January 12 Genesis 29, 30; Luke 12

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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More Than Things | Kelley Deases

S~ Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed: a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”  Luke 12:15 (NIV)

O~ We are a materialistic people!  The default mode in American culture is to be inundated with billboards, TV and radio commercials, and advertisements and emails on our computers screaming, “Buy this!  buy that!”…. and so we do.  I mean, the furniture is looking shabby and we’re having people over Friday night.  I mean, we need something new and special to add to our blah wardrobe.  I mean, we have not treated ourselves to a nice restaurant or a nice vacation in quite some time.  Sound familiar?

A~ John and I have been working really well together, especially the last couple years, in the area of our finances.  We have been communicating well, setting short and long-term goals, and then trying to stay disciplined to meet them.  We managed to save up thousands of dollars to be able to cash flow some major home improvements and home repairs last year.  This year, we are looking to replace a vehicle of ours (which has over 206,000 miles!).  But we just got derailed by a major knee injury suffered by my husband.  We have yet to fully realize the repercussions of two surgeries and recovery time, medical bills and time off work for our primary wage earner.  We had to cancel an upcoming trip we had planned and the car idea is on hold until we can ensure we are able to make ends meet over the coming weeks and months.  We are getting an object lesson in Jesus’ statement that our lives are more than our stuff, and we are rediscovering the true value in banding together as a couple “in good times and bad times, through sickness and health”  …. or perhaps knee surgery, as the case may be.

P~  Father, We have no choice, really, but to trust You with this situation in which we find ourselves.  Sustain us and help us as we plod through these days ahead, uncertain about the finances, the timing, and what lies ahead.

Faithful and Wise Manager | Michelle Myers

S~ The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, who the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at that proper time?  It will be good for that servant who the master finds doing so when he returns.” Luke 12:42-43 (NIV)

O~ Jesus is using another parable to tell followers that they needed to be on guard, remain patiently on guard, doing the work He has given for them to do; because nobody knows when He will return.

A~ It has been a very unstable and chaotic month and half in regards to my marriage and family. Many of my husband’s patterns, in regards to follow through and communication were off the charts.  My oldest daughter was having anxiety and insomnia issues.  The first medication we tried, only made it worse.  The second, which she started the week of finals, has proven to work much better.  Her overall grades were good, but the initial side effects of the medication made it hard for her to focus, and her final test grades were not that great.  However, we made it through, and we are on to a new semester.  She seems a lot more positive and joyful.  Thank you God!  I started on medication about six weeks ago, and I am sleeping better and able to focus better. Thank you God! Counseling with my husband, was a bust.  I would leave frustrated and hurt.  I didn’t feel that I was being heard in regards to some of the issues going on; and quite frankly my husband would minimize them.  I knew that some of the direction we were going in regards to communication, would only set me up for more failure, until we got to the root of why he shuts down.  I can’t “fight fair” with someone who refuses to even engage in dialogue.  So, after the last frustrating, unproductive session, I listened to You, as You told me that this wasn’t working for me.  After a lot of drama, my husband decided he needed help in getting to the root of some of these issues that cause him to shut down or drop the ball, in regards to follow through.  I could go on and on about the storms of the past month and a half, all of which occurred during the holiday season, which just added more challenges.  The last month and a half are a blur.

Actually, I don’t feel that I have had “clear vision” for many years, probably since all of this junk came out, a little over six years ago.  All the frustration, anger, and crap came boiling up and out at my husband yesterday.  It was ugly, and I did not like it.  He remained stable and loving, even as I was spewing at him.  Afterwards, I heard You say, “It is time”.  And I knew that it was time to let go of all the crap that has caused so much instability and chaos in our lives over the years.

You showed me that I have been the faithful and wise manager of our household, and that, even though it is not Your perfect design for marriage, that is the way it currently is.  You showed me that I am able to be a stable force, when I not getting sucked up and sucked into his mess, which could be anything from joining groups where we were supposed to be partners and he gets upset and leaves me hanging or to him not following through on making sure the girls have completed a household chore.  You showed me that it was time for me to start detaching in the areas where I have to rely on him, as a partner, and find my own way…………my own church, my own groups, more of my own activities, etc.  Then I will be able to provide myself, along with the rest of my family some of the consistent stability that we need.

You also reminded me of the good that I have seen since coming back, and the good in my husband.  He has become a good provider for our family, and is willing to sacrifice, what he wants, so the girls and I can have what we want.   I began to remember what made me fall in love with him in the first place.  He is way more engaged and helpful than he was before I left. He is fun.  He makes my girls and I laugh. You showed me that I needed to accept, appreciate, and value the good. I needed to be patient, as he is working with You on himself, and that I needed to let go, and move on, with myself, in the direction You are leading me.

P~ Thank you God for your grace.  Please forgive me for the words I spewed at my husband yesterday.  Please continue to guide me, as I try and gain some stability, while navigating this very difficult marriage.  Please guide and heal my husband, as he tries to get to the root of some of these issues.  Please continue to help me recognize and appreciate the good.

The holy grail of lifestyle change | Nikki Metzger

S~ And a servant who knows what the master wants, but isn’t prepared and doesn’t carry out those instructions, will be severely punished. Luke 12:47 (NLT)

O~ Jesus is speaking, He is comparing His followers as servants, He is the master.  He is letting us know that He will go away for awhile, but is coming back at an unexpected time.

A~ Preparation and carrying out the plan is the key to my lifestyle change.  Sometimes I feel guilty if I spend extra time in the store or am not at home if I’m out on a walk – so I just don’t do anything.

I think I hear You saying that it’s ok to take time and prepare.  Eating differently, cooking healthy, shopping differently takes time.  I need to prepare for that!  I need to plan an hour for cooking dinner because of chopping fresh veggies.  Or prepare for several meals when I have a bigger chunk of time.

That time spent in preparation is not wasted and is still precious to the Lord.  It’s like the hours spent alone practicing the piano.  No one sees that, they only see and hear the amazing concert.  Or the basketball player who shoots night after night on her driveway trying to get her free throw shot down.  People only see the game and the shots she made, not all the hours of practice.

This lifestyle change is really about the preparation.  And you can’t forget the follow through (this is the harder part for me).  Once I’ve prepared everything, I actually need to eat it, not go to lunch when my co-workers ask.  Nike’s theme here is so appropriate: Just Do It!

P~ Father, I love You!  This place where You’ve called me.  Again and again.  Yet, You never give up on me and everytime You’ve taught me something new.  Still today, You speak of how valuable I am to You – even when You’ve called me to do hard things.  Those things are never exclusive of each other, are they?  I’m ALWAYS valuable to You, and in that, You still allow me to walk through hard things.

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Posted on January 12, 2016, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. i love your post, Nikki! So true about many things, we need to expect to PREPARE! Nothing worth having is ever easy.

  2. Kelley and Nikki, thank you both for sharing. I could relate very well to both of your posts. The uncertainty in yours, Kelley, and the “just having to trust God in it”, I am very familiar with. Also, as my van is approaching 100,000 miles, it is nice to know that I could potentially get another 100,000 miles out of it!

    Nikki, I struggle also with the planning, and have found it to be a lot more work than I anticipate. Yet, when I do it, and actually follow through with it, there is a sense of peace, because that internal struggle with God, is gone. I am surrendering.

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