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

A Blog for Kids and Everyone.

This is a journey through God's word. The Bible is so amazing! There are a lot of great stories. Some that we know well and some will surprise us. We will have a lot of fun as we color, watch short cartoons and tell funny stories.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Job's Friends Just Keep on Talking and Talking (Job 4-37)

 Words are powerful. They can build people up or they can tear people down. "Life and death are in the power of the tongue." (Proverbs 18:21). In this next section of the Book of Job. Our poor friend Job, who has already suffered great loss and is in the middle of an excruciatingly painful health issue, is now subjected to speech after speech from his so-called friends. You have to give them credit though. They did keep their mouths shut for the first seven days, which is exactly what Job needed at the time, someone to share in his grief.

When a friend or family member is hurting, sometimes the best thing we can do is put our arm around them and not say a word. There are situations that no words could ever make better. But knowing that someone cares enough to be there in a hard time is comforting.
Job's friends took turns sharing their thoughts on life, God, and Job's situation. But they only made Job feel worse. Paraphrasing Bildad, he told Job that his children probably deserved what happened to them. And things will get even worse, so Job better talk to God and tell Him that he promises to do things differently if He will heal him.

  God is not a deal maker. We can't tell God, "I will listen to my parents if you help me pass this test." Or any other difficult things that pop up in our lives. God ALWAYS does the right thing, and as followers of Jesus, we should do the right thing, not because we want some favor from God, but because we love Jesus and it's the right thing to do.

Job answers Bildad. "What you say is not true, and even if it was, who am I to bargain with God. Everything was created by God and for God (Col 1:16).... including me." Then Job cried out to God again.
 When Job stopped to catch his breath, Zophar chimed in. "Just because you say you are righteous, doesn't make it so, Job. You talk a good game, but you are not so innocent or this would have never happened. I think it is time for you to repent and quit talking about how you didn't do anything to deserve this."
  Job responded to Zophar. "You act all high and mighty, but you are no better than I am. If your logic is true, this could have easily happened to you. My fate could be your fate!" Then Job cried out to God again pleading God to free him from his agony.

The three men continue to attack Job's character for the next 17 chapters, and Job continues to defend his character for the next 17 chapters. Finally in chapter 32 another man shows up. He had been there listening all the while. His name is Elihu. He scolds Job's friends for putting God in a box and trying to explain the ways of our Heavenly Father. Then he tells Job that the more he defends himself, the more arrogant he sounds. Elihu tells  Job.... and his friends, "Cry out to God. Not with explanations or justifications, but praise God for who He is. Don't try to make deals with God, but trust Him. God cares. God is understanding. God is just. And God is all powerful." Job and his friends grew very quiet and pondered what Elihu said. Then in chapter 38, the Lord challenges Job.

Elihu's advice for Job and his friends is great advice for us. Simply put:  Praise God, pray, and trust God because He loves us, He is good and all- powerful. We will wrap up the Book of Job next time with God's challenge, Job's response and how it all works out.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Job and Eliphaz finally speak. (Job 3-6)

 After seven days of sitting with their friend, Job (who was struck with a terrible case of boils after he had lost all his children and wealth), they were beginning to wonder if they should break the silence. However Job was the first one to speak. He began letting out all his frustrations. He cursed the day he was born. He wished he had never even been conceived. He said he would have been better off if he had died as he was being born than to live through what had had gone through and now is dealing with.

  Sometimes when we are in a lot of pain, our memories get clouded. It seemed that Job had forgotten all the good years he had. He forgot about all the people that loved him and all the people he loved. We can be so wrapped up in the pain that we forget too. But hang in there. You will get through it. Remember that it hasn't always been this bad and that it probably wont't always be.

 Job was just letting off some steam, but one of his friends, Eliphaz, thought it was the perfect opportunity for him to chime in. He stood up and began to tell Job that he had heard God whisper to him, and that he had a special vision one night while everyone was asleep. Be very careful if anyone tells you that God has told enlightened them about your direction in life. Run everything you hear through the scriptures and pray about it. Sometimes people think they are helping you in this way, but God doesn't like when they use His name to get across their own advice.
 Eliphaz continued to tell Job that on the outside Job seemed like a good man. He would help people, comfort them and point them to God. But he added that God sees all, and He knows when their is secret since that needs punishing. Eliphaz said he knew how God worked and Job is being punished.
 So his advice for Job was to go before God. Tell Him that the punishment was just and that now he repents. Then God will begin to ease his pain.

