Praise: A Battering Ram

One of the oldest methods to beat down the fortress or castle of an enemy was to use a battering ram.  One kind was a great beam of wood suspended in a frame with wheels on it.   The structure would be rolled up again a castle wall and then have the beam start to swing back and forth, banging into the wall until it came tumbling down.

Whenever you feel afraid or sense something bad around you, just start praising God.  Praise is like a battering ram against a wall of fear.  Praising God will smash that wall and have it crumble to the ground!

Today, look about you. Give praise to God for all the gifts God has given you—the day itself, no matter what the weather! 

Psalm 149

Wednesdays are devoted to the reading of the Psalms,
one a week across the three-year cycle.

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.

Good King Josiah

Like a great pendulum, swinging back and forth, so are the kings of Judah: good ones, bad ones, good ones, bad ones.  As we come to the end of 2 Chronicles, we listen to the story of the good King Josiah.  He expresses sorrow for all the great sins of past kings by ripping his clothes, an ancient sign of repentance.  He cleans up the Temple and makes it a wonderful place to worship God again, and to celebrate the great festivals, such as the Passover.

In the second part of today’s reading, you will learn about King Josiah’s great courage in the face of the wicked King Neco of Egypt.  King Neco tries to trick King Josiah and to get him to be totally afraid of King Neco and to surrender.  King Josiah would hear nothing of it.  He went into battle for God.  Though fatally wounded, he didn’t want to die anywhere but in Jerusalem…just like Jesus who died for us in Jerusalem.

 2 Chronicles 34:30-33; 35:20-25

What feelings and holy desires does today’s reading stir up inside you?   In Jesus, you are not only a priest, but also a king and a prophet as well!

Tuesdays are dedicated to the the History and Writings
of the Hebrew Scriptures.

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.

Goodness and Kindness

When great prophets like Malachi preach, they don’t “sugar-coat” their words: they just tell it as it is.  In today’s chapter, Malachi confronts the priests of those days who were making a show out of worship, rather than an expression of love and service to God. 

In verse 7 Malachi shares the qualities of a true priest: “The lips of the priest should guard knowledge; everyone should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger from the Lord of heavenly forces.”

The greatest priest is Jesus.  So great is he, that because of his resurrection, he shares his own priesthood with all who believe in him.  Today, be very aware that you are a priest; then speak and act in ways that let the qualities of goodness and kindness shine.

Malachi 2:1-9

Mondays are dedicated to the reading of the Hebrew Prophets.

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.

Yoked with Christ

Imagine if the plow last Spring was lazy—just wanted to stay in the shed and not have to push its pointed tip against the soil.  There would be no seed; there would be no harvest for us to give thanks to God for on Thanksgiving.  

God’s Word is like seed, falling into the soul as though the soul were soil.  Like the plow, we need to do work, loosening the soul’s soil.  Once that is done, the Word of God simply drops into our hearts, ready to have our lives become more like Christ, the Word of God.

In days of old, plows were pulled by beasts of burden with a yoke around their necks.  Let’s  be yoked with Christ who is pulling our “plow” with us!  He said, “My yoke is easy and my burden light!” Matthew 11:30

 Luke 21:5-19

On Sundays we follow the Gospels from the Revised Common Lectionary.

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.

Nothing Impossible for God

Sometimes in the Bible, to show that nothing is impossible with God, some amazing things happen. One of them is when a very old couple has a child.  This happened for Zechariah and Elizabeth when John the Baptist was born.  In today’s episode from Genesis, we read the beautiful story of the conception of Isaac, the child of the aged Abraham and Sarah.

Then there’s a rather delightful story of a conversation between God and Abraham about what God intends to do to the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.  Notice the power of prayer of just a few people.   There’s power in your prayer.  Pray for those close to you who need more joy and peace in their lives.  Imagine gently holding our dear planet earth and all its people in your hands as you lift it to God in prayer. 

Genesis 18

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.

Silence Around the Cross

Evil has apparently won on the first Good Friday.  It is as though all of creation, while never ceasing to praise God as we found in Psalm 148, is now weeping at the great sadness of Jesus’ crucifixion and death.  Like the lance that opened Jesus’ side, the cross stabs the earth with the pain of Jesus hanging on the cross. 

However, with the death of Jesus, the sounds change.  No longer do we hear the shouts of so many mocking Jesus.    Jesus’s voice rises from the cross: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”  Then a Roman centurion breathes out words of faith and praise of God. 

Feel the silence around the cross as the crowds move away, leaving only a few faithful women and a member of the council that condemned Jesus.  He didn’t go along with the horrible plan to crucify Jesus.  Now he has a chance to pay deep respect to Jesus by preparing him for burial.  Join this small group of those who loved Jesus.  Stay with them; feel their pain and sorrow.  

May this evening be peaceful for you, and the Sabbath tomorrow, especially silent and restful, because you believe in the resurrection of Jesus.

Luke 23:44-56

Fridays are dedicated to the Gospels. This being Year C,
the third year in the cycle, we generally read from the Gospel of Luke.

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.

“Already” and “Not Yet”

Whenthe Second World War came to an end in 1945, some people in areas of the world very far away never got the news for a long time.  In somewhat the same way, St. John keeps a tension between the victory in Jesus already won, yet not fully realized in all of creation.  There is a tug between “Already” and “Not Yet.”

Whenever we learn about very bad things taking place in the world, we might wonder whether God’s victory over evil has really taken place.  What we don’t know, except by faith, is that the love and goodness of God released into the world because of Jesus’s death and resurrection will surely be the winner and not evil.  

Just keep receiving God’s gift of faith, hope and love; joy will enter your soul and stay there.  

Revelation 20

Thursdays are dedicated to the letters of Paul, other letters,
the Book of Acts, and the Book of Revelation.

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.