Free Halloween Book Deal

halloween-2-001-2400What does a parent do when they run out of candy? Read Bizarre Halloween Bible Stories of course. I have it as a free download through Kindle from Oct 29 – Nov 2 here. Look for the guy climbing out of a commode.

It’s not a huge deal – just 3 stories, two from Bizarre Bible Stories 1, and one from BBS 2. I’ll cut and paste one of the stories at the end of the blog, so you know what it is like. They are:

  • STORY 1: How to Scare a Witch (From BIZARRE Bible Stories, Ch. 6)
  • STORY 2: Eaten from the Inside Out (From BIZARRE Bible Stories, Ch. 24)
  • STORY 3: The Left-handed Assassin (From BIZARRE Bible Stories 2! Ch. 1)

Hopefully we will have 5 new stories – Bizarre Christmas Bible Stories – out soon. Would stink to have it published on Dec 28…

 

Chapter 3: The Left-Handed Assassin

(From BIZARRE Bible Stories 2! Ch. 1)

Scripture Passage: Judges 3

Would you like to look different? Would you like to be smarter? If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Sometimes I wish God had made me different. It’s not that I look disgusting, I’ve seen worse. But, why didn’t He give me shoulders? My arms go down to my knees because they come out of my neck. Was that necessary? In Judges Chapter 3 we have a person who thought he was perfect, but wasn’t. And we have another person who probably wished God had made him differently. But God made him perfect for what God wanted him to do.

NOW LET’S GET STARTED. . .

 

 

The time of the Judges was demanding. When we get to the book of Judges, Chapter 3, life in Israel was horrible. Moses had led the Hebrew people out of Egypt. Joshua had led them into the Promised Land. Life should have been good, but when Moses, Joshua, and the previous leaders died, the people “did evil in the Lord’s sight.” [Judges 3:12 NLT] The people were poor, their army was weak, and they were little more than slaves to an evil jerk named Eglon, King of Moab.

Through war, Eglon had gained control of Israel. His life was great. He was king and his kingdom was growing. So was he. His name means “male calf,” which was fitting in that the Bible says he was both enormous and callous. His army came into Israel as far as Jericho, where he stopped and bartered a peace treaty to end the war. Israel became Moab’s territory. The Israelites were virtual slaves, giving King Eglon most of the money they made. In return, Eglon stopped the war. For eighteen years, Israel belonged to Eglon.

Have you ever felt far from God and then gone to Him for help? What brought you back to God?

Eglon was a pain, and pain has a way of bringing us back to God. Here is what the Bible says happened next.

“When the people of Israel cried out to the LORD for help, the LORD again raised up a rescuer to save them. His name was Ehud son of Gera, a left-handed man of the tribe of Benjamin. The Israelites sent Ehud to deliver their tribute money to King Eglon of Moab. So Ehud made a double-edged dagger that was about a foot long, and he strapped it to his right thigh, keeping it hidden under his clothing. He brought the tribute money to Eglon, who was very fat.” [Judges 3:15-17 NLT]

Ehud made an assassin’s weapon. It was a double-edged foot-long dagger, he couldn’t find on store shelves. It differed from a common sword not just in being shorter, but it also didn’t have a hand-guard. [One reason he lost it later]. Both the shortness and the lack of a hand guard allowed Ehud to keep it hidden. Ehud strapped the dagger to his right thigh because he was left-handed. This made it easier and faster to pull from its sheath.

[Stand up and pretend you have a sword strapped to your left thigh. Now, with your left hand, try to pull it up so it can come out of its sheath (holder). It’s awkward because your elbow can’t come up that high without difficulty. Now pretend it’s strapped to your right thigh. Can you see how it is easier to pull out a sword from your right thigh when you are left-handed?]

The “tribute money” Ehud took to King Eglon was what Israel was paying Eglon not to attack them. When Ehud went to see King Eglon, he brought a number of people with him. They were necessary to help carry the money, animals, goods, and materials. When they arrived, Moab celebrated, because someone else was making them rich. That’s not a bad deal if you’re a Moabite. It was a bit like a robber coming to your house with a gun, saying, “If you give me all your money, then I won’t kill you.” As long as they paid Eglon, he didn’t kill them.

