...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, 2012

Balaam’s Donkey (Numbers 21-22)

 Remember when Mr. BibleHead told you that there were some truly amazing stories in the Bible? Well, this is one of them....and it’s about me! My name is Jack (the Bible doesn’t tell you my name) and I’m Balaam’s donkey.  I’m giving Mr. BibleHead a break today and I’m going to tell this story because I was there!
Mr. BibleHead left off in Numbers 20. Aaron had just died at the old age of 123. Moses was still leading the Israelites. Every where they went, there was a country that wouldn’t let Moses and the people pass through on their way to the promised land.  Sometimes the Israelites would turn around or try to go around the country, but a few times they were attacked. Every time, God would give them victory over their attackers. Pretty soon the Israelites had a reputation of destroying any country that stood in their way on the way to the promised land.

 One day Balak, the king of Moab, was looking out his palace window an he saw a mob of Israelites camped out on the other side of the Jordan River. King Balak was terrified! He knew how the Israelites had destroyed anyone that stood between them and the promised land. ( We know that it was actually God that did it.) King Balak knew about a man named Balaam who said he was able to bless people and curse people.
 King Balak called in his messengers and sent them on their way with money to pay Balaam, to deliver his message and bring him back with them. When the messengers arrived at Balaam’s house, they explained how King Balak needed Balaam to curse the Israelites and that he would pay him a lot of money to do so. Balaam had to make it look good, so he said, “Let me pray about it and I’ll let you know in the morning.”

 That night, God showed up to Balaam. I bet he was surprised! God told Balaam not to go with these men because He had chosen the Israelites as His people and He had blessed them.. The next morning Balaam was still in shock that God actually spoke to him. He told the messengers that he could not curse the Israelites. So the messengers returned to King Balak.
 When the king heard what Balaam had said, he was mad. He hand picked a bunch of his officials to go back to Balaam and try again.  When the officials made it to Balaam’s house, they told him what King Balak had said. Balaam replied, “Even if the king gave me his palace filled with silver, I could not curse a people that God has blessed. But I will pray again tonight and see what God says.”
 That night, God spoke to Balaam again. This time God told him he could go with the men. God told Balaam to do only what He directed him to do.  In the morning Balaam told the men that he was going with them. I’m sure Balaam thought in his mind, “Woo Hoo! I’m going to be rich!”
This is where I come into the story. Balaam put a blanket on my back, climbed on and away we went. I could hear Balaam whistling a happy tune as we went along the road to Moab. Suddenly there was someting in the middle of the road. I knew that we couldn’t keep going, so I  bolted off the road and into a field. Balaam was not too happy with me. Couldn’t he see what was standing in the road? I guess not because he grabbed a branch and beat me. Then he tugged me back on the road. We went along a little farther and there it was again! Right as the road narrowed and there were walls on both sides! We would both be dead if we kept going straight, so I tried to squeeze by and crushed Balaam’s foot between my side and the wall. He was furious and began to beat me again. Finally we got on the road again. The road kept getting narrower and narrower. I hoped that I would not see it again, but just as I was thinking that to myself, There it was again! I had no where to run or to squeeze by so I just laid down.
Balaam began to scream at me! “Why are you embarrassing me in front of the king’s officials? You stupid donkey! If I had a sword I would kill you!”He began to beat me again.
Then God did two amazing things. First, he caused me to speak. Yep that’s right, I spoke to Balaam and I let him have an earful! “Haven’t I been faithful to you all these years? Haven’t I always done as you asked and wasn’t I always ready whenever you needed to go somewhere? Do you think that I would embarrass you on purpose without reason? Have I ever done anything like this before?”

 “No.” Said Balaam. (He answered him! I would have been like....wow! a talking donkey!)
 Then God did the second amazing thing. He opened Balaam’s eyes so that he could see what I saw. It was an angel of God standing in the road wielding a large sword!
 Then the angel spoke. “Why did you beat your donkey three times? He saved your life! I would have killed you if you would have continued on your way.”
 Then Balaam cried out to the angel. "I did not know you were there. I will go home if you want.”
 “No, go with these men, but change your attitude and your heart. You are going with these men to do as God says, not to make a lot of money.” The angel said and then he disappeared.
 King Balak was very excited when he heard that Balaam was almost there.

 Even when we do the right thing, if we are doing it out of selfishness or greed or pride, then it is the wrong thing. Balaam was doing what God said, but he was doing it for himself. That’s not good.
Do you know what “motives” are. Motives are the reason in our heart that we do things. God want’s our motives to be pure. When we help someone, or volunteer, or give away something, we do it because we love God. That’s a pure motive. (Proverbs 16:2 and 21:18)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Moses Runs out of Patience. (Numbers 17-20)

When we left last time, Moses had placed 12 staffs (with the names of 12 leaders) out in front of the holy tent where the Ark of the Covenant was. God said that the next morning, one of them would have blossoms on it.
 In the morning, Moses went to get the staffs. The 12 men were excited, because if their name was on the staff with the blossoms, their whole family would be in charge of all the offerings and sacrifices. Aaron wasn’t too worried because God had already chosen him and his family a year earlier, but the people thought that Moses had used his authority to appoint his brother Aaron, as the chief priest.
 Moses walked into the holy tent and grabbed the staffs and brought them out. He handed each man his staff and ... Guess what? Aaron’s staff had not only blossomed, but it had almonds on it as well! God sure does like to amaze us! Ephesians 2:20 says that He is able to do more than we ask, or can even imagine!

 God told Moses to take Aaron’s staff and leave it in front of the holy tent so that everyone will stop arguing and remember that Aaron is the chief priest. So Moses placed Aaron’s staff there. Then God called Aaron to a meeting. He reminded Aaron about  all the things that he and his family (the Levites) would be in charge of. The Levites also had special clothes to wear and they had to keep themselves ceremonially clean.
  The Israelites were in the wilderness for about two years when all this took place. The bible doesn’t say anything about the next 38 years, but when the story picks up again, Moses and his brother Aaron are still leading the people, their sister Miriam had just died and all the Israelites that had doubted God about the promised land had died too. Only four of the men that had left Egypt 40 years earlier were still alive. Moses, Aaron, Joshua and Caleb. Moses was now 120 years old! Aaron was 123!
  This generation of Israelites picked right up where their parents left off. They started grumbling and complaining. “We wish we would have died with our mothers and fathers.” They said. "We don’t have any water and we are sick of eating manna all the time!”
 Moses and Aaron went to God and fell on their faces before him. “God we don’t know how to keep these people happy! They are grumblers just like their parents. Please give them water before they drive us crazy!”
 God replied. “Take your staff and you and Aaron must gather the entire community. As the people are watching, command the rock to pour out water. You will get enough water for all the people and for all the cows and goats too.
 So Moses and Aaron gathered all the people . They people were still complaining and grumbling. Moses was getting very irritated. “Listen! You ungrateful trouble makers! You want water? Here’s some water!” And with that Moses struck the rock with his staff and water came pouring out! Enough for all the people and the animals.

