Time’s Up!

The Fifth Week in Lent, Year B

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The ticking of a countdown clock on a quiz show fills the silence as the contestant thinks about the answer. Finally, the announcer blurts out: “Time’s Up!” Today’s passage is just like that. “Time’s Up” for Jesus. His time has come to suffer and die. However, time is not up for us, but only beginning, because Jesus has opened endless time for us to live in God’s Kingdom. Jesus’ love is much bigger than death. He shares his resurrection and eternal life with us right now.

Jesus uses the image of a grain of wheat dying by being buried in the ground, then coming to life as the wheat that sways in the breeze. Jesus’ willingness to die and be buried will mean a change from counting down life from birth to death, to life beyond death―like living in an ongoing NOW!

May you and I find ways to express our love for Jesus by the ways that we are willing to let go of only thinking of ourselves and what we want, to how we can be loving and kind to others. This will be our way of saying, “Time’s Up” to our life alone and the beginning of our life and time with Jesus.

John 12:20-33

Sample Bible Breath: I serve You and I follow. v. 26
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Sundays are dedicated to the Gospel.
From this Sunday on and through the season of Easter, we read the Gospel of John.


This is a sample of a new version of The Bible Through the Seasons as a daily family devotion. An ebook is planned. I’ll keep you posted! –Pastor Nick

The Whisperings of God

Touch here for today’s reading – John 1:43-51

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Have you ever played the Telephone Game? This is the one where you sit in a circle as one person begins by whispering a phrase very fast into the ear of the next person. That person tries to figure out what was said, passing it on to the next person, and so on. It’s fun to see what the last person thought was said, comparing it to the actual phrase that the first person used.

I thought of the telephone game when I read about one new disciple of Jesus telling the next one who Jesus is. Rather than weakening the sense of who Jesus is, with each new introduction of Jesus, some clearer and more wonderful statement is made about Jesus, finishing with “You are the Son of God!”

When we stay close to the Word of God each day, who God is for us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, becomes clearer and more wonderful. Listen to the whisperings of God in your heart, telling you of God’s love for you.


Sundays are dedicated to the Gospels, in Year B, the Gospel of Mark


This is a sample of a new version of The Bible Through the Seasons as a daily family devotion.  An ebook is planned. I’ll keep you posted! –Pastor Nick

Living By Loving

Touch here for today’s reading   1 John 3:10-24

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As you read today’s passage, just accept the very simple, clear truths here. Like the brilliant Epiphany star that shines the brighter because if it is set against the black of night, so does John make contrasts between light and darkness, death and life, love and hate.

I’m reminded of one of my favorite passages in the Old Testament: Deuteronomy 30. Both Moses and John are near the end of their lives, so their instructions are very clear. In Deuteronomy 30:19 Moses says, “I am offering you life or death, blessings or curses. Now, choose life! Then you and your children may live.” John expresses it this way in verse 14: “We know we have left death and have come into life because we love each other. Whoever does not love is still dead.”

Which way will you go today—toward life, or toward death? Stop at moments of transition in your day. Perhaps like an astronaut, you may need “mid-course” correction!

 


Thursdays are dedicated to the New Testament except the Gospels.
In the season of Advent to Epiphany, we read the letters of John and Jude.


This is a sample of a new version of The Bible Through the Seasons as a daily family devotion.  An ebook is planned. I’ll keep you posted! –Pastor Nick

 

 

God’s Word Just for You

Isaiah 45:1-13

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There are so many wonderful people in the world who say that they don’t believe in God, but their lives are nonetheless filled with caring and love. God gets into their hearts no matter what their minds think about the whole idea of God.

King Cyrus of Persia was someone like that. God used him to lead God’s people from exile in Babylonia back to their homeland in 528 BCE. The ancient historian Josephus said that King Cyrus was moved to do this when he read about himself in today’s passage.

Isaiah is a great poet whose heart was so filled with God that images about God just flowed forth from his pen. Take verse 8 for example. Isaiah longs for justice to fall down from the heavens like rain. All of these images moved King Cyrus to rescue God’s people.

The reading for today and everyday can inspire you to acts of love, just as happened to King Cyrus. It is as though God’s Word is intended just for you.


Mondays are dedicated to the Prophets
In the season of Advent to Epiphany this year, we read Isaiah chapters 40 to 55.


This is a sample of a new version of The Bible Through the Seasons as a daily family devotion.  An ebook is planned. I’ll keep you posted! –Pastor Nick

Pin-Prick in the Darkness

I’m very pleased to share with you these daily Firestarters in a version of The Bible Through the Seasons for families.  You can receive them in your inbox each day by simply signing up to Follow this unique way to read the whole Bible in three years.  — Pastor Nick

Matthew 2:1-11

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The star that caught the attention of the Magi was like a pin-prick in the darkness. Yes, they were familiar with thousands of pin-like stars, but this one was new and very different. Like a friend waving the hand to invite us to come on over and visit, the star beckoned them to follow. Like a pin popping a balloon, the star burst the way they understood things. The new star so excited them that they left everything behind and followed the star till it rested above where Jesus was.

Life without the excitement of searching for where Jesus is in our lives, is really like a big balloon filed with nothing but air. May the Epiphany Star burst any part of our lives that we think are important, but really are just plain empty compared to being filled with the Spirit of Jesus.

Imagine that you are riding on a camel, traveling with the Magi. Feel their wonder and their joy.


This is a sample of a new version of The Bible Through the Seasons as a daily family devotion.  An ebook is planned. I’ll keep you posted! –Pastor Nick

The Fullness of Life and Joy

Isaiah 44

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The theme of blessing continues strongly in this chapter filled with God’s loving move upon God’s people. The blessing is the stronger as we celebrate Christmas. Look at the extent to which the Lord goes to redeem us and to have divine life present in us.

The cry of the Lord rises in verses 21 ff. after God has described the emptiness of idolatry in detail. Your Creator is also your most loving parent who wants to share everything with you, the beloved. God will forget all your sins; just return to the Lord with all your heart. Nothing less than the whole heart of God is focused upon you; God wants nothing less in return.

We have anything but a boring, distant God! Let the fresh loving joy of the Lord in this chapter quicken the fullness of life and joy in your own heart.


Mondays are dedicated to the Prophets
In the season of Advent to Epiphany this year, we read Isaiah chapters 40 to 55.


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.  Pastors will find it an excellent resource as seeds for sermons. –Pastor Nick