10-Minute Bible Storyline

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In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. God spoke all things into existence: light, water, sky, land, vegetation, sun, moon, stars, fish, birds, animals, and humans. God made it all, and it was good.

God created Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, and gave them responsibility over all created things. God gave them one rule: do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil or they would die. Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit.

Paradise was lost as sin and death entered the world.  God’s children no longer had a perfect relationship with their Creator, but God showed grace and love in the midst of judgment. God made a promise of a future rescuer who would come and crush the head of evil.

Adam and Eve had children. One of their sons, Cain, continued the downward spiral of sin by murdering his brother Abel. Over time, people began to multiply and spread across the earth. The only problem was as people multiplied, so did sin and evil.

God decided the earth needed a fresh start. He would send a flood to wipe out all living creatures, but God chose Noah, the only righteous man, to build a large boat to rescue his family and a pair of all the animals and birds. God protected them through the flood and showed His grace and love by making a covenant (promise) with Noah and all future living creatures not to destroy the earth by flood.

People and the land began to grow and flourish again. Humanity started to forget about God and trust in themselves. Many people gathered in a city named Babel and constructed a tower to bring glory to themselves. God confused their languages and caused them to scatter and spread across the earth.

The time came for God to build a nation. God wanted a group of people to show His love and power to all the inhabitants of the earth. God made His choice and it started with an unlikely couple named Abraham and Sarah. God promised to give them many decedents, land, and to bless the world through them. God fulfilled His covenant and started to build His nation through Abraham’s son, Isaac.

The nation grew as Isaac and his wife Rebekah gave birth to Jacob and Esau. They were not the kindest of brothers, and Jacob tricked his brother into selling his favored birthright for a bowl of soup. Jacob went on to trick his father, Isaac, into giving him his final blessing. Regardless of these poor choices, God showed favor on Jacob and continued His covenant made with Abraham. Jacob had 12 sons who became the 12 tribes of Israel. One of these sons was Joseph.

Through the cruelty of his brothers and the blessing of God, Joseph was brought into a position of power in Egypt to rescue his family. God brought His people to safety and provision in Egypt, but things did not continue to go well for the people of Israel after Joseph died.

The people of Israel spent 400 years of hard slavery in Egypt. God heard their cries and sent a reluctant prince named Moses to the rescue. Moses confronted the Egyptian Pharaoh and demanded that he let the people go. God sent a series of plagues leading to their release.

God guided and protected His people through the Red Sea and into the wilderness. God gave commandments and taught His people how to worship Him through a series of instructions and the building of a Tabernacle. God led the people with a cloud by day and fire by night to begin the journey to claim the Promised Land.

Moses sent spies into the Promised Land (Canaan). Most of the spies said the land was amazing and fruitful but the people would be impossible to defeat. The people became fearful and did not trust that God could bring them the victory. God grew weary of their lack of faith and complaining and said they would have to wander in the wilderness for forty years. Only the two faithful spies, Joshua and Caleb, would enter the Promised Land with the children. Even Moses lost the right to enter the Promised Land because he failed to give God the proper credit for providing water in the wilderness.

After the death of Moses, Joshua became the leader, and led the Israelites to take the Promised Land. This was not an easy task, but God was with them. Israel was faithful to God under the leadership of Joshua.

Following the death of Joshua and his fellow leaders, Israel became rebellious against God. They served idols and lived lives of sin. God stopped protecting them, and they fell into the hands of their enemies. They were not able to conquer the entire Promised Land.

In the midst of this judgment, God showed grace and love and empowered judges to free His people from the oppressive enemy. These judges included Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah, Gideon, Abimelech, Tola, Jair, Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon, Samson, Eli and Samuel.

The time of the judges over Israel came to an end. The final judge of Israel was Samuel. Samuel called the people back to God and to defeat the Philistines. The Israelites lost the battle and lost the Ark of God. This was devastating to the people of God.

The people of Israel demanded that they have a king to lead them like the nations around them. God was disappointed by this rejection of His leadership but honored their request. The first king, Saul, started well but stopped following and trusting God.

