...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.

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)

                                                                        JOB
  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.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Mordecai Implores Esther to Petition the King (Esther 4&5)

 
  When Mordecai found out about the new law, he was dismayed. He and all his fellow Jews were going to face annihilation at the hands of all the people in 11 months because of it. Mordecai put on sackcloth and ashes. (sackcloth and ashes were symbols of mourning and despair) He stood outside the gate of the palace wailing and crying bitterly. News of the king's decree swept through the kingdom and soon there was great mourning among the Jews. They fasted, wept and put on sackcloth and ashes.

   Some of queen Esther's maids saw Mordecai outside the city gates. They returned to Esther and told her how he was dressed and that he was weeping bitterly. Queen Esther sent some clothes with one of her servants for Mordecai to wear, because no one was allowed inside the palace walls in sackcloth, but he refused to wear them. So Esther ordered her servant, named Hathach, to go find out what what distressing Mordecai.
  Hathach went back and forth bringing messages to Queen Esther and Mordecai. Mordecai gave Hathach a copy of the decree that called for the death of all Jews to give to Esther. Esther didn't even know about the law and she was shocked and upset. Mordecai urged Esther to go to the king and beg for mercy for her people.
  "The whole world knows that anyone who approaches the king without being invited is doomed to certain death, unless the king holds out his gold scepter." Esther explained.
  Mordecai returned a message to the queen. "If you do not stand up for your people to the king, someone else will. But it could be certainly possible that you have been raised to royalty for such a time as this."

  Have you ever thought that maybe God put you in a certain uncomfortable situation for His purpose? Sometimes we try our hardest to get out of a situation, when God has worked it out to get us there! Don't ask God why.... ask Him what He wants you to do or to learn.

  Esther realized that Mordecai was right! "Go throughout the kingdom and ask all the Jews to fast and pray." She told him. "My maids and I will do the same. Then. even though it is against the law, I will approach the king. ...... and if I die..... I die."

  Three days later, Esther put on her royal gown and entered the inner court, which was just across from the king's hall. The king was sitting on his throne and looked in Esther's direction. She felt a lump in her throat and her legs felt weak as she wondered what fate awaited her.......Then..... the king held out his gold scepter to her. She let out a silent sigh of relief and glided toward the king.
  Then the king asked her, "What is your request my queen? Anything up to half my kingdom!"
  Esther responded, "If it please the king, let Your Majesty and Haman come to a special banquet I have prepared."
  The king turned to his attendants, "Tell Haman to come quickly. The queen has prepared a special banquet." So they went and brought back Haman for the banquet. They were all enjoying the banquet when the king turned to Esther and said, This banquet is nice, but please tell me what you really want. I will give you anything up to half my kingdom!"
  Esther replied. "This is my request and my deepest wish. If you are pleased with me and you want to grant my request, please come with Haman to another banquet that I will have prepared for you tomorrow. At that time I will explain everything."
  Esther wasn't afraid to ask the king. God was working behind the scenes and he put it in Esther's heart to delay her request another day. Next time we will see what God was up to.

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)