Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Nile Rescue

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Exodus 1:22-2:10

TO CHEW ON: “...She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her female slave to get it. She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. ‘This is one of the Hebrew babies,’ she said.” Exodus 2:5,6

Joseph and his brothers eventually died. Their children continued to live in Egypt. Their numbers grew until they were a nation. The Egyptians called them Hebrews or Israelites.

Four hundred years passed. Now a different Pharaoh ruled in Egypt. He was mean. He made the Israelites his slaves. They were forced to work for no pay. Even so, the number of Israelites kept growing.

This made Pharaoh worried. There were too many. What would he do if they decided to rebel and not to obey him any more? So he passed a new law. Every baby boy must be killed at birth.

How terrible! Instead of being happy that a new baby was about to be born, now the mothers were terrified. For it was against the law to let a baby boy live.

We know that at least one family didn’t obey this law. Use the sentence fragments and your Bible (Exodus 2:3-8) to finish the story.

Pharaoh's daughter finds baby Moses - Artist unknown
(click on puzzle to enlarge and print)

In this amazing way God kept Moses alive. He grew up in a safe place—Pharaoh’s palace. And Moses’ own mother got to take care for him for a while.

Maybe you too are alive today when common sense says you should have died. Perhaps as a baby you were sick, or survived a deadly accident. You can know that just like God kept Moses alive to do a special job, He has kept you alive for the job He has just for you.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You that Your plans can’t be spoiled, by cruel laws and evil rulers, accidents or sickness. Amen

papyrus
Papyrus
MORE: All-purpose Papyrus

- Cyperus Papyrus was a plant that grew in shallow water along the banks of the Nile River.

- It could grow as tall as 5 meters (15 feet) and stems could be as wide as 15 cm. (6 inches).

- People used papyrus to make a lot of things like sandals, mats, baskets, fences, rope, roof material, life jackets and boats. Baby Moses' basket was made of papyrus.

- People also ate some parts of the papyrus plant and used other parts for medicine and fuel.

- Papyrus is best known for being used to make the first paper. In fact the word ‘paper’ comes from the word ‘papyrus.’

Find out more about papyrus here.

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.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Tears of Joy

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Genesis 46:28-34

TO CHEW ON: "Joseph had his chariot made ready and went to Goshen to meet his father Israel. As soon as Joseph appeared before him, he threw his arms around his father, and wept for a long time." Genesis 46:29

Have you ever been separated from people you love?

Perhaps you spent a week at camp. Or your parents live apart and you get to see one of them only seldom. Or you moved far away from your grandparents.

What feelings do you have when you’re about to meet them again:

nervous, excited, like crying, like laughing, worried, impatient, scared, happy

Painting by James Tissot
I’m sure Joseph was having some of those feelings while he waited for his father to arrive in Egypt. Finally the day arrived. Judah went ahead of the others. He found Joseph and said, “The whole family is here. Where do we go?”

Joseph got in his chariot and rode out to meet his father. What did he do when he saw Israel?
_______________________ (Genesis 46:29).

We usually think of people crying when they are hurt or sad. But people also cry when they are happy. Getting back together with the people we love most, like family, is one time we easily cry tears of joy.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for the strong love of family. Amen.

MORE: Crying and Tears

Though people have studied crying and tears a lot, scientists are still not sure exactly what happens when people cry. Here are some things they do know:

1. Babies cry when they’re hungry, uncomfortable, in pain, or for attention.

2. Children and adults cry for lots of other reasons too - like when they’re sad, stressed or happy!

3. Fake crying is called ‘crocodile tears.’ (Why? Probably because sea-water crocodiles often shed tears to remove salt water from their bodies.)

4. Our bodies make three kinds of tears:
i] tears to keep our eyes moist and guard against dust and infection.

ii] reflex tears which come when we peel onions or are in smoke.

iii] emotional tears which we cry when we’re sad or happy. These tears have more protein and hormones in them. (And so some scientists think that crying and tears are our body’s way of getting rid of substances that are caused by stress.)

Can you find more facts about crying and tears?