  Eliphaz had a skewed idea of God. He put God in a box and made God think the way we do. But guess what? God's thoughts are above our thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)  3-6)Our brains cannot even think the things that God does. That is why He asks us to trust Him.... in everything. Eliphaz was right in one thing. We should go before God and repent when we sin. Not so that God will make everything all better, but so that our relationship with him will be restored. 

 Now it was Job's turn to respond to Eliphaz. "You think you know God, but you don't. He doesn't work that way. And even if He did punish us like you say.... it still does not make sense, because, you can believe me or not, God knows the truth, I haven't committed and sin that is even close to what this kind of punishment would warrant." Job continued. "So if you were trying to help, or make me feel better.... you didn't. You made me feel better by just sitting with me."
 Then Job cried out in anguish to God again. He said that he hated his life. He had nothing to live for and that the pain was stealing and hope of joy in his life. He asked God why doesn't he just take his life instead of letting him go through this.

 We can feel Job's pain. And now to top it all off. The friend that had sat quietly with him and comforted him for the last week, has said some things that make Job feel even worse. We have to choose our words carefully when one of our friend is going through a loss or something painful. Sometimes it is better to keep quiet on purpose, than to say something hurtful by accident.

Monday, January 21, 2019

More Pain and Suffering for Job (Job 2)

 Once again the angels came to present themselves before the LORD..... and once again Satan was there as well. Satan told God that he was continuing to move across the earth, checking things out.
  "Well, you must have seen that Job, the man you tested, has still not sinned, even though I allowed you to do some terrible things to his property and his family." God said.
  "Of course he didn't curse you or sin against you!" Satan retorted. "You have protected him from harm. A man would gladly trade everything he has as long as he is safe and in good health." Satan continued, "If you let me inflict his body with some disease or malady..... then I'm sure he will curse you and turn his back on you!"
  "Job is upright and blameless. He fears God and shuns evil. I will let you do what you have said, however, do not kill him." God responded.
 So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD, and struck Job with painful boils from his toes to the top of his head. Job was in such intense pain that he went and sat on the ashes at a garbage dump. He found something and began scraping his skin because the boils were so itchy.

 How would you respond if you were Job? Of course we all feel like there are times when everything seems to be hitting us all at once. In Job's case, it really was! There are many choices we can make when facing the difficulties of life. 1. We can feel sorry for ourselves. 2. We can get angry at the situation, people around us, or God. 3. We can throw our hands up in the air and give up. 4. We can trust God (Proverbs 30:5), know that He loves us (1 John 3:1), and that He would never leave us (Deuteronomy 31:6). 

Job chose to trust God. He knew that God loved him and that God would not leave him. Job's wife on the other hand chose differently. We cannot be too hard on Job's wife though. Remember, she too lost all her possessions and her children.  Now she was watching her husband suffering right in front of her! So I can understand her response to Job's pain when she said to him, "Job! Are you still clinging to your integrity? Enough is enough! Just curse God and die!"
  Job answered his wife,  "My dear wife, you are  foolishly speaking out of anger and fear. Are we supposed to accept all the good things that God gives us, but not accept His decision when He takes things away?" In all his suffering, Job did not sin with his lips.

 Job realized that God does not owe us anything and that every good thing that God gives us is a gift. (James 1:17) 

Three of Job's friends, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar heard about all that had happened to Job and decided to go as a group to comfort, console, and mourn with their friend. They heard that Job was sitting near the garbage dump and headed toward it. While they were a distance off, they saw a man sitting there, but he was covered by so many boils that they did not even recognize him.  When they finally realized that it was Job, tears filled their eyes. They tore their robes and put ashes on their foreheads. Then they sat down with Job in silence for seven days. Seven days was the customary time of mourning for the dead. (Genesis 50:10) Job's friends joined him in mourning for his children as well as for his circumstances.
  Job's friends had good intentions. They loved their friend.  Their compassionate presence was just what Job needed at the time. We can learn from them. Sometimes a ministry of presence is just what a person needs when they are mourning of suffering. No words, just compassion and care. 
  In the next 35 chapters we will see how Job's friends opened their mouths and messed up the good they had done by initially sitting with Job in his grief.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Introduction to Job and (Job 1)

