Thursday, June 30, 2016

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

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

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

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

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

Monday, June 27, 2016

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

Sunday, June 26, 2016

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

Saturday, June 25, 2016

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

Friday, June 24, 2016

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

Thursday, June 23, 2016

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

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

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

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

A Second Chance

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Jonah 1:17 and 2:1-10

TO CHEW ON: " He said:
“In my distress I called to the Lord,
    and he answered me.
From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help,
    and you listened to my cry.' " Jonah 2:2

When the sailors tossed Jonah overboard I’m sure he expected to drown. But that didn’t happen. Instead he was swallowed by a huge fish.



Imagine getting swept into that big mouth and then into the fish’s insides. Imagine Jonah telling you about it. Finish each of his statements.

Inside the fish it smelled __________, it felt ________________ , I saw ______________.

The three days Jonah spent inside the fish gave him lots of time to think. Then he prayed. Read his prayer (Jonah 2:1-9) then circle the words that tell how he felt:

Thankful   Glad to be alive   Grouchy

Ready to obey    Angry


After three days and nights the fish vomited Jonah onto the land.

Jonah knew that he deserved to drown because he was running away from God. But God didn’t give him what he deserved. Instead, God gave Jonah a second chance. Do you think Jonah would say ‘yes’ to God if God asked him to do something again?

God often gives us second chances too - and third and fourth and fifth. But let’s not count on that. Instead, let’s obey God the first time He asks us to do something.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for being a God of second chances. Amen.



MORE: Big Fish
Although we don’t know what kind of fish swallowed Jonah, we do know the biggest sea creature alive on earth now is the blue whale.
Using books and/or the internet, find out:
- How big are blue whales?
- What do they eat?
- Where do they live?
- Would a blue whale be big enough to swallow a man?

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 20, 2016

Runaway

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Jonah 1:1-15


TO CHEW ON: "But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord." Jonah 1:3

Have you ever been asked to do a job you really didn’t want to do?
Did you a] do it anyway or b] try to avoid it. If you tried to avoid it - how?

Jonah was an avoider. One day God gave him a job. “Go to the city of Nineveh and preach against its wickedness.”

But Jonah didn’t want to. Instead, he went the opposite direction. In the city of Joppa he bought a ticket and set sail for Joppa.

Illustration by Annie Vallotton from the Good News Bible
© American Bible Society 1976, 1992, used with permission. 



Soon a violent storm came up. The wind and waves tossed the boat so fiercely the sailors were sure they would all sink. They threw baggage into the sea and prayed to their gods to stop the storm.

All the while, Jonah was sleeping. The captain found him. “Get up. Pray to your God,” he said.

But still the storm raged. Finally the sailors decided to find out if anyone on board was responsible. They cast lots (sort of like picking straws or flipping a coin). The lot fell to – Jonah.

“Who are you and what have you done?” the sailors asked.

“I’m a Hebrew,” he answered. “And I admit, the storm is my fault. I’m running away from God. If you throw me overboard, the storm will stop.”

The sailors didn’t want to do that. Instead they threw more cargo overboard. But it didn’t help. Finally, in desperation, they did what Jonah said. They threw him into the churning water.


Immediately the storm quieted.

Jonah tried to get out of doing what God asked by running away. Of course he couldn’t. How about you? Could you ever run far enough or hide well enough so God couldn’t find you?

PRAYER: Dear God, You know exactly where I am at all times. Help me to always live with that in mind. Amen.


MORE: God Watching – Comfort or Problem?
Knowing that God sees us always can be either a comfort or a problem. Most of the time it’s a comfort. But it could also be a problem. Put an X beside each time, below, when God seeing you would feel like a problem:
1. ___ You helped a friend with homework.
2. ___ You cheated on a test.
3. ___ You got lost in the woods.
4. ___ You helped a person in a wheelchair.
5. ___ You took money from Mom’s purse.
6. ___ You’re having fun at Disneyland.

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 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day!


