Sunday, July 5, 2015

Get Out of Jail Free

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Isaiah 61:1-3

TO CHEW ON: "The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,"
Isaiah 61:1



If you’ve ever played Monopoly, you’ll know that if you get sent to “Jail” there are consequences. You must miss your turn. You don’t get to move around the game board like the other players. By the time you’re free again, all the best properties may be bought by others. Unless you have a “Get out of jail free” card. Then you get to go free!

The way Isaiah described the deliverer or Messiah who would come someday sounds a lot like a “Get out of jail free” card. As well as bringing good news to the poor and comfort to the brokenhearted, the promise was that He would free captives and release prisoners.

Hundreds of years later, Jesus was about to give His first sermon. In front of the gathered listeners He started by opening the scroll of Isaiah and reading these exact words (Isaiah 61:1). And then He said, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:17-21)


By that he meant, “I am the one who Isaiah was talking about. I can and will do all these things.”

And he did! He hung around with poor people and let them know God loved them very much. He gave a brokenhearted mother her son back from the dead. He brought light to people of all kinds – from blind Bartimeus to the spiritually blind tax collector and cheater Zacchaeus. And He freed people from many things like sickness and demons and lifetimes of doing bad things.


The good news is, Jesus is still our Get out of Jail Free card! What is your jail? Is it a problem with getting angry at every little thing? Is it the need to be liked by everyone? Is it the habit of eating too much? Is it fear or swearing or being sneaky? Whatever it is, Jesus can set you free. Why don’t you ask Him today?

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, my prison is ______ Please set me free. Amen.


MORE: Prison Break
The verse about freedom, below, has some large, bold letters. What word do those letters spell?

"So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." John 8:36

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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
ANSWERS

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Power of Words

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Isaiah 55:8-13

TO CHEW ON: "As the rain and the snow
    come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
    without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
    so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 

 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."
Isaiah 55:10,11


Words are funny little things. As marks on paper or a screen they can make us laugh or cry, tell us good news or bad, prove little things like we’ve passed the test or big things like we’re the citizens of a certain country.

Spoken words have a lot of power too. I’m sure you’ve heard the playground rhyme: “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” Do you believe it? I don’t! Because spoken words have the power to do a lot of things, including hurt us.

If we think human words have power, how much more God’s words. These are the thoughts and ideas that come from the creator of the universe Himself – God. They are found as words in the Bible. They tell us about creation, people and God. They give us the good news that even though we deserve to die because we have sinned, Jesus died in our place. They tell us we can be friends with God. They explain how He wants to be the loving boss of our lives. They describe how we can live so that He will be pleased.



Are you familiar with God’s words? Do you read the Bible? Do you memorize it? Do you do what it says? Make God’s powerful word a part of your life. That may mean that your life isn’t always easy - but it will be full of joy and peace.

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

MORE: God’s Word Search
Bible writers describe God’s word in many ways. Here are some of their descriptions. Can you find each word in the word search?

ACTIVE  FIRE  FOREVER  GOD-BREATHED
HAMMER   HONEY  LAMP   LIGHT
LIVING   MILK   POWER   RADIANT
RIGHT    SHARP   SWEET    USEFUL

Created with Puzzlemaker on DiscoveryEducation.com
To print this puzzle, click anywhere on the puzzle. It will open in another browser. Print that page.


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, July 3, 2015

Come Thirsty

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Isaiah 55:1-7

TO CHEW ON: "Come all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come buy and eat!" Isaiah 55:1

Have you ever been very, very thirsty? What did you want more than anything?

Thirst is our body’s way of telling us we need water. In fact we would eventually die if we didn’t get the water we needed.

In today’s reading, though, when Isaiah invites thirsty people to come to water, he isn’t talking about physical thirst. He’s talking about a thirst in our hearts. Perhaps you have felt such a thirst. It might come as a fear in the night - wondering what would happen to you if you died. It might come as a need for love, praise, popularity or excitement. It might come as a desire to do something big and important in your life.


