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.

Seeing the Face of Jesus

This Companion is the Spirit of Truth, whom the world can’t receive because it neither sees him nor recognizes him. You know him, because he lives with you and will be with you. John 14:17

When Jesus died, the veil that divided heaven and earth was lifted.  In the resurrection, there’s no more separation; God totally lives inside us in the Holy Spirit.

In the reading for today, St. John uses the word “world.”  For him, this means all those whose only interest is in themselves, no one else.  It’s like looking at a mirror all the time! 

So let the Holy Spirit who lives inside of you be released as you find the face of Jesus in those who are lonely and needing to be loved. 

John 14:8-17

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 Holy Meaning for Everything

Eleazar son of Aaron the priest, is to be in charge of the oil for the light, the fragrant incense, the regular Grain-Offering, and the anointing oil. He is to be in charge of the entire Dwelling and everything in it, including its holy furnishings and articles.
Leviticus 4:16

Let’s imagine… You’re on a camping trip with your family. You’ve enjoyed everything—swimming, biking, fishing, boating, as well as the table games with your family when it was raining outside.  But now it’s time to gather things up and go home.

While this is not exactly fun, since vacation is soon over, still there is joy and meaning that can be found in picking up.  Cleaning the camping gear, folding the tents and tarps neatly, putting everything in their proper place—all this care means that everything will be ready when you go camping next time.

God’s people in the desert were a people who camped and moved in a slow, careful manner through the desert to the Promised Land.  Today’s reading gives the instructions to the Kohan family, the special ministers that took care of all the sacred articles from the Tabernacle; that was a tent that was something like a portable church in the desert.  Each gesture has meaning…like the proper way of folding the American Flag.  

Everything that we do can have meaning―the way we keep our room neat and clean, the places where we put our stuff—all this can have a special, personal meaning for you as everything you do becomes a holy action. 

Numbers 4:1-16

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!.  Click here to visit the website for more information.

Mind Your Own Business!

When I was a young, my brothers and cousins would sometimes say: “M.Y.O.B.”…”Mind your own business!”  For people young and old, it is often tempting to think about someone else and what they should be doing, rather than to examine ourselves.  There is an expression that goes like this: “If you are in somebody else’s head, there is nobody home in yours!”

Peter has the same problem in today’s reading.  After the great experience of expressing his love for Jesus after having denied him, Peter blows it. As Jesus invites Peter to follow him, hinting about how Peter is going to die, Peter asks Jesus, “What about this other disciple?”  Jesus reminds Peter to mind his own business!

It is important to think about what God wants for each one us, rather than spending time wondering what others should be doing.  Keep the focus of your attention on your following Jesus and not be concerned about what God’s wants from somebody else.

John 21:18-25

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.

Rome and Paul—Face to Face

The end of the Book of Acts fulfills the promise of Jesus made in chapter 1, verse 8: through the power of the Holy Spirit, the disciples would witness to Jesus in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria and to the very ends of the earth.  For the ancient world, Rome and its empire stretching to Spain in the west was understood as the end of the earth. 

Rome with all its power and might as a world empire, comes face to face with Paul, apostle of the new power and love of Jesus. This would be the beginning of a new and painful interaction between Christians and the power of Rome.  Persecution after persecution would follow…Paul would just be the beginning.Love, forgiveness and self-sacrifice win out over the power of evil. So it was then and so it is still now…even though it doesn’t look that way when we read the papers!

Acts 2728

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.

Seven Corks

Once again the number seven comes up—number of fullness and completion.   The psalmist prays seven times each day.  His day has a fullness to it—like seven corks holding up a net.   Be aware of these seven parts of the waking day that were formed from ancient times.  Find some time to pray—even briefly― at the beginning of these times. They are like seven gates into the next part of the day, leaving off the quarter part of the day that has just happened. Here are the times: : 1: Pre-dawn praise  |  2: 6—9am  |  3: 9am—12pm | 4: 12—3pm |  5: 3—6pm  |  6: 6—9pm | 7: 9pm—retire and night prayer. 

The final Hebrew word we consider is mishpat which means the “verdict” in a court setting. It’s translated above as “everything running right.” The word carries with it the sense of what God really wants from us and what God has a right to expect from us. What are some areas of your life where God wants you to grow? 

Psalm 119:145-176

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.

Music and Worship

Finally a wall around Jerusalem!  Think of it: after years and years of being away from their land, now God’s people are back and protected all about with this magnificent wall.  Now they can safely continue to rebuild the temple within the walls.

The dedication of the wall is a great event.  There is singing and a great band of musicians.  If you could take a balloon-ride over the area, you’d see two processions coming together from opposition directions entering the gates of the wall―something like what you would see from the air as cars goes up the ramps to a highway—a “clover-leaf” we call it. 

Music at worship is very important.  There have been a few very special times when God reached my heart through music, calling me to ordained ministry.

Listen to some music that sings praises to God. This will make you ready for the wonderful experience of worship as the singing of those present has you experience by faith that you are in the presence of God.

 Nehemiah 12:27-43

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.