TODAY’S SPECIAL: Nehemiah 4:1-15
TO CHEW ON: "After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, 'Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.' ” Nehemiah 4:14
The people eagerly set to work rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem. Each family was responsible to fix the section closest to their home. Everyone helped.Illustration by Annie Vallotton from the Good News Bible © American Bible Society 1976, 1992
But as the piles of rubbish became a strong, thick wall again, there were rumors of trouble. Rulers from the neighboring Samaria and Ammon didn’t want Jerusalem to be strong. They were angry about Nehemiah’s project and made fun of it....
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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: Acts 7:51-60
TO CHEW ON: "Then he fell on his knees and cried out, 'Lord, do not hold this sin against them.' When he had said this, he fell asleep." Acts 7:60
Stephen was known for his wisdom. He was full of the Holy Spirit. He did many signs and miracles. But even such a special man had enemies.
Some important people argued with him about Jesus, and lost the argument. They decided to silence him. So they got people to tell lies about him. Then they arrested him and put him on trial. Stephen used his trial to talk about Jesus even more."Stephen before he is martyred" - Artist unknown
When he told the High Priest (his judge) and the crowd, they were enemies of God because they had killed Jesus, it was too much for them. In anger they dragged him outside the city and threw stones at him....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Genesis 42:1-17
TO CHEW ON: “Joseph said to them, ‘It is just as I told you: You are spies! And this is how you will be tested: As surely as Pharaoh lives, you will not leave this place unless your youngest brother comes here.’” (Genesis 42: 14,15)Joseph was made a ruler in Egypt
The dream Joseph explained to Pharaoh came true. After seven years of good crops the rains stopped and crops were poor. Everyone was hungry. When the people came to Pharaoh for food, he sent them to Joseph.
Joseph had collected food in storehouses during the good years. Now he sold the storehouse food to the hungry people. Soon people from countries all around were coming to Joseph for food too.
One day ten foreign travelers came to Joseph. They looked familiar. Suddenly he knew why. They were his brothers! What thoughts do you think went through Joseph’s mind as he saw his brothers again after all those years?
Joseph’s brothers didn’t recognize him. And he didn’t tell them who he was. “Where are you from?” he asked them roughly. When they told him, he said, “You’re lying. You’re spies.”
“No!” they said. “We’re all sons of one father. Only our youngest...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 8:1-8
TO CHEW ON: "Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went." Acts 8:4.
Have you ever had to move because it wasn’t safe for you to live in your old home any more? That’s what happened to the followers of Jesus after Stephen’s death. Everyone, from people in government to neighbors, was out to get them. They were threatened, arrested, and many more were killed.
So they moved to other places in Judea and Samaria. Now there were no more big gatherings in the Jerusalem temple court. The large praise meetings stopped. There was hardly anyone left to go to the prayer gatherings and potluck dinners. Because of persecution the Christians left Jerusalem and were scattered all around."Conversions of the Samaritans" - Matthias Scheits, 1972
But they didn’t stop talking about Jesus. Everywhere they went, they spread the good news. Jesus had died for sins. People could be friends with God again. Everyone could live in Holy Spirit power. People could look forward to heaven when they died....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: I Peter 1:3-9
TO CHEW ON: "These (trials) have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.." I Peter 1:7
The year was 64 A.D. One night the sky above Rome glowed bright long after the sun had set. Soon the air was thick with smoke. The streets filled with panicky people crying, “Help! Fire! The city is burning!”The burning of Rome - Artist unknown
But at the emperor’s palace Nero laughed at the dancing flames. Then legend tells us that he took his fiddle and began to play.
“Who set the fire?” the people asked later. Many thought Nero, who liked to build things, set it himself so he could build Rome over again. Nero blamed the Christians....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Jude 17 - 25
TO CHEW ON: "In the last time there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires...But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit." Jude 18b, 20
Have you ever met a scoffer? That’s someone who mocks or jeers you for who you are, what you are doing, or what you believe in. How many of these Bible scoffers can you name? (Need help? See the names of Bible scoffers and references below.)
1. “Am I a dog that you come at me with sticks...Come here and I’ll give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field.” ____________
2. “He saved others but he cannot safe himself. He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross and we’ll believe in him.” _______________
3. “What they are building – if even a fox climbed upon it, he would break down their wall of stones.” _________________
4. “What is this babbler trying to say?” ________________...
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The Geography of the Bible
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The Journey of Abraham
Moses and the Exodus
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The Kingdom of David
The Kingdom of Solomon
Israel in Jesus' Time
Paul's First Journey
The Land of Israel
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The Land of Babylon
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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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