April 4 Judges 19-21; 2 Corinthians 4

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

Printable reading plan: HERE

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Don’t Give Up | Luisa Penaherrera

S~ That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed everyday. 2 Corinthians 4:16 (NLT)

O~

· Never – at no time, on no occasion, not ever

· Give up – cease making an effort, resign oneself to failure

· The “why” – because Jesus lives in me, loves me, helps me, walks with me, works in me, changes me, guides me, gives me wisdom

· Body – the physical structure of a person, including bones, flesh and organs

· Dying – ceasing to live, approaching death, expiring

· Spirit – the nonphysical part of a person, that is the seat of emotions and character, the soul

· Renew – to make new, fresh or strong again, restore to freshness, regenerate

A & P~ Dear Father, thank you for the work you’re doing in me. I needed this truth today. Thank you for your encouragement. I love you.

Outweighed | Robin Laney

S~ Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV)

O~ Paul had been through the wringer and he had come to the conclusion that eternity with God was well worth any suffering he had to endure in this life. He understood that his time here on earth was fleeting and that any external trials he suffered were strengthening him inwardly.

A~ This life is hard. Disease, divorce, addictions, natural disasters, homelessness, disabilities, death and more. The pain of our sufferings can be crippling. They can shake us and the ones we know and love to our very cores. These trials are life changing and can seem life ending if we have a view of life that is limited to what we see with our eyes. If this life is what we are living for then any challenge to its quality and quantity can be devastating. Great loss seems like the end of the world.

Fortunately, this life is not all there is. It’s a bleep on the radar, a vanishing mist, the tick of a clock. Everything on this big blue ball is temporary. Our physical bodies, our troubles, our worries, our struggles, our weaknesses, our pain, our limitations are all temporary. Though we suffer here, Christ’s victory at the cross gives us hope of an eternity without pain or sorrow of any kind.

Paul’s focus on eternity and the knowledge of his God-given purpose here on earth drove him to allow his external problems to strengthen his faith and his resolve to tell as many people as possible about Jesus. He knew that with an eternal perspective of his external struggles, God would be glorified. We all have been inspired by stories of people who have been knocked down by life and who have leaned into God in the midst of their mess and have found new strength, courage, peace and joy. They fix their eyes on things they can’t see, eternal things. Their faith in God’s plan and purpose for their lives drives them to persevere and thrive though their bodies may be perishing or their loved ones or worldly possessions have been taken from them. They want people to know that God is real, that He loves them and that He has prepared a place for them, with Him, in Glory.

God can and, if we allow Him, will use each and every trial we face to accomplish His will for those He loves. Our struggles can either crush us or they can bring us to a new awareness of who God is and what He has done for us. They can destroy us or they can humble us enough that we see our need for Him. They can either discourage the people who know our story or they can open their eyes to God’s amazing grace and love. They can defeat us or they can highlight the gifts of God’s miracles, none of which are small.

If our troubles here on earth were heaped up on a scale opposite the eternal promises of God, no amount of mess could ever even come close to balancing the scale. Let’s keep our eyes on Him and that promise He has given us of an eternity free of pain and sorrow. It will all be more than worth it!

P~ Lord, thank you that not one bit of our suffering in this life goes to waste when we set our eyes on You and Your Kingdom. Give us faith to believe Your promises and trust Your plans for our lives. Let us see You clearly in every circumstance and let us glorify Your name in how we handle each trial so that others will see You clearly and will believe that You love them beyond measure. Hold us up when we falter, redirect us when we get off course, carry us when we are too weak and let Your Light and Truth shine through us no matter what life throws at us.

THE OBJECTIVE OF MY TROUBLE | Michelle Myers

S~ We have small troubles for a while now, but they are helping us gain an eternal glory that is much greater than the troubles. 2 Corinthians 4:17 (NCV)

O~ There is a purpose, or as teachers would call it in their lesson plans, “an objective”  to the troubles that I have here on earth.  I am supposed to learn something from the lessons, use what I have learned in my everyday life, and help other people with the knowledge that I have gained.  All of this, is to help prepare me for eternal life.

A~ I may have to repeat the same units or chapters over and over again, but after awhile, I finally understand objective of the lesson.  I know that I have “gotten” a lesson, when I have peace about something.  That doesn’t mean the lesson went the way I wanted it to.  Many times, this peace comes in the form of surrendering my will and my desire for understanding.  Then applying the knowledge that I acquired from the lesson into everyday life, usually takes awhile.  Over time, the “old way” of handling situations or circumstances will be a rare occurrence, and immediately, the lack of peace will tell me that I have forgotten an old lesson.  I think that I am pretty good about using the knowledge that I have gained to help other people.  God has given me the strength and wisdom to do that.  Either that, or he has given me the gift of being so uncomfortable in keeping things “hidden”, that I have to deal with them, talk about them, etc.  I also think, that one of the most important aspects of the teaching and helping others, is the ability to let them know how many times I got it wrong, how many times I went around the same mountain, and how many times I still get it wrong.  However, in the words of Joyce Meyer, “I may not be where I need to be, but thank God I am not where I used to be.”

P~ Thank you God for your strength and wisdom.  Dealing with troubles can be uncomfortable, but as someone who grew up in a house/family, where troubles were ignored, hidden, and kept in the dark; I know this is where the enemy does his “best” work.  Please continue to help me, show me, strengthen me, and give me courage.

Eating a box of thin mints doesn’t work | Nikki Metzger

S~ So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen.  2 Corinthians 4:18a (NLT)

O~ Troubles overwhelmed me yesterday.  The threat of both of our incomes being taken away at the same time, friends with deep struggles rising up in their lives, being hurt by loved ones, not connecting with the husband, big deadlines looming, taxes!, trying to lose weight….I JUST CANNOT DEAL!

A~ God, You say to fix my gaze on things that cannot be seen.  OK.  Look to You in the midst of this.  In verse 17, You say these troubles are small and won’t last long, but they produce in us a glory.  (It really doesn’t feel like these troubles are small!) Yesterday, I couldn’t trust what You said, I couldn’t fix my gaze on You……..so I ate a box of thin mints.  It didn’t solve anything.  I started looking for a job FOR MY HUSBAND (and not myself)…..it didn’t solve anything.  I really want to just have so much faith that I just fix my eyes on You!

P~ God, this is too much!  Help me to fix my eyes on You, not to eat more thin mints or find a job for Chad.  You’ve got this!

Focus on What you Can’t See | Susan Aken

S~ Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV)

O~ Paul writes encouragement to other believers.

A~ These verses bring me great encouragement. He urges me to not lose heart. Don’t get discouraged. Yes, outwardly I am wasting away. My body ages more every day and is losing abilities to some degree. Those around me are aging every day. We are all wasting away. BUT inwardly, in my spirit, I am renewed everyday. My spirit grows stronger. My spirit will never waste away or decay.  Yes, we have trouble in this life but it is for a moment and what we see and experience in glory will outweigh all our troubles here put together. The charge is to fix my eyes on what is unseen, to focus my mind and heart on what is eternal because what I can see—all of this is temporary. All the pain, trouble, sin, sorrow and heartache here is temporary. But all I can’t see, all of the glory of heaven, seeing Jesus, all those I love who are in heaven and who will be in heaven, all of that is eternal and can never be lost.

P~ Praise your Holy Name Father! Thank you for the hope and promise of heaven. Help me to focus my mind and heart on what is eternal. Thank you that the problems here are just for a moment. Thank you that though this body is wasting away, my spirit will live forever. I love you Lord.

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Posted on April 4, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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