January 1 Genesis 1,2; Luke 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.

Printable reading plan: Life Journal Reading Plan

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God’s Hovering Spirit | Joni Tyner

S~ And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. Genesis 1:2  (NLT)

O~ The Trinity of God, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit was present at creation.  This verse indicates the Holy Spirit was actively monitoring (hovering over) what was going on.

A~ As I read the creation story in Genesis once again, I marveled over how God made everything. My study Bible gives additional insight to what was involved in creation and I found this very interesting. Still, as I thought about journaling this morning, it was this verse that I kept coming back to.

Hovering over.  From the very beginning of creation, the Holy Spirit’s role was to protect, much like a parent looks over and cares for their children.  Although I wouldn’t consider myself a helicopter parent, there have been times I’ve hovered, especially when the kids were doing something new.  I remember my son’s first bus ride to school.  As the bus pulled away, I jumped into my car and followed it!  I “hovered” in the distance as he got off of the bus and walked into the building to begin kindergarten.  I also “hovered over” each child as they began driving. “Which streets are you taking?” “Don’t turn left at that intersection.” “Text me when you get there.”  On and on—I “hovered” because I love my kids and I wanted to protect them from possible dangers that their young minds were absolutely oblivious to.

I think the Holy Spirit is a bit like that.  He loves us so much!!!!  He wants us to do the right thing because He knows the consequences of sin hurt us.  He is always there, He role isn’t to be on call for the Father when He is needed–  but to be constantly, 24/7 available . We need to understand that our role is so be sensitive to His prompting and guidance.

P~ Dear Lord, thank you for the gift of Your Holy Spirit that is constantly with me.  Help me to always be tuned into Your leading and be cognizant of His presence.  Thank you for Your protection, Your guidance, Your untiring love.

Trumped | Robin Laney

S~ But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.” Luke 1:13 (ESV)

O~ Elizabeth and Zechariah were both well along in years according to Luke’s account. They had not been able to have children and Zechariah had prayed. They were both faithful to God, keeping His commandments blamelessly. In this verse, the angel, Gabriel, is announcing that they will, indeed, have a child and that God had great plans for him. It must have seemed impossible to believe that God would choose this time when they were old to bless them with a child.

A~ God’s timing is perfect and His ways are far above our ways. Sometimes, for me, what I see as reality trumps God’s power in my mind. I look at a situation and my heart says, “God can do anything,” even while my mind is whispering, “but maybe not this.”

Robin1

We have two daughters-of-our-heart who live in Jamaica. We have known them for four years and have been praying for God to make a way for them to come be part of our family the entire time. Hadiya is now 21 and is living on her own in the city and Abigail is 9 and is still living at the City of Refuge Children’s Home. At first, everything was moving along so smoothly in the process and we felt as though God’s hand was clearing the way for us. Then, all came to a screeching halt. We have some ideas about why but we really don’t know for sure. We do know that their mom plays a key role in the process. She must relinquish her parental rights in order for us to move forward but she chooses not to. As much as I wish I could see inside her mind and heart and know why she refuses, even when she doesn’t want Abby herself, I cannot.

Many times, in quiet moments, I ask God, “Can you please do something to influence her decision? Can you send a scary angel or something? Like in the old days? Can you turn her heart towards you so that you have influence through your Spirit? Please? Will you move today? I know You can!” What I always hear back is, “My ways are greater than your ways. Trust me.” Ugh! How well I know this and, still, how hard it is to keep my heart in check as we watch our Abby grow up in pictures sent via Facebook and as we long to bring our Hadiya home to protect her and love her and care for her. Each time, I have to remind myself that God is in control and that He has a plan and even though I think it looks impossible, His power is far greater than the situation. He could change it all in a moment but for whatever reason He chooses not to right now.

As I consider Elizabeth’s plight, her barrenness, and her longing for a child all those years, I wonder if she had the same kinds of pleadings to God and if he responded to her in the same way. Her story gives me hope because when it seemed truly an impossibility, God gave her a son. His timing was crazy for her and Zechariah but it was perfect for His plan to have John the Baptist prepare the way for Jesus. I know, without a doubt, that God can do anything. My questions about why He hasn’t brought our girls home must be answered by my faith in His infinite wisdom, His impeccable timing, and His perfect plan. In the meantime, we do as much as we can from here for the girls and the home and we wait and pray. I know that years from now, we will look back and it will all make perfect sense.

P~ Lord, increase my faith in You, Your plan, and Your timing. I know that You love our girls more than we do and that You have Your hands on them. Help me to remember how great Your power and how incredible Your wisdom are. Bring Elizabeth and Your perfect provision to mind when I begin to question and doubt. Give me more faith so that my perception of reality doesn’t trump Your power in my mind.

