Freedom at Last

 Then he (Pharaoh) summoned Moses and Aaron in the night, and said, “Rise up, go away from my people, both you and the Israelites! Go, worship the Lord, as you said. Take your flocks and your herds, as you said, and be gone. And bring a blessing on me too!”

Exodus 12:31-32

Pharaoh, the big boss in Egypt kept refusing to let the people of God leave his country. Remember? And because he was so stubborn, God kept sending plagues (scary things) his way.  The last plague does it.  The first boy born to every Egyptian family dies and Pharaoh sets God’s people free.  It took a long time for Pharaoh to obey God: but he finally he got the message.

The reading for today is the basic one that shows how God wants people to be free. The Exodus is the grand story of how God through Moses lead the people on dry land through the Red Sea which split in two, and on into freedom. There is the Passover meal and the bread eaten without leaven or yeast…the people were on the move and they couldn’t be waiting around for the bread to rise. That’s why our communion bread is often unleavened, to link Holy Communion with that meal eaten before the journey to freedom.

One more thing…God moved at night! Think about this fact as you drop off to sleep each night. In Psalm 121:3 we praise God, for “He who keeps you will not slumber of sleep.”
The blood of the sacred lamb, Jesus, which was shed for you and me, has made us free way down inside ourselves!

Exodus 12:29—13:16

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Ready to go at Your will 12:34
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…

Christ at Five

“Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know
that it was necessary for me to be in my Father’s house?”

Luke 2:49

The image in this Firestarter, is one that I have had on the wall of my room since I was a young boy. It depicts Christ at the age of five. Gaze at the picture and notice what lies at Jesus’ feet…then notice what happens to Jesus’ face as he looks up to heaven to feel connected with his heavenly Father.

You might imitate the picture and do what Jesus does: sit in silence with your hands open on your lap, your eyes lifted toward heaven to your Father and God. Jesus trusted in his Father when he saw those scraps of wood in Joseph’s shop fall into the form of a cross; he thought of what this might mean in his future. You too: lift your eyes to heaven in an act of wonder and trust about whatever the future is going to be like for you. Whether it will be harpy or sad, easy or difficult, marked by joy or some sadness, what matters most of all is that God is with you and will be with you, as the Father of Jesus was with him. So pause, rest, let yourself sit like Jesus in that picture, and be one with Jesus who trusts his Father-God in everything.

Luke 2:41-52

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
Being in my Father’s house v. 49
For more information about
this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is Epiphany Week
Winter in the north.  Year C
On Fridays we read the Gospel of Luke

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…

What to Do When Things Go Wrong

It is better to suffer for doing good (if this could possibly be God’s will)
than for doing evil.

1 Peter 3:17

Here are some great lessons for what we can do when someone is unkind to us or who treats us unjustly. When others are mean to us, when we are not mean in return, but rather are kind, the meanness of the others stands out as a dark blotch against the shining light of your goodness.

Think long and quietly on the last verse of today’s reading: Christ also suffered when he died for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners that he might bring us safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.

1 Peter 3:13-18

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Better to suffer for good v. 17
For more information about this creative way to pray,
see Bible Breaths.

This is Epiphany Week
Winter in the north.  Year C
Thursdays in this season are dedicated to the the letters of Peter

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…

Chimes and Doorbells

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come into his presence with singing.

Psalm 100:1-2

Here is a short, wonderful psalm that you could easily memorize…not a bad idea, for when you find yourself without your Bible, memorized verses can have you feel connected to God.

Take each hour of the day as a “court” in the house of the Lord. Imagine clocks all around the land chiming each hour, inviting you to enter through the “gates” of each hour as though the chiming clocks are like doorbells you ring to come into each space of time.

This is a beautiful psalm with feelings and sentiments so basic to God and our relation with God. So soak yourself in the psalm and watch your day come alive!

Psalm 100

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
You made us and we are Yours. v. 3
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is Epiphany Week
Winter 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…

The Star-Queen

AnimFireStarter Mordecai had been a father to Hadassah (that is, Esther), though she was really his cousin, because she had neither father nor mother.
The girl had a beautiful figure and was lovely to look at.
When her parents died, Mordecai had taken her to be his daughter.

Esther 2:7

It often happens that one reading blends into another, as each day of the week unfolds. So it is that just after reading about Herod on Sunday, we come to a place where we can find similar energies of pride and evil at work in the book of Esther, along with goodness and a longing to serve and save others. The desire of God to bring about salvation for His people is at work in the beautiful Esther and in Mordecai.

The word “Esther” means “star.” Esther is “The Star-Queen”! Just as the Lord protected Jesus from wicked King Herod, so does God protect his people by the plans of Esther and Mordecai.

You have found favor in King Jesus. God wants to protect you and lead you on paths that will have you grow into all that you can become in Christ.

Esther 2

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Your ways weaving through my life
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is Epiphany Week
Winter in the north.  Year C
Tuesdays are dedicated in this season to the Book of Esther

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’s Shining Light

Arise! Shine! Your light has come;
    the Lord’s glory has shone upon you.

Isaiah 60:1

For those only interested in a “good” Christmas of profit like the stores at the Malls, Christmas is over. Their attention is only on the adding machines and computers that will gather up all the profits and compare them with past years. The first attention of such people is not to keep growing with the Lord, but to see how the Christmas holiday helped their bank accounts to grow!

So be challenged by this reading to keep your attention on the spiritual profits of this season—the increased joy and happiness in your life because Jesus has come.
Verse 21 is very special—a promise for you and for your children and grandchildren. Continue being dedicated to the Lord and your children will have wonderful examples of those who are following the Lord.

Isaiah 60:1-7

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
Glory of God upon me v. 1
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is Epiphany Week
Winter in the north.  Year C
Monday are dedicated in this season to the prophet Isaiah

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 Star-Trek

“Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?
We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

Matthew 2:2

Take a look at King Herod. He shakes and quakes with fear and anger that the newborn king might take his place someday! Great evil is at work in Herod’s plans to kill all the children two years old and younger.

As we so often do, feel the contrasts in the story and the motives that drive people. Notice the searching, open energy of the Wise Men—the stiffness of Herod. The Magi’s “star-trek”—will you be like them as you search for God all the days of our life?

Matthew 2:1-18

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
The star leading to Jesus v. 2
For more information about this creative way to pray,
see Bible Breaths.

This is  Epiphany Week
Winter 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…