Today is Father's Day in some parts of the world. Don't forget to tell your father, or the person who is like a father to you, that you love them. Tell them 'thanks' for all they do for you.

Thank God that even if you have no earthly father, He is a father to the fatherless.

Fake Friendship

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Chronicles 24:17-25

TO CHEW ON: "After the death of Jehoiada, the officials of Judah came and paid homage to the king, and he listened to them. They abandoned the temple of the Lord, the God of their fathers, and worshiped Asherah poles and idols." 2 Chronicles 24:17,18

Though Joel warned King Joash that bad things would happen if he didn’t return to God, he refused to change his ways. When Jehoiada’s son Zechariah warned him too, he killed Zechariah. After that things quickly fell apart.


Soon a small enemy army from Aram easily defeated Joash’s large army. In the end, Joash’s own servants murdered him in revenge for murdering Zechariah. Though Joash started out well, he ended badly.

The change in Joash came after Priest Jehoiada died. This man who saved his life had been just like a father to him. He encouraged Joash and helped him to follow God. But it seems Joash didn’t know God himself. For as soon as Jehoiada was gone, Joash turned away from God.

We can learn an important lesson from Joash. For though it’s wonderful to have people in our lives who point us to God, in the end we need to know God ourselves. If you’re following God because of the example of your parents, or a teacher, or a friend, that’s great! But God wants to be your friend too. Be sure you get to know Him yourself.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to know You as a friend. Amen.


MORE: Being Friends with God
How do we get to be friends with God (or Jesus, who was God in a human body)? Below is a list of some things you can do. Can you think of more?

1. A good start is to be friends with God’s friends (other people who love Him like your parents, grandparents, teachers and friends).

2. Read the Bible. The books that tell the stories of Jesus – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the New Testament – are interesting. They will help you know what God is like.

3. Pray. Simply talk to Jesus. Tell Him all about your life, your problems, the things you worry about, the things that make you happy. He is interested in everything about you.

4. Ask Him questions. He’ll answer. You may be surprised at the way those answers come – through something you read in the Bible, through something someone says, through a voice in your mind....

5. Sing songs to Him.

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

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Accurate Predictions

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Joel 2:28-32


TO CHEW ON: "And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions." Joel 2:28

If someone asked you, “What will happen next week?” could you tell them? What if they asked about tomorrow, or even later today?

Without God’s help, people have no way of knowing the future. But when God’s Spirit tells people what to say about the future, as He did to the Old Testament prophets, we get accurate predictions.

God gave Joel words to say about the distant future. He told about a time when God would pour out His Spirit on all people – old and young, women and men.

Hundreds of years later a small band of Jesus’ followers were gathered in a Jerusalem room. Jesus had recently died, risen again and gone back to heaven. Just before He left, Jesus told His followers to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit.

That’s what they were doing this day when suddenly there was the sound of wind and the sight of fire tongues sitting on each person’s head. Then people began praising God in languages they didn’t know. Later when Peter explained to onlookers about what had happened, he said Joel’s prophecy – our today’s Bible reading – had come true right in front of them.


There are many more prophecies in the Old Testament. Some, like Joel’s have already come true or been fulfilled. Others have still not happened. When we read these prophecies, we must remember two things:

1. Each event predicted by God through His prophets will someday happen. Jesus will return to earth. We will each stand before God. The earth will not stay the way it is.

2. These things could happen any time. Am I ready? Are you? Find out how to get ready.

PRAYER: Dear God, You know everything. Please help me to be ready to face the future You have predicted. Amen.



MORE: Counterfeit Prophets
Most of us would love to know the future. There are lots of ways people try to discover or predict it. Many of these involve the occult: astrology, tea leaf reading, palm reading, Oija board, I-Ching, fortune telling, tarot cards. Can you think of more?

The Bible tells us to avoid these things. If you have done any of them in the past, stop! Talk to God and your parents about them. You might also want to get rid of any materials (cards, books, etc.) you have used in trying to predict the future in this way.

