Today’s Bible passages are: Numbers 7, Psalm 42-43, Song of Songs 5, and Hebrews 5

Psalm 43 imageBy Christina Vinson

If you were to look at my life as an outsider, this is what you would probably see: an almost-29-year-old living in Nashville, loved by a truly doting and selfless husband, working her dream job [at home, in sweatpants!], with a wardrobe almost wholly supplied by a twin sister who works for Anthropologie’s headquarters.

If you were to come in a little further and step into my home, my safe place, this is what you would find: rooms bursting with Southern sunshine, an eclectic mix of West Elm furniture, thrift store finds, and a rather obsessive collection of [dying] plants. If you’re a close friend, you’d also see the messy side of our lives: the dishes crusted with two-day-old food, the dust bunnies in the corners, the hair on the bathroom floor (really, does it ever end?).

But if you were to peek into my heart, you would find something drastically different from my somewhat curated home and the ‘ideal’ circumstances I live in.

If you were to take up residence in my heart and head, here’s what you would find: a girl prone to depression; not just the kind of ‘down in the dumps’ feeling that thinks, “Man, I feel kind of down today.” No, it’s the kind of depression that keeps me in bed, with the curtains drawn, and an utterly crippling feeling of numbness and apathy toward life.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Numbers 6, Psalm 40-41, Song of Songs 4, and Hebrews 4

Psalm 40 imageBy Amylee Weeks

Today’s art is a response to Psalm 40:

I waited patiently for the Lord;

he inclined to me and heard my cry.

He drew me up from the pit of destruction,

out of the miry bog,

and set my feet upon a rock,

making my steps secure.

He put a new song in my mouth,

a song of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear,

and put their trust in the Lord.

Blessed is the man who makes

the Lord his trust,

who does not turn to the proud,

to those who go astray after a lie!

You have multiplied, O Lord my God,

your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;

none can compare with you!

I will proclaim and tell of them,

yet they are more than can be told. (verses 1-5 ESV)

Today’s Questions: What cries of yours has the Lord heard? What rock has he set your feet upon?

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: Numbers 5, Psalm 39, Song of Songs 3, and Hebrews 3

Hebrews 3 image

By Christie Purifoy

For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses – as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope (Hebrews 3:3-6).

My toddler daughter is learning to speak. As yet, she has no word for house, but she is coming closer. She is building a shelter with each new word. Her words are bricks. Daddy. Mama. Sissie. Baby. Kitty.

One day soon she will run her tongue over her growing vocabulary, and she will understand the one word that strains to embrace all of these.

Then she will say house.

***

My preschool-aged son draws a crayon picture of our home. This is an act of creation and translation.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Numbers 2, Psalm 36, Ecclesiastes 12, and Philemon

Philemon imageBy Tricia Lott Williford

Think of the greatest mentor in your life. The person about whom you might say, “She taught me everything I know,”  or “I am the person I am today because of his influence.”
When I think of the most powerful mentors in my life, I can speak from experience: pretty much for the rest of my days, if they ask anything of me, I’m going to feel compelled to respond. I would be pretty hard pressed to act against what someone asks of me, be that person a camp counselor from the best summers of my life, a teacher who taught me far more than what was on the syllabus, or the youth pastor who led me think bigger and better than what I had known before.
That’s who Paul was to most of the early Christians. He was not their biological father, but he was their spiritual parent. He taught them how to live and showed them who to become as Christ followers. When he was imprisoned for sharing the gospel, I imagine that they lived for his letters – they waited eagerly to hear what their mentor had to say, this man who had so deeply loved them and influenced their lives.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Samuel 19, 2 Corinthians 7, Ezekiel 5, and Psalm 42-43

Titus 3 image 1By Kelli Campbell

Today’s art pieces are a response to Titus 3:

“For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (verses 3-7)

Kelli says, “I really love this chapter. It was the words regeneration and renewal that sent me outside looking for spring.”

Titus 3 image 2

 

Today’s Question: What does God’s mercy—”the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” look like in your life?

KelliC_200Since marrying her Marine thirteen years ago, Kelli Campbell has lived in eight homes. She has planted zinnias at every one. Kelli is a photographer and a homeschooling mother of four.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Leviticus 27, Psalm 34, Ecclesiastes 10, and Titus 2

psalm 34 imageBy Amy Kannel

I can’t read Psalm 34:10 anymore without hearing a catchy little tune from Seeds Family Worship. Our family loves their albums; each song is simply a verse of Scripture set to music. (This particular song is memorable for its startling beginning that features children roaring like lions.)

“The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing” (NIV).

Up until recently, I’ve coasted through this verse with a smug satisfaction about my sound theology. After all, I know that this verse does not say, “Those who seek the LORD lack nothing that they want.” No, “lack no good thing” means “lack nothing that is truly good for them.” God knows better than we do; in His sovereign, wise love, He gives us what we really need, not what we think we want.