When that thirst comes, you could try to satisfy it with a variety of drinks. You could work hard at school to get the best marks so that people will praise you. You could dress in the latest clothes so that you will fit in with the cool crowd and be popular. You could work at sports or take up skateboarding or mountain bike racing to satisfy your thirst for excitement. But none of those things will satisfy you for long.

Isaiah told the people where to go for a drink that really satisfied. He told them to seek the Lord. If Isaiah were here today, he would tell us the same thing. God is still the only One who can satisfy the thirsts of our heart in a lasting way.

What is your heart thirsty for? Come to God thirsty and see how He fills you up.

PRAYER: Dear God, I come to You with my life. You see my thirst for _______. Please satisfy it in the way You choose. Amen.


MORE: Thirsty for a Friend (A true story)
Helen had no friends. She had come to Canada from Europe as a refugee. She dressed differently and spoke with an accent. When the kids chose partners in gym class, she was always the last one picked. When she went home on the school bus, no one talked to her.

One afternoon after another lonely day in school Helen came home, lay on her bed and began to sob.

Then she sat up. Someone was in her room. Not a person but a Presence so real and loving, she felt hugged. And though she never heard a word, she felt like smiling eyes were looking at her and a voice was saying, “You are my special friend.” Bible words of Jesus came to her mind, “I have chosen you. I will never leave you or forsake you.”


Every day for three months Helen felt the presence of her Unseen Friend. With Him beside her she began to relax and be friendly to the kids in her class. Soon she had other friends too.

Then one day, the Presence was gone. Had she done something bad? Helen confessed every bad thing she could think of. Yet the feeling that her Friend was beside her was gone.

And then she remembered the words she had heard that first day: “I will never leave you or forsake you.” And she knew that God’s presence would be with her always, whether she felt Him or 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.

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

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Give Your Problems to God

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Isaiah 40: 27-31


TO CHEW ON: "Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall; 

 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint."
Isaiah 40:30,31


Isaiah continued to remind the people of Judah what God is like. It’s as if he has heard someone complain and say, “God doesn’t see me and my problems. He doesn’t know me or care about me. He’s ignoring me.”

To that Isaiah replied with some facts about God. Complete the things Isaiah told the people, using words from the word bank below: (Isaiah 40:28,29)
1. God is _________
2. He is the __________
3. He doesn’t get _______ or ________
4. Nobody can fathom his ___________
5. Instead of getting weary, he gives ___ and ____

Word Bank
******
power   tired   weary
everlasting   creator
strength   understanding

But they may have asked – and you might too – How does God give us these things? Verse 31 has the answer. God’s strength comes to us when we hope in the Lord.

Hoping in the Lord means that we stop trying to figure out how to solve our problems ourselves. Instead, we tell Him our problems and leave them with Him.

Picture it this way. All your problems are in one heavy backpack. Doesn’t carrying it around make you tired?


Now imagine yourself coming to Jesus with that backpack. Take it off your shoulders. Unzip it. Now as you unpack it, hand each problem to Jesus to take care of (that’s what you do when you pray). Can he fix them? He sure can!

Of course it would be silly to pack up all those problems again and put that heavy pack back on your shoulders. But that’s what you’re doing if you keep worrying. So don’t do that. Instead, zip up that empty pack. Isn’t it light? Why, now you can walk, and run, and practically fly!



PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I want to hope in You. Right now I give you the problem of _____ (name your specific problem). I leave it with you. I won’t worry about it any more. Thank You for helping me. Amen.


MORE:
Help!!
Whenever you are tempted to pick up that backpack of problems and start carrying it around again is a good time to remind yourself of God’s many promises to help you. Below are three Bible references with such promises:

Isaiah 41:10
Jeremiah 29:11
Philippians 4:6,7

1. Look them up.

2. Choose a favorite.

3. Write or print it large on an 8½ x 11" paper.

4. Tack the paper up in a place where you will see 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, July 1, 2015

God of Comfort

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Isaiah 40:1-11

TO CHEW ON: "He tends his flock like a shepherd: 
He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; 
he gently leads those that have young." Isaiah 40:11

Which of these things would bring you comfort?


