Just Do It!

Here’s a psalm of only two verses.  You could memorize it very easily.   It’s the shortest reading in the Bible in this three-year plan.  If you have the verses memorized, you can pray the psalm very often in the course of the day, especially at those moments when your activities change.  Stop for a moment…Praise and thank God.

 Notice the imperative mood in the words, “Praise.” It’s a command!  There are times when we don’t feel like praising the Lord―but it’s right that we do it anyway.  God’s goodness and love always need to be acknowledged, whether we’re into it or not.  Like the Nike commercial, “Just do it!”  When you begin to respond, you’llfind yourself getting into it more and more, and you will discover joy.

Psalm 117

Wednesdays are devoted to the reading of the Psalms,
one a week across the three-year cycle.

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.

Dancing for God

Very often persons are mocked or bullied because they are different.  Sometimes at school a child who just doesn’t seem to fit in, can be teased and sometimes treated very cruelly.     

If this has happened to you, you’ll find comfort in knowing that it happened to King David.  He got so excited about the Ark of the Covenant returning to Jerusalem, that he danced before it as the parade moved along.  Michal didn’t like it.  I suppose she wasn’t as interested in this sign of God coming into town as David was. She was more into feeling resentment for David than joy in the party that everyone else was having.

It’s not only David that we can think about as being like us…maybe there’s a bit of Michal in us too.  That’s why it is good to read the Bible in a slow way; we have a change to see where the characters in the stories connect with us, so that God can speak to us through them.

1 Chronicles 15:25―16:36

Tuesdays are dedicated to the the History and Writings
of the Hebrew Scriptures.

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.

A Sad Anniversary

Anniversaries can be happy or sad events.  If you recall the death of a beloved relative, part of that day will bring a quiet silence and likely some sadness.

For Jewish people, the 9th day of their lunar month of Ab, is a day of great sorrow; this year it is August 10.  It’s the day way back in 586 BC that the first of two temples was destroyed by the Babylonians. Not only that, but the rebuilt temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.  On this day, Jews who observe this remembrance don’t eat anything at all. They read the whole Book of Lamentations.  The idea is that in reading that book, no only Jews, but everyone can feel with those ancestors who suffered so very much in the destruction of the first Temple. Even though the suffering was so great, still the people prayed to the Lord.  Notice this especially in the last four verses. No matter what they suffered, still they were aware that God was listening to them and would bring them out of the anguish that they were in.

What a good thing to remember!  No matter what is happening in your life that might be sad or frightening, God is present to you and is ready not just to listen, but to respond.

Mondays are dedicated to the reading of the Hebrew Prophets.

Lamentations 5:15-22

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.

Spending Time with God

Jesus spent much time with his disciples, but he disappeared at night into the hills.  There he was alone with his Father spending time in prayer.  His disciples saw what a difference prayer made for Jesus…nothing seemed to get at him, though there were so many attempts to put Jesus down by those angry with him.

Wanting to have that peace which the prayer of Jesus gave, the disciples eagerly seek out Jesus to learn how to pray.  What we have is the Lord’s Prayer as a model for our prayer.

Jesus makes a very simple example of how much God wants to answer our prayers. Feel the comparison that you’ll read.  Be faithful to your times of prayer and eventually, there will be a spirit of prayer about you for the whole day…and into the night. If you wake up like Jesus, spend some time with your heavenly Father. 

 Luke 11:1-13

On Sundays we follow the Gospels from the Revised Common Lectionary.

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 Feelings of the Seasons

Which of the four seasons do you think best describes the beginning of the year?   You might say, “Spring,” since this is the beginning of new life in the northern hemisphere. You would agree with our Jewish ancestors who found new life in the Exodus.  God’s people passed through the Red Sea in spring.  Our new life in Jesus is celebrated in his Resurrection, which takes place in springtime, in the northern hemisphere.

Yet there is a sense in which autumn can be the beginning of the year.  Autumn is the fullness of life: the harvest is ready; everything is mature.   The Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, is in autumn; Jewish people figured that God made creation in its fullness, with Adam and Eve and all the animals.   Our Christian year begins in winter in the north, as the Light of God, Jesus, comes to the earth, as daylight gets longer and longer each day.

The flow of the seasons throughout the year gives meaning to religious festivals.  It just doesn’t feel right to be singing Christmas carols in June!  Think about the season you are in: summer in the north, winter in the south…What feelings come up for you as you turn your attention to God who made heaven and earth and all the seasons?

Numbers 28:1-29:40

The Saturday passages follow the reading list that Jewish people use in their synagogue worship throughout the world. They are taken from
“The Torah,” the first five books of the Bible from Genesis to Deuteronomy that are read each year beginning with autumn.

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.

Losers Are Winners

Four parts of this chapter are meant to make our day alive and connected with Jesus.  The second episode from verse 7 is a good example of how Jesus turns our world upside down: the first ones will be last and the last ones first.  It’s as though the losers in a race are honored more than the winners!

This is because Jesus always calls us to be humble and to wait for God to lift us up, not to be puffed up with pride, just because we won a game. There is so much competition in our world, that we can lose touch with how much God loves those who are especially rejected by others.

Keep your eyes wide open before Jesus and watch what he’s going to do in these stories, not only with the first listeners, but with you and me.  Notice those squinting, mean, critical eyes of the Pharisees. What they think is more important than what Jesus thinks; they stay stuck in their own lives.  If you want to be unstuck, just look to Jesus.

Luke 14

Fridays are dedicated to the Gospels. This being Year C,
the third year in the cycle, we generally read from the Gospel of Luke.

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.

God: the Basics

Imagine: God became human so that God would be very close to us. Jesus even took on our sins, though he was without any sin at all.  Jesus restored the thread between us and God which had been broken by sin.  

This is a comforting chapter—something like the Psalm from yesterday. From verse 11 we are reminded about how important it is not to forget all these wonderful things about God.  Just as babies feed on milk because solid food is too much for them, so do we need to keep things simple in our understanding of God. How about writing the basic truths of this chapter in short sentences?    

Hebrews 5

Thursdays are dedicated to the letters of Paul, other letters,
the Book of Acts, and the Book of Revelation.

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.