...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.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The 10 Plagues (Exodus6-9)

 When we left Moses last time, he was complaining to God that the Hebrews were worse off than when he arrived and asked the king to let them go.

God said to Moses. “Don’t worry Moses. This is all part of my plan. The king will keep refusing to let the Hebrews go, and I will keep demonstrating that I am God. By the time I’m done with him and Egypt, he will be very anxious to let you go.” Then God continued. “Go tell the Hebrews that I will free them from slavery. They will be my own special people. They will always remember that I brought them out of slavery to the country that I promised to Abraham years ago.”
 So Moses went and told the Hebrews what God had said, but they wouldn’t listen to Moses. They were still angry that they were being treated even worse now that Moses began pleaded to the king for their release. Moses went back to God.

 "Now go tell the king to let the Hebrews go.” God told Moses.
 “But LORD!” Moses exclaimed. “My own people won’t listen to me. How can I expect the king of Egypt to listen! I am not a good speaker at all. I stutter when I talk!”
 God responded. “Your brother Aaron will be with you. He’ll speak the words that I command to the king. Don’t be surprised if the king still refuses. He is very stubborn. When he asks for a miracle, throw your staff on the ground and it will turn into a snake.”

 Moses and Aaron went back to see the king. Moses was 80 years old by now. The king asked for a miracle. Aaron threw the staff on the ground and it became a snake. The king called his magicians and wizards. With their magic, they also turned sticks into snakes! But guess what. Aaron’s snake ate the magician’s snakes! But the king was not swayed to let the Hebrews go. He turned his back on Moses and Aaron and asked his guards to remove them from his sight.

 Moses returned to God. "The king is very stubborn. Go back to him and tell him that if he does not let the Hebrew people go, that I will turn the Nile river to blood.God said. “When the king says “No” point your staff at the river and it will turn to blood.”
 Moses and Aaron returned to the king and he refused to let the Hebrews go. Moses pointed his staff toward the river and it turned to blood, but the king still refused. All of Egypt was suffering because of the king’s hard heart. New well had to be dug for water and all the fish in the river died and it started to smell really bad.

 Moses got some further instructions from God. “Go back to the king and if he refuses to let the Hebrews go, that the whole land of Egypt will be covered in frogs. They will be everywhere, even in the beds and and kitchens and bathrooms.”
 Moses and Aaron did as God asked and when the king refused AGAIN, Aaron pointed Moses’ staff toward the lake and millions and millions of frogs came out and covered the land! This got the king’s attention. He called Moses and Aaron into his presence. "If you get rid of all the frogs by tomorrow, I will let your people go.” The king said.

Moses prayed to God and God caused all the frogs to die. The egyptian people had to sweep up all the dead frogs and pile them up in the streets and it really began to stink. The king was glad that all the frogs were gone, but he had lied to Moses and Aaron and still refused to let the Hebrews go!

 Trusting God is hard sometimes. Especially when we don’t see anything happening! But we have to remember that God is in control. "His ways are not our ways...they are better" :o) (Isaiah)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Moses is reunited with his brother Aaron.

 So Moses FINALLY obeyed God. He returned home and asked his father-in-law, Jethro, if the sheep could be cared for by someone else. “I need to go back to Egypt. I haven’t seen my family in forty years. They are still being held as slaves to the Egyptians." Moses said.
 “Don’t worry about the sheep Moses. Go with my blessing." Jethro replied.
 Moses packed up his stuff and his staff and loaded them on a donkey. Then Moses, his wife and his sons headed for Egypt. Moses was probably a little worried about the king and his men because when he left Egypt forty years ago, they wanted to kill him.
God knew Moses was a little worried and spoke to him on the way. “Don’t be afraid to return to Egypt, because everyone who wanted to kill you is dead.” Moses felt a lot better knowing that.

The journey took several days. As Moses and his family were making their way through the wilderness to Egypt, God spoke to Moses’ brother, Aaron. “Go out into the wilderness and meet your brother Moses.”
 Aaron  did exactly as God said and he met Moses in the middle of the wilderness! Moses told Aaron how God spoke to him through a burning bush and all that God had said to him.  Aaron believed every word. After all, God spoke to him too. In hundreds of miles of wilderness, God told him the exact place to meet Moses. And He told him the exact time too. He knew that God was up to something!
 When Moses and Aaron met with their own people, Moses threw his staff on the ground and it turned to a snake, then he picked it up by the tail and it turned back into his staff. Then he told them about God’s plan to free them from slavery. They were so amazed that God heard their prayers that they fell on their knees and worshiped Him.
 Moses was feeling a little more confident now as he and Aaron left for the king’s palace. Everything was going just as God had said.  When they stood before the king, Aaron did the speaking. He said to the king exactly what Moses told him to say. “The God of Israel says ‘let my people go!”

 “Is that so.” Retorted the king. “He may be your God, but he is not mine! I will do as I wish and since you have come here with such a ridiculous request,  I wish to make it even harder on the Hebrew slaves. From now on, the Hebrew slaves will have to make twice as many bricks as before! And the Egyptian laborers will no longer gather the straw needed to make the bricks. The slaves will have to go out and gather their own straw!” Then the king summoned his guards. “Remove these two Hebrews from the palace at once!”