Why do you think the Bible tells us Ehud was “left-handed?” Do you think it is an advantage or disadvantage to be left-handed?

There are a few reasons the Bible tells us Ehud was left-handed. First, God wanted to say, “I can beat Eglon with one hand tied behind my back.” The term “left-handed” can be translated “bound in the right hand.” It’s probable that something – maybe a childhood or battle injury — left Ehud’s right hand unusable. It’s likely that Ehud was a one-handed, left-handed-only man. Having only one hand was a major disadvantage. At this time in history, farming, carpentry, blacksmithing, and being a soldier were common jobs men performed to make their living. Any of these jobs would have been difficult with just one hand.

[We don’t know for certain, but since the text can read “bound in the right hand,” and since Eglon wasn’t concerned about his safety, I’m going to assume for the story that Ehud only had one usable hand.]

Even if his right hand was usable, folks back then believed being left-handed was a handicap. In Ehud’s time, even left-handed warriors were trained to use their sword and fight with their right hand. God was letting Moab know He could win with a one-handed, left-handed, man.

[When my mom went to school, those who were left-handed were forced to write with their right hand. They thought that being left-handed was a deformity, even in America, just seventy years ago.]

Ehud was chosen to take the tribute to the King of Moab, not because he was an important official (he wasn’t), but because he didn’t appear to be a threat. You can almost hear King Eglon order, “Send the tribute by some wimpy guy. Deformed is cool, left-handed even better. I don’t want to have to worry about my safety. No muscled soldiers allowed!” Ehud may well have been the least dangerous man in all Israel. The king didn’t worry about him. He should have.

Being left handed was an advantage for Ehud. It’s the reason Ehud was able to get close to the king with his dagger. They must have searched Ehud when he came with the tribute. When security saw no sword on his left side, and no usable hand on his right side, they let him through.

Have you ever gone camping or lived where there wasn’t a flush toilet? Did it smell bad around the outhouse? Aren’t you glad we have clean bathrooms now?

Ehud and the group from Israel delivered the tribute to King Eglon. Then they started the trip back home. Along the way, Ehud made an excuse to the rest of the entourage, and hurried back alone to Moab. He may have been praying, “God, help me get in to see the king. Don’t let them find the dagger. Please help me!” He made it back to the king’s house. The guards were standing in front.

“Hey guys. I’m sorry to come back again so soon. I have a secret message from God I didn’t want to give with everyone else around. Is it okay if I go in to see the King again?” [Judges 3:19]

“Hey you – give Ehud another quick search. I’ll see if King Eglon wants to see him.”

After a scary search, which focused on his left side where there was no dagger, they agreed to let Ehud into the King’s fancy room on the second floor. Ehud said, “If it’s acceptable to the great King Eglon, I’d rather talk to you alone.”

The king was unafraid of “Ehud the lefty” with the withered right arm, so he sent his guards out of the room. Ehud closed the door, walked forward, reached with his left hand, pulled out the dagger strapped to his right thigh, and plunged it into the King’s belly. Here’s the gross part. The dagger went in so deep that the handle disappeared beneath the king’s fat! [No hand-guard to stop the thrust] Ehud left the knife in the king. The King James Version then says, “And the dirt came out.” Because his insides came out, it smelled ghastly. Time to leave!

This extravagant king’s room on the second floor had its own bathroom. They used to build the bathrooms against an outside wall, kind of like an upstairs outhouse you might use while camping. Here is what we think happened. The toilet was just a large upstairs hole to the ground floor below. On the ground floor, the toilet bottom was similar to a closet. It would have had walls separating it (and most of the smell) from the rest of the house. It also had a small door to the outside so some poor soul could go in and shovel it out. Yuck. [This may be evidence that Ehud was also a small man, as he had to sneak out of this shovel door.]

Ehud locked the door to the king’s bedroom, left the knife inside the king, removed the toilet seat, dropped down (yuck, but it saved his life) to the poop closet below, and escaped through the clean-out door.

Due to the smell from the open toilet, [and the possibility of the king spending much time there in the past – my assumption], the guards outside were reluctant to break the locked bedroom door. It isn’t wise to bust in on a king who is sitting on his toilet throne. Better to wait and find him lifeless then to guess wrong and lose yours. When the guards eventually broke in, Ehud was long gone.

