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 24, John 3, Job 42, and 2 Corinthians 12

By Kelli Campbell

john 3

Today’s art is a response to John 3:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” (John 3:16-21, ESV)

Today’s Question: What does it mean to you, that God is one who comes to save and not to condemn?

KelliC_200Since marrying her Marine thirteen years ago, Kelli Campbell has lived in eight homes.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Exodus 22, John 1, Job 40, and 2 Corinthians 10

John 1 by Erin LeighBy Erin Leigh

Today’s art is a response to John 1:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

 

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

 

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

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: Genesis 50, Luke 3, Job 16-17, and 1 Corinthians 4

Luke 3By Amy Kannel

I don’t normally think of John the Baptist as a “good news” kind of guy. To be honest, I might use the words “abrasive weirdo.” This, after all, is the guy who wandered the desert wearing camel’s hair and eating grasshoppers. In Luke 3, he begins with the winsome, sensitive strategy of calling his audience a “brood of vipers,” then threatens them with fiery judgment. Twice. His last line in this passage is a dire threat: “the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire” (v. 17)—and then Luke sums up John’s ministry with this unexpected description: “So with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people” (v. 18). Wait a minute. Did I miss something?

If I had to distill John the Baptist’s ministry into a word or two, I’d go with “repent,” not “good news.” But Luke cuts sharply through the false dichotomy, reminding me that repentance is good news.

***

My older son, a kindergartner, had a snow day last Monday, and my mothering was especially awesome that day. Instead of enjoying some extra quiet time while my boys slept in, I lay in bed repeatedly hitting snooze and then messing around on my phone.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Genesis 43, Mark 13, Job 9, and Romans 13

genesis 43By Lisa Velthouse

ONE

Look at today, and you will see a woman getting ready. Clothes, hair, makeup, these shoes not those, snacks tossed into a purse for the kids, pile into the minivan, drive.

Look at today, and you will see that she and they are going to visit her husband, their daddy, at work.

***

Now, take a step outward and look again. Her dress is new and maybe a smidge more expensive than normal. She got up an hour early to ensure there’d be enough time for everyday mothering fiascoes and hair and makeup. The shoes are perfect. The snacks are favorites. The minivan has even been cleared out and vacuumed.

They are going to visit her husband, their daddy, at work. They drive through the security gate and make their way toward the parking lot.

***

One more step outward.

The dress is his favorite color. Her hair and makeup are styled just the way he likes it best. The shoes are a great match, sure, but (equally importantly) they’re great for running and for seeing above a crowd. Snacks will be essential—they’ll help burn time while fueling these unending excited jitters.… Continue Reading

Today’s Bible passages are: Genesis 32, Mark 3, Esther 8, and Mark 3

genesis 32By Lisa Velthouse

We have settled on a name for the wildly moving mass of unborn boy that is taking over my torso. It is still a few months ahead of our son’s arrival, and we’ve known his gender for only a handful of weeks—still, it feels like this process of deciding took forever.

Any name my husband liked, I couldn’t stand, and vice versa. (We knew it would be this way. The disagreements were foreshadowed early in our marriage, when Nathan told me he loved the Puritan practice of naming children after virtues: Patience, Chastity, etc. I twisted up my whole face at him in response.) This time around was the same as with the naming of our daughter: one of us would toss out an idea, and the other would immediately make a face or say, determinedly and disgustedly, NO.

But we hashed it out, because names are important. This boy will wear his forever: infancy, childhood, awkward teenage years, early adulthood, old age—as long as he is privileged to live. The sounds made by his name will reverberate on people’s ears when he first introduces himself.… 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

Today’s Bible passages are: Genesis 25, Matthew 24, Esther 1, and Acts 24

01242014_SRBy Stephanie Rische

Time magazine recently ran a cover story with the evocative title “Why Mom Liked You Best.” In it Jeffrey Kluger makes the claim that all parents—even those who vehemently deny it—have a favorite child. Since Kulger’s Time article came out, scientists, psychologists, and parents have engaged in heated discussion about whether this is indeed the case for all parents. It may be difficult to prove his theory scientifically, but there is no denying that parental favoritism has been around since nearly the dawn of time.

In ancient Greece and Rome, parents who knew they couldn’t care for all their children would commit infanticide, killing their newborn daughters in favor of their sons.

Princess Amelia, the youngest of George III and Queen Charlotte’s fifteen children, was widely known to be her father’s favorite, and she was treated as such from her birth.

Author Charles Dickens felt the effects of not being the favored child. His family didn’t have enough money to send both him and his older sister to school, so they sent his sister to school while he slaved away in boot-blacking factory.

But perhaps one of the most well-known cases of parental favoritism dates back to the book of Genesis.… Continue Reading