Saturday, March 30, 2013

Teens in the Bible: Rahab the Prostitute, Her Ties to Easter

Chapter 11 Rahab, teenaged prostitute

After the death of Moses, God told Joshua to get ready to cross the Jordan River and go into the land He was giving to the Israelites. He sent two spies ahead to look over the land, especially Jericho. The spies went and stayed in the house of a prostitute named Rahab.

Though there is no concrete proof of Rahab’s age then, we do know that she was a prostitute (a harlot) and therefore we can surmise that she was “old enough and young enough” if you get what I mean. So we’ll say she was likely a teenager and many scholars agree. But what a smart gal. The king of Jericho knew the spies had gone into her house and he sent her a message that she was to bring them out. She lied to the king and said that yes, she had received them, but they had left at dusk. The fact was she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them under the stalks of flax she had laid out on the roof.

So far it looks like she’s a conniving, lying, whore. But think, why would she hide the spies? The Bible tells us in the book of Joshua that she said to the spies, “I know that the Lord has given this land to you. Please swear to me that you will spare my family in the coming battle.” Like I said, smart gal. She’s another example of God using a sinful human (like every one of us) for good.

On the upside, Rahab and her family were saved during the battle because she tied a scarlet cord in her window. The spies had sworn an oath that if she tied that cord to her window then they would see it and all in her house would be saved. Here’s the best part: apparently Rahab found a better life, had a son named Boaz who married Ruth who had a son who was the great-grandfather of King David who was in the genealogical line recorded for Jesus in the book of Matthew. Check it out. You’ll find Rahab’s name there.

If this seems a strange post for Easter time, let me say a little more. You and I are just as dirty and sinful as Rahab. We need salvation. Rahab was saved on that long ago day of judgment by putting her faith in a scarlet cord, placed in a window. When the walls of Jericho fell, her house remained. While others in Jericho were dying, she was spared because she believed the Word of the Lord. Salvation was hers through faith. God singles out her faith in Hebrews 11:31, when He says, “By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not”.

That scarlet cord was an obvious symbol of the shed blood of Jesus Christ. The only way to escape judgment is through simple faith in Christ’s blood, shed for YOU. He paid for your sins. Happy Easter. He is risen!

(Next Saturday teen Jonathan)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop

This hop runs from March 29 to April 5 and there are many, many blogs participating. A list can be found HERE

I am giving away 4 prizes: 1 paperback (US mailing only) and 3 ebooks. Your choice of books from among my young adult and middle grade novels as seen in the side bar.

There are two Rafflecopters below - 1 for a paperback and 1 for the ebooks. You may enter both. No tasks at all.

Happy Easter - Jesus died for YOU!

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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Teens in the Bible: Moses

Chapter 10 Teen Moses

Young Moses had been raised in the Pharaoh’s household, but he was certainly aware that he was a Hebrew. One of the most interesting things about him, I think, is that he committed murder at such a young age. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew. He didn't just rush in and break it up, no, first he looked around to see if anyone was watching, then he made his move. I suspect that he was a pretty strong teen, well-fed, trained in physical combat, and bold. He killed the Egyptian and hid the body in the sand. Hmm, he hid the body . . .

It was only a day later that he observed two Hebrews fighting and thought he’d intervene. One of them said to him, “Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?” Oops, guess Moses wasn't as sneaky as he thought he was. Perhaps when he rescued the man the day before that man couldn't keep a secret. Anyway, Moses got really spooked. And worse, Pharaoh found out (think evil foster grandfather) and tried to kill Moses. Moses had to flee. He went to live in Midian.

I think he was probably in his late teens then. I like what happened next. Still afraid, he sat down by a well and seven daughters of a priest came to draw water. Chances are their faces were hidden, but Moses was undoubtedly attracted to girls. When some shepherds came and tried to drive the sisters away Moses stepped in and came to their rescue. Amazing . . . from rescuer to murderer to refugee to rescuer again. Perhaps his heart was always in the right place.

There was a pretty fantastic reward. The sisters’ father, the priest, invited Moses to stay with them and gave him his daughter Zipporah in marriage. God had some mighty wonderful plans ahead for Moses, yet I can’t quite forget that first murder. Looks like even the worst mistake can get forgiveness.

(Next Saturday  Rahab)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Hidden and Not-so-hidden Promises

God has already given us everything we need – what great potential we have!

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 
We don’t need to pray for strength or leading, we already have the strength and God is always leading us. The above quote was verse 3 of 2nd Peter chapter 1. The next verse (verse 4) hides another promise or two. Can you find them?
Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 
We Christians, that’s who is being addressed by Peter in his letter, are promised a chance to participate in the divine nature; we've escaped corruption in the world; we don’t have the evil desires. Now if that doesn't sound like the professing Christians you know it’s because they haven’t lived up to their potential. Reread  verse 3: we have everything we need for a godly life. Unfortunately many do not realize it. Verse 4 also says God has given us great and precious promises, but they’re not listed here because there are over 750 of them. You can, however, find them throughout the New Testament. You have to read your Bible – search for them.

