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: Ezekiel 1:22-28
TO CHEW ON: " I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord." Ezekiel 1:27,28
Have you ever seen something so amazing you had trouble describing it? That was probably what Ezekiel felt like when he saw a vision of God.
Like Daniel, Ezekiel was an exile in Babylon. One day, when he was beside the Kebar River in Babylon, he saw a strange sight in the sky. At first he thought the cloud with flashes of lightning coming from it meant a storm was on the way. But as it got closer, he saw creatures. They looked like people but had many faces and wings. Then he saw sparkling wheels that moved.
Finally he heard a voice. Looking up he saw a throne. On it was a man. But what a man! He was glowing and fiery. Around him was brilliant...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Exodus 19:16-25
TO CHEW ON: "On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain." Exodus 19:16,17
Who is the person you would most like to meet in the world?Suppose you knew you were going to meet this person. What are some things you would do to get ready?
The day Moses and the people got to Mount Sinai in the Sinai Desert, God called Moses to meet with Him on the mountain. There He told Moses He Himself would come down and meet the people in three days. But first they had to get ready. They must wash their clothes and put a fence around the bottom of the mountain.
If you met the person you most wanted to meet, what are some of the things you might see?
limousine, flowers, police guards, red carpet, cheering fans, bands, paradesI wonder what the Israelites expected to see when they knew they would meet God. Perhaps they thought He might look like...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: I Timothy 6:6-10
TO CHEW ON: "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil." I Timothy 6:10a
How do you feel about money? Do you have any? How much? Do you earn money regularly? When you get it, what do you do with it? Spend it all? Save it all? Spend and save both?
It’s hard to imagine a world with no money in it. Getting money for a job we’ve done shows us our work is worthwhile. We use money to buy many things we need like food, clothes, a house, and a car. Money is not a bad thing.
But when we love money, when we feel we always need more and think being rich is the most important thing in the world, we are on a dangerous path. Very quickly money can become more important than God. It can become something we worship like a god.
PRAYER: Dear God, help me never to love money more than You. Help me to spend my money wisely and be content with what I have. Amen....
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TODAY'S SPECIAL: Exodus 2:23-3:12
TO CHEW ON: "And God said, 'I will be with you.'" Exodus 3:12a
Moses got away from Pharaoh that day. He ran to the desert. There he lived with a nomad family. He lived with them for forty years. He tended sheep for the man, married one of the family’s daughters and had two sons.
I wonder what he thought about during those lonely hours when he was tending sheep. Perhaps he wished that he had the day he killed the Egyptian to live over again. Maybe he felt bad because now he was sure he would never help his people like he wanted to. He may have thought his life had been wasted.
Then one day while tending the sheep:
- What strange thing did he see? 1] (Exodus 3:2) _________________- When he went to check it out, what did he hear? 2] (Exodus 3:4) ____________- What did God tell him to do? 3] (Exodus 3:5) ______________- Then what assignment did God give him? 4] (Exodus 3:10) ________- When Moses said he couldn’t do this job, God gave him a promise. Put the words of God’s promise (below) in the right order: 5] ____ ____ ____ ____ ___...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Kings 11:1-11
TO CHEW ON: "Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command. So the Lord said to Solomon, 'Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates.'” 1 Kings 11:10,11
Solomon was known as the wisest man who ever lived. God came into the temple Solomon built. He talked to Solomon. He promised to make him wise and to keep his family the ruling family. But in order for that to happen, Solomon was to worship only God.
As Solomon’s power and fame grew, he began doing what many kings did and marrying many wives. He married over seven hundred princesses from other countries to help him get along with the nations around him. He married three hundred more women because they were beautiful and he liked them....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Chronicles 20:20-29
TO CHEW ON:"As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated." 2 Chronicles 20:22
It was the morning of battle day. The day before, the prophet had told Jehoshaphat that God would fight this battle for him and his soldiers. But the army still had to go to the battlefield. “Have faith in God,” Jehoshaphat encouraged the men, “and you will be successful.
