...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.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Haman's Plot Against the Jews (Esther3)

  So, several years went by and Esther remained queen of Persia. She continued to keep her silence about her Jewish heritage. Her cousin, Mordecai, kept his position patrolling the palace grounds. Meanwhile, the king promoted a man named Haman to Prime Minister. The Prime Minister was the second most powerful position next to the king. Haman was an evil man. He was a descendant of Agag, who was the king of the Amalekites, the people who were Israel’s sworn enemy for generations (Exodus 17:14-16).

 Everyone was expected to bow down before Haman as he passed by, but Mordecai refused to bow. This made Haman very angry, and when he found out that Mordecai was a Jew, it made him even madder! Right then and there, Haman decided that it was time to get rid of not only Mordecai, but eliminate all the Jews.

  Haman approached King Xerxes, "It seems that there is a race of people scattered throughout your kingdom. They are disrespectful to the king and even their laws are different from ours. Sooner or later, they will cause big problems for you and the entire kingdom."

  "What do you suppose we do, Haman?" The king asked.
  "We must eliminate them completely!" Haman quickly replied with a slight evil smile across his face. "I have 375 tons of silver I'd like to donate to the royal treasury if this can be done."
  "Let it be done as you wish." The king replied. "But keep your money. Also here is my royal signet ring. You will need it to issue any decrees pertaining to the elimination of these people." 
  The king did not ask Haman for any details about the people that he was referring to. If he had, the king would have realized that he had many Jews as royal subjects and that the Jewish laws in no way interfered with the people obeying the laws of the kingdom. King Xerxes probably had no idea what he agreed to. He probably thought that he merely agreed to the execution of a handful of dangerous revolutionaries in his kingdom.

  Lots were cast to determine the best day of the year to execute all the Jews. It was determined that it would happen on March 7, almost a year later. Haman wasted no time in using the king's signet ring. So on April 17 the king’s secretaries were summoned, and a decree was written exactly as Haman dictated. It was sent to the king’s highest officers, the governors of all the provinces, and the leaders of each province in their own language. The decree was written in the name of King Xerxes and sealed with the king’s signet ring. Dispatches were sent by swift messengers into all the provinces of the empire, giving the order that all Jews—young and old, including women and children—must be annihilated on a single day. This was scheduled to happen on March 7 of the next year. The property of the Jews would be given to those who killed them. 

 The people of the kingdom were very confused. The Jews were their neighbors. Their children played together. Now they were supposed to kill them? It didn't seem right.

  God is always in control and every aspect of this time in history is no exception. He had a glorious plan. Right now it doesn't seem like it, but this is an amazing story. God allowed Haman to become prime minister. God already had Esther in place as queen and Mordecai in the king's circle. God allowed almost a whole year for the plan to be carried out through the casting of lots. (sort of rolling of the dice). 
  God had a plan then, and He has a plan today. He has a plan for your life and mine. He is in control of circumstances and He will give us opportunities to follow His will. Getting in on God's plan is not only being obedient, but it is also an exciting adventure! Pray for God to reveal complete knowledge of His will to you and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. (Col 1:9)

Monday, August 20, 2018

Esther Becomes Queen (chapter 2)

 When we left off last time, the king's men were getting ready to comb the countryside for the most beautiful virgins for the Miss Persia competition.
  Now there was a man named Mordecai that lived very close to the palace. He had a cousin named Esther, who was very beautiful. Esther's parents died when she was young, and her cousin, Mordecai took on the responsibility of raising the young girl as his own daughter. As a result of the "Miss Persia" contest, Esther had no choice but to be brought to the king's harem with many other young women. Mordecai warned her not to tell anyone that she was a Jew.
   Esther was placed in the care of a man named Hegai. Hegai was one of the king's top advisers and he was very impressed with Esther from the start. He treated her kindly and immediately ordered beauty treatments and assigned her the seven best maids to care for her..He also moved her and the maids to the best chambers in the palace.

  Why was Hegai so impressed with Esther right off the bat? Yes, she was beautiful, but I'm sure there were many beautiful girls that were brought to the palace. Beauty is not only an outward thing, it is also what is on the inside. Mordecai raised Esther to be a God-serving humble girl and Hagai noticed that right away. What do others notice about us right away? Does the beauty of God's presence in our hearts shine, or do we hide behind a proud attitude?

