About Divorce


And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.” And Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God  made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Mark 10:2-9 ESV

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” . . . So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:18,21-24 ESV


Calvin and his mom and dad went camping for a week, and the weather turned out to be very bad. It rained all week, and they were cold and soaking wet the whole time. On the way home from the trip, Calvin’s mother said, “Calvin, tell your dad any judge would take this trip as grounds for divorce.”

Getting divorced because of a rainy camping trip is a silly reason, but in Jesus’ day there were some silly reasons to get divorced, too. In fact, one of the rabbis taught that a man could divorce his wife if she burned his dinner! So the Pharisees came to Jesus to get his opinion on this. They told him that Moses had allowed people to get a divorce. But Jesus told them that God had allowed this through Moses because people have hard hearts, but that it had never been God’s plan. Jesus said that from the very beginning of time, when a man and a woman get married, God joins them together, and no one should try to break them apart.

Divorce hurts everyone involved. When I was married, my grandfather told me that if you glue two pieces of paper together and let the glue dry, you can’t separate them without a lot of damage. Divorce is like that. Children are often terribly hurt by divorce, and sometimes they even think it is their fault, but divorce is really an adult problem. It happens because of sin. God doesn’t want people to get divorced, but when it happens, he’s there to comfort and help the people who are hurt. He’s always willing to forgive the sins that cause divorce because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. He sends us his Holy Spirit and helps us to forgive the people who hurt us, and to give us new lives in him.


Dear Heavenly Father, please help and comfort people who are hurt by divorce, and please help and strengthen the marriages of your people. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Watterson, Bill Yukon Ho! Kansas City: Andrews and McMeel, 1989, p. 45.


Robbing God


“For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts. Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts.” Malachi 3:6-12 ESV

We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints—and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. II Corinthians 8:1-5 ESV


There was once a man and his wife who didn’t like to share anything with anyone. They would invite a guest to their home for dinner, but they never wanted to give the guest any food. So when dinner was served, the man would ask his guest one question after another so that the guest wouldn’t be able to eat, and then his wife would take a turn asking questions. The poor guest would never get a bit of food, because the husband and wife would eat it all while they kept him talking, and then they would say, “Why didn’t you eat? Now, unfortunately, there is nothing left. You shouldn’t talk so much.”

Malachi spoke to God’s people for doing something similar. They didn’t want to give anything to God, and instead they wanted to keep all the blessings God gave them for themselves. Even though everything they had came from the Lord, and he had given them the law that they were to remember him by giving a tenth of their income as well as special gifts, they weren’t giving the Lord the gifts they should have. These gifts were meant to keep the worship in the temple going, and they were a reminder to the people that they and everything they had really belonged to the Lord, and that they should put God first in their lives. Because they weren’t doing that, God was withholding his blessing of rain and sending pests to destroy their crops, but he promised to pour down his blessings on them if they would return to him.

God doesn’t really need our money or the other gifts we give, but he does want our hearts and our lives. When we give God ourselves, we make it priority to give money to support the things of God and to help others. The Apostle Paul talked about some Christians in Macedonia who were very poor, but they gave themselves to God, and when they had done that they were able to give very generously to help the poor, even though they didn’t have much for themselves. God came to us in Jesus and gave himself up for us on the cross. Jesus gave us his life so that we could be God’s people forever, and he sends us his Holy Spirit to help us give our hearts and our lives back to him, and to cheerfully give money to the things of God and to help other people.


Dear Jesus, thank you for giving yourself for us. Help us to give you our hearts and our lives. Amen.



