Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 1, Luke 4, Job 18, and 1 Corinthians 5

Luke 4By Amylee Weeks

Today’s art is a response to Luke 4:

And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written,

“‘You shall worship the Lord your God,
and him only shall you serve.’” (Luke 4:1-8, ESV)

Today’s Question: What things are you tempted to worship and serve, instead of worshiping and serving God?Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Genesis 47, Luke 1:1-38, Job 13, and 1 Corinthians 1

By Megan Oldfield

luke 1 - 1I’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

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 29, Matthew 28, Esther 5, and Acts 28

matthew 28
By Kendra Roberts

Today’s art is a response to Matthew 28:

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:16-20, ESV)


Kendra’s thoughts on her art follow here:

Water, fire…blood — all aspects that might be brought to mind by “baptism.” Mathew 28 begins with the two Mary’s heading to the tomb, the proclamation of resurrection by an angel and ultimately a face-to-face encounter with the risen Jesus. The chief priests want to pay the soldiers off to hide the mysterious events at the tomb:
“Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’” (verse 13)
Though, they might not have even bothered a cover-up considering some of Jesus’ own disciples doubted his appearance to them.… Continue Reading

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

acts 10By Kelli Gotthardt

On a hot summer’s day in Phoenix, I hurried home from work. The steering wheel still emanated heat and sweat trickled down my back. I longed to be sitting in my air conditioned house with a cool glass of water. In the distance I noticed a spray of water and as I approached, I observed a group of tan young women in tiny swim suits parading around the sidewalk advertising their new business–a bikini car wash. My first thought was “someone needs to call the city council and get rid of this eyesore.” (The line of cars waiting to be, er…serviced indicated this might not be the view of all citizens.)

But more alarming than the various forms of undress, was my second thought– “I should get my car washed there.” Even as I heard myself think it, I chuckled audibly. It made no sense. But as I sped past the sunglassed men in the waiting cars, I found myself feeling compassion for these women, not disdain. That was new. And, it was my first indication that this message might be something more than a heat-induced delusional thought.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 1 Chronicles 13-14, James 1, Amos 8, and Luke 3

By Erin Leigh

James 1

Today’s art is a response to James 1:

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (verses 2-4, ESV)

(Artist Erin Leigh’s introduction to the piece is as follows.)

So I have to admit, I chose this verse because I really, really don’t like it.

Not my favorite. Not by a long shot.

You won’t see it on my coffee cup or on my walls.

You see I have an aversion to pain,

but doesn’t everyone?

 

No, I hate it. I run. As fast as I can.

And this verse stops me in my tracks.

because the only way out of the pain is always through the pain.

That’s it. There is no around, it’s only a delay.

Either I deal with pain (and sin) now,

or I those around me have to deal with it.

I delay the it. and it festers. and gets worse.

 

But on the other side of the pain,

as I lean into God and let Him be my strength each day,

there is victory.

Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Kings 10-11, 1 Timothy 1, Hosea 2, and Psalm 119:97-120

Hosea 2By Amanda Jenkins

I struggle with habitual sin. In my little corner of the world, lots of Christians make the distinction between run of the mill sin and habitual sin–the former being somewhat unavoidable as we continually war with our sin nature. We may stumble and fall, but we get back up, pressing on and striving toward our prize in Christ. And the latter being the repetitive, avoidable, lifestyle sin of the hard-hearted, often considered proof that someone isn’t even saved because by their fruits you’ll know them.

Which is all true. Sometimes.

But it’s also true that in spite of the fact that I’ve been utterly sold out for Jesus for the past two decades, I’ve got plenty of sin on repeat. My vanity, for instance—I’m vain every day. I’m jealous of beautiful  women on TV and the ones in line at the grocery store. I fixate on my flaws. I hate my wrinkles, my graying hair, and my seemingly impenetrable muffin top. My daily priorities easily shift, often making my workout more important than time with God.

I also lust for stuff. Every day.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Kings 4, 1 Timothy 1, Daniel 8, and Psalm 116

2 Kings 4By Lisa Velthouse

Colorado Springs, 1999. My first real job as a writer.

I was 17, and I had been chosen by the editors of a teen magazine to write a column every other month for a year. “Lisa’s Line,” they called it. They had flown me to Colorado by myself for a weekend photo shoot, to get the next January’s cover image and a few more pictures for accompanying my columns. The editor in charge of choosing me that year, Andrea, had flown in for the weekend as well. She and I were staying in the same hotel, and I was positively awed by her.

Andrea asked if I would meet her for breakfast at the hotel restaurant on the day of the shoot. So I found her at a table that morning, sat across from her, and tried to mirror her beautiful posture without being obvious about it. (Was it the way she held her shoulders? Were they forward or back? Or up?) I tried to say intelligent things and to not hold my fork awkwardly. I was embarrassed that my hair was still a little damp.… Continue Reading

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 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