkuk 1:1-11
TO CHEW ON: "How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, 'Violence!' but you do not save?" Habakkuk 1:2
Have you ever wondered whether it does any good to pray? That seems to be what the prophet Habakkuk was asking at the beginning of his short book.
Habakkuk was another prophet in Judah. He lived at the same time as Jeremiah did. Instead of God giving Habakkuk messages for the people, he talked to God for them.
He asked questions that people from all times and places have asked:- If You’re in control, God, why does evil win so often?- How can You ignore unfairness? Why do evil people get richer and more powerful?- Why do You use evil people to work Your will?
Illustration by Annie Vallotton from the Good News Bible © American Bible Society 1976, 1992
God answered Habakkuk’s questions. Sometimes his answers were surprising. When Habakkuk complained, in today’s reading, that it seemed like God was ignoring unfairness, God replied, “You haven’t seen anything yet!” Then he explained that soon He would use the cruel nation of Babylon even more.\
But God’s answers did finally satisfy Habakkuk. And...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Joel 1:1-4 and 10-14
TO CHEW ON: The fields are ruined, the ground is dried up; the grain is destroyed, the new wine is dried up, the oil fails. Joel 1:10
Which people do we go to, to find out what might happen in the future
weathermen scientists prophets
I’m sure you’d agree that in our time we may go to weathermen and scientists, but we don’t often go to prophets. Even in Bible times people sometimes made fun of what prophets predicted. Yet God chose to speak through these ordinary men who didn’t speak their own ideas but said what God told them to say.
Joel was such a prophet. He lived in Judah around the time Joash was crowned king. He had seen the way King Jehoram and Ahaziah and then Queen Athaliah had turned the people away from praying to God.
When Joash became king, Joel hoped that things would be different. And they were for a while. As long as Priest Jehoiada was alive Joash followed his advice and honored God. But after Jehoiada died, Joash stopped worshiping at the temple. He put up Asherah poles and soon the land was filled with idols again.
Read More about Prophets and Plagues »
TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Chronicles 33:7-13
TO CHEW ON: "And when he prayed to him, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God." 2 Chronicles 33:13
“The Assyrians are coming!” A messenger blurted the news to King Manasseh.
Manasseh called his priests and told them to pray to the gods, check the omens, and make sacrifices. But not to the God of heaven. For Manasseh, Hezekiah’s son and Judah’s king, was not like his dad. Instead of worshiping God, he rebuilt hilltop shrines where people went to pray to statues of Chemosh and Baal.Illustration by Annie Vallotton from the Good News Bible © American Bible Society 1976, 1992
He sacrificed his own sons to idols, was deeply into witchcraft and even built idol altars in the temple. God had tried to talk to Manasseh and the people, but they refused to listen.
The sacrifices Manasseh made that day did no good. He was captured by the Assyrian generals, chained and taken to prison in Babylon. There, in a dungeon and all alone, he had time to think. He remembered the things his father...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL:2 Chronicles 26:16-22
TO CHEW ON: "But after Uzziah became powerful his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense." 2 Chronicles 26:16
Back in Judah, years had gone by since King Joash’s reign had ended. Now sixteen-year-old Uzziah, Joash’s grandson, was king. Like his grandfather Joash, Uzziah was trained by a priest. Just like Joash he started out well. He strengthened the army, defeated his Philistine enemies, built cities, and gave lots of people good jobs on his farms and in his fields. Soon he was famous in the nations all around. Best of all, during this whole time he was careful to do what pleased God.
That is, until one day when his success went to his head. That day he decided there was nothing he couldn’t do. So he went into the temple, lit the incense in the portable burner called a censer, and was about to make a sacrifice on the altar when Azariah and a crowd of priests stopped him.
“What are you doing?” Azariah asked. “This isn’t right. Only priests are allowed to go into the temple...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Chronicles 14:1-12
TO CHEW ON: "Then Asa called to the Lord his God and said, 'Lord, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, Lord our God, for we rely on you and in your name we have come against this vast army. Lord you are our God; do not let mere mortals prevail against you.'” 2 Chronicles 14:11
Judah’s king Asa (King Rehoboam, then Abijah, then Asa) put a lot of energy into pleasing God. He started out by smashing the idols and cutting down the Asherah poles all through Judah. Then he built walls around the cities to protect them. During most of his reign there was peace.
But one day a Cushite chieftain named Zerah threatened him. Asa and his army marched to the valley where Zerah was camped. When they looked down on the huge fighting force in front of them, they had good reason to be terrified. This army was way bigger with better weapons than theirs.