Then Jehoshaphat arranged his army in a strange way. Who did he put at the front? (2 Chronicles 20:21)1. Chariots and horsemen.2. A choir of singers and praisers.3. The most skilled fighters with bows and arrows.
As the army marched to the battlefield the singers, who led the troops, began to sing and praise God. When they did this an amazing thing happened. Trouble broke out in the enemy camp. The Ammonites and Moabites began to fight against the soldiers from Mount Seir. After that they fought and killed each other.
When Jehoshaphat’s army came to the hill overlooking the battlefield, there was no one left to fight. They trusted God and praised Him for helping them...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Chronicles 28:4-12
TO CHEW ON: “And you my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.” 1 Chronicles 28:9
David was an old man. He had been king for forty years, but he knew he would soon die. One day he crowned his young son Solomon to rule after him. Then he called the people together to introduce them to their new king.
In front of everyone he challenged Solomon to be a good king and serve God for his whole life. His speech told Solomon how to do that. It went something like this:
“Solomon, be sure you search out all of God’s commands and obey them. Get to know God. Worship Him with a clean heart. Serve Him with a willing mind. Don’t think you can fool Him with pretending. Not only can He see what you do, He also knows your thoughts. Search for Him and He will show Himself to you.
“But if you...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Chronicles 33:7-13
TO CHEW ON: "And when he prayed to him, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God." 2 Chronicles 33:13
“The Assyrians are coming!” A messenger blurted the news to King Manasseh.
Manasseh called his priests and told them to pray to the gods, check the omens, and make sacrifices. But not to the God of heaven. For Manasseh, Hezekiah’s son and Judah’s king, was not like his dad. Instead of worshiping God, he rebuilt hilltop shrines where people went to pray to statues of Chemosh and Baal.Illustration by Annie Vallotton from the Good News Bible © American Bible Society 1976, 1992
He sacrificed his own sons to idols, was deeply into witchcraft and even built idol altars in the temple. God had tried to talk to Manasseh and the people, but they refused to listen.
The sacrifices Manasseh made that day did no good. He was captured by the Assyrian generals, chained and taken to prison in Babylon. There, in a dungeon and all alone, he had time to think. He remembered the things his father...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL:2 Chronicles 26:16-22
TO CHEW ON: "But after Uzziah became powerful his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense." 2 Chronicles 26:16
Back in Judah, years had gone by since King Joash’s reign had ended. Now sixteen-year-old Uzziah, Joash’s grandson, was king. Like his grandfather Joash, Uzziah was trained by a priest. Just like Joash he started out well. He strengthened the army, defeated his Philistine enemies, built cities, and gave lots of people good jobs on his farms and in his fields. Soon he was famous in the nations all around. Best of all, during this whole time he was careful to do what pleased God.
That is, until one day when his success went to his head. That day he decided there was nothing he couldn’t do. So he went into the temple, lit the incense in the portable burner called a censer, and was about to make a sacrifice on the altar when Azariah and a crowd of priests stopped him.
“What are you doing?” Azariah asked. “This isn’t right. Only priests are allowed to go into the temple...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Psalm 150:1-6
TO CHEW ON: "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord." Psalm 150:6
To help the people celebrate, David and other song writers wrote praise psalms. One of them is Psalm 150. We learn many things about praising God from this psalm.
We learn that praise can sound from many places. It can come from a sanctuary or a church. It can also come from nature, like the “mighty heavens,” those beautiful stars, planets, the sun and the moon that God made. Can you think of more places?The planets Saturn and Jupiter
We learn that we praise God for many reasons. We may praise God for His “acts of power.” These could be miracles that God has done.
People in Bible times would think of things like how God sent plagues on the Egyptians so the Israelites could go free, or dried up the Jordan River so they could cross.
We can praise God for these things too. But we can also praise God for the mighty acts that God has done for people in our time. Perhaps you’ve heard stories of how God has healed people, or helped them escape from dangerous situations, or sent someone to rescue...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 2:1-13
TO CHEW ON: "Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, 'What does this mean?'” Acts 2:12
Picture this. A group of people have met in a house for a church service. Suddenly the house is filled with the sound of a loud wind."Pentecost" by Kelly Nora
Tongues that look like fire rest on each person’s head. Then these people begin to talk, but in languages they’ve never learned.
