Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Keep On Praying

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Kings 18:41-46

TO CHEW ON: "Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees. 'Go and look toward the sea,' he told his servant. And he went up and looked. 'There is nothing there," he said. Seven times Elijah said, 'Go back.'" 1 Kings 18: 42,43

God sent the fire to burn Elijah’s sacrifice. Elijah killed all the Baal prophets. But there was more to come. For God told Elijah He would send rain on dry, dusty Israel. Even though the sun was still blazing from the cloudless sky, Elijah was sure that God would keep His promise. “Rain is coming,” he told Ahab.

Then Elijah went to the top of Carmel, got on his knees and began praying for rain. After he had prayed for a while, he sent his servant to check the distant horizon.


“Nothing,” the servant told Elijah when he got back.

Elijah prayed some more. Then he sent the servant to look again.

Again the servant saw nothing – no clouds, no sign of rain.

Five more times Elijah prayed and sent his servant to check the horizon.

- How do you think Elijah felt as he prayed and prayed but still there was no sign of rain?
- What do you think kept him praying even though his prayer wasn’t answered right away?

Finally, the seventh time, the servant came back shouting, “There’s a small cloud, rising from the sea.”


Elijah got up from his knees. “Go tell Ahab to get off this mountain before he gets caught in the rain,” he commanded.




In no time the wind had picked up, the sky was black and big drops of rain were pounding the dust. People rushed off the mountain toward home, but not fast enough to avoid getting drenched in the welcome rain.

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to keep praying even when You don’t answer right away. Amen.


MORE: Prayer and Answer Journal
We don’t know why God answers some prayers immediately, others after a short while and still others only after a long time. But we do know that when God has put a desire in us to pray for something, and a promise that He will answer, we need to keep praying until that answer comes.

To help you look for and recognize the times God answers your prayers, start a “Prayer and Answer Journal.”


What you need:
- a lined school notebook, a ruler, black or blue pen or pencil and a red pen or pencil.

What to do:
1. Draw a line down the middle of each page to divide it into two columns.

2. Label the left columns “Prayers” (using black or blue pen/pencil) and the right columns “Answers” (using red pen/pencil)

3. Write (and date) the things you are praying for (in black or blue) under “Prayers” on the left.

4. When God answers your prayers, enter the answers in the right column (in red). Date them too.

When you are watching for answers to your prayers, you won’t miss them as easily. All the answers you write down will encourage your faith and help you to keep praying.

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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, May 25, 2015

Fire Power

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Kings 18:25-39


TO CHEW ON: “Answer me, O Lord, answer me so these people will know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” 1 Kings 18:37

“You go first,” Elijah told the Baal prophets. “Prepare your sacrifice. Put it on the wood. But don’t light a fire under it. Instead, pray to Baal to send the fire.”

The four hundred prophets of Baal did as Elijah said. It was morning when they began to pray. “Oh Baal, answer us!” they shouted, over and over, louder and louder. When nothing happened, they shouted even louder and began dancing around.

When it was noon and still nothing had happened, Elijah began to tease then. “Maybe your god is meditating. He is a god, after all. Or maybe he’s busy, or traveling or sleeping.”

So the prophets yelled at the top of their voices and danced around and even cut themselves. Soon there was chaos, screaming and blood everywhere – but still no fire.

Finally Elijah said to the people watching, “Come here.”


They crowded around as he repaired the ruined altar of God that was on the mountain. Then he dug a deep trench around it. He put wood on top of the altar and the sacrifice on top of the wood. “Now bring water,” he told the people. So they brought four large jars of precious water. Elijah had them pour the water over the sacrifice. Two more times he told them to get more water. Finally the sacrifice and wood were drenched and even the trench around the altar was full.

Then Elijah prayed: “Answer me, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, so the people will know that You are God.”

1. What happened? (I Kings 18:38) ____________

2. Then what did the people do? (1 Kings 18:39) _____________



PRAYER: Dear God, I worship You, the only God Who has the power to answer. Amen.

