Today’s Bible passages are: Genesis 32, Mark 3, Esther 8, and Mark 3

genesis 32By Lisa Velthouse

We have settled on a name for the wildly moving mass of unborn boy that is taking over my torso. It is still a few months ahead of our son’s arrival, and we’ve known his gender for only a handful of weeks—still, it feels like this process of deciding took forever.

Any name my husband liked, I couldn’t stand, and vice versa. (We knew it would be this way. The disagreements were foreshadowed early in our marriage, when Nathan told me he loved the Puritan practice of naming children after virtues: Patience, Chastity, etc. I twisted up my whole face at him in response.) This time around was the same as with the naming of our daughter: one of us would toss out an idea, and the other would immediately make a face or say, determinedly and disgustedly, NO.

But we hashed it out, because names are important. This boy will wear his forever: infancy, childhood, awkward teenage years, early adulthood, old age—as long as he is privileged to live. The sounds made by his name will reverberate on people’s ears when he first introduces himself.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Genesis 31, Mark 2, Esther 7, and Romans 2

romans 2By Samira Gast

Today’s art is a response to Romans 2:

Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. (verses 1-5, ESV)

Today’s Question: Have you been letting yourself get away with judging someone else? How can God’s kindness change your heart today?

SamiraG_200Samira Gast is a bargain hunter, lip gloss lover and coffee enthusiast. Since she was a little girl, coloring was one of her favorite activities. Now as an adult, she still gets to play with colors as an artist.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Genesis 21, Matthew 20, Nehemiah 10, and Acts 20

matthew 20By Tricia Lott Williford

I was a waitress all throughout college, waiting tables at Friendly’s (a quick shout-out to the Fribble!), Cracker Barrel (hooray for biscuits with your meal), and TGI Fridays (back when each of us wore a ridiculous hat and 15+ pieces of flair).

We had a good camaraderie among the waitstaff, and I loved my jobs serving ice cream, sandwiches, pancakes, and the occasional Oreo Madness. But we were also keenly aware of the system of justice and fairness in the food transportation industry.

There was a rotating system, a moving ramekin on the hostess’s seating chart, to make sure each server had equal turns with new guests in the restaurant. Some of it was luck of the draw: if it was your turn when two old ladies came in for an afternoon tea, then you missed out on the next guests: a party of ten – five young couples, all probably double-incomes-no-kids, fully expecting to eat much and tip generously.

There were no promises of a good night, and I confess that there were many nights when I envied the servers who had more tables, bigger parties, or just a prettier smile than I had that night, and they were leaving with way more cash.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Genesis 7, Matthew 7, Ezra 7, and Acts 7

matthew 7By Lisa Velthouse

Writing class, senior year, undergrad. It was over ten years ago now, and still I remember Katie’s take on a particular assignment. Our professor had told us to write with honesty about ourselves. Something like that. I remember the gist of the assignment only because of how Katie fulfilled it. We went around the room, reading what we had put together, and it was all sentiment and cheap disclosure until we got to Katie, who said things like:

I’m so selfish that sometimes I wish I could take other people’s things, so I wouldn’t have to be jealous anymore.

I look in the mirror sometimes and tell myself I’m prettier than another woman is. It gives me smug satisfaction to think like that.

I often want to lie about myself to my roommates and friends, to make them think I’m better than I am.

I looked down at my own version of the honesty assignment and was suddenly ashamed to see things like I’d love to be published someday and I’m a farm girl at heart. Hardly gut-deep. Aligned next to Katie’s version of honesty, I found that my own lacked an important kind of bravery and candor.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 1 Chronicles 22, 1 Peter 3, Micah 1, and Luke 10

By Mary Freeman

1 Peter 3
Today’s art is a response to 1 Peter 3. The artist’s thoughts on the passage are below.

I am feeling a little exposed here. God’s Word does that and really it’s a good thing, a scary and painful thing sometimes, but a good thing. You see, I am beginning to finally believe that God loves me and accepts me totally in my incompleteness, in my mess, and yes even in my sin. I am learning it is okay to come out of hiding. He longs for my freedom even more than I do, and I long for it a lot.

The Scripture portion I wanted to share with you today is 1 Peter 3. When I read the part that is written to wives, my feathers get ruffled. I’m okay with the part to husbands; oh don’t we love it when the spotlight is on the other. But then I begin to dig a little deeper and I see.

At the end of Chapter 2, Peter speaks about the kind of life Jesus lived, and the kind of life we are invited into.… Continue Reading

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 13, 2 Timothy 3, Hosea 5-6, and Psalm 119:145-176

hosea 6By Hannah Anderson

“For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” Hosea 6:6

October 31, 1517.  On this day, just shy of 500 years ago, a 33-year-old monk nailed his protests against the religious establishment to the door of Wittenberg Cathedral. And so began what we now know as the Protestant Reformation. Many of us are direct descendents of that day, our faith shaped in the crucible of the five solas and the cry of  “Semper reformanda!” (always reforming). But I wonder if we’ve made a bit of a mistake; I wonder if calling this event a “Reformation” isn’t a bit of a misnomer.

Perhaps we should call it the Great Repentance.

***

In Hosea 6, speaking through His prophet, God chastises the people of Israel. Like Hosea’s faithless wife, Gomer, they have run from Him living lives of decadence and lust. But still they call themselves by His name. They carry out the forms of marriage, offering their sacrifices and words of love even while their hearts are far from Him. But God isn’t fooled. In chapter 6, verse 4, He asks,

“What shall I do with you?… Your love is like a morning cloud, like the dew that goes early away.”

If you know anything about Europe at the time of the Reformation, it was similar to Israel during the time of Hosea.… 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: 1 Kings 4-5, Ephesians 2, Ezekiel 35, and Psalm 85

By Lisa Velthouse

Early this week, I realized that I had made an error in scheduling today’s post. Actually, I had made two. I had failed to email one of our contributors her assignment for today, and I had also failed to realize that she hadn’t confirmed that assignment with me. (Difficult for her to do, seeing as to how she never received it.) And I had failed to realize it in time to fix it, and I had failed to think about what kind of fix would be necessary if something like this ever happened here. To summarize: not two but four failures.

I thought about cheating another existing commitment so I could scramble and attempt to cover up my error with a new post. But did I have enough time? (This girl needs at least some sleep.) Oh, how I wished I had enough time! Then I reminded myself that Pick Your Portion is about Jesus, Scripture, and the gospel, and that one of the central messages of the gospel is that we are flawed people who fail—this includes failing one another and failing my own expectations.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Samuel 14, 2 Corinthians 7, Ezekiel 21, and Psalm 68

confrontationBy Tricia Lott Williford

I’m not sure which one I prefer less: to confront or be confronted. To be the one holding the interrogation lamp, or to be the one in the hot seat. I’m a peacemaker by nature, and the whole thing makes me sweat a little bit, just thinking about it. I’ve been known to rationalize away my responsibility or pass the buck to someone else, so it has taken me a lot of years – and more to come, I’m sure – to lean in to conflict and find the truth in confrontation.

When I was growing up, we had a rule for note-writing in our home: “If your words are affirming, write them in a note. If your feedback is critical, don’t write it down. Either way, the person will read it over and over.”

This is an axiom I have tried to bring with me into adulthood. But what happens when you can’t weasel your way out of the conversation, and – worse yet – you have no route of communication except to write the words down, to be read over and over again?… Continue Reading