The Covenant with Abraham

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[From the original version]

Sarah’s barrenness was interpreted as a curse. Rather than trust in the Lord, she took it upon herself to tell Abraham to have relations with Hagar, Sarah’s maid, so that Abraham could have a son. Ishmael was born, and with it was begotten jealousy between the two women and their children, even to our own day. Modern day Arabs trace their ancestry back to Ishmael.

In chapter 17 we joyfully begin to recall the covenant that God made with Abraham. God introduces himself as El Shaddai, the name we translate as “The Almighty.

God offers a covenant with Abraham. The sign of this covenant is circumcision—what comes forth in generative life is to be the gift of God and not simply the productivity of the flesh alone. May your heart be circumcised in a response to God’s abundant life.

Genesis 16—17

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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.

For all the Firestarters I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand of these introductions with you on your phone or tablet. Check the menu options at the site for more information

Pain and Joy as Never Before

[From the original version]

Good news and bad news are mixed in this passage. The bad news: things are going to get worse as peoples rise up in rage against each other; the good news: the power of the Holy Spirit will be present as an inner strength of word and action against the power of darkness. Though the Temple would be destroyed in 70 A.D., and there would not be left a stone upon a stone, yet the New Temple of the presence of God, the risen body of Jesus, will be the sacred house where you can live now and forever.

Jesus likens this to a woman at the time of birth—pain as never before yet joy as never before. Each hour of this day is a time for you to deliver. What is the pain you need to experience so that new birth can happen?

Mark 13:1–13

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Fridays are dedicated to the Gospels. This year, we generally read
from the Gospel of Mark, this season, chapters 10 to 16.

For all the Firestarters I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand of these introductions with you on your phone or tablet. Check the menu options at the site for more information.

Stand Fast

[From the original version]

Buffalo, New York and Chicago, Illinois become so windy at times that the downtown areas are fitted out with ropes for people to hold onto as they walk, lest they be blown away.

This passage urges us to “stand fast.” We would say in current jargon, “Hang in there,” lest you be “tossed to and fro and be carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Eph. 4:14). Paul describes what happens when the role of Creator to creature is reversed—absolute arrogance and lawlessness, the creature despising the order set by the Creator. All evil results from this.

Stand fast against this usurped power. Cling to the cross as your rope when the lawless, evil winds of pride and power blow strongly against you.

2 Thessalonians 2

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Thursdays are dedicated to the letters of Paul, other letters,
the Book of Acts, and the Book of Revelation.
In season of Kingdomtide this year,
we read 1 and 2 Thessalonians; Revelation 4—11.

For all the Firestarters I recommend the ebook.  You will have the entire program of well over a thousand of these introductions with you on your phone or tablet. Check the menu options at the site for more information.