our daily bread 2023 Tuesday, January 31, 2023 6:16 PM GMT+1
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Our Daily Bread Daily Devotional for 2023


Tuesday, February 28, 2023

A Baboon, a Donkey, and Me

Bible in a Year: Numbers 20–22, Mark 7:1–13

Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth.
Numbers 22:28

Today's Scripture & Insight: Numbers 22:21–31

Jack knew how to put trains on the right track. In nine years of work, he never missed a track switch as locomotives drew near the Uitenhage, South Africa, station, indicating by their whistles the direction they were to go.

Jack was also a chacma baboon. He was cared for by railway signalman James Wide, and Jack in turn took care of James. Wide had lost both his legs in a fall between moving rail cars. He...More

Monday, February 27, 2023

Seeing a Need

Bible in a Year: Numbers 17–19, Mark 6:30–56

All the widows stood around [Peter], crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made.
Acts 9:39

Today's Scripture & Insight: Acts 9:36–42

In the last few days of my dad’s life, one of the nurses dropped by his room and asked me if she could give him a shave. As Rachel gently pulled the razor across his face, she explained, “Older men of his generation like to have a neat shave every day.” Rachel had seen a need and acted on her instinct to show kindness, dignity, and respect to someone. The...More

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Is It a Sign?

Bible in a Year: Numbers 15–16, Mark 6:1–29

I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.
Psalm 40:8

Today's Scripture & Insight: 1 Samuel 24:1–7

The offer looked good, and was exactly what Peter needed. After being laid off, this sole breadwinner of a young family had prayed desperately for a job. “Surely this is God’s answer to your prayers,” his friends suggested.

Reading about the prospective employer, however, Peter felt uneasy. The company invested in suspicious businesses and had been flagged for corruption. In the end, Peter...More

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Keep Talking about Jesus!

Bible in a Year: Numbers 12–14, Mark 5:21–43

Day after day, . . . [the apostles] never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.
Acts 5:42

Today's Scripture & Insight: Acts 5:17–21, 25–29, 41–42

In an interview, a musician who’s a believer in Christ recalls a time he was urged to “stop talking about Jesus” so much. Why? It was suggested that his band could be more famous and raise more money to feed the poor if he stopped saying his work was all about Jesus. After thinking it through, he decided, “The entire point of my...More

Friday, February 24, 2023

Praying in Difficult Times

Bible in a Year: Numbers 9–11, Mark 5:1–20

From the ends of the earth I call to you . . . as my heart grows faint.
Psalm 61:2

Today's Scripture & Insight: Psalm 61

Author and theologian Russell Moore described noticing the eerie silence in the Russian orphanage where he adopted his boys. Someone later explained that the babies had stopped crying because they learned that no one would respond to their cries.

When we face difficult times, we too can feel that no one hears. And worst of all, we can feel that God Himself doesn’t listen to our cries or see our...More

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Water of Life

Bible in a Year: Numbers 7–8, Mark 4:21–41

You would have asked him and he would have given you living water.
John 4:10

Today's Scripture & Insight: John 4:4–14

Andrea’s home life was unstable, and she left at fourteen, finding a job and living with friends. Yearning for love and affirmation, she later moved in with a man who introduced her to drugs, which she added to the alcohol she already drank regularly. But the relationship and the substances didn’t satisfy her longings. She kept searching, and after several years she met some believers in Jesus who reached...More

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Be Humble Day

Bible in a Year: Numbers 4–6, Mark 4:1–20

He humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
Philippians 2:8

Today's Scripture & Insight: Philippians 2:1–11

I’m often amused by the unofficial holidays people come up with. February alone has a Sticky Bun Day, a Sword Swallowers Day, even a Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day! Today has been labeled Be Humble Day. Universally recognized as a virtue, humility is certainly worth celebrating. But interestingly, this hasn’t always been the case.

