Saturday, March 28, 2015

Number 1 Friend

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Ruth 1:1-18

TO CHEW ON: "But Ruth replied, 'Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.' " Ruth 1:16,17

Naomi was sad. As she trudged down the road toward Israel she thought of the last time she had been on this road. Then she had been with her husband and her two sons. Then, even though they were hungry because of a famine, they were together.

They had found plenty to eat in their new home in the country of Moab. But something terribly sad had happened too. Naomi’s husband and both her sons had died there.

Now she was on her way back to Israel – alone. Well, not exactly. Because beside her walked Orpah and Ruth. They were her daughters-in-law. These women her sons had married were now widows too. But she was sure they didn’t really want to come back to Israel with her. It was time to say goodbye.

“Go back to your families,” she said to them. “Find new husbands and have children.”

Both of the girls said, no, they would stay with her. But Naomi insisted. And so Orpah kissed and hugged her a final time and turned around. But Ruth wouldn’t leave. “I want to go where you go,” she said, “and stay where you stay. I want your people to be my people and I want your God to be my God.”


Ruth stays with Naomi - Artist unknown
Ruth stays with Naomi - Artist unknown
How do you think Naomi felt when she heard this?

Now Naomi knew that in Ruth she had a true and loyal friend. She still felt sad and missed her husband and her boys. But because of Ruth’s friendship, she wasn’t alone.

PRAYER: Dear God, show me how to be a true friend like Ruth was to Naomi. Amen

MORE: A good friend is...
What makes a good friend? What qualities, below, would you want your friend to have?



Can you think of more?

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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, March 27, 2015

God's Battle

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Judges 7:9-16

TO CHEW ON: "When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he bowed down and worshiped. He returned to the camp of Israel and called out, 'Get up! The Lord has given the Midianite camp into your hands.' ” Judges 7:15

The first job God gave Gideon to do was to smash the Baal idols in his father’s house. The second job was to fight the Midianites. Thousands of men showed up to join Gideon’s army.

But God told Gideon, “With so many soldiers your army will take credit for winning. I want everyone to know that it’s Me, God, who is making you win, not your big army or your wise plans. Send home all the men who are afraid.”

Twenty-two thousand men left that day. Less than one thousand soldiers were left.

“This is still too many,” God said. After Gideon sent home more soldiers, only three hundred were left.

How will I ever beat the Midianites with such a small army, Gideon wondered.

That night God woke Gideon up and said to him, “If you’re scared, go the enemy’s camp and listen to what they’re saying.”

Gideon and his servant snuck into the valley. The enemy soldiers were sleeping. Then they heard one soldier talking to another. He was telling about a dream he’d had.

1. What was the dream? (Judges 7:13) _______

2. What did his friend say it meant? (Judges 7:14) ____________.

Now Gideon knew God was making the Midianites afraid. He hurried back to camp. “Get up! Let’s go!” he said to his soldiers. “God will help us win right now.”

He split his men into three groups. He gave each man weapons – a trumpet, a torch hidden inside a bowl – and told them to spread around the enemy’s camp. When they were all in place, Gideon gave the signal. All together they blew their trumpets, broke their bowls and showed their torches.

All together they blew their trumpets - Artist unknown
All together they blew their trumpets - Artist unknown
The trumpet blasts and sounds of shattering pottery woke up the enemy soldiers. The torches made it look like a huge army all around them. In confusion and fear the Midianite soldiers began killing each other. Because Gideon fought God’s way, God won a great victory for Israel that day.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to do things Your way. Then help me to give You the glory for the success You give. Amen.


MORE: How will it work?
Like Gideon, we may not be able to figure out how God’s instructions will work. But God knows exactly what to do. Here are Bible words that remind us about that.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8,9

You may want to memorize these verses. Next time you don’t understand something God is telling you to do, review these words and remind yourself of God’s wise thoughts and ways.

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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, March 26, 2015

Unlikely Warrior

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Judges 6:11-16

TO CHEW ON: "The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.' Judges 6:16

After Joshua died the people quickly forgot his final instructions. They began marrying their Canaanite neighbors and were soon praying to idols. So God allowed the nations around them to pick fights with them and win. The kings of these nations took their cities, made them servants and stole their crops.

