November 18 Psalms 124; 2 Corinthians 11,12,13

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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I’m free in His power | Nikki Metzger

S~ The trap is broken, and we are free!  Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. Psalm 124:7b, 8 (NLT)

“My grace is all you need.  My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NLT)

O~ Both verses are taken out of today’s reading and are dear to my heart.

A~ Today I’m going to get really real.  I’m starting a different way of eating.  Again.  Maybe for the millionth time.  Still, Jesus has not given up on me!  His mercies are new every morning!

Today feels like any other day.  I’m not real excited about having to eat healthy or in moderation.  I believe that I will always struggle to eat healthy or that I can even do this in the long run, but that’s a lie!!  The trap is broken, and I’m free —> that’s truth!  Jesus, (who made heaven and earth, btw), He is my helper.

Maybe a lie that I’m believing about mindless eating is that when I do it, I feel like it just happens and I don’t have a choice.  That isn’t true either.  I ALWAYS have a choice, especially about what goes in my mouth!

P~ Father, let the power of Christ work in my weakness.  I truly have no power in myself in regards to food, control, portion sizes, etc.  Your grace is ALL I need.  Your grace is ALL I need!  Please let me continually and forever rely on Your grace.  In Jesus’ Name I pray!

Weakness is Strength | Kim Chipman

S~ Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NLT)

O~ Paul is talking about boasting in our accomplishments. Really he speaks of a heart place I believe – pride or humility? Paul speaks of “a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud”. When he begged the Lord to take the torment away He revealed this truth to Paul.

A~ Your power works best in my weakness. This is so counter-intuitive to me. My head would think that You could work best through my gifts and strengths. But my heart…I sense this is about my heart. You can work through me when I am humble, when I see my weaknesses, when I am vulnerable about them – “boast only about my weaknesses” v5. Your grace is all I need. Your power works best in weakness. When I am weak then I am strong. So backwards from how I think it is or feel like it is.

My head tells me I need to portray a life that is “together” for people to see You. Like I’ve got this and I’m in control…I’ve got a handle on it. This is a lie if I want Your power. I need to do the opposite if I want You working through me.

Humble.

This is how You can use me. Humble myself. So Your power can work through me. Boast about my weaknesses so others can see the power of Christ. Transparency…let them see the mess…ugh, this is so hard. It feels scary to be vulnerable. But Your grace is ALL I NEED. I want more of You…and You work best in my “messy”, not in my “got it all together”.

P~ Help me to remember that vulnerable may be scary, but it’s where You can work best. And You are always worth it. I can trust You even when I am afraid. I love You.

Power Shift | Robin Laney

S~ That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10 (NIV)

O~ Paul was given a thorn in his flesh. We don’t know what it was exactly but it was something that caused him enough torment that he pleaded God three times for it to be removed. God’s message back to him was, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” And so, Paul delights in all things hard because he knows that it is not he who overcomes, but Christ in him and God gets all of the glory.

A~ We all have weaknesses, whether real or perceived. We see them as things that hold us down or back. We all experience hardships in life. Some are self-inflicted, others are not. Many of us suffer persecution, coming in the form of insults, betrayals, or abuse. We all have hard things to overcome in this life and the question is, “How do we deal?” Are we crushed by the weight? Do we take an offensive stance in life and walk around consumed with anger and fight our way through them? Or do we submit to God in them, humbly ask Him to stand for us and with us as we face them, and allow Him to be our strength so that He gets all of the glory?

I have read the stories of victims of horrible abuses who were destroyed and I have heard of some who have, by God’s power, risen up in spite of their pain and helped others to do the same. I know men crushed by the experience of war and I know some who, by God’s strength, are great leaders in spite of their time in battle. I have seen disabled veterans sitting on street corners begging for coins and I have seen men who inspire others with their refusal to give up on life. I have heard the stories of people born into poverty who then have children born into poverty and I have heard great success stories built on hard work and determination. I have met people who have been marginalized by society who are filled with anger and discouragement and hate and I have met people who find their worth and life purpose in Christ and take on the mission of all missions, the salvation of souls above all else. I have heard beautiful singers who struggle to speak a full sentence. We all have thorns. The difference between those who fold and those who are victorious, is the power of God. We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. If we could do it all ourselves, we certainly wouldn’t need Him.

P~ Lord, we get so off-kilter, taking on the battles of this world. We are overcome by hurts and struggles and we lose focus. We take on fights that are not ours. We spend time and money and energy waging imaginary wars over temporal things. We allow ourselves to be divided and conquered by an enemy who loves to see us crushed in our insecurities and offense. We see defeat in our inadequacies and fail to consider Your power. Lord, help us to see clearly that this is all about You. Help us not to focus on ourselves but to allow our weaknesses, our thorns, to glorify You as You do the heavy lifting for us. Let the world see Your power in and through us!

Looking Closely at Myself! | Michelle Myers

S~ Look closely at yourselves.  Test yourselves to see if you are living in the faith.  You know that Jesus Christ is in you—unless you fail the test. 2 Corinthians 13:5 (NCV)

O~ The more attention I pay to myself, in regards to my words, my responding versus reacting, and my own non-verbal cues; the more I pass the test.  The more I pay attention to what I am doing or what my response is going to do to someone else, instead of what they are doing to me; I pass the test.  When I struggle to to see a different, more positive perspective, I ask You to show me or help me, and You do.  When I am struggling to let go of a situation or person, I have no control over, can’t fix, or even manage enough toward success; I turn to You for Your help and guidance in surrendering it.  This has helped me pass the test.