 Did God tell Moses to hit the rock with his staff? No He told Moses to command the rock to spout water. God said to Moses and Aaron. “I know you were angry, but you did not trust me enough to let me demonstrate my holy power. Now you will not lead the people into the promised land.”
 Soon afterwards Aaron died.
God doesn’t want us to get mad and then do the wrong thing. Whenever you get mad at someone or a situation, walk away, talk to God and then act. Moses’ anger prevented him from entering the promised land. Anger can have some serious consequences that we may regret.
“Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry. Anger can lead to sin.” (James 1:19-20)

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Earthquake and Fire. (Numbers 15&16)

Last time  the Israelites just found out that God was not going to let them into the promise land because  they doubted Him, but that their children would get to enjoy it. God told the Israelites to turn around and head back into the wilderness. The people were all crying as they went to bed that night. The next morning the people told Moses, “We are ready to go into the promise land today. Let’s go!”
Moses put out his hand to stop them. “God said no,” he said.
“We are going anyway. Are you going with us?” The people asked.
Moses shook his head and pleaded with them to listen to God. “Why are you disobeying God? Again!”
Many of the men grabbed their weapons and headed toward the hills. Moses stayed behind with the rest of the men and the Ark of the Covenant. As the men crossed the hills toward the promised land, two armies saw them and rushed them. The Amalekites and the Canaanites attacked the Israelites and chased them all the way to the next city.

 If the people would have obeyed God the first time, they could have taken the land with no problem. But because they disobeyed God, they lost the battle. When we disobey God (sin), we are turning our back on Him and walking away from Him. So whatever we do in disobedience, God is not with us. On the other hand, when we do something in obedience to God, we can do anything! (Phil 4 :13)
 The people were not very happy about it, but they turned around and headed into the wilderness as God had instructed.

 One day a man named Korah went up to Moses. " Dathan, Abiram and myself have decided that you are not any holier than we are! As a matter of fact, we have brought 250 holy men to represent the people and we think that we can lead the people better than you. After all, you brought us out here into the wilderness to die and you haven’t brought us into this wonderful “promised” land like you said. And to top it all off, you appointed your own brother Aaron to be the High Priest!”
 Moses replied. “I am just following God’s instructions. He led us to the promised land but you doubted  Him, and He was the one who chose Aaron. Not me! Tomorrow, I want you and your 250 men to meet me in front of the tent where the Ark of the Covenant is and burn incense to God. Let’s get this leadership thing over once and for all!”
 The next day Korah and his 250 men met in front of the Ark with their incense burners. Many of the Israelites came out to support them too. I’m sure it made Moses sad to see so many people against him.
We know that it made God mad because He told Moses that He was considering destroying Korah, the 250 men and ALL the people that gathered with them.
Moses interceded for the people again and God spared the people. However, God did not spare Korah and his men. Moses told the Israelites to stand back as far as they could from Korah. Suddenly the ground opened up like an earthquake and swallowed up Korah and his family. Then the 250 men were consumed by fire!

 Do you think that the Israelites got the message? I think I would have! But guess what? The next day the people went to Moses complaining that he killed their “holy” men and that they didn’t believe that God had picked Aaron as the high priest. They had some men of their own that they thought would be better for the job.
“Ok.” Said Moses. “Let’s get this settled once and for all! God said to put 12 staffs in front of the Ark of the Covenant and to write the names of 12 leaders, each from a different tribe and leave them overnight. The staff that has a blossom on it will name the high priest. So Moses took the 12 staffs with the names on them and left them in the tent with the Ark overnight.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

12 Men Scout out the Promised Land (Numbers13-14)

After Miriam was cured of leprosy, the Israelites journeyed to a city called Kadesh in the wilderness and set up camp. God spoke to Moses there. “The wonderful land that I promised you is just beyond the hills. I want you to send out 12 men to scout out the land.”
 So Moses chose one man from each of the tribes. He gave them a checklist of information that he wanted them to bring back. “Find out what kind of people live there and how many. What kind of land is it? Good for planting? A lot of trees? What do their towns look like? Do they have walls? Oh and, if you can, bring back a sample of their fruit.” Moses instructed them.
 So the 12 men headed north over the hill country and passed through Hebron, a city where the grandchildren of Anak lived.  Anak was a giant and his grandkids all took after him! Then the 12 men came to a valley. The valley was overflowing with fruit! The men took a cluster of grapes that was so big, they needed two of them to carry it on a pole between them! They named the valley “Eschol” which means -cluster-. They also gathered pomegranates and figs to bring back with them. All together they stayed in the promised land for 40 days then they returned back to the Israelites camp to report what they had seen.

 All the people came out to hear the scouting report. The 12 men stood before Moses, Aaron and all the people. They held up the huge cluster of grapes and the people were amazed!
 “The land really is a magnificent land!” One of the 12 men spoke up. “There are clusters of grapes and fruit like this everywhere! BUT,"...... Everyone got quiet and one of the other 12 men finished his thought. "BUT.... Some of the men that live there are giants! Their cities have huge walls with guards on them!”
Caleb was one of the twelve scouts and he could see that the Israelites were getting discouraged. “Let’s go at once and take the land.” He shouted. “We can certainly conquer it!” Joshua, one of the other scouts and Moses’ right hand man stood with Caleb. “Yes we can!”
 But the other 10 scouts agreed that the land was magnificent, but the people and the cities were too strong to conquer. They continually spread the discouraging report among the Israelites. "The land will
swallow up anyone who attempts to enter. We felt like grasshoppers next to those giants and I’m sure that’s what we looked like to them!”

 The Israelites all went back to their tents. Many of them cried all night. In the morning they confronted Moses. “We came all this way to get slaughtered by a bunch of giants?! We wish we would have stayed in Egypt and died there! We are tuning back.” The people decided to choose a leader and head back to Egypt.
 Joshua and Caleb tried to change the people’s minds. “The land is a wonderful land! The Lord will bring us safely into this magnificent place! Don’t rebel against God and don’t be afraid of the people. God is on our side and He promised the land to us!”
 But the whole community shouted insults at Caleb and Joshua. They picked up stones and were ready to kill the two men. Then God appeared to all the Israelites. “ How many chances can I give you? How many signs and miracles do you need? Time after time you doubt me and turn your back on me! I am so angry right now that I should just destroy you all and start over with Moses, Caleb and Joshua!”

 Moses pleaded with God. “Please Lord, spare these people. The Egyptians know the power you displayed when rescuing the Israelites from slavery. They know how you led the people with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. If you destroy all the people now, the Egyptians will think to themselves, ‘Well their God got them all the way to the hill country, but he couldn’t bring them into the promised land'.”
 God said, “I will spare all the people except the 10 scouts that stirred up the people against me. However, now only your children will be the ones to enter the promised land along with the 2 scouts, Joshua and Caleb. Tomorrow you must head back to the Red Sea.”
 Moses prayed for the people and God answered. Is there anyone that you need to pray for?

