Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 25, John 4, Proverbs 1, and 2 Corinthians 13

2 corinthians 13By Jane Graham

Darkness pressed in and the weight of tortured prayers hung low above my body, prone and still. I rolled over, burying my face in the pillow so salty tears would dissolve into cotton instead of streaking my skin.

The clock in our bathroom ticked like an ice pick on frozen water, sending echoes into the inky night. My eyes peeled open in vain, wishing for handwriting on the wall and solutions to the heartbreak of this world.

  • I resolved to fast.
  • To limit food choices on non-fasting days.
  • To read Scripture with fervor.
  • To wake up early for prayer.
  • To give up sleep in the morning, bartering comfort for answers.

 

Instead, I am left with quiet. I am left making promises. I am left testing myself.

Today’s Scripture selections included 2 Corinthians 13, the final chapter in Paul’s impassioned plea to the Christians in Corinth. He tells them, “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 you fail to meet the test!”

Each Lent I purpose to test myself by saturating the weeks leading to Calvary in the Biblical text.… Continue Reading

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

2 corinthians 5By Laurie Short

“For Christ’s love compels us,” Paul writes.

To which I must confess reluctantly, “Not always.”

(However I don’t recommend that for your church’s next responsive reading.)

But if I’m honest, there are times when I am compelled by something very different than Christ’s love. Selfishness, for one. (That hurts just writing it.) Comfort, for another.  And then there’s pride, self justification and anger.

So maybe I am writing today’s devotional just for me.

However I am guessing that from time to time, you too are motivated by a few other things than Christ’s love. Which is why I am drawn to take us once more to this well known verse.

And this time, I’ll complete it.

For Christ’s love compels us because we are convinced that one died for all and therefore all died. (2 Corinthians 5:14)

Can I just say that I am so glad Paul doesn’t end there? Because there’s a whole lot of death in that sentence. However, put together with the next verse, the death he speaks about—His and ours—takes on new meaning.

And He died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for him who died and was raised again (verse 15, emphasis mine.)

The thing is, the resurrected life can’t happen without death.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 16, Luke 19, Job 34, and 2 Corinthians 4

By Cindi Koceich, guest contributor

2 corinthians 4

Today’s art is a response to 2 Corinthians 4:

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18, ESV)


Cindi’s thoughts on the passage follow here:

It is hard to fix our eyes on something we can’t see. The every day incessant noise is so very distracting and our nature is to react, to solve, to quiet the noise as best we can. I’m convinced that the only way to break free from the noise, from the worry, from our instinct to control and manage is to paint a vivid picture of our Savior. We paint with the brush strokes of His Word, of prayer, of community and worship. And we see Him. Not only do we see Him, we, by the power of His Spirit, are moving in His steps.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 15, Luke 18, Job 33, and 2 Corinthians 3

2 Corinthians 3By Patty Kirk

Every year, at the end of a course called Advanced Grammar, I give my students an assignment I call a “grammar devotional”: analyze the grammar of a short Biblical passage to tap its spiritual teaching.

At first they’re leery, but it invariably ends up being their favorite assignment—mine too—because it legitimizes a rather arcane and pointless-seeming topic of study, one that’s hardly necessary to effective communication, by putting it to use in service of unarguably valuable tasks like reading the Bible and learning more about God. They’re proud of what they come up with, and, of all the essay piles on my desk, I read theirs with the greatest enthusiasm.

Another reason I like this assignment is that it addresses an important requirement I’m evaluated over at my Christian university: the integration of faith and learning. Students—and believers—being as diverse as they are, I’ve found it hard to get good ratings in this area because people are rarely in agreement about what such integration entails. I may have written numerous books on faith and bring up Biblical examples all the time and even pray in class on occasion, but all some students will remember at the end of the course is when I said something they thought inappropriate or required them to read a book that was, in their view, unChristian.… 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 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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Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Samuel 8-9, 2 Corinthians 2, Ezekiel 16, and Psalm 58-59

09132013_350_400A Marriage and Mercy Story

By Megan Oldfield

Our old dog, Murphy, is dying. He hasn’t eaten in days, he can barely walk, and the vet confirms that his heart and kidneys are failing. He’s lived a long, full life, I tell my husband, and I urge him to put the last of our three dogs down. But my husband’s not ready.

“You can try giving him an antacid,” the vet suggests as a last resort. “It might increase his appetite.”

So he carries our dog to the car, brings him home, and hand-feeds him Pepcid wrapped in bologna to help settle his stomach, in hopes that he might start eating his dog food again.

I watch him do this for several days, and after seeing no improvement in our dog’s eating habits, I shake my head and question my husband’s sanity strategy.

Until one day Murphy’s bowl is empty.

***

I meet my husband at a Bible study on his 21st birthday, and to be honest, I think he’s a bit of a nerd. He wears glasses that day and he doesn’t say much and his socks are pulled up way too high.… Continue Reading