January 14 Genesis 34-36; Luke 14

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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.Our team would love the privilege of praying for you! Please share how we can lift you in prayer at DiscoverOneThingPrayer@gmail.com

Fixing, What Only God Can Fix | Michelle Myers

S~ Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, ‘You have caused me a lot of trouble.  Now the Canaanites and the Perizzites who live in the land will hate me.  Since there are only a few of us, if they join together to attack us, my people and I will be destroyed.’ But the brothers said, ‘We will not allow our sister to be treated like a prostitute.’  Genesis 34:30-31 (NCV)

O~ Jacob’s daughter, Dinah, is raped by Shechem.  He actually falls in love with her, and wants to marry her.   Out of spite, anger, and vengeance Jacob’s sons lie to Hamor, Shechem’s father.  They tell him if he and every other male in his town get circumcised, they will allow the marriage.  They do, and three days later Jacob’s sons killed all the men in the town and robbed them.

Unfortunately, the sinful actions of Jacob’s sons would also result in harsh consequences for him.  When he points this out to his sons, instead of empathizing with him and repenting, they justify their act of revenge.

God steps in, and gives Jacob direction.  He tells him to go back to where He (God) appeared to him before, when he was running away from his brother Esau.  Jacob did, and God blessed him.  He changed Jacob’s name to Israel.  He told him to have many children and grow as a nation, and that he will be the ancestor of many nations and kings.

A~ It seems unjust and unfair when we have to suffer the consequences of someone else’s sinful actions or behavior.  I get this.  It is even more frustrating and confusing when they try and justify their sin, not ever taking into account how it has caused you a lot of trouble.  Even if Jacob’s sons would have empathized and apologized, the damage had already been done.  They couldn’t fix it.

My husband has apologized multiple times for his actions that have resulted in much emotional pain and financial struggle for our family.   I appreciate his apologies. They are much better, than the prideful, justifying responses I would get prior to me leaving him.   I forgive him.  Yet, he can’t fix the mess that has been created.

In all honesty, I spent much time looking for him to “fix” (heal) my heart and our finances.  I spent much time angry with God, and questioning how this is a “good” God.  I was by no means a perfect wife, but I was a good one.  I loved my family.  We didn’t have a big house, fancy cars, or take expensive vacations; yet I was thankful for what I had.  Even prior to the discovery of his addiction, there were many hard times and struggles that I had endured. I recognized that my family and my possessions were gifts from God, and that I was blessed.

I have worked through and accepted the pointless expectation of my husband being able to fix anything; and I have started to look to God.  Time and time again, He has given me the strength to carry on.  He has provided for me and my kids.  He has remained faithful.  He has healed my heart before, with other “injustices” that have been done to me, and delivered me from the bondage of anger, unforgiveness, and bitterness.  He has delivered me from the bondage of people, their expectations, and their criticisms.

I find hope in His word, and this piece of Jacob’s life.  Where people have screwed things up beyond understanding, beyond their fixing, and sometimes, without even caring; God will remain faithful and heal what has been hurt.

P~ Thank you God for your faithfulness.  Thank you for carrying me, giving me YOUR strength; when I didn’t think I could handle another day.  Thank you for showing me what to pick up and what to put down.  Please continue to show me YOU, in all of it.

God Revealed | Kelley DeAses

S~ There he built an altar, and he called the place El Bethel, because it was there that God revealed himself to him when he was fleeing from his brother.  Genesis 35:7 (NIV)

O~  God called Jacob to go to this place, settle his family, and build an altar to commemorate how God had appeared to him at a desperate time.  God wanted Jacob to remember His faithfulness to him, specifically designate the place, and speak about all that had happened there.

A~ God has likewise revealed Himself to me.  He has not spoken in an audible voice, appeared as a burning bush, or sent an angelic being to wrestle with me, but I knew it was Him, either at the time or shortly afterward.  God wants me to remember those moments.  In doing so, I can bolster my own faith in difficult times.  God also wants me to share those parts of my testimony.  In doing so, I can bolster the faith of others.  That way, God continues to be glorified by His act of reaching down to me… and perhaps will be more apt to do it again!

P~ God, You have appeared as my rescuing angel, have directed my steps in a way that could only have been You, and Your Spirit has washed over me like a warm blanket on a cold day.  You have revealed Yourself to me through those and many other ways.  Who am I, that You would even look upon me, much less actively intersect with my life?  But You did.  I will remember.

Humility Before Honor | Susan Aken

S~ For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. Luke 14:11 (NIV)

O~ Jesus teaches a truth about humility that is repeated throughout the Bible. The person who is proud and tries to honor himself or herself will be humbled and the person who humbles himself or herself will eventually be honored by others.

A~ I must always need this teaching because every time I read it, I am convicted. I think all humans need this teaching. Pride is the root of all sin I think. It is the sin that caused Lucifer to be cast from heaven to begin with and it is one of his main tools for causing us to stumble. Our flesh wants to find a way to exalt self and be honored. In order to humble ourselves as Jesus teaches, we have to resist the flesh and deny ourselves. I struggle with this every day. The key is to focus on Jesus and seek Him. If I focus on myself, pride comes in.

P~ Jesus, help me to keep my eyes on you. Please help me to deny myself and walk in humility. I can’t do it in my own strength. I need you Lord.

Give up My Way | Luisa Peneherrera

S~  So no one can become my disciple without giving up everything for me.  Luke 14:33 (NLT)

O~  Give up everything.

A~  What does giving up everything look like?  I think it’s giving up my way.  My way in decisions, in parenting, in relationships, in priorities.

P~  Thank you God for sending Jesus.  Help me, my children, and the rest of your sheep to come to you, to give up everything and follow you.  The life that we all long for is found in you.

Are You Salty? | Joni Tyner

S~ Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again?  Flavorless salt is good neither for the soil nor for the manure pile. It is thrown away. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand! Luke 14:34-35 (NLT)

O~ Jesus is comparing Christians to salt—if we lose our “saltiness” , our distinctive Christian characteristics, we become worthless,  we lose our witness to the world.

A~ It’s tough to be living in the world but not OF the world.  (can I get an amen from anybody?)  I feel really bombarded by the culture,  especially how it negatively influences my kids. We simply can’t escape it!!— The world constantly promotes “me-ness”.   Social media is swarming with selfies and tweets intended to impress others.  Fashion pushes the limits with clothing that is anything but modest.  Music, movies, and video games scream with profanity, violence and sexual freedom without censorship.  On and on, I think every reader is well aware of the battle we face trying to live a life of integrity in a world that promotes living the exact opposite.

My application is to be the salt Jesus is telling me to be.  It’s taking the narrow, less popular path.  It’s teaching my kids to expect to be ridiculed for being different.  I desire my witness to be sincere, transparent and full of grace to others.  I don’t want my actions to be perceived as self-righteous and judgmental—attitudes that may keep others from seeing Jesus.

P~ Dear Lord.  Please help me in this area.  I feel so weak, I feel like I’m losing the battle against the world when it comes to my kids.  They are easily pulled from what they know is right! I pray the Holy Spirit pursues them relentlessly and woos them back to the standards of the Bible.  Help me to also live within these boundaries myself as I can so easily get pulled into worldly desires.  Please give me discernment on what activities are honoring to you and live-giving and what activities distract me from living the life you desire for me.  I love you and want to be obedient in this area of my life.

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Posted on January 14, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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