The slave drivers were brutal on the Hebrew slaves demanding more and more, and when they didn’t make enough bricks, the slaves were beaten.
 One of the Hebrew leaders went to the king and said. “ You are demanding more than we can do. We are being beaten for something that impossible!”
 The king replied. “It is because you sent two of your people in here  and told me to set all the slaves free that you are being forced to do more.”
 The Hebrew leader left the palace. He knew the king was upset about Moses' and Aaron’s visit. On his way back home he ran into Moses and Aaron. “May God punish you for getting us into this terrible situation with the king!”
 Then Moses went back to God. “Why did you send me to the king! See now it is worse for the Hebrew slaves than before I got here! You haven’t even begun to rescue them!”

 Next time we’ll see what God has planned for Moses and Aaron.  God is always working behind the scenes. He did in Moses’ time and He does today. Did you know that God has a wonderful plan for your life? He does. God wants to use you for His purposes. Sometimes we can’t see or figure out what God is up to, but that’s OK. We know that He is working behind the scenes. That is where our faith and trust come in.  Proverbs 3:5 says "Trust in God with all your heart. Don’t do things your own way. Look to Him for direction and He will lead you in the right direction.”

Monday, October 10, 2011

Moses’ Staff Turns into a Snake! (Exodus 4)

When we left off last time, God was talking to Moses through a burning bush. God had laid out His plan to Moses. He was going to use Moses to get the Hebrews out of slavery in Egypt. God answered all of Moses’ questions..... well not all of them.
 Next Moses asked,” What if they say”You did not talk to God!” “What do I do then?”
"What is that in your hand Moses?” God asked.
 “A staff.” He replied.
“Throw it on the ground” God said.
 Moses through his staff on the ground and it turned into a snake! He got scared and started to run.

“Moses! Pick up the snake by it’s tail!” God commanded.
Moses probably thought to himself. “Why did I have to ask so many questions? Now I have to pick up this huge snake!” But he did as God commanded, and the snake turned back into his staff!
 "Now put your hand inside your robe and take it out.” God said.
 Moses did it and when he pulled out his hand, it was gross and diseased.
“Now put it back in your robe and take it out.” God continued. Moses did it and his hand was restored to normal. I’m sure Moses was glad about that!
 God told Moses that the people would probably believe him after he did the snake thing and the diseased hand thing.... but if they didn’t... He had one more sign. He told Moses that if they still didn’t believe, to take some water from the Nile River and pour it on the ground and it would turn to blood.
“That will convince them.” God said.
 So now do you think Moses was convinced? Nope! Now Moses was trying to come up with excuses why he couldn’t go talk to the people and to the king.

“But God,” Moses said.” You know that I am not a very good talker. I get nervous and I stutter. Sometimes I forget what I was going to say and it comes out all wrong!
 "Moses, Moses Moses! Who created that mouth of yours?” God asked.
 “You did.”
 “That’s right, and I gave you those ears to hear and those eyes to see too. Now go use what I gave you and go talk to the people and to the king. I will be with you every step of the way, helping you and teaching you what to say.” God replied.
 Moses finally ran out of questions and excuses."Please God! Send someone else to do it.” he said.
God finally became angry at Moses. "You are going to do this! You can get your brother Aaron to go with you. He is a very good speaker. I will be with both of you and will teach him what to say for you. Now go and don’t forget your staff so that you can do those signs!”
 Moses FINALLY did as God said.

Does God ever talk to you?  Yes! He speaks to us through His Word. (The Bible)  God tells us in the Bible how much He loves us. He also says that if we love Him, we will do what he says. It is no use trying to come up with excuses as to why we can’t do as He asks, because God made us. He made our minds and our hearts. He would never ask us to do anything that we can’t do, especially with Him helping us. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside us to help us, encourage us and teach us. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Moses and the (non)Burning Bush (Exodus 3)

 Welcome back friends! Last time we found out that Moses got married to one of the women he helped in the desert when some mean shepherds wouldn’t let her and her sisters feed their sheep. After he got married, Moses’ father-in-law gave him a job taking care of all his sheep. Moses would take the sheep on a four mile walk to the other side of the mountain to eat. While the sheep were grazing, Moses looked over and saw a bush that was on fire. He saw the large flame, but the bush was not burning!
 “That’s strange.” He thought to himself as he walked toward it.
 “Moses!” a voice came from inside the bush.
“This bush can talk, and it knows my name. This is really weird!” He said to himself as he got even closer.

 “ I am the God of Abraham and Jacob. Come closer, but take off your sandals. This is Holy ground.”
Moses did as God said and God continued. “I have heard the cries and prayers of the Hebrews. I am going to rescue them from the slavery of the Egyptians. Go tell the king of Egypt to let the Hebrews go.
 Moses got a little nervous. “Who am I that I can just walk into the king and tell him what to do?”
 God answered. “I will be with you. The king will refuse at first, but with my power and might, I will convince him to let you go, and to top it all off, I will have the Egyptian women give you their jewelry, silver and gold before you leave.”

Moses was a little more confident now, but he still had some questions. “Why would the Hebrew people even believe that you talked to me.  What do I say? What is your name? Who do I talk to first?”
“Relax Moses.” Said God. “I am the God of all your ancestors. Just go to the Hebrew church leaders and tell them that I spoke to you through a burning bush. They will believe you. Tell the people that my name is I Am, because I always was and always will be.

 What would you do if you saw a burning bush and it talked to you? I’d be a little scared myself!
When God spoke, Moses knew it was God right away. When we think that God is speaking to us, we can be sure by going to His word (the bible) and seeing if it agrees with what we heard. God never contradicts Himself.
God told Moses. “I will rescue the Hebrews.” He didn’t say, “Moses, you will rescue the Hebrews.” When we obey what God tells us, He does great things through us. What a privilege!
Moses questiones God. It’s OK for us to question God, but we must remember that God sees all thing.(even the future)He knows what is best all the time.
So relax, obey God and leave the rest up to Him.

