Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Kings 13, 2 Timothy 3, Hosea 5-6, and Psalm 119:145-176

hosea 6By Hannah Anderson

“For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” Hosea 6:6

October 31, 1517.  On this day, just shy of 500 years ago, a 33-year-old monk nailed his protests against the religious establishment to the door of Wittenberg Cathedral. And so began what we now know as the Protestant Reformation. Many of us are direct descendents of that day, our faith shaped in the crucible of the five solas and the cry of  “Semper reformanda!” (always reforming). But I wonder if we’ve made a bit of a mistake; I wonder if calling this event a “Reformation” isn’t a bit of a misnomer.

Perhaps we should call it the Great Repentance.

***

In Hosea 6, speaking through His prophet, God chastises the people of Israel. Like Hosea’s faithless wife, Gomer, they have run from Him living lives of decadence and lust. But still they call themselves by His name. They carry out the forms of marriage, offering their sacrifices and words of love even while their hearts are far from Him. But God isn’t fooled. In chapter 6, verse 4, He asks,

“What shall I do with you?… Your love is like a morning cloud, like the dew that goes early away.”

If you know anything about Europe at the time of the Reformation, it was similar to Israel during the time of Hosea.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Kings 12, 2 Timothy 2, Hosea 3-4, and Psalm 119:121-144

By Mary Freeman

2 Timothy 2
Today’s art is a response to 2 Timothy 2. Mary’s thoughts on the piece are below:

Words can nourish, encourage, inspire, be grace filled and offer life. Or words can discourage, diminish, judge, tear down, offer death. There is power behind words.

2 Timothy 14 says “not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers.” I think of times where in my zeal to get truth across I have used a hammer instead of gentleness and compassion. Doing that just closes hearts and ears and turns others away, it does not invite in.

Paul says in 2 Timothy:

“Stay clear of pious talk that is only talk. Words are not mere words, you know. If they’re not backed by a godly life, they accumulate as poison in the soul” (Peterson’s The Message.)

This reminds me of Jesus’ rebuke to the Pharisees, where they spouted off “the rules” but ignored the heart of the message. As we go about speaking truth, are we doing it out of an overflow of what we have experienced? The love, forgiveness, grace, compassion, and gentleness we are experiencing from the lover of our souls?… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Kings 10-11, 1 Timothy 1, Hosea 2, and Psalm 119:97-120

Hosea 2By Amanda Jenkins

I struggle with habitual sin. In my little corner of the world, lots of Christians make the distinction between run of the mill sin and habitual sin–the former being somewhat unavoidable as we continually war with our sin nature. We may stumble and fall, but we get back up, pressing on and striving toward our prize in Christ. And the latter being the repetitive, avoidable, lifestyle sin of the hard-hearted, often considered proof that someone isn’t even saved because by their fruits you’ll know them.

Which is all true. Sometimes.

But it’s also true that in spite of the fact that I’ve been utterly sold out for Jesus for the past two decades, I’ve got plenty of sin on repeat. My vanity, for instance—I’m vain every day. I’m jealous of beautiful  women on TV and the ones in line at the grocery store. I fixate on my flaws. I hate my wrinkles, my graying hair, and my seemingly impenetrable muffin top. My daily priorities easily shift, often making my workout more important than time with God.

I also lust for stuff. Every day.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Kings 9, 1 Timothy 6, Hosea 1, and Psalm 119:73-96

By Stephanie Rische

Not long ago my husband, Daniel, and I went to our friends’ house to introduce ourselves to the latest addition to their family—an adorable eight-pound bundle, newly arrived from the hospital and decked out in a duck-themed onesie.

We asked his parents if there was any special meaning to his name, and we found out that his first name means “Big Hope” in Korean. As I held him, I looked in his eyes—wide and unblinking, taking in everything with solemn contemplation. Big Hope. So much hope wrapped in something so small.

A couple of days after our visit, I met with my weekly prayer buddy. We meet every Tuesday to talk and pray over coffee, and we’ve been praying about one thing consistently ever since we started meeting. Week after week, year after year. But nothing seems to be happening. “I’ve been wondering,” she said. “What’s the point of hoping?”

The question wasn’t bitter, nor did it stem from a lack of belief. She was asking genuinely, almost pragmatically. “Is there any real benefit to hoping?” If you don’t hope for something and God delivers, it’s a pleasant surprise, right?… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Kings 7, 1 Timothy 4, Daniel 11, and Psalm 119:25-48

10192013_JBBy Jettie Barrett, Guest Contributor

I am a sucker for all things spiritual. I love daily Scripture apps on my smart phone, emails from spiritual mentors, and all things faith-related. I am always curious to hear about others’ faith and what makes them keep going each day. Most specifically, why do people choose to follow a God that they cannot see or touch or feel? How do we seek our God during this life on Earth?

