Today’s Bible passages are: Numbers 23, Psalm 64-65, Isaiah 13, and 1 Peter 2

1 Peter 2 ImageBy Lisa Velthouse

We have a five-week-old in the house, so we are sleep-deprived and groggy-eyed. We are basketfuls of tiny baby clothes in the laundry room. We are pacifiers everywhere. We are hunger all the time. Between the little guy and me alone, there is always at least one person who wants to be eating.

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A few nights ago, while my husband was away at work and some friends were visiting, the baby cried seemingly forever. But he had just eaten. He had a dry diaper too, and it was an hour past his usual bedtime, and this was his angry cry. I knew him well enough already to know he was trying to pull a power play—this mama was determined not to be manipulated, and to help him learn the simple and basic skill of falling asleep instead. Still, it was mind-numbing to sit there, listening to him like that.

I’ve heard it said somewhere that an infant’s cry has a physiological effect on a woman: specifically, it elicits a sense of actual panic in her. I can’t say whether or not that claim is real science, but anecdotally I know it’s true.… Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Numbers 21, Psalm 60-61, Isaiah 10, and James 4

James 4 imageBy Laurie Short

You’ve probably heard the quote, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” It’s not a Bible verse, but I think I’ll vote for it when the next translation comes out. However it could be a contender for a loose paraphrase of James 4:13–15:

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. [Don’t hold back, James. Tell us how you really feel.] Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but James isn’t exactly a beat around the bush guy. In other places in this chapter, he calls his readers adulterous, double minded, greedy, slanderous, judgmental and hypocritical. So what if he happens to be right? He could at least try to say it nicely.

But there is something about v.13-15 that grips me.… Continue Reading

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 15, Psalm 51, Isaiah 5, and Hebrews 12

Hebrews 12 imageBy Hannah Anderson

When I was six years old, lightening from a summer thunderstorm struck our family’s home and set it on fire. Thankfully we were away on vacation at the time, but when this kind of thing happens in your early childhood, it leaves its mark. Ever since that day, my family had referred to this event simply as “The Fire.” When we returned, we sorted through what we could, but the things that survived carried the smell of smoke and the stains of water damage for years to come. Some things we lost entirely.

At the end of Hebrews 12, the writer describes God as a “consuming fire.” In the larger context, this image conveys the holiness and majesty of God, but on first glance, these words, “a consuming fire,” can conjure up a pretty scary image. An image of a God who is unapproachable, angry, blistering, dangerous, and out of control. A God who consumes everything in His path, like “The Fire” consumed my childhood home. But such a reading is somewhat one-dimensional.

God is not intent on consuming us; He is intent on consuming our sin.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 6, Psalm 40-41, Song of Songs 4, and Hebrews 4

Psalm 40 imageBy Amylee Weeks

Today’s art is a response to Psalm 40:

I waited patiently for the Lord;

he inclined to me and heard my cry.

He drew me up from the pit of destruction,

out of the miry bog,

and set my feet upon a rock,

making my steps secure.

He put a new song in my mouth,

a song of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear,

and put their trust in the Lord.

Blessed is the man who makes

the Lord his trust,

who does not turn to the proud,

to those who go astray after a lie!

You have multiplied, O Lord my God,

your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;

none can compare with you!

I will proclaim and tell of them,

yet they are more than can be told. (verses 1-5 ESV)

Today’s Questions: What cries of yours has the Lord heard? What rock has he set your feet upon?

AmyleeW_200Amylee’s life verse is, “by the grace of God, I am what I am.” She believes whole-heartedly in God’s leading and his words speaking directly to her as she walks this life.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Leviticus 21, Psalm 26-27, Ecclesiastes 4, and 1 Timothy 6

Ecclesiastes 4 imageBy Stacy Sharpe, guest contributor

It’s lonely at the top … just ask Charles Foster Kane.

Perched atop his 49,000 acre estate known as “Xanadu,” Charles Foster Kane embodied the man who had everything money could buy. As a multi-millionaire newspaper magnate, Mr. Kane assumed power and accumulated wealth with an insatiable vengeance. Yet in his quest to “have it all,” love alluded him … and poor Charlie died alone, ensconced in what ultimately appeared more like a mausoleum than a mansion.

OK, so I confess I’m a film junkie … and I have to agree with the American Film Institute that Citizen Kane (loosely based on the life of William Randolph Hearst?) arguably remains the best American movie ever made.

I further propose that Charles Foster Kane would have been well served by the book of Ecclesiastes.

After all, the epically affluent King Solomon was also familiar with the potential futility of our human strivings. With his vast wealth and powerful position, Solomon was probably the envy of everyone in Israel … though contentment notably eluded him. In his penetrating search for purpose and meaning, Solomon wisely concludes that we spend most of our lives “chasing after the wind,” while true fulfillment is found in God alone.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Leviticus 20, Psalm 25, Ecclesiastes 3, and 1 Timothy 5

Psalm 25 imageBy Kelli Gotthardt

Show me the right path, O Lord;
point out the road for me to follow. Psalm 25:4 (NLT)

How often I’ve asked God to show me the path I should go. Particularly when making a big decision like a job change, a move or other life transition.

If I’m honest, when I’m asking for this kind of clarity there’s an underlying expectation that if I walk in it, I will find it fairly smooth. Yes, there will be the necessary character building struggles, but overall, I’m hoping for a relatively comfortable path.

Then I meet people like Rose Mapendo. Rose is a Congolese refugee who has survived the execution of her husband and sixteen months in a death camp with her ten children. This was not a path she would have chosen and she admits that for a time she refused to speak with God. She was angry with him for the path that had been marked out for her. But to talk with her today she freely acknowledges that God’s path had a purpose. She now speaks for those who have lost their voice and travels all over the world inspiring others with her message of hope and forgiveness.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Leviticus 19, Psalm 23-24, Ecclesiastes 2, and 1 Timothy 4

psalm 23 artBy Erin Leigh

Today’s art is a response to Psalm 23:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
forever. (ESV)


Erin’s thoughts on her art follow:

I love Psalm 23.
All of it.
The Lord is my Shepherd
(The lover of my soul.)
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
(I go kicking and screaming.)
He leads me beside quiet waters.
(After I throw a little tantrum.)
He restores my soul.
(When I take the time to sit and listen and submit and let go.)
He provides for our every need,
thankfully not for our every want.… Continue Reading