Hostility and Tenderness

Wednesday of Christmas Week
Psalm 52

Nick reads the one-minute introduction.


“The Olive Tree of Jerusalem” Exclusive hand painted ceramic tile murals and pottery
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This brief psalm creates a sharp distinction between the feverish, hostile plots of the wicked, and the quiet restfulness of the green olive tree planted in the house of God. Evil consumes itself, spent by Godless, self-propelled energy.

The green olive tree does nothing but enjoy its presence in the Temple of the Lord. There it is content to stay and play, trusting in the greenness of its life from being in God’s presence.

Feel the contrast between this psalm and the scheming world sated and spent by the shopping season just past. Inventory and hoarding profit are its post-Christmas agenda. However, you … Go to the stable. Adore with the shepherds, Mary and Joseph. Rejoice in the tender infant Jesus, the “green olive tree.” Will you allow Jesus to be engrafted onto your heart?


Wednesdays are dedicated to the Psalms.


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The Evil of Self As Center

Tuesday of Christmas Week
Judges 9—10

Nick reads the one-minute introduction.


The Library of Congress http://www.loc.gov/loc/lcib/08012/images/expand-lamb04.jpg

Abimelech was a son of Gideon by a concubine. He had seventy half brothers. Today you will read what Abimelech did to them. Yes, there are persons and situations in the Old Testament who perform evils so great, that it would be challengeto the movie industry to portray them. Abimilech is one of these persons; he had an atrocious lust for power.

While you may read his story in amazement, just know that there is a potential Abimelech inside of each one of us. The same temptation to power, control, self-centeredness, unconcern for the things of the Lord, can be at work in our own hearts. But for the grace of the Lord Jesus, there go you and I!

The Lord sends persons to liberate God’s people who, in turn, lapse immediately into idolatry. God feels. Pray with a desire to experience God’s hurt.

Is there anything you are doing to avoid placing the Lamb of God as the center of your life?


Tuesdays are dedicated to Old Testament history and “The Writings.”
In the seasons of Advent to Epiphany this year we read the Book of Judges followed by a few chapters of Proverbs.


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The Fullness of Life and Joy

Monday of Christmas Week
Isaiah 44

Nick reads the one-minute introduction.


The theme of blessing continues strongly in this chapter filled with God’s loving move upon God’s people. The blessing is the stronger as we celebrate Christmas. Look at the extent to which the Lord goes to redeem us and to have divine life present in us.

The cry of the Lord rises in verses 21 ff. after God has described the emptiness of idolatry in detail. Your Creator is also your most loving parent who wants to share everything with you, the beloved. God will forget all your sins; just return to the Lord with all your heart. Nothing less than the whole heart of God is focused upon you; God wants nothing less in return.

We have anything but a boring, distant God! Let the fresh loving joy of the Lord in this chapter quicken the fullness of life and joy in your own heart.


Mondays are dedicated to the Prophets
In the seasons of Advent to Epiphany this year, we read Isaiah chapters 40 to 55.


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Resting with Assurance

The Sunday after Christmas
Luke 2:22-40

Nick reads the one-minute introduction.


Simeon’s song of praise. Aert de Gelder 1645-1727

Themes of old and new weave themselves through the infancy stories of Jesus in Luke. The aged Zechariah and Elizabeth are types of the ancient longing, seen next to the young Mary and Joseph. Now it is Simeon and Anna contrasted with Mary and Joseph who arrive to present Jesus in the Temple. Faithful Simeon is there and Anna, who spent eighty-four years of her widowhood praying constantly in the Temple for the coming of the Messiah. The Holy Spirit tells them that the quiet, gentle couple arriving this day is the answer to their deepest prayer.

Old and new meet; patience and joy embrace. The Song of Simeon sweetly lifts itself every night as those in monasteries bid farewell to a day of grace and fall asleep. May you rest assured that the Lord has indeed come, a fact that the Holy Spirit gives to you right now. Receive the child in the temple of your heart and rest.


Sundays are dedicated to the Gospels from The Revised Common Lectionary.


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A Vision in the Night

The Sabbath Torah Portion – Vayiggash (And He Approached)
The entire portion is Genesis 44:18—47:27

The Bible Through the Seasons follows those Jewish traditions that divide the portion into thirds.
This year, we read Part 2. Genesis 45:28—46:27

Nick reads the one-minute introduction.


Schnorr von Carolsfeld – 1860

Jacob receives a comforting and wondrous vision from God during the night. This is the seventh time that God has spoken of the covenant—twice to Abraham, twice to Isaac, and now the third time to Jacob. Jacob is reassured about the promises of the Lord; he will see his son Joseph before he dies.

Respect the power of the night. When you awaken during it, turn to the Lord who wants to share with you the intimacies of the covenant God offers to you in Jesus through the Spirit. All the great revelations that God made to patriarchs and prophets are gathered in Jesus. The Lord wants to speak to your heart and tell you of the love, plans, and promises held out to you. Take time to listen to God with a pure, open heart—day or night.


Saturdays are dedicated to the Sabbath Torah portions
read in synagogues throughout the world.


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Jesus Comes to Stay

Friday of the Fourth Week in Advent
Luke 2:1-20

Nick reads the one-minute introduction.


Correggio The Nativity (Holy Night) 1528-30

“No room for them in the inn.” Francis of Assisi in the fourteenth century contemplated this fact, beginning the tradition of meditations on the manger with stable and animals as an expression of the poverty of Jesus’ birth. While Luke would agree, there are two further points he wants to bring to our silent, prayerful attention.

First, there was no room for Mary and Joseph in the inn, because Jesus did not just come for a visit to stay awhile, as we do when we stop at a motel. Jesus came to stay!

Second, Mary and Joseph laid Jesus in a manger, the place where animals eat. Jesus rests for the first time in a place reminding us that he would become our food one day, the day before he rested on another wooden framed structure—the cross.


Fridays are dedicated to the Gospels. This year, we read the Gospel of St. Luke,except during Lent and with a few other exceptions.


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The Anointing Abides in You

Thursday of the Fourth Week in Advent
1 John 2:18-29
Merry Christmas!

Nick reads the one-minute introduction.


We are in the final times. Whatever hour you are in right now, there is a spiritual sense that it is part of the last hour as expressed by John in verse 18. While we cannot predict just when the actual end will come, it has already begun with what took place on the last day of the old creation, Good Friday.

The anointing of the Holy Spirit gives you all you need to know about what to do. What an assertion in verse 20: “You know all things!” This is due to the anointing—gift of the Holy Spirit.

In order to access this knowledge, you need a life of prayer, union with other wise persons who are also under the anointing, and a total desire to dedicate yourself to the Lord. Trust that the Lord will indeed speak to you heart. Be willing to filter out everything else, so that you can hear.


Thursdays are dedicated to the New Testament, except the Gospels. During the seasons of Advent to Epiphany this year, we read the three letters of John.


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