Today’s Bible passages are: Numbers 36, Psalm 80, Isaiah 28, and 2 John

2 John ArtBy Mollie Bozarth

Today’s art is a response to 2 John:

 The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all who know the truth, because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever:

 

Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love. (verses 1-3)

 

I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father. And now I ask you, dear lady—not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it… (verses 4-6)

 

Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete.

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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 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: Exodus 38, John 17, Proverbs 14, and Philippians 1

proverbs 14By Christina Vinson

Envy. Comparison. Resentment. These words used to flash through my mind when I thought of a close friend (let’s call her Katie), and sometimes, unfortunately, they still do.

It started as an innocent friendship in fifth grade, when she and a few other girls asked me, the new kid, to play four square. But, as our lives sped toward where we are today, jealousy began creeping in, little by little.

In college, as a teenager and then young twenty-something, I had no idea what I wanted to major in. Pick a subject that I should spend my lifetime pursuing? I could barely pick out my outfit before an 8AM class. Katie, on the other hand, knew she wanted to be an elementary school teacher, and had her class schedule mapped out when we were still in high school. Settledness in her life goals was also steady, while mine varied from day to day.

She began being asked out on dates, while I was sitting by the phone, alone. In fact, a lot of guys took interest in her, and she always had a story about a new guy, new date, new breakup.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 35, John 14, Proverbs 11, and Ephesians 4

03242014_CPBy Christie Purifoy

I grew up in the Bible-Belt South. I remember Scripture references painted on barn walls, pasted on billboards, printed on bumper stickers. I can still see the embroidered verses that hung, framed, on the walls of my grandmother’s house.

When I read the Bible, it is filtered through so many memories.

Jesus says, “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and I will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:2-3).

Reading these words, I see an image from my first children’s illustrated Bible. I see Jesus, with outstretched hand, ascending into heaven on a cushion of pink-tinted clouds.

Picture and words are so intertwined in my mind that it took me much longer than it should have to recognize the fault line in my memory.

***

Jesus does not speak of preparing a place for us as he floats into the sky. He says these words just before his arrest.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 23, John 2, Job 41, and 2 Corinthians 11

John 2By Kelli Gotthardt

My wedding day was a bit disappointing. Not the getting married part. That was fantastic. But the celebration part fell short of my expectations. Nothing dramatic really. Just a series of little mishaps and miscommunications that led to a stressful day which ended too quickly and not soon enough at the same time. Most of it stemmed from the toxic combination of my poor planning skills and a frightfully low budget.

I do wish Jesus would have performed a miracle at my wedding. Wine would have been wonderful. Although, it would have gotten us kicked out of our reception facility on the church property.

And this brings us to Jesus and weddings and wine. This very first miracle of Jesus has plenty of theological significance and is pregnant with meaning. But this week I simply sat next to Jesus at the wedding and enjoyed him. In my imagination, that is.

Years ago I was leading a group of women I worked with in an exploration of Christian spirituality. We met weekly to read the Bible and talk about Jesus. Few identified themselves as Christians and those who did had limited knowledge of the Bible.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 7, Luke 10, Job 24, and 1 Corinthians 11

luke 10By Stephanie Rische

Take a moment to picture this scenario: you’ve had a long day, juggling work responsibilities, caring for your family, making dinner, and cleaning up the kitchen. After everyone is in bed, you finally sit down to drink a cup of tea and read a few pages of your book before going to bed so you can do it all again tomorrow.

Just as your eyes are getting heavy, you hear a knock at the door. Who could that be at this time of night? you wonder. When you open the door, you’re surprised to see a friend who’s on a road trip with twelve of his buddies. They were just passing through and figured they’d stop by.

“We haven’t had a real meal in days,” one of the friends says, eyeing your refrigerator longingly.

Your mind instantly goes into inventory mode, sizing up what’s in your pantry. Will you be able to scrounge something together for a dozen hungry men? It’s too late to order a pizza or get Chinese takeout, and you can hardly send your guests to the drive-through. And so, since you love your friend, you roll up your sleeves and get to work on dinner.… 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 14, Matthew 13, Nehemiah 3, and Acts 13

acts 13By Jane Graham

I’ve never kept my love for Hallmark much of a secret. In truth, my visits there are a guilty pleasure of candle-induced spending amidst easy listening music and pretty paper products that I’m certain I’ll have good use for.

To ease my guilt, I’ve decided this innocent delight isn’t just about me. I’ve managed to convince myself that it’s practically a ministry, because, well, I send these cards to other people after all.

At least, that’s what I tell myself.

I’m hooked on their snarky birthday cards and silly, been-there-done-that mommy cards. I buy up their weepy thinking-of-you cards and reach for more of their get-better-soon cards, just to have on hand — you know, in case of a card-worthy emergency.

But where Hallmark really works their magic is with encouragement cards. The ones that you send for no real “reason.” The ones that don’t get a stamp because of something “official” on your calendar, but rather, just because you care enough to tell someone, “You’re not alone today.”

Encouragement: what a lovely gift to give.

Today’s Scripture selection included Acts 13.  I love this chapter not only for Paul’s amazing gospel proclamation in Antioch but for how his monologue is framed.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Chronicles 5:1-6:11, 1 John 4, Nahum 3, and Luke 19

1 john 4By Emily Cummins

I guess you could call me a list maker. Currently, I have eight running to do lists on my phone, all of which I update on a daily basis. I have lists outlining who I need to send thank you cards to, which Christmas presents to buy, work projects I need to conquer, personal goals I want to meet, and even a list of adventures I plan on tackling with friends. I like the feeling of being organized and knowing where to find information when I need it. But perhaps more than a need to be organized, I like that rush you get when you finally scratch an item off your list, banning it from your memory entirely, leaving no loose ends behind.

Recently, I’ve found that I’ve translated this to do list mentality to other areas of my life…areas outside the realm of projects and items requiring action steps. I’m discovering that much like my reminders of who I need to send thank you cards to, I’ve looked at seasons of my life and even certain friendships as to do list items as well, anxiously trying to check them off my list in order to move on to the next.… Continue Reading