When this happened, the people prayed for help. Then God raised up rulers called judges. These judges trusted God. They helped the people turn back to God. They led them into battle, helped them get back their land and live in peace again.

But the peace never lasted for long. No sooner was the danger past than the Israelites went back to worshiping idols. Then God allowed their enemies to trouble them again.

In one of these times the people from Midian – the Midianites – were hassling the Israelites so much they had to leave their homes and live in caves. They were running out of food because the Midianites stole their crops and cattle, and wrecked their land.

Gideon, threshing wheat in his hideout - Artist unknown
Gideon, threshing wheat in his hideout - Artist unknown
A farmer named Gideon lived at this time. One day he was secretly threshing wheat in his hideout.
1. Choose the words from the list below that describe how he may have been feeling:


2. Suddenly an angel appeared to him. What did the angel call him? (Judges 6:12)
a] humble farmer
b] idol worshiper
c] mighty warrior.

An angel comes to Gideon - Artist unknown
An angel comes to Gideon - Artist unknown
3. The angel went on to give him an assignment. He – Gideon, the farmer – was the one God had chosen to lead his people against the Midianites. Gideon knew he could never do this. But then the angel went on to tell him, he didn’t have to do it alone. Who would be with him? (Judges 6:16) _________________.

4. Choose the words from the list above that describe how Gideon may have felt after the angel talked to him.

What an amazing day for Gideon. And what a hard assignment! But Gideon didn’t have to do this assignment alone. God would be with him.

God has a special assignment for you too. Right now you may or may not know what it is. But when God tells you what He wants you to do, He will be with you, helping you do it.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for promising to help us do the jobs You give us to do. Amen.

MORE: Mighty you
1. The Lord’s angel called Gideon “Mighty Warrior”
If an angel from God visited you and called you by an empowering name, what would you want to be called? __________

2. Perhaps you already have an idea of the job God has for you. Write your thoughts about it.

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, March 25, 2015

Warning Words

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Joshua 23:1-16

TO CHEW ON: But if you turn away and ally yourselves with the survivors of these nations that remain among you and if you intermarry with them and associate with them, then you may be sure that the Lord your God will no longer drive out these nations before you. Instead, they will become snares and traps for you, whips on your backs and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land, which the Lord your God has given you. Joshua 23:12,13

Joshua speaks to the people - Artist unknown
Joshua speaks to the people - Artist unknown

Years passed. Joshua led the people in many battles. They won most of them and were now living in their new homes in Canaan. When Joshua was an old man he gathered the leaders to hear his final words. Here are some of the things he told them. Cross out the one thing he did not say:

1. Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the book of the Law of Moses.

2. Associate with the survivors of these nations; pray to their gods and swear by them.

3. One person can beat a thousand because God fights for you.

4. If you are good friends with and marry the survivors of the nations you beat, they will snare, trap, whip and defeat you.

Joshua’s message was clear. The Israelites had been successful because God had helped them. God would help them win more wars only if they stayed loyal Him. This meant they needed to keep obeying His laws and worshiping only Him - not idols. One way they could stay loyal to God was to never be close friends with or marry people around them who worshiped idols.

What happens to a box of good oranges with one moldy orange in it?
a] Nothing.
b] The good oranges take the mold out of the spoiled orange.
c] The mold eventually spreads to all the oranges.
(Of course it’s c] )

Just like being with only one moldy orange is dangerous to the health of all the oranges in the box, so being close friends with someone who doesn’t love God is dangerous to the spiritual health of you – and your friends.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me choose my friends wisely. Amen.



MORE: Friendship Puzzlers
Here are some questions about friendship to think about and discuss with family and friends.

1. If you are friends with only other Christians, how will unsaved neighbors and school buddies learn about Jesus?



2. Is it possible for you to be a friend with someone who doesn’t believe in God and not be influenced to change your beliefs and become like her/him? How?



3. Is it ever right to be best friends with someone who doesn’t love and follow Jesus? Is it ever right to be the business partner of such a person? Is it ever right to marry such a person?

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, March 24, 2015

Tricked!