Here is a coloring page for you! Ask your guardian to print it out for you. I had a lot of fun coloring the bush!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Moses gets out of Egypt in a hurry! (Exodus 2)

 Last time we saw that Moses was pulled from the Nile River by the king’s daughter.  He was 3 months old. He was raised like the king's son. Moses had the best of eveyrhing, but he was sad for the Hebrews.
When Moses grew up, he went out to visit his people, the Hebrews. He saw how they were forced to do hard labor. He even saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people.  Moses looked all around, and when he saw that no one was looking, he killed the Egyptian and hid his body in the sand. 

The next day he went back and saw two Hebrew men fighting. He said to the one who was in the wrong, "Why are you beating up a fellow Hebrew?” The man answered, "Who made you our ruler and judge? Are you going to kill me just as you killed that Egyptian?" Then Moses was afraid and said to himself, "Oh No! People know what I have done. When the king finds out, he'll have me killed!" Moses was right. When the king heard about what had happened, he sent orders to have Moses arrested and killed, but Moses got out of Egypt quickly and went to live far away, in a land called Midian. 
One day, when Moses was sitting by a well, seven daughters of Jethro, the priest of Midian, came to get water for their father's sheep and goats.  But some shepherds drove Jethro's daughters away. Then Moses went to their rescue. He chased the bad shepherds away and got some water for their animals. When they returned to their father, he asked, "Why have you come back so early today?”                                                                                    

"An Egyptian (they thought Moses was an Egyptian) rescued us from the bad shepherds," they answered, "and he even got water for us and watered our animals." "Where is he?" he asked his daughters. "Why did you leave him out there in the desert? Go and invite him to eat with us."  So Moses came to dinner. He must have liked the cooking, because he decided to live there. Moses ended up marrying one of Jethro's daughters. Her name was Zipphorah which means "bird”.  

 Years later the king of Egypt died, but the Israelites were still slaves and still groaning. They cried out to God for help. God heard their cries and prayers. He remembered the promise that He had made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  He saw how badly they were treated. God had already planned on using Moses to fufill His promise....but not until the timing was right.

 Sometimes we keep asking God over and over for something good. God has already planned on answering our prayers, but He makes us wait for a couple of reasons.
1: God wants us to keep asking. The more we come to Him, the better we get to know Him. God does not want to be our magic genie... he wants a relationship with each of us.
2: God wants us to learn patience. Waiting for something makes us a better person.
3: God has perfect timing. Sometimes if we get what we want right now, it may not be as good as if we get it later. Would you rather get an egg, some flour and oil now....or a cookie later?  I'd rather wait for the ingredients to be mixed and baked. See waiting on God is good!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Moses found and reunited (Exodus 2)

 When we left off last time, Moses was just 3 months old. By the king’s order, his mother was supposed to throw him into the Nile river when he was born, but she hid him for three months. Finally, she could hide him no more and decided to make a floating basket for him. She wrapped him in a blanket and placed him in the river. That must have been so hard for her. I’m sure she was crying. Miriam was Moses’ sister. She must have been sad when her little brother was floating away down the river.

 Do you have a little brother or sister? I know that you can understand how sad and afraid for Moses she was. She began running along the river, watching the basket that carried Moses. It got caught in some weeds. Miriam stayed and watched. Then she saw someone coming down to the river. It was the king’s daughter and her servants. The king’s daughter waded into the water. The servant girls waited on shore with towels to dry herr when she was done swimming.
 "What is that in the weeds?” The king’s daughter asked. “Go get it and bring it to me.” She commanded one of her servants.
 The servant girl reached into the water and pulled out the basket. The baby was covered and quiet. When she brought the basket to the king’s daughter, she pulled back the blanket.

 "Why it’s a baby!” Exclaimed the king’s daughter. “ I can see that he is very special.” She said smiling. Just then, the baby began to cry.  “This must be one of the slave women’s babies.” The king’s daughter said as she picked the baby up and patted him to get him to stop crying. “I think I will keep him and raise him as my own son.” She told her servants.
 Miriam saw the whole thing from her hiding place along the river. She was trying to get up enough courage to come out of her hiding place and speak to the king’s daughter. Miriam thought about how sad her mother was and it gave her a burst of courage. She emerged from the weeds and approached the king’s daughter.
  “Would you like me to get one of the slave women to nurse the baby for you? Miriam asked.
  “Yes, that’s a wonderful idea!” The king’s daughter replied.
  Miraim ran as fast as she could to get her mother. When she finally reached her mother, Miriam told her all about how the King’s daughter wanted to raise the baby, and that she needed someone to care for the baby. She grabbed Moses’ mother’s hand and they both ran back to the king’s daughter.

