Every daily devotion in 365 Trivia Twist Devotions is based on a historical happening, intriguing invention, or offbeat holiday associated with that calendar day. From George Washington's birthday to National Waffle Day, each reveals the truths of God's Word in a fun new way. Bible verses and additional fun facts help to give every day of the year its own unique trivia twist.
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Read an Excerpt
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Today starts a brand-new year! Celebrate!
New Year's Day is one of the worlds oldest holidays. In fact, it was first observed nearly 4,000 years ago by the ancient Babylonians (that's a lot of New Year's Day celebrations!). But it was not always celebrated on the first of January. The Babylonians observed the start of the new year on the first day of spring, as did many other cultures. It wasn't until much later, when the Romans came to power, that January 1 was set as the official start of the new year.
The date may have changed, but one New Year's Day tradition has remained the same — making New Year's resolutions. Even the early Babylonians marked the start of a new year with making resolutions. But while our modern resolutions tend to be about losing weight or exercising more, the most popular ancient Babylonian resolution was to return borrowed farm equipment!
Almost everyone makes resolutions. Maybe you resolve to read your Bible every day. Maybe you promise to finish all your homework before you go online or watch television. Perhaps your resolution is to be nicer to your brother or sister. Or maybe you have something borrowed that needs to be returned!
New Year's resolutions are fun to make; sometimes we even keep them. But more often than not, our resolve weakens after a few days. By the time February rolls around, those promises are long forgotten. But before you get too discouraged, there is good news. There is one whose Word you can count on, day in and day out. God's promises will never change. His resolutions will stay strong from January 1 through December 31, each and every year. Depend on His promises to help you keep yours.
A PENNY SAVED
Today is Thrift with Flair Day!
Bet you didn't know that there was a day to celebrate being thrifty! The First Annual National Thrift with Flair Day was created in 2000 to help families who had spent too much money on stuff they didn't need to make a fresh start on getting control of the family budget.
Actually, that's not a bad idea. How are you doing in the money department? Maybe you get a weekly allowance. Or maybe you just received some money as a Christmas gift. Whatever your financial situation, this is a good time to consider how you spend your money. Consider the following questions: What was the last item you purchased? Did you really need it? How much money do you save? How much do you give to God as offering?
It's tempting when you have some money in your pocket to buy the latest album of your favorite band, or to buy another pair of jeans before your old ones are worn-out. But what happens when you really need something, or the offering plate comes around on Sunday, and you have nothing left?
The fact is, God has given us everything that we have or own. How we spend our money reflects how we feel about God. If we put God first, then we will try to honor Him with the way we spend and use our money. That means making good decisions about what to buy and when, how much to save, and how much to give back to God. But if we spend money as if we love it more than God, watch out! Well be joining the ranks of those people who inspired Thrift with Flair Day in the first place!
As Jesus put it, we can't love God and money equally. Who do you love?
Today is the Festival of Sleep Day.
It's probably safe to say that we don't give much thought to our sleep habits — certainly not enough to devote a day to celebrate sleeping! We all know it's something we have to do in order to stay healthy. Most of us know that we don't feel well when we don't get enough sleep. But that's about as far as our thinking on the subject goes.
Consider the following facts:
We will spend about a thud of our fife sleeping.
Teens need an average of 10 hours of sleep each night — as much as a young child.
If it takes you less than five minutes to fall asleep at night you're sleep deprived. The ideal period of time for falling asleep is between 10 and 15 minutes, meaning you're still tired enough to sleep deeply but not so exhausted that you feel sleepy by morning.
Lack of sleep can affect our moods, our performance, and our ability to think.
The 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill off Alaska, the Challenger space shuttle disaster, and the Chernobyl nuclear accident have all been attributed to human errors in which sleep-deprivation played a role.
Getting a good night's sleep is important! Jesus knew that. On frequent occasions, Jesus and His disciples broke away from the crowds to rest (see Matthew 8:18 and Mark 6:31). And one time, Jesus was sound asleep while his disciples were battling a fierce storm (see Mark 4:35-41). The Bible tells us that rest is a gift from God. So before your head hits the pillow tonight, make sure to thank Him for a sleep-filled night!
Today is National Trivia Day.
Almost forty years ago, two friends got into a friendly argument over who was the better game player. In order to settle the argument fairly, the two created their own board game based on answering a series of, well, trivial questions. Eventually, they decided they had a moneymaking idea, and the Trivial Pursuit game was born. At first the game received a less than enthusiastic reception, selling only a few hundred copies when it debuted in 1982. But by 1984 word of mouth took over, and in that year alone, 20 million games were sold. There are several spin-offs on this popular game, including Trivial Pursuit Junior.