 The book of Job is believed to be one of the, if not, the oldest book in the Bible. It was probably written in Abraham's lifetime during the Genesis time period. It is also believed to be written by Job himself as he recorded his own experiences.
  The story of Job is a hard one. He suffers many losses and experiences deep pain, but the story is not really about Job's suffering, but more about how we tend to put God in a box. We expect God to think like we do and to act like we do. But His ways are way above our ways and His thoughts are way beyond our intellectual capacity. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

  In the land of Uz there was a very rich man named Job. (pronounced jobe) He was not only the wealthiest man in the region, he was also blameless, upright, feared God and shunned evil. Blameless doesn't mean that Job never sinned, it means that he would confess his sins, offer sacrifices and repent. Job had ten adult children, thousands of sheep, camels, oxen and donkeys, and many hired hands to help with the farm and many servants. Job would pray for his family and ask God for forgiveness on a regular basis.....just in case they had sinned.

 One day the angels were presenting themselves before God and Satan was there. God looked at Satan and asked him was he had been doing. "Oh, just going back and forth over the earth." Satan Replied. "I have been watching everything that has been going on."
 "Well then, I am sure that you noticed my servant Job." God said and then continued. "He is the finest man on the face of the earth. He is full of integrity and will have nothing to do with evil at all."
  "Of course not!" Satan retorted. "You shield him and his family from any adversity. You protect them all and you have given Job amazing wealth! That is why he loves you! Take away his stuff and we will see what Job is really made of. I'm sure he will curse you to your face!"
  God answered, "Alright! You may test him. Now you have access to all he has. Do what you will, however, do not touch a single hair on his head."

  One day a messenger arrived at Job's house. "Job, the Sabeans raided your land! They stole all the oxen and donkeys and killed all your farmhands. I am the only one who escaped to tell you."
  While he was still speaking, another messenger showed up. "Fire has consumed the sheep pen. All the sheep and the shepherds have been killed. I am the only one left to tell you what happened."
  And while he was still speaking, a third messenger came in. "Three bands of Chaldean raiders have come onto your property. They have stolen your camels and killed all your servants except me."
  I'm sure by this time, Job was thinking what else could happen. Sure enough, before the third messenger was finished speaking, another came in with the worst news of all. "Your sons and daughters were having a party at the oldest brother's house when a fierce wind stirred up from the desert. It swept across the farm and leveled the house. All inside were killed. I am the lone survivor to tell you of this devastating news."
 Job stood up, obviously in deep heartbreaking grief. He tore his clothes and let out a loud cry! He shaved his head and fell on the floor before God. "I came into this world completely naked, and I will be stripped of everything when I die." Job cried out and then continued "The Lord has given me everything I have, and now He has taken it all away..... Praise the name of the Lord!"
 Even though Job was in deep sorrow, he never sinned by cursing or blaming God.

  It is really hard for us to understand why bad things happen. People get hurt. Things are destroyed. Hopes and dreams are crushed. And people die. God knows we are sad when these things happen, and He is right there with us as we grieve through it. God wants us to love Him, obey Him, worship Him and trust Him. Sometimes trusting Him is the hardest when bad things happen. But God delights in our praises, and if we can still trust him and praise Him in the midst of suffering, I'm sure He cherishes that kind of praise even more.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The Festival of Purim (Esther 8-10)

  So Haman was hanged that day. The Jews didn't have to worry about his evil schemes any more, but even though Haman was gone, his law was still in effect. The king gave all of Haman's property to queen Esther, and she in turn put her cousin Mordecai the Jew in charge of it. Then Esther brought Mordecai to the palace and introduced him as her cousin, and she once again addressed the king. "If my lord is pleased with me, please reverse the decree that Haman instated, that all Jews would be killed on March 7th."
"I wish I could my dear Esther," the king responded. "But you see, I gave Haman my signet ring and he stamped the decree with it. No one.... not even I can reverse the law." He looked at queen Esther and Mordecai for a while, then he said. "Haman is dead because he wanted to annihilate the Jews. Now go ahead and send a message to the Jews in the king's name, telling them whatever you want, and seal it with the king's ring.  Remember, whatever is written in the king's name and sealed with this signet ring, cannot be revoked."

