From Anguish to Hope

The Reading for Today: Psalm 77

This Psalm has ten verses of anguish, ten of hope. The psalmist will teach you about how to deal with your own pains of the heart. No matter how strong the suffering, he is praying.

Share your heartaches with the Lord. When you have poured yourself out, a fresh, new space expands in your heart to listen to the Lord who brings you remembrance of God’s gracious presence to you throughout your life. Jesus was there for you on the cross. He unleashed the power of healing love there; it is all that you have ever needed or will ever need. The Lord is with you. Pour out your heart and listen to Jesus. He loves you. He will comfort you in his out-poured Spirit, filling your pain and emptiness with his sweet presence.

The Reading for Today

This is the ninth of thirteen weeks
in the season of Pentecost, Year B.
Wednesdays are dedicated the Psalms.

Faith of a Foreigner

Christ and the Canaanite Woman, 1783-84 (oil on canvas) by Drouais, Jean-Germain (1763-1788); 114×146 cm; Louvre, Paris, France

The Reading for Today: Mark 7:24-37

Words of Jesus abrupt and even rude…Such seems to be the case today. Recall the Marriage Feast of Cana when Jesus said to Mary about the wine running dry: “What is that to you and to me?” Here too, it appears to be unkind of Jesus to refer to the Syro-Phoenician woman as a dog!

However, the intent of Jesus is to place the faith of the foreign woman into strong relief. Jesus healed the woman with the hemorrhage; she knew that only a touch of the tassel on Jesus’ garment would be enough to be healed. This woman as well believes that only crumbs from the table of Jesus are all her daughter needs for healing.

The whole body of Christ is given to you in a crumb from the Communion table. One touch, one taste of the Master is enough.

The Reading for Today

This is the eighth of thirteen weeks in the season of Pentecost, Year B.
Fridays from now until Advent are dedicated to the Gospel of Mark.

Offerings to the Lord

The Reading for Today: 2 Corinthians 8

This passage will help you understand the spirit behind all giving to the Lord. Philippians 2: 5-11 gives further understanding of the abandon of God into our humble estate, in order that we might be lifted to the heights of divine life.

When you give to the Lord, God does not actually take. The Lord is pure giving. In the mystery of this, your giving frees the Lord to become even more abundant for you in God’s riches and grace. This is the point behind the specific details of this passage.

Apply the reading to your own life. How are you when it comes to trusting in the Lord as you make your tithes and offerings? Will you surrender all your cares to God who loves you and gives you the provisions for each day?

The Reading for Today

This is the eighth 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 5.

God Hurts

The Reading for Today: Hosea 9

Put yourself in God’s place as a scorned spouse. Experience the indignation and hurt of the Lord. You know that the Lord is forgiving, put what affronts are made to God! God feels; the Holy Spirit grieves.

Never presume on the Lord’s mercy. Decide now to be a faithful spiritual spouse of the Lord who wants nothing but the closest intimacy with you. God is ready to forgive, but you must repent of any brand of unfaithfulness in your life toward the Lord.

May God’s fidelity be an incentive for you to go deeper into your own soul, rooting out indifference and infidelity to the Lord, until your surrender to the Lord is total.

The Reading for Today

This is the eighth of thirteen weeks
in the season of Pentecost, Year B
Mondays are dedicated to the Prophets, currently reading Hosea.

The Anguish of Infidelity

Hosea 1

Marriage is the most intimate of relationships; that is how the Lord wants to embrace the people. Our Israelite ancestors were continually unfaithful. As a jolt to the people, God commands faithful Hosea, the prophet, to take a prostitute as a wife. His unfaithful spouse is God’s way of confronting our ancestors with their infidelity.

The Lord longs to marry you in fidelity and love. Nothing less than total intimacy is God’s desire. At this very moment, God wants to refashion your soul-pain. What symbol does God use for you as energy to draw you closer to the Lord?

To love is to be poured out. The Holy Spirit was poured out, as Jesus’ blood was shed for you. “Till death do us part?” Not for Jesus … His death means life and union for you!

Nick reads the one-minute Firestarter.

The Reading for Today

This is the first of thirteen weeks in the season of Pentecost, Year B
Mondays are dedicated to the Prophets.
During this season we read Hosea.

Daily Bible Breaths

A Blessed Pentecost to You!

Dear Friends:

A blessed season of Pentecost to you all! Rather than call the time after Pentecost “Ordinary Time,” I prefer to dedicate the summer months (in the northern hemisphere) to Pentecost: the fire, warmth and enduring love of the Spirit.

As my wife and I continue to follow this plan, we find the book to be the best way to read the daily Firestarters and Scripture passages.  There is something special about the book—simply turning the pages each day from the point when you begin to the plan, till you arrive three years later at the page where you started.

Check the menu options above for two formats for the book, paperback and eBook.

I wish you blessings as you discover the ways that the Lord leads you to have the Bible be the center piece of your days.

Blessings always,
Nick Connolly

Sacred Pauses for Renewal

Saturday- The Torah
Leviticus 25:1–28

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

“Pause for Thought” – French Painter, W.A. Bouguereau

Special provisions for social justice are celebrated every fifty-years—seven times seven years. It is the year of jubilee. The root of this word means, “to split the ears” with a trumpet blast that announces the beginning of this sacred period. Captives were set free. No land could be permanently sold from its original owner; in the Jubilee year, it was returned. Jesus applied the term to himself and his ministry in Luke 4:19.

Jesus ushered in a Jubilee, which will never end. With him comes a never-ending Sabbath. Still, find times for Sabbath days and longer stretches of time when you can rest and find sacred renewal of energies. Make good use of all the “mini-sabbaths” in life,times of transition in your day—sacred pauses for renewal.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
Turning inward where You live. v. 10
Depending on You alone v. 12
Living secure where I am v. 18
All the land belongs to You. v. 23

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.

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The Firestarters and readings are posted in the timezone UTC+12,
so that they are available in New Zealand and other regions
near the International Date Line.