Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A New Beginning


By Mary Vee

Exodus 33-35:3

Aaron, Moses' brother




A few days have passed since our punishment from God ended.  Many of our people suffered because we chose to worship a golden calf.  I don’t know why I let them talk me into making an idol.  Moses wouldn’t have.

We haven’t heard instructions from God during the last few days. I wonder what will happen next. Do we stay camped here, or pack to go somewhere else?

Moses always knows what to do.  He set up a tent outside the camp, close enough to see, but far enough to be a long walk to get there.  He called the tent The Tabernacle of Meeting. 

Those who wanted to seek the Lord could go to the tabernacle.  I was surprised to see certain men who hadn’t acted like they believed or want to obey the Lord walk out to the Tabernacle. On the other hand, I was surprised to see men who seemed godly stay in the camp.

Each time Moses walked out to the tabernacle, those who stayed in the camp stood by their tent and watched him walk out to meet with the Lord. As the tent flap fell back into place, a huge cloud settled before the door.  We heard the Lord speak to him, but couldn’t understand the words.

The cloud touched the ground, yet also swirled high in the sky.  Those of us in the camp fell to the ground and worshipped the Lord.  I must admit, we finally realized God would really punish us if we didn’t obey.

One day Moses made two new stone tablets. “The Lord said He would rewrite the words from the broken tablet onto new tablets.  He told me to bring them up the mountain.”  Sure enough, he got up early the next morning and took the tablets up the mountain.

He stayed up the mountain for several days again. This time, we waited for him.  No more golden calf worship for us!  But something strange happened when Moses returned.  His face glowed like a bright light.  We had to shade our eyes to look at him.

We didn’t understand why his face blazed.  I joined the others by stepping back away from him.  I don’t think he realized how bright his face shone.  Maybe something terrible would happen if we stepped too close to him.

He called to us. “Don’t be afraid. I’m fine.  I have something to show you.”

He showed us the tablets and explained the laws God wanted us to obey.

1.     We shouldn’t worship any other gods.
2.     We shouldn’t make any idols.
3.     We shouldn’t say God's name without talking to Him or about Him
4.     We should remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
5.     We should honor our fathers and mothers.
6.     We should not murder.
7.     We should not commit adultery.
8.     We should not steal.
9.     We should not lie.
10. We should not want what other people have.

…and the feasts God wanted to keep

1.     The Feast of Unleavened Bread
2.     The Feast of Weeks
3.     The Feast of Ingathering
4.     The Feast of Passover

Moses said there would be other feasts, but for now, this is what was given. 

I’m glad Moses is back.  Whatever he and the Lord talked about will help our people. 

I touched the tablets and felt peace. It seems like a new beginning—a new day—we only need to follow His Word.

*******************
God knows we will sin.  This doesn’t make sin right.  But, God also knows we need new beginnings.  He sent His Son to pay for our sins and to make a way for us to have a new beginning.  Anyone who believes in Jesus will have his or her sins forgiven.

1.     Why did God punish the Israelites?
2.     What strange thing happened to Moses?
3.     Name the tens laws written on the tablets.
4.     Name the feasts written on the tablets.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Thinking to the New Year

By Mary Vee


This Saturday starts the New Year!!  Wahoo!

What do you want to do this year?  

Will you be in school? 

Will you go on a special vacation?

I hope you get to do something special.





As for Mondays here on God Loves Kids You will go to new countries--



AND--




Meet people who:

    





left their homes to go to a new place-
learned a new language--






   





  ate different foods--
  




 





lived in a different kind of home--









 





and had great adventures while sharing the Gospel.







So I thought and thought about which great adventure to share first. AND the winner is...
 





Gladys Aylward. Join me in January for the exciting adventures of Gladys Aylward in China.






Travel to China with us next Monday

Where else would you like to go?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Christmas Present For You

By Mary Vee

Since today is Christmas, I wanted to show you your gift. 
It's the best present of all. 
The gift--is from God.
God loves you and wants you to be able to go to heaven. 


These colors listed below explain God's gift:

In the picture to the right you can see several colors.

Black is used to describe sin, the things we've done wrong. The Bible says everyone has sinned. Lying, disobeying, taking something that doesn't belong to us are examples of sin. The punishment for sin is death, forever away from God.

But did you know God loves you so much that He sent His one and only Son to pay the punishment for sin?  
Red is used to describe God's love. The Bible says God showed His love for us in that while we were sinners, His Son, Jesus, took our punishment for sin by dying on the cross.

Blue is used to describe faith. If you believe Jesus died for your sins, and truly want Him to live in your heart, you can go to heaven to live with God forever. When we put our trust in Jesus we will want to do the things He wants us to.

White is used to describe cleanliness. When you believe Jesus died for your sins and ask God for forgiveness, your heart is made clean--The Bible says you will be white as snow.

