Today’s Bible passages are: 1 Chronicles 26-27, 2 Peter 1, Micah 4, and Luke 13

1 Chronicles 26 & 27By Hannah Anderson

The day after Thanksgiving.  For many of us, this means the pots and pans are once again clean, the fine china has been returned to the cupboard, and if we’re lucky, there are enough leftovers to save us from meal prep for the next couple of days. Some may have gotten up early in search of a deal; or others, like me, were content to do their shopping online sitting next to the warmth of a crackling fireplace. After the bustling activity of yesterday, it’s time to rest and recover.

Except no.

It. Is. Just. Getting. Started.

Over the course of the next several weeks, we will be caught in a whirlwind of decorating, baking, and gift wrapping as we prepare for Christmas. We will stay up late and get up early. We will forget the sugar cookies for the 2nd Grade Christmas party. So we’ll rush to the store, pay three times what it would have cost to make them ourselves and show up just in time to hand them over. And if we’re not careful, we’ll find ourselves in the exact same position Martha did in Luke 10: “distracted with much serving.”

As I read through today’s portion in 1 Chronicles 26 and 27, I couldn’t help but think about this danger.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 1 Chronicles 24-25, 1 Peter 5, Micah 3, and Luke 12

By Kendra Roberts

Luke 12Today’s art is a response to Luke 12:

“Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants! But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Luke 12:35-40, ESV)

Kendra’s thoughts on the inspiration of the piece follow here:

I thought the image of the Master serving his “good servants” at a table as they reclined seemed appropriate for Thanksgiving.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 1 Chronicles 23, 1 Peter 4, Micah 2, and Luke 11

11272013_AJBy Amanda Jenkins

So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin. You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God. You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy—their immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties, and their terrible worship of idols. (1 Peter 4:1-3)

Hm.

In light of how not finished with sin I am, I had to mull these verses. Especially this one: For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin.

I’d like to be finished with sin. I’d like to stop veering off course. I’d like for my relationship with Jesus to snuff out my relationship with the world completely. I’d like to starve my greed. To turn away from my anger and never indulge my quick trigger. To refuse insecurity a foothold. To never give way to fear.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 1 Chronicles 22, 1 Peter 3, Micah 1, and Luke 10

By Mary Freeman

1 Peter 3
Today’s art is a response to 1 Peter 3. The artist’s thoughts on the passage are below.

I am feeling a little exposed here. God’s Word does that and really it’s a good thing, a scary and painful thing sometimes, but a good thing. You see, I am beginning to finally believe that God loves me and accepts me totally in my incompleteness, in my mess, and yes even in my sin. I am learning it is okay to come out of hiding. He longs for my freedom even more than I do, and I long for it a lot.

The Scripture portion I wanted to share with you today is 1 Peter 3. When I read the part that is written to wives, my feathers get ruffled. I’m okay with the part to husbands; oh don’t we love it when the spotlight is on the other. But then I begin to dig a little deeper and I see.

At the end of Chapter 2, Peter speaks about the kind of life Jesus lived, and the kind of life we are invited into.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 1 Chronicles 21, 1 Peter 2, Jonah 4, and Luke 9

11252013_SRBy Stephanie Rische

When I was little—much too little to know the rules of the road, let alone reach the gas pedals—my dad would sneak me onto his lap when he was driving so I could “help.” As soon as we reached the dead-end road leading to our house, he’d put my chubby fingers on the wheel and cover them with his own big hands. I’d squeal in delight as we made our way past the old barn, past the palomino horse’s pen, past the neighbors’ house on the hill, and finally into our driveway.

At some level I knew that Dad was the one operating the vehicle, not me, but I thrilled to think he would want my help. And I loved being in such close proximity to him as we embarked on this daring (and unsanctioned-by-mom) adventure.

When I think about the miracles of Jesus recorded in the Gospels, I am struck not only by the power behind them but also by the level of human participation Jesus invited when he performed them. If you think about it, Jesus could have made wine appear out of nothing—ex nihilo—at the wedding at Cana.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 1 Chronicles 17, James 4, Jonah 1, and Luke 6

Jonah 1By Christie Purifoy

We know the lesson of Jonah and the whale inside and out, don’t we? If we didn’t learn it from our Sunday school teachers or our illustrated children’s Bibles, we surely learned it later.

