Wednesday, July 29, 2015

No Compromise

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Daniel 1:8-20

TO CHEW ON: "But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way." Daniel 1:8


“Can you please change the diet of me and my friends?” Daniel asked the guard. “We’d like to have vegetables and water instead of the king’s rich food.”

“You’re asking a dangerous thing,” the guard replied. “The king will have my head when the four of you look weak and get sick.”


Daniel was taking a big chance by asking this favor from the guard in Nebuchadnezzar’s court. He and his three friends were Hebrew boys from Judah. They no longer lived at home but were exiles and servants in Babylon. The four boys were in special training to serve the king himself.

But Daniel was determined. He knew that the royal food was not prepared the way God had commanded in the law. He wanted to honor and obey God every way he could.

“How about we try an experiment?” he suggested to the guard. “You let me and my friends have the vegetables and water for ten days. Then you compare us to the others. If we look worse, we’ll eat what everyone else does.

The guard agreed. For ten days Daniel and his friends ate only vegetables and drank only water. Then the guard compared them to the others.
1. What did he find? (Daniel 1:15)? _____________



2. What did the guard then order for the other students too (Daniel 1:16)? ____________

Like Daniel we may be surrounded by people who don’t believe as we do. We may be tempted to compromise and change our actions to fit with theirs. After all, it’s hard to be the only one going to church on Sunday, giving some of your money to God and obeying your parents. But take courage from the story of Daniel and his friends. Refuse to compromise. For God not only blessed Daniel and his friends with favor from the guard when they honored God with their diet. He also made them wise and gave them success with the king himself.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to not compromise in my life. Amen.

MORE:
Daniel Diet
Have you ever been on a diet of vegetables (fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts) and water like Daniel and his friends were? Try it for a day (of course you’ll want to get permission from your parents first).

Some things that will help fill you up:
vegetables (carrots, celery, broccoli, corn)
nuts (almonds, peanuts, peanut butter)
seeds (popcorn, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds)
fruits (orange, apple, banana)




ANSWERS

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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Lament for Jerusalem

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Lamentations 1:1-12

TO CHEW ON: "Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look around and see. Is any suffering like my suffering that was inflicted on me, that the Lord brought on me in the day of his fierce anger?" Lamentations 1:12

What is the saddest thing that has ever happened to you? How did you handle your sad feelings - by crying, sleeping, staying busy, playing sports, talking to others, writing?

Lamentations is a Bible book that someone (most likely Jeremiah) wrote about a very sad time – the fall of Jerusalem.


It is poetry and full of word pictures. Jerusalem is compared to a widow. She was once married but now she is a slave dressed in clothes that are dirty with the sins she has done. Jerusalem’s former rulers are like deer who are starving and so weak they don’t have the strength to run away from the hunter. The roads leading to Jerusalem weep and its gates are empty.

Though Jeremiah escaped going to Babylon, this poem shows that he felt as sad as anyone. He loved his country. He loved Jerusalem. He hated to see it destroyed and its people taken away. Writing Lamentations probably helped him work through his sad feelings.


Reading Lamentations these many years later can help us too. All of us have sad times in our lives. Lamentations shows us that it’s okay to cry and express our sadness. Lamentations also shows us one way (writing) to work through sad feelings when they come. But most of all, Lamentations helps us see, and feel, the sad end of disobeying God.



PRAYER:
Dear God, please help me to obey You and avoid the sadness of disobedience. Amen

MORE: Your Lament
Think of a time you were very sad. What happened? How did you feel?

Now think of some word pictures that help describe your sad time:
- Color: If you were to give your sad time a color, what would it be?
- Music: If you were to make a video of that time, what kind of music would play in the background?
- Animal: Does your sad time remind you of an animal or animal action?
- Weather: Does your sad time remind you of a certain kind of weather?

Using one or all of your word pictures, write a lament of your own.

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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Set Free by the Enemy


TODAY’S SPECIAL: Jeremiah 40:1-6

TO CHEW ON: "But today I am freeing you from the chains on your wrists. Come with me to Babylon, if you like, and I will look after you; but if you do not want to, then don’t come. Look, the whole country lies before you; go wherever you please." Jeremiah 40:4

The people from Jerusalem, bound and chained, had set out on the long march to Babylon. Jeremiah was with them. Then at Ramah a surprising thing happened. Nebuzaradan, a commander in the Babylonian army, found him.

