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 24, John 3, Job 42, and 2 Corinthians 12
By Kelli Campbell
Today’s art is a response to John 3:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” (John 3:16-21, ESV)
Today’s Question: What does it mean to you, that God is one who comes to save and not to condemn?
Since marrying her Marine thirteen years ago, Kelli Campbell has lived in eight homes.… Continue Reading
Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 23, John 2, Job 41, and 2 Corinthians 11
By Kelli Gotthardt
My wedding day was a bit disappointing. Not the getting married part. That was fantastic. But the celebration part fell short of my expectations. Nothing dramatic really. Just a series of little mishaps and miscommunications that led to a stressful day which ended too quickly and not soon enough at the same time. Most of it stemmed from the toxic combination of my poor planning skills and a frightfully low budget.
I do wish Jesus would have performed a miracle at my wedding. Wine would have been wonderful. Although, it would have gotten us kicked out of our reception facility on the church property.
And this brings us to Jesus and weddings and wine. This very first miracle of Jesus has plenty of theological significance and is pregnant with meaning. But this week I simply sat next to Jesus at the wedding and enjoyed him. In my imagination, that is.
Years ago I was leading a group of women I worked with in an exploration of Christian spirituality. We met weekly to read the Bible and talk about Jesus. Few identified themselves as Christians and those who did had limited knowledge of the Bible.… Continue Reading
Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 22, John 1, Job 40, and 2 Corinthians 10
By Erin Leigh
Today’s art is a response to John 1:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
… Continue Reading
Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 16, Luke 19, Job 34, and 2 Corinthians 4
By Cindi Koceich, guest contributor
Today’s art is a response to 2 Corinthians 4:
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18, ESV)
Cindi’s thoughts on the passage follow here:
It is hard to fix our eyes on something we can’t see. The every day incessant noise is so very distracting and our nature is to react, to solve, to quiet the noise as best we can. I’m convinced that the only way to break free from the noise, from the worry, from our instinct to control and manage is to paint a vivid picture of our Savior. We paint with the brush strokes of His Word, of prayer, of community and worship. And we see Him. Not only do we see Him, we, by the power of His Spirit, are moving in His steps.… Continue Reading
Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 9, Luke 12, Job 27, and 1 Corinthians 13
By Amanda Jenkins
We 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 7, Luke 10, Job 24, and 1 Corinthians 11
By Stephanie Rische
Take a moment to picture this scenario: you’ve had a long day, juggling work responsibilities, caring for your family, making dinner, and cleaning up the kitchen. After everyone is in bed, you finally sit down to drink a cup of tea and read a few pages of your book before going to bed so you can do it all again tomorrow.
Just as your eyes are getting heavy, you hear a knock at the door. Who could that be at this time of night? you wonder. When you open the door, you’re surprised to see a friend who’s on a road trip with twelve of his buddies. They were just passing through and figured they’d stop by.
“We haven’t had a real meal in days,” one of the friends says, eyeing your refrigerator longingly.
Your mind instantly goes into inventory mode, sizing up what’s in your pantry. Will you be able to scrounge something together for a dozen hungry men? It’s too late to order a pizza or get Chinese takeout, and you can hardly send your guests to the drive-through. And so, since you love your friend, you roll up your sleeves and get to work on dinner.… Continue Reading
Today’s Bible passages are: Genesis 46, Mark 16, Job 12, and Romans 16
By Kelli Campbell
Today’s art is a response to Job 12:
“But ask the beasts, and they will teach you;
the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you;
or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you;
and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
Who among all these does not know
that the hand of the Lord has done this?
In his hand is the life of every living thing
and the breath of all mankind. (Job 12:7-10, ESV)
Kelli’s thoughts on her art follow:
This passage speaks to me as a photographer—one more comfortable observing the natural world than struggling through a scholarly treatise on nature. Recently, I have been slowly chewing on The Gospel According to Job by Mike Mason, and in reference to these verses he states, “nature still stands as His first and sufficient revelation, His first Gospel” (p 143.) The Bible tells us in Psalm 19:1, “The heavens declare the glory of God,” and again in Romans 1:20, “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world.” Job got it.… 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 40, Mark 10, Job 6, and Romans 10
By Brenda Chance
If you met up with me in an airport, commanding your attention would be my luggage; it is large and in charge. I’m the little girl with the big bag.
Friends snicker. The family rolls their eyes. The rental car agent is indignant when I need a car with a more spacious trunk. I endure the ridicule of my bigger-than-me baggage because when others find they’ve left behind toothpaste, socks, or a matching purse, I will have them. In travel and in life, I like to be prepared for anything…and everything.
Or at least that’s my positive spin. Truthfully, I’m a control freak.
Like most control freaks, I have fancy ways of dressing up my controlling ways: I’m efficient. I’m conscientious. I’m a pursuer of excellence.
However, like the quickly fleeting green flash at sunset, I sometimes glimpse a truer picture of who I am: I am a self-proclaimed ruler doing everything I can to keep my little kingdom going. Having everything in its place, lacking nothing, and leaving no space for surprises are the intangibles of my rule. Never panic. Never beg. Keep calm and carry on.… Continue Reading