Spiritual Profits

As for me, this is my covenant with them, says the Lord.
    My spirit, which is upon you,
    and my words, which I have placed in your mouth
    won’t depart from your mouth,
    nor from the mouths of your descendants,
    nor from the mouths of your descendants’ children,
    says the Lord,
    forever and always.

Isaiah 59:21

For those only interested in a “good” Christmas of profit like the stores at the Malls, Christmas is over. Their attention is only on the adding machines and computers that will gather up all the profits and compare them with past years. The first attention of such people is not to keep growing with the Lord, but to see how the Christmas holiday helped their bank accounts to grow!

So be challenged by this reading to keep your attention on the spiritual profits of this season—the increased joy and happiness in your life because Jesus has come.
Verse 21 is very special—a promise for you and for your children and grandchildren. Continue being dedicated to the Lord and your children will have wonderful examples of those who are following the Lord.

Isaiah 59:15b-21

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
Your words always in my mouth v. 21
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is Christmas Week
Winter in the north.  Year C
Monday are dedicated in this season to the prophet Isaiah

Seasons of Grace – A Calendar for 2019

Solar and Sacred Seasons
Some adjustments to make the church year simpler.

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…

Jesus in the Temple of Your Heart

 Jesus replied, “Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know
that it was necessary for me to be in my Father’s house?”

Luke 1:49

Here is a time in Jesus’ life that is like yours. He is twelve years old, making his first trip called a “pilgrimage” to Jerusalem at Passover time. He has just crossed over from being a child to an adult in the Jewish world.

“The Finding of Child Jesus in the Temple” is like a miniature picture of the whole Gospel. There is Jesus…teaching…the Temple…Even the three days later reminds us of the three days from Good Friday to the first Easter Sunday. It’s Passover, the time when Jesus would suffer many years later as the new lamb of sacrifice at that great Jewish celebration of freedom from slavery in Egypt.

As you read the Gospel story, be a silent friend walking with Jesus, touching all the aspects of the story, especially the suffering of Joseph and Mary when Jesus is lost for three days. Have you ever been missing for awhile as a child? What joy there was when you were found! What joy it is to find Jesus in the Temple of your heart!

Luke 2:41-52

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Your Word cherished in my heart. v. 1
For more information about this creative way to pray,
see Bible Breaths.

This is   Christmas Week
Winter in the north.  Year C
Sundays are dedicated to the Gospels from
The Revised Common Lectionary

Seasons of Grace – A Calendar for 2019

Solar and Sacred Seasons
Some adjustments to make the church year simpler.

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…

In Pharaoh’s Face

 The Lord said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt because everyone there who wanted to kill you has died.” So Moses took his wife and his children, put them on a donkey, and went back to the land of Egypt.
Moses also carried the shepherd’s rod from God in his hand.

Exodus 4:19-20

Just as the evil Herod wanted to kill Jesus by killing infants, so was there a scheme by Pharaoh to kill Hebrew male babies. He was afraid that they might have too much influence on the Hebrew people who were bound to slavery for all of Pharaoh’s building projects such as the pyramids. What would happen when Moses was born?

Just as Jesus’ return from Egypt to Nazareth after the death of Herod, Moses is told that it is time for him to return back to Egypt; the Pharaoh that hated him when he was a baby, is dead. Now God directs Aaron, Moses’ brother, to meet with Moses and plan to confront Pharaoh. The way this happens is through a series of miraculous events that will let Pharaoh know that it is not really Moses and Aaron that are in Pharaoh’s face, but God Himself.

But look what happens from verse 6: things get worse for the Hebrews! Sometimes it happens that when we decide to do what God wants, things may seem to get a bit worse! But no matter what—just keep doing what is right and your happiness and joy will not be far away.

Exodus 4:2—5:18

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Walking with the pow’r of God 4:20
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.

Seasons of Grace – A Calendar for 2019

Solar and Sacred Seasons
Some adjustments to make the church year simpler.

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…

Comparing Two Readings

The Word became flesh
    and made his home among us.
We have seen his glory,
    glory like that of a father’s only son,
        full of grace and truth.

