Real Faith

Actions speak louder than words: I’ll bet you’ve heard that saying.  We can say all we want that we believe in God, but if our loves don’t show it, then what difference to our words make?  This psalm is not about thinking ourselves so holy while others might not be, but rather to remember that the world doesn’t live with God in charge, but rather power, privilege and being important.

The last verse is a cry for salvation for the world.   Praying in the name of Jesus, take a  stand against the spirit of unbelief that chokes our world.  Pray for you and your loved ones. Anything holding you back?  By the power in the Holy Name, tell all that stands between you and the Lord to be removed.

[Note: This psalm and psalm 53 are the same, except for this one’s use of the name Yahweh or Lord for God.]

 Psalm 14

On Wednesdays we read one psalm each week, usually one after another.  In Lent we take some special psalms together—this year numbers 120 to 124. These are songs that the people sang while on special trips each year to the holy city of Jerusalem. 

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.

At Last God Speaks Up!

 Finally all that arguing stops and God comes into the conversation.  Watch what happens: instead of answering Job’s question, God asks some more!   The idea is to see if Job can climb out of himself and take a look at and enjoy all of creation.  Watch along with Job at where God directs his attention.

Today, be especially aware of the physical world around you and how this world gives glory to God because God made it.  When we get all tied up in our own stuff, it’s harder to find God.  Finding God this week in a special way, is what this week’s all about.

 Job 38:1-18

Tuesdays are dedicated to the Old Testament books of history
and the Hebrew “Writings.”
This year in the season of Lent we read selections Job 1—14 and 38.

 

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 Prophet’s Pen

The Lord told Jeremiah not to marry.  Spending life alone…this was to be what was going to happen to the people when they went into exile.  The coming promise of loneliness was intended to shock the people into thinking about the coming disaster unless they repented from their wrongs.

The way we live is meant to lead others to God. Jeremiah must have had Psalm 1 in front of him when he began to pray from verse 7. When you read Jeremiah’s prayer, what kind of prayer can very naturally come from your heart?  How about writing it out? 

Jeremiah 17: 7-17

Mondays are dedicated to the reading of the Hebrew Prophets.
This year in the season of Lent we read selections from Jeremiah 1—17.

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 Unique Palm Sunday

This year’s celebration of Palm Sunday will be very different throughout the world: no processions, no passing out palm branches in churches. No singing together in one place, the great hymns for that day.

Instead, there will be online services across the globe. I invite you to share ours with the Matawan United Methodist Church where I am pastor. It’s very simple: just click on this link “Palm Sunday Livestream at Matawan UMC”

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.

Make the Connection

Plug a lamp into a socket, turn it on and there is light.  The connection is made…light fills the space.

God’s people make their offerings by fire. Moses and Aaron encounter the Lord and everyone is filled with the presence of God.  Connections are made and the light of God’s presence glows.

Connection to God…What does that mean for you?  How do we get connected to the Lord?  Think of the many ways. Be open at this very moment right now when God longs to come and visit your heart, if you’ll just open for God and let the light of His glory and blessing come in.  Make the connection!  They’ll be fire!

Leviticus 9:22-24 

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.

Sparks into Flames

Wow, what patience!  Here’s a crippled man who’s been trying to get healed for thirty-eight years. The idea was that the first one to get into the poor would be healed.  What frustration!  The crippled man would try and try to get there first, but someone else always beat him to it.  Not very nice people who would do that!Surely, after thirty-eight years, someone would say: “It’s your turn!”…but not for those religious leaders.  Their own ideas for keeping the law blocked and blinded them from the Good News of Jesus who heals.  To keep itsy bitsy parts of the law had them forget the whole law of love and compassion.

The words of Jesus are as sparks that grow into flames. We are peering right into the mystery of Jesus’ divinity and being one with God the Father.  It’s a mystery for you to contemplate and to live, for Jesus shares with you the very life he has with the Father.  Rest in this life, this love, this healing touch of God upon you.  Rise and walk!

John 5:1-15

Fridays are dedicated to the Gospels.
This year in the seasons of Lent and Easter we read selections from the Gospel of John. 

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.

Spiritual Battle Gear

It’s time for battle again…a spiritual one.  What kind of battle gear do we need to put on?

St. Paul lays out just what you need, as though your Mom had put out your clothes the night before.  There are six pieces of gear.  All have special meaning in the world of spiritual things.  Imagine that you are clothing yourself with each one, thinking about the connection that each has with the protection that God gives to you.  Take the shield of faith, for example. A real shield used to be dipped into water.  When darts on fire would come from the enemy, they would hit the shield and just fissile out! Some people take water that’s been prayed over and sprinkle some on their heads and body, as a way of recalling the waters of Baptism which have set us free.  

Now you know what to put on when you get up in the morning. It’s your spiritual battle gear. Memorizing them will help you to find them as comfortable on you as the shirt on your back.

  Ephesians 6:10-20 

Thursdays are dedicated to the letters of Paul, other letters,
the Book of Acts, and the Book of Revelation.
This year in the season Lent we read selections
from Ephesians and 1 Corinthians 11-12.

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.