A Pagan Stands in Awe

King Balak of the neighboring country of Moab hired Balaam, a pagan prophet, to curse God’s people. Balak wanted to eliminate any threat that the Israelites would have against him and his land of Moab. Today’s reading is the account of what happened between God and Balaam. God declares to Balaam the unique blessing that God gives to his people.

The pagan Balaam stands in awe of the power of God. God is true to God’s word. When God blesses, who can curse?

The well-known hymn “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” based on Lamentations, 3:22-23, expresses this when we sing in praise of God: “Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not.” The Letter to the Hebrews, 13:8, expresses it this way: “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

The Sabbath Torah Portion — Balak

Numbers 22:39—23:30

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer from today’s reading:
Speaking only what You want 23:12
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

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 second part.
For more about the Torah portions and thoughtful commentaries, visit
The Jewish Theological Seminary.

On July 8, the Firestarters from the new edition of
The Bible Through the Seasons for families will be posted daily. 


Faith Connection

Crowds press about while Jesus is on his way to heal a young girl. A woman with a hemorrhage has one focus: “I’ve just got to come near him. Even if I touch the hem of his cloak, I’ll be healed.” She insists, refusing to allow the crowd to put her off. She keeps the focus, moving nearer and nearer to Jesus, as she crawls on the ground among the people.

Then the moment of contact: power flows forth from Jesus to heal her. It is like being jump-started. The good battery of Jesus’ power is “Ever-Ready”. However, there needs to be faith-cables of good conduction. The woman’s faith connected with Jesus’ healing power. Her faith saved her.

How are your cables? Are they broken or connected to Jesus?

Mark 5:21-43


This is the fourth of thirteen weeks in the season of Pentecost, Year B
Fridays in Year B in the seasons of Epiphany, Pentecost and Kingdomtide are dedicated to the Gospel of Mark.

For the next few weeks, I’ll be posting Firestarters from the original version of The Bible Through the Seasons. 

The Light of Jesus Within

I once had a dear friend who needed healing in his foot. As a way of reminding himself of the Lord’s power to heal, he slept each night embracing the Bible. He wanted to touch the close, healing power of God.

For Paul too, Jesus was closer to him than all the persecutions pressing and seeking to crush him. He writes of the glory of all this to uplift the Corinthians.

Paul’s body-vessel was weak; so are yours and everyone’s. Thus we are reminded that the power of freedom is not our own, but given to us from God. God is the “furthest without” as well as the “closest within.” The light of Jesus shines within you.

2 Corinthians 4


This is the fourth of thirteen weeks in the season of Pentecost, Year B
Thursdays in this season are dedicated to 2 Corinthians.


For the next few weeks, I’ll be posting Firestarters from the original version of The Bible Through the Seasons.