Do you remember your answer to the questions “Would you like to look different? Would you like to be smarter? If there was one thing you could change about yourself, what would it be? Could it be that God made you the way you are on purpose?

Ehud had an unfair advantage. No security forces checked the left-handed man. Nor did they check his right side for a dagger. The King wasn’t afraid to be alone with him. Maybe God did something to eliminate Ehud’s sense of smell too – just to be nice.

A one-handed, left-handed, small, smell deprived, Ehud killed the powerful King of Moab. It’s as if God beat Eglon with one hand tied behind His back.

There is an old Haitian saying, “God’s pencil has no eraser.” God didn’t make a mistake when He made Ehud – or when Ehud lost his right arm. Because of a deformed, one-armed weak person following God, Moab was soon defeated and Israel had peace for 80 years. Not bad. Ehud may have wished God made him differently. God made him perfect. Now if I can just find a use for ape-arms.

So, What Should I Do?

ACCEPT WHO YOU ARE!

God created you just right for accomplishing His will in your life. In fact, He created you with an unfair advantage. He created you for this time and this place. You could have been born during the time of Ehud. You weren’t. You could have grown up anywhere else. You didn’t. God could have created you super-model looking. I’m guessing He didn’t. He could have made it where you never even became sick. Instead, God made you just right for this time and this place to work out His will in your life.

Where Else Is This Taught?

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NLT) “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.”

1 Corinthians 1:26-28 (NLT) Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish (left-handed) in order to shame those who think they are wise (kings). And he chose things that are powerless (one-handed) to shame those who are powerful (king’s guards). God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all (Jewish nation), and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important (Moab). (Author’s notes)

Philippians 4:13 (NLT) I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

2 Corinthians 3:5 (NLT) It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God.

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Cooley 2015 End of Year Letter

emerson
Emerson’s first REAL Christmas

COOLEY CHRISTMAS LETTER 2015 – written by our son Micah

So you know how we always get me [Micah], your favorite grandson/nephew/cousin/somehow related person, to write the Christmas letter, and how it’s always stupid, and how I always procrastinate to the last minute and it winds up being a “Year in Review” letter rather than a “Christmas” letter, and how it’s always a bad idea?

We did it again.

Mama and Papa Cooley: Mama Cooley is working for the first time since having a chipmunk-cheeked baby in 1985. So, for the first time since the Reagan administration, Mama Cooley is employed as a Patient and Family Advocate at Presbyterian Hospital. No, I don’t know what that means, but she’s making more money than the rest of us. The shocker is, she somehow found gainful employment doing something other than quilting.

Papa Cooley spent most of this year doing Papa Cooley things, primarily not going on his sabbatical, because life is awful. I can’t remember if Bizarre Bible Stories 2 came out this year or last year, but go buy a copy. All the proceeds go to the Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation. Read it in your Prius, while drinking your fair-trade coffee in your fair-wage clothing, while feeling superior to all your friends – because you are.

Megan and Jon: MEGAN IS SUPER PREGNANT. She still has like, three months or something to go, so not super super pregnant, but she’s getting there. She’s not quite to the point where you can start making fat jokes (which is by far the best part), but she’s on her way. The kid will inevitably be a boy, because that’s the way life works.

Jon is graduating next semester, right after the littlest Penner pops out, so that’s pretty much right on time. Good for him and his flawless punctuality on obtaining that degree in… something. No one gets a job in their degree anyway.

Amanda and Jake: I FINALLY GET TO WRITE A CHRISTMAS LETTER WHERE AMANDA ISN’T PREGNANT OR HAS RECENTLY GIVEN BIRTH. Unfortunately, that means I’m out of joke material. She was a gold mine for barely-appropriate-for-a-Christmas-letter humor. In August Amanda and Jake moved into our house on account of the fact that she’s having seizures now, so uh, not a lot of joke material there either. Please pray with us as she seeks a second opinion with a neurological clinic that specializes in seizures.

Fortunately, having Jake and Amanda here means we also have Emerson and Oliver in the house. Today I discovered the joy of buying a two-year-old his first lightsaber. Oliver is smashing up the house as I write. It’s hilarious. I love being an uncle. Amanda and Jake seem less enthused.

