December 9 1 Timothy 5,6; Titus 1,2,3

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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Season of Discontent | Kelley Deases

S~ But godliness with contentment is great gain.  1 Timothy 6:6 (NIV)

O~  One definition of “godly” reads: “conforming to the laws and wishes of God.”  That is our aim, that we might ever be on the journey to be obedient to what God is calling us to, in the general sense of keeping His commands, and in the specific sense of what He has laid on our heart to do.  Living a life at the end of which we might hear from our Father, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”  But we are going to stumble in this.  Through laziness, distraction, selfishness, and just plain sin, we will fall short in doing what God wants and being who He wants us to be.  Yet “contentment” connotes “satisfaction and ease of mind.”  So how do we achieve this contented peace, even as we miss the mark in our pursuit of conforming our lives to God’s wishes?  I think it has to do with wanting the “more” and the “better” as God desires for us, but knowing we can fall back on His grace when, in our humanness, we fail.

A~  My heart has been in a discontented place over the past several days.  I can’t quite put my finger on it — less daylight, hormones, my son returning to college, post-holiday slump (our family has already gathered for an early Christmas and exchanged all our gifts), some discord with my husband following a long streak of near-perfect harmony, not sure exactly.  And though my feelings make it difficult to want to do those things I should do in pursuit of godliness — read His Word, journal, go to Bible study, open up with my sisters in Christ about my struggles and not just my successes, answer the phone for a hurting friend, be available to serve the needs of my family and those around me — those are the very things that will return me to equilibrium and restore my contentment.

P~  Father, Sometimes life is hard.  Or just seems dull.  But my feelings don’t make Your promises any less true.  Help me to keep on keeping on until my heart turns aright.

Chasing the Next High | Michelle Meyers

S~ But godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6 (NIV)

O~Paul is telling Timothy (who is serving as a pastor) how to instruct Believers in the matter of finances.

A~ It has been almost twenty years since I made that stupid decision to drive while intoxicated, which ultimately landed me in cuffs and with a criminal record.  I don’t even have a speeding ticket on my record.  It is a glaring example of how I can be a pretty wise, responsible person; unless I am intoxicated.  I just can’t handle my alcohol.  It took me along time to even realize it was a problem. It took me along time, a lot of regrets, and a lot of searching for You; before I was able to die to myself enough, let You work in me, and set me free from the cravings. I have seen and experienced Your power. I hope that can bring other people hope.

Because of the DUI, I was ordered to take drug and alcohol education classes.  One of the lessons I learned in there, that I didn’t even comprehend until years later, was when the counselor had said to the class, “You need to be aware of when you are chasing that next high.” For me, I know that I have to really look at my motives in regards to why I am spending money, giving my time, exercising, upset with my husband or kids…..pretty much in regards to everything and anything.

This is because, “chasing that next high” for me is often the result of me not be content with something, and looking for worldly things or people to fill me up, in ways that only You can fill me up.  This is also why boundaries for myself are so important, because I can easily give too much of myself, and if my motives for doing it, are to keep the peace, make someone happy, etc, or I am expecting  something in return, I can easily end up disappointed.  It is then that the enemy starts in on my mind with:

“Nobody appreciates you.”

“Nobody cares about you.”

“You don’t matter.”

“You give and give, and you can’t even get your kids to pick up their dirty clothes off the bathroom floor.”

It can go on and on.  And let’s face it, many times, my family’s actions could easily be seen as evidence that only justifies all the garbage floating around in my head.  My husband isn’t the most in tune person, when it comes to empathy and emotions.  Structure, consistency, and follow through are difficult for him.  Some of it is just is just the way God created him, and some of it are the effects that about 25 years of pornography viewing have had on his brain.  And my kids, well they aren’t the most helpful, organized, or even respectful.  I also know that what I deal with, in regards to them is typical behavior for their age and nothing compared to the parenting woes that some other people have.

When I rely on God to show me, and stand in truth; I know my husband and kids love me, value me, and respect me.  Today, I was awakened by someone rustling through the desk drawer to the desk in our bedroom.  It was my husband looking for tacks.  When I awoke, our Christmas decorations were out and our tree was full of ornaments.  Everything had been sitting in tubs in our living room for over a week, because last weekend I stopped decorating after my youngest daughter had her second melt down.  Walking away, was my way of avoiding my own meld down. Both of my kids do well in school, and are not behavior problems.  They have never uttered a swear word at me or in my direction. They both have times when they want to be with me, and times when they don’t want me around at all.

What I am learning is to be content with what I have, in regards to many other areas of my life, besides the materialistic and financial ones.  I am learning to stand in truth.  I am learning that “chasing that next high” in regards to family is often a result of my discontentment with what I have and a lack of trust in regards to who I am in YOU.

P~ Thank you God for the blessings that You have given to me.  Please help me be content with them.  Please help me stand in truth.  Please guide me in regards to where my own boundaries need to be, in regards to myself and “chasing that next high” with people, time, money, resources, etc. Show me where I am trying to fill holes with people or worldly things, that only You can fill.

Promote and Participate | Luisa Penaherrera

S~  But as for you, promote the kind of living that reflects right teaching.
Similarly teach the older women to live in a way that is appropriate for someone serving the Lord.  They must not go around speaking evil of others and must not be heavy drinkers.   Instead, they should teach the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to take care of their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.  Titus 2:1,3-5  (NLT)

O & A~  How can I “promote” the kind of living that reflects right teaching?  This makes me reflect on my daily choices.  The next verses show me, in my phase of life, what I can be doing. I have a job to do and I need to participate in life.

P~  Dear Father, please help me come out of my spectator seat, thinking that what I do is insignificant, and be a participator in life; thanking you for the part you gave me to contribute in. I love you too.

We Can Count on THIS! | Robin Laney

S~ It wasn’t so long ago that we ourselves were stupid and stubborn, dupes of sin, ordered every which way by our glands, going around with a chip on our shoulder, hated and hating back. But when God, our kind and loving Savior God, stepped in, he saved us from all that. It was all his doing; we had nothing to do with it. He gave us a good bath, and we came out of it new people, washed inside and out by the Holy Spirit. Our Savior Jesus poured out new life so generously. God’s gift has restored our relationship with him and given us back our lives. And there’s more life to come—an eternity of life! You can count on this. Titus 3:3-8 (MSG)

O~ Paul had written to Titus to advise Titus in his supervision of the churches on Crete. He spends much of chapter 3 telling how important it is for Christians to live upright lives.

A~ This seems to be a theme for what God is pounding home to me lately. This world is mad and people are in search of Hope. They are hurting and looking for Peace. They are in despair and looking for Joy. Where can they look and find it? They should be able to see it in us, the Church.

It’s always a good dose of humility to look back on what we were before Christ saved us. Not that we are anywhere near perfect now but surely, if we have allowed the Holy Spirit to begin to transform us, we are much different than we were. Sometimes, there is an inclination to withdraw from all of the ugliness of the world and just pray for Jesus to come back. But we can’t! There are others out there who, like us, have new life available and waiting for them.

We REMEMBER what He has done for us, allow Him to RESTORE and RENEW us through the power of the Holy Spirit, and REACH OUT to those around us so that they can experience HIM!

P~ Lord, REMIND us, where we were, who we were, and what You have done for us. Give us eyes to see the lost and hurting around us. Let us truly respond obediently and openly to the power of the Holy Spirit as He seeks to transform us. Give us courage to reach out and Hope to share. Let us live lives worthy of Your call on our lives!

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Posted on December 9, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Love you Michelle! Thanks for sharing.

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