Green is used to describe growing. After you put your trust in Jesus you need to learn how to obey Him. You can do this by reading the Bible, praying, going to church, and learning from others who believe in Jesus. When we choose to live the way God tells us to in the Bible, we will grow like a healthy plant.

Yellow is used to describe heaven. One day, people who have believed in Jesus will go to heaven to live with God forever.

If you would like to ask Jesus into your heart today and start serving God, you can pray to Him right now, He's listening!

Dear Jesus, I know I'm a sinner and can't go to heaven on my own no matter how hard I try. Please forgive me for the things I've done wrong. I believe that you took the punishment for my sins when you died on the cross because you love me. I also believe you rose from the dead and live in Heaven. Because Your Word is truth, I trust in You and will start learning how to obey You. Amen

If you asked Jesus into your heart, please email me at mimary_vee@yahoo.com so I can rejoice with you.

Today's picture is of a salvation bracelet I received from my church in Greenville, Michigan.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Moses Asks: Who is On the Lord's Side?

By Mary Vee
Exodus 32: 20-35

Moses

I couldn't control myself.  The closer I walked to the camp the louder the music and shouting..and the..disrespect. That's it.  Disrespect for God. 

My people, God's chosen people danced for a golden calf!

A few moments ago, I had  thrown to the ground the stone tablets God wrote on and smashed them into powder. My face burned with anger.  There was only one thing to do.

I took their precious golden calf and shoved it into the fire. The people knew better than to complain against me this time. 

Most of the children crawled back toward their tents, the adults didn't know what to do, which seemed fine to me.  They needed to understand their sin. 

Once their idol melted down to a lump, I ground the gold into a fine powder and tossed it into their drinking water.  The next day, I forced everyone from the camp to drink that water.


Aaron told me what happened while I spent time on the mountain.  You can read what he said here:  .  


Even after they drank the water, the people didn't show respect.  They hit each other, said mean things, stole from their neighbors, and, well the list would fill this page. Why didn't Aaron force them to be kind to one another?  Their enemies laugh at them because of the way they act. 

Enough is enough. I won't let them disrespect God any longer.  I stood in the entrance of the camp and said, "Whoever is on the Lord's side--come  to me!"


All the sons of Levi came forward.  I ordered them to go throughout the camp and punish the people. 


The next day, I stood before the people again. "You have committed a great sin. I will go up the mountain to speak with the Lord. Maybe I can ask Him to forgive you."


I left them and walked up the mountain.  Their eyes grew wide as they silently watch me walk toward the mountain. Some of them are afraid.


I practiced what to say to the Lord the whole walk to the top.  I told Him what I saw, even though He already knew, then I asked Him to forgive the people's sin.

The Lord listened patiently then said He would punish those who sinned.  Before I turned to go back down the mountain the Lord told me to lead the people to the next place. He said an His Angel would go before us.

In the next few days those who did not follow the Lord became sick.  Those who obeyed God, did not.


I wish everyone from the camp stood by me to say they were on the Lord's side. I wonder about you, the one reading this story, are you on the Lord's side?


******************************
Christmas is in a few days. A good time to remember that Jesus came as a baby to live a perfect life as an example for us and then to take our punishment for our sins. God loves us very much.
This story asks an important question, are you on the Lord's side?
If you answered no, but would like to be on the Lord's side, helpful informtion will be given in the next post (Saturday). Please stop back on Saturday.
If you answered yes, but have questions, you may email me your question at mimary_vee@yahoo.com or simply write your question in the comment box.  I will answer you either way.



Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Cherry Pie

By Mary Vee
 Dedicated to my friend Judy


Did you ever have to eat something you didn't like, do a chore you didn't want to do, work on homework you didn't feel like doing, be nice to someone you didn't want to be nice to?  I have named these "Cherry Pie" situations.  Let me tell you this story about my friend and me:



Several years ago, on the first day of school, two new students happened to be in the same lunch line. Neither had much money.

They stared at the salads, meats, and vegetables and introduced themselves.  "Hi, I'm Judy. I'm new at school this year."

"Hi, I'm Mary. I'm new, too."

Before they reached the dessert section Judy and Mary felt like long lost friends.  One would start a sentence, the other would laugh and finish the thought.

When they reached the dessert area, they looked at the row of cherry pie servings and rolled their eyes.  "I hate cherry pie." 


Judy snapped her fingers.  "I have an idea. Since you and I both hate cherry pie, let's buy one and split it."


Mary wrinkled her nose. "Are you kidding? No way."


Judy picked up the piece of pie. "It'll be a game.  We'll split the piece in half and see who can convince the people sitting near us that we actually love cherry pie.  Who knows, maybe someday we'll be in a special place where only cherry pie is served and we'll be expected to eat it."