 “Please care for this baby.” The king’s daughter said to Moses’ mother. "I will pay you for your time as well.” She added. Miriam and her mother took the baby and thanked God as they turned to go home.
  "Oh one more thing,” the king’s daughter added. “His name is Moses because I pulled him out of the water.”
 In Egyptian, moses means to pull out.
 So Moses’ mother not only got her baby back, but the king’s daughter paid her to take care of him! God is so amazing!
 We can read the story of Moses and think to ourselves, “Wow! He was so lucky! But God had a plan for Moses. Everything that happened was part of God’s plan. We will see more of God’s plan unfold as we follow the life of Moses.
 Did you ever think to yourself. “ That was a lucky break", or, “ what a coincidence.” God is in control of all things. There isn’t any luck or coincidence involved. God is working his plan in your life, just as he did in Moses’ life. Isn’t it exciting just wondering what God has in store for us!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Birth of MOSES (Exodus 1-2)

 We just finished the story of Joseph, and even though he lived hundreds of years before Moses, the stories are connected. Joseph brought all of his relatives over to Egypt because it was the only place that had food. The king at the time loved Joseph because of all that he had done for him and for Egypt and he didn’t mind all the Israelites living in Egypt. The Israelites had many children. Their children had many children. Many years after Joseph had died, a new king forgot all about Joseph and how he helped Egypt. He was just worried that there were too many Israelites, and that they might start a war and take over Egypt. So he  used his army and forced the Israelites become slaves to the Egyptians. The king wanted to build a huge city, so he used the Israelite slaves to make bricks out of hay and mud. The Israelites were not treated very well.
 The Israelites kept having children and the king was getting more nervous than ever. He told the Egyptian nurses to kill the baby boys as soon as they were born.  Months and months later, the king noticed that there were still many Israelite boys being born so he called the Egyptian nurses before him. “Didn’t I order you to kill all the slave boys right after they were born? Then why am I seeing all these little slave boys everywhere?” He scowled.

 “Yes my king, we tried to follow your orders, but the Israelite women have babies so fast, that the babies are born and already in their mother’s arms by the time we arrive.” Said one of the nurses.

The nurses knew that it was wrong to kill the babies, so they purposely took their time getting to the Israelite women when they were having their babies.  God was pleased with the nurses and blessed them with many children of their own.

The king was getting angry.  He made it a law, that all slave boys, born from this day forward, must be thrown in the Nile river! The baby boys would drown if the crocodiles didn’t eat them first. The Israelites hated being slaves and they hated the kings laws. They prayed that God would free them.

An Israelite woman had a baby boy. Her and her husband hid the baby for three months. When they knew that they could hide him no longer, they mad a difficult decision. The baby’s mother made a basket out of papyrus (which they used to write on. It’s where we get the word paper) and his father coated it with tar so it wouldn’t sink.

They wrapped the baby in a blanket, placed him in the basket, set him in the Nile river and prayed. The baby’s older sister, Miriam, ran along the banks of the nile and watched as the current carried the basket with the baby further and further from his family. Wow! That must have been so hard for the family!  The baby didn’t have a name yet, but we know him as Moses. Next time we’ll find out if the crocs got him! What do you think?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Next up.... Moses

 I hope you enjoyed and learned something from the series on Joseph.
He is one of my all-time favorite Old Testament characters. There is so much to learn from his life. (Genesis 37:1-50:26)                                                                    
    Let’s review some of the lessons that we took away from studying Joseph’s life and other Bible passages that go along with what we learned.

 1: Jealousy is a sin. Joseph’s brothers were jealous of him and it lead to other sins.

 Let us behave decently, not tearing each other down or with jealousy.   Romans 13:13 

2: We can choose the right thing (God’s way) or the wrong thing. Joseph chose to do the right thing.

Hate what is evil and cling the what is good. Romans 12:9

 3: Always do our best at everything we do. Joseph was the best slave EVER!

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord.   Colossians 3:23

 4: Sometimes doing the right thing causes problems, but God has a plan. Joseph ended up in prison .
Blessed is the man, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good rather than for doing evil.   1 Peter 3:17

 5:Trust God and obey Him... He is working behind the scenes. Joseph became head of the prison.

Blessed is the person who hangs in there during hard times because God promises a crown of glory to those that love Him.   James 1:2

 6: Be patient. God’s time is not our time. Sometimes it takes a while. Joseph was in prison for 13 years.

“I have plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future". Says the Lord. Jeremiah 29:11

7: God does far more than we can imagine! Joseph became head of Egypt.

God is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or even imagine.   Ephesians 3:20

8: God can change a heart! Judah, (Joseph’s brother who sold Joseph into slavery) became loving and compassionate.

 I will remove from them, their heart of stone, and give them a soft heart of flesh.   Ezekiel 11:19

 9: God is in charge... so don’t take revenge. Joseph could have had his brother’s thrown in jail or killed.

 Don’t seek revenge for yourself, but let God do what He sees fit.   Romans 12:19

10: God forgives us and He wants us to forgive others. Joseph forgave his brothers.

Forgive us as we forgive others.   Matthew 6:12                                    

 Next time we will be looking at Moses. Most everyone knows about Moses and the ten commandments and  that he was found in the Nile river as an infant,
 but there are a lot of things that I found out about him. We’ll be looking as some very interesting things in the life of Moses in the upcoming weeks!
God bless you!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Joseph Reveals His Identity

 While Judah was pleading for his brother’s life before Joseph, Jacob was back in Canaan wondering why it was taking his 11 sons so long to return from Egypt. He was so afraid that something had happened to them, especially his youngest son Benjamin.
 Last time we saw that the brothers had left Egypt with the food they bought. They were on the way home. They were stopped by guards and returned to Joseph, the ruler of Egypt, because the king’s silver cup was found in Benjamin’s traveling pouch.  Joseph said that all the brothers could leave except Benjamin. This is when Judah started to plead for Benjamin’s life and offered to take his place in prison if Joseph would just let Benjamin go back to his father. Judah had promised his father that he would not let anything happen to Benjamin.
 Judah’s heart for his brother, and his sincerity at keeping the promise to his father really touched Joseph. His eyes began to tear up. He sent all his servants and attendants out of the room and began to cry in front of his brothers. He cried so loudly, that his servants heard him outside the door. Joseph’s brothers were terrified. "Now look what you’ve done Judah!” One of them shouted.                                                  

 “No no, you don’t understand,” said Joseph through his sobs. “I am your brother Joseph!”
All 11 of the brothers were speechless. They stared at Joseph in disbelief!  "It is me! Don’t you believe me? Remember when you threw me in the pit and were going to leave me there and then a few merchants came along. You decided to sell me instead.”
 The brothers realized that this WAS Joseph. Now they were really terrified. "Joseph will take revenge on us and we will die here in Egypt!” Whispered Reuben to the others.