Humility was considered a weakness, not a...More

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Protect Your Heart

Bible in a Year: Numbers 1–3, Mark 3

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
Proverbs 4:23

Today's Scripture & Insight: Proverbs 4:20–27

Hungarian-born mathematician Abraham Wald lent his skills to the World War II efforts after coming to the United States in 1938. The military was looking for ways to protect its aircraft from enemy fire, so Wald and his colleagues at the Statistical Research Group were asked to figure out how to better protect military aircraft to defend against enemy fire. They began by examining returning aircraft to...More

Monday, February 20, 2023

What’s Truly Needed

Bible in a Year: Leviticus 26–27, Mark 2

You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.
Mark 7:8

Today's Scripture & Insight: Mark 7:8–13

While preparing a meal, a young mother cut a pot roast in half before she put it in a large pot. Her husband asked her why she cut the meat in half. She replied, “Because that’s the way my mother does it.”

Her husband’s question, however, piqued the woman’s curiosity. So she asked her mother about the tradition. She was shocked to learn that her mother cut the meat so it would fit...More

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Revival Comes

Bible in a Year: Leviticus 25, Mark 1:23–45

If my people . . . will humble themselves . . . , then I will hear from heaven.
2 Chronicles 7:14

Today's Scripture & Insight: 2 Chronicles 7:11–16

Aurukun is a small town in northern Australia—its Aboriginal population drawn from seven clans. While the gospel came to Aurukun a century ago, eye-for-eye retribution sometimes remained. In 2015, clan tensions grew, and when a murder happened, payback required someone from the offender’s family to die in return.

But something remarkable happened in early 2016. The...More

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Prayer Cards

Bible in a Year: Leviticus 23–24, Mark 1:1–22

Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.
Ephesians 6:18

Today's Scripture & Insight: Ephesians 6:10–20

During a writing conference where I served as a faculty member, Tamy handed me a postcard with a handwritten prayer on the back. She explained that she read the faculty biographies, wrote specific prayers on each card, and prayed as she delivered them to us. In awe over the details in her personal message to me, I thanked God for encouraging me through Tamy’s gesture. Then I prayed for...More

Friday, February 17, 2023

Cleansed Completely

Bible in a Year: Leviticus 21–22, Matthew 28

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.
Isaiah 64:6

Today's Scripture & Insight: Isaiah 64:1–8

Recently, my wife and I were cleaning our house before having guests over. I noticed some dark stains on our white kitchen tile floor—the kind that required getting on my knees to scrub.

But I soon had a sinking realization: the more I scrubbed, the more I noticed other stains. Each stain I eliminated only made the others that much more obvious. Our kitchen floor...More

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Reflecting Christ’s Light

Bible in a Year: Leviticus 19–20, Matthew 27:51–66

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
John 1:4

Today's Scripture & Insight: John 1:4–9

To capture the beauty of reflective light in his landscape oil paintings, artist Armand Cabrera works with a key artistic principle: “Reflected light is never as strong as its source light.” He observes that novice painters tend to exaggerate reflected light. He says, “Reflected light belongs to the shadow and as such it must support, not compete with the lighted areas of your painting.”


Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Juror Number 8

Bible in a Year: Leviticus 17–18, Matthew 27:27–50

Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong.
Exodus 23:2

Today's Scripture & Insight: Exodus 23:1–9

“One man is dead. Another man’s life is at stake,” says the judge somberly in the classic 1957 film 12 Angry Men. The evidence against the young suspect appears overwhelming. But during deliberations, it’s the brokenness of the jury that’s exposed. One of the twelve—juror number 8—votes “not guilty.” A heated debate ensues, in which the lone juror is mocked as he points out discrepancies in the testimony....More

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Rejoicing Love

Bible in a Year: Leviticus 15–16, Matthew 27:1–26

As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.
Isaiah 62:5

Today's Scripture & Insight: Isaiah 62:1–5

Brendan and Katie beamed at each other. Looking at the pure joy on their faces, you would have never guessed the difficult ways so many of their wedding plans had been dramatically altered due to COVID-19 restrictions. Even with only twenty-five family members present, joy and peace radiated from the two as they said their vows because of their love for each other and expressed their...More

