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Youth #AtoZChallenge

This year for the Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge I have chosen a single word for each letter of the alphabet. Each of these words is important in the Bible. I am including a story in each post. Links from biblical references go to Bible Gateway.


#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter Y

Youth appears in the Bible fewer than 100 times, varying with the translation searched. Youth may mean an age range towards the beginning of a person’s life or a young person (especially a young man.) Youth is used in the Bible in several places to set out a length of time – ‘from my youth until now’. It also continues into early adulthood. There are references to the wife of your youth Proverbs 5:18 and the children of one’s youth. Psalm 127:4

The word Young appears many more times, but describes animals as well as people.

Youth does not disqualify anyone from serving God Jeremiah 1:6-7 and 1 Timothy 4:12

The psalmist asks God not to remember the wrong-doings of his youth. Psalm 25:7

The Psalmist has been taught by God and trusted him from his youth. Psalm 71:5 and Psalm 71:17.

Youth is renewed like an eagle’s. Psalm 103:5

There is advice to the young Ecclesiastes 11-12

A young missionary

A young disciple, Timothy was living in Lystra, where his mother was a Jewish disciple. Paul heard about Timothy from believers in Lystra and Iconium (towns in Asia Minor) and wanted to take Timothy with him on his travels. Because Timothy’s father was Greek, Paul decided that Timothy should be circumcised. (Paul’s writings about circumcision do not seem to agree with this decision, which seemed to be to please the local Jews.)

Timothy travelled with Paul, Silas and other companions, who sometimes went ahead of or stayed behind Paul. Luke was sometimes in this group and gives some first-hand accounts in the book of the Acts of the Apostles about the events in places they visited.

After travelling with Paul and learning much from him and his companions, Timothy was sent to Macedonia with Erastus. Paul with his companions, caught up with Timothy after a riot in Ephesus, caused by people, whose livelihoods were threatened if Christianity were to replace the worship of Artemis. The companions were Sopater, Aristarchus, Secundus, Gaius, Tychicus and Trophimus – men from places Paul had visited in Macedonia and farther east. Luke’s party joined them at Troas, where a remarkable event occurred.

Paul was talking late into the night. He had a lot to say before his planned departure the following day. A young man named Eutychus was sitting in a window on the third storey. He couldn’t stay awake and fell to the ground. The fall killed him, but Paul went to him and threw his arms around him.

Then Paul announced. ‘He’s alive.’

Paul went on talking until daylight. The young man went home alive and the people were greatly encouraged.

After his adventures with Paul, Timothy became a pastor in Ephesus. He received two letters from Paul encouraging him in his ministry. The first letter was sent from Philippi and the second from Rome three years later. Paul regarded him as a son and warned him not to allow people to disregard him on account of his youth.


The stories may be found in the Acts of the Apostles Acts 16-20
Paul and Timothy wrote to the Corinthians 2 Corinthians 1:1 and the Colossians
Paul’s letters to Timothy are 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy

Timothy is mentioned:
in 1 Corinthians 4:17 Paul was sending him to Corinth
in 1 Corinthians 16:10 Paul recommends Timothy to the Corinthians
in 2 Corinthians 1:19 Paul, Silas and Timothy have preached to the Corinthians

Paul wrote with Timothy to the Philippians and hoped to send Timothy to them soon. Philippians 2:19-22

Timothy had returned from visiting Thessalonica 1 Thessalonians 3:2-6 when Paul, Silas and Timothy wrote to the Thessalonians.

Some of the information in this post was from The Amazing Collection for Women, Big Dream Ministries. 2005/2006

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Xenophobia #AtoZChallenge

This year for the Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge I have chosen a single word for each letter of the alphabet. Each of these words is important in the Bible. I am including a story in each post. Links from biblical references go to Bible Gateway.

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter X

Xenophobia means the fear of strangers. The word does not appear in the Bible. Letter X is always tricky!

However the Bible has plenty to say about strangers, aliens, foreigners, sojourners and Gentiles (non-Jews). The Law given to Moses has rules for the treatment of these people, who may not be worshippers of the Lord. They were to be treated with justice. Exodus 22:21;23:9; Leviticus 19:33,34; Deuteronomy 1:16;10:19;24:1 (Bible Gateway topical)

Ruth and Naomi

In the history of God’s chosen people, they were often strangers themselves, travelling to the Promised Land, exiled or travelling for various reasons. (Letter I and Letter P)

The well-known story of Joseph is set in a time when there was a famine. A later story from the time when Judges ruled begins with a famine.

Naomi and her husband Elimelech lived in Bethlehem with their two sons, Mahlon and Kilion.

Because of the famine, Elimelech and his family went to a country the other side of the Dead Sea – Moab. They settled there, but Elimelech died leaving Naomi with her two sons. Life was very hard for widows in those days. Naomi’s sons married local girls, Orpah and Ruth. After about ten years of living abroad, Mahlon and Kilion also died.

