Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 4, Luke 7, Job 21, and 1 Corinthians 8

1 corinthians 8

By Christie Purifoy

“Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that ‘all of us possess knowledge.’ This ‘knowledge’ puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.”

1 Corinthians 8: 1-3

I became a mother ten years ago. Since that day, I have been humbled in approximately ten million different ways. It happened most recently when I realized that my daughter’s least attractive personality trait is an exact copy of my own. Actually, it may not even be my least attractive quality, as there are likely far worse things in me that my daughter was fortunate not to inherit. However, like the proverbial speck and log, I had to see it in someone else before I became aware of it in myself.

Sorry, dear daughter. You are blessed with your father’s long eyelashes and his extroverted ease on a stage, but from your mother you received this: an unwavering, never-faltering need to be right.

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I talk a good talk. Asking the right questions is so much more important than knowing the right answers!Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Genesis 50, Luke 3, Job 16-17, and 1 Corinthians 4

Luke 3By Amy Kannel

I don’t normally think of John the Baptist as a “good news” kind of guy. To be honest, I might use the words “abrasive weirdo.” This, after all, is the guy who wandered the desert wearing camel’s hair and eating grasshoppers. In Luke 3, he begins with the winsome, sensitive strategy of calling his audience a “brood of vipers,” then threatens them with fiery judgment. Twice. His last line in this passage is a dire threat: “the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire” (v. 17)—and then Luke sums up John’s ministry with this unexpected description: “So with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people” (v. 18). Wait a minute. Did I miss something?

If I had to distill John the Baptist’s ministry into a word or two, I’d go with “repent,” not “good news.” But Luke cuts sharply through the false dichotomy, reminding me that repentance is good news.

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My older son, a kindergartner, had a snow day last Monday, and my mothering was especially awesome that day. Instead of enjoying some extra quiet time while my boys slept in, I lay in bed repeatedly hitting snooze and then messing around on my phone.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Genesis 44, Mark 14, Job 10, and Romans 14

romans 14By Erin Leigh

Today’s art is a response to Romans 14:

So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding… Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. (Romans 14:19, 22b, ESV)

Today’s Question: Where in your life can you be pursuing peace and mutual edification today?

ErinB_200Erin Leigh is a child of God, a wife, a mommy of two small boys, a first grade teacher, and a mixed media collage artist. She pieces together paint, paper, and found objects to create inspirational and scripture art. Erin’s artistic journey didn’t begin until her early thirties, when she was pregnant with her first son. Through playing and experimenting with paint and paper, Erin is continually finding her artistic voice. She loves fresh coffee, afternoon naps, vintage tablecloths, Henri Nouwen, and chipped paint. ArtByErinLeigh.Blogspot.com.

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Today’s Bible passages are: Genesis 39, Mark 9, Job 5, Romans 9

Mark 9By Julie Chen

Today’s art is a response to Mark 9:

And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.” (Mark 9:33-37, ESV)

Today’s Question: What’s a connection you see between receiving Jesus and receiving a child? What does that suggest about what it means to receive Jesus?

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.… Continue Reading

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: Genesis 25, Matthew 24, Esther 1, and Acts 24

01242014_SRBy Stephanie Rische

Time magazine recently ran a cover story with the evocative title “Why Mom Liked You Best.” In it Jeffrey Kluger makes the claim that all parents—even those who vehemently deny it—have a favorite child. Since Kulger’s Time article came out, scientists, psychologists, and parents have engaged in heated discussion about whether this is indeed the case for all parents. It may be difficult to prove his theory scientifically, but there is no denying that parental favoritism has been around since nearly the dawn of time.

In ancient Greece and Rome, parents who knew they couldn’t care for all their children would commit infanticide, killing their newborn daughters in favor of their sons.

Princess Amelia, the youngest of George III and Queen Charlotte’s fifteen children, was widely known to be her father’s favorite, and she was treated as such from her birth.

Author Charles Dickens felt the effects of not being the favored child. His family didn’t have enough money to send both him and his older sister to school, so they sent his sister to school while he slaved away in boot-blacking factory.

