Your Nine-to-Five Job

For the Firestarters and readings for everyday over the three-year cycle, see “Ebook and Paperback” in the menu options.   The ebook costs only $6.00.  I have it on my phone and can go right to the Firestarter for the day.  It’s a marvelous daily devotional and resource for Bible Study groups. Below is a sample –Nick

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. vv. 22–23

AnimFireStarter

“Practical Applications for Life:” such is this third and final division of Paul’s letter to the churches in theprovince of Galatia. Freedom and bondage; life and death: these are the two polarities. Ask the Lord to show you whether you are clinging to the freedom the Lord Jesus gives, or are losing the grip, swept away and bound up in external legalism. The opening inspiration is meant to startle you.

In freedom, you do the clinging; in bondage, an outside force does the clinging to you. God welcomes us to cling to the cross of Jesus to protect us from the vicious tide of evil that seeks to sweep us away.
Here is your “nine-to-five job:” take one of the nine fruits of the Spirit for each hour. The Spirit will birth them in you, one hour at a time.

 

 

The Last “I Am” Name

The Fifth Sunday in Easter, Year B
John 15:1-8

Nick reads the one-minute Firestarter. Click on the image.

Jesus gives his seventh and last “I AM” name: “I am the True Vine.” There echoes in the hearts of the disciples this ancient symbol used by Isaiah (5:1-7), Jeremiah (2:21) and Ezekiel (19:10-12), among others. “Let me sing for my beloved my love-song concerning his vineyard” (Isaiah 5:1). Jesus is the one who embraces the New Vine. The only Son of God is the place to find the New Community. We are to be branches of the vine, which is Jesus. The life force is the Holy Spirit.

Pruning increases our fruit-producing power. Suffering is the passage, unique to each person that can move us from death to self, to life in Jesus.

Abide in Jesus. Rest in him. As you sit, stand or kneel in prayer, let your imagination, illumined and made real by faith, engraft you onto this wondrous vine.


Sundays are dedicated to the Gospels from
The Revised Common Lectionary.


Daily Bible Breaths

This week: version for Children and Families

When You Grow Up

The Fourth Sunday in Epiphany
Mark 1:14-20

Nick reads the one-minute introduction.


Not only being with Jesus, but being Jesus to the world—this is the meaning of the call of the first disciples. As they clean up their nets and receive the invitation to cast them over a broken, hurting world, they are to become an extension of Jesus himself.

As you “clean up” after your day of work and prepare for rest, ask the Spirit to deal with you about your life-work. Is there something that needs to change for you? Are you willing to get in touch with the pain of the discomfort that may well up with the words: “I’m just not doing what I really want to do!” Respect those feelings of disquiet; they are the beginning of being open to what the Lord is inviting you to do with your life.

What do you want to be when you grow up…in the Lord?


Sundays are dedicated to the Gospels from The Revised Common Lectionary.


Daily Bible Breaths


Version for Children and Families

Intimacy with God

The Third Sunday in Epiphany
John 1:43-51

Nick reads the one-minute introduction.


Disciples of John the Baptist become disciples of Jesus, one by one. With each added disciple, there is a gradual revelation about who Jesus is, culminating in, “You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”

In your heart, paint the picture of the exchange of the disciples from John to Jesus. Follow the direction of the finger of John pointing him out as the Lamb of God. Imagine you are drifting to Jesus as a new disciple. The Holy Spirit graces you with the gift of adherence to him; this is John’s understanding of “belief.” Spend the day with Jesus and the others. In your journal, write a dialogue between you and him, as though you had just met. What words of intimacy flow between you and Jesus?


Sundays are dedicated to the Gospels from The Revised Common Lectionary.


Daily Bible Breaths


Version for Children and Families

More Than a Survivor

The Baptism of the Lord
Mark 1:4-11

Nick reads the one-minute introduction.


The Baptism of Christ – Annibale Carracci – 1584

Creation, old and new…Genesis and Mark—feel the blending of these two beginnings at the start of the New Year. The Holy Spirit hovered over the waters of chaos and gave them a limit they could not trespass so that dry land could come for us to walk upon. It happens again for Jesus by the Jordan. He plunges into the waters of your chaos and mine and emerges onto solid ground. Jesus takes all that would drown you and comes out more than a survivor, a victor! The highway between heaven and earth, blocked by Adam’s sin, is wonderfully open again. Now the voice of God can be heard for you and everyone.

How are you? You can respond much more than the typical, “Hanging in there!” You are more than a survivor; you are victorious in Jesus if you will cling to the Lord as the waters rush around you.


Sundays are dedicated to the Gospels from The Revised Common Lectionary.


Daily Bible Breaths


Version for Children and Families

Jesus Embraces Our History

Epiphany Sunday
Matthew 2:[1-12]13-20

Nick reads the one-minute introduction.


Jewish people soon be reading from the book of Exodus on Saturdays in synagogues throughout the world. Today’s section of the Epiphany story links the ancient account of the Exodus with the history of Jesus. Just as the Chosen People’s liberation began in Egypt, so does Jesus embrace the history of his people and go to Egypt. Herod is as the wicked Pharaoh who sought the life of Jesus. For Matthew, Jesus is a New Moses who is going to free his people. The weeping mothers of Bethlehem link with the weeping mothers during that other period in our history of suffering, the Exile in Babylon.

Nothing can stop what God wants to do. God is going to liberate God’s people. This will happen for you, when you listen and respond to the Lord’s call upon your life. God will protect you from the Evil One so that the full measure of God’s anointing can flow into your soul.


Sundays are dedicated to the Gospels from The Revised Common Lectionary.


Daily Bible Breaths


Version for Children and Families

Conceiving the Word

The Fourth Sunday in Advent
Luke 1:26-38

Nick reads the one-minute introduction.


The Annunciation – Murillo 1660-65

The angel Gabriel’s exalted words to Mary would not have happened without her permission. God does not impose God’s will on anyone. “Let it be to me according to your word,” says Mary. She gives permission for God to act in her in the most extraordinary manner possible. In the quiet of Mary’s soul, God shapes the deepest designs for redemption. She says “Yes.” The Son of God takes flesh in her womb.

The same gift of conceiving the Word can happen to you; you will need to give God the same permission as Mary did.

Ponder this passage carefully and let the Holy Spirit prompt you to say with your whole being, “Let it be to me according to Your Word.”


Sundays are dedicated to the Gospels from The Revised Common Lectionary.


Daily Bible Breaths


Version for Children and Families