Myself and Caleb: We’re still not married, so we’re both here. With parents. Still. It’s totally gonna suck when one of us does get married, and the other one of us is written about in a lonely section, all alone, at the bottom of the annual Christmas letter.

FORTUNATELY, NOT YET. We’re both still single, alone, and crying often. It is very sad.

What isn’t sad is that I am only one class short of graduating from UNM. I also move out next month. So hey, moving out at 24 is right on time! Right? I hope you’re nodding yes, wherever you are. I know mom is.

Caleb is back in community college and then after next semester… you’re guess is as good as mine. Which is probably a guess as good as his. I’ll let you know next year in the next letter. The next six months of his life is always a surprise. He doesn’t get bored.

John 1:14 (NLT) So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son. James 1:17 (NLT) Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father.

Merry Christmas! Well, Happy New Year.

Micah (and parent appropriateness editors) for all.

The Lost Scientist

lost scientistAn explanation of the 3 Wise Men that even kids can understand. Merry Christmas

STORY 5: The Lost Scientist

The Passage: Matthew 2:1-12

Who were the three kings that came to see Jesus in the manger?

We sing the song “We Three Kings” at Christmastime, but the sad truth is, no kings came to see Jesus at his birth. King Herod was only about five miles away, but he stayed home. And the Wise Men, who are sometimes called kings, they didn’t see Jesus in the manger either. They asked King Herod for directions, but that is as close as Jesus came to any earthly kings. So, who were these Wise Men, where did they come from, and why did they come?

LET’S FIND OUT. . .

Matthew chapter two says “Mt 2:1 (NLT) Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some Wise Men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, 2 “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.”

The word for “wise men” or “magi” can also be translated “scientist, astrologer,” or “magician.” We don’t know much about the wise men, but what we do know is petty cool. We know they were a kind of scientist, that they descended from a priestly tribe from a people called the “Medes,” and that they studied stars. Some were probably into strange religions like the occult, and yet others must have been believers.

If we go back in time to about 500 years before Jesus was born, we can learn more about the wise men. So, lets hop in our time machine and back we go.

Have you ever had a nightmare that was so scary that when you woke up you were afraid to go back to sleep? What was it about?

500 years before Jesus, Nebuchadnezzar (we will call him King Neb) was king of Babylon. King Neb went to war against Israel, and brought Daniel and some other teenagers back as prisoners. Daniel and other young prisoners were sent to wise man school to be trained to serve King Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel was just graduating from wise man training when King Neb had a dream. The dream totally freaked King Neb out – he must have woken up all scared and sweaty – so he yelled for his magi to interpret the dream for him.

“OK King, we will do our best.” they said, “just tell us the dream and we will tell you what it means.”

But King Neb had forgotten his dream! No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t remember it – but the harder he tried to remember the dream, the more terrified he became. So he told his magi, “I can’t remember it – so you must tell me both the dream I had and what it means.”

“What? We can’t do that! We’d have to be a god to do that! No king has ever asked such a thing before, and no one can tell you what you dreamed!” they answered.

But King Neb wasn’t backing down. He said, “I am serious about this. If you don’t tell me what my dream was and what it means, you will be torn limb from limb, and your houses will be turned into heaps of rubble! But if you tell me what I dreamed and what the dream means, I will give you many wonderful gifts and honors. Just tell me the dream and what it means!” Daniel 2:5-6 (NLT)

Have you ever felt like everyone was against you? Without hope? When? Why? Were you really without hope?

The Wise Men didn’t want to be torn limb from limb, but they also couldn’t do what the king wanted. So, King Neb rounded all the magi up to kill them – including Daniel who had just graduated from Wise Men school. What could Daniel do? He was a teenager in a foreign jail in line to be torn apart. His parents were dead or back in Israel. All hope was gone.

Except for God. All Daniel could do was pray. So he did.

That night God answered Daniel’s prayer, telling him both what the king had dreamt, and what the dream meant. The next day, Daniel asked to speak to the king. There were probably wiser people than King Neb around. They were glad to stop the killing of the Wise Men – so they brought Daniel to the king. When Daniel explained things to the Neb, Neb was blown away! Daniel must have become a hero not only to the king, but also to all the wise men. He saved them from a gruesome death!