I’m sure you’ll agree that teasing schoolmates, a growling dog, a car accident and feeling sick are not comforting. When we’re under attack, in danger or ill we’re not comfortable. Instead, we’d welcome some comfort.

In today’s reading, Isaiah reminds the people of Judah, how God, who is allowing bad things to happen to them, really feels about them. He would love to speak tenderly to them. He would like to cuddle them close to His heart like a shepherd carries a baby lamb. He would like to be gentle with them, like a shepherd gently leads the ewes who have babies.


Have you ever been punished by a parent and soon after, the same person who punished you, comforted you by taking you in their arms, hugging you and telling you how much you are loved? That’s what God is like here. He’s like a parent who, after punishing wayward Judah, wants them to know He loves them still – and very much too.

Next time your life is uncomfortable and the people you’re close to aren’t there to give you love and comfort, remember this picture of God. Even the bad things He allows into your life are for your good, to make you a better, stronger person. Despite what it looks like, God still loves you. He wants to be your God of comfort too.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for Your comfort and love. Amen.



MORE: A Tender Shepherd
Isaiah talks about God being like a shepherd.

- Using books or the internet, find out about shepherds and herding sheep in Bible times.

- Isaiah 40:11 talks about a shepherd carrying the lambs in his arms and gently leading the mothers with babies. Those are two ways a shepherd comforted his sheep. Can you find 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

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Leaping, Bursting, Shouting Joy!

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Isaiah 35:1-10

TO CHEW ON: "Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer and the mute tongue shout for
joy."
Isaiah 35:5,6


What things make you joyful - finishing homework, seeing an old friend, being greeted by your dog, getting help with a hard job?


Even the greatest joy we feel now will be small compared to the joy Isaiah talks about in today’s reading. It will be the joy people feel when God comes to reign on earth. All of creation – plants, animals and people will know joy at that time.


Why will there be so much joy? Because of who God is. He is a God who makes wrong things right. He is a God who heals – makes the weak strong, the sick well, the blind see, the dumb shout, the lame walk. His power over nature makes even deserts become gardens and wild animals tame as pets.

When will this happen? Though Jesus’ coming to earth was part of it coming true, there is more. For this is a prophecy about what is still ahead for us. It talks about a time when God comes back to reign on earth.


But we don’t have to wait for some future time to know the joy that He brings. When we put the load of our sins on Him, accept that He paid the penalty (death) that we deserved to pay, and then let Him be the boss of our lives, this kind of joy can start in our lives now.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank You for bringing joy. Thank You for being joy. Amen.


MORE: Showing JoyWhen we’re full of joy, it’s hard to keep those feelings inside.
1. Read through Isaiah 35:1-10 again. Find all the words that speak of joy or show joyful actions. Make a list.

2. Add your own JOY words to the list.


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, June 29, 2015

Is God a Nag?

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Isaiah 30:1-5

TO CHEW ON: “'Woe to the obstinate children,' declares the Lord, 'to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin.'” Isaiah 30:1

What does it mean to nag (click on the verb 'nag') someone? Have you ever done this to someone else? Has anyone ever done this to you? Do you like being nagged?

The people in Judah may have felt that God was nagging them. Prophet after prophet came with messages from Him, telling them to change. In today’s reading Isaiah comes with another warning.


“You are like stubborn children,” he said to the leaders. “Again you are doing things on your own instead of asking for My (God’s) help. You are getting together with Egypt to make your army strong. But you are forgetting to talk to Me about it. As a result things won’t work out.”

God wanted the Israelites to be completely His. He wanted them to pray to Him in trouble. Instead the people had joined their army with the army of Egypt. They did this all on their own. Unscramble the words that tell the things that Isaiah predicts will come to Judah now that they have put their trust in Egypt instead of God - Isaiah 30:5

1. mahse ___________
2. scagidre _____________

"But Pharaoh's protection will be to your shame,
Egypt's shade will bring you disgrace." Isaiah 30:3

When God warns again and again, it’s not nagging. His repeated warnings show His patience and love. Like a good parent, He names the things that grieve Him, tells us there will be consequences and sometimes even tells us what those will be before He punishes us.