MORE: Power Signs
The Bible has many stories of God proving His existence with supernatural happenings. Can you name two?

What do you think – does God still use such signs in our times to prove to people that He is real? Explain why you think as you do.


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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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Decision Time

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Kings 18:16-24

TO CHEW ON: "Elijah went before the people and said, 'How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.' But the people said nothing." 1 Kings 18:21

Obadiah found Ahab and told him that Elijah had turned up.

“Is it really you, you troublemaker?” Ahab asked when he saw Elijah.

“I’m no troublemaker,” Elijah replied. “You’re the one who is making trouble by ignoring God’s commands and following Baal instead. But it’s time for a showdown. Get all the Baal prophets and gather the people on Mount Carmel.”

When everyone had gathered, Elijah addressed the people. “How long will you go back and forth?” he asked. “It’s time to decide who you’re going to follow. So we’ll have a contest. We’ll prepare two sacrifices. The Baal prophets will put together a sacrifice for Baal and I’ll prepare one for God. Then we’ll each pray to our god. The one that answers by sending fire to burn his sacrifice is the real God. He is the one we should worship."



The people agreed this was a good plan.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to know that You are the real God, and to worship You alone. Amen.


MORE: God or Baal?
Suppose you were one of the people on Mount Carmel.

1. What would you need to see to convince you that Baal was real?

2. What would you need to see to convince you that God was real?

3. Suppose Baal doesn’t answer with fire, but God does. Then you will need to make a decision. Will you go from worshiping Baal to God – or not?
a] What are some advantages to worshiping God instead of Baal?
b] What are some disadvantages to worshiping God instead of Baal?


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, May 23, 2015

Yes Lord!

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Kings 18:1-15

TO CHEW ON: "After a long time, in the third year, the word of the Lord came to Elijah: 'Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land.' So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab." 1 Kings 18:1,2

Obadiah had a tough job and an evil boss. His job was to be in charge of the palace in Samaria, where Ahab and Jezebel ruled. What made this especially hard was the fact that Obadiah loved and obeyed God. His boss, Ahab, didn’t.

Because Obadiah loved God, he did a dangerous thing. When Queen Jezebel was killing all the prophets of God, he sneaked one hundred of them away and hid them so they were safe.


The last while had been hard for King Ahab. Three years passed from when Elijah came to him and said there would be no rain. By now the land was completely scorched, the grass yellow, the plants brown and shriveled. This day Ahab sent Obadiah out to look for any patches of grass left where animals could graze.


As he walked along the road who should he meet but Elijah! Obadiah recognized him, bowed down and said “Is it really you?”

“Yes,” Elijah replied. For it happened that at that very same time, God had said to Elijah, “Now it’s time to go back to Ahab. I will send rain.”

“Go tell Ahab that I’m here,” Elijah said to Obadiah.

“You’d better not disappear again!” Obadiah said. “If I tell Ahab you’re here, and you disappear again, I’m dead!”

“Don’t worry,” Elijah told Obadiah. “I’m not going anywhere. God has told me to come before Ahab now, and I will.”

Obadiah and Elijah had very different jobs. But both of them loved the same God. When God asked them to do something, their answer was “Yes Lord!” even if it put them in danger. As a result, God could use them in important ways.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to willingly and quickly do whatever You ask me to do. Amen.

SUPERSIZE IT: “Yes” People
One of the ways God does what He has planned to do on earth is through people who say ‘Yes’ to what He asks. Obadiah and Elijah were people like that. There were many other Bible characters who acted in the same way. Match the person, below, with the thing God asked them to do.

1. Mary (Luke 1:31,38) _____

2. Samuel (1 Samuel 3:10) _____

3. Noah (Genesis 6:14) _____

4. Moses (Exodus 3:10) _____

*****************

A. Listen to God’s message for Eli the priest.
B. Build a big boat (ark) on dry ground.
C. Become the mother of Jesus.
D. Lead the Israelites out of Egypt.

Each of these people answered “Yes” to what God asked. They became important characters in God’s story.

