Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 11, Luke 14, Job 29, and 1 Corinthians 15

By Hannah Anderson

Job 29 image“Why do bad things happen to good people?” If you’ve ever asked yourself this question, let me assure you that you are not the first. Human beings have been wrestling with the question of suffering and personal choice since the Fall, and most of the time, coming up miserably short.

For example, in the face of Job’s suffering, his three friends assumed, like many today, that it was the result of personal sin. When Job tries to assure them that he has no known sin in his life, Bildad responds in typical fashion, “Yes, but who can really be righteous?” (chapter 25) In today’s language, “Okay, but we’re all sinners and so anything bad that happens to us is deserved anyway.” The bottom line? Your suffering is always your fault. And by extension, when other people suffer, in some way, it is their own fault too.

I think a lot of us see the weakness in this answer. We’re experienced enough to know that life is complicated, that some of us are born with certain privileges, that not all suffering is the result of bad choices.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 2, Luke 5, Job 19, and 1 Corinthians 6

By Tricia Lott Williford

Job 19Sometimes I want to be rescued. And by ‘sometimes’ I mean pretty much at some point every day.

Rescued from the alarm clock. The carpool lane. The grocery list. The bills to pay. The children needing, needing, needing me. The dinner hour. A lousy blind date.

Rescued from loneliness. Fear. Worry. The everyday mess of all this. The questions I don’t know how to answer.

Oh, how I love Job. I mean, of all the heroes in the Bible, Job ranks in my top five favorites. I can’t wait to have coffee with him someday.

The way it plays out in my mind, the whole story starts with a meeting of attendance of the angels before God. Everybody here? Everyone accounted for? Ah, wait. There is darkness in the room, the sneaky oppression of deceptive beauty.

“Where have you come from?” I imagine God saying, “This is a closed meeting, Satan. You’re not invited to this Exective Board Room.”

And Satan says, “Oh, I’ve just come from roaming around the earth.” That right there is the stuff horror films are made of: Satan and his minions trolling the earth, looking for trouble to cause, hearts to break, and lives to destroy.

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Today’s Bible passages are: Genesis 50, Luke 3, Job 16-17, and 1 Corinthians 4

Luke 3By Amy Kannel

I don’t normally think of John the Baptist as a “good news” kind of guy. To be honest, I might use the words “abrasive weirdo.” This, after all, is the guy who wandered the desert wearing camel’s hair and eating grasshoppers. In Luke 3, he begins with the winsome, sensitive strategy of calling his audience a “brood of vipers,” then threatens them with fiery judgment. Twice. His last line in this passage is a dire threat: “the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire” (v. 17)—and then Luke sums up John’s ministry with this unexpected description: “So with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people” (v. 18). Wait a minute. Did I miss something?

If I had to distill John the Baptist’s ministry into a word or two, I’d go with “repent,” not “good news.” But Luke cuts sharply through the false dichotomy, reminding me that repentance is good news.

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My older son, a kindergartner, had a snow day last Monday, and my mothering was especially awesome that day. Instead of enjoying some extra quiet time while my boys slept in, I lay in bed repeatedly hitting snooze and then messing around on my phone.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Genesis 44, Mark 14, Job 10, and Romans 14

romans 14By Erin Leigh

Today’s art is a response to Romans 14:

So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding… Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. (Romans 14:19, 22b, ESV)

Today’s Question: Where in your life can you be pursuing peace and mutual edification today?

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. Through playing and experimenting with paint and paper, Erin is continually finding her artistic voice. She loves fresh coffee, afternoon naps, vintage tablecloths, Henri Nouwen, and chipped paint. ArtByErinLeigh.Blogspot.com.

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Today’s Bible passages are: Genesis 37, Mark 7, Job 3, and Romans 7

job 3By Teri Vogeli, Guest Contributor

In the movie “The Kid” Bruce Willis plays a publicist. His job is to advise professional people on how not to look or act like idiots. In one scene, he sits with a female senator who is bewailing an incident in which the press has made her out to be a fool. As she sits in front of him, dabbing her eyes and blowing her nose, Willis looks completely unmoved. With a deadpan expression he interrupts her with, “Whaaaaaaaaaaa… somebody call the Whaaambulance.”