A~ The last few weeks have been rocked with one challenging situation after another.  Yet, I have been able to keep my peace.  There have been a few moments, where I was on the brink of walking down the wrong path, and losing it; but when I asked for your help and guidance, You were there.

This last week, we had a computer issue, that occurred after my husband did an upgrade.  Eventually, it stopped working all together.  Prior to this, the computer was fine, and since I am not technology savvy, I really try to not rock the technology boat.  Why fix what isn’t broken? Yet, as my husband had to use the two “mental health” days getting the computer up and running again, I was able to not freak out, not question why he did the update, or even why he needed tools. The last time he used tools to fix the computer, we ended up having to buy a new computer.  I trusted You.  I leaned on You for guidance in how to respond when I could feel my frustration start to rise.  Not only did You take care of the computer issue, You took care of me, my heart, and my emotions during it all.

Car repairs that were originally ball parked around $250, and after getting a second opinion came back at being around $1000.  A few months ago, I would have been majorly upset with You.  Yet, I wasn’t.  I just thought, “Ok, it is what it is.  We will research it some more, call around, and hopefully we can get the price down.”  Every other place we called, came back closer to the $250 range.  We still haven’t had it fixed, and it doesn’t seem to be something that needs to be taken care of immediately.  So, I trust that You have it all under control and worked out.  I just need to be patient, and stay connected to You.

My husband texted me yesterday, and said that he got tickets to A Christmas Carol; and that he spent a good chunk of money on them.  At first, I didn’t believe him, because I couldn’t see him spending that kind of money on something we did not agree on.  I have always wanted to take my girls to see it.  I spend 15+ years taking my 7th grade students to the dress rehearsals the caravan would perform for the district.  They were just as good as a regularly scheduled performance. As I pondered this, I thought about how, even if he did spend the money on the tickets, it was totally for me and my girls.  I know he is not dying to see a play.  I know the chances of him even staying awake during it are slim.  I was able to see the progress in him from being a selfish, self-centered husband that really didn’t put forth any effort, to a husband who was willing to sacrifice a good chunk of money to do something that really only mattered to me and my girls. The money part, I knew You had.  And You did.  The tickets were actually free.  They were given to him by someone he works with.  This is totally a blessing from You, and I so do appreciate it.

Yesterday, my oldest daughter got in the car and looked a little upset.  She has been having some problems at school with one student bullying her.  However, despite the look on her face, her tone was pretty upbeat.  While waiting for me to pick her up, she decided to try some new dance moves with some friends.  She thought she had put her phone in her bag, Unfortunately, she did not, and ended up stepping on it, cracking the screen.  I knew she was upset, but I was very proud of the way she handling the emotions.  I was happy that it was something that I could take care of.  I can get her screen fixed, but fixing the hurt feelings and damage done by a bully is a lot harder for me to do.  So, I praised her for keeping her emotions in check, and praised myself for not responding with, “You need to be more responsible!”, which certainly does not help the situation.

I don’t know.  There has just been a lot that you have been throwing at me lately.  Sometimes I get tired.  Yet, the frustration that I had felt for so many years isn’t there anymore.  My emotions are becoming more stable.  I am able to stay in peace a lot better, regardless of my circumstances.  I am able to see You more clearly in the middle of the mess, and that brings me comfort.

P~ Thank you God for Your blessings.  Thank you for working on my heart.  As I rely on you for help and guidance, please just continue to help me.  As Paul stated in 2 Corinthians 13:10, help me remember, “The LORD gave me this authority to buid you up, not tear you down.”  Help me stay focused on myself, so that I can respond in a way that builds people up, instead of tearing them down.

Help People | Luisa Penaherrera

S~ We are glad to be weak, if you are really strong.  What we pray for is your restoration to maturity.  2 Corinthians 13:9 (NLT)

O~ Paul just wanted the best for these people.

A & P~ Dear Father, I don’t feel like I really struggle with people for their good.  I mostly give up to quickly or my struggle with them for their good has become mucked and confusing.  I want to be able to be a help to others and I want them to know Christ, but why does it feel like I always go about it all  wrong and feel like I don’t have a vision or a steady purpose in it all?

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Posted on November 18, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Kim, I wrote about v. 7-9 also but thanks for pointing out that it means being transparent about our weaknesses. Letting others see that does humble us. I know there are many different opinions about the “messenger” but to me a messenger from Satan is one who constantly whispers in our ears to torment us. That is just how it feels to me. So, to be transparent – I find myself constantly tormented by jealousy of others’ relationships, gifts and opportunities rather than rejoicing in what others have. It can get really ugly and I hate it. I know the truth is it is “not about me” it is ALL about Him. He has to remind me every day. Thank you all for being transparent here. May HE receive all glory on this earth. May He set our hearts free to love as He loves.

    • Thank you Susan! You are so brave to share your heart. Yes, may HE be glorified and may WE live free! Hugs, friend!

    • Thank you Susan for sharing your struggle with jealousy. I love to see people blessed, but often question “Why can’t I do that?” or “Why didn’t you do that for me God?” I think those questions are just no better, and often keep me from seeing the way God has blessed me or my life.

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