September 8 Jeremiah 42,43,44; Psalms 48; Revelation 13

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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.

Printable reading plan: Life Journal Reading Plan

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God is my defender | Nikki Metzger

S~ God Himself is in Jerusalem’s towers, revealing Himself as its defender. Psalm 48:3 (NLT)

O~ God is the defender of His city.  God is the defender of His people.

A~ So, some of my surface level relationships got dragged through the mud through no decision or action on my part.  Regardless, I’m in the mix of the mess.  Details don’t really matter, but I am feeling the need to stand up and justify things, to talk to others about this situation, and to defend some things said in the situation.  Even though I feel like I need to do this, I don’t, do I?

You are my defender!

I don’t need to do anything.  Except trust You! You will work this out for Your glory and my good.  This situation, on both sides, will be smoothed out in time, in Your power.  If I need to learn humility or something, or another person in the situation, You will work that out.

You defend perfectly.  You love us all with an unfailing love and desire us to have hearts that pursue You wholly.  No matter what!

P~ Father, I lift up those other people in this situation, the ones that seem to hate us.  I ask that You bless them and pour Your love on them! That you grow their hearts towards You!  I pray for my own heart, that I don’t let bitterness grow or live in fear or concern of what others think of me.  That I fully trust You to defend me and my family and You teach me what I need to learn to be more like Jesus.  I pray for humility and Your wisdom to dwell in me!  I trust You and love You! In Jesus’ Name I pray!

Wait On You | Luisa Penaherrera

S~ Beg the Lord your God to show us what to do and where to go.

Then they said to Jeremiah, “May the Lord your God be a faithful witness against us if we refuse to obey whatever he tells us to do! Whether we like it or not, we will obey the Lord our God to whom we send you with our plea.  For if we obey him everything will turn out well for us.”

Ten days later, the Lord gave his reply to Jeremiah.  Jeremiah 42:3, 5-7  (NLT)

O~ The people were looking for guidance from God for their situation.  They didn’t follow through on what they said they would do, nevertheless, they received an answer from God…10 days later.  Not right away, but 10 days later, and they were still in the same situation, not any worse. And God answered!

A~ What I take away from this is: 1. God will answer and give me guidance if I wait to hear from him.  2. Even when circumstances seem pressing, God is still in control!

P~ Dear Father, I pray for your guidance and wisdom.  Show me what to do in this situation.  Please give me clarity.  Please keep me humble that I may listen. Thank you. ❤

The Uneasy, Positive Path | Michelle Myers

S~ This is what the LORD All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says: ‘If you make up your mind to go and live in Egypt, these things will happen: You are afraid of war, but it will find you in the land of Egypt.  And you are worried about hunger, but it will follow you into Egypt, and you will die there.  Everyone who goes to live in Egypt will die in war or from hunger or terrible disease.  No one who goes to Egypt will live; no one will escape the terrible things I will bring to them.  Jeremiah 42:15-17 (NCV)

O~ All the people went to Jeremiah, asking him to speak to the LORD, so they would know what to do.  They promised to be obedient, and follow whatever God tells them to do.

God tells them to stay in Judah.  He says, “If you will stay in Judah, I will build you up and not tear you down.  I will plant you and not pull you up, because I am sad about the disaster I brought on you.  Now you fear the king of Babylon, but don’t be afraid of him.  Don’t be afraid of him, says the LORD, ‘because I am with you.  I will save you and rescue you from his power.  I will be kind to you, and he will also treat you with mercy and let you stay in your land.'”  Jeremiah 42:10-12 (NCV)

God has told them what they need to do.  He tells them what the consequences will be for each path.  Both will involve some discomfort, but one will have positive results, and the other will have negative results. He even tells them, those things you fear most,…war, hunger, and disease…will not be avoided, if you choose to go your own way.

A~ Many of the choices You have put before me, have not been easy or painless.  Even the choices I made that were obedient to you.  They didn’t work out in the clean cut, smooth sailing way; I anticipated.  I used to think that if I was just obedient, You would make it easy, painless, and destruction free.  Oh, how I was wrong!  Had things happened that way, I would have not REALLY needed to rely on You, nor would I have seen You, in the up close and personal manner that I have.

I somehow thought, that once my husband’s addiction was on my radar, we would be able to deal with it and move on.  I totally underestimated the power it had over him.  I did not really have a good understanding of the addiction, or the many ways in which it manifests itself…adultery, pornography, on-line chats, solicitation….all can be under the umbrella of “sex addiction”.  I had no idea that it affected his brain, processing, or thinking the way it had.  I just thought, “Whew!, It is out in the open.  I now understand why his character has changed so much.  Getting caught is going to be his ‘light bulb moment’.”

