No Place to Go But Up

Sunday, June 30, 2013
Luke 9:51–62

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To listen to Nick read the one-minute introduction.


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A runner seeing the finish line in the distance finds a burst of energy to complete the race. So does Jesus fix his eyes upon Jerusalem straight ahead to be then taken straight up to Heaven.

The Greek word for “taken up,” analepsis, is the word for the Ascension of Jesus. Mount Calvary is as the Mount of the Ascension; the raised cross prefigures, and is at once, the Ascension.

From the deepest of suffering and darkness, there is no place to go but up. Yet for this to happen there is no place to go but straight ahead in following Jesus. He has blazed the trail for you; all you need to do is follow. Keep your eyes upon him, and nothing from the sidelines will distract you, or prompt you to leave the race before the finish.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
Face set to Jerusalem v. 51
I, messenger before You v. 52
Following where’re You go v. 57
“Proclaim the kingdom of God.” v. 60
For more about this way to pray, see “Daily Bible Breaths” in Resources.

Click or touch the image
for the version for children and families.
Click or touch the image
for the version for children and families.

This is the fifth of thirteen weeks in Pentecost, Year C.
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in Resources.
Sundays are dedicated to the Gospels from
The Revised Common Lectionary.
Year C is dedicated to the Gospel of Luke.

Scripture Recordings in over 700 languages!
Faith Comes By Hearing

Audio Bible App from www.bible.is

The Firestarters and readings are posted in the timezone UTC+12, so that they are available in New Zealand and other regions near the International Date Line.

A Burnt Offering

Saturday, June 29, 2013
Numbers 28:16—30:1

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To listen to Nick read the one-minute introduction.


Spring or autumn—which one is the beginning of a new year? Obviously, there is a connection with spring as the beginning, as new life comes into existence. It was then that new life emerged from the Red Sea in the Exodus. There is also the sense that autumn is the beginning, the time when Jewish people celebrate the New Year. Jewish tradition has it that creation took place in autumn, since God created all things in their fullness.

Keep this tension in mind as God outlines all the major festivals of the Jews gathered into this passage. Burnt offerings are to be made. The phrase occurs 267 times in the Old Testament, 22 of them in this passage alone!

While what is burnt is no longer in effect, the fact of burning remains. Are you willing to let yourself be set on fire by the Holy Spirit and burn on for the Lord? God wants no other offering than you.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
My life: sweet odor for You 28:24 etc.
Set on fire by the Spirit
Finding time for You alone
Daily offerings to You
For more about this way to pray, see “Daily Bible Breaths” in Resources.

Click or touch the image
for the version for children and families.
Click or touch the image
for the version for children and families.

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 third part.
For more about the Torah portions and thoughtful commentaries, visit
The Jewish Theological Seminary.

Scripture Recordings in over 700 languages!
Faith Comes By Hearing

Audio Bible App from www.bible.is

The Firestarters and readings are posted in the timezone UTC+12, so that they are available in New Zealand and other regions near the International Date Line.

Two Ways to Be Near Jesus

Friday, June 28, 2013
Luke 10:25–42

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To listen to Nick read the one-minute introduction.


Johannes Vermeer – “Christ in the House of Martha and Mary” 1654-55 (?)
Oil on canvas, 160 x 142 cm – National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh

The Evil One often uses the mixed motives of others in an attempt to distract us from God’s will. The root of the word for the “testing” by the lawyer is the same one Luke uses to describe the temptation of Jesus by the devil in the desert (Luke 4:2)—even a more intense form of the word. Yet Jesus is up to the challenge.

Distracting, heady questions that fill committee rooms can distract us, while abuse and mugging could be taking place just outside the door. The two priestly types missed the chance to be near Jesus who was within the man in great need. “I was sick and you took care of me” (Matt 25:36).

There are moments to find Jesus in another in need …and moments—as Mary found—to sit at his feet and listen to his Word. Do not miss either today.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
Where abuse, moved with pity v. 33
Pouring oil on wounds of heart v. 34
Being neighbor through mercy v. 37
Sitting at Your holy feet v. 39
For more about this way to pray, see “Daily Bible Breaths” in Resources.

Click or touch the image
for the version for children and families.
Click or touch the image
for the version for children and families.

This is the fourth of thirteen weeks in Pentecost, Year C.
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
We read the Gospel of Luke.

Scripture Recordings in over 700 languages!
Faith Comes By Hearing

Audio Bible App from www.bible.is

The Firestarters and readings are posted in the timezone UTC+12, so that they are available in New Zealand and other regions near the International Date Line.

Revelation for You

Thursday, June 27, 2013
Hebrews 1

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To listen to Nick read the one-minute introduction.


This exalted letter about Christ’s pre-eminence begins by making a grand sweep of revelation from the beginning to this present moment of your prayer. The superiority that Christ has over the angels serves to remind us of the complete and total access that Christ has to our hearts. References to five Psalms and other Old Testament texts fill most of the 14 verses of the opening chapter.

Enter these references deepening your appreciation, not only of the supremacy of Christ, but of Christ’s intimacy with you at your own level.

No longer is God’s revelation every once in a while. Rather is it ongoing, all pervasive, flooding your soul at this very moment and for always. What will you do today to be alert to those personal communications of the living God to you, God’s beloved creature?

