Today’s Bible passages are: 1 Chronicles 1-2, Hebrews 8, Amos 3, and Psalm 145

migraineBy Brenda Chance

It always begins the same—a thousands specks of light converge above the right eye and break into pierces and prickles of pain coursing through my entire body. Some episodes I can muscle through, others lay me flat, as was the case this last time. From my upstairs bed I can hear the world moving on without me. The boy is bypassing breakfast in favor of Halloween candy from the entryway jar. His dad admonishes him not to slam the door, “Don’t forget, your mom isn’t feeling well.”

How I hate being the wife/mom/friend who doesn’t feel well. For several years now I’ve reluctantly accepted life with this stubborn autoimmune disorder. Because of it I have missed out on things I love. I have also seen the patience and kindness of steadfast love in the gracious care of family and friends. I lay blanketed in the woven mingle of guilt and appreciation.

Miroslav Volf says, “Patience with others is love, patience with self is hope, and patience with God is faith.” I find the latter of the three the hardest. On any given day I can find ten things that God could change if He were willing, but He withholds His intervention.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Kings 25, Hebrews 7, Amos 1, and Psalm 144

By Kelli Campbell

DSC_4886_1_WR(Kelli’s explanation of the photos follows.)

These photos came about in response to Psalm 144, in particular v 3-4:

“O Lord, what is man that you regard him, or the son of man that you think of him? Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.” (ESV)

Autumn words.

DSC_4922_1_WRI like how today’s passage in Hebrews seems to answer the psalmist’s question:

“This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant. The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:23-25 ESV)

DSC_4814_1_WR

 

Today’s Question: Do you ever feel like your days are just a passing shadow? What does it mean, knowing that Jesus lives to make intercession for you? (Respond in the comments.)

KelliC_200Since marrying her Marine thirteen years ago, Kelli Campbell has lived in eight homes. She has planted zinnias at every one.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Kings 24, Hebrews 6, Joel 3, Psalm 143

2 kings 24By Megan Oldfield

A few weeks ago we took a family vacation to Washington D.C. It’s a trip we promised our youngest daughter for her ninth birthday, and because my old college roommate works as a Legislative Director in Congress, we surprised her with a private tour of the United States Capitol.

“Dear Federal Government,” I joked on Facebook the day before we left, the day the recent government shutdown ended, “Thank you for reopening just in time for our scheduled VIP tour of The Capitol with a dear friend from college. Sorry in advance for my three-year-old son who will most likely wreak havoc in your hallways. We’ll just call it even for the past sixteen days.”

I had no idea how prophetic those words would be.

My first hint should’ve been when he licked the escalator at the Metro station the next morning. Or maybe his refusal to sleep the night before in our camper that we parked, Griswold style, in my brother’s driveway just a few miles outside the city.

Because Congress came to a resolution to end the shutdown just hours before we arrived, they were in recess, and so most of Capitol Hill was empty.… 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: 1 Kings 21, 1 Thessalonians 4, Daniel 3, Psalm 107

10182013_AK2By Amy Kannel

On the surface, the story of Naboth’s vineyard in 1 Kings 21 seems straightforward: a profoundly wicked king and queen, the injustice they commit, the innocent man who dies at their hands, and the judgment they receive from a holy God.

But like all good stories, this one points to a greater Story. This story has another main character—one whose name is not mentioned, but whose presence looms large between every line, if we only have eyes to see Him.

Consider Naboth, who refused to sell his inheritance. Despite the fact that he could make a profit (the king, after all, was offering to give him a better vineyard), he held fast to his family’s land, knowing that this proof of God’s promises was priceless.

Naboth was falsely accused of offending God and the king. Powerful rulers plotted against him, producing false witnesses and charging him with blasphemy. Naboth was taken outside the city and killed for a crime he did not commit. Once he was dead, another could take possession of his inheritance. “Naboth is not alive, but dead,” Jezebel announced triumphantly to her husband (v.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 1 Kings 20, 1 Thessalonians 3, Daniel 2, and Psalm 106

By Samira Gast Daniel 2
Today’s art is a response to Daniel 2:

Then Daniel went to his house and made the matter known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, and told them to seek mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his companions might not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel answered and said:

 

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might.

He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings;

he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding;

he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness,

and the light dwells with him.

To you, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise,

for you have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of you,

for you have made known to us the king’s matter.”

 

Therefore Daniel went in to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon.

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Today’s Bible passages are: 1 Kings 18, 1 Thessalonians 1, Ezekiel 48, and Psalm 104

By Kelli Campbell

Today’s art is a response to Psalm 104:

Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, you are very great!

You are clothed with splendor and majesty, covering yourself with light as with a garment,

psalm 104 - with light as a garment

stretching out the heavens like a tent.

He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; he makes the clouds his chariot;

he rides on the wings of the wind; he makes his messengers winds, his ministers a flaming fire.

He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved.

You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains.

At your rebuke they fled; at the sound of your thunder they took to flight.

The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place that you appointed for them.

You set a boundary that they may not pass,

a boundary line

so that they might not again cover the earth.

You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they flow between the hills;

they give drink to every beast of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Samuel 15, 2 Corinthians 8, Ezekiel 22, and Psalm 69

09192013By Lisa Velthouse

My friend Karen* has just had surgery, and her husband is away. (This is not uncommon for military folk like us.) We have spent three days holed up at my place—she as the patient, me the attempted nurse—so she can begin to heal. Now she’s ready to be back on her feet and at home, but her cupboards are bare. So we go grocery shopping on the way over to her place. She chooses the food, I push the cart and lift the heavy things.

We arrive at a seasonal display in the produce department. Bags of cherries are stacked up in piles: a couple rows of deep red, a couple rows of red-yellow, then a couple more of red. It is at this point when Karen reaches out nonchalantly and grabs a single Ranier.

“I always taste-test these to make sure they’re good first,” she explains, popping it into her mouth. Her official assessment is a slight pucker.

My internal response to this cherry-pick is instantly surprising to me, for two reasons. First, it seems entirely self-contradictory. Second, it seems completely overblown.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 1 Samuel 28-29, 1 Corinthians 10, Ezekiel 8, and Psalm 46-47

By Sarah Carter

09052013-1

Psalm 47 (ESV)

Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!

For the Lord, the Most High, is to be feared, a great king over all the earth.

He subdued peoples under us, and nations under our feet.

He chose our heritage for us, the pride of Jacob whom he loves.

God has gone up with a shout, the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.

Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises!

For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm!

God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne.

The princes of the peoples gather as the people of the God of Abraham.

For the shields of the earth belong to God; he is highly exalted!

From Sarah: “The concept of shouts of joy and praise rising up from the earth at God’s faithfulness and power were the catalyst for the image of the leaf and colorful stones.”

Closer looks:

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