Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 16, Luke 19, Job 34, and 2 Corinthians 4
By Cindi Koceich, guest contributor
Today’s art is a response to 2 Corinthians 4:
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18, ESV)
Cindi’s thoughts on the passage follow here:
It is hard to fix our eyes on something we can’t see. The every day incessant noise is so very distracting and our nature is to react, to solve, to quiet the noise as best we can. I’m convinced that the only way to break free from the noise, from the worry, from our instinct to control and manage is to paint a vivid picture of our Savior. We paint with the brush strokes of His Word, of prayer, of community and worship. And we see Him. Not only do we see Him, we, by the power of His Spirit, are moving in His steps.… Continue Reading
Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 14, Luke 17, Job 32, and 2 Corinthians 2
By Lisa Velthouse
One 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
“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 7, Luke 10, Job 24, and 1 Corinthians 11
By Stephanie Rische
Take a moment to picture this scenario: you’ve had a long day, juggling work responsibilities, caring for your family, making dinner, and cleaning up the kitchen. After everyone is in bed, you finally sit down to drink a cup of tea and read a few pages of your book before going to bed so you can do it all again tomorrow.
Just as your eyes are getting heavy, you hear a knock at the door. Who could that be at this time of night? you wonder. When you open the door, you’re surprised to see a friend who’s on a road trip with twelve of his buddies. They were just passing through and figured they’d stop by.
“We haven’t had a real meal in days,” one of the friends says, eyeing your refrigerator longingly.
Your mind instantly goes into inventory mode, sizing up what’s in your pantry. Will you be able to scrounge something together for a dozen hungry men? It’s too late to order a pizza or get Chinese takeout, and you can hardly send your guests to the drive-through. And so, since you love your friend, you roll up your sleeves and get to work on dinner.… Continue Reading
Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 2, Luke 5, Job 19, and 1 Corinthians 6
By Tricia Lott Williford
Sometimes 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 38, Mark 8, Job 4, and Romans 8
By 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 28, Matthew 27, Esther 4, and Acts 27
By Amanda Jenkins
What a bizarre and horrifying problem the Jews had: by royal decree, they were going to be annihilated, by whichever of their neighbors would choose to become mercenaries. And all because Mordecai had refused to bow to Haman, the king’s right-hand-man with an unquenchable lust for power. Not unlike the King.
And there was Esther, a young queen, whose relationship with Xerxes was hardly a relationship. She hadn’t even seen him in thirty days, and only ever saw him when summoned — which was likely not for her wise counsel or witty banter.
So like I said, it was a terrifying moment in the Jews’ history when Mordecai said this:
If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this? (Esther 4:14)
In some ways, the book of Esther is more about Mordecai than Esther. For sure, her story is important — she did a brave thing from a considerably low position at a pivotal and crucial time, and her actions saved the Jewish people and removed an evil man from power.… Continue Reading
Today’s Bible passages are: Genesis 18, Matthew 17, Nehemiah 7, and Acts 17
By Amy Kannel
I love to devour a good novel, and I’m not picky—I enjoy classics and contemporary authors, historical fiction and young adult lit, fantasy and mystery. I also love to write—essays and letters, blog posts and poetry, even research papers. But I leave the writing of fiction to the experts, for good reason.
I still laugh when I think of my favorite college writing professor’s compassionate but blunt comments, scrawled at the bottom of the short story I turned in for her creative writing class (I’m that crazy pack rat who saves everything, so this is an exact quote): “Well…” she wrote. “Let me just say that I like your poetry better. But I can see that you tried.”
She called my characters “flat”; other adjectives included “tedious,” “obvious,” “corny.” (For the record, she was 100% right, and the grade can only be described as grace—when I reread the story ten years later, it was even worse than I remembered.) No matter how much I enjoy stories, I don’t seem to have quite the imagination to pull one out of my own head.
I first discovered the depths of my total inability to write fiction during my senior year of high school, in a creative writing workshop with my favorite teacher.… Continue Reading
Today’s Bible passages are: Genesis 15, Matthew 14, Nehemiah 4, and Acts 14
By Kelli Campbell
Today’s photos are a response to all four passages from today’s Scripture readings.
From Acts 14:
When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. (verses 21-22, emphasis added)
From Matthew 14:
And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” (verses 28-32, emphasis added)
From Nehemiah 4:
So we built the wall.
… Continue Reading
Today’s Bible passages are: Genesis 3, Matthew 3, Ezra 3, and Acts 3
By Lisa Velthouse
Last week, crammed into a house far to small for all of us, my (ever-expanding) family of origin gathered as a whole for the first time in two years. We relished the in-person hugs and the introductions of family members who hadn’t yet met. We caught up on the kind of news that gets forgotten or breezed over during Skype and Facetime chats. We laughed about the same old stories and made fools of ourselves playing ridiculous games. We sat around for hours over breakfasts, lunches, dinners. More than once, we wore pajamas well into the afternoon.
Since the last time we were together, we have added three members: two babies and a fiancée. We’ve changed for the better: degrees begun and completed; jobs changed; promotions earned; homes rented, purchased and sold; engagements announced; babies born. In all this change, there has been much to congratulate and celebrate.
But we are also the same as we were before, so there is still plenty to mourn. In this little family alone, hearts are heavy under aches that haven’t gone away, unmet desires that haven’t faded, strains that haven’t been eased, questions that haven’t been answered, and griefs that haven’t worn fully away.… Continue Reading