Today’s Bible passages are: Leviticus 4, Psalm 1-2, Proverbs 19, and Colossians 2
By Cindi Koceich
Today’s art is a response to Psalm 1:
Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
or sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish. (Psalm 1 ESV)
Cindi’s thoughts on her art follow:
I believe this Scripture holds the answer to living a life that is truly free in Christ – a life that is deeply nourished, bears much fruit, and is filled with light in a very dark world.
“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, or stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of mockers…”
The word blessed in this passage literally translates, “Oh the happiness.” This world offers so many counterfeits to true happiness, selling us lies that power, wealth, comfort or status will fulfill us.… Continue Reading
Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 32, John 11, Proverbs 8, and Ephesians 1
By Tricia Lott Williford
When my children were small, I began a list of sentences I never imagined I would hear myself say.
“Please don’t put cheese in your eyes.”
“Don’t lick trees or people. Hey! I said don’t lick people!”
“Honey, please get the banana out of the toilet.”
“Great job peeing on the Cheerios!”
Even just last week, I said to my first grader, “Buddy, this is the third time in a row that you’ve sniffed pepper and you can’t stop sneezing. Do I really need to tell you to stop this?”
Especially when they were smaller, I heard myself saying the same phrases, requests, and warnings over and over again, many times in one hour. To make sure I held their wandering attention, I held a hand on his shoulder or held his face in my palm, and I peppered our conversation with reminders.
“Look at Mommy.”
“Eyes on me, please.”
“Mommy is talking.”
“Do you hear me?”
“Are you listening to me?”
“Look at Mommy.”
“Look at Mommy.”
“Look at Mommy.”
Even still, I wondered if they heard me at all.
This morning I read Proverbs 8 in Eugene Peterson’s version, The Message
.… Continue Reading
Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 30, John 9, Proverbs 6, and Galatians 5
By Amy Kannel
For my birthday last year, my husband surprised me with ballroom dancing lessons. We knew from our time as show choir partners way back in high school that dancing together could be a lot of fun, and we had a blast reconnecting on the dance floor as an “old married couple.” Though lessons cost more than we wanted to continue paying, we found instructional DVDs and kept learning on our own.
So when his company Christmas party rolled around, and I began my annual search for something to wear, I was also thinking about the chance we’d have to put our dance lessons to use. I needed new shoes to match my dress, and I thought, “Why not kill two birds with one stone and just invest in some ballroom dance shoes?”
Upon visiting the local studio to ask for advice, I found out how much I didn’t know about dance shoes. The strappy heels I’d seen on display during our lessons weren’t merely “shoes that are good to dance in”—they were “shoes that are ONLY for dancing in.” Our instructor informed me that you never, ever wear your dance shoes outside.… Continue Reading
Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 28, John 7, Proverbs 4, and Galatians 3
By Megan Oldfield
I’m squirming on the velvet-padded kneeler, sweating from the wool stockings my private school makes us wear. I make the sign of the cross, whisper, “Bless me Father, for I have sinned,” and venture a guess on how long it’s been since my last confession. Then slowly I start naming my offenses.
“I lied to my mom twice. I stole a piece of candy from my brother. I-I-I…”
I’m stammering, searching my conscience for anything else I need to confess. And I’m tempted to make something up, but I’d just have to confess that, too, so I stop. But I know there’s more I’d like to say.
The priest has his back to me. And it adds to my discomfort. I’m accustomed to the confessional where he is in one compartment, and I’m in the other, and there’s a nice solid barrier between us. But today our fourth-grade class lined up on this side of the sanctuary, the side where a small room serves as the place to do penance, and I can’t escape.
“Is that all?” the priest asks me quietly.
“I think so,” I reply.… Continue Reading
Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 15, Luke 18, Job 33, and 2 Corinthians 3
By Patty Kirk
Every year, at the end of a course called Advanced Grammar, I give my students an assignment I call a “grammar devotional”: analyze the grammar of a short Biblical passage to tap its spiritual teaching.