  Esther had not told anyone of her Jewish heritage, just as Mordecai suggested. Every day he would visit the palace and ask about Esther and how she was doing. The beauty treatments were very intense, and the continued for one full year! Finally it was time for the "Miss Persia" contest to begin. The women were given their choice of clothing and jewelry, but Esther accepted the advice of Hegai and wore what he picked out. The women were presented to the king one by one,  and when Esther's turn finally came, she was admired by everyone. The king was so taken with her, that he placed the crown on her head right then and there! All the rest of the women were taken to the king's harem and were cared for there for the rest of their lives, never to marry. It was very sad for them, so it was really a big deal to be selected by the  king.
   So Esther became queen and Mordecai became a palace official. All the while they kept Esther's nationality and family background a secret. As a palace official, Mordecai would basically patrol the palace grounds, making sure everything was in order. One day while he was on duty, he overheard two of the guards that were outside the king's private quarters talking. They were very angry with King Xerxes and planned to have him killed. Mordecai quickly passed this information on to his cousin, Esther, the queen. She then told the king about it and gave Mordecai credit for unearthing the plot. The king launched a thorough investigation into the allegations, and it was found to be true. The two men were then hanged in the gallows.

  The book of Esther is very unusual in the fact that it never mentions God once! As we read the story, we can see God at work. He is using situations and circumstances to allow people to be in the right place at the right time. As the story continues, observe how much God is involved in the whole book. Aren't our lives like that. We don't see God, but He is there, touching hearts, touching lives and using circumstances to further His plan of redemption. It is God's will that everyone come to a saving knowledge of him. (1Timothy 2:4)

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The Book of Esther (1-2) Vashti Banished

  Wasn't Nehemiah a great story? And it is all true....it really happened all those years ago. Now we are going to go back in time a little bit to  about 40 years before Nehemiah rebuilt the wall around Jerusalem. The Bible is not in chronological order. Which means it isn't in order of how things happened. The book of Ester is set in Persia after Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon were overthrown by the Persian Empire. The story of Esther is set about 30 years after the temple in Jerusalem was built and Ezra was the prophet of the time. At this time most of the Jews are still scattered throughout Persia.

   Now there was a king of Persia named Xerxes. Here ruled over all 127 provinces, from India down to Ethiopia. He had been king for 3 years when he decided to throw a huge party for all the princes and military officials. The party lasted 6 months! Then just when you think the party was over, the king throws a 7 day party for his palace servants and immediate officials. In the meantime, Queen Vashti was throwing her own party for the women of the kingdom.
  On the seventh day of the party, after the king had a little too much to drink, he started bragging about what a beautiful wife he had. Then he sent some of his servants to go bring the queen to him so he could show off her beauty in front of all the other men. When the message was conveyed to Queen Vashti that the king wanted her to parade around in front of a bunch of men who had been drinking for seven days, she refused. Disobeying the king was unheard of at the time. A queen would never refuse the request of the king!
  As soon as King Xerxes heard about Queen Vashti's response, he became infuriated and called his consultants together and asked their advice, because they were experts in Persian laws and customs.
 "What must be done with Queen Vashti?" The king asked. "What does the law say about a penalty for a queen who disobeys her king?"
  One of the king's consultants whose name was Memucan answered. "Queen Vashti has not only wronged the king, but she has also wronged all the princes and the male subjects in the kingdom." He continued. "The queen's behavior will become known to all the women in the kingdom, and before you know it, they will begin disrespecting their husbands which will lead to disorder and chaos in your kingdom."
  One of the other consultants spoke up. "If it please the king, let Queen Vashti be banished from the kingdom and never come before the king again! ... And let her position be given to another who is more worthy! Also send out a decree that all wives must honor their husbands because he is the master of the household."
  King Xerxes agreed and the queen was banished from the kingdom, never to be heard from again. Soon the king began to regret what he had done. If he had not acted so prideful, he would have not requested that the queen come before him and all the men then she would not have had to refuse. He was sad because he missed her.

 The Bible says that pride leads to destruction. (Prov 16:18) and patience is better than pride. (Eccles 7:8) God does not like pride. Pride hurts us and God doesn't want that. If we humble ourselves, God will lift us up. (James 4:10) The next time you feel like showing off or bragging about yourself... remember that it may make you feel like a big shot at the time, but eventually regret will set in, just like it did for King Xerxes.

  Some of his advisors saw that the king was down in the dumps over the whole situation and one spoke up. "May your servants travel to each of the 127 provinces of Persia and bring back to most beautiful virgins. We will hold a Miss Persia contest and whom ever you choose, will be the next queen of Persia!" The king liked the idea and the servants were dispatched to find the most beautiful virgins in all the land.

