Today’s Bible passages are: Numbers 22, Psalm 62-63, Isaiah 11-12, and James 5

Numbers 22 ArtBy Samira Gast

Today’s art is a response to Numbers 22:

…God’s anger was kindled because he went, and the angel of the Lord took his stand in the way as his adversary. Now he was riding on the donkey, and his two servants were with him. And the donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road, with a drawn sword in his hand. And the donkey turned aside out of the road and went into the field. And Balaam struck the donkey, to turn her into the road. Then the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path between the vineyards, with a wall on either side. And when the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she pushed against the wall and pressed Balaam’s foot against the wall. So he struck her again. Then the angel of the Lord went ahead and stood in a narrow place, where there was no way to turn either to the right or to the left. When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she lay down under Balaam. And Balaam’s anger was kindled, and he struck the donkey with his staff.

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Today’s Bible passages are: Numbers 17-18, Psalm 55, Isaiah 7, and James 1

Isaiah 7 artBy Jo Miller, guest contributor

As I read today’s Scripture, I was overwhelmed by the goodness of God’s word, by all the amazing things He shares with us. But the verse that my mind kept going back to was Isaiah 7:4 where God says to Isaiah to tell Ahaz, “Keep calm and don’t be afraid”(NIV).
Now I don’t know if you have noticed all the posters that have been so popular recently with the ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ or any of the other modified slogans. “Really Jo”, I said to myself, “You’re really going to hop on that band wagon.” I have never really appreciated all the different versions of this logo and didn’t even know where the slogan originated; so I looked it up. Apparently, ‘keep calm and carry on’ was part of a slogan campaign the British Ministry of Information came up with to boost the morale of the citizens in the face of war. The government considered it the duty of the people to continue on in the midst of the inevitable bombing and gas attacks.
It seems that the campaign was a huge failure and the poster was never actually displayed in spite of thousands being printed.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Numbers 14, Psalm 50, Isaiah 3-4, and Hebrews 11

trust 2By Mary Freeman

Today’s two art posts are a response to all four of the scheduled Scriptures for the day. Mary Freeman’s thoughts on her art follow.


As I read the four scriptures for this post one word kept repeating. TRUST! In Numbers 14 verse 9 the Israelites were told:

“Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not fear the people of the land…”

But they were afraid and their fear was greater than their trust in God. God asks:

“How long will they not believe [trust] in me in spite of all the signs that I have done?”

It’s hard to understand their lack of trust when I see in black and white all God has done for them. But then I realize I am guilty of the very same thing.

The Israelites wanted to turn back and return to Egypt. They preferred bondage to the freedom God offered; yes freedom involves walking into the sometimes scary unknown, but preferring bondage? There are days I too want to return to my “Egypts”, the things that are familiar to me, even if they do not offer freedom.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Numbers 9, Psalm 45, Song of Songs 7, and Hebrews 7

Numbers 9 ImageBy Stephanie Rische

Have you ever felt like God was leading you so directly . . . but then the path took you on chaotic twists and turns, detours, and maybe even what seemed like a dead end? You were doing your best to listen to your spiritual GPS, but somehow you just weren’t getting straight from point A to point B.

Not long ago I felt God prompting to buy a Bible, and not just any Bible—one of those big, classic, leather-bound numbers. I didn’t know who I was supposed to give it to or why, but the nudge was undeniable: Buy this Bible. And so, despite feeling rather foolish, I made the purchase, wondering when I’d get my next set of instructions.

Shortly after, my husband and I were packing for a nine-hour train ride to visit his family. We were carrying everything on with us, and our bags were stuffed. Just as I was wrestling the zipper on my bloated carry-on, another prompting came out of nowhere: Take the Bible with you.

I was pretty sure I’d misunderstood, and I haggled with God over it.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Numbers 7, Psalm 42-43, Song of Songs 5, and Hebrews 5

Psalm 43 imageBy Christina Vinson

If you were to look at my life as an outsider, this is what you would probably see: an almost-29-year-old living in Nashville, loved by a truly doting and selfless husband, working her dream job [at home, in sweatpants!], with a wardrobe almost wholly supplied by a twin sister who works for Anthropologie’s headquarters.

If you were to come in a little further and step into my home, my safe place, this is what you would find: rooms bursting with Southern sunshine, an eclectic mix of West Elm furniture, thrift store finds, and a rather obsessive collection of [dying] plants. If you’re a close friend, you’d also see the messy side of our lives: the dishes crusted with two-day-old food, the dust bunnies in the corners, the hair on the bathroom floor (really, does it ever end?).

But if you were to peek into my heart, you would find something drastically different from my somewhat curated home and the ‘ideal’ circumstances I live in.

If you were to take up residence in my heart and head, here’s what you would find: a girl prone to depression; not just the kind of ‘down in the dumps’ feeling that thinks, “Man, I feel kind of down today.” No, it’s the kind of depression that keeps me in bed, with the curtains drawn, and an utterly crippling feeling of numbness and apathy toward life.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Numbers 2, Psalm 36, Ecclesiastes 12, and Philemon

Philemon imageBy Tricia Lott Williford

Think of the greatest mentor in your life. The person about whom you might say, “She taught me everything I know,”  or “I am the person I am today because of his influence.”
When I think of the most powerful mentors in my life, I can speak from experience: pretty much for the rest of my days, if they ask anything of me, I’m going to feel compelled to respond. I would be pretty hard pressed to act against what someone asks of me, be that person a camp counselor from the best summers of my life, a teacher who taught me far more than what was on the syllabus, or the youth pastor who led me think bigger and better than what I had known before.
That’s who Paul was to most of the early Christians. He was not their biological father, but he was their spiritual parent. He taught them how to live and showed them who to become as Christ followers. When he was imprisoned for sharing the gospel, I imagine that they lived for his letters – they waited eagerly to hear what their mentor had to say, this man who had so deeply loved them and influenced their lives.… 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 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.

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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