The Death of Some Wicked People

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Jehu replied, “This is what he said to me: ‘This is what the Lord says: I anoint you king of Israel.’” Then each man quickly took his cloak and put it beneath Jehu on the paved steps.
They blew a trumpet and said, “Jehu has become king!”

2 Kings 9:12-13

Finally, it’s over—the end of a string of wicked kings and a super-wicked woman, Jezebel. God chooses Jehu to be King of Israel. It will be up to him to avenge the wicked kings Joram and Ahazaiah. Then comes the end of Jezebel, that wicked woman who spent years murdering God’s prophets. You might imagine that when her own death would come, it would not be a pretty sight. It wasn’t…the reading today tells the story.

Isn’t it sad that God’s people at that time had so many evil kings ruling them? Yet God is the real ruler and things are going to turn out all right. So too in our own day: though there’s lots of wrongdoing in our world, God will see to it that goodness will triumph. Doesn’t this fact help you to find trust and confidence in God?

2 Kings 9

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Pride goeth before the fall. 9:33
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the fourth of thirteen Weeks in the season of Kingdomtide,
Autumn in the north. Year B.
Tuesdays are dedicated to Hebrew History and “The Writings.”

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…

 

Miracle Military Strategy

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Then Elisha prayed, “Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.”
Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he saw that the mountain was full of horses and fiery chariots surrounding Elisha.

2 Kings 6:17

Prophets are people so in touch with God and so dedicated to God’s plan, that God can use them in ways beyond the ordinary. On Mondays we’ve been reading about the special friend of God, Daniel; now for a few Tuesdays, we read about the deeds of Elisha. Because of Elisha’s absolute dedication to the things of God, God works miracles through him on behalf of Israel when God’s people are attacked by wicked enemies. With miracle military strategy, Elisha is able to have a whole enemy turn away, by God’s deceiving the foreign king’s eyes. Once again, like the Gospel for last Sunday, the King of Aram’s sense of sight is used for wrongdoing, so God makes his eyes not worth anything. Then his common sense is confused when Elisha says that the king is attacking the wrong city!

The same God who came to the defense of Daniel and Elisha is ready to come to your defense in ways beyond human effort. When you are up against some bullies or any other situation that is just not fair, start praying and listen closely to what God is already doing for your defense.

Are there any fears that you have about anything that you can take to the Lord in prayer?

2 Kings 6:8-23

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
My inner eyes opening 6:17
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the fourth of thirteen Weeks in the season of Kingdomtide,
Autumn in the north. Year B.
Tuesdays are dedicated to Hebrew History and “The Writings.”

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…

 

God with Us in the Tent

 Speak to the Israelites and say to them:
When you enter the land that I am giving you and harvest its produce,
you must bring the first bundle of your harvest to the priest.

Leviticus 23:10

Since Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, Jewish people have been celebrating the “The High Holy days.” Remember, that our word holiday originally meant that—holy days! We have come to one of the final celebrations, recalling the time when our Hebrew ancestors made their way from slavery to freedom through the desert, staying in tents as they camped along the way.

Judaism is a family religion. As a way of remembering this evening, many Jewish families make little tents inside their houses. Something like this is popular these days when children sleep in little tents in their room, or have beds with covering on them. My grandson, Dylan’s bed was like a car when he was a child!

We read in St. John that when God became human in Jesus, he “pitched his tent among us.” God is with us in our tents, little club houses and places in the house where we like to be by ourselves. I believe that God has made us wanting to be alone sometimes, so that we can have some time just to be with God. God loves for us to spend time with Him. When you are alone, think about this: you are not really alone, for God who made you continues to live very close to you—in fact, inside of you!

Leviticus 22:26—23:44

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Off’ring to You my first fruits 23:10
For more information about this creative way to pray,
see Bible Breaths.

Saturdays are dedicated to the Sabbath Torah portions
read in synagogues throughout the world.
This plan follows those traditions that take a third of the portion
over a three year cycle, this year, the second part.
For more about the Torah portions and thoughtful commentaries, visit
The Jewish Theological Seminary.

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…

 

A Hero We Can Love

God gave knowledge, mastery of all literature, and wisdom
to these four men. Daniel himself gained understanding
of every type of vision and dream.Daniel 1:17

A wonderful hero and saintly person is going to be our model for Mondays during the season of autumn. He’s a young man, probably a teenager. His name of Daniel. He is one of the great prophets of God’s people—someone whose whole life, in all he says and does, reflects God’s life, just as we were learning from yesterday’s Gospel. He’s a hero we can love.

Daniel was one of many thousands of Jewish people about six hundred years before Jesus’s birth who were captives living in the land of Babylon. This ancient land was part of the modern country of Iraq. Though there were no places or buildings that reminded him of God, his memories of God’s actions on behalf of God’s people were alive by faith inside Daniel. He knew that God was with him.

In the first episode we find Daniel and three other Hebrew friends selected to become advisors at the royal court of King Nebuchadnezzar. (My goodness, a name with five syllables!) With all the familiar reminders of God taken away, the four friends firmly decided to do be aware of God’s presence by refusing to do what God had forbidden. So when it came time to eat food that was not allowed by God’s people, they just said: “No: we won’t do it!”

Look how the fidelity of Daniel and his friends to God’s ways brought them wisdom and favor with the King! You too: the closer you live to the ways that God wants in humility and love, the more God’s grace and wisdom will be given to you.

Here’s an idea: Picture yourself as a fifth person quietly living alongside these four wonderful young men. They are part of what we call the Communion of Saints. In Jesus you are one of those saints too!

Daniel 1

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Thank You for knowledge and skill. v. 17
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the First Week in the season of Kingdomtide, Year B.
It’s autumn in the northern hemisphere.
Mondays in this season are dedicated to the Prophet Daniel.

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…

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.