 Sometimes we focus on our situation instead of on our powerful God. It is easy to do if our situation or problem is right in front of us. The closer we are to something the bigger it looks. That’s why we need to constantly keep close to God. "When we draw near to Him, He draws near to us.” (James 4:8)

 Here is a little experiment.  Take a penny and a quarter. Which one is bigger? Right. The quarter :)
Hold the quarter in on hand and the penny in the other. Close one eye and slowly move the penny closer and the quarter farther away from your face. The penny looks larger than the quarter! Now, keeping the coins at the same distance, move the quarter behind the penny. Now you can’t even see the quarter even tho it is bigger than the penny! Cool!
 That’s how it is when we focus on our problems. They get bigger, God gets smaller. And pretty soon God disappears and we feel like we are left to take care of it on our own. God says that He will never leave us or turn His back on us in times of trouble. (Hebrews 13:5)

Why did God get so mad? He proved time and again that the Israelites could trust Him, and still they didn’t. God loved them and He wanted the best for them. God loves you and He wants the best for you too. He wants us to trust Him and not ourselves. He knows what is better for us than we do! Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in God with all your heart and not on your own ideas, and He will point you in the right direction. ( Mr. BibleHead paraphrase)
 So how do we focus on God, get close to God and trust Him more? By reading His book, the bible, and praying.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Israelites Get Tired of Manna (Numbers12)

When the Ark of the Covenant was finally completed, they placed it inside a large tent. God would hover over the tent like a cloud in the daytime and like a flame a night. So day or night the Israelites would know that God was with them.
 Finally, after over a year of camping near Mount Sinai, the cloud of God began to move and the Israelites packed up everything and followed. All this time God was still sending manna from heaven every night and the people would gather it for food every morning. They traveled for three days until they reached a place called Paran. And no matter where they were. God provided food for them.
 Some of the people were beginning to get tired of eating manna every day.
“When we were in Egypt, we ate fish, cucumbers, melons and onions. Now all we get is manna manna manna!” The people complained.
Isn’t it funny that no matter how bad it used to be, we always think it was better before. The Israelites were slaves! But all they could think about was the variety of food they had.
“We want meat! We want meat! The people began to chant. Soon the whole camp was in an uproar.
Moses went to God. “I’ve had with these people. All they ever do is complain and moan!” He was getting very aggravated with them. God was getting angry too.  So he sent a fireball and burned all the trees around the camp. The people were frightened but they still complained to Moses. Moses told God that he needed help with the people.
 God told Moses to bring Him 70 men and that He would put the Holy Spirit upon them so that they could help Moses lead the people. When God put the Holy Spirit on them, it was to help them do something special. God could take the Spirit off them when they were finished or whenever He wanted. Today (if we accepted Jesus as the master of our life and savior of our souls) we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us so that we can do special things for God. God has sealed us with the Spirit, which means that once we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us, He is there for good! Isn’t that great to know!
 God also told Moses that He would give the people meat, but He warned them that what they were asking for was not a good thing. So the next morning when the people awoke. There were birds called quail flying close to ground for miles and miles. Everyone started to catch the birds. Everyone gathered at least 50 baskets full of quail! The people ate and ate and ate until they could eat no more. Then the next day they ate some more! After a couple of days, the meat on the birds started to rot and it caused a sickness that killed many Israelites. They named that place the "graves of cravings”. The people realized that God knew best and that asking for meat was not very smart. God really does know best. Because He sees all and knows all.
After three days the Israelites traveled to a place called Hazeroth. While they were there Moses’ brother Aaron and his sister Miriam began to get jealous of their brother.
“How come God only talks to Moses and not to us!” Aaron said to Miriam.
Remember we said that God sees all and knows all? He also hears all! He heard Aaron and Miriam.
God called Moses, Aaron and Miriam to a meeting inside the tent and He scolded Aaron and Miriam. “I spoke to the prophets through dreams and visions, but I choose to speak to Moses face to face. When you talk about Moses behind his back, you are talking about me!” God was furious. Then the cloud lifted from the tent and God departed. Aaron looked at his sister. “Miriam!” He screamed. “Your face and your hands! They are as white as snow!” She had a deadly disease called leprosy. Moses cried out to God. “Please heal my sister!” God told Moses to tell Miriam to stay away from everyone for 7 days .
The Israelites waited 7 days. Miriam was cured and they left Hazeroth.

We can learn a few things form this story.
1. When we are moving toward God and His plan for our life, we should’t look back and wish things were like the “old days”. (Phil 3:13)
2. Sometimes we pray and ask God for the wrong things. God knows what is best for us. We should pray for God to give us what He knows is best for us. (James 4:3)
3. God knows all. God sees all. And God hears all. (Hebrews 4:13)
4. God doesn’t like complaining, moaning or grumbling. (Phil 2:14)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 34)

Last time we were together, God was angry with the Israelites and said that He would not lead them personally into the promised land. That an angel would do it instead. The people were very sorry and asked Moses to speak with God.

Last time God spoke to Moses, He told him to set up a tent just outside the Israelite camp and that He would meet Moses there. It was called the Tent of Meeting. I bet Moses was glad, because going up and down that mountain when he was 80 years old had to be rough!
 “Please continue to guide us?” Moses asked God inside the tent. “The people want you to lead us , not an angel! If I have found favor in your eyes God, please do this for your people.”
 “Ok. “ said God. “It is true that you have found favor with me, so I will lead the Israelites to the promised land.”
 Moses was very relieved because the people were really upset. Then he asked God one more thing. “Can I see your glorious face?” he asked.
 “No one can see my face and live because I am holy.” God answered. “But here is what I’ll do. Tomorrow morning I want you to bring two tablets of stone up to the top of Mount Sinai. They must be chiseled just the way that the two originals were shaped. When you reach the top of the mountain, go in between two large rocks that are there. I will put my hand over the opening and pass by. I will take away my hand and you will be able to see me from behind as I go by.”
 Moses worked on the two two tablets over night and in the morning he went up Mount Sinai. At the top of the mountain, Moses went between the two large rocks. God put his hand over the rocks and passed by. When He removed his hand, Moses saw God’s glory! He fell down to worship God right then and there! We must always remember the holiness of God. When we think about how wonderful, how glorious and how holy He is, we should always praise and worship Him!
 Moses was up on the mountain for 40 days, just like the first time that he received the ten commandments from God. This time the people waited for Moses. They learned their lesson (for now).
 When Moses came down from the mountain with the new ten commandments, everyone looked at him with astonishment! He didn’t know it, but his face was glowing! The people had a glimpse of God’s glory. When people see us. We should have a certain difference about us because we are Jesus followers. Our faces  may not be glowing, but we can be a reflection of God’s love so that other people will want to know Him.
 Moses called a meeting. He said that God had given him specific instructions on building an ark for God as they traveled through the wilderness.  The ark was a chest where the Israelite were going to keep the two tablets of stone with the ten commandments. It had two long poles so that it could be carried. Here is a picture of what it looked like.