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
All things sustained by Your word v. 3
Your servants as flames of fire v. 7
Anointed with oil of joy v. 9
Earth perishing; You remain. v. 11
For more about this way to pray, see “Daily Bible Breaths” in Resources.

Click or touch the image
for the version for children and families.
Click or touch the image
for the version for children and families.

This is the fourth of thirteen weeks in Pentecost, Year C.
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
Thursdays are dedicated to the New Testament, except the Gospels.

Scripture Recordings in over 700 languages!
Faith Comes By Hearing

Audio Bible App from www.bible.is

The Firestarters and readings are posted in the timezone UTC+12, so that they are available in New Zealand and other regions near the International Date Line.

Delight in the Lord’s Ways

Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Psalm 112

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To listen to Nick read the one-minute introduction.


Unknown photo credit

Qualities of a person righteous in the Lord are uplifted along with the blessings that flow from true surrender to God’s power. Examine your heart. How does your life measure up to the virtues celebrated in this psalm?

Once again, the acrostic style of this psalm suggests that we be as creative as the psalmist is. After you pray the psalm, ask the Holy Spirit to bring to your mind those qualities that you need in order to live more fully according to the Lord’s ways. Take the letters of the alphabet and allow a list from A to Z to well up from within as you pray to respond more fully to the call of the Lord upon your life.

A key word in Hebrew that you could use for “c” is chafets. It means “to delight” in the Lord’s ways. Do you find that your spirit truly enjoys growing in the command of Christ Jesus that we love one another?

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
Delighting, Lord, in Your ways v. 1
Being light for the upright v. 4
Righteous never being moved v. 6
Heart firm, secure in the Lord v. 7
For more about this way to pray, see “Daily Bible Breaths” in Resources.

Click or touch the image
for the version for children and families.
Click or touch the image
for the version for children and families.

This is the fourth of thirteen weeks in Pentecost, Year C.
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
Wednesdays are dedicated to the Psalms, one each week over the three-year cycle.

Scripture Recordings in over 700 languages!
Faith Comes By Hearing

Audio Bible App from www.bible.is

The Firestarters and readings are posted in the timezone UTC+12, so that they are available in New Zealand and other regions near the International Date Line.

A Sacred Sequence

Tuesday, June 25, 2013
1 Chronicles 1—3

Click or touch “Firestarter”
To listen to Nick read the one-minute introduction.



Almost the entire Sixth Century, B.C. saw God’s people living in exile in Babylonia. Permitted by the Persian Kings Cyrus and Darius to return, the Jewish people began to rejoice once again in the power of God’s saving presence. The Temple in Jerusalem was reconstructed in 515 B.C. and the full life of worship for God’s people resumed onceagain. As a way of reconnecting the sacred thread of God’s saving grace, the compilers of 1 and 2 Chronicles gather the history of God’s action among God’s people. This begins with nine chapters of genealogies. Today’s reading traces the thread from Adam to Jacob with a focus upon Judah; from this tribe comes the line of David.

God had you in mind when he spread out this array of families. Place yourself into this sacred history. Let this day be another in the sacred sequence of your personal history.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
My place in sacred sequence
Sacred thread of saving grace
Resting in the here and now
Watching the past receding
For more about this way to pray, see “Daily Bible Breaths” in Resources.

Click or touch the image
for the version for children and families.
Click or touch the image
for the version for children and families.

This is the fourth of thirteen weeks in Pentecost, Year C.
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
Tuesdays are dedicated the Hebrew “Writings.”

Scripture Recordings in over 700 languages!
Faith Comes By Hearing

Audio Bible App from www.bible.is

The Firestarters and readings are posted in the timezone UTC+12, so that they are available in New Zealand and other regions near the International Date Line.

Thirsting for Justice

Monday, June 24, 2013
Amos 5—6

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To listen to Nick read the one-minute introduction.


Mother Teresa


During World War II, German soldiers used to go to the theater at night with their wives after having spent the day gassing thousands of Jews. Comfortable in their seats, they would weep at the beauty of the music, unmindful of the atrocities that went on during the day, ears deaf to the screams and the sobs of those in the camps occurring at the same time as the concerts.

The Holocaust of the Twentieth Century had its precedent in the Eighth Century B.C. In today’s passage, Amos mourns for the virgin of Israel as though she has already died. He shares his grief in the hopes that the comfort and complacency of those moved only by music, would be shaken to a hunger and thirst for justice.

What are the changes that need to take place in you when it comes to making justice? Without it, the most beautiful music turns worship into vanity, and even blasphemy.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
Seeking You, Lord, and living 5:6
Justice flowing down like streams 5:24
Grieving th’ruins of Joseph 6:6
Lord, You abhorring all pride 6:8
For more about this way to pray, see “Daily Bible Breaths” in Resources.

Click or touch the image
for the version for children and families.
Click or touch the image
for the version for children and families.

This is the fourth of thirteen weeks in Pentecost, Year C.
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
Mondays are dedicated to the Prophets,in this season the Minor Prophets.

Scripture Recordings in over 700 languages!
Faith Comes By Hearing

Audio Bible App from www.bible.is

The Firestarters and readings are posted in the timezone UTC+12, so that they are available in New Zealand and other regions near the International Date Line.