Monday, February 13, 2023

When Hard Pressed

Bible in a Year: Leviticus 14, Matthew 26:51–75

The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.
Psalm 118:6

Today's Scripture & Insight: Psalm 118:5–14

Many years ago, a friend told me how intimidated she was while trying to cross a street where several roads intersected. “I’d never seen anything like this; the rules I’d been taught for crossing the street seemed ineffective. I was so frightened that I’d stand on the corner, wait for the bus, and ask the bus driver if he’d please allow me to ride to the other side of the street. It would take a long time before I...More

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Information and Evidence

Bible in a Year: Leviticus 13, Matthew 26:26–50

These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God.
John 20:31

Today's Scripture & Insight: John 20:26–31

When Doris Kearns Goodwin decided to write a book about Abraham Lincoln, the fact that some fourteen thousand books had already been written about America’s sixteenth president intimidated her. What could be left to say about this beloved leader? Undeterred, Goodwin’s work resulted in A Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. Her fresh insights on Lincoln’s...More

Saturday, February 11, 2023

An Undeserved Gift

Bible in a Year: Leviticus 11–12, Matthew 26:1–25

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.
1 Timothy 1:15

Today's Scripture & Insight: 1 Timothy 1:12–16

When my friend gave me a gift recently, I was surprised. I didn’t think I deserved such a nice present from her. She’d sent it after hearing about some work stress I was experiencing. Yet she was going through just as much stress, if not more, than I was, with an aging parent, challenging children, upheaval at work, and strain on her marriage. I couldn’t believe she had thought...More

Friday, February 10, 2023

Come Home to God

Bible in a Year: Leviticus 8–10, Matthew 25:31–46

He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.
Psalm 91:2

Today's Scripture & Insight: Psalm 91:1−2, 14−16

One early evening while I was jogging near a construction site in our neighborhood, a skinny, dirty kitten meowed at me plaintively and followed me home. Today, Mickey is a healthy, handsome adult cat, enjoying a comfortable life in our household and deeply loved by my family. Whenever I jog on the road where I found him, I often think, Thank You, God. Mickey was spared from living on the streets. He...More

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Seeing Jesus

Bible in a Year: Leviticus 6–7, Matthew 25:1–30

Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.
John 14:9

Today's Scripture & Insight: John 14:1–11

At four months old, Leo had never seen his parents. He’d been born with a rare condition that left his vision blurred. For him, it was like living in dense fog. But then eye doctors fit him with a special set of glasses.

Leo’s father posted the video of Mom placing the new glasses over his eyes for the first time. We watch as Leo’s eyes slowly focus. A smile spreads wide across his face as he truly sees his...More

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

God’s Arms Are Open

Bible in a Year: Leviticus 4–5, Matthew 24:29–51

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins.
1 John 1:9

Today's Scripture & Insight: 1 John 1:5–10

I frowned at my cellphone and sighed. Worry wrinkled my brow. A friend and I had had a serious disagreement over an issue with our children, and I knew I needed to call her and apologize. I didn’t want to do it because our viewpoints were still in conflict, yet I knew I hadn’t been kind or humble the last time we discussed the matter.

Anticipating the phone call, I wondered,...More

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

The Good Shepherd

Bible in a Year: Leviticus 1–3, Matthew 24:1–28

As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock..., so will I look after my sheep.
Ezekiel 34:12

Today's Scripture & Insight: Ezekiel 34:11–16

When Pastor Warren heard that a man in his church had deserted his wife and family, he asked God to help him meet the man as if by accident so they could chat. And He did! When Warren walked into a restaurant, he spotted the gentleman in a nearby booth. “Got some room for another hungry man?” he asked, and soon they were sharing deeply and praying together.

