...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.

Friday, November 25, 2022

Ezekiel: 1-11: The message and his bizarre behavior Part 1

 The book of Ezekiel is a book, pretty much like other prophetic books of the Bible. God is warning His people about His judgement. However, Some of the very unusual things that Ezekiel sees and does, makes this book stand out among some of the others. Remember when we talked in Lamentations about how Babylon came in, gutted Jerusalem, and took many of the Jews into captivity? Well, Ezekiel was one of those taken.

Five years later, on his birthday, Ezekiel goes and sits down by a river and begins to ponder all that had happened. Suddenly, one large storm cloud rolls in. He is watching this cloud and 4 creatures begin to appear. They were unlike anything he had ever seen before!These creatures each had large wings and 4 faces. The wings all touched. Each creature hovered above its own wheel. The wings of these strange creatures supported a platform. On that platform was a throne, and on that throne was a glowing being surrounded by an ember colored ring! It took a few minutes, but suddenly Ezekiel realizes that he is in the presence of God! And he fell on his face in reverence. Ezekiel was a bit perplexed however. He knew that the glory of God was always above the Ark of the Covenant in Jerusalem. What was He/God doing in Babylon. Ezekiel learned that God cannot be put in our mind-conceived boxes. He is God, and not limited to our human notions. 

                                                                                                                                                                        We do this all the time. Have you ever thought something was too small for God to care about, or too big for Him to do? How about our prayers? Does God hear so many prayers that He cannot possibly answer them all? Am I too bad that God can't save me? These are all ways that we put God in a box. Nothing is too bog or too small for God. He is all powerful, and He loves each and every single person so much that, no matter how bad we are, He sent his son Jesus to die for us.  

                                                                                                                                                                 Ezekiel was told by God to stand up and listen to what He was going to say. Ezekiel had trouble standing and the Holy Spirit placed Ezekiel on his feet. "I want you to go back and speak to the Israelites. Many of them will not listen to my message to them. They are a rebellious and stubborn people. They will insult you and maybe even try to harm you. But don't worry about that." God said to Ezekiel. Then He continued. "Whether they listen or not, continue with the message that I am giving you."  

                                                                                                                                                                      God wants us to share the good news with others. He knows that some will ignore us or even worse, but we are called to be faithful and not be concerned about the results. Ultimately it is the Holy Spirit that changes hearts, not us. Just like Ezekiel, we are called to share God's message.  

                                                                                                                                                                     Now begins some of Ezekiel's strange behavior. God gives Ezekiel a scroll with His message to the Israelites, and He tell Ezekiel to eat it! So he ate it. He said it was delicious! It was very sweet like honey! 

  That is how we should be with the Bible. No not literally eat it! LOL! But God's word is nourishment. We should savor it, and put it in us. The Bible tells us to keep God's word in our hearts. And one day, when we really need a certain scripture, the Holy Spirit will bring it to our minds for comfort or direction.  

  Ezekiel is now headed to Israel to confront the people left there, and those that have been scattered by the invasion of Babylon. He is going to tell them that because of their rebellion and the worshipping of other gods, there will be another invasion, and this time, Jerusalem will be completely destroyed and the temple will be in complete ruins, and the wall surrounding the city will be left in shambles. Ezekiel tell the people everything that God had asked him to, but then God asks His prophet, Ezekiel, to do some more bizarre things. First, Ezekiel was to go into his house and tie himself up.

God said that He would make it so that Ezekiel could not speak as a symbol of doom and helplessness that would fall upon the city. Then finally God allowed Ezekiel to speak these words. "He who has ears, let him hear." (the same words that Jesus used when talking in parables) Next, God wants Ezekiel to build a small replica of the city, then stage an attack on them, just like a child playing war with his or her toys. This was like a visual parable to the people of what was coming. Next God had Ezekiel cut off all his hair with a sword and shave his beard. Then divide all the hair into 3 piles. I'm sure this strange behavior drew quite a crowd as Ezekiel was out in the street in front of his house. Then Ezekiel burned one pile, struck another pile with a sword and finally the last pile, he threw up into the air and a brisk wind carried it off. God told Ezekiel that the few remaining hairs that fell to the ground, he was to tie them to his robe, then pull them off and toss them into the fire as well. This was a picture of how the people would be scattered after one third were killed by soldiers and another third would die of plagues and famine. And the few that survived would suffer.