  Next time we will get an inside look at the Miss Persia contest.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Against All Opposition, The Wall Is Completed (Nehemiah 4-13)

As soon as I, Nehemiah, had assigned each person or family a section of the wall, they immediately began construction.  And as soon as Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem saw that the people were beginning to build, they became furious. "We have already tried to discourage them." Geshem said.
"Yes, Nehemiah prayed and talked to the people and they were not discouraged." Tobiah added.
"We need to get others on our side." Sanballat said as he pounded his fist on the table.
  So the three men went to a section of the wall that we were building. I could see they were up to no good as they stood among a crowd of onlookers and began to make fun of us, hoping the others would join them. Tobiah pointed and shouted, "That wall is so weak that if a fox tried to walk along the top of it, the wall would crumble to the ground!" I prayed that my people would ignore the comments and that the crowd would not go along with Tobiah. And so we continued to build the wall.
 After a few weeks, the wall was about half complete. Saballat, Tobiah and Geshem were fuming! They sent messengers to the wall and handed me a letter. Here is what it said. "We have the Arabs, the Ammonites and the Ashdodites on our side. If you do not cease in your attempt to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem, we will attack." I prayed to the God of heaven that the threats were only just threats and that God would give me wisdom. So I stationed half the men as guards with shields and swords along the wall and armed the men that were working  on the wall with swords as well.

 The three evil men saw that we were not deterred. Progress on the wall continued and the they devised another plan. Again they sent messengers and handed me a letter. Here is what that letter said. "It has come to our attention that you are building the wall in order to rebel against your king in Persia and then name yourself as king over Jerusalem. If you do not stop construction of the wall immediately, we will inform the king of Persia of your plan and he will have you arrested and the people charged with treason." I sent a message back saying it was all lies and then I prayed for strength. Then we continued to build.
 We finally had the wall up, but still had not put up the gates and doors, which were important to secure the city. Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem knew they had one last chance. They managed to bribe a man I knew named Shemaiah to try to trick me into meeting him inside the temple. I prayed, and God revealed to me that Shemaiah was working for Tobiah and Sanballat in order to discredit me. We continued to work on the wall. We hung the gates and doors. The wall was complete. And in only 52 days! The neighboring countries became fearful because they knew it was impossible to complete a project that would normally take a few years in only 52 days, and that God must be on our side. They were right!
  I called the prophet Ezra to read the law of God in front of the wall. Then the Levites reminded the people about how God was with us. Not only in the building of the wall, but throughout our history. From Abraham to Moses to the promised land until now, God has been with us the whole way. The people began to weep and confessed their sins. Then they made a vow to love God with their whole body, soul strength and mind, and to obey Him. Then we dedicated the wall to the God of heaven and rejoiced with songs, music, dancing, praying, worshiping and praising our God.
  I became governor of Jerusalem for 12 years the finally returned to king Antaxerxes. He was very happy to see me. I shared stories with him about how God has inspired, protected and been with us. I don't know if he realized that I would be gone for 12 years when I first left, but he received me back with open arms and he let me return to Jerusalem for a visit whenever I wanted. On one return visit, I found out that Eliashib the priest had emptied out one of the temple rooms and rented it to Tobiah for some of his personal belongings. As soon as I found out. I threw all of Tobiah's things out of the temple and replaced Eliashib with a Levite, a scribe and a priest, I knew all three men and trusted them. I also found out that some of the people and merchants were not honoring the Sabbath day. Before I returned to Persia, I prayed and then implemented some new rules.
  During the building of the wall, something that God inspired Nehemiah to do, there was so much opposition. There was an attempt to discourage the workers and they were made fun of, threatened, lied to and tricked. Notice what Nehemiah did each time. He prayed, then he planned and then he pushed forward. We should remember these three Ps when we are doing things for God and opposition arises (and it will). Pray, Plan, Push forward. God is on our side when we are called according to His purpose. He will guide you, protect you and give you wisdom.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Nehemiah Goes Back to Rebuild the Wall (Nehemiah 2-3)

  Last time Nehemiah was before the king of Persia, asking for permission to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall around the city. It was a request that could have landed him in the dungeon or put to death. Let's return to the story and let Nehemiah continue to tell you in his own words.

