Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 21, Luke 24, Job 39, and 2 Corinthians 9
By Brenda Chance
Today’s reading from Exodus 21 is one of those passages that makes me want to go back to bed, pull the covers over my head, and take a really long faith nap.
“When you buy a Hebrew slave…” What? “When a man sells his daughter as a slave…” Who is saying this? Surely, it must be Moses or Aaron. I’ll bet it’s Jethro.
With an anxious heart, I scan back over the text searching for a name, any name but there is only one I see. “The LORD said…” I emotionally duck and cover.
I believe the scriptures are God’s self-revelation. For this reason I get dizzy and wobble off balance when I read a text like this one. God’s revelation of himself to me personally has been marked by generous grace and freedom. The God I have come to know is abundantly good, loving, and compassionate; he is antithetical to everything I know about slavery.
Slavery is an ugly evil. How in any way could the heart of my Father make allowance for it in the covenant with his people? I hear the doubt and fear screaming, “Look away!… Continue Reading
Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 18, Luke 21, Job 36, and 2 Corinthians 6
By Julie Chen
Today’s art is a response to Luke 21.
Artist’s note: Some of Jesus’ instructions to His disciples as they face difficult times, which we all will.
“…There will be a time of great persecution. You will be dragged into synagogues and prisons, and you will stand trial before kings and governors because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me. So don’t worry in advance about how to answer the charges against you, for I will give you the right words and such wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to reply or refute you! …By standing firm, you will win your souls.” (Luke 21:12-14, 19 NLT)
“Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.” (verses 34-36)
Julie is offering today’s art as a FREE PRINTABLE on her site.… Continue Reading
Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 14, Luke 17, Job 32, and 2 Corinthians 2
By Lisa Velthouse
One of the more illuminating moments in our marriage happened on the night when Nathan and I came to terms about The Leak. I don’t recall the particulars of our conversation anymore, but knowing me, I had likely cried and talked in circles for some time, trying to simultaneously figure out a point and make it. Knowing him, he had likely listened patiently and with a furrowed brow, putting forth a valiant mental effort to sift through what I was saying in order to hear what I actually meant.
We were talking about being busy and about the toll it was taking on things. That detail I do remember. Nathan had been working especially long hours: weekdays and -nights away from home on training exercises, weekends spent at his desk trying to keep up with everything that had piled on while he was away. Times like these are par for the course every so often with military life, but accepting that fact doesn’t necessarily make them easier. As is typical in our relationship, the feverish pace was leaving both of us beyond tired—but where his exhaustion was physical, mine was emotional.… Continue Reading
Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 11, Luke 14, Job 29, and 1 Corinthians 15
By Hannah Anderson
“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 9, Luke 12, Job 27, and 1 Corinthians 13
By Amanda Jenkins
We have dear missionary friends who would visit our adopted son, Max, when he was still in the orphanage in Thailand. They brought him books, candy, and pictures of our family, told him about Jesus, and assured him that his new mommy and daddy would come to get him soon. Dallas and I were grateful that Max was being loved on — we saw it as God’s provision and protection for our son while we couldn’t be with him. I’m forever indebted, not only because they cared for Max, but also for their help while we were in Bangkok. They showed us around, armed us with maps and sky-train passes when they couldn’t be our personal tour guides, translated for us, and were a source of support during a difficult, emotional time.
But by day five, four-and-a-half-year-old Max still preferred them and Dallas over me, and I was sad. From moment one, the entire experience was nothing I expected. Nothing felt natural or instinctive. Max wasn’t connecting to me — the woman he’d seen in pictures for the past year. And what was worse, I didn’t feel a connection to him.… Continue Reading
Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 8, Luke 11, Job 25-26, and 1 Corinthians 12
By Kendra Roberts
Today’s art is a response to 1 Corinthians 12:
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be?
… Continue Reading
Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 4, Luke 7, Job 21, and 1 Corinthians 8
By Christie Purifoy
“Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that ‘all of us possess knowledge.’ This ‘knowledge’ puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.”
1 Corinthians 8: 1-3
I became a mother ten years ago. Since that day, I have been humbled in approximately ten million different ways. It happened most recently when I realized that my daughter’s least attractive personality trait is an exact copy of my own. Actually, it may not even be my least attractive quality, as there are likely far worse things in me that my daughter was fortunate not to inherit. However, like the proverbial speck and log, I had to see it in someone else before I became aware of it in myself.
Sorry, dear daughter. You are blessed with your father’s long eyelashes and his extroverted ease on a stage, but from your mother you received this: an unwavering, never-faltering need to be right.
I talk a good talk. Asking the right questions is so much more important than knowing the right answers!… Continue Reading
Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 2, Luke 5, Job 19, and 1 Corinthians 6
By Tricia Lott Williford
Sometimes 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.
… Continue Reading
Today’s Bible passages are: Genesis 50, Luke 3, Job 16-17, and 1 Corinthians 4
By 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.
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 47, Luke 1:1-38, Job 13, and 1 Corinthians 1
By Megan Oldfield
I’ve got nothing insightful to say about today’s passages.
That’s what I think as the hours dwindle before my deadline.
It’s Thursday, the day before this piece is due, and I’m under my blankets watching Downton Abbey with a box of Good & Plenty in one hand and Swedish Fish in the other wondering WWAVW? (What would Ann Voskamp write?)
It’s a picture of grace under pressure, really.
When I sat down to work on my post last weekend, I thought I had it under control. I intended to write my little heart out. But a massage scheduled for nine o’clock Saturday morning only afforded me enough time to read the four daily chapters.
That’s okay, I figured, I’ll meditate on some verses while my therapist’s working out the knots, and boy do I have me some knots. But then I fell asleep between the sheets of the warmed massage table and snored myself awake an hour and a half later. I blame Deuter and his dreamy new age music.
That afternoon, distracted by all the electronic devices dangling off my desk, I decided a quick trip to Lowe’s was in order.… Continue Reading