Jail Joy

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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Tags: Saul/Paul persecution joy good news God’s help Acts

Hang in there!

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Philippians 3:10-14 TO CHEW ON: But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13b, 14 Each member of your baseball team has to sell 20 boxes of chocolates as a fund-raiser. But after tramping the neighborhood for an hour and hearing “No thanks” at every door, do you feel like giving up? When you keep going in spite of everything it’s called “perseverance.” We can learn a lot about perseverance from some Bible characters. Which person: 1. Begged Pharaoh many times to let his people leave Egypt? (a. Jacob, b. Joseph, c. Moses). 2. Prayed for years before God gave her a son? (a. Mary, b. Hannah, c. Eve) 3. Prayed, and then sent his servant to check six times before he saw a rain cloud? (a. Elijah, b. Nathan, c. Samuel)....

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Tags: Saul/Paul prayer Philippians perseverance

God’s Workman

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Timothy 2:1-7, 15 TO CHEW ON: "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15 Would it be possible to be a bank teller without knowing how to do math and use a computer? Could you be a gardener without knowing about plants. What about being a doctor without knowing about the human body, diseases, and medicines?To do a job well, you have to learn about your job or business. Once someone is trained to do a job, they have to be willing to do the hard things in their job.If a person is an athlete, she has to keep her body fit and play by the rules of the sport.If a person is a nurse, he has to be prepared to work with sick people, give needles, and sometimes work the night shift.Someone who is a teacher has to be willing to prepare lessons and mark homework....

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Tags: work serving Saul/Paul prayer God’s plan 1 Timothy

Fruit Salad

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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Tags: Saul/Paul obedience love joy Holy Spirit Galatians

From Problem to Praise

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 13:6-12 TO CHEW ON: "But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith." Acts 13:8 What happens on mission trips but problems? Barnabas and Saul (from now on called Paul - Acts 13:8), were invited by one of Cyprus’s government officials, Sergius Paulus, to talk about God. But one of the servants, Elymas who was a sorcerer told his boss not to listen to them and not to believe in God. Then the Holy Spirit showed Paul whose side Elymas was on. So Paul went to him and said, “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right.” To prove God’s power was behind his words, Paul told Elymas he would go blind - and he did.The Conversion of the Proconsul - By Raphael, 1515-1516 When Sergius Paulus saw God’s power, he believed in God. Isn’t it just like God to turn a problem into praise! We should not be surprised if we get resistance when we’re telling people about Jesus. Satan, Jesus’ enemy and ours, doesn’t want people to know about Him or trust Him. But we don’t need to fear Satan or...

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Tags: trust Saul/Paul problems occult God’s help Acts


TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 16:16-22 TO CHEW ON: "She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her." (Acts 16:18) Paul went on two more mission trips. On one of them he took Silas as his helper. They visited the city of Philippi and met with the Christians there. Every day as they walked to their prayer meeting, a slave girl followed them. She made money for her owners by telling fortunes. Every day as she walked behind Paul and Silas she shouted, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” What she said was true. But Paul knew the spirit who inspired her to say it was not the Holy Spirit but an evil spirit. One day he had had enough. He turned around and commanded the evil spirit to come out of her. (A word that describes casting an evil spirit out of someone is exorcism.) The spirit did come out of her. But when the spirit was gone the slave...

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Tags: Saul/Paul problems occult courage Acts

Ephesus Riot

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 19:23-41 TO CHEW ON: "About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way." Acts 19:23"Paul preaching before the Temple of Diana at Ephesus" - by Adolf Pirsch, 1885 It didn’t take long for the people in Ephesus to notice the enthusiastic Christians. Demetrius, a man who made and sold silver idols of the goddess Artemis, saw that if people kept believing in Jesus there would soon be no one left to buy his idols. He called a meeting of other silversmiths and crafts people and complained about Paul and this new religion....

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Tags: Saul/Paul research persecution courage Acts

Dressed for War

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Ephesians 6:10-18 TO CHEW ON: "Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes." Ephesians 6:11 Why would anyone choose to wear a hot bullet-proof vest, a stiff camouflage uniform, a heavy helmet, weighty steel-toed boots, an uncomfortable gas mask and on top of all that carry a cumbersome weapon and ammunition? Only someone who needed a lot of protection - like a soldier in war. Everything a soldier wears helps protect him from the enemy. His camouflage uniform makes it easy for him to hide. His helmet, vest and boots protect his head, chest and feet. His gas mask filters out poison or germs from the air. His weapon helps him defend himself or even take more land for his country. Christians have to be just as prepared to fight against the devil. But what exactly are we fighting against? (Ephesians 6:12) We are not fighting against a]_____ but against the b]_____, against the c]_____ against the d]_____ and against the e]_____....