Do you want to be a player in God’s story? Decide today that you will answer “yes” to anything and everything God asks you to do.

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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Friday, May 22, 2015

Amazing Flour and Oil

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Kings 17:7-16

TO CHEW ON: "Elijah said to her, 'Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: "The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land." ' ” 1 Kings 17:13,14

After Elijah had lived by the brook for a while, he noticed a change. The hot sun was drying it up. It no longer flowed fast. Soon it was only a trickle. One day there was no water left in the brook at all.

That day God spoke to Elijah again. “Go at once to Zarephath in Sidon. A widow there will feed you.”

So Elijah walked to Zarephath. It was a hundred mile trip through scorching dessert, over rugged hills and through mountain passes. When he finally got to the Zarephath gate he was covered with dust, famished and very thirsty. “Could you please give me a drink of water?” he asked a woman who was gathering sticks. As she left to get the water, Elijah called after her, “And could you get me some bread too.”

“I don’t have any bread,” she replied. “I was just now gathering sticks to bake the last bread I can make with the flour and oil I have left.”


“Don’t worry,” Elijah told her. “You do that. But first, bring me a little bread. Because God has told me your flour and oil won’t be used up until He sends rain again.”

So the widow did as Elijah asked. She made bread that day and gave some to Elijah and her family. And she made bread for Elijah and her family the next day, and the next and the next. It was wonderful and strange. Even though it looked like there was just enough flour and oil for one more baking, it never got used up. Because she believed the promise that Elijah gave her and was generous to share all that she had, God supplied all her needs.

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to be generous with the things I have, and to trust You for the things I need. Amen.



MORE: Zarephath Bread
The bread the Zarephath widow made Elijah was different than the food we know as bread. It was probably more like flatbread or crackers. Try the recipe below and get a taste of Zarephath bread:

What you need:

1 cup flour
1 tablespoon oil
1 large egg
⅓ teaspoon salt
2 ⅔ tablespoons water (or milk)

What you do:
Combine flour and salt. Combine egg and oil. Beat. Then add egg mixture to flour. Add water and beat for 2-3 minutes. Pour the batter into an 8 inch greased pan. Bake at 450 for 20 minutes.

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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, May 21, 2015

Special Delivery

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Kings 17:1-6

TO CHEW ON: “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.” 1 Kings 17:3,4

After Jeroboam died his son was king for two years. Then, like the prophet had predicted, Jeroboam’s family was completely wiped out and another man, Baasha, took the throne. In the forty years that followed, Baasha and three more kings ruled, each one more wicked than the last. Finally Ahab became king. He not only copied the evil of past kings but he also married a very evil woman, Jezebel. She brought with her a whole new set of Baal idols.

At this time God gave a prophet named Elijah a message for Ahab. So Elijah went to the palace, got an appointment with the king and told him, “This is what the God of Israel, whom I serve, told me to tell you. There will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years, except at my word.” Then he left.

True to what Elijah said, all dew and rain stopped. It got drier and drier. Soon the situation was grim. “Find that man!” Ahab told his servants. “We’ll force him to make it rain again!”

The servants fanned out across the countryside. They looked in cities, towns, villages and out-of-the-way buildings. But Elijah was no where to be found.

This is because God was taking care of him. Soon after Elijah had talked to Ahab, God told him to go and live in Kerith ravine, beside a brook. The brook supplied him with water while ravens brought him meat and bread morning and night.


God knew that he would be in danger after talking to Ahab. So God told him where to hide and made sure that he had the water and food to live.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You that You take care of us when we do what You ask. Amen.


MORE: Ravens
Find out about ravens through books or the internet.

- What do they look like?

- What do they eat?

- How do they behave?

- How was their bringing food to Elijah normal raven behavior? How was it abnormal?

- What can we learn about God’s power over nature through this story?

