No Need to Be Afraid

Have you ever been afraid at night? I remember seeing a movie when I was a child called “The Creature from the Black Lagoon.” For some weeks after, as I lie in bed waiting for sleep to come, I would look at the shadows made by the curtains in the window and imagine that the evil creature was lurking there!

St. Peter says that there are fallen angels who want to take away our peace and our devotion to God. Today, St. Peter uses a strong image—that the Devil is like a roaring lion seeking someone to eat up! Now this fact is not meant to scare us, but instead, to have us believe in the power of God that is even stronger than these evil forces. So when you are about to fall asleep—and of course at other times of the day and night—turn your thoughts to the power of God which is much, much greater than any evil force. Open your arms as you run into God’s presence. God’s arms are open to receive you so that you can sleep and rest with God

1 Peter 5:6-11

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

This is the Third Week in Epiphany
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…

Your Gift to God

Let my whole being bless the Lord!
    Let everything inside me bless his holy name!

Psalm 103:1

Yesterday we talked about the cycles of God’s love. Today we think about how God shares the return of these cycles through our prayer; here’s what I mean.
Today’s psalm opens up with an explosion of praise: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!” What a minute! I thought that God was the one who blesses and we are the ones being blessed? Yes, this is true. When God blesses us, God sends out a surge of blessings. Yet when we thank God and praise God, in a sense, we “bless” God and return the second half of the cycle to God. It’s like playing catch. God throws out His blessing in creating us–we receive it, and then return it to God through prayer and living as God wants us to live. In this way, we complete the other half of the cycle: we return the gift of life to God.

The surge of praise of the psalmist contains a list of blessings that the psalmist is grateful about and so he “blesses” God. Blessing God for the gifts of life brings us right into God’s presence. Look at God face to face, as you bless and thank God for all the gifts of life that are shared with you every day, every week, and every year of your life.

Psalm 103

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
All within me bless Your name. v. 1
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the Fourth Week in Epiphany
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…

The Merry-Go-Round of God’s Love

Queen Esther answered, “If I please the king, and if the king wishes, give me my life—that’s my wish—and the lives of my people too.

Esther 7:3

AnimFireStarterThere is a saying, “What goes around, comes around.” It’s like a merry-go-round; when you pass by a point on the outside you will pass it again…like the brass ring.
Haman is on a merry-go-round of evil, plotting to destroy God’s sacred people. As he continues in this way, the very thing that he plans to do is going to happen to him! Today’s chapters tell the story about that and how Queen Esther and Mordecai were favored by King Xerxes.

While there are some persons on a merry-go-round of making trouble, deeper than these circles are those of God’s loving plans to love and save us. These daily Bible readings are themselves like merry-go-rounds! Every three years we come back to each one. When we pray over them with those following this Bible plan, together we ride the saving merry-go-round of God’s love.

Esther 7—8

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Recall to whom I belong
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the Fourth Week in Epiphany
Winter in the north.  Year C
Tuesdays are dedicated in this season to the Book of Esther

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…

 

God’s Love Never Fails

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Ever find yourself daydreaming about the past? That’s what Isaiah is doing as he thinks about the history of God’s people and what God did for them. He finds that he needs God’s saving grace…and he doesn’t seem to be finding it at that moment. So in a series of questions he asks God, “You were so present bringing salvation to our ancestors…Where are you now?”

Is there a need you have for God that you feel God is not answering? Talk to God about this. God is faithful and God’s love never fails. As you read these verses, remind yourself about this; we need to be reminded more than God needs reminding!

Isaiah 63:7-14

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
Carried in the arms of God v. 9
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the Fourth Week in Epiphany
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…

Happy About Healing

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    because the Lord has anointed me.
He has sent me to preach good news to the poor,
    to proclaim release to the prisoners
    and recovery of sight to the blind,
    to liberate the oppressed,
     and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

Luke 4:18-19

As though peering through a magnifying glass, we take a close-up look at a time when Jesus returns to his hometown, Nazareth. We listen to the reading from Isaiah 61 that was handed to Jesus to read and then to preach a sermon.

The reading was part of a regular list of readings, here connected with the end of the Jewish year which comes in late summer. It was selected so that the people would find hope and encouragement in the middle of suffering. Look what Jesus says about this reading–that healing of others is going to happen because of him! That’s what really got the people jealous and wanting to throw Jesus out of town.

Unlike the first neighbors of Jesus, be happy about the healing that Jesus brings…that he wants to bring to people even more, through you!

Luke 4:14-21

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Spirit of God upon me v. 18
For more information about this creative way to pray,
see Bible Breaths.

This is the Fourth Week in Epiphany
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…

A Fresh Look at the Ten Commandments

 I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
You must have no other gods before me.

Exodus 20:23-3

We are right in the middle of the book of Exodus, plunk in the middle of the long journey of the people to freedom. It’s the perfect moment to stop the movement and take a look at the Ten Commandments. These days I’ve been inviting you to read from a new translation of the Bible called The Message Bible. Today let’s have a look at the Commandments from this translation.

1.   No other gods, only me.
2.   No carved gods.
3.  
No using the name of God, your God,   in curses or silly banter.
4.   Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
5.   Honor your father and mother.
6.   No murder.
7.   No adultery.
8.  No stealing.
9.  No lies about your neighbor.
10.
Don’t set your heart on anything that is your neighbor’s.

This is what God came up with to offer his promise of a life-long, loving relation with his people. These were the basic commands that we have to go by in order to have God accept us into the beginning of a relation with God. But from there, Jesus did so much more to share with us the very relation he has with God as son to a Father.

Exodus 20:1-17

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
You the Lord: no other gods v. 3
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…

Right Along on God’s Way

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    because the Lord has anointed me.
He has sent me to preach good news to the poor,
    to proclaim release to the prisoners
    and recovery of sight to the blind,
    to liberate the oppressed,
    and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

Luke 4:18-19

Older student bullying and taking money from younger student

Though you are young, you may be old enough to love to go back to places of your early childhood. It was the same for Jesus when he returned to his home town of Nazareth to preach in the synagogue there. Jesus had changed so much from being the quiet boy who played games in the street with his friends, and who made things from scraps of wood from Joseph’s carpenter shop; the people were not ready to hear Jesus as the great preacher he had become.

Read this story about the jealousy and pride of the people and how they refused to let the Good News come to their town and find the words of Isaiah fulfilled in Jesus. When Jesus confronted them with their meanness and unbelief, they really tried to gang up on him.

Just as we saw yesterday, connect with Jesus and think if there is anything like this happening in your life with classmates and neighbors. God will take care of you just as God helped Jesus to slip through the hands of those outstretched to do Jesus harm; he went right along on his way. So go right along on your way…God’s way!

Luke 4:14-30

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
Anointed to bring good news v. 18
For more information about
this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the Third Week in Epiphany
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…