These are a few of our SOAP notes from today’s reading. We encourage you to read and journal on your own first, then join us in conversation about what God revealed to YOU today. Click HERE to go directly to the daily reading if you wish.
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Does Your Mess Define or Refine You? | Joni Tyner
S~ Even during this time of trouble, King Ahaz continued to reject the Lord. 2 Chronicles 28:22 (NLT)
O~ King Ahaz was raised with godly influence but became very evil. He even sacrificed some of his own children in Baal worship.
A~ In my study Bible, it uses King Ahaz as an example of what can happen when difficulties and mistakes happen to us. It can either devastate our faith and destroy us, or it can stimulate growth and maturity. Positive outcomes happen when we humbly seek God’s help, when we choose to lean into adversity…
I have heard it said that when troubles come, when we have a big mess, we can either be defined by it, or refined. If we are defined by it, we end up with that identity, we are the person who had ___________ happen. If we are refined by our mess, we emerge stronger and better for it. We use the mess to grow our faith and reach out to others.
P~ Dear Lord, it hard to go through messy stuff. It just is. I don’t like it—AT ALL!!! Still, You use it all for better good, for me to cling more closely to You. Thank you for loving me so much that You weren’t content to leave me alone, but desired for me to grow and be used by You. I trust You for all of this mess. You make beauty from the ashes.
Consequence of sin | Guest post
S~ The sins of some are obvious, reaching the place of judgement ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them. 1 Timothy 5:24 (NIV)
O~ Paul is telling Timothy that some sin is so apparent everyone knows. Those men are easy to dismiss as leaders in the church. For others, their sin follows after. He’s telling Timothy to not be too hasty in appointing church leaders before they are properly vetted. (https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/gills-exposition-of-the-bible/)
A~ Everyone sins and everyone has to accept the consequences of their sin. Even though we are forgiven in Christ, there are still some real world consequences to our disobedience. For the obvious sinners that Paul referred to, it was that they could not be leaders of the community. For us, our consequences may not be so widely apparent. My sin not only affects me. It also affects those around me. Other people’s sin affects me as well. In this fallen world, no one is free from the consequence of sin.
I’m dealing with the consequence of someone else’s sin right now. If I’m honest, I’m not handling it very well. My feelings are hurt, I’m confused about how to move forward, and I feel as if I’m just spinning my wheels. I’m trying to sit with Jesus about it, but my feelings just seem to take dominance of the conversation with Him. I’m thankful that He loves me and will listen to my whining. I need His guidance, but in order to hear Him I have to shut up. I acknowledge that I am not without sin. Some of this situation is probably the result of my sin too. It’s time to shut my mouth, seek His face, and listen to His guidance.
P~ Lord, thank you for listening and being okay with every feeling I throw at you. Please calm your child. I long for your wisdom and comfort.
Secret Sin | Kelley Deases
S~ The sins of some are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them. In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not obvious cannot remain hidden forever. 1 Timothy 5:24-25 (NIV)
O~ In another verse, Paul says, “He [the Lord] will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart.” In Timothy, he is specifically referring to the church leadership and how we should be discerning when selecting elders. But these statements are universally true. There is no secret sin; God sees the heart of the matter and is not fooled by outward appearances. And as we align ourselves with God, we will be sensitive to the presence of sin, in others and in ourselves.
A~ I have witnessed firsthand the devastating impact “hidden sin” can have in the context of church leadership. Over time, I saw it wreak havoc upon a staff, others in leadership and, ultimately, the congregation at large, many of whom left to find other church homes and some who stayed but were not unscathed. Paul was warning of just such disunity and disaster when those charged with leading God’s flock are not themselves humble, transparent, and open to correction. Pride, unchecked, really does precede destruction!
While there may be lessons to learn about careful discernment, I am presently only in a position to examine my own life and motives. I desire to live a pure and sinless existence, but am aware I fall painfully short. I just want to keep short accounts with God, through regular prayer and confession, as I try to do with my husband, so bitterness and deep-seated hurts do not take root and have a chance to grow. I don’t want to keep anything from Him (as if it was possible!) but live out in the open.
P~ Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24
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