 Joseph overhead Rueben. “God is so amazing! What you meant for evil, He used for good. Now I am in charge of all the food in the land. There will be another five years of famine (no rain for the crops and animals) . If God had not brought me here, our entire family line would have died of starvation!” Joseph continued. “So don’t be afraid, I brought you here to forgive you!” With that Joseph went over to his little brother, whom he had never met and gave Benjamin a great big hug!

 The brothers all broke down and wept. “After all we had done to Joseph, he still forgives us. We don’t deserve such love!”
 “Go get your father and all his belongings and move him here to Egypt so that you will be near the food and that I may spend some time with him,’ said Joseph as he wiped away his tears. So the brothers did what Joseph said. What a wonderful reunion Joseph and Jacob had!

  Forgiveness can be so hard sometimes. Have you ever had to forgive someone?  God asks us to forgive others, just as he has forgiven us. Jesus even forgave the people who nailed him to the cross!
Forgiveness is not excusing someone’s bad behavior. It is letting God take care of it. We may not see God doing anything, but we can trust that he is or will. Why does God want us to forgive? To make us miserable? No. Just the opposite. God cares for us. Holding a grudge against someone plants the seed of bitterness in our heart. The longer it goes.... the more bitter we become. Forgiving is more about our own well being than the other person.
   Have you ever had to carry something very heavy? Try this. Carry about 5 books around the room. Now add another and walk around the room again, now add another. Thats how it is when we don’t forgive. It gets heavier and heavier on our heart. Now put the books down. Doesn’t that feel great! A weight has been removed. When we forgive. A weight is lifted from us.  Now we don’t spend all day thinking about what the person did to us or we don’t  think about revenge all the time. We are free to enjoy the life that God gave us and spend more time with Him.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Brothers Return (GN 44 & 45)

So the brothers finally convinced their father Jacob, to let them take Benjamin with them to buy more food. Judah promised his life that Benjamin would be safe.  Jacob prayed for the brothers as they left, but he was very worried.  Why was Jacob so protective of Benjamin? It was because, out of all twelve brothers, Joseph and Benjamin were the only ones born to Rachel. (Rachel was the only woman that Jacob truly loved with all his heart) Rachel had died and Joseph was gone too. Benjamin was all that was left of Jacob’s true love.

  Joseph looked out the window of his castle and saw that the brothers were back. He was so happy when he saw Benjamin with them. He had never met Benjamin because Benjamin was born after he himself had been sold into slavery by his jealous brothers.
"Take those men to my home and prepare a great feast for them.” Joseph told his assistant as he pointed to his brothers.”I will be there at noon to eat lunch with them.”
 Joseph’s assistant did as he was told and brought the brothers to Joseph’s home. The brothers were terrified! This was a very unusual thing to do. Foreigners and shepherds were looked down upon in Egypt and would never be invited into an officials home unless he was planning to ambush them. That’s what they thought.
“If this is about the silver that was in our sacks when we got home,” one of the brothers spoke up. “We have no idea how it got there! We even brought it back plus more to buy more food and gifts for Pharaoh.”
 Joseph’s assistant smiled and said, “God had retuned your silver to you . Don’t worry."
 Just then, Joseph walked in the door. “So you have returned. And with your little brother I see, and how is your father? He asked.
 “Our father is fine.” Said Judah as all the brothers bowed before Joseph.
 Joseph looked at Benjamin. He looked a lot like their mother. Joseph’s eyes filled with tears and he quickly excused himself from the room and found a place to cry so that no one would hear him. He dried his eyes, washed his face and returned to the dining area where his brothers were being seated. Remember Simeon, the brother that was tied up and left behind as assurance that the brothers would return with Benjamin?  He was released and able to join the brothers for lunch. I’m sure he wanted to ask them what took so long. All twelve brothers were together for the first time ever!
 Joseph went and ate in the other room because he could not share a meal with foreigners  although I’m sure he wanted to. All this time, not one of the brothers recognized Joseph as the brother they had sold into slavery 14 years earlier.
Benjamin’s plate was piled twice as high as the others.
 After lunch, Joseph talked with the brothers a while and then sent them on their way with the food that they came for. Before they left, Joseph told his assistant to take his silver cup and put it in Benjamin’s donkey pack.
  After the brothers had been on their way for a while, Joseph told his assistant to take some armed guards and find his silver cup that had been stolen and bring back the thieves. The brothers were startled as Joseph’s men rode up on them. “What’s going on?” They asked.
“Our master’s special silver cup has been stolen.” Replied one of the guards.
“Search us and our packs.” Said Judah confidently. “We would never repay your master’s goodness toward us with evil.”