Answer

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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.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Made Good by God

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Genesis 45:1-15

TO CHEW ON: “And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.” Genesis 45:5

After hearing Judah’s offer to take Benjamin’s place, Joseph knew his brothers were changed. Suddenly all the feelings he had been holding inside – the sadness at being hated and sold by his brothers, the fear, the homesickness, the years of being away from his family, the mixed-up feelings he got when he saw his brothers again – needed to come out.

Joseph dismissed his servants, and began to cry. “I am Joseph,” he told his brothers between sobs. “Is my father still living?”

Joseph greeting his brothers - Artist unknown
Joseph greeting his brothers - Artist unknown
His brothers were scared of him. Now Joseph was the powerful one. He could do anything he wanted with them. Would he want revenge?

But he told them, “Don’t worry. God was in everything that happened. You meant to do a bad thing to me, but God made something good out of it. Because I am here in Egypt, our whole family can be saved from the famine.”

We too may have experienced things we don’t understand. People may have hurt us, or left us or treated us badly. We may have gone through loneliness and confusion. We may have wondered, why is this happening? But like Joseph, we too can trust God to make good things out of bad in our lives.

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to trust you with every part of my life, like Joseph did. Amen.

MORE: Puzzling the puzzle

Some things that happen to us may feel like puzzle pieces that don’t fit.

1. What things have happened to you that you don’t understand?

2. What things have happened to you that you didn’t understand once, but now you’re beginning to see how they make sense?

3. What do you think—do we need to understand why things happen to us? Why or why not.

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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.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Pass or Fail?

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Genesis 44:1-13, 33-34

TO CHEW ON: “’Now then, please let your servant remain here as my lord’s slave in place of the boy, and let the boy return with his brothers. How can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? No! Do not let me see the misery that would come on my father.’” (Genesis 44:33,34)

Joseph’s brothers went back to their father with food. They told him about the mean Egyptian prince who said they must bring Benjamin with them next time. But Jacob said he would never let Benjamin go.

Soon the grain was gone and the family was desperate for food again. The brothers begged Jacob to let Benjamin go with them. Finally Benjamin’s older brother Judah promised that if the Egyptian prince threatened any harm to Benjamin, he would take his place.

When the brothers got to Egypt, the prince did a strange thing. He invited them to his home and served them a banquet. He even seated them in order of age from oldest to youngest. Then he gave Benjamin five times more food than everyone else. Finally he sent them on their way with the supplies they needed.

No sooner had they left than Joseph’s Egyptian servant came after them. “My master’s special cup is missing,” he said. “If it’s found in one of your sacks, that person will come back with me and be a slave to my master.”

The cup was found in Benjamin’s sack.


All the brothers went back to Egypt. “Why did you steal my cup?” Joseph asked.

“We don’t know how it got there,” Judah said. Then he told Joseph how important Benjamin was to his father. “ You can’t keep him,” he said. “It would kill my father. I will take his place.”

What do you think—have the brothers changed? Did they pass Joseph’s test?

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to love my brothers, sisters and friends like Judah loved his father and Benjamin. Amen

MORE: Greater Love

Joseph’s brothers were once jealous and hateful. Now Judah was willing to take Benjamin’s punishment, even though Benjamin was treated better than all the others.

Instead of being jealous Judah had learned how to love. Jesus’ words tell us about the kind of love Judah had learned. You might want to memorize them.

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.” (John 15:12,13)

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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.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Testing, testing

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Genesis 42:1-17

TO CHEW ON: “Joseph said to them, ‘It is just as I told you: You are spies! And this is how you will be tested: As surely as Pharaoh lives, you will not leave this place unless your youngest brother comes here.’” (Genesis 42: 14,15)

Joseph was made a ruler in Egypt

The dream Joseph explained to Pharaoh came true. After seven years of good crops the rains stopped and crops were poor. Everyone was hungry. When the people came to Pharaoh for food, he sent them to Joseph.

Joseph had collected food in storehouses during the good years. Now he sold the storehouse food to the hungry people. Soon people from countries all around were coming to Joseph for food too.

