The Margin Becomes the Center

They will beat their swords into iron plows
        and their spears into pruning tools.
Nation will not take up sword against nation;
        they will no longer learn how to make war.
Micah 4:3

The prophets Isaiah and Micah have the same mind and sometimes even use the same words.  You might take a look at Isaiah 2:2-4 and you’ll find almost the same words as vv. 3 and 4 of today’s reading from Micah.  Though both prophets talk about warning the people to change their ways, they agree about the future promise of God’s reign.  Imagine living in a world where there are no swords, or spears, but instead these weapons of war become plows and pruning hooks for farming. 

It is like those on the second string of a team; they never get to play very much—only the big stars are on the field.  In the future, God says that those standing about on the margin of life will become the center, and the big stars will go to the side-lines.

What does it matter what others think of you?  Just keep looking for those moments when God’s eye’s catch yours—a look of love for you and joy in you.

Micah 4

Mondays are dedicated to the reading of the Hebrew Prophets.

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! Check the menu options at the site for more information.

Waiting

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be too.
Luke 12:34

 At mealtime, our two dogs often sit with eyes focused upon my wife and me, waiting for the moment when a few morsels might be tossed their way—eyes glued to us.  Their whole beings are nothing but watching and waiting.

If pets can wait with total focus on what is coming, how much more are we to wait for those moments when God comes more completely in our lives.  While God is present at every moment, there are times when God makes God’s presence and wisdom known more than others…perhaps because we are ready to listen and to see!  

God has something much more to give to you than scraps from the table.  God gives us God’s very life in Jesus.  Are your eyes focused and waiting to fully receive that life?

 Luke 12:32-40

On Sundays we follow the Gospels from the Revised Common Lectionary.

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! Check the menu options at the site for more information.

Moses’ Final Instruction

Your country has a constitution that tells you how you are to live with the citizens of your nation.  This final book of the Torah is something like that for God’s people.  Moses is the one who organizes the guidelines, after receiving them from the Lord. The whole book is like Moses giving a great, final speech to God’s people before they cross over into the Promised Land.  

Moses is 120 year old…now that’s old!  He will die before going into the Promised Land; that’s because he was complaining about God’s people awhile back in the journey in the desert.  God had the highest demands of Moses.  But he was so humble, he accepted the penalty from God.

  Place yourself in the huge crowd of God’s people.  Notice the awesome silence as they listen. After the reading, listen to your own silence inside where God will give you much love and the faith-feeling that God will always be with you.

Deuteronomy 3:18-22

The Saturday passages follow the reading list that Jewish people use in their synagogue worship throughout the world. They are taken from
“The Torah,” the first five books of the Bible from Genesis to Deuteronomy that are read each year beginning with autumn.

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! Check the menu options at the site for more information.

Do you Smell Right to God?

One of the five senses that sometimes makes us say “Yuk,” is the sense of smell.  Think of it: you can shut your eyes and not see what you don’t want to see, you can plug your ears not hear what you don’t want to hear, you can avoid touching what you don’t want to touch and you don’t put into your mouth what you don’t want to taste.  However, sometimes we just can’t get away from a bad smell because we have to continue breathing!

The meaning of the Greek word for “offense” is a stench! The meaning is taken from the sense of smell.    We can translate verse 15 this way: “What the world values is a stench to God!”

When a situation we’re in doesn’t feel right, sometimes we say, “This doesn’t smell right!”  Smelling is a very spiritual sense, since it goes with breath. What about you: is there anything about your life that doesn’t smell right to God?

 Luke 16

Fridays are dedicated to the Gospels. This being Year C,
the third year in the cycle, we generally read from the Gospel of Luke.

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! Check the menu options at the site for more information.

Jesus and The Lone Ranger

When I was a kid, the Lone Ranger was very popular.   In fact, before the days of television, there were fifteen minute episodes of this masked man on the radio on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings at 7:30.

The Lone Ranger suddenly appears, solves a problem, and then goes away with the cry to his horse “Hi yo, Silver!  Away!”

Melchizedek has something of that wonder about him when he comes to bless Abraham.  He’s a mysterious person who appears on the scene and is never heard of again.  What a blessing he shared with Abraham!

This chapter makes Melchizedek like Christ. Christ shares his role as priest with all of us.  We just need to connect with him.  But unlike The Lone Ranger, Jesuswill not ride away and leave you alone.

Hebrews 7

Thursdays are dedicated to the letters of Paul, other letters,
the Book of Acts, and the Book of Revelation.

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! Check the menu options at the site for more information.

Bungee Cord Prayer

Verse 24 of this psalm is very familiar: “This is the day the Lord has made: let us rejoice and be glad in it.”  

Martin Luther, the great reformer of church life way back in the 16th century, loved this psalm.  He said: “This is the psalm that I love…for it has often served me well and has helped me out of great troubles, when neither emperors, kings, wise men, clever men, nor saints could have helped me.”

So this is a great psalm to pray when you feel stressed and you find that there are some people who seem to be against you.  Like a big bungee cord, the psalm stretches beyond the negative things in order to reach and cling to God. Once you experience clinging to God, the bungee cord snaps free from the other side and you are one with God! 

 This is the last of the special psalms from 113 to 118 which have the word “Alleluia” somewhere in them.   Jesus prayed this psalm going into the Garden of Gethsemane, about to be betrayed by Judas.  Like Luther, like Jesus―may this be a special psalm for you.

Wednesdays are devoted to the reading of the Psalms, one a week across the three-year cycle.

Psalm 118

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! Check the menu options at the site for more information.

David’s Prayer

I love this chapter in the Bible.  It is filled with the humility and closeness that David has with God.  Read the verses slowly so that the thoughts of God, of Nathan and the prayer of David can really sink into your heart.

David is such a prayerful man, filled with intimacy with God.  Pray his prayer along with him and see how you can relate this with your life…your life with God. 

1 Chronicles 17

Tuesdays are dedicated to the the History and Writings
of the Hebrew Scriptures.

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! Check the menu options at the site for more information.