All true. But then I think more carefully about that little word “good,” and I remember Jesus’ questioning of the rich young ruler: “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone” (Luke 18:19). When my attention is fixed on the “good things” God will give to those who seek Him, I’ve missed the point.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Leviticus 36, Psalm 33, Ecclesiastes 9, and Titus 1

Psalm 33 artBy Julie Chen

Today’s art is a response to Psalm 33:

The eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,
to deliver them from death
and keep them alive in famine.

We wait in hope for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
May your unfailing love be with us, Lord,
even as we put our hope in you. (verses 18-22, NIV)

Bonus! Julie is making today’s art available as a FREE DOWNLOAD on her site, where she also shares what this image and this passage have meant to her over the years. Read Julie’s thoughts and get your copy of her art here!

Today’s Question: Where is your hope and your trust today?

JulieC_200Julie Chen dreamed of being an artist and missionary since the age of six. Though she has not been around the world as a missionary (in the physical sense), her work has shown the gospel to others across the globe. She designs books for Tyndale House Publishers (including PYP founder Lisa Velthouse’s Craving Grace) and was also the designer of The Jesus Storybook Bible for Zonderkidz.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Leviticus 25, Psalm 32, Ecclesiastes 8, and 2 Timothy 4

Psalm 32 imageBy Megan Oldfield

Because a sinless Savior died,
My sinful soul is counted free;
For God, the Just, is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.*

I have what some might call a lead foot. In other words, I like to drive fast. Really fast. Cruising around town in a minivan with three kids buckled up in the backseat has curbed my insatiable appetite for speed quite a bit. But more often than I care to admit, that speedometer needle pushes waaay past the legal limit.

Obviously this means I’ve been pulled over a few times in my life. I drive illegally not invincibly. And though I’m not proud of it, I’ve sometimes lied to try to get out of a ticket.

I didn’t know the speed limit in this neighborhood.

My cruise control must be broken.

Wait, what? I thought Montana didn’t have a speed limit.

I think I’m in labor.

None of these excuses has ever worked, especially the last one since I wasn’t even pregnant at the time.

Most recently, though, I took a slightly different approach.

“Do you know how fast you were going back there, ma’am?” the officer asked after pulling me over.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Leviticus 22, Psalm 28-29, Ecclesiastes 5, and 2 Timothy 1

Ecclesiastes 5 imageBy Jane Graham

Dusk settled onto the plains, casting a gauzy pink veil over the Badlands. With windows down and mountain goats littering the road, we pointed our van down a winding road promising to lead us back to camp. Summer gleamed at the height of splendor, and our Creator’s majesty was not lost on us—a family so tiny and small against a backdrop so grand.

The air soothed warm and sweet with the smell that comes from July and dirt and stubborn grass in the dessert. Staring out the window, Rich Mullins’ voice reached through the grave, grabbing my heart. And watching the beauty pass me by, rosy clouds slipping into the horizon, I had nothing to say.

Ecclesiastes 5

I’m amazed by how often my soul has been quieted by the breathtaking grandeur of nature. By towering trees near Mount Rainier. By Caribbean water so blue it made me weep. By the crackle of a fire in the Teton backcountry. By a Michigan evening at the lake.

That this earth is ours to enjoy and swallow up whole is amazing; it leaves me quiet.

So why is it that despite these significant moments of silence, I struggle to keep my tongue in check?… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Leviticus 21, Psalm 26-27, Ecclesiastes 4, and 1 Timothy 6

Ecclesiastes 4 imageBy Stacy Sharpe, guest contributor

It’s lonely at the top … just ask Charles Foster Kane.

Perched atop his 49,000 acre estate known as “Xanadu,” Charles Foster Kane embodied the man who had everything money could buy. As a multi-millionaire newspaper magnate, Mr. Kane assumed power and accumulated wealth with an insatiable vengeance. Yet in his quest to “have it all,” love alluded him … and poor Charlie died alone, ensconced in what ultimately appeared more like a mausoleum than a mansion.

OK, so I confess I’m a film junkie … and I have to agree with the American Film Institute that Citizen Kane (loosely based on the life of William Randolph Hearst?) arguably remains the best American movie ever made.

I further propose that Charles Foster Kane would have been well served by the book of Ecclesiastes.

After all, the epically affluent King Solomon was also familiar with the potential futility of our human strivings. With his vast wealth and powerful position, Solomon was probably the envy of everyone in Israel … though contentment notably eluded him. In his penetrating search for purpose and meaning, Solomon wisely concludes that we spend most of our lives “chasing after the wind,” while true fulfillment is found in God alone.… Continue Reading