Jesus’ Inaugural Sermon

When a president takes office in the United States, he gives what is called an “Inaugural Address.” This is a speech that tells the people what the president thinks needs to be important to the country.  The president outlines his plans for the future.

Today’s reading is the beginning of Jesus’ “Inaugural Sermon.”  At the start of his ministry, Jesus goes up a mountain with his disciples and teaches them about God ways of living.  The first eight of these sentences are called “The Eight Beatitudes.”  Each sentence begins with the word for “happy” in Greek.  This word also has the idea of being “fortunate” and “blessed.”  

We recall another mountain when God inaugurated a new way for God’s people—Moses and the Ten Commandments.  Those words set the basic boundaries about how we are to live.  “Don’t do this and that.”  The Beatitudes, on the other hand are “Happy if you DO this and that!  

Think about them slowly…and see how your life measures up to these wonderful ways of living.

  Matthew 5:1-20

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.

Tug-O’-War

I’ll bet you’ve played tug-o’-war with your friends.  What would happen if at a set moment, the players on one side of the rope were to just let go?  The other side would fall to the ground.

Take this idea and let’s see how it applies to Paul’s list of bad things and good things.  Evil is something like a tug-o’-war game.  I want what I want and I pull against whatever is against me.  When we let go of this kind of self-centered game, we also let go of the pull that others make on our lives.

The list of good things that Paul makes, on the other hand,  are the blessed gifts that comes when we let God take us where God wants to. We let God win, as it were. Holding on to where the Lord wants to take us by God’s love and grace.  Let God win, so that the game will be over!  When the game is over, God’s life begins.  When we cling to the Lord’s love and grace, some beautiful qualities begin to be expressed in us.  Check out the list of the nine fruits of the Spirit that Paul tells about.  All of these come from God; the selfish and sinful ones come from ourselves without God.  

How does the reading for today have you feel about how your life is going?

Galatians 5:16-26

Thursdays are dedicated to the New Testament, except the Gospels. 
This year in the season of Advent to Epiphany
we read the letters of Titus, Philemon, Galatians and Philippians.

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.

Trusting God

Life is very exciting: so many great things can come to be in your life if you really want them.  You know, if you want something that will make a big difference in others’ lives,  then God wants that too.  The kind of person you are going to be, and what you will do as your main work in life: this is beginning to take place right now. 

The part of today’s psalm that we are reading is about seeking God, finding God and trusting God. The holy writer today says that God is like a shelter when there’s a great storm. Also, when we seek God, we will not only find God, but will find out the wonderful plans that God has for us.

  Psalm 9: 7-12 

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.

Last Words

One of the great experiences in life is to be at the side of a loved person when they die.  When such a person is alert enough to speak, sometimes they speak words of instruction and love—wanting those around the bed to remember just how to live. It’s a moment to be remembered always. The words sink way inside those hearing, like words of an important person that are engraved into stone. 

It came time for Joshua to die.  He is the one who finally brought God’s people into the land God longed to give them.  Leaders came close to his bed and leaned forward to hear these words.  Someone thought it would be put those words into writing.  Today’s reading is just that.

Joshua 23:1-14

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.

The Promise of Peace

Centuries before Jesus, Isaiah got a strong glimpse into the wonderful age that was to come.  In six verses, we learn about the great changes that will be taking place.  God will enter into our lives in such a way, that victory will be given to us and a time of peace would flow in.

Well, Jesus has come…and wars still take place.  I looks as though only part of the promise has come. This is because so many people and nations turn away from the peace that Jesus wants to give, and instead, give themselves up to violence, national pride and self-interest.

Doesn’t the message of Isaiah today sound like the one from Jesus yesterday?  The only way that the future will be like the vision of Isaiah is when more and more people become disciples of Jesus and of the love and giving of self that Jesus came to share with us.

Isaiah 9:2-7

Mondays are dedicated to the reading of the Hebrew Prophets.

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.

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

Many years ago before radio, TV and the internet, the ordinary way to learn about what was happening was by daily newspapers.  Occasionally there would be a boy carrying papers with breaking news.  He would shout out, “Extra! Extra!  Read all about it!” Then he would shout out the headline.

Jesus does something like this.  There is a headline to his life of helping and saving others.  “Turn away from your life without God which only leads you into doing wrong and come to God who has now comes close to you.”

Jesus doesn’t go it alone as he walks about.  He longs for friends and followers.  He finds them in Peter, James and John.  What a wonderful story today about their coming to Jesus!  These three would become his closest friends.  Yet during Jesus’ trial, Peter would deny he even knew Jesus. James and John, because they were close to Jesus, one time wanted to be sure that they got first places in the Kingdom.

As a family gathered together, we join these three new disciples of Jesus.  Is there something happening in our lives that lets us know in special ways that we are called to follow Jesus?

Matthew 4:12-23

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.

Internal Combustion

I think it would have been unbelievable for people in the middle of the nineteenth century to imagine how people would be traveling in the next century and into own or day.  This is largely because of the invention of the internal combustion engine.  Very simply, lots of explosions contained in chambers drive the pistons that make our wheels turn.

While God’s people were bound in slavery, they were so discouraged that they just couldn’t imagine a way out.  Moses receives the call from God to lead the people to freedom…but they don’t want to get all fired up about this; the “engines” of their lives were not running very well!

God can do miracles of energy and direction for you and for me.  Let’s find in this story some internal combustion from the fire of the Holy Spirit to get our engines going!

Exodus 6:2-13   

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.