The Leaves Speak

Fridays: The Gospels
Matthew 21

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


We have come to that place in Matthew’s Gospel of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Though Palm Sunday comes in the spring in the northern hemisphere, there is meaning of this entrance of Jesus into his Passion and death from the perspective of autumn, the season when the southern hemisphere celebrates Lent.

The palm branches lie strewn upon the ground just as do the leaves falling from the trees. As you walk about and hear leaves crunch beneath your feet, think about Jesus’ walk upon those dead palm branches and the people’s disloyalty to Him: “Hosanna,” one day—”Crucify Him,” another.

Be thoughtful and prayerful as only the speaking of the leaves breaks the silence of your walk.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
Only You make the seeds grow. v. 6
Jesus I belong to You. v. 9
Tested by the fire of love v. 13
Spirit of God within me v. 16

Version for Children and Families

This is the third 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://fruityoaty.com

Fire-Starting and Fire-Testing

Thursdays: The New Testament
1 Corinthians 3

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

Bible Places.com

When there is a violent forest fire, another fire is deliberately set around the perimeter of the endangered space, so that when the fire arrives at the burned-out border, there is nothing left to consume.

Divisions and party strife are as a fire gone wild. Paul speaks in terms of fire in verse 15; one’s material loss through fire becomes a source of salvation.

My desire in fire-starting today is that the Holy Spirit fire-test you. Allow the Spirit to burn away at this very moment, all that is not of the Lord’s doing. As the preferred temple of the Lord, become more and more filled with the fire of the Lord’s presence. Let the strong words of Paul be as breath-blows on the wood of that fire, so that all that needs to be consumed in you may be done so completely. Upon the ashes of that loss lies the saving grace of knowing that you are resting on the foundation which is Christ Jesus.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
Only You make the seeds grow. v. 6
Jesus I belong to You. v. 9
Tested by the fire of love v. 13
Spirit of God within me v. 16

Version for Children and Families

This is the third 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.


Photo Courtesy – http://lightworkers.org

Be Still in the Presence

Wednesdays: The Psalms
Psalm 37

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

With autumn soon coming in the north, the sun sets earlier and earlier each day. If you’re out playing, you probably need to be inside before it gets dark. What do you do with this extra time at home? Now before you jump to your Nintendo or the TV, find some quiet with your family with this lovely Psalm. Silence and autumn nights go hand in hand.

First the writer tells about all the evil plans that bad people get into. The second part celebrates the wonderful, loving things that God does for us. Focusing on God and the gift of life bring joy and happiness; thinking of one’s self alone makes for sadness and often anger when things don’t go our way.

After you pray the psalm, pause in the silence and then talk with you family about the feelings you are having.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
Trust in the Lord and do good. v. 3
In silence, I wait for You. v. 7
Being slow to be angry v. 8
Happy when others are blessed v. 8

Version for Children and Families

This is the third 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://wtaylor4116.wordpress.com

Singing with Sadness

Tuesdays: The Hebrew “Writings”

2 Samuel 1—2

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

The Second Book of Samuel is dedicated to the reign of King David. The threads of tragedy woven in 1 Samuel continue in this book. Yet even stronger and deeper do the power of God and his redeeming love weave a fabric of sacred history, which ultimately triumphs.

The book begins with David’s song of mourning over the deaths of Saul and Jonathan.’ David wants the earth to share in his grief as well, “fasting,” as it were, from the usual splendor of creation, to share David’s pain. I remember having a similar sense when my father died. It did not seem quite right that everything just went on “business as usual,” without everyone feeling his death.

Right now, take your suffering and allow the Spirit to turn it into a song. Take comfort in knowing that your Lord receives and shares your pain.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
My soul singing as I feel v. 17ff
You receiving my feelings
What a blessing to have friends! v. 26
Growing in my love for all

Version for Children and Families

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

Image courtesy of http://judeochristianchurch.com

 

The Lord or Egypt?

Mondays: The Prophets
Isaiah 30

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

Isaiah not only reveals the Lord’s judgments about the rebelliousness of Israel, but he vividly expresses God’s feelings as well. Sense the Lord’s heart and catch the longing that God’s people rest and wait upon God alone. Memorize verse 15, repeating it often until your spirit does what the verse invites.

My Dad often used to remind us: “Man proposes, but God disposes.’ As you enter into the activities of the day, do this with an inner sense that you are responding to what God is doing in you, rather than what you are doing. Then your activities will blossom into prayer as you rely upon the Lord alone—not upon the shadowy “Egypts” that come your way with but a bare pretense of power.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
You wait till I come to You v. 18
You are kind: I ask for help. v. 19
Trusting You will show the way v. 20
You heal me from all my hurts. v. 26

Version for Children and Families

This is the third 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://reverentiallyspeakinglove.blogspot.com

Forgive Yourself

Sundays: The Gospels from the Lectionary
Matthew 18:21-35

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

The parables of Jesus are soul-experiences. Make this one especially personal. The amount is an immense sum, beyond the power to comprehend. The sense is of a great national debt.

Out debt to God is infinitely greater. Take the sin of the world in its “original” form in Adam and Eve. That offense to God has come down through the ages in an avalanche of sin in the human family. A debt has so accumulated that we simply cannot pay it, because God has been offended.

Jesus took all this sin to the cross. In that act of love, God forgave all our debt of sin. Consider this: if God has forgiven you for all that you have done, ought you not treat others, including yourself, with that same forgiveness?

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
Never ceasing to forgive v. 21
Your mercy with me always v. 33
As I forgive, You forgive v. 33
Lord, You’re kind to everyone.

Version for Children and Families

This is the third 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.stmaryny.org

Canaan Points

Saturdays: The Sabbath Torah Portions
Deuteronomy 26:1—29:8

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

I believe that the best kind of happiness is the kind the comes from making someone else happy. One of those ways is finding what another person lost. For Moses this is about a neighbor’s farm animal that wanders off. In fairness the animal must be returned to its owner.

Did you ever lose a pet or something very special? If someone found your pet and returned it, I’m sure you remember the happiness you felt. What other stories about being lost and found can you remember?

On Saturdays, we read a part of the Bible called the Torah. All around the world, Jewish people are reading what we are reading. Think about all those people…and those we can’t number who right now are so sad about having lost a child. Pray for those parents and embrace them in your heart.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
Offering the best I have v. 2
The future bright before me v. 3
Prayers for those who are still slaves v. 7
All the blessings I’ve received v. 11

Click or touch the image
for the 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.

Photo Courtesy of http://www.thefeelgoodlifestyle.com