Without Wax

Thursdays: The New Testament
1 Corinthians 5

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To listen to Nick read the one-minute introduction.

The word “purity” in verse 8 can also be translated as “sincere.” This word is from the Latin sin-cera meaning “without wax.” The word in turn translates the Greek eilikrineia, meaning, “judged by sunlight.” Stay with me—there is soul food here!

In ancient flea markets, unscrupulous merchants would fill wax into the cracks and broken pieces of a work of art to fool the interested into thinking the piece was whole. Careful buyers would take the piece and hold it up to the sunlight to be sure that it was “sincere”—without wax.

Take the sweet urging of Paul that your heart be without bad leaven. As you read, see where there are “cracks” in your spirit. Do not hide them by dishonesty, feigning, pretense, flattery, manipulation, etc. Take your soul and expose it to God’s holy light and let the Lord burn away impurities until you shine as pure gold.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
My whole life alive in You v. 5
The joy of being humble v. 6
Bread of purity and truth v. 8
Praying that all live in love v. 9 ff

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for the version for children and families.

This is the fifth of thirteen weeks in Kingdomtide, Year A.
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
Thursdays are dedicated to the New Testament, except the Gospels.


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Life Is Short

Wednesdays: The Psalms
Psalm 39

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To listen to Nick read the one-minute introduction.

Whatever are the sufferings you are undergoing in your life, this psalm will offer you sweet comfort. As you move through the verses, let the specific sufferings in your life attach themselves to these expressions. You will find yourself delivered from a focus upon the suffering, to a growing and glowing awareness of the presence of God who alone can give meaning to your pain. In addition, something else that expands your spirit: through your fervent praying of this psalm, the outpouring of David becomes a vehicle for the many kinds of sufferings of all God’s people. The psalm touched Paul; he cites verse 22 in Romans 8:36–39.

You may find it helpful to note the areas of your pain, praying along with the millions today and over the centuries who have found peace through this psalm. Those verses that express the brevity of life will sober you.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
With you, Lord, my future bright v. 4
Human life is but a breath. v. 5
All my things will pass away. v. 6
Listen, Lord, when I am sad v. 12

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

This is the fifth of thirteen weeks in Kingdomtide, Year A.
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
Wednesdays are dedicated to the Psalms,
one each week over the three-year cycle.

Image Courtesy of http://thecorner.wordpress.com

Dancing with God

Tuesdays: The Hebrew “Writings”

2 Samuel 5—6

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

The dance of David before the Ark expresses the energy released in spontaneous worship. There is joy, for the Ark finally arrives at a fixed place for worship. As the hands of a clock move freely about the center point, so does David find extravagant expression as he reels about while grounded in the joy of the presence of God centered in his life.

Michal criticizes David. She wastes her time judging him, instead of entering into the source of his joy. The same will happen to you, if you criticize and judge others. As a downward spiral, energies will go inward and bind, instead of spiraling outward in joyous expression.

Find a place in your house where you especially find the presence of God—a prayer closet, a special chair—some place where you find yourself drawn to be in God’s presence, where your spirit can dance.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
Finding You in everything vv. 11-12
Joyous dance in Your presence v. 14
Lord, protect me from envy. v. 16
You chose me to serve you, Lord. v. 21

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

This is the fifth of thirteen weeks in Kingdomtide, Year A.
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
Tuesdays are dedicated the Hebrew “Writings.”

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Affliction and Comfort

Mondays: The Prophets
Isaiah 33

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

Isaiah is like a great symphony. There are majestic tones of glory and promise of messianic deliverance, as well as somber ones of judgment and call to repentance. Both of these contrast with each other in this chapter. A glorious expansion of the heart comes with the assurance of the reign of peace and justice; then there come strong admonitions to the complacent. Notice the future tense used—what God is going to do in Jesus. Isaiah speaks the words of promise; there are only two months until Advent.

These two themes in counterpoint remind me of a phrase I once heard about the prophets: “They came to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable.”

Appreciate vv. 16-18. Dwellings will be secure—very close to the promise of Jesus in John’s Gospel to those who keep the Word: “We [the Father and Jesus] will come to him and make Our home with him” (14:23).

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
You, a stream in the desert v. 2
You a rock: shade from the sun v. 2
With You, Lord, all comes to life v. 15
Your people living in peace v. 18

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

This is the fifth of thirteen weeks in Kingdomtide, Year A.
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
Mondays are dedicated to the Prophets; in this season, we continue reading Isaiah.

Image courtesy of http://whowillyouserve.blogspot.com

The Cross: Near or Far?

Sundays: The Gospels from the Lectionary
Matthew 21:23-32

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To listen to Nick read the one-minute introduction.

One act of surrender to Jesus is worth more than a million words of promise. Think of the “Good Thief” on the cross. His act of love for Jesus and repentance of sinfulness won him full entry into paradise in the final moment of his life. All the Jewish leaders were restless with preparing other paschal lambs for Passover, blind to the power of the Paschal Lamb whose saving blood was already flowing from the cross.

What decisions do you make that reveal whether you are spending your life for the One who spent his life for you? It is not what you say, but what you do that defines surrender. Is what you do in life tending to have you cling to the cross—or are you sometimes far away from it, busy about other kingdoms?

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
Not by words, but by my deeds v. 29
Give me purity of heart v. 32
Longing for Your kingdom, Lord
Your life for me, mine for You

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

This is the fifth of thirteen weeks in Kingdomtide, Year A.
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
Sundays are dedicated to the Gospels from
The Revised Common Lectionary.

Image courtesy of http://www.pinterest.com

The Song of Moses

Saturdays: The Sabbath Torah Portions
Deuteronomy 32

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

This song was intended to fill the air from generation to generation. The image of a rock appears throughout. It tells what would happen if the people go after other gods and serve them. While the song expresses the anger of God, yet deeper still, it sings of the compassion of a God who continues to lure the people into fidelity and love.

The end of Moses is near. He is reminded that he will not be permitted to enter the Promised Land because he complained about the people in Numbers 20:11-13. He failed to acknowledge the goodness of the Lord giving water from the rock to the people.

As you hear this song in your heart with countless others “listening” to it this same day, what kinds of thoughts and feelings come to you? Write them down, so that you will remember.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
Your teaching falling like rain. v. 2
You are faithful and upright. v. 4
You cover me with Your wings. v. 11
You nourish us with honey. v. 13

Version for Children and Families

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 third part.
For more about the Torah portions and thoughtful commentaries, visit
The Jewish Theological Seminary.

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Wasting God’s Good Time

Fridays: The Gospels
Matthew 22

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


Controversy heightens between Jesus and his adversaries. The Lord confronts the arrogant religious leaders who have wasted Jesus’ time by trying to trip him up. Gone forever are what could have been precious moments of simply sitting at his feet, drinking in the wisdom of his teaching and the healing of his touch.

Three Sundays in October are devoted to sections of this chapter. Let today be a preview of what is coming, allowing yourself to get a sense of the whole chapter.

Do you fight what the Lord wants to do in your life? Do you find yourself arguing with God? Instead of complaining about what is happening to you, listen closely to the inner meaning of what is taking place. Seek the Lord’s wise and tender voice in the midst of the chaos of your own compulsions.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
Rising with You when I die v. 23
In You I’m fully alive. v. 32
Loving You, heart, soul and mind v. 37
Loving neighbor as myself v. 39

Version for Children and Families

This is the fourth of thirteen weeks in Kingdomtide, Year A.
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
We continue reading the Gospel of Matthew.

Photo Courtesy – http://kmooreperspective.blogspot.com