"I don't know, Jude.  I really don't like that kind of pie."

Judy moved her tray toward the cashier.  "What if you were a missionary in the jungle somewhere and the people served you their favorite dish, something like snake or frog--"


"Well, that's different. Of course I wouldn't want to offend the people. I'd eat it."


Judy handed the cashier half the money for the cherry pie then looked at Mary. "Well? Maybe the person in the jungle will serve cherry pie."


"OK.OK.  I'll play the game."


Judy and Mary chose a crowded table and squeezed in the middle. Sitting across from each other they grabbed their forks and plunged into the pie. Judy raised her eyebrow. Mary smirked signaling the start of the game. They raised their forks then slid the dessert into their mouths.  Neither cringed, or shivered, or shouted YUCK!!


They talked about their previous schools and families laughing as though they were catching each other up on recent news while sliding new forkfuls of cherry pie into their mouths.


After a few minutes, a girl at the table looked their way.  "Do you know each other?  I've never seen either of you at school before."


Judy swallowed her pie. "Actually, we just met."


"Really?  I thought you were friends already. Good thing they had cherry pie today. You both seem to like it a lot."


Mary and Judy laughed so hard they nearly spit out their pie.


Years passed

Judy married a pastor, which meant she had many cherry pie opportunities.  Mary went on several short term mission trips, which meant she also had cherry pie, or snake, or frog, or something unusual--she didn't want to know what the food really was, but she smiled and ate whatever the people served.

In my family, "Cherry pie" became the name for situations when someone decided to do what needed to be done, even if he or she didn't want to do it.


This Christmas--
when you're served a "Cherry pie" situation--
think of Jesus, 
smile, 
and make someone happy.




Happy Birthday Jesus!
 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Disappointment, The Golden Calf part 2

By Mary Vee
Exodus 32

Moses

How can I begin to describe the feelings deep in my soul after listening to the Lord, the almighty God of this world, for forty days?

Let me catch my breath before I tell you more.  

When He finished my lessons, He handed me two stone tablets of the Testimony, written on both sides of the stone with His own finger, to take to the people.  I held them close to my chest, hugging his words. My body tingled as it never had before.  


I wanted to stay longer, to hear more of His Word. But as I returned to the rock where I sat, the Lord stopped me. "Leave! Go at once! Your people, who you led out of Egypt have sinned. They promised to obey my commands, but they have not.  Go and see the calf the children of Israel made from gold.

"At this moment they're singing, dancing, and worshiping it.  One said, 'This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of Egypt.' I have watched this people, and indeed they are stubborn. Leave me, Moses.  Leave me alone. I shall punish them then start a new nation with you."


I could barely breathe. How could the children of Israel do this?  They promised to obey God.  He's right here! OK they're camped at the base of the mountain, but they see His cloud, His fire, the mountain move. They saw me go up the path. They knew I went to meet with the great Lord.  What happened to them?


My heart pounded loud enough for me to feel it in my head.  I fell to the ground and pressed my face to the earth.  "Lord, why are you angry at the people you saved from slavery in Egypt with your great power and mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say you saved them to kill them? Please, change Your mind and turn your anger from Your people. Remember Your promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Israel. You said you would multiply their descendants as the stars of heaven, and give the land you spoke of, and their inheritance."


I waited a moment then heard. "Very well, Moses. I will not harm them."


I leapt up from the ground--not because I was happy.  Oh, no.  I grabbed the two tablets of stone and stomped down the mountain. Joshua barely kept up with me.  Remember he is the young one and I the older. But my anger against the people powered my feet.

As we neared the bottom of the mountain, Joshua stopped. "Listen, Moses. Hear that noise?" We stood still and listened again. "It's not a shout of victory, or a cry of defeat, but a song of celebration.  I wonder what is going on?"

I turned back to the path and stomped faster. "I know what they're doing, and they're going to hear an earful from me." 


We reached the camp and found exactly what the Lord said. A golden calf surrounded with the children of Israel singing, dancing, and worshiping.  They looked ridiculous.  


My face grew hot and every muscle in my body tightened.  I lifted the tablets high in the air and threw them with all my strength against the ground. The sound caused the people to stop. "Moses! You're here. You're alive.  We--ah--thought you were--gone."

*****************
1. What did God give to Moses?
2. How did He write it?
3. What did Moses ask God to do for the children of Israel?
4. What did the children of Israel do wrong?
5. What did Moses do when he saw the children of Israel?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Temptation: The Golden Calf part 1

By Mary Vee
Exodus 32


Aaron

My brother, Moses, left over a month ago.  In truth, I don't know when he's coming back.  Before he went up the mountain he told the children of Israel to wait for him. He instructed them to come to  Hur and me with their problems.

Life in camp went well for a while. But of late the people have grown impatient.  Yesterday a group of men asked when Moses would return.  How would I know?