When Daniel was older, God told him when the Messiah King Jesus would be born (Daniel chapter 9). Jerusalem and all Israel had been destroyed by Babylon, but God said Jerusalem would be rebuilt, and that the Messiah would come 434 years (62 weeks of years) later. It’s probable that many Wise Men became followers of Daniel’s God, as they must have loved Daniel since he saved their lives. If that is true, then they were looking forward to the coming Messiah. It wasn’t long after Daniel died that Jerusalem was rebuilt.

And the Wise Men starting counting down the 434 years.

If you had a time machine, where would you go? When would you go?

Now we will skim over the 500 years from Daniel to Jesus.

History seems to indicate that after Daniel died, the Wise Men lived east of Israel and the Roman Empire (in the Parthian empire) During these years, kings would hire the Wise Men as their counselors. When kingdoms were between kings, they would use the Wise Men to help choose their next leaders. They were the kingmakers.

The Wise Men pop up after Daniel in the book of Esther, when that king consulted with his “wise advisers” in Esther 1:13. That king trusted his Wise Men to help him choose the new Queen of Persia. Then the Bible goes silent until. . .

Mt 2:1 (NLT) Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some Wise Men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, 2 “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him. . . ”

7 Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. 8 Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!”

9 After this interview the Wise Men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! 11 They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 1

When the Wise Men came to see Jesus, they weren’t coming to help interpret a dream like Daniel did for King Neb. They weren’t coming to help choose a queen like they did for Esther. They were the kingmakers, and they were coming to worship the new King.

It’s possible that 500 years before Jesus was born, God chose some wise men, a group of scientists, to get special insight from Daniel about when the Messiah Jesus would be born. These Wise Men passed down this information from one generation to the next. When these scientists saw the strange light in the sky, and counted down 434 years since Jerusalem had been rebuilt, they knew it was time to go worship the coming King.

Not being sure exactly where to go to find Jesus, they stopped at Herod’s house. Surely King Herod would know where the baby had been born. But, of course, Herod had no clue.

No important people from Israel came to worship King Jesus. King Herod and the religious leaders in Jerusalem didn’t bother to go five miles to what might be happening in Bethlehem. . So, God went back 500 years to bring some of the smartest men on the planet, the kingmakers – men who counseled kings and chose queens – to travel across from the east to worship Him.

So what should I do?
Worship Him.

Where else is this taught?
Jer 29:13 (NLT) If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.
2Ki 17:36 (NLT) But worship only the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt with great strength and a powerful arm. Bow down to him alone, and offer sacrifices only to him.
Ps 33:18 (NLT) The LORD watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love.

 

AllBks

The President Writes Back!

0821151936b-001This came from George H.W. Bush.

He and Barbara have done some things for the Children’s Cancer Research Foundation. Since the proceeds from Bizarre Bible Stories 2! go to the CCRF, I sent them a book.

But he wrote back, and that I think, is really cool.

I think I’d vote for him now!

Dan

AllBks

The Stinky Visitors

shepherdI was wanting to do about 5 Bizarre Christmas Bible Stories. So – i started working on one. My first drafts are pretty rough, so if you have suggestions send them on. If you can read it to a kid and send their suggestions, even better! dan@danielcooley.com

The Stinky Visitors
The Passage: Luke 2:8-18

If God told you He was going to meet you for lunch tomorrow, how would you prepare? What would you wear? Would you take a bath that morning? Would you read your Bible?

Let’s go back in time and listen in on a shepherds’ conversation. Oliver is a shepherd’s apprentice, and Emerson is his big brother. They should be asleep, but the ground is cold and hard this night, so they are sitting up talking.

