September 18 Ezekiel 45,46; Luke 1

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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.

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A Humble Response | Joni Tyner

S~ Mary responded. “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.  Luke 1:38 (NLT)

O~ Here is the background to this verse.  Earlier in Chapter 1, Mary, the earthly mother of Jesus is approached by Gabriel, the angel from God. She is told that the Holy Spirit is going to come upon her and that she will conceive a child.  She is young, unmarried and a virgin.  Crazy, CRAZY—make-no-sense-drama is being dropped in Mary’s holy, good-Jewish-girl  life. (precisely why God chose her for this unique assignment).   But, Mary doesn’t know that!!!  She just has to process what all of this means.  Let that sink in.  She is trying to be a good, law-abiding Jewish girl and knows this unexpected news will rock mom and dad’s world.  She knows how the synagogue ladies talk about this scandalous situation.  She has no clue that this was God’s perfect plan to save the world—His plan before He created the heavens and earth.  She is only given minimal details, Gabriel tells her “you’re pregnant with the holy child of God and nothing is impossible.”      That’s it.            And Mary’s response?    Does she freak out with the spin of a teenage girl’s drama?  Does she ask for an easier way?  Does she demand proof?  Answers?  Guarantees?   Nope.

She trusts the character of God even though every single circumstances made NO sense.

So, back to the verse. Mary responds to this shocking life interruption with a CRAZY humble heart.  “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.”  I’m just blown away by this response—it is so radical.  She responds to the announcement  that her quiet life will never be the same with a simple prayer asking God to help her live out His purpose for her.  WOW.

One more observation.    “And, then the angel left her.”

Say whaaat???    This is so unexpected. God chose Mary for the purpose of raising His son.  He revealed Himself to her.  He filled her with the Holy Spirit.

…and then He left her with no explanation.  God did not give Mary detailed answers to reassure her. She had to walk out her entire life trusting God.  I would guess Mary had lots more questions than answers as we finish up reading Luke 1:38.

A~ As I reflect on this passage, I wonder if God had been preparing my heart to love Him with more obedience?  I ponder if I need to expect that some of God’s assignments aren’t always pretty, neat and  follow predictable protocol.  I sense that my heart needs to say YES to what He asks of me.  I need to trust His character when life doesn’t make sense. When there is more drama than peace. When there is confusion and doubt.   But… that is where God excels—it’s in our weakness.  He has given me the Holy Spirit as my helper to fill in my unanswered questions with a quiet “trust me”.

P~ Dear Lord, thank you for Your Word.  It gives me what I need. I didn’t even know that I needed this passage this morning. Yet, You knew I needed a word from You. Once again, I’m encouraged to just trust You and concentrate on do what You have asked me to do.  Keep in Your Word and love You and love others.

Believe | Kim Chipman

S~  You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said. Luke 1:45 (NLT)

O~ Mary is visiting Elizabeth. May is expecting Jesus and Elizabeth is expecting John. Elizabeth was excited at Mary’s news.

A~ Elizabeth said that Mary was blessed because she believed the Lord would do what He said. Not necessarily because she was carrying the Son of God, but because she believed. I can also be blessed for believing. I must focus my thoughts…meditate on…TRUTH. YOUR truth. I need to boss around my thoughts and feelings around and intentionally CHOOSE to believe. Whatever my role/responsibility/call/job is that You have for me…I will be blessed when I believe that You will do what You said.

P~ Lord, help my unbelief! WHY do I doubt? I don’t know. I know I believe lies and that gets me off track. Help  me to capture each thought and filter out the lies. Help me to trust You completely…just because I don’t understand what You are doing doesn’t mean that You aren’t in control. Help me to believe so I can fully enjoy Your blessings. I love You!

New Day | Michelle Myers

S~ With the loving mercy of our God, a new day from heaven will dawn upon us.  It will shine on those who live in darkness, in the shadow of death.  It will guide us into the path of peace.  Luke 1:78-79 (NCV)

O~ This is telling about the change, from having to have our sins forgiven by offering a sacrifice of some kind, to having them forgiven by grace.  John’s purpose was to go before Jesus and prepare the people for this change.

A~ A lady in my group stated one day, that she thinks she got so used to being miserable, that it took her awhile to realize that there was a whole other way to live. I know that there is some truth in that statement for me also.  So many years of just having unhealthy people around me, constantly putting out one fire after another or being the support to everyone else, and having one disappointing life circumstance after another, really made it hard for me to see that there was any other way to live.

You know, God, that I often struggle with really understanding, wrapping my head around, etc. how wonderful heaven will actually be.  I am sure that as my journey with You continues, like many other things, you will continue to give me glimpses, little revelations, and slivers of insight in regards to what I have to look forward to.  I am also finding that as time goes on, you are making it more and more clear of what work I am to do here, to help prepare my way for heaven.  This has often caused a great deal of internal struggle for me, especially when I think that I am doing Your will, and things just don’t seem to work out.

Yet, I see You and Your work in regards to all of us in this family, as individuals, as husband and wife, and as a family unit as a whole.  First, the change in my heart to trust in the “new day” that You have given to all of us, has began to heal my heart, lift the fog and confusion that doubt creates, and bring me back to the person You created me to be.  Second, I am learning to joyfully live with our current circumstances, and with the fact that sex addiction is part of my marriage, but is not what defines my marriage.  Even though there are days that I really miss teaching and long to be in the classroom working with kids, I am finding more joy, peace, and satisfaction in being at home.  I know that right now, this is where I am supposed to be.  The struggle to take care of myself with eating better, exercise, etc. is not so much of a struggle anymore.  You have shown me that I just need to do what I can, and anything is still better than nothing.  Perfection is not going to happen, and expecting it, robs me of a lot of peace, keeps me stuck and miserable.

My husband meets with other addicts on Saturday mornings.  This last Saturday, my girls and I were out running errands, and he had gotten home before we did.  When we walked through the door, he was on the phone laughing and chatting it up with someone.  He then said, “Oh, my family is home now”, and shortly after, he got off the phone.  He told me that he was talking to a guy from his group.  This wasn’t uncommon. He has gotten calls before, when someone is struggling and on the verge of doing something harmful. This is the safe and healthy way of handling it.  However, it was in fact my husband, who had called him.  It isn’t uncommon for him to be home alone from time to time.  And, I know that my job isn’t to babysit him.  He is responsible for his own recovery and using the necessary tools to keep himself sober.  On this day, he found himself struggling and so he right away reached out to someone else.  My daughters and I still had more places to go, and so he opted to join us, instead of sitting around the apartment where temptation would surely resurface.

First, I was proud of him for doing what he needed to, to keep himself in a healthy place.  Second, him going shopping with us before, would have been a stressful, unpleasant event.  He would have been impatient and grumpy.  I probably would have wanted his support, and then regretted asking him, once we were out and about.  Yet, as of lately, we seem to be making the most of our couple and family time together.  Just doing the simple, everyday things of life, have become fun and joyful.  There is more laughter.  There is more peace.

P~ Thank you God for this “new day”.  Thank you for Jesus for being the ONE sacrifice that wiped away the law and allowed salvation through grace.  Please continue to help us savoir this “new day”, as well as the small, everyday moments.  If or when my husband does have a “slip”, please help me handle it with grace and peace.  The last thing I want to do, is shame him more than he already will be.  I also know that if I am going to expect him to be open and honest with me, he needs to feel that it is safe to do so.  He won’t, if, for whatever reason….having a bad day, am overly tired, not feeling the best, etc…. I fly off the handle.

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Posted on September 18, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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