Friday, December 25, 2009

December 25, Jesus

Day 26, December 25

Persons: Jesus

Theme/Event: Birth of the Messiah

Symbol: Manger



Luke 2:1-20

1 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.


8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
13
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
14
“ Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.


The wait is over! Jesus was born! The King of Kings has come to earth. God’s plan was fulfilled. God’s promises have come true. It is so fitting that God would choose shepherds to witness the birth of His Son. Jesus came to earth and obeyed His Father in all things. Jesus would restore the relationship with God that was broken when Adam and Eve sinned. Jesus would show us God’s character in human form. Jesus would defeat Satan and death.

Someday Jesus will redeem the world He created. Jesus will make all things right, he will wipe away every tear, there will be no more death, no sorrow, no crying (Revelation 21). Someday every knee will bow before Jesus, the King of Kings. We will have to wait a little longer for these things. God’s timing is not our timing. But, we have learned that God always keeps His promises. God always fulfills His plans. We can trust Him with everything. Until then, we can say what God’s people have been saying throughout the ages, ‘Come, Lord Jesus’!


Revelation 22:20-21


20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.”
Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

December 24, Magi

Day 25, December 24

Persons: Magi

Theme/Event: Worship

Symbol: Star



We have been waiting a long time. We have heard about Noah, Moses, David, Daniel and so many of Jesus’ ancestors. All of their stories have pointed to Jesus Christ. Tonight we read the story of three men who had been waiting and searching for the Christ. They had traveled on a great journey to find Him and worship Him.


Matthew 2:1-12

1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”
3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4
And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
5
So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:
6
‘ But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;
For out of you shall come a Ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel.’”

7 Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. 8
And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.”
9 When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 11
And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
12 Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.


The wise men were filled with joy, their search was over. And what did they do when they found Jesus? They gave Him gifts of great value and they fell down and worshipped Him. What should we do when we find Jesus? We should give Him everything we have and worship Him the rest of our lives. The things we learn about Jesus aren’t just for the Christmas season, they should change the rest of our year too. Jesus is the King of Kings and He deserves all of our worship and everything we have should be laid at His feet.

Questions:

  • Who was looking for Jesus?

  • What did the wise men give to Jesus?

  • What can you give to Jesus?

Prayer: Dear God, help us to give our whole lives to You. Thank you that you aren’t just for December, but that You are with us every day of the year.



Wednesday, December 23, 2009

December 23, Joseph

Day 24, December 23
Persons: Joseph
Theme/Event: Trust
Symbol: Carpenters Tools

The waiting is almost over! Tonight we will learn about Jesus’ earthly father, Joseph. Joseph was a carpenter or a builder. The angel came to him as well and told him a message that was hard to believe.

Matthew 1:18-25
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.”
22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23
“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS.


When Joseph woke up from sleep, he did exactly as the angel told him to do. In those days, this was a very hard thing to do. Other people would not understand. But, Joseph did not question God’s plan. Sometimes, God asks us to do things that other people do not understand. Maybe even other people who know God or other people in our families might not understand. What is important is that we always follow what God has told us to do. We can always trust that God’s plan is the best plan.

Questions:
  • What did the angel tell Joseph to do?
  • What did Joseph do?
  • Is God’s plan the best plan?
Prayer: Dear God, help us to always obey you, even when others don’t understand. Thank you that your plan is the best plan.



Tuesday, December 22, 2009

December 22, Zacharias


Day 23, December 22
Persons: Zacharias
Theme/Event: Anticipation
Symbol: Tablet and chalk




Do you remember Zacharias from last night? The angel told him that he and his wife, Elizabeth, would have a baby in their old age. For Zecharias, this was a hard thing to believe.

Luke 1:18-22
18 And Zacharias said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.”
19 And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings. 20
But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.”
21 And the people waited for Zacharias, and marveled that he lingered so long in the temple. 22 But when he came out, he could not speak to them; and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple, for he beckoned to them and remained speechless.


