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: 1 Samuel 2:12-26
TO CHEW ON: "Meanwhile the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord....And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor with the Lord and with people." 1 Samuel 2:21, 26
Do you think it’s possible to live as a Christian in a neighborhood where you have no friends who love Jesus? What about in a school where people tease you if they find out you read the Bible, or in a family where you’re the only one who trusts in God and prays?
You would expect for little Samuel, the tabernacle, where people came to worship God, would be the easiest place in the world to get to know God. But it wasn’t. Instead, it was a place full of rebellion, disobedience and sin.
The trouble was not with Eli, the old priest, but with his sons. They had no respect for God and pretty much did as they pleased. They demanded offering meat before it was ready and had sex with the servant girls who worked near the Tabernacle. Even after Eli scolded them, they didn’t change.
Meanwhile Samuel was growing up. Every year he got stronger and taller. Every year his parents...
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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: Esther 3:1-15
TO CHEW ON: "When Haman saw that Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor, he was enraged. Yet having learned who Mordecai’s people were, he scorned the idea of killing only Mordecai. Instead Haman looked for a way to destroy all Mordecai’s people, the Jews, throughout the whole kingdom of Xerxes." Esther 3:5,6
Haman smiled as he walked around the palace. It made him feel good when everyone knelt to him as he went by. Lately life had been altogether excellent. King Xerxes had given him a position above all the other officials. He had even passed a law that everyone should bow to him. He really was pretty special!
Just then he caught sight of someone who wasn’t kneeling. He glared at the man but still that man wouldn’t bow. This must be Mordecai, that Jew he’d been told about. He’d heard that these Jews wouldn’t bow to anyone but their God.
Haman sees Mordecai who will not bow (Artist unknown)
Now his day was wrecked. He couldn’t get that picture of Mordecai out of his head. How could he get back at him? He could have him killed. But that was too easy. Suddenly he had an...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 4:13-21
TO CHEW ON: "Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, 'Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges!'” Acts 4:18,19
After God healed the lame man through Peter, many people believed in Jesus. This made the religious leaders jealous."Preaching to the multitudes" - Artist unknown
First they ordered Peter and John to stop preaching. Then they grilled them with questions. Finally they told them not to speak of Jesus any more OR ELSE and let them go."The boldness of Peter and John" - Artist unknown
But Peter and John had no intention of obeying the leaders’ order. They knew in some things it’s more important to obey God than people....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Kings 17:15-20
TO CHEW ON: "But they would not listen and were as stiff-necked as their ancestors, who did not trust in the Lord their God. They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their ancestors and the statutes he had warned them to keep. They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. They imitated the nations around them although the Lord had ordered them, 'Do not do as they do.' " 2 Kings 17:14,15
Israel was in big trouble. It was about thirty years and five kings after Jeroboam II. Shalmaneser king of Assyria had discovered that Israel’s present king Hoshea had secretly made a pact with Egypt. When Hoshea stopped paying the tax that Shalmaneser demanded, he arrested King Hoshea and took him to an Assyrian prison.
Then his army went through the countryside, rounding up the people. When they came to Samaria, the gates were locked. But Shalmaneser had all the time in the world. His army camped outside the city and waited for the people inside to surrender.
The Samaritans hung on for three years. But finally, desperate for food and water, they surrendered. In no time Shalmaneser had rounded up all those people...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Samuel 8:1-21
TO CHEW ON: "But the people refused to listen to Samuel. 'No!' they said. We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations. . . .'” 1 Samuel 8:19,20
Samuel judged Israel till he was an old man. Then he appointed his sons to be judges after him. But they were not fair and wise like Samuel their father had been. So the people didn’t want them as rulers. Instead they wanted a king. They wanted to be just like the nations around them.
Samuel warned them that a king would give them a whole new set of problems. Name five of the disadvantages of having a king Samuel lists. A king will (1 Samuel 8:10-18):1. ___2. ___3. ___4. ___5. ___
In spite of this, the people insisted. They thought that if they had a king like everybody else, they would win wars and be as strong as their enemies.
Samuel felt hurt by this request. He felt as if the people had rejected him. But God told him, “It isn’t you they’ve rejected, but Me. Even so, listen to them and give them a king.”
The Israelites didn’t realize that it wasn’t the outward...
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TODAY'S SPECIAL: Read: Genesis 6:14-22
This Noah's Ark mural was once in the children's entrance of my church.
TO CHEW ON: "Noah did everything just as God commanded him." (Genesis 6:22)
Imagine this: you and your family are the only people who love God on the whole earth!
People talk about you. They say things like “Have you heard about that Noah family? They’re no fun. All they care about is pleasing God!”
Then one day God tells you to build a big boat (the Bible calls it an ark). Then people talk even more: “Get a load of this. That crazy Noah is building a boat – a BIG boat. And there’s not even any water nearby.”...
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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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