Inaugural Address

Friday, January 31
Matthew 5:1–20

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To listen to Nick read the one-minute introduction.


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If Jesus were to give an inaugural address for his ministry, the Sermon on the Mount would be it. The message is for the disciples alone; the multitude far below is not ready for these words.

Matthew sees Jesus as the New Moses. He wants us to be aware of the lines of connection between the Mount of the Beatitudes and Mount Sinai. On Sinai God spoke face to face with Moses when God gave Moses the Ten Commandments; here God in Christ speaks face to face with the disciples. He invites you to be there and listen to the wondrous new ways of walking in the freedom of God’s kingdom in the intimate, face-to-face union with Jesus.

Jesus invites you to be his closest disciple. Will you let the Sermon on the Mount lift you to new heights of your awareness of self, so very close to God?

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
Blest are the poor in spirit. v. 3
When mourning I find comfort. v. 4
The meek inherit the earth. v. 5
Blest those who thirst for justice v. 6

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for the version for children and families.

This is the Fourth Week in Epiphany, Year A.
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
We read the Gospel of Matthew, except during Advent, the Infancy Narratives 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.

Your Nine-to-Five Job

Thursday, January 30
Galations 5

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To listen to Nick read the one-minute introduction.


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“Practical Applications for Life:” such is this third and final division of Paul’s letter to the churches in the province of Galatia. Freedom and bondage; life and death: these are the two polarities. Ask the Lord to show you whether you are clinging to the freedom the Lord Jesus gives, or are losing the grip, swept away and bound up in external legalism. The opening inspiration is meant to startle you.

In freedom, you do the clinging; in bondage, an outside force does the clinging to you. God welcomes us to cling to the cross of Jesus to protect us from the vicious tide of evil that seeks to sweep us away.

Here is your “nine-to-five job:” take one of the nine fruits of the Spirit for each hour. The Spirit will birth them in you, one hour at a time.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
Faithfulness working through love v. 6
Called to serve one another v. 13
Not by flesh, but by Spirit v. 16
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness v. 22

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for the version for children and families.

This is the Fourth Week in Epiphany, Year A.
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
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.

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.

Engravings Every Hour

Wednesday, January 29
Psalm 9

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To listen to Nick read the one-minute introduction.


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This psalm, together with next week’s Psalm 10, forms an acrostic: the first word of each stanza begins with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. This literary style provides a thread of unity in the absence of a more developed sequence of thought. Some early Bibles counted these two psalms as one.

When taken individually, each letter of an alphabet stands on its own. Do the same with each group of verses that make a stanza or strophe. Imagine each one printed or engraved upon your soul. The psalms are prayers of strong expression.

From the deep, inward experience of David and other psalmists, let each stanza make a powerful impression. You might engrave and shape every hour of your day by each one.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
I thank You with my whole heart. v. 1
Singing praise to the Most High v. 2
You a stronghold in distress v. 9
Lord, You are gracious to me. v. 13

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for the version for children and families.

This is the Fourth Week in Epiphany, Year A.
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.

An Altar of Witness

Tuesday, January 28

Joshua 20—22

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To listen to Nick read the one-minute introduction.


Photo Courtesy – Rising Sun at Sengekontacket Pond & Barrier Beach
Photo Courtesy Don Cullivan © 2006

The final allotment of lands is decided with special provisions for the priestly house of Levi. Ponder the issue of the separate altar, which those tribes and half-tribes who settled on the eastern side of the Jordan had constructed. Find out why the rest of God’s people were so concerned about this and how the issue was resolved.

Once again, it is the dilemma of “The One and the Many.” The one sacrifice of Christ upon the cross irradiates across the globe, blending with the ongoing suffering of others.

Do you have a special place of prayer in your house that is a sanctuary for you? If not, create one. May it be for you what the eastern altar was—place of the rising sun. As each new day dawns, may God come more fully into your life.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
Rest given on ev’ry side 21:44
Your promises come to pass 21:45
I keep the charge of the Lord 22:3
ServingYou with all my heart 22:5

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for the version for children and families.

This is the Fourth Week in Epiphany, 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.

Christmas Echoes Again

Monday, January 27
Isaiah 9

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To listen to Nick read the one-minute introduction.


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Every year at Christmastime, this verse is proclaimed. Perhaps you will hear the familiar ecstatic music of Handel’s “Messiah” echoing within you. Sway with the joy of this verse, which forever imbeds itself against every dark and malicious enemy. Meditate upon the five names given to the Messiah. Say and sing them repeatedly during the course of this day, which the Lord has made.

Verse 8 begins to describe the judgment against Israel, referred to at the beginning of this section as “Jacob.” Israel, the northern kingdom with its ten tribes, has sinfully conspired against Judah in the south. Samaria, the capital of the key tribe of Ephraim, would be destroyed.

It is said that Handel wrote the entire Messiah in three weeks, with times of ecstasy lifting him throughout. The Holy Spirit will do something wonderful for you as well, as the “Wonderful Counselor,” Christ, is born in you.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
O Wonderful counselor! v. 6
“Mighty God,” I call You, Lord v. 6
My God, Forever Father v. 6
My Jesus: the Prince of Peace v. 6

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for the version for children and families.

This is the Fourth Week in Epiphany, 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.

“Ice Dancing” – An Alphabyte

Nick reads the Alphabyte.

Each of the two perfected dancers across the smooth arena
could well be doing it alone. Less dependent…less risky…
much simpler, it would seem.
But there is a call upon the two to blend themselves
into one ever-changing figure and form,
folding themselves into patterns of silent sailing
across the slippery, open plane.
They spin in cycles only possible by the pulse of now pulling against,
now yielding to the energies in each.

The Trinity could have chosen that the divine dance be done by them alone.
But They decided to create dancers in their image,
so that all could join together and move through life with shapes and designs
decided by the Creator-Father, completed by Jesus, the Son,
in the power of the Spirit.

Ice dance with the Word each day.
Resist going it alone⎯decisions, plans, relationships
without the clinging to the Spirit who clings like fire to the soul.
Let the choreography of the day be set by the creative interplay
between you and the Word for the day.
Let all the events and people that move into each hour’s rounded space
take their shape from the dance
you’ve well rehearsed in prayer with your God.
Do not fear that some intrusion need have you fall from the hold
that the Lord has upon you.
Bond and blend with your God today as you pray and dance with the Word.

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

The Dance with Jesus

Sunday, January 26
Matthew 4:12–23

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


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Countless numbers of communities across the earth encounter this passage today in worship. As soon as Jesus begins his ministry, he calls others to be with him. Just as the Alphabyte “Ice Dancing,” Jesus chooses not to “skate” alone, but rather to dance with others.

Take a place alongside these simple fishermen as Jesus calls them to be his disciples. Three of them would become his closest friends⎯Peter, James, and John. Perfect they were not. One would deny Jesus; two would become obsessed by positions of privilege in the new kingdom; all three would sleep during Jesus’ greatest moment of anguish in the garden.

God places a call upon you. Do not deny the call, be self-centered or sleep during it. Jesus will teach you how to dance with him.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
The Kingdom of God is here v. 17
I leave all and follow You. v. 19
Dancing with the Lord of life
You are the Lord, my Healer. v. 23

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

This is the Fourth Week in Epiphany, Year A.
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
Sundays are dedicated to the Gospels from
The Revised Common Lectionary.
Year A 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.