  Just then one of Joseph’s men pulled the cup from Benjamin’s traveling pack. The brothers were so upset that they all tore their clothes. Benjamin was in shock! The guards escorted the brothers back into Joseph’s home. The brothers threw themselves on the ground, begging Joseph for mercy.
  Judah was the first to speak. “If one of us is guilty lord, then we are all guilty! Lock us all up!”
  “No, no, I would never do that.” Said Joseph. “You are all free to go except your little brother. My silver cup was in his possession!”
  Judah pleaded with Joseph. “Please, please lord! Let me take his place! It was so hard for my father to let Benjamin go with us. He was so afraid that something would happen to him. I promised my father on my life that Benjamin would return home safely. It would kill my father to lose another son! Please lord! Take me instead!”
  We’ll find out next time if Judah gets thrown into prison or not.

 Let’s take a look at Judah for a moment.  Judah was the brother who convinced the others to sell Joseph as a slave.  (GN 37:27) Then when they returned home after selling him, Judah lied to his father and told Jacob that Joseph had been eaten by a wild animal . He even gave his father Joseph’s blood-stained coat as proof.(GN 37:32) He was probably the one who came up with the idea to put animal blood on the coat to deceive his father. It is hard to believe that the Judah that is begging for Benjamin’s life, is the same Judah that sold Joseph and deceived his father. Joseph saw that God had changed Judah’s heart! Do you know someone who lies and cheats all the time? Don’t hate them. Pray for them. If God can change Judah’s heart, he can change someone you know. God doesn’t like the lies and the cheating, but he loves the person. He wants us to love them too.  It’s not easy, but God loves us... even when we make mistakes.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Brothers’ Guilty Conscience

 So Joseph’s brothers did not recognize him and were bowing before him. They were asking for food since there was a great famine across all the land. Joseph was in charge now, because God interpreted Pharaoh’s dream through Joseph. Joseph stored up a lot of food during the good years, because he knew that the famine was coming. He looked down on his brothers and remembered the dream that he had when he was just a little kid.

  "You say that you have come to Egypt to buy food?” Joseph said harshly as the brothers nodded yes. “I don’t believe you! I think that you are ten spies sent here to check out the land and scope out our wealth.”Joseph snarled.
  “No, no, really sir. We are just ten brothers wanting to buy food. Our father and little brother are still back in Canaan waiting for us. We had one more brother, but he is no longer with us.” They said humbly .
  “If you are telling the truth, then leave one of your brothers here in prison and bring back your little brother.” Joseph said. “You will leave with food for your family, but this one,” Joseph pointed at Simeon, “will be left behind until you return with your little brother.”
 “Please sir!” Rueben begged. “Our father did not send our little brother along with us because of what happened to our other brother (Joseph). It would kill him if anything happened to him.”

 Joseph remembered how his brothers threw him into a pit, and the sold him as a slave to passing merchants. His brothers figured that Joseph was probably dead by now. If they only knew that they were speaking to the one they treated so badly, I wonder what they would have done.
 “Go!” Joseph commanded. “Or you will all be locked up!”
 Simeon was bound in front of his brothers and led off. The brothers got their food and headed home.
 On the way back to Canaan, Judah stopped to get something out of his pack that was on his donkey. He was shocked when he saw that the silver that he had used to buy some of the food, was back in his pack!
“How could this be?” Judah shouted.
 “What?” His brothers responded.
 “ Look!” He held out the silver. “It’s all the silver that I paid for my food!”
 The brothers were all scared to death now. Through some kind of mistake, Judah ended up with the silver. When Pharaoh finds out about this...... they knew it wouldn’t be good. Pharaoh would accuse them of stealing and have them either killed or imprisoned. They thought that they were being punished for selling Joseph. They had no idea that Joseph had told his servants to put all the silver that the brothers had brought with them to buy food back into their traveling packs.

 When they got home and were unloading their stuff in front of their father, Jacob, they saw that all their packs were filled with silver!
 Jacob cried out in fear. “What have you done?” And he tore his clothes. (That was a sign of distress in those days. I think mom would get mad if we tore our clothes every time we got upset now. Don’t you?)
“We didn’t do it father!” The brothers answered.
In the back of their minds, the brothers were still thinking that God was punishing them for what they had done to Joseph.
 Then the brothers explained all that had happened in Egypt and how Pharaoh wanted them to bring their little brother, Benjamin  back to prove that they are not spies.
 “Never!” Said Jacob. “I lost Joseph thirteen years ago. Now I’ve lost Simeon! There is no way that Benjamin is going to Egypt! I’m not going to lose him too!”
 Judah said, “I will not return to you if anything happens to Him. You have my word and my life father”
After weeks and weeks of arguing, the family was out of food again. Finally Judah put his foot down. "We could have been there and back two times in the time it has taken us to resolve this. Let us go father. Benjamin with be safe with me!”
 Finally Jacob said alright, but he made them take double the silver and a few gifts with them. The brothers, with Benjamin, headed back to Egypt.... To face Joseph again.

 Did you ever do something wrong and then felt like God was punishing you.  That’s how Joseph’s brothers felt. God is in control of everything, that’s true, but a lot of times we are suffering the consequences of our own decision to do the wrong thing. When someone goes to jail for robbing a bank, that is not God punishing them. It is the consequence of a bad choice. We all make bad choices. Things that we know are wrong. Things we know that God doesn’t like. God doesn’t like us to make bad choices, because He knows that there are consequences. He wants the best for us. The less time we spend paying for our mistakes, the more time we have to love Him. That’s what He wants.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Joseph is freed from prison (Genesis 41)

So, last time we left off, the cupbearer, who promised to put in a good word for Joseph to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, forgot all about Joseph. Joseph spent two more years in prison.
 One night, Pharaoh had two dreams. He called his wizards. He called his magicians. He even called his cupbearer to see if anyone could interpret his dreams, but no one could.  Finally the cupbearer remembered Joseph!

