December 20 John 7,8

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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My Heart | Kim Chipman

S~ Those who speak for themselves want glory only for themselves, but a person who seeks to honor the one who sent him speaks truth, not lies. John 7:18 (NLT)

O~ Jesus is speaking in the Temple.

A~ This speaks to my motivation – to my heart. Do I want glory for myself or for you? Truthfully, often I want it for me! Ugh. That is ugly to see. I know when I’m doing it, though. I get that ick feeling in my gut. I feel kinda insecure and like I’m in middle school just trying to make things look right or trying to fit in or feel some sense of value/importance. I know it when I’m going there. So what should I do? Probably just stop talking. Pray. Reframe my motivations. Remember. Focus.

P~ Oh Lord, purify my heart! May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you! I love You and want YOUR glory!

Work for the Honor of God | Michelle Myers

S~ He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him. John 7:18 (NIV)

O/A~ When speaking on my own, You have taught me that it is important to look at motives.  Why am I speaking up?  Is to gain recognition for something I did?  Is to defend myself?  Is it that I am trying to explain a situation to someone, who really doesn’t have the experience or capacity to understand it?

I feel that there is very little that I do for recognition.  If I am wrong in this, please show me. You have given me situation after situation where, with the exception of a few people, there just isn’t a great deal of understanding.

Since I was a child, recognition was just not something I got.  All the recognition in our family, and the one who did a great deal of speaking on their own behalf was my mother.  The ones who did recognize it, eventually chose to stay away.  But most, just didn’t understand what went on behind closed doors.

My teaching experience was very much the same thing.  To me, it was a job that I liked.  Either people would be in awe of the kinds of kids that I worked with, or they would think that because we were an alternative school, we had some special system in place, to keep the kids in line. That was not the case.  My experiences there, lead to one of my greatest lessons.  You can’t force anyone to do anything.

My marriage experience has very much been the same thing.  There is a show called “My Strange Addiction”, where someone has a really odd addiction, like eating paper.  Thank you Jesus that I have not come home to find my husband consuming large quantities of of printer paper.  Yet, as far as addictions go, sex addiction is one that is often misunderstood, less socially acceptable, and a fairly new entity in the world of addiction.  Even less understood, are the spouses of addicts and the toll it takes on them.

So, recognition isn’t the reason I speak for myself a lot of the time.  However, defending myself is, and that too is often counter productive.  Most people don’t even understand what I am defending myself against.  So, I am learning to rely on You to do my defending for me.

Also, You have taught me that this is where boundaries are important.  I will not have to point out how frazzled, tired, and drained I am to my children because I did this, this, and this; while you watched TV, hung out with a friend, etc.  Instead, I can chose to do this or that for them, or I could chose not to.  However, if I chose to do it, it needs to be with the right motive and that is to bring You honor.

I have to also remember that I don’t need to defend myself to the injustices of the world, because if I am doing something to truly honor YOU, I just need to know that YOU see it all. And YOU can do more than I ever could to get people to understand, defend me, etc.

P~ Thank you God for making me spiritually stronger through my difficult life circumstances. Please help me be aware of my wrong motives.  Please help me recognize where boundaries are needed.  Please help me remember that I do not have to defend myself, and doing so is usually counter productive anyway.  Please help me remember that I need to stay focused on You and that You see everything.

Oh, Glorious Light! | Robin Laney

S~ Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 (ESV)

O~ Jesus is light shining in a dark world. His light illuminates our sin helping us to see our need for him. It lights our life path so that we don’t get tripped up or trapped by sin. His light pushes out the darkness of sins in our hearts. He guides us, protects us and covers us in His light.

A~ I love that this verse is part of my reading this week! I have been thinking so much the past several weeks about light and how important it is not only in a spiritual sense but in a practical way as well. We have dear friends (pastors of Venture Church in Harrisburg, NC) who have adopted three incredible children from an island halfway around the world in Ethiopia. The kids have family members who live on Zadecha Island and they, themselves, have memories of what it was like to live there. One of the things Garrett remembers is his mother crying because she didn’t have money to buy, “water for the light” (oil for the lamp.) I cannot imagine what it would be like to be in total darkness from sunset until sunrise. This time of year the sun sets in Ethiopia around 6pm, as it does here. So, from 6pm on, if there is no oil, there is no work being done, no faces can be seen, no learning can be accomplished. I think of all the times I get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, comfort a child, get a drink of water. I have been thinking of how it must be to do those things without switching on a light. I think about how, in our home, even if I had to do those things in the dark, I would have no fear of bumping into or stepping on creatures.

Dark can be scary. It’s disorienting. Dangerous. Physical darkness can make one isolated, fearful, unproductive. Walking in the dark with no light for the path can lead to injury and even death. Spiritual darkness is the same. A life without Christ is like stumbling around in the dark with no direction, no protection, no comfort.

Venture Church is working to provide solar-powered light and power sources to the Zay people of Zadecha Island. There are already three of them on the island and the word is that people line up to plug into the sources. The goal is to make sure that each of the 100 families receives one of their own. How cool will it be when they no longer have to rely on others for light and power but will have it available to them right in their own homes? How cool will it be when the Henderson family can visit the island and tell the people about how Jesus is THE source of all light and power? I can’t think of a better object lesson! Jesus is THE LIGHT of the world. In Him there is no darkness at all. His light guides, comforts, protects. It exposes sin and brings life to dead hearts. He is the source of light, both physical and spiritual. He changes lives and I can’t wait to hear how the Zay people’s lives are changed by Him.

If you would like to help provide light to the Zay people, you can give at . Just click ‘Give without an account.’ It’s tax deductible and the lights will be purchased in Ethiopia, which helps the local economy. You can follow the project on or on Facebook at .

P~ Father, You are Light and Your Son is Light. This world is dark and we need Your light to shine on it and in our hearts. Jesus, guide us and protect us with Your light and let it shine on the Zay people. Lord, may they see You and experience You fully not only in their physical needs being met but also in their spiritual ones. May we all experience You as we bask in the warmth of Your glorious light!

Our team would love the privilege of praying for you! Please share how we can lift you in prayer at


Posted on December 20, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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