Today’s Bible passages are: Genesis 45, Mark 15, Job 11, and Romans 15

genesis 45By Jane Graham

Paczkis.

Fat Tuesday.

Plastic beads at Mardi Gras.

With Lent less than a month away, the marketplace has started its engines and the slow rev toward this ancient tradition has officially begun. Grocery stores are stocking their shelves with Polish treats and throngs will begin their descent upon New Orleans in mere days for a weeks-long celebration.

At times, it seems the modern day observance of Lent is more anticipated for the sanctioned overindulgence beforehand than for the season itself.

But today I am reminded that Lent, among other things, is a season of hardship resulting in forgiveness. Luckily, the Bible has much to say about both of these things.

Genesis 45

The story of Joseph emerges as one of the most powerful stories of forgiveness in all of Scripture. Having been left for dead in a pit, sold into slavery by his own brothers and   then wrongly accused and imprisoned—if anyone had reason to hold a grudge, become embittered or seek revenge, Joseph had plenty to go on.

But when his brothers traveled to Egypt seeking help during a time of famine, the love he exhibited stood in stark contrast to the hatred spewed his way thirteen years earlier.… 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 38, Mark 8, Job 4, and Romans 8

genesis 38By Laurie Short

I have a confession to make. I took one look at the Old Testament passage assigned to me today, and made a bee-line to the New Testament. But somehow, that Still Small Voice pulled me back.

Genesis 38 is one of those chapters nestled in the Old Testament that makes you wonder what in the world God had in mind having it there. (I wish it were the only one). Right in the middle of the story of Joseph, we find a little sidebar. The story of Judah and, um, his daughter-in-law.

It’s one of those blips in the Bible that makes you scratch your head and secretly hope your non-believing friends never see it.

The funny thing is, when I tried to escape it and find refuge in the New Testament passage, I landed in Romans 8, which is home to a famous verse we’ve all memorized and loved.

“In all things God works for the good for those who love Him and are called according to his purpose.” (v.28)

“There is plenty to focus on right here in this verse,” I said to myself.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Genesis 31, Mark 2, Esther 7, and Romans 2

romans 2By Samira Gast

Today’s art is a response to Romans 2:

Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. (verses 1-5, ESV)

Today’s Question: Have you been letting yourself get away with judging someone else? How can God’s kindness change your heart today?

SamiraG_200Samira Gast is a bargain hunter, lip gloss lover and coffee enthusiast. Since she was a little girl, coloring was one of her favorite activities. Now as an adult, she still gets to play with colors as an artist.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Genesis 30, Mark 1, Esther 6, and Romans 1

romans 1By Hannah Anderson

If you were to meet me, you wouldn’t have a hard time figuring out my ethnicity. My fair skin, blue eyes, and blonde hair immediately reveal strong western European roots. Truth be told, I’m a bit of a mutt—a healthy mix of French, Scotch-Irish, Welsh, and Swiss-German ancestors.

Along with these telltale genes, my parents also passed on a strong Christian heritage. Both my mother and father were believers as were their parents before them. In fact, on my father’s side, our Christian heritage stretches all the way back to the early Swiss Anabaptists who were persecuted for their faith, had their property confiscated, and eventually fled to the New World in search of religious freedom. With a heritage like this, it’s easy to forget my true roots.

It’s easy to forget that I’m the progeny of pagans.

Even though Christianity plays a significant role in my family heritage, it didn’t always. Flashback a 1500 years and those Swiss-German ancestors weren’t worshiping Jesus; they were worshiping Woden. My Scotch-Irish forbearers?  Celts who deified the natural world and were led by druids.

In fact, dial back far enough and you wouldn’t find any of my family worshiping Jesus or even Jehovah.… Continue Reading