Rain and Snow from Heaven


For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:10-11 ESV

The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean,
enduring forever;
the rules of the Lord are true,
and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward. Psalm 19:7-11 ESV


The State of Washington, in the northwest of the United States, has some interesting weather. The Cascade Mountains divide the state into two parts, and the western part has a lot of rain, but the eastern side of the mountains doesn’t have much rain at all. Farmers in Western Washington depend on the rain for their crops most of the time. Even though the western part of the state gets a lot of rain, it is usually very dry and sunny in July and August, and often in the summer water for the crops is taken from the rivers in Western Washington. People who live on the west side know, through their long rainy winters, that it is important for a lot of snow to fall in the Cascade Mountains. The snowpack in the mountains will melt in the spring and flow down to the west in rivers, and if there isn’t enough snow in the mountains during the winter, there might not be enough water in the rivers to water dry and thirsty crops in the summer.

God spoke through the prophet Isaiah and said that his word was like the rain and snow he sends down to water the earth so that crops will grow and people have food to eat. God also sends his word down to people so that they hear it, and the Lord says that whenever he sends his word, it will do what he wants it to do. It won’t just return back to him without doing anything, like rain falling on a pavement and evaporating back into the air without giving water to any plants or animals or people. Sometimes people hear God’s word and don’t listen or turn to God, but God is still working through his word to warn them and call them to come to him.

God spoke through prophets like Isaiah, and at last he sent Jesus, his own Son. Jesus came to bring all people back to God, their Heavenly Father. He died on the cross to pay for the sins of the world, and calls all people to trust in him and forgiveness he won for them. Not everyone believes in Jesus, but his word still goes out to warn them about their sins and to call them to come to him. God sends his Holy Spirit to speak to people through his word, and he sends his people to take his word to every part of the world, so that everyone can hear and know what God has done for them through Jesus.


Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending us your word that warns us about our sins and tells us about the forgiveness Jesus won for us. In His Name, Amen.


A Blossoming Desert


The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad;
the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus;
it shall blossom abundantly
and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
the majesty of our God.

Strengthen the weak hands,
and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who have an anxious heart,
“Be strong; fear not!
Behold, your God
will come with vengeance,
with the recompense of God.
He will come and save you.” Isaiah 35:1-4 ESV

He turns a desert into pools of water,
a parched land into springs of water.
And there he lets the hungry dwell,
and they establish a city to live in;
they sow fields and plant vineyards
and get a fruitful yield.
By his blessing they multiply greatly,
and he does not let their livestock diminish. Psalm 107 35-38 ESV


A desert is a very dry place most of the time. Where there is a desert there is very little rain, only ten inches a year or less. There is a lot of sand or dirt or rocks, but not many plants except for special kinds that are designed to be able to live with very little water. In different parts of the world these might include date palms, acacia trees, and different types of cactus. But sometimes there is rain in the desert, maybe at a particular time of the year or maybe because of a passing storm. When there is rain, something amazing happens in the desert. Beautiful, colorful flowers bloom overnight, covering the desert floor with a carpet of flowers.

The prophet Isaiah used a blossoming desert as a picture of God’s love and mercy. He compared people who are in trouble, threatened by their enemies and weighed down with sin, with a hot, dry desert. When God would come to help and to save them, it would be like a desert rejoicing and singing and blooming with beautiful flowers. To the people who felt weak and anxious and ready to give up, Isaiah said to be strong and not to be afraid. God was going to come and defeat their enemies and save them from their troubles.

We were all weighed down with sin and death, and completely weak and helpless. We would never have been able to save ourselves, but God came to us in Jesus to help and save us. Jesus went to the cross and died to defeat sin and death. He rose again from the dead, and now he is with us all the time. When Jesus came he gave us new life and hope, the same way rain brings new and beautiful life to a desert. A carpet of desert wildflowers only lasts for a short time, but our life with Jesus will last forever.



Rain and Crops


“Be glad, O children of Zion,
and rejoice in the Lord your God,
for he has given the early rain for your vindication;
he has poured down for you abundant rain,
the early and the latter rain, as before.

