TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 22:1-21
TO CHEW ON: “Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense.” Acts 22:1
About a week after Paul got to Jerusalem he was arrested. Some Jewish leaders from the cities he had traveled to earlier saw him in the Jerusalem temple. Now they set the whole crowd against him. Soon there was another riot as bad as the one in Ephesus.
The crowd became so violent Roman soldiers had to rescue Paul or he would have been killed.
The soldiers tied him up with chains. They thought someone who got the crowd so angry must be a very bad person. Then they carried him to jail.
Just before Paul was taken into the jailhouse, he asked for permission to talk to the angry crowd....
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Tags: write storytelling Saul/Paul God’s plan Acts
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Ezra 8:21-32
TO CHEW ON: "There by Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children and all our possessions." Ezra 8:21
Ezra hugged the king’s letter to himself. He could hardly believe it – permission to go back home! He opened the letter and read it again. Yes, there it was. Not only could he gather the people for the trip back to Jerusalem, but the king was also sending gold and silver to replace the temple furniture.
About sixty years had passed since the first exiles had returned to Jerusalem. King Xerxes and Esther were now dead and a new king, Artaxerxes, ruled in Babylon. Ezra, a man who had spent his whole life studying God’s laws, was the leader of the exiles.
Quickly Ezra spread the word that they could go home to Jerusalem. People packed their belongings and gathered at Ahava Canal from where they would set out. Soon the crowd had swelled to 1700 people. Everyone was eager to get going.
But Ezra was worried. The trip would be long. With all the gold and silver they were carrying, they...
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Tags: storytelling prayer God’s care Ezra
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 27:13-26
TO CHEW ON: "Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called a 'Northeaster,' swept down from the island. The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along.” Acts 27:14,15
At last Paul was getting his wish. He was on his way to Rome to appear before Caesar. Perhaps he was hopeful Caesar would rule that all the accusations the Jewish leaders had made against him were false."Paul heads to Rome" - Johann C. Weigel, 1695
Much of the trip had to be made by ship. The first part of Paul's voyage was smooth....
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Tags: weather trust storytelling Saul/Paul Psalms problems God’s help God’s care Acts
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Genesis 41:1-16, 39,40
TO CHEW ON: “Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Since God has made this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.’” (Genesis 41:39,40)
Two years passed after the cup bearer was set free, Joseph was still in prison.
One night Pharaoh had a dream. It scared him and he wanted to know what it meant. But when he called his wise men and magicians, they couldn’t tell him the meaning of the dream.
Then someone remembered a dream he had had, and the young Hebrew prisoner who told him what it meant. It was the cup bearer. At last he remembered Joseph!
Servants came for Joseph. They took off his prison uniform, put new clothes on him and brought him to Pharaoh.
Pharaoh told Joseph his dream – and Joseph told him the meaning! Then Pharaoh did something amazing. He made Joseph the second boss in the whole land.
I’m sure Joseph often wondered, will the cup bearer ever think of me? Will I ever get out...
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Tags: storytelling Joseph God’s timing God’s omniscience Genesis Egypt dreams
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Philemon 1-25
TO CHEW ON: "I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me." Philemon 10,11
Onesimus was a slave who lived in Colosse. His master’s name was Philemon. One day Onesimus stole some money from Philemon and ran away to Rome.
After some time, perhaps after all the money was spent, Onesimus found Paul. He may have met Paul before because Philemon was a Christian and a church met in his home. Paul had probably visited there.
Soon Onesimus became a Christian too. Then he faced a big problem. What should he do about his master Philemon and the money he had stolen? If he went back, Philemon might punish him or even kill him. He would certainly be a slave again. But if he didn’t, his conscience would bother him and give him no peace.
What would you have done? Do you think it’s important to confess and make right the wrong things we’ve done to people? Why or why not?
Paul wrote Onesimus’s master a letter. In it he asked Philemon to forgive Onesimus and...