 Moses took up a collection of gold, silver, wood, precious stones and fabric. The people were so glad that God would be leading them again that they kept giving and giving. Finally Moses had to tell them to stop. Moses put out a call for all the artists among them to come and work on the ark. God had chosen two men to be the head artists. Their names were Bezalel and Oholiab. I bet as they never dreamed that they would be able to use their talents on such a wonderful project for God.

 God has given all of us some kind of talent. then when we start to follow Jesus, God gives us spiritual gifts.  Bezalel and Oholiab were blessed by God with artistic talent. Possibly their spiritual gifts were leading so hat they could lead all the other artists. See how our talents and spiritual gifts work together. Our gifts are always for the glory of God and to further His kingdom.

 So let’s always remember that God is holy. (Psalm 22:3)
 That we should reflect His glory by loving others. (John 13:35)
 God equips us to do great things for Him and others. (Hebrews 13:21)

Friday, August 31, 2012

Moses Smashes the Ten Commandments (Exodus 32)

Last time we left Moses, he had been on the mountaintop with God for 40 days. The Israelites got impatient waiting for him and approached Moses’ brother Aaron with a request to make them a new god out of their gold earrings. God told Moses to go back down the mountain because God knew what the people were doing. God sees everything.

 "I am so angry with those people right now!” God said. “I delivered them from slavery and I led them through the desert. I fed them when they were hungry and gave them something to drink when they were thirsty! Now I feel like destroying them all and starting over. I could make a great nation out of you Moses.”
 Moses begged God. “No please don’t destroy them. I will talk to them. Besides, what will all the other nations think, especially the Egyptians, when they find out that you brought the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, then killed them all here at this mountain.”
 “I will spare them because you asked me to spare them.” God replied. “But there will be punishment."

Don’t you wish that you could talk with God? You can! That is what prayer is. Prayer IS talking to God. We don’t have to memorize and recite what someone else wrote down. God wants to hear our thoughts. And you can pray anywhere, not just kneeling by your bed or at the dinner table. God always hears you! God loves when we talk/pray with Him.

Moses took the Ten Commandments which God had written on two stone tablets with his finger, and headed back down the mountain. Half way down he joined up with Joshua who had waited that whole time for Moses to return. Wow! He was so patient. Not like the rest of the people.
 As Moses and Joshua descended the mountain together, they began to hear some noise. “It sounds like the rumbling of war.” Joshua said.
 “No.” Replied Moses. “It’s not the sound of battle being won or lost. It is the sound of a celebration.”

As they neared the foot of the mountain, Moses could see all the people dancing around. And in the middle of the celebration was the golden calf! Moses was so angry that he raised the two tablet of stone on which were written the commandments above hid head and smashed them at the base of the mountain. He knocked the golden calf into the fire and melted it down. Then he went over to his brother Aaron.
 "What is the matter with you?” Moses asked. “How could the people convince you to do something so wrong in the eyes of God?”

 Aaron tried to explain. “You were taking way too long up there Moses. The people were getting impatient. I got nervous when I saw a million people marching toward me. They had already decided that they wanted me to make them a god. I didn’t want to, but to calm them down, I asked them to give me all their gold. I threw the gold into the fire and POOF! out came a golden calf!”

 Did Aaron really think that Moses was that stupid? Aaron let his fear of the people get into the way of his obedience to God. Sometimes we worry more about what other people will think than what God thinks. Sometimes we put more trust in pleasing people, than we do in God’s protection.

 “You have let the people get completely out of control.” Moses scolded his brother. “Tomorrow I will call a meeting of all the people who are truly sorry for what has happened here.”
 The next day, Moses gathered all the people. “I will go back up the mountain and maybe I can obtain forgiveness from God for you.” The people were ashamed about how they had behaved.

 So Moses went back up the mountain, again. When He approached God, Moses said that he would take the punishment for all the people if God would just forgive them. Does this sound familiar? Jesus took our punishment. He could do that because He was sinless. Moses however was not. God said.
“I will forgive the people but you will not take the punishment. I will send a plague into the camp. Some will get sick and some will die. Then you will lead the remaining people into the promised land that I had promised. I will not go with you though. I will send an angel to lead you.
 So a plague went throughout camp. Some people died. Then it came time to leave again for the promised land. Moses told the people how God would not be doing the leading from now on because He was so angry with them, but that an angel would be doing the leading. The people were very afraid that they would not have God as their guide. As a sign of repentance (Being sorry) none of them wore any more jewelry for the rest of their journey.

So this week we can learn lessons from four different people.
1. From Moses we know that talking with God is praying. We can pray and where, any time. God hears us. (Phil 4:6)
2. From Joshua we learned to be patient waiting on God. We will see in future stories how God used Joshua in amazing ways. (James 5:7)
3. From Aaron we learned that when it comes to pleasing men or pleasing God, God always comes first. (Gal 1:10)
4. From the impatient people we see that disobeying God has consequences. (1Corinth 6:9)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Golden Calf (Exodus 32)

Ok, so I know we took a little detour from Moses on Mt. Sinai. Let’s not forget where we left off with him. God had just given Moses the Ten Commandments written on two stone tablets. Moses was on the mountain for 40 days with God! Joshua, Moses’ right hand man, was camped about halfway up the mountain. He was waiting for Moses. Aaron, Moses’ brother, and about 70 other men were waiting for Moses at the base of the mountain. The other one million Hebrews were back at their camp a little ways from the mountain. I just want to follow up a little more on what we talked about last time, accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

 If you prayed that prayer last time and meant it from your heart, you are what the Bible calls “saved”. You have a home waiting for you in heaven! But until we get there, we are living on this earth as followers of Jesus. When you were saved, God sealed you with His Holy Spirit. (2 Cor 1:22) That is God’s guarantee! Wow! No one or nothing can snatch you from His hands! (John 10:29) He has placed His Spirit inside you. The Holy Spirit is now living in you. He is a part of you.
 We are born with a body and a mind. The bible says that our bodies are sinful and desire to please ourselves instead of God. Our mind, (thoughts, emotions and will) decides what to do. Now we have another part of us. Our spirit, which is holy. Here’s is our situation as we live our lives: Our spirit wants to do only good. Our bodies want to do wrong. So our mind is the tiebreaker! That is why we should “renew” our minds. (Romans 12:2) If we play violent video games more than we read the bible, our minds will lean more toward the sinful stuff that our body wants. If we pray and talk to God more than we watch some of the bad stuff on television or our computer, the our minds will lean more toward pleasing God which is what our spirit wants.
 Television, computers,video games, hanging with the wrong crowd, or reading the wrong stuff can pull us in the wrong direction, but God has given us the Bible, the privilege of talking to Him, good TV shows and movies and loving people to hang out with to help us in the right direction. His direction.

 Ok back to Moses. He was on top of Mt. Sinai for 40 days. I’m sure everyone was wondering what happened to him. He was never gone for more than a couple of days before. Joshua waited patiently half way up the mountain. But the Hebrews were getting restless. They marched to the base of the mountain where Aaron and the 70 leaders were camped out.