As a...More

Monday, February 6, 2023

The Loneliest Man

Bible in a Year: Exodus 39–40, Matthew 23:23–39

While Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness.
Genesis 39:20–21

Today's Scripture & Insight: Genesis 39:11–22

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped out of their lunar landing module and became the first humans to walk on the surface of the moon. But we don’t often think about the third person on their team, Michael Collins, who was flying the command module for Apollo 11.

After his teammates clambered down the ladder to test the lunar surface,...More

Saturday, February 4, 2023

What’s Your Name?

Bible in a Year: Exodus 34–35, Matthew 22:23–46

Don’t call me Naomi...Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter.
Ruth 1:20

Today's Scripture & Insight: Ruth 1:3–8, 15–21

Jen remarried after her first husband died. The children of her new husband never accepted her, and now that he’s passed away too, they hate her for remaining in their childhood home. Her husband left a modest sum to provide for her; his kids say she’s stealing their inheritance. Jen is understandably discouraged, and she’s grown bitter.

Naomi’s husband...More

Friday, February 3, 2023

We Are Strangers

Bible in a Year: Exodus 31–33, Matthew 22:1–22

The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born.
Leviticus 19:34

Today's Scripture & Insight: Leviticus 19:32–37

Everything felt drastically different in their new country—new language, schools, customs, traffic, and weather. They wondered how they would ever adjust. People from a nearby church gathered around them to help them in their new life in a new land. Patti took the couple shopping at a local food market to show them what’s available and how to purchase items. As they wandered around the...More

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Like Our Great Teacher

Bible in a Year: Exodus 29–30, Matthew 21:23–46

The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.
Luke 6:40

Today's Scripture & Insight: Luke 6:37–42

In a viral video, a three-year-old white belt karate student imitated her instructor. With passion and conviction the little girl said the student creed with her leader. Then, with poise and attentiveness, the little ball of cuteness and energy imitated everything her teacher said and did—at least she did a pretty good job!

Jesus once said, “The student is...More

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Blessing in the Tears

Bible in a Year: Exodus 27–28, Matthew 21:1–22

Blessed are those who mourn.
Matthew 5:4

Today's Scripture & Insight: Matthew 5:1–12

I received an email from a young man in England, a son who explained that his father (only sixty- three) was in the hospital in critical condition, hanging on to life. Though we’d never met, his dad’s work and mine shared many intersections. The son, trying to cheer his father, asked me to send a video message of encouragement and prayer. Deeply moved, I recorded a short message and a prayer for healing. I was told that his dad...More

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Sustainer of Blessings

Bible in a Year: Exodus 25–26, Matthew 20:17–34

Remember the Lord your God.
Deuteronomy 8:18

Today's Scripture & Insight: Deuteronomy 8:10–18

On January 15, 1919, a huge molasses tank burst in Boston. A fifteen-foot wave of more than two million gallons of molasses careened through the street at over 30 mph, sweeping away railcars, buildings, people, and animals. Molasses might seem harmless enough, but that day it was deadly: 21 people lost their lives with more than 150 injured.

Sometimes even good things—like molasses—can overwhelm us unexpectedly....More

Monday, January 30, 2023

Running on Empty

Bible in a Year: Exodus 23–24, Matthew 20:1–16

They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:31

Today's Scripture & Insight: Isaiah 40:28–31

“I just don’t think I can do this anymore,” my friend said through her tears as she discussed the overwhelming sense of hopelessness she faced as a nurse in a global health crisis. “I know that God has called me to nursing, but I’m overwhelmed and emotionally drained,” she confessed. Seeing that a cloud of exhaustion had come over her, I responded, “I know you feel helpless right...More