LET’S GO BACK 2000 YEARS…
“So Oliver, it’s almost the end of your first year of being an apprentice. You will be ready to work alone soon. What do you think? How do you like being a shepherd?”
“I don’t. It stinks out here. We don’t make much money, and people make fun of us.”
“Wow, you woke up on the wrong side of the sheep pen. I had no idea. You do know this is one of the most prestigious jobs in history!”
“Right. I bet all those people in Bethlehem are jealous of us. We get to sleep on rocks while they have to sleep in comfy beds.”
Emerson felt awful. He really wanted his brother to enjoy being a shepherd like he did, and his father before him. So, he decided to give Oliver a little Bible lesson.
“I’m curious Oliver, do you know what Abraham’s job was – Abraham from the book of Genesis? Go ahead you can say it.”
“A shepherd.”
“Right, and he was rich! And Isaac, what did he do?
“Yeah, I know, he was a shepherd too.”
“Right. And his son Jacob, what did he and Rachel do?”
“OK, I get it, they watched sheep. Big deal.”
“But it doesn’t end there, how about Jacob’s 12 sons? Shepherds, every one of them. And who was the greatest leader Israel ever had? Moses. What made him so great? Not growing up as some rich mansy pansy Egyptian wimp. Nope, it took God forty years of having him work as a shepherd to make a man out of him. And – see if you know this one – who was the greatest King who ever lived?”
“Well, Solomon was the wisest, but I like David best.”
“David, you bet. He is the one who put the kingdom together. And what was his first occupation? A shepherd. We were the best, the top of the social ladder – rich, rugged and important.”
“Right Emerson, I know all those stories – well most of them – but being a shepherd isn’t fun anymore. It’s been 1000 years since David was king. Now someone else owns the sheep, and we are stuck out here homeless, living outside, no chance for an education or a future. What’s so great about that?”
Emerson was stuck. It had been 1000 years since David was king. Rich people in Jerusalem did own the sheep – the shepherds just managed the sheep for the owners. Oliver was starting to wonder what he liked about being a shepherd, and then he remembered.
“Sure, we’re homeless, but no one can tell us what to do. We have the tower of Eder to take refuge in, used for over a thousand years! We get to wrap up the new lambs there in swaddling clothes to make sure they stay spotless for Temple sacrifices, and lay them in the mangers until they calm down. Of course, we also have the sweet smell of sheep, uh, droppings.
I’ll admit, our language is a little rough, just because those city slickers don’t have the guts to say what they really mean. And we’re not all thieves either. Just because we get convicted for every theft in town doesn’t mean we’re guilty of ‘em. If they paid us what our sheep were worth, we wouldn’t have to steal so much! It’s their fault. Idiots, unfair jerks – let me tell you what I really think!”
“EMERSON, STOP! THIS IS A CHILDREN’S BOOK!”
“Sorry. It’s hard for an old shepherd to watch his language. Anyway, I like having no boss looking over my shoulder, paying no taxes. . . “
“That’s because we have no money to pay taxes with!”
“Well, I love sleeping out under the stars.”
“That’s because we have no house to go to!”
“OK then, at least we don’t have to go to church.”
“Right – that’s because they wouldn’t let us in the Temple if we wanted in!”
“So tell me Oliver, little shepherd, what would you rather do?”
“QUIT!”
“You don’t want to be a shepherd? Why? How can you say that? What’s bothering you little brother?”
“OK, here’s the truth. I hate sheep. Roman warhorses are cool. Dogs can herd sheep. Cats can catch mice. What good are sheep? They continually get lost, they will eat themselves sick, they stink, they’re stubborn, and they’re dumb enough to follow each other off a cliff.”
“Well, there’s that. I just always figured it was job security, them being too dumb and stubborn to make it on their own. They need a shepherd to feed and protect them. Then they are OK!”
“No, then they still stink.”
“Mercy, you’re a hard case. Yes, sheep will always stink. Nothing we can do about that. Once you’re my age though, you get to appreciate the smell. It’s an acquired taste – like coffee and dirty socks. A shepherd has to get down and dirty with his sheep. He has to love them and hold them – dirt, blood, manure and all.
So you don’t like sheep. We can deal with that. Any other reason you don’t wanna be a shepherd?”
“Yeah, there is. Don’t laugh at me Emerson, but I’d like to go to the Temple. Just once, I’d like to be able to worship with everyone else. You remember bringing the lambs to Passover last spring, don’t you? That priest was such a jerk. All we asked to do was to go into the Temple outer courts after selling him the lambs. ‘Oh no, I couldn’t let you do that,’ he whined, ‘you shepherds are unclean. All of you are. God would be furious if I let your kind into the Temple. God is pure, and you people are unclean! You can’t come into the presence of God.’ I’ll never forget him telling us that.”
“Right – but do you remember what I did then? ‘You’re dirty too!’ I shouted, and slapped him in the face. He couldn’t enter the temple for the entire Passover season because he was touched by an ‘unclean shepherd.’ Pompous idiot. It served him right.”
“Yeah, that was great! But, I’d still like to worship – I’d like to see what the Temple looks like on the inside – to smell the incense and hear the music.”
“You’re right, being a shepherd makes us outcasts. Maybe the priest was right too, maybe we’re not good enough to come to God. But when you’re out here, under the stars, it seems as if God has already come to us. Maybe we’re as close to God here as we would be at the Temple. Our prophet Isaiah says that God knows how many stars there are, and He has named every one of them. I use to count the stars at night, and I think there’s at least 300 of them! If God cares about stars, maybe He cares about shepherds too.
There’s another thing shepherds get that priests don’t. We get the stars, and we get the angels. The priests think they are so special, but the angels came to us! You remember, don’t you? We were camping by the Tower of Edar, by Bethlehem. We found that baby in the bottom of the tower. He was wrapped up in priests underwear, just like we wrap up the lambs so they can be a spotless sacrifice at the Temple. Tell me what you remember.”
[Genesis 35:19-31 the tower, “Mig-dal Ay-dar” in Hebrew, was there at the time of Jacob. From Micah 4:8 and 5:2-5, it seems this was the likely birthplace of Jesus. This view has come and gone, revived by Alfred Edersheim in The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, chapter 6. Edersheim also talks about the swaddling clothes. Priests would donate their undergarments after the feast days to the poor, who would use them as swaddling clothes. Shepherds would wrap up the lambs that were bred for the Temple sacrifices in the free garments to make sure they stayed “without blemish.” Since Jerusalem was only 4 miles away from Bethlehem, and since this area was used to raise temple lambs, it seems likely that Jesus, our High Priest was wrapped up in discarded priests undergarments as an infant.]
“Well, that night we were in the fields outside the village, guarding our flocks of sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among us. God’s glory blazed around us. We were terrified.
But the angel reassured us. ‘Don’t be afraid!’ he said. ‘I bring you good news of great joy for everyone! A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. And this is how you will recognize him: You will find a baby lying in a manger, wrapped snuggly in strips of cloth!’
Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God: ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to all whom God favors.’
When the angels had returned to heaven, we said to each other, ‘Come on, let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this wonderful thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’
We ran to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. We told everyone we met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard our story were astonished!” [Adapted from Luke 8:8-18]

