Right Along on God’s Way

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    because the Lord has anointed me.
He has sent me to preach good news to the poor,
    to proclaim release to the prisoners
    and recovery of sight to the blind,
    to liberate the oppressed,
    and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

Luke 4:18-19

Older student bullying and taking money from younger student

Though you are young, you may be old enough to love to go back to places of your early childhood. It was the same for Jesus when he returned to his home town of Nazareth to preach in the synagogue there. Jesus had changed so much from being the quiet boy who played games in the street with his friends, and who made things from scraps of wood from Joseph’s carpenter shop; the people were not ready to hear Jesus as the great preacher he had become.

Read this story about the jealousy and pride of the people and how they refused to let the Good News come to their town and find the words of Isaiah fulfilled in Jesus. When Jesus confronted them with their meanness and unbelief, they really tried to gang up on him.

Just as we saw yesterday, connect with Jesus and think if there is anything like this happening in your life with classmates and neighbors. God will take care of you just as God helped Jesus to slip through the hands of those outstretched to do Jesus harm; he went right along on his way. So go right along on your way…God’s way!

Luke 4:14-30

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
Anointed to bring good news v. 18
For more information about
this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the Third Week in Epiphany
Winter in the north.  Year C
On Fridays we read the Gospel of Luke

Seasons of Grace – A Calendar for 2019

Solar and Sacred Seasons
Some adjustments to make the church year simpler.

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 Firestarters with you on your phone or tablet.  More information…

When Love is Absent

Job 6—8

God will yet fill your mouth with laughing,
and your lips with rejoicing. 8:21

AnimFireStarter

Though Job is filled with immense pain, anguish, and anger, there is beauty in the poetry that flows from his mouth.

Paul’s words from 1 Corinthians 8:1 apply to the attitude of Job’s friends: “Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.” Love, not knowledge, is greater than evil. All the truth in the world, without love, amounts to nothing—amounts to evil. The absence of love allows evil to rush into the vacuum created. In all of Bildad’s judgmental words about Job and his wrongs, Bildad fails to see the arrogance of evil imbedded in his own loveless heart.

If you were to write or cry out the current “chapter” in your life just as Job does in his, how would the words flow? Will you trust the Lord and pour out your heart in prayer, sharing with the Lord how you feel about all aspects of your life?

The above Firestarter is from Tuesday of The Third Week in Lent, Year A. For the Firestarters and readings for every day 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.  –Nick

The Breath of God Upon the Ashes

This post is also posted on “Wesley Without Walls,” an internet Bible Study hosted by Google Groups.  If you wish to join this group, just write to me at njconnolly7@gmail.com, including how it is that you would like to be part of the group.  -Pastor Nick


 

At The Lakehurst United Methodist Church, there are two Bible study groups that meet to ponder  and discuss the Wednesday and Friday readings for Lent from The Bible Through the Seasons.  Below are the Firestarters and readings for  the Second Week in Lent which begins on Sunday, Feb. 21.

Psalm 131

Total Satisfaction

Does it stretch the imagination to link this quiet, intimate song with throngs of noisy people on the move to Jerusalem? Surely, in the crowd there is many a mother needing to pause by the roadside to nurse her baby. At that moment, no need to think about catching up with the rest. Time stops as she gazes down upon her child—mouth slightly open, lips still dripping with milk as the baby dozes off to sleep in total satisfaction.
    We typically need three meals a day to keep up our strength. Yet more than the food we eat is the nourishment we need from the Lord. Pause regularly in the journey of the day and the week to your Jerusalem. Be fed by the Lord. Rest. All that you need for total satisfaction is given to you right now.



John 12:1–10

Unbelief Is Blind

Do you find situations in your life where you just cannot win? Thus, it was for Jesus as he finds himself caught more and more in the web of the plot against his life. Here is Lazarus whom Jesus had raised to life. Nothing but love consumes the heart of Mary, fed by her joy in who Jesus is. Yet there is no room for joy in Judas; greed pushes it away. Evil poisons his heart.
    Do not miss the irony in verse 10. The chief priests think that they can put to death the One who has power over death. Hatred and unbelief are blind. As for those who are opposed to you: If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

I suggest that you download Questions for Bible Study These five questions are used as a guide for Bible study at the Lakehurst Church, and now, beyond its walls!  Another idea…keep a sheet of paper and pencil ready for you to jot down the words of verses that touch your heart and how come they do so. I recommend that you keep a journal to save your reflections.

 

Highway of Holiness

Mondays: The Prophets
Isaiah 35

Click or touch “Firestarter”
Nick reads the one-minute introduction.

This chapter concludes the first part of Isaiah, making a joyous ending to the judgments against those nations who refuse to follow the Lord’s way. Many verses will draw you into the feeling of Advent. The ending of God’s year of grace has strong similarity with its beginning; the theme “What Is Coming?” pervades them both.

Read these verses with faith knowing that God will protect you and give you prosperity, as long as he finds you responding to grace by being on the Highway of Holiness.

If you were to imagine the movement of your life as a journey down a road, how would you describe the road? What do you sense spiritually about what is coming? Are you cruising along the road or have you broken down on its shoulder, needing help?

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
Being strong and not in fear v. 4
The lame leaping like a deer v. 6
Springs gushing in the desert v. 6
The Highway of Holiness v. 8

Click or touch the image for the version for children and families.

This is the eighth of thirteen weeks in Kingdomtide, Year A.
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
Mondays are dedicated to the Prophets; in this season, we continue reading Isaiah.

Image courtesy of http://www.hosanna-tod.com

Seven Appointments with Jesus

Fridays: The Gospels
Matthew 9

Click or touch “Firestarter”
To listen to Nick read the one-minute introduction.


