Today’s Bible passages are: Numbers 21, Psalm 60-61, Isaiah 10, and James 4

James 4 imageBy Laurie Short

You’ve probably heard the quote, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” It’s not a Bible verse, but I think I’ll vote for it when the next translation comes out. However it could be a contender for a loose paraphrase of James 4:13–15:

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. [Don’t hold back, James. Tell us how you really feel.] Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but James isn’t exactly a beat around the bush guy. In other places in this chapter, he calls his readers adulterous, double minded, greedy, slanderous, judgmental and hypocritical. So what if he happens to be right? He could at least try to say it nicely.

But there is something about v.13-15 that grips me.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Numbers 16, Psalm 52-54, Isaiah 6, and Hebrews 13

Isaiah 6 art

By Danielle Ayers Jones

Today’s art is a response to Isaiah 6:

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;

the whole earth is full of his glory!”

And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am!

Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Numbers 12-13, Psalm 49, Isaiah 2, and Hebrews 10

Jeremiah 10 imageBy Amanda Jenkins

Reading through Jeremiah 10, I’m once again in awe of the Israelites stupidity and sin in idol worship. Why would anyone craft an image out of gold or silver, and then worship it? Hard to imagine.

Then again, there’s me and my favorite movie, Bridget Jones’s Diary. The plotline centers on the drama in Bridget’s life that becomes the content of her diary. She begins each day’s entry by listing her stats—pounds gained or lost, cigarettes smoked, men interested, books read, party invites received. She is, to put it mildly, a work in progress—someone who can’t get life quite right, no matter how hard she tries. And every success and failure is documented in her diary.

Aside from her British accent and chain smoking, I’m a lot like Bridget Jones. I begin each day with a list—keep the house picked up, limit myself to one Diet Coke, spend special time with each of my kids, work out, pray, avoid sugar, read a chapter in a book about something important, and so on and so forth. And then I determine each day’s worth by how many of those things I actually did.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Numbers 9, Psalm 45, Song of Songs 7, and Hebrews 7

Numbers 9 ImageBy Stephanie Rische

Have you ever felt like God was leading you so directly . . . but then the path took you on chaotic twists and turns, detours, and maybe even what seemed like a dead end? You were doing your best to listen to your spiritual GPS, but somehow you just weren’t getting straight from point A to point B.

Not long ago I felt God prompting to buy a Bible, and not just any Bible—one of those big, classic, leather-bound numbers. I didn’t know who I was supposed to give it to or why, but the nudge was undeniable: Buy this Bible. And so, despite feeling rather foolish, I made the purchase, wondering when I’d get my next set of instructions.

Shortly after, my husband and I were packing for a nine-hour train ride to visit his family. We were carrying everything on with us, and our bags were stuffed. Just as I was wrestling the zipper on my bloated carry-on, another prompting came out of nowhere: Take the Bible with you.

I was pretty sure I’d misunderstood, and I haggled with God over it.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Numbers 5, Psalm 39, Song of Songs 3, and Hebrews 3

Hebrews 3 image

By Christie Purifoy

For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses – as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope (Hebrews 3:3-6).

My toddler daughter is learning to speak. As yet, she has no word for house, but she is coming closer. She is building a shelter with each new word. Her words are bricks. Daddy. Mama. Sissie. Baby. Kitty.

One day soon she will run her tongue over her growing vocabulary, and she will understand the one word that strains to embrace all of these.

Then she will say house.

***

My preschool-aged son draws a crayon picture of our home. This is an act of creation and translation.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Leviticus 36, Psalm 33, Ecclesiastes 9, and Titus 1

Psalm 33 artBy Julie Chen

Today’s art is a response to Psalm 33:

The eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,
to deliver them from death
and keep them alive in famine.

We wait in hope for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
May your unfailing love be with us, Lord,
even as we put our hope in you. (verses 18-22, NIV)

Bonus! Julie is making today’s art available as a FREE DOWNLOAD on her site, where she also shares what this image and this passage have meant to her over the years. Read Julie’s thoughts and get your copy of her art here!

