Where Only God Belongs

 

Imagine taking the whole history of our country and putting it into a few paragraphs. That’s what the writer of this psalm does with hundreds of years of the history of our Hebrew ancestors. Five books of the Bible are spread out like a painting made with big, long strokes—”brushing” all of this history into forty-five verses.

Like the writer of this psalm who sees the hand and love of God in the sweep of long years of history, so does God take you by your hand and lead you along from being a child to a full-grown person. Being grown-up is not just about having the body of an adult, it means growing more and more into the mature person God is calling you to be.

What would it be like for you to take your life up to this point and put into several verses? It might be a way for you to step back and take a look at it God’s eye and hand upon you.  Believe that the whole sweep of your life has God’s loving presence making it all happen.

Psalm 106: 1-9; 47-48

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Praise the Lord, now and always. v. 48
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the Seventh Week in Epiphany
Winter in the north.  Year C
Wednesdays are dedicated to the Psalms

Seasons of Grace – A Calendar for 2019

Solar and Sacred Seasons
Some adjustments to make the church year simpler.

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…

Standing Under Life

AnimFireStarter
I was listening to a contest of some rock musicians to see who was the best. It all sounded the same, with words to songs that couldn’t be understood. Not much melody…lots of noise…lots of loud instruments…lots of quick, jerky movements on the part of the contestants. I didn’t like it!

These actions are like the surface of the ocean when there is a storm–very rough, shaking everything that floats on top of it. But when we have wisdom and understanding it’s like being beneath the sea with oxygen to fill us so that we can swim around and see how beautiful and how silent the deep parts of the sea are. Like the depths of the ocean, each one of us has a deep part and is called to respond to the silent calls of God about how God wants us to live in this world that God has created for us.

Today, think about what it is to think! Now that may sound a bit weird, but when we step back and consider how wonderful it is even to think and feel, then we pass beneath the things that worry us, or anger us or make us sad, and are able to understand thinking and feeling as gifts from God. Appreciating this brings wisdom and understanding–to “stand under” life, finding the joy of living itself.

The writer of Proverbs says that such wisdom is more valuable than precious stones, for nothing can compare with knowing how to enjoy life and live life according to God’s plan.

Proverbs 8:1-16

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Wisdom is better than pearls  v. 11
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the Seventh Week in Epiphany
Winter in the north.  Year C
Tuesdays are dedicated in this season to the Book of Esther

Seasons of Grace – A Calendar for 2019

Solar and Sacred Seasons
Some adjustments to make the church year simpler.

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…

 

God Makes the Future Happen

Wolf and lamb will graze together,
    and the lion will eat straw like the ox,
    but the snake—its food will be dust.
They won’t hurt or destroy at any place on my holy mountain,
    says the Lord.

Yesterday we were writing about how loving God is in deciding to make each one of us. The idea of God being up to something creative all the time is what this beautiful reading from Isaiah is all about.

Look at all the action words that Isaiah uses to tell us what God is going to do. You will read the words “I will” followed by what God is going to make happen. This occurs very many times in this reading…just count them!

The whole passage is filled with promises meant to give us hope and happiness when we think about the future. What is going to happen has God’s hand in it. God makes the future happen May this bring you comfort as you grow each day to trust in God.

Isaiah 65:17-25

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
You answer when I call you. v. 24
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the Seventh Week in Epiphany
Winter in the north.  Year C
Mondays are dedicated in this season to the prophet Isaiah.

Seasons of Grace – A Calendar for 2019

Solar and Sacred Seasons
Some adjustments to make the church year simpler.

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…

Rich When We Are Poor

Poor persons are those who don’t have very much power or influence because they don’t have much money. But you know something? Even the richest person in the world is poor! “How?” you will say. Well, because being poor isn’t only about how much money you don’t have.

We were completely poor and without power about whether we would be conceived and born! “Of course,” you will say. “We weren’t around to be asked if we would like to be born or not–or when or where, or to which parents.” Right! It is really God’s decision that you and I come into this world–with the help of our parents, or course. But it’s all up to God who made us. Now that’s being poor!

If we understand this way of being poor and are grateful to God for creating us, then there is joy and happiness that will have us want live in God’s ways…which is another way of saying the “Kingdom of God.” So when you pray over these blessings that St. Luke is sharing with you, you will become very happy—and also rich…even if you don’t have a penny in your pocket! By being happy and grateful to God for being born, we become rich, even when we are poor!

Luke 6:17-23

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
When I’m poor, then I am rich v. 20
For more information about this creative way to pray,
see Bible Breaths.

This is the Seventh Week in Epiphany
Winter in the north.  Year C
Sundays are dedicated to the Gospels from
The Revised Common Lectionary

Seasons of Grace – A Calendar for 2019

Solar and Sacred Seasons
Some adjustments to make the church year simpler.

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…

Hear—Do—Go

Slaughter the ram. Take some of its blood and smear it on the right earlobes of Aaron and his sons, on the thumbs of their right hands, and on the big toes of their right feet. Throw the rest of the blood against all the altar’s sides.

