TODAY’S SPECIAL: Proverbs 2:1-15
TO CHEW ON: "For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding." Proverbs 2:6
In the Bible book of Proverbs we have many of Solomon’s wise sayings. They help us learn the wise thing to do in all kinds of times and places. Many proverbs are about speech. Others tell us how to treat people. Still others give advice on how to handle money and possessions.
Today’s reading in Proverbs 2 talks us about wisdom itself and explains where true wisdom is found. Where? Choose one (Proverbs 2:6)...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Numbers 21:4-9
TO CHEW ON: "But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, 'Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!' ” Numbers 21:4,5
Have you ever grumbled about any of these things: food, clothes, the weather, too much to do, not enough to do, the things you have, the things you don’t have?
I have to admit, I have – and I’d be surprised if you haven’t as well.
Grumbling and complaining are pretty common ways people react to things they don’t like. And that’s what the Israelites did as they continued their travels. They complained about God, Moses, the food, no water. Instead of trusting in what God had said about their future, they doubted and wailed, “We’re going to die in this desert.”
So God sent poisonous snakes among them. These snakes bit them and many of the people died – just for complaining! The only way they could be saved after they had been bitten was to look at the bronze snake Moses had mounted on a pole in the...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 20:17-24
TO CHEW ON: "However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace." Acts 20:24
What’s important to you?- Winning the championship?- Getting an A on the test - or even just a pass?- Pleasing your parents?- Hanging out with friends?- Going on a holiday?
Though these things are good and should be important to you, there is something even more important. It is discovering and doing the job Jesus has for you."Paul's farewell to the Ephesians elders" - Artist unknown
As Paul said farewell to the Christians in Ephesus, he knew that some not-so-nice things might be ahead for him. The Holy Spirit had warned him that a]____________ and b]______________ awaited him (Acts 20:23). But that didn’t make him want to stop serving God....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Samuel 25:14-20; 32-35
TO CHEW ON: "David said to Abigail, 'Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. May you be blessed for your good judgement and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands.'” 1 Samuel 25: 32,33
Many people loyal to David began to join him in the cave where he was hiding. Eventually David and his men moved from caves to the desert. While they were there, some shepherds, the servants of a man named Nabal, were herding sheep nearby. David and his men made friends with the shepherds. They protected their flocks from wild animals and bandits.
After the shepherds had taken the sheep home, David heard that Nabal was going to throw a party for his servants. This would be a good time to get a meal from Nabal in payment for protecting him, David thought. He sent one of his men to Nabal with a polite note, asking if he and his men could come to the party.
Nabal, who was very rich, but also very selfish, answered David’s servant roughly. “Why should I take the food I make...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Genesis 44:1-13,33-34
TO CHEW ON: “’Now then, please let your servant remain here as my lord’s slave in place of the boy, and let the boy return with his brothers. How can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? No! Do not let me see the misery that would come on my father.’” (Genesis 44:33,34)
Joseph’s brothers went back to their father with food. They told him about the mean Egyptian prince who said they must bring Benjamin with them next time. But Jacob said he would never let Benjamin go.
Soon the grain was gone and the family was desperate for food again. The brothers begged Jacob to let Benjamin go with them. Finally Benjamin’s older brother Judah promised that if the Egyptian prince threatened any harm to Benjamin, he would take his place.
When the brothers got to Egypt, the prince did a strange thing. He invited them to his home and served them a banquet. He even seated them in order of age from oldest to youngest. Then he gave Benjamin five times more food than everyone else. Finally he sent them on their way with the supplies they needed.
No sooner had they...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL:Philippians 4:4-9
TO CHEW ON: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Philippians 4:8
You’ve probably heard the proverb, “You can’t stop a bird from landing on your head, but you can stop it from building a nest in your hair.”
Our thoughts are a lot like that bird. The first time a thought occurs to us is like the bird sitting on our head. We can’t help that it landed there but we can choose what happens after that. We can choose to invite the thought to stay by thinking about it more, or shoo it away by replacing it with a better thought.
For example, suppose you stop by your best friend Jessica’s house to walk her to school. Her Mom tells you that she’s already left with Danielle. Immediately you have the thought: “Danielle’s trying to steal my friend.”
Now you have a choice. Do you encourage that jealous thought by telling yourself things like:I never could trust Jessica.Next time I see Jessica and Danielle I'll give them a piece of my mind.