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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, May 20, 2015

A Plan of His Own

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Kings 12:25-33

TO CHEW ON: "The king made two golden calves. He said to the people, 'It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.' " 1 Kings 12:28

Jeroboam went to live in Schechem and ruled Israel from there. The prophet had told him he would be a successful king if he obeyed God. Even so, Jeroboam began to be afraid. His people would go back to Jerusalem to worship. What if traveling back to Jerusalem would make them want Rehoboam as their king again?

So Jeroboam made a plan to keep that from happening. Instead of encouraging the people to worship God in the temple in Jerusalem he set up calf idols nearby – one in Dan and another in Bethel. He told the people, "Here are the gods who brought you out of Egypt." Then he chose people who weren’t in the Levi tribe to be the priests. They offered sacrifices to the golden calves.


Jeroboam also invented new festivals. At festival time, the people now went to Dan or Bethel instead of Jerusalem. In no time the people who had chosen Jeroboam as their king had forgotten all about God and were up to their necks in idol worship.

Everything went along fine until Jeroboam’s son got sick. Jeroboam feared he would die. He got his wife to disguise herself and go to the prophet Ahijah – the one who, years earlier, had predicted he would be king.

By now Ahijah was an old man. But God still talked to him. Before Jeroboam’s wife arrived, God told Ahijah who was coming and what to say to her. When Jeroboam’s wife got there Ahijah greeted her by name. Then he gave her a message for Jeroboam, “God raised you up to be king,” he said. “But you haven’t followed His ways. Now know that as soon as your wife steps into your home, your son will die. And God will raise up another king in Israel to take the place of you and your family.”


How differently the story could have turned out if only Jeroboam had trusted God and done things His way, instead of worrying and making plans of his own.

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to trust You and follows Your ways, instead of making up my own way to do things. Amen.

SUPERSIZE IT: Straight paths
Are you ever tempted to do things your way instead of trusting that God’s way is best. Here is a verse to remind you to trust in God for everything. Write or print it out and put it up where you will see it often. It would be a good verse to memorize.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5,6



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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, May 19, 2015

A Young King's Advisers

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Kings 12:1-15

TO CHEW ON: "But Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him." 1 Kings 12:8

After being king in Israel for forty years, Solomon died. When Jeroboam, who was still in Egypt, heard this, he rushed back to Israel. Then he led the people of Israel when they came before Solomon’s son Rehoboam, who was the new king. They wanted to ask something of him.

“Solomon your father forced us to work very hard,” they said. “We will serve you as king if you are easier on us.”

“I’ll give you my decision in three days,” Rehoboam told them. During those days, Rehoboam went to some people for advice. First he went to the elders, those men who had advised his father and had experience working with people and in government.


Then Rehoboam went to his friends, the young men he’d grown up with. “What do you think?” he asked them. “Should I do what the people ask?”

“No way!” they said to him. “You’re the king. Make sure they know it. Tell them, if you think my father was bad, you haven’t seen anything yet!”

1. Which advice to you think was wiseset? ____________

2. Which advice did Rehoboam listen to? (1 Kings 12:14)._____________

Three days later the people gathered again to hear Rehoboam’s answer. What did he say? Complete each statement (1 Kings 12:14):

3. “My father made your yoke heavy. I will ___________

4. “My father scourged you with whips. I will _____________


Because of Rehoboam’s harsh answer, the people of ten Israel tribes decided they no longer wanted Rehoboam to be their king. Instead they chose Jeroboam to lead them, just as the prophet had predicted. Because Rehoboam listened to foolish advice, the kingdom was split.

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to know wise advice and to follow it. Amen.

MORE: Finding Wise Advisers
Do you ever ask for advice? Asking for advice is a wise thing to do – if you choose to ask the right people. Who would you ask for advice about the following situations? Choose from the list of possible advice-givers at the bottom, or fill in your own choice.


