Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Enemy

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Thessalonians 2:7-12

TO CHEW ON: And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. 2 Thessalonians 2:8

The Bible is a story of a fight. The fight is between light and darkness, love and hate, obedience and rebellion, good and evil, God and Satan. This fight began in the Garden of Eden when Satan, in the form of a snake, tempted Eve. He persuaded her to listen to him and eat fruit from the tree God had plainly forbidden. Sin (any act that defies God and sides with Satan) came into the world.


"The Fall" by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, 1907

Through history, God has done many things to fight Satan. He chose the Jews, gave them His laws, and commanded them to make sacrifices for sins. Then He sent His son Jesus, born of a Jewish mother, who became the final sacrifice for sin. Now we have the Holy Spirit who helps us resist Satan’s temptations and live for God.

The final showdown between God and Satan is still to come (although because Jesus rose from the dead, we know Satan’s power is broken). Our verse today talks about a future battle in the fight between God and Satan. Satan’s servant, the lawless one (also called the Antichrist) will someday try to convince all people living on the earth to follow Satan. But though he uses Satan’s most powerful signs, wonders and miracles, his end will be the same as his boss’s. What happens to the lawless one? (2 Thessalonians 2:8) __________.

"The Antichrist" - Artist unknown, 1593

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to recognize and stand against Satan’s tricks. Help me remember he is defeated through Jesus. Amen.


MORE: Satan, A.K.A....
In the Bible, Satan is called many names. Knowing what they are helps us understand him and resist his ways. Look up each Bible reference and make a list of the names Satan is called.
1. Isaiah 14:12
2. Isaiah 27:1
3. Matthew 13:19
4. 1 Thessalonians 3:5
5. 2 Corinthians 4:4
6. Ephesians 2:2
7. Matthew 12:29
8. 2 Corinthians 11:14
9. 1 Peter 5:8
10. John 8:44
11. Revelation 9:11

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.



Other Food: daily devo's

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Are You Ready?

TODAY’S SPECIAL: I Thessalonians 4:13-18


TO CHEW ON: For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. I Thessalonians 4:16,17


Your grandma, who lives far away, is coming for a visit! You clean the house and make the guest bed. Your mom stocks the fridge with Grandma’s favorite foods. On the day she’s due to arrive, you drive to the airport and wait impatiently in the arrivals lounge. You can’t keep your eyes off the doorway through which she’ll soon appear

Someone else just as special as grandma will arrive one of these days. Jesus promised over 2000 years ago He would someday return to earth. We don’t know when He will come back and we won’t go to meet Him at an airport, bus depot or train station. But He promised someday He will appear in the sky. It could be any day. It could be today, or eleven months or fifty-three years from now.


Like we prepare for the visit of someone we love, we can also get ready for Jesus’ return. Which statements, below, do you think are made by someone who is living with Jesus’ return in mind:
  • The most important thing is to have fun and be happy.
  • Jesus died for my sin; He is the boss of my life.
  • I’m young. I’ll have lots of time to think about Jesus when I’m old.
  • The most important thing is to reach my goals.
  • I live each day as if Jesus were watching me.
  • Making lots of money is the most important thing in life.
  • I live every day as if it could be my last.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I know You could return at any time. Help me to be ready. Amen.

MORE: Heaven
When Jesus returns He will take us to heaven to live with Him. What will that be like? The Bible talks a lot about heaven. Revelation 7:9-17, Revelation 21:1-8 and Revelation 22:1-5 are three such places. Which statements about heaven, below, are true (check the Bible passages, above, if you’re not sure)?

A. There will be no more death.

B. We will sit around on clouds playing harps all day.

C. There will be no sadness or crying.

D. We’ll spend time sailing on heaven’s seas.

E. People from every nation on earth will be there.

F. No sun, moon or stars are needed; God is heaven’s light.

G. There will be no sickness in heaven.

H. We’ll still get hungry and thirsty in heaven.

I. We’ll see God, Jesus and angels.

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.



