Jesus Changes Everything

If John’s birth was a miracle, how much more was the birth of Jesus!   He only had a mother–his Father was God.  As you read the story of the coming birth of Jesus, you’ll hear the Angel Gabriel promise these wondrous things that are going to take place in Mary’s life.  Much different from Zechariah, the father of John, Mary only wonders and believes what is going to happen to her.  

Sit beside Mary as she hears the joyous promises of Gabriel.  The birth of Jesus changes everything!

 Luke 1:26-56

Fridays are dedicated to the Gospels.
This year in the season of Advent to Epiphany
we read the Infancy Narratives of St. Luke followed by Matthew 1—8.

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 of these introductions with you on your phone or table! Check the menu options at the site for more information.

Strength to Do What is Right

When someone barely lifts a great weight, it can’t be hold up very long.  Soon the muscles weaken and the weight must be dropped.  Sometimes being good may feel like a great weight that we have to push up. Eventually, our spiritual muscles tire and we may fall into doing wrong.  

But we are not left to ourselves! Jesus bore the weight of sin upon the cross so that we wouldn’t have to.   God’s grace is released in Jesus’s death. We learn this from the reading today: God’s strength in us is what helps us do what is right.

 Titus 2:11-14

Thursdays are dedicated to the New Testament, except the Gospels. 

This year in the season of Advent to Epiphany
we read the letters of Titus, Philemon, Galatians and Philippians.

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 of these introductions with you on your phone or table! Check the menu options at the site for more information.

A Leap from the Manger

The Psalm invites us to take a leap from the cold damp manger where Jesus was born, to the very heights of heaven where Jesus now reigns.  God laughs at evil and meanness, because God knows that the days of evil are numbered.   While bad things will happen, the Holy Spirit moves into those very dark spaces and calls forth persons who will respond to love, rather than hate.  God sees good in the middle of evil and wants to share this with you and everyone. 

Take time with God in prayer to find out what this means.  Maybe it is has to do with something personal in your life.  Be patient.  The way out of a wrong and hurtful situation may not be so clear.  Wait upon the Lord and ask God to show you the way out.

Psalm 2

Wednesdays are dedicated to the Psalms.
This year in the season of Advent to Epiphany we read Psalms 1—13.

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 of these introductions with you on your phone or table! Check the menu options at the site for more information.

Tomorrow—a Day to Love

Forty years have passed since the waters parted in the Red Sea and the Exodus began.  Now in the River Jordan, the waters are going to pull apart again so that God’s people can walk on dry ground into the land God had promised them.

The verse for today is Joshua’s promise and encouragement to the people to look forward to what is going to happen the next day. Feel the excitement of the crowd as they look forward to making this crossing.

As you fall asleep tonight, hear the words of Joshua addressed to you. God wants to show you another wonderful day tomorrow–the miracle of creation and you a part of it.  Life itself is amazing, but it will be even more so, if you fall asleep looking forward to another day of loving God and one another.

Joshua 3

Tuesdays are dedicated to the Old Testament books of history and the Hebrew “Writings.”
This year in the season of Advent to Epiphany
we read Joshua and Proverbs 1—3

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 of these introductions with you on your phone or table! Check the menu options at the site for more information.

No More Mini-Wars!

What a promise we hear: no more wars!  It doesn’t seem very close to happening, since factories all over the world make tanks, rifles and explosives for war.

But still, God gives Isaiah a look at a future.  Like the birth of John the Baptist and Jesus, the unexpected and un-hoped for actually happens…even in the case of war! 

The question for today is: what can you and I do to be sure “mini-wars” don’t happen in our lives that come from arguments, unkindness and lack of love?

Isaiah 2:1-4

Mondays are dedicated to the prophets.
This year in the season of Advent to Epiphany we read Isaiah 1—12.

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 of these introductions with you on your phone or table! Check the menu options at the site for more information.

A Voice Calls to You

From the closed, holy space of the temple last Sunday, we come today to the wide open space of the desert.  Last week we heard the voice of the Angel Gabriel; this week, we hear the intense preaching of John the Baptist in a place where not much lives—the desert.  Yet people came in great crowds to hear him. They were drawn to his message about what would make them happy and free when they repented.  

Join with the crowd and listen as the Holy Spirit in the voice of John reaches into your very soul and calls you to the joy of this season.

Matthew 3:1-12

On Sundays we follow the Gospels from the Revised Common Lectionary.
In the Advent season we read the stories of John the Baptist
and Jesus’s birth stories.

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 of these introductions with you on your phone or table! Check the menu options at the site for more information.

Like a Boomerang

Jacob has a dream about a staircase leading up to heaven. Angels were going up and down, with God at the very top. Imagine what it would be like to wake up from such a dream! Jacob realizes that he has been called by God, just as his grandfather, Abraham, to be the leader of a people very special to God.

God doesn’t refuse this gift leadership to Jacob, even though Jacob had dressed up like Esau, and received the special blessing meant for the first born son, Esau. Still, lies and dishonesty seem to follow Jacob around, as you will read read in Jacob meeting Rachel and the stories that follow.

Jacob’s future and those of his descendants, will be haunted in some way by jealousy and meanness. Like a boomerang, “What goes around, comes around!”

Genesis 28:10—30:13

The Saturday passages follow the reading list that Jewish people use in their synagogue worship throughout the world. They are taken from
“The Torah,” the first five books of the Bible from Genesis to Deuteronomy that are read each year beginning with autumn.

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 of these introductions with you on your phone or table! Check the menu options at the site for more information.