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Tags: storytelling Saul/Paul repent Philemon forgiveness confession
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Genesis 45:1-15
TO CHEW ON: “And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.” Genesis 45:5
After hearing Judah’s offer to take Benjamin’s place, Joseph knew his brothers were changed. Suddenly all the feelings he had been holding inside – the sadness at being hated and sold by his brothers, the fear, the homesickness, the years of being away from his family, the mixed-up feelings he got when he saw his brothers again – needed to come out.
Joseph dismissed his servants, and began to cry. “I am Joseph,” he told his brothers between sobs. “Is my father still living?”Joseph greeting his brothers - Artist unknown
His brothers were scared of him. Now Joseph was the powerful one. He could do anything he wanted with them. Would he want revenge?
But he told them, “Don’t worry. God was in everything that happened. You meant to do a bad thing to me, but God made something good out of it. Because I am here in Egypt, our whole family can be saved from the famine.”
We too may have experienced things we don’t understand....
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Tags: storytelling problems Joseph God’s timing Genesis Egypt
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Luke 2: 21-38
TO CHEW ON: "It had been revealed to him (Simeon) by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Messiah ....She (Anna) never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying." Luke 2: 26 & 37
When Jesus was still a tiny baby (40 days, about six weeks old) Joseph and Mary brought him to the temple in Jerusalem and gave him to the Lord. They also had to bring a sacrifice - doves or pigeons. They were obeying a command God gave Moses hundreds of years earlier.
There were probably many people in the temple the day Joseph and Mary took Jesus there. Perhaps some stopped Mary to take a look at her new baby and say how cute He was. The temple workers (Levites) probably saw Jesus when they helped Joseph and Mary with their sacrifice. But only two people recognized that Jesus was not just an ordinary baby....
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Tags: worship temple storytelling sacrifice prophecy Luke Jesus discussion
TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Samuel 3:1-21
TO CHEW ON: "The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, 'Samuel! Samuel!'Then Samuel said, 'Speak for your servant is listening.'” 1 Samuel 3:10
One night after everyone had gone to bed, Samuel heard Eli call him. Because Eli was very old and blind, Samuel helped him with many things and was used to coming when Eli called. Now Samuel jumped out of bed and ran to Eli. “Here I am,” he said. “You called me.”
“No I didn’t,” answered Eli. “Go back to bed.”"Eli and Samuel" Original oil painting © 2001 by Darlene Slavujac Thau
A few minutes later, Samuel thought he heard Eli call his name again, and again he jumped out of bed to see what Eli wanted. Again Eli sent him back to bed.
When this happened a third time, Eli thought of something. Maybe this was God wanting to speak to Samuel. So he said, “Go and lie down. If He calls you a third time say, ‘Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.’”
So Samuel went back bed. Sure enough, in a few minutes the voice came again, “Samuel! Samuel!”...
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Tags: tabernacle storytelling Samuel rebellion obedience judgment God’s presence God’s plan 1 Samuel
TODAY’S SPECIAL: John 13:18-30
TO CHEW ON: “'Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.'” - Jesus, John 13:21
Your brother promises to wait for you after school, but then walks home without you.
You tell your best friend a secret and ask her not to tell anyone. But the next day you find that five people in your class know your secret.
Your baseball team has its own signals. One day you play a team that knows exactly what each of your signals means.
You have been betrayed! Whether betrayal comes from someone disappointing you, telling your secrets or helping your enemy, being betrayed is not fun.
"My Betrayer Is Here" - Artist unknown
Jesus was betrayed too. His betrayer came to the garden where He was praying. He came with soldiers who were planning to arrest Jesus.
1. Who was the traitor? (John 18:1-6)a)____ Johnb)____ Peterc)____ Judas.
2. How did he betray Jesus: (Mark 14:43-46)a)____ He spread bad stories about Jesus all around town.b)____ He lost the money bag he was in charge of.c)____ He kissed Jesus to show the soldiers which person to arrest...