One day ten foreign travelers came to Joseph. They looked familiar. Suddenly he knew why. They were his brothers! What thoughts do you think went through Joseph’s mind as he saw his brothers again after all those years?

Joseph’s brothers didn’t recognize him. And he didn’t tell them who he was. “Where are you from?” he asked them roughly. When they told him, he said, “You’re lying. You’re spies.”

“No!” they said. “We’re all sons of one father. Only our youngest brother is with our father in Canaan.”

“You’re spies,” Joseph insisted. He put them in prison. After three few days he let them out and sent them home with food. But he kept one in prison. “He’ll stay here till you come back with your youngest brother.”

In the past these brothers tried to kill Joseph. Now he was testing them. Were they still selfish and mean? Or had they changed?

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to treat others with kindness now, so they won’t have a reason to get even or test me later. Amen.

MORE: All Kinds of Tests

Joseph tested his brothers’ characters by the way he treated them. Our teachers in school test what we know (our knowledge) by giving quizzes and exams. Here is a fun way to test the physical makeup of some things around your house. This test tells you whether a substance is ACID, BASE or NEUTRAL. (Make sure you get adult supervision when you use the stove.)

What you do:

1. Grate the cabbage and measure 2 cups

2. Place cabbage in the saucepan and cover with water.

3. Simmer for 15 minutes and let cool.

4. Strain out the cabbage, saving the liquid.

5. Pour a little of the liquid in each of the six glasses.

6. Stir one of the things to test into each of the glasses and watch the color change.

7. Cabbage soup tester key:
- If the cabbage soup liquid turns PINK - the test material is ACID
- If the cabbage soup liquid turns BLUE - the test material is BASE
- If the cabbage soup liquid stays SAME - the test material is NEUTRAL

Friday, February 5, 2016

Perfect Timing

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Genesis 41:1-16, 39,40

TO CHEW ON: “Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Since God has made this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.’” (Genesis 41:39,40)

Two years passed after the cup bearer was set free, Joseph was still in prison.

One night Pharaoh had a dream. It scared him and he wanted to know what it meant. But when he called his wise men and magicians, they couldn’t tell him the meaning of the dream.

Then someone remembered a dream he had had, and the young Hebrew prisoner who told him what it meant. It was the cup bearer. At last he remembered Joseph!

Servants came for Joseph. They took off his prison uniform, put new clothes on him and brought him to Pharaoh.



Pharaoh told Joseph his dream – and Joseph told him the meaning! Then Pharaoh did something amazing. He made Joseph the second boss in the whole land.

I’m sure Joseph often wondered, will the cup bearer ever think of me? Will I ever get out of here? But when it was God’s time, Joseph went from being a prisoner to a prince in one day!

PRAYER: Dear God, You have a perfect time for everything in my life. Thank you! Amen.

MORE: Luck, Coincidence – or God?

Sometimes when things fit together perfectly, we call it good luck, or coincidence. But such times are really examples of God putting things together in the perfect way, at the perfect time.

Can you tell a story of a time when God did this for you?

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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.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Isn't this the plan?

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Genesis 40:1-23

TO CHEW ON: “But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison.” (Genesis 40:14)

- Maybe the teacher will forget about giving the test.
- Maybe the new kid will turn out to be my friend.

When we’re not ready for a test or we need a friend, we can think of ways God might answer our prayers.

I’m sure Joseph had been praying to get out of prison. Now he probably thought Pharaoh’s cup-bearer was going to be the answer to that prayer. After Joseph told the cup-bearer that he would be be going free, Joseph asked him to talk to Pharaoh. Pharaoh could get innocent Joseph out of jail.

Can’t you just imagine Joseph watching the prison door after the cup-bearer was set free, waiting for someone to tell him he could go free too? But day after day no one came. Soon he realized his prayers to go free would not be answered in the way he thought.



God often doesn’t answer our prayers the way we expect. But still we can trust Him. Because He knows everything and will answer at the right time and in the best way.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to keep trusting You even when my prayers aren’t answered for a long time. Amen.

MORE: When God said "Wait"


Joseph wasn't the only person in the Bible who had to wait for God's answer. The puzzle clues tell of many Bible characters who had to wait before their prayers were answered.

