Hitting Bottom

Mondays: The Prophets
Isaiah 19—20

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

The great stock market crash of 1929 provoked a variety of responses from people. Some jumped out of windows when financial disaster hit home; others found the Lord in a totally new way.

So it will be for Egypt. Isaiah foretells the total collapse of its economy. The Nile River will no longer bring life. There will literally be no more “stock”in its waters. Isaiah describes the devastation to come in detail. Suddenly in 19:18, there is a shift. Often when Isaiah uses the phrase “in that day,”he is prophesying Messianic times. Egyptians will begin to speak Hebrew, the sacred language of Canaan. They will come to know the Lord and God’s Word. Greater than the waters of the Nile will be the waters of the Torah that shall bring them life.

Do you bounce when you “hit bottom”? Living waters are ready to bubble up within you from the Spirit.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
“The age of nations is past.” T. de Chardin
My heart an altar for You 19:19
Delivered only by You 20:6
Trusting in the Lord alone 20:6

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

This is the fifth of thirteen weeks in Pentecost, Year A.
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
Mondays are dedicated to the Prophets; in this season, we continue reading Isaiah.

Scripture Recordings in over 700 languages!
Faith Comes By Hearing

Audio Bible App from www.bible.is

Today’s image courtesy of http://ayujoevita.blogspot.com/

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.

“Eyes” – An Alphabyte

Alphabytes are object meditations
that move through the alphabet two times
in the course of the fifty-two weeks in the year.
“Eyes” introduces the Fifth Week in Pentecost.

Nick reads the Alphabyte.

Signs that say “DO NOT TOUCH” adorn the shops of delicate figures.
So let it be for the thoughts and things of the soul.
Look at, but do not touch—or much less handle or wrestle—
    those thoughts from darkness and death that thrash about from within
    seeking to have you grasp at them till they topple you and hold you
    to the ground, refusing to let go.
Give them—without touching them—to the Lord of all thoughts.

What about those thoughts that lead toward light and life?
Receive them, treasure them, hold them gently in open hands.
Watch the Spirit weave them into creations of delight before your very eyes.
Then, you will not have to touch them, for they will be one with your hands
    that touch others till they quiver with life.

Intense Identity

Sundays: The Gospels from the Lectionary
Matthew 10:40-42

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

Three verses ring out from countless churches across the globe concluding the “Missionary Discourse” of Jesus. The disciples rejoice to find the presence of Jesus filling them to such an extent that when people receive them, they receive Jesus. Dwell on the immensity and the intensity of the identity!

The Dutch priest Henri Nouwen said: “You find the God you want to give, in the person to whom you want to give him.” This is the joy of ministry.

Look about your world. Observe without grabbing, as the alphabyte “Eyes” suggests. Be aware today of God’s presence in your interactions with others. Even the simplest and the most mundane of these can be filled with divinity, if filled with faith and love.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
Welcome others, welcome You v. 40
Welcome those who speak for You v. 41
Cup of water in Your name v. 42
“Virtue is its own reward.”

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

This is the fifth of thirteen weeks in Pentecost, 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

Audio Bible App from www.bible.is

Today’s image courtesy of http://coslcgrace.blogspot.com

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.

Waterpower

Saturdays: The Sabbath Torah Portions
Numbers 19:1—20:21

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

John the Baptist and Jesus are prefigured in this portion of the Torah that treats of the spiritual power of water. John must have had this reading in mind when he chose the ritual of baptism as a preparation for Jesus. Miracle water from the rock looks to Jesus as the living water, which flowed from his open side.

Whenever death has been touched, cleansing needs to happen. So too in death-bound unreconciled negative feelings within, such as hidden resentments and unhealed pain that pull the soul toward death. Notice the period of seven days of purification; what a blessing it would be to have your whole self cleansed of inner “death” within the space of a week! The water from your own tears can be the means of cleansing.

Look what happened to Moses when he challenged God’s decision to give the complaining people the water they needed! Do you complain when God is showing mercy?

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
Cleanse my heart, O Lord, my God. 19:1ff
Cleanliness and Godliness
Water flowing from the rock 20:11
Praising You in all You do 20:13

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

Today’s image courtesy of http://abcparish.blogspot.com

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.

