Today’s Bible passages are: 1 Kings 2, Galatians 6, Ezekiel 33, and Psalm 81-82

09302013By Emily Cummins, Guest Contributor

So, what are you doing after graduation? This question, often birthed out of innocent intentions, became one of my least favorite conversation starters a few months ago.

I was stepping into my last semester of college and feelings of anticipation were creeping in, primarily centered around one word: next.

It was a season of transition marked by job interviews, final exams, résumés, lots of coffee, goodbyes and hellos. And at times, it felt like a blessing and a curse.

The dreaded What are you doing after graduation? question left me with mixed emotions, making me feel as if I should have the next 10 years of my life mapped out, career moves in place, relationships in check. But then the weight of that reality would sink in: how was I supposed to plan the next decade of my life when I didn’t even have the day after graduation figured out?

Interviews lined up. I was applying for jobs I’d dreamed about, and then those opportunities were actually extended to me in a pretty package, but something wasn’t right.

I distinctly remember having a conversation with my Dad about one of my job opportunities and he looked me square in the eyes, asking one simple question: Have you talked to God about it?Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Samuel 23, Galatians 3, Ezekiel 30, and Psalm 78:38-72

By Amylee Weeks

09272013_AW
Today’s pick is an artful response to Psalm 78:

Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;

incline your ears to the words of my mouth!

I will open my mouth in a parable;

I will utter dark sayings from of old,

things that we have heard and known,

that our fathers have told us.

We will not hide them from their children,

but tell to the coming generation

the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,

and the wonders that he has done.

 

In the sight of their fathers he performed wonders

in the land of Egypt, in the fields of Zoan.

He divided the sea and let them pass through it,

and made the waters stand like a heap.

In the daytime he led them with a cloud,

and all the night with a fiery light.

He split rocks in the wilderness

and gave them drink abundantly as from the deep.

He made streams come out of the rock

and caused waters to flow down like rivers.

Yet they sinned still more against him,

rebelling against the Most High in the desert.

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Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Samuel 22, Galatians 2, Ezekiel 29, and Psalm 78:1-37

By Stephanie Rische

Last weekend the women in my family got together to celebrate the upcoming birth of my sister’s baby. We don’t know the name or the gender yet, and we don’t know this little one’s hair color or personality or special talents. But one thing is for certain: this baby is already incalculably loved.

We sat around the living room sipping raspberry punch long after the shower was over, telling stories about Meghan as a baby and retelling family lore—about sons and daughters, aunts and uncles, cousins and siblings. At one point I just sat there looking at all the beloved faces, trying to let the moment soak in. There were four generations represented in that room—my grandmother, my mom and a smattering of aunts, my sister, and the baby we were eager to meet.

The guests had been asked to bring a book they’d loved as children, and the selections were a delightful mix of classic and modern, serious and fanciful, playful and deep. Then Meghan opened the last gift, unobtrusively tucked in a small bag at the back of the pile. As soon as she revealed the contents, the room drew in a collective breath.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Samuel 21, Galatians 1, Ezekiel 28, and Psalm 77

infertilityBy Christie Purifoy

No wonder some speak of an Old Testament and a New Testament God.

My eyes follow the litany of plagues and disasters in Ezekiel 28, and I question if this is the God I profess to love.

I read of bloodshed and holiness, of pestilence and glory. I read words that seem to tremble on the page: Then they will know that I am the Lord their God.

Is anyone safe with a God like this?

I think I may be trembling, too. Then, I remember what I have seen, and the fog of confusion and fear lifts: God is who he says.

God is love. Yesterday. Today. And tomorrow.

***

Ten years ago this month, I lay in a hospital bed and held my baby girl. A precious bundle just the size of my forearm.