Other Food: daily devo's

Friday, December 2, 2016

Sin Germs

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Colossians 3:1-11

TO CHEW ON: Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Colossians 3:5


Our bodies are surrounded by invisible enemies. Tiny bacteria and viruses live all around us on places like toothbrushes, doorknobs and dishcloths. They are always trying to find places to grow and multiply, and our bodies are great for that. So they sneak into our mouths when we drink, fly into our noses when we breathe, enter through the injured skin of a cut or wound when we’re hurt.

While they’re trying to get in, we’re trying to keep them out. We use antibacterial soap, disinfectant and, when germs get in us and make us sick, antibiotics to make us well again.


These invisible germs and viruses are a lot like the sins that love to live in our spirits. We try to destroy the invisible army of germs and viruses so they won’t invade our bodies. In the same way we need to destroy the sin germs that try to get into our lives and make us spiritually sick.

What eleven sins does Paul tell us to destroy in Colossians 3:5-9?

1.            2.
3.            4.               
5.            6.
7.            8.               
9.            10.          
11.


PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to recognize the sin in my life, and then confess it and stop doing it. Amen.


MORE: Sin’s Signs and Symptoms
Match the sin-germ with the sickness it causes:
1. Greed ___
2. Filthy talk ____
3. Malice ____
4. Slander ____
5. Lying ____
6. Anger ____
7. Lust ____


a. saying something untruthful or deceitful.
b. damaging someone’s reputation by what you say.
c. showing strong feelings of displeasure and hostility.
d. saying bad words and using dirty talk.
e. wanting to hurt someone with speech or action.
f. having an intense sexual desire.
g. selfishly desiring possessions.


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.



Other Food: daily devo's

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Who Is Jesus?

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Colossians 1:13-20

TO CHEW ON: For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him. Colossians 1:19


You are a real person who lives on earth, right? Describe yourself:
- Who are you?

- What do you look like?

- What have you done?


Jesus was a real person who lived on earth too. He could have written a description of himself much like yours. It could have told us about His family, what He looked like, where He went to school, what His grades were like, all the things He had learned to do.

"The Transfiguration" - Titian, 1560-1565

But Paul in Colossians 1 tells us that Jesus was and is far more than someone who just lived on earth a long time ago. Let’s build a description of Jesus.

- Who is He? (All verses below taken from Colossians 1)
1. (Colossians 1:17)
2. (Colossians 1:18)
3. (Colossians 1:18)
4. (Colossians 1:18)

- Who does He look like?
5 (Colossians 1:15)

- What has He done / is He doing?
6.(Colossians 1:13)
7. (Colossians 1:16)
8. (Colossians 1:17)
9. (Colossians 1:20*)

* reconcile: means to bring back to friendship after being enemies; to settle a quarrel.

Though Jesus was once a human person, He was and is 10. (Colossians 1:19) _______________

The amazing thing is that Jesus, the God-man, wants to have a friendship with each one of us. He wants to be your friend. If you don’t know Him, here’s how you can become His friend today.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I worship You as God. Amen.

MORE: Jesus’ Names
The names Jesus was called in the Bible give us clues about how people thought of Him. Which names that show Bible writers thought of Jesus as God. Which names show that Jesus was human?

A] Bread of life (John 6:35)

B] Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 21:11)

C] Lord of Lords (I Timothy 6:15)

D] The first and last (Revelation 1:17)

E] Son of David (Matthew 8:20)

F] Man of sorrows (Isaiah 53:3)

G] I Am (John 8:58)

H] Jesus (Matthew 1:21)

I] Word (John 1:1,14)

J] Offspring of woman (Genesis 3:15)

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.



Other Food: daily devo's

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Nesting Thoughts

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Philippians 4:4-9

TO CHEW ON: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Philippians 4:8

You’ve probably heard the proverb, “You can’t stop a bird from landing on your head, but you can stop it from building a nest in your hair.”


Our thoughts are a lot like that bird. The first time a thought occurs to us is like the bird sitting on our head. We can’t help that it landed there but we can choose what happens after that. We can choose to invite the thought to stay by thinking about it more, or shoo it away by replacing it with a better thought.

For example, suppose you stop by your best friend Jessica’s house to walk her to school. Her Mom tells you that she’s already left with Danielle. Immediately you have the thought: “Danielle’s trying to steal my friend.”

