I HATE THIS!

image001Not that I’m a bad sick person, but…

Friday-Sunday I would have swore I got hit with an experimental nano-virus made up of millions of cat-like rabid living razor blades using my throat as a scratching post.

Late Sunday the head was still congested and in pain, and I was coughing up all kinds of nasty stuff – but the throat didn’t hurt as bad when I did it. I figure I’m on the mend. Then came last night.

I wake up at 4am with nasty chills and a churning gut. I put on every blanket I can find (sleeping on the sofa) and shiver while the dog watches. Then at 5 I was in total disbelief.

And I run into the bathroom to start throwing-up. What evil virus goes from a head cold to vomiting? I hate throwing up.

I stagger back to the sofa and huddle under 50lbs of blankets and try to forget about the last half hour. That’s when the dog scratches to go outside. “Forget you” I think. Wrong.

Next thing I know the dog is making those heaving sounds by the door.

I shiver my way to the door and the dog goes outside and vomits. Sympathy throw up?

I hate this, not that I’m a bad sick person.

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A King in a Suitcase

total cover w back jpeg-002Another free devotional for your kids – this one from BIZARRE Bible Stories 2! Ch. 4
Scripture Passage: 1 Samuel 10,15
So What? So stay committed to Christ!
For Parents: [Anything in brackets]

What do you do really well? What do you not do well? If God promised to help you do what you are not good at – would you trust Him to do it?

God seems to enjoy asking us to do things we don’t think we can do. Sometimes we’re correct; we can’t do it on our own. God is teaching us that He will equip us to do whatever He asks us to do.

About 1000 years before Jesus was born, Samuel was a prophet. Many people looked to Samuel leadership because Israel didn’t have a king. God told Samuel to find a young man named Saul. Samuel was to tell Saul that he would be the first king of Israel! Then Samuel was to introduce King Saul to the rest of the country. Saul was God’s choice as king, and Samuel was God’s choice to make it happen.

Saul had a lot going for him. His family had a bit of money, and he was bigger and stronger than most people his age. He was a man of action. But Saul had a problem.

It was hard for Saul to trust God.

God wanted to set Saul up for success. God knew Saul could make a brilliant king if he would rely on Him. God, through Samuel, did a number of things in order to give Saul confidence in God. Here is what happened on the day Samuel told Saul he would be king:

1. Samuel poured oil over Saul’s head. Saul knew this meant God had selected him for special service, and the Spirit of God would assist him.
2. Samuel told Saul “God has appointed you to be king over Israel!”
3. Samuel told Saul he would meet two people later that day in Zelzah. He even told Saul what those two people would say!
4. Then Samuel told Saul that he would later meet three men who would be on their way to Bethel. They would have bread, wine, and goats. He also said they would offer him the bread and he should take it.
5. Finally, Samuel told Saul that the Spirit of the Lord would come on him at a place called Gibeh, where he should wait for a week for further instructions. Samuel told Saul what was going to happen before any of it happened. How cool is that?

ALL those things happened that same day – precisely as Samuel said they would! If that happened to you, would you trust Samuel? Would you trust God?

Have you ever played “Hide and Seek?” Do you have a favorite hiding place?

Later Samuel called all Israel to meet together at Mizpah. The news quickly spread that God had picked Israel’s first king. People from all over traveled to see who it would be. They packed up their wagons and animals and traveled to Mizpah. Once there, they unloaded their wagons, found a place to sleep, and waited for the big announcement.

Samuel got in front of everyone and announced, “God picked the first King of Israel! His name is Saul, son of Kish! Saul, come out!”

The people cheered – they clapped, shouted, waved, and waited to see Saul. But Saul had disappeared! The clapping died down. Everybody was waiting. Awkward!

“Saul?”

“Saul!”

“HEY SAUL, WHERE ARE YOU?”

Samuel asked God, “Where is Saul?” God answered, “Hiding among the baggage!” The great king Saul was hiding in a suitcase on his first day on the job!

Saul knew he didn’t have the ability to be king. Trusting in his own abilities, he was overwhelmed – so he hid. Saul didn’t understand that whatever God calls us to do; He will equip us to do. Saul was still having a difficult time trusting God.

Saul became king in spite of his hiding. As Saul learned to rely on God, he became a better king. He ruled with wisdom, success, and insight – for a time.