What do you think it would have been like to be there that night? To see Mary and Joseph? To see Jesus?

Emerson was amazed. “Wow Oliver, you are a terrific story teller. You should wrote that down!”
“Nah, it would never sell”
“What I remember best is kneeling down next to that manger. I felt closer to God there then I’ve ever felt before, even out here under these stars. You see, when I’m out here, I know God is out there somewhere. But kneeling by the manger – it was like God was down here, with us, right inside that little kid. Then – you must remember Mary offering for you to hold her baby, and He reached out to you? It was as if He loved you, sheep stink and all. That Priest, he wouldn’t let us touch him, but this Baby, He reached right into your heart.”
Oliver looked down. The hardest thing ever for him to do was to admit his older brother might be right. But he was getting sleepy now – sleepy enough to crash on cold rocks. So he admitted, “Sometimes, you’re right. As much as I’d like to worship in the Temple, I wouldn’t change that one night for a lifetime of temple worship. And it didn’t end when we left the manger. Do you remember telling everyone we saw about the angels and the baby? That was cool. I can’t imagine anything being as exciting as telling someone else that you have met the Messiah! Can you imagine knowing Jesus and not telling others about Him? Now that would be insane. Even shepherds know better than that.”
“I’ve one more thought for you Oliver, before you give up being a shepherd. That night the angel said, ‘Unto YOU a savior is born.’ This baby with God inside didn’t come to some smart mouth pompous priest. The angels didn’t go to the Temple, or to Herod or Caesar. They didn’t even go to the closest Rabbi. They came to us. Maybe God doesn’t see us as unclean. Maybe God our Shepherd loves us in spite of our dirt.
So, What Should I Do?
Don’t argue with your big brother – he will almost always win anyway.
Don’t slap a priest. They sometimes slap back.
Don’t ever let your sin keep you separated from God. Turn from it and go to God, He can handle it.
Where Else Is This Taught?
The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the dark valley of death, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You welcome me as a guest, anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever. [Psalms 23:1-6]
The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” [1 Samuel 16:7]
Jesus said: “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep.” [John 10:14-15] 