Now you have a choice. Do you encourage that jealous thought by telling yourself things like:
  • I never could trust Jessica.
  • Next time I see Jessica and Danielle I'll give them a piece of my mind.

Or do you replace it by thinking things like:
  • I don’t know everything about the situation (truth thoughts).
  • I can have more than one good friend (right thoughts).
  • I don’t own Jessica - she needs to be free to walk to school with anyone she likes (noble thoughts).

PRAYER:
Dear God, help me to recognize thoughts that don’t please You. Then help me to replace them with thoughts that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. Amen.



MORE:
Thought-provoking
We can do something about the thoughts that come to us. Which activities below may lead to good thoughts? Which do you believe would lead to bad thoughts?



1. Go on chat rooms where people post put-downs.

2. Memorize Bible advice about your thoughts.

3. Read Christian fiction and stories of famous people who loved God (biographies).

4. Watch every new movie that comes out.

5. Listen to music with God-honoring lyrics.

6. Hang around with kids who swear.

7. Play violent video games.

8. Spend time online at Christian web sites for kids your age.

9. Go to church, Sunday School and club.


You might want to memorize today's TO CHEW ON verse. It's a good way to remind yourself about the thoughts to encourage and the ones to shoo away.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.


- Philippians 4:8

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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, November 29, 2016

Hang in there!

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Philippians 3:10-14

TO CHEW ON: But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13b, 14

Each member of your baseball team has to sell 20 boxes of chocolates as a fund-raiser. But after tramping the neighborhood for an hour and hearing “No thanks” at every door, do you feel like giving up?

When you keep going in spite of everything it’s called “perseverance.” We can learn a lot about perseverance from some Bible characters. Which person:


1. Begged Pharaoh many times to let his people leave Egypt? (a. Jacob, b. Joseph, c. Moses).

2. Prayed for years before God gave her a son? (a. Mary, b. Hannah, c. Eve)

3. Prayed, and then sent his servant to check six times before he saw a rain cloud? (a. Elijah, b. Nathan, c. Samuel).

Living for God also needs perseverance. Here are some reasons you may feel like giving up. Which is true about you?

- I’ve blown it in the past.
- None of my friends are Christians and I feel alone.
- Living for God is hard and I’m tired of trying.
- I’ve done enough and now I can stop trying.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, please help me to forget about past failures and successes, and do my best for You each day. Amen.


MORE: Never Give Up!

- Bette Graham made the first “Mistake Out” in her blender. Soon all the secretaries in her office wanted some to fix their mistakes. But she made little money at it until one day she made a mistake that she couldn’t paint over. After she got fired she had lots of time to spend on her Liquid Paper® business.

- Thomas Adams did hundreds of experiments on chicle from the Mexican sapodilla tree. But every try at making toys, rainboots and bicycle tires failed. Then one day he put some in his mouth and found it was great to chew. He added some flavor and voila, Chiclets®!

- George de Mestral got an idea for a fastener when he examined a burr that had stuck to his pants. But after he made it in his lab, people laughed at his invention. He stuck with it, though and was soon selling over 60 million yards of Velcro® a year.

- Louis Braille became blind at the age of three after an accident with an awl (a tool with a pointed end). Even so, he learned to read, though books for the blind were heavy and the words hard to figure out. While he was still a student, he discovered the alphabet code used by the French army. On one of his school vacations he used that code to invent an alphabet with six dots using an awl to punch out words and sentences in the first Braille writing.

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, November 28, 2016

Dressed for War

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Ephesians 6:10-18

TO CHEW ON: "Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes." Ephesians 6:11


Why would anyone choose to wear a hot bullet-proof vest, a stiff camouflage uniform, a heavy helmet, weighty steel-toed boots, an uncomfortable gas mask and on top of all that carry a cumbersome weapon and ammunition? Only someone who needed a lot of protection - like a soldier in war.


Everything a soldier wears helps protect him from the enemy. His camouflage uniform makes it easy for him to hide. His helmet, vest and boots protect his head, chest and feet. His gas mask filters out poison or germs from the air. His weapon helps him defend himself or even take more land for his country.

