October 12 Nehemiah 7,8; Acts 1
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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The Joy of the Lord | Tara Wiley
S~ And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!” Nehemiah 8:10 (NLT)
O~ The Israelites just listened to the Law being read for the first time in many years. For the generation born in captivity, it would have been their first time ever to hear God’s Word in its entirety. As Paul states in Romans 7:7, the law revealed their sin. They were broken – both for the years they lived without God’s word, and for the revelation of their need for grace.
But even here, long before the cross, God revealed Himself as Redeemer. He saw the layers of their grief and the depth of their remorse, and He spoke through Jeremiah to encourage them. They came face to face with God: they were undone. He healed. He brought joy. And His joy became their strength, beginning a time of great revival in Israel.
A~ When we come face to face with our failures in the light of God’s holiness, the only response can be grief. In that grief, God sweeps in with grace. However, unlike the Israelites who had to return again and again through sacrifices to cover their sin, we have a new covenant: “Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. What the law could not do since it was limited by the flesh, God did. He condemned sin in the flesh by sending His own Son in flesh like ours…” Romans 8:1-2
If the Israelites could find joy and strength in God’s future redemption, how much more can we find joy and strength in our present redemption! We can live by the Spirit within us, in a place of ultimate freedom and joy as He empowers us to be more like Him. And as the Israelites were instructed, so also our response should be one of celebration in rich generosity, sharing the goodness of God with others, both in words and in actions.
P~ Lord, I can be tempted to let the cares of this world and the reality of my own sinfulness weigh me down and keep me from the true joy and strength that comes from You. What a powerful reminder that when I turn to Your word, I can find the truth of Your redemption story from beginning to end, and in that redemption, I am set free! I have total liberty to rejoice in Your Spirit. And when I live by Your Spirit, I live with a mindset of life and peace (Romans 8:6). That’s a great litmus test for me, Lord. Remind me, when I am tempted to live in anxiety and fear, that I have the choice to live instead in Your Spirit, where life and peace and joy and strength reside. You are so good to me! You fill me up with the richest of fare (Isaiah 55:1-5). How can I keep it to myself?!
Not For Me to Know | Luisa Penaherrera
S~ “The Father sets those dates,” he replied, “and they are not for you to know. But when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power and will tell people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:7,8 (NLT)
O~ The apostles kept asking Jesus if he was going to free Israel now and restore their kingdom (verse 6) And Jesus answered the above verse. He didn’t answer their question the way they probably expected but he did answer, saying, “it is not for you to know”, and then he turned their attention to the Holy Spirit coming upon them and the work he has for them.
A~ There’s something I keep asking you about a relationship and I keep getting the same answer. It isn’t what I’m expecting to hear because I am looking for understanding. But I want to trust that you know what you are doing, and focus on what you have for me to do.
P~ Heavenly Father, this didn’t turn out (in my eyes) successfully and I wish it would have gone differently because I feel like I failed. But every time I think about and ask you about trying this or that I come to same answer—“leave it be.” I trust that this is part of your plan even if I don’t completely understand or have all the answers.
Holy Spirit Power | Kelley Deases
S~ He [Jesus] said to them, “It is not for you to know the times or the dates the Father has set for his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:7-8 (NIV)
O~ The apostles were always clamoring with questions for Jesus. When? How? Who? And can we really blame them? If we had God Incarnate walking around beside us, sharing meals with us and holding seminars, wouldn’t we want a private audience with Him to try to get the inside track on how things would play out. But Jesus doesn’t give them what they want — information; rather He promises to give them what they need, what will serve a greater purpose — power. Holy Spirit power.
A~ A common excuse among believers, me included, for not sharing their faith is “I don’t know enough. I can’t answer every question that might be asked of me or counter every argument that might be leveled.” But Jesus reminds us here it is not important that we know everything; what we need is Holy Spirit power. In fact, most testimonies of how people came to Christ do not include how they were debated into it or persuaded by eloquent argument or irrefutable facts and figures. They somehow experienced the power of the Holy Spirit.
I used to work with a gal who has a great story of how God first called her to faith in Christ. She describes how one morning she stepped into the shower with her radio set to her favorite country station, but when she came out it was tuned in to a different station entirely, a Christian station, and a pastor was speaking words which pierced her heart. This began a stirring in her which led her to find a church and learn more about Jesus, who she eventually accepted as her Lord and Savior.
P~ Father, Help me remember it’s not about what I know or don’t know that could make the difference in someone’s life; it’s about the power of the Holy Spirit to draw that person in. I am blessed when I get to be part of that process, but it is not dependent on my knowledge of the Bible or ability to win a debate. It depends on my cooperation with the Holy Spirit to do what only He can do.
POWER! | Kim Chipman
S~ But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Acts 1:8 (NLT)
O~ The apostles were with Jesus after His death and resurrection. Just after Jesus said this He ascended into heaven.
A~ If I am also your disciple then this message is for ME! I have POWER because the Holy Spirit is in me! I am to be Your witness, telling people about You everywhere. I need to remember that I have Your power to do all You call me to. I do not need to be afraid or timid or worry about anything.
P~ Thank You for this reminder! I have power! I love You
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Posted on October 12, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged Acts, Bible, Bible reading, Bible Study, daily devotions, discover one thing, discoveronething, discoveronething.com, life journal, Luke 10:42, Nehemiah, SOAP note. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.