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Joshua 9:1-21

TO CHEW ON: "The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the Lord." Joshua 9:14

Have you ever been tricked? Maybe you were tricked for a good thing, like having someone throw a surprise party for you. Or maybe it was for a bad thing, like falling when someone pulled a chair away. The Israelites had a trick played on them the day some raggedy strangers rode into camp.

“Who are you and what do you want?” Joshua asked them.

“We’re people from a far country,” they told him. “We’ve heard about how God has helped you and we’re scared of you. We want to sign a peace treaty with you.”

“How do I know that you’re not from close by?” Joshua asked.

“Here’s proof,” the men said. They showed Joshua dry, moldy bread, cracked wineskins, torn faded clothes and worn out sandals. “These things were all new when we started on this trip,” they told Joshua. “We’ve been traveling so long the bread got moldy, the wineskins cracked and our clothes wore out.”


The Israelites eat the Gibeonites bread - Artist unknown
The Israelites eat the Gibeonites bread - Artist unknown
Joshua and the people tried the bread. It was very old. They examined the wineskins and the clothes. They certainly were worn out. “Yes, we’ll sign a treaty with you,” Joshua told the travelers. But he had missed doing one thing. What was it?__________ (Joshua 9:14)

Just three days later Joshua found out the truth. The men, who said they came from far away, were from Gibeon which was nearby. They had tricked Joshua and the Israelites with old bread, cracked wineskins and dress-up clothes.

If Joshua had asked God what to do, God could have warned him about this. But he didn’t ask. Instead he chose to handle things on his own. Now the Israelites had to keep their promise to protect the Gibeonites - who were really their enemies.

We too face problems and make decisions every day. Many of these things may not seem important enough to pray about. But this story teaches us that no problem or question is too small to bring to God.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for caring about the big and small things in my life. Please remind me to ask for Your help with everything. Amen.

MORE: Don’t sweat the small stuff
Instead pray about it.

List three small things for which you could ask for God’s help.
1.
2.
3.

Pray about them now. Then don’t forget to listen for God’s answer.

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

Monday, March 23, 2015

Hidden But Not Secret

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Joshua 7:10-25

TO CHEW ON: Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions.” Joshua 7:11

Have you ever done something sneaky – stolen something, told a lie, or cheated on an exam? Achan did such a thing when he went into Jericho. He had heard Joshua’s command about what to do with the loot. But when he saw a beautiful robe, some silver coins, and a wedge of gold, he sneaked these things home, dug a hole inside his tent and hid them in the ground.

A few days later Joshua sent scouts to Ai, the next city. “It’s a small town,” the scouts reported when they got back. “We’ll only need part of the army to capture it.”

But the people of Ai chased the Israelites from their city, beat them and killed many soldiers.

Joshua and the people were stunned. Joshua fell on his face before God and asked, “Why didn’t you help us?”

“Get up!” God told him. “There’s sin in the camp. Someone has stolen and lied. You need to deal with this sin before I can help you again.”

The next day Joshua called the people to a meeting to see who was guilty. He had the tribes pass before him tribe by tribe. The tribe of Judah was picked. From the tribe of Judah the clan of Zerah was picked. From the clan of Zerah the family of Zimri was picked. From the family of Zimri, the man Achan was picked.

Achan and Joshua - James Tissot
“What have you done?” Joshua asked him.

Then Achan confessed. And when the men looked in his tent, sure enough, there was the evidence. So Achan and his whole family had to die that day because of his sin. Then God helped the people win over Ai.

What about you? Did you get caught for the sneaky thing you did? Even if you didn’t, God knows about your sin. It may be hidden from others but it isn’t a secret to Him. Don’t be like Achan and wait to get caught. Instead, confess your sin to God and make things right with anyone you’ve wronged now. Only then will God’s blessing rest fully on your life.

PRAYER: Dear God, You see the wrong things I’ve done. I’m sorry for them. Help me to make things right. Amen.

MORE: A God-sees verse
These verses remind us that God sees us always, everywhere and knows everything about us.

"O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways." Psalm 139:1-3


You could memorize it. Then next time you’re tempted to do something sneaky, you’ll remember – God sees!