My daughter recently wished upon ten candles, but, if I had had my way, she would be a teenager by now. My husband and I were married seven years when she made her entrance. Like the visitation of some Old Testament plague, infertility had been poured into my days.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Samuel 20, 2 Corinthians 13, Ezekiel 27, and Psalm 75-76

By Erin Leigh

2 Corinthians 13Today’s pick is a response to 2 Corinthians 13:

For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God.

 

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test. But we pray to God that you may not do wrong—not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed. For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. Your restoration is what we pray for. For this reason I write these things while I am away from you, that when I come I may not have to be severe in my use of the authority that the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down.

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Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Samuel 19, 2 Corinthians 12, Ezekiel 26, and Psalm 74

By Nicole Bennett, Guest Contributor

brave and weak


My own collection of magazines is stacked about 20 high, abandoned in favor of more pressing matters like child-rearing and cooking, and also less important endeavors like Instagram and Pinterest.

And yet my mom is often offering to pass on her already-perused volumes to me. I flip through a few with her on a lazy summer afternoon at her house when all three kids are resting, when she suddenly rips a page out to hand to me.

It’s the annual essay competition from a popular magazine, and the thrill of a writing for a contest piques my interest—until I read the prompt:

“What is the bravest thing you have ever done?”

Ideas flicker through my mind as I contemplate the topic. I don’t feel like I’ve really have any particularly brave moments.

Sure there is the open adoption we entered into, not completely prepared but willing to take the leap, the harrowing switchbacks endured in a chartered bus across the Andes Mountains, the paddle-out when the waves felt a bit too big for me, the first college class taught, the back-handspring on the high beam.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Samuel 16, 2 Corinthians 9, Ezekiel 23, and Psalm 70-71

By Samira Gast

 

Today’s pick is an artful response to 2 Corinthians 9:

The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written,

 

“He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor;

 

his righteousness endures forever.”

 

He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you.

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Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Samuel 15, 2 Corinthians 8, Ezekiel 22, and Psalm 69

09192013By Lisa Velthouse

My friend Karen* has just had surgery, and her husband is away. (This is not uncommon for military folk like us.) We have spent three days holed up at my place—she as the patient, me the attempted nurse—so she can begin to heal. Now she’s ready to be back on her feet and at home, but her cupboards are bare. So we go grocery shopping on the way over to her place. She chooses the food, I push the cart and lift the heavy things.

We arrive at a seasonal display in the produce department. Bags of cherries are stacked up in piles: a couple rows of deep red, a couple rows of red-yellow, then a couple more of red. It is at this point when Karen reaches out nonchalantly and grabs a single Ranier.

“I always taste-test these to make sure they’re good first,” she explains, popping it into her mouth. Her official assessment is a slight pucker.

My internal response to this cherry-pick is instantly surprising to me, for two reasons. First, it seems entirely self-contradictory. Second, it seems completely overblown.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Samuel 14, 2 Corinthians 7, Ezekiel 21, and Psalm 68

confrontationBy Tricia Lott Williford

I’m not sure which one I prefer less: to confront or be confronted. To be the one holding the interrogation lamp, or to be the one in the hot seat. I’m a peacemaker by nature, and the whole thing makes me sweat a little bit, just thinking about it. I’ve been known to rationalize away my responsibility or pass the buck to someone else, so it has taken me a lot of years – and more to come, I’m sure – to lean in to conflict and find the truth in confrontation.

When I was growing up, we had a rule for note-writing in our home: “If your words are affirming, write them in a note. If your feedback is critical, don’t write it down. Either way, the person will read it over and over.”

This is an axiom I have tried to bring with me into adulthood. But what happens when you can’t weasel your way out of the conversation, and – worse yet – you have no route of communication except to write the words down, to be read over and over again?… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Samuel 13, 2 Corinthians 6, Ezekiel 20, and Psalm 66-67

By Kelli Campbell

Sorrowful, Yet Always Rejoicing

 

 

Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says,

 

“In a favorable time I listened to you,

 

and in a day of salvation I have helped you.”

 

Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.

 

We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide open.

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