Today’s Bible passages are: 1 Chronicles 26-27, 2 Peter 1, Micah 4, and Luke 13

1 Chronicles 26 & 27By Hannah Anderson

The day after Thanksgiving.  For many of us, this means the pots and pans are once again clean, the fine china has been returned to the cupboard, and if we’re lucky, there are enough leftovers to save us from meal prep for the next couple of days. Some may have gotten up early in search of a deal; or others, like me, were content to do their shopping online sitting next to the warmth of a crackling fireplace. After the bustling activity of yesterday, it’s time to rest and recover.

Except no.

It. Is. Just. Getting. Started.

Over the course of the next several weeks, we will be caught in a whirlwind of decorating, baking, and gift wrapping as we prepare for Christmas. We will stay up late and get up early. We will forget the sugar cookies for the 2nd Grade Christmas party. So we’ll rush to the store, pay three times what it would have cost to make them ourselves and show up just in time to hand them over. And if we’re not careful, we’ll find ourselves in the exact same position Martha did in Luke 10: “distracted with much serving.”

As I read through today’s portion in 1 Chronicles 26 and 27, I couldn’t help but think about this danger.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 1 Chronicles 24-25, 1 Peter 5, Micah 3, and Luke 12

By Kendra Roberts

Luke 12Today’s art is a response to Luke 12:

“Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants! But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Luke 12:35-40, ESV)

Kendra’s thoughts on the inspiration of the piece follow here:

I thought the image of the Master serving his “good servants” at a table as they reclined seemed appropriate for Thanksgiving.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 1 Chronicles 16, James 3, Obadiah, and Luke 5

By Amylee Weeks

1 Chronicles 16

Today’s art is a response to 1 Chronicles 16, specifically verse 32:

Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him!

Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth;

yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.

Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice, and let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!”

Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it!

Then shall the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth.

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! (1 Chronicles 16:28-34, ESV, emphasis added)

Today’s Question: What goodness are you thanking God for today? Where do you see creation giving God praise? (Respond in the comments.)

AmyleeW_200Amylee’s life verse is, “by the grace of God, I am what I am.”  She believes whole-heartedly in God’s leading and his words speaking directly to her as she walks this life. … Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Kings 21, Hebrews 3, Hosea 14, Psalm 139

Psalm 139By Kelli Gotthardt

I led a retreat last week and, as is customary, the ministry that brought me in asked the participants to share about their experiences. Here’s what one woman wrote:

“I don’t really have time for this kind of seminar these days. I am comfortable in my relationship with God, my husband and myself.”

As you can imagine, I won’t be posting that comment on my website under “What People Are Saying About Kelli”.

For one thing, because it says more about the participant than it does about me or the material. But, she’s not alone. According to a recent Barna study, the vast majority of churchgoing women are “comfortable with their relationship with God.” Three quarters of Christian women say they are mature in their faith (73%) and more than one third (36%) of churchgoing women say they are “completely” satisfied with their personal spiritual development. An additional 42% say they are “mostly” satisfied.

I gotta be honest–I find that shocking. Especially in light of today’s reading and my own experience.

As a young college student I attended Urbana, the college missions conference directed by Intervarsity Christian Fellowship.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Kings 20, Hebrews 2, Hosea 13, and Psalm 137-138

By Julie Chen

With My Whole Heart
Today’s art is a response to Psalm 138:

 I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise;

I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness,

for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.

On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased.

All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O Lord, for they have heard the words of your mouth,

and they shall sing of the ways of the Lord, for great is the glory of the Lord.

For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly, but the haughty he knows from afar.

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life;

you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me.

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.

Do not forsake the work of your hands. (Psalm 138, ESV)

Julie Chen is offering a FREE 4×6 download of this Scripture art over at her site today.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Kings 19, Hebrews 1, Hosea 12, and Psalm 135-136

Psalm 136By Christina Vinson

Too often, my prayers feel like some type of massive to-do list, with items that I need the Almighty God to check off before I present Him with more grandiose requests. Some of the most common verbs used in my prayers/to do-lists are please, help, do, heal, work, speak, give…and the list goes on.

I’m sure a lot of women pray this way. I’m sure a lot of men pray this way too. But, the thing is, I didn’t grow up praying this way. Every time we sat down to pray (which was every single time we ate, no matter how hungry we were), my dad thanked the Lord for our health, for our strength, for safe travels, for food, and the list goes on. It was only after giving thanks for our blessings that my dad would bring our requests before God; after, not before; after, not in place of.

As I read Psalm 136, we are commanded to give thanks to God. I find it rather humbling that the Psalmist felt the need to remind us that God’s love endures forever in every single verse of the psalm.… 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 Kings 2, 2 Thessalonians 2, Daniel 6, and Psalm 112-113

fuelpumpBy Tricia Lott Williford

He walked into the convenience store at the gas station, wanting to pay for the tank of gas and buy a gallon of milk to take home to his family. He saw a woman, old and bent with age, working to open the door. She stood with crutches, the kind that clamp around her forearm and offer handles for her to steady herself. He felt in his spirit what he has come to recognize as nudgings of the Holy Spirit: Help her.

“Ma’am, may I get the door for you?”

“Oh, yes. Please.” As she passed by him, she thanked him with far greater intensity than the gesture deserved. He had only held the door for her, such an easy thing to do.

He paid for the milk and walked out to the gas pump, and before he got into his car, he saw the woman once again. This time, she was awkwardly trying to balance herself and her crutches while she pumped gasoline into her car. Again, he felt the nudge of the Holy Spirit: Help her.

“Ma’am, may I pump your gas for you?”

“Oh, my.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 1 Kings 13, Philippians 4, Ezekiel 43, and Psalm 95-96

By Julie Chen

Psalm 95
Today’s post is an artful response to Psalm 95:

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;

let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!

Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;

let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!

For the Lord is a great God,

and a great King above all gods.

In his hand are the depths of the earth;

the heights of the mountains are his also.

The sea is his, for he made it,

and his hands formed the dry land.

Oh come, let us worship and bow down;

let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!

For he is our God,

and we are the people of his pasture,

and the sheep of his hand.

Today, if you hear his voice,

do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,

as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,

when your fathers put me to the test

and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.

For forty years I loathed that generation

and said, “They are a people who go astray in their heart,

and they have not known my ways.”

Therefore I swore in my wrath,

“They shall not enter my rest.” (Psalm 95, ESV)

Today’s Question: The Lord is a great King, above all gods.Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 1 Kings 10, Philippians 1, Ezekiel 40, and Psalm 91

LOVEBy Jane Graham

Richard Dawkins, I knew, would mince no words when it came to his views of “religious” individuals in America. In this recent CNN article, Dawkins asserts that churches in America thrive merely for the tax benefits, and that because they are “too young to know,” it is “child abuse” to call your child a Christian when she’s under 18.

That’s right: child abuse.

I contemplated shutting my computer, but instead, scrolling to the bottom of the article, I continued in some sort of self-assigned penance, reading words that made my heart sink.

Because what struck me more than the venom from Mr. Dawkins was the mountain of comments that should utterly shame the Christian community. We have, it seems, made quite a name for ourselves—and not because of our die-to-self, give-to-our-neighbors, love-our-enemies, living-out-the-gospel tendencies. Instead, Christians are regarded as hypocrites in the marketplace. And even worse, we are doing little to change the minds of those watching.

“There are plenty of Christians who live for themselves and don’t feel bad about it. They pick and choose which bible [sic.] passages they want to believe and shake off the ones that impose burdens on them.… Continue Reading