Once again, I was so wrong!  At the time, I wished for it to be that simple.  I didn’t want to have to face the fear of losing my marriage, my family, or my home.  There where days where I would pray for You to just help me accept it, and give me the grace to live in the dysfunction of it.  I didn’t understand why You would give me this, if You couldn’t give me the grace to just “be” in it.  I now realize, it is because You didn’t just expect me to ‘be” in it.  You wanted us to deal with the issue….take the blinders off, get our heads out from beneath the sand, and REALLY start getting real about the damage this was doing to us as individuals, in our marriage, and to our kids.   Unfortunately, no matter how much I tried, tried, and tried; my husband wasn’t there yet, and You still didn’t give me the personality to just ‘be’ in it.  You needed me to take it to the next level.  You needed me to put up boundaries with my husband.  You needed me to follow through on consequences, that I had repeatedly set, and failed at executing.

I feared my marriage falling apart, but it had already fallen apart.  I feared how it would affect my kids, if their dad wasn’t around.  He was already gone.  I feared losing my house.  When I left, I didn’t even care about the house.  Yet, once we came back, it was a struggle to let go of it.  Everything I tried to avoid out of fear, became unavoidable, even as I was trying my hardest to be obedient.  This lead to a lot of anger and confusion about You and towards You.

What I understand today is, had I taken the path of least resistance, and not allowed You to lead me out and eventually back again, I wouldn’t have the marriage and family  that I have today.  I wouldn’t have the strength that I have today. It is a lot healthier.  You want healthy individuals.  You want healthy marriages and families.  Both my husband and I had to deal with the sins and the wounds, not just ‘be’ in them.  There is a difference between toxic and unhealthy, and being imperfect.  None of us are perfect, yet that doesn’t necessarily mean we have to be toxic and unhealthy.  When I am in that state, as an individual, in my marriage, or in my family relationships; I can’t be true, authentic, and effective in serving and representing You.  In fact, I am doing a disservice to You, because once the toxicity and unhealthiness is exposed, it is seen as hypocritical.  This will lead people away from the Kingdom, versus toward the Kingdom.

P~ Thank you God for Your strength.  Had I not left, I know things would be worse now, not better.  Had I not come back, I would have missed out on an awesome chance to see Your healing and restorative power.  I would have missed out on a good, healthy marriage, with an amazing partner; and my kids would have missed out on a healthy family.  Had I done it my way, I would have missed so many opportunities to grow personally and spiritually.

Persecution | Kim Chipman

S~ Anyone who is destined for prison
    will be taken to prison.
Anyone destined to die by the sword
    will die by the sword.

This means that God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently and remain faithful. Revelation 13:10 (NLT)

O/A~ I don’t suffer for being a Christian. Right now, worldwide, however, there ARE Christians suffering terribly. ISIS, refugees, persecution…it feels overwhelming and tragic and paralyzing and infuriating and unfair and unjust and just plain EVIL.

Show me what to DO, Lord! I’m praying, but need to more. On my knees. Please show me what else You want me to do. I don’t want to turn a blind eye to the suffering. It is easy in America to switch my gaze and just refocus on something else. Something safe. Something comfortable. But I don’t think that is Your heart. I don’t want to turn a blind eye and sit in my comfort while others are suffering.

P~ Lord, I love You! Help me to see my role in this crisis! Help me to not be paralyzed by the magnitude of the problem but to be motivated to acts of love and good works because of YOUR magnitude. For Your glory! I love You!

Reality Check | Kelley DeAses

S~ This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints.  Revelation 13:10 (NIV)

O~ It is tempting to read the historical events of the Old and New Testaments as somehow far removed from the modern society we enjoy here in America in the 21st century.  Likewise, we can read Revelation as if it described a far off time and place, like a futuristic fantasy novel with strange creatures and perils awaiting fictional characters.  But if we are wise, we can see that our world and, yes, even this nation are growing more and more hostile to the truth of the gospel, the Name of Christ, and those who proclaim their belief in Him.  In some parts of the world, captivity and death are real and present threats for the follower of Jesus Christ.

A~ My husband and I have this joking mantra we’ve been saying over the course of the past couple weeks, in our growing frustration with a stubborn and willful 7-year-old son.  We have been saying, “That kid needs more problems!”  For out of his apparent sense of comfort and ease as we lavish him with gifts and provide endless entertainment, he comes to feel entitled and then can hardly cope when the slightest thing doesn’t go his way. But I only need to take a look in the mirror to this same tendency in me.  What I consider a “bad day” might be I have a lot on my to-do list, or maybe an unexpected home or car repair, or I am at odds with a friend or family member.  Then I open God’s Word and am faced with the sobering reality of what my brothers and sisters in Christ have endured and will endure into the future, and I am humbled by what I can be heard to complain about in my life.

P~ Father, I pray right now for that “patient endurance and faithfulness” You call us to.  Even if the peace and comfort I have enjoyed were to come to an end, help me to stand firm and represent You well.

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Posted on September 8, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Susan, thank you for your words of encouragement. They really do help keep me focused and persistent.

  2. Michelle, Thanks for continuing to share your amazing story! I know it must be helping so many. May God bless you for your honesty and transparency.

  3. Great posts today ladies.

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