When someone tells us something over and over, it’s easy to stop listening and tune them out. Let’s not be that way with God. When He warns, let’s pay attention – before the day of warnings is over and the day of consequences arrives.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for the ways you warn us in the Bible. Amen.


MORE: Nag, nag nag
What are the things about which your parents or teachers talk to you again and again?

- Is there a reason for their nagging?

- Is there something you should or could do to get them to stop?



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, June 28, 2015

Tomorrow's News -- Written Years Ago

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Isaiah 11:1-9

TO CHEW ON: "The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
    and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
They will neither harm nor destroy
    on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord
    as the waters cover the sea." Isaiah 11:8,9



“And a Little Child Shall Lead Them” Original oil painting © 2007 by Darlene Slavujac (Used with the artist’s permission).

Would you let your baby sister play near the hole of a poisonous snake? Of course not! That would be almost certain death. Yet in this prophecy, Isaiah tells about a time when people and animals will get along without fear of each other. Match the creatures who will live together without fear (Isaiah 11:6-7)


Has this prophecy come true? No. The time it will happen is still in the future. It will be a time that Jesus rules as king on earth. He will destroy all bad things. Then even nature will change. Instead of animals hunting each other, they will live together in peace.

No fights. No wars. No suicide bombers. It’s hard to imagine such a time. Yet God predicted it so we can be sure it will happen.

PRAYER: Dear God, please bring this wonderful time of peace soon. Amen.

MORE:
Picturing Peace
Choose one or several of the animal pairs that Isaiah describes as getting along (Isaiah 11:6-8). Draw a picture of their new friendship.


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, June 27, 2015

Isaiah Predicts Jesus' Birth

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Isaiah 9:1-7

TO CHEW ON: "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

Have you ever been in pitch black darkness? If you’ve turned on a flashlight to find your way at night, or lit a candle when the electricity went out, you know how even a tiny light pushes the dark aside. Isaiah’s prediction about a wonderful child who would be born was such a ray of light in a dark time.

This child would bring light. His names would be Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. He would be from David’s family. And His kingdom would last forever.

Has this prediction come true? Yes – in the birth of Jesus.
- Jesus is the light: John 8:12
- the Spirit of Jesus is called Counselor: John 14:16
- Jesus is God: Hebrews 1:3
- Jesus and the Father are one: John 14:7-10
- Jesus is from David’s family: Matthew 1:1
- Jesus’ kingdom will never end: Luke 1:32,33

In this engraving from the 1800s, artist Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld illustrated some of the things mentioned in Isaiah 6 and 9. Can you see the angel coming to Isaiah with the coal? 
The virgin and child? A king? What else does the artist show?


Isn’t it wonderful that hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth, a prophet like Isaiah could predict that He would come? Prophecies that came true show us the words Isaiah and other prophets wrote were from God. They show us that the Bible really is a special book.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for sending Jesus, just like You promised. Amen.

MORE: Jesus’ Names
The names of Jesus help us see how He can help us. If we need wise advice, He can be a Counselor to us. If we need a miracle, He is Mighty God. If we need loving care, He is our Everlasting Father. If we need peace, He is the Prince of Peace.

Pick one of these four names, below, and write your prayer for God’s advice, help, love or peace.

Wonderful Counselor, I need advice about _____________________

Mighty God, I need help with _____________________

Everlasting Father, I need love because _____________________

Prince of Peace I need peace in _______________________

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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, June 26, 2015

The Call

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Isaiah 6:1-10

TO CHEW ON:
"Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?'
And I said, 'Here am I. Send me.'” Isaiah 6:8

God sat on a high throne. The train of his majestic robe was more glorious than any bride’s. It filled the temple. Angels were all around. Some flew back and forth calling “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty. The whole earth is filled with his glory.” At the sound, the temple pillars shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

These are things Isaiah saw in a vision. He would never forget what happened next. As he saw God’s glory and heard the angels, Isaiah suddenly felt like he wasn’t good enough to be there. “Woe is me,” he said, “for my mouth is dirty with bad words.”