Solve the puzzle using the clues and the name bank.

- Jesus made (3 Across) and (3 Down) wait when their brother (6 Across) was sick. (John 11:1-5)

- Jesus told His disciples not to leave (2 Down) but to wait for the (8 Across) (Acts 1:4,5).

- God made (7 Down) wait until he was 100 years old to give him a promised son (10 Down) (Genesis 21:1-5).

- Because (9 Down) refused to wait for (1 Down) but made an offering to God himself, God took the kingdom from his family. (1 Samuel 13:7-14).

- (5 Down) didn’t kill King Saul but waited to become king till (4 Across) took care of Saul (1 Samuel 26:7-11).  


Name bank: Saul, Mary, Jerusalem, Isaac, David, God, Samuel, Lazarus, Martha, Abraham, Holy Spirit (used as one word)


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.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Hard Times

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Genesis 39:7-23

TO CHEW ON:But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden.” (Genesis 39:20b,21)



Have you ever been blamed for something you didn’t do? That’s what happened to Joseph.

At first everything went well. When the Ishmaelites who had bought Joseph got to Egypt they sold him to Pharaoh’s servant Potiphar. Joseph liked his job and did such good work, Potiphar soon put him in charge of everything he owned.

But Mrs. Potiphar liked Joseph too – in a sexual way. She tried over and over to get him to sin with her. Over and over, Joseph said, “No.” One day she tricked him. She got him alone in the house. “Come to me,” she said to Joseph.

Again Joseph said, “No!” Then he ran out of the house.

Mrs. Potiphar was angry and humiliated. “Joseph tried to rape me,” she lied. Immediately Potiphar arrested Joseph and put him in the king’s prison.

But instead of feeling sorry for himself, Joseph got right back to work helping the jailer. In no time the jailer put him in charge of all the prisoners.

1.Why was Joseph successful in Potiphar’s house? (Genesis 39:5)

2. Why was Joseph’s successful in prison? (Genesis 39:21)

God was with Joseph the slave. He was with Joseph the prisoner. He is with you too – always. Even when you’re in a bad place and living through hard times, you can know God’s kindness and favor.

PRAYER: Dear God, please be kind to me and show me favor even in hard times. Amen.

MORE: Egypt’s Prisons

Egyptian prisons were not like our prisons today.
- They were often round buildings.
- They were dug partly into the ground, like a dungeon, with a roof like a bowl.
- The king’s prison was attached to the palace buildings.
- If no one investigated the charges against someone, he could be in prison for the rest of his life.
- The king’s prison was especially strict.

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.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Jealousy's Rotten Fruit

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Genesis 37:12-36

TO CHEW ON: “... So Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him.” (Genesis 37:17b,18)


Joseph’s brothers were far away from home, herding their father’s flocks. One day Joseph’s father Israel (also called Jacob) sent Joseph to see how his brothers were getting along. Finish the story by filling in the answers from the words at the bottom:

When Joseph was still far away his brother recognized him and planned to 1. _______ (Genesis 37:20).
When he got there they 2. ________ and 3. _________ (Genesis 37:23,24).
But they didn’t kill him. Instead they 4. ____________ (Genesis 37:27)

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threw him in a cistern
stripped off his coat
sold him to the Ishmaelites
kill him
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Jealousy grew in Joseph’s brothers from hatred to thoughts of murder. Our jealous thoughts can grow in the same way. But that doesn’t have to happen. Instead we can take our jealous feelings to God. We can ask for His help to work through them.

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to deal with jealousy in my life. Amen.

MORE: Dealing with the jealousy monster

Here are some ways to deal with jealousy. Cross out the one that doesn’t belong.

1. Admit your jealousy and call it what it is – sin (Galatians 5:19, 20,21).

2. Ask for God’s forgiveness (1 John 1:9).

3. Ask God for wisdom to deal with jealous feelings (James 1:5).

4. Accept yourself as God made you (Romans 12:3-8).

5. Accept that it’s okay to be jealous once in a while because the temptation is hard to resist, and no one is perfect (1 Corinthians 10:13).