“Moses has been gone way too long.” The people said to Aaron. “Something has happened to him.
He brought us out of Egypt, but now where is he? Make us a god that we can see and worship.”
“OK,"Aaron said.”Take off your gold earrings and bring them to me.”
 The Hebrews got all excited and shouted. “Oh Israel! These are the gods that brought you out from slavery in Egypt!” We can think to ourselves how stupid the Israelites (Hebrews) were, but we do the same thing. If we are trusting God for something, and He takes too long, we lie, cheat or steal to make it happen. Part of trusting God is waiting on Him. God is never too late. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

 When Aaron saw how happy the people were with their new god, he built and altar in front of the Golden calf. “Tomorrow is Golden Calf God day! Let’s party! (Mr. BibleHead translation)
So the next day the Israelites party like their was no tomorrow. They were getting rowdy, dancing like sinners and getting drunk.
Then God said to Moses. “You better go back down the mountain. The people that you led out of Egypt are out of control. They have made a new god out of gold.
 Don’t we do that sometimes too. We think more about money or things than about God.  When we trust in our money or things to meet our needs, we are making a god out of gold. So we learned a couple things today.
(1) We have the Holy Spirit living inside us. (If we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior)
(2) Waiting on God is trusting in Him.  (Don’t sin to get what we want.)   (Isaiah 40:31)
(3) We can’t make money and things our god. (Keep God first, He’ll take care of us) (Mt 6:24)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Ten Commandments....bad news and good news

 OK, last time we discussed how God gave us the Ten Commandments and how they were for our own good and for our safety. There is another reason, which takes us to the bad news and the good news.
 First the bad news. When we break a single commandment, no matter how big or how small, it separates us from God. Breaking a commandment it is “sin.” God is a holy God and heaven is a holy place. Sin is like a stain.(Isaiah 1:18) Heaven is so clean, that any stain can’t be allowed or it wouldn’t be a clean and holy place. No matter how much good we do, the stain is still there.
 Let’s say that the Ten Commandments are like ten dollars that your mom gave you and your brother to go to the movies. The movie ticket costs ten dollars. On the way to the theater, you see the ice cream truck and buy some ice cream for a dollar. When you get to the ticket window at the theater, the ticket seller says that you can’t buy a ticket with only nine dollars. The movie is ready to start! You offer her your bracelet or the little doll that you have in your pocket. No matter how valuable those things are to you, you still can’t get in. We have to be perfect to get into heaven.

 More bad news.... no one has ever lived the perfect life and not broken a commandment, except Jesus. Have you ever lied, taken anything that wasn’t yours or disobeyed your parents? I have. That means that we are NOT perfect. The bible says that “everyone has sinned and fallen short of heaven.”(Romans 3:23)
 That’s enough bad news. How about some good news? There are four books of the Bible about the life of Jesus. They are Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They are called the Gospels. Did you know that gospel means “good news!” Jesus is our good news!  Let’s go back to our movie ticket story. Jesus lived the perfect life. He bought all the movie tickets for everyone in the whole world! Jesus wants to give us a ticket into heaven, but we have to come to Him. What does it mean to come to Him. We have to believe that He is the son of God. That He lived a sinless life. That He died on the cross to pay a price that I could not pay because I have sinned. And that He rose from the dead on the third day.

The Ten Commandments show us how we have failed and how much we need Jesus!
 Without Jesus we are in big trouble when we die. If we think that we can be good enough to get into heaven, we are fooling ourselves. Let’s say that the Ten Commandments are like a chain and each link is one of the commandments. You are hanging onto the chain above a lake of fire. You are not too worried because the chain is strong and it is hoisting you to safety.
But if even one of those links breaks, the whole chain is broken. If you tell a little lie or disobey your parents, the link breaks and you begin to fall. Who can save us from that lake of fire? Only Jesus.

The bible says to “cry out to Jesus!”  He will SAVE us.(Psalm 37:17)  If we choose with our heart to make Jesus our Lord and Savior. He will save us.  What does Lord and Savior mean?  Lord means that we follow Jesus. He is sitting on the throne of our hearts. While we are on this earth, we get to know Him and what He wants us to do. Savior is about when we die. Jesus stands before God and says, “Father, his or her price has been paid.” We are then allowed to spend forever in heaven.
 Do you want to go to heaven when you die? Wouldn’t it be great to know that you will be spending eternity with Jesus? You can be sure. Do you believe that Jesus died for you? Do you believe that He rose from the dead? Do you believe that He is God’s son? Are you ready to follow Jesus? Do you realize that you have sinned and that you need Jesus? The bible says to "confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord and you will be saved.”(Romans 10:9) Confess means to say out loud, so if you really, really, really believe this with all your heart, say this prayer.
 God, I admit that I am a sinner. I believe that Jesus came to earth, lived a perfect life and died for my sins. I confess now that Jesus in now the Lord of my life and my Savior. Thank you God for Jesus and thank you for saving me. Amen.
 If you prayed that prayer and meant it with all your heart, guess what? You are going to heaven! The Bible says that every time someone is saved, the angels throw a big party in heaven!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Ten Commandments

                    So God spoke the Ten Commandments to the Hebrews. Then He gave Moses two tablets of stone with the commandments engraved on them. I guess this was important stuff! The Ten Commandments can be broken into two parts. The first four commandments are about God an the last six are about people. Jesus even said that The commandments can be summed up in two commandments. Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.

  So why did God give us commandments anyway? Does He just want to spoil our fun? Doen't He want us to enjoy life? YES! He does! .... and that's exactly why he gave them (and us) the Ten Commandments. Imagine a game without any rules.... That wouldn't be too much fun with everyone doing whatever they wanted. Would it? How about if your mom or dad didn't have any rules for you? Let's say you were two years old and you wanted to cross a busy street. Your mom and dad didn't believe in giving you any rules and let you try to cross the street as they sat on the front porch and watched you try to get across the street without getting hit by a car. That would not be very loving of them. If we follow God's rules, we will have a fuller, safer and more enjoyable life!
God also gave us the Ten Commandments to help us see that we are sinners. If we don’t know the rules, how do we know that we are breaking them. The Bible says that Jesus was the only one who kept all the commandments His whole life.

 Let’s look at the first four commandments . They are about God.

The First Commandment says: to Love God more than anything else. When you love someone, you let them have the first piece of pie. You let them get a drink from the water fountain first, even though you are thirsty. So if we love God more than anything else, we put what He wants first. What does He want? He wrote it down in the Bible and on two tablets of stone. He wants us to show our love for Him, by obeying Him.

The Second Commandment says: to worship only God. This is different from the first one. We worship with our mind and our time. What do we think about more than God. Do we think about playing video games or texting more than we think about God? What do we spend more time doing? Praying or playing? Reading the Bible or reading a text?

The Third Commandment says: to honor God’s name. God is holy and so is His name. We should not blurt out His name when we get mad or hurt ourselves. How would you feel if every time something went wrong, someone yelled your name? When we say God’s name, He leans a little closer to hear what we are saying. We should use His name when we are praying, or telling someone about how much He loves us.