Kingdom Boundary

Fridays: The Gospels
Matthew 11

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


The dungeon of John the Baptist stinks with the stench of doubt. John is cut off from the evidence of Jesus’ saving grace. Perhaps prisoners with him taunt him: “No big changes happening outside your cell.” Now his voice cries in the wilderness of prison, “Are you really the Messiah we’ve been waiting for, or should we keep looking for someone else?” How the message from Jesus must have comforted him as a glass of cool, clear water to his parched spirit!

As great as is John, the least in the Kingdom is greater than he is. No matter what your circumstances, whether bound by the prison of doubt, or simply resting in the confines of your patio or summer garden—go deeper. There is within you an inner boundary of the Kingdom into which the Lord invites you to enter as his most intimate friend.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
The poor: good news brought to them v. 5
Preparing the way for You v. 10
“Come to me: I give you rest.” v. 28
Your yoke easy; burden light v. 30

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

This is the fourth of thirteen weeks in Pentecost, Year A.
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
We continue reading the Gospel of Matthew.

Scripture Recordings in over 700 languages!
Faith Comes By Hearing

Audio Bible App from www.bible.is

Today’s image – Juan Fernández de Navarrete “St John the Baptist in the Prison”
1565-70 – Oil on canvas, 31.5 x 28.3 inches – The Hermitage, St. Petersburg
http://www.wga.hu

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.

Saving Grace

Thursdays: The New Testament
Romans 5

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

Chapter 5 is like the fifth gear in a standard shift car. The previous four chapters have gathered the momentum of the past, so that Paul can have us cruise into the present. The verses flow easily, each one with a potential to open your spirit more and more to the power of God to drive your life.

Rejoice to rediscover what God has done to restore us to friendship with God. Just as in the case of the Psalm yesterday, spend today being deeply aware that friendship in all its depths is what God is offering to you in Christ.

From verse 12, Paul develops a comparison to continue his thought, this time setting Adam and Christ before you. Pray these verses slowly until you experience by faith the power of God’s grace to move you on the road of your life to its heavenly destination, empowered by the saving grace of God.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
Boasting to share God’s glory v. 2
Suffering makes endurance. v. 3
God’s love poured into our hearts v. 5
Grace abounding beyond sin v. 20

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

This is the fourth of thirteen weeks in Pentecost, Year A.(The first week occurred at the end of the season of Epiphany.)
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

Today’s image courtesy of http://www.enlightenlifecoach.com

Thursdays: The New Testament
Romans 2:1—3:20

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


“Saint Peter Repentant” 1823-25, Goya

Think about this: God loves you no matter what you do! Jesus on the cross loved and forgave those who crucified him. Because of this love, meanness, cruelty and rejection by anyone no longer have power. This is what we need to bring to mind and heart whenever we experience the anger of those who call themselves our enemies.

What an amazing fact of God’s life and love available for us—so free, so constant: it just never ends!
However, St. Paul does not want us to think we can do whatever we want. No. We need to be very aware of God’s kindness that will spur us on to say we’re sorry for those times when we were just not living the way God wanted us to. It’s like a train. If it derails, it needs to get back on track so that it can continue its soothing clickedy-clack to its destination.

There is simply no joy like knowing that you are following God’s plan for your life.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
Justified by faith in Christ 3:26
The promise resting on grace 4:16
You called me into being. 4:17
Grace abounding by Your love

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

This is the third of thirteen weeks in Pentecost, 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

Audio Bible App from www.bible.is

Today’s image courtesy of http://diggingtheword.blogspot.com

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 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 Closest Friend

Wednesdays: The Psalms
Psalm 25

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

Imagine you are at a great reunion. Almost everyone has arrived, including some you would rather not see. However, there is only one person that you really want to embrace. All your attention is on the loved one for whom you are waiting. Then the arrival—full joy, total attention, everything and everybody else recedes into the background.

That is how the psalmist is today. Waiting for the Lord and union with God are all that matters. The psalm breathes the air of expectancy and hope as the writer waits for God to intervene against all that is pressing upon him. Each verse blends with the next one, expressing growing intimacy with God.

Pray this psalm often in the course of your day as you take breaks to be with your closest friend who is also your God.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
To You I lift up my soul. v. 1
For You I wait all day long. v. 5
You teach the humble Your way. v. 9
My eyes ever toward the Lord v. 15

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

This is the fourth of thirteen weeks in Pentecost, 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

Today’s image courtesy of http://commons.wikimedia.org

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.