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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, March 22, 2015

Strange Strategy

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Joshua 6:1-5 & 20

TO CHEW ON: "Then the Lord said to Joshua, 'See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men.' " Joshua 6:2

The first city the Israelites faced after they crossed the Jordan River was Jericho. It had walls, an army and a king. The Israelites were not trained soldiers. They had no armor to protect them. Their weapons were simple. How could they ever defeat Jericho and make this city their own?

God gave Joshua a plan or strategy. His instructions are below, but they are all mixed up. Put them in the right order: (see Joshua 6:3-5)

The Seven Trumpets of Jericho - James Tissot
1. The priests should blow a loud blast on the ram's horn and trumpet.

2. The people should march around the city once per day for six days.

3. The people should shout with a loud shout.

4. On the seventh day the people should march around the city seven times.
Walls of Jericho fall - Artist unknown
Jericho's walls fall - Artist unknown

Have you ever heard of a war being fought this way? Joshua and the people hadn’t either. But they had seen God help them at other times in other ways they couldn’t understand. So they obeyed God’s directions exactly. What happened? (Joshua 6:20) ___________

Have you ever felt that God was asking you to do something that didn’t make sense? If this hasn’t happened till now, perhaps it will in the future. When God gives you a way to accomplish something, even if it doesn’t make sense, obey. For God often works in ways we don’t understand. Then even though common sense says you won’t and shouldn’t succeed, you will, just like Joshua and the Israelites did.

PRAYER: Dear God, Help me to obey Your instructions, even when they don’t make sense. Amen.


MORE: The loot
When people go to war, the winners usually help themselves to the loot left behind. But God gave different instructions about the stuff left in Jericho.

1. What were the people to do with anything they found made of silver, gold, bronze and iron? (Joshua 6:19)

2. What were the people to do with everything else? (Joshua 6:24)

3. Do you think you would have found it hard to obey this command? Why or why not?

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, March 21, 2015

Take That Step

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Joshua 3:1-17

TO CHEW ON: Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap .... So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. Joshua 3:15,16

Excitement filled the air. Today was the day! After living in the desert and in tents for forty years, walking miles in the heat, sleeping in the cold, eating only manna for as long as they could remember, the Israelites would enter Canaan, their new home.

People made manna sandwiches and filled up water skins. They packed their clothes and tools, rolled up their tents and got in line. The priests who carried the ark led the way.

But there was one HUGE – problem. In order to enter Canaan, they had to cross the Jordan River which was wide and fast-flowing. How would they do it?

“Tell the priests to keep walking toward the river,” God told Joshua.

When the priests were nearly at the water’s edge, God gave the next instruction. “Tell the priests to step in the river and stand there.”

The Ark passes over the Jordan - James Tissot
So even though the river was wide and swift, and there was no bridge, boat or raft in sight, the priests carrying the ark did as Joshua said. And an incredible thing happened. As soon as the priests stepped into the water, it stopped flowing! By the time the first people got to where the priests were, there was a path. Everyone walked through the river on dry ground.

Walking through on dry land - Artist unknown
Walking through on dry land - Artist unknown

Joshua didn’t know how God’s instructions would turn out. But he said what God told him to say anyway. The priests didn’t know that when they stepped into the river that it would stop flowing. But they stepped in anyway. By doing what God told them to do even though they didn’t know what would happen next, they showed their faith in God.

Are you praying for something that seems as impossible as crossing a river without a bridge or boat? Remember, God can make that impossible thing happen. And if God has told you to do something to answer that prayer, show your faith in Him by doing what He says.

PRAYER: Dear God, please give me the faith obey You, even when it means stepping into the unknown. Amen.

MORE: Remember the manna
All the time they were in the desert, God had fed the Israelites with manna. Then one day shortly after the Israelites entered Cannan, there wasn’t any! (Joshua 5:11,12) Why? Because now there was lots of other food to eat – like grain, fruit and honey. The need for manna was past.

I’m sure, though, that sometimes during those years in the desert, the people thought they’d be stuck eating manna forever. They were wrong of course. God brought them to a time and place where they didn't need manna any more.

Are there things in your life that seem to be going on forever? List them. Now when you are tempted to worry that they’ll never end, remember how God ended the manna for the Israelites. He can make things end in your life too.