Things were going so well that Saul started making decisions on his own.

Have you ever disobeyed your parents because you thought, “Even if I get caught, it’s worth it. They will forgive me anyway?”

God told Saul, through Samuel, to go to war against some particularly wicked people. He was told to destroy everything. God knew that keeping what the wicked people owned would cause problems later. Saul didn’t do what God asked.

Once Saul and his army won the battle, the soldiers wanted to keep some of the stuff for themselves. “Why destroy it?” they asked. “This is good stuff! Let us keep it!” Saul said to himself, “Self,” he said, “I can’t control this entire army. There are 210,000 soldiers of Israel here. I’m just one guy. I’ll let them keep what they want and hope God doesn’t notice. It’s easier to be forgiven by God than to obey Him. I’ll even keep some of the animals to give as a sacrifice to God. Surely then He will understand.” [1 Samuel 15:24]

Saul and his army disobeyed the command of God and kept the best of the sheep, goats, cattle, horses – they kept the best of everything they saw. They only destroyed what seemed worthless to them. [Maybe they kept the best clothes, tents, and jewelry too. If this were happening today, what would you be tempted to keep?]

Have you ever changed your mind? What about?

Because of Saul’s sin, God rejected him as king. 1 Samuel 15:11 says the Lord told Samuel, “I am sorry that I ever made Saul king, for he has not been loyal to me and has refused to obey my command.” [NLT] Does this mean God changed His mind?

Psalms 102:26-27 teaches that God is changeless and perfect. Therefore, it is impossible for God to change His mind. So why was God sorry He made Saul king?

Hebrews 4:12-13 tells us that God knows everything. We can’t give God a surprise birthday party because He always knows what will happen next! Matthew 10:29 says He even knows when a bird dies. So why would God choose Saul to be king if He knew Saul would mess up?

When God said He was sorry He made Saul king, God wasn’t saying He made a mistake. He was explaining His actions in a way we could understand. God often uses human illustrations to explain what He is doing.

[The fancy word for this figure of speech is “Anthropopathism.” It means to ascribe human feelings to something that isn’t human. One example of this is 2 Chronicles 16:9 which says, “The eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” (NIV) Can you imagine two eyeballs floating around the planet like space ships looking for devoted followers? It’s an illustration showing us how God is always looking to strengthen His followers. Also see God’s wings in Ruth 2:12, His hand in Ecclesiastes 2:24, etc.]

God knew Saul could follow Him and become a great king. It was Saul’s choice to follow or not. God was “sorry” means God was sorry because Saul didn’t follow Him. Maybe this story will help.

For a moment, pretend your mom can look ahead in time. She sees that tomorrow you will be playing in the street and a car will narrowly miss hitting you. Today she tells you not to play in the street – ever. She tells you again when you get up the next morning. “DO NOT PLAY IN THE STREET!”

Later that day you disobey your mom and play in the street. Yesterday your mom saw you would do it.

Did your mom want you to play in the street? No way, she told you not to! Did she make you play in the street? No, it was entirely your choice. Just because she saw you would make a bad choice doesn’t mean she forced you to do it. In fact telling you not to do it is proof she didn’t want you in the street at all. She did everything she could to help you do what was right. She could then say she was “sorry” you played in the street.

It’s not God who changed in this story, but Saul. God wanted Saul to succeed. Even though God could see ahead in time and knew Saul would mess up, He still gave Saul the chance to do what was right. Saul stopped following God; therefore, God was sorry He made Saul king.

SO, WHAT SHOULD I DO?

STAY COMMITTED TO CHRIST

God wants you to succeed. He will never ask you to do what He will not equip you to do. God is searching the earth to support those who are fully committed to Him. Stay committed to Christ, and He will help, strengthen, and reward you! “May he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.” [Hebrews 13:21]

REMEMBER: YOU’VE GOT HIS WORD ON IT
2 Chronicles 16:9 The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.
Ruth 2:12 May the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully for what you have done.
Ecclesiastes 2:24 There is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God.
Psalms 27:14 Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.
Psalms 62:5 Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him.
Psalms 130:5-6 I am counting on the Lord; yes, I am counting on him. I have put my hope in his word. I long for the Lord more than sentries long for the dawn, yes, more than sentries long for the dawn.
Galatians 6:9 Let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.