Exodus 29:20

Times certainly have changed; God no longer needs us to apply the blood of a ram to eyes, hands and feet so that they become holy and dedicated to God. Since Jesus suffered and died for us, we don’t need the blood of any animals to make a connection to God!

So don’t think so much about the blood being applied to Aaron’s and his sons’ ears, their right thumbs and the big toes of their right foot. Meditate instead about what it means to hear God (the ears), to do what God wants (the hands) and to go where God wants us to go (the feet). These three parts of our body are very important when it comes to God. What can you do to make yourself aware of the holiness of your ears, hands and feet? You might take another very ancient sign of anointing–olive oil. Ask Mom to let you have a few drops. Rub your ear lobes with the oil, then your right thumb and your right big toe. This may seem a bit weird, but doing this lets you know how much God wants to you listen, act and move according to God’s wonderful plan for you. Ask God to make you be aware that all the parts of your body belong to God to fill God’s wishes for your life.

Something else: scented Candles are popular; how much smells can bring peaceful feelings! Lighting candles can be a lovely way of being reminded that Jesus is the light of the world. Jewish people begin the Sabbath on Friday evenings at sundown by lighting the Sabbath candles and having them burn all during the Sabbath. It’s one of the reminders of how special the Sabbath is. Maybe you could do the same…and include Sunday as too, the special day of rest for Christians, because of the day when Jesus rose from the dead. (Careful about candles burning when no one’s around!)

Exodus 29:19-21; 30:1-9

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
I listen, I act, I go  29:20
For more information about this creative way to pray,
see Bible Breaths.

Saturdays are dedicated to the Sabbath Torah portions
read in synagogues throughout the world.
This plan follows those traditions that take a third of the portion
over a three year cycle, this year, the second part.
For more about the Torah portions and thoughtful commentaries, visit
The Jewish Theological Seminary.

Seasons of Grace – A Calendar for 2019

Solar and Sacred Seasons
Some adjustments to make the church year simpler.

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…

The Greatest Love


This is why I tell you that her many sins have been forgiven;
so she has shown great love. The one who is forgiven little loves little.”

Someone near death is healed…a dead boy comes back to life—these two amazing miracles of Jesus are meant to occupy our thoughts and lives today. As I’ve often said before, imagine that you are there as all the eyes pop and people pound each other on the back with amazement.

Then we shift to John the Baptist having some very anxious moments in prison. What moments wouldn’t be so, especially if you were thrown in a dungeon for no reason, except that you are reminding a wicked king that he’s not doing right! So there in the middle of his cell, John earnestly asks those visiting him if Jesus is the one promised to come and save the people. They tell him, “He sure is!” Listen to the enthusiasm of his visitors and sense the joy shared with John that God wants to share with you.

And then there’s a sinful woman who comes and shows Jesus in public how much she loves him. There go those eyes wide open again! This time, it’s another kind of miracle: someone who is a sinner, says she’s sorry, because she found the greatest love in her life: Jesus.

You know something? Jesus is the greatest love in your life too! So spend four parts of your day with these four stories and let Jesus show you how much you’re loved because you’re a very important part of the Gospel stories.

Luke 7

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
  “Go in peace; your faith has saved.” v. 50
For more information about
this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the Sixth Week in Epiphany
Winter in the north.  Year C
On Fridays we read the Gospel of Luke

Seasons of Grace – A Calendar for 2019

Solar and Sacred Seasons
Some adjustments to make the church year simpler.

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…

Keep the Ball Rolling

We have a most reliable prophetic word, and you would do well to pay attention to it, just as you would to a lamp shining in a dark place,
until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

2 Peter 1:19

Astronomers enjoying the sunset at Paranal, on ESO’s Very Large Telescope’s platform, just before the beginning of their night-time observations. The dome of one of the VLT’s Auxiliary Telescopes is seen in the foreground. The crescent Moon and, to its left, planet Venus, make for a beautiful scenery.


St. Peter has only one thing on his mind: write down what he wants people to remember forever…for he feels that the end of his life is near.

Peter recalls that absolutely wonderful experience of seeing “Previews of Coming Attractions”—a glimpse at what Jesus’ risen is like, before Jesus died, on top of a high mountain. We’ll be reading the story in the Gospel on a Sunday coming soon.

Ever catch the first light of dawn and see a bright star? That’s the morning star, Venus. It’s also the evening star when it’s on the other side of its orbit. So from morning to evening, catch Peter and his excitement about being sure that those he loves get the message of Jesus before he dies. He wants the Holy Spirit in him to be inside you, so that you can keep the spiritual ball rolling!

2 Peter 1:13-25

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Morning star rising in me v. 19
For more information about this creative way to pray,
see Bible Breaths.

This is the Sixth Week in Epiphany
Winter in the north.  Year C
Thursdays in this season are dedicated to the the letters of Peter

Seasons of Grace – A Calendar for 2019

Solar and Sacred Seasons
Some adjustments to make the church year simpler.

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…