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Tags: truth Saul/Paul salvation God’s word God’s help faith Ephesians

Decision Day

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 24:22-27 TO CHEW ON: "As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, 'That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.'” Acts 24:25 The soldiers took Paul to the city of Caesarea to appear before the Roman Governor Felix. Paul was glad to get an opportunity to tell Felix about Jesus, or “the Way” to God. Governor Felix had heard about the Way. And he enjoyed listening to Paul talk more about it. "Paul's defense before Felix" - Artist unknown One day Paul was talking to Felix and Drusilla (Felix’s wife) about Jesus. As he described the kind of life that pleases God and God’s judgment, Felix became afraid. Why do you think he felt that way? (Cross out the one statement that is most likely NOT true). 1. He knew that he needed to decide whether to believe in Jesus for himself.2. He knew that he had done bad things and was afraid of God’s judgment.3. He was scared that Paul would beat him up.4. He was afraid of dying....

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Tags: Saul/Paul good news God’s timing consequences Acts


TODAY’S SPECIAL:I Corinthians 15:12 -22 TO CHEW ON: "For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive." I Corinthians 12:22 Has death touched you? Perhaps you’ve had a pet that died. Maybe someone close to you has died. It could be you yourself have been near death. Death was never God’s idea. His interest is in life. That’s why God sent Jesus. Though the penalty for our sin is death, Jesus paid that penalty."Christ on the Cross" by Eugene Delacroix, 1798-1863 When Jesus came back to life (we celebrate His resurrection at Easter), it proved God accepted this payment. Once Jesus paid the fine for sin, its penalty is canceled out....

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Tags: Saul/Paul resurrection death 1 Corinthians


TODAY’S SPECIAL: I Corinthians 15: 35-44 TO CHEW ON: "The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body." I Corinthians 15:42b-44 Marigold seeds Have you ever planted a garden? If you have, you know the seeds you plant don’t look anything like the plants that grow from them. This, Paul says, is a picture of how different our new heavenly body will be from our earthly body. Just as Jesus was raised from the dead, so we will also live again. But when we rise, we will have new bodies. What will our new bodies be like? Will people recognize us? Will we have powers we don’t have now?...

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Tags: Saul/Paul God’s plan game 1 Corinthians


TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 19:11-20 TO CHEW ON: "Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds. A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly." Acts 19: 18-19a Paul went back to Ephesus. His powerful sermons and miracles had made him famous. God worked so mightily through him that people took clothes that Paul had touched, laid them on sick people, and they were healed. "Healings" by Christoph Weigel - 1695 When some Jews in the city tried to heal and do exorcisms (make evil spirits leave people) in Jesus’ name, like Paul did, the evil spirits knew they were fakers. The demon-possessed people beat up the imitation healers....

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Tags: sin Saul/Paul repent occult confession Acts

BIG Love

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Ephesians 3:14-21 TO CHEW ON: "And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ." Ephesians 3:17b,18The highest mountain on earth is 29,0781 feet above sea level. What is its name? a) Mt. McKinleyb) Mt. Everestc) Mt. K2The deepest ocean trench is over 36,0002 feet under the sea. What is its name? a) Mariana Trenchb) Japan Trenchc) Aleutian Trench...

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Tags: Saul/Paul research love God’s care Ephesians

Be Blessed

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 3 John 1-14 TO CHEW ON: "Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well." 3 John 2 When you hear the word “blessing” what do you think of? Saying a prayer over food before you eat? The pastor praying a benediction at the end of a church service? You’re right - a blessing is these things, and more too. Any time we ask for God’s favor or declare it over someone, we speak a blessing. Look up the verses, below, to see what the Bible says about blessing and being blessed, then fill in the missing words: 1. Paul usually began his letters by speaking a blessing of God’s _______ and _______ to his readers (Ephesians 1:2). 2. In today’s verse, John speaks a blessing of ________ for his friend’s body and soul. (3 John 2). 3. Jesus took ________ in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them (Mark 10:16). "Suffer the Little Children to Come Unto Me" by James Tissot, 1836-1902 4. Jesus blessed or ________ ________ for food before eating (Matthew 14:19). 5. We will inherit a blessing by not repaying ______ with _____...