1. You have had a pain in your stomach for weeks. ________

2. When you try to read the computer screen, the words are blurry. __________

3. You know that a group of kids in school is stealing money from lockers and backpacks. _______


4. You’re wondering what job to do when you grow up._________

5. You don’t know what subject to pick for your science fair project._________

6. You’re wondering what to get your mom for her birthday. ____________

MOM     DAD    TEACHERS    FRIENDS
MEDICAL DOCTOR    EYE DOCTOR
SCHOOL COUNSELOR    BROTHERS & SISTERS


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, May 18, 2015

The Beginning of Solomon's End

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Kings 11:26-40

TO CHEW ON: "Then he said to Jeroboam, 'Take ten pieces for yourself, for this is what the Lord, the God if Israel, says: "See I am going to tear the kingdom out of Solomon’s hands and give you ten tribes." ’ ” 1 Kings 11:31

Solomon ruled for many years. Though God had told him that the kingdom would be taken away from his family because they worshiped idols, everything went on as usual. Perhaps Solomon thought God had forgotten what He had said and wouldn’t do it after all.

After Solomon built the temple and his palace, he built many other things. One of his best workmen was Jeroboam. When Solomon saw how well Jeroboam did his job, he made him a boss over many people.

One day when Jeroboam was on his way home, he met Ahijah the prophet. When Ahijah saw Jeroboam he did a strange thing. He took off his new cloak and tore it into twelve pieces. “Take ten of these pieces for yourself,” he said to Jeroboam. “God told me to tell you, ‘I am going to tear the kingdom out of Solomon’s hand and give you ten tribes. I’m doing this because Solomon and his family worship idols. Only make sure that when you get to be king, you worship Me.’”


Soon word got back to Solomon that Ahijah had told Jeroboam he would be the next king. Solomon wondered, was God’s prediction about to happen? He would make sure it didn’t.

“Kill Jeroboam!” he commanded his soldiers. But before the soldiers found him, Jeroboam ran away to hide in Egypt.

PRAYER: Dear God, Your promises always come true. Help me to remember that, Amen.

MORE: Prophetic Pictures Who Am I?
God told Ahijah the prophet to tear his new robe into twelve pieces. This was a picture or object lesson of what God would do with Solomon’s kingdom.

God told other prophets to do picture-like things as well. Which prophet did God tell to do these things?

A. I was asked to give my baby a name that predicted the country would soon go to war. Who am I? _________

B. God told me to buy a clay jar and break it as a picture of how God would soon smash the country. Who am I? __________

C. God asked me to take back my wife, even though she cheated on me, to show that God loved idol-worshiping Israel. Who am I? ________________

D. God commanded I shave off my hair and beard to show that Israel would soon be punished and humbled. Who am I? _____________

1. Jeremiah (Jeremiah 19:1,10)     
2. Ezekiel (Ezekiel 5:1)  
3. Hosea (Hosea 3:1)               
4. Isaiah (Isaiah 8:2)

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

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Too Late?


TODAY’S SPECIAL: Ecclesiastes 12:1-7

TO CHEW ON: "Remember your creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, 'I find no pleasure in them.'” Ecclesiastes 12:1

How sad it is to be too late.
- You come to dinner hungry and find the food has all been eaten.

- You come to the garden wanting to harvest a crop and find all the vegetables and fruits are over-ripe and rotting.

- You come to a concert and find you are just in time for the last song.

It’s just as sad to come too God late. In today’s reading, we find out when is the best time to come to God.

1. When? (Ecclesiastes 12:1) ___________



In the last verse of our reading, Solomon tells us if we do come when we are no longer young, we must be sure to come “before. . .” Then he lists a whole lot of things: “before the silver cord is severed, or the golden bowl is broken; before the pitcher is shattered at the spring...etc.”

2. What is he really talking about in all these word pictures:
a] birth?
b] death?
c] wrecked stuff?

In this way Solomon reminds us that the most important thing not to be late for is finding, knowing and living for God. We only have this life to do that. We must be sure we do it before we die.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to remember You for my whole life. Amen.

MORE: Remember God – NOW!
Have you “remembered” God? Have you asked Him to be in your life? If you haven’t, do it now, when you are young. Don’t say you have your whole life to make this decision and that you’ll make it when you’re old, after living your whole life without God. You don’t know if you’ll ever live to be an old person. You don’t know if you’ll even live to see tomorrow.

