To Live Is to Love

I assure you that whoever gives you a cup of water to drink
because you belong to Christ will certainly be rewarded.

Mark 9:41

Jesus draws clear lines between what is good and what is bad. The kind of life we live in God depends upon how well we love.

Jesus uses very strong language to wake us up to the how important it is to live a life of love by taking what we consider basics in life—hands, feet and eyes and teaching how these are less important than the saving of one’s life. If the use of these gifts from God leads us to sin and do wrong, then what good are they?

We can easily take for granted the basic gifts of life. So let’s stop now and thank God for them, and remind ourselves of their purpose—to lead us and others to the God who made us through the love we share.

Mark 9:38-50

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer from today’s reading:
Cup of water in Your name v. 41
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the fifth of thirteen weeks in the season of Kingdomtide,
autumn in the north.  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 with Us in the Tent

 Speak to the Israelites and say to them:
When you enter the land that I am giving you and harvest its produce,
you must bring the first bundle of your harvest to the priest.

Leviticus 23:10

Since Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, Jewish people have been celebrating the “The High Holy days.” Remember, that our word holiday originally meant that—holy days! We have come to one of the final celebrations, recalling the time when our Hebrew ancestors made their way from slavery to freedom through the desert, staying in tents as they camped along the way.

Judaism is a family religion. As a way of remembering this evening, many Jewish families make little tents inside their houses. Something like this is popular these days when children sleep in little tents in their room, or have beds with covering on them. My grandson, Dylan’s bed was like a car when he was a child!

We read in St. John that when God became human in Jesus, he “pitched his tent among us.” God is with us in our tents, little club houses and places in the house where we like to be by ourselves. I believe that God has made us wanting to be alone sometimes, so that we can have some time just to be with God. God loves for us to spend time with Him. When you are alone, think about this: you are not really alone, for God who made you continues to live very close to you—in fact, inside of you!

Leviticus 22:26—23:44

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Off’ring to You my first fruits 23:10
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…

 

Right Side Up

Therefore I say to you, whatever you pray and ask for,
believe that you will receive it, and it will be so for you.

Mark 11:24

Once into Jerusalem, Jesus decides that it’s time to “clean house.” The house is God’s holy Temple. It had become a place of business—selling the animals for the sacrifices at the sacred festivals. In an act of boldness and outrage at the disrespect for his Father, Jesus drives out the animals and the money changers and flips over their tables. Like a spiritual “power ranger,” Jesus gets the job done!

The boldness of Jesus is a model for faith, as we read about the power of faith to move mountains. Is there anything small or big like a mountain that stands between you and the joy and love of life that God wants to give you? Stand against it in the name of Jesus, and flip it over in your heart, like those tables that Jesus turned over in the Temple. If you life seems turned upside down, let Jesus get a hold of it and flip it again so that it can be right side up!

Mark 11:15-33

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
My inner house filled with prayer.  v. 24
For more information about
this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the First Week in the season of Autumn/Kingdomtide, 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…

M Y O B

Aim to live quietly, mind your own business,
and earn your own living, just as I told you.

1 Thessalonians 4:11

St. Paul’s letter begins to come to a close with a challenge put to his readers that they be holy. This means that they have placed God first in their lives, He encourages adults to be faithful in their marriages. In verse 11, we have the origins of the phrase, “Mind Your Own Business,” or as we used to say as kids, MYOB! When we do reflect on where we are at in life, avoiding time thinking critically about other persons, then God can slowly turn on the spotlight on our souls so we can see where we need to grow spiritually and become more holy. Remember: if you’re in someone else’s head, there’s nobody home in yours!

1 Thessalonians 4:1-12

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
You call me to holiness v. 7
For more information about this creative way to pray,
see Bible Breaths.

This is the fourth of thirteen weeks
in the season of Kingtomtide,
autumn in the north Year B.
Thursdays are dedicated to the New Testament, except the Gospels.
For the first six Thursdays, we read 1 Thessalonians.

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…

Justice and Peace Kiss

Faithful love and truth have met;
righteousness and peace have kissed.

Psalm 85:10

Verb tenses mix in an interesting way in this prayer. It begins with the past tense. Count how any times the past tense is used in the first three verses. There’s a look at the future tense in three questions about God’s anger with the hope that God will revive His people again.

Then, beginning with verse 6, there is mixture of past and present tenses as the psalmist gets in touch with how active God is in saving us. There is a beautiful image of union as the writer pictures righteousness and peace kissing each other. Just as a kiss is a spiritual blending of two persons, so do these two virtues come together into a new and powerful unity. There is no real peace without righteousness—meaning justice—and there is no justice without peace.

Catch the spiritual warmth in this psalm that seeks to become one with your own inner feelings. Let in all this love and grace from God. Jot down a few notes of what you are feeling and thinking in the course of your time of prayer.

Psalm 85

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
The kiss of justice and peace. v. 10
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the fourth of thirteen weeks in Kingdomtide,
autumn in the north. 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…

Five Miracles

AnimFireStarter

He got up on the bed and lay down on top of the child, putting his mouth on the boy’s mouth, his eyes on the boy’s eyes, his hands on the boy’s hands. And as he bent over him, the child’s skin grew warm.

2 Kings 4:34

Elisha is filled with the goodness, compassion and power of God. Take some moments of quiet after you read each of these five special stories to allow that same power of the Holy Spirit to do its own wonderful work in you. For example, what does God teach you about the widow’s obedience to Elisha that freed her from debt? The miracle of the woman who made a room upstairs in her house for Elisha—is there a place in your room that you have prepared so that you can pray and get in touch with God in a special way?

The story of Naaman the leper in chapter 5 is one of my favorites. Any lessons for your own life that the Spirit wants to teach you? Be sure that each day’s reading leaves some personal touches of God upon your soul.

2 Kings 4:1—5:19

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
My inner room to find You 4:10
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the fourth of thirteen Weeks in the season of Kingdomtide,
Autumn in the north. Year B.
Tuesdays are dedicated to Hebrew History and “The Writings.”

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 King Adores the One God

“Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, worship, magnify, and glorify the king of heaven. All his works are truth, all his paths are justice,
and he is able to humble all who walk in pride.”

Daniel 4:37

Slowly, but surely, a King who was God’s enemy for being so proud, gradually comes around and worships the one true God. But look at all the King of Babylon had to go through before he surrendered his whole being to praise, reverence and adore God!

The key to the King’s growth was in Daniel, the humble young man open to God who gave the king the meaning of the king’s dreams. I hope you enjoy this chapter just as the last ones. Daniel continues to be a model for the king of how humility and giving oneself to God are the ways to win. Doesn’t this sound something like an example of the reading from yesterday? The king, who wanted to be first, turns out to be last of all. While he’s eating grass like a cow, he finally comes to his senses. There’s a story in the Gospel of Luke chapter 15 that has a similar message; you might like to look it up.

Take the last verse of the chapter, verse 37. It would be a good idea to memorize that verse and let it be with you all this day so that you too can learn in your own way what the King of Babylon had to learn the hard way.

Daniel 3

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Your works are truth and justice. v. 37
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the second of thirteen weeks in Autumn/Kingdomtide, Year B.
Mondays in this season are dedicated to the Prophet Daniel.

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…