We must always remember that nothing is impossible with God. He has fulfilled so many promises when it seemed that it couldn’t be done. No thing is too hard for God. Because Zacharias did not believe the angel, he wasn’t able to speak and tell others about the miraculous event which was about to happen.

Luke 1:59-79
59 So it was, on the eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child; and they would have called him by the name of his father, Zacharias. 60 His mother answered and said, “No; he shall be called John.”
61 But they said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name.” 62
So they made signs to his father—what he would have him called.
63 And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, saying, “His name is John.” So they all marveled. 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, praising God. 65 Then fear came on all who dwelt around them; and all these sayings were discussed throughout all the hill country of Judea. 66 And all those who heard them kept them in their hearts, saying, “What kind of child will this be?” And the hand of the Lord was with him.


67 Now his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying:
68
“ Blessed is the Lord God of Israel,
For He has visited and redeemed His people,
69
And has raised up a horn of salvation for us
In the house of His servant David,
70
As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets,
Who have been since the world began,
71
That we should be saved from our enemies
And from the hand of all who hate us,
72
To perform the mercy promised to our fathers
And to remember His holy covenant,
73
The oath which He swore to our father Abraham:
74
To grant us that we,
Being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
Might serve Him without fear,
75
In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.
76
“ And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest;
For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways,
77
To give knowledge of salvation to His people
By the remission of their sins,
78
Through the tender mercy of our God,
With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us;
79
To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,
To guide our feet into the way of peace.”


When the baby was born, Zacharias obeyed the Lord and named the baby John. As soon as he obeyed, he was able to speak again. As soon as he was able to speak, he praised God. He told of the promises God has kept to David, Abraham and to all his people. And Zacharias talked of God’s plan for John’s life. John would prepare the people to meet Jesus.

Questions:
  • Is anything too hard for God?
  • Do your words praise God?
  • How can you help people meet Jesus?

Prayer: Dear God, help us to always praise you and tell others of what you have done for us. Thank you for doing the impossible.



Monday, December 21, 2009

December 21, Elizabeth

Day 22, December 21

Persons: Elizabeth

Theme/Event: Joy

Symbol: Elizabeth



Elizabeth and Zechariah had not only been waiting for their Savior. Elizabeth and Zechariah had been waiting for a baby.


Luke 1:5-17

5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. 7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years.
8 So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division, 9 according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. 10 And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense. 11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12
And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. 15 For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”


The Lord had heard their prayers! They were to be blessed with a son, a son that would be great in the sight of the Lord and who would prepare the people for Jesus’ coming. What incredible joy to be a part of God’s plan! And part of God’s plan was for Elizabeth and Mary, Jesus’ mother, to spend some time together while they were pregnant.


Luke 1:39-45, 57-58

39 Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, 40 and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. 45 Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.”… 57 Now Elizabeth’s full time came for her to be delivered, and she brought forth a son. 58 When her neighbors and relatives heard how the Lord had shown great mercy to her, they rejoiced with her.


Everyone who heard about God’s plan was filled with joy. John, while still a baby in his Mommy’s tummy, leaped for joy when he heard Mary’s voice. All of Elizabeth’s neighbors and relatives rejoiced with her when John was born. There is incredible joy when something we have waited for a long time happens to us. We can have joy in hard times, knowing that God keeps His promises and His plans for us are always good. What joy we can have in knowing that because Jesus came to earth, God is always with us.


Questions:



  • What is joy?
  • Why was Elizabeth joyful?
  • What are you joyful for?

Prayer: Dear God, help us to be joyful. Thank you for giving us so many reasons to praise You.



Sunday, December 20, 2009

December 20, Mary

Day 21, December 20

Persons: Mary

Theme/Event: The Hope for a Future

Symbol: Mary and Gabriel




We have been talking a long time about Jesus’ ancestors. Tonight, we learn about Jesus’ mother. The nation of Israel had been waiting a very long time- waiting for their true King, their Savior, the one who would restore all things since the sins of the first ancestors, Adam and Eve. The time was finally at hand. God’s plan for saving His people from their sin once and for all was coming true.