  • Find the ABCs of how to ask God to be in your life here.

(If you make that decision, please let me know. I’d love to hear from you!)

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, May 16, 2015

Life's Opposites

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Ecclesiastes 3:1-15

TO CHEW ON: "He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end." Ecclesiastes 3:11



From earliest times, thinking people have asked hard questions. Questions like:
- Why is this world and the universe here?
- Why am I here?
- Is this life all there is?

Ecclesiastes is a book that explores such things. Though the author of Ecclesiastes isn’t named, many people think Solomon wrote it when he was an old man. In Ecclesiastes the writer describes what he has seen in his life. Then he tells us lessons we can learn.


In today’s reading the writer talks about the opposites he sees all around him. Can you add five more things to the list (Ecclesiastes 3:3-8)?
- Birth and death
- Planting and uprooting
- Killing and healing.
1. ______and ______
2. ______and ______
3. ______and ______
4. ______and ______
5. ______and ______


Some of these things are good – like planting, healing, laughing, dancing and loving. Others we try to avoid – like killing, weeping, mourning and war. The trouble is, in real life good and bad things come to everyone. So the writer tells us two ways to think of the opposites of life. He tells us that “Everything is beautiful in its time,” and “God has set eternity in the hearts of men.”

When the wise man says “Everything is beautiful in its time” he’s telling us that life’s variety can be a good thing. There is even good in unpleasant things. Through them we can learn valuable lessons like how to be patient, brave and strong.

When he says “God has set eternity in the hearts of men,” he tells us that inside each one of us is a knowing that there is more. We sense there is something beyond our life on earth. It will be a place where our questions will be answered. God has put eternity in our hearts.

Where do you think a person could find out about the “eternity” we feel inside?
A. From the wisest people on earth?
B. From the Bible, getting to know God and prayer?
C. From psychics?
D. From science books?

PRAYER: Dear God please help me to find answers to life’s questions in You. Amen.
 

MORE: My Opposites
- Choose a set of opposites from the list above, or from Ecclesiastes 3:3-8.

- Draw pictures of a time you lived those opposites.
(For example, if you choose birth and death, you might think of the time your baby sister was born as the birth part, and the time your pet died as the death part.)


Were they both happy? Was one happy and one sad? Were both sad? What did you learn from each of them?


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

Friday, May 15, 2015

Steps Downward

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Kings 11:1-11

TO CHEW ON: "Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command. So the Lord said to Solomon, 'Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates.'” 1 Kings 11:10,11

Solomon was known as the wisest man who ever lived. God came into the temple Solomon built. He talked to Solomon. He promised to make him wise and to keep his family the ruling family. But in order for that to happen, Solomon was to worship only God.


As Solomon’s power and fame grew, he began doing what many kings did and marrying many wives. He married over seven hundred princesses from other countries to help him get along with the nations around him. He married three hundred more women because they were beautiful and he liked them


His wives worshiped many gods. When they came to live in the palace, Solomon didn’t make them destroy their idols and worship the true God. Instead he let them keep their idols. To please his wives he put up idols, shrines and altars to Ashtoreth, Molech and Chemosh. After a while he got interested in their gods himself. Finally he started praying to them.



Each time Solomon gave in to his idol-worshiping wives, he took another step away from God. Finally he was doing exactly what God had told him not to do. There would be a consequence. What would happen as a result of Solomon turning away from God to worship idols: (1 Kings 11:11)

1. There would be a plague on the country.
2. Enemy armies would destroy Jerusalem.
3. God would take the kingdom away from Solomon and give it to one of his servants.

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to recognize the things I do that take me away from you. Amen.


MORE: Compromise
A word that describes what Solomon did is “compromise.” It means to give in to someone, even just a little bit. Sometimes compromise is a good thing. But when we give in to go against what God has said, it’s a bad thing.

Do you recognize compromise? Put a C by each statement that shows a compromise.
1. You know your friends are planning to steal candy at the corner store.
___ A. You don’t go with them.
___ B. You go with them but wait outside instead of going into the store.