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Seven Minutes of Terror

Bible in a Year: Exodus 21–22, Matthew 19

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:16

Today's Scripture & Insight: John 11:38–43

When the Mars rover Perseverance landed on that red planet on February 18, 2021, those monitoring its arrival endured “seven minutes of terror.” As the spacecraft ended its 292-million-mile journey, it went through a complex landing procedure it had to do on its own. Signals from Mars to Earth take several minutes, so NASA couldn’t...More

Saturday, January 28, 2023

The Pink Coat

Bible in a Year: Exodus 19–20, Matthew 18:21–35

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give . . . for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:7

Today's Scripture & Insight: 2 Corinthians 9:6–9

Brenda was walking toward the mall exit when a flush of pink from a display window caught her eye. She turned and stood spellbound before a “cotton-candy-colored coat.” Oh, how Holly would love it! Finances had been tight for her coworker friend who was a single mother, and while Brenda knew Holly needed a warm coat, she was also confident that...More

Friday, January 27, 2023

Mercy for You and Me

Bible in a Year: Exodus 16–18, Matthew 18:1–20

He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever.
Psalm 103:9

Today's Scripture & Insight: Psalm 103:8–12

One of consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic was the docking of cruise ships and the quarantining of passengers. The Wall Street Journal featured an article that included interviews of some of the tourists. Commenting about how being quarantined provided more opportunities for conversations, one passenger joked how his spouse—who possessed an excellent memory—was able to bring up every transgression he...More

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Love That Forgives

Bible in a Year: Exodus 14–15, Matthew 17

Bear with each other and forgive one another.
Colossians 3:13

Today's Scripture & Insight: Colossians 3:12–14

Eighty years of marriage! My husband’s great-uncle Pete and great-aunt Ruth celebrated this remarkable milestone on May 31, 2021. After a chance meeting in 1941 when Ruth was still in high school, the young couple were so eager to get married that they eloped the day after Ruth graduated. Pete and Ruth believe God brought them together and has guided them all these years.

Reflecting on eight decades of...More

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Fighting “Flashy” Things

Bible in a Year: Exodus 12–13, Matthew 16

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
Proverbs 22:6

Today's Scripture & Insight: Proverbs 22:1–6

In the 1960s-era TV series The Andy Griffith Show, a man tells Andy he should let his son Opie decide how he wants to live. Andy disagrees: “You can’t let a young’un decide for himself. He’ll grab at the first flashy thing with shiny ribbons on it. Then, when he finds out there’s a hook in it, it’s too late. Wrong ideas come packaged with so much glitter that...More

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

No Loss

Bible in a Year: Exodus 9–11, Matthew 15:21–29

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure.
Matthew 13:44

Today's Scripture & Insight: Matthew 13:44–46

My friend Ruel attended a high school reunion held in a former classmate’s home. The waterfront mansion near Manila Bay could accommodate two hundred attendees, and it made Ruel feel small.

“I’ve had many happy years of pastoring remote rural churches,” Ruel told me, “and even though I know I shouldn’t, I couldn’t help but feel envious of my classmate’s material wealth. My thoughts strayed to how...More

Monday, January 23, 2023

Lost, Found, Joy

Bible in a Year: Exodus 7–8, Matthew 15:1–20

Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.
Luke 15:6

Today's Scripture & Insight: Luke 15:1–10

“They call me ‘the ringmaster.’ So far this year I’ve found 167 lost rings.”

During a walk on the beach with my wife, Cari, we struck up a conversation with an older man who was using a metal detector to scan an area just below the surf line. “Sometimes rings have names on them,” he explained, “and I love seeing their owners’ faces when I return them. I post online and check to see if anyone...More

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Reaching Out

Bible in a Year: Exodus 4–6, Matthew 14:22–36

He reached down from on high and took hold of me.
Psalm 18:16

Today's Scripture & Insight: Psalm 18:16–19

In a recent post, blogger Bonnie Gray recounted the moment when overwhelming sadness began to creep into her heart. “Out of the blue,” she stated, “during the happiest chapter in my life, . . . I suddenly started experiencing panic attacks and depression.” Gray tried to find different ways to address her pain, but she soon realized that she wasn’t strong enough to handle it alone. “I hadn’t wanted anyone...More

