Hearing and Doing

Friday – The Gospels
Matthew 7

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


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Hang upon the words of Jesus in this concluding chapter of “The Sermon on the Mount.” Various brief instructions are arranged one after another. Receive each of them as precious gems of Jesus’ wisdom which he lovingly shares with you, his disciple. Each comes from the inmost center of Jesus; will you receive them at that same point within yourself?

The concluding six verses present an image developed in the letter of James, reminding us not only to be hearers of the word, but doers as well. As you look upon the movement of your life and learn from Jesus’ words, what action is called for? You might miss this, if your reading is hasty—a hearing only.

Amid the declarations that Jesus makes, three questions are interposed. Feel the questions first, then respond from the depths of your spirit.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
Judging not, I’ll not be judged. v. 1
Measure given, measure get v. 2
Taking the log from my eye v. 5
Ask and it will be given. v. 7

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

This is the Eighth 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.

The Upward Call

Thursday – The New Testament
Philippians 3—4

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To listen to Nick read the one-minute introduction.


Photo Courtesy – http://1soul1nation.blogspot.com

These are among the most beloved chapters in the Bible. Verse upon verse needs to be present before your eyes throughout this day; you will find it hard to select your favorite one.

Yesterday you learned from David how to let the Lord lift you from the pit of darkness and despair. Today Paul is your leader. Remember, Paul penned these words from the pits of a Roman prison. Everything goes out from the dark, downward space as he responds to the “upward call” of Christ upon his life.

Though Paul likely received mere morsels of stale bread, Paul offers you a banquet of God’s Word, upon which he also feasts. Nothing can restrain his joy.

A banquet of delicious food from the Lord is spread before you today. Take, eat, and pass the nourishment on to others.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
Losing all to gain you, Christ 3:8
Pressing onward toward the goal 3:14
Rejoicing in You always 4:4
Peace of God guarding my heart 4:7

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

This is the Eighth 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.

Shifts in the Soul

Wednesday – The Psalms
Psalm 13

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


Photo Courtesy – http://maryjeannelorraine.blogspot.com/

A brief psalm of only six verses is yours today. Three couplets of two verses each bear dramatic shifts in David’s spirit as he prays. First come four repeated cries of “How long, O Lord?” However far away God seems, David believes that God is listening. What intimacy David has with his God! A couplet comes next with three imperatives for God. Two of them are commands for God to listen, the third, a plea that God put the sparkle back into David’s eyes. Finally, there is the dramatic shift in the two final verses that express David’s singing for joy.

It does not take long for shifts to take place in your soul, if you model your prayer-life after David’s. Whether or not you identify with the eclipse of God’s presence, pray this psalm in profound intercession for those at the edge of despair—or deep into it, as in some black hole. Grab hold of them with this psalm and be lifted up to peace.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
Do not hide Your face from me. v. 1
O Lord, give light to my eyes. v. 3
I trust in Your steadfast love. v. 5
My heart rejoices in You. v. 5

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

This is the Eighth 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.

The Aroma of God

Tuesday – The Hebrew “Writings”

Proverbs 3

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


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Whole sections of aisles in supermarkets are devoted to products designed to have your house smell fragrant. A sophisticated name, “aroma therapy,” is given to further the marketing of these sprays, oils, and candles. A device will periodically spray fragrance into your room every few minutes.

The sense of smell leads us into spiritual feelings associated with our world. God’s Word can do the same, especially chapters such as the one for today. An aroma of wisdom and spiritual understanding will fill your day if you let God’s presence through the Word pervade it. Periodically let each verse “spray” its sweet fragrance into the agenda of your day. The aroma of God’s presence will not only transform all that you do, but your life itself will smell sweet to others and lead them to God.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
Loyalty upon my heart v. 3
Trusting You with all my heart v. 5
My first fruits belong to You v. 9
Wisdom more precious than jew’ls. v. 13

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

This is the Eighth 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.

Welling Upward and Outward

Monday – The Prophets
Isaiah 12

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


The crowds were singing this verse during the water ritual at the end of the Feast of Tabernacles. It was then that Jesus shouted about the living waters flowing from him (John 7:37).

This brief chapter is a celebrative conclusion to the first part of Isaiah. It is soaked in messianic imagery. The word for “praise” in verse 4 means, “to lift up the hands.” Here is a way for your body to pray this psalm-like prayer of Isaiah. Begin with your head down, your hands clenched together in a fist, pressed against your chest. Then in response to the promise of Jesus, let your palms become open, as the living water of Christ’s Spirit breaks out from your inmost being, flowing upward and outward in joy to the world—so thirsty for the life-giving Spirit that can flow from you.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
Anger turned away by love v. 1
Lord, You are my salvation. v. 2
Wells of salvation with joy v. 3
Your praises throughout the earth v. 5

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

This is the Eighth 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.

“Myrrh” – An Alphabyte

Nick reads the Alphabyte.

This is the last gift of the Magi to Jesus. Just as frankincense, myrrh is a gum resin from trees in the Middle East. The name in Arabic means “bitter.” It was a gift at the beginning of Jesus’ life, to become one at the end—the gift of a Roman soldier to soothe Jesus’ pain while hanging on the cross. While the gift was accepted at the beginning of Jesus’ life, it was refused at the end—no anesthesia to diminish the pain that transformed death into the beginning of resurrected life for Jesus and for us.

Myrrh is a symbol of suffering. Pain has within it, the power to transform. We often seek to mask suffering through activity. Resist this anesthesia⎯or any other addiction that seeks to bury the pain. Receive and accept suffering—don’t recoil from it. May suffering be a creative force to purify and transfigure our lives.

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

The Violence of Love

Sunday – The Gospels from the Lectionary
Matthew 5:38-48

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


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There are familiar sayings of Jesus here that have been misunderstood. In no way does Jesus want you to be someone else’s doormat. The refusal to co-operate with violence brings forth a “violence” of love. Let us see this in the familiar “turning the other cheek.”

The first blow comes to the right check. In the ancient world, this could not be a blow of attack, since this would only be done by the person’s right hand; the left hand was used only for cleaning oneself. The punch with the right hand would hit the person’s left cheek, not the right one. The scenario here is of one receiving a blow of insult with the back of the right hand onto the right cheek of the other. Turning the other cheek means this: “Your first attempt to degrade me by this blow has failed; would you like to try it again?” The unrighteous anger of another is turned back upon that other.

Reinterpret your life’s experience according to fresh ways of understanding Jesus’ teaching about transforming non-violence into the shaking violence of love.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
Struck on cheek, turning other v. 39
I will go the extra mile v. 41
Loving well my enemies v. 44
Being whole as You are whole v. 48

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

This is the Eighth 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.