Today’s Bible passages are: 1 Chronicles 5-6, Hebrews 10, Amos 4, and Psalm 148-150

Psalm 149By Amy Kannel

A while back, I was enthralled by a collection of wedding photographs that made the Internet rounds. Someone had compiled pictures of grooms seeing their brides for the first time, and the raw emotion captured in those photos was something to behold. In the pictures, the men clap their hands over their open mouths. They weep. They are unable to hide their awe and joy and amazement. Each man is captivated by the beauty of his bride, stunned that this incredible woman is actually his.

When a wedding processional begins, at that dramatic moment when the church doors open and all eyes turn toward the bride, I love to sneak a peek at the groom. I don’t want to miss his face when he drinks in the sight of his beloved, looking more beautiful than she ever has before.

And part of her beauty comes from being so loved, does it not? She has adorned herself with the finest dress she will ever wear; she has taken great care with her hair and makeup and accessories. But the extra beauty she possesses on her wedding day comes from the love that glows in her eyes, from her delight in her soon-to-be husband and her confidence in knowing he adores her.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 1 Chronicles 3-4, Hebrews 9, Amos 3, and Psalm 146-147

By Samira Gast

11142013_SGToday’s art is a response to Psalm 146-147:

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul!

I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. (Psalm 146:1-2, ESV)

Praise the Lord!

For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.

The Lord builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the outcasts of Israel.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.

Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.

His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,

but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love. (Psalm 147:1-5, 11, ESV)

Today’s Question: For what can you choose praise today? (Respond in the comments.)

SamiraG_200Samira Gast is a bargain hunter, lip gloss lover and coffee enthusiast. Since she was a little girl, coloring was one of her favorite activities.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 1 Chronicles 1-2, Hebrews 8, Amos 3, and Psalm 145

migraineBy Brenda Chance

It always begins the same—a thousands specks of light converge above the right eye and break into pierces and prickles of pain coursing through my entire body. Some episodes I can muscle through, others lay me flat, as was the case this last time. From my upstairs bed I can hear the world moving on without me. The boy is bypassing breakfast in favor of Halloween candy from the entryway jar. His dad admonishes him not to slam the door, “Don’t forget, your mom isn’t feeling well.”

How I hate being the wife/mom/friend who doesn’t feel well. For several years now I’ve reluctantly accepted life with this stubborn autoimmune disorder. Because of it I have missed out on things I love. I have also seen the patience and kindness of steadfast love in the gracious care of family and friends. I lay blanketed in the woven mingle of guilt and appreciation.

Miroslav Volf says, “Patience with others is love, patience with self is hope, and patience with God is faith.” I find the latter of the three the hardest. On any given day I can find ten things that God could change if He were willing, but He withholds His intervention.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Kings 25, Hebrews 7, Amos 1, and Psalm 144

By Kelli Campbell

DSC_4886_1_WR(Kelli’s explanation of the photos follows.)

These photos came about in response to Psalm 144, in particular v 3-4:

“O Lord, what is man that you regard him, or the son of man that you think of him? Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.” (ESV)

Autumn words.

DSC_4922_1_WRI like how today’s passage in Hebrews seems to answer the psalmist’s question:

“This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant. The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:23-25 ESV)

DSC_4814_1_WR

 

Today’s Question: Do you ever feel like your days are just a passing shadow? What does it mean, knowing that Jesus lives to make intercession for you? (Respond in the comments.)

KelliC_200Since marrying her Marine thirteen years ago, Kelli Campbell has lived in eight homes. She has planted zinnias at every one.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Kings 24, Hebrews 6, Joel 3, Psalm 143

2 kings 24By Megan Oldfield

A few weeks ago we took a family vacation to Washington D.C. It’s a trip we promised our youngest daughter for her ninth birthday, and because my old college roommate works as a Legislative Director in Congress, we surprised her with a private tour of the United States Capitol.

“Dear Federal Government,” I joked on Facebook the day before we left, the day the recent government shutdown ended, “Thank you for reopening just in time for our scheduled VIP tour of The Capitol with a dear friend from college. Sorry in advance for my three-year-old son who will most likely wreak havoc in your hallways. We’ll just call it even for the past sixteen days.”

I had no idea how prophetic those words would be.

My first hint should’ve been when he licked the escalator at the Metro station the next morning. Or maybe his refusal to sleep the night before in our camper that we parked, Griswold style, in my brother’s driveway just a few miles outside the city.

