Today’s Bible passages are: Numbers 29, Psalm 73, Isaiah 21, and 2 Peter 2

Numbers 29 ArtBy Crista Mulder, Guest Contributor

Today’s art is a response to Numbers 29.

“On the first day of the seventh month you shall have a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work. It is a day for you to blow the trumpets, and you shall offer a burnt offering, for a pleasing aroma to the Lord: one bull from the herd, one ram, seven male lambs a year old without blemish; also their grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil, three tenths of an ephah for the bull, two tenths for the ram, and one tenth for each of the seven lambs; with one male goat for a sin offering, to make atonement for you; besides the burnt offering of the new moon, and its grain offering, and the regular burnt offering and its grain offering, and their drink offering, according to the rule for them, for a pleasing aroma, a food offering to the Lord.

 

“On the tenth day of this seventh month you shall have a holy convocation and afflict yourselves. You shall do no work, but you shall offer a burnt offering to the Lord, a pleasing aroma… (verses 1-8a)


Crista’s thoughts on her art follow:

Throughout Numbers 29, God commands His people to take a Sabbath and present a pleasing aroma to Him. … Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Numbers 8, Psalm 44, Song of Songs 6, and Hebrews 6

Hebrews 6 imageBy Emily Cummins

I heard a statement when I was 16-years-old that I haven’t been able to forget. I vividly remember sitting in a hotel ballroom in Orlando where I was attending a student leadership conference, when the keynote speaker said these bold, challenging words: “It’s time for the little girl to sit down and the woman to stand up.” Nearly seven years later, those words are still ringing in my ears.

The little girl in me wants life to be pretty simple…like picking what restaurant I want to go to for dinner. But life doesn’t always have concrete answers. I’m discovering there are many shades of grey. For me, tipping into adulthood felt strange at first—playing dress-up in your mom’s clothes only to find out that they actually fit you. It was this sensation of stumbling around in the dark, tripping over furniture I didn’t know was there, all the while searching for the light. Many days I feel like I’m standing at the crossroads of that little girl I once was and the woman I know I am called to be. And it’s in this crossroads that I know I must make a choice to either remain the same or embrace the freefall.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Leviticus 27, Psalm 34, Ecclesiastes 10, and Titus 2

psalm 34 imageBy Amy Kannel

I can’t read Psalm 34:10 anymore without hearing a catchy little tune from Seeds Family Worship. Our family loves their albums; each song is simply a verse of Scripture set to music. (This particular song is memorable for its startling beginning that features children roaring like lions.)

“The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing” (NIV).

Up until recently, I’ve coasted through this verse with a smug satisfaction about my sound theology. After all, I know that this verse does not say, “Those who seek the LORD lack nothing that they want.” No, “lack no good thing” means “lack nothing that is truly good for them.” God knows better than we do; in His sovereign, wise love, He gives us what we really need, not what we think we want.

All true. But then I think more carefully about that little word “good,” and I remember Jesus’ questioning of the rich young ruler: “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone” (Luke 18:19). When my attention is fixed on the “good things” God will give to those who seek Him, I’ve missed the point.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Leviticus 22, Psalm 28-29, Ecclesiastes 5, and 2 Timothy 1

Ecclesiastes 5 imageBy Jane Graham

Dusk settled onto the plains, casting a gauzy pink veil over the Badlands. With windows down and mountain goats littering the road, we pointed our van down a winding road promising to lead us back to camp. Summer gleamed at the height of splendor, and our Creator’s majesty was not lost on us—a family so tiny and small against a backdrop so grand.

The air soothed warm and sweet with the smell that comes from July and dirt and stubborn grass in the dessert. Staring out the window, Rich Mullins’ voice reached through the grave, grabbing my heart. And watching the beauty pass me by, rosy clouds slipping into the horizon, I had nothing to say.

