Fully Alive in God

He replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. 
38 This is the first and greatest commandment.
 39 And the second is like it: You must love your neighbor as you love yourself.
Matthew 22: 37-39

Arguments, arguments!  That’s all the religious leaders want to do with Jesus—argue with him so that they can say, “Gotcha, Jesus!”

    Jesus always finds a way not to get caught.  Here’s one of those times.  Isn’t it sad that instead of sitting at Jesus’ feet and learning about the marvels of God’s love for them, they just want to play mind-games with him!   

The final verses of the reading get right to the most important things: how to live God’s ways.  Jesus gives the basics about loving as the way to be fully alive in God. Actually, this was already taught in the Old Testament.  It’s as though God is saying through Jesus: “Hey!  I really meant this thing about loving!”  Jesus takes this right up to the most powerful kind of love—to give up one’s life for one’s friends.”  John 15:13

Matthew 22:23-40

Examples of Bible Breaths Learn More…

Rising with You when I die v. 23
In You I’m fully alive. v. 32
Loving You, heart, soul and mind v. 37
Loving neighbor as myself v. 39

Check out Study Tools in BibleGateway.
I especially recommend the free resource
in Matthew Henry’s Commentary.‘s Commentary.

In Year A, we continue to read from the Gospel of St. Matthew.

These Firestarters are 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.

Letter of a Loving Father

Rembrandt – Paul in Prison

We work hard with our own hands. When we are insulted, we respond with a blessing; when we are harassed, we put up with it.
1 Corinthians 4:12

Here we are in Corinth again—a city with restless people, often angry, proud and competing with one another.  Each person wants to be Number One. St. Paul shares with his new Christians the suffering that he and they are having as this new way of live clashes with worldly, selfish power.  Listen closely to verses 10 and following, where in a few sentences, St. Paul describes what a tough time he is having.  

But you know, it is worth it for Paul.  Like the writer of yesterday’s Psalm 38, his suffering brings him not only closer to God, but results in more love for the struggling Christians of Corinth. He encourages them to know that God’s Kingdom is the one with real power, and not the phony show of power of the world.  Imagine you are one of those faithful ones listening to St. Paul’s letter for the very first time.

1 Corinthians 4

Examples of Bible Breaths Learn More…

Never judging anyone v. 5
Wishing well when others hurt v. 12
When cursed at, using kind words v. 13
Your kingdom: not words, but pow’r v. 20

Check out Study Tools in BibleGateway.
I especially recommend the free resource
in Matthew Henry’s Commentary.

Thursdays are dedicated to the letters of Paul, other letters,
the Book of Acts, and the Book of Revelation.

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.

Listening to the Silence

O Lord, all my longing is known to you;
    my sighing is not hidden from you.
Psalm 38:9

A few days during the week I used to travel from my home to where I do counseling and pastor a few churches.  The trip takes about 45 minutes.  I check the news now and then, but most of the time I drive in silence.  After a busy day of listening and talking, the quiet becomes a pleasant space to be with my thoughts—breathe a “Bible Breath,” or just feel my own life and be grateful to God for creating me.

The writer of this psalm does something like this.  However, he’s suffering in his body and also in his feelings. His enemies bully him and wickedly laugh at all his problems.
He decides to listen to the silence.  He knows that God lives in silence, communicating with him through love and comfort beyond words.  No matter what we’re going through, there’s nothing like silence to open up a space of peace within us.

Psalm 38

Examples of Bible Breaths Learn More…

Lifting those suff’ring to You v. 1ff
You know my deepest desires. v. 9
When I’m alone, You’re with me v. 11
Trusting You, Lord, to help me . 15

Check out Study Tools in BibleGateway.
I especially recommend the free resource
in Matthew Henry’s Commentary.

We read the Psalms in numerical order on Wednesdays

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.