Is It Worth It?

“It’s impossible with human beings, but not with God.
All things are possible for God.”

Mark 10:27

Stand in the middle of your room and slowly turn around. There are likely a T.V., video games, stereos, perhaps a computer…lots of good stuff that you are very important to you. Now consider this: suppose you could have a life of peace, happiness and love, and a sense by faith of God’s presence and love, but it would mean that you would have to let go of the things that you possess. Would you be willing to let go of them? Suppose there was a very poor child in school with you who had nothing: would you be willing to give one of the things you enjoy so that he or she could have them?

This is the kind of challenge that Jesus puts to a rich man in today’s Gospel. The way of life that Jesus offers, called “The Kingdom,” is one in which the welfare and salvation of someone else is more important than your own. It means sacrifice and a willingness to let go of things, for so often these get between us and God. Is there anything in the world that is worth it, if it means that it blocks your way to God and God’s love?

Mark 10:17-31

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
For God, all things possible v. 27
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the seventh of thirteen weeks in the season of Kingdomtide,
autumn in the north.  Year B.
Sundays are dedicated to the Gospels from
The Revised Common Lectionary

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 Cross and Babel

It is named Babel, because there the Lord mixed up the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord dispersed them over all the earth.

Genesis 11:9

What a project of pride and selfishness, to think that we can make a stairway right up to heaven! What results is not the human family making it to the skies, bur rather a tumbling confusion of languages of all the people still very much stuck on earth.

While we can’t lift up ourselves up, Jesus lifted high on the cross won us a place in heaven. By the pouring out of the Holy Spirit in the resurrection, we come to know a new language of love and wisdom that God places in our heart that unites us once again with the rest of the human family. In the book of Acts, chapter 2, we read about how the first apostles were understood in the many languages of the crowd listening to them.

The language of love…What will you do today to lead someone to God by your loving words and actions?

Genesis 11:1-9

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Those scattered drawn together
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…

Jesus Praises a Forgotten Old Woman

And to love God with all of the heart, a full understanding, and all of one’s strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself is much more important than all kinds of entirely burned offerings and sacrifices.”

Mark 12:33

You might wonder what it was like for Jesus after he went into the Temple and turned over the tables of the merchants. He wasn’t very popular, was he? Jesus stayed right there in the Temple, continuing to teach and to confront the religious authorities with their pride and abuse of the poor and the elderly.

Today’s reading has three episodes. I suggest that you take one for each part of the day—morning afternoon and evening. Place yourself as a silent witness of these events. Let Jesus lead you to those verses where his teaching is especially strong and where he wants to shake us up from ways of thinking that might be filled with pride, instead of love.

The reading ends with the incident of the poor widow making her offering in the Temple. Why did Jesus praise her so much? Are there any changes in the way you live that her example can encourage you to make?

Mark 12:28-44

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Loving neighbor as myself v. 31
For more information about
this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the sixth of thirteen weeks in the season of Kingdomtide,
autumn in the north. Year B.
Fridays are dedicated to the New Testament, except the Gospels.
We read the Gospel of Mark in Year B.

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…

Holy Habits

 We are constantly praying for you for this: that our God will make you worthy of his calling and accomplish every good desire
and faithful work by his power.

2 Thessalonians 1:11

St. Paul is the great encourager. When his friends are down and enemies are being mean to them, Paul is right there to remind them that God is going to win out over all enemies and that they will be victors. Paul encourages them to hang on and be patient and do their “faithful deeds.”

Faithful deeds…that phrase lingers in my own mind and heart from this reading. What are the faithful deeds that you do that give you an inner strength in the face of rough times? Here are the seven basic ones that John Wesley, who renewed the life of Christians in the eighteenth century, offered to his Methodists. These are based on holy actions that came down even centuries before him. Here they are:

1) Public Worship; 2) Reading and sharing the Word of God; 3) Holy Communion; 4) Family and Private Prayer; 5) Searching the Scriptures; 6)Fasting or abstinence.

Talk about these holy habits with your family and see what you can all do practice them.

2 Thessalonians 1

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Grace and peace from Jesus Christ v. 2
For more information about this creative way to pray,
see Bible Breaths.

This is the sixth of thirteen weeks
in the season of Kingtomtide,
autumn in the north Year B.
Thursdays are dedicated to the New Testament, except the Gospels.
For the first six Thursdays, we read 1 Thessalonians.

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 New Birth Certificate

The Lord records, as he registers the peoples,
              “This one was born there.”

Psalm 87:6

There’s a special piece of paper in the city or town where you were born that tells about your birth—who your parents are, when and where you were born. It’s called a Birth Certificate. Have you seen yours? There’s a special feeling about that city and the day you first entered this world.

The writer of this psalm is thinking like this when he considers Jerusalem. This is the city where spiritually speaking, God’s people were “born.”

The writer of the letter to the Hebrews kicks this idea up a notch…up to heaven. Because of our rebirth in Jesus, we are citizens of the Heavenly Jerusalem. When you give your life to Jesus, you have a new birth certificate in the holy city in the heavens where you will live forever.

Psalm 87

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
My name inscribed in heaven v. 6
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the sixth of thirteen weeks in Kingdomtide,
autumn in the north. Year B
Wednesdays are dedicated the Psalms.

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 Death of Some Wicked People

AnimFireStarter

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…

 

Daniel in the Lions’ Den

When Daniel learned that the document had been signed, he went to his house. Now his upper room had open windows that faced Jerusalem. Daniel knelt down, prayed, and praised his God three times that day,
just like he always did.

Daniel 6:10

Daniel proved that he was a wise and trusted advisor to the King Darius. The King put Daniel in charge of other officials. As you might guess, these other persons became very jealous of Daniel. Today’s episode tells of the powerful protection of Daniel by God.

What got Daniel into trouble was the awful decree that the King was the only one that could be prayed to! Daniel refused to do this. He used to pray three times a day to his one, true God. To remind him of this sacred connection to God, he would turn and face Jerusalem.

Here’s an idea. Go into your room and spend some minutes praying as you face the direction where your church is located. In your mind, make a connection by an imaginary straight line that joins you and the church. This can help to bring the feelings of worship that you hopefully have from your church, right into your heart at this very moment.

Daniel 6

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Window toward Jerusalem v. 10
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the sixth of thirteen weeks in Kingdomtide,
autumn in the north, Year B.
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…