Ecclesiastes 5

I’m amazed by how often my soul has been quieted by the breathtaking grandeur of nature. By towering trees near Mount Rainier. By Caribbean water so blue it made me weep. By the crackle of a fire in the Teton backcountry. By a Michigan evening at the lake.

That this earth is ours to enjoy and swallow up whole is amazing; it leaves me quiet.

So why is it that despite these significant moments of silence, I struggle to keep my tongue in check?… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Leviticus 15, Psalm 18, Proverbs 29, and 2 Thessalonians 3

Leviticus 15 artBy Mollie Bozarth

Today’s art is a response to Leviticus 15. Mollie’s thoughts on the passage and her art follow here:

As I started reading through the four available passages for today, I thought, “Leviticus! I probably won’t paint anything from there.” Then I began reading the chapter, Leviticus 15, and thought, “Yes, I really don’t want to paint any of these images!” It’s all about bodily discharges and how they cause basically everything and everyone you touch to become unclean. A good, solid Leviticus passage on hygeine from a time in history when breaking the contaminated pottery killed 99.9% of germs. Within 33 verses, I counted 34 instances of the term “unclean.”

But of course God wasn’t writing an early Lysol commercial, and the issue goes much deeper than hygiene. By the time I finished reading the chapter, I knew this was the passage to paint. After all, we’re in the Lenten season. Christ came because we ARE unclean…more than that, washing our hands and avoiding contact with other people until evening would not cleanse the filth that lies within. Discharges (from the male or female mentioned in Leviticus 15) come from the private, hidden parts.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Leviticus 10, Psalm 11-12, Proverbs 25, and 1 Thessalonians 4

1 Thessalonians 4 imageBy Lisa Velthouse

1 Thessalonians 4 is part of a letter from Paul to the Christian church in Thessalonica. The chapter begins with the kinds of subjects that make people feel condemnation hot around their necks: sexual immorality, lust, and passion right out of the gate. These are the impurities (verse 7) Paul pits against a clear expectation of holiness, honor, and sanctification.

If the early church was anything like our churches today, they would’ve met these verses ripe with potential for missing the point.

Then as now, readers of 1 Thessalonians 4 would run the risk of splitting into two camps: those who assumed they fell on the favorable side of its prescription—holy, honorable, sanctified (verses 3-4)—and those who felt they failed it: (verses 3 and 5) immoral, wrongly passionate, ruled by lust. There would be judgment and self-righteousness on one side, defensiveness and guilt on the other. Accusations would probably be hurled.

Then as now, the point both sides would be missing would be the one that appears both before and after all the sex talk. It’s a principle that goes far beyond sex and bodies, and we see it in a little phrase that’s on repeat: more and more.Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Leviticus 6, Psalm 5-6, Proverbs 21, and Colossians 4

04032014_NBBy Nicole Bennett, guest contributor

Life in the trenches of motherhood is not for the faint of heart. The days are long and on some days the rewards are few.

I press onward though, knowing that the battle I’m fighting is for the very hearts I’m nurturing in my home. I fight by seeking out bits of beauty in the ordinary of life.

And of course the more I train those in my care, the more I realize that I myself am in training as well. As I push through the challenges, I’m refined, sharpened, honed— my own heart is shaped as I do the hard heart-shaping work of raising kids.

***

Psalm 5 is one of those passages that I can’t help but read to the tune of a familiar old song. One that takes me back to my college days (those days when I thought I was busy).

I can remember learning its easy melody in a living room Bible study, singing with the accompaniment of a worn guitar with decorative etchings, in a circle of worshiping friends.

The words of the song, are simply taken from the King James Version of one of today’s portions:

Give ear to my words, O Lord
Consider my meditation
Harken unto the voice of my cry
My king and my God
For unto Thee will I pray
My voice shalt thou hear in the morning

 

O Lord, in the morning
will I direct my prayer
Unto thee, and will look up.

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 16, Luke 19, Job 34, and 2 Corinthians 4

By Cindi Koceich, guest contributor

2 corinthians 4

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