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Tags: trickery storytelling Mark John Jesus God’s plan friendship Christ’s passion
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Luke 22: 14-20
TO CHEW ON: “...do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19
Do you have a collection of special keepsakes? Suppose in your collection you have a teacup from your grandma, a baseball hat from when you were little, and a trophy.
Those keepsakes wouldn’t be special to someone else, but they are to you. Why? Because each one is a picture or symbol of someone or something important to you. The teacup might remind you of grandma and the interesting stories she told. The baseball hat could remind you of the friend you played with when you wore it. The trophy reminds you of your team and how hard you worked to win the tournament.
Jesus, during his last meal with His disciples, gave them just such a way to remember Him. He took a piece of bread, said grace over it, tore it apart, and handed the broken pieces to them. He told them to eat it and when they did, to remember Him and how His body would be nailed and pierced (broken) for them."The Last Supper" by Leonardo da Vinci - 1498
Then he took a cup of wine. Again he asked a blessing on it, handed...
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Tags: storytelling Luke Jesus Holy Spirit God’s plan Christ’s passion
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Genesis 28:10-20
TO CHEW ON: “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Genesis 28:15
Have you ever run for your life? That’s what Jacob was doing. After he tricked his father into giving him Esau’s blessing, Esau wanted to kill him. Rebekah told Jacob to go to Haran, where she grew up. Jacob set out alone
How do you suppose he felt as he walked away from his family and the only home he had ever known?- Nervous about being attacked by robbers and wild animals?- Worried about losing his way?- Lonely and wishing he had someone to talk to?
When it got dark, he stopped walking. He pitched his tent, unrolled his sleeping bag, blew up his air mattress – NOT! He had no tent, sleeping bag, or air mattress. Instead he lay on the ground, under the stars with a stone for his pillow.
After he fell asleep, he dreamed. What things were in his dream (Genesis 28:12-13)...
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Tags: storytelling science promises Jacob God’s presence Genesis dreams angels
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Numbers 13:26-33
TO CHEW ON: "Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, 'We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.' But the men who had gone up with him said, 'We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.'” Numbers 13:30,31
The Israelites had been traveling through the desert for a long time. Now they were near the land God had promised them. To prepare for going in and settling there, Moses sent twelve spies to explore their new home. For forty days these men went from place to place in Canaan, secretly checking out the country.
When they got back, they told of the amazing orchards and farms. They brought back grapes, dates and pomegranates to prove how rich the land was. But they also told of huge walled cities and people who looked as big and strong as giants.
Ten of the spies didn’t think they would ever be able to live there. “The cities are too protected,” they said, “and the people are too tall.”
But two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, didn’t agree. “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we certainly...
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Tags: trust storytelling promises Numbers Moses God’s plan God’s help fear faith
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Read Genesis 12:1-7Abraham journeying into the Land of Canaan by Gustave Dore
TO CHEW ON: "The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you....” So Abram went as the Lord told him." Genesis 12:1,4
People move from one home to another for many reasons. Sometimes they move to find work. Sometimes they move to be close to family. Sometimes they move to experience life in a different city. And sometimes they move just because God tells them to.
One day God talked to a man named Abram. (He was a man who was alive at about the same time as Job.) God told Abram to move – and he did, just because God said so.
He had to have a big faith in God to leave the country he lived in, the city he knew, and even his family. He was 75 when God asked him to do this. That's older than your grandparents! To make it even harder, God didn’t give him a map or a moving truck. He just told Abram and his wife Sarai to pack their stuff and go wherever He would show them.
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Tags: storytelling prophecy promises obedience Genesis courage Abraham
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Read Genesis 7:24-8:12
Noah welcoming the bird back to the ark - Artist unknown
TO CHEW ON: "But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded." (Genesis 8:1)
Have you ever been stuck in the house for a week because of a snow-storm? You were probably kept at home for weeks to months during the Covid-19 pandemic. Or perhaps you’ve been forced to leave home and stay in a school gym or church basement for a long time because your house was in the way of a forest fire, flood, or tornado. Whatever the reason, it’s hard to stay cooped up in a small space for a long time, isn’t it?...
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