Luke 1:26-38

26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”
29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33
And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
34
Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”
35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. 37
For with God nothing will be impossible.”
38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

What a wonderful message Gabriel told Mary! God’s people had hope once more! God was going to send His Son to be born on the earth as a baby. That baby was going to grow up and establish His kingdom, a kingdom that would have no end.


Luke 1:46-55


46 And Mary said:
“ My soul magnifies the Lord,
47
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
48
For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
49
For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name.
50
And His mercy is on those who fear Him
From generation to generation.
51
He has shown strength with His arm;
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
52
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
And exalted the lowly.
53
He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich He has sent away empty.
54
He has helped His servant Israel,
In remembrance of His mercy,
55
As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and to his seed forever.”


Mary remembered the promises of God to Israel and to Abraham. Mary remembered how God had shown his mercy to generation after generation of her ancestors. Because of this, Mary obeyed God without hesitation and called herself the servant of the Lord.

Question:

  • Which story do you remember that we have talked about where God kept His promise?

  • Do you remember a time when God kept a promise to you or your parents?

  • What did Mary say when Gabriel told her God’s plan?

Prayer: Dear God, help us to always remember your faithfulness to us. Thank you for giving your people hope.



Saturday, December 19, 2009

December 19, Nehemiah

Day 20, December 19

Persons: Nehemiah

Theme/Event: Return and Rebuilding

Symbol: City Wall

Nehemiah 1:1-2:8, 6:15-16, 13:10-22




Do you remember the Jews living in exile in Babylon? God’s plan in allowing them to be carried off to the foreign land was that they would repent and worship Him only. God had promised that if they did repent and turn to Him, He would restore them. Tonight, we will talk about Nehemiah, who was a man who counted on the promises of God.


Nehemiah 1: 5-2:8

5 And I said: “I pray, LORD God of heaven, O great and awesome God, You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments, 6 please let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now, day and night, for the children of Israel Your servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against You. Both my father’s house and I have sinned. 7 We have acted very corruptly against You, and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses. 8 Remember, I pray, the word that You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations; 9 but if you return to Me, and keep My commandments and do them, though some of you were cast out to the farthest part of the heavens, yet I will gather them from there, and bring them to the place which I have chosen as a dwelling for My name.’ 10 Now these are Your servants and Your people, whom You have redeemed by Your great power, and by Your strong hand. 11 O Lord, I pray, please let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants who desire to fear Your name; and let Your servant prosper this day, I pray, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.”
For I was the king’s cupbearer.


Nehemiah 2

1 And it came to pass in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, that I took the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had never been sad in his presence before. 2 Therefore the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This is nothing but sorrow of heart.”
So I became dreadfully afraid,
3
and said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ tombs, lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire?”
4
Then the king said to me, “What do you request?”
So I prayed to the God of heaven.
5
And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it.”
6
Then the king said to me (the queen also sitting beside him), “How long will your journey be? And when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.
7 Furthermore I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, let letters be given to me for the governors of the region beyond the River, that they must permit me to pass through till I come to Judah, 8 and a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, that he must give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel which pertains to the temple, for the city wall, and for the house that I will occupy.” And the king granted them to me according to the good hand of my God upon me.


Nehemiah 6:15-16

15 So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of Elul, in fifty-two days. 16 And it happened, when all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations around us saw these things, that they were very disheartened in their own eyes; for they perceived that this work was done by our God.


Nehemiah confessed the sins of his people to God. He also prayed God’s promise that if the people would return to God and obey, God would gather them together to a place to be with God and to worship Him. What did God do? God kept His promise. God always keeps His promises. The people of Israel had to wait for God’s timing and God’s plan, but the waiting just prepared them. Nehemiah prayed and fasted for four months before he made his request to God or the king. In God’s timing, God gave Nehemiah favor with a king who did not know God. God gave Nehemiah the wisdom and strength to overcome many obstacles to finish the work that God had called him to. Nehemiah and the people rebuilt the wall that would keep the city safe and help the people to return to a true worship of God. The final result was that God was glorified and God’s enemies were discouraged.