The lesson is there, so ripe for the plucking, how could we miss it? Of course I assumed the first chapter of the book of Jonah could reveal nothing I didn’t already know.

But this is a wild book, this Bible. It is solid like a rock, but there is a Spirit that blows across its pages. I swear, sometimes, I open it up and feel a wind. I wonder that the pages lie so still.

***

Today, old, old words come roaring back to life. A voice like rushing water speaks straight to my heart. It says:

“What do you mean, you sleeper? Arise, call out to your god!” (Jonah 1:6)

And I suddenly see it.

How I have been Jonah. How my children are little Jonahs. That we live in a world of Jonahs.

This is a world of sleepers.

We rise from our beds. We eat our food.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 1 Chronicles 16, James 3, Obadiah, and Luke 5

By Amylee Weeks

1 Chronicles 16

Today’s art is a response to 1 Chronicles 16, specifically verse 32:

Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him!

Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth;

yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.

Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice, and let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!”

Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it!

Then shall the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth.

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! (1 Chronicles 16:28-34, ESV, emphasis added)

Today’s Question: What goodness are you thanking God for today? Where do you see creation giving God praise? (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. … Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 1 Chronicles 15, James 2, Amos 9, and Luke 4

James 2By Emily Cummins, Guest Contributor

Recently, I saw the words of James 2 come to life under an oak tree, surrounded by over 80 homeless people in my community. No, I wasn’t at an outreach event to serve a hot meal or hand out jackets to help guard against quickly dropping temperatures. I was at church.

Four years ago, Ken, Wendy, and Madi Kebrdle were living the life: dream job, nice cars, gorgeous house with a pool, and a constant stream of dinner parties with friends. Life couldn’t get better—or could it? In 2009, the Kebrdles saw a dream they were missing—an eternal dream they’d rather pursue than material possessions wrapped with a white picket fence. So they traded in the perfect house for an RV and ditched their pursuit of the American dream.

As they sold everything they owned, Wear Gloves was born. The Kebrdles’ hearts broke for the hurting and homeless in their Florida community and the undignified way in which people treated them. They made it their mission to change that. Fast-forward four years later, and they’ve traveled thousands of miles across state lines and time zones, partnering with countless churches and community organizations, teaching people how to partner with the homeless in a dignified, life-giving way.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 1 Chronicles 13-14, James 1, Amos 8, and Luke 3

By Erin Leigh

James 1

Today’s art is a response to James 1:

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (verses 2-4, ESV)

(Artist Erin Leigh’s introduction to the piece is as follows.)

So I have to admit, I chose this verse because I really, really don’t like it.

Not my favorite. Not by a long shot.

You won’t see it on my coffee cup or on my walls.

You see I have an aversion to pain,

but doesn’t everyone?

 

No, I hate it. I run. As fast as I can.

And this verse stops me in my tracks.

because the only way out of the pain is always through the pain.

That’s it. There is no around, it’s only a delay.

Either I deal with pain (and sin) now,

or I those around me have to deal with it.

I delay the it. and it festers. and gets worse.

 

But on the other side of the pain,

as I lean into God and let Him be my strength each day,

there is victory.

Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 1 Chronicles 11-12, Hebrews 13, Amos 7, and Luke 2

Luke 2By Tricia Lott Williford

Of all the chapters in the Bible, my assigned passage to read and respond to is Luke 2: the story of the birth of Christ.  Doesn’t it seem like I should so easily spill with beautiful insights?  Doesn’t it seem like so many wonderful things will come to mind? Christmas truths and sacred traditions, parallels and paradigms of stars and lights and angels on high.

Sometimes writers have wisdom; sometimes writers just have words.  Tonight, I can’t seem to find either.

So I look to the cast of characters.  Where there is a character, there is a story, and the characters are where the readers find themselves.  I ask them to show me their role in the story, that I may learn my own.

The angels are the excitement.  The shepherds are curious and amazed.  Mary ponders these things in her heart, holding closely the things she can’t understand.  God’s word has come to pass; his plan is strategically at work.  And those who hear the story burst into praise to God, who has sent Jesus, the Savior, Lord and Christ.

Excited.  Curious.  … Continue Reading