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The Inside Scoop!

Read it! John 4 

“Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could he be the Messiah?”

(vs29)

Think it through

John tells us that the woman at the well was there at noon. No one else was getting water when the day was at its hottest. John might as well have said, “This woman was a social outcast, shunned by her town.” And we find out in verse 18 that Jesus knew exactly why. He knew everything she ever did.

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Because Your Momma Said So!

Read it! John 2

“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

(vs4&5)

Think it through

I’ve always been a fascinated by this little exchange.

In modern times, for Jesus to start with “Woman!” seems a bit funny. And then Mary totally ignores his protests and assumes he’ll do it anyway, because she said so.

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How to Heal a Spiritual Bruise

I’m sporting quite a bruise on my shin today.  It’s a whopper—yellow in the middle fading into a greenish brown, with a lovely pink and purple bottom edge and a sizable bump. It’s almost pretty actually.

I have no idea how I got it.

You’d think I’d remember this one… did I bark my shin on something? Fall down? Bang it with a weight when I was exercising? (Sadly, I do that a lot.) I don’t know why it’s there.

In the same way, I’ll often bump into spiritual clutter that bruises my soul… worries and anxieties that get me down, even though I don’t know why they’re there.

 

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What Basketball, Books, and Jesus Have in Common

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Hebrews 13:8

 

I had an interesting dream last week. My little Oliver, who is 5 years old, was at the park down the street. Someone had taped a white “x” on the blacktop underneath the basketball hoop. Oliver was standing on it, holding a basketball, looking up, ready to shoot.

Then suddenly I was looking at a different boy under a different hoop. Think Opie from Mayberry—it was clearly the 1950’s. Someone had marked an “x” in the dirt underneath the hoop (no, I’m not saying they didn’t have blacktop in the 1950’s—this was a dream, people). The boy was standing on it, holding a basketball, looking up, ready to shoot.

And I thought, Basketball hasn’t changed. He’ll either make it, or he won’t.

And I was so deeply comforted.

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When Lightning Strikes Your Day

Pastor Drew recently told a summer story about avidly watching a thunderstorm roll in at the beach. Key word: avidly.

I thought, He’s crazy. (I’m not a fan of thunderstorms, powerful winds, hail, or anything else along those lines.)

He said his family stayed on the beach as long as possible to watch the storm. Then they moved to the porch of their rented beach house and continued to watch as the storm passed over them and went off to sea. At the height of the storm, they watched for the lightning, anticipated the thunder, and then cheered for every house-shaking “boom.”

Wait, why was this fun?

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The Never-Ending Story

Read it! Ruth 4:18-22

Salmon the father of Boaz,

Boaz the father of Obed,

 Obed the father of Jesse,

and Jesse the father of David.

(vs 21-22)

Think it through

Ruth married Boaz and had a beautiful baby boy. They loved each other and built a life together. Naomi was joyful again. End of story, Amen.

At least that’s what Ruth must have thought. As she lived the rest of her life, I’m sure she looked back on her time of struggle with thankfulness, and maybe a little nostalgia mixed in. The dramatic part of her story came and went, and she probably thought that was all God had in store for her.

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Lord, I Surrender!

Read it!: II Samuel 15

But if he [the Lord] says, “I am not pleased with you,” then I am ready;

let him do to me whatever seems good to him.

(vs 26)

Think it through:

Through II Samuel 15, God seems to be talking to me about surrender.

David hears that his son, Absalom, is trying to take the throne. Rather than fighting in the city, David flees to the country. During the flight, he offers to let a group of six hundred men turn back. Then he tells his priest to take the Ark of the Covenant back to the city. Surrender, surrender, surrender. With bare feet and a covered head, David leaves his future in the Lord’s hands.

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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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When Our Efforts to Serve God Don’t Pan Out

Read it!: II Samuel 7

Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and he said:

Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family,

that you have brought me this far?

(vs 18)

Think it through:

David had a great idea. He wanted to build a beautiful, permanent temple for the Ark of the Covenant, which had been housed in a series of temporary dwellings. This idea seemed so right, so true, that he couldn’t wait to get started! But then Nathan, a prophet of God, told David that God said the job needed to wait. Building the temple wasn’t work for David, but for one of his sons.

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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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