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Coffee Breath

Bible in a Year: Exodus 1–3, Matthew 14:1–21

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Ephesians 4:2

Today's Scripture & Insight: Ephesians 4:1–5, 25–31

I was sitting in my chair one morning years ago when my youngest came downstairs. She made a beeline for me, jumping up onto my lap. I gave her a fatherly squeeze and a gentle kiss on the head, and she squealed with delight. But then she furrowed her brow, crinkled her nose, and shot an accusatory glance at my coffee mug. “Daddy,” she announced solemnly. “I love you,...More

Friday, January 20, 2023

Love like Blazing Fire

Bible in a Year: Genesis 49–50, Matthew 13:31–58

[Love] burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.
Song of Songs 8:6

Today's Scripture & Insight: Song of Songs 8:5–7

Poet, painter, and printmaker William Blake enjoyed a forty-five-year marriage with his wife, Catherine. From their wedding day until his death in 1827, they worked side by side. Catherine added color to William’s sketches, and their devotion endured years of poverty and other challenges. Even in his final weeks as his health failed, Blake kept at his art, and his final sketch was his wife’s face....More

Thursday, January 19, 2023

But I’m Telling You

Bible in a Year: Genesis 46–48, Matthew 13:1–30

But I tell you, love your enemies.
Matthew 5:44

Today's Scripture & Insight: Matthew 5:43–48

“I know what they’re saying. But I’m telling you . . .” As a boy, I heard my mother give that speech a thousand times. The context was always peer pressure. She was trying to teach me not to follow the herd. I’m not a boy any longer, but herd mentality’s still alive and kicking. A current example is this phrase: “Only surround yourself with positive people.” Now while that phrase may be commonly heard, the...More

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Heart Problem

Bible in a Year: Genesis 43–45, Matthew 12:24–50

The Sovereign Lord says: Repent! Turn from your idols and renounce all your detestable practices!
Ezekiel 14:6

Today's Scripture & Insight: Ezekiel 14:1–8

“Do you see it, brother Tim?” My friend, a Ghanaian pastor, flashed his torchlight on a carved object leaning against a mud hut. Quietly he said, “That is the village idol.” Each Tuesday evening, Pastor Sam traveled into the bush to share the Bible in this remote village.

In the book of Ezekiel, we see how idolatry plagued the people of Judah. When...More

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Never Late

Bible in a Year: Genesis 41–42, Matthew 12:1–23

Your brother will rise again.
John 11:23

Today's Scripture & Insight: John 11:17–27

As a visitor to a small West African town, my American pastor made sure to arrive on time for a 10 a.m. Sunday service. Inside the humble sanctuary, however, he found the room empty. So he waited. One hour. Two hours. Finally, about 12:30 p.m., when the local pastor arrived after his long walk there—followed by some choir members and a gathering of friendly town people—the service began “in the fullness of time,” as my...More

Monday, January 16, 2023

Be Filled

Bible in a Year: Genesis 39–40, Matthew 11

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Matthew 5:6

Today's Scripture & Insight: Isaiah 58:6–12

The horrific assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. happened at the height of the American civil rights movement of the 1960s. But just four days later, his widow Coretta Scott King courageously took her husband’s place in leading a peaceful protest march. Coretta had a deep passion for justice and was a fierce champion of many causes.

Jesus said, “Blessed are those who...More

Sunday, January 15, 2023

From Lament to Praise

Bible in a Year: Genesis 36–38, Matthew 10:21–42

I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
Habakkuk 3:18

Today's Scripture & Insight: Habakkuk 3:17–19

Monica prayed feverishly for her son to return to God. She wept over his wayward ways and even tracked him down in the various cities where he chose to live. The situation seemed hopeless. Then one day it happened: her son had a radical encounter with God. He became one of the greatest theologians of the church. We know him as Augustine, Bishop of Hippo.