This morning a larger group of men gathered. To quiet them down I agreed to hear their dispute. One stepped forward. "Moses hasn't returned."

I nodded. "Yes. I noticed."


He rolled his eyes. "When is he coming back?"

I shrugged. "When he finishes his meeting with the Lord."

Another pushed forward. "Maybe he's not coming back!" 

The other men in the group yelled "Yeah. What are we suppose to do if he doesn't return?" 

I didn't have answers for their questions. More men gathered from the camp to join in the yelling.  I couldn't think. I wanted them to stop yelling before someone got hurt. 


The first man turned to the group and shouted, "We need a god that we can see. What do you say? We should make gods who will go before us. Who's with me?"


The rest of the men joined in the shouting.  I looked back at the mountain and wondered if Moses would ever come back.  What if he didn't?  How long should we wait? 


The leader of the men waved his arm to quiet the group.  He turned to me. "Look Aaron, your brother, Moses, did a great job leading us out of Egypt and we're thankful not to be slaves. But think back to the riches the Egyptians had--remember?  They had gods they could see.  It'd be a lot easier to obey a god we could see.  What do you say?"


The group cheered at his idea.  I didn't know what to do.  Hur didn't either.  Maybe if they had a god they could see, they'd obey the commandments given to us.  So I agreed. "Bring me the earrings worn by your wives and children."


By the afternoon they'd brought plenty of gold to make a rather large calf. I used an engraving tool to shape the calf and set it on a table.  "This is your god, O Israel that brought you out of Egypt."


The next day I built an altar in front of the new god and told the people, "Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord."  The people rose early, something they hadn't done in a while, and brought sacrifices to the god. They ate and drank in celebration.  


Everyone seemed happy.  Maybe this was the right thing to do.  


Maybe Moses would never come back.


I wonder if I made the right choice.


**************************************
Aaron did not make the right choice.  He allowed the people to take control.  Moses placed Aaron and Hur in charge, but Aaron let the people lead.


1. Who had not returned from the mountain yet?
2. Who was in charge of the Israelites at this time? (2 people)
3. What did the people want and why?
4. What did Aaron decide to do?

5. How does this story apply to your life?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hanukkah Celebrations

By Mary Vee

This year, the Hanukkah celebration began December 1 and ended December 9.  The reason for celebrating Hanukkah is told in last Monday's post The Story of Hanukkah. Ever wonder what games are played or what special foods are eaten on Hanukkah? Listed below are cites with ideas for this celebration of lights .

Games:


Here is a fun game. (This version of the Dreidel game uses candy or points.) Click on this link:

Dreidel Game


Other fun Hanukkah game and activity links: 

Hanukkah Games 
Hanukkah Activities and Recipies for Kids 
Hanukkah Party Game Ideas 
Hannukkah Jigsaw Puzzle 



Foods:

Favorite foods for Hanukkah are Latkes (like a pancake, sufganiot (like a deep fried donut)

Links to Hanukkah recipes and food ideas:

Hanukkah Recipies 
Hanukkah Snacks
Hanukkah recipies for Kids





Lighting of the Candles:
Directions to like a menorah can be found at this link: How to Light a Menorah


Did you notice two different spellings for Hanukkah in this post?  They are both pronounced the same.

Happy Hanukkah!!

What else is included in the Hanukkah Celebration?
Click on the pencil to leave your comment.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

What God Taught Moses on Mt. Sinai

By Mary Vee
Exodus 25 - 31


My name is Moses. In recent days, I've been to the top of Mount Sinai several times to speak with God. He's patiently taught His rules, commands, and expectations.  I wasn't the only one He allowed up the mountain. The Lord invited Aaron, his sons Nadab and Abihu, the seventy elders of Israel, and Joshua to come part of the way on different occasions.

God called me to meet him on the mountain again today. He said He would give me tables of stone which He wrote His laws and commandments.  Not knowing how long I'd be gone, I left Aaron and Hur in charge.


I went into the cloud that sat on the mountain, and climbed to the top.  I looked forward to learning something new from Him.  He already taught me about the three celebration feasts we should hold, rules about justice and Sabbaths, and etc. I wondered what He'd teach this time.

I went to the same place I'd met with Him before.  He gave me time to rest then said we should make a tabernacle.  I agreed. Having a place to worship the Lord wold help us think of Him more often. 

He told me to ask the people to bring offerings of gold; silver; bronze; blue, purple, and scarlet thread; fine linen; goats hair; ram skins dyed red; spices; and onyx stones to be used for the Tabernacle. The people received all these things from the Egyptians three months ago. They only needed to be willing to give. He also gave me a pattern for the furniture and the tabernacle.


As God taught, I gave Him my full attention. When I didn't understand His instructions, He explained the information again. 