"Remember when you were displeased with me, oh king, and you had me thrown into prison for three days?” The cupbearer asked and the king nodded yes. “Well, I messed up big time. I should have told you about him sooner, but there is a man named Joseph that I met in prison. The baker and I both had dreams the same night and Joseph told us what they meant. He was right both times. I was restored as your cupbearer, and the baker.... well let’s just say that you made sure that he won’t be baking any more bread ever again, just like Joseph said!”

 "Bring him to me at once!” The king demanded.
 Joseph was given clean clothes and shaved before he was brought before Pharaoh. The king told Joseph about both of his dreams. “Can you tell me what they mean? The king asked.
 “No, I can’t” Replied Joseph, much to the dismay of the king.... and the cupbearer. “But God can!”
 “Your dreams are about a seven year abundance. During this time everyone will have more than enough food. Those seven years will be followed by a seven year famine. During this time your kingdom and surrounding countries will not have enough food. If you do not find a wise man that will store up five percent of the food for the first seven years so that you will have enough during the next seven, your kingdom with perish.” Joseph advised the king. 

 The king could see that God was with Joseph. He trusted Joseph’s words and his heart.  Can people see God at work in you? Do they trust you because they know that you are a Christian? We should always live our lives so that people will see God’s goodness and His love in us. That is living for God’s glory!
 The king not only freed Joseph from prison, but he put him in charge of his whole kingdom! The king put a royal robe on Joseph and a gold chain around his neck. He even put the governor’s ring on Joseph’s finger. Joseph had his own personal chariot! Would’t that be cool?  Nothing was done in the kingdom without Joseph’s approval. During the first seven years while Joseph was in charge, there was an abundance of food, just like God had said. Joseph saved some food in storehouses for the famine he knew that was coming. At this time, Joseph married one of the Egyptian official’s daughters and had 2 sons.

 During the famine, people from other countries would travel to Egypt to buy food. Egypt was the only place that had food. Because God was with Joseph, and Joseph obeyed God, Egypt was not only spared disaster from the famine, but it flourished, selling the extra food that they had stored up!
 Joseph’s father Jacob and his brothers were living in Canaan and struggling to eat. “Go to Egypt and buy us some food before we all starve to death.” Jacob told his sons. “But leave Benjamin here.” Benjamin was the youngest. Jacob thought that Joseph had died in the desert and he didn’t want the same thing to happen to Benjamin.

 The brothers left their father and Benjamin behind and went to Egypt and guess who they had to kneel before to ask for food?! Yep, Joseph! Their little brother that they had sold into slavery 13 years ago was now in charge of who gets food and who doesn’t. Joseph recognized them right away, but the brothers didn’t recognize Joseph.
 What do you think Joseph did? What would you have done? We will find out next time :o)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Joseph, from slave to official to prisoner (Genesis 39 &40)

 Hey guys! Joseph was such an interesting guy. Wasn’t he? Let’s do a quick recap of his life so far.
He was sold as a slave by his brothers who told their father that Joseph was dead. Joseph loved God and did was was right and became the best slave ever! Potipher, a big shot in Egypt, saw that God was with Joseph and made him head of his household and put him in charge of everything he owned. Potipher trusted Joseph.

  Potipher’s wife liked Joseph (a little too much) and tried to kiss him on several occasions. Joseph tried to keep his distance from her. When we left off last time, Potipher’s wife tried to make a move on Joseph again, but Joseph ran out of the house so quickly, that he left her holding his cloak. Potipher’s wife was mad! She called her servants and said, “ That slave boy snuck in here and tried to force himself on me! When I screamed, he left in such a hurry that he left his cloak. See!” and she held up Joseph’s cloak.Word got back to Potipher about what Joseph had (supposedly) done.

”How could he do this to me? After I trusted him with all I own?” Potipher asked himself.  He had Joseph thrown into prison!

 Joseph looked around his prison cell at the four gray walls that surrounded him.  Joseph did what was right by running from Potipher’s wife, but he still ended up in prison! That doesn’t seem fair, does it? It seems like God should have shown Potipher the truth. Then Joseph would have been rewarded and Potipher’s wife thrown in prison. But God’s thoughts and his plans are way higher than our own. (Isaiah 55:9) Joseph trusted that God knew what he was doing and he still loved God and became the best prisoner ever!

 Have you ever done the right thing and no one noticed? Or even worse something bad happened to you because you tried to do the right thing? I have. Once when I was in school, someone tried to give me the answers to a test. I didn’t take them and did poorly on the test while most of the class did great because they had the answer sheet. It is hard to do the right thing sometimes, but God wants us to.

Because Joseph was a model prisoner, he became head of the prison. (God is planning something) A short time later, the king threw two of his royal officials into prison with Joseph. One was the king’s personal baker and the other was his cupbearer. The cupbearer would taste the king’s food before the king to make sure that it wasn’t poisoned. I don’t think I would like to have that job!

One night, the baker and cupbearer both had dreams. They told Joseph that they were sad because there wasn’t anyone who could tell them what the dreams meant.
Joseph said that God could tell them what the dreams meant.”Tell me your dreams.” He said.
When the cupbearer finished telling of his dream, God revealed to Joseph what it meant.

“You will be given your job back.” Joseph told the happy cupbearer.
The baker was excited to tell Joseph his dream after hearing the cupbearer’s good news.

