Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 18, Luke 21, Job 36, and 2 Corinthians 6

Luke 21By Julie Chen

Today’s art is a response to Luke 21.

Artist’s note: Some of Jesus’ instructions to His disciples as they face difficult times, which we all will.

“…There will be a time of great persecution. You will be dragged into synagogues and prisons, and you will stand trial before kings and governors because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me.  So don’t worry in advance about how to answer the charges against you, for I will give you the right words and such wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to reply or refute you! …By standing firm, you will win your souls.” (Luke 21:12-14, 19 NLT)

 

“Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.” (verses 34-36)


Julie is offering today’s art as a FREE PRINTABLE on her site.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 9, Luke 12, Job 27, and 1 Corinthians 13

By Amanda Jenkins

1 corinthians 13We have dear missionary friends who would visit our adopted son, Max, when he was still in the orphanage in Thailand. They brought him books, candy, and pictures of our family, told him about Jesus, and assured him that his new mommy and daddy would come to get him soon. Dallas and I were grateful that Max was being loved on — we saw it as God’s provision and protection for our son while we couldn’t be with him. I’m forever indebted, not only because they cared for Max, but also for their help while we were in Bangkok. They showed us around, armed us with maps and sky-train passes when they couldn’t be our personal tour guides, translated for us, and were a source of support during a difficult, emotional time.

But by day five, four-and-a-half-year-old Max still preferred them and Dallas over me, and I was sad. From moment one, the entire experience was nothing I expected. Nothing felt natural or instinctive. Max wasn’t connecting to me — the woman he’d seen in pictures for the past year. And what was worse, I didn’t feel a connection to him.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 2, Luke 5, Job 19, and 1 Corinthians 6

By Tricia Lott Williford

Job 19Sometimes I want to be rescued. And by ‘sometimes’ I mean pretty much at some point every day.

Rescued from the alarm clock. The carpool lane. The grocery list. The bills to pay. The children needing, needing, needing me. The dinner hour. A lousy blind date.

Rescued from loneliness. Fear. Worry. The everyday mess of all this. The questions I don’t know how to answer.

Oh, how I love Job. I mean, of all the heroes in the Bible, Job ranks in my top five favorites. I can’t wait to have coffee with him someday.

The way it plays out in my mind, the whole story starts with a meeting of attendance of the angels before God. Everybody here? Everyone accounted for? Ah, wait. There is darkness in the room, the sneaky oppression of deceptive beauty.

“Where have you come from?” I imagine God saying, “This is a closed meeting, Satan. You’re not invited to this Exective Board Room.”

And Satan says, “Oh, I’ve just come from roaming around the earth.” That right there is the stuff horror films are made of: Satan and his minions trolling the earth, looking for trouble to cause, hearts to break, and lives to destroy.

Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Genesis 37, Mark 7, Job 3, and Romans 7

job 3By Teri Vogeli, Guest Contributor

In the movie “The Kid” Bruce Willis plays a publicist. His job is to advise professional people on how not to look or act like idiots. In one scene, he sits with a female senator who is bewailing an incident in which the press has made her out to be a fool. As she sits in front of him, dabbing her eyes and blowing her nose, Willis looks completely unmoved. With a deadpan expression he interrupts her with, “Whaaaaaaaaaaa… somebody call the Whaaambulance.”

I’m sorry, but when I read today’s Scripture from Job 3, this is the scene than came to mind! Now I’m certainly not denying Job his grief! The first two chapters tell his baffling tale and with all that catastrophe, he certainly had every human reason for the outburst in chapter 3. But an odd thing is happening in American culture. The land of the free has turned into the land of addiction to comfort, and it has affected the Christian community as well. It has made us soft. It has made us whiney. It’s made us feel entitled to some holy protection.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Genesis 28, Matthew 27, Esther 4, and Acts 27

esther 4By Amanda Jenkins

What a bizarre and horrifying problem the Jews had: by royal decree, they were going to be annihilated, by whichever of their neighbors would choose to become mercenaries. And all because Mordecai had refused to bow to Haman, the king’s right-hand-man with an unquenchable lust for power. Not unlike the King.