 God is so merciful! he warned the people over and over again what would happen if they refused to turn back to Him. We should continually thank God for His mercy, grace and patience with us.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

(Lamentations 1-5) Crying out to God

 We are now in the book of Lamentations. It is a unique book, as it consists of 5 poems. These poems are acrostics, which means that each line begins with a new letter of the Greek alphabet (which has 22 letters). The third poem goes through the Greek alphabet 3 times, so it is the longest of the five. The last poem uses the letters, but not in a sequential order as the first 4 poems do. We will see why this may be intentional when we discuss poem 5. The word Lament means to cry out in grief or sorrow with passion. So the 5 poems are a crying out to God.                                                                                                                     Do you think God minds if we cry out to him when we are sad or angry, or hurt? No, and just the fact that this book is in the Bible proves that. Crying out to God is a prayer. It is a prayer of despair. The book of Psalms is filled with David's many laments. God wants us to come to him in good times and in bad. James 5:13 Sad-pray, glad-pray, and everything in between-pray. 

CHAPTER1                                                                                                                                                     In the first poem of lament, Jerusalem is depicted as a lonely old widow. Now we have to realize that these 5 poems were written about 580 B.C. after Jerusalem was taken over by Babylon and most of the Jews were captured and/or scattered. So the lonely old widow has lost her husband, and she has no one to turn to. She finally calls out to Lord to notice what she is going through; She is grieving and all alone. Through her, the writer of Lamentations who is anonymous by the way, although most Biblical scholars agree that it was probably Jeremiah (the weeping prophet), cries out to God, and the only way to tell Him how she feels, is that it feels like when someone you love dies.

CHAPTER 2                                                                                                                                               This chapter focuses on the fact that the sin of the Jews brought on God's wrath and led to their fall. Sometimes we think about God's wrath as Him exploding in anger and tossing fireballs onto the earth. God's wrath in biblical terms is actually His justice. When sin requires discipline, God's wrath is the justice that follows. Psalm 103 says that God is kind and merciful, slow to anger. His wrath is not spontaneous. So the author agrees with God. The Jews broke their covenant by worshipping other gods. But he asks God to show compassion on them once more.

CHAPTER 3                                                                                                                                               This chapter is the longest. It basically tells of an old man crying out on behalf of all of Israel. He is grief-stricken. He uses some of the same language that Job used when he cried out to God after he lost everything, including his children. So this is a very passionate plea to God Himself. Just like in chapter 2, he realizes that God had carried out the justice that Israel deserved because they broke their covenant. The writer focuses on the covenant and uses the covenant and God's faithfulness to write these words of hope: Because of the Lord's covenant faithfulness, we do not perish. His mercies never fail: they are new every morning. How great is your faithfulness o God. You are my inheritance, so I will put my hope in you. He was standing on the promises of God! He knew that God promised justice, but He also promised to show mercy and kindness.                                                                                                                                      We can stand on the promises of God too! The Bible is filled with thousands of God's promises. He is faithful. We can trust Him. The more we know what God's word says, the more we can hold His promises near. We can pray to God and remind Him of His promises. Not because He forgot, but so that we can be encouraged through Him and His word.

CHAPTER 4                                                                                                                                               This chapter is a vivid comparison of how Jerusalem used to be before the siege, and how it is now. He goes through several examples like: The children used to laugh and play in the streets. Now they walk the streets begging for food. The rich people used to enjoy extravagant meals, now the look through the dirt and in the dump just for a bite to eat. The king used to rule, now he is a prisoner in Babylon. The writer is pretty much crying out to God, "We want things back to the way they used to be!"                                    We do that sometimes, but we can't live in the past. Isaiah 43:18 says leave it behind and do not dwell on the past. The more we live in the past, the less time we have for the present. How can we give God our best, if we are living in the past?