David was Israel’s second king. He was a mighty warrior and poet with a true heart for God. David united the people and established the capitol city in Jerusalem. Even though David made some bad decisions, he was humble and returned to God.

Because of David’s faithfulness, God continued the line of kings with David’s son, Solomon. God visited Solomon in a dream and offered him anything he wanted. Solomon requested wisdom to lead the people. God granted Solomon’s request for wisdom, and Solomon was respected as the wisest man. Solomon built a magnificent temple for God. Israel experienced a golden age a peace and prosperity during the reign of Solomon.

Later in life, Solomon married foreign wives, turned from God, and followed foreign gods. After Solomon’s death, Israel was torn into two kingdoms. A series of bad kings led the people of Israel far from God.

God sent messengers (prophets) including Elijah, Elisha, Amos and Hosea to warn His people and try to bring them back to God. The Israelites continued to rebel against God and the kingdoms fell. God’s people again became slaves and exiles in foreign lands.

God was faithful to His people through the time of Exile. God told His people, through messengers including Isaiah and Jeremiah, of His love and promised that they would return to the Promised Land. As the messengers predicted, Babylon fell, and Cyrus, king of Persia, proclaimed that the Israelites could return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple. Isaiah also told of a great Messiah (King) that would set them free.

Haggai and Zechariah helped lead many of the Israelites back and encouraged them through the difficult and dangerous rebuilding project. Ezra led another group of Israelites back to Jerusalem and called the people to follow God. Nehemiah then returned with a group with the task of rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem. This was a dangerous task because surrounding nations were determined to keep them from completing the project.

The temple and the wall were completed, but the people were still not focused on God. Ezra decided that the best way to bring back the worship of God was to read the Book of the Law to all of the people. The people listened and returned to God.

The people of God continued to go through political and moral unrest. They waited in great expectation for the promised Messiah to come and rescue them. In God’s perfect timing, this promise was fulfilled.

God was changing everything. God with us. He would no longer visit through dreams, visions and pillars of smoke. God would walk with His people. He would teach them face-to-face. He would touch them and heal their sickness and pain. He would set them free from sin and shame.

In the beginning, God spoke the universe into existence with a word. Now God was speaking complete salvation into existence through the Word, Jesus the Son of the living God.

God changed everything through the miraculous birth of Jesus. The birth of Jesus to the virgin Mary fulfilled many of the amazing details predicted in the past by God’s messengers. God sent the Messiah into the world on a mission to bring final and complete salvation to all who believe and place their faith in Him.

Jesus started His mission as he walked the streets of Israel. Now the people walked and talked with God through Jesus. Now the people learned how to live as they listened to Jesus’ teaching and watched Him relate to those around Him. Now they were being set free from sickness, pain and evil influences in their lives. Jesus chose 12 of His followers to be apostles: Peter, James, John, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James, Thaddaeus, Simon and Judas.

Jesus’ time of teaching and walking with His followers on earth was ending. It was time for Jesus to complete God’s mission and become the sacrifice that would cover and forgive the sins of all who believe and have faith in Him. Jesus was betrayed, crucified, and buried in a tomb. On the third day Jesus was raised to life. Jesus visited his followers and other people before ascending to heaven.

Jesus’ perfect life, death and resurrection were the rescue plan God lovingly crafted before the world was created. We see God’s amazing love, judgment and grace demonstrated in this supreme sacrificial act.

Jesus may have left His followers on earth, but He was not going to leave them alone. Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit. Now God, through the Holy Spirit, would be with every follower of Jesus. The Holy Spirit would bring comfort, knowledge and power to help the early Christians spread the Good News of Jesus. The task of spreading the Good News to the whole world would not be easy. With the power of the Holy Spirit, the mission began.

Peter, Paul and most of the other apostles were killed for their beliefs and preaching about Jesus. One of the last remaining disciples was John. He was held prisoner on the island of Patmos. While there, God gave him an amazing vision of Jesus and revelation of things to come.

