To God Be the Glory

Thursdays: The New Testament
Romans 16

Click or touch “Firestarter”
To listen to Nick read the one-minute introduction.

This is the close to what is acclaimed as the greatest treatise on Christianity in the New Testament. You are reading what moved the “greats”—Martin Luther and John Wesley, just to name a few.

Most of the passage is Paul’s commendation to those especially endeared to him. The woman’s name, Phoebe, in verse 1, means “The Radiant One.” By the way in which you are, you radiate or obscure the goodness and acceptance of God through yourself to others. Your radiance of God’s unfailing love is what people need to find the peace for which they long. Recall verse 5 from Psalm 34 of yesterday.

The center of the chapter contains Paul’s final appeal to unity. When you discuss issues, beware of self-interest, which fosters division.

As you see the sun setting on the day and the season, lift your voice in prayer and praise of God in the final verse of this great letter.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
Sending out kisses of peace v. 16
Being wise in what is good v. 19
Strengthened by Thy Gospel, Lord v. 25
To God: glory forever v. 27

Click or touch the image
for the version for children and families.

This is the thirteenth and last week in Pentecost, Year A.
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
Thursdays are dedicated to the New Testament, except the Gospels.


Today’s Image courtesy of http://www.groupon.sg

Encouraging Words

Thursdays: The New Testament
Romans 15

Click or touch “Firestarter”
To listen to Nick read the one-minute introduction.

As happened in last Monday’s reading from Isaiah when we caught the spirit of the prophet, so also today, the essence of Paul shines forth. Extravagant in his travels to begin churches where no one else has ever been, he yet finds time to pause, to write, to share with the Romans a letter that would come to be in your hands across the millennia.

Let yourself be encouraged along with his first readers. He quotes verses from the Torah, the Psalms, and Isaiah that express the point he makes in verse 4. Do with Paul’s letter what he does with the Hebrew Scriptures; find verses in this chapter that quicken you to all the joy of being called to intimacy with Christ in the Spirit.

Paul asks for prayers. We might forget that he, just as Jesus in his agony, needed the prayer of his disciples. Be open for the Spirit to bring to your mind those spiritual leaders who need your prayers.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
Pleasing others, not ourselves v. 1
With one voice, glory to Thee v. 6
God of hope, fill us with joy. v. 13
What You are doing through me v. 18

Click or touch the image
for the version for children and families.

This is the twelfth of thirteen weeks in Pentecost, Year A.(The first week occurred at the end of the season of Epiphany.)
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
Thursdays are dedicated to the New Testament, except the Gospels.


Today’s Image courtesy of http://www.cardsdirect.com

Live and Let Live

Thursdays: The New Testament
Romans 14

Click or touch “Firestarter”
To listen to Nick read the one-minute introduction.

The final chapters of Paul’s letter change from teaching to encouragement. Make a list of the imperatives that he uses to encourage his beloved Roman Christians to grow in their commitment to Christ.

John Wesley summarized the opening verses by stating: “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”

The idea of one day being holier than another comes from a deeply subjective, yet real feeling. Each day has a sense about it. I hope that you will grow in a unique and holy feeling about each day of the week, due to the associations that all seven days of the week have with parts of the Bible.

As Paul develops his line of thought, be aware of those verses that especially summarize him. You will discover basic principles of human freedom and edification of your neighbor as guides for you, not only in living your own life, but also in allowing others to live theirs.

Examine yourself: do you do anything that stops the free flow of your brother or your sister’s life from flying freely into the depths of God?

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
Open and never judging v. 3
Being Thine, in life and death v. 8
Not to be a stumbling block v. 13
Peace and joy in the Spirit v. 17

Click or touch the image
for the version for children and families.

This is the eleventh of thirteen weeks in Pentecost, Year A.(The first week occurred at the end of the season of Epiphany.)
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
Thursdays are dedicated to the New Testament, except the Gospels.


Today’s Image courtesy of http://www.lovethispic.com

Exhortations

Thursdays: The New Testament
Romans 12—13

Click or touch “Firestarter”
To listen to Nick read the one-minute introduction.

The final chapters of Paul’s letter shift from teaching to exhortation. Make a list of the imperatives that he uses to encourage his beloved Roman Christians to grow in their commitment to Christ.

The essence of Jewish worship was animal sacrifice. Paul takes this concept and urges his listeners to have their bodies become a “living sacrifice.”