Then one of the angels came to him. He had a coal from the altar, and touched that coal to Isaiah’s lips. “God has taken away your guilt and sin,” he said.

Then Isaiah heard God’s voice: “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

Without knowing what God would ask him to do, Isaiah replied, “Here am I, send me.”


God called Isaiah to be a prophet that day. He would spend more than forty years speaking God’s words to the people of Judah.

Has God called you to do something for Him? If He hasn’t yet, someday he may. He may not call you in a vision like He did Isaiah. But however He calls, make sure your answer is the same as Isaiah’s.

PRAYER: Dear God, when You call, I want to answer, “Here am I, send me.” Amen.

MORE: Unique Calls
God calls people in many different ways. Using the books and/or the internet, find out how God called:

William Cameron Townsend - founder of Wycliffe Bible Translators.



Billy Graham - evangelist.


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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, June 25, 2015

Pride Before a Fall

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Chronicles 26:16-22

TO CHEW ON: "But after Uzziah became powerful his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense." 2 Chronicles 26:16

Back in Judah, years had gone by since King Joash’s reign had ended. Now sixteen-year-old Uzziah, Joash’s grandson, was king. Like his grandfather Joash, Uzziah was trained by a priest. Just like Joash he started out well. He strengthened the army, defeated his Philistine enemies, built cities, and gave lots of people good jobs on his farms and in his fields. Soon he was famous in the nations all around. Best of all, during this whole time he was careful to do what pleased God.

That is, until one day when his success went to his head. That day he decided there was nothing he couldn’t do. So he went into the temple, lit the incense in the portable burner called a censer, and was about to make a sacrifice on the altar when Azariah and a crowd of priests stopped him.

“What are you doing?” Azariah asked. “This isn’t right. Only priests are allowed to go into the temple and make sacrifices. You’re showing disrespect to God. Leave!”

Azariah’s words made Uzziah furious. He shouted and raged at the priests. But even as he was yelling his curses and insults, they drew back in horror. For there was leprosy on his forehead.

“There’s leprosy on you!” Azariah said.

"Punishment in the Temple" © 1992 by Darlene Slavujac (Used with the artist's permission)


Then Uzziah quieted and quickly left the temple. As a leper, he was contagious and unclean. He had to live alone from then on.

Uzziah started out so well. He was very successful. But his success made him proud. Pride led him to think he could do whatever he liked. Finally it brought him to a bad end.

Have you started well? Ask God to alert you to pride, or selfishness, or greed, or the desire to be popular, or any other thing that would keep you from finishing well.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to live well from beginning to end. Amen.



MORE: Finish Well
Think about the people in your life, or people you have read about.

- Name someone who started well but finished poorly: ____________

- Name someone who started well and finished well: _____________

- What would you say it means to finish well? _______________

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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, June 24, 2015

God Wants Us Back

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Hosea 14:1-9

TO CHEW ON: "Return, O Israel, to the Lord you God. Your sins have been your downfall! Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to him: 'Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously that we may offer the fruit of our lips.'” Hosea 14:1,2

Hosea was another prophet to Israel at this time. God asked him to do more than just talk to the people. Even his life was an object lesson of what God was like.

“Go marry a woman who won’t be true to you,” God told him.

So Hosea married Gomer, a prostitute. They lived together and had children. But Gomer left Hosea and had affairs with other men.

This made Hosea sad. God told him, “Your wife is just like the Israelites. She left you just like they left me to worship idols.

The Israelites going to worship idols

I don’t want you to divorce her. Instead, you are to take her back.”

Hosea paid money and took his wife back into their home. Then God said to him, “Tell the Israelites that what you did is a picture of what I will do for them. Just like you took your wife back even though she had left you, I’ll take the Israelites back if they’ll come back to Me.”

That is still God’s message to us today. Even if we once loved Him but have turned away and are now doing our own thing, God will always take us back.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for loving us even when we go away from You. Thank You for always accepting us back Amen.