One of the email publications that I currently receive is written by a theologian and author who is working his way through a number of themes. I joined this email list a bit late in the game, specifically on the sixth theme. The theme being: “The path of descent is the path of transformation. Darkness, failure, relapse, death, and woundedness are our primary teachers, rather than ideas or doctrines.”

So being the eternal optimist that I am, one can only imagine when I opened my first email from this theologian and author, my immediate response was, of course, panic and disregard. Why would I want to read about pain?… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Kings 6, 1 Timothy 3, Daniel 10, and Psalm 119:1-24

By Christie Purifoy

10252013_CPI remember my mother on her knees in our kitchen. She held a flashlight. With one breath she said, “It’s only a stone. It doesn’t really matter,” but with one more breath she prayed, “God, let me find it.”

She was washing dishes when she noticed the hollow at the center of her engagement ring. An empty hole where a diamond should have been. She couldn’t say when she’d last seen it there. She couldn’t say where it might have been lost.

She dropped to her knees, and she searched every corner of that kitchen floor. She said it didn’t matter, but she prayed like a woman in a parable. She prayed like she was searching for one lost sheep.

***

I am a grown woman now.  The girl who watched her mother search and pray is lost to us both. She wanders in and out of memory like a shadow. She is sometimes glimpsed in the pages of an old album.

I am only thirty-six years old, but life sometimes appears to me like an accumulation of things lost. My mother’s diamond.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Kings 5, 1 Timothy 2, Daniel 9, Psalm 117-118

By Amylee Weeks

Psalm 118
Today’s art is a response to Psalm 118:

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!

Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”

Let the house of Aaron say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”

Let those who fear the Lord say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”

Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. (Psalm 118:1-5)

Read Psalm 118 in its entirety here.

Today’s Question: Question? (Respond in the comments.)

AmyleeW_200Amylee’s life verse is, “by the grace of God, I am what I am.”  She believes whole-heartedly in God’s leading and his words speaking directly to her as she walks this life.  She is thrilled beyond words that his leading has led her to where she is now – a licensed artist, creating art for the believer’s heart. In addition to creating and managing the artwork that she licenses nationwide, she is the owner of a busy Etsy shop (AmyleeWeeks.Etsy.com) where she sells her handmade artwork. Amylee is happiest at her colorful and full-of-fun home, with her Bible open – and you guessed it, CREATING.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Kings 4, 1 Timothy 1, Daniel 8, and Psalm 116

2 Kings 4By Lisa Velthouse

Colorado Springs, 1999. My first real job as a writer.

I was 17, and I had been chosen by the editors of a teen magazine to write a column every other month for a year. “Lisa’s Line,” they called it. They had flown me to Colorado by myself for a weekend photo shoot, to get the next January’s cover image and a few more pictures for accompanying my columns. The editor in charge of choosing me that year, Andrea, had flown in for the weekend as well. She and I were staying in the same hotel, and I was positively awed by her.

Andrea asked if I would meet her for breakfast at the hotel restaurant on the day of the shoot. So I found her at a table that morning, sat across from her, and tried to mirror her beautiful posture without being obvious about it. (Was it the way she held her shoulders? Were they forward or back? Or up?) I tried to say intelligent things and to not hold my fork awkwardly. I was embarrassed that my hair was still a little damp.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Kings 3, 2 Thessalonians 3, Daniel 7, and Psalm 114-115

By Erin Leigh

2 Thessalonians 3

Today’s art is a response to 2 Thessalonians 3:

Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things that we command. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ. (1 Thessalonians 3:1-5 ESV)

Erin is making this art available as a free 4×6 printable, today on her site. Go HERE to get it, and enjoy!

Today’s Question: In what way do you need God’s strength or protection today? (Respond in the comments.)

ErinB_200Erin Leigh is a child of God, a wife, a mommy of two small boys, a first grade teacher, and a mixed media collage artist. She pieces together paint, paper, and found objects to create inspirational and scripture art. Erin’s artistic journey didn’t begin until her early thirties, when she was pregnant with her first son.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Kings 2, 2 Thessalonians 2, Daniel 6, and Psalm 112-113

fuelpumpBy Tricia Lott Williford

He walked into the convenience store at the gas station, wanting to pay for the tank of gas and buy a gallon of milk to take home to his family. He saw a woman, old and bent with age, working to open the door. She stood with crutches, the kind that clamp around her forearm and offer handles for her to steady herself. He felt in his spirit what he has come to recognize as nudgings of the Holy Spirit: Help her.

“Ma’am, may I get the door for you?”

“Oh, yes. Please.” As she passed by him, she thanked him with far greater intensity than the gesture deserved. He had only held the door for her, such an easy thing to do.

He paid for the milk and walked out to the gas pump, and before he got into his car, he saw the woman once again. This time, she was awkwardly trying to balance herself and her crutches while she pumped gasoline into her car. Again, he felt the nudge of the Holy Spirit: Help her.

“Ma’am, may I pump your gas for you?”

“Oh, my.… Continue Reading