But perhaps one of the most well-known cases of parental favoritism dates back to the book of Genesis.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Genesis 16, Matthew 15, Nehemiah 5, and Acts 15

genesis 16By Megan Oldfield

The voices chant early, before the fog lifts, before the grass dries, and I listen to their lies.

Nobody loves you. Nothing will ever change. None of this is worth it.

Their poison shoots straight for my spine, paralyzing me in the place where I’ve come to pray. From where I sit, spirit and body stuck, I see what I’d written on the easel out in the kitchen just yesterday morning, like a banner snapping over my head now, inviting the voices, the mockery:

“Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed” (Proverbs 16:3).

Yeah, right, they scoff. Whatever.

Because in the last 24 hours, dinner burns, a husband distances, a daughter threatens to run away. A toddler screams, a friend ignores, another daughter bristles at every word.

This? This is a mess, not a success.

But after listening to more lies, I will myself to open the Book in my lap, to turn the pages despite my despair, and I end up with Hagar in the wilderness. Together we’re in a desolate place, feeling utterly alone and forsaken. Soon, I hear another Voice telling her to go back, to submit to her mistress.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Genesis 8, Matthew 8, Ezra 8, and Acts 8

matthew 8By Brenda Chance

“You can’t push a string,” a favorite expression of my husband’s late boss, found its way out of my husband’s sales office and became a well-played line and prevailing philosophy in our home. It was our parental rallying cry against the psychological torment of two very strong-willed children.

I grew up in a different era of family life. My four sisters and I had standard-issue sass and sneak but when push came to shove the convicted resolve in our father’s eyes sobered us quickly to the path of least resistance. “Because I said so” were magic-filled words children dare not challenge.

If there is such a thing, my two boys entered the world without the authority-deferent gene. From the time they could talk, ‘no’ was attached to every phrase they said. It seemed they learned to walk only to run away from us. They were put to bed only to keep us awake. Like a surprised hiker meeting up with a bear I often postured myself to appear bigger than I am in order to hold my ground against the rebellion forces. Prior to children Dennis the Menace was a favorite classic of mine.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Chronicles 27-28, Revelation 14, Zechariah 10, and John 13

revelation 14By Christie Purifoy

The routine has stayed the same for years now. A question about homework. Some tucking in of blankets. A short prayer.

The prayer has stayed the same, too. I always pray God would open her ears to hear his voice.

She doesn’t ask her question every night, but she asks it often enough that I have it memorized. I could ask it for her.

“What does his voice sound like?”

My answer is always the same: “like the roar of many waters” (Rev 1:15).

***

In my heart, I am a poet. My skill with language is no match for that title, but I carry the word with me, regardless. It is the best way I know to describe my love for metaphor. Few things speak as clearly to me as poetic imagery and wordplay.

And yet, I think I understand the discomfort some have with metaphor.

I see it in my daughter’s face when I talk about a voice like water. She thinks metaphor is a failure of language. Though she can’t quite put her frustration into words, I am sure she sees her mother’s metaphors as a symptom of the limits of our understanding and the limits of our language.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Chronicles 21, Revelation 9, Zechariah 5, and John 8

12182013_AKBy Amy Kannel

“They said to him therefore, ‘Where is your Father?’ Jesus answered, ‘You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.’” (John 8:19)

You know the phrase, “pushes your buttons”? Well, my husband likes to joke that his brother’s five-year-old daughter has just one button: giant, red, and flashing. And it also just so happens that orneriness runs in my husband’s family. (Of course, there’s none at all on my side. Ahem.) Since it’s so easy to get our adorably precocious niece all riled up, her uncle Steve just can’t resist pushing her button when we all get together.

At Thanksgiving dinner, Steve was pestering his niece, and she shot him a look and said indignantly, “You’re just like Grandpa!” With this, we all lost it. My husband was indeed acting like his dad; Olivia had pegged him exactly. She knew her uncle Steve, and she knew his father—her grandpa—too.

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As my family has grown and we’ve sought to establish our own Christmas traditions, my favorite by far has been the Jesse Tree. If you’re unfamiliar with this custom, a Jesse Tree is a way of celebrating Advent by tracing the story of redemption through the Old Testament, looking for hints of Jesus in His family tree.… Continue Reading