Who Is Jesus for You?

One day while Jesus is talking his many trips to teach and heal people, he stops at a town in the north that has springs feeding into the Jordan River. All about are temples to other gods. So it’s a good spot for Jesus to ask his disciples about who people think Jesus is. The report is given. But then Jesus asks the disciples who they think he is, Peter speaks up and gives the perfect answer: “You are the the Messiah, the Christ,” which means “The one anointed with oil.”

But look: Jesus begins to tell his disciples what is going to happen to him—that he’s going to suffer and die on the cross. Follow closely how Jesus deals with Peter’s refusal to believe this. Then come some strong words about us—those who want to be today’s disciples of Jesus. People with worldly manners will not understand the ways of Jesus; in fact they will often make trouble for the loving disciples of Jesus and sometimes will even kill them! Listen closely to Jesus’s words here and talk with those sharing these daily readings with you to help you appreciate Jesus’s message for you.

Mark 8:22-38

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Losing life, for saving life v. 35
For more information about
this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the tenth of thirteen weeks in the season of Pentecost, 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…

Thoughts Held Hostage

Imagine that you are part of a football team. It’s getting near the end of the game, and the quarterback is in huddle with the team for one of the final plays. Someone else complains about the play that the quarterback calls and begins to argue. He wants to do another play! Wouldn’t the coach and the quarterback get very upset with that person?

This is what Paul is talking about. He says that all our ideas and our reasons are to be subject to the “quarterback” which is God. But the “game” we are playing is not a worldly one; in fact, rather than a game, it’s more like a war going on in areas of life beyond the physical.

There are two images from warfare that St. Paul has in mind in these three verses. The first one is a stronghold. This is a foxhole or fort that the enemy uses as protection against being caught. Sometimes we can be stubborn and our way of thinking not in line with God’s thoughts. These are like strongholds within us that must be broken open. The second image that St. Paul uses is that of a hostage. Thoughts that are not like God’s thought need to be captured and held hostage so that these thoughts don’t turn into actions.

Do you have any ways of thinking that are like strongholds or like enemies that need to be held hostage?

2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Thoughts captive, to obey Christ v. 5
For more information about this creative way to pray,
see Bible Breaths.

This is the tenth of thirteen weeks in the season of Pentecost, Year B.
Thursdays are dedicated to the New Testament, except the Gospels.
In this season we read 2 Corinthians.

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…

Holding Your First Child

A newborn baby in the arms of his or her parents can sense whether the parents love the child or not. So too with faith. When a baby is held by parents who believe in and love God, the baby will pick right up on these feelings. It is as though the baby is being held by God!

Today’s psalm of Asaph comes from his concern for the children who will come after him. He wants the next generation to believe and love God as he does. The reading is only the first 8 verses of a psalm of 72 verses. The rest of the psalm is a summary of all that God has done for His people in bringing them from slavery in Egypt. The psalm also talks about the rebellions of God’s people.

Someday you will be a parent. How good it will be when you are a mom or dad to have become familiar with God’s Word as you are doing these days! When you hold your first child, he or she will be filled not only with your own love, but also with God’s love, because of the faith, hope and love for God that is growing in your own heart.

Psalm 78

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Teaching Your ways to children v. 5
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the tenth of thirteen weeks in the season of Pentecost, 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…

So Many Evil Kings

AnimFireStarter

Evil king after evil king: so go these chapters in 1 Kings. As you read about these wicked men and their reigns as kings, how do you think God feels?

Well, we get a glimpse of God’s anger in the reading for today. Actually, the kind of anger that God feels comes from the meaning of the word in the Hebrew language for “anger” that we find in this reading. It’s like what happens when someone is constantly being picked on and bullied. At first the person tightens his or her lips and keeps silent, trying very hard to hold in the anger. Then finally, the person has had enough and all the anger is expressed. This is the way God was feeling. It’s the type of anger that is also very near God’s deep sadness and hurt; after all that God has done to save and redeem God’s people, they still provoke God by refusing to live God’s ways.

Think about our world today. Don’t you get the feeling that so many people aren’t very interested in honoring, respecting and pleasing God? Doesn’t this make you sad…and sometimes angry too?

1 Kings 16:1-7

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
Worshiping the Lord alone
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the tenth of thirteen weeks in the season of Pentecost, Year B.
Tuesdays are dedicated to Hebrew History and “The Writings.”
For the rest of this season, we read 1 Kings.

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 Ground of the Heart

AnimFireStarter

Hosea, our prophet for summer Mondays this year, desperately wants the hardness of the people’s hearts to become soft. Their hearts have become like the hard ground that the farmer has to deal with when it comes to planting crops. It’s difficult work, but the farmer must plow and plow to make the ground become loose enough to receive seed.

Jesus and St. Paul teach using this same idea. Because the people did so much farming, it was easy to use this as an example of the other seed that God wants to plant—His Word into our hearts.

If your heart were to be like earth when it comes to listening and following God’s Word, would you say that the ground of your heart is hard or soft?

Hosea 10:11-12

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
You break down my false altars v. 2
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the tenth 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…

 

I Am the Bread of Life.

After the great miracle of the bread and the fish, Jesus has a very special talk with his disciples about the meaning of who he is. He calls himself “The Bread of Life.” The idea is to take actual bread and see what this means when we apply this to Jesus, as we do in the sacrament of Holy Communion. When we eat the bread of that very special table, we take Jesus completely into ourselves. Jesus really comes to live in us when we eat the Communion bread and drink the Communion juice.

The crowds kept following Jesus because they had their physical hunger filled. They thought to themselves: “If Jesus can feed us today, maybe he can give us lunch tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow!” Jesus takes their hunger for bread and begins to teach them about a deeper hunger that they have for God and how Jesus can fill that hunger so that they will never be hungry again. Place yourself among that crowd and listen carefully to what Jesus says. Here is miracle bread for your soul!

John 6:24-35

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer from today’s reading:
Your bread that lasts forever v. 27
For more information about this creative way to pray, see Bible Breaths.

This is the tenth of thirteen weeks in the season of Pentecost, 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…

 

Your Body as a Bridge

Moses reminds the people that they are about to go into the land promised them by God, not as a reward for their being good. In fact, they have been not so good at all! Moses tells them that they are going to enter the new land because God is the one who is good and faithful to God’s promises.

Then Moses tells the story to this new generation about the terrible sin of their parents who made the golden calf and adored it. Moses goes on to tell how he lay prostrate for forty days and forty nights in intercessory prayer for God’s people. He begged God, who was very upset and angry, not to abandon the people and let them die.

Have you ever laid prostrate in prayer? This is a way of praying in which you lie on the floor with you face down—perhaps your arms are stretched out. It’s a position of complete abandon and humility before God. When you go there, bring with you those who need you to pray and intercede for them. It’s as though you have made your body a “bridge over troubled waters” like the song of the same name.

Deuteronomy 9:15-29

Here is a sample of a seven-syllable breath-prayer
from today’s reading:
There go I, but for Your grace. 9:4ff
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…