January 20 Genesis 49, 50; Psalm 8; Luke 20

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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It’s All Good in God’s Hands | Robin Laney

S~ But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” Genesis 50:19-20 (ESV)

O~ Joseph’s father had just died and his brothers, who had sold him into slavery so many years before, were afraid that without their father’s protection Joseph would surely pay them back for what they had done. Joseph certainly was in a position to make their lives miserable and they, without a doubt, deserved punishment. When they came and bowed down before him, he wept. His response was a beautiful picture of mercy and grace. He recognized that it was not his place to dole out justice upon them. Not only did he not exact revenge but he also poured out grace over them in the form of a promise of future provision. He forgave them, he did not ask for repayment (as if they could ever repay him to begin with), and he loved them well even though they did not deserve it. All because Joseph knew that God’s hand was in it all. He recognized that the evil that befell him was used by God for good. His faith in a sovereign God and his ability to see His work in the midst of tragic circumstances enabled him to have a Godly response towards his brothers.

A~ There is not a whole lot harder in life than to truly and completely forgive someone who hurts us deeply. To give up all rights to the pain of the past, to put our memories behind us and refuse to let them resurface, to understand that salvation (theirs and ours) is more important than any pain we might suffer, to move forward from the point of forgiveness and handle each new conflict as a standalone issue, to not only forgive in a way that tolerates but one in which we pour ourselves back into the relationship fully even if it’s risky, to heap blessings on those who have hurt us. Our model of complete and total forgiveness is Christ who gave himself up for us even as we were still sinning, the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of our salvation.

We all have conflicts in relationships and Joseph is a perfect model for us in that he knew his place before God and man. He knew that His God was bigger than any evil that had been practiced on him, and he recognized that His God had brought good out of the horrible circumstances.

P~ Father, in this world there is hurt and offense, betrayal and unfairness, hate and anger. I want to respond well when it comes on me. I am so thankful for the mercy and grace You have given me and I want to respond in kind to those who might hurt me. You are a God of justice and are faithful and so I trust You with any evil plans against me. I know that You make all things work together for good. Please give me eyes to see Your work in the midst of any hard circumstances that come my way.

Kids and babies | Nikki Metzger

S~ You have taught children and infants to tell of Your strength, silencing Your enemies and all who oppose You.  ~Psalm 8:2 (NLT)

O/A~ There is something powerful in hearing children proclaiming the name of the Lord!  I remember my son, when he was three years old, saying the Lord’s Prayer.  I really thought Jesus was going to appear in that minute because it was so powerful. Or the time I overheard my daughter and non-believing brother having a conversation about Jesus.  My brother believes that I fill my kids’ head with ‘religious propaganda’ and encourage them to use Jesus as a crutch to get through this hard life.

The truth is, the Lord has taught my kids, all kids, to tell of His strength!  And it’s to silence God’s enemies and those who oppose the Lord.  And I know if someone isn’t for the Lord, then they are against Him (Matthew 12:30).

P~ Father, thank You for giving children and infants a voice to declare Your Name!  To silence Your enemies and those who oppose You!  I ask for that strong spirit to reign in my children, so they declare Your Name, Your Truth, especially with our non believing family members who oppose You.  Please surround that family with lots of kids who tell of Your strength!  In Jesus’ Name I pray!

The Law vs. The Spirit | Michelle Myers

S~ They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Why didn’t you believe him?’ but if we say, ‘From me,’ all the people will stone us, because they are persuaded that John was a prophet.  Luke 20:5-6 (NIV)

O~ The chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders had just questioned Jesus, “‘Tell us by what authority you are dong these things,’ they said.  ‘Who gave you this authority?'” (Luke 20:2)

Jesus then asks them, “John’s baptism–was it from heaven, or from men?”  (Luke 20:4)

Being men of the law, works, and the world, they had tried to reason out what the “correct” answer would be.  They also had a fear of people, because they were afraid if they answered one way, the people would stone them.  So, they responded with, “We don’t know where it was from.” (Luke 20:7)

A~ Luke 20:5-6, is an excellent example of what it is like being a worldly, law keeper versus having a relationship with You.  Many times, when I am so stuck in my head, trying to reason everything out, I am not focused on my relationship with You and how You are guiding me in that relationship.  It can become even more confusing, when I am bombarded with other people’s opinions, advice, or questions, as to what am I going to do.

In some things, You have made it very clear as to what I should or should not be doing.  There is peace when I am following You.  That is, if I have let go of my own will, my own expectations, and my own comfort.  Because following You, doesn’t always lead me down a road I want to go, nor is it fleshly comfortable.  Yet, it is spiritually peaceful.

Although, I feel that I have a pretty good connection to You and relationship with You, Your direction is not always crystal clear.  There are times, that I think I understand where You want me, and go that way; but once there, the peace is gone or through the circumstances of my life, You show and tell me, “This isn’t where I want you.”  I then have to keep searching for the path, knowing each time that as long as I stay connected to You, not the world, not people, and not the law; I will eventually get to where You want me.

While trying to get there, with all the wrong turns and back tracking; as long as I am in relationship with You, it is OK for me to say, “At this time, I do not know.”  Many times, it is through experiences and circumstances, that the world and people would consider “errors, stupidity, and failures” that you lead and guide me towards what You want me to be doing and what You don’t want me to be doing.   The world and people (including me, at times), does not like not having explanations, answers, or things all figured out.  But, that isn’t how our faith is grown.  That isn’t how we see Your face.  That isn’t how we get the opportunity to witness Your awesomeness.

P~ I am so grateful for my relationship with You.  I have spent many years of my life in frustration and confusion, going around in circles, because I was listening to people and the world. Unlike, my “wrong turns” when listening to You, there is not peace or good that comes from that.  Please continue to help me stay focused on You.  This can be difficult, when the noise of people and the world is blasting in my ear and is so in my face, trying to obstruct my view of You.

Always The Teacher | Guest Post

S~ So they tried to trap him by what he said in front of the people.  Instead, they were amazed by his answer, and they became silent.  Luke 20:26 (NLT)

O~ I love this!  It is another perfect example of Jesus’ teachable moments.  Always, Jesus sought to teach – not to condemn.  He always brought the Truth and allowed people to decide for themselves what they would do with it – what they would do with Him.

A~ Just like these moments – Jesus Himself is a teachable moment.  He reveals Himself – the Truth – to us, and we decide how we will respond.  Sometimes our response might be anger – like the Pharisees – but we don’t react because we are more afraid of people than we are of God. If we are angry or mad at God, we should tell Him.  We should be more afraid of Him than we are others.  If we cannot be real with God, there is no way we can be real at all.  And how can we be taught anything then?

P~ Jesus, what an incredible teacher you are!  Thank you for never giving up on me.  Help me to remain close to You.  I love you. Amen.

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Posted on January 20, 2016, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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