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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 17, 2016

Repent = Change Direction

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Joel 2:12-19

TO CHEW ON:
"Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity." Joel 2:13

Suppose you did something bad like got mad at your little sister and hurt her. Now you feel really sorry. You wish you hadn’t hurt her and you’re also worried that you might get punished.

1. What thing from the list below will convince your parents you really are sorry and won’t do it again:
a] you cry
b] you apologize to your sister
c] you promise to never hurt your sister again
d] from now on treat your sister with kindness.

Though crying, apologizing and making promises might convince your parents you’re sorry, they’ll know you’re really sorry by watching how your actions have changed.

When the people of Judah stopped following God and again worshiped idols, they were like a kid who had done something wrong. Prophet Joel told them God was going to punish them by sending locusts and drought. But there was still a way to avoid this punishment. It was by coming back to God and showing Him they were truly sorry and had changed inside.

In Bible times, some ways people showed they were sorry was to cry, fast (not eat food) and tear their clothes. But God told the people He wanted them to do more than that. He wanted them to tear (“rend”) their hearts and be sorry in the deepest part of them.

Illustration by Annie Vallotton from the Good News Bible
© American Bible Society 1976, 1992, used with permission.

An inside change like this is called repentance. It means we not only say we’re sorry, but show by our actions that we’re turning away from our bad way of acting. We’re changing directions and won’t do the bad thing again.

Would God stop the locusts and the drought if He saw the people were really sorry and had repented?

2. What things did Joel say God would do if the people changed their ways (Joel 2:13, 18-19):
a] take pity on his people
b] be gracious and compassionate
c] send new crops
d] make slaves of them all

God is still the same today. When we do wrong things, to others or to Him, we need to do more than just say we’re sorry. We need to show it by changing directions in repentance. When we do, God will forgive us. He may even soften or take away the punishment our wrong actions deserve.

PRAYER: Dear God, ________ is something I need to repent of. Help me to change my actions. Amen.


MORE:
Signs of Sorry
People in Bible times showed their feelings of being sorry, sad, or repentant in several ways.

Weep - People would cry - like we do.

Sackcloth: They wore sackcloth, a cloth woven of goat’s hair. It was dark, coarse and very itchy, especially when they wore it next to their skin.

Rend clothes: Sometimes people ripped their clothes, especially on first hearing sad news.

Ashes: Sometimes people put ashes on their heads and sit in an ash pile.

How do you show feelings of being sorry, sad or repentant?

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, June 16, 2016

Prophets and Plagues

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Joel 1:1-4 and 10-14

TO CHEW ON: The fields are ruined, the ground is dried up; the grain is destroyed, the new wine is dried up, the oil fails. Joel 1:10

Which people do we go to, to find out what might happen in the future

weathermen   scientists   prophets

I’m sure you’d agree that in our time we may go to weathermen and scientists, but we don’t often go to prophets. Even in Bible times people sometimes made fun of what prophets predicted. Yet God chose to speak through these ordinary men who didn’t speak their own ideas but said what God told them to say.

Joel was such a prophet. He lived in Judah around the time Joash was crowned king. He had seen the way King Jehoram and Ahaziah and then Queen Athaliah had turned the people away from praying to God.

When Joash became king, Joel hoped that things would be different. And they were for a while. As long as Priest Jehoiada was alive Joash followed his advice and honored God. But after Jehoiada died, Joash stopped worshiping at the temple. He put up Asherah poles and soon the land was filled with idols again.

One day God gave Joel a message for the king and people of Judah. He told them to come back to Him because if they didn’t, bad things would happen to their crops and land.


1.What bad things did Joel predict? (Joel 1:1-4):

a] Plague of locusts
b] Flooded harvest
c] Mildew
d] Dried up harvest

2. What should the people do to show God that they were sorry for ignoring Him and worshiping idols? (Joel 1: 13,14)

a] Fast
b] Live in caves
c] Gather to pray
d] Cry out to God

Through Joel God told the people about an important connection. Their obedience or disobedience would decide whether God would bless and protect their land and crops – or not.

What do you think – are obedience and blessing still connected in our time?