  As I stood nervously before Antaxerxes, the king of Persia, he turned to his wife the queen, then back to me and said, "Yes, Nehemiah, you can go back to the land where your ancestors are buried and rebuild the wall."
  I had found favor in the eyes of God, and thus in the king's eyes as well. So I continued my request. "If it pleases the king, I will be traveling through many territories on my way to Jerusalem, can you write letters to the governors of those territories giving me safe travel through their lands? And also can I have permission to bring along the lumber I will need from the royal forest?" The king granted me these things, for God had touched his heart. The king also sent along some of his army and horsemen to protect me along the way! Isn't that just like God to urge the king to give me far more than I had asked or even hoped for? (Ephesians 3:20)
  So I set out on the 800 mile journey from Persia to Jerusalem. No one knew my purpose, for I had not mentioned it to anyone except the king. However, three men, Sanballat from Horon, Tobiah from Ammon, and Geshem the Arab heard that I was on my way to help the Jews with something and they were not very happy.
 Three days after arriving in Jerusalem, (I still had not mentioned to anyone, not even the city council why I was there) I  took a couple men with me and slipped out one night after dark to survey the area around the city where the wall once stood.  The rubble was so treacherous in some places that even the donkey that I was riding was unable to navigate it and I had to go around those areas.
  As I lay in bed that night, praying for wisdom (James 1:5) and contemplating the task before me, I worked out a wall reconstruction plan in my head. So by the time morning had arrived, I called all the city councilmen to a meeting. I told them about how God had put it in my heart to build the wall, how God had touched the heart of the king, and the plan God had given me to build the wall.

  When God has something for you to do, He won't leave you hanging. He will be with you every step of the way. Continue to pray, ask for guidance and wisdom. God promises to  be your guiding light (Psalm 119:105) and to give you the wisdom to carry out His will.

  The councilmen replied all at once. "Good! Let's rebuild this wall!"  They were excited to begin and so was I, so we started to rebuild immediately. It wasn't long before Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem heard what we were doing. The scoffed and hurled insults and tried to discourage us, but I told them that God was with us and the wall would be rebuilt. Of course they didn't like my response, but it was the truth.
  Being in charge of the rebuild, I designated the men to work on different sections of the wall, and I had each family rebuild the part of the wall that was behind their own home. I knew this would save time and the men would make sure that the wall was built well near their homes. Everyone pitched in to help. Even the priest help build a part of the wall. The work was running smoothly.... but then...

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Nehemiah (1and2) Nehemiah Decides to Rebuild the Wall

  It had been 100 years since God touched the hearts of the Persian kings and allowed the Jewish exiles to return to Judah/Jerusalem and 40 years since God's temple had been rebuilt. The book of Nehemiah is unique. It was written by Nehemiah in the first person style. Which means he wrote of everything that happened to him and around him from his vantage point. So we are going to let Nehemiah tell the story in his own words. So whenever you read the words Me or myself or I, it is Nehemiah talking about himself.
  Hi, my name, as you already know is Nehemiah. For the past one hundred years, my countrymen, the Jews, have been making the 800 mile trek from Persian back to Jerusalem. Many of my friends and family have made the journey. But I have remained here in Persian. Mostly because I have a comfortable life here. I work for the king and live in his palace. I am the king's cup bearer, which means I taste the king's drink and food to make sure no one is trying to poison him. Yes, it is a dangerous job, but it is also a respected job because the king trusts me. Sometimes he even asks for my advice on some issues that arise in his kingdom. But I do miss my friends and family.
  So you can imagine my excitement when I heard that my brother and some of his friends were returning to Persia for a visit. When I heard that my brother was inside the kingdom walls, I ran out to meet him and his friends. My heart was beating as I asked how he and all the returning exiles were doing back in Jerusalem. But my heart sank when my brother answered, "Not good."
  "Why? what is going on?." I asked.
  "Without a wall around the city, the people are afraid to leave their homes, especially the women and children." My brother answered and then continued."The men are fearful that some neighboring countries will send troops through the city and snatch up all the women and children and the temple has yet to be decorated with the ornate silver and gold pieces that originally graced the walls and sanctuary."
  The walls had been torn down and burned by the Babylonians more than a hundred years ago. I knew it was not good for the people to live in fear. How can people live a God honoring life if they are afraid to come out of their own homes? I became very sad for the people there. I even began to cry. For many days after I hears the news, I fasted and prayed to the God of Heaven. I confessed my sin and the sin of all my people. I reminded God of His promise to restore His people and His city if we returned to Him through repentance, worship and obedience. I prayed for about four months that God would do something to help the people. Then something changed. I felt God telling me that I was the one that He was calling to go and help the people and rebuild the wall around Jerusalem.

  God is amazing that way. Prayer is not only asking God, but listening to Him. As we present our requests to Him, He slowly changes our hearts and guides us into His will. As you continue to pray for someone or some situation, listen. God may changing your heart and prompting you to be His tool for His purpose in that very situation!

