March 4 Numbers 34-36; Mark 11

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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Structure, Boundaries, and Excellence | Michelle Myers

S~ The LORD said to Moses, ‘Command the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter Canaan, the land that will be allotted to you as an inheritance will have these boundaries:’ Numbers 34:1-2 (NIV)

O~ After this verse, God goes on and on, in detail about how the land should be divided, where the boundaries are supposed to be, and who gets what land.  Frankly, I tend to skip over a lot of these details, and in keeping it real, can find it rather boring.  Yet, the words, “enter”, “allotted”, “inheritance” and “boundaries”, really helped me see the big picture of all these “boring” details.

A~ When I enter into something that You have given me, I need to know and understand what parts You have allotted for me to do.  I have inherited gifts from You, that You expect me to use. There are certain gifts, that I have not inherited from You (understanding technology is one, a good sense of direction, as I can easily get lost is another), but other people have inherited these gifts, and that is why it is important to delegate.  This provides others with the opportunity to serve You with their gifts, and they will do a much better job at it, than I will.

From the beginning of the Bible up through Numbers 34 and beyond, You do give a lot of boring details, but I am getting that You are a God of structure, boundaries, and excellence.  Structure and boundaries help ensure efficiency.  When I am pulled in too many directions, because I am either trying to do it all, or have not boundaries in regards to interruptions and my time; I won’t do a good job.  In fact, that is usually when things are rushed, the details get over looked, and the job is done in a half-booty manner.   Half-booty, isn’t excellent!

The woman who started the non-profit organization that I am volunteering for, is struggling with structure, boundaries, and delegation; and she knows it.  It is a monumental job You have given to her, but You don’t intend for her to do it all on her own.  In the end, it is less efficient AND leads to burn out.  I have been there and done that!

My husband came home and expressed his frustration with a young employee that lacks boundaries.  She repeatedly interrupts him at inappropriate times.  She hovers around his office. She is full of energy, but doesn’t always use it in the most efficient manner when it comes to doing her job. We have known her family for  along time, and know about some of her difficult personal background.  Frankly, she just has not been taught a lot of boundary skills, is emotionally immature, and naive.  As time goes on, she may or may not change or pick up some of these skills.  He has tried talking to her, but she just doesn’t get it.

My advice to him, which really was from You, was to think about why You have given him the information You have, in regards to some of her background.  He didn’t end up with that information and her end up working for him, just by random chance.  Use that to give her the appropriate grace, while continuing to guide her.  Plus, You need to set up your own boundaries. So, when she interrupts a meeting, tell her that it isn’t a good time, and you will get back to her when you can.  Otherwise, completing simple tasks can become draining, because your mind doesn’t stop at rejecting the additional incoming information, it goes on to processing it, and  is always having to shift focus.  Then, this becomes frustrating.  When frustrated, we don’t have the tolerance for different personalities, the way You would want us to.

I know!  I have been there and done that!  I think on some level, You were speaking through me to not only my husband, but also to myself.

P~ As boring as structure can be, I need it.  As much as I want to do it all, I can’t.  As much as I want to drop everything and give everyone my undivided attention when they need it, I can’t.  For some people, like my children, this also does not help them learn about structure and boundaries. It has also falsely given them the impression that the world revolves around them.  Typical traits for teenagers, but without guidance, this will carry over into adulthood.  God, please help me stay vigilant without being too rigid in my structure and boundaries.  Please help me express my need for them and enforce them in a kind and loving manner, that glorifies You.

Was That Necessary? | Robin Laney

S~ And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it. Mark 11:14 (ESV)

O~ Jesus, along with his disciples, was headed to Jerusalem and was hungry. He saw a fig tree in the distance and, as he approached it, he saw that, although it was in full leaf, it bore no fruit and he cursed it and it withered and died. The plant looked healthy enough but for whatever reason it was not fulfilling its purpose in producing food. I never quite understood why Jesus would kill a plant for not producing fruit out of season. But, as the day went on, he was found in the temple turning over the tables of the money changers and those selling animals for sacrifice. The priests were allowing this to go on and I wonder if the fig tree wasn’t a representation of them. Everything looked good on the outside but their fruit was rotten or maybe even non-existent. Like the fig tree, they were not serving their purpose. They were not productive.

