Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.— Oscar Wilde.
This is the first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.
Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.— Oscar Wilde.
This is the first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.
Joseph came from a very large family. He had 11 brothers. Joseph’s father loved Joseph the most and it made his brothers very jealous…so jealous that they captured him and sold him as a slave to get rid of him!
Joseph was sad that his brothers had done this, but he trusted God to take care of him. God allowed a man named Potiphar to bring Joseph to work at his house. He gave Joseph a very important job; he was in charge of all of Potiphar’s other workers!
Potiphar’s wife was not a nice lady and while Potiphar was gone, she secretly asked Joseph to be her boyfriend! Joseph said, “I cannot do that! It’s wrong because you have a husband and he trusts me! Also, I do not want to sin against God!”
Potiphar’s wife was angry that he would not be her boyfriend, so she told her husband a lie. She told Potiphar that Joseph was trying to get her to be his girlfriend! Potiphar believed her and was so angry that he threw Joseph into jail! But even in jail, God was taking care of Joseph and while he was in prison, one of the king’s servants found out that Joseph had a special gift. He could explain what dreams meant.
The king had been having some very strange dreams and he needed help understanding them. The servant told the king about Joseph and when the king told Joseph his dreams, Joseph explained what the dreams meant.
Joseph said, “King, the Lord has shown me that your dreams are a warning. God is warning you that for 7 years, the weather will be wonderful and we will grow many crops and have more than enough food. But the following 7 years will be terrible – there will be no rain and no food will grow. This dream is warning us that we must save up food for those bad years so we will not starve to death!”
The king was so impressed with Joseph that he said, “Praise Joseph’s God! From now on the only person more important in the kingdom than Joseph is me! Joseph will be my most important worker and he will be in charge of everything so that all will be saved from what’s to come!” And from that point on, Joseph went from being a prisoner to being the king’s most trusted worker!
Next week, we’ll see just how God uses Joseph in such an important position!
Have you ever received a gift that made your brother or sister or friend say, “You’re so lucky! I wish I had that gift!” That gift made you feel pretty special. We find a story of a young man named Joseph in the Bible and that’s how he felt.
Joseph had 11 brothers and he was next to the youngest. Joseph’s father was Jacob and out of all 12 of his sons, Joseph was Jacob’s favorite. In fact, he loved Joseph so much that he bought him special gifts.
One gift Jacob gave to Joseph was a beautiful, colorful coat. Joseph loved his new coat! But it made his brothers jealous because they didn’t receive such a special gift from their father.
Joseph also had 2 dreams that he shared with his family. He said that in the first dream he and his brothers were gathering wheat into piles and tying them up. Joseph said that his brothers bales of wheat bowed down to his bale of wheat. His brothers didn’t like that dream at all.
Joseph had a second dream and in this dream, he said the sun, moon and stars bowed down to him! Not only did his brothers not like this dream, even his father thought it was strange. Jacob said, “Joseph, are you saying that in this dream, even your mother and I will bow down to you?” The dreams made Joseph’s brothers hate him even more.
One day, Jacob told Joseph to take some food to his brothers who were working out in the field. When his brothers saw him coming, they said, “Here comes Joseph in his special coat. We should get rid of him!” The brothers decided to take Joseph’s coat from him, throw him into a deep pit and leave him there!
After Joseph was thrown into the pit, a group of travelers who sold items that they carried on their camels’ backs came their way. The brothers said, “We should sell our brother as a slave to these people when they pass by! Then he’ll be gone forever!” And that’s what they did. They sold Joseph as a slave to the travelers.
When they returned home, they showed Joseph’s coat to their father and told him a terrible lie. They said that they found Joseph’s coat and that he must have been attacked by an animal. Joseph’s father wept bitterly. He couldn’t believe the son he loved so much was gone.
Next week, we’ll see how, even though some bad things happened to Joseph, God was with him every step of the way and ended up using Joseph to save his own family! We will see how God always takes care of the ones He loves!
Zacchaeus was a man who lived when Jesus was on the earth. He was a “tax collector” and he was very rich.
A tax collector is someone who collected money for the king from the people in the city. But the people in the city didn’t like tax collectors because they forced them to pay more than they owed so that the tax collector could keep part of the money for themselves.
Zacchaeus had heard that Jesus was going to be coming through his town. People said that He did wonderful miracles and Zacchaeus wanted to see what Jesus looked like. There was just one problem…Zacchaeus was a very short man! When other people crowded into the streets to see Jesus, Zacchaeus couldn’t see over them!