The Fourth Commandment says: to honor God by resting from work on the seventh day. Work is a distraction. God wants us to free up our time in order to Honor Him. When we go to church on that seventh day, God knows that we have put aside that time to spend with Him. He gave us the example of resting on the seventh day when He created the universe and rested after six days.

Now let’s look at the last six commandments. They are about loving each other.

The Fifth Commandment says: to honor your mom and dad. The best way to honor them is to obey them. God put them in charge of you. God is in charge of them. The only time God doesn’t want you to do what they say, is if they tell you to do something that is not right.

The Sixth commandment says: not to kill anyone, which also means not to hurt anyone. Jesus says that even thinking about hurting someone is just as bad as really doing it.

The Seventh Commandment says: to keep your promises when you get married. When you get married, God is right in the middle of those promises. When you break one of those promises, it’s like telling God that you are more important than Him. God never breaks His promises.

The Eighth Commandment says: not to steal. God sees everything. God loves us. God wants good things for us. When we take something that is not ours. It makes Him sad. Then God doesn’t give us the better thing that He had for us.

The Ninth Commandment says: not to lie. God hears everything. God loves us. God wants the best for us. When we lie, we are not trusting God. We think we need to lie to get out of some kind of trouble, but then the lies get us into more trouble. Jesus said that the truth sets us free.

The Tenth Commandment says: not to be jealous or greedy. This is hard because it deals more with our heart than the rest of the commandments. It is hard to be happy for someone when they have what we wanted, but that is what God wants us to do. Be happy for the kid who got the new bike.  When we do that. It changes us on the inside and we are happier with what we have.

 Next time we will talk about the bad news and the good news of the Ten Commandments.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Moses Receives the Commandments

After the Hebrews ran away in fear, Moses raced back to the camp. “Why did you run away while God was speaking?” Moses asked.
"The mountain began to shake and then there was all that thunder and lightning! We were scared to death!” They answered.
“Don’t be afraid.” Said Moses.” God has come in this way to show you His awesome power and might. So let your fear of Him keep you from sinning.”
“OK.” They replied. “But from now on, you talk to God. Tell us what He said. And we will listen.”

Moses went back up the mountain to talk to God. There God gave Moses instructions for building an altar, how to treat workers, punishment for fighting among themselves, protecting their property, working in the fields and that they should have three festivals each year. To celebrate God and how He freed the Hebrews from slavery to the Egyptians. (God loves when we remember what He has done for us.)

Moses went back to the people with all these teachings and regulations.
“We will do everything the Lord said.” The people told Moses.
“Very good.” Moses replied. “Now I have to go back up the mountain. God wants me to bring seventy leaders with me this time.”

Moses took Aaron (his brother), Joshua (his assistant) and sixty-eight other men with him back to the mountain. When they got to the boundary at the base of the mountain, all the men saw the glory of God glowing like blue diamonds on the mountain.
Then God spoke to Moses. “ Come up to the top of the mountain and I will give you two tablets of stone. I have written my commandments on them with my own finger.”
 Moses told the men to wait for him there as he and Joshua went up the mountain. When they got near the top, Moses told Joshua to wait there. When Moses was almost at the top, a large cloud covered the top of the mountain. The glorious presence of God rested there and Moses went into the cloud. Moses waited there for six days and finally God spoke.

God instructed Moses about how He wanted the Hebrews to build a tabernacle. The tabernacle was a sacred house for God to live in as the Hebrews travelled through the desert. God told Moses that He had chosen two artists from all the people to be the main guys that would work on the tabernacle. Their names were Bezalel and Oholiab. ( I’ll just call them Buzz and Ollie and we’ll talk about them later :o) God put His spirit on them so that they would be even more skilled than they already were.  God spoke of many many more things to Moses. He told Moses so many things up on the mountain, that it took forty days! Finally God gave Moses the Ten Commandments which He wrote on the two tablets of stone.
1.   Love God more than anything
2.   Worship only God
3.   Honor God’s name
4.   Honor God by keeping the seventh day holy
5.   Obey your parents
6.   Don’t kill
7.   Keep your wedding day promises
8.   Don’t steal
9.   Don’t lie
10. Don’t be greedy
 Next time we will talk about each of the Ten Commandments.

We learned that God wants three things from us.
                                     To fear Him.
He doesn’t want us to be so scared of Him that all we do is worry if He’ll zap us or something. He wants us to respect His power. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning us wisdom.”(Proverbs 9:10)
                                     To remember what He has done for us.
When we remember what He has done for us, we can’t help but thank Him for all we have and how He has helped us. The greatest thing that God did for all of us was to send Jesus to die for our sins.. At the Last Supper, Jesus said. “Do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22 :19)
                                      To obey Him.
God loves us. He didn’t give us a bunch of rules so that we can’t have fun. He wants to protect us.  Why do your parents tell you to look both ways before you cross the street? They don’t want you to get hurt. Imagine if a mom or dad thinks to themselves. “Im not into telling little Joni to look before she crosses the street. I hope she makes it.”  God’s rules give us the best chance to live a great life!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

God Speaks to the People. (Exodus19 & 20)

The Hebrews were wandering in the desert for exactly 3 months when they came to a mountain. The mountain was called Mount Sinai. Remember when God spoke to Moses from the burning bus? This is the same mountain. They set up camp near the mountain. Moses went up the mountain to talk to God.
 “Go back down the mountain and tell the people that if they obey me, they will be my treasure.” God told Moses. So Moses went back down the Mountain and told the people what God had said.
 “We will surely do whatever God commands.” Agreed all the people. Moses went back up the mountain to relay the message to God (although God knows and hears everything anyway). Moses is over eighty years old by now, so going up and down the mountain is not so easy for him.

 When Moses reached the place where he met God, God said. “ I want the people to hear me talk to you so that they will respect you more. Go back down and tell the people that in three days I will speak to you. But I want them to hear me. When a loud trumpet blasts, have them come close to the bottom of the mountain, but make a boundary there. Tell them that no one is to cross that boundary or they will die.” So Moses went back down the mountain and told the people what God had said.
 On the third day, the people made sure they had on their best clean clothes. After all, they were going to hear directly from God today! While they were eating breakfast, they were startled by the sound of a loud trumpet blast. They all went to the base of the mountain where Moses had set up a boundary. As the people gathered, Moses went back up the mountain. The top of the mountain was covered in dark smoke. When Moses reached the smoke, God spoke. “Go back down and tell the people not to cross the boundary or they will die.”
 "But I already told them.” Moses said. “They know about the boundary.”
“Go tell them.” God insisted. “And bring your brother Aaron back with you.”

Moses went back down the mountain. I’m sure he was getting very tired of going up and down that mountain. He reminded the people about the boundary and then told Aaron to come with him back up the mountain. About half way up, Moses told Aaron to wait there and Moses went up into the smoke covered mountaintop. Thunder boomed and lightning flashed! The mountain shook! God began to speak! 2 million Hebrews heard God speak that day as he began telling them the ten commandments. Did you know that God spoke the ten commandments before He wrote them on the stone tablets? The Hebrews were very afraid. They began to move back toward their camp. Moses called down to the people not to be afraid, but they kept on going back to camp. Moses remained on the mountain. God continued to speak to Moses.