It was revealed that God will pour out a final judgment on the world. The world will follow an evil beast and false prophet empowered by Satan. Jesus will then return to earth to conquer the beast and Satan. God will hold the Great White Throne of judgment and throw Satan, the beast, the false prophet and all those not written in the Book of Life into the lake of fire.

Then God will make an amazing new heaven and new earth for His people. There will be no more sickness, tears or death. God will reign with His people forever.

Now it is your turn to take part in the story of God and His people. The same God that did all these amazing things is alive and active today. What will your story be?

To continue your journey to discover the Bible, read the 3-Hour Bible: The Fastest Way to Read and Understand the Bible. Available exclusively at amazon.com.

Dear Son, Words of Wisdom #9

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Dear Son,
If you don’t know…ask.
Love, Dad

Asking questions is a very important skill that will lead to success or at least survival.

When I was in college, I spent a summer working and living in a funeral home. I learned many lessons about work, life and death. One day I learned the importance of asking questions.

The funeral director asked me to cut down some dead trees along the edge of the property. He said they had planted some new trees and wanted the dead ones removed.  It seemed like a simple task and I was ready to do some “manly” work. I found some tools and headed out.
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As I approached the tree line, I encountered a dilemma.  The trees were lined up two-by-two. One new tree and one dead tree side by side. I was not sure which tree to remove. I made a decision not to go back and bother anyone with such an ignorant, non-manly questions. I was a 21-year-old man and surely I could tell the difference. So I decided to cut down the smaller, feeble trees that had no leaves. I proceeded to cut down the 20 sad-looking trees in record time.

I made my way back to the funeral home as a heroic lumberjack ready to receive accolades and another assignment.

“That was quick, let’s go take a look” said the funeral director as we walked outside.  Then he stopped in his tracks and stood silently as his face turned pale. “What did you do with all of my new trees?” he said after what seemed an eternity. “You cut down the wrong trees. What were you thinking?” I did not have an answer accept to ask for forgiveness.  I ended the day embarrassed but thankful that I did not loose my job and learned a valuable lesson.

Throughout life, I have missed many great things and made many mistakes by not asking.  But I have also opened many doors by asking. Learn to ask.

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”   Jesus in Luke 11:9

Click here to find out the story behind Dear Son, Words of Wisdom and to find more Words of Wisdom.

Dear Son, Words of Wisdom #8

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Dear Son,
Read Proverbs once a year. Read one chapter a day each day of the month. Start on April Fools Day.
Love, Dad

The book of Proverbs is the greatest collection of wisdom on earth. It is a collection of wisdom by Solomon, son of King David.  God gifted Solomon with wisdom above all others.

Wisdom is the art of living well. Skillfully handling what life brings you. Not acting a fool in a world filled with lunacy and traps.

The book of Proverbs is full of real life. It addresses the things in life that can be so attractive yet so dangerous: money, fame, power, wild women, wine, beer, laziness, and lying. The words of Solomon help us learn to live with justice, loyalty, love, leadership, health, prosperity, and peace. In Proverbs, we learn to live a life honoring to God.

The book of Proverbs has 31 chapters and is broken down perfectly for daily reading over a period of a month.  I suggest starting with April Fools Day…because it is so ironic. It will also make it easy to remember each year. It has not escaped me that there are only 30 days in April and there are 31 chapters in Proverbs.  I am sure you can figure out how to handle this dilemma. Whatever you do, do not miss chapter 31 especially as you search for the woman you will spend the rest of your life with. It has paid off for me.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5

Click here to find out the story behind Dear Son, Words of Wisdom and to find other Words of Wisdom.

 

Dear Son, Words of Wisdom #5

Dear Son 5Dear Son,
Read the Bible. God’s Word will be a constant source of guidance, comfort, and strength.
Love, Dad

Nothing has made a greater impact in my life than reading the Bible. Your mother and I have made the Bible a high priority in our home and in your education. We do this because we can’t imagine what your life would be without it.

Over the next few years, you will think more about God’s will and direction for your life than you will for the rest of your life. Go to God and the Bible as a source of guidance in these times of great opportunity. I can remember being dropped off at Liberty University full of hopes, fears, and questions. I turned to the Bible in those days of growth and decision, and it made all the difference. As David said in the Psalms 119, “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.”