Because Congress came to a resolution to end the shutdown just hours before we arrived, they were in recess, and so most of Capitol Hill was empty.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Kings 21, Hebrews 3, Hosea 14, Psalm 139

Psalm 139By Kelli Gotthardt

I led a retreat last week and, as is customary, the ministry that brought me in asked the participants to share about their experiences. Here’s what one woman wrote:

“I don’t really have time for this kind of seminar these days. I am comfortable in my relationship with God, my husband and myself.”

As you can imagine, I won’t be posting that comment on my website under “What People Are Saying About Kelli”.

For one thing, because it says more about the participant than it does about me or the material. But, she’s not alone. According to a recent Barna study, the vast majority of churchgoing women are “comfortable with their relationship with God.” Three quarters of Christian women say they are mature in their faith (73%) and more than one third (36%) of churchgoing women say they are “completely” satisfied with their personal spiritual development. An additional 42% say they are “mostly” satisfied.

I gotta be honest–I find that shocking. Especially in light of today’s reading and my own experience.

As a young college student I attended Urbana, the college missions conference directed by Intervarsity Christian Fellowship.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Kings 20, Hebrews 2, Hosea 13, and Psalm 137-138

By Julie Chen

With My Whole Heart
Today’s art is a response to Psalm 138:

 I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise;

I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness,

for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.

On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased.

All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O Lord, for they have heard the words of your mouth,

and they shall sing of the ways of the Lord, for great is the glory of the Lord.

For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly, but the haughty he knows from afar.

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life;

you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me.

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.

Do not forsake the work of your hands. (Psalm 138, ESV)

Julie Chen is offering a FREE 4×6 download of this Scripture art over at her site today.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Kings 19, Hebrews 1, Hosea 12, and Psalm 135-136

Psalm 136By Christina Vinson

Too often, my prayers feel like some type of massive to-do list, with items that I need the Almighty God to check off before I present Him with more grandiose requests. Some of the most common verbs used in my prayers/to do-lists are please, help, do, heal, work, speak, give…and the list goes on.

I’m sure a lot of women pray this way. I’m sure a lot of men pray this way too. But, the thing is, I didn’t grow up praying this way. Every time we sat down to pray (which was every single time we ate, no matter how hungry we were), my dad thanked the Lord for our health, for our strength, for safe travels, for food, and the list goes on. It was only after giving thanks for our blessings that my dad would bring our requests before God; after, not before; after, not in place of.

As I read Psalm 136, we are commanded to give thanks to God. I find it rather humbling that the Psalmist felt the need to remind us that God’s love endures forever in every single verse of the psalm.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Kings 18, Philemon, Hosea 11, Psalm 132-134

By Sarah Carter

Hosea 11Today’s art is a collage celebrating God’s mercy and fatherly kindness, a response to Hosea 11:

When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.

The more they were called, the more they went away;

they kept sacrificing to the Baals and burning offerings to idols.

 

Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk; I took them up by their arms,

but they did not know that I healed them.

I led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love,

and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws,

and I bent down to them and fed them.

 

They shall not return to the land of Egypt, but Assyria shall be their king,

because they have refused to return to me.

The sword shall rage against their cities, consume the bars of their gates,

and devour them because of their own counsels.

My people are bent on turning away from me, and though they call out to the Most High,

he shall not raise them up at all.

 

How can I give you up, O Ephraim?

Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Kings 17, Titus 3, Hosea 10, and Psalm 129-131

By Jane Graham

titus 3When we were newly married, my husband and I splurged on airfare from Chicago to LA to visit some friends. The four of us had become so close during college, that the separation that came with the acceptance of diplomas was unwelcome and nearly grievous.

It was on that trip, while touring the back roads of California in an old Chevy, that I first heard someone verbalize the notion that the Bible held life’s answers for everything.  That kind of sweeping absolutism was new to me, and if I’m honest, I’ll admit I had my doubts.

Bumping along in the backseat, I started a mental list of all the things I didn’t think the Bible addressed: like responsible Internet use or pornography. Like too much shopping or what constitutes abuse in a relationship. At my core, I didn’t think there was any way that one book could offer advice and guidance and boundaries for everything.

That is, until she explained it to me.

It’s not that the Bible mentions every situation, each dilemma or an assortment of temptations by name. It’s not as though every single trespass is outlined with alternatives A, B and C ready for easy selection.… Continue Reading