“I’m afraid I have some bad news for you.” Joseph said to the baker. The baker’s smile turned to a frown. “Your dream means that the king is going to execute you.” Yikes! That is bad news! The sad baker turned and walked away. Then Joseph said to the cupbearer, “When you get your job back and you are speaking with the king, put in a good word for me.”

“Oh I surely will! Right away! When the king hears how you were wrongly imprisoned, he will have you released . I’m sure!" Said the cupbearer. But three days later the cupbearer got his job back and forgot all about Joseph. Joseph was left in prison for years and years but he continued to love God and obey Him.

 Sometimes being a Christian is not easy, but God has a plan and His plan is much bigger than us. As we go through Joseph’s life, we can see God’s plan working. It is a lot harder to see God’s plan in our own lives, especially when things are not going too well. Trust and obey God and leave the rest up to Him.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Joseph Becomes a Slave (GN 37 & 39)

Poor Joseph! Sold to the Egyptians as a slave! Could you imagine being free to do whatever you want one day and being a slave the next?
Now the brothers had to go face Jacob, their father. What do you think they told him?
Here’s what the brothers did. They took Josephs colorful coat that his father gave him and sprinkled it with blood. Then they gave the bloody coat to their father.                                                                

“We found this on the way back home father.” one of the brothers said. “It looks like some kind of wild animal tore him to shreds!” They continued.
Joseph was Jacob’s favorite son so he was very upset. He screamed and tore his clothes. ( in those days when you tore your clothes on purpose, it was a sign of sadness and hurting). if we tore our clothes on purpose.... we’d get grounded!
Jacob’s sons all tried to comfort him, but he was too upset. “Leave me alone! My son favorite Joseph is dead!” Jacob cried.                                                                                                                                        

 Meanwhile Joseph was sold by the traders that bought him to a very important man named Potiphar.
Potiphar was one of Pharaoh’s main guys and Pharaoh was the king. Even though Joseph was in a bad spot, he never stopped loving God or never stopped trusting Him. Sometimes when things go wrong, we start doubting God and His love. We should be like Joseph. He became the best slave ever! Potiphar saw that God was with Joseph in all he did. Potiphar trusted Joseph and made him head of his household and he put him in charge of everything he owned. Joseph even got to live in Potiphar’s very expensive home.

  Everything was going pretty good for Joseph for a couple years. As time went by, Joseph got older and more handsome. One day Potiphar’s wife was alone with Joseph. She tried to kiss Joseph, but Joseph backed away. “Potiphar has put me in charge of everything. He trusts me and I’m not going sin against him or God by kissing you!” Joseph told her and he left.                                                                                  

  As time passed, Joseph kept his distance from Potiphar’s wife. He didn’t want a repeat of what happened before. But Potiphar’s wife made sure that Joseph would be alone with her again. When she got him alone, Potiphar’s wife snuck up on Joseph and gave him a hug and tried to kiss him. Joseph took off so fast, that he left Potiphar’s wife holding his cloak!          

 In hard circumstances, we always have a choice. Most of the time it is easy to see what God would want us to choose. Joseph made Godly choices when he decided to be the best slave that he could be and when he didn’t kiss Potiphar’s wife (and the Bible says that she was very beautiful!)        

We have to remember that God has a plan. Sometimes our life gets a little harder for a while so that God’s plan could work. Hard times make us a better person, and the better person we are, the more God can use us. We should obey God and we have to trust God! Do you think God knows what he is doing? Me too!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Joseph, his coat and his brothers (Genesis37)

I hope you had a great Christmas and New years!
Remember last time we were talking about Isaac, his two sons, Jacob and Esau and how Jacob tricked Isaac into giving him the family blessing? After that happened, Jacob was so afraid of his brother that he left. Jacob and Esau only met one time after that.
Jacob had 12 sons. One of his sons was named Joseph. In the next few blogs, we will be talking about Joseph. he had a most amazing life!
Out of all Jacob’s sons, Joseph was his favorite. Jacob treated Joseph extra special. He even made him a very colorful robe. Joseph loved the robe. he wore it all the time.
But Joseph’s brother’s were jealous of him. They did not like that their father treated him extra special. One day, all the brothers, except Joseph, were tending the sheep just outside of town. Jacob called Joseph over. “Joseph, could you go check on your brother and see if they need any water?”
Joseph left right away. Of course he was wearing his favorite colorful robe that his father gave him. Joseph’s brother’s could see him a mile away wearing it! They got madder and more jealous the closer Joseph came. By the time Joseph reached the brothers, they had already planned on killing him.
Rueben was the oldest. he said, “No we don’t want Joseph’s blood on our hands. We’ll just throw him in this abandoned well. If he dies, he dies.... but we will not have shed his blood.
So they took off Joseph’s robe and tossed him into the dry well. I bet Joseph was scared and hurt. His brother’s were just about to leave, when they saw some rich merchants passing by. One of the brother’s came up with the idea to pull Joseph out of the well and sell him as a slave! So that’s what they did. The brothers traded their brother, Joseph, for 20 coins!
Joseph was probably glad to be out of the well, but I’m sure he was really hurt that his brother’s did that to him. His brother’s did some bad things to Joseph because they were jealous. Jealousy is a sin and it leads to other sins. Whenever I see something that someone has that I wish I had, I have to ask God to help me, because I can feel jealousy starting. God helps me to be happy for the other person. Have you ever felt jealous? It doesn’t feel good does it? Have you ever been happy for someone? It feels good doesn’t it? Next time you start getting jealous, ask God for help. He loves you!!