“How long, Lord?” (Habakkuk...More

Saturday, January 14, 2023

A New Beginning

Bible in a Year: Genesis 33–35, Matthew 10:1–20

Save me, Lord, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues.
Psalm 120:2

Today's Scripture & Insight: Psalm 120:1–121:2

“Christian consciousness begins in the painful realization that what we had assumed was the truth is in fact a lie,” Eugene Peterson wrote in his powerful reflections on Psalm 120. Psalm 120 is the first of the Psalms of Ascents (Psalms 120–134) sung by pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem. And as Peterson explored this in A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, these psalms also offer us a picture of...More

Friday, January 13, 2023

The Crowd

Bible in a Year: Genesis 31–32, Matthew 9:18–38

I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for [my people’s] sake.
Romans 9:3

Today's Scripture & Insight: Romans 9:1–5

“Men have been found to resist the most powerful monarchs and to refuse to bow down before them,” observed philosopher and author Hannah Arendt (1906–75). She added, “[B]ut few indeed have been found to resist the crowd, to stand up alone before misguided masses, to face their implacable frenzy without weapons.” As a Jew, Arendt witnessed this firsthand in her native...More

Thursday, January 12, 2023

The Rest of Our Story

Bible in a Year: Genesis 29–30, Matthew 9:1–17

Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, . . . has triumphed.
Revelation 5:5

Today's Scripture & Insight: Revelation 5:1–10

For more than six decades, news journalist Paul Harvey was a familiar voice on American radio. He would say with a colorful flair, “You know what the news is, in a minute you’re going to hear the rest of the story.” After a brief advertisement, he would tell a little-known story of a well-known person. But by withholding until the end either the person’s name or...More

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Out of the Lions’ Den

Bible in a Year: Genesis 27–28, Matthew 8:18–34

My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions.
Daniel 6:22

Today's Scripture & Insight: Daniel 6:10–23

When Taher and his wife, Donya, became believers in Jesus, they knew they risked persecution in their home country. Indeed, one day Taher was blindfolded, handcuffed, imprisoned, and charged with apostasy. Before he appeared at trial, he and Donya agreed that they wouldn’t betray Jesus.

What happened at the sentencing amazed him. The judge said, “I don’t know why, but I want to take you out...More

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

The God Who Redeems

Bible in a Year: Genesis 25–26, Matthew 8:1–17

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you.
Isaiah 43:1

Today's Scripture & Insight: Isaiah 43:1–7

As part of a sermon illustration, I walked toward the beautiful painting an artist had been creating on the platform and made a dark streak across the middle of it. The congregation gasped in horror. The artist simply stood by and watched as I defaced what she’d created. Then, selecting a new brush, she lovingly transformed the ruined painting into an exquisite work of art.

Her restorative work reminds me of the work...More

Monday, January 9, 2023

The Right Jesus

Bible in a Year: Genesis 23–24, Matthew 7

If someone...preaches a [false] Jesus other than the Jesus we preached,...you [wrongly] put up with it.
2 Corinthians 11:4

Today's Scripture & Insight: 2 Corinthians 11:1–4, 12–15

The buzz in the room faded to a comfortable silence as the book club leader summarized the novel the group would discuss. My friend Joan listened closely but didn’t recognize the plot. Finally, she realized she had read a nonfiction book with a similar title to the work of fiction the others had read. Although she enjoyed reading the “wrong”...More

Sunday, January 8, 2023

More than Conquerors

Bible in a Year: Genesis 20–22, Matthew 6:19–34

In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
Romans 8:37

Today's Scripture & Insight: Romans 8:31–39

When my husband coached our son’s Little League baseball team, he rewarded the players with an end-of-year party and acknowledged their improvement over the season. One of our youngest players, Dustin, approached me during the event. “Didn’t we lose the game today?”