CHAPTER 5                                                                                                                                                  As we said earlier, this poem is a little different, It still uses each letter of the alphabet, but the order and structure has been tossed out the window. It's like "OK God, I can't take it any more". The poet shows the chaos of grief and pain by jumbling up the alphabet. This chapter is another cry for God's mercy. It comes from the people as a whole, and not from an individual who portrays a group of people. The people cry out on behalf of all their fellow Jews who have been suffering in silence. God encourages them to come to Him in their pain, suffering, confusion, anger, and grief. He does the same for us. This book ends in kind of a statement and a desperate question: God is the king of the universe, but it feels like He is nowhere to be found. The last line in the book leaves us hanging. It questions, Unless you've totally rejected us?

One of God's promises in the Bible is that He will will never leave or forsake us. Hebrews 13:5. That is a wonderful promise to keep close to our hearts. Sometimes it feels like He has, but we must stand on the truth of His word and promises and not our fickle feelings.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Faithfulness: God's desire from us (Jeremiah 38:7 -52)

 When we left Jeremiah last time, he was sitting at the bottom of a muddy well, left for dead. But God........still had more for Jeremiah to do. God touched the heart of one of the king's servants, an Ethiopian named Ebed-Melech. The servant took his own life in his hands by telling the king that allowing Jeremiah to be thrown into the well to die was wrong. Instead of killing Ebed-Melech, the king had a change of heart and told the young Ethiopian to gather some men and pull Jeremiah out of the well.

Sometimes saying the right thing, or telling the hard truth is not easy. God says to do the right thing, not the easy thing. Just as Ebed-Melech risked his life, sometimes we have to risk being made fun of or losing friends. But know this. We always have God on our side when we do right.

So Jeremiah was saved..... well sort of. The king had Jeremiah brought before him. "Tell me what you know!" He ordered. Jeremiah was concerned that if he told him the truth, the king would have him killed anyway. But the king promised that he would not have Jeremiah killed if he told him the truth. So Jeremiah told the king that Babylon would soon attack Jerusalem, but that he should surrender peacefully to them or some bad stuff would happen to the king's family as well as to the king himself. The king was not happy with what Jeremiah said, but he had promised not to kill him, so he had Jeremiah tossed into dungeon.... again.

While Jeremiah was imprisoned, Jerusalem was taken over by the Babylonians, (just as God said) and the king of Judah didn't listen to what God said through Jeremiah. And remember what God told Jeremiah to tell the king... Some bad stuff would happen? Well the king tried to flee the city during the take over. He was caught and his eyes were gouged out! Also his wife and kids were killed in the palace when it was set on fire.

Even though Jeremiah was taken to Babylon during the siege, God protected him. Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon set Jeremiah free to live in Babylon. Jeremiah was even given food and some gifts to help him settle in. Since Jeremiah was a prisoner of Judah, and the king of Judah was an enemy of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar showed kindness to Jeremiah. So I guess getting thrown into prison again turned out pretty well for Jeremiah.

Sometimes things don't work out like we planned. I'm sure Jeremiah didn't want to be pulled from a well, just to get tossed into a dungeon. God sees all things. We need to trust Him. Have you ever had something go the wrong way, only to find out later that it was absolutely for the best? I have.

When Jerusalem was taken over by the Babylonians, a lot of the Jews were taken captive, however, the poorest Jews were left behind and a small governmental system was put in place. Many of the Jews saw that the fighting was over and returned to Judah. The Jews that fled to Egypt however, found life very comfortable there and decided not to return. 

Jeremiah returned to Judah with a word for the people. He said that the people in Egypt should return as well. That Egypt would soon fall to Babylon just like Judah did. He said that the Jews that have remained in Egypt are now worshipping false gods. God said that He would pass judgement upon them and anyone else who is worshipping idols. Some of the new leaders did not like Jeremiah and what he was saying. So they captured Jeremiah and took him to Egypt.

While in Egypt, Jeremiah faithfully continued to speak the words that God had put in his mouth. The final 5 chapters of the Book of Jeremiah tell of God's judgement on Egypt, Moab, Philistine and neighboring countries. Jeremiah is not mentioned again in these final chapters. Some say he was killed, others say he escaped Egypt. No one really knows for sure.