“I know about your God and how this is a punishment for the sins of the people,” he said. “But today I’m going to set you free.”

With that he took the chains off Jeremiah’s hands and feet. “You can come with me,” he went on, “or go wherever you like in the country. If you stay here you might want to go to Mizpah. There Gedaliah is watching over everyone who is left.”

So Jeremiah went to live with Gedeliah. Again God had helped him. This time He had sent an enemy commander to set him free.

The God who helped Jeremiah is the same God we worship today. If we obey Him and live for Him like Jeremiah did, He can and will look after us in wonderful and unexpected ways.

PRAYER: Dear God, please look after me today.

MORE: Jeremiah’s End
A few months after Jeremiah came to live with Gedaliah, Gedaliah was killed in a plot. The new leaders were afraid of Nebuchadnezzar. They thought he would come after them because the man he had put in charge had been murdered.

They decided to get far away from Babylon and go to Egypt. Their new leader Johanan asked Jeremiah to find out what God thought about their plan. You can read the answer God gave Jeremiah in Jeremiah 42:7-18.

But Johanan didn’t pay any attention to Jeremiah’s words. Instead, all the people went to Egypt, as they had planned. They took Jeremiah with them. He probably died there.



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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

As Good as His Word

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Chronicles 36:15-20

TO CHEW ON: "The Lord, the God of their ancestors, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because he had pity on his people and on his dwelling place.  But they mocked God’s messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the Lord was aroused against his people and there was no remedy." 2 Chronicles 36:15,16

Have you ever been in a situation where your teacher or parent keeps threatening to punish you, but never does? Maybe that’s how God’s many warnings felt to the people of Judah. Prophets had been telling them for years that God would judge them if they didn’t change their ways.

They probably thought that God’s patience would last forever. But they were wrong.

Finally the day came when Nebuchadnezzar made his final move. After a siege of Jerusalem, today’s reading tells us what happened (2 Chronicles 36:17-20). Complete the sentences by filling in the blanks using the words below.

1. People of all ages were ____ .
2. The temple furniture and dishes were _____ to Babylon
3. The temple and palaces were _______.
4. The Jerusalem wall was ______ .
5. Everyone still alive was ___________.
6. There they became ________ .

carried into exile     killed

Babylon   servants

broken down     burned


We can be a lot like those people. Though we read and hear God’s warnings, we don’t take them seriously. But if we keep on ignoring them, we do so at our own risk. Someday all the things God has said will come true, just as He said.

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to listen to and act on Your words. Amen.


MORE: Driven From Home
Imagine you were a boy or girl alive at the time of Jeremiah. You watched from inside Jerusalem as the army from Babylon camped all around the city.


Then you saw them attack. They broke down the city walls. They raided the temple


They burned the temple and the palace.


Finally soldiers rounded up you, your family, and friends. They marched you all the way to Babylon. There you were forced to work as servants.


Choose one of these scenes and write a journal entry about what you saw, heard, thought and felt.

ANSWERS

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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Cistern Rescue

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Jeremiah 38:7-13

TO CHEW ON: “My lord the king, these men have acted wickedly in all they have done to Jeremiah the prophet. They have thrown him into a cistern, where he will starve to death when there is no longer any bread in the city.” Jeremiah 38:9


As he sank ever deeper in the filthy mud, Jeremiah wondered, is this it? Will I die here? He had done and said what God had told him to. But his message was so unpopular, King Zedekiah’s officials had put him in prison and then thrown him into this wet cistern.

But that wasn’t the end for Jeremiah. Ebed-Melech, an official in the palace, heard what had happened. He knew that it was not fair. He went to the king about it.

“These men have been most wicked in the way they treated Jeremiah,” he said. “They’ve put him in a cistern and he’ll starve to death.”

“Take thirty men and get him out,” King Zedekiah commanded.

What was that sound, Jeremiah wondered, as he shivered in the cold and dark. Was someone calling his name. “Jeremiah,” - there it was again. “Can you hear me?”

“Yes.”

“We’re going to get you out of here. We’ve got ropes. Put the rags under your arms to keep you from getting cut.”

Illustration by Annie Vallotton from the Good News Bible
© American Bible Society 1976, 1992, used with permission.