A few of my favorites are found in Peter’s letters:
1. Promise of salvation and preservation -- 1 Peter 1:3-7
2. Promise of a rich welcome into eternity – 2 Peter 1:10-11
3. Promise of answered prayers  -- 1 Peter 3:7-12 
4. Promise of victory over cares and the devil -- 1 Peter 5:6-11
5. Promise of living eternally in a new heaven and a new earth -- 2 Peter 3:10-13 

(parts taken from Crossing the Scriptures,  KindleNookPaperback)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Teens in the Bible - Moses' sister Miriam

Chapter 9 teen Miriam, Moses’ sister

Wow. Talk about an obedient, loving, and devoted sister! Some scholars say she was only twelve, maybe younger when her brother Moses was born. Pharoah had given the order that every boy born to the Israelites had to be thrown into the Nile while every girl baby was allowed to live. Moses’ mother hid him for three months, but when she could hide him no longer, she got a basket, coated it with tar and pitch, and floated him in it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile.

Miriam stood at a distance to see what would happen to him. Pharoah’s daughter found the baby and felt sorry for him. Bold Miriam approached her and said the smartest thing ever – “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?” Awesome. She went and got her mother.

We don’t know any more about Miriam’s youth, but we do find out in other verses that she was a prophetess, that she played the tambourine, and sang and danced. She was perhaps intolerant (think racist) as well because she opposed Moses’ marriage to an Ethiopian woman. The Lord was angry about that and gave Miriam leprosy. Because of Moses’ plea she was healed after seven days.

(Next Saturday teen Moses)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop

The Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop runs from March 15 to March 22 and is hosted by Iamareadernotawriter, Books Complete Me, and author Cindy Thomas. Participating blogs can be found HERE.

I am giving away a digital copy of your choice of any of MY books (see my titles in the side bars). There will be 3 winners chosen. Use the Rafflecopter below to enter. If the Rafflecopter isn't working just leave your email address in the comments.

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Congratulations to the winners. They have been notified by email.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Teens in the Bible - sisters Leah and Rachel

Chapter 8 teens Leah and Rachel

Jacob, favored son of Isaac, went to stay at his Uncle Laban’s. Laban had two daughters, Leah and Rachel. Jacob fell in love with Rachel, the younger of the two, and offered to work for Laban for seven years in return for Rachel’s hand in marriage.
As was the custom, the older daughter should be married off first. Imagine the jealousy that must have risen in that household when Rachel was asked for before her older sister. Let’s look at the description the Bible gives of these two girls: “Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel was lovely in form, and beautiful.” Obviously the contrast is in Rachel’s favor. Some translations say Leah was “tender-eyed”; some scholars believe the term meant her eyes were red and runny, others that they were blue instead of brown, others think it meant she had poor eyesight. Regardless, the implication is still there that Rachel was preferable.
I’ve always felt sorry for Leah because her father did the wedding veil switcheroo and Jacob was deceived into marrying Leah. When he realized it the following morning he was furious. Laban made him finish out the bridal week then gave him Rachel in return for another seven years of work. Poor Leah. A forced honeymoon to endure with a man she loved, but who couldn’t wait to get to her sister.
Leah got pregnant. I can feel her despair in the words recorded after she gives birth to a son and says, “Surely my husband will love me now.”
On the other hand, imagine Rachel’s anguish. She expected to marry handsome Jacob and then her father yanked that opportunity away and substituted her older sister. Rachel became the second wife and watched sadly as her sister gave birth to son after son while she remained barren.
The rivalry between the sisters continued. There was anger and jealousy and a great struggle for dominance. Read Chapter 30 of Genesis to see how the sisters involved even their maidservants in this love triangle.

(Next Saturday teen Miriam, Moses' sister)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Leap Into Books Giveaway Winner

I used a random number generator to pick from the entries and the winner is Ioana. She has been notified by email as well.
Thanks, everyone, for participating. I have two more giveaways scheduled this month so keep checking back.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Teens in the Bible - twins, Esau and Jacob

Chapter 7 teens Esau and Jacob

At the end of chapter 25 of the book of Genesis there is the story of young Esau and Jacob, twins who fought since they were in the womb, literally. Esau became a skillful hunter, loved the open country, and probably spent the whole day out of doors. He was the favorite of his father, Isaac, who had a taste for wild game. Jacob, however, was more of his mother’s son. He was quiet, stayed indoors (in tent, rather), and apparently had a talent for cooking.

One day Jacob was cooking some stew when Esau came in from a hard day’s hunt absolutely famished. He was so hungry, in fact, that he thought he was about to die. He told Jacob to give him some of that stew as quickly as possible. Quiet, clever Jacob took advantage of the opportunity and agreed to give his older-by-a-minute brother some stew if only he would sell him his birthright. Esau agreed. Jacob made him swear an oath first.

Deal done. Soup for a vast inheritance.

These two teens showed opposite types of personalities, didn’t they? Thoughtful planner vs. impulsive hothead. Boy with brain vs. boy with brawn.

If you want to get really deep into Biblical symbolism then these two real life characters also show us Jews and Christians. Like Esau, the Jewish people have given up their birthright, their Messiah, to the Gentiles. Like Jacob, Christians have inherited who should have been Israel’s savior, Jesus the Christ.

(Next Saturday teens Leah and Rachel)