Naomi received word that the Lord had provided food for the people in her original home. She and her daughters-in-law prepared to go to Bethlehem. They all set off together, but Naomi began to wonder what would be in store for her daughters-in-law as foreigners in a place they did not know.

She told them to return to their own mothers and prayed that they would find new husbands. Both Orpah and Ruth declared that they would stay with Naomi, but she argued with them, spelling out the difficulties they would face. Orpah was convinced and returned home, but Ruth promised to stay with Naomi. ‘Where you go I will go. Your God will be my God.’

They continued on their journey until they arrived at Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning. Some of the people in Bethlehem recognised Naomi after all this time. She told them not to call her Naomi (which means pleasant), but Mara (bitter). She blamed God for the change in her circumstances. (Letter N mentions the meaning of names.)

Ruth as a foreigner had the right to glean in the fields, picking up the grain the harvesters had missed. She went out to a field and began to glean. It was a field belonging to one of the relatives of her late father-in-law – a well-to-do man named Boaz. He protected and helped her while she was working in his field even leaving sheaves for her to collect.

Another part of the Law set out that a widow should be married to a close kinsman of her husband and any children would be considered to be from her first marriage.

Boaz was not the closest relative, but acted according to the custom of the time to ascertain that the closer relative did not wish to carry out his duty as a redeemer-kinsman.

Ruth and Boaz were married and Naomi was blessed with a grandson, Obed. Obed grew up and became the father of Jesse, whose youngest son became King David.

Boaz, Obed, Jesse and David all were ancestors of Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus. Thus Jesus was from the House of David. Interestingly Boaz’s mother was Rahab from Jericho. She had helped Joshua’s spies.


The story of Ruth is told in the book of Ruth. It is only four chapters long and well worth reading. Rahab’s story is in Joshua 2 and Joshua 6. The genealogy is in Matthew 1:1-17.

Joseph’s story is in Genesis 37-50.

Two occasions when Jesus met Gentile women are in Matthew 15:21-28 and John 4:1-42

Bobbie Ann Cole (mentioned in my post for Letter V) is also looking at the story of Ruth.

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Vision #AtoZChallenge

This year for the Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge I have chosen a single word for each letter of the alphabet. Each of these words is important in the Bible. I am including a story in each post. Links from biblical references go to Bible Gateway.

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter V


Vision has a few meanings. It can mean eyesight or a waking dream or foresight (imagining or being aware of what will happen in the future). The word appears over 100 times in the Bible.

Dreams and visions are often mentioned together as ways God speaks to people. Often they are accompanied by a voice from heaven.

In the Old Testament only a small proportion of the population were reported to have visions from God. They were all prophets. Numbers 12:6

In the New Testament prophecy became more usual as the Holy Spirit began to be given to all believers.

To jump to the story A strange vision click here.

Abraham and Jacob had visions. Genesis 15 and Genesis 46:1-4

All these prophets had visions: Samuel 1 Samuel 3 ,Nathan, Ahijah the Shilonite, Iddo 2 Chronicles 9:29, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Micah, Nahum, Zechariah (not the father of John the baptiser, but an earlier prophet.)

While some visions were of good things in the future, others were warnings of disaster. Isaiah’s vision of a vineyard Isaiah 5:1-7

In the New Testament important visions were given to Saul, who became Paul, and Ananias, who healed Paul’s blindness. Acts 9:1-19

Zechariah the father of John the baptiser had a vision Luke 1:22

A strange vision

While I was staying at Simon the Tanner’s house in Jaffa, I made a habit of resting and praying on the roof in the afternoons. After all it was too hot to do anything at that time of day.

One afternoon I was almost asleep, when I saw a vision of a large sheet descending from heaven. It was being held by its four corners and contained all kinds of living creatures. None of them was the sort, which have cloven hooves and chew the cud. They reminded me of the sea creatures we used to throw back as useless.

Then a voice said, ‘Rise up, Peter. Kill and eat.’

There was nothing permitted for us Jews with our strict dietary rules. I realised it was the Lord, but I could not believe what he was saying.

‘Surely not, Lord.’

He told me not to call anything impure or unclean that he had made. This happened three times. The Lord likes to do things in threes. I recall how he asked me three times on the beach, ‘Do you love me?’

Then there was a knock on the door; some Gentiles were asking for me. Without the vision I’d not have had any dealings with them. My wits may not be the quickest, but even I could see what this vision had been about.

I invited them in and listened to their request. The next day we travelled to Cornelius’ house, so that I could speak about the Lord Jesus.

Then what the prophet Joel had foretold came true as the Gentile believers received the Holy Spirit just as we had and were baptised afterwards .


This story is based on Acts 10-11:18, John 21:15-19 and Joel 2:28

I wrote the first draft during an online writers’ day run by the Association of Christian Writers in a workshop led by Bobbie Ann Cole.