Jeremiah was pulled out of the cistern that day. Though his situation looked hopeless, God reminded Ebed-Melech about Jeremiah. And when Ebed-Melech talked to the king, about Jeremiah , he was rescued.


God still looks out for those who trust in Him. Are you or is someone you know in an impossible situation? Trust God to help you like He helped Jeremiah.


PRAYER:
Dear God, please send Your help to _________ (name the person or situation). Amen.


MORE:
God’s Promised Help
There are many places in the Bible where God promises to help. Below are two. Choose your favorite and memorize it. It will give you hope next time you’re in a deep dark cistern of your own.

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” Proverbs 29:25


“For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9a
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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Adult readers - DAILY DEVOTIONS FOR ADULTS  are available too at Other Food: daily devo's

Friday, July 24, 2015

Unwelcome News

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 discouraging our soldiers!” they told Zedekiah.

“Do whatever you want with him,” Zedekiah said.

So they took Jeremiah from his prison cell and lowered him into a cistern.


It held no water but the bottom of it was soft with cold, sticky mud. As Jeremiah sank deep into the mud he wondered, would this be the place he would die.


It’s hard to imagine having Jeremiah’s courage. But there are many people today in places around the world who are just as brave. In some countries, the good news about Jesus is the unwelcome news. People who love Jesus live for Him anyway. They read their Bibles, meet to pray, sing, and learn more about God. Then they go out and tell others about Jesus, even though it’s against the law. Sometimes that gets them put in prison, tortured, even killed.

Let’s pray that if the news about Jesus becomes unwelcome news where we live, we will be as brave as Jeremiah and the persecuted Christians alive today.

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to have the courage to follow You, no matter what the cost. Amen.


MORE: Persecuted Christians
From books or the internet, find stories of Christians who are persecuted for obeying Jesus. Choose one story.

Some web sites for you to check:


Voice of the Martyrs - Persecution.com
Open Doors Ten Top Countries for Persecution

1. On a globe or in an atlas, find the country where your story happened.
2. Using an almanac, encyclopedia or the internet, find out about that country.
3. Pray for the person and the country in your story.
- that the government leaders in that country will find Jesus.
- that God will help the persecuted person and their family to stay strong.
- that the good news of Jesus will be spread in spite of persecution.
- that the persecution will stop so that people in that country will be free to worship Jesus.

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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Adult readers - DAILY DEVOTIONS FOR ADULTS  are available too at Other Food: daily devo's

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Book Burning

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Jeremiah 36:1-26

TO CHEW ON: "The king and all his attendants who heard all these words showed no fear, nor did they tear their clothes." Jeremiah 36:24

“I’m sure the people will change their ways when they hear all this,” Baruch said, as he put the final touches on the scroll.

God had told Jeremiah many months before to try another way to get the people to listen. “You write down all the things I’ve told you,” God told him. “Then read them to the people. When they hear about the judgments that are coming, surely they’ll change their ways.”

Jeremiah had hired Baruch as his secretary. He had spoken the things God had said to him, while Baruch wrote them on a scroll. It was slow work and took a long time. But finally they were done.


On a day when many people were in Jerusalem, Baruch read Jeremiah’s words at the crowded temple courtyard. Micaiah heard them. He hurried to a room where the king’s officials were gathered. “You’ve got to hear this!” he told them.

They invited Baruch to read Jeremiah’s scroll. After he finished they said, “This is serious. We’d better make sure the king hears this!”

On a cold winter day King Jehoiakim called Baruch to come. But when he heard the words written in the scroll, he didn’t seem the least bit worried. Instead, after Baruch had read a bit, Jehoiakim took the scroll from him. With a knife he cut off the part he had just heard and dropped it in the fire.

Baruch read on, but a few minutes later, Jehoiakim took the scroll again and cut off more. He kept on doing this until Baruch came to the end. When he had read the last words, Jehoiakim burned the rest of the scroll as well. Maybe he thought that if it was gone, the things it said would never happen.



How sad Jeremiah and Baruch must have been to see all their hard work destroyed in a few hours. How sad God must have felt to see His patience and love treated with such contempt.

We have God’s written-down words too. They are the Bible. Of course we don’t physically cut out and destroy the Bible words that make us uncomfortable. But might we be doing that in a different way when we hear God’s words but don’t do them?