So even though Jeremiah spent his whole life trying to get his people to turn from their sin and to turn toward God, the people never listened. The outcome was not in Jeremiah's hands. He simply did what the Lord asked him to do. That is called faithfulness. God delights in our faithfulness. We don't have to "save the world". That is God's job. All we have to do is obey Him, and leave the consequences to Him. If you tell someone about Jesus and they accept Him as their savior, God did that, not you. To Him be the glory! And on the same note, if the person you shared Christ with rejects the message, it's not on you. You did what God asked. Leave the rest to Him.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

The People and the King Refuse to Listen to God (Jeremiah 1-38:6)

 Today we begin a new book of the Bible. It is the 24th book and it is called the Book of Jeremiah.

 Jeremiah was born in Judah. His father was a priest named Hilkiah. So Jeremiah was taught many religious things as a boy. His father had hoped that Jeremiah would become a priest like him. But God... had different plans.

 A lot of times we make plans or our parents make plans ...  (But God). So we should hold on to our plans loosely as God may have other plans. His plans are always better. Sometimes they are harder, as we will see in the story of Jeremiah, but they are always better. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

When Jeremiah was a boy, there was a good king of Judah named Josiah. He had all the idols destroyed and led the nation in the ways of God. But as soon as Josiah died in a battle, the people of Judah went right back to idol worshipping and sinning. The people were following their king and not following God. 

When we go to church, we should be putting our hearts in the hands of God and not our trust in a minister or pastor. They are human beings just like we are. If they mess up or even die, our faith should not be shaken or crumble, because our faith is in God.

When Jeremiah was a young man, about 20 years old, God spoke to him. He said that He knew Jeremiah before he was even born... and He had a plan for him to speak for Him as a prophet. But Jeremiah was scared. He told God that he was way too young to speak for Him.

Remember last time in Isaiah we learned that God has a plan for us before we are even born? Well here it is again as God spoke to Jeremiah. God had a plan for Isaiah, and for Jesus, for Jeremiah and He has a plan for you and me!

Jeremiah took his new job as God's prophet very seriously. He knew that telling the people that they must repent of their wickedness would not go over too well. It would be difficult, and sometimes dangerous, but Jeremiah was up to the task and began to tell the people what God was saying about their evil ways. Jeremiah loved God and he loved his country. He preached for over 40 years, but the people turned their back and refused to listen. This made Jeremiah sad and he became known as the "weeping prophet".

How was Jeremiah able to do such a hard thing? God told him to do it, and God gave him the wisdom, courage and strength to carry it out. When God touches our hearts and wants us to do something for Him, don't be fearful, because God will give you all the tools you need, and He'll be right there with you. (Isaiah 41:10)

Jeremiah told the people that they were doing wrong. And he told them that God loved them and that they needed to repent or God would punish them by sending an army from the north to take them over just like He did 100 years earlier. The people laughed. Then Jeremiah went to the king and told him the same thing.

Has anyone ever laughed at you? It doesn't feel good. Especially if it is for doing the right thing. Don't let that stop you. God says that If He is for us, who can be against us. (Romans 8:31) He also says that we should do things that please him, instead of doing things that people want us to do. (Galatians 1:10) God is always on our side when we do what is right. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

God told Jeremiah to go to the temple and tell the people that they have turned away from the one true God. The High priest were infuriated that Jeremiah would come to their temple and preach such words. They called the temple guards and had Jeremiah brought before the judges. The judges had Jeremiah exiled (kicked out of the country). Even in exile Jeremiah sent messages through Baruch, his scribe ( a person who writes down on a scroll what a prophet dictates) to the palace and had a priest read the scroll to the king. After hearing what Jeremiah had written on the scroll, the king cut up the scroll in tiny pieces and burned it. Then the king then had Baruch arrested.

One of the most well-known verses in Jeremiah is Jeremiah 29:11. It says: "For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." God was warning Israel against false prophets, but that is a promise that we can hold onto for ourselves.

