The Silver Basket of Silence

There once was a very holy pastor in the 4th century A.D. (After Christ) who, like many men, was named after St. John the evangelist.  He was the most famous preacher in his day in the ancient city of Constantinople, now Antioch in Turkey.  So extraordinary was he in sharing God’s Word that he was given the name “Golden-Mouthed…in Greek, “Chrysostom.”  

    Imagine having your whole life summed up by that phrase!  It meant that when he opened his mouth, every word was pure gold; that’s how much people valued what he had to say.

     Today’s chapter from Proverbs has a verse that you’ll want to meditate on, for the idea of the verse is very much like the nickname given to 4th century John.   In order for our words to be like gold, they need to sit in the silver basket of silence for awhile, so that when we talk, we only say what the Holy Spirit prompts us to say from the silence…and not just because our mouth is pushed like a button on a machine! 

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

Make Every Class Count.

You must not eat anything containing yeast along with it. Instead, for seven days you must eat unleavened bread, bread symbolizing misery, along with it because you fled Egypt in a great hurry.
Do this so you remember the day you fled Egypt for as long as you live.
Deuteronomy 16:3

Mornings getting ready for school can be a rushed time for children.  Maybe it’s a quick Pop Tart (not very healthy!) before you run to the bus.  You don’t want to be late.

Our Jewish ancestors were also in a rush.  They couldn’t wait for the dough to rise, so that baked bread without yeast, called unleavened bread.  The time had come to get going for the great escape from Egypt.  It was night…the moon was full…What if Pharaoh wakes up and runs after them! God’s people were on their way to a new future and a new land, leaving behind a life of slavery.  Pray today for all those who still are victims of slavery throughout the world. 

If you’re rushing in mornings to catch the bus, look forward to how what you learn at school can be steps toward the wonderful future that God is planning for you.  Make every class count!

Deuteronomy 16:1-8

Jewish people all around the world
are reading this same passage from the Bible today!

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.

The Holy Spirit and Power

When handkerchiefs or cloths that had touched Paul’s skin
were placed on sick people, they were healed of their diseases,
and any evil spirits within them came out.

Acts 19:12

Every Thursday in the seven-week season of Easter will find us moving about in the world of the early church.  We do this by reading from the Book of Acts.  Why is this a good time to be doing this?  Let me tell you.

Think of it this way.  Jesus’s Resurrection means much more than Jesus of Nazareth coming back to life.  The Resurrection is much greater than that.  The arms of Jesus were stretched out on the cross to embrace you and me in the salvation that Jesus offered to us; they are now stretched out to us through the church, sharing with us the kind of life that Jesus is living now in the Resurrection.

     St. Luke sees his book of Acts as continuing in the Church what Jesus was doing in the Gospel: loving, healing and believing in God’s power.  Power: that’s what we read about in Acts!

  What kind of life is that?  It’s the life unleashed for us in the Holy Spirit!  It’s the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life and mine and in the whole church.

Acts 18:23—19:41

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.

The Well-Worn Path

Those whose way is blameless—
 who walk in the Lord’s Instruction—are truly happy!
Psalm 119:1

We’re going to spend the seven Wednesdays of Easter with just one psalm: 119.  In addition to the Psalms being the longest book in the Bible, Psalm 119 is the longest chapter: 176 verses!  What’s more, every verse is a variation of saying the same thing: how much the writer loves God’s law, God’s ways.  He uses a long list of synonyms for these words.  Yet even though each verse seems the same, there is a change of color in each one—like looking through a kaleidoscope and seeing so many pieces of color in a beautiful design.

Each Wednesday we will take a group of these verses together.  What’s more, we will lift out one of the synonyms as they are in the Hebrew language.  I encourage you to spend time with these words, saying them in the original language, and feeling what their meaning is for you as you live your day. 

The Hebrew word for “way” is Derek.  Its root meaning is “to walk.”  As a person keeps walking through the same trail, it becomes a well-worn path…a clear way to go forward

Psalm 119:1-14

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.

Masterpieces

What’s the museum you love the most?  Whatever one it is, I’m sure there have been moments when you just stand before the object of art or history and get lost in your thoughts and feelings about what you are seeing.

   Our trip each day into the wonders of the Bible is something like a trip to visit masterpieces of works of art.  Today’s chapter from Proverbs is just such an example.  Each of them are like masterpieces of God’s wisdom set apart, one by one.  Visit each one.  Stand before each one; drink in the wisdom of each one.  Give yourself time to allow what God is saying to you to really get to you.

Proverbs 24

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.

Rescued by the Good Shepherd

In the city of Rome there are tunnels beneath the ground called catacombs, where early Christians are buried.  They died as martyrs—witnesses of their faith—in the midst of the wicked Roman emperors who persecuted these new lovers of Jesus with merciless abandon.  They used to throw them to lions let loose in a stadium called the coliseum, to watch the Christians be killed by the lions.  What they often found were songs and shouts of praise from holy persons about to die.  In the resurrection of Jesus, they knew that they were going to live! 

One of the images that early Christians painted on the walls of the catacombs were those of Jesus as the Good Shepherd.  They must have been thinking about passages like this one in Ezekiel and in the 10th chapter of St. John’s Gospel where Jesus is described as “The Good Shepherd.”  Those scattered on that dark day of Good Friday were rescued by The Good Shepherd on Easter morning! 

Ezekiel  34:11-24

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.

Empty Spaces

Easter Sunday – The Day of the Resurrection

“Why are you looking in a tomb for someone who is alive”? Luke 24:5

There are empty spaces after Good Friday.  There is the empty space on the cross when Jesus is taken down from it, followed by the empty space of silence: Jesus is gone…no more the sweetness of his voice, the joyful shouts of those healed by the hands of Jesus.

Holy women come to the tomb of Jesus to turn the stench of death into a sweet smell by special perfumed oils.  But what do they find? More emptiness!  The tomb is empty: what happened to Jesus?  Soon that empty space would be filled by faith that Jesus had risen.  They would see him face to face in his new body after death.  The empty space in the hearts of those who loved Jesus begin to be filled with tremendous joy.

Join the loved ones of the Lord and listen to this Resurrection story and let wherever you feel empty, be filled with the risen presence of Jesus who will be with you always.

 Luke 24:1-12

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.