John 1:14

Take a look at the opening words of the Gospel of St. John in today’s reading and then turn to the first words of the Bible. How is one just like the other? Now don’t look at the answer coming in the rest of this Firestarter…so just pause and turn to both readings and see how they are the same.

OK, assuming that you’ve done that, we can reflect on how these two whole readings are alike. After you’ve found the likeness of the beginning, take a look at the rest of the reading from the beginning of Genesis and this reading and see how they can be compared. What’s the same? What’s different? When you find the answers to these questions, how do you feel?

John 1:1-18

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
You pitched Your tent among us. 14
For more information about
this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the Third Week in Advent
Winter in the north.  Year C
On Fridays we read the Gospel of Luke

Seasons of Grace – A Calendar for 2019

Solar and Sacred Seasons
Some adjustments to make the church year simpler.

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…

The Energizer Bunny

Submit to them because it’s God’s will that by doing good
you will silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.

1 Peter 2:15

You know what happens when others think you are a “goodie-goodie”! You might get mocked just like the situation in the beginning of the reading for today.

St. Peter urges his readers to good behavior no matter what, finding Jesus to be the example for us. But not only is Jesus the example, he’s the one that is with us and who makes it possible to act with love and peace in the middle of trouble. This is what we mean by grace: this divine fuel that God puts in our tank so that we can live with great energy and love. The Holy Spirit is like the “Energizer Bunny” inside of us!

1 Peter 2:11-25

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Doing good silences fools. v. 15
For more information about this creative way to pray,
see Bible Breaths.

This is the Fourth Week in Advent
Winter in the north.  Year C
Thursdays in this season are dedicated to the the letters of Peter

Seasons of Grace – A Calendar for 2019

Solar and Sacred Seasons
Some adjustments to make the church year simpler.

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…

Conducting a Symphony

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;
    break forth into joyous song and sing praises.

Psalm 98:4

The writer of this psalm thinks he is the conductor of a symphony. He imagines that everyone on earth are musicians playing harps, trumpets, and horns. Then he has all the sea creatures be cheerleaders who shout all the time. He invites the earth itself and all living creatures to join in. Rivers are imagined as applauding for joy at all this! And the choir? Why the very hills! How’s that for an imaginative writer of a psalm!

You can do the same with your imagination. All you have to do is let everything around you—what you see, hear, taste, touch and smell—be part of a symphony with you as the conductor! Try it! Maybe you’ll feel God giving you all this joy and happiness, just as he did to the writer of this lovely psalm.

Psalm 98

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Joy and happiness within v. 4
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the Fourth Week in Advent
Winter in the north.  Year C
Wednesdays are dedicated to the Psalms

Seasons of Grace – A Calendar for 2019

Solar and Sacred Seasons
Some adjustments to make the church year simpler.

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…

Hope for Us

AnimFireStarter The neighborhood women gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They called his name Obed. He became Jesse’s father and David’s grandfather.

Ruth 4:17

We come to the end of our Tuesday story in Advent. Ruth and Boaz marry and have the baby, Obed. He’s the grandfather of King David. It’s from the family line of David that Jesus will find his historical connection through Mary, his fatherly connection to God.

Let’s think about what is obvious throughout this story: that God can take someone on the outside and bring that person into the center. It’s like a basketball game that you’d like to get into, but you’re just standing on the sidelines. You’d love to play, but you’re just not in the “in group.” Then something happens. Someone tosses you the ball and invites you in. Then you make the final shot that wins the game—right from the center of the court! Hurray, you’re a hero! That’s what God did in this story of Ruth: a lady on the sidelines of all the actions gets to come into the center! There’s hope for us!   Merry Christmas!

Ruth 4

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
In the household of my God
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the Fourth Week in Advent
Winter in the north.  Year C
Tuesdays are dedicated in Advent to the Book of Ruth

Seasons of Grace – A Calendar for 2019

Solar and Sacred Seasons
Some adjustments to make the church year simpler.

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…