Similar to his thought in 1 Corinthians 12, Paul reminds his people that their oneness in the body of Christ means that they belong to one another. It is Paul’s way of stating a truth found in the very beginning of the Bible about Cain and Abel: you are your brother’s keeper. Spiritual gifts unique to each person are described just as Paul did in that same chapter of 1 Corinthians.

When you conclude the reading, rest … wait … write what further exhortations the Spirit may be expressing from deep within.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
The renewing of my mind 12:1
Members of one another 12:5
Holding fast to what is good 12:9
Living peaceably with all 12:18

Click or touch the image
for the version for children and families.

This is the tenth of thirteen weeks in Pentecost, Year A.(The first week occurred at the end of the season of Epiphany.)
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
Thursdays are dedicated to the New Testament, except the Gospels.


Today’s Image courtesy of http://jerimhaya.blogspot.com

Pro-Semitism

Thursdays: The New Testament
Romans 11

Click or touch “Firestarter”
To listen to Nick read the one-minute introduction.

Imagine a child disinterested in the gift of a toy. The parent says, “Well, if you don’t want it, I’ll give it to the child down the street who will love to have it.” Sometimes this causes a fresh interest in the toy. Verse 11 is Paul’s way of saying something similar with respect to the Jews; he hopes that a holy jealousy might quicken desires in them to embrace the Good News.

If only this chapter were carefully meditated upon, the ages-long, “anti” in semitism might have been changed to “pro.” Instead, the child down the street who receives the unwanted gift comes back to bully and taunt the child who originally received it.

Do not boast about the gifts God has given you. Rather humbly and fully receive them. Allow your expressions of wonder and praise for God to increase until your whole being is living the final verse of the reading.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
A remnant chosen by grace v. 5
Root holy; branches holy v. 16
Remaining in Your kindness v. 22
Depth of the riches of God v. 33

Click or touch the image
for the version for children and families.

This is the ninth of thirteen weeks in Pentecost, Year A.(The first week occurred at the end of the season of Epiphany.)
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
Thursdays are dedicated to the New Testament, except the Gospels.


Today’s Image courtesy of http://guardianlv.com

Winds of the Spirit

Thursdays: The New Testament
Romans 10

Click or touch “Firestarter”
To listen to Nick read the one-minute introduction.

As a mighty wind, the Spirit rushes into the house of the First Testament giving new and exciting meaning to familiar passages. Paul weaves quotations from the Hebrew Scriptures into twelve of the twenty-one verses of this chapter. The newness and freshness of Paul’s thought is launched from the foundation in the First Testament. The Holy Spirit quickens these words with fresh, profound meaning.

The weeks of the three-year cycle consist of a stitching of passages from both Covenants. These readings are wedded together for the regular return of the week every three years. Look for common threads that bind these readings together. Look back over previous days as you move through the week to discover their unity. Link the readings with each week’s Alphabyte as well— “Hurricane” being the mighty wind of the Spirit that rushes into your inner house!

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
Your Word near to lips and heart v. 8
Confessing Jesus is Lord v. 9
Lovely feet that bring good news v. 15
Faith coming from what is heard v. 17

Click or touch the image
for the version for children and families.

This is the eighth of thirteen weeks in Pentecost, Year A.(The first week occurred at the end of the season of Epiphany.)
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
Thursdays are dedicated to the New Testament, except the Gospels.


Today’s Image courtesy of http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org

Living with Questions

Thursdays: The New Testament
Romans 9

Click or touch “Firestarter”
To listen to Nick read the one-minute introduction.

The self-effacement of Paul is starkly described in the opening verses. Imagine willing to be cursed and separated from Christ, if it meant the salvation of Paul’s beloved Jewish people! Samuel, David and Paul, and of course Jesus, stand before you this week as those willing to live and die that others might have life.

The questions posed in verses 20 and 21 are designed to have the image of the potter and the clay shift us away from Job-like questions that nag at us. There is yet another question that the clay could ask the pot with equal silence in response: “Why did you make me at all?”

Why were you conceived and the born on the day of your birth, and not someone else? No answer to that question … Neither are there answers to many others. Live with these questions and adore the Lord who made you.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
I, child of Your promise v. 8
You, my God, showing mercy v. 16
Awe before Your making me v. 20
The riches of Your glory v. 23

Click or touch the image
for the version for children and families.

This is the seventh of thirteen weeks in Pentecost, Year A.(The first week occurred at the end of the season of Epiphany.)
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
Thursdays are dedicated to the New Testament, except the Gospels.