6. Accept the circumstances of your life (including the thing that makes you jealous) as something God can turn into good (Romans 8:28).


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.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Jealousy

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Genesis 37:1-11

TO CHEW ON: “His brothers were jealous of him (Joseph), but his father kept the matter in mind.” Genesis 37:11

Joseph was his dad’s favorite. Joseph’s brothers knew this because their dad made Joseph a special coat.



Joseph also had dreams. In them his brothers and parents bowed down to him. When his brothers saw his special coat and heard his dreams they became jealous of him. Soon they hated him.

What is jealousy? It’s a bad feeling we have toward someone who:
- gets what we think we deserve.
- gets what we would like to have.
- gets what we once had and lost.

Jealous feelings can start with something as small as not liking someone. But if we let them grow they become hate. Have you been jealous at times like these?
- a brother or sister gets a lot of your parents’ attention.
- someone else gets picked for the position you wanted on the team.
- the trophy you won last year now goes to someone else.
Can you name more?

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to recognize the jealousy in my life. Amen.

MORE: The end of the jealousy story

If we let jealousy grow, it leads to a bad ending. Match the beginning of each jealousy story with what was (or might have been) its ending. Look up the Bible references if you need help.

Cain – Genesis 4:8
Saul – 1 Samuel 18:9-11
The administrators and satraps – Daniel 6:6,7,16
Priests and Pharisees – John 11:53



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.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

He's Back!

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Genesis 35:1-15

TO CHEW ON: "Jacob set up a stone pillar at the place where God had talked with him, and he poured out a drink offering on it; he also poured oil on it. Jacob called the place where God had talked with him Bethel." Genesis 35:14,15

Jacob and his family had spent many months moving around, living as nomads. One day God talked to Jacob again. He told him to go to Bethel and settle there.

Jacob hears the voice of the Lord - by Frederick SandysJacob hears the voice of the Lord - by Frederick Sandys


Jacob had been at Bethel before.

1. Why did he stop there the first time? (Genesis 28:11)

2. What happened during the night? (Genesis 28:12)

3. What promise did God make to Jacob the first time he was in Bethel? (Genesis 28:15)

4. Now, years later, Jacob had a large family. He was rich with servants and cattle. And he was back at Bethel. Had God kept His promise? (Genesis 35:14,15)

PRAYER: You are a God who keeps promises. Thank you! Amen.

MORE: Promises

Below are three Bible promises. Choose one. Why is it important to you? You might also want to memorize it.

"When you pass through the waters I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." (Isaiah 43:2)

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you"” - Jesus (John 14:1,2)

“Therefore I tell you whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” - Jesus (Mark 11:24)

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Can you find the city of Bethel on this map of ancient cities? It's north of Jerusalem.

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You can download and print a coloring book that tells the story of Jacob's here .

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.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Reunion

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Genesis 33:1-11

TO CHEW ON:
“If I have found favor in your eyes, accept this gift from me. For to see your face is like seeing the face of God, now that you have received me favorably.” Genesis 33:10

The day Jacob had looked forward to and dreaded was here. Today, after many years, he would see Esau again.

1.What happened when the brothers met? Genesis 33:4
2. Who of the brothers had done something wrong and needed to be forgiven?
3. Who did the forgiving?

The meeting of Jacob and Esau - Artist unknownThe meeting of Jacob and Esau

Seeing Esau again and knowing he was no longer angry was a big deal for Jacob. He compared getting Esau’s forgiveness to seeing the face of God.

Are there broken friendships in your life? Be like Jacob and Esau, and mend them.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me forgive the people who have hurt me, and help the people I have hurt to forgive me. Amen.

MORE: Forgiveness
What does it mean to forgive? Do you agree or disagree with the statements about forgiveness, below. Look up the reference to see what the Bible says.