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to see and understand the consequences of the way I live my life. Amen

MORE:
Locusts
Find out through books or the internet about Locusts:
1. Where do they live?
2. What do they eat?
3. How small or big are they?
4. How can a locust become a plague?
5. Are there still locust plagues today?


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, June 15, 2016

Secret Coronation

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Chronicles 23:11-17


TO CHEW ON: "Jehoiada and his sons brought out the king’s son and put the crown on him; they presented him with a copy of the covenant and proclaimed him king. They anointed him and shouted, 'Long live the king!' ” 2 Chronicles 23:11

Who is your favorite storybook wicked stepmother or evil queen? Did you know the Bible has an evil queen story?

Athaliah was the wife of King Jehoram. After Jehoram died, his son Ahaziah reigned, but for only one year. When the young king was murdered, evil Athaliah went to work. In a few brutal hours she killed all the king’s relatives. Then she crowned herself queen.

But someone escaped. Priest Jehoiada and his wife rescued Ahaziah's baby son Joash and hid him in the temple for six years.

When Prince Joash was seven years old, Jehoiada met with the army commanders. He told them to bring all the priests and Levites to Jerusalem. On a special day the priests, Levites and many people gathered outside the temple. Then Jehoiada and his sons brought out the seven-year-old prince. They put a crown on his head and everyone shouted “Long live the king!”


Queen Athaliah heard the noise. She went to the temple to find out what was happening. When she saw little Joash standing there with a crown on his head she shouted, “Treason! Treason!”


But no one was on her side. Though she tried to run away, the soldiers quickly captured her and put her to death. Though she thought her plan to be queen was foolproof, God had other ideas. He protected the real king Joash by keeping him hidden and safe until it was time for him to be crowned.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for Your protection. Amen

SUPERSIZE IT: Hide and Seek
It’s fun to play the game “Hide and Seek.” But when you’re hiding from someone who wants to take your life, “Hide and Seek” can be deadly. Priest Jehoiada hid little Joash in the temple. Match these hiding places with the hunted people who hid in them (check the Bible references if you need to).

A. A well (2 Sam.17:17,18) ______________________

B. Hidden by his mother at home (Exodus 2:2) ______________________

C. A cave to be safe from King Saul (1 Samuel 24:3) ___________________

D. On a roof under stalks of flax (Joshua 2:6) _______________________

1. David
2. Spies
3. Moses
4. Jonathan and Ahimaaz

Answers

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

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

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Good Riddance

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Chronicles 21:12-20

TO CHEW ON: "Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. He passed away to no one’s regret...." 2 Chronicles 21:20

One of the first things Jehoram did when he became king was kill all his brothers! This oldest son of Jehosphaphat did that so no one would try to become king instead of him. Next he married the daughter of evil King Ahab. Finally, he again started worshiping idols instead of God.

Prophet Elijah from Israel sent him a letter. “Because you are doing so many bad things, God will be against everything that is yours. You yourself will get sick and die.”



And that’s what happened. The Philistines and other hostile neighbors raided Judah and left with beautiful things from the palace. They kidnapped Jehoram’s sons and wives. Then Jehoram got sick. Only eight years after becoming king, he died of a painful disease.

1. If he was 32 years old when he became king and reigned for eight years, how old was he when he died? _______

2. Would you say he was an old man? ______

3. Was anyone sad when he died? (2 Chronicles 21:20) _______

Our lives don’t have to be long for us to make a difference – for bad or good. Decide to live each day of your life well.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to live in a way that pleases You. Help me to please You today. Amen.


MORE:
Your Epitaph


When Jehoram died, no one felt sorry. What a sad way to be remembered.

We can discover the impressions people have left when we read the sayings (epitaphs) on head stones or grave markers in a cemetery.
1. Take a trip to a cemetery and write a list of epitaphs.