“The threshing floors shall be full of grain;
the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.
I will restore to you the years
that the swarming locust has eaten,
the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter,
my great army, which I sent among you.” Joel 2:23-25 ESV

You visit the earth and water it;
you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
you provide their grain,
for so you have prepared it.
You water its furrows abundantly,
settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
and blessing its growth.
You crown the year with your bounty;
your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.
The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
the hills gird themselves with joy,
the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
the valleys deck themselves with grain,
they shout and sing together for joy. Psalm 65:9-13 ESV


Rain is very important for crops all over the world. For example, in Southeast Asia and India, they have a dry season and a rainy season. The rainy season is sometimes called the monsoon season. It usually lasts from April to September, while the rest of the year is much drier. The crops that are grown in these areas, especially tea and rice, work very well with this weather, but if the monsoon season doesn’t come, the crops suffer. In the Middle East, God’s people had the early rain and the latter rain. The early rain came in November, and that’s the time farmers used to plant their grain crops such as wheat and barley. Then there was a dry spell while these crops grew. Another rainy time came again in the spring after the harvest of grain. This is the time farmers would especially tend their vineyards of grapes. The early and latter rain were very important to the crops that God’s people grew, and if the rain didn’t come the crops would suffer.

God’s people had seen their crops destroyed by an army of locusts, and they were very upset about this loss. They were anxious and worried when the prophet Joel gave them words of comfort. He said that God would send the early and latter rain again, and that there would be grain growing in the fields and grapes in the vineyards that would be made into wine, and olives on the trees for making olive oil. They had lost all their crops because of the locusts, but the rain would come to restore the trees and vines and fields in such a big way that they would get back everything they had lost.

Rain and water for crops are good blessings from God, and we would die without them. God gives us food to eat because he is our Heavenly Father and he loves us. He wants us to know his love and care and to know that we can trust him to give us the things we need. There’s something we need even more than food, and that’s God’s love and forgiveness. We would be separated from God and die forever without his forgiveness, but God has taken care of that, too. He sent his Son Jesus to die for us so that our sins could be forgiven. In Jesus, our Heavenly Father has given us everything we need, both now and forever.


Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us our food and clothing and homes and families and friends, and especially for Jesus, our Savior. In His Name, Amen.




God Sends Rain


And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink, for there is a sound of the rushing of rain.” So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Mount Carmel. And he bowed himself down on the earth and put his face between his knees. And he said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” And he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” And he said, “Go again,” seven times. And at the seventh time he said, “Behold, a little cloud like a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” And he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot and go down, lest the rain stop you.’” And in a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode and went to Jezreel. And the hand of the Lord was on Elijah, and he gathered up his garment and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel. I Kings 18:41-46 ESV

Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
make melody to our God on the lyre!
He covers the heavens with clouds;
he prepares rain for the earth;
he makes grass grow on the hills.
He gives to the beasts their food,
and to the young ravens that cry. Psalm 147:7-9 ESV


The ancient Greek people had many gods and goddesses that they prayed to for help. Zeus was the god of the weather, and if people wanted better weather they might try to make Zeus happy. Hera was the goddess of marriage, and a woman might pray to her for a husband or to bless her marriage–although Hera had a very unhappy marriage to Zeus! Athena was the goddess of war and of hunting, and people who made pots or worked with wool might also pray to her for help with these crafts. Poets might pray to the god Apollo for his protection, and farmers who wanted a good harvest would pray to Demeter, the goddess of agriculture. The list could go on and on. These gods and goddesses are only stories, but the Greek people trusted them for help with the different needs they had in their lives.

Baal was a god who was thought to give rain to make crops grow, and people who believed in him might pray to him and try to please him if there was a drought and no rain. There hadn’t been any rain in Israel for three years, and Baal hadn’t helped the people. He was only a story, but God’s people had turned away from the Lord to worship Baal instead. God was working through his prophet Elijah to show that only he could send rain. He wanted his people to turn away from Baal and back to him, the true and only God. Elijah prayed for rain, and after sending his servant to look for a raincloud over the water seven times, a very little cloud appeared. Elijah knew that God was about to answer his prayers. He warned King Ahab to get back to the city before the storm hit, and God gave him amazing strength to run faster than Ahab’s horses!