  On June 25th, Mordecai summoned the king's secretaries and had them write down the new decree that was to be instated. He had the decree translated into the language of the different territories. He then sealed the decree with the king's signet ring and sent if off swiftly on horseback tall all 127 provinces of the kingdom.
  Mordecai was smart. He wasn't able to stop Haman's law into going into affect. But he was able to instate an new law that said.... On March 7th of next year, all Jews can band together and fight or kill in order to protect their families. Mordecai knew that a lot of people in the kingdom would not risk their lives against a group of Jews.And he was right. On March 7th of the next year, the Jews banded together in large numbers to protect themselves and their families. Well not very people dared to attack the Jews. Even the governors, princes and royal officials sided with the Jews, because they all feared how powerful Mordecai the Jew had become.
  There were a few violent outbreaks for the next two day.s The Jews ended up killing a couple hundred people, including Haman's sons. Finally when the decree time had passed, the Jews rested and celebrated., with a festival and gift giving.

  Mordecai knew that this was an important 2 day event for the Jews. He sent out a decree that these two days should be celebrated every year with large festival and gift giving to each other and to the poor. This would commemorate a time in Jewish history when they gained relief from their enemies, when their sorrow was turned to gladness and their mourning into joy.
  They needed a name for this new holiday. Mordecai thought for a while, then he remembered how Haman had decided on which day to have the Jews killed. Haman cast lots. The lots were called purim. (It was sort of like rolling the dice in biblical times) So, in agreement with Queen Esther, the two day feast was called the Festival of Purim (named after the lots).

 The Jews agreed to celebrate the Festival of Purim every year. They would tell their children to continue the festival, and to tell their children to continue and so on. And now, the Festival of Purim is still celebrated till this day.
  King Xerxes promoted Mordecai to prime minister. He was second in authority to only the king himself. Mordecai was revered throughout the kingdom as a man who not only looked out for his people, the Jews, but also as a friend to all the people in the kingdom.

  The book of Ester is an amazing true story. Even though God was never mentioned in the entire story, He was at work all along. Sometimes we feel like God is not present.... but He definitely is. He has a plan and sometimes things get worse before they get better. But even when it is worse, He is right beside you.

Next time we will begin the fascinating Book of Job.

Friday, November 2, 2018

The Tables Are Turned on Haman (Esther 6 and 7)

  The king had just asked Haman what should be done for the man that the king wishes to honor. Haman, thinking that the king was talking about him, gave the king a very impressive list of things he could do. The king loved all Haman's ideas. Haman could not wait to tell his friends and family about this!
  King Xerxes said to Haman. "All these things will be done!" The king continued as Haman grinned from ear to ear, "Hurry and get the robe and my horse and do all the tings just as you have said for Mordecai the Jew who is sitting at the gate of the palace."
  Haman was speechless. "Mordecai the Jew?"He thought to himself. "I had gallows built to hang him and I was going to ask the king's permission, and now he wants to honor him?.... and I am the one that is going to carry it out?! This is terrible!" Haman grumbled to himself as he made it way out of the palace and to the palace gate to get Mordecai.

  Haman took the robe and put it on Mordecai, placed him on the king's own horse and led him through the city square. As Haman led Mordecai around the square, he shouted, "This is what  happens to those the king wishes to honor!" Haman did as the king asked, but on the inside, he was feeling humiliated, dejected, unappreciated and like a fool.
   When it was over, Mordecai returned to the city gate and Haman hurried home. When he got home, Haman told his wife, Zeresh, and all his friends what had happened. Haman went on for hours, telling everyone how humiliated he felt and that Mordecai the Jew did not deserve any of it. If anyone did, it was he himself. While Haman and his friends were still talking, one of the king's servants arrived to take Haman to Queen Esther's banquet. "I don't even feel like going now." He thought to himself.