Some time later,  Jeremiah heard a message from God to go to the palace wearing a yoke. (a collar that oxen wear to pull a plow) He wasn't supposed to enter the palace, but God wanted to send a message to the king that his kingdom would be  taken over by Nebuchadnezzar, and unless he surrendered to his yoke (his will) the king's kingdom would be destroyed. Hananiah, one of the king's false prophets pulled the yoke off Jeremiah's shoulders and broke it.  The high priests and false prophets were getting tired of Jeremiah and his hard words and so was the king. So the king told the priests to do whatever they wanted with the prophet. So guess what they did? They called the kings guards who threw him in a muddy well with no food and left him to die!

Monday, January 3, 2022

(Isaiah 57-66) God's promises

 Chapter 57 begins with God telling His people that they are treating good people badly. He says that the righteous man is teased and ridiculed. God tells the righteous man not to worry. He will give them peace. Have you ever been teased for doing the right thing? (that is what righteousness is) Well, God promises you His peace, which according to Philippians, surpasses all human understanding. So continue to do the right thing. God has your back.

God says that his patience with the ungodly is running out. And He says that there is no peace for the wicked,  but then by the end of the chapter, He tells them  four ways to find His peace. 1. Know that He is holy and He alone is to be worshipped 2. Humble yourselves before Him. 3. Know that God loves

you and wants the best for you. 4. And by accepting the gift of peace. (which we know is Jesus) When we receive God's gift of peace, it doesn't mean that everyone will love everyone around us.... It is an inner peace; a rest for our souls; a peace with God; a contentment even in difficult circumstances. Have you accepted God's gift of peace, grace and love through His son, Jesus?

Chapter 58 is a beautiful chapter that addresses the question. God why don't you answer my prayers? First He tell about how the people were fasting and praying with the wrong motives. God always sees our heart. He knows why we do things. Even if it looks good, like praying or sacrificing something, God knows if our heart is in the right place. It may look good to others but "Man looks at the outward, God looks at the heart" (1Samuel 16:7) God continues the chapter by telling the people that if the pray and fast along with love and doing the right thing; And if they extend love with help to the poor and needy, then their lives will be filled with light and they will hear from God. Wouldn't it be great to hear from God and to have our lives filled with His light. Well, this is straight from God. Do right unto others and help the needy. But do both with love in your heart. Ask God to help you to do things out of love. He will be glad to help you.

In chapter 59 God tells his people that He not only knows their heart, (Chapter 58) but He sees all we do, good or bad. God told them that the reason that they don't feel Him shining His face upon them is because they are sinning in secret, trying to hide from God. While speaking to Job in Job 34:22 God says, "There is no darkness or deep shadow where the one who sins may hide themselves from me." Ever since Adam and Eve felt shame and tried to hide from God because of their guilt, man has been doing the same thing. Have you ever felt guilty for doing something wrong. Don't try to hide it. Confess it. God is a God of light. He wants all things brought into the light. He wanted His people to confess their sins to Him and He wants us to do the same thing."The light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the
light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed." (John 3:19-20) At the end of the chapter, God says that He will send a Redeemer. That Redeemer is Jesus Christ! 

Chapter 60 tell of how wonderful it will be when Jesus comes for all men who believe. Then It talks about the second coming of Jesus, (which we are still waiting for) when Jesus rules over all the world and He will be our everlasting light!

Chapter 61-66 tell of the Millennial Kingdom which is not yet here. The book of Isaiah is so amazing! It has prophesies about the first coming of Jesus which has already taken place, and all of the prophesies concerning Jesus' first coming have come true. But Isaiah also prophesies about the second coming. For example; Those who persecuted Israel will now realize that Jerusalem is the City of the Lord. God will make all things new. Violence will be no more. There will be no need for the sun. Jesus will be our light of day. Jesus will rule over all the earth. Here are a few more straight from Isaiah 65:20-25

“No more shall an infant from there live but a few days

Nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days; 

For the child shall die one hundred years old, 

They shall build houses and inhabit them;
They shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

For as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of My people,
And My elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
They shall not labor in vain,
Nor bring forth children for trouble;
For they shall be the descendants of the blessed of the LORD,

“It shall come to pass
That before they call, I will answer;
And while they are still speaking, I will hear.

The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,
The lion shall eat straw like the ox.