I’m sorry, but when I read today’s Scripture from Job 3, this is the scene than came to mind! Now I’m certainly not denying Job his grief! The first two chapters tell his baffling tale and with all that catastrophe, he certainly had every human reason for the outburst in chapter 3. But an odd thing is happening in American culture. The land of the free has turned into the land of addiction to comfort, and it has affected the Christian community as well. It has made us soft. It has made us whiney. It’s made us feel entitled to some holy protection.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Genesis 28, Matthew 27, Esther 4, and Acts 27

esther 4By Amanda Jenkins

What a bizarre and horrifying problem the Jews had: by royal decree, they were going to be annihilated, by whichever of their neighbors would choose to become mercenaries. And all because Mordecai had refused to bow to Haman, the king’s right-hand-man with an unquenchable lust for power. Not unlike the King.

And there was Esther, a young queen, whose relationship with Xerxes was hardly a relationship. She hadn’t even seen him in thirty days, and only ever saw him when summoned — which was likely not for her wise counsel or witty banter.

So like I said, it was a terrifying moment in the Jews’ history when Mordecai said this:

If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this? (Esther 4:14)

In some ways, the book of Esther is more about Mordecai than Esther. For sure, her story is important — she did a brave thing from a considerably low position at a pivotal and crucial time, and her actions saved the Jewish people and removed an evil man from power.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Genesis 15, Matthew 14, Nehemiah 4, and Acts 14

spring rain 1By Kelli Campbell

Today’s photos are a response to all four passages from today’s Scripture readings.

From Acts 14:

When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. (verses 21-22, emphasis added)

From Matthew 14:

And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” (verses 28-32, emphasis added)

spring rain 2

From Nehemiah 4:

So we built the wall.

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Today’s Bible passages are: Genesis 6, Ezra 6, Matthew 6, and Acts 6

matthew 6By Laurie Short

If I hummed a few bars of a song that swept the secular airways in the late 80’s, I bet you would still remember it. What you probably wouldn’t remember is any of the words. Except, of course, the four famous repeated ones.

Here’s a little song I wrote-
You might want to sing it note for note:
Don’t worry… Be happy
In every life we have some trouble-

When you worry you make it double.
Don’t worry… Be happy

Don’t tell me you’re not singing right now. I can hear you.

You’re making Bobby McFerrin very proud.

As I was drinking from the fire hydrant of today’s reading, (Genesis 6, Ezra 6, Matthew 6, and Acts 6), two thoughts occurred to me:

#1. I am glad there are four 6’s in my reading assignment and not three.

#2. I better pick one thought because there is way too much to take in. (But you should read it all because it’s really good.)

So after praying about which great thought to write about, I got to Matthew 6, and three words came leaping right off the page.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Chronicles 32, Revelation 18, Zechariah 14, and John 17

12272013_AJBy Amanda Jenkins

Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world, so they would be filled with my joy. I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they don’t belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth. (John 17:13-17)

What a thing—to be prayed for by Jesus. Not only prayed for, but pored over in prayer. This whole chapter is almost too wonderful to comprehend, but there it is: Jesus, asking the Father to make us, his followers, more like him. And my favorite part? That we would know joy.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Chronicles 29, Revelation 15, Zechariah 11, and John 14

By Mary Freeman
12242013_MF
Today’s art connects to several verses from today’s portion.

From Zechariah 11:

So I became the shepherd of the flock doomed to be slaughtered by the sheep traders. And I took two staffs, one I named Favor, the other I named Union. And I tended the sheep. (verse 7, ESV)

From Revelation 15:

“Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty!

Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations!

Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name?

For you alone are holy.

All nations will come and worship you,

for your righteous acts have been revealed.” (verses 3-4, ESV)

From John 14:

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God…” (verse 1, ESV)


(Below is a journal entry from contributor Mary Freeman, including her thoughts related to today’s art post.)

Yes we believe, and yes we have faith. We have trusted God, and know in the deepest part of our soul that He is good, that His ways are best, right and good…always! But sometimes, sometimes right alongside of all that we know, we falter.… Continue Reading