A~ It’s easy, although some might consider it a sacrifice, to attend church. It’s not usually a burden to attend Bible Studies and church events. Knowledge of God’s Word can be gathered and regurgitated without much effort by most people. What’s hard is the fruit. In fact, the fruit is not even possible without the Spirit. It’s easy to call ourselves Christians and harder to live it out. The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. They serve to nourish those around us and show people who God is. If our purpose is to share the Good News, make disciples, love God and our neighbors and we aren’t bearing fruit then we are like a fig tree with no figs. Useless, really, except as ornamentation or to take up space. We might even be a source of frustration for those seeking life-giving sustenance. Religious traditions, churchy words, fancy prayers, and Jesus bumper stickers might make us look good on the outside but unless we are producing good fruit, it’s all really just pretty window dressing on an abandoned store. It doesn’t make any difference to anyone and it doesn’t serve any purpose.

P~ Lord, keep my focus on You and the mission. Wherever I am and whatever task I am working on, let my fruit be good and readily available to any I might encounter. I pray that people would see and experience You when they interact with me. Fill me with an abundance of every fruit for the good of the Kingdom!

PRAY! | Kim Chipman

S~ Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. Mark 11:24-25 (NIV)

O~ Jesus is teaching about what faith has the power to do. Prying in faith has the power to send a mountain into the sea!

A~ You have been speaking to me a lot about prayer. I’m committing to get more serious and diligent about it. More focused.

A couple weeks ago while at Children’s for Katie’s infusion I saw a man near the elevator. He was looking out the window all around the sky. While I was waiting for the elevator he took off his stocking cap, placed it neatly on the floor, took off his shoes, checked out the window again, then got on his knees with his forehead on the floor on his cap. To pray. This encounter was probably 30 seconds, but it still has me thinking…am I that committed to my prayer time?

No. No, I’m not. I know the answer quickly, and I am convicted to change. TODAY I am going to start a prayer journal. I’m going to write my prayers down, so I don’t forget, so I can focus. Just like journaling my soap notes helps me hear You, I am going to start journaling my prayers. To. Day.

These verses remind me to pray in faith. To pray bold prayers. To pray with a heart that chooses forgiveness. Humble. But bold.

P~ I love You, Lord! I am committing today to up my game in my prayer life. Help my faith to grow deep and my heart to forgive quickly. Give me the passion + discipline to follow through. I love You!

Lessons from the Trenches of Parenthood | Kelley Deases

S~ And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. Mark 11:25 (NIV)

O~  When David prayed through the various recorded psalms, he would often implore of the Lord, “Search me and know me, O Lord. See if there is any impure motive within me.” In this verse from the Book of Mark, Jesus touches on the same idea: We should approach our Father with clean hands and a clean heart. How can we ask for blessing or for forgiveness if we stubbornly hold on to ill will against another?

A~  This makes me think of so many interactions with my little boy. (Ah, isn’t parenting rife with a wealth of spiritual lessons?!) When he comes to me asking me for a privilege — maybe a toy from the store, a play date with a friend, or to stay up past his normal bedtime — I tend to review our day: Has he been respectful and obedient toward his teacher and/or his parents? This will influence my decision to grant or deny the request. To an even greater degree because He knows my heart, the Father can judge whether I have been walking in the truth or whether I am just paying lip service to get my way. Now certainly I, as a parent (or a spouse or a friend or a church member), might choose to offer grace or favor where it is not necessarily merited. Sometimes it just feels good to lavish blessing on those I love.  In doing so, I reflect God’s heart as He offers immeasurable grace  and mercy to us all. But, at the end of the day, He sees my actions and knows my heart toward others and is eager to be able to tell me “Well done!” when I have honored Him.

P~  Father, Thank You for the profound truths I can learn of Your character through parenting. Lessons about unconditional love, disappointment with sin and waywardness, and joy to see obedience and good choices from our children.

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


Posted on March 4, 2016, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. What a day!! Michelle wrote, “When frustrated, we don’t have the tolerance for different personalities, the way You would want us to.”
    Then Robyn wrote, “… we are like a fig tree with no figs. Useless, really, except as ornamentation or to take up space. We might even be a source of frustration for those seeking life-giving sustenance.”
    Kim prays for heart help to forgive quickly, and Kelley, God bless you for tying all this together with the frustration, blessings and responsibilities of parenting and asking Him to search my motives. And ahhhhh, a new day begins….

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