Jesus in Your Boat

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There’s a long body of water that separates Europe from Africa called the Mediterranean Sea. The name means “The Sea in the Middle of the Land.” The Holy Lands of the Bible are on the eastern shore. Just north of these sacred lands was a great city called Tyre. It was a very important city for trade, because products from the East would come by land to that city, and would make the rest of their way west by water.

It was a city that did not honor God—a proud place, because of all the wealth that came to it for being such a famous city. Instead of trusting in the God of Israel, Tyre trusted only in wealth as a kind of god. The city is pictured like the many ships in its harbor, tossed about in a hurricane—the “hurricane,” being the nations around Tyre that are going to conquer it, just as a hurricane sinks a ship.

St. Matthew tells what happened when the disciples where in a storm and Jesus was asleep in the boat. Invite Jesus into your “boat,” and he will protect you from all the storms of life (Matthew 8:23-27).

Ezekiel 27:26-36

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Mondays are dedicated to the Prophets
In the season of Easter, we read from the prophet Ezekiel.


This is a sample of a new version of The Bible Through the Seasons as a daily family devotion. An ebook is planned. I’ll keep you posted! –Pastor Nick

A Beautiful Branch on the Vine

The Fifth Sunday in Easter

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I was once pastor of a church in Vineland, the largest city in New Jersey—not by the number of people living in it, but by its size. For many years a major product of the land was grapes. Lots of vine-yards make up a vine-land!

Beautiful purple grapes bounce about on the branches of the vines, waiting for the day of the harvest. Jesus uses the example of vines to help his disciples understand how they are connected to him. Jesus is the vine, we are the branches. When we are so linked to Jesus, beautiful fruits come from our lives.

As you sit and pray, feel your whole self connected to Jesus. Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus’s love and life are flowing into you, giving you life, just as the branches receive life from the vine. When you get up from your time of prayer, spend the rest of the day remembering that you are a beautiful branch on the sacred vine which is Jesus.

John 15:1-8

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Sundays are dedicated to the Gospel.
During the season of Easter, we read the Gospel of John.


This is a sample of a new version of The Bible Through the Seasons as a daily family devotion. An ebook is planned. I’ll keep you posted! –Pastor Nick

Being Holy Like God

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These words of Scripture were first given to our Jewish ancestors about three thousand years ago in the desert. There God spoke to the people through Moses. As they were becoming a new people, they had to have laws to be sure that they were living in the right way—the way that God wanted.

These verses tell about what to do to be holy, just as God is holy. The reading begins with how very important it is to respect and honor one’s mother and father. You’ll also find a list of other laws basically taken from the Ten Commandments.

Jesus quotes verse 18 (Matthew 19:19 and Luke 10:27). Loving our neighbor is one of the ways we show our love for God. Is there someone near you, not only your actual neighbor next door, but someone whom you see regularly that needs more love in their life? God wants you to be the one to give that love.

Leviticus 19:1-4; 9-19; 30-37

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Saturdays are dedicated to the Torah Portions
read along with synagogues throughout the world.


This is a sample of a new version of The Bible Through the Seasons as a daily family devotion.  An ebook is planned. I’ll keep you posted! –Pastor Nick

 

 

The Holy Spirit at Every Moment

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As the Church of Jesus grew in the early years, the leaders thought and prayed about the link that they had with their Jewish ancestors. They asked: “Did persons who didn’t have Jewish parents and grandparents have to go do the same things that Jewish people do? “No,” they answered. Today’s reading describes a big meeting in Jerusalem when they talked about all this. The speech of Peter is a summary of their discussions.

The Holy Spirit was present as the Church of Jesus grew—at the big moments and the small ones too. As you grow, you too will be facing decisions to be made. The same Holy Spirit will be with you at every moment, whether the decisions are small or big. Isn’t this a thought that brings you lots of comfort?

Acts 15:1-12

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Thursdays are dedicated to the New Testament except the Gospels.
In the Easter Season we read from the Book of Acts


This is a sample of a new version of The Bible Through the Seasons as a daily family devotion.  An ebook is planned. I’ll keep you posted! –Pastor Nick

Linked to God

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The sacred writer of this psalm is so happy, he explodes with expressions of wonder and gratitude for all that God has done in God’s creation. The psalmist looks around at his beautiful world and finds God to be the artist.

If you pray this psalm in a way that has you enter into the joy of these words, when you come to your own life, you too will be filled with thanksgiving for all that God has done for you. Just as the writer of this psalm, make a list of the blessings that you have received. Even the things that might not seem at first to be blessings, because of something you suffered—even these can become blessings from God because of what we can learn about life and what God is teaching us through these events. The wonderful thing about learning from God is the feeling of being linked to God that this learning brings!

Psalm 65

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Wednesdays are dedicated to the Psalms,
one each week across the three-year cycle.


This is a sample of a new version of The Bible Through the Seasons as a daily family devotion. An ebook is planned. I’ll keep you posted! –Pastor Nick

Going Home at Last!

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The Persian King, Cyrus, conquered Babylonia, the country that had taken God’s people captive and led them into exile. God is about to do something wonderful through this foreign king who didn’t even know the God of Israel. Because Cyrus had pity on God’s people who desperately wanted to return to their homeland and to rebuild their temple, Cyrus gave orders that this happen. The Book of Ezra tells all about this.

Just imagine: a people who had been away from their homeland for about seventy years, are going to go home! When we sense the feelings that they must have had, we begin to appreciate the freedom we have to live in our homeland, and to worship God as God wants us to. May we never take these freedoms for granted, and always be thankful that we are able to pray and worship God as we have been created to do.

Ezra 1

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Tuesdays are dedicated to the Writings in the Hebrew Scriptures, those books with the exception of the Torah (the first five books of the Bible)
the Prophets and the Psalms.
In the season of Easter we read Proverbs 17 to 19 and Ezra.


This is a sample of a new version of The Bible Through the Seasons as a daily family devotion. An ebook is planned. I’ll keep you posted! –Pastor Nick

Godly Anger

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All around God’s sacred land were nations who refused to worship the God of Israel. They were so proud that they often mocked God thinking that they were better than God.

In this part of the book of Ezekiel, the prophet has some strong words from God toward these neighboring countries. He tells how angry God becomes when innocent people are mistreated.

I think of a group of mothers who got very angry about how people who drive while drunk were killing their children. They formed a group called Mothers Against Drunk Drivers—MADD. You know something? There are more people alive today because those mothers got angry and did something positive with their emotions. Now there are stricter laws when someone is caught drunk driving. Sometimes we need some of God’s anger to work for justice and fairness that God wants for God’s children.

Think about the times when you are angry. Are you angry when it’s just about YOU, or are you angry sometimes for the reasons that God is angry in today’s reading? This Godly anger.

Ezekiel 25:1-7

Touch to learn about BibleBreaths.


Mondays are dedicated to the Prophets
In the season of Easter, we read from the prophet Ezekiel.


This is a sample of a new version of The Bible Through the Seasons as a daily family devotion. An ebook is planned. I’ll keep you posted! –Pastor Nick