April 14 1 Samuel 15,16; 1 Chronicles 5; Matthew 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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Not Ashamed | Luisa Penaherrera

S~ And Samuel told him, “Although you may think little of yourself, are you not the leader of the tribes of Israel? The Lord has anointed you king of Israel. 1 Samuel 15:17 (NLT)

O~ I thought this was interesting since a few verses back (verse 12) Saul had set up a monument to himself, so he thought little of himself, but yet he built a monument…

A~ What I learn from this is that when I look at myself and my shortcomings, what I do with that information is very important.  I can attempt to “prove” to myself and others that I am somebody. Or I can accept my shortcomings and go to the One who is strong when I am weak.  I need to stay humble before God and not be ashamed…He sure isn’t ashamed of me.

P~ Father, help me in my weakness.  Thank you for them, because they keep me on my knees before you.  Help me not be ashamed but instead be humble.

(Not So) Simple Obedience

S~ Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:22 (NIV)

O~ Samuel, a prophet of God, is uttering these words to King Saul, who has disobeyed God’s clear commands but is yet reveling in his own efforts. Even when Samuel points out how Saul’s actions were not as God had precisely instructed, Saul gets defensive, points to his generous sacrifices to the Lord, and then tries to blame his people, saying he only did as they requested of him.

A~ Second grade has been a challenging school year for my son. They are learning a lot of new concepts, have to prepare and deliver multiple presentations, and must tackle a minimum of thirty minutes of homework most every night. For the most part, he is keeping up with the academic rigors, but his behavior in school and at home is a bigger concern. Unlike some of his classmates, mostly boys, who get in trouble for roughhousing at recess, my son’s brand of misbehavior typically involves either acting out when he doesn’t get his way and/or making excuses or pointing the finger at others when he gets called out on something. In this way, he is acting very much like Saul is described in this and other passages. Stubborn, shifting blame, not owning his own disobedience, getting defensive when reprimanded. As I teach and train to these behaviors, it is with the sober realization that God’s favor left Saul as he persisted in his willful independence. It then rested upon David, who was singing praises to God and acknowledging His sovereignty even as a shepherd boy in the field.

P~ Father, Help me to parent my son well. Give me the wisdom and patience I need to help him tackle some of these issues of blaming others, not taking personal responsibility, and not accepting criticism. Most of all, help me to parent him from a place of love and not out of a sense of frustration.

New eyes | Nikki Metzger

S~ Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.  Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols. 1 Samuel 15:22b, 23a (NLT)

O~ Samuel is speaking to Saul here.  Saul was told to completely destroy the Amalekites; including all people and animals.  Saul didn’t follow through on this command from God.

A~ God has some opinions about obedience, submission, rebellion, and stubbornness.  Obedience and submission, in God’s eyes, (Who is also my ultimate authority), are better than sacrifices or offerings.  Rebellion, which is not doing what the Lord has said, and stubbornness is sin!

As I think about some of my attitudes, and behaviors compared to God’s thoughts on obedience, submission, rebellion and stubbornness, I fall short!

P~ Father, please forgive me of my rebellion and stubbornness!  Open my eyes and heart and thoughts to those areas in my life where I’m rebelling and being stubborn.  Replace my stony heart with a tender, soft one in these areas of my life!  I pray this in Jesus’ Name!  Amen!

The Pit of Self-Justification | Tara Wiley

S~ Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshipping idols. So because you have rejected the command of the Lord, He has rejected you as king. I Samuel 15:23

O~ Saul was doing what we humans do all the time – working hard to justify himself. He did obey, he said – and just because he didn’t destroy the animals the way God said, he created new excuses of how he would use his disobedience to honor God.

Whoa. He tried to use his disobedience to honor God. That’s a serious level of self-justification. A dangerous place to be. A place I’ve been.

A~ I’ve watched this play out in the life of someone I know: he used Scripture itself to justify sin (isn’t that exactly what Satan does – from the garden of Eden, where he distorted God’s words, to Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness, where he quoted Scripture out of context? It’s one of his favorite tactics, luring us into mistrusting God’s word and re-appropriating it to suit our own opinions). I am awfully good at justifying my stubbornness and rebellions, excusing my behavior, downplaying my faults. I need these Old Testament moments to remind me of God’s holiness and His calling. Yes, I live under grace, where He can redeem even the most foolish and repeated acts of rebellion. But He needs me to trust and obey Him fully if I want to fully experience all He has planned for me in this life.

P~ Lord, forgive my stubborn, rebellious heart. Open my eyes to see the dangerous paths of self-justification before I walk down them, so I can remain pure and in step with You. I want to honor You with all of me. That means I need to humbly submit. Thank You, Lord, for the power of the Holy Spirit within me to convict and to enable me to live differently. Oh Lord, how I pray that my children would be sensitive to Your Spirit, and would never allow rebellion and stubbornness to rule their lives. Help us teach them wisely, so they can see how deep the pit is that this leads to, and break the stronghold of self-justification.

God Hears Trust and Fights for Us | Vicki Burns (guest post)

S~ They were helped in fighting them, and God handed [the enemy] and all their allies over to them, because they cried out to him during the battle. He answered their prayers, because they trusted in him…because the battle was God’s. 1 Chronicles 5:20 + 22 (NIV)

O~ God’s people waged war on their enemy who had a much larger force than they. That bold action required enormous faith and unity of heart to initiate a conflict with such overwhelming forces against them. At some point during the fight God’s people cried out to God. This was not a faint hearted, teetering-on-defeat cry, rather, it was a re-commitment to fight God’s war out with Him, type of battle cry. They were all in! God heard. God heard trust. His people got it! They understood from the beginning that this conflict was God’s and He alone could finish it, but their heart and soul was with the Lord to the end!

A~ I don’t always wage war as I ought. The enemy robs, steals and destroys from me and mine without too much resistance. Maybe it would help me to consider that I am not doing a very good job at standing guard, identifying attacks and waging war. So what is my weapon? The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. How shall I wield it? Through the cry of my heart, my prayer of faith.

I find myself grieving some pretty hard hits in the lives of some close to me. These attacks are just coming to my attention and I feel like a soldier caught sleeping on the job while standing at my post. I am startled awake, under attack.

P~ My Lord, hear my cry. Grant me a watchful, prayerful spirit that is ready to wage war with the enemy who always seems to outnumber and outmaneuver me. I’ve been called to do battle as Your image-bearer to crush darkness with Light and evil with righteousness. Your Word is that Light and my trust in You fighting Your war is that righteousness. Help me see as Elisha did, that with You there are far more for me than against me!

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 April 14, 2016, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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