Sometimes life will be dark. Times of questions and disappointment. I can remember when mom was in the hospital for a few weeks. I was not sure what was going to happen as time and answers slipped away. In the Bible, I found a God who comforts and heals. I found much comfort in reading Isaiah 41:13, “I am the Lord your God who takes you by your hand and says, Do not fear, I will help you.”

As a leader, you will become painfully aware of your weakness, but you are not alone. Our strength and wits will fail us, but God will never fail us. Turn to the stories of the great leaders in the Bible: Moses, Joseph, David, Daniel, Nehemiah, Jesus and Paul to discover how God gives them strength and comes along their sides to fight their battles and make things right. Also read the Psalms for a behind the scenes look as David finds strength through fear, attack, sickness, victory and defeat.

As you journey through life, remember to turn to God and the Bible to find guidance, comfort and strength. You will not be disappointed.

Click here to find out the story behind Dear Son, Words of Wisdom and to find other Words of Wisdom.

Dear Son, Words of Wisdom #3

dearson3Dear Son,
Travel as often and as far as possible.
Love, Dad

I believe travel is one of the greatest teachers. You learn a great deal about yourself, others and God’s creation.

Visiting the actual location will make stories, movies and history come alive. Walking the streets of other lands will make you understand their issue, hopes and fears. Eating at their tables will help you feel the hunger and taste the abundance that is all around.

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You have witnessed hope in the face of poverty. Walked were Jesus, Moses and King David walked. Stood where presidents and politicians of old stood. Sat in the locker rooms of amazing athletes. Floated down the Amazon. Led others to worship God in Africa and the Dominican Republic.

These are a few examples of travel that have helped shape your perspective and vision. They will serve as a filter and lens for future education and entertainment. They will help you step into the stories you encounter in literature and the news.

Do not forget where you have been and do not limit the places you will go. It can make all the difference.

Click here to find out the story behind Dear Son, Words of Wisdom and to find other Words of Wisdom.

Dear Son, Words of Wisdom #1

dearson1Dear Son,
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.
Love,
Dad

Thus begins my journey of passing on words of wisdom to my oldest son.  This journey began after listening to my son prepare a speech for school.  The topic was Robert E. Lee.  He was an interesting character, but that is not what reached out and grabbed me by the throat.

As my son read his speech, he gave two quotes.  The quotes where good, but that is not what shook me.  Both quotes were letters from Robert E. Lee to his son.  The fact that this form of delivery of wisdom from father to son grabbed by sons attention…grabbed my attention.

The impact of words of wisdom being intentionally delivered from father to son is both amazing and absent from modern parenting.  

Look through history and you will find excellent examples of heroes and leaders throughout the ages formally passing on their wisdom.  Look in the Bible and you will find the greatest example as Solomon passes his wisdom to his son in the book of Proverbs.

I do not want to miss my opportunity to positively affecting my son and help equip him for the road ahead. I plan to give him one hand-written card (word of wisdom) each week. I will also write a story or commentary for each card and post it on my blog. I hope that the card will serve as a point of reference as he walks through life.

So I begin my journey.  Maybe other fathers will join me.

Discover God’s Story To Help You Live Your Story

Many times we feel like we are living this life alone. Our journey of faith becomes discouraging, confusing and at times empty. We ask God for guidance…talk to friends…or read 3 minute devotionals. But we do not have any breakthroughs, and the will of God remains a mystery. The Apostle Paul gives us a remedy to this dilemma.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”  Hebrews 12:1(NLT)

Learn From The Stories of God’s People

Many years ago I heard a pastor say, “When the Bible says ‘therefore’ read the verses before to see what it’s ‘there for’.”  To this day, I am convinced it is one of the most useful Bible study techniques I have learned. When we look back a chapter, we find a list of the heros of the faith including: Noah, Abraham, Joseph, and Moses.

THe Bible tells stories of God using ordinary people to do amazing things. We find people from every walk of life: young, old, farmers, kings, prostitutes, runaways, rich, poor, beggars, and givers. In these stories, we discover how God can take any person and make a wonderful story. We must read these stories to help us discover the story that God has for our lives.

