Setting Others Free

I’m the youngest of three sons.  For the longest time—well into my teens—I was referred lovingly by my mother as “the baby of the family.”  I really didn’t mind that, for I knew where my mom was coming from.  Yet I really liked it when I could think of myself older like my brothers.

You may not like to have Jesus call you a “Little One,” as he does in today’s Gospel.  But cheer up!  What Jesus means by “little” are the tender, gentle persons who believe in God and trust in God alone, instead of worldly power.  

Worldly “tough” people don’t trust in God, but only in themselves.  So the “Little Ones” are God’s special children.  All of us—children and adults—are never meant to make others leading a Godly life, to stumble.  That’s what the word “scandal” means.  In the original Greek language, it was the stick that held up an animal’s trap!  So let’s you and I be careful about trapping others by our actions or our verbal games.  Let’s set others free by our love.

 Luke 17:1-10

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.

God Will Never Leave You!

Today’s verse is one that shines a light on the whole Bible. God will never leave us!  Think about that this day as you sense way down inside your very self, that God is there, breathing life into you at every moment.

Take a look at the story of the temptation of Jesus in the desert in Matthew 4:1-11. Jesus answers the devil with verses from Deuteronomy.  When you find nasty thoughts coming at you, just do what Jesus does and it will take away any negative feelings from grabbing hold of you.   God is always with you!

Deut 31:1-30 

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.

From Suffering to Glory

Sometimes things have to get worse before they get better.  I mean, things happen that look like there is no way out, when all of a sudden, a new and greater sense of God’s presence and power comes upon us.

Like our prophets and kings for this week, Zechariah, Solomon, David, and John, so does Jesus in St. Luke’s Gospel talk about terrible things that are going to happen.  Yet this is the Good News—the Gospel!  Things are going to get better for those who trust in the Lord to see them through.  This will be a big help when we hear about wars and rumors of wars…or threats of terror strikes.  May we never forget that this is our Father’s world and it cannot finally be messed up!  God will see that good will come out of the greatest evil.  We are encouraged not to be afraid because suffering for Christ leads to glory.  

Luke 21:25-38

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.

Monsters Inc.

One of my granddaughter’s favorite movies was Monsters Inc.  These ugly folks are powerless before the screams of a young child who at first might be afraid of monsters.  Children watching are meant to receive power over the monsters they think lurk about.

The Roman Empire was like Monsters Inc.  The only difference was, the emperor did have great power over others.  In order to buy and sell in Rome, you had to wear an emblem of the Emperor.    It’s like trying to go in and out of Chuckie Cheese without that mark on the back of your hand that can be read in ultra-violet light. When you spell out the number 666 in Roman numerals, it comes out somehow to be connected to “Nero Caesar.”  So he’s the beast!  I don’t suppose he liked being called that! 

Fear wasn’t one of the emperor’s emotions, but neither was there fear on the part of fervent Christians who believed that the Lamb of God, Christ Jesus, had power over all evil…even when evil seemed to be winning out for a time. God’s grace and God’s love: now that’s power!

Revelation 13

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.

Writing Your Own Psalm

It’s wonderful to know that we can go to God with all our complaints.  God listens where many people don’t, for they don’t like to hear complaining.  When you take your troubles to the Lord in an open way, cleaning out all your hurts and frustrations, God will give you a sense that God is listening and helping you with what is bothering you.

Take each verse of this psalm and see how the sacred writer yearns for what you and I long for as well.  If you were to write your own psalm modeled after his, what would it look like?

Wednesdays are devoted to the reading of the Psalms,
one a week across the three-year cycle.

Psalm 142

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.

Humbly Seeking the Face of God

Many persons have found a great deal of comfort in verse 14 of chapter 7 in today’s reading: “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land.”  Thus, after Solomon pours himself out in the prayer dedicating the Temple, God shares these special words.   

They gather into a single sentence, feelings and desires that God wants us to have in our hearts.  It’s the kind of prayer that we can not only take to heart ourselves, but also can plead before God for the countless persons on this earth who don’t care about God or prayer, but only care for themselves.  Your desire that they change can have an effect on them when you pray this prayer with your whole being.

 2 Chronicles 7:11-22

Tuesdays are dedicated to the the History and Writings of the Hebrew Scriptures.

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.

Breathing the Holy Spirit

The way Zechariah shares his prophecies is something like the way John shares his visions in the book of Revelation.  Both of them see visions of what God reveals in fantastic, intense and even strange images.  

For me, the whole chapter comes together in verse 6: “Not by might, not by power, but by Your Spirit, O Lord.

Check the menus options on “Bible Breaths” There are  two seven syllable parts in verse 6: three for inhaling, three for exhaling and one for rest. Try this out as you breathe this verse, and let this great truth sink its way into your soul.  Your breath and the Holy Spirit (which means “Holy Breath”) become one.

 Zechariah 4

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.