Looking around, Zacchaeus had a great idea! He made his way down the street to a tall tree and climbed it. He would sit on the branch of the tree and watch as Jesus passed by!
As Jesus came down the street, people crowded all around Him hoping that Jesus would do something for them. But when He reached the tree where Zacchaeus was sitting, Jesus stopped. He looked right up at Zacchaeus and said, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly from that tree because today I’m going to stay at your house.”
Zacchaeus was thrilled!! He came down from the tree and joyfully ran to where Jesus was. Zacchaeus was excited to take Jesus to his house, but the people of the city couldn’t believe it! Why would Jesus want to spend time with an evil tax collector like Zacchaeus?
As Jesus spent time with Zacchaeus, Zacchaeus’ heart began to change. He heard the words of love and truth that Jesus spoke, and felt very sorry for the money he had stolen from the people. Zacchaeus said, “Jesus, I will give half of all of my riches to help the poor and to every person from whom I have ever stolen money, I will give them four times as much money back!”
Jesus said, “Zacchaeus, you are exactly the kind of person I came for. Today, you and your entire family will be saved!” Jesus didn’t look down on Zacchaeus because he had done bad things; Jesus loved Zacchaeus and wanted to forgive him and show him a better way to live. And because of the love Jesus showed him, Zacchaeus repented and he and his family were saved!
Jonah was a prophet who loved God, but when God told Jonah to go to Ninevah to share His love with the people there, Jonah didn’t want to do it! He ran from God and ended up trapped in the smelly belly of a huge fish at the bottom of the ocean.
The Bible says that Jonah was in the fish’s belly for 3 days and 3 nights! Jonah wished he had obeyed God. In the fish’s belly, he began to pray. Jonah asked God to please forgive him. He knew that God still loved him – so much that God sent a fish to swallow him so that he would not drown in the sea! Jonah praised God for being so good even though he was in a fish’s belly. God heard Jonah’s prayer and caused the fish to spit Jonah onto the seashore!!
When Jonah landed on the shore, he began to thank and praise God for saving him! God told Jonah to go to Ninevah and tell them to turn to Him.
When Jonah came to Ninevah, he saw how mean the people were to each other. But Jonah obeyed God and told them that God loved them and wanted them to stop doing evil things. He told them to repent and turn to God and God would forgive them. The people listened and believed every word that Jonah said! The more they listened, the more they wanted to turn to God!
The Bible says that everyone in the city of Ninevah turned to God! Even their king wanted to be forgive and serve God! Don’t you think that made Jonah happy? Actually, it didn’t. Jonah couldn’t understand how God could simply forgive people who had been so evil and mean.
As Jonah sat outside the city, God knew that he was upset. Jonah said, “God, I knew You would forgive them if they asked You to, even though they have been some of the most evil people ever created! This is why I didn’t want to come to Ninevah!” Jonah didn’t believe that the people from Ninevah deserved God’s love and forgiveness. God told Jonah that just like He created Jonah, He also created all of the people in Ninevah and He loved them with all of His heart.
Jonah learned that God’s love is deeper than anyone could ever imagine. God sent Jonah to Ninevah not only to tell them about His love, but also to show Jonah just what a big heart of love He has. Just like God loved and forgave Jonah, He also loved the people of Ninevah and wanted to forgive them for all the bad things they had done, too.
What a great lesson for us! No matter who we meet in our lives, we can know that God loves them. And if God asks us to share His love with them, we should obey Him the first time!
Many years ago, before Jesus Christ was born, there was a prophet named Jonah. A prophet is someone God speaks to in a special way. A long time ago, these prophets would give God’s message to God’s people. Jonah loved God and God loved Jonah.
One day, God spoke to Jonah and said, “I want you to go to the city of Ninevah and tell the people to stop doing bad things. Tell them that if they will pray and ask for forgiveness, I will forgive them.”
Jonah did not like this message from God. The people of Ninevah were some of the meanest people he had ever known and Jonah did not think they deserved God’s forgiveness. Instead of going to the people of Ninevah like God said, Jonah decided to run the other way!
Jonah boarded a boat headed AWAY from Ninevah. He thought that he could run from God! But while Jonah was on the boat, a huge storm came! The sailors and the other travelers on the boat were scared that they were going to die!! Jonah knew what was happening…God had sent the storm because Jonah had disobeyed God.
Jonah told the captain, “This storm is my fault because I disobeyed God. If you will throw me overboard, the storm will stop.” The captain didn’t want to throw Jonah off of the ship! He might drown! But Jonah promised the captain that if he threw him off of the ship, the storm would stop and they would be saved. So, the captain and his crew threw Jonah overboard into the ocean.