The pattern for the tabernacle had specific details like how many hooks should be in each curtain, the number of curtains to be hung on each side, the type of wood, how big each area should be, what to separate each area with, and who would be in charge of taking care of it.


The Lord assigned Aaron and his sons as priests then gave instructions how to make their priestly clothes. When we finished the garments, Aaron and his sons needed to follow God's ceremony preparing them to serve Him.  This would take seven days.

Next God gave me instructions how to make the furniture. Each piece had a purpose and a specific place in the tabernacle.  He told me the names of men from the camp whom He gave the Spirit of God in wisdom and understanding in knowledge and in all manner of workmanship to make what was needed.

I'm not sure exactly how long I'd been on the mountain. Quite truthfully, I hadn't noticed. Time dashed by each time I sat and listened to God.  He said He had one more instruction for me.  He talked about the importance of resting and worshiping Him on the Sabbath. The Lord reminded me He rested on the seventh day after creating the earth in six days, therefore we need to do the same.


I stood to go back down the mountain.  As I prepared to return to the Israelites, the Lord gave me two stone tablets of the Testimony, written with His own finger.  I hugged the tablets close to my body with one arm and used my staff with the other.

I enjoyed my visit with God and, in a way, wished I didn't have to leave.  On the other hand, I also enjoyed leading the Israelites and looked forward to sharing God's word with them.


************************
1. God wanted the people to make a building to worship Him. The building would be called a ________________________.
2.  What is the name of the day of rest?
3.  Since the people had been slaves, where did they get the material for the new building?
4.  What did God give Moses to take back down the mountain?
5.  If God spent time teaching Moses, what do you think He is willing to do for you?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

God came to the People

By Mary Vee
Exodus 19:1-20:21


God led us through the wilderness to Mt. Sinai.  It'd been three months since we left Egypt. The Israelites had fallen into some routines, but for the most part, we kept moving forward.


I instructed the people to set up camp at the base of the mountain. A few offered to stake my tent while I ventured up the mountain to seek God's will.  While there, the Lord commanded me to  deliver this message to the people: "You've seen what I did  to the Egyptians for you. If you will obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation."


I returned to the camp and called the people together.  After delivering the Lord's word, the people cried "Moses, all the Lord has spoken we will do."


I reported the words of the people to the Lord.  He asked them to clean themselves and their clothing for his visit in three days. I'm still amazed that God plans to visit us. Sure, He delivered us from slavery in Egypt, and guided us to this place. But this time, He said He would let the people hear Him. Three days later, in the morning, thunder blared and lightning bolted from a thick cloud rumbling over the mountain.  A loud trumpet rang.  The Israelites pressed their hands over their ears and trembled. 

I led them closer to the edge of the mountain. Smoke rolled and boiled, swirling higher and circling around to rumble and boil up again because the Lord came to the top of the mountain in a great fire. The people huddled closer together as the mountain quaked. They were so afraid, they didn't speak.  A trumpet blasted for a long time, growing louder and louder. 

I looked at their faces then back at the mountain and then spoke to God. He answered me.  The Lord came down upon the top of the mountain and called, "Moses come."


I took the last step to the top of the mountain and listened. Before I could catch my breath the Lord commanded me to go back down and warn the people to stay back from the mountain. I didn't understand why He wanted me to say that when they had been told already to stay back.  The Lord shouted for me to go right away and tell the people his warning.


I practically ran back down to deliver His message.  I think some had tried to sneak closer than they were allowed. By the time I'd return to the camp the people had backed away and comforted each other after they'd witnessed the roaring thunder, lightening flashes, rolling smoke bellowing higher and higher, the mountain shaking, and the blast from the trumpet. They wiped away tears and hugged other working to calm their absolute fear. As I walked closer several cried out, "Moses, you can speak with us and we will listen; but please don't let God speak with us, lest we die."


I smiled and held my arms out to them.  "Don't be afraid, please. Look, God came to test you, to cause you to fear Him and thus to prevent you from sin."  


They heard my words, but insisted on staying back from the mountain's edge. That was smart. It kept the people from venturing up the the path as the Lord commanded. 


I went back up the mountain to meet with the Lord. There He spoke with me about several laws He also said He would send an angel before us and care for us as long as we obeyed. He told me to gather the people for a time of worship. I went back down to the camp and did what He said.
.

The people listened to the Lord's message and answered, "All the words which the Lord has said we will do." The next morning we had a wonderful worship service for the Lord.

Despite all God has done for us, I don't think we fully understood God's power. I'm glad He showed us.

******************************
1.  What was the name of the mountain?
2.  Who came to visit the Israelites?
3.  God said "If you ____________ then you shall be to me a kingdom of priest and a holy     
        nation."
4. God loved the Israelites, like He loves you and me.  How did He show the Israelites He
       loved them in this story?  
5.  How does God do this for you?

