Right and Wrong Fires

Imagine what it is like for Peter to stand in front of Jesus.  Ouch! He recalls what happened the night of Jesus’s trial.  Peter was standing before a servant-girl in the courtyard.  In that chilly evening, Peter was warming himself by the wrong fire!  He denied that he knew Jesus. 

Yet Jesus does not accuse Peter of his denial.  Instead, he asks Peter three times if Peter loves him.  Jesus does this three times to cancel out the three times that Peter denied Jesus back in that courtyard.                      

Peter was wrapped in fear that chilly night in the courtyard.  Now, standing in the early sunshine on the beach of the lake, Peter is warmed by the fire of Jesus’s love.  

When you get the chill of being afraid, picture Jesus standing in front of you, reminding you of the love of Jesus that God has placed in your heart…and of God’s love for you  Feel that fire inside…it will warm you and warm others.  It will be the right kind of fire! 

 John 21:15-19 

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 of these introductions with you on your phone or table! Check the menu options at the site for more information.

Energy from the Story

Here goes St. Paul once again: a third version of the story of his encounter with Jesus! He is standing on trial again, as you will learn if you take a look at chapter 27.

Still, St. Paul has something new to say.  He recalls some words of Jesus to him in verses 16-18 that are very much to the point of where Paul is in his life as an apostle to people way beyond Jerusalem. The retelling of the story is not just for those hearing it, but for Paul too. He receives energy from the story by recalling to himself the power of Jesus at work in him.  

Here’s a verse from the first letter of John that I am reminded of as I listen to Paul: “Greater is the One in you than the one in the world” (4:4).  With the Spirit of God alive and active in you, there is no greater power.  So it was with St. Paul and St. John…and so it is with you!

Acts 26

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 of these introductions with you on your phone or table! Check the menu options at the site for more information.

The Best Boss of All

When you are hired for your first job, you’ll probably be given a sheet of paper with what is called a “Job Description.”  This is a list of all the things you’ll be required to do.  Well, God has something like that for us as we live out our “job” of being a loving Christian person.  Actually, it’s really not a job after all, for when we do what God wants us to do, God gives us fun and strength to do it!  The relation we have with God is meant to be like a super-loving employer to us.

The Hebrew word that is used for “precepts” are the terms of a job description—yet they carry that sense of a wonderful bond of friendship between us and the best boss of all: our God!

Psalm 119:121-144

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 of these introductions with you on your phone or table!.  Click here to visit the website for more information.

Verses that Jump Out at You!

When I read the Bible, sometimes verses jump out of the page at me!  I may not know exactly why at first, but I take it that the Holy Spirit wants to get my attention.  It’s like what happens when someone taps you on the shoulder to have you look at something.  “Hey! Did you see this?” 

Here’s the verse that jumps out at me: “The joy of God is my strength.”  At first glance, we might thing that it should be “Joy IN God”—our joy.  Nope: it’s God’s joy!  Think of it: God is pure joy—all the time.  When things are not going well and we get scared or angry, remember this verse: the energy in God’s joy will give you strength, even when you might feel weak. 

What other verses jump out at you?

Nehemiah 8:6-12

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 of these introductions with you on your phone or table!.  Click here to visit the website for more information.

Time and Space as Sacred

When you distribute the land as an inheritance, you will set aside a holy portion of land for the Lord. It will be 7.1 miles long and 5.68 miles wide. It will be holy throughout the entire area. Ezekiel 45:1

How do the walls of your room face the four directions? Where is East—that’s an important direction as we saw in last Monday’s reading.  How is your “stuff” arranged?  I’ll bet you’ve tried to have it all fit and make some special sense to you. God made us to have our personal things in order.  There’s an expression I like: “A place for everything and everything in its place.”  

Look at an analogue clock―the ones that have hands.  The hands move across the space of the face of the clock and give a feeling to each hour as it finds its place in the three-hour parts of each day: 6-9AM; 9-12PM; 3-6PM; 6-9PM, etc.  

Ezekiel has been busy setting up the space in and about the great temple he sees in his heart.  He puts back in order the special, sacred times for God.  Don’t get lost in the details of these chapters, but be sure to sense the general feel of things. Let the Holy Spirit tell you about what this prophet is saying and how this applies to your own life in practical ways. 

Ezekiel 45—46

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 of these introductions with you on your phone or table!.  Click here to visit the website for more information.

Blended Breaths

When we breathe, we do something basic about how God is: Spirit!  The root of the word “spirit” means to breathe.  

Jesus prepares his disciples for the coming of the Holy Spirit.  We will celebrate this great festival two weeks from today.  Jesus is the breath of God made flesh.  

Here’s a way that you can share in making God’s breath real to others through you. Spend some time inhaling and saying in your heart, “Yes” to your life—accepting it, all that it is, such as it is.  The Holy Spirit enters you as air and fills your whole being.  Just as the air you breathe in takes the shape of your lungs, so picture the Holy Spirit filling every part of who you are.  As you exhale, surrender your life to God and those who need God in your life, imagining your breath blending with the Holy Spirit who breathes across the world and fills every open space with God. 

John 14:23-29

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 of these introductions with you on your phone or table!.  Click here to visit the website for more information.

Everything Belongs to God

In a town by the shore in New Jersey were we used to go for vacation, there was a very wealthy man.  He had a mansion that took up a whole block!  We used to walk around it and peer through the tall iron fence with all the trees and bushes that went around the block, to see if we could get a glimpse of the house.  It was huge!

Did that whole lot really belong to the man? Take the biggest lot in your neighborhood…Do the people that live there really own the land and the house?  Aside from the fact that a bank probably owns it because of a mortgage, today’s reading has a different slant on the issue.  

The land really belongs to God!  You might say, “Well of course it does, so does the earth and everything in it…and even we ourselves!”  Good answer. But we live in a world where everybody does his or her own thing.  People can become very possessive of things, land and even possessive of other persons!

Listen to this reading that is part of a new way of living and trusting in God that God gives to His people through Moses.  Catch the trust in God that comes when we look to God for food and not only from farmers. Spend today thinking about this: everything about your life belongs to God.

We follow a plan of reading the first five books of the Bible, the Torah, on Saturdays in fifty-four portions divided over the year, from autumn through summer. Synagogues have been following this method for thousands of years.

Leviticus 25:18-23

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 of these introductions with you on your phone or table!.  Click here to visit the website for more information.