Or do you replace...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Deuteronomy 6:1-12
TO CHEW ON: "These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates." Deuteronomy 6:6-9
Moses knew that after forty years of wandering in the desert, it was finally time for the Israelites to go into Canaan. But Moses wouldn’t be leading them. Because it was also time for him to die.
He gathered the people together to hear his last words. We can still read them today. They are the book of Deuteronomy.Moses speaks to the people - Paul Hardy
In this long speech Moses reminded the people how God had helped them in the past. He challenged them to obey God always. He warned them against ever praying to idols. He talked about their covenant with God. He begged them to honor God and stay faithful to Him by following God’s rules and worshiping the way God had told them....
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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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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Joshua 7:10-25
TO CHEW ON: “Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions.” Joshua 7:11
Have you ever done something sneaky – stolen something, told a lie, or cheated on an exam? Achan did such a thing when he went into Jericho. He had heard Joshua’s command about what to do with the loot. But when he saw a beautiful robe, some silver coins, and a wedge of gold, he sneaked these things home, dug a hole inside his tent and hid them in the ground.
A few days later Joshua sent scouts to Ai, the next city. “It’s a small town,” the scouts reported when they got back. “We’ll only need part of the army to capture it.”
But the people of Ai chased the Israelites from their city, beat them and killed many soldiers.
Joshua and the people were stunned. Joshua fell on his face before God and asked, “Why didn’t you help us?”
“Get up!” God told him. “There’s sin in the camp. Someone has stolen and lied. You need to deal with...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Exodus 25:1-9
TO CHEW ON: “Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.” Exodus 25:8,9
Do you go to church on Sunday? What is your church like?
Churches can be big or small, fancy or simple, a special set-apart building or a building that is used for other things the rest of the week.
Again God told Moses to come up to Him on the mountain. So Moses put Aaron and Hur in charge of the people. Then he took his assistant Joshua and again climbed Mount Sinai. God’s presence covered the top of the mountain with a glory cloud while God talked to Moses about many things.
In today’s Bible reading, we read how God told Moses to build Him a church or sanctuary. But this building wouldn’t be like the churches most of us know. This church would be a tent called a ‘tabernacle.’ It would be light and movable, like tents are....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Judges 7:9-16
TO CHEW ON: "When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he bowed down and worshiped. He returned to the camp of Israel and called out, 'Get up! The Lord has given the Midianite camp into your hands.' ” Judges 7:15
The first job God gave Gideon to do was to smash the Baal idols in his father’s house. The second job was to fight the Midianites. Thousands of men showed up to join Gideon’s army.
But God told Gideon, “With so many soldiers your army will take credit for winning. I want everyone to know that it’s Me, God, who is making you win, not your big army or your wise plans. Send home all the men who are afraid.”
Twenty-two thousand men left that day. Less than one thousand soldiers were left.
“This is still too many,” God said. After Gideon sent home more soldiers, only three hundred were left.
How will I ever beat the Midianites with such a small army, Gideon wondered.
That night God woke Gideon up and said to him, “If you’re scared, go the enemy’s camp and listen to what they’re saying.”
Gideon and his servant snuck into the valley. The enemy soldiers were sleeping. Then they...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Hosea 14:1-9
TO CHEW ON: "Return, O Israel, to the Lord you God. Your sins have been your downfall! Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to him: 'Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously that we may offer the fruit of our lips.'” Hosea 14:1,2
Hosea was another prophet to Israel at this time. God asked him to do more than just talk to the people. Even his life was an object lesson of what God was like.
“Go marry a woman who won’t be true to you,” God told him.
So Hosea married Gomer, a prostitute. They lived together and had children. But Gomer left Hosea and had affairs with other men.
This made Hosea sad. God told him, “Your wife is just like the Israelites. She left you just like they left me to worship idols.The Israelites going to worship idols
I don’t want you to divorce her. Instead, you are to take her back.”
Hosea paid money and took his wife back into their home. Then God said to him, “Tell the Israelites that what you did is a picture of what I will do for them. Just like you took your wife back even though she...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Ezekiel 2:1-10
TO CHEW ON: " And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or be terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people." Ezekiel 2:6
As Ezekiel lay on the ground, a voice came from the bright vision of God. It was talking to him. “Stand up,” God said.
Ezekiel stood and God continued. “I am sending you to be a prophet to the people of Israel. They are rebellious, stubborn and obstinate. They may or may not listen.”