2. Your friend sees a palm reader booth at the fair and wants to go in and have her palm read.
___ A. You go inside with her, even though you’re not planning to have your palm read.
___ B. You tell her you’ll wait outside.

3. Your mom has asked you not to read a certain book.
___ A. Your friend has a copy and you read little bits of it at her house.
___ B. You don’t read the book.

Compromise starts small with small steps. But if you continue down that road you will someday find yourself in a place far away from 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.


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

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Way Back

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Chronicles 7:11-22

TO CHEW ON: "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14

After Solomon had finished the temple, he built a luxurious palace for himself. One night when both those projects were done, God appeared to him again.


“I heard your prayer and chose your temple,” He said. Then God gave Solomon some advice. “Keep my laws like David your father did. Worship only me. If you do this, kings will always come from your family.

“But if you turn away from me and start worshiping idols, bad things will happen.”

1. Pick out the three bad things God named in 2 Chronicles 7:20:

A. I will send Israel back to Egypt to be slaves.
B. I will uproot Israel from my land.
C. I will reject this temple.
D. I will burn your palace.
E. I will make this temple an object of ridicule.

Then God told Solomon if he and the people went away from God, there was a way back.
2. Unscramble the words, below, that tell how Solomon, the Israelites and us how to come back to God if we stray (2 Chronicles 7:14):

A. lebmuh evlesshmte : __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __

B. ypar: __ __ __ __

C. ekes my ecfa: __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __

D. nrtu mfro icwkde aswy: __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __

Do you feel far away from God? Do the four things God told Solomon long ago. They are still the way back to Him.

PRAYER: Dear God, the wrong things in my life make me feel far away from you. Help me to admit I’m wrong, to pray, to find out what pleases You, and to stop sinning. Amen.

MORE: Repent
When we follow God’s advice to Solomon in 2 Chronicles 7:14, we repent.

1. Look up the word “repent” in a dictionary. What does it mean?

2. Using a Bible concordance or the internet, find three Bible verses with the word “repent” in them. Write out your favorite on a paper and put it up where you can see it and read it often.

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, May 13, 2015

Thank-you Glory Cloud


TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Chronicles 5:1-14

TO CHEW ON: "Then the temple of the Lord was filled with the cloud, and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God." 2 Chronicles 5:13b,14

At last the temple was finished. It was time to move the gold furniture and ark into their places. It was time to begin worshiping God in the temple. Solomon had kept his promise to his father. He had made the temple exactly like his dad had said. Now he wondered, would God be pleased with what he had done?

Solomon announced a holiday festival to dedicate the temple. People came from all over the country to celebrate. Priests and Levites got themselves ready to move the furniture. On the big day crowds lined the street and watched as the Levites carried the ark and the gold altar, lamp stands, basins, and all the other furniture from the tent David had made, to the temple.

When they arrived at the temple, they placed the ark in the gold-lined Holy Place.



Then they put all the other furniture where it belonged. As the carrying Levites left the temple the musical Levites played trumpets and cymbals while the choir sang: “He is Good. His love endures forever.”

Suddenly a cloud filled the temple. It was a glorious, awesome, frightening cloud of God’s presence. Solomon prayed a dedication prayer.



As he ended, “Now arise, O Lord God, and come to Your resting place...” fire came down from heaven. It burnt the sacrifices that were on the altar. God’s presence was so powerful the priests couldn’t even go back into the temple.

Now Solomon knew that God was pleased with the temple he had built. His obedience was rewarded with God’s presence in a thank-you glory cloud.


PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to obey You so that Your glory can shine through my life. Amen

MORE: Faith Steps
When we obey God and do the things He asks of us, even if we don’t have any idea how they will turn out, we act in faith.

1. What did Solomon do in faith? ____________

2. How did God reward Solomon’s faith? _________________

3. What special thing is God asking you to do? ________________

Will you do it? As you obey, watch for God to send His glory and favor on your life.


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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