Today’s Bible passages are: Leviticus 18, Psalm 22, Ecclesiastes 1, and 1 Timothy 3
By Brenda Chance
In my calmest yet most serious mommy voice I’d sufficiently warned them that if they asked me for one more thing I was going to lose my mind. It would unravel like a slinky on a step, twisting and tangling in on itself so as to never slinky straight again.
“Now take the string cheese you badgered out of me and for the love of unicorns and rainbows, sit down quietly and eat it…” A twenty-minute cheese standoff will have you talking like this. Without a single consideration of my mental state or the courtesy to wait for the end of my sentence, he made his vitriolic demand, “I don’t want string cheese; I want square orange cheese.” From the chessboard of my sanity this little three-year-old snatched up the queen.
I’m not exactly sure how I made it down the hall. Spinning and dizziness bumped me side to side down the walls, like a pinball launched into flight yet still trapped in its maze. Sinking into a puddle on the floor, with numb fingers I simultaneously locked the door and unhinged my anguished lament.… Continue Reading
Today’s Bible passages are: Leviticus 14, Psalm 17, Proverbs 28, and 2 Thessalonians 2
By Emily Cummins, guest contributor
Three months ago I made one of the biggest decisions of my life. I packed up my little 2003 Toyota Solara with everything I owned, and drove 2,220 miles away from my family and support system to land in perhaps what’s known as the sin capitol of the world … and to call it home.
Now many at first called me crazy. Some perhaps still assume I am. However, something much deeper drew me to Las Vegas than flashy lights, urban culture and an epic career opportunity. And my first three months in the desert have taught me something so much more valuable than anything I could have initially hoped this time could have. It’s taught me that I’m a warrior.
Moving across the country into a new environment forced me to evaluate my belief system. For the past 22 years, it’s been left somewhat unchallenged by my own mind, simply because I never had to face the tough questions that have met me out here on my own, in the valley. From where I sit today, I’m asking questions for myself.… Continue Reading
Today’s Bible passages are: Leviticus 13, Psalm 15-16, Proverbs 27, and 2 Thessalonians 1
By 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 4, Psalm 1-2, Proverbs 19, and Colossians 2
By 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 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 25, John 4, Proverbs 1, and 2 Corinthians 13
By 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 14, Luke 17, Job 32, and 2 Corinthians 2
By Lisa Velthouse
One of the more illuminating moments in our marriage happened on the night when Nathan and I came to terms about The Leak. I don’t recall the particulars of our conversation anymore, but knowing me, I had likely cried and talked in circles for some time, trying to simultaneously figure out a point and make it. Knowing him, he had likely listened patiently and with a furrowed brow, putting forth a valiant mental effort to sift through what I was saying in order to hear what I actually meant.
We were talking about being busy and about the toll it was taking on things. That detail I do remember. Nathan had been working especially long hours: weekdays and -nights away from home on training exercises, weekends spent at his desk trying to keep up with everything that had piled on while he was away. Times like these are par for the course every so often with military life, but accepting that fact doesn’t necessarily make them easier. As is typical in our relationship, the feverish pace was leaving both of us beyond tired—but where his exhaustion was physical, mine was emotional.… Continue Reading
Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 11, Luke 14, Job 29, and 1 Corinthians 15
By Hannah Anderson
“Why do bad things happen to good people?” If you’ve ever asked yourself this question, let me assure you that you are not the first. Human beings have been wrestling with the question of suffering and personal choice since the Fall, and most of the time, coming up miserably short.
For example, in the face of Job’s suffering, his three friends assumed, like many today, that it was the result of personal sin. When Job tries to assure them that he has no known sin in his life, Bildad responds in typical fashion, “Yes, but who can really be righteous?” (chapter 25) In today’s language, “Okay, but we’re all sinners and so anything bad that happens to us is deserved anyway.” The bottom line? Your suffering is always your fault. And by extension, when other people suffer, in some way, it is their own fault too.
I think a lot of us see the weakness in this answer. We’re experienced enough to know that life is complicated, that some of us are born with certain privileges, that not all suffering is the result of bad choices.… Continue Reading
Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 10, Luke 13, Job 28, and 1 Corinthians 14
By Stacy Sharpe
The 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 8, Luke 11, Job 25-26, and 1 Corinthians 12
By Kendra Roberts
Today’s art is a response to 1 Corinthians 12:
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be?
… Continue Reading