And there was Esther, a young queen, whose relationship with Xerxes was hardly a relationship. She hadn’t even seen him in thirty days, and only ever saw him when summoned — which was likely not for her wise counsel or witty banter.

So like I said, it was a terrifying moment in the Jews’ history when Mordecai said this:

If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this? (Esther 4:14)

In some ways, the book of Esther is more about Mordecai than Esther. For sure, her story is important — she did a brave thing from a considerably low position at a pivotal and crucial time, and her actions saved the Jewish people and removed an evil man from power.… 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 18, Matthew 17, Nehemiah 7, and Acts 17

acts 17By Amy Kannel

I love to devour a good novel, and I’m not picky—I enjoy classics and contemporary authors, historical fiction and young adult lit, fantasy and mystery. I also love to write—essays and letters, blog posts and poetry, even research papers. But I leave the writing of fiction to the experts, for good reason.

I still laugh when I think of my favorite college writing professor’s compassionate but blunt comments, scrawled at the bottom of the short story I turned in for her creative writing class (I’m that crazy pack rat who saves everything, so this is an exact quote): “Well…” she wrote. “Let me just say that I like your poetry better. But I can see that you tried.”

She called my characters “flat”; other adjectives included “tedious,” “obvious,” “corny.” (For the record, she was 100% right, and the grade can only be described as grace—when I reread the story ten years later, it was even worse than I remembered.) No matter how much I enjoy stories, I don’t seem to have quite the imagination to pull one out of my own head.

I first discovered the depths of my total inability to write fiction during my senior year of high school, in a creative writing workshop with my favorite teacher.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Genesis 15, Matthew 14, Nehemiah 4, and Acts 14

spring rain 1By Kelli Campbell

Today’s photos are a response to all four passages from today’s Scripture readings.

From Acts 14:

When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. (verses 21-22, emphasis added)

From Matthew 14:

And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” (verses 28-32, emphasis added)

spring rain 2

From Nehemiah 4:

So we built the wall.

Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Genesis 9-10, Matthew 9, Ezra 9, and Acts 9

matthew 9

By Julie Chen

Today’s art is a response to Matthew 9:

And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:35-38, ESV)

Today’s Question: What harvest in the world can you be praying for today?

JulieC_200Julie Chen dreamed of being an artist and missionary since the age of six. Though she has not been around the world as a missionary (in the physical sense), her work has shown the gospel to others across the globe. She designs books for Tyndale House Publishers (including PYP founder Lisa Velthouse’s Craving Grace) and was also the designer of The Jesus Storybook Bible for Zonderkidz. Julie is also the owner and creative director of Life Verse Design, whose mission is to get the Word of God on people’s walls in creative and beautiful ways.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Genesis 8, Matthew 8, Ezra 8, and Acts 8

matthew 8By Brenda Chance

“You can’t push a string,” a favorite expression of my husband’s late boss, found its way out of my husband’s sales office and became a well-played line and prevailing philosophy in our home. It was our parental rallying cry against the psychological torment of two very strong-willed children.

I grew up in a different era of family life. My four sisters and I had standard-issue sass and sneak but when push came to shove the convicted resolve in our father’s eyes sobered us quickly to the path of least resistance. “Because I said so” were magic-filled words children dare not challenge.

If there is such a thing, my two boys entered the world without the authority-deferent gene. From the time they could talk, ‘no’ was attached to every phrase they said. It seemed they learned to walk only to run away from us. They were put to bed only to keep us awake. Like a surprised hiker meeting up with a bear I often postured myself to appear bigger than I am in order to hold my ground against the rebellion forces. Prior to children Dennis the Menace was a favorite classic of mine.… Continue Reading