Ezekiel had wanted to be a priest. Now God was giving him a different job – the job of being a prophet. But it sounded hard and dangerous.Then I looked, and I saw a hand stretched out to me. In it was a scroll... On both sides of it were written words of lament and mourning and woe." Ezekiel 2:9
Before Ezekiel had a chance to argue with God about how hard this job was going to be, God encouraged him. Three times God said to Ezekiel, “Do not be afraid....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL:2 Kings 4:27-37
TO CHEW ON: "He went in, shut the door on the two of them and prayed to the Lord." 2 Kings 4:33
Elisha and his servant Gehazi did a lot of traveling. One day they went to Shunem. A rich woman there invited them for a meal in her house. Then, knowing Elisha often traveled to Shunem, she and her husband fixed up a room for Elisha and his servant. Now every time they came to town, they had a place to stay.
One day Elisha asked the woman, “After all you’ve done for us, what can we do for you?”
“I have everything I need,” she said.
“She doesn’t have any children,” Gehazi said to Elisha after she had left.
“Right,” said Elisha. “Call her back.”
When the woman came, Elisha said to her, “By this time next year, God will give you a son.”
Sure enough, a year later, she had a baby boy. She had never been happier! But one day, when the little boy was with his dad, he got sick. “My head! My head!” he cried. Servants carried him home. But a little while later he died.
Immediately his mother saddled a donkey and went to find Elisha. If anyone...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Leviticus 17:11
TO CHEW ON: "For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life." Leviticus 17:11
Moses had been up on the mountain with God for a long time and God had told him many things. One of the things God gold Moses was a way to deal with sin.
What is sin? It is missing the target. If we think of doing everything God has said we should do, and not doing anything God has said we shouldn't do as the target, sin is missing that target.
For example, when God told Adam and Eve not to eat of the special tree in the garden and they did – that was sin. And when God told the people they were not to worship any other God but Him and they made a calf idol and worshiped it – that was sin. God gave the people a list of rules (we call them the Ten Commandments) which told them what was sin for each area of life, from how they treated parents and neighbors to how...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Exodus 23:20-33
TO CHEW ON: " Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span." Exodus 23:25,26
What things scare you:- Walking alone in the dark?- Changing schools?- Trying something for the first time (diving, horseback riding, snowboarding)?- _____________________________
It’s easy to be frightened when we don’t feel safe, or when we don’t know anyone, or when we’re trying something for the first time, or a lot of other reasons.
The Israelites had every reason to be afraid. They had gone from living in one spot to moving nearly every day. They went from being safe in Egypt to being easy prey to fierce desert tribes. They went from always knowing where they would find their next drink and meal to having to trust God for all these things.
A. God saw the fear inside them. He answered it with a whole lot of promises. Cross out the one thing, below, that He didn’t promise in TODAY'S SPECIAL reading.God said he would:1. send His angel to show them the way to...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Kings 12:25-33
TO CHEW ON: "The king made two golden calves. He said to the people, 'It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.' " 1 Kings 12:28
Jeroboam went to live in Schechem and ruled Israel from there. The prophet had told him he would be a successful king if he obeyed God. Even so, Jeroboam began to be afraid. His people would go back to Jerusalem to worship. What if traveling back to Jerusalem would make them want Rehoboam as their king again?
So Jeroboam made a plan to keep that from happening. Instead of encouraging the people to worship God in the temple in Jerusalem he set up calf idols nearby – one in Dan and another in Bethel. He told the people, "Here are the gods who brought you out of Egypt." Then he chose people who weren’t in the Levi tribe to be the priests. They offered sacrifices to the golden calves.
Jeroboam also invented new festivals. At festival time, the people now went to Dan or Bethel instead of Jerusalem. In no time the people who had chosen Jeroboam as...
TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Kings 20:1-11
TO CHEW ON: “'Go back and tell Hezekiah, the leader of my people, 'This is what the Lord, the God of your father David says: "I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the Lord. I will add fifteen years to your life . . ."’” 2 Kings 20:5,6a
Hezekiah was very ill. The doctors expected him to die. Even the prophet Isaiah said, “Put your affairs in order, because you’re going to die.”
But Hezekiah didn’t want to die. As Isaiah left the room, he turned his face to the wall and began to cry. As he wept, he prayed, “God, I’ve tried to please you. I’ve served you wholeheartedly...”...
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TODAY'S SPECIAL: Genesis 35:1-15
TO CHEW ON: "Jacob set up a stone pillar at the place where God had talked with him, and he poured out a drink offering on it; he also poured oil on it. Jacob called the place where God had talked with him Bethel." Genesis 35:14,15
Jacob and his family had spent many months moving around, living as nomads. One day God talked to Jacob again. He told him to go to Bethel and settle there.
