Gems from Suffering

AnimFireStarterThe book of Job (pronounced with a long “o”) is about a very good man who suffers some terrible things one after the other. You might want to find out what happened which you’ll find in chapters 1 and 2.

Most of the book is a three-part series of conversations with Job and three others who say they are his friends. But they’re not very friendly at all! Instead of comforting Job for the terrible events in his life, they keep testing Job to see what he did that would make him responsible for the bad things. But Job refuses to fall into the trap. In this week’s episode, Job examines his heart and finds that he did nothing to bring about such things.

Highlight the golden gems in Job’s words in chapter 23 that rise up from his suffering. Job has some harsh ideas about God that aren’t really right; these come toward the end of the chapter. Thanks to Jesus, we know differently! Jesus suffered in a terrible way too, so that we would not have to!

Job 23

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:

Your words kept in my bosom 23:12

For more about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the First Week in Lent
Spring in the north.  Year C
Tuesdays we read from The Book of Job.

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…

 

Up from the Mud Pit

The mean king of Babylonia wants to come and take God’s people away as hostages. They have a great and powerful army. God sends the prophet Jeremiah to warn the people that their ways of not obeying God would bring disaster upon them.

So nasty was the Hebrew king that when he gets the message from Jeremiah which God had commanded him to write on a scroll, the king takes the scroll and throws it into his fireplace where it burns up. How dumb! Jeremiah just sits down and writes the scroll again…with some more bad things that are going to happen. After this, Jeremiah is put in a dungeon, and finally in our chapter, is thrown down a huge pit in the ground for water; all it has is mud on the bottom. Yuck! But just like the patriarch Joseph in the book of Genesis, Jeremiah is saved from the pit.

Jeremiah 38:1-20

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer

Faithful while suffering 38:6ff

This is the First Week in Lent, Year C
Mondays in Lent are dedicated to the prophet Jeremiah.

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…

A Tool for Each Day

Right after Jesus’ Baptism when he was drenched in water, the Holy Spirit leads him into the desert—to be “soaked” in dryness! You might expect that after thirty years of quiet in Nazareth, after his baptism, Jesus would really get into the ministry of preaching, teaching and healing. Nope! Back into being alone and isolated once again!

Jesus was lead into the desert—that place where our Hebrew ancestors were making their way into the Promised Land. But they complained against God, rebelled, worshipped a Golden Calf and did a number of bad things that showed how ungrateful they were at being God’s people; God couldn’t count on them.

So it makes sense that Jesus begins where God’s people had left off—finally being faithful to his Father against the kind of temptations that our ancestor fell into. Jesus begins to break the power of the devil by resisting him. He does this by using some verses from the book of Deuteronomy as weapons against the devil—and it works!

We can do the same! Find a verse in each day’s reading that you will come alive for you as God’s weapon against bad and mean things—both to hit evil with it, and also to be protected from evil by the verse. There will be a verse suggested each day—but maybe you’ll find one that leaps off the page and is just right for you. Take hold of that verse and embrace it! Check below for a suggested “Bible Breath.” Each day of Lent you’ll have a daily tool to use so that you will be faithful to the Lord.

Luke 4:1-13

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
In the desert with Jesus
For more information about this creative way to pray,
see Bible Breaths.

This is the First Week in Lent
Spring 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…

Making Room for God

 

(This is repeated from last Saturday.  Today, March 9, 2019, is the correct Torah portion.

Everything about the wonderful Tabernacle in the desert is taken care of, from the planning to the completely furnished place of worship. Architects, artists, painters, engravers, weavers: you name it, all kinds of people come to help out in the building of this portable temple in the desert. You can glance through preceding chapters to get a quick look at all the work to be done. Finally, in chapter 40, everything is ready for Moses’ part—to put it all together. All he has to do is gently and reverently place things in their proper places.

Now that all the pieces are fitted together like great puzzle, it’s ready for God to move in and live there. Humans have done their part to make this a fit place for God to live with his people in the desert, so God comes down and fills the tabernacle with God’s presence in the form of a cloud. The end of the reading tells when the people know when God wants them to stay and when God wants them to break camp and move on.

Keeping your things clean and in good order helps to have that sense of peace which is so much a part of finding God. How could you make your room and other areas in the house feel sacred and welcome for God to come and spend time with you and your family?

Exodus 40

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
My face shines with Your presence. v. 29
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…

Hands Reaching Out

 

When I was young, there weren’t any digital clocks—only ones with a face, numbers and hands. One of my favorite old clocks is in my study. It was on my Dad’s dresser for as long as I can remember. It’s a familiar face that changes with the hours and minutes, yet always remains the same, because of the background of the face, the numbers on it, and the clock itself. The clock fell once over the years;  hence the base was damaged.

The faces of these clocks have a center point from where the hands reach out to tell time. I think of this when I read this part of St. Luke’s Gospel. Up to this point in the Gospel Jesus alone heals others. Now this power passes into the hands and hearts of the Apostles. These twelve close friends of Jesus go out from Jesus as the center to touch others, just as the hands of a clock touch the twelve hours of the day from the center of the clock.

You and I are part of a great company of those called to spread the power of Jesus through the Holy Spirit. Who is going to be touched today by your hands and the smile on your face?

Luke 9:1-17

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
“You give them something to eat.” v. 13
For more information about
this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the Ninth Week in Epiphany
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…

No Trivial Pursuits

Ask your Mom or Dad if they ever played the table game, “Trivial Pursuits.” I don’t care for the game, especially its name. “Trivial” means things that just don’t matter very much.

In the first part of our reading, St. Paul urges Timothy not to encourage people to talk about things that don’t matter—trivial spiritual pursuits. This makes for taking sides, as each one seeks to share his or her opinion as though it’s the only one that matters.

The second part of the reading from chapter 2 urges us to pray for world leaders. Pray that every leader of every nation will come to have love for others, to let go of power as the way to rule, and instead, love as God loves. They’ll tend to do this, when you pray for them. The greatest power is love.

1 Timothy 1:4-5; 2:1-7

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Love coming from a pure heart 1:5
For more information about this creative way to pray,
see Bible Breaths.

This is the NInth Week in Epiphany
Winter in the north.  Year C
Thursdays are dedicated to the New Testament Letters.

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…

Anger Prayed Out

Ash Wednesday

Have you ever been really angry at someone? There’s a difference between fighting someone or saying, “I’m so angry at you that I think of doing bad things!” This doesn’t mean that you’re going to do it. Much better is simply tell the person that you are angry and what the other person did that occasioned you to be so upset.

There are many verses in today’s psalm that express the anger of the writer. He says he wants God to do bad things to his enemies…not a good idea, but at least the psalmist takes his anger out in prayer. When he finally lets go of his anger and it’s all prayed out, he’s ready to look at God and consider God’s love and kindness.

If we keep thinking about the one with whom we are angry, we’ll tend to stay angry. However, if we take our anger to God in prayer, the anger will tend to flow away like a dark cloud. God will help you to pray for your enemies and forgive them. I hope today’s psalm will help you learn how to pray in all kinds of ways.

Psalm 109:1-5; 21-31

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
With my mouth I give You thanks. v. 30
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the Ninth Week in Epiphany
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…