Trivia has become a national pastime. There are websites devoted to trivia of every imaginable sort — movies, books, sports, celebrities, food, animals. There are even books and games devoted to Bible trivia. Considering that trivia often has to do with unimportant, obscure facts, do you ever wonder why we are so obsessed with it?
Well it is fun. And there's that certain sense of personal satisfaction when you are the only one who knows which birds have been trained to tend sheep or what the biggest-selling restaurant food happens to be (OK, the answers are geese and French fries). Still, Jesus reminds us that only one thing is truly important — and that's to make God's concerns our No. 1 priority. When we fill our minds with God's thoughts, His desires, and the concerns of His heart, everything else becomes, well, trivial.
BIRDS OF A FEATHER
Today is National Bird Day.
National Bird Day was created in 2003 as a day to celebrate and reflect on what we can learn from our fine-feathered friends. If you wish, you can get a book about birds at your local bookstore or library and try to identify the different types of birds that fly into your backyard. Or you can check out some interesting websites about birds. But did you know that you can learn much about — and from — buds just by reading the Bible?
There are more than 50 different references to birds in the Bible, and more than 34 different types are mentioned. The Bible tells us that God created birds for His own glory (Psalm 148:5, 7-10), that He provides them with food and shelter (Psalm 104:10-12,16-17), and that all the birds of this world belong to Him (Psalm 50:11). God created birds to sing (Song of Songs 2:12), to soar (Isaiah 40:31; Hosea 11:11), and to be tamed (James 3:7). Birds provide a source of food (Genesis 9:2-3), provide a source of wisdom (Job 12:7), and on one special occasion, provided airborne meals for God's prophet Elijah (1 Kings 17:2-6).
But the most important lesson we can learn from birds is how much God cares. In Matthew 10:29, we learn that God knows when even one sparrow falls to the ground. Think of all the buds in the world or even in your backyard. God cares specifically and tenderly for each one. So why is that important to know? Matthew 10:31 says, "So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." If God cares so much for just one little sparrow, imagine how much more He cares for you!
Samuel Morse demonstrates the telegraph for the first time in public.
In 1838 Samuel Morse unveiled the telegraph, demonstrating foe the first time how signals could be transmitted by wire. Using a system of dots and dashes — now known as Morse code — the New York University professor showed how people could communicate over long distances nearly instantaneously. In some ways, you could call this the earliest form of today's instant message — or IM.
The telegraph wasn't, however, an instant success. It took Congress five years to agree to give Morse the money to build an experimental telegraph line from Washington to Baltimore, a distance of 40 miles. The message, *What hath God wrought?* sent
later by Morse code from the old Supreme Court chamber in the United States Capitol to Baltimore, officially opened the completed line on May 24, 1844. Morse allowed Annie Ellsworth, the young daughter of a friend, to choose the words of the message, and she selected this now well-known verse from Numbers 23:23 in the King James Version.
Morse's invention revolutionized communication. Being able to communicate rapidly opened up a whole range of possibilities that before had been impossible. Imagine your work) without cell phones, emails, or IMs. You would have to walk to your friend's house to tell him anything, or send him or her a letter by good old snail mad. Thankfully, we don't need any type of electronic device to help us communicate with God. All we need to do is speak or think and instantaneously God hears us. Prayer has been, and always will be, our IM to God. Use it today!
YOU GOTTA HAVE HOPE
In 1785, a hot air balloon successfully crossed the English Channel for the first time.
Jean-Pieire Blanchard, a Frenchman, and his American passenger, Or. John Jeffries, became the first people to cross the English Channel by air balloon when they traveled from Dover to Calais. The trip was not without its perils. The two had to shed their clothes as the wind died and the balloon's airbag began to cool too quickly over the sea. For Blanchard, who had an avid interest in aviation, this was the beginning of many "firsts" for him. In 1793, Blanchard made the first ever balloon ascent in America, carrying a letter from President George Washington from Pennsylvania to New Jersey (the first airmail!). Blanchard also made the first balloon flights in Germany, Belgium, Poland, and the Netherlands.
But that's not his only claim to fame. The story goes that Blanchard also owns the record for the most consecutive number of times saying, "Gosh, I hope we make it," during one particularly hazardous trip. Hope certainly had to be a major part of every one of Blanchard's flights. But his hope was based on uncertainty. Blanchard really didn't know whether his balloon would land safely, or if the wind would die, or if the airbag would cool too quickly.