Christians have to be just as prepared to fight against the devil. But what exactly are we fighting against? (Ephesians 6:12) We are not fighting against a]_____ but against the b]_____, against the c]_____ against the d]_____ and against the e]_____.


"The Armor of God" - Artist unknown, Lillie A. Faris, Standard Bible Story Readers, 1925-28

It sounds scary. But God gives us spiritual armor to use. What part of your armor have you put on by doing the following (Ephesians 6:14-17):
1. Do you live by truth not lies and deceit? _____
2. Are you careful to live in ways that are right? _____
3. Are you willing and eager to tell people about Jesus? _____
4. Are you trusting that God is with you and is helping you? _____
5. Have you asked Jesus into your life and accepted salvation? _____
6. Do you love and memorize God’s word? _____

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to put on Your armor and then live in alertness, always ready to ask for Your help. Amen.

MORE: Dress Protected
War isn’t the only time people need to wear clothing that protects them. Match the protective clothing with the people who would wear it.

PROTECTIVE CLOTHING
1. Padding to protect much of the body, and a helmet. ____

2. A suit that covers every part of your body and face, and gloves. ____

3. A pressurized body suit which provides you with oxygen. ____

4. A net over your face and neck, a coverall and gloves. ____

5. A mask covering your mouth and nose, a gown and gloves. ____

PEOPLE NEEDING PROTECTION
A. Beekeeper
B. Doctor or Nurse
C. Astronaut
D. Scientist in a germ lab
E. Hockey or Football Player

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, November 27, 2016

Your Best

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Ephesians 6:6-9

TO CHEW ON:"Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does." Ephesians 6:7,9

“No TV until your room is clean,” Mom announces one Saturday morning.


Your room is a total mess. After you spend a few minutes trying to tidy it, you know it’s hopeless. So you take everything that’s cluttering up your floor and desk, and either slip it under the bed or pile it in the closet. Once you’ve closed the closet door and made your bed, your room looks great. Everyone is impressed - until Mom inspects it. In no time you’re back in your room and hard at work!

Though we may sometimes get away with doing a half-hearted job for people, we can never fool God. He sees our attitude and knows if we’ve really done our best.

When we do our best, we may not get compliments and thanks from people. But God sees and someday He’ll reward us for jobs well done. Knowing He is watching is the best reason to do our best in everything.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, help me to do everything for Your praise and to hear Your “Thank you”. Amen.



MORE:
Hidden Jobs
There are many jobs which aren’t public and which don’t get people’s public thanks or praise. Match behind-the-scenes workers with the people or group of people they will help.



WORKERS
1. Person stocking shelves ____
2. Air traffic controller ____
3. Janitor ____
4. Cook ____
5. Factory seamstress ____
6. 9-1-1 Dispatcher ____

WHO THEY HELP
a. people going out to eat at a restaurant or cafeteria
b. shoppers
c. ambulance and police drivers, people in an accident
d. school students, office workers, hospital patients
e. pilots and people who need to fly somewhere
f. people who buy clothes

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, November 26, 2016

BIG Love

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Ephesians 3:14-21

TO CHEW ON: "And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ." Ephesians 3:17b,18

  • The highest mountain on earth is 29,0781 feet above sea level. What is its name?
a) Mt. McKinley
b) Mt. Everest
c) Mt. K2


  • The deepest ocean trench is over 36,0002 feet under the sea. What is its name?
a) Mariana Trench
b) Japan Trench
c) Aleutian Trench


  • The largest ocean covers 64.23 million square miles. It is the
a) Atlantic Ocean
b) Arctic Ocean
c) Pacific Ocean

Does something in your life seem too big for you to handle? Remember, God cares about you and your problems. His love is bigger than any love you will ever know.
  • It is higher than the highest mountain (Mount Everest - 5½ miles high)
  • It is deeper than the deepest ocean valley (Mariana Trench - 6½ miles deep)
  • It is wider and longer than the largest ocean (Pacific Ocean - 64.2 million square miles).