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to hear Your words and obey them. Amen.

MORE: Chapter 2
When he burned the scroll, Jehoiakim didn’t make things better for himself – only worse. Read the end of the story - Jeremiah 36:27-32. Then pick out the statements that are true:

1. God told Jeremiah and Baruch to rewrite what had been in the first scroll.

2. Jehoiakim’s son would replace him as king.

3. When Jehoiakim died, his body would be treated with disrespect.

4. None of the predictions in Jeremiah’s scroll would come true.

5. All of the predictions in Jeremiah’s scroll would come true.

ANSWERS

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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Adult readers - DAILY DEVOTIONS FOR ADULTS  are available too at Other Food: daily devo's

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Unpopular

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 sentenced to death for what he is saying,” the priests said.

But Jeremiah was not scared. “I am only saying what God told me to say. Kill me if you like. But the only thing that will change is that it will add killing an innocent person on top of your other sins.”


Jeremiah was so fearless because he respected God more than anyone else, even the king. He would sooner do what God said and be in trouble with people than care what people thought and be in trouble with God. Let’s have Jeremiah’s attitude next time our friends or classmates make fun of us for talking about Jesus or believing the Bible.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to always put You first in my life. Amen.


MORE: In Trouble - Who Am I
Jeremiah was not the only Bible character who got in trouble for obeying God. Can you name these in-trouble Bible characters?

1. I refused to sin with my boss’s wife. Then she told lies about me and I was put in jail. Who am I? _____________ (Hint)

2. A wicked queen threatened to kill me after I killed her Baal prophets. Who am I? ____________ (Hint)

3. The neighbors wanted to kill me after I broke down my father’s idol altar. Who am I? ____________ (Hint)


ANSWERS

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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Adult readers - DAILY DEVOTIONS FOR ADULTS  are available too at Other Food: daily devo's

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Questioning God

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Habakkuk 1:1-11


TO CHEW ON: "How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, 'Violence!' but you do not save?" Habakkuk 1:2

Have you ever wondered whether it does any good to pray? That seems to be what the prophet Habakkuk was asking at the beginning of his short book.

Habakkuk was another prophet in Judah. He lived at the same time as Jeremiah did. Instead of God giving Habakkuk messages for the people, he talked to God for them.

He asked questions that people from all times and places have asked:
- If You’re in control, God, why does evil win so often?
- How can You ignore unfairness? Why do evil people get richer and more powerful?
- Why do You use evil people to work Your will?

Illustration by Annie Vallotton from the Good News Bible
© American Bible Society 1976, 1992, used with permission.

God answered Habakkuk’s questions. Sometimes his answers were surprising. When Habakkuk complained, in today’s reading, that it seemed like God was ignoring unfairness, God replied, “You haven’t seen anything yet!” Then he explained that soon He would use the cruel nation of Babylon even more.

But God’s answers did finally satisfy Habakkuk. And they help us understand that God is working in our time too, even when He seems to be ignoring us. For God’s plans reach across all of history. Though what God allows to happen may not make sense in the small time we’re alive, He has said He will make all the things He has promised come true some day.

1. God said that He will be proved true - when? ____ (Habakkuk 2:3)

2. God said that someday His glory will fill the earth like ______ (Habakkuk 2:14)

If you struggle with understanding God, talk to Him like Habakkuk did. Ask God your questions. Look for answers in the Bible. Pray for faith to believe that what God has said, He will do.

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to trust You even when You are silent and Your ways don’t make sense. Amen.

MORE: Hab’s response
After his argument with God, Habakkuk prayed. Read his prayer in Habakkuk 3.

Here is an artist's drawing of God's power as Habakkuk describes it.



What did Habakkuk decide to do even when God was silent? _____ (Habakkuk 3:18).

You and I can do that too!

ANSWERS
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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


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Monday, July 20, 2015

Temple Superstition

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Jeremiah 7:1-13

TO CHEW ON: "This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel says: Reform your ways and your actions, and I will let you live in this place. Do not trust in deceptive words and say, 'This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord!' " Jeremiah 7:3,4

People thronged to the temple after Josiah’s clean-up. Looking at the crowds in “church” you’d think that everything had changed in Judah. But for many people, once they were away from God’s house, nothing had changed.