That's quite different from the hope we have as Christians. In the Bible hope is defined as looking forward to something you expect to happen. We can have that kind of confidence because of God's character. What God has done for us in the past is the guarantee of what He will do in the future. We have real hope because it is based in God Himself.
OUTSTANDING YOUNG PEOPLE
In 1981, Elvis Presley Day was declared in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, North and South Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
Elvis Presley was only 19 when he began his singing career in 1954. Two years later he was an international sensation. Over the span of his 23-year career, Elvis sold over one billion records worldwide, more than anyone else in record industry history. He received 14 Grammy nominations (won three), 149 of his songs appeared on Billboards Top 100 Pop Chart in America, and he won the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award when he was only 36 years old. He starred in 33 successful movies and made history with his television appearances and specials. But of all his many accomplishments, the one Elvis reportedly treasured the most was being named one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Nation in 1970 — an award based on outstanding personal achievement, patriotism, humanitarianism, and community service.
Had there been such an award given back in 553 BC certainly Daniel and his three friends would have been shoo-ins. Consider their accomplishments. The four Israelites were deported a foreign country, where they were forced the king's service. Alone, serving an arrogant who worshiped idols, Daniel made up his mind to remain obedient to God despite his circumstances. He refused to accept the king's food and wine, and his friends followed his example. God blessed their obedience and gave these young men special skills and abilities so that they found favor with the king. So it was not surprising that of all the young men in his service, the king chose Daniel and his friends as outstanding young men of the day.
You don't have to become an internationally known pop star to bean outstanding young man or woman. All it takes is what Daniel and his friends did — trusting and obeying God in whatever you do.
THE BLIND WILL SEE
In January 1929, the Seeing Eye was incorporated in Nashville, Tennessee, with the purpose of training dogs to guide the blind.
Dorothy Harmon Eustis, an American living in Switzerland, was breeding and training German shepherd dogs for service to the Swiss Army and European police departments. While Mrs. Eustis realized the desirable characteristics of the breed — its alertness, stamina, and responsibility — she didn't know the dog's full potential. On a visit to a school, she saw German shepherds being trained as guides for blinded veterans of World War I. Deeply impressed, she wrote an article about the dogs, entitled "The Seeing Eye."
That article reached a young man from Tennessee, Mortis Frank, who wrote, "Thousands of blind like me abhor being dependent on others. ... Train me and I will bring back my dog and show people here how a blind man can be absolutely on his own." After training Mr. Frank in Switzerland with his dog. Buddy, the three returned to the states and opened the Seeing Eye school in Nashville, Tennessee. Since 1929, the school has matched nearly 13,000 specially bred and trained dogs with nearly 6,000 men and women in North America.
During his three-year ministry on earth, Jesus didn't just train the blind — He completely restored their sight (Matthew 9:27-31; 12:22; Mark 10:46–52). But Jesus' mission was far more than just healing the physically blind. Jesus called those who were Wind to their sins — the spiritually bTind — to recognize their sins and turn to Him for forgiveness. How is your spiritual eyesight?
IF I ONLY HAD ...
Ray Bolger was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, in 1904.
Ray Bolger, the son of a housepainter, began his career as a song-and-dance man in Vaudeville back in the early 1930s. He brought his act to Broadway and eventually began making movies in 1936. Over the years he became known for his "rubbery" dancing style, which made him a natural when it came time to cast The Wizard of Oz. But Bolger at first refused the role assigned him — the Tin Man. Bolger said the part was too limiting for hits talents, and thankfully, the directors agreed. Ray Bolger went on to make movie history as the endearing Scarecrow — a role that he became closely identified with in his lifetime.
As the Scarecrow, Bolger's performance was unforgettable. We laughed at his clumsiness as he fell over himself trying to help Dorothy and the others. Our hearts were won over by his great concern for Dorothy's situation and his cleverness in rescuing her from the Wicked Witch. Yet the Scarecrow believed, "I'm a failure because I haven't got a brain."
Sometimes we can fall into that same trap — believing that we are failures because we aren't smart enough, or fast enough, or tall enough, or whatever. But the truth is that God has created you and me exactly the way he planned from the very beginning of time. He has given us unique abilities and gifts to use for his work. So think about it. Are you like the Scarecrow, thinking you lack something that you already have? Ask God to help you see the unique gifts He has given to you.
Excerpted from "365 Trivia Twist Devotions"
Copyright © 2018 David Veerman and Betsy Schmitt.
Excerpted by permission of B&H Publishing Group.
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