There is a frighten trend in modern Christianity, we are ignoring the past…we are not reading the Bible. The Bible continues to be the top selling book, but it is also the most ignored book. We look to devotionals, pastors, and praise music to guide our journey of faith. There is nothing wrong with any of these as part of our journey, but we have to take personal responsibility to discover God’s Story for ourselves.

Discover God’s Story

You may have resisted reading the Bible in the past because it is so long, complicated and at times boring. Do not give up. The Bible is the most amazing book. It is a collection of stories about one big story, the story of God and His love for His children. The best part about these stories is they are true and will change your life.

The stories introduce you to the main character, God. You also meet some other interesting characters along the way. Sometimes they are heroic, but most of the time they are average people that God uses in amazing ways. You see God’s love and grace on display every step of the way. Throughout the stories, God rescues and guides His people, leading to the ultimate sacrifice that provides salvation to all who believe.

Two Books To Help You Discover God’s Story And Pass It To The Next Generation

There are two books that I recommend to my family and friends to help them discover God’s story and to pass it to the next generation.

1. The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones.  It is written for children but it also great for the adult reading it. It is not just about Jesus.  The book walks you through the whole bible and ties each story to the great rescuer, Jesus. It is a beautiful retelling of the Bible stories and the art is amazing. I have not found a better children’s Bible out there.  You can find the book in bookstores or at Amazon.

2. The 3-Hour Bible by me. The goal of the 3-Hour Bible is to help you discover and understand the whole Bible in a fast-paced and engaging reading plan. You may have struggled with other Bible reading plans in the past, but you can complete this one. The twelve stories have been carefully selected to walk you through the whole Bible. With each story taking less than fifteen minutes to read, you will be able to read and understand the big story of the Bible in three hours.

In the 3-Hour Bible, the Bible speaks for itself. The stories are crafted from the actual Bible text. They are not a retelling or summary, but the actual Bible. Each story presents important people, events or turning points in the bigger story. Find out more here. The 3- Hour Bible is available in paperback and Kindle edition(only $.99) exclusively at Amazon.

Begin Your Journey To Discover God’s Story

Start today by getting one of the books I suggested above or by picking up one of the Bibles sitting around your house. Learn from those who have walked this path before us. God has written an amazing story for your life. Discover God’s story to help you live your story.

The Secret To Raising Exceptional Kids

As parents, we believe that our kids are exceptional…or at least way above average.  But we also have this hidden fear that we are not doing enough for our kids to reach their potential.  So we wear ourselves out getting them into the right school, playing on the best sports teams, hanging out with the right friends, etc.  In all this activity, we might be missing an absolutely essential ingredient for our kids success….God.

This morning I was reading the story of Daniel in the Bible.  We are probably very familiar with his visit with the Lions and his friends stay in a blazing furnace.  But something early in the story grabbed my attention.  It was a picture into the formative years of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

As teenagers they were brought as slaves to the court of the King of Babylon to enter a special school to work in the king’s court.  Early into the training, these young me experience great success and are rewarded for it.  Here is a short excerpt from the story found in Daniel 1:17-20,

“God gave these four young men an unusual aptitude for understanding every aspect of literature and wisdom. And God gave Daniel the special ability to interpret the meanings of visions and dreams.  When the training period ordered by the king was completed, the chief of staff brought all the young men to King Nebuchadnezzar.  The king talked with them, and no one impressed him as much as Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they entered the royal service.  Whenever the king consulted them in any matter requiring wisdom and balanced judgment, he found them ten times more capable than any of the magicians and enchanters in his entire kingdom.”

The secret to their success is found in the first verse.  God gave them the ability to do exceptional things.  It was not based on their training or family…it was based on the blessing of God.

I am not proposing that we do not provide the best possible training and environment for our kids.  I am suggesting that we must pray that God will bless our kids so they will be exceptional citizens in God’s kingdom.  Pray that God may give our kids, like Daniel and his friends, the ability to stand and change the world around them.