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, please help me to know and trust Your high, deep, wide and long love for me. Amen.


MORE: big, BIGGER, BIGGEST
How many more biggest things can you find?
1. The biggest land animal:

2. The biggest sea animal:

3. The biggest bird:

4. The biggest insect:

5. The highest waterfall:

6.

7.

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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, November 25, 2016

Unique Invention

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Ephesians 2:1-10

TO CHEW ON: "For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10

Think back through the last 24 hours. What things have you used in that time which someone once had to invent, design and make? For example did you ride a bike, wash with a bar of soap, use a computer, send a text message on a cell phone, load a dishwasher? Make a list.


Just think – not one of the things you listed came into being on its own. Someone had to think of, design and put together each of these things to do their special job..


The same is true about you. You are not only the physical child of your parents but also God’s unique invention. God thought of you, then designed and brought you into the world. You are here to do things no one else can do as well as you can.



Paul tells the Christians at Ephesus about this in his letter called Ephesians. He calls them “God’s workmanship.” He reminds them, and us, that after we invite Jesus into our lives, God has a special job for us. He will make us into the person who can do the good works God planned for us to do before we were ever born.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to do the good things I was created to do. Amen.


MORE: Inventions

1. Find out how some of these things came to be invented:
bicycle    skateboard     skates
computer       video games
compact disks (CDs)    television



2. Invent something of your own using your favorite kind of building toys (Lego™, Meccano™, K’NEX™ etc.).
- What can it do?

- How does it work?

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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, November 24, 2016

Fruit Salad

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Galatians 5:16-26

TO CHEW ON: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." Galatians 5:22,23a



What do you like about fruit - its sweetness? Its juiciness? The way it feels in your mouth? What is your favorite kind of fruit?

If you live in a place where fruit grows, you know only certain plants produce fruit. You don’t expect to pick apples from an oak tree or find blackberries on a cedar bush. Even fruit trees can only produce one kind of fruit. Plum trees will not grow peaches, neither will cherry trees grow pineapples.

We can think of people as plants. Their fruit is the things they do. But unlike plants, people’s lives can grow many kinds of fruit - a real fruit salad.

In the letter he wrote to the church in Galatia, Paul talks about the kinds of fruit a person who has given their life to Jesus should grow. It's Holy Spirit fruit. When we give Jesus our lives and let the Holy Spirit change us to be like Him, our lives will grow this kind of fruit too.

Today’s verse lists nine Spirit fruits. There’s a piece taken out of each those fruits, below. Complete each by filling in the missing piece from the fruit salad bowl.

1. g __ __ __ leness       5. l __ __ e

2. __ __ __ ience          6. __ __ __ dness

3. g __ __ __ ness         7. f__ __ __ hfulness

4. self-c__ __ __ rol      8. __ __ y

9. __ __ __ ce




PRAYER: Dear Holy Spirit, help me to let You grow Your good fruit from my life. Amen.

MORE: A Helping of Fruit Please
Which Spirit fruit do you think you would need in the following situations (you may need more than one)?

1. Your deaf grandmother comes for a visit.

2. You have to get up at 6:30 every morning to deliver papers.

3. You have to cancel your vacation trip because your dad has to work.

4. Your little sister keeps getting into your stuff.

5. Your best friend needs help with homework

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, November 23, 2016

Thorn

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

TO CHEW ON: "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me." 2 Corinthians 12:9


Do you or someone you know have any of the following:
- crooked teeth    
- epilepsy          
- poor hearing
- diabetes
- poor eyesight


These are what Paul might have called a “thorn in the flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7). You know that a thorn poking into you won’t kill you. But it hurts just the same. When there's a thorn in your shoe and you're trying to walk it's annoying, always there, and not easy to ignore.


What’s your thorn? Perhaps it’s something you were born with like an oddly shaped nose or ears that stick out. Maybe it has come as a result of treatments for a disease like cancer. Maybe for as long as you can remember, you’ve had diabetes or epilepsy. You can live with your problem, but it interferes with what you’d like to do and makes you feel like an oddball.

What do you do about thorns? You may be tempted to feel sorry for yourself, whine and complain. Or you may avoid others and hide your problem so you won’t get teased and made fun of.

