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ODB: The Viral Gospel

The Viral Texts project at Northeastern University in Boston is studying how printed content in the 1800s spread through newspapers—the social media network of that day. If an article was reprinted 50 times or more, they considered that “viral” for the Industrial Age. Writing in Smithsonian magazine, Britt Peterson noted that a nineteenth-century news article describing
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ODB: River Tree

This was a tree to be envied. Growing on riverfront property, it didn’t have to worry about weather reports, withering temperatures, or an uncertain future. Nourished and cooled by the river, it spent its days lifting its branches to the sun, holding the earth with its roots, cleaning the air with its leaves, and offering shade to all who needed refuge from the sun. By contrast, the pro
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ODB: Better Than a Piñata

There cannot be a Mexican party without a piñata—a carton or clay container filled with candies and treats. Children strike it with a stick and try to break it, hoping to enjoy its contents.Monks used the piñatas in the sixteenth century to teach lessons to the indigenous people of Mexico. Piñatas were stars with seven points that represented the seven deadly sins.
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ODB: The Lighthouse

By its very existence, a ministry center in Rwanda called the “Lighthouse” symbolizes redemption. It sits on land where during the genocide in 1994 the country’s president owned a grand home. This new structure, however, has been erected by Christians as a beacon of light and hope. Housed there is a Bible institute to raise up a new generation of Christian leaders, along with a h
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ODB: Seeing to Tomorrow

I enjoy gazing up at a cloudless blue sky. The sky is a beautiful part of our great Creator’s masterpiece, given for us to enjoy. Imagine how much pilots must love the view. They use several aeronautical terms to describe a perfect sky for flying, but my favorite is, “You can see to tomorrow.”“Seeing to tomorrow” is beyond our view. Sometimes we even struggle to see o
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ODB: The Junkyard Genius

Noah Purifoy began his work as an “assemblage” artist with three tons of rubble salvaged from the 1965 riots in the Watts area of Los Angeles. From broken bicycle wheels and bowling balls to discarded tires and damaged TV sets—things no longer usable—he and a colleague created sculptures that conveyed a powerful message about people being treated as “throw-aways&rdquo
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ODB: Little Lies and Kittens

Mom noticed four-year-old Elias as he scurried away from the newborn kittens. She had told him not to touch them. “Did you touch the kitties, Elias?” she asked.“No!” he said earnestly. So Mom had another question: “Were they soft?”“Yes,” he volunteered, “and the black one mewed.”With a toddler, we smile at such duplicity. But Elias’
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ODB: Love Revealed

When a series of pink “I love you” signs mysteriously appeared in the town of Welland, Ontario, local reporter Maryanne Firth decided to investigate. Her sleuthing turned up nothing. Weeks later, new signs appeared featuring the name of a local park along with a date and time.Accompanied by a crowd of curious townspeople, Firth went to the park at the appointed time. There, she met a m
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ODB: The Death of Doubt

We know him as Doubting Thomas (see John 20:24–29), but the label isn’t entirely fair. After all, how many of us would have believed that our executed leader had been resurrected? We might just as well call him “Courageous Thomas.” After all, Thomas displayed impressive courage as Jesus moved purposefully into the events leading to His death.At the death of Lazarus, Jesus h
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ODB: Look What Jesus Has Done

The little boy was only eight when he announced to his parents’ friend Wally, “I love Jesus and want to serve God overseas someday.” During the next ten years or so, Wally prayed for him as he watched him grow up. When this young man later applied with a mission agency to go to Mali, Wally told him, “It’s about time! When I heard what you wanted to do, I inv
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ODB: I Know Everything

Our son and daughter-in-law had an emergency. Our grandson Cameron was suffering from pneumonia and bronchitis and needed to go to the hospital. They asked if we could pick up their five-year-old son, Nathan, from school and take him home. Marlene and I were glad to do so.When Nathan got in the car, Marlene asked, “Are you surprised that we came to get you today?” He responded, “
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ODB: Leaning on Jesus

Sometimes when I put my head on my pillow at night and pray, I imagine I’m leaning on Jesus. Whenever I do this, I remember something the Word of God tells us about the apostle John. John himself writes about how he was sitting beside Jesus at the Last Supper: “One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him” (John 13:23).John used the term “the discip
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ODB: The Advocate

From a Florida prison cell in June 1962, Clarence Earl Gideon wrote a note asking the United States Supreme Court to review his conviction for a crime he said he didn’t commit. He added that he didn’t have the means to hire a lawyer.One year later, in the historic case of Gideon v. Wainright, the Supreme Court ruled that people who cannot afford the cost of their own defense m
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ODB: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

A dear friend of mine sent me a text message that said, “I’m so glad we can tell each other the good, the bad, and the ugly!” We have been friends for many years, and we have learned to share our joys and our failures. We recognize we are far from perfect, so we share our struggles but we also rejoice in each other’s successes.David and Jonathan had a solid friendship too,