Questions:

  • If the people repented and turned to God, what would God do?

  • Did God keep His promise?

  • Do you have sin in your life you need to confess to God?

Prayer: Dear God, help us to be quick to confess our sins. Thank you for your promise to restore.



Friday, December 18, 2009

December 18, Jonah

Day 19, December 18

Persons: Jonah

Theme/Event: God’s Forgiveness

Symbol: Big fish

Jonah 1-4




Do you remember how Isaiah was called by God to tell people about Him? Tonight we read about another prophet of God named Jonah. God told Jonah to go and tell the people of Nineveh all about Him, so they could change the bad things they were doing, ask God’s forgiveness and worship the true God. But, unlike Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego, Jonah did not obey God. He tried to run away from God and God’s plan. Jonah sailed on a ship going the other way.

Jonah 1:4-17, 2

4 But the LORD sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up.
5
Then the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to his god, and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten the load. But Jonah had gone down into the lowest parts of the ship, had lain down, and was fast asleep.
6
So the captain came to him, and said to him, “What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish.”
7 And they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this trouble has come upon us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. 8
Then they said to him, “Please tell us! For whose cause is this trouble upon us? What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?”
9 So he said to them, “I am a Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”


10 Then the men were exceedingly afraid, and said to him, “Why have you done this?” For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them. 11 Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you that the sea may be calm for us?”—for the sea was growing more tempestuous.
12
And he said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know that this great tempest is because of me.”
13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to return to land, but they could not, for the sea continued to grow more tempestuous against them. 14 Therefore they cried out to the LORD and said, “We pray, O LORD, please do not let us perish for this man’s life, and do not charge us with innocent blood; for You, O LORD, have done as it pleased You.” 15 So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. 16 Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the LORD and took vows.


17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.


Chapter 2

1 Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the fish’s belly. 2 And he said:
“ I cried out to the LORD because of my affliction,
And He answered me.
“ Out of the belly of Sheol I cried,
And You heard my voice.
3
For You cast me into the deep,
Into the heart of the seas,
And the floods surrounded me;
All Your billows and Your waves passed over me.
4
Then I said, ‘I have been cast out of Your sight;
Yet I will look again toward Your holy temple.’
5
The waters surrounded me, even to my soul;
The deep closed around me;
Weeds were wrapped around my head.
6
I went down to the moorings of the mountains;
The earth with its bars closed behind me forever;
Yet You have brought up my life from the pit,
O LORD, my God.
7
“ When my soul fainted within me,
I remembered the LORD;
And my prayer went up to You,
Into Your holy temple.
8
“ Those who regard worthless idols
Forsake their own Mercy.
9
But I will sacrifice to You
With the voice of thanksgiving;
I will pay what I have vowed.
Salvation is of the LORD.”
10 So the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.

Jonah thought he could run away from God’s plan and keep it from happening, but God’s plans never fail. Jonah asked God for forgiveness and had to wait three days and three nights before the fish spit him out on to dry land. It must have been hard to wait that long in the belly of a fish! There are always consequences when we disobey God, but His mercy never fails. God forgave Jonah and God sent Jonah to Nineveh to tell the people all about Him. God still used Jonah to deliver His message! The people in Nineveh did stop doing bad, asked God to forgive them and believed in God. They were saved through Jonah’s message.


The three days and nights are also a picture of the time between Jesus’ death and Jesus’ resurrection. It was very hard for Jesus’ followers to wait those three days and nights after Jesus died. But, no matter how dark things seem, God’s plans never fail!


Questions:

  • What happened when Jonah disobeyed God?

  • Did God forgive Jonah?

  • What did the people in Nineveh do when Jonah told them about God?