The Impossible | Kelley Deases

S~ For nothing is impossible with God.  Luke 1:37 (NIV)

O~  These words are spoken by the angel Gabriel who foretold how Mary, a virgin, will give birth to a baby, God’s Son, and how Elizabeth already is pregnant in her old age after she was said to be barren.  God can accomplish seemingly impossible things……that’s how we know it is God, and not human effort or happy accident.

A~  I feel like I am in the presence of a miraculous happening — something only God could cause to occur.  I am witnessing the parents of a 20-year-old young man who lost his life in a car crash December 23rd, exhibit impossible strength, grace, concern for others, and trust in God.  Anything other than curling up into the fetal position and wanting to shut out the world would be admirable.  But I am truly in awe of Diana, Marcus’ mom, who has responded to every text I have sent (and I’m sure her phone is blowing up with calls and texts from well-wishers). She speaks of how God will sustain them through this time, how she would like to spend time with me “when the dust settles,” and even asked me to pray for her son’s friend and roommate who may not be returning to college this semester due to this loss.  Marcus’ dad, Chris, posted a letter on social media in response to the flood of support they are receiving, expressing his gratitude, assuring us all that their marriage and their faith in Jesus are strong, and asking that gifts not come in the form of cards and flowers (Marcus hated flowers!) but contribute to a scholarship fund through their church to send youth to camps and on mission trips.  To even have the clarity of thought to compose such a letter is a testimony in and of itself!

P~  Father, Thank you for holding Chris and Diana close, as I know You are, so that they can not only survive this tragic loss, but maintain their powerful witness to others who need to know the hope and peace and life You have to offer.

I am His Slave | Tara Wiley

S~ “I am the Lord’s slave,” said Mary. “May it be done according to your Word.” Luke 1:38 (HCSB)

O~ Other translations use more palatable words. Handmaiden, even bondservant, sounds better than slave.

Debate the word all we want – the true nature of Mary’s response was one of complete submission of her own will to God’s ways. Her entire future changed with that one yes. It came from a heart fully surrendered, ready to yield in complete obedience.

A~ Honestly, I don’t have this attitude 24-7. Even at the very beginning of consciousness after a night’s rest, I fail to put my own flesh to death.

I grab my phone to start my Bible reading but Facebook pops up and the first thing I do is check those pesky notifications.

My mind wanders to what if’s and fear takes hold. I am not taking my thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ.

I sit down, and my children come to me with requests. I give them the least of my effort.

My husband comes home, tired, and I get irritated when he doesn’t do what I think he should do, when I think he should do it, how I think he should do it.

I am, at my core, selfish.

A slave. A bondservant. A handmaiden. She puts aside her own needs, her own comfort, her own desires, and she disciplines herself and orders her days with a focus and abandon to her Master and His call.

P~ Lord, this year, I want to be a better bondservant. Yes, I want to be Your slave. That’s as politically incorrect as it gets! But here’s what I know: I cannot trust my heart, my mind, my will, my future to any better Master (and I KNOW my own heart is not the best Master!). You are fully trustworthy. You are so full of perfect love for imperfect me. Every choice You make is driven by perfect goodness, perfect love. So I can trust You, my Master, to shape my will in a way that makes me fully alive, so fully complete in You, that the words “I am the Lord’s slave. May it be done according to Your Word,” fall from my mouth like the sweetest love song, followed with feet swift to respond to Jesus in totally surrendered obedience. No fear. Just love. Yes, Master; let it be true in me this day and the next. I surrender once again, receiving Your grace for a new start right now in this next breath. (Video HERE)

Fearless Holiness and Rightousness | Michelle Myers

S~ to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days Luke 1:74-75 (NIV)

O~ After the birth of John the Baptist, Zachariah, who was John’s father, was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied about the future birth of Jesus.  In the above scripture, Zachariah is talking about the oath he swore to Abraham.

A~ Trusting that You will rescue me from the hands of my enemies can be difficult sometimes.  Serving You without fear in holiness and righteousness, is a difficult trust thing sometimes.  First, remembering that my enemies are not the flesh and blood covered bones that are encasing the person standing before me is hard in the moment.  Second, serving You without fear in holiness and righteousness, requires me to give up my fleshly responses, my righteousness, and my verbal defenses and come backs.  Recognizing and being satisfied with the fact that You see me ‘serving You without fear in a holy and right way’ can be hard.  Because honestly, the Spirit encased in the flesh and blood that surrounds the person who is causing the hurt, frustration, and turmoil doesn’t recognize the response as such.  That is where I have to just stay focused on You and what You are telling me to do, and remember the “big picture” of who I am really fighting, who I am really serving, and what I am really accountable for.

P~ Thank you God for Your wisdom.  Please continue to help me see the truths of who I am really fighting, who I am really serving, and what I am really accountable for.  Please continue to help me grow in the areas of trust with You, and remembering the benefits of serving You in a holy and right way.  Please help my head stay focused and my heart stay right, when I am struggling with holiness and righteousness.

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

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Posted on January 1, 2016, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Thank you ladies! So much great insight today.

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