 God wants us to hear His voice too! He doesn’t call us all to a mountain, but He does speak to us through the Bible. The Bible is full of promises that God makes to us. Through the Bible, God guides us, He tells us how much He loves us,  and what He expects from us. God also speaks to us through people. When we go to church, God speaks through pastors and preachers and teachers. At home, God can speak to us through our loved ones. God loves you though them. God also speaks to us through the Holy Spirit. If you have trusted in Jesus and made Him the king of your life, the Holy Spirit is living in you. The Holy Spirit is God living in you and He helps you do what is right.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Moses and a Little Help From His Friends

After God supplied the Hebrews with water from a rock, they were feeling pretty good. But that didn’t last too long. A group named the Amalekites came over the hill, ready to attack the Hebrews. The Amalekites were like desert pirates. They would wander about the wilderness until they came upon a town or a people that they could rob and kill for fun. The Hebrews knew that they needed God’s help. Moses told his general, Joshua, to go out and battle the pirates before they reach the women and children.
 “Take some of our men and go!” Said Moses. “I will stand on the top of the hill and raise my hands and the staff of God toward heaven in prayer.”
 So Joshua and some of the men went out to fight the Amalekites. Moses went to the top of the hill with the staff. He also brought his brother Aaron and a man named Hur. Moses lifted his hands. He raise the staff and prayed. As long as Moses’ arms were lifted toward heaven, the Hebrews would force the Amalekites back into the wilderness. But when Moses got tired and put his arms down to rest, the pirates would start to win the battle by pushing the Hebrews backward toward their women and children.

 Moses would raise his arms and the Hebrews would be winning. When he lowered his arms, they would be losing. So Aaron and Hur sat Moses on a rock and stood on each side of him. They helped Moses to keep his arms raised till sunset and the Hebrews won the battle!
 God told Moses to make sure that he wrote down what happened that day. So he did. Moses also built an alter at that place and called it  “God is my Banner”. What does that mean? You may be asking yourself. It’s like a flag that men carry into battle. It tells everyone what side they are on.  Moses was saying that they won the battle because they were on God’s side.

  Meanwhile Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law who lived in the desert, heard how the Hebrews had defeated the desert pirates and journeyed out to meet Moses. When Jethro came to a familiar mountain that they called The Mountain of God, he set up camp there and sent one of his messengers to go tell Moses that he was on his way. When Moses got the word, he went out to meet Jethro. When they saw each other they hugged and Moses told Jethro all the things that God had done. How God freed them from slavery, how He parted the red sea and how He fed the Hebrews with manna from heaven and water from a rock and now He has delivered them from the hands of the Amalekites! “Praise be to the Lord!” Jethro exclaimed.

 The next day Moses was so busy as as judge for the people that he had no time for Jethro or his own family.
“Moses are you the only judge among all these people ?” Asked Jethro.
 “Yes.” Moses answered. “I hear their problems and let them know what God has said about it.”
 “Moses! You are going to kill yourself trying to serve millions of people by yourself!” Blurted Jethro. “Find a handful of honest men and teach them what God wants. Appoint them each to a certain number of people. Your load will be lightened and you will have more time for God and for your family.”
 Moses listened to his father-in-law and trained up some capable judges to listen to the peoples cases. The simple cases were given to them and Moses only heard the difficult cases So he had time for other things that God desired for him. Then Jethro went back to his own town and Moses and the Hebrews packed up for another leg of their journey to the promised land.

  When Moses had his hands lifted in prayer and the Hebrews were fighting, I bet they were glad that Moses didn’t get all prideful and tell his brother Aaron and Hur, “I don’t need your help. I got this!” Because they would have lost the battle. We can’t do everything by ourselves. When you turn down help from someone who truly wants to help, you are not only hurting yourself and possibly others but you are taking away a chance for the person who wants to help of spiritual satisfaction and joy. God created us to help each other. The bible has so many verses about “one another”.
 The story of the Desert pirates and of Moses’ father-in-law show how we should accept physical help (Aaron and Hur) from others and Godly advice (Jethro).  When we need help, and God sends another person to help us, God is really helping us. We shouldn’t be too full of pride to accept help.

 This reminds me of a story I heard. A whole town was flooded. The rainwater was up to the rooftops. A man was sitting on his roof praying. “Dear God please help me!” A while later a boat came by and asked the man if he needed help. He said “No. I’m waiting for God! Thanks anyway.” No one ever knew what happened to that guy. Who does he think sent the boat?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Manna from Heaven (Exodus16)

  Last time we left Moses, his brother Aaron and the Hebrews, they were all camped out near a lake that God had transformed into sweet drinking water for them. The Hebrews were happy. The next day, the cloud of God’s glory began to move, so the Hebrews got their belongings together and began to follow.
After about a month, they had eaten all the food that the Egyptians had given them when they were freed from slavery. The Hebrews were now getting hungry and began to moan to Moses. “We would have been better off remaining as slaves to the Egyptians, at least we were fed well.” The complainers grumbled. “Now we are going to die of starvation out here in the desert.”

Poor Moses. He had to listen to all the complaining. He knew that God had not freed them, just to let them die in the desert. He knew that the Hebrews had it very bad in Egypt. They were only remembering the food and forgetting about how they were told to kill their first born sons and how they were treated like dirt. Moses knew that God told him that He would take care of them, but poor Moses had to listen to all the grumbling. The Hebrews were acting like it was all up to Moses, like Moses led them out there and Moses was going to get them all killed.

Finally Moses had a talk with his brother Aaron." Tomorrow, I will stand before the cloud of God’s glory.” He said. “I want the people close enough to hear and to see God’s glory, then they will know who is in charge. Maybe then, they will quit grumbling and just trust in God.”
The next day, as Moses approached the cloud, Aaron gathered the people and told them to look way into the wilderness. When God spoke to Moses, the people were amazed at God’s glory.  God told Moses that He would give the Hebrews food every morning but there were some rules. God told Moses that every morning the ground would be covered with bread from heaven. The Hebrews were to pick up no more than 2 quarts for each person. (enough for one day) then on the 6th day, they were to pick up 4 quarts. (enough for 2 days) .

The next morning, after the dew melted, the ground was covered with white flakes. The Hebrews went out and gather 2 quarts, just as God had said. However a few Hebrews were worried that they would not get food tomorrow, so they gathered more. When they woke up the next day, the flakes smelled rotten and were covered with worms! On the sixth day, they gathered 4 quarts each. On the seventh day, some Hebrews didn’t trust God’s Word and went out to gather more flakes, but there were no flakes to be found! God was angry at the Hebrews that didn’t trust Him. And He told Moses that He was.

The flakes tasted like nothing the Hebrews ever had before. It was so delicious! God is a great Chef! No one knew what to call it, so they named it Manna. (Which means....What is it?) I guess you can say that I made Manna for dinner a couple of times, because no one knew what it was. ;o)
Every morning God would rain down manna from heaven and every morning the Hebrews would gather it up.  Moses was probably very happy that they weren’t complaining or blaming him any more.

