Following What God Wants

Here’s a story of another kind of sadness. Shortly after Solomon built the first Temple 959 years before Jesus, the people become interested in temples to other gods. They yielded to pleasing people instead of God. They took sides in all kinds of quarrels which eventually resulted in one nation becoming two: Israel to the north, and Judah to the south.

Chapter 13 is another one of those intriguing stories about good and evil in the Bible. A question: what do you think is the meaning of the altar being split apart in verse 3?

The fate of the old prophet makes us aware of how important it is to do what God says, even though others want to change it and excuse it. Many times in your life others will try to steer you away from God, and you’ll be tempted. It’s so important to pray, have friends that want to please God and not just each other. In that way you and your friends can be part of a special group of people that God can count on to spread God’s love and peace.

1 Kings 13

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Your dwelling within my heart. v. 7
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the ninth of thirteen weeks in the season of Pentecost, Year B
Tuesdays are dedicated to Hebrew History and “The Writings.”
For the rest of this season, we read 1 Kings.

Calendar for 2018: “God’s Year of Grace”

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…

A Jewel Among the Ashes

AnimFireStarter

Around this time of the summer every year, Jewish people recall the great sadness of the destruction of two Temples in Jerusalem. (July 22, this year.) The first one was 586 years before Christ, and the second, the rebuilt one, was destroyed by a Roman army 70 years after Jesus’ birth. Part of the wall of the Temple still stands today in Jerusalem called “The Wailing Wall.” People go and pray with their outstretched palms touching the wall.

The reading in synagogues is from the book of Lamentations which tells about the suffering of God’s people during the Exile when they were captured and taken to Babylonia after their Temple was destroyed. Not only were they hostages of a wicked king, but when they returned to Jerusalem, all they could remember was the wicked army that destroyed their Temple.

Verses 22-23 of the third chapter rise up like a jewel among the ashes of the suffering described in the book of Lamentations. The verses became part of the beautiful hymn, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” by Thomas Chisholm. Let us pray for our Jewish brothers and sisters and all those whose lives in their home country are threatened by enemies.

Lamentations 3:19-33

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Mercies new every morning v. 23
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the ninth of thirteen weeks in the season of Pentecost, Year B.
Mondays in this season are dedicated to the Prophet Hosea,
with Lamentations 3 in the Ninth Week.

Calendar for 2018: “God’s Year of Grace”

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…

 

A Boy’s Lunch Gets Bigger

St. John is the awesome evangelist who will be our guide today and for the next few Sundays as we continue our journey through the Bible. The story of the feeding of the crowd with miracle bread and fish is told by all four evangelists. Each one focuses on the miracle in a different way, giving emphasis to certain aspects of the story. For St. John, the boy’s lunch begins the miracle. He is a young person, just like you, who wants to spend the day with Jesus. Like a good Boy Scout who is always prepared, he brings his lunch along. I wonder what he feels when Philip comes up to him and asks for his lunch! He didn’t grab hold of it and say to Philip: “It’s mine, it’s mine!” Instead he lets his lunch get into Jesus’ hands before it lands into his stomach.

Bring what you have to Jesus and watch him multiply it. Reading the Bible each day is like preparing your spiritual lunch bag to take with you. You’ll be fed spiritually by what you read, and when you give your day to Jesus, he’ll multiply your goodness, your kindness and your faith so that many others will be fed.

John 6:1-21

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer from today’s reading:
Bringing what I have to You v. 9
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the ninth of thirteen weeks in the season of Pentecost, Year B.
Sundays are dedicated to the Gospels from
The Revised Common Lectionary

Calendar for 2018: “God’s Year of Grace”

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…

 

God’s Words in Tiny Space

It must have been an amazing experience for those who first walked on the moon in 1969 to look back and see the earth as one. All the oceans and continents, all the clouds and the atmosphere made the earth look like a silent big marble floating in the sky.

Today’s reading is something like that. All the thousands of verses in the Old Testament are gathered into tiny space to look at them all as one. They can be reduced to two verses: 5 and 6. In fact, as part of morning prayer, devout Jewish men and some women too, take two little leather boxes a few inches square that has these verses inside them, and they tie them to their foreheads and the part of the arm near the hands. Bible Breaths are an excellent way to catch the essence of God’s Word.

Deuteronomy 6:1-9

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Loving You, heart soul and might 6:5
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.

Calendar for 2018: “God’s Year of Grace”

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…

 

More than Crumbs

Here’s a story of two miracles of Jesus. The first one shows the great faith of a woman we would not expect to have faith, for she doesn’t belong to the Jewish people. But my goodness, Jesus almost refuses to help her because she is not part of the original family of God! At first it looks like Jesus is being rude to her. However, he does this to give her the chance to show others how strong her faith really is. Just like the woman who knew that only a touch of the hem of Jesus’s garment would be enough to heal her, this woman knows that only a tiny bit of what Jesus has to offer would be plenty to heal her daughter…like crumbs from a table.

The same Jesus who walked the streets in and out of Galilee, is with you and me as we go about our day. Let’s respond just like that foreign woman who believed so strongly in Jesus. Jesus wants to give you much more than tiny crumbs: he gives you his whole life!

Mark 7:24-37

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Laying on the hands of heart v. 32
For more information about
this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the eighth of thirteen weeks in the season of Pentecost, Year B.
Fridays are dedicated to the New Testament, except the Gospels.
We read the Gospel of Mark in Year B.

Calendar for 2018: “God’s Year of Grace”

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…

Rich While Being Poor

When our daughter Teresa was in high school she went on a special trip to the people in the Appalachian Mountains of Tennessee. They were very poor. The group with Teresa went to help fix up their houses, which were often falling apart. Even though the people had hardly anything, they were friendly, happy, and very generous with sharing their food with the workers. My daughter came home very much affected by the love she saw there and their desire to give.

This is the kind of generosity St. Paul talks about in the reading for today. He finds the churches in Macedonia and their generosity as examples to encourage the Corinthians to be just as generous in giving.

The last verse of the reading is very powerful. In you own words, what does it mean when St. Paul says about Jesus: “Though he was very rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich?”

2 Corinthians 8:1-19

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
You were rich yet poor for us v. 9
For more information about this creative way to pray,
see Bible Breaths.

This is the eighth of thirteen weeks in the season of Pentecost, Year B.
Thursdays are dedicated to the New Testament, except the Gospels.
In this season we read 2 Corinthians.

Calendar for 2018: “God’s Year of Grace”

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…

Breath Prayer

Take a trip in your mind to a place in the mountains that you’ve visited—maybe one of your favorite times of vacation. Asaph says that God is more majestic and glorious than the mountains, for God made them.

I offer you a seven syllable phrase that you can use as you breathe in and out: Your abode is in my heart. v. 2. Breathe in on the first three syllables: Your abode and breathe out on is in my heart. The final syllable is for the moment of rest before you inhale again. I call these prayers, “Bible Breaths.” They are a good way to take important verses in the reading for each day and shape them into little breathing spaces that you can tuck into your lungs and heart and take with you all day. Just as you always take your breaths with you all day, so can you also take God’s Word!

For more information see Bible Breaths.

Psalm 76

This is the eighth of thirteen weeks in the season of Pentecost, Year B.
Wednesdays are dedicated the Psalms.

Calendar for 2018: “God’s Year of Grace”

These Firestarters are from a new edition of The Bible Through the Seasons being developed for families with children. For the Firestarters in the original edition, I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…