The same God who answered Elijah’s prayers and sent rain to Israel is with us today and listens to our prayers. No matter what problems we have, God is ready and able to help us in the way that is best. We can go to God with our troubles through Jesus, our Savior. Jesus died on the cross to take away our sins, and God hears and answers our prayers for Jesus’ sake. No matter what our need is, we can pray to one and the same God about everything that is bothering us.


Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for being able to help us with any problem and every need. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.



No Answer


Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose for yourselves one bull and prepare it first, for you are many, and call upon the name of your god, but put no fire to it.” And they took the bull that was given them, and they prepared it and called upon the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no voice, and no one answered. And they limped around the altar that they had made. And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” And they cried aloud and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them. And as midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice. No one answered; no one paid attention. I Kings 18:25-29 ESV

Those who lavish gold from the purse,
and weigh out silver in the scales,
hire a goldsmith, and he makes it into a god;
then they fall down and worship!
They lift it to their shoulders, they carry it,
they set it in its place, and it stands there;
it cannot move from its place.
If one cries to it, it does not answer
or save him from his trouble. Isaiah 46:6-7 ESV


Many years ago a huge ship named the Titanic was sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, and it crashed into an iceberg. There were wireless operators on the Titanic who were able to send messages to other ships, and they sent many messages after the ship started to sink. An early one began: “Come at once. We have struck a berg.” Other messages followed, such as, “We have struck an iceberg and sinking by the head,” and “We are putting passengers off in small boats. Women and children in boats. Cannot last much longer. Losing power.” Other ships received these messages and some of them tried to reach the Titanic to help, but the ship was too far away, and no help could arrive until it was too late. Many people fell into the icy water and drowned.

The prophets of Baal wanted Baal to send fire down to their altar to prove his power. They called out to their god, and as the day went on they prayed more and more desperately, but there was no answer. They called to him most of the day, and danced around the altar. They even cut themselves and let the blood run, thinking that would please Baal and make him answer them. Elijah started to make fun of them and told them to keep calling. But no matter how much they shouted and prayed to Baal, there was no answer. Baal didn’t answer the prayers of the priests because he wasn’t real. When the 450 priests prayed to him, there was really no one there to hear. Baal was a god of fertility, a god who was supposed to bring rain and help the crops grow, but for three years there had been no rain. There was a terrible drought, and people and animals were hungry and thirsty.

Only the true God could send rain or hold it back. Our God hears all our prayers and is able to answer us and help us. We never have to worry that God won’t listen to us or that he can’t help us. He showed us how much he loves us by sending Jesus to be our Savior. Jesus died on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven, and because of that we are God’s children. God listens to our prayers and helps us the way a good father listens to and helps his children. We can be sure that he will always answer our prayers in the way that is best, and that he will always love us.


Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for hearing our prayers and helping us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.



Only with God’s Help


Zerah the Ethiopian came out against them with an army of a million men and 300 chariots, and came as far as Mareshah. And Asa went out to meet him, and they drew up their lines of battle in the Valley of Zephathah at Mareshah. And Asa cried to the Lord his God, “O Lord, there is none like you to help, between the mighty and the weak. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude. O Lord, you are our God; let not man prevail against you.” So the Lord defeated the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah, and the Ethiopians fled. Asa and the people who were with him pursued them as far as Gerar, and the Ethiopians fell until none remained alive, for they were broken before the Lord and his army. The men of Judah carried away very much spoil. And they attacked all the cities around Gerar, for the fear of the Lord was upon them. They plundered all the cities, for there was much plunder in them. And they struck down the tents of those who had livestock and carried away sheep in abundance and camels. Then they returned to Jerusalem. II Chronicles 14:9-15 ESV

Out of my distress I called on the Lord;
the Lord answered me and set me free.
The Lord is on my side; I will not fear.
What can man do to me?
The Lord is on my side as my helper;
I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.

