September 20 Daniel 5,6; Psalms 130; Luke 3

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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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Waiting | Jill Terry

S~ I wait for the LORD, my soul does wait, And in His word do I hope. Psalm 130:5 (NAS)

O~ David waits and hopes for the Lord to be with him through the good and bad of his life.

A~ I often feel like I am just waiting for God to show up. He is already here and has never left me. It’s me who isn’t always present. I am not plugged into what He wants for me or what He wants me to be doing. I keep waiting for a burning bush, when I am the one spraying down the bush with a water hose. I need to make sure I am always present when I am thinking God isn’t hearing me.

P~ Lord, thank you so much for reminding me that You are always present and right by my side through it all. Amen!

Answers | Michelle Myers

S~ He was very smart and had knowledge and understanding.  He could explain dreams and secrets and could answer very hard problems,  Daniel 5:12 (NCV)

O~ King Belshazzar becomes freaked out when a hand appears and starts writing on the wall as he is eating.  He first calls for wise-men, fortune-tellers, magicians, and wizards to come and explain the meaning of the writing on the wall.  He promises to make the person who can explain it, the third highest ruler in the kingdom.  None of them are able to explain it.  The king’s mother then tells him about Daniel, who helped King Nebuchadnezzar, King Belshazzar’s father, in understanding things that others could not.  He again, promises to make Daniel the third highest ruler, if he is able to help him. However, Daniel says that he will explain the meaning to the king, but he does not want the gifts; and that the king may give them to someone else.

A~ The words or phrases that stand out are “smart”, “knowledge”, “understanding”, and “very hard problems”.

Smart, because I often feel that I don’t have the “Bible book” knowledge that some other people have, that grew up in the church.  As I listen to some more seasoned Bible people, I often do not feel that smart, or I often get confused; because people don’t agree on what the Bible is saying.  You have taught me to accept that I will never have all the answers I want, and people’s perception of the theology isn’t important.  My relationship with You is.

My Bible notes start off Daniel by saying this, “If you are a Jew in Babylon, you’ve got to be depressed.  Jeremiah was right all along.  All those times you thought he was one taco truck short of a platter, he was telling the truth!”  I often feel like this is what people think about me.  You have not given me the same memos, information, or heck, even a lot of the same experiences You have given them.  This has made my knowledge and understanding of certain things different than theirs.  I may have knowledge and understanding about certain aspects of life or topics, but I often know that I don’t have the answers or solutions for them.  I also know that most of the time, the answers and solutions are not a “one size fits all” thing and are often a more complex, multi-layer, little by little process.  However, I have also seen you work some miracles in areas that I had even given up on.  Almost instantaneously,I have seen You change people’s hearts and circumstances.  In either case, whether it is a little by little  process or a miraculous sudden change, You are behind both, and either one provides hope.

“Knowledge” and “Understanding” because much of what I do understand is from experiencing the good, bad, and ugly of it.  There are things that I know, I know nothing about, and it is important that I humble myself enough to say, “I have no knowledge or answers for that”.  It is then important that I direct them toward seeking You, and relying on You to direct them toward the answers that You didn’t bless me with having for them.  Also, much of the knowledge and understanding that I have, isn’t the knowledge and understanding I wanted or sought out.  In fact, I wanted and worked for the opposite.  You have made it very clear to me, this isn’t MY circus, rodeo, or even sometimes freak show.; and fighting You on that, is a losing battle.

Answers to the “very hard problems” that I have faced, didn’t come from other people and to be completely honest, when left up to me, they didn’t end well.  However, You looked at my heart, my motives, and my intentions; and knew I was struggling for answers, and were faithful and graceful enough in directing me on how to clean up the messes that resulted from doing it my way or listening to other people and doing it their way.  There are some “very hard problems” that won’t ever be solved by me or any other human being…..politician, philanthropist, scientist, etc.  That is why You are GOD.

I was impressed by the humbleness of all the people that the king first went to for answers.  I often want to fix things, have answers, etc.; and it has taken me a long time to realize, it is ok to say, “I got nothing right now”.  But I can be a compassionate supporter of people in their pain and struggle.  I am also impressed by Daniel, who just gave the king the answers; not expecting or wanting anything in return.  Many people’s motives are not that pure, and it can often be a confusing and daunting process trying to figure out who and what to trust when it comes to people.

P~ Thank you God for providing me with Your discernment and peace.  Right now, the biggest thing weighing on my heart is the South Omaha Band, and the money they need to raise to take a trip to play in Washington D.C.  This is an opportunity of a lifetime for those kids, and although I don’t teach in the district anymore, they still hold a very special place in my heart.  I don’t have any answers, and $90,000 seems like an impossible amount, but You are God, and can do anything.

Hope Born of Fruit | Robin Laney

S~ When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?” Daniel 6:20 (NIV)

O~ King Darius had been tricked into sending Daniel to the lion’s den for being unfaithful to the law of the land. He is distraught all night at the thought of Daniel being killed and eaten by the lions. At first dawn, the king goes to the den hoping beyond all hope that Daniel’s God had spared him.