A couple of weeks later, and a few miles later, the Hebrews were getting thirsty again because they hadn’t had any water for a couple of days.
 “Is God going to just leave us out here to die of starvation?” They grumbled. "We had enough water back in Egypt!” Poor Moses. Even seeing the glory of God and God providing them with food every day, hasn’t stopped their complaining, but now they were blaming God!
 “Why are you testing God’s patience with you?” Moses asked. Then the men began to threaten Moses. He ran to God and pleaded with Him. “Please God, the men are going to stone me if we don’t find water soon!”
" Take a few of the men that you can trust and you staff. I will lead you to a rock. I want you to strike the rock and water will pour out of the rock so that everyone will be able to drink.”God said.
 Moses did as God instructed and water poured from the rock as some of the men looked on. There was enough water for everyone. Moses named that area The Place of Testing and Arguing.

The Hebrews looked at Moses as the man who led them out of Egypt and as the man who was going to let them all die in the desert. God wants us to know that He is in control. He may work through men, but God didn’t want the people to depend on Moses and to blame him.  He wanted them to depend on Him. Just as He wants us to depend on Him and to come to Him with out hearts. There is a verse right in the very center of the Bible (Psalm 118:8) that says “It is better to trust in the Lord, than to put confidence in people.”
God also called Himself," God Who Provides”. It is good to remember that God (who takes care of the birds of the air  Matthew 6:26) provides all we need. Sometimes we WANT more than we NEED though.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Red Sea (Exodus 14 & 15)

 Last time we were right in the middle of an amazing miracle! God had parted the Red Sea so that Moses and his brother Aaron could lead the Hebrews to safety. God had placed a cloud of darkness over the Egyptians so that they couldn’t go anywhere. God had also placed his light above the Hebrews so that they could see their way over the dry land where the Red Sea had parted. God is so amazing!

 It was just about morning and all 2 million of the Hebrews had just about crossed over to the other side of the Red Sea. Then God spoke to Moses again.
 “Now the Hebrews and the Egyptians will see my glory and know that I am God.” God told Moses.
God lifted the cloud off of the Egyptians and they saw that the Hebrews were just about across the Red Sea. The king ordered his men to cross through the Red Sea on the dry ground. The men followed his orders, although I’m sure they were a little nervous.

 While the Egyptians were in the middle of the Red Sea, God caused the wheels to fall off of some of the chariots! There were no ordinary chariots either. These were the best chariots that the king had! The Egyptians began to get scared and confused. Some of them started going in circles. “Let’s turn around!” Some of the king’s men said. “The God of the Hebrews if fighting against us!

Then God told Moses. “Now stretch your staff over the Red Sea!” Moses did as God had commanded and the waters began to flow back into the sea. The king and all his men were drowned that day. The Hebrews knew that God had truly freed them from the Egyptians that day! They stood on the other side of the Red Sea in amazement! They praised God and sang him a song. The Song is written down in Exodus 15:1-21.
Remember Moses’ sister Miriam? The one who watched as Moses was pulled from the Nile river by the king’s daughter. She shook a tambourine. Then led the singing and dancing and the praises to God.

That day the Hebrews began their journey to the promised land. God was still leading them with a cloud at day and a flame at night.  They traveled tree days through the wilderness, but couldn’t find any water. The Hebrews were getting pretty thirsty. Finally the saw a lake! They ran as fast as they could. But when they reached over and sipped some of the water from their hands, it was bitter! What a disappointment. The name of that place was Marah (which means bitter)
 Now the same Hebrews that were singing and dancing just three days earlier, were all upset at Moses and God. “What are we supposed to drink?” They complained.
 Moses prayed and God pointed out a stick lying on the ground to Moses."Go throw it into the lake.” He said.
 When Moses did as God had said, the water became sweet and the Hebrews drank till they were satisfied.

Sometime I complain when things don’t seem to be going my way. Instead, I should think about all the wonderful things that God has done for me.  The key word today is   REMEMBER. God constantly told the Hebrews to remember what He had done for them and who He is. We have to REMEMBER too. When we think about what we don’t have, we forget what we DO have. REMEMBER.

Monday, February 13, 2012

God Uses Moses to Part the Red Sea Exodus14

Last time we saw that the Hebrews left Egypt in a bit of a hurry. It was the middle of the night when the king’s son died and he finally let the Hebrew slaves go. Moses led the people out into the wilderness. Now what? God appeared as a pillar of fire to lead the Hebrews at night. When it got light out, God led the people as a cloud. This way the Hebrews could see God at night and during the day!  God led the people to the shore of the Red Sea.

Back in Egypt, the king and all the Egyptians had a change of heart.
“Wait a minute!” Said the king. “Now we don’t have anyone to do all the work!”
So he told his army to get 600 of his best chariots ready and bring back the slaves. The Egyptians set out with the 600 chariots, plus a lot more to bring back the Hebrews to Egypt. The Egyptians finally caught up with the Hebrews while they were camped along the Red Sea. The king happily thought to himself, “Hmmmm that Moses is not too smart! He has the Hebrews pinned in along the sea! They have no where to run!”

 One of the Hebrews saw the lights of the Egyptian army coming over the horizon. “Oh no!” The Hebrews shouted in horror! They were upset at Moses. “Weren’t there enough Cemeteries in Egypt? You had to lead us out here to the desert to die! We were better off as slaves in Egypt, than dead bodies out here in the wilderness!”

“Don’t be afraid.” Said Moses. “What what God will do. See all those Egyptians.... Take a good look at them because you’ll never see them again! God will fight the battle.... Now keep your mouths shut!”
Moses went to God and cried out and prayed. God told Moses to stop crying out and to cut his prayer short. “Get moving.” God told Moses. “Stretch out your staff toward the Red Sea. The water will separate and for a wall on two sides. You and all the people will be able to walk across on dry land”

Meanwhile, the God cloud that had been leading the Hebrews through the desert, was now between them and the Egyptians. God made it so dark for the Egyptians, that they couldn’t see anything. So they had to stay put. God lit the way for the Hebrews so they could see where they were going.

Moses stretched out his staff over the water, and the water began to part. The Hebrews had been witnesses to a lot of amazing things that God had done, and this was near the top[ of the list! The water parted and the land became dry as a bone! All 2 million Hebrews walked across the Red Sea on dry ground that night as God’s light guided them and his cloud held off the Egyptians!

Did God help the Hebrews because they were moaning and complaining? No, He already had a plan for them to escape. God doesn’t like complaining as you will see as the Hebrews go through the wilderness. They do a lot of complaining. Complaining all the time just gives us a bad attitude and makes us miserable. In Proverbs, the Bible says that the complainer’s days are hard, but the content (which means happy with what we have) person’s days are like a feast!  Next time you feel like complaining.... think of ALL the wonderful things that God has given you. (The Bible says that every good and perfect gift comes from God.) ... and thank Him. You’ll be amazed how much better your day is!  Besides, complaining doesn’t do any good anyway :o)