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Daily Reading: 1 Chronicles 11:1-12:18 ESV, Acts 28:1-31 ESV, Psalm 9:1-12 ESV, Proverbs 19:1-3 ESV

Daily Verse: “When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand.” (Acts 28:3 ESV)

ECHIDNA (2191): “An adder or other poisonous snake.  Generic term for poisonous snake.”[i]

Poisonous snake.

Paul, stoking the fire, disturbs a viper that latches onto his hand. Without flinching, Paul shakes the snake off unharmed.  Unable to believe their eyes, Paul became a god in the native’s view.  Not knowing about Jesus and His power, the natives couldn’t help but come to this conclusion.

God’s protection over our lives comes in many forms.  When on a mission for the Big Guy, nothing will stop you, not even poisonous snakes. Stoking the fire reveals the snakes. Evil slithers in and out of our lives like a viper, leaving chaos in its wake.  But Jesus protects us from the snake’s bite, the Holy Spirit propelling us forward on our journey.

Shake it off.

Paul, following Jesus, suffered many things, shipwrecks, beatings, stoning, and snakes, to name a few.  Every one of his difficulties, Paul shook off and kept going.  When Paul spent two years chained to a guard, he shared the gospel with his captors and wrote letters encouraging the church.  Nothing stopped Paul.

Following Christ will disrupt the world around you in unimaginable ways.  Speaking truth to others, in love, requires tender care.  No one you know has a pain-free life; everyone suffers.  Jesus gives hope to the hopeless, peace to the anxious, and grace to the sinner, all with unconditional love.

As you become more like Christ, loving those around you, they may not respond as you think.  Adding more fuel to the flame will send the snakes scurrying.  Like Paul, don’t let them bother you.  Understand, dealing with snakes comes with the journey.  Victory comes with Jesus.

If someone says something hurtful to you, let it go.  Don’t ponder on the snake bite; shake it off.  Trust God’s work in their lives as you love them to the best of your ability.  Jesus brings us out of the pit into life, one step at a time.

[i] Strong, J., & Strong, J. (2010). The New Strong’s expanded exhaustive concordance of the Bible. Greek Dictionary of the New Testament (p. 108) Thomas Nelson

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