The wider context for last Sunday’s Gospel is before you. Jesus has returned to his home base, Capernaum. Beginning with the freeing of a paralytic, there are seven brief accounts, each no longer than eight verses. Four of these are healing stories, with remaining units reporting the call of Matthew, a comment by Jesus about fasting and the new wine, and a concluding statement about the profound compassion of Jesus.

You might divide the day and evening into seven parts, each one beginning with a meditation from this chapter. Among your appointments for the day, make seven brief ones with the Word of God. Surely even the busiest of days offers moments to read eight verses; it would only take a minute. If the Lord were to come up to you and ask, “May I have a minute of your time?” Would you deny him?

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
I take heart: sins forgiven. v. 2
Glory to God for such p’wer v. 8
New wine into fresh wineskins v. 17
“Take heart: your faith made you well.” v. 22

Click or touch the image
for the version for children and families.

This is the Second Week in Pentecost, Year A.(The first week occurred at the end of the season of Epiphany.)
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
We continue reading the Gospel of Matthew.

Scripture Recordings in over 700 languages!
Faith Comes By Hearing

Audio Bible App from www.bible.is

Today’s image courtesy of http://www.outreach2day.org

The Firestarters and readings are posted in the timezone UTC+12,
so that they are available in New Zealand and other regions
near the International Date Line.

Admonition

Thursdays: The New Testament
Romans 2:1—3:20

Click or touch “Firestarter”
To listen to Nick read the one-minute introduction.


“Saint Peter Repentant” 1823-25, Goya

As though admonishing his readers down through the ages to resist the temptation to point fingers after reading chapter 1, Paul begins chapter 2 with a sharp rebuke about judgment. You will need to read slowly to catch the argumentation of his thought about the law and its relation to Jew and Gentile. However, the basic thought is clear: we are to mind our own business and examine our own selves. God gives a conscience to each person, whether Jew or Gentile, as the means to come to a basic understanding and reception of God and God’s ways.

Paul wants to loosen the Jewish Christians from any arrogance in their unique call through the ages. The heart needs to be circumcised—to respect and respond to God’s presence that is offered to every person.

Where in your life do you feel admonished in this reading?

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
Lord, may I not pass judgment.2:1
Your kindness toward repentance. 2:4
Patiently doing the good 2:7
Show me, Lord, the path of peace 3:18

Click or touch the image
for the version for children and families.

This is the Second Week in Pentecost, Year A.(The first week occurred at the end of the season of Epiphany.)
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
Thursdays are dedicated to the New Testament, except the Gospels.

Scripture Recordings in over 700 languages!
Faith Comes By Hearing

Audio Bible App from www.bible.is

Today’s image –

Thursdays: The New Testament
Romans 2:1—3:20

Click or touch “Firestarter”
To listen to Nick read the one-minute introduction.


“Saint Peter Repentant” 1823-25, Goya

As though admonishing his readers down through the ages to resist the temptation to point fingers after reading chapter 1, Paul begins chapter 2 with a sharp rebuke about judgment. You will need to read slowly to catch the argumentation of his thought about the law and its relation to Jew and Gentile. However, the basic thought is clear: we are to mind our own business and examine our own selves. God gives a conscience to each person, whether Jew or Gentile, as the means to come to a basic understanding and reception of God and God’s ways.

Paul wants to loosen the Jewish Christians from any arrogance in their unique call through the ages. The heart needs to be circumcised—to respect and respond to God’s presence that is offered to every person.

Where in your life do you feel admonished in this reading?

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
Lord, may I not pass judgment.2:1
Your kindness toward repentance. 2:4
Patiently doing the good 2:7
Show me, Lord, the path of peace 3:18

Click or touch the image
for the version for children and families.

This is the Second Week in Pentecost, Year A.(The first week occurred at the end of the season of Epiphany.)
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
Thursdays are dedicated to the New Testament, except the Gospels.

Scripture Recordings in over 700 languages!
Faith Comes By Hearing

Audio Bible App from www.bible.is

Today’s image – “Saint Peter Repentant” 1823-25, Goya

The Firestarters and readings are posted in the timezone UTC+12,
so that they are available in New Zealand and other regions
near the International Date Line.


The Firestarters and readings are posted in the timezone UTC+12,
so that they are available in New Zealand and other regions
near the International Date Line.

A Beloved Psalm

Wednesdays: The Psalms
Psalm 23

Click or touch “Firestarter”
To listen to Nick read the one-minute introduction.

This favorite psalm of countless persons over the ages is yours today. Millions know it from memory. If you need to refresh your memory, the task will be as sweet as the psalm itself if you link the images together. Be as the sheep in the first four verses. Sense the sequence of resting and movement. The word for comfort in verse 4 is nacham, making a sound, just as it does—the deep sighs of those receiving comfort, as well as those giving it.

Verse 5 shifts to the image of an army arrayed for battle. Victory is so assured by the Lord that the troops sit down to a banquet as the enemy looks on. The anointing for spiritual warfare takes place. The sixth and last verse combines the image of movement with rest again. Notice how right living causes goodness and mercy to pursue David.

Move through this prayer and you will be dwelling in the house of the Lord today, looking forward to forever.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
You lead beside still waters v. 2
In dark valleys You are there v. 4
You anoint my head with oil. v. 5
Dwelling with You forever v. 6

Click or touch the image
for the version for children and families.

This is the Second Week in Pentecost, Year A.(The first week occurred at the end of the season of Epiphany.)
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
Wednesdays are dedicated to the Psalms,
one each week over the three-year cycle.

Scripture Recordings in over 700 languages!
Faith Comes By Hearing

Audio Bible App from www.bible.is

Today’s image courtesy of http://www.faithgateway.com

The Firestarters and readings are posted in the timezone UTC+12,
so that they are available in New Zealand and other regions
near the International Date Line.