It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
 than to trust in princes.

All nations surrounded me;
in the name of the Lord I cut them off!
They surrounded me, surrounded me on every side;
in the name of the Lord I cut them off!
They surrounded me like bees;
they went out like a fire among thorns;
in the name of the Lord I cut them off!
I was pushed hard, so that I was falling,
but the Lord helped me. Psalm 118:5-13 ESV


This past summer, as I write this, there was a terrible wildfire in Alaska called the McHugh Creek Fire. The fire covered 778 acres of land, and fire fighters worked hard to put it out and to protect homes and property near the fire from being destroyed. The fire was successfully put out after a number of days, and one big reason they were able to put the fire out was rain. It rained hard for several days as the fire was burning, and the rain helped the fire fighters do their work. Rain can sometimes be a powerful force that helps slow down wildfires and contain them so that fire fighters can put them out more quickly.

After years of peace, war came to King Asa of Judah. An army from ancient Ethiopia came against the southern kingdom, and even though Asa had prepared an army and had fortified some cities for war, he could see that the enemy army was much stronger than his army was. He wouldn’t be able to defeat the Ethiopians unless God helped him, so he called on God in prayer for help. God heard his prayer and helped him against his enemies. The Ethiopian army was defeated and the army of Judah was victorious.  The Bible says that the Lord defeated the Ethiopians, and they couldn’t have done it without God’s help.

We sometimes face problems that we can’t handle alone. We need help from the Lord to get through the trouble we are facing. The same God who helped Asa against his enemies is also there for us. We can call on him in prayer at any time and be sure that he will help us in the way that is best. The most wonderful way God helps us is by forgiving our sins and giving us new life through what Jesus did for us on the cross. When it comes to forgiveness and life with God, we are completely helpless, but God has done all the work to give us the help we need through Jesus, our Savior.


Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for hearing our prayers and for giving us forgiveness through Jesus. In His Name, Amen.



God Knows and Cares


Praise the Lord!
For it is good to sing praises to our God;
for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.
The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars;
he gives to all of them their names.
Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
his understanding is beyond measure.
The Lord lifts up the humble;
he casts the wicked to the ground.

Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
make melody to our God on the lyre!
He covers the heavens with clouds;
he prepares rain for the earth;
he makes grass grow on the hills.
He gives to the beasts their food,
and to the young ravens that cry.
His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love. Psalm 147:1-11 ESV

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. Matthew 10:29-31 ESV


How many stars are there in the universe? Astronomers can only tell us about the universe that we can see, and we don’t know how many stars might be beyond what we’re able to find with our telescopes. But a good guess might be that there are one thousand billion billion stars in the universe. That’s a lot of stars! We couldn’t possibly count them all, but God knows exactly how many stars there are. He even has a name for each one. We have names for some of the stars we can see, such as Sirius and Regulus and Procyon. We mostly name groups of stars, like the Big Dipper or Orion the Hunter. But God knows each individual star by name. That’s pretty amazing!

Psalm 147 talks about God knowing and caring for all of his creation. It says that he numbers and names the stars, covers the sky with clouds and brings the rain to earth, makes grass grow on the hills, and makes sure the animals have food. He cares especially for his human creation. He brings outcasts back home and heals people with broken hearts. Jesus says that our Heavenly Father knows when a sparrow falls down dead, and that God cares for us even more. He knows everything about us, even how many hairs are on our head! The Lord isn’t impressed by people who are strong and powerful, but he is ready to help people who respect and honor him instead of themselves.

God’s power is amazing and his loving care is more than we could ever hope to understand. When we were outcast from God’s presence because of our sin, he didn’t leave us alone. He sent Jesus to save us and bring us back to him. Jesus died for us so that our sins could be forgiven and we could be God’s people. Because of Jesus we have God’s love and care through all our life, and a heavenly home with him after our life on earth is over.


Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the loving care you give your whole creation, and for the love you show us in Jesus. In His Name, Amen.