Out on the street people passing by hear sounds from inside the building. They gather to listen. These listeners have come from many places and speak different languages. Now they are hearing the people inside the house saying words they can understand. They’re talking about how wonderful God is....
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Exodus 25:23-40
TO CHEW ON: "A talent of pure gold is to be used for the lampstand and all these accessories." Exodus 25:39
Next God gave Moses instructions to make more things for the tent church. He was to make a table and carrying poles out of the same special wood as the ark (acacia wood). He was to cover these things with pure gold.
Then he was to make plates, dishes, pitchers and bowls as well as a decorated lamp stand and all the tools for tending the lamps. These things were also to be made of pure gold. God told Moses to use a whole talent (75 pounds or 34 kilograms) of gold for these things.Models of the ark accessories - Graphics from CC-Art.com
Why do you suppose God chose gold?
Some reasons might be:1. Gold was the easiest metal to shape into designs.2. Gold was long-lasting. It was unaffected by air, heat, moisture, and was hard to dissolve.3. Gold was beautiful, with its bright yellow color and shine.4. Gold decorations and jewelry showed royal power and honor.5. God was rare, much wanted, and expensive.
In other words, gold was the best!...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Ezekiel 14:1-6
TO CHEW ON: “Son of man, these men have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces. Should I let them inquire of me at all? Ezekiel 14:3
The Israelites in exile soon discovered that Ezekiel heard from God. They came to him often to find out if God had something to say to them. One day when some of Israel’s leaders had come to Ezekiel in this way, God gave him private information about them.
“These men have idols in their hearts,” God told Ezekiel. “Tell them, ‘Don’t think I am going to give you messages from Me knowing all the while you are worshiping something else. You need to get rid of these idols before I will tell you anything.’”
In the past the people of Israel had worshiped actual idol statues. Here God showed that idols don’t have to be physical things at all. They could be anything people admired, or trusted in, or relied on more than God. Even though these people may not have been going to actual shrines and praying to figurines, the idols were there just the same in the attitude of their hearts....
Read More about Heart Idols »
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Exodus 32:1-6
TO CHEW ON: "He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.' ” Exodus 32:4
Moses was on Mount Sinai for a long time. When he didn’t come back, and didn’t come back, the Israelites camping at the bottom of the mountain wondered what was taking so long. Maybe God had destroyed Moses in the fire that rested on the top of the mountain. Maybe a wild animal had killed him. Who could help them if Moses never came back? They remembered Egypt. There the people had prayed to statues or idols.
The people went to Aaron. “Make us a god idol!” they demanded.
“Give me your jewelry,” he said. Then Aaron melted the gold he collected and cast it into the shape of a calf.
“This is our god,” the people shouted to each other. “This is the god who brought us out of Egypt.” They offered sacrifices to the idol and then they began to party.Israel celebrating around the calf idol - Artist unknown
Which statement, below, tells why this...
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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....
Read More about God’s Mobile Home »
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Leviticus 9:1-5, 22-24
TO CHEW ON: "Moses and Aaron then went into the tent of meeting. When they came out, they blessed the people; and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people." Leviticus 9:23
On the first day that the priests sacrificed animals to take the place of sinful people who deserved to die, Moses explained what God had said to him on the mountain. His brother Aaron was to be the person in charge of making these sacrifices. Helpers for Aaron were to be from his family or tribe - the tribe of Levi. They were called ‘Levites.’ They had to wear the special priest costumes we talked about on this day.
