Gift of Tears

Monday – The Prophets
Jeremiah 7—9

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Verse one gave Jeremiah the name: “The Weeping Prophet.” He grieves over the people’s lost condition, so much of which has to do with leaders lying to the people.

What is your experience of crying? Do you weep easily, or is it hard for you to pour out the sin and sadness in your life through tears? Shame often enters to gridlock the emotion of pain that needs the loosening release of sobs. The tears of others often help to free this “liquid prayer.”

Read slowly, carefully, reflectively. You might take a chapter for each of the three hours in the quarter parts of the day. Let your heart be touched; your head may flow with tears. Listen for the tears of Jeremiah until you hear your own. Pray for what spiritual writers call “The Gift of Tears,” a gift from God for intercessory prayer.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
Obeying the voice of God 7:23
You our God, we Your people 7:23
There’s a balm in Gilead. 8:23
Weeping for those who suffer 9:1

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This is the Third Week in Lent, Year A.
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
Mondays are dedicated to the Prophets; during Lent we read Jeremiah; during the Easter seasons, Ezekiel.

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The Firestarters and readings are posted in the timezone UTC+12,
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To New Depths

Sunday – The Gospels from the Lectionary
John 4:5-42

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Once again, a dialogue takes place between Jesus and another with whom you can identify. This time it is a woman, a public sinner, who encounters Jesus at noontime, contrasting with the midnight visit of righteous Nicodemus.

Jesus dares to do what no Jewish man would ever do—talk to a woman, a Samaritan as well. As is typical in John’s Gospel, the conversation is on two dimensions—a literal, earthly one on the part of the woman, a sacred, heavenly one on the part of Jesus.

Listen carefully as the Lord loosens you from sin in your spirit. Do you also feel isolated and rejected as this woman? Jesus addresses you face-to-face and heart-to-heart in her. Yield to the Lord. Let the plumb line image help you to descend straight down into the depths of your inner well. Receive the living waters that spring forth.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
Lord, give me living water. v. 10
Your water: spring gushing forth v. 14
Worship in spirit and truth v. 23
Messiah speaking to me v. 26

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for the version for children and families.

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

Scripture Recordings in over 700 languages!
Faith Comes By Hearing

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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 Burnt Offering of the Self

Saturday – The Torah
Leviticus 9:1—10:11

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Here is one of the principal places in the Bible that describes ordination to ministry. Again, the presence of God is described as fire. While consuming the offering of Aaron, the fire elevates it to heaven. On the other hand, the profane offering of Nadab and Abihu is simply reduced to ashes; nothing ascends. Idol worship has contaminated their offering.

You and I are to live immersed in Jesus, one with his offering in the fire of his love on the cross. We are one with him as priest, prophet, and king. Whether or not you are an ordained deacon, priest or elder, you still have a call to ministry placed upon your life. May there be nothing frivolous or contaminated with other “gods” in what you bring—nothing less than the offering of your self in service to the Lord.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
My heart, a burnt offering 9:1ff
The inner tent of meeting 9:23
Holy incense to the Lord 10:1
Discerning clean from unclean 10:10

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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.

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Faith Comes By Hearing

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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.

Crescendo

Friday – The Gospels
John 1:29-51

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If the Prologue of John’s Gospel were likened to a work of art, the second half of this chapter would be the movement of a symphony. There is a sweep from the single tone of John’s cry in the desert, to the climactic expression of Nathaniel: “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Each new disciple crescendos into the next, as they come to Jesus. John points out the Lamb of God and unfolds who Jesus is. Place yourself in line as one of those first disciples of Jesus. Spend the whole day with him.

The transition from John to Jesus is complete. In these weeks of Lent, we open ourselves to Jesus teaching us as he did his dearest disciples.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
Lamb of God: all sin away v. 29
Holy Spirit descending v. 32
Staying with Jesus all day v. 39
Seeing greater things than these v. 50

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for the version for children and families.

This is the Second Week in Lent, Year A.
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
We read the Gospel of John during Lent and Easter.

Scripture Recordings in over 700 languages!
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The Firestarters and readings are posted in the timezone UTC+12,
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Pure Gold

Thursday – The New Testament
Ephesians 2

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One of the deepest desires in the Middle Ages was the search for a secret formula that would turn base metals into gold. It was called alchemy.

In verse 10, Paul uses a Greek word poiema, from which comes our word, “poem.” It means a “work of art.” By grace, your Creator can make the base and tarnished “metal” of your being into a golden masterpiece.

Read this chapter joyfully and tenderly receiving all the gifts of oneness with God that Christ has gained for you. Believe that everything else in your life can be blended into the pure gold of this awesome grace. Verse after verse of this chapter unfolds the vision of what God wants to do with you, God’s irreplaceable work of art. The work is God’s, not yours.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
Seated with Christ in heaven v. 6
Brought near by blood of Jesus v. 13
Hatred dying on the cross v. 16
Built as a dwelling for God v. 22

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for the version for children and families.

This is the Second Week in Lent, Year A.
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

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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 Hedge Around

Wednesday – The Psalms
Psalm 121

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Picture Jesus in the crowds making their way to Jerusalem. Since he was twelve years old, three times a year he walked to the great city surrounded by pilgrims chanting this psalm and all the psalms that fill our Wednesdays in Lent. There would be a final journey to Jerusalem and the lament over the city heard only by the olive trees on the mount, and then the final walk up Calvary’s hill with the cross.

Six times in the psalm, the word shamar sings itself, naming the Lord as “keeper” and “preserver.” Meditate on this word, sighing its sweet sound over and over as you mull over its inner meaning of God as a hedge around you. No matter what lies before you in your journey—challenge or temptation—the grace, power, and presence of God press on before you and hedge you all around.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
Lifting my eyes to the hills v. 1
Help coming from my Maker v. 2
You keep me—slumbering not v. 3
You keep from evil—Shamar. v. 7

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for the version for children and families.

This is the Second Week in Lent, 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.

Improving the Silence?

Tuesday – The Hebrew “Writings”

Job 4—5

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A Chinese proverb says, “Never speak unless you are improving on the silence.” Job’s so-called “friends” would have been much better at being quiet those seven days, than in speaking their hurtful words. Presence in silent love with one in grief releases more power than words.

However, silence it not enough for Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar. As you read their speeches, do so with the discerning heart that the Spirit will give. Their words are tempting fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Many of the verses are true and beautifully expressed in the dance of poetry that abounds in this book. However, it is not the whole truth, and nothing but the whole truth will do; anything less is a lie.

The friends become part of Job’s problem, instead of part of his solution. Be aware of the power of your silent presence.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
Committing my cause to God 5:8
The Lord lifting the lowly 5:11
Mourners being safe in You 5:11
The healing hands of the Lord 5:18

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for the version for children and families.

This is the Second Week in Lent, 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.