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Victory is Ours

It’s been raining in Ohio for weeks. If you live here, you know. If you don’t, well, I’ll just say that I’m not sure if there was more than one day in June that it didn’t rain and July has been almost as bad.

Being an “inside girl,” I really don’t mind rain…but things are getting pretty soggy, even for me. And my fellow Ohioans have been getting a little fussy about it. My positive rejoinder, “Well, at least we’re really using our bowling pass!” is starting to wear thin.

Last week there was a day with absolutely no chance of rain in the forecast. I’d been avoiding errands, so I hopped in my car and headed straight to Michaels (my favorite store—crafts!). I pulled into a parking spot, gathered up my coupons, and then spotted the umbrella that had taken up permanent residency in my purse. As I happily removed it, I prayed, “Thank you, God, for this beautiful sunny day!”

Immediately my heart swelled with a larger-than-life word, a sudden understanding:

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How To Ask for More (in a Good Way)

Read it!: II Samuel 12

He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept.

I thought, “Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.”

(vs 22)

Think it through:

In II Samuel 12, David’s sin is brought into the open. He is judged and punished in several terrible ways, the worst of which is the death of his son.

How horrible it must have been for David to know that his son’s illness was a direct consequence of his actions. And yet he asked the Lord for grace that he knew he didn’t deserve. He pleaded and fasted and slept on the ground, hoping.

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How Amos Is Straightening Me Out

Read it: This is a look back at the Straight Talk with Amos Bible Study Series.

You may want to review any notes you’ve made, actions you’ve taken, or prayers you’ve written.

 

Think it through:

This was a heavy series—but how I’ve loved it!

Amos is no joke. The people of God were in huge trouble and his heart was burning for them. I’ve read Amos’s words and realized how very in trouble I am, and how God’s heart is burning for me.

Here are some of the things I’ve done as a result of this study:

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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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I’m All In!

Read it! This is a look back at the “Being Instrumental with Paul” series.

You may want to review any notes you’ve made, actions you’ve taken,

or prayers you’ve written.

 

Think it through

When I started this series on the life of Paul, I had no idea how meaningful it would be to me.   Acts is a powerful book about the spread of the Gospel of Christ and I love it! But when you distill Acts to a view of Paul’s life like we just did, it can hit you in a different and equally powerful way.

Paul was an instrument of God like few other men have been. His story showed me that God’s instruments are willing to…

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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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Trouncing the Green-Eyed Monster

Read it! I Samuel 18

As they danced, they sang:

“Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.”

Saul was very angry; this refrain galled him.

“They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?”

Vs 7&8

 

Think it through

Saul began as a proud supporter of David. After all, David’s successes in battle were Saul’s successes. He promoted the young leader quickly. But as soon as Saul heard the people sing David’s praises, his heart changed. David had entered Saul’s territory, becoming more popular that he was in his land of Israel. Saul became jealous (vs 8), then watchful (vs 9), and then murderous (vs 11).

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