April 20 1 Samuel 23; Psalm 31; Psalm 54; Matthew 7

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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Strength | Kim Chipman

S~ And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God. 1 Samuel 23:16 (NIV)

O~ David is running from Saul, who is trying to kill him. David has a special, brotherly relationship with Saul’s son Jonathan. Jonathan went to David and helped him find strength in God.

Lately I’ve really been struggling with my emotions. Yesterday a dear friend texted, and as we shared our hearts a bit she ask if I had a minute to talk so we could pray. I did, so we talked and prayed together…we helped one another find strength in God. There was nothing Jonathan could really do to “fix” David’s situation. My dear friend and I couldn’t “fix” one another’s overwhelmed, emotional season. But we could help one another find strength in God. So we did and it certainly lightened my heart and spirit.

A~ I feel this is the primary purpose of small groups, of fellowship in the body of Christ. There is such a precious ministry in helping one another find strength in God. In friendship there is an element of practical providing of care for one another, but sometimes there just isn’t any of that and we need to walk through the trial. We do not have to walk alone, though. We can help one another find strength in God when we don’t have any of our own strength left. My tribe reminds me of truth when I don’t feel it.

P~ Lord, thank You for my dear friend and the time of prayer and seeking You that we had together. Thank You that we can come to You in prayer at any time and You will hear us and meet us. You are my strength. Thank You for my tribe of sisters that keeps me focused on You! I love You.

Total Commitment | Kelley Deases

S~  Into your hands I commit my spirit. Psalm 31:5a (NIV)

O~ David is pledging all he has, all he is, into God’s hands. These words imply complete and total surrender. In fact, Jesus uttered this exact same phrase as he hung on the cross before he breathed his final breath. Both men, one imperfectly and the other perfectly, sought to bend their wills entirely to the will of their Heavenly Father, in life and even unto death.

A~ What does it mean for me to commit my spirit into God’s hands? I think it means to subjugate my agenda for His at every opportunity. I think it means to show love, and serve, and be Christ-like at every turn. I think it means to surrender daily to Him over me, however imperfectly I may carry that out. He has little use for a religious rule-follower, but a committed spirit….THAT He can use, powerfully!

P~ Father, Help me want to be ever more committed, more devoted, more surrendered, throwing off the vestiges of pride and control and selfish ambition in favor of life Your way.

Love Versus Judgementalism | Vicki Burns (guest post)

S~ Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For the same way you judge others you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Matthew 7:1-2 (NIV)

O~ My Bible Study note says, “Condemning a fellow believer for…faults equates to failure to exercise forgiveness…(6:14) [“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”] only a gentle and humble correction that first recognizes one’s own, quite possibly greater, faults is helpful. A discerning kind of judgment that does not condemn [is needed.