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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, March 20, 2015

Busy Behind the Scenes

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Joshua 2:1-14

TO CHEW ON: “'I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you." Joshua 2:9

After Moses died, Joshua became Israel’s leader. “Get the people ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I’m giving you,” God said to him. “Tell them if they do everything I say, I will help them.”

Forty years before the Israelites had been at the same place. Then they refused to trust God. What would they do this time?

“Pack up!” Joshua told the people. “We’ll be leaving soon.”

Secretly he sent two spies to look over Canaan. “Pay special attention to the city of Jericho,” he told them.

When the men got to Jericho, someone saw them and went to the king. “Get those spies!” the king commanded his servants.

The spies hid in the home of a woman named Rahab. “The people are scared to death of you,” she said.

Why? (Joshua 2:10).
How do you think this made the spies feel?

The spies hiding under flax on the roof of Rahab's house - Artist unknownPicture from CC-Art.com
The spies hiding under flax on the roof of Rahab's house


Later Rahab helped the spies escape from the city.


 “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you.
Rahab helps the spies escape - James Tissot

When the spies made it back to camp, they told Joshua and the people how scared the Canaanites were. Then the people were filled with courage. “God is preparing the way for us to beat the Canaanites,” they said to each other. “He will help us win.”

Has God asked you to do something hard? Don’t look at the hard thing and feel discouraged. Instead have faith that God is preparing the way, working quietly and secretly behind the scenes for you too.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for preparing the way for me to succeed at what you’ve asked me to do. Amen


MORE: How spy-savvy are you?
1. Another name for a spy is: a] diplomat; b] civil servant; c] secret agent.

2. The job of a spy is to: a] get information about the enemy; b] find out who did the crime;
c] bring criminals to justice.

3. Spyware is: a] the web site where you make payments for things you buy;
b] software that collects information on where you surf on the internet; c] a website that collects passwords.

Spy stories: Stories about spies are full of suspense, adventure and excitement. Look for a spy story in your school or church library or your Christian book store.

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, March 19, 2015

The Last Chapter

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Deuteronomy 34:1-9

TO CHEW ON: "And Moses the servant of the Lord died there in Moab, as the Lord had said." Deuteronomy 34:5

God had told Moses he would die soon. So Moses did some last things. He gave his last talk to the people. He chose a new leader, Joshua. Then one day God told him to climb Mount Nebo.

When he got to the top he was treated to an amazing view. Before him was the whole land of Canaan, the land that would soon be home to the Israelites. Though God didn’t allow him to lead the people into it, he gave Moses a last wish by showing him what beautiful Canaan was like.

Moses views the promised land - James Tissot
And then Moses died.

When the Israelites realized that he was never coming back, they cried. They spent 30 days (a whole month) thinking about him, missing him and crying for him. But then life had to go on – even though they were without him

Has someone close to you died? How did it happen? How did you feel?

Death is always a sad time for those of us who are left here without someone we loved. We miss the person. We cry.

But like the Israelites, life goes on for us too. Though the passing of time slowly helps us feel better, we know we will never totally forget the people who were once a part of our lives. And we look forward to the time we will be with them again in heaven.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me feel Your comfort and hope when death touches my life. Amen.

MORE: A death "celebration"
Doctors tell us that looking at death squarely is healthier than ignoring it and pretending it never happened. To do this, people celebrate or honor the person who has died in different ways. The Israelites did it by setting aside thirty days to mourn and feel sad. Our customs are different.


1. If someone close to you has died, what things did you, your family and friends do to remember that person and grieve for them?

2. If you haven’t experienced the death of someone close to you, what are some things you’ve heard about and seen people do to grieve someone’s death?

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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, March 18, 2015

More Than Skin Deep

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Deuteronomy 6:1-12

TO CHEW ON: "These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates." Deuteronomy 6:6-9

Moses knew that after forty years of wandering in the desert, it was finally time for the Israelites to go into Canaan. But Moses wouldn’t be leading them. Because it was also time for him to die.

He gathered the people together to hear his last words. We can still read them today. They are the book of Deuteronomy.