Prayers: Dear God, please help us to always obey you the first time. Thank you for your mercy.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

December 17, Daniel

Day 18, December 17

Persons: Daniel

Theme/Event: The Exile

Symbol: Fiery Furnace

Daniel 1:1-7, 3


God sent many prophets to His people, but when they did not listen and continued to disobey, He allowed trials and hard times to come into their lives, so that they would turn back to Him. One of these trials was that He allowed other nations to defeat them and to carry them off to foreign lands to live in exile. Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego were some of Jesus’ ancestors that were carried off to a land named Babylon. Babylon was a place where the people didn’t know God and they worshipped other gods and their own kings. The king of Babylon was named Nebuchadnezzar, and he made a law at that time, that everyone needed to worship his image of gold or they would be cast into a fiery furnace. But, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego would not worship anyone but the true God.

Daniel 3:13-30

13 Then Nebuchadnezzar, in rage and fury, gave the command to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. So they brought these men before the king. 14 Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the gold image which I have set up? 15 Now if you are ready at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, good! But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?”
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” 19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. He spoke and commanded that they heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. 20 And he commanded certain mighty men of valor who were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, and cast them into the burning fiery furnace. 21 Then these men were bound in their coats, their trousers, their turbans, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 22 Therefore, because the king’s command was urgent, and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. 23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 24
Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?”
They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.”
25 “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” 26 Then Nebuchadnezzar went near the mouth of the burning fiery furnace and spoke, saying, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here.” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego came from the midst of the fire. 27
And the satraps, administrators, governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together, and they saw these men on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them.
28 Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God! 29
Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, or language which speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made an ash heap; because there is no other God who can deliver like this.”
30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego in the province of Babylon.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego knew that they had to do what was right, no matter what everyone else was doing and no matter what the consequences could be. Sometimes it can be scary to do the right thing, but we know that God has promised He will always be with us and God keeps His promises! Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego were able to show God’s power and glory to a king who didn’t know God. Because of their obedience, Nebuchadnezzar said that everyone should worship their God! We don’t know for sure, but we believe that Jesus was the fourth person in the fire with Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego. Because of their obedience in a hard time, they were able to see Jesus!


Questions:

  • Why did God allow the people to be carried off to Babylon?

  • Did the fire hurt Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego?

  • When did you obey God when it was hard?

Prayer: Dear God, help us to obey you even when no one else does. Thank you that you are with us, even when things are hard.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

December 16, Isaiah

Day 17, December 16

Persons: Isaiah

Theme/Event: The Call to Holiness

Symbol: Fire Tongs with Hot Coal

Isaiah 1:10-20, 6:1-13, 8:11-9:7


There was another prophet after the time of Elijah whose name was Isaiah. God showed Isaiah His power and glory in a vision.


Isaiah 6:1-8


1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one cried to another and said:
“ Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!”


4 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.
5
So I said:
“ Woe is me, for I am undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King,
The LORD of hosts.”
6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. 7
And he touched my mouth with it, and said:
“ Behold, this has touched your lips;
Your iniquity is taken away,
And your sin purged.”
8
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying:
“ Whom shall I send,
And who will go for Us?”
Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”


What an awesome, powerful God is our God. He is more amazing than we can even imagine. When Isaiah saw a vision of God, Isaiah knew he was not worthy to be in the presence of God. Then the seraphim purified him with a coal from the altar on his lips. Then Isaiah heard the voice of God asking for a messenger, and Isaiah asked for the job! Isaiah knew that his people needed to hear God’s words and God’s plans for their lives. Isaiah was willing to do whatever he had to do to bring God’s message to others. Part of the message that God told Isaiah to tell the people was what it would be like when Jesus came.


Isaiah 9:6-7

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.


What an amazing privilege that Isaiah had to tell others about Jesus! Did you know that we have that same privilege? We can tell everyone we know all about Jesus. That wasn’t just God’s plan for Isaiah - that is God’s plan for you too!


Questions:

  • What did Isaiah see in his vision?

  • What did God want Isaiah to do?