Crime and murder were common. Widows and orphans were ignored. Foreigners were mistreated. People thought that these things didn’t really matter. They thought Jerusalem would never be destroyed because the temple was there. They had a superstitious faith that the temple would save them no matter what they did.

One day God told Jeremiah to stand at the entrance way of the temple. He was to give the worshipers this message from God: “Change the way you act. Don’t put your faith in the temple. Look at what happened to Shiloh where the ark used to sit. I will do the same thing to Jerusalem if you don’t change your ways.”


It’s easy for us to be like the people of that time. We may think, I go to church and read my Bible. I am part of a Christian family. These things will save me. But if our faith is in these things, we are just as superstitious as the people of Jeremiah’s time.

Only faith in Jesus can save us. The changed lives we live after we have trusted Him show that our faith is real.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, Help me to put my trust in You, not in anything or anyone else. Amen.


MORE: Superstitions
Living by superstitions can cause us to have feelings of false security. Or we may feel afraid that something bad will happen if we don’t do the things our superstitions say to have good luck. Either way, superstitions are not truth but lies. Jesus wants us to live by truth. He said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”

1. Look up the dictionary definition of ‘superstition’?

2. What are some common superstitions that people believe?

3. Do you have any superstitious beliefs? If you do, ask God to help you get free of them.

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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Adult readers - DAILY DEVOTIONS FOR ADULTS  are available too at Other Food: daily devo's

Sunday, July 19, 2015

A New Start

TODAY'S SPECIAL: 2 Kings 23:19-25

TO CHEW ON: "Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did – with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses." 2 Kings 23:25

“Everybody come to the temple. King Josiah has called a special meeting.” Quickly word traveled from house to house. When everyone had gathered, Josiah opened the book that the priests had found. He read aloud all the laws God had given Moses. Then in front of all the people he promised God that he would keep these laws for the rest of his life.

After he had dismissed everyone, he got to work.


Wherever there was an idol, he told his servants to smash it. Wherever there was an Asherah pole, he commanded it be taken down. Wherever there were altars, he broke them. He took down statues that had been dedicated to the sun god and made sure every dish, goblet, utensil or piece of furniture that had been used to worship an idol was taken out of the temple.

Josiah burned the rubbish outside Jerusalem.
Illustration by Annie Vallotton from the Good News Bible
© American Bible Society 1976, 1992, used with permission.

He told the people to get rid of the idols in their homes. He even went to Samaria and destroyed everything to do with idol worship there. Finally the land was cleaned up. Then he called the people together again for a big Passover celebration.

No one before or after Josiah worked so hard at doing what God had said. Always before, the kings had done a half job. They rid the land of some idols and altars. But the ones they left soon lured the people back to idol worship again. Josiah’s thoroughness helped Judah to turn from their old ways and make a new start.

We can clean up our lives like Josiah cleaned up the land. We can name the things we’re sorry for in prayer. We can get rid of things like books, games, music and anything else that will tempt us to again wander away from God. We can be as thorough in our new start as Josiah was.

PRAYER: Dear God, please show me everything that comes between You and me. Help me to rid my life of it. Amen.


MORE: Your new startYou start a new day energetic and fresh from a night’s sleep. You start a new basketball tournament with no losses. You start a new school year with clean books, long pencils, maybe a new backpack and even new clothes. What changes might happen when you make a new start with God:

1. You feel clean inside
2. You sing
3. You feel peaceful
4. You get a different body
5. You feel joyful
6. You make a new set of friends

ANSWERS

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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Adult readers - DAILY DEVOTIONS FOR ADULTS  are available too at Other Food: daily devo's

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Finding a Special Book

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Chron 34:14-19 & 31

TO CHEW ON: "Then Shaphan the secretary informed the king, 'Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.' And Shaphan read from it in the presence of the king. When the king heard the words of the Law, he tore his robes." 2 Chronicles 34:18,19

When King Josiah turned sixteen something changed. Perhaps after being king for eight years he realized what a hard job it was. Maybe he wished he had help and wanted to be sure that God was on his side. He may have asked, which god? For the people in Judah worshiped many gods.

Perhaps he remembered his grandfather, King Manasseh, and thought of how he had smashed the idols and taken down the Asherah poles after he got back from prison. Then he had told everyone to worship the unseen God of the temple.

