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Are You Ripe for the Picking?

Read it! Amos 8

“What do you see, Amos?” he asked.

“A basket of ripe fruit,” I answered.

Then the Lord said to me, “The time is ripe for my people Israel;

I will spare them no longer.”

(vs 1&2)

 

Think it through

I was disappointed by my pears this week. Two days ago I cut one open and it was hard as a rock, like eating an apple. Today, I picked one up and could tell by the feel that it was overripe. Obviously, the day to eat my pear was yesterday, and I missed it.

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It’s No Obstacle to God

Read it! Acts 28

But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects.

(vs 5)

 

Think it through

OK, so I’m really afraid of snakes. Really afraid. I had a hard time featuring this verse because it has the word “snake” in it, and of course the visual image of Paul shaking it off into the fire (my stomach is turning over right now). Every time I read this passage I laugh out loud at verse 6, probably out of sheer relief that the snake part is over. But God spoke to my heart through this verse today, through this snake-shaking image, so there it is.

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A Confident Leader with a Dependent Heart

Read it! Acts 27

Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve

stood beside me and said,

“Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar;

and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.”

(vs 23-24)

 

Think it through

Acts 27 reads like an adventure story—a true one! To be in the midst of a “northeaster,” on a ship with ropes tied around it to keep it together…to be lost at sea for two weeks…to throw over cargo and tackle with your own hands just to keep the ship afloat…and after all of that, to look to one of the ship’s prisoners to be the heroic leader.

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Tired Trust

Read it! Acts 21

Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart?

I am ready not only to be bound,

but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”

(vs 13)

Think it through

Acts 21 starts out with a description of Paul’s travels—some of the places he stayed and people he encountered. It’s easy to read over these words quickly, especially since we’ve never been to these places (at least I haven’t).

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Nicholas and the Christ Child

I wrote this story for parents like me who want to share the fun of Santa while making Christmas completely about Jesus.  As I’ve said to my own children time and again,

“I don’t know much about Santa; all I know is that he loves Jesus so much that he wants to give presents to kids on His birthday.”

 

(Please note that this isn’t meant to be historically accurate; it’s just a story.

But there’s plenty of truth in it for me.)

 

In the weeks following Christ’s birth, the news about the baby King began to spread. The shepherds told everyone they knew, and so others began to visit the newborn babe. They added their own stories to the story of the shepherds, telling all of their neighbors, friends, and acquaintances.

Soon the Good News had spread far and wide and even up into the North Country, where it met the ears of a kind man named Nicholas. Nicholas went home to his wife and told her of the baby who had his own star.

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How Weakness Brings Glory

Read it! I Samuel 17

All those gathered here will know that it is not by the sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.

(vs 47)

Think it through

As he says these words, David is looking up at Goliath. Nine foot tall Goliath (I can look at my eight foot-high ceiling to get some perspective on that!). Covered in armor Goliath. Wielding a huge sword Goliath. And next to him, there’s young, ruddy David with his slingshot and five smooth stones.

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