Today’s Bible passages are: Leviticus 4, Psalm 1-2, Proverbs 19, and Colossians 2

Psalm 1 artBy Cindi Koceich

Today’s art is a response to Psalm 1:

Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
or sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish. (Psalm 1 ESV)


Cindi’s thoughts on her art follow:

I believe this  Scripture holds the answer to living a life that is truly free in Christ – a life that is deeply nourished, bears much fruit, and is filled with light in a very dark world.

“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, or stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of mockers…”

The word blessed in this passage literally translates, “Oh the happiness.” This world offers so many counterfeits to true happiness, selling us lies that power, wealth, comfort or status will fulfill us.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 38, John 17, Proverbs 14, and Philippians 1

proverbs 14By Christina Vinson

Envy. Comparison. Resentment. These words used to flash through my mind when I thought of a close friend (let’s call her Katie), and sometimes, unfortunately, they still do.

It started as an innocent friendship in fifth grade, when she and a few other girls asked me, the new kid, to play four square. But, as our lives sped toward where we are today, jealousy began creeping in, little by little.

In college, as a teenager and then young twenty-something, I had no idea what I wanted to major in. Pick a subject that I should spend my lifetime pursuing? I could barely pick out my outfit before an 8AM class. Katie, on the other hand, knew she wanted to be an elementary school teacher, and had her class schedule mapped out when we were still in high school. Settledness in her life goals was also steady, while mine varied from day to day.

She began being asked out on dates, while I was sitting by the phone, alone. In fact, a lot of guys took interest in her, and she always had a story about a new guy, new date, new breakup.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 25, John 4, Proverbs 1, and 2 Corinthians 13

2 corinthians 13By Jane Graham

Darkness pressed in and the weight of tortured prayers hung low above my body, prone and still. I rolled over, burying my face in the pillow so salty tears would dissolve into cotton instead of streaking my skin.

The clock in our bathroom ticked like an ice pick on frozen water, sending echoes into the inky night. My eyes peeled open in vain, wishing for handwriting on the wall and solutions to the heartbreak of this world.

  • I resolved to fast.
  • To limit food choices on non-fasting days.
  • To read Scripture with fervor.
  • To wake up early for prayer.
  • To give up sleep in the morning, bartering comfort for answers.

 

Instead, I am left with quiet. I am left making promises. I am left testing myself.

Today’s Scripture selections included 2 Corinthians 13, the final chapter in Paul’s impassioned plea to the Christians in Corinth. He tells them, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless you fail to meet the test!”

Each Lent I purpose to test myself by saturating the weeks leading to Calvary in the Biblical text.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 23, John 2, Job 41, and 2 Corinthians 11

John 2By 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 10, Luke 13, Job 28, and 1 Corinthians 14

By Stacy Sharpe

Job 28The morning of January 24, 1848 would forever change the landscape of California.

As carpenter, James Marshall, inspected the water-powered sawmill he was building for a guy named John Sutter, he happened to spot some shiny flecks of metal in the river below that “made my heart thump, for I was certain it was gold.”

Confirmation that there really was gold in them thar hills soon ushered a stampede of epic proportion to the Golden State.  The only prescription for the ensuing gold fever proved getting a piece of the action.  Throughout 1849, thousands of would-be miners across the nation borrowed money, mortgaged their property or spent their life savings to make the arduous journey to California and stake a claim.

In my home state, this lure of quick money which created an historical scramble for mineral wealth, is commonly referred to as The Gold Rush.

Momentarily forgetting his sorrows in chapter 28 (and sounding a lot like King Solomon), Job vividly recounts such earnest efforts to tap Creation for its priceless God-given resources:

“He (man) tunnels through the rock;
his eyes see all its treasures.

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 7, Luke 10, Job 24, and 1 Corinthians 11

luke 10By 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 47, Luke 1:1-38, Job 13, and 1 Corinthians 1

By Megan Oldfield

luke 1 - 1I’ve got nothing insightful to say about today’s passages.

That’s what I think as the hours dwindle before my deadline.

It’s Thursday, the day before this piece is due, and I’m under my blankets watching Downton Abbey with a box of Good & Plenty in one hand and Swedish Fish in the other wondering WWAVW? (What would Ann Voskamp write?)

It’s a picture of grace under pressure, really.

When I sat down to work on my post last weekend, I thought I had it under control. I intended to write my little heart out. But a massage scheduled for nine o’clock Saturday morning only afforded me enough time to read the four daily chapters.

That’s okay, I figured, I’ll meditate on some verses while my therapist’s working out the knots, and boy do I have me some knots.  But then I fell asleep between the sheets of the warmed massage table and snored myself awake an hour and a half later. I blame Deuter and his dreamy new age music.

That afternoon, distracted by all the electronic devices dangling off my desk, I decided a quick trip to Lowe’s was in order.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Genesis 45, Mark 15, Job 11, and Romans 15

genesis 45By Jane Graham

Paczkis.

Fat Tuesday.

Plastic beads at Mardi Gras.

With Lent less than a month away, the marketplace has started its engines and the slow rev toward this ancient tradition has officially begun. Grocery stores are stocking their shelves with Polish treats and throngs will begin their descent upon New Orleans in mere days for a weeks-long celebration.

At times, it seems the modern day observance of Lent is more anticipated for the sanctioned overindulgence beforehand than for the season itself.

But today I am reminded that Lent, among other things, is a season of hardship resulting in forgiveness. Luckily, the Bible has much to say about both of these things.

Genesis 45

The story of Joseph emerges as one of the most powerful stories of forgiveness in all of Scripture. Having been left for dead in a pit, sold into slavery by his own brothers and   then wrongly accused and imprisoned—if anyone had reason to hold a grudge, become embittered or seek revenge, Joseph had plenty to go on.

But when his brothers traveled to Egypt seeking help during a time of famine, the love he exhibited stood in stark contrast to the hatred spewed his way thirteen years earlier.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Genesis 40, Mark 10, Job 6, and Romans 10

mark 10By 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