But Asa didn’t panic. Instead, he went right to God. He prayed the prayer above (2 Chronicles 14:11), telling God that He was the only one who could defeat Zerah’s army and...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Jeremiah 1:1-10
TO CHEW ON: "But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord." Jeremiah 1:7,8
Do you have any idea what you’d like to do when you grow up? Have you ever thought that God may have a special job for your life?
God talked to Jeremiah when he was just a child. He told him what his job would be. He would be a (Jeremiah 1:5) 1. _____.
Jeremiah argued back. What two reasons did he give for why he couldn’t do what God asked (Jeremiah 1:6) 2. _____ 3. _____.
But God didn’t buy Jeremiah’s arguments. For He had chosen Jeremiah before he was born. Now God touched his mouth and said, “I have put my words in your mouth.”
Jeremiah’s words would be not only to his nation Judah, but to the nations all around. They would have much power – power to uproot and tear down, destroy and overthrow, build and plant.
Have you ever asked God if He has a special job...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Micah 4:1-5
TO CHEW ON: "He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide.They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Micah 4:3
Can you remember a time when there was not a war happening somewhere on earth? I can’t. It seems that every night the news is full of problems in one part of the world or another. It’s much more usual to get news of more wars starting than to hear of people getting along. But Micah the prophet predicts such a war-free time.
Micah lived in Judah at the same time as Isaiah. God gave him messages for Samaria (capital of Israel) and Jerusalem (capital of Judah). They were messages of doom. “Samaria will be destroyed. Jerusalem has become just as bad. Soon it will be flattened and just a garbage dump.”
But Micah didn’t only predict bad news. God also gave him a message of hope. “In the last days Jerusalem will come back to life,” he said. “God Himself will rule from...
Read More about No Spears Needed »
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Jonah 3:1-10
TO CHEW ON: "When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened." Jonah 3:10
God did ask Jonah to go to Nineveh again. This time Jonah said “yes.”
When he got to this large city, he walked around, shouting: “If you don’t stop being wicked and violent, God will destroy in you in forty days. Instead fast, put on sackcloth and pray to God. Pray hard. Who knows, God might still spare you.”
Jonah was secretly wishing God would destroy Nineveh. It was the capital city of the country of Assyria. The Assyrians were known for their cruelty. They had often been mean to the people of Israel and Judah
But the people of Nineveh were not mean to Jonah. They didn’t tease or laugh at him. Instead, they listened. Even their king came out to hear what Jonah had to say. Then he did exactly what Jonah said. He told all the people to do the same....
Read More about Loving Enemies »
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....
Read More about Leaping, Bursting, Shouting Joy! »
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Lamentations 1:1-12
TO CHEW ON: "Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look around and see. Is any suffering like my suffering that was inflicted on me, that the Lord brought on me in the day of his fierce anger?" Lamentations 1:12
What is the saddest thing that has ever happened to you? How did you handle your sad feelings - by crying, sleeping, staying busy, playing sports, talking to others, writing?
Lamentations is a Bible book that someone (most likely Jeremiah) wrote about a very sad time – the fall of Jerusalem.
It is poetry and full of word pictures. Jerusalem is compared to a widow. She was once married but now she is a slave dressed in clothes that are dirty with the sins she has done. Jerusalem’s former rulers are like deer who are starving and so weak they don’t have the strength to run away from the hunter. The roads leading to Jerusalem weep and its gates are empty.
Though Jeremiah escaped going to Babylon, this poem shows that he felt as sad as anyone. He loved his country. He loved Jerusalem. He hated to see it destroyed and its people taken away. Writing Lamentations probably...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Chronicles 17:1-10
TO CHEW ON: “They (Jehoshaphat’s officials, Levites and priests) taught throughout Judah, taking with them the Book of the Law of the Lord; they went around to all the towns of Judah and taught the people.” 2 Chronicles 17:9
How did you learn: to read, to do math, to play an instrument, science, nature and history?Cross out the one thing below that didn’t help:
1. By listening to teachers explain.2. By practicing what you learned.3. By someone telling you to learn these things.4. By watching DVDs.5. By memorizing and preparing for tests.6. By reading.
There are many things we can do to help us learn things. But simply having someone else tell us to do it (#3 above), isn’t enough.
King Jehoshaphat knew that. When he became king after his father King Asa died, he was careful to do everything he could to obey God. But he knew that for God to bless his nation, the citizens needed to follow God too. So he did more than simply tell them to follow God. He taught them God’s law and showed them how to obey it....
Read More about Jehoshaphat - Teacher King »
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Isaiah 9:1-7
TO CHEW ON: "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6
Have you ever been in pitch black darkness? If you’ve turned on a flashlight to find your way at night, or lit a candle when the electricity went out, you know how even a tiny light pushes the dark aside. Isaiah’s prediction about a wonderful child who would be born was such a ray of light in a dark time.
