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 46, Mark 16, Job 12, and Romans 16
By Kelli Campbell
Today’s art is a response to Job 12:
“But ask the beasts, and they will teach you;
the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you;
or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you;
and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
Who among all these does not know
that the hand of the Lord has done this?
In his hand is the life of every living thing
and the breath of all mankind. (Job 12:7-10, ESV)
Kelli’s thoughts on her art follow:
This passage speaks to me as a photographer—one more comfortable observing the natural world than struggling through a scholarly treatise on nature. Recently, I have been slowly chewing on The Gospel According to Job by Mike Mason, and in reference to these verses he states, “nature still stands as His first and sufficient revelation, His first Gospel” (p 143.) The Bible tells us in Psalm 19:1, “The heavens declare the glory of God,” and again in Romans 1:20, “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world.” Job got it.… Continue Reading
Today’s Bible passages are: Genesis 45, Mark 15, Job 11, and Romans 15
By Jane Graham
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.
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 37, Mark 7, Job 3, and Romans 7
By Teri Vogeli, Guest Contributor
In the movie “The Kid” Bruce Willis plays a publicist. His job is to advise professional people on how not to look or act like idiots. In one scene, he sits with a female senator who is bewailing an incident in which the press has made her out to be a fool. As she sits in front of him, dabbing her eyes and blowing her nose, Willis looks completely unmoved. With a deadpan expression he interrupts her with, “Whaaaaaaaaaaa… somebody call the Whaaambulance.”
I’m sorry, but when I read today’s Scripture from Job 3, this is the scene than came to mind! Now I’m certainly not denying Job his grief! The first two chapters tell his baffling tale and with all that catastrophe, he certainly had every human reason for the outburst in chapter 3. But an odd thing is happening in American culture. The land of the free has turned into the land of addiction to comfort, and it has affected the Christian community as well. It has made us soft. It has made us whiney. It’s made us feel entitled to some holy protection.… 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 14, Matthew 13, Nehemiah 3, and Acts 13
By Jane Graham
I’ve never kept my love for Hallmark much of a secret. In truth, my visits there are a guilty pleasure of candle-induced spending amidst easy listening music and pretty paper products that I’m certain I’ll have good use for.
To ease my guilt, I’ve decided this innocent delight isn’t just about me. I’ve managed to convince myself that it’s practically a ministry, because, well, I send these cards to other people after all.
At least, that’s what I tell myself.
I’m hooked on their snarky birthday cards and silly, been-there-done-that mommy cards. I buy up their weepy thinking-of-you cards and reach for more of their get-better-soon cards, just to have on hand — you know, in case of a card-worthy emergency.
But where Hallmark really works their magic is with encouragement cards. The ones that you send for no real “reason.” The ones that don’t get a stamp because of something “official” on your calendar, but rather, just because you care enough to tell someone, “You’re not alone today.”
Encouragement: what a lovely gift to give.
Today’s Scripture selection included Acts 13. I love this chapter not only for Paul’s amazing gospel proclamation in Antioch but for how his monologue is framed.… Continue Reading
Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Chronicles 30, Revelation 16, Zechariah 12:1-13:1, and John 15
By Stephanie Rische
It’s Christmas Day, the culmination of so much waiting. We’ve been counting down days, lighting candles, wrapping gifts, making plans, and now the day is finally here. Perhaps more than any other day of the year, Christmas serves as a reminder to us who are busy and frantic and enamored with instant gratification that the best things in life are worth waiting for.
I recently heard a Christian leader describe waiting as a form of punishment from God—something of a divine time-out. He said waiting is God’s way of turning his back on us when we do something wrong so we will eventually come to our senses after feeling the pain of his silence.
Now, I have no doubt there are times God uses seasons of waiting to teach us, and it’s true that he sometimes feels distant because of our sin. But as I look through Scripture, I believe there’s something not quite right about that image of waiting. In Scripture, waiting almost always precedes something holy and breathtaking and beyond human expectations.
As we look back on the course of history, before practically every miracle, God calls for a period of waiting.… Continue Reading
Today’s Bible passages are: 2 Chronicles 22-23, Revelation 10, Zechariah 6, and John 9
By Lisa Velthouse
When I was in fifth grade, in the weeks and months that led up to Christmas, two men in our church learned that they had brain tumors. One of the men was a man named Gary. The other was my dad.
Gary’s tumor had been discovered first, and as I recall, it came with a prognosis more grim. His tumor was cancerous, and something about it (either the location or the shape of the tumor or both) made surgery cuts especially complicated. My dad was cancer-free, and we were told that physicians removed tumors like his most commonly of all.
Still, each of the two men required a procedure that involved the work of sharp instruments in his head, so that Christmas was a stressful one for both our families. My parents found solace in a new friendship with Gary and his wife, and I think the feeling was mutual. Both couples were about the same age with a handful of kids, both worked hard to make ends meet, both were facing complicated decisions about doctors, hospitals, surgeries, and radiation, not to mention added financial strain and the all-too-real awareness that everything could change in an instant.… Continue Reading