December 11 Philemon; Hebrews 1,2,3,4

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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Joyful and Encouraged | Jill Terry

S~ Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.
Philemon 7 (NIV)

O/A~ The love of other believers gives me great joy and comfort. It is something I never really experienced before and I was astonished at how much it meant to me. My mom was sick for six months before she passed away. I knew I was all caught up in the day to day of coping with her illness. I never expected my friends to be yet, I was constantly surprised by their kindness and encouragement when I needed them most. It was the random texts, cups of coffee, bowls of soup and emails from my Christian women friends that kept me going through those very difficult months. The knowledge that I had this amazing group of women praying for my entire family just encouraged me so very much.

I decided after my mom passed away that I would not ignore those little nudges to reach out to someone with a text, email, soup or a cup of coffee. I realized when God put these people in my mind with a prod to reach out there was most likely a reason. I know how very much it all meant to me, I am choosing to listen when God nudges me in the hope that in some small way, I can give some small joy and encouragement to others.

P~ Lord, Thank you so much for these women you have put in my life. You knew how much I would soon need them. Thank you for showing me it is the small things that mean the most. Help me be Your light to a hurting world. Amen

Decision to Make | Luisa Penaherrera

S~ So if you consider me your partner, give him the same welcome you would give me if I were coming. Yes, dear brother, please do me this favor for the Lord’s sake.  Give me this encouragement in Christ.  Philemon 17, 20 (NLT)

O~ Paul was asking Philemon to accept and welcome Onesimus back as if it were Paul himself.  Philemon had a history with Onesimus before Onesimus became a Christian.  Paul was aware of possible suffering Philemon had been through because of Onesimus and said in verse 18 if he has harmed you in any way or stolen anything from you, charge me for it.  Even so, Paul still asked Philemon to welcome him, as if it were Paul himself.

A~ When I read this a couple of people came to my mind that have caused me much pain and I wondered, could I do this? If Paul asked me to do what he was asking Philemon, could I do this? I am told in Scripture to forgive. It’s a decision.

P~ Dear Father, I forgive them…again. Thank you for forgiving me.

Slow Fade – Robin Laney

S~ See to it brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. Hebrews 3:12-14 (NIV)

O~ Paul has just reminded the people of the failures of the Israelites who wandered for 40 years in the desert and never received their reward, entry into the Promised Land, because they fell into sin. They suffered discontentment, disobedience, unbelief and much else. Paul warns the church not to fall for the lies of sin, teaches the people to encourage one another, and to hold on firmly till the end for the prize awaits.

A~ Sin is not a decision, it is a path. There is a song called, “Slow Fade“, about this very thing. Sin is deceitful. It promises pleasure and gain and fairness but in reality, it leads to loss. Each compromise, each act of rebellion or disobedience is a step away from God. If we take enough steps, we suffer unbelief in our hardened hearts and, like the Israelites, we find ourselves wandering the earth having lost all hope of the abundant life He promises.

In today’s world, we have this weird dichotomy. We must be vigilant because we live in a dangerous world so we are told, “If you see something, say something.” However, that is only when we are talking about possible criminal activity. It seems as though, on a personal level, people know one another less and less and they really don’t want to be bothered with other people’s opinions of them or their lives. Paul is telling believers that we need each other. We need to be about each other’s business so that no one gets snatched up in sin’s grip. I have written, “Don’t just pray something, say something.” We have to help each other through this life so that, at the end, we can enter into His rest and gain the reward He has promised AND along the way, we can experience abundant life and lead many people to salvation. It’s a win, win, win!

P~ Lord, give me a spirit willing to hear from others when I drift. Let me have ears to hear the Truth over lies. By Your Spirit, open my eyes to others who might be straying from Your path of righteousness and make me bold to gently guide them back to You. Lord, thank You that You have given us Your Word, Your Spirit, and each other to keep us strong in our faith and on the narrow path. May we all cross the finish line arm in arm and leave no one behind!

His Voice in the Parking Lot | Joni Tyner

S~ Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled. Hebrews 3:15 (NLT)

O~ The Holy Spirit is present in each believer’s life.  We can either be dominated (controlled) by the Holy Spirit or we can be dominated by the flesh. ( our sinful nature that will always take over if we aren’t intentional to seek the Spirit)

A~ Over the past few years, this is an area of my faith that I am beginning to understand with greater clarity.  I used to be confused when I would occasionally hear someone say, “God told me”, “God spoke to me”,  or “The Holy Spirit prompted me”.  What did that mean? How come He wasn’t talking to me?

Because I wasn’t reading His Word—the Bible, that’s why.

Now, of course when the Holy Spirit pursues us, it isn’t an audible voice like a special effect movie.  For me it’s a reoccurring thought that I should follow through with, it pops into my head and it’s like , “yes!!!! Do that!”  I have definitely noticed since I regularly pray that I would have eyes and ears and a heart to the things of God, that I am much more clearly hearing His voice.

Sunday at church, they were talking about being an “Operation Christmas Blessing” and encouraging attenders to randomly bless people in a wow way.  I was thinking, “okay, I should do that.  …and then day goes on.”  I go over to the Shadow Lake mall to buy some gifts for my Secret Santa at work and spent a fairly large amount of time walking around looking at lots of Christmas stuff.  After about 1 ½ hours, I think, “I’ve wasted enough time on this, I had better get home.”  As I was leaving the parking lot, I saw a lady and her 2 school aged daughters holding a sign. “We need gas to get home. God bless you.”  The Spirit whispered to me, “turn around”.

I went back and parked and started talking with her.  Through less-than-perfect English, she told me about being from Texas and coming to Omaha to see her sick sister, apparently they didn’t have gas to get back to Texas.  I offered to fill her tank and follow me to the gas station.  Unfortunately she lost me in trying to get out of the mall area. I filled my own gas tank and again, the Spirit was prompting me to go back and try and find her.  I purchased a gas card and went back to the mall and there she was.  Her face and her daughters face lit up when they saw me and they kept saying, “we couldn’t find you!!!!…thank you so much for coming back!!” They were very grateful for the gas card.

I share this not because I want anyone to know, (I didn’t even tell my husband about it) but because I would like to encourage others to be sensitive to the Spirit’s leading when He nudges your heart.  I challenge readers to pray to have the ears and ears and heart of the Lord—He loves to bless you with abundance in this prayer. 🙂

P~ Dear Lord, I ask for you to lead me to people You want to impact.  I want to be Your vessel. I pray this lady and her children made it home safely.  I pray for blessings to their family and that they might be a part of a ripple effect to help others that may come into their path.  Help me to stay sensitive to Your leading.

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Posted on December 11, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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