Sharing the World

We all know what it’s like when we return home after being away for a long time.  Back we go to our rooms and to what is familiar.  Doesn’t it bring feelings of peace? 

In today’s psalm, the walls of the writer’s house are dropped and he feels at home in the whole universe!  This happens because he feels himself very close to God.  He learns once again that all of God’s creation has been given as a home for the human family.

  All this wonder suddenly catches David by surprise.  He feels himself so tiny, compared with the universe. Yet as small as he is, he knows that he is never forgotten by God.  Human beings are the most important part of God’s creation.  So important are you, that God would have created the whole world for you alone so that you would enjoy it and praise God for it. 

There are billions of other human beings on this globe.  Let’s share the world evenly and justly with each other!

Psalm 8

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.

A Special Place

These chapters tell about the boundaries of the tribal groups.  Reading the chapters is like reading documents from the hall of records at city hall…not very interesting!  Yet there is something wonderful about this single verse for today. The portable temple that God’s people had set up during their travels through the wilderness to the Promised Land now comes to rest in a permanent place. For the next one hundred years, the tabernacle will be in Shiloh, about thirty-five miles north of Jerusalem.

We need something similar in our lives—a place in our homes where we sense God’s presence in a special way.  For you, maybe it will be a little meditation table such as I have in my bedroom…maybe a special seating arrangement in your family room or kitchen table when you gather together to pray and talk together as a family for a time.

Here’s an idea.  Cut out a star from construction paper and tape it above the door you usually use to go in and out.  Like the star of the Magi that stopped and stayed over the place where Jesus was, so does this star remind you that Jesus has come to stay in your house permanently, turning it into a place of worship.  Will you and your family live together in such a way that how you relate to each other becomes an act of worship to God?

Joshua 18:1

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.

God’s Alarm

One time my wife was talking on the phone while she was cooking on top of the stove.  Suddenly, the oil in the pan caught fire and before she knew it, dangerous flames were leaping upward and going into the exhaust fan.  As you can well imagine, she became very frightened. But all of a sudden, a fireman appeared at the door—someone she knew from our church.  The alarm system in the house had automatically called the fire department.  Thanks be to God, nothing serious had happened and my wife felt so reassured. 

Isaiah teaches us that if you are close to the Lord and seek to find shelter and safety in God then you need not fear anything at all.  When we are close to the Lord and connected to God, then a kind of alarm will go off right way when some bad things are beginning to happen.  The Lord will be right there to protect you.   

One thing is important: have you checked to be sure that you are connected to God?  This is what “fear” of God means.  It’s not that God is going to zap us; it’s just that if we live in such a way as to be out of touch with God, then that’s something to be afraid of!

Isaiah 8 11:19

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.

What Do You Want?

Here we are at the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry.  After he is baptized, his first followers enter the scene.  John the Baptist directs those who were with him to now follow Jesus.    

We hear the first words of Jesus in the Gospel of John: “What do you want?”  Interesting: Jesus asks a question, rather than telling his new disciples what to do!  

Jesus meets each of us and asks this same question: “What it is that you most want in life?”  Jesus figures, that if his friends know what they really want from their hearts, then that will be just what Jesus wants.   

What do you really want in life?  Think about it.  What kind of a person do you want to be?  Picture Jesus asking you this one all-important question.  What will be your answer?

John 1:29-42

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 One Drawn from Water

The exciting book of Exodus begins.  We left off in Genesis with the wonderful story of Joseph and his death.  In Exodus the thread is picked up when we find God’s people enslaved by a pharaoh who didn’t know about Joseph and all that he did for Egypt.

Right away we jump into the story of the slavery of God’s people.  Like Joseph and so many others before him, God calls another person who will be the leader of God’s people. His name is Moses, meaning, “One drawn from water.”   You’ll read how he was saved as an infant from water from a pharaoh as evil as Herod that we read about in Christmastime.

Every time Moses heard his name, he remembered his being saved from water.  Each of us as well could be called “Moses” because we have been saved by the precious waters of Baptism.   What plan does God have for you, just has he had for Moses?  

Exodus 1:1-2:11

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.

Earth, Air, Fire and Water

I hope you will like our Fridays with Matthew.  We’ll be making our way through his gospel about one chapter a week. Today, we hear once more the Advent cries of John the Baptist in the desert.  In this one chapter, we get the feel of Advent and Christmas, bringing us up to the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry.

Ancient peoples thought that everything was made up of four elements—earth, air, fire and water.  These are present at Jesus’ baptism. Earth and the airs of heaven are there, together with water and the fire of the baptism of the Holy Spirit!  May the Holy Spirit set fire to our hearts for God and all that matters to God! 

Matthew 3

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.

Love, Not Laws

I have to be honest; I’ve been stopped by the police a few times in my life as a driver!  One time was right after I came to serve a church.  I went across an intersection after the light had turned amber…That’s a no no!  Right away the siren blared, the lights flashed, and I found myself peering through the car window at the policeman who stopped me.

He looked at my driver’s license and recognized the address.  “Are you the pastor?”  “Yes,” I said. “Sorry that we’re meeting under these circumstances!”  He warned me and did not give me a ticket. Afterward, whenever I saw the policeman, I always felt a bit ashamed, wondering what he thought about me for running that light.  

God’s people thought they would get on God’s good side if they just kept all God’s many Old Testament laws.  When Jesus came, this changed. When we give our lives to Jesus, we get all the benefits of what Jesus won for us.  All we need to do is love and believe that God loves us back, in and through Jesus. We do need to keep laws, but it’s Jesus love in us and not law-keeping, that makes us right with God.

That policeman: I hoped he liked me even though I broke a law.  But you know…whether he liked me or not, it didn’t matter; neither does it matter if there are some who don’t like you. You and I are liked and loved by God because we are wrapped in the love of Jesus.  Glory to God!

Galatians 3:24-29

Thursdays are dedicated to the letters of Paul, other letters,
the Book of Acts, and the Book of Revelation.
This year in the season of Advent to Epiphany we read the letters of Titus, Philemon, Galatians and Philippians.

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.