The Lost Son

Here in the middle of Lent we listen to one of Jesus’ most wonderful stories about the father of two sons. Every one of Jesus’ stories is a “Link to Think” how each story relates to our lives.

The Bible has other tales of two brothers at odds with each other. The very first one is about Cain and Abel in Genesis 4; another is the story of Esau and Jacob from Genesis 25. It’s the theme of an older brother jealous of a younger, more favored one. Maybe your family watches “Everybody Loves Raymond.” It’s one of our nation’s favorite TV shows, in part based on the competition between brothers—the jealousy of the older, Robert, for the younger, Raymond.

As you read this story of “The Lost Son,” think about yourself and your family. Is there anything like this going on? Today and this week is a good time to reflect on this; hundreds of thousands of Christians throughout the world hearing this story at worship will hopefully be doing the same thing.

  Luke 15:11-32

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Your glance filled with compassion v. 20
For more information about this creative way to pray,
see Bible Breaths.

This is the Fourth Week in Lent
Spring 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…

Contamination of the Soul

Anti-bacterial soap…products that disinfect…even a special light that can tell if there’s bacteria lurking in your bathroom: we’ve become so conscious of germs! In today’s passage, we learn that the truth about being contaminated comes from God and not just our own figuring things out. We are far away from the animals that we eat when they are slaughtered. And I’ll bet your mom puts parts of a chicken just bought at the supermarket, into a special container.

Contamination—a big word with lots of applications. If touching something unclean can put us at risk of becoming sick, how much more can our spirits be “contaminated” by what is spiritually unclean around us. I’ll let you think about what this might mean for you…but the question is simple: what do you allow into your soul that tends to poison you spiritually and make you less likely to be open to the purity of God’s presence?

Leviticus 11:41-47

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:

Holiness: being like You v. 45

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…

The Seed of God

 

In your favorite home and garden store, there are lined up in neat rows, package after package of flower and vegetable seeds. They rest very comfortably in the rack, waiting to be purchased, for the envelope to be ripped open, the seeds falling into the ground.

If the seeds were conscious like we are, they might be saying to themselves: “O my! I would prefer to stay right her comfy cozy in the package. I don’t want to go into the ground and be pulled apart and attacked by all that dirt and worms and stuff!” But then they might say a little later: “But what good am I here all sealed away in a package–no place to go, no change for me, nothing for me to become?” So the seeds willingly allow themselves to go into the ground and die so that they can become the flowers and fruits of May, June and the summer months.

Jesus says the same about himself. The time has come for this “seed” of God which is Jesus, to fall into the ground and die. Look what wonderful fruit is going to come in the Holy Spirit and the power of God’s love!John 12:11-50


So take the Word of God today as a seed and let it fall into the soil of your soul so that it will bear fruit.

 

John 12:11-50

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
Dying grain, bearing much fruit v. 24
For more information about
this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the Third Week in Lent
Spring in the north.  Year C
On Fridays in Lent and Easter we read the Gospel of John.

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…

Three Tiny Things

As you’ve been reading these days’ Firestarters, I’m sure you’ve noticed how we find examples in life that fit with the meanings that God wants to give.  Today’s chapter in James finds three ordinary things in life as examples of what he is trying to say.  Find out what these three things are and see how easy it is to understand the reading and to apply it to our lives by the examples that James uses.

   Do you find yourself nodding your head to what he is saying?  Maybe there is a way in which you are selfish and today’s reading reminds you about that. Just be honest with yourself. Ask the Lord to forgive you of any wrongs, and get set to find God’s peace so that you can live in the gentle way that God’s wants for us all the time. 

James 3

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

This is the Second Week in Lent
Spring in the north.  Year C
Thursdays are dedicated to the New Testament Letters.

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…

Waiting with God

 

I remember as a little boy, not being able to sleep one night because my bicycle was going to be out of the repair shop in the morning. I was so excited about being able to use my bike, with its new chain guard, that I hardly slept at all!

That’s the way the sacred writer of this psalm talks about David’s sleepless nights until he builds a house for his dear God. This is what the people on the way to Jerusalem are signing about. I’ll bet they had sleepless nights too, as they couldn’t wait to get to the city and all the wonderful celebrations that were going to take place there.

If you want something and can’t sleep until it comes, how much more do you really want God who makes the source of everything we have or ever will have? When you are awake at night, and can’t get to sleep for whatever reason, just turn your thoughts to God who is awake right there with you, loving you and wanting you to have all that you need in life.

Psalm 132

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Going to Your dwelling place v. 7

For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the Third Week in Lent.
Spring 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…

Compassion Instead of Judgment

AnimFireStarter On and on go the arguments with Job and his friends. Finally, like a lawyer making his final speech to a jury, Job concludes his remarks. He tells his friends how good he is and that it’s just not right that these bad things are happening to him.

But woops, he’s making some mistakes! He’s got three ways of thinking that are not correct:
He claims that only good things will happen to good people.
Because he is good, such evils ought not happen to him.

God is a persecutor and a prosecutor. Job’s pain and the absence of people to listen to him with love and compassion, result in his not thinking right.

Job needs love and support, not criticism and judgment on the part of his friends. Is there someone in your life that is suffering and you are called to listen to that person so that their emotions are welcome in your presence?

Job 31

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:

Compassion rising from me vv. 16ff

For more about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the  Third Week in Lent
Spring in the north.  Year C
Tuesdays we read from The Book of Job.

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 Is Right Here, Right Now

Have you ever found yourself saying, “I wish I was not living here…I wish I was on vacation now…I wish my friends wouldn’t treat me the way they do.” When we find ourselves filled with thoughts of desire to be far away from where we are right now, then today’s reading will help.

Here’s the situation. Foreigners have come into God’s sacred land to occupy it. The people are tempted to sneak over to Egypt where that king might hopefully help them against the wicked king of Babylonia who has his armies ruling the Holy Lands. But God addresses the people through Jeremiah, saying: “Don’t go away! Just trust in Me right now and everything will be OK, because you will have My protection.”

Think about it: you don’t have to go away, you don’t have to wish that what is happening right now might not be happening. You can simply stay where you are and turn to God who is right at the center of things—right in the middle of each moment as it passes into the next.

Make today’s reading personal to you. Do what the Lord commands Jeremiah and the little bit that is left of God’s people.

Jeremiah 42:1-17

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
Blooming where I am planted 42:10

This is the Third Week in Lent, Year C
Mondays in Lent are dedicated to the prophet Jeremiah.

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…