Moses speaks to the people - Paul Hardy
Moses speaks to the people - Paul Hardy
In this long speech Moses reminded the people how God had helped them in the past. He challenged them to obey God always. He warned them against ever praying to idols. He talked about their covenant with God. He begged them to honor God and stay faithful to Him by following God’s rules and worshiping the way God had told them.

Some of these people probably couldn’t read. So how would they know and remember what God had said? Moses told them how. What three things could the people do to help them remember and pass on God’s words? (Deuteronomy 6:6-9):
1.
2.
3.

If the people did what Moses said, they would be reminded of God all day long. Could we also be doing some of these things to help us remember God?

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to think of You often, to learn what pleases You, and then to do it. Amen.

MORE: Bible Verse Flash GameWhat you need: 10 index cards, Bible, pen.


What you do:
1. Write ten Bible verses, one on each card. Write the verse and reference on one side. Write only the reference on the other side. Choose ten favorite verses of yours, or write out the eight memory verses we've learned so far in Bible Drive-Thru plus two more, or look up and copy these:
John 3:16; Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23; Matthew 11:28; John 10:14; Ephesians 2:10; Proverbs 16:3; Joshua 1:8; Jeremiah 23:29; Hebrews 4:12

2. Memorize each verse with its reference.

3. Play games with the cards

* Use the cards to test yourself. Show only the reference side and see if you can remember which verse it goes with and then recite it.

* Use the cards with one other person. Have that person hold up the reference and you say the verse. Then switch. See who says the most verses correctly.

*Use the cards with two or more people. Have one person hold up the reference side while others race to see who can recite the verse first. That person gets the card. After all cards are done, person with the most cards wins and gets to hold up cards for the others on the next round.

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, March 17, 2015

What's wrong with grumbling anyway?

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Numbers 21:4-9

TO CHEW ON: "But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, 'Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!' Numbers 21:4,5

Have you ever grumbled about any of these things: food, clothes, the weather, too much to do, not enough to do, the things you have, the things you don’t have?

I have to admit, I have – and I’d be surprised if you haven’t as well.

Grumbling and complaining are pretty common ways people react to things they don’t like. And that’s what the Israelites did as they continued their travels. They complained about God, Moses, the food, no water. Instead of trusting in what God had said about their future, they doubted and wailed, “We’re going to die in this desert.”

So God sent poisonous snakes among them. These snakes bit them and many of the people died – just for complaining! The only way they could be saved after they had been bitten was to look at the bronze snake Moses had mounted on a pole in the middle of the camp.

"Plague of fiery serpents" from Treasures of the Bible
"Plague of fiery serpents" from Treasures of the Bible
Wasn’t death an awfully harsh punishment for something as simple and common as grumbling? But the Israelites’ grumbling showed they had a bigger problem than simply being ungrateful for their leader and not liking what they had to eat and drink. It showed they weren’t trusting God’s character. They didn’t believe that He was in everything that happened to them. They didn’t trust that He really loved them and would work everything that happened to them into something good. They didn’t believe His promises.

Isn’t our grumbling the same? Even though God has given us some amazing promises in the Bible, when we grumble we are saying, “I don’t believe God is good. I don’t believe He will keep His promises to me.”

Let’s change our ways. When we are tempted to grumble, let’s remember God’s promises and choose to trust Him and believe that He will make something good out of even hungry, thirsty, anxious, boring or uncomfortable times.

PRAYER: Dear God, next time I feel like grumbling, help me remember promises of Your goodness. Amen.

MORE: Grumbling Antidote
An antidote is a medicine that cancels out the effect of poison. People who get bitten by snakes need to take an antidote called anti-venom.

Medicine bottle and spoon
The antidote to grumbling is God’s Word. Three verses which give us promises of God’s love and good plans for us are: Jeremiah 29:11, Jeremiah 31:3 and Hebrews 13:5.

Look them up on the internet or in your Bible. Then write out your favorite on a card or piece of paper. You might want to memorize it. Next time you are tempted to grumble, you can remind yourself about it. It can be your grumbling antidote.