On the first sacrifice day, Aaron brought animals to pay for his sin. Moses told him how to make each type of sacrifice – the sin offering, the burnt offering, the peace or fellowship offering and the grain offering. Different animals were needed for each one. These animals had to be perfect male animals (goats, lambs, calves or oxen) from the peoples’ own flocks.Choosing animals for sacrifice (Graphic courtesy CC-Art.com)
As Aaron and his sons brought and slaughtered the animals, the crowd watched. The sight of...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Leviticus 23:1-8
TO CHEW ON: "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘These are my appointed festivals, the appointed festivals of the Lord, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies.' ” Leviticus 23:2
What do you do on special days? Match the holiday with an activity that may happen then:
God also gave the Israelites special days to celebrate. They were called feasts. In some ways they were a lot like our holidays. The Israelites were to take the day off work and they often ate special food.
But these feasts were also different. Most of our celebrations are only a day or a weekend long. Some of the Israelites' feasts lasted a whole week or longer. And while our celebrations are often all about us – what gifts we’ll get, what we’ll eat, how much fun we’ll have – the Israelites’ holidays helped them focus on God....
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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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TODAY’S SPECIAL: Nehemiah 8:1-18
TO CHEW ON: "Ezra opened the book. All the people could see him because he was standing above them; and as he opened it the people stood up. Ezra praised the Lord, the great God; and all the people lifted up their hands and responded, 'Amen! Amen!' Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground." Nehemiah 8:5,6
The wall was finished. It was time to celebrate! But instead of a lively party, the people gathered in the square at the Water Gate and asked Ezra to read the law.
They had just been part of an amazing project. They had seen how God had helped and protected them. Now they wanted to know how to keep pleasing Him.
Ezra stood on a high platform with the people all around. As soon as he opened the book, everyone stood up. After he praised God, the people raised their hands and said, “Amen! Amen!” and bowed to the ground in worship.
Then Ezra began reading. Nehemiah and the priests and Levites joined him on stage. From time to time they explained what the reading meant. Soon there was a sound of sobbing from the crowd, then weeping,...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Kings 18:25-39
TO CHEW ON: “Answer me, O Lord, answer me so these people will know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” 1 Kings 18:37
“You go first,” Elijah told the Baal prophets. “Prepare your sacrifice. Put it on the wood. But don’t light a fire under it. Instead, pray to Baal to send the fire.”
The four hundred prophets of Baal did as Elijah said. It was morning when they began to pray. “Oh Baal, answer us!” they shouted, over and over, louder and louder. When nothing happened, they shouted even louder and began dancing around.
When it was noon and still nothing had happened, Elijah began to tease then. “Maybe your god is meditating. He is a god, after all. Or maybe he’s busy, or traveling or sleeping.”
So the prophets yelled at the top of their voices and danced around and even cut themselves. Soon there was chaos, screaming and blood everywhere – but still no fire.
Finally Elijah said to the people watching, “Come here.”
They crowded around as he repaired the ruined altar of God that was on the mountain. Then he dug a deep trench around it. He put...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Samuel 7:2-13
TO CHEW ON: "Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, 'Thus far has the Lord helped us.'” 1 Samuel 7:12
God’s predictions for Eli’s family soon came true. The next time the Israelites were losing against the Philistines, someone suggested they bring the ark to the battlefield to help them win. So Eli's his sons brought the ark. But the Philistines beat them anyway. On top of that they killed Eli's sons and took the ark back home with them.
The Philistines didn’t keep it long though. Because wherever they took it, sickness broke out. They soon sent it back to Israel where it was stored in a little town. But even then the Philistines didn’t stop hassling the Israelites. They were as cruel and bossy as ever.
This went on for twenty years. By now Samuel was a grown man. The people began coming to him for advice. “What can we do to defeat these Philistines?” they asked.
1. Here are some things Samuel could have told him. What did he say? (1 Samuel 7:3)A. Conscript more soldiers and build a bigger army.B. Do sword practice three hours a...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL:1 Kings 18:16-24
TO CHEW ON: "Elijah went before the people and said, 'How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.' But the people said nothing." 1 Kings 18:21
Obadiah found Ahab and told him that Elijah had turned up.
“Is it really you, you troublemaker?” Ahab asked when he saw Elijah.
“I’m no troublemaker,” Elijah replied. “You’re the one who is making trouble by ignoring God’s commands and following Baal instead. But it’s time for a showdown. Get all the Baal prophets and gather the people on Mount Carmel.”