  Ok, so I heard the clear voice of God. I was supposed to go back to Jerusalem, get the people together, and lead the reconstruction of the wall around Jerusalem. But there was one problem. Approaching the king with this idea was causing me much angst. The king did not even like if anyone was sad around him, let alone make such a life changing request. He could have me thrown in a dungeon, or even worse, put to death! I prayed that God would calm my soul and put just the right words in my mouth.
  I remember it was a beautiful spring morning. I had never appeared sad before the king before, but this particular morning I was feeling so much compassion for my fellow countrymen back in Jerusalem, that my face reflected my sadness. The king noticed and asked me what was wrong. I was
badly frightened, but replied. "Long live the king! I am sad because the city where my ancestors are buried is in ruins. The wall has been torn down and the gates burned."
  Then the king asked, "What can I do for you?"
  "Ok.... this was my chance..... don't blow it." I thought to myself so under my breath I said a very quick prayer to the God of Heaven, and answered. "If it please the king and you are pleased with me as your servant, I humbly request that you let me go back to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall around the city."

 Next time we will see if the king throws Nehemiah in the dungeon for asking such a thing, or if he grants his request. One thing we found out about Nehemiah so far.... he is definitely a man of prayer.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The Fall of Judah (2Kings 24 &25) and Ezra

 After Josiah, The next 4 kings were bad. (They didn't do right in the eyes of the Lord)  The kings led the people of Judah away from the Lord. They broke the covenant that God had made with them, which meant that their land would become desolate and the people would be scattered, just as it had happened to Israel 136 years earlier when they were taken over by the Assyrians. The four "bad" kings were Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin and Zedekiah. During the third king's reign, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, surrounded Jerusalem. He went into the temple and carried out most of the gold and silver that was in there. He also took many of the officials and the king as captives. The people of Judah had one last chance to turn back to God, but the next king, Zedekiah, continued to turn his back on God. 

 God is the God of 2nd 3rd 4th and so on chances. Don't ever feel like you've crossed the line of forgiveness and that you can't come back to God. Just confess it to God (which means that you agree with Him that is was wrong) and repent. (Which means turning away from the wrong doing and turning back to God)

King Nebuchadnezzar and his troops continued to surround Jerusalem for the next eleven years. The food ran out and all the people fled. As they were fleeing, King Zedekiah was captured. Then Some of the Babylonians went into Jerusalem and destroyed walls of the city and burnt the temple of God to the ground. They took what few Jews that remained back to Babylon and made them servants and slaves. With all the people gone, the wall torn down and the temple destroyed, the message that the Lord had given through the prophet Jeremiah came to pass. 'The land laid desolate for 70 years.' During the seventy years, the Babylonian empire was taken over by Persia.  .... That concludes the book of 2Kings.
 The next two books of the Bible are 1Chronicles and 2 Chronicles. These two books are recounts of the two Kings books. They begin with the first King of Israel, King Saul, then David's life is recalled with a few more details and finally King Solomon.  After King Solomon died,  2Chronicles  tells of how Israel split into the north kingdom, (Israel) and the south kingdom, (Judah). Finally the fall of Israel and the fall of Judah were covered. So we will pick up our story seventy years after the fall of Judah in the book of Ezra.

 The book of Ezra picks up where 2 Kings left off. Babylon had fallen to the Persians and in the first year of Persian King Cyrus' rule, God touched his heart. The king made a proclamation that all the Jews that were in the land could return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple. The king also personally brought out valuable items that King Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple. Then he ordered that every single item that was taken from the temple be given to the Jews so that they could return them once the temple was rebuilt. Ezra chapter 2 covers a list of all the Jewish exiles that were returning to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. Chapter 3 describes the first phase of the rebuilding, which was the altar, and then the beginning of the temple rebuild. In Chapter 4, the Jews face opposition when a new king is in charge. The Jews had to put the rebuilding of the temple on hold until the next king, Darius, became ruler of the Persian empire. He reviewed the decree of King Cyrus, and allowed the Jews to resume the rebuilding of the temple. With all the opposition to the rebuilding, it took over 40 years to complete, then Ezra the prophet returned to Jerusalem with many of the Jewish exiles. Chapter 8 of the book of Ezra gives family names of the returning exiles. Ezra made sacrifices in the temple and the people confessed their sins.

Sometimes God touches peoples hearts to fulfill His purposes. Sometimes He touches our hearts too. When God puts something on your heart it is called a burden. He wants you to act. But He won't force you to do anything. If we follow Jesus, we will have burdens placed on our hearts. God may want to bless someone through your actions. And guess what? Then we get blessed too!