1. It’s enough to say ‘I forgive you,’ even though you keep thinking mean thoughts about the person who hurt you. (Psalm 103:12)

2. You can’t forgive someone unless they say ‘sorry’ to you. (Luke 11:4)

3. You should forgive someone as soon as they hurt or offend you. (Mark 11:25)

4. If you forgive a person for something, but then he does the same thing over and over, you don’t have to forgive him because it seems he’s not really sorry. (Luke 17:4)

5. We should forgive others, just like Jesus forgave us. (Colossians 3:13)

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.

Friday, January 29, 2016

God is Here

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Genesis 32:22-31

TO CHEW ON: "So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, 'It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.'" Genesis 32:30

Soon Jacob was a father, once, twice. three times... As he kept working for Laban, God blessed him with wealth and many children. But things were not going well. Laban and his sons were jealous of Jacob’s wealth. There was quarreling.

One day God told Jacob to move back to his childhood home. He sneaked away from Laban with his family. Though Laban came after him, he didn’t make Jacob come back. Now Jacob and his family were really on their own.

To get back home, he had to pass through Edom, where his brother Esau lived. This worried Jacob a lot. Was Esau still angry with him? Did Esau still want to kill him?

He got ready to meet Esau by preparing a gift of animals and servants. He put the gift in front, with his own flocks behind that, and at the very back his wives and children.

The night before they met, he spent time alone, praying and worrying about what the next day would bring. Then a man met him. They begin to wrestle. At dawn, after they had wrestled all night, the man said, “Let me go.”

“Bless me first,” Jacob begged.

Jacob wrestling with the Angel - Gustave Dore
Jacob wrestling with the Angel - Gustave Dore
“Your name will be changed from Jacob to Israel,*” the man replied. Then with one touch He crippled Jacob’s hip. Now Jacob knew this was not an ordinary man, but God. He felt good because he knew God had not forgotten about him. God would be with him on this day when he met his brother Esau.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You that when I am worried and anxious, You are there. Amen.

MORE: Seeing God

God showed Himself to several people in the Bible. (When God makes Himself visible to people we call it a theophany.) Which of these statements about seeing God are true? Which false? Look up the Bible references if you’re unsure.

____ 1. Sometimes when God appeared, He looked like a man. (Genesis 18:1-2)

____ 2. Moses, Aaron and the 70 leaders of Israel died when they saw God. (Exodus 24:9-11)

____ 3. Sometimes God appeared to people in dreams. (1 Kings 3:5)

____ 4. Some people who saw God felt dirty and unclean. (Isaiah 6:5)

____ 5. People thought if they saw God, they would die. (Judges 13:22)

____ 6. God only appeared to people when they were in church. (2 Chronicles 3:1)

*Israel means “he struggles or wrestles with God.

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.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Tricked!

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Genesis 29:15-28

Jacob and Rachel - Artist unknown
Jacob falls in love with - Artist unknown

TO CHEW ON: "When morning came, there was Leah! So Jacob said to Laban, 'What is this you have done to me? I served you for Rachel, didn’t I? Why have you deceived me?'" Genesis 29:25

Jacob eventually found his mother’s relatives in Haran. There he got work with his uncle Laban. He also fell in love with Laban’s beautiful daughter Rachel. Laban told Jacob he could marry Rachel if he worked for him seven years.

Seven years pass quickly. Now it was the wedding day. But after the party was over, Jacob found his uncle had married him to Leah, Rachel’s older sister. (In that time women’s wedding clothes included veils to hide their faces.)

“Why did you deceive me?” Jacob asked his uncle. Now Jacob found out how Esau felt when he was tricked.

Jesus said, “Whatever measure you use will be used towards you and even more than that.” (Mark 4:24 Phillips). As Jacob discovered, the way we treat others becomes the way others treat us.

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to treat others the way I would want to be treated. Amen.

SUPERSIZE IT: Two Wives!?

In Bible times it was common for men to have more than one wife. This is called polygamy.

Even though many people had more than one wife, it led to problems. Usually the husband liked one wife more than the others. There was often jealousy and quarreling among the wives.

Sometimes kings had several wives for political power. They married foreign princesses to make alliances with other nations.

Later in the Bible, most marriages were monogamous (one wife, one husband). They followed God’s plan for marriage given in Genesis: “...a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife and they become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24)

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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.