Chasing After the Wind

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Have you ever dropped a valuable piece of paper outside and watch it be carried off by the wind? You run after it and just as you’re about to catch up to it, it suddenly leaps out of reach as though you are playing tag with it. Doesn’t it feel good when you finally grab hold of it?

God says through his prophet Hosea that God’s people are like that. They desire to make friends with strong, foreign nations instead of trusting in God alone. God’s people might as well chase after the wind to try and catch its power, than to seek to be allies with these countries.

Hosea goes way back in the history of God’s people to find an example of the power of God and the wonderful things that happen when we surrender to God. It’s Jacob and a wrestling match he has with an angel as a contest to see who is going to win—Jacob or God (Genesis 32:24 and following). God wins and Jacob, whose name is changed to Israel, takes the power of God as his strength; no other bodyguards for him. The same is true for you and me!

Hosea 12:1-6

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
I wait upon You, my God.
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the twelth of thirteen weeks in the season of Pentecost, Year B.
Mondays in this season are dedicated to the Prophet Hosea.

Calendar for 2018: “God’s Year of Grace”

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…

 

The Anguish of God

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Like a husband hurt by an unfaithful wife, so God’s feelings swing back and forth from anger to tender love. God longs for His people to return to Him, just as a husband wants his wife to be faithful.

In today’s reading, the swing is on the side of God’s feeling very upset with God’s people because they just don’t get it: that they are called to be faithful to God alone and not to worship false gods which is like being an unfaithful wife.

The reading tells about the sad outcome of the people’s refusal to be faithful. They will be captured and brought to a foreign land and have to eat food not cleaned properly and which therefore can’t be offered to God.

How will you be expressing your faithfulness to God today

Hosea 9:1-6

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
A humble heart I offer.
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the eighth of thirteen weeks in the season of Pentecost, Year B.
Mondays in this season are dedicated to the Prophet Hosea,
with Lamentations 3 in the Ninth Week.

Calendar for 2018: “God’s Year of Grace”

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…

 

The Light of Jesus Within

I once had a dear friend who needed healing in his foot. As a way of reminding himself of the Lord’s power to heal, he slept each night embracing the Bible. He wanted to touch the close, healing power of God.

For Paul too, Jesus was closer to him than all the persecutions pressing and seeking to crush him. He writes of the glory of all this to uplift the Corinthians.

Paul’s body-vessel was weak; so are yours and everyone’s. Thus we are reminded that the power of freedom is not our own, but given to us from God. God is the “furthest without” as well as the “closest within.” The light of Jesus shines within you.

2 Corinthians 4


This is the fourth of thirteen weeks in the season of Pentecost, Year B
Thursdays in this season are dedicated to 2 Corinthians.


For the next few weeks, I’ll be posting Firestarters from the original version of The Bible Through the Seasons.


Startled By Love


Feel the tension in these two chapters. On the one hand, there is the everlasting love of God who decides to be faithful to God’s faithless people; on the other hand, there is divine justice, which requires consequences to continued indifference and rebellion against God. The strategy of God in chapter 3 is to shock the people into fidelity by holding up the image of Gomer, the adulteress wife of Hosea. Just as Hosea takes her back, so does God decide to be faithful. However, if this shock treatment does not work, there are the consequences in chapter 4.

These strong words are to shake us into intimate knowledge of the Lord who alone gives direction to our lives. Otherwise, there will be visited in our own day, verse 6 of chapter 4. It is not about a heady, theological knowledge of which the prophet speaks; it is the intimate knowledge of spouse-to-spouse.

Hosea 3—4


This is the third of thirteen weeks in the season of Pentecost, Year B
Mondays are dedicated to the Prophets.
During this season we read Hosea.

For the next few weeks, I’ll be posting Firestarters from the original version of The Bible Through the Seasons. 

Small Is Big


Jesus, the grain of wheat, has fallen into the ground and died. Nothing or anyone can stop the resurrection-kingdom that is coming.

Assurance of growth: that is what Jesus promises. However, you must let yourself fall into the ground as Jesus and die, just as the seed in the parable. Then you will bear Kingdom fruit that glorifies the Lord.

A mustard seed is this size of a dot on this page. Yet it becomes a strong tree, offering itself as a home and shade for many birds. That is the way the Kingdom is. Small is big! Even if you see yourself as tiny as a mustard seed, once you are into the ground of your being, which is Christ, no one can stop you!

Mark 4:26-34


This is the third of thirteen weeks in the season of Pentecost, Year B
Sundays are dedicated to the Gospels from
The Revised Common Lectionary.
We are reading from the Gospel of Mark until the First Sunday in Advent.

For the next few weeks, I’ll be posting Firestarters from the original version of The Bible Through the Seasons. 

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
Touch to learn more…


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