2. Write an epitaph for Jehoram’s headstone ____________

3. What would you want as your epitaph? ______________

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 13, 2016

Singing Soldiers

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Chronicles 20:20-29

TO CHEW ON: "As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated." 2 Chronicles 20:22

It was the morning of battle day. The day before, the prophet had told Jehoshaphat that God would fight this battle for him and his soldiers. But the army still had to go to the battlefield. “Have faith in God,” Jehoshaphat encouraged the men, “and you will be successful.

Then Jehoshaphat arranged his army in a strange way. Who did he put at the front? (2 Chronicles 20:21)
1. Chariots and horsemen.
2. A choir of singers and praisers.
3. The most skilled fighters with bows and arrows.

As the army marched to the battlefield the singers, who led the troops, began to sing and praise God. When they did this an amazing thing happened. Trouble broke out in the enemy camp. The Ammonites and Moabites began to fight against the soldiers from Mount Seir. After that they fought and killed each other.


When Jehoshaphat’s army came to the hill overlooking the battlefield, there was no one left to fight. They trusted God and praised Him for helping them win even before they saw that victory. As they praised, God fought and won the battle for them.

Have you ever praised and worshiped God when you faced a big challenge? Try it. When we worship and praise God, He works in us and in our circumstances.

PRAYER: Dear God, please remind me to praise and worship You, especially in the middle of my problems. Amen.

MORE: Sing Jehoshaphat’s Song
1. The song that Jehoshaphat’s singing soldiers sang was simple. Write out the words (2 Chronicles 20:21) ____________

2. We don’t know what the melody of this song was so we can’t sing it exactly like the soldiers did. But we could sing it to a tune of our own. Make a song of the words Jehoshaphat’s soldiers sang:
-Sing them to a tune you already know or make up one of your own.
-You could repeat some of the words or phrases of Jehoshaphat’s song to fit with your music.

For an example, here is Jehoshaphat’s song, sung to the tune of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”
Give thanks to the Lord, the Lord,
Lord, the Lord, Lord, the Lord.
Give thanks to the Lord, the Lord
For his love endures forever.

3. Sing this song to God often. Sing it the next time you face a big challenge and need God’s help.

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 12, 2016

Helpless But Not Hopeless

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Chronicles 20:1-19

TO CHEW ON: "Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him." 2 Chronicles 20:3,4

What is the first thing do when:
- the school bully and his friends are after you?
- your Mom loses her job?
- someone steals your bike?

King Jehoshaphat’s big problem was a huge army coming to fight him. When he heard this, he was worried. But he didn’t do things like make his army bigger, call for help from another king or panic. Instead he asked everyone to join him in fasting and praying to God, till he got God’s instructions of what to do next.

Many families came to Jerusalem from all over Judah to pray. They met outside the temple. Grandmas and grandpas, moms and dads, girls and boys stood there while Jehoshaphat prayed aloud.


No sooner had Jehoshaphat ended his prayer by telling God how helpless he felt than God’s Spirit gave Jahaziel, one of the Levites, a message. What three things did God say to Jehoshaphat through Jahaziel? (2 Chronicles 20:15-17)

1. This battle is not yours but God’s.
2. Do not be discouraged or afraid.
3. Pay soldiers from Egypt to join your army.
4. Face you enemies tomorrow and God will be with you.

How relieved Jehoshaphat must have felt when he got this answer. He could have chosen to make his own plan, like his father Asa did. Instead, he chose to ask for God’s instructions – and got them.

God wants us to ask for His help too. Our helplessness gives Him a chance to be strong. Whatever your troubles are, pray to God about them. He would love to fight for you too.

PRAYER: Dear God, I bring ____ (name your problem or the problem of someone you know) to You. Please tell me what to do. Amen.

MORE: Prayer and Fasting?

Fasting is stopping to do something for a certain amount of time. People usually fast from food (don’t eat for one meal, one day or longer). But we can also fast from activities like watching TV, going on the internet, playing video games or going shopping. A person who is fasting may use the time usually spent in doing that activity to pray.

People in Bible times often fasted. People today fast too. When we fast it says to God:
- I want to be with You more than to be eating food, watching TV, playing video games etc.

- I am very serious about my prayers.