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Story of Hanukkah

By Mary Vee

 



This year Hanukkah celebration started last Wednesday, December 1 and will continue until this coming Thursday, December 9.

Many years ago I heard about Hanukkah.

I didn't know what it was, why it was celebrated or even what the word Hanukkah meant.

Today I will share with you a little about Hanukkah.




200 years before Jesus was born, The king of Syria conquered the land where the Israelites lived.  He decided to allow the Israelites to keep their customs while living under his rule.  


25 years later Antiochus IV and his army conquered Jerusalem. They forced the people to follow their customs, dress like them, and speak their language.  The invading army brought statues of Zeus and other idols into the Temple. They told the Jews they could not dress, eat, or follow Jewish customs any more.


A Jewish priest name Mattathias grew angry.  He refused to eat, dress, and speak the language of the new ruler.  He insisted he would only follow Jewish customs, dress, and speak as a Jew.  He gathered together a small army.  They hid in mountain caves and attacked Antiochus IV's army units until, one day, they won the war.


Judah, Mattathias' son, led the people into the Temple. His heart ached. Before his eyes stood an idol of Zeus, broken furniture, and trash.  They worked together to clean the temple and to prepare it for worship.  He searched for oil to use in the menorah (a lamp like the one in the picture above).  They found one small, sealed container of oil.  

Judah ordered the lamp lit, and commanded new oil to be made.  This would take 8 days, what would they do?  They only had enough oil for one day but the lamp needed to stay lit all the time!

One the second day, Judah came to the temple expecting the light to be gone.  To his surprise the menorah shone brightly.  The lamp remained lit for 8 days, long enough for the new oil to be ready for use.  

The people rejoiced for God's miracle of light.  

After cleaning, making new furniture and utensils, and preparing the people, the priest rededicated the temple to God.  The people held a celebration to praise God for the miracle of light in the temple. This celebration was named Hanukkah which means "dedication".




If you know a Jewish person, be sure to tell them Happy Hanukkah. 


If you are a Jewish person, Happy Hanukkah! 

Next week: Hanukkah games 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Jethro's Wisdom Helps Moses

By Mary Vee
Exodus 18:12-27

If Jethro kept a journal, he might have written...


The song of the birds woke me this morning.  My stomach was still full from last night's feast with Moses, Aaron, and the elders of Israel. I offered sacrifices to the great God of Israel, then we all sat and talked late into the evening.  

My soul felt a special warmth and encouragement as I listened to their stories from the terrible times in Egypt to God's rescue and direction in the wilderness.  Aaron couldn't stay seated as he told about the battle against the Amalekites. We burst out laughing when he acted out Moses' arms sagging then him rolling a rock for Moses to sit. He wiped fake sweat from his brow before continuing his drama.  

Even Moses wiped tears of laughter then said, "I guess I looked pretty silly. Thanks be to God for giving us the victory that day."


He always knew how to bring every situation back to giving glory to God.  The elders showed their respect for him by nodding in agreement. 


This morning I have been invited to the Israelite camp.  I can't wait to see the people.  Zipporah  and my grandsons are excited to join them as well. 


By the time we arrived, Moses had a long line of people waiting to speak with him.  Zipporah took the boys to meet with friends and quickly bumped into Miriam, Moses' sister. Miriam pulled them over to a group of women their age where the boys also found playmates.


While waiting for Moses I joined a group of the elders where I heard more of their stories about Egypt.  I watched Moses judging the people all day long.  He looked exhausted. How could he get anything done when he judges the people all day?


When the sun set, Moses made the people leave.  He joined me by the fire and warmed his hands.  He closed his eyes for a moment and sighed. I handed him him his dinner. He seemed to tired to eat.  "Moses, what is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why do you sit alone with all the people standing before you from morning until evening?"


He rubbed his eyes and yawned. "Because the people come to me to find what God wants in this or that situation. When they have a difficulty, they come to me and I judge between one and another. I tell them the law's and rules God has made."


Didn't he realize he would make himself sick doing this every day? I had to help. "Moses, what you are doing isn't good. Both you and the Israelites will wear yourselves out. It's too much for you." 

I waited until he had strength from his supper. "You are not able to judge all these people by yourself.  Now, listen to my counsel and God will be with you: Go to God for the people as you have done to learn what God wants you to teach them. Stand before the Israelites and instruct them about God's laws and rules and show them the way they must walk and the work they need to do."


Moses nodded. "I am doing this."


"Yes. But now you must select able men who fear God, men of truth to be rulers over thousands, rulers over hundreds, fifties, and tens. And let them judge the people at all times. When a big problem comes their way, they will bring it to you; but every small problem they themselves will judge. In this way the burden will be shared with you."


