Manger Outward—Cross Upward

Tuesday, December 31

Joshua 11—12

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


Photo Courtesy – Worship Films – http://www.easyworship.com

The summary list in chapter 12 bears witness to one clear truth: God longs for a people wholly dedicated to God. The Lord does not want us to make deals with the Enemy, as the Israelites did with Canaanite neighbors with whom they mingled.
Christmas contrasts with the conquests of Joshua. The wood of the manger is at the center of the space of God-with-us, won for us, not with the edge of the sword, but with the laser-beam of Jesus’ love. From the manger outward, to the cross upward, Jesus’ love is the weapon that has given us a “holy land” where we can live right now and forever.

Feel the contrasts in the silence—lists of conquered kings in Joshua …your list of spiritual enemies overcome …Joshua’s sword …Jesus’ manger …Come to the stable!

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
My focus ever on You
Loving all my enemies
Your power at work in me
The manger: place of Your peace

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

This is Christmas Week, Year A.
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.

Fruit or Ornaments?

Monday, December 30
Isaiah 5

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


Photo Courtesy – Merlot Vineyard, Napa Valley, California

Hebrew poetry is at its best here, as Isaiah unfolds an image familiar to his listeners. There is tenderness in the poetry, especially in those verses where God’s hurt, pain and frustration about his withered vineyard are most expressed.

What kind of fruit has your life been giving? Wait … Ask God to tell you. Perhaps you do not discover much fruit, but only ornaments as on your Christmas tree. No matter; God can transform all in the coming year.

When we are hurt and frustrated, our moods and feelings change rapidly. So too with God, in whose image we are made. Feel the shifts and changes in the movement of God’s heart. Worship. Take hold of God’s hand stretched out to heal.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
Lord, may my life yield good fruits v. 2
You continue to create v. 12
Humble eyes reflecting joy v. 15
Welcoming Your word to me. v. 24

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

This is Christmas Week, Year A.
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
Mondays are dedicated to the Prophets,in this season the prophet Isaiah.

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.

“Evergreens” – An Alphabyte

Nick reads the Alphabyte.

There are a few trees that defiantly resist the choke-hold of the cold,
squeezing away the green of summer.
They are curved into wreathes twisted into garlands,
clustered as centers for the table.
We invite one to visit us, wrenching it from what would have been
its never changing place, asking it to spend its final days
as a member of our family, reminding us of the Life
that has come to the world in Jesus.
When it’s all decorated with lights and ornaments of memory
spend time alone with this Christmas guest.

Recall the places and trees of the past. Welcome feelings that well up.
They are—like the branches—something ever-green inside of you,
memories ever-alive, seeking to be expressed for the deeper healings.
And when the season is past, thank the tree—no longer evergreen—

as it takes its place with all its sister trees
whose leaves have long turned brown upon the ground,
making next summer even more green than ever.

Alphabytes are object meditations
that move through the alphabet two times
in the course of the fifty-two weeks in the year.
“Evergreens” introduces Christmas Week:
winter in the north, summer in the south.
To view all of them, see the menu option Alphabytes