Love Outpoured

This is why I tell you that her many sins have been forgiven; so she has shown great love. The one who is forgiven little loves little.” Luke 7:47

This is a very powerful story to understand Jesus’s kind of love. Set your eyes on the three key persons—a Jewish leader called a “Pharisee” on the right, a woman who had sinned, on the left, and Jesus in the middle.

The Pharisee stands tall and stiff―head lifted high, lips curled up, eyes filled with pride.  On the left is the sinful woman.  She is likely known as a lady who was not faithful to her husband. She is bent over, weeping at the feet of the man in the center—Jesus.  

There you have it: cold, hard judgment on the right; warm, free, love outpoured on the left.  Listen to the words between Jesus and the Pharisee.  Follow them closely, letting all the truth of this story about real love, sink into your heart.

Stay for a long time on the words of Jesus: “Her many sins have been forgiven; so she has shown great love. The one who is forgiven little, loves little.”  The Pharisee thought he was just perfect—nothing to be forgiven, and so he didn’t love at all.  We’ve been totally accepted, loved, forgiven by Jesus.  Let’s love him with great love in return!

Luke 7:36-50

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.

Set Apart for God

The sacred tent for worship is completed, but there is still one more thing to do.  The first verse of the reading tells about this. There is a service of dedication in which Moses takes oil and anoints the tabernacle by rubbing olive oil at all the places and articles for worship.  For example, no doubt Moses took some oil and applied it over the doorway of the Tabernacle.

      With this gesture of Moses, the tent was set apart for the worship of God. It was not a restaurant or a dance hall, but a place of worship, only to be used to pray and praise God.

    Your room: it is not only a place to live, study, sleep, and have fun.  It’s also a place for prayer.  A good way to remind you and your family of the sacred aspect of your house is to be like Moses—anoint the doorways and articles in your house and room that especially remind you of the presence of God.  While you’re at it, anoint the members of your family too and ask them to rub oil on your forehead. You are all dedicated and consecrated to God.

Numbers 7:1-11

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.

Jesus and You in the Picture

I like to feel what happens to me in each one of the three-hour quarter parts of the day. It’s like arranging pictures into a frame. In these blocks of time I can look back over the previous three hours and see what happened―thank God for blessings, ask for forgiveness, offer prayers for people in need, etc.  It’s a way of letting go and moving on.

Today’s Gospel has seven scenes like photos that you can take with you, a few for each quarter-part of the day.  Let each story of Jesus be the setting for the picture of yourself for that part of the day.    It’s as though Jesus and you are in the picture together. And so you’ll find Jesus present with you as you invite him to join you in spending a day together.

Luke 9:18-50

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.

In Tune with God

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young. Instead, set an example for the believers through your speech, behavior, love, faith, and by being sexually pure. 1 Timothy 4:12

My older brother got into big trouble one day when he tried to tune our piano all by himself.  He got out his pliers and started turning the strings. Well, the piano got worse and needed to be tuned by a professional. Our parents were very upset!

The way we communicate with God is by being tuned to the Holy Spirit.  God has given us pastors as special tuners to help us. The teachings and instructions of pastors are very important for having a whole community be in tune with God. Thus, when we talk and pray with each other, we will hear the music of God.

1 Timothy 3–4

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.

Wednesdays and the Cross

Similar to the kind of feeling I was describing in Proverbs yesterday, is the feeling in every Wednesday.  Right in the middle of the week there is this space with the days on either side from Sunday to Sunday.  Like Jesus’s arms stretched out on the cross as he prayed, so do we stand in the center of the week with arms stretched in either side, praying for the world in the middle of the work-week. 

 A cross is made up of a beam from left to right, and one, up and down. Today and every Wednesday, stand at the center of this cross and drop way down into your heart where the Holy Spirit is praying inside of you for the world.  Bring the hurting world to the feet of God.

Psalm 110

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.

Silent Spaces

In large cities such as New York, buildings are up against each other, with often not very much space between them.  One time I was walking down such a street in New York City when suddenly I found an empty lot that someone had made into a very lovely garden.  It had all kinds of small trees and bushes, with a winding path so that people could quietly walk or just sit down and take a break.

Our lives are often like buildings piled up one against another.  We need space between to rest and find quiet. The Book of Proverbs offers us such quiet spaces. Each one is a gentle expression rising from the silence.  Take time to rest beside the special little tree that each proverb is.  Give each one silent space before and after you read, so that you can enjoy the quiet wisdom that God wants to share with you.     

Proverbs 28

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.

Enough Is Enough!

Mountains are wonderful places to feel like you are on the top of the world.  The noise of cities and machines far below leaves a silence for God to speak to us.

   So it was for Amos, a shepherd prophet centuries before Jesus.  In the heart of Amos, God put a burden for all the sins that God’s people were committing down below the mountain—something like the sin of idol worship when Moses was on top of Mt. Sinai as the people down below were adoring a calf made of gold.

   Prophets give human voice to the voice of God that speaks from deep inside the heart.  Often, as in the case with Amos, God has some strong things to say to God’s people, because they just don’t get it―how they are to love and serve God before all else.

Have you ever heard your parents say, “Enough is enough!” when your parents are upset about something you continue to do that is wrong?    God is like that too.  God is love, but justice as well.  All the wrongs in the world need to be made right.  You are called to do your part.

Amos 2

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.