- I am depending on You to answer my prayers.

Is God telling you to pray and fast about your problem? If He is, why don’t you do it? If you choose to fast from food, make sure you get permission and supervision from your parents or guardians.


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 11, 2016

Jehoshaphat - Teacher King

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Chronicles 17:1-10

TO CHEW ON: “They (Jehoshaphat’s officials, Levites and priests) taught throughout Judah, taking with them the Book of the Law of the Lord; they went around to all the towns of Judah and taught the people.” 2 Chronicles 17:9

How did you learn: to read, to do math, to play an instrument, science, nature and history?
Cross out the one thing below that didn’t help:

1. By listening to teachers explain.
2. By practicing what you learned.
3. By someone telling you to learn these things.
4. By watching DVDs.
5. By memorizing and preparing for tests.
6. By reading.

There are many things we can do to help us learn things. But simply having someone else tell us to do it (#3 above), isn’t enough.

King Jehoshaphat knew that. When he became king after his father King Asa died, he was careful to do everything he could to obey God. But he knew that for God to bless his nation, the citizens needed to follow God too. So he did more than simply tell them to follow God. He taught them God’s law and showed them how to obey it.


He sent teachers to the towns and villages with copies of the Law. It wasn’t written in books but on scrolls of animal skins. These teachers read the law to the people because most common people couldn’t read. They helped them memorize parts of it so it was in their minds and hearts. They taught them to sing the praise songs and prayers and told them about the sacrifices and feasts God wanted them to celebrate.

This was a wise thing for Jehoshaphat to do. And God honored his efforts with a time of peace.

Today we discover what pleases God when we read and study the Bible. Most of us have learned to read as kids so we can read it for ourselves. In many countries we are free to go to church, Sunday School and Bible club. Let’s take advantage of all the ways we can learn about God.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for the Bible and the people who teach me about You. Amen.


SUPERSIZE IT: God-school
- What are some ways people in our time learn about God and Jesus?

- Who taught you about God and Jesus?

- What is your favorite way of learning?

- Find out (on the internet, from books or magazines) about countries where it is illegal to have a Bible and to meet for church services. How do these people learn about God and Jesus?

The Voice of the Martyrs is one web site that tells about persecuted Christians.

Prisoner alert tells the story of some people who are in prison right now for their faith in God.

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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 10, 2016

I'll Do it My Way!

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Chronicles 16:1-13

TO CHEW ON: "For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him." 2 Chronicles 16:9

When Asa had been king for a long time, Baasha the King of Israel blocked the border between Israel and Judah.

1. The last time King Asa was faced with a problem (2 Chronicles 14:11) he had: (choose the correct answer):
a] asked for help from Egypt.
b] asked for help from God.

2. This time he (2 Chronicles 16:2):
a] asked for help from Ben Hadad of Aram
b] asked for help from God.

Shortly after that, the prophet Hanani came to him and asked, “Why did you make your own plan instead of asking for God’s help? Didn’t God help you in your fight against Cush? God is always looking out to help anyone who depends on Him. What you did was foolish. From now on you’ll always be at war.”

What Hanani said made Asa so angry, he put Hanani in prison.

After that Asa stubbornly refused to ask for God’s help with anything. A few years later when he got a disease in his feet, he only went to doctors. He ignored God completely.

Why did Asa, who started out so well, end like this? Perhaps he thought that with all his experience he no longer needed God’s help. Or maybe he just wanted to do his own thing instead of listen to God.

Let’s not become like the old Asa, who stopped trusting God. Instead, let’s ask for His help with everything all our lives long.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to depend on You now and through all my life. Amen.

MORE: I Couldn’t Bother God with That!


Which times could you ask for God’s help?
- When someone is bullying you.

- When you are sick

- When you don’t understand something in school

- When you want to make the team.


- When your parents aren’t getting along.

Did you pick them all? God can help in all these times and with all these things and much more.

Nothing is too small for God. He is interested in everything about you from the biggest thing to the tiniest detail. What will you ask him to help you with today?

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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.

Answers

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