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It’s Official!

ccrLogoFrom the CCRF Website…

Best-Selling Author Donates Proceeds of New Book to CCRF

Best-selling author, Dan Cooley, donates all profits from new book Bizarre Bible Stories 2 to help children with cancer.

“Dear God, why did you give me cancer?” asked Kristina, daughter of a long-time friend of Pastor and author Dan Cooley.

Dan recalls, “In the summer of 2013, Kristina wrote me a note with that question. I tried to give an answer in Bizarre Bible Stories 2!, but fell short. One day I’ll see her again, and she can show me her mansion and introduce me to Jesus who will answer the question with depth.”  Kristina went to heaven June 21, 2014.  The new book is dedicated to her.

More…

AllBks

Buy a Book, Help a Family Battling Cancer

Christina (2)Dear God, why did you give me cancer?

Chad was in my youth group back in the 80s. In the summer of 2013 his daughter Kristina wrote me a note with that question. I tried to give an answer in Bizarre 2!, but fell short. One day I’ll see her again, and she can show me her mansion and introduce me to Jesus who will answer the question with depth. She went to heaven June 21, 2014.

Meanwhile, I’d like to live with some of the grace she showed throughout her life.

When Kristina was diagnosed, Helping Hands, a division of The Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation, walked with the family through some incredibly difficult times. It seems logical then, that all of the profits of Bizarre Bible Stories 2! should go directly to Helping Hands. It really is fun to give this way, you don’t notice the money you never had. I know they will use the funds better than I would, and this way I’m not tempted when the Jeep catalogs come in.

So, Buy a Book, Help a Family Battling Cancer.

After my publisher, Heritage Builders, got in touch with Greg Anderson, the founder and CEO of Cancer Recovery Foundation International, he sent me this kind, very gracious letter. Makes me realize it’s one of my best decisions ever. Here is part of the letter…

Dear Pastor Cooley,

Growing up Lutheran in rural Iowa, I was taught the definition of grace was God’s unmerited goodness.  If ever there was a perfect example of grace, your donation of royalties to Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation is it.  Thank you.  We gratefully accept. 

Even with good health insurance, the downward financial spiral of families dealing with childhood cancer is ubiquitous.  It’s the combination of increased medical expenses like co-pays, travel, lodging and more, while at the same time the family’s income typically declines as parents must take time off work to be with their sick child.  Last year, Helping Hands received applications for financial assistance totaling $294,079.00.  We were able to fund only $120,603.00.  May I suggest your gift be designated and restricted to Helping Hands where it will fund past due rents and utilities of families who have a child battling cancer. 

Finally, know how grateful I am for your gift. 

With sincere appreciation,

Greg Anderson, Founder & CEO

Cancer Recovery Foundation International

AllBks

Tel:  936.231.8460, x-110  Fax:  936.231.8462

www.CancerRecovery.org

What Weird and the Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation Have in Common

ccrLogoAs you may know,  Bizarre 2! is dedicated to Kristina, the daughter of a close friend who died of cancer just as the book was going to print. The Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation was a place of refuge and help to the family throughout the process. So, I thought if the book was dedicated to Kristina, why not give the profits to the the CCRF?

So, I contacted Heritage Press, the publishers, and they are now working through the process of giving all the profits to the CCRF. I just hope they are OK with me stealing their logo off of their webpage for the blog. Anyhow they are a terrific organization and I hope this little bit helps.

Meanwhile I’ve been getting some new reviews. Kristine wrote, “I’ve been reading it [Bizarre Bible Stories 2!] every morning to my little ladies. We are loving it. The words they use to describe it are, “awesome, funny and weird.”

So, the CCRF isn’t weird. Bizarre 2! is. I’ll take it as a compliment.

AllBks

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

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