March 27 Judges 1-3; 1 Corinthians 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.

Printable reading plan: Life Journal Reading Plan

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Follow Through | Luisa Penaherrera

S~ The tribe of Benjamin, however, failed to drive out the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem. So to this day the Jebusites live in Jerusalem among the people of Benjamin. Judges 1:21 (NLT)

O~ God had instructed the Israelites early on to drive the people out (Numbers 33:52). Here they chose to force them to work as slaves instead.

Part of the notes in my bible for Judges 1:21: “We, too, often fail to drive sin from our lives. Often we know what to do but just don’t follow through. This results in a gradual deterioration of our relationship with God. In our battles, we may grow tired and want rest, but we need more that a break from our work. We need to know that God loves us and has given us a purpose for life. Victory comes from living according to his purpose.”

A~ There’s a certain situation that I feel God is showing me what to do, and for some reason it seems like a huge thing to do—to me it seems huge, and I’m sure this task of driving the people out was huge to the Israelites. I need to follow through.

P~ Father, help me to follow through. Help me to make the tough right choices

Redeeming the thorns in your side | Nikki Metzger

S~ So now I declare that I will no longer drive out the people living in your land.  They will be thorns in your sides, and their gods will be a constant temptation to you.  ~ The angel of the Lord in Judges 2:3 (NLT)

O~ The Israelites failed to drive out the people living in the land, which was disobedience and sin.  God allowed these people to become a temptation to Israelites and a thorn in their side.

A~ My heart breaks for the Israelites!  They have failed to do God’s commands once again…..just like me!  But in my failings, I have incredible hope….Jesus!!

One of the most awesome, faithful church planters in history had a thorn in his side too!  2 Corinthians 12:7-10 tells how Paul prayed for the thorn to go away, but the Lord didn’t take it away.  It made Paul weak, so Christ’s strength could be seen.

The thorns in my side are never going away, those constant temptations that weaken me are allowed so Christ can work through me!  Now that’s a great end to the story!  It’s not over when I fail in my weakness 🙂

P~ You are risen indeed!  You always redeem everything, even the thorns!  You are a good, good Father!  Thank You for picking me to be a part of Your family!  May Your Spirit hover over our city and draw many to You today!

Generational | Lindsey Lulla (guest post)

S~ And all the generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that He had done for Israel. Judges 2:10 (ESV)

O~ It took one generation for all hell to break loose. God commanded His people to remember and share all that He had done for them. In Deut. 6:7-9 He commands them to “teach them diligently to your children, shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” It goes on but you get the picture. Speak. Testify. Preach. Remember. Have what God has done in your mind and heart so identified that you can share it with those around you, beginning with your family. The Israelites dropped the ball, am I right? It took one generation to neglect this command and the downward spiral began. Sin begat sin and pretty soon God’s law and His love for them were left entirely out the equation in how they chose to live their lives. I can look at Israel and attempt to find myself better than they, but if I’m being honest, I really identify with them. After doing some heart inventory, I see how often I seemingly have anything other than God in the forefront of my mind and the tip of my tongue. Future generations will be impacted by my heart towards God. That is some heavy yet humbling stuff!

A~ My walk with God will affect not only me, but my children and my children’s children. I need to allow myself the relationship He wants to have with me. Not setting aside time for Him but it being all about Him, with life happening in the midst of my romance with God. I get too caught up with boxes. I put my time with God in to boxes and that needs to stop. Of course, regular reading and prayer need to happen but I need to be sharing all day, everyday, what He has done! I don’t want my children to ever have the excuse for their sin “But I didn’t know! I never knew what God had done in our family! I never knew what He had done for those He loved!” Nope. I want them to know so clearly and that only comes through seeing and hearing the transformational work of God. So, while I am doing the dishes, or putting them down for naps, or talking at the dinner table, I will remember.

P~ Holy Spirit, help me remember all that You and the Father and Jesus have done. Help me remember the pit I was rescued from, but also remind me of the utter joy of following You. Remind me of Your kindness that led me to repentance. Remind me of Your holiness. Remind me of the sacrifice. Remind me of Your relentless love. Remind me of these things and change me and use me to speak of all these things to my children. Remind them of all these things despite my lacking. Amen.

The Cult Repellent | Vicki Burns

S~ “…our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.” I Corinthians 12:24-26 (NIV)

O~ In Christ there is no room for elitism. In fact, the more “presentable parts need no special treatment,” verse 24 says. Not only so, but it is “those we think are less honorable, we treat with special honor,” verse 23. These are the Biblical checks and balances required in the Church in order for it to be healthy and for it to function effectively. These are the rules that maintain a force of unity in a world of brokenness and division. Also, if we truly had “equal concern for each other,” a powerful demonstration of “how” we love one another would set us apart as Christ followers. Unity and unfeigned love of the brethren present an enticing delicacy to a starved world and a selfish culture. Only God could “combine” members such and so He alone is glorified. This prescription would create such an atmosphere that usurpers could not survive…as a sort of cult repellent.

A~ So I have a bit of a past with a cult. I only wished I had known then to stick with the painful parts of Scripture until the Holy Spirit brings you to peace with it because that is the place God is wanting to bring light and life. What most frustrated me was that those outside leaders who had an ear, an authority, did not properly wield it either effectively nor forcefully enough to insight change. And I do realize the hardness of the cult leader and the passive followers were keenly at play here. The (helpless) captured longed for such deliverance without the capacity to differentiate between the good and the bad because it so often changed before your eyes! I love these passages because they sound a clear warning. Cults promote division, elitism and jealousy. These verses, however, hold no room, oxygen for such division, only for equal love and concern for each other.

P~ Sweet Jesus! You indeed, have delivered me from the pit! You have given me new eyes to see and put Your Spirit in me to discern good and evil. The wolf dressed up like an angel of light doesn’t get by me so quickly now. I praise You for Your tender mercies! Hear now the longing of my heart to experience Your Church as presented on these pages. More importantly, make me a force for change wherever You point it out whether in prayer, word or action. Humble me to thrive in such a loving environment of unity and unfeigned love of the brethren. In Christ I pray, Amen.

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Posted on March 27, 2016, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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