Sunday, June 23, 2013



Read Numbers 21:4–9; 2 Kings 18:1–8

     They spoke against God and against Moses, and said, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the desert? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!" Then the LORD sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. Numbers 21:5–6 NIV
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     During the Exodus from Egypt, God sent a plague of snakes because the people grumbled against God and Moses. The people came to Moses and said, "We sinned when we spoke against the LORD and against you. Pray that the LORD will take the snakes away from us."
     So Moses prayed for the people. The LORD said to Moses, "Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live." (21:7-8)
* * *
     Hundreds of years later, the people of Judah were worshiping the bronze snake, instead of honoring God who had brought them out of Egypt. When Hezekiah became king, He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. (2 Kings 18:4) 
     The bronze snake was a gift from God for healing and they focused on the gift instead of the One who gave it–making it into an idol.
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     Dear Father, the bronze snake could not heal in itself, but it represented the One who could–Jesus Christ who was lifted up on the cross for our sin. Lord, keep my focus on You, the giver of every good and perfect gift.
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     "Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life." John 3:14-15 NIV

Saturday, June 15, 2013



Read 2 Kings 17; John 4:7–29

     So the people of Israel were taken from their homeland into exile in Assyria… The king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath and Sepharvaim and settled them in the towns of Samaria to replace the Israelites.   2 Kings 17:23b-24 NIV
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     When Samaria was resettled by Shalmaneser, King of Assyria, he was superstitious enough to believe that the people needed to worship the "god" of that land. So he brought back one of the exiled priests to live in Bethel and “teach the people what the god of the land requires." (2 Kings 17:27)  But each national group had its own gods for which they set up shrines and idols in the mountains. They were taught about the God of Israel, so they knew about the promised Messiah. But their religion was a mixture of truth and error.
     This passage is the background for the New Testament story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. In a conversation about worship in the mountains, the woman said to Jesus, "I know that Messiah" (called Christ) "is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us."
     Then Jesus declared, "I who speak to you am he."   (John 4:25–26)
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     Dear Father, there are many people today who are accepting a mixture of Christianity and pagan religion. Help us to be ready to share our faith in Christ with kindness, clarity and simplicity even as Jesus  spoke to this woman.
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     Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, "Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?"    John 4:28-29 NIV

Tuesday, June 4, 2013



     "Don't be afraid," the prophet answered. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them." 2 Kings 6:16 NIV
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     The king of Syria (Aram) made war against Israel, but every time he planned where he would camp, God would speak to Elisha who would warn the king of Israel. When the king of Syria found out that Elisha was the informant, he sent horses and chariots and a great army to capture him.
     Elisha’s servant arose early one morning–and there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. Elisha prayed, and said, "LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see." and the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (2 Kings 6:17 NKJV)
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     As we read the miraculous events in the lives of Elijah and Elisha, it is difficult to relate. But God's Word tells us that we too are surrounded by angelic protection. We are in a spiritual battle just as real as the physical one Elisha experienced. But God has promised that “the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)
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     Lord, I pray for your protection for my family and my church as we seek to glorify You and share Your precious Word in our community and throughout the world. Help us to be prepared by putting on the whole armor of God. (Ephesians 6:10-18)
* * *
     “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”Ephesians 6:14-16 NIV