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

Monday, March 16, 2015

No Favorites

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Numbers 20:1-13

TO CHEW ON: "But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 'Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.' ” Numbers 20:12

Now the Israelites kept traveling from place to place. While in the desert of Zin they ran out of water. As usual the people came to Moses to complain. “Why did you bring us here,” they whined. “There is no grain. There are no figs, grapes, and pomegranates. Now we have no water.”

When Moses and Aaron asked God what to do, God said to Moses, “Take your staff, gather the people and speak to that rock.”

So Moses did exactly as God had said – almost. He took his staff, gathered the people at the rock but then, instead of speaking to the rock, he hit it with his staff.

Water gushed out and the people stopped complaining and began drinking and filling up water jugs.

Moses hits the rock instead of speaking to it - Artist unknown

God had answered Moses’ prayer. But He was not pleased with Moses’ disobedience. Even though he was the leader God had chosen, and God had often talked to him like a friend, still God didn’t play favorites or make an exception for him. Instead He said, “Because of what you have done, you will not lead these people into the land I’m giving them.”

What a disappointment for Moses. After all this time, he would not be able to enter Canaan and live in the land God had promised.

Still today God doesn’t have favorites. He hates sin and won’t have anything to do with it no matter who does the sinning.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for always being fair. Help me to obey You always. Amen.

MORE: What is “holy”?
In this story God showed He wouldn’t have anything to do with sin (and Moses’ disobedience was sin), even if His friend did the sin. In this way “God showed himself holy among them.” Numbers 20:13.

When we say God is holy, we mean that He is separate from and above everything He has made. We also mean that He is separate from bad things (evil) and sin.

Holiness is a characteristic or attribute of God. We can say God is other things as well.

Choose the qualities or attributes of God, below, that tell us what God is like. Can you add any more to the list?
(Check these verses if you’re not sure: Psalm 89:14; Mark 10:18; Romans 2:4; Ephesians 2:4-5).

God is:

Answers

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, March 15, 2015

More Mutiny

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Numbers 16:1-7

TO CHEW ON: "Then he (Moses) said to Korah and all his followers: 'In the morning the Lord will show who belongs to him and who is holy and he will have that person come near him. The man he chooses he will cause to come near him.'” Numbers 16:5

The Israelites had refused to trust God to help them enter Canaan. Now they were doomed to live as nomads for 40 more years. They weren’t happy and it didn’t take long before rebellion broke out again.

This time Korah, one of the Levites (the tribe which took care of the holy things in the tabernacle) was the ringleader. One day he came with friends and 250 leaders to confront Moses. “Who said you should be the boss over us? We’re just as good as you are and God chose us too.”

“Let’s have a test,” Moses replied. “Tomorrow God will show whom He has chosen to be the leader.”

The next day Moses and Aaron came with their censers and stood outside the Tabernacle. Korah and his friends and fellow leaders came too. All the rebellious leaders stood with him, their censers full of burning incense.

Then Moses explained to them how everyone would know if Korah should be the leader or not. “If Korah lives and dies a natural death like any other person, then God hasn’t sent me to lead you,” he said. “But if the earth splits apart and swallows him, then you’ll know he is wrong.”

No sooner had he finished talking than the earth opened up right under Korah. It swallowed him, his family and all their possessions. Then fire from God came down and burned every one of the leaders who had opposed Moses. That day God showed that Moses was the leader He had chosen.

The earth swallows Korah and his family - Artist unknown
Our spiritual leaders are pastors, ministers, elders, deacons and teachers. Do we treat them with respect as people picked by God to lead us? Or do we have a Korah attitude toward them? We need to remember that if our leaders have been put over us by God, when we rebel against them we’re really rebelling against God ... not a safe thing to do.

PRAYER: Dear God, teach me how to respect and obey godly leaders. Amen


MORE: Government 101
There are different types of government. Government by one person, as the Israelites were led by Moses, is called autocracy.

But Moses got his direction from God, so their government should really be called theocracy.

When a country is governed by a king or queen, it is ruled by monarchy.

In our times countries where every adult can vote for leaders are a democracy.

- Can you name more kinds of government?

- What do you think - does God have control over who leads a church or who governs a country in an autocracy, a monarchy, a democracy? (Check out Psalm 75:6,7 and Daniel 2:21)

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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