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Tags: speech Saul/Paul prayer Jesus Isaac blessing 3 John

Are You Ready?

TODAY’S SPECIAL: I Thessalonians 4:13-18 TO CHEW ON: For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. I Thessalonians 4:16,17 Your grandma, who lives far away, is coming for a visit! You clean the house and make the guest bed. Your mom stocks the fridge with Grandma’s favorite foods. On the day she’s due to arrive, you drive to the airport and wait impatiently in the arrivals lounge. You can’t keep your eyes off the doorway through which she’ll soon appear Someone else just as special as grandma will arrive one of these days. Jesus promised over 2000 years ago He would someday return to earth. We don’t know when He will come back and we won’t go to meet Him at an airport, bus depot or train station. But He promised someday He will appear in the sky. It could be any...

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Tags: Saul/Paul promises Jesus’ return heaven God’s timing faith 1 Thessalonians

And Your God is…?

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 17:22-28 TO CHEW ON: For as I walked around and observed your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: “To An Unknown God” Now what you worship as something unknown, I am going to proclaim to you. Acts 17:23 As Paul waited in Athens for Timothy and Silas to join him, he walked around the city. On his walks he saw altars and statues (idols) to which the people prayed. He also saw an altar with a title that grabbed his attention: “To An Unknown God.” "Paul Speaks at Athens" - Artist unknown The next day he went to the public square where the people gathered to hear and discuss new ideas. He said to the people, “I see you have made an altar to ‘An Unknown God.’ Today I’m going to tell you about him.” Then he told them about Jesus...

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Tags: worship Saul/Paul prayer idols Acts

Always Available

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 28:1-10 TO CHEW ON: "His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him. When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured." (Acts 28:8,9) Paul had just come through a two-week storm and a hair-raising shipwreck. The sailors and passengers had landed on the Island of Malta. You’d think he would be asking for a holiday. But not Paul! "Paul sails for Rome" - Artist unknown (after Gustave Dore) First he helped collect firewood. When a viper (a poisonous reptile) fastened itself to his hand, the superstitious islanders thought this was a sign Paul was a murderer. They watched closely to see him fall over dead. When Paul didn’t die they thought he was a god....

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Tags: work Saul/Paul research obedience miracles God’s care Acts

A Way Out

TODAY’S SPECIAL: I Corinthians 10:6-13 TO CHEW ON: "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." I Corinthians 10:13 Temptations come in a variety of ways and at different times. If you’re writing a test at school, are you tempted to sneak a peak at someone else’s answers. If you’re in the store, are you tempted to slip something from the shelf into your pocket? If you’re hanging out with friends, are you tempted to go along with the crowd, even if what they’re doing is wrong? What tempts you?  ______________ Paul wrote two letters to the church in Corinth. In the first one (1 Corinthians), he talked about temptation. He explained how, when we’re tempted, sometimes it seems impossible to resist. But God has promised to give us something – what is it? (I Corinthians 10:13)__________________________ Dealing with temptation involves at least two things:1. Realizing that what you face is a temptation.2. Remembering that you don’t have to give in to temptation. With God’s help you...

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Tags: temptation Saul/Paul God’s help 1 Corinthians

A Clay Jar

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Corinthians 4:6-12 TO CHEW ON: "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us." 2 Corinthians 4:7Perfume in a plastic spray bottle or crystal glass? Which would you choose?- a book with a torn paper cover or one with a mint-condition hard cover?- chocolates in a plastic bag or packed in a fancy box?- perfume in a plastic spray bottle or a crystal glass bottle?- a gift wrapped in newspaper or one wrapped in tissue and a bag? No one would be surprised if you chose the second thing in every case. Even in small things, we tend to look at containers and choose the prettiest and richest-looking. In Paul’s time, clay jars were the plain everyday jars people used in their kitchens. There was nothing special to make people choose them. But they were important in the kitchen because of the water, juice or milk inside them....

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Tags: serving Saul/Paul God’s presence craft 2 Corinthians

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