  So the king and Haman went to the banquet that Queen Esther had prepared for them. After a while the king asked Esther, "So what is it you want my dear Queen Esther? Please tell me."
Esther answered him, Please my lord, if you are pleased with me, please spare me and my people. If we would only be taken as slaves, we could live with that, but a decree has been sent out to kill me and my people. I hate to bother the king, but it really is a matter of life and death."
  "Who would do such a thing?!" the king demanded. "Who would dare touch you?"
  Esther relied, "It is the evil Haman, my lord. He is our enemy." Haman grew pale with fright right before the king and queen. Then the king jumped to his feet in a rage and went into the palace garden to think. Haman and the queen stayed behind.
  Haman began to plead with Queen Esther, "Please my dear queen, this is all a big misunderstanding. We can work this out. Please tell the king to have mercy on me!" Esther didn't say a word, but Haman could tell that his his words were not reaching her heart. He fell on the couch where Esther was reclining, then he grabbed her arm. She pulled back and he was leaning into her. Just then the king returned and saw Haman nearly on top of the queen. "Will this evil man even assault the queen right here in the palace before my very eyes?" The king shouted in anger.
  The kings attendants moved in quickly and grabbed Haman. The servants knew that the king was wondering what should be done to Haman. Then Harbona, one of the servants spoke up. "Haman has set up a Gallows seventy-five feet tall in hi own courtyard. He was determined to use it to hang Mordecai the Jew, the same man who saved your life."
  "Then hang Haman on his own gallows!" the king ordered. So they did as king commanded.
  The story is not over however, the decree that Haman issued was sealed with the signet ring of the king. No one can over rule the law. Not even the king himself. So the date was still set for the annihilation of all the Jews. We will see what happened next time.

Friday, October 12, 2018

The Pride and Prejudice of Haman ( Esther 5 and 6)

   King Xerxes turned to Haman after queen Esther had invited them to another banquet and told Haman to be back again tomorrow. Haman left the palace on cloud nine. The king and queen have included him in their inner circle! He couldn't wait to get home and brag to his family and friends about how important he was. The only thing that interrupted his joy and excitement momentarily was Mordecai who was sitting along the wall of the palace in his sackcloth. He didn't stand or bow for Haman. This infuriated Haman.

  But by the time Haman made it home, he was bubbling over with pride and joy. He gathered his friends and family and told them all about how he was not only rich and that he had been promoted to be prime minister, but now the king and queen have invited him to, not one, but two dinner parties! He told them that the only thing that would make this day complete would be to get rid of Mordecai the Jew.
 One of Haman's friends spoke up. "Why don't you hire some carpenters to build and set up a gallows that stands seventy-five feet tall tonight, and in the morning, ask the king to hang Mordecai. Then you can enjoy your banquet without any aggravation."
  "I love that idea!" Haman exclaimed." With gallows that tall, everyone will be able to witness the hanging of Mordecai the Jew!" So Haman went right away and got his evil plan started.  The carpenters worked well into the night as Haman supervised the operation.
  Meanwhile, King Xerxes was tossing and turning all night. For some reason,(God), he just couldn't sleep. Finally, in the early morning hours, he asked a couple of servants to come and read the historical records of the kingdom. "If that doesn't bore me to sleep, nothing will." He thought to himself. So the servants began to read. The king was beginning to get a bit sleepy, when something from the records caught his attention. It was the account of how Mordecai exposed the plot of two palace guards to kill the king.
  "Yes, I remember that! Mordecai saved my life that day!' The king shouted as he sat up in bed. "Has anything ever been done to honor Mordecai?" He asked.
  "Nothing at all has been done for him. No reward or recognition has been given him" Answered one of the king's servants. Now the king was more awake than ever.

  Just then the king heard footsteps in the outer court and asked his servant to go see who was there. Now as it just so happened, Haman had arrived at the palace to ask the king to hang Mordecai that morning. "It is Haman." One of the servants replied.
"Oh good, send him in." The king ordered his servant. "I need some advice."
 So the servant escorted Haman into the presence of the king.
 "You are just the man I wanted to see." Said the king as Haman cracked a smile. "What should be done for a man that pleases me?" Now Haman's slight smile became a full-face grin. "Whom should the king want to honor more than me?" He thought to himself as ideas of how he would want to be honored by the king danced around in his head.
  "First of all," Haman stated, " He should bring out one of the kings royal robes as well as the king's  own horse with the royal emblem on it's head. Instruct one of the king's most noble men to place the robe on the honored person and then lead him through the city square." Haman was really dialing it up now. "Then have that noble man shout out as he leads the horse, 'This is what happens to the man the king wishes to honor!'"

 Sometimes our emotions (whether positive or negative) skew our perception of things. Haman's anger and pride blinded him to what was really going on. Ask God yo help you put you emotions aside and focus on the truth. He is the truth the way and the life. (John 14:6)
 Next time we will see how the tables were turned on Haman, and how God had everything in control all along.