Jonah was going down, down, down until suddenly, he was sucked into the mouth a large fish! GULP! The fish swallowed Jonah! Jonah was alive, but he was in the smelly belly of a big fish! Jonah should have obeyed God!
I’m sure Jonah hated to be stuck in the smelly belly of a big ‘ole fish. I’m also sure that Jonah wished he had obeyed God in the first place. It’s always important to obey what we’re told to do. The Bible says that Jonah was in the big fish’s belly for 3 days and 3 nights!! EWWW! Next week, we’ll learn what happened to Jonah next!
David was a young shepherd boy who took care of his father’s sheep. David had been told by a prophet of God that he would be the next king of God’s people. Even though he was young, God knew that David loved him with all of his heart. That’s why God chose to use David in great ways.
David’s three brothers were in the army of God’s people. The king who was in charge and leading the army was King Saul. The army was fighting against the Philistines; but the army of God’s people was very afraid. The Philistines had a special, strong weapon – a giant named Goliath.
Goliath was huge and strong and MEAN! Every day he would come out and shout at the men in God’s army and say, “Who is brave enough to come and fight me? No one from your scared little army dares to fight me!” And Goliath laughed as the men of God’s army ran away and hid because they so were frightened of the giant.
David had come near to the battlefield to bring his brothers some food and supplies from home. As he got close, David could hear what Goliath was saying. He asked his brothers and some of the soldiers, “Who does this man think he is to say bad things against the army of the living God?” David’s oldest brother, Eliab, heard what David said and got mad at his little brother. Eliab said, “Who is watching the sheep and why are you here? You should go home!” But David didn’t listen to his brother because he wanted to find out if there was anyone willing to fight Goliath.
When David saw that no soldier trusted God enough to face the giant, he said, “I’ll fight the giant!” The other soldiers laughed at David because he was just a kid! He didn’t even have armor! How could a young boy fight a giant like Goliath??
Some of the soldiers were outside of the king’s tent talking and laughing about David. King Saul heard them and said, “Stop your laughing and bring the boy to me.” When David came to the king’s tent, King Saul realized that he truly was a young boy. “What makes you think you can fight the giant?” King Saul asked. David shared the stories of being a shepherd and fighting lions and bears with his own two hands to protect his sheep. David said, “King Saul, the same God that helped me to fight the lions and the bears will give me strength to defeat this giant!”
King Saul believed David, but he wanted him to go into battle dressed as a soldier. The king gave David his armor to wear, but it was too big and too heavy. David said, “I can’t use this armor because I’m not used to it and it will slow me down.” David left the king’s tent and walked to a nearby brook. He found five smooth stones and put them in his pouch. With his sling in his hand, he went out to meet the giant knowing that God would take care of him.
When Goliath came out to see who was brave enough to fight him, he saw David, who was just a young boy. This made Goliath angry and he said, “Am I a dog that your army sends out sticks to fight me?” David said, “You come at me with your shield and with your sword but I come in the name of the Lord God Almighty, the God of the army of Israel, and today He will give you to me! God will give me strength to take you down and we will defeat you and your army!”
Goliath couldn’t believe his ears! He picked up his sword and ran as fast as he could towards David! David put one stone in his sling and began whirling it in the air. Suddenly, just as Goliath raised his sword to kill David, David released the stone from his sling and it hit Goliath right between the eyes!
The stone sunk into Goliath’s head and he fell to the ground dead! David ran towards the giant to finish the fight just as he said he would because God had given him the battle against the giant! When the soldier’s of God’s army saw what had happened, they ran after the Philistine army and defeated them.
David was a young boy, but he took down a terrible giant. He was not afraid because he loved God with all of his heart and because he trusted God to be with him. David even wrote about loving and trusting God in the Bible! Psalm 29:25 is just one of the verses that he wrote and it says, “The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts, and I am helped.” David didn’t need the king’s armor because the Lord was his strength and his shield against the giant!
Did you know that God uses people of all ages – even children? You may remember a story about a boy named David. David was a shepherd. A shepherd is someone who takes care of sheep; sometimes lots of sheep at one time. David was only a young boy, but his father trusted him to take care of all of his sheep!
David loved God with all of his heart. Every day as he was watched over the sheep, he would write poems and sing songs to the Lord.
Because David loved the Lord, God blessed him in special ways. One day, while David was watching the sheep, a hungry lion came up attack them! Instead of being scared and running away, David ran after the lion and fought him with his bare hands! David wasn’t afraid because he knew the Lord was with him and that the Lord would give him strength to be a good protector for his sheep.