When everyone had gathered, Elijah addressed the people. “How long will you go back and forth?” he asked. “It’s time to decide who you’re going to follow. So we’ll have a contest. We’ll prepare two sacrifices. The Baal prophets will put together a sacrifice for Baal and I’ll prepare one for God. Then we’ll each pray to our god. The one that answers by sending fire to burn his sacrifice is the real God. He is the one we should worship."
The people agreed this was a good plan.
PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to know that You are the real...
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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...
Read More about Copying the Wrong Cat »
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Ezra 3:7-12
TO CHEW ON: "With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: 'He is good: his love to Israel endures forever' And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid." Ezra 3:11
Haggai’s message to put God first got everyone’s attention. Zerubbabel called the priests together. They decided to again worship God even though there was no temple in which to do it. They built an altar outside and again made the sacrifices and kept the feasts the way God had said.
Next they took a collection of money for building supplies. What a busy time followed, clearing away the rubble of the old temple and bringing in logs, cut stones and bricks for the new one.
Finally the day came when the foundation of the new temple was in place. That day they decided to celebrate. The Priests and Levites got dressed in their special clothes. They brought their trumpets and cymbals and praised God with singing and music like in the time of King David. Then all the people watching gave a shout of praise. God’s house was back!...
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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Chronicles 15:25-16:3
TO CHEW ON: "So all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouts, with the sounding of rams’ horns and trumpets, and of cymbals, and the playing of lyres and harps." 1 Chronicles 15:28
For three months the ark was in the home of Obed-Edom. In that time, everyone noticed how God was blessing him. One day David decided to try to bring the ark back to Jerusalem again.
He arrived at the house of Obed-Edom with a great crowd of people. There were Levites, priests, singers and musicians dressed in beautiful robes of fine linen. There were army commanders. And there were many ordinary people.
This time the Levites lifted the ark onto their shoulders and carried it the way God had told them. As they began their walk to Jerusalem, the priests sacrificed to God. Then the singers sang and the instruments played.
The closer they got to the city, the more people joined the happy parade. Finally a great throng of happy, singing, celebrating people entered Jerusalem. But no one celebrated harder than David. He danced and leaped and spun in joy and praise to God that the ark was finally returning...
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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...
Read More about And Your God is…? »
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Revelation 6:9 -17
TO CHEW ON: "For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?" Revelation 6:17
Have you ever read an exciting book where the closer you came to the end, the more bad things happened? You looked at how few pages were left and wondered, how would the author ever straighten this out! In a way John’s vision in Revelation is like that. John saw more and more bad things as more seals were opened.
In the fifth seal, John heard the voices of people who had been killed for believing in God (martyrs). They asked God, how long until He would punish those who killed them. God answered, it would happen, but even more people would be martyred first.
Then came the sixth seal. It predicted some things that have never happened on earth. Read Revelation 6:12-17 and list five things John saw:184.108.40.206.5."The Opening of the Sixth Seal" by John Martin
Every day natural disasters like earthquakes, floods and erupting volcanoes take place somewhere on earth. The size of the disasters John saw here, though, were bigger than any our earth has ever seen. They help us understand how weak and helpless we humans are...
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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: Matthew 21:1-11
TO CHEW ON: "A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road." Matthew 21:8
One day as Jesus and His disciples walked toward Jerusalem, He sent two of them on an errand. “Go to the village ahead of you,” He said. “You will find a donkey tied with her colt. Bring them to me.”
Soon the disciples were back with the animals. They put their cloaks (outer clothing) on the animals’ backs and Jesus got on the colt and rode toward the city.
Crowds gathered beside the road. Many had probably seen Jesus’ miracles and heard His teaching. When they saw Jesus riding into Jerusalem on the donkey, they remembered what prophet Zechariah had said. They recognized this was how Messiah (the Jews’ promised deliverer) would ride into Jerusalem.
Then they took off their cloaks and spread them on the road in the donkey’s path. They cut palm branches and spread them on the road too or waved them as they ran beside Jesus shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” They were honoring Jesus as...
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