He sat back in his chair and closed his eyes. "Jethro, your wisdom is a comfort to me.  I will do as you say."


The next morning Moses turned the people away. He called a group men together and chose rulers then taught them what to do.  At dinner time he laughed and told stories as he had before. That was when I knew I could leave my daughter Zipporah and my grandsons with him. 

The next morning I gathered my things to return home and kissed my family. "God be with you. I love you all."


Moses hugged me. "Thank you for your wisdom, for bringing Zipporah and the boys. I'll miss you."


So I left for home, sad but joyful.


********************************


1. Why was Moses so tired?
2. What did Jethro tell Moses to do?
3. Why do you think God had Jethro teach Moses this lesson instead of telling Moses Himself?
4. Did Moses do what Jethro said?
5. How would this lesson help you?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Jethro Meets With Moses

By Mary Vee
Exodus 18:1-11

As told by Jethro, the Midian priest.

I've waited for this day for so long. My daughter, Zipporah will finally see her husband, Moses, again.  He must have great news to tell. To think, God used him to free the Israelite people from Pharaoh.

We've traveled several days to meet up with Moses.  Zipporah struggled to get her two boys to sleep last night; they're so excited to see their father and hear his stories.This morning  I sent a message to Moses letting him know we arrived. 

"Excuse me, Father, but Moses is here!" Zipporah danced into my tent and smiled like the day of her wedding.

I didn't get a chance to say anything more to her. She flew out of the tent quicker than I could stand. "Hurry, Father."

Moses bowed to me.  We gave each other a hug. "Moses how are you?"

"I am well. And you, Father?"

"Wonderful, wonderful.  Come, let's talk in my tent."  Moses followed me inside. I saw right away he'd changed for the good.

The day I first met him, he wore torn clothes, hadn't eaten for days, and didn't have a place to live. I invited him to live with us and to marry my daughter, Zipporah.  He worked hard and learned how to shepherd. One day he told us God wanted him to go to Egypt to free his people. I must admit, I had my doubts. Moses seemed quiet and enjoyed being alone with the sheep. Yet, here he is today, ready to tell me his adventures in Egypt.

"Tell me, Moses, what happened in Egypt?"

Moses chuckled and glanced up as though he looked at God. "God did it.  He set my people free!"  Moses set his rod on the floor, pushed his sleeves up, and smiled. "Ten times I went to Pharaoh asking him to let us go to sacrifice to God in the wilderness. Each time he answered no God sent a plague. First,God turned the water into blood, the whole city smelled awful and the people grew thirsty. Second, He sent frogs. They Egyptians found frogs in their ovens, on their tables, everywhere they walked, even in their beds. Then God sent, lice; fourth, flies; fifth a disease struck the livestock; sixth, boils on the people's skin; seventh, hail, huge hail; eighth, locust--"

"Wait, Moses. There must not have been anything left for the Egyptians to eat. The crops and animals suffered from the plagues."

He leaned forward and nodded. "That's the point God wanted to make. He wanted Pharaoh to know Egypt's food and water came from Him not their own hands--or slave hands. The Egyptians needed to obey God, but they wouldn't."

"What happened next?"

"Well, God sent a plague of darkness the Egyptians could feel. No one could see. They stayed in their homes until the plague ended. The last plague, though, caused Pharaoh to set us free. God sent the death angel to kill the first born, man or beast, in any household that did not have blood from a perfect lamb painted on the doorposts.  Pharaoh screamed at us to leave. The next morning we left."

We talked the rest of the day. Actually, I did the listening, Moses did the talking. He told me all that God had done including parting the Red Sea waters and raining manna for food.  He laughed, cried, and sighed while telling his stories. 

I had not realized the power of God before this day. Now I know that the Lord is greater than all the gods. In the very things the Egyptians behaved proudly, God showed He was above them.

***************


1. Jethro was not an Israelite. Where was he from?
2. What all did Moses tell Jethro?
3. What did God want to show Pharaoh?
4. What did Jethro learn?
5. What did you learn?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Bryan Davis' Thanksgiving Visit

By Mary Vee

Four years ago I had the privilege to meet Bryan Davis. He had a book signing and spoke to several schools in Michigan where I lived at the time.  My daughter and I went to his talks and book signing those days. We had already read Raising Dragons and were excited to buy autographed copies of the rest of the series. 

Bryan is considered one of the first successful authors to write Christian books with dragons.  In his thanksgiving moment below he'll direct you to a link where he tells how he uses Christian ideas and stories from the Bible to capture your interest and help you grow in your walk with Christ. After reading this link, you will see the importance of two pennies.

Please welcome 
Bryan Davis:

 Bryan, Please tell us about a Thanksgiving moment


I am thankful for inspiration. I sit at my desk for hours on end, typing on a keyboard, sitting far away from those I hope to delight with my developing story. Will it grab a reader’s imagination and take him on a mind-blowing adventure? Will it reach to the heart and inspire uplifting and transforming contemplation? Maybe. It’s often hard to tell from this vantage point.