This child would bring light. His names would be Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. He would be from David’s family. And His kingdom would last forever.
Has this prediction come true? Yes – in the birth of Jesus.- Jesus is the light: John 8:12- the Spirit of Jesus is called Counselor: John 14:16- Jesus is God: Hebrews 1:3- Jesus and the Father are one: John 14:7-10- Jesus is from David’s family: Matthew 1:1- Jesus’ kingdom will never end: Luke 1:32,33
In this engraving from the 1800s, artist Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld illustrated some of the things...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Isaiah 30:1-5
TO CHEW ON: “'Woe to the obstinate children,' declares the Lord, 'to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin.'” Isaiah 30:1
What does it mean to nag (click on the verb 'nag') someone? Have you ever done this to someone else? Has anyone ever done this to you? Do you like being nagged?
The people in Judah may have felt that God was nagging them. Prophet after prophet came with messages from Him, telling them to change. In today’s reading Isaiah comes with another warning.
“You are like stubborn children,” he said to the leaders. “Again you are doing things on your own instead of asking for My (God’s) help. You are getting together with Egypt to make your army strong. But you are forgetting to talk to Me about it. As a result things won’t work out.”
God wanted the Israelites to be completely His. He wanted them to pray to Him in trouble. Instead the people had joined their army with the army of Egypt. They did this all on their own. Unscramble the words that tell the things that Isaiah predicts will come to...
Read More about Is God a Nag? »
TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Chronicles 20:1-19
TO CHEW ON: "Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him." 2 Chronicles 20:3,4
What is the first thing do when:- the school bully and his friends are after you?- your Mom loses her job?- someone steals your bike?
King Jehoshaphat’s big problem was a huge army coming to fight him. When he heard this, he was worried. But he didn’t do things like make his army bigger, call for help from another king or panic. Instead he asked everyone to join him in fasting and praying to God, till he got God’s instructions of what to do next.
Many families came to Jerusalem from all over Judah to pray. They met outside the temple. Grandmas and grandpas, moms and dads, girls and boys stood there while Jehoshaphat prayed aloud.
No sooner had Jehoshaphat ended his prayer by telling God how helpless he felt than God’s Spirit gave Jahaziel, one of the Levites, a message. What three things did God say to Jehoshaphat through Jahaziel? (2 Chronicles 20:15-17)...
Read More about Helpless But Not Hopeless »
TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Chronicles 21:12-20
TO CHEW ON: "Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. He passed away to no one’s regret...." 2 Chronicles 21:20
One of the first things Jehoram did when he became king was kill all his brothers! This oldest son of Jehosphaphat did that so no one would try to become king instead of him. Next he married the daughter of evil King Ahab. Finally, he again started worshiping idols instead of God.
Prophet Elijah from Israel sent him a letter. “Because you are doing so many bad things, God will be against everything that is yours. You yourself will get sick and die.”
And that’s what happened. The Philistines and other hostile neighbors raided Judah and left with beautiful things from the palace. They kidnapped Jehoram’s sons and wives. Then Jehoram got sick. Only eight years after becoming king, he died of a painful disease....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Zephaniah 3:11-17
TO CHEW ON: "The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
Again Judah was in a mess. When King Manasseh died, his idol-worshiping son Amon became king. Amon was king for just two years when officials murdered him and crowned his eight-year-old son Josiah to be king instead.
God gave another prophet named Zephaniah, messages for King Josiah. Most were not popular. “God’s judgment day is coming,” he said one day. “If Judah doesn’t return to God, it will be destroyed, just the like nations around it. Jerusalem will be destroyed too. Only a few people from it will be saved.”
Then Zephaniah ended his stern message with the beautiful picture of a God who can also be gentle. He is a God who loves and cares for those who stay true to Him.
Have you ever seen a mother or father quiet a crying baby? How do they do it?
In our reading today, God is that parent. He quiets His restless children with...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL:Isaiah 40:1-11
TO CHEW ON: "He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young." Isaiah 40:11
Which of these things would bring you comfort?
I’m sure you’ll agree that teasing schoolmates, a growling dog, a car accident and feeling sick are not comforting. When we’re under attack, in danger or ill we’re not comfortable. Instead, we’d welcome some comfort.
In today’s reading, Isaiah reminds the people of Judah, how God, who is allowing bad things to happen to them, really feels about them. He would love to speak tenderly to them. He would like to cuddle them close to His heart like a shepherd carries a baby lamb. He would like to be gentle with them, like a shepherd gently leads the ewes who have babies....
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