At first they’re leery, but it invariably ends up being their favorite assignment—mine too—because it legitimizes a rather arcane and pointless-seeming topic of study, one that’s hardly necessary to effective communication, by putting it to use in service of unarguably valuable tasks like reading the Bible and learning more about God. They’re proud of what they come up with, and, of all the essay piles on my desk, I read theirs with the greatest enthusiasm.
Another reason I like this assignment is that it addresses an important requirement I’m evaluated over at my Christian university: the integration of faith and learning. Students—and believers—being as diverse as they are, I’ve found it hard to get good ratings in this area because people are rarely in agreement about what such integration entails. I may have written numerous books on faith and bring up Biblical examples all the time and even pray in class on occasion, but all some students will remember at the end of the course is when I said something they thought inappropriate or required them to read a book that was, in their view, unChristian.… Continue Reading
Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 1, Luke 4, Job 18, and 1 Corinthians 5
By 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
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
Today’s Bible passages are: Genesis 45, Mark 15, Job 11, and Romans 15
By Jane Graham
Plastic beads at Mardi Gras.
With Lent less than a month away, the marketplace has started its engines and the slow rev toward this ancient tradition has officially begun. Grocery stores are stocking their shelves with Polish treats and throngs will begin their descent upon New Orleans in mere days for a weeks-long celebration.
At times, it seems the modern day observance of Lent is more anticipated for the sanctioned overindulgence beforehand than for the season itself.
But today I am reminded that Lent, among other things, is a season of hardship resulting in forgiveness. Luckily, the Bible has much to say about both of these things.
The story of Joseph emerges as one of the most powerful stories of forgiveness in all of Scripture. Having been left for dead in a pit, sold into slavery by his own brothers and then wrongly accused and imprisoned—if anyone had reason to hold a grudge, become embittered or seek revenge, Joseph had plenty to go on.
But when his brothers traveled to Egypt seeking help during a time of famine, the love he exhibited stood in stark contrast to the hatred spewed his way thirteen years earlier.… Continue Reading
Today’s Bible passages are: Genesis 43, Mark 13, Job 9, and Romans 13
By Lisa Velthouse
Look at today, and you will see a woman getting ready. Clothes, hair, makeup, these shoes not those, snacks tossed into a purse for the kids, pile into the minivan, drive.
Look at today, and you will see that she and they are going to visit her husband, their daddy, at work.
Now, take a step outward and look again. Her dress is new and maybe a smidge more expensive than normal. She got up an hour early to ensure there’d be enough time for everyday mothering fiascoes and hair and makeup. The shoes are perfect. The snacks are favorites. The minivan has even been cleared out and vacuumed.
They are going to visit her husband, their daddy, at work. They drive through the security gate and make their way toward the parking lot.
One more step outward.
The dress is his favorite color. Her hair and makeup are styled just the way he likes it best. The shoes are a great match, sure, but (equally importantly) they’re great for running and for seeing above a crowd. Snacks will be essential—they’ll help burn time while fueling these unending excited jitters.… Continue Reading
Today’s Bible passages are: Genesis 23, Matthew 22, Nehemiah 12, and Acts 22
By Christie Purifoy
Here is the painful truth about following a Bible-reading schedule: you cannot hide from the verses you do not like. Follow the schedule faithfully enough, and you will confront something that confuses you, or makes you uncomfortable. You will, immediately or eventually, read something that triggers doubt.
I do not mean doubts about God, necessarily. His existence, let’s say. Or his character. I have been blessed to walk through that kind of doubt. God proved himself True, God proved himself Love, and I am forever grateful.
But there is also self-doubt. This is the doubt I now face with more regularity.
I wonder, Am I doing this following-Jesus thing right? Was that really God’s voice? Did I actually see God in that place?
Or was it all a trick of the light?
The twenty-second chapter of the book of Matthew is like a briar patch. Here I am and here is Jesus, and between us? A tangle of thorny questions.
Questions about heaven and hell, marriage and the resurrection. Questions about money and political allegiance, and questions about the interpretation of old Scriptures.… Continue Reading