Paul did two things about his thorn. First he 1.______________________ (2 Corinthians 12:8). He knew that God had the power to take his thorn away.


"For this thing I besought the Lord," by Charles J. Staniland

When God answered ‘no,’ Paul determined to 2._______________________ (2 Corinthians 12:9,10) . He did this because he knew when he succeeded in spite of his problem, God would get the credit.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I bring my thorn to You. I pray You will take it away, or show Your power through me if Your answer is ‘no’. Amen.


MORE: Living With Thorns
1. If you or someone you know has a serious illness or condition (like cancer or epilepsy or diabetes), find out all you can about it.

2. If it’s your friend who is in this situation, put yourself in their place. What are some things you could do for them to make their thorn easier to live with.

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, November 22, 2016

Yoked Together

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Corinthians 6:14-18


TO CHEW ON: "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?" 2 Corinthians 6:14

In Bible times, teams of oxen were used to do farm work, like pull a plow. A heavy wooden yoke was placed on the necks two oxen. The yoke was attached with leather straps to the plow.


Together the oxen pulled the plow, while the plowman walked behind them working the plow parts and breaking the ground. This yoke kept the oxen moving and pulling in the same direction.


But suppose one of the oxen refused to go forward or started pulling in a different direction? The obedient ox and the plowman would have a problem, and the work wouldn’t get done.

In the same way, it’s hard for people to work closely with others who want to go in a different direction than they do. If we want to obey and please God, it may be hard for us to work beside someone who is only wanting to be popular, rich, famous, or to have a good time. In fact, God warns us against such ties.

On the other hand, we love our family members and friends who don’t know Jesus. God does not ask us to separate outselves from them - but to keep on loving them. We may be the ones who someday introduce them to Jesus.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, please help me to be wise in my friendships with people who don’t know and love You. Amen.


MORE: Many Yokes
People can be “yoked together” in many ways. What advice would you give to people in the situations below? Explain why you think as you do.

1. A Christian boy wants to marry his girlfriend who thinks God doesn’t exist.

2. A non-Christian woman has asked your Christian aunt to be her business partner.

3. Your friend is the only Christian on his baseball team.

4. Your brother’s best friend doesn’t believe in God or Jesus.

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

Monday, November 21, 2016

A Clay Jar

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Corinthians 4:6-12

TO CHEW ON: "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us." 2 Corinthians 4:7

Perfume in a plastic spray bottle or crystal glass?

Which would you choose?
- a book with a torn paper cover or one with a mint-condition hard cover?
- chocolates in a plastic bag or packed in a fancy box?
- perfume in a plastic spray bottle or a crystal glass bottle?
- a gift wrapped in newspaper or one wrapped in tissue and a bag?

No one would be surprised if you chose the second thing in every case. Even in small things, we tend to look at containers and choose the prettiest and richest-looking.

In Paul’s time, clay jars were the plain everyday jars people used in their kitchens. There was nothing special to make people choose them. But they were important in the kitchen because of the water, juice or milk inside them.

God doesn't care whether we're plain or good-looking.

That’s how God looks at us. He doesn’t care whether we’re plain or good-looking, what talents we have, or what family we come from. Instead He puts the treasure of knowing God through Jesus inside us no matter what we look like or where we’ve come from. Then, when what is inside us spills out in glory and power, He gets all the credit.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to know Jesus and become like Him so His good things will flow from my life. Amen.

MORE: Pinch Pot Craft
You can make a simple clay pot of your own.

You will need:
- potter’s clay (can be bought at art stores - or use plasticine or play dough)
- paints and brushes.

What to do:
1. Cut or break off a piece of clay and roll into a 2 to 3-inch ball.

2. Push your thumb into the center of the ball.

3. Using your thumbs and fingers, pinch up the walls of your pot. Turn the pot as you pinch.

4. Pat the bottom of your pot on the table to give it a flat bottom.

5. Let it dry.

6. Paint it. (Unless it is glazed and fired, your finished pot will not be able to hold water).

For step-by-step instructions with pictures, go here.

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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.