While David was out in the fields with his sheep one day, a man named Samuel came to visit David’s father. Samuel was a special man of God. He could hear God’s voice. God had told Samuel to go visit a man named Jesse. God said, “One of Jesse’s will be the next king of My people. Go to Jesse’s house and I will show you which son will be king.”
Jesse had seven sons. When Samuel met Jesse, he told him what God had said, that one of his sons would be the next king. Jesse was very excited! He knew God had to be talking about his oldest son, Eliab. Eliab was tall and handsome and strong; surely he was the son who would be the next king!
But God whispered to Samuel’s heart and said, “This is not the one. Do not look at how tall or strong or handsome he is, because he’s not the one to be king. For the Lord sees what you don’t see: you see what he looks like on the outside, but I see his heart.”
One by one Jesse’s sons came before Samuel and each time God said, “No.” Finally, Samuel said, “Jesse, are these all of the sons that you have?” Jesse said, “Well, my youngest son, David, is out in the field watching the sheep.” Samuel said, “Bring him to me.” And when David arrived, Samuel knew immediately that he was the son to be the next king because God whispered, “This is the one.”
Samuel took out a jug of oil and put some of it on David’s head as a sign that he would be the next king. Immediately, the Spirit of God filled David. The Spirit of God would lead David to be a great king one day. But just wait; God was going to use David even as a young boy to do amazing things.
We’re never too young for God to use us. When anyone loves the Lord with all of their heart and wants to live for Him, God will bless them and use them. The important thing is to understand that God is real and He is with us always. We should never forget to spend time with God because spending time with God takes away any fear that we may have. God loves us so much that He wants to remind us every day that He will take care of us! Next week, we’ll see how God used young David to save an entire army! Stay tuned!
Jesus is God’s only Son. Jesus came to earth to share God’s love with everyone and to die for our sins (all the bad things that we have ever done). Jesus knew before He left heaven that He would have to die to pay the high price for our sins. Jesus gladly came to die for everyone in the entire world – for you and for me – because He loves us so much.
Jesus told His disciples that He had to die but He also promised that He would rise again. His disciples did not like it when Jesus said that He had to die! But Jesus told them that He would do whatever His Father told Him to do because God always knows best. And Jesus always obeyed His Father.
Jesus prayed a lot. One night after He had finished praying, Jesus gathered His disciples and said, “It is time.” They weren’t sure what that meant, but right then, a mob of Jewish leaders and soldiers came up to arrest Jesus! One of Jesus’ disciples named Judas Iscariot was with the mob! Even though he was a disciple, Judas never truly believed that Jesus was God’s Son. Judas walked up and kissed Jesus on the cheek. Judas had told the soldiers, “The one that I kiss on the cheek is Jesus. He is the one you should arrest.”
The soldiers arrested Jesus and all of His disciples ran away! The soldiers took Jesus to the Jewish leaders who decided that He should be crucified (hung on a cross to die) for saying that He is God’s Son. The soldiers took Jesus’ clothes away from Him and put a cloth around Him. Then they beat Him with whips and sticks. They pulled the hair from His head and from His beard and they put a crown of long, sharp thorns on His head.
Then, the soldiers put Jesus on a cross. They nailed His hands and His feet to the cross and they cut his side with a sword.
As Jesus hung on the cross, He looked down at the people who had done this to Him and prayed for them. He said, “My Father, please forgive these people. They don’t understand that they are doing this to Your Son.” Jesus knew that the devil had caused them to hate Him so badly. But Jesus also prayed that they would realize that He loved every single of them so much that He was dying for them.
When Jesus died, He was laid in a tomb (like a cave) and a large stone was rolled in front of the tomb to cover the doorway. Jesus was in the tomb for three days.
On the third day, some of Jesus’ followers came to the tomb because they missed Jesus so much. When they arrived, they saw that the large stone had been moved from in front of the tomb and Jesus was no longer there! While they wondered what had happened to Jesus, an angel appeared and said, “Why are you looking for someone who is alive in a place for dead people? Don’t you remember that Jesus said He would die but that He would rise again?
Suddenly, the women did remember Jesus saying that! They couldn’t wait to tell Jesus’ disciples what they had seen and heard from the angel! They couldn’t wait to tell them that Jesus was alive!
Jesus kept every promise He ever made. Jesus promises that whoever believes that He is God’s Son will be saved! He died so that His blood could wash away our sins when we ask Him to forgive us! He arose from the dead just like He promised He would do and He is in heaven with God, His Father. One day, everyone who is saved and follows Jesus will live with Him in heaven forever! That’s the good news of the gospel! And that’s the good news that Jesus wants us to share with everyone!
