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.

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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: 2 Chronicles 35, Revelation 21, Malachi 3, and John 20

revelation 21By Hannah Anderson

In less than two days, we’ll turn the calendar on yet another year. A year that started full of promise and expectation, but slowly, as its pages turned, a year that seemed to grow tired and worn by the week-in, week-out work of moving toward its end. And suddenly, before any of us realized it, we were done. 12 months. 52 weeks. 365 days under out belt. During this last week, there is a natural packing up and putting away, a shelving of all that has happened and a desire for the freshness of the coming year.

I’ve never known anyone to resist this process. I’ve never met anyone who wants to hold onto the past year even if it was a good one. Instead, every year, we experience a bit of a thrill as December turns to January. It’s an odd sense of liberation as that final page of the calendar comes off and a new one goes up. So that even if, like me, you’re not one to make resolutions, there’s something unmistakably exhilarating about a fresh slate. We’re drawn by the sheer possibilities; we’re drawn to the fresh and new.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Chronicles 29, Revelation 15, Zechariah 11, and John 14

By Mary Freeman
12242013_MF
Today’s art connects to several verses from today’s portion.

From Zechariah 11:

So I became the shepherd of the flock doomed to be slaughtered by the sheep traders. And I took two staffs, one I named Favor, the other I named Union. And I tended the sheep. (verse 7, ESV)

From Revelation 15:

“Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty!

Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations!

Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name?

For you alone are holy.

All nations will come and worship you,

for your righteous acts have been revealed.” (verses 3-4, ESV)

From John 14:

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God…” (verse 1, ESV)


(Below is a journal entry from contributor Mary Freeman, including her thoughts related to today’s art post.)

Yes we believe, and yes we have faith. We have trusted God, and know in the deepest part of our soul that He is good, that His ways are best, right and good…always! But sometimes, sometimes right alongside of all that we know, we falter.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Chronicles 14-15, Revelation 4, Haggai 2, and John 3

matthew 1By Megan Oldfield

He came from Sweden in 1911 to homestead on the Hi-Line, that semiarid stretch of open prairie just south of the Canadian border and east of the Rockies that the U.S. government and the Great Northern Railway promised was free and plentiful.

Sailing on a ship named Victoria through Liverpool, then Halifax, then down the St. Lawrence River to the port of Chicago, he worked on an uncle’s ranch in North Dakota for two years before arriving in northern Montana to file on his own 320.

A few years later, he met and married Olefina, who came from Norway via New York, and together they proved up, farming wheat and raising cattle and three children, until a cerebral hemorrhage took his life too soon in 1944.

“Times were tough,” my husband’s uncle recalls as we sit around the table after Thanksgiving, eating pumpkin pie and listening to him retell the story.

“A person got to know what he needed and what he thought he needed, that’s for sure.”

I watch him and my mother-in-law, his sister, puzzle together the pieces of their past. There are records and letters to look through, and pictures, so many pictures, with dates and names scribbled on the back, some in English, but most in Swedish or Norwegian.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Chronicles 2, 1 John 2, Nahum 1, and Luke 17

By Rebecca Jean

Nahum 1Medium: Oil on panel

Today’s art is a response to Nahum 1:

The Lord is a jealous and avenging God; the Lord is avenging and wrathful;

the Lord takes vengeance on his adversaries and keeps wrath for his enemies.

The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and the Lord will by no means clear the guilty.

His way is in whirlwind and storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.

He rebukes the sea and makes it dry; he dries up all the rivers;

Bashan and Carmel wither; the bloom of Lebanon withers.

The mountains quake before him; the hills melt;

the earth heaves before him, the world and all who dwell in it.

Who can stand before his indignation? Who can endure the heat of his anger?

His wrath is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken into pieces by him.

The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble;

he knows those who take refuge in him.

But with an overflowing flood he will make a complete end of the adversaries,

and will pursue his enemies into darkness.

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Today’s Bible passages are: 1 Chronicles 5-6, Hebrews 10, Amos 4, and Psalm 148-150

Psalm 149By Amy Kannel

A while back, I was enthralled by a collection of wedding photographs that made the Internet rounds. Someone had compiled pictures of grooms seeing their brides for the first time, and the raw emotion captured in those photos was something to behold. In the pictures, the men clap their hands over their open mouths. They weep. They are unable to hide their awe and joy and amazement. Each man is captivated by the beauty of his bride, stunned that this incredible woman is actually his.

When a wedding processional begins, at that dramatic moment when the church doors open and all eyes turn toward the bride, I love to sneak a peek at the groom. I don’t want to miss his face when he drinks in the sight of his beloved, looking more beautiful than she ever has before.

And part of her beauty comes from being so loved, does it not? She has adorned herself with the finest dress she will ever wear; she has taken great care with her hair and makeup and accessories. But the extra beauty she possesses on her wedding day comes from the love that glows in her eyes, from her delight in her soon-to-be husband and her confidence in knowing he adores her.… 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 14, 2 Timothy 4, Hosea 7, and Psalm 120-122

11012013_LSBy Laurie Short

I love the mountains. They remind me that there is a bigger life than the one in front of my face. Looking up seems to put things into the context they belong.

This may be why Psalm 121 advises us to do that.

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?

My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.

Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand.

The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.

The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in

from this time forth and forevermore.

I hesitated writing about this psalm, because it’s such a familiar one. (Kudos to Lisa and others who have tackled much tougher texts). Ultimately I couldn’t resist, since this is one of my favorite places to park in my Bible.… 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