Though Darius did not choose to worship God, he did recognize Daniel’s faithfulness to Him and it led him to have a glimmer of hope in a living God who was powerful enough to shut the mouths of lions. After finding Daniel alive, Darius declared that all of the people of his kingdom must fear and revere Daniel’s God. He, who did not previously believe, now proclaimed God’s power, might, and sovereignty over all of Heaven and earth.

A~ What do people see when they look at me? Talk to me? Read what I write? Do they see my full allegiance to my God? In spite of all my weaknesses and failings, do they see me serving Him continually as Daniel did? Do they see that my faith gives me courage to withstand whatever comes my way? In the face of death, would they find me faithful to my God and believing in Him for my salvation? Is my fear of the Lord big enough to trump any fear of bodily harm or tragic loss?

Daniel, in his steadfast faith, was a strong witness to others that His God was worthy of his worship. His courage was proof that he believed His God was mighty to save and could be trusted with whatever the outcome might be. His hope was in God’s promises, not in his earthly circumstances. His faith, lived out well, led King Darius to worship his God. So many times I have been caught up in hoping to have just the right words to bring someone to believe and follow Christ. I have prayed for great signs and wonders so that people would recognize God and follow Him. Darius’ hope that Daniel was alive that morning was there as he called out, asking if his God had saved him. Darius’ hope was born out of the fruit of Daniel’s life. His actions opened Darius’ heart to the possibility that God was who He said He was and God’s miracle in the lion’s den brought Darius to belief.

P~ Lord, thank you for this great picture of what a life poured out for you looks like and how powerful it is to others. Lord, I pray that my words and actions instill hope in others that You are who You say You are. You are all powerful and mighty to save. Let me be found serving you continually and trusting You fully so that others might have a hope that drives them to seek after You and when they call out to you, may they find You worthy of their worship.

Give Me Faith to Trust What You Say | Kim Chipman

S~ The king was overjoyed and ordered that Daniel be lifted from the den. Not a scratch was found on him, for he had trusted in his God. Daniel 6:23 (NLT)

O~ Daniel continued to pray even though the law of the land said no one could – they could only worship the king. Daniel’s punishment was to be thrown into the den of lions for a night. The kind obviously liked Daniel and didn’t want him to die in there. The king had also obviously seen Daniel’s faithful, consistent service and devotion to ‘his God’.

A~ What does MY life look like? Am I faithful and consistent regardless of the risk/reward? Is my devotion deeply ingrained in my character like it was for Daniel? He didn’t know the lions wouldn’t eat him. Daniel’s feelings weren’t recorded, but I’d be terrified! Do I just serve you when/how it’s convenient? When it makes sense? When I understand? When the risk isn’t too high? What would I do if I were Daniel? What would I do if ISIS took over my safe suburban, American bubble? Would I trust You no matter the cost?  Daniel walked away unscratched, but obviously that doesn’t always happen. People are beheaded, tortured and killed for You.

Embarrassingly, I feel uncomfortable about sharing my faith sometimes. Sorry. I don’t want to feel that way. I’m ashamed that I do have those feelings.

P~ Please forgive me. Help my trust in You to grow deep and strong. Like Daniel I pray that even unbelievers would see in me faithful and consistent service and devotion. Help my unbelief! Grow my trust! Sometimes I still feel weak and timid and soft. I need the power of Your Spirit. Help me to do what you are asking even when my feelings are a mess. I love You!

“Show Me” Faith | Kelley Deases

S~ “What should we do then?” the crowd asked.  John answered, “The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same.” [To the tax collectors] “Don’t collect any more than you are required to.”  [To the soldiers]  “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely — be content with your pay.”  Luke 3:10-14 (NIV) (excerpted)

O~  John the Baptist, in all his quirky boldness, does not preach faith in God alone but seems to pound the podium demanding their lives look different because of their faith.  Fruit should be evident in a true believer’s life — charity and generosity toward the poor and needy, honesty and integrity in the workplace and in our personal dealings with people, an attitude of contentment for our lot in life.

A~  Last night, I finished a really good book written by a pastor named Brian Jones called “Second Guessing God,” where he gives an honest account of doubts and struggles he has battled over his years in ministry.  He talks about a particular season when he was experiencing great discouragement and could not sense God’s movement in his life.  He describes feeling almost numb and his tried and true methods of prayer and reading God’s Word were not helping.  So he decided to step out and serve others, to get out of his own brooding mind and engage with other people’s problems and needs.  And this proved to be exactly the thing to thaw his cold heart, begin to experience moments of true connection and compassion and feel God’s presence again.  So it would seem John the Baptist was on to something; not just for the benefit of the recipients of our service but for our own heart as well.

P~ Lord Jesus, There are countless ways I can demonstrate my faith in You by serving others.  Give me Your eyes today to help me see needs I can affect for the good.

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Posted on September 20, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Kim– i love that worship song, I’m playing it right now. By the way, my own personal faith growth is a direct result of your faithfulness, so YES!!!!–you are a bold witness for the Lord. So are you, Robin. Remember my bus riding idea? haha, it was you I asked because I knew from the testimony of your life, you wouldn’t fear that crazy idea. (I still want to do that, btw.) 🙂 Love you ladies and don’t forget, our faith walks encourage our peers as well, not just the guy on the street or hurting person at work. We all are cheerleaders for each other. Go team!!

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