Jacob hears the voice of the Lord - by Frederick Sandys
Jacob had been at Bethel before.
1. Why did he stop there the first time? (Genesis 28:11)
2. What happened during the night? (Genesis 28:12)
3. What promise did God make to Jacob the first time he was in Bethel? (Genesis 28:15)
4. Now, years later, Jacob had a large family. He was rich with servants and cattle. And he was back at Bethel. Had God kept His promise? (Genesis 35:14,15)
PRAYER: You are a God who keeps promises. Thank you! Amen.MORE: PromisesBelow are three Bible promises. Choose one. Why is it important to you? You might also want to memorize it.
• "When you pass through the waters I will be with you; and when you pass through...
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TODAY'S SPECIAL: Genesis 24:12-20, 57-61
TO CHEW ON: "Then he prayed, 'O Lord, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today, and show kindness to my master Abraham.'" Genesis 24:12
Abraham sent his servant on an errand. He was to find a wife for Isaac among Abraham’s relatives far away. This was a hard job. As the servant traveled he wondered how would he ever find Abraham’s family, let alone know which was the right girl.
When he got to the faraway land, he still didn’t know what to do. He found a well and sat there to rest. As he rested he prayed, "God please help me find the right girl. May it be the girl that when I ask her for a drink, she'll offer to water my camels too. If that happens, I'll take it as a sign that she's the right girl."
Before he finished praying beautiful Rebekah came to the well.
Unscramble the words to find out what the servant said and how the girl answered him (Genesis 24:17-19)
Could this be the right girl?
It turned out Rebekah was also one of Abraham’s relatives. When the servant explained his errand to Rebekah’s family they asked her, “Will you go?” and...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Nehemiah 2:1-10
TO CHEW ON: "The king said to me, 'What is it you want?' Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king, 'If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my fathers are buried so that I can rebuild it.' ... And because the gracious hand of my God was upon me, the king granted my request." Nehemiah 2:4&8
“Jerusalem is a mess,” Hanani said. “Its walls are broken down and the gates are just charred rubbish.”
Nehemiah was shocked and sad to hear this news from his brother Hanani. Though Nehemiah had lived in Persia all his life, his heart was with his people in Jerusalem. He wished there was something he could do.
He thought of going to Jerusalem and getting to work on that wall. But that could never happen because King Artaxerxes had said that Jerusalem should not be rebuilt. And Artaxerxes was his boss. He would never let him leave his job for such a reason.
Yet over the next four months, Nehemiah couldn’t forget his dream of returning to Jerusalem. Every day he imagined...
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TODAY'S SPECIAL: Read Genesis 13:1-17Abram and Lot - Artist unknown
TO CHEW ON: "So Abram said to Lot, 'Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me.... Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.'” Genesis 13: 8,9
Abram did take one member of his family along – his nephew Lot. Lot also had flocks and servants. Soon their servants were fighting over the same pastures. Abram didn’t want fighting. He had a meeting with Lot. “I think it’s time for our families to part,” he said.
Abram was the leader and the respected older person on this trip. He could have told Lot to graze his cattle on the scrubby hills while he (Abram) took his cattle to the green valley. Instead Abram let Lot have first choice about where he’d go.
What an easy decision for Lot. Of course he picked the lush green valley for himself. Besides being the best pasture land, it was near the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah where his wife could shop and he could get supplies.
If Abram was sorry about his decision to let Lot pick first, it wasn’t...
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TODAY'S SPECIAL: Read: Genesis 6:9-14
"Noah and Sons Build the Ark"
TO CHEW ON: "But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. This is the account of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God." (Genesis 6:8,9)
Have you ever been the only person or family doing something, or NOT doing something? That’s what it was like for Noah and his family. While all the other people were sinning and living like they pleased, Noah was famous for something else. He had the reputation of being good. He was known as someone who pleased God....
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The Geography of the Bible
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The Journey of Abraham
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The Kingdom of David
The Kingdom of Solomon
Israel in Jesus' Time
Paul's First Journey
The Land of Israel
The Land of Egypt
The Land of Assyria
The Land of Babylon
The Land of Persia
The Land of Greece
The City of Rome
Noah's Ark and Mt. Ararat
The Tower of Babel
The Old Testament World
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Moses and the 10 Plagues
The 10 Commandments
The 12 Tribes of Israel
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