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 13, Psalm 15-16, Proverbs 27, and 2 Thessalonians 1

Leviticus 13 imageBy Patty Kirk

Chapter 13 of Leviticus is hard to read, not only for its unsavory subject matter (skin disease) and entirely too repellent graphic details (e.g., close up examination of hairs growing in open sores) but for the end verdict it offers, pronounced by the Lord himself, upon the poor person unfortunate enough to suffer a skin disease that the priest deems “unclean”:

“Anyone with such a defiling disease must wear torn clothes, let their hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of their face and cry out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ As long as they have the disease they remain unclean. They must live alone; they must live outside the camp.” (Leviticus 13.45-46 NIV).

Pondering this chapter, I must first say I’m thankful that, of all the passages of Scripture I’ve been asked about by nonbelieving or struggling acquaintances, this has never been one of them.

What’s to be done, though, when Scripture offends—in this case, with a picture of our loving Creator so seemingly loveless as to punish a person for suffering an illness over which the person has no control?

What people typically do with me—yes, I’m the sort of struggling Bible reader who’d confront a more confident believer about this passage—is remind me of God’s sovereignty.… 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 28, John 7, Proverbs 4, and Galatians 3

Exodus 28By Megan Oldfield

I’m squirming on the velvet-padded kneeler, sweating from the wool stockings my private school makes us wear. I make the sign of the cross, whisper, “Bless me Father, for I have sinned,” and venture a guess on how long it’s been since my last confession. Then slowly I start naming my offenses.

“I lied to my mom twice. I stole a piece of candy from my brother. I-I-I…”

I’m stammering, searching my conscience for anything else I need to confess. And I’m tempted to make something up, but I’d just have to confess that, too, so I stop. But I know there’s more I’d like to say.

The priest has his back to me. And it adds to my discomfort. I’m accustomed to the confessional where he is in one compartment, and I’m in the other, and there’s a nice solid barrier between us. But today our fourth-grade class lined up on this side of the sanctuary, the side where a small room serves as the place to do penance, and I can’t escape.

“Is that all?” the priest asks me quietly.

“I think so,” I reply.… 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 21, Luke 24, Job 39, and 2 Corinthians 9

exodus 21By Brenda Chance

Today’s reading from Exodus 21 is one of those passages that makes me want to go back to bed, pull the covers over my head, and take a really long faith nap.

“When you buy a Hebrew slave…” What? “When a man sells his daughter as a slave…” Who is saying this? Surely, it must be Moses or Aaron. I’ll bet it’s Jethro.

With an anxious heart, I scan back over the text searching for a name, any name but there is only one I see. “The LORD said…” I emotionally duck and cover.

I believe the scriptures are God’s self-revelation. For this reason I get dizzy and wobble off balance when I read a text like this one. God’s revelation of himself to me personally has been marked by generous grace and freedom. The God I have come to know is abundantly good, loving, and compassionate; he is antithetical to everything I know about slavery.

Slavery is an ugly evil. How in any way could the heart of my Father make allowance for it in the covenant with his people? I hear the doubt and fear screaming, “Look away!Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 14, Luke 17, Job 32, and 2 Corinthians 2

By Lisa Velthouse

exodus 14One of the more illuminating moments in our marriage happened on the night when Nathan and I came to terms about The Leak. I don’t recall the particulars of our conversation anymore, but knowing me, I had likely cried and talked in circles for some time, trying to simultaneously figure out a point and make it. Knowing him, he had likely listened patiently and with a furrowed brow, putting forth a valiant mental effort to sift through what I was saying in order to hear what I actually meant.

We were talking about being busy and about the toll it was taking on things. That detail I do remember. Nathan had been working especially long hours: weekdays and -nights away from home on training exercises, weekends spent at his desk trying to keep up with everything that had piled on while he was away. Times like these are par for the course every so often with military life, but accepting that fact doesn’t necessarily make them easier. As is typical in our relationship, the feverish pace was leaving both of us beyond tired—but where his exhaustion was physical, mine was emotional.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 11, Luke 14, Job 29, and 1 Corinthians 15

By Hannah Anderson

Job 29 image“Why do bad things happen to good people?” If you’ve ever asked yourself this question, let me assure you that you are not the first. Human beings have been wrestling with the question of suffering and personal choice since the Fall, and most of the time, coming up miserably short.

For example, in the face of Job’s suffering, his three friends assumed, like many today, that it was the result of personal sin. When Job tries to assure them that he has no known sin in his life, Bildad responds in typical fashion, “Yes, but who can really be righteous?” (chapter 25) In today’s language, “Okay, but we’re all sinners and so anything bad that happens to us is deserved anyway.” The bottom line? Your suffering is always your fault. And by extension, when other people suffer, in some way, it is their own fault too.

I think a lot of us see the weakness in this answer. We’re experienced enough to know that life is complicated, that some of us are born with certain privileges, that not all suffering is the result of bad choices.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 2, Luke 5, Job 19, and 1 Corinthians 6

By Tricia Lott Williford

Job 19Sometimes I want to be rescued. And by ‘sometimes’ I mean pretty much at some point every day.

Rescued from the alarm clock. The carpool lane. The grocery list. The bills to pay. The children needing, needing, needing me. The dinner hour. A lousy blind date.

Rescued from loneliness. Fear. Worry. The everyday mess of all this. The questions I don’t know how to answer.

Oh, how I love Job. I mean, of all the heroes in the Bible, Job ranks in my top five favorites. I can’t wait to have coffee with him someday.

The way it plays out in my mind, the whole story starts with a meeting of attendance of the angels before God. Everybody here? Everyone accounted for? Ah, wait. There is darkness in the room, the sneaky oppression of deceptive beauty.

“Where have you come from?” I imagine God saying, “This is a closed meeting, Satan. You’re not invited to this Exective Board Room.”

And Satan says, “Oh, I’ve just come from roaming around the earth.” That right there is the stuff horror films are made of: Satan and his minions trolling the earth, looking for trouble to cause, hearts to break, and lives to destroy.

Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Genesis 47, Luke 1:1-38, Job 13, and 1 Corinthians 1

By Megan Oldfield

luke 1 - 1I’ve got nothing insightful to say about today’s passages.

That’s what I think as the hours dwindle before my deadline.

It’s Thursday, the day before this piece is due, and I’m under my blankets watching Downton Abbey with a box of Good & Plenty in one hand and Swedish Fish in the other wondering WWAVW? (What would Ann Voskamp write?)

It’s a picture of grace under pressure, really.

When I sat down to work on my post last weekend, I thought I had it under control. I intended to write my little heart out. But a massage scheduled for nine o’clock Saturday morning only afforded me enough time to read the four daily chapters.

That’s okay, I figured, I’ll meditate on some verses while my therapist’s working out the knots, and boy do I have me some knots.  But then I fell asleep between the sheets of the warmed massage table and snored myself awake an hour and a half later. I blame Deuter and his dreamy new age music.

That afternoon, distracted by all the electronic devices dangling off my desk, I decided a quick trip to Lowe’s was in order.… Continue Reading