When I sit with my fingers poised to peck through the next word, I sometimes wonder how this tangled mess of a story will ever be fashioned into the hope I have for it. During the early stages, it often seems impossible. Yet, no matter how snarled the story is at the moment, it always works out at the end, and I am never lacking in astonishment. I look back and ask, “How did that happen?”


I get ideas in timely dreams, random thoughts from others, and amazing circumstances that all work to chisel away the terrible parts of my story and add in the fresh and vibrant aspects it needs. Sometimes the story stalls, and the delays make me wonder if I will ever finish it, but then the inspiration comes in a way that could not have occurred if there had not been a delay in the writing. The story needed to wait. It required a bit of mental simmering.





Here is an example of a series of miraculous events that breathed life into a story (click on this link to read how one dime and two pennies helped Bryan Davis): http://www.dragonsinourmidst.com/DimeTwoPennies.pdf. Now whenever I run into a creative blockade, and it feels like I am pushing a stubborn story along, I look back at these events and gain new confidence that it will work out. It always has before. The inspiration always arrives exactly when I need it.

Thank you, Lord, for providing inspiration. I am writing for you, and to continue painting portraits of your love, I need all the help I can get.

Bryan Davis

Bryan Davis' Web Site is:
 http://www.daviscrossing.com/ 

Please write a comment for Bryan, click on the pencil below

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Powerful Amalekites

By Mary Vee
Exodus 17:8-13


Today's story is told from Aaron's (Moses' brother) point of view.

Keeping track of a younger brother can be difficult at times.  God asked me to help Moses speak to Pharaoh back when we lived in Egypt, and now I help Moses by telling our people, the children of Israel, what God wants us to do. 

I get tired watching Moses. He gets up early every morning to spend time alone with God, I'm not sure when he's up, but it's before the donkeys bray.  When I stepped outside my tent this morning, I noticed guards speaking with him.  I thought there might be a problem. Maybe he needed my help. "Moses, what's going on?"

"Amalek's army is near. The spies report Amalek is prepared for battle. I've sent for Joshua."


I knew I shouldn't have slept in this morning. 

Joshua arrived a few minutes later. Moses pointed to the other side of the valley, "Amalek has an army prepared for battle. Choose some men for battle. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of that hill over there with the rod of God in my hand."


Throughout the day the whole camp chattered about the up coming battle.  We all knew Joshua was the best choice to lead our army, but Amalek's army had tall, mighty warriors. Would we win or would the Amalikites force us to be slaves?


No one slept in the next morning. Joshua marched the army toward the valley while Hur and I walked with Moses to the top of a hill overlooking the valley. We watched for a few minutes as the armies came together.  Our soldiers looked like boys fighting giants. I honestly didn't know what would happen.


Moses gripped his rod and pounded it on the ground. "Our men are falling to those Amelikites already. We need God's help."  He raised his rod into the air like he did the day the Red Sea waters parted.  We looked back at the armies and saw the Amelikites draw back a little.  Our soldiers ran forward and attacked with power.


After a while, Moses's arms grew tired. "God is with us in this battle." He lowered his rod and set it in his lap.  Hur rubbed Moses's shoulders and laughed.  "The Amelikites will never win this battle.  God is fighting for us. Maybe you should rest."  

Moses and I nodded to each other. "God blessed our army."  We scanned the battlefield again expecting to see Joshua and our soldiers winning.  But they weren't.  Moses quickly pushed the rod of God in the air.  "Look, our soldiers are winning! I need to keep the rod of God raised." 

Every time Moses' arms sagged the Joshua and our army lost ground.  I found a rock nearby and rolled it near Moses. "Here, sit down.  That should help."


Moses plopped down on the rock. "My arms are sore, Aaron." Sweat poured down his forehead and his eyes showed his pain.


I ran to his side. "Hur, stand on that side and hold up his arm. I'll stand on this side." We hurried to support Moses' arms and stayed beside him, holding up his arms the entire day. When the sun set, the battle was over. The Amalikites lost..


We climbed down the hill to join the army back at camp.  Our families kindled fires and brought out instruments to celebrate.  I watched the people sing and dance in praise to God and realized what God did for us today. Who are we but a small nation with an untrained army?  Yet God used our soldiers, His chosen prophet, and a rod raised in the air to win a battle. 

We would not have won without God.


*********************************


  1.  Who attacked the Israelites?
  2.  Who did Moses ask to lead the soldiers?
  3.  Where did Moses go to watch the battle? Who went with him?
  4.  What did God want Moses to do to help the Israelites win?
  5.  Could Moses do this by himself?  If not, who helped?