Most of us are blessed with both a mommy and a daddy. But in today’s Bible story, we find a woman and her sons who are very sad. The woman’s husband, the children’s daddy, has died. What’s worse is that the woman had no money to pay her bills. She was afraid that the people she owed money to (they were called “creditors”) would take her sons and force them to be slaves because she couldn’t pay them!
In the woman’s village, there was a prophet named Elisha (a prophet is someone God speaks to in a special way). The sad woman came to Elisha and said, “My husband who was your friend has died! Now I am afraid that the creditors will come to take my children to be their slaves!”
Elisha said, “What do you have in your house?” The woman said, “The only thing I have left is one small jar of oil.” Elisha told the woman to go to all of her friends and neighbors and borrow as many empty pots and containers as she could find. He told her to bring them all to her house. Elisha said, “Once you have all of the empty containers in your house, shut the door. Then you and your sons take your one jar of oil and begin filling the empty containers.”
The woman and her sons did what the prophet told her to do. They brought all of the empty containers into their house, shut the door and began to fill them. It took a while because there were so many empty pots! But no matter how many pots they had to fill, their little jar never ran out of oil!
When the last container was filled with oil, she went back to the prophet and told him that she had obeyed everything he told her to do. Elisha said, “Good. Now, take all of the oil to the marketplace and sell it. Then you will have enough money to pay all of your creditors and you and your children will be safe.”
The woman was so thankful to God for this miracle that saved her and her children! But God performed this miracle for her because she obeyed what the prophet told her to do.
Just like God took care of the woman and her children, God promises to take care of us. It is important that we obey Him, that we trust Him and that we listen to Him in all things. Sometimes we may feel afraid, like the woman and her children; but fear is not from the Lord. When we trust in Him, God always gives us peace because we know He will take care of us.
Doing the right thing isn’t always easy. Jesus’ followers found that out! Many of His followers were put into jail or even worse just for telling others about Him! But no matter what happened to Jesus’ followers, nothing could stop them from telling others about Jesus and His great love for everyone in the world!
Paul and Silas were “apostles”. Apostles were men called to preach to others about Jesus. They went from city to city telling everyone that Jesus is God’s Son and that He died for them and rose again so that their sins could be taken away. This was such good news! And they called this good news “the gospel”.
One day, Paul had a vision from God (a vision is like having a dream while you’re awake). In the vision, there was a man from Macedonia (that’s a big word!) who was asking Paul to please come to his city and tell them about Jesus. Paul knew this vision was from God and God was telling him to go there. So Paul and Silas went to Macedonia.
While they were preaching in Macedonia, many people listened and believed what they said, but some people didn’t like them. They didn’t want to hear the gospel. They wanted Paul and Silas thrown out of town! These unbelievers took Paul and Silas to the Roman police and said that they were causing trouble in the city.
The Roman judges believed what the unbelieving people said and they had Paul and Silas beaten with heavy sticks and thrown into prison! But what do you think Paul and Silas did in prison? Instead of being sad or angry or mad, they prayed and sang praise songs to Jesus! Even at midnight, after being beaten, they were still singing! All of the other prisoners listened as they sang to the Lord. The prison guard could hear them singing, too. I’m sure he thought that was strange.
Suddenly, as Paul and Silas were singing, there was a great earthquake! It shook the prison so hard that all of the prison doors flew open! And all of the prisoners’ chains fell off of their hands and feet!
The guard saw that all of the prison doors were opened. He knew that if all of the prisoners escaped, he would be put to death! But Paul said, “Wait! It’s okay! We are all still here!”
The prison guard couldn’t believe it. These men could have escaped but instead, they stayed so that he wouldn’t get into trouble! The prison guard had tears in his eyes and said to Paul, “Sir, what do I have to do to be saved?”
Paul and Silas were so happy to share the gospel with the guard. “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved!” The prison guard did believe and he felt peace in his heart for the first time in his life! He couldn’t wait to tell his family! He invited Paul and Silas to his house so they could tell his family about Jesus, too.
Paul and Silas went to the prison guard’s house where he bandaged up their wounds and gave them food to eat. Paul and Silas shared the gospel with his whole family and they all believed in Jesus and were saved. That very night, Paul and Silas baptized the prison guard and his entire family.
Paul and Silas were not mad about being beaten and thrown into prison for sharing the gospel. They knew that God would take care of them. That’s why even in prison, their hearts wanted to sing praise to God! And when God heard their songs, He delivered them! He also used Paul and Silas to share the gospel with the prison guard so that he and his family could be saved!