MORE: Coming Back to God
If you or someone you know has gone away from God, this verse from Hosea tells how to come back to Him. You might want to memorize it.

Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to him: “Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously that we may offer the fruit of our lips.” Hosea 14:2

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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, June 23, 2015

Champion of the Poor

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Amos 8:1-12

TO CHEW ON: "Hear this, you who trample the needy and do away with the poor of the land .... I will never forget anything they have done." Amos 8:4,7

In Israel King Jehu was followed by his son and grandson. They were all evil. Now a new king, Jeroboam II, was ruling Israel. Outwardly everything was going well. Crops had been good. Many people were getting rich. They loved their beautiful homes and their lovely things. Some people were poor. But they didn’t matter, did they?

With that attitude, the rich were secretly cheating the poor. When they sold grain to them, they didn’t put the full amount in the bags, but raised the price. Sometimes they put the sweepings or the garbage from the bottom of the wheat bin into the bag and charged for that too.

God saw this unfairness. He called a shepherd named Amos. He sent Amos to be a prophet to Israel.


Amos boldly spoke about what was going on. He told the people in Israel to get back to obeying God’s Word. In the law, God had listed many ways for the Israelites to look after poor people. They were to measure fairly, charge fair prices and even leave some grain unharvested in their fields so poor people could gather it for themselves.

Amos warned them that if they didn’t again obey God’s words and turn back to Him, God would send a famine. This famine wouldn’t be a lack of food, but a famine of God’s words. When they needed God, He would be silent.

Do we have poor people in our land? Maybe there are homeless people who live on the streets of your city. Other people may have homes but don’t have money for food, clothes and medical care. God wants us to care for the poor just like in Amos’s time. We make Him glad when we do whatever we can to help them.

PRAYER: Dear God, Please give me your love for the poor. Help me to do all I can to help them. Amen.


MORE: Helping the Poor
1. Find out what’s happening in your community to help the poor. Can you add more things to the list?
- Is there a Foodbank?
- Are there thrift stores?
- Are there soup kitchens?
- Are there homeless shelters?

2. What can you do to help the poor? Here are some ideas. Can you think of more?
- Volunteer to help at a soup kitchen with your family.
- Help serve Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner at a mission,
- Donate food to the food bank.
- Donate blankets to a homeless shelter.
- Donate clothes and toys to a thrift store.

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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, June 22, 2015

Loving Enemies

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Jonah 3:1-10

TO CHEW ON: "When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened." Jonah 3:10

God did ask Jonah to go to Nineveh again. This time Jonah said “yes.”

When he got to this large city, he walked around, shouting: “If you don’t stop being wicked and violent, God will destroy in you in forty days. Instead fast, put on sackcloth and pray to God. Pray hard. Who knows, God might still spare you.”


Jonah was secretly wishing God would destroy Nineveh. It was the capital city of the country of Assyria. The Assyrians were known for their cruelty. They had often been mean to the people of Israel and Judah

But the people of Nineveh were not mean to Jonah. They didn’t tease or laugh at him. Instead, they listened. Even their king came out to hear what Jonah had to say. Then he did exactly what Jonah said. He told all the people to do the same.

In the days that followed, these people showed that they were truly sorry. They changed so much that after forty days God didn’t destroy them after all.


Still today no one is too hard for God to save. Our race, color or sex doesn’t stop God from loving us. Even the horrible things we’ve done in the past can’t keep Him from loving us. Instead He looks at each of our hearts. He will save anyone who comes to Him with a heart that is truly sorry.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You that You love and can save anyone. Amen.


SUPERSIZE IT:
Nineveh
Nineveh was the capital of Assyria. The Assyrians were known for the cruel way they treated their enemies and the people they won in battle.

- Using books and/or the internet, find out some of the things the Assyrians did to conquered people.

- Do you blame Jonah for wanting God to destroy them?

- Are there people who have mistreated you and whom you wish God would destroy instead of save?

We need God to help us love our enemies, just like Jonah needed God to help him love the Ninevites.

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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