  • Who can you tell about Jesus?

Prayer: Dear God, help me to tell others about Jesus. Thank you for letting us be part of your plan to tell everyone about Jesus.



Tuesday, December 15, 2009

December 15, Elijah

Day 16, December 15
Persons: Elijah
Theme/Event: The Threat of False Gods
Symbol: Stone Altar
1 Kings 17:1-16, 18:17-46


David was a king who followed God, but sadly there were many kings after David that did not worship God. The kings and people forgot the God who had fulfilled His promises and delivered them and the Israelites worshipped false gods. Elijah was an ancestor of Jesus and a prophet of God who wanted to show the people how wrong they were to worship anyone but the true God. God gave Elijah a plan to show God’s power and glory.

I Kings 18: 21- 26, 30-39
21 And Elijah came to all the people, and said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people answered him not a word. 22 Then Elijah said to the people, “I alone am left a prophet of the LORD; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men. 23 Therefore let them give us two bulls; and let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it; and I will prepare the other bull, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it. 24 Then you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD; and the God who answers by fire, He is God.” 
So all the people answered and said, “It is well spoken.” 
25 Now Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one bull for yourselves and prepare it first, for you are many; and call on the name of your god, but put no fire under it.” 
26 So they took the bull which was given them, and they prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even till noon, saying, “O Baal, hear us!” But there was no voice; no one answered. Then they leaped about the altar which they had made. …30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down. 31 And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, “Israel shall be your name.” 32 Then with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD; and he made a trench around the altar large enough to hold two seahs of seed. 33 And he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood, and said, “Fill four waterpots with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice and on the wood.” 34 Then he said, “Do it a second time,” and they did it a second time; and he said, “Do it a third time,” and they did it a third time. 35 So the water ran all around the altar; and he also filled the trench with water. 
36 And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, “LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. 37 Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that You are the LORD God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.” 
38 Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. 39 Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!”


Even when God’s people forgot God and worshipped other gods, God stayed the same. He is always ready and able to show His power and that He is the only One worthy of our worship. We may not build an altar to another god, but we need to always be careful that we don’t forget about God or put other things first in our lives. Those other things have no power to save or help us. God’s plan is for us to serve Him and love Him with our heart, soul, mind and strength. As we spend this time waiting and preparing for Christmas, let’s make sure nothing gets in the way of loving and obeying God.

Questions:
Who was Elijah?
What did Elijah do?
Can anything or anyone other than God save us?
Prayer: Dear God, help us to love you with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength. Thank you for this time to focus on putting you first.

Monday, December 14, 2009

December 14, David

Day 15, December 14
Persons: David
Theme/Event: A Shepherd for the People
Symbol: Harp
1 Samuel 16:1-23, 17:1-58, 2 Samuel 5:1-5, 7:1-17


The first king that Samuel anointed was Saul. But, Saul disobeyed God and God told Samuel to anoint a new king. God told Samuel to anoint a boy named David, who was a shepherd. David had to wait many years between the time that he was anointed king and the time that he actually became king. But, David was a man who loved God and He did not disobey God’s laws to become king before God’s time. He trusted God and waited on Him. He knew that God was taking care of him the way that David used to take care of his father’s sheep.

Psalm 23
1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.

David wrote many of the Psalms and songs of praise to God that we have in the Old Testament. God used David’s years of waiting to prepare David’s character and to bring glory to God through David’s writings. God fulfilled His plan and David became a great king over Israel. David pointed to Jesus by being a king that glorified God and worshipped Him.

There is another way that David pointed to Jesus. Jesus described Himself as the ‘good shepherd’ who would ‘give His life for the sheep’ (John 10:11). Jesus is our King, but He is a King who loves us and cares for us so much that He gave up His life for us. What a wonderful King!

Questions:
What did David do before He became king?
Did David wait for God’s timing to become king?
What things do you have to wait for?
Prayer: Dear God, help us to always wait for Your timing. Thank you for being our shepherd and taking such good care of us.