Today’s Question: Where is your hope and your trust 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.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Leviticus 20, Psalm 25, Ecclesiastes 3, and 1 Timothy 5

Psalm 25 imageBy Kelli Gotthardt

Show me the right path, O Lord;
point out the road for me to follow. Psalm 25:4 (NLT)

How often I’ve asked God to show me the path I should go. Particularly when making a big decision like a job change, a move or other life transition.

If I’m honest, when I’m asking for this kind of clarity there’s an underlying expectation that if I walk in it, I will find it fairly smooth. Yes, there will be the necessary character building struggles, but overall, I’m hoping for a relatively comfortable path.

Then I meet people like Rose Mapendo. Rose is a Congolese refugee who has survived the execution of her husband and sixteen months in a death camp with her ten children. This was not a path she would have chosen and she admits that for a time she refused to speak with God. She was angry with him for the path that had been marked out for her. But to talk with her today she freely acknowledges that God’s path had a purpose. She now speaks for those who have lost their voice and travels all over the world inspiring others with her message of hope and forgiveness.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Leviticus 19, Psalm 23-24, Ecclesiastes 2, and 1 Timothy 4

psalm 23 artBy Erin Leigh

Today’s art is a response to Psalm 23:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
forever. (ESV)


Erin’s thoughts on her art follow:

I love Psalm 23.
All of it.
The Lord is my Shepherd
(The lover of my soul.)
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
(I go kicking and screaming.)
He leads me beside quiet waters.
(After I throw a little tantrum.)
He restores my soul.
(When I take the time to sit and listen and submit and let go.)
He provides for our every need,
thankfully not for our every want.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Leviticus 13, Psalm 15-16, Proverbs 27, and 2 Thessalonians 1

Leviticus 13 imageBy Patty Kirk

Chapter 13 of Leviticus is hard to read, not only for its unsavory subject matter (skin disease) and entirely too repellent graphic details (e.g., close up examination of hairs growing in open sores) but for the end verdict it offers, pronounced by the Lord himself, upon the poor person unfortunate enough to suffer a skin disease that the priest deems “unclean”:

“Anyone with such a defiling disease must wear torn clothes, let their hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of their face and cry out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ As long as they have the disease they remain unclean. They must live alone; they must live outside the camp.” (Leviticus 13.45-46 NIV).

Pondering this chapter, I must first say I’m thankful that, of all the passages of Scripture I’ve been asked about by nonbelieving or struggling acquaintances, this has never been one of them.

What’s to be done, though, when Scripture offends—in this case, with a picture of our loving Creator so seemingly loveless as to punish a person for suffering an illness over which the person has no control?

What people typically do with me—yes, I’m the sort of struggling Bible reader who’d confront a more confident believer about this passage—is remind me of God’s sovereignty.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Leviticus 7, Psalm 7-8, Proverbs 22, and 1 Thessalonians 1

Leviticus 7 imageBy Laurie Short

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but not many people write devotionals on Leviticus.

You want to fail in a Bible reading plan? Leviticus is your book. You want to dissuade people from reading the Old Testament? I recommend Leviticus. But you want to inspire people? Leviticus is generally not the first place you turn.

Imagine my surprise when I was perusing today’s readings and Leviticus 7 nearly jumped out and bit me.

Positioned at the top of the chapter (in large topical font) are the words “Guilt Offering.” I don’t know about you, but the word “guilt” draws me in every time.

I am a guilt person. Let me be clear to say that I do not mean “guilty person.” Like many of you reading this, I know I am not guilty because of what I believe about Christ. But guilt has a tendency to draw me in and wreak havoc on my peaceful heart.

I feel guilt about a lot of things. Some of them are legitimate. Some are halfway legitimate. But some I have no real reason to feel guilt about.… Continue Reading