However it came about, over the next four years, Josiah took down every altar and high place and pole connected with idol worship. Then he decided to clean up the temple too. He put the priests and Levites to work. One day as they were clearing out garbage, they found a book. It was the book of the Law that God had given Moses.

When Shaphan the secretary showed Josiah what they had found, Josiah wanted him to read it. So Shaphan read God’s laws to Josiah. He had never heard them before.


He became so upset and afraid, he tore his clothes. Then he asked Shaphan and the priests to pray to God for him and the nation, that they would be spared the terrible punishments God had promised.

Hilkiah the priest and others prayed for Josiah. God answered that He would punish Judah just as the book said. But if Josiah would keep on doing the right things, this punishment would come after his lifetime.

We have God’s book with us today. It is the Bible. Unlike Josiah’s time, Bibles today are not lost. They are plentiful and common. But in order for the Bible to help us as it did Josiah, we need to follow his example. We need to read, respect and obey it.



PRAYER: Dear God, help me to read and obey Your word. Amen.

MORE: Bible Search
1. How many Bibles or parts of the Bible do you have in your home?

2. Which is your favorite Bible?
Why?

3. What is your favorite Bible verse?
Why?

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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Adult readers - DAILY DEVOTIONS FOR ADULTS  are available too at Other Food: daily devo's

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Majority Loses

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 result, they’ll be destroyed by the exact things they say won’t happen.”

"I will bring nations upon you from afar." Jeremiah 5:15

As a Christian, I’m sure you sometimes feel in the minority. There may be only a few people who believe in the God of the Bible in your school or neighborhood. But just because you’re not in the majority doesn’t mean that you’re wrong and that the beliefs of others are right. In the end, God is right. And if you’re on His side, you’ll always be in the majority.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to have the courage to stand against the majority when what they say is against what You say in the Bible. Amen.

MORE: Comfortable lies
Some common beliefs in our society are like the things the false prophets in Jeremiah’s time said. They are comforting but untrue. Below are four such beliefs. Match them up with the verse from the Bible that tells us they are wrong:

1. ____ It doesn’t matter what or who you believe in, so long as you’re sincere.

2. ____ A loving God would never send anyone to hell.

3. ____ There are many ways to God.

4. ____ The good things we’ve done earn us a place in heaven.

A. John 14:6           B. Isaiah 64:6 
C. Revelation 20:15    D. John 3:36

ANSWERS

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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Adult readers - DAILY DEVOTIONS FOR ADULTS  are available too at Other Food: daily devo's

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Only a Child

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Jeremiah 1:1-10

TO CHEW ON: "But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord." Jeremiah 1:7,8

Do you have any idea what you’d like to do when you grow up? Have you ever thought that God may have a special job for your life?

God talked to Jeremiah when he was just a child. He told him what his job would be. He would be a (Jeremiah 1:5) 1. _____.

Jeremiah argued back. What two reasons did he give for why he couldn’t do what God asked (Jeremiah 1:6) 2. _____ 3. _____.

But God didn’t buy Jeremiah’s arguments. For He had chosen Jeremiah before he was born. Now God touched his mouth and said, “I have put my words in your mouth.”


Jeremiah’s words would be not only to his nation Judah, but to the nations all around. They would have much power – power to uproot and tear down, destroy and overthrow, build and plant.

Have you ever asked God if He has a special job for you? Just like Jeremiah, He has known you from before you were born. He does have a plan for your life. You are never too young to get your special assignment from Him.

PRAYER: Dear God, please tell me the special job You have for me, and prepare me to do it. Amen.


MORE: How well does God know you?
It’s comforting to know that nothing in life is a surprise to God. He knows you as well as anyone could. Two verses that tell you God knows you and has a plan for you are:
Psalm 139:15,16 and Ephesians 2:10.

Read them, and then pick out the true statements that tell what God knows about you:

1. God fits you into His plan after you’re born.

2. God doesn’t have a plan for some people.

3. God had the good things you will do for Him all planned out before you got here.

4. God knows how long you’ll live but not much else about you.

5. God knows each day of your life from before you were born.

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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


ANSWERS

Adult readers - DAILY DEVOTIONS FOR ADULTS  are available too at Other Food: daily devo's