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: 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 25, Psalm 32, Ecclesiastes 8, and 2 Timothy 4

Psalm 32 imageBy Megan Oldfield

Because a sinless Savior died,
My sinful soul is counted free;
For God, the Just, is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.*

I have what some might call a lead foot. In other words, I like to drive fast. Really fast. Cruising around town in a minivan with three kids buckled up in the backseat has curbed my insatiable appetite for speed quite a bit. But more often than I care to admit, that speedometer needle pushes waaay past the legal limit.

Obviously this means I’ve been pulled over a few times in my life. I drive illegally not invincibly. And though I’m not proud of it, I’ve sometimes lied to try to get out of a ticket.

I didn’t know the speed limit in this neighborhood.

My cruise control must be broken.

Wait, what? I thought Montana didn’t have a speed limit.

I think I’m in labor.

None of these excuses has ever worked, especially the last one since I wasn’t even pregnant at the time.

Most recently, though, I took a slightly different approach.

“Do you know how fast you were going back there, ma’am?” the officer asked after pulling me over.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Leviticus 18, Psalm 22, Ecclesiastes 1, and 1 Timothy 3

Psalm 22 artBy 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 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: Leviticus 5, Psalm 3-4, Proverbs 20, Colossians 3

Leviticus 5 imageBy Teri Vogeli

So the priest will make atonement on his behalf for his error which he committed (although he himself had not known it) and he will be forgiven. It is a guilt offering; he was surely guilty before the Lord. (Leviticus 5:18-19)

Guilt. It’s why I’m not into Lent.

I grew up in churches that loved Lent. We sang goodbye to Alleluia the week before, as if there were nothing left to celebrate for the next month. We sang dirgey music about what poor, miserable sinners we were and about the agony Christ suffered at our cause. The pastor would read the Scriptures describing the torturous events of Jesus’ trial, while the congregation shouted in unison, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” like we really meant it. It was six weeks of guilt and depression.

Then, Easter. Alleluia is back in the song book. The end. On to the next holiday!

I understand not everyone feels this way about Lent. My husband thinks I’m nuts. He loves Lent. For him, it’s the story of Christ, who loves us so much that He took on hell itself and died, fighting for our freedom, kind of like watching Saving Private Ryan for a month.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 32, John 11, Proverbs 8, and Ephesians 1

Proverbs 8 postBy Tricia Lott Williford

When my children were small, I began a list of sentences I never imagined I would hear myself say.
“Please don’t put cheese in your eyes.”
“Don’t lick trees or people. Hey! I said don’t lick people!”
“Honey, please get the banana out of the toilet.”
“Great job peeing on the Cheerios!”
Even just last week, I said to my first grader, “Buddy, this is the third time in a row that you’ve sniffed pepper and you can’t stop sneezing. Do I really need to tell you to stop this?”
Especially when they were smaller, I heard myself saying the same phrases, requests, and warnings over and over again, many times in one hour. To make sure I held their wandering attention, I held a hand on his shoulder or held his face in my palm, and I peppered our conversation with reminders.
“Look at Mommy.”
“Eyes on me, please.”
“Mommy is talking.”
“Do you hear me?”
“Are you listening to me?”
“Look at Mommy.”
“Look at Mommy.”
“Look at Mommy.”
Even still, I wondered if they heard me at all.
This morning I read Proverbs 8 in Eugene Peterson’s version, The Message.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Samuel 19, 2 Corinthians 7, Ezekiel 5, and Psalm 42-43

2 corinthians 5By Laurie Short

“For Christ’s love compels us,” Paul writes.

To which I must confess reluctantly, “Not always.”

(However I don’t recommend that for your church’s next responsive reading.)

But if I’m honest, there are times when I am compelled by something very different than Christ’s love. Selfishness, for one. (That hurts just writing it.) Comfort, for another.  And then there’s pride, self justification and anger.

So maybe I am writing today’s devotional just for me.

However I am guessing that from time to time, you too are motivated by a few other things than Christ’s love. Which is why I am drawn to take us once more to this well known verse.

And this time, I’ll complete it.

For Christ’s love compels us because we are convinced that one died for all and therefore all died. (2 Corinthians 5:14)

Can I just say that I am so glad Paul doesn’t end there? Because there’s a whole lot of death in that sentence. However, put together with the next verse, the death he speaks about—His and ours—takes on new meaning.

And He died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for him who died and was raised again (verse 15, emphasis mine.)

The thing is, the resurrected life can’t happen without death.… 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 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.

***

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