How Much Jesus Feels

Imagine how Jesus must have felt after the death of his dear cousin, John the Baptist. “I’ve got to get away and be alone for a while,” he thought. Perhaps he found himself thinking about what might happen to him if he kept doing what God his Father wanted of him, just as St. John did. Yet greater than any worry about himself, Jesus felt deep compassion for the crowds who kept pressing after him. “They were like sheep without a shepherd” (v. 34). The word for “compassion” used in the original Greek language is one of very deep inner feelings—like one’s stomach turning from being so upset.

Spend lots of time today thinking about the love and compassion Jesus has for you. Not only that, but Jesus wants to share with you his same feelings of love for others, so that he can continue to have all that compassion through you.

Mark 6:30-34; 53-56

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer from today’s reading:
One with You in compassion
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the eighth of thirteen weeks in the season of Pentecost, Year B.
Sundays are dedicated to the Gospels from
The Revised Common Lectionary

Calendar for 2018: “God’s Year of Grace”

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…

 

Moses Recalls the Journey

We begin the fifth and final book of the first part of the Bible called the “Torah.” The title of the book “Deuteronomy,” comes from the Greek language meaning “The Second Law” because the contents of the book repeat much of what we read in earlier books of the Torah. However, the title in Hebrew comes from the first Hebrew word at the beginning of the book, Devarim, meaning “The Words.” The whole book is the words of Moses to God’s people assembled together just before the final part of their journey to the Promised Land. Since this is forty years after the Exodus, it means that all the people listening to Moses never actually went across the Red Sea that split open when God’s people went forth from Egypt from slavery to freedom. So Moses had to keep the memory of these events alive for the new listeners.

Let’s line up with the vast crowd listening to Moses talk. Picture him in your mind. What a great man! His speech is for all those about to enter the Promised Land, However, he’ll be dying soon before he gets there, because of his earlier complaining about God’s people. Watch out: don’t be a complainer!

Deuteronomy 2:1-8

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
You with me on the journey 2:2ff
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.

Calendar for 2018: “God’s Year of Grace”

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 Balloon

Imagine what it would be like to make a balloon look blown up by stretching it from its outer surface. You would have to glue lots and lots of strings all over the outside of the balloon, then pull on all these strings to stretch it. It just wouldn’t work, would it? The only way that a balloon can expand is if there is air pumping into the inside.

As silly as is this attempt to stretch a balloon from without rather than from within, it’s just this kind of thing that Jesus says is the difference between what makes for real devotion to God and what makes for phony talk. Some persons put on a show to tell people that they love God by pretending to love God; really, they are only interesting in impressing others about how good they are. This is like the balloon that tries to grow big by being stretched from the outside, because there is no inside air—no Holy Spirit. Real love for God is the kind that fills us with joy and peace that makes our hearts like a balloon bursting with love. What kind of a heart do you want to have?

Mark 7:1-23

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Thinking and speaking goodness  vv.14-15
For more information about
this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the seventh of thirteen weeks in the season of Pentecost, Year B.
Fridays are dedicated to the New Testament, except the Gospels.
We read the Gospel of Mark in Year B.

Calendar for 2018: “God’s Year of Grace”

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…

What It Feels Like to Be Sorry

Today’s part of this letter of St. Paul is like reading a letter intended for somebody else. Those first receiving the letter know all about what Paul is talking about, but we don’t know the details of the sins and wrongs about which Paul is speaking.

But this doesn’t really matter, because Paul writes some basic ideas about sin, sorrow, guilt and shame that help us to see two ways of feeling badly for the mistakes and sins we commit. One way is to feel guilt; this is like a knot in the stomach; it feels heavy and unpeaceful. The other way of feeling is to have genuine sorrow which feels might lighter, because we trust that saying “I’m sorry” will be welcomed by the one hurt by what we did. In that case we believe that we are still loved and that the other’s forgiveness will make us be happy friends once again. That’s the way God loves us. God just wants what is broken in our relation with God to be healed.

2 Corinthians 7:10-13

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Thank You for Your healing love. v.13
For more information about this creative way to pray,
see Bible Breaths.

This is the seventh of thirteen weeks in the season of Pentecost, Year B.
Thursdays are dedicated to the New Testament, except the Gospels.
In this season we read 2 Corinthians.

Calendar for 2018: “God’s Year of Grace”

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 Spirit Singing Inside

Court TV used to be very popular, as well as programs such as Judge Judy, Texas Justice, Animal Court and others. In a world where justice doesn’t always get done, we like to know that there are some places were it is working just fine.

But Asaph, the writer of this psalm, believes that only God is judge, for only God can really bring about the end of injustice. I’m sure that Asaph is aware that this doesn’t always seem to be the case, but he knows that God is much greater than he is. Human courthouses and judges need to look to God who made heaven and earth as the One who makes justice possible.

Take a look at verse 9. Asaph praises and sings about God. Here’s something you can do. Find a verse of one of your favorite hymns and sing it at various times. You might hum or whistle the melody—or do what I find myself doing sometimes: singing it in my head as I tap the rhythm with my teeth! Sometimes I find this happening all by itself; I believe it’s really the Holy Spirit doing the singing inside.

Psalm 75

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer from today’s reading:
I will rejoice forever. v. 9
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the seventh of thirteen weeks in the season of Pentecost, Year B.
Wednesdays are dedicated the Psalms.

Calendar for 2018: “God’s Year of Grace”

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…

Hinges

Well, the Temple is all done and now Solomon finds himself with some quiet time with God alone. God appears to Solomon. Listen closely to what God says to him…and to you and me as well.

The whole future of God’s promises to Solomon and to his people are like a great door that will open and close if the hinges are oiled and the door is set perfectly into the hinges. Such a great door feels like it is floating on air when it is hung this way. It can be opened just by pushing against it with your finger.

The two hinges for God’s message today are “if” and “then.” If Solomon acts with the same goodness of heart of his father, the great King David, and if he stays close to God, then the doorway to God’s future will open wide. But if the conditions are not met, the doorway to God will be closed tight.

What do you think and feel from this reading? God has some wonderful things in mind for you, just as God had for Solomon. Just dream about the years to come, and picture what you might be doing, and what you might be feeling.

1 Kings 9:1-9

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer from today’s reading:
Your name always in my heart 9:3
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the seventh of thirteen weeks in the season of Pentecost, Year B
Tuesdays are dedicated to Hebrew History and “The Writings.” For the rest of this season, we read 1 Kings.

Calendar for 2018: “God’s Year of Grace”

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…

Saying Sorry to God

AnimFireStarter

Have you ever glued something together and then wanted to pull it apart? There is a little time after you put the glued objects together that they can still be undone…but after that, it may be just too late.

The prophet Hosea puts the sins of God’s people in front of their face, so that they might repent. However, it looks like it is too late; they have gone just too far away from God; they’ve cut themselves off, like Herod from yesterday’s reading.

It’s never too late for you and me. There was a thief on a cross next to Jesus who spent his life away from God. But there next to Jesus on the cross, he was given the gift of love for God and repentance for his sins. He went right to heaven with Jesus!

Is there anything you have done for which you are truly sorry when you picture yourself next to Jesus on the cross? Just say you’re sorry to God and to those whom you have hurt, and you can begin to feel the joy of being in heaven right now! Let’s not stay glued to our wrongs!

Hosea 8

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer from today’s reading:
Always seeking what is true. v. 3
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the sixth of thirteen weeks in the season of Pentecost, Year B.
Thursdays are dedicated to the New Testament, except the Gospels.
In this season we read 2 Corinthians.

Calendar for 2018: “God’s Year of Grace”

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…