AllBks

Fighting Islamic Terrorists – diplomacy or weapons?

Some great food for thought – needs an hour, good friends on each side, and a cup of Starbucks.

which god saves -

Diplomacy or weapons.  I get so tired of hearing these choices – like they are all we have.

Conservatives say – the number one job of the government is to protect it’s people by killing the enemy.
Liberals say – negotiate – war doesn’t solve anything.
(yes – these are generalizations.  please recognize that.)

But there are problems with both.

In the case of Islamic terrorists –

my main question for the liberals is – how do you negotiate with someone who wants to kill you?  I mean, really, is there a middle ground between life and death that one can negotiate to?

my main questions for the conservatives is – do you really think you can kill all of them?

View original post 1,861 more words

Free Story One Week ONLY

total cover w back jpeg-005A devotional for your kids this week: Chapter 15 from Bizarre Bible Stories 2!


The Madman Chariot Driver

Scripture Passage: 2 Kings 9
So What? So you can overcome fear with obedience!

[anything in brackets are notes for parents]

Do you remember the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal? Do you remember who was upset at Elijah for what he had done? Do you remember her name? [Queen Jezebel]

It’s possible to trust and obey God when we’re frightened. Even Jesus was troubled before going to the cross. Being scared isn’t sin. When we conquer our fear and obey God, in spite of our fear, that’s obedience. And obedience results in victory!

LET’S CONQUER OUR FEARS…
Israel was going through an extremely rough time. Queen Jezebel had killed most of the priests, pastors, and prophets of God. The people were worshipping a false God called Baal. Elijah, a prophet of God, challenged the 450 prophets of Baal to a showdown. When it was over, Baal hadn’t shown up, but God did and the 450 prophets of Baal died that day. That would be the end of the story except for one person – Queen Jezebel.

Ahab was king, but he wasn’t as powerful as Queen Jezebel. Jezebel worshipped Baal, she loved the prophets who died, and she hated Elijah. She was so powerful and terrifying, that when Elijah heard that she wanted him dead, he ran! He traveled until he was nearly dead. Elijah, who killed 450 prophets of Baal, who believed in God, ran from one woman. [You can read more about that story in the first Bizarre Bible Stories]

Have you ever wanted something someone else had? What was it?

Jezebel scared off God’s greatest prophet of the time – Elijah. She not only knew how to run off whom she didn’t like – she also knew how to get what she wanted. One day King Ahab was pouting. When Queen Jezebel asked what was wrong, Ahab said, “I wanted the farm next to our castle. I tried to buy it; the selfish owner won’t sell it. He said it had been in his family for years and he wants to keep it in the family. But I want it!”

Queen Jezebel said, “Don’t worry about that farm, Ahab. I’ll get it for you.” Do you know what she did? Jezebel had the owner of the farm and his sons all killed so she could steal the farm for her husband. You wouldn’t want her for your neighbor.

Do you have to obey someone you don’t like?

One day God sent a prophet to appoint a new king. The reign of Ahab and Jezebel was finally going to end. Where would God find a person strong enough to go up against Queen Jezebel? Even the great prophet Elijah had run from her. She had killed hundreds of people who believed in God. [1 Kings 18:4] She coveted power and killed all who got in her way. She was a terrifying tyrant. Who would God find to follow Him against her?

God found Jehu. Jehu was a general in the army. God had a prophet pull Jehu aside; pour oil on his head and say, “God wants you to be the next king!” Pouring oil on Jehu’s head was God’s way of showing Jehu that God’s power was going to flow through him. Jehu could now depend on God to protect him from Jezebel – but would he? Would Jehu be brave enough to confront Jezebel?

When the officers in the army heard the prophet had poured oil on his head, they blew their trumpets and yelled, “Jehu is king! Jehu is king!” There would be no backing out for Jehu now.

Do you know anyone who drives too fast? Do you think it would be fun to ride or drive a police car and go as fast as you wanted? [YES!]

Jehu said, “If the army is with me then don’t go to the castle and tell Queen Jezebel what happened. I want to surprise her!” Jehu wasn’t going to run away. He was going to run right at Jezebel.