“Yes,” I said. “But we’re proud of you for doing your best.”

“I know,” he said....More

Saturday, January 7, 2023

Who Are You, Lord?

Bible in a Year: Genesis 18–19, Matthew 6:1–18

“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.
Acts 9:5

Today's Scripture & Insight: Acts 9:1–9

At age sixteen, Luis Rodriguez had already been in jail for selling crack. But now, arrested for attempted murder, he was in prison again—looking at a life sentence. But God spoke into his guilty circumstances. Behind bars, young Luis remembered his early years when his mother had faithfully taken him to church. He now felt God tugging at his heart. Luis eventually repented of his sins and came to Jesus.

In the book of Acts,...More

Friday, January 6, 2023

Made for Adventure

Bible in a Year: Genesis 16–17, Matthew 5:27–48

Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.
Genesis 1:28

Today's Scripture & Insight: Genesis 1:21–28

I recently made a wonderful discovery. Following a dirt path into a cluster of trees near my home, I found a hidden homemade playground. A ladder made of sticks led up to a lookout, swings made from old cable spools hung from branches, and there was even a suspension bridge slung between boughs. Someone had turned some old wood and rope into a creative adventure!

Swiss physician Paul...More

Thursday, January 5, 2023

A Nesting Place

Bible in a Year: Genesis 13–15, Matthew 5:1–26

I am going there to prepare a place for you.
John 14:2

Today's Scripture & Insight: John 14:1–4

Sand martins—small birds related to swallows—dig their nests into riverbanks. Land development in South East England reduced their habitat, and the birds had fewer and fewer places to nest when they returned from their winter migration each year. Local conservationists sprang into action and built an enormous artificial sandbank to house them. With the help of a sand-sculpting firm, they molded sand to create a space for...More

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

New Vision

Bible in a Year: Genesis 10–12, Matthew 4

I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
Isaiah 43:19

Today's Scripture & Insight: Isaiah 43:18–21

Wearing my new eyeglasses as I stepped into the sanctuary, I sat down and spotted a friend sitting directly across the aisle on the other side of the church. As I waved at her, she looked so near and clear. It felt like I could reach out and touch her even though she was several yards away. Later, as we talked following the service, I realized she was in the same seat she always sat in. I simply could see...More

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Rescue Mission

Bible in a Year: Genesis 7–9, Matthew 3

Lord, I wait for you; you will answer, Lord my God.
Psalm 38:15

Today's Scripture & Insight: Psalm 38:11–22

Volunteers at a farm animal rescue organization in Australia found a wandering sheep weighed down by more than seventy-five pounds of filthy, matted wool. Rescuers suspected the sheep had been forgotten and lost in the bush for at least five years. Volunteers soothed him through the uncomfortable process of shearing away his heavy fleece. Once freed from his burden, Baarack ate. His legs grew stronger. He became more...More

Monday, January 2, 2023

A Small Start

Bible in a Year: Genesis 4–6, Matthew 2

Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small..., out of you will come...[a] ruler over Israel.
Micah 5:2

Today's Scripture & Insight: Micah 5:2–4

The Brooklyn Bridge was considered “the eighth wonder of the world” upon its completion in 1883. But a single, slender wire strung from one bridge tower to the other was essential for the structure to come to fruition. Additional wires were added to the first until a massive cable, along with three others, was woven together. When finished, each cable—composed of more than five...More

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Choose Joy

Bible in a Year: Genesis 1–3, Matthew 1

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Philippians 4:4

Today's Scripture & Insight: Philippians 1:12–21

Keith was feeling down as he trudged through the produce aisle. His hands trembled from the first signs of Parkinson’s disease. How long before his quality of life began to slide? What would this mean for his wife and children? Keith’s gloom was shattered by laughter. Over by the potatoes, a man pushed a giggling boy in a wheelchair. The man leaned over and whispered to his son, who couldn’t stop...More

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