Sacred Pauses for Renewal

Saturday- The Torah
Leviticus 25:1–28

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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.

In a Little While—Joy

Friday of the Sixth Week in Easter, Year B    John 16:16-33

Nick reads the one-minute Firestarter.

Verses of great promise are here that we need to commit to memory. “Whatever you ask the Father in my name He will give you.”

This will happen because ironically, Jesus is going away. He plays on the notion of a “little while.” He is going to be taken away in the coming crucifixion, but soon after, he is coming again in the Holy Spirit, bringing a joy that no one can take away.

Think of it: no one can take away the joy that Jesus longs to give you in the Holy Spirit! You and I will go through various mood swings from those sinful tendencies of selfishness and fear that still lurk about, but they need not last very long. “In a little while” joy can return. Joy is to be the continual state of our lives as Christians.

The Reading for Today

Fridays in the Easter Season are dedicated to the Gospel of John.

Daily Bible Breaths

This week: version for Children and Families

Stirring the People

Thursday of the Sixth Week in Easter, Year B    Acts 17

Nick reads the one-minute Firestarter.

I draw your attention to a Greek word that occurs only two times in the New Testament. In verse 6, the word anastenazo is used for the accusation that Paul and Silas are “stirring up” the people. The only other time this word is used is in Mark 8:12 where Jesus “sighs deeply” at the demand of the Pharisees for a sign from Jesus. The word connotes a welling up of intense emotion. May the Spirit do the same to you, loosening, and freeing you to be wholly dedicated to God.

The journeys of Paul and Silas continue. They reach Athens, center of pagan religion in the Roman Empire. You will read the sermon that Paul delivered on the Areopagus located on the famous Parthenon. However, no faith comes from Athens. Its pride in being the center of philosophical thought in the ancient world prevents it from being stirred up to faith. There would be no subsequent “Letter of Paul to the Athenians!”

The Reading for Today

Thursdays in the Easter Season are dedicated to the Book of Acts.

Daily Bible Breaths

This week: version for Children and Families

The King of All the Earth

Wednesday of the Sixth Week in Easter, Year B    Psalm 67

Nick reads the one-minute Firestarter.

The psalms are such a central part of the life of the Church because they gather up everyone in the human family and pray in an intercessory way. This is especially the case in today’s psalm. The prayer is a global one for all the nations. We intercede for the rest of the nations, which are so often about everything else, but prayer.

It is a fitting psalm for the day before the Ascension of Jesus, King of all the earth. The symmetry of this seven-verse psalm with v. 4 at the center is perfectly applied to Christ the Lord, center of the universe.

Take a map of the world or a globe. Pray over it. Are there any special countries where the Lord wants the Holy Spirit in you to brood upon, with inner groans of prayer?

The Reading for Today

Wednesdays re dedicated to the Psalms,
One a week over the three-year cycle.

Daily Bible Breaths

This week: version for Children and Families

The Second Temple Is Completed

Tuesday of the Sixth Week in Easter, Year B    Ezra 5—7

Nick reads the one-minute Firestarter.

Haggai and Zechariah, two prophets of the Bible, appear on the scene to “jump start” the rebuilding of the Temple. Another letter of complaint is sent to Darius, King of Persia. He digs through the archives for the original decree of the former King, Cyrus. Yes, Cyrus had decreed the rebuilding of the Temple. Darius now forbids altering the decree. You will read what would happen if anyone did!

The second Temple was completed in 515 B.C. This Temple was standing in Jesus’ time, with further magnificent additions done by Herod the Great.

Ezra, the holy teacher, and lover of the Word, himself leads a group of persons on the return. The phrase “The hand of our God,” occurs six times in chapter 7 and the next. Greater than the hands of those who oppose, is the hand of the Lord upon this holy man.

The Reading for Today

Tuesdays are dedicated to Hebrew History and “The Writings.”
During the remainder of the Easter Season, we read the Book of Ezra.

Daily Bible Breaths

This week: version for Children and Families

The Logic of Love

The Sixth Sunday in Easter, Year B    John 15:9-17

Nick reads the one-minute Firestarter.

The power of God’s love for us is complete. Just as is the love between the Father and the Son, so is the love between Jesus and us. We can only get a glimpse at understanding this divine reality. However, beyond their human grasp is the embracing of these truths by faith.

Just accept Jesus’ acceptance of you. “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. “Jesus died for you. This divine love is to flow toward one another. Remember the words of Jesus in John 13:34: “Love one another, as I have loved you.” Will you die in self-sacrifice for your brothers and sisters

The Reading for Today

Sundays are dedicated to the Gospels from
The Revised Common Lectionary.

Daily Bible Breaths

This week: version for Children and Families

The Fall of an Ancient City

Monday of the Fifth Week in Easter, Year B
Ezekiel 27—28

Nick reads the one-minute Firestarter. Click on the image.

The ancient seaport city of Tyre in Phoenicia is targeted for destruction due to its wanton pride and arrogance. It was located on an island just off the northeastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Its power had stretched as far as Spain in the West, to Mesopotamia, the region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, in the East. A long list of cities is included, such as Tarshish in Spain, cities under the sway of this ancient kingdom. Though many of these cities cannot be identified any longer, the cumulative effect of the list is designed to have us feel the extent of this ancient maritime power.

Nebuchadnezzar laid a thirteen-year siege of Tyre from about 587-574 BC. Ezekiel sees this as a consequence of the power that Phoenicia wielded from its arrogant king whom Ezekiel denounces. This phrase appears twice: “You set your heart as the heart of a god.” Thus passes the glory of the world. Only those connected to the Word of God will live forever.

Mondays are dedicated to the Prophets.
During the Easter Season, we read Ezekiel.

Daily Bible Breaths

Version for Children and Families for this week

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