Like a Boomerang

Jacob has a dream about a staircase leading up to heaven. Angels were going up and down, with God at the very top. Imagine what it would be like to wake up from such a dream! Jacob realizes that he has been called by God, just as his grandfather, Abraham, to be the leader of a people very special to God.

God doesn’t refuse this gift leadership to Jacob, even though Jacob had dressed up like Esau, and received the special blessing meant for the first born son, Esau. Still, lies and dishonesty seem to follow Jacob around, as you will read read in Jacob meeting Rachel and the stories that follow.

Jacob’s future and those of his descendants, will be haunted in some way by jealousy and meanness. Like a boomerang, “What goes around, comes around!”

Genesis 28:10—30:13

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.

Joy Near the End of Life

Here is an old man whose wife is beyond the age to bear a child.  His name is Zechariah. We come upon him in the middle of the holiest place in the temple, begging for God’s mercy on behalf of God’s people.  His longing is all the more strong because of the deep sadness he feels, for he and his wife are alone without a child.

But a miracle is on its way!  John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus, is coming.  Listen to the promise given to Zechariah. He just doesn’t believe that his wife, Elizabeth, is going to have a child!  But in time he’ll know the joy of this promise.

Advent is a season of hope and joy, as well as a challenge to our faith to believe that God is going to act in ways we do not expect.  Is there something that needs to happen in your life that you decided is just not going to happen?  Wait…God may have a wonderful surprise for you!

Luke 1:1-25

Fridays are dedicated to the Gospels. This Is Year A.
In Advent, we read the stories of the infancy of John the Baptist and Jesus.

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 Attraction of Goodness

Yesterday’s first Psalm placed two paths before us–one good, the other evil.  Today Paul describes what makes people good and what makes them mean and ungodly.

The attractive character of an ordained church leader is not for them alone, but for all who follow Christ.  Read with care about the virtues of a good Christians, as though you are tasting very delicious fruits.  To be holy and devout means that others can enjoy the good fruits that you share.

Once again we have a look at what bad leaders are like-they give rotten fruit!  Virtues, on the other hand, are like the delicious fruits of the Spirit. In your time of prayer, picture yourself being soaked in the seeds of each of the qualities mentions for real leaders.  When you do good works, you too will be offering ripe fruit to others.

The daily Word: it will keep you on the right path.  God will show you the qualities you have as gifts from the Lord.  The Holy Spirit will show you how these qualities can grow in you.

Titus 1

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.

Two Paths

This week we are at the beginning of the three-year cycle of reading the whole Bible.  One hundred fifty-six Wednesdays lie before us-a psalm a week, with seven weeks for the longest psalm and the longest book in the Bible, Psalm 119.

 Just as Moses put a choice to the people before he died, about choosing life or death, so this first Psalm places before us these same two choices.  Good people are like the life-giving qualities of trees planted beside a flowing river.  These trees bear beautiful fruits.  Wicked people, on the other hand, choose death.  They are like the chaff of the wheat stalks that fly away to nothingness in the wind.

The journey lies before us.  Will you choose to stay close to God’s Word and live, or will you be like wicked ones who choose their own dead-end path!

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

Psalm 1

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 Super-Hero for God

Moses has died.  God’s new leader Joshua is the one who is going to lead God’s people into the land that God has promised.  Joshua is like a Power Ranger or a super-hero for God.  He knows how to battle against God’s enemies and how to win.  He is courageous because he trusts in God’s power to work through him and not in his own skill as a leader.  He believes in God’s promises to him and to God’s people.  He puts this faith in practice when he obeys what God tells him. 

You may not grow up to be a super-hero for God; but if you trust in God and do what God says, God ‘s great power can work through you from now till the very end of your life, just as the lives of Moses and Joshua.

Joshua 1:1-11

Tuesdays are dedicated to the Old Testament books of history
and the Hebrew “Writings.”
This year in the season of Advent to Epiphany
we read Joshua and Proverbs 1-3.

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.

Animals Smarter than Us?

When we brought our little Maltese puppy home, we gave him the name “Kewpie.”  It wasn’t very long before he would come when his name was called out.

God says that animals run to their masters when their name is called; but God’s people do not recognize when God calls out to them. Sometimes that’s the way it is with us!  Jesus said that the he is the Good shepherd who knows the names of his sheep and his true sheep run to him when they hear the sound of their names.

God is much more patient than any dog trainer.  He knows our weakness and our tendency to behave very badly.  But God’s love promises to take away our wrongs like a strong detergent that takes away deep stains.  Blood stains are among the strongest.  May you and I not be stubborn so that we can hear God’s loving voice calling out to us in many surprising moments, as we learned in the reading of yesterday.

Isaiah 1: 1-9; 18-20

Mondays are dedicated to the prophets.
This year in the season of Advent to Epiphany we read Isaiah 1-12

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! Check the menu options at the site for more information.

Surprise!

St. Matthew makes a comparison between a thief and Jesus!  Doesn’t it sound a bit risky to do that?  But there is one thing that they both have in common: surprise.   A thief only gets into someone’s house when the owner doesn’t know it.  The coming of Jesus into our heart is also by surprise–when we least expect it.  

There are times when we expect God to come to us in the Spirit of Jesus–at worship, when we pray, etc.  But there are other times when Jesus comes by surprise.  What sort of times do you think these are?

Matthew 24:36-44

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.