Jehu got into his chariot, strapped on his seat belt, set the radio for the local Christian rock station, and hit the gas. Actually, his chariot would have looked like a large two-wheeled cart pulled by horses – looking a bit like Santa driving his sleigh on land. Only this was no normal sleigh. Most chariots had one to four horses pulling them. Jehu’s was probably a rare six-horse chariot pulled with three pairs of horses. This was an extremely fast chariot – almost impossible to control. It was like trying to fly a jet down a crowded neighborhood street. [Due to how fast he was driving, they knew it was his chariot. If Jehu lived today, he’d have a Ferrari!]

There was a lookout standing on the castle tower. He yelled down, “Hey, I see troops coming!” A short time later he yelled, “It must be Jehu – the guy in front is driving like a madman!” [2 Kings 9:20]

One of Jezebel’s wicked sons went out to confront Jehu. Someone shot him with an arrow, and he fell and died in the neighbor’s farm. God made certain Jezebel’s son died in the very farm she had stolen.

What do you think will happen to Jezebel?

Jehu rushed up to the castle. He could see Jezebel looking out an upstairs window at him. She was shouting at Jehu, calling him a murderer. Evil people often accuse others of what they have been doing. She had killed more innocent people than anyone alive, and she called Jehu a murderer!

Jehu yelled, “Hey, up in the castle, who is on my side?” A couple people looked out and yelled, “We are!”
“Then throw the Queen out the window!” Jehu yelled.

They did! They threw the wicked witch queen, Jezebel, out the window. Then it got gross.

Jehu rode his six-horse chariot over Jezebel’s dead body. Later, when they went outside to bury her, there was nothing left. Wild dogs had eaten her. Yuck. First the window, then the chariot, then the dogs – why did God make her death so gross?

God had said Jezebel was so wicked she didn’t deserve to be buried. [1 Kings 21:23] God was right.

SO, WHAT SHOULD I DO?

OVERCOME FEAR WITH OBEDIENCE

For some reason, the prophets of Baal didn’t scare Elijah, but Jezebel did. For some reason Jezebel didn’t frighten Jehu, but other things would. Just because we believe in Jesus, and we know God is all-powerful, doesn’t mean we won’t get scared. When someone wants what we have and is willing to hurt us to get it – that’s scary!

It’s possible to trust God, and obey Him, even when we’re frightened. Jonah was scared to go to Nineveh, Daniel was scared to go into the lions’ den, and even Jesus was troubled before going to the cross. Being scared isn’t sin. It’s only when we follow our fear and disobey that it’s sin. [Like when Jonah ran away and ended up in the fish.] When we conquer our fear and obey God, in spite of our fear, that’s obedience. And obedience results in victory!

REMEMBER: YOU’VE GOT HIS WORD ON IT

Deuteronomy 6:2 You and your children and grandchildren must fear the Lord your God as long as you live. If you obey all his decrees and commands, you will enjoy a long life.
Deuteronomy 13:4 Serve only the Lord your God and fear him alone. Obey his commands, listen to his voice, and cling to him.
Psalms 111:10 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom. Praise him forever!
1 Samuel 12:14 “Now if you fear and worship the Lord and listen to his voice, and if you do not rebel against the Lord’s commands, then both you and your king will show that you recognize the Lord as your God.”
Ecclesiastes 12:13 That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty.

AllBks

Iran Nuclear Deal Predicted

indexIn 2010, author Joel Rosenberg wrote a fiction work, The Twelfth Iman, about a nuclear deal between the USA, its allies, and Iran. Sound familiar? And, for my “less conservative” Canadian friends, you will like it. Don’t assume because Rosenberg is an American believer in the Bible, that he follows the typical conservative views or storyline. He probably doesn’t even own a Glock, which makes me wonder about his salvation.

The Good: Rosenberg can write. He won the Gold Medallion for Best Novel in 2006. He has made the NY Times Bestseller List. He is a graduate of Syracuse and does impeccable research. As a result, the book is a great read – although it did take me a few chapters to get into it. A bit too much back-story for me.

The Bad: There isn’t much not to like here – except that I’m not sure I’d want to live through all that happens in this book. I’m hoping his prophetic luck ended with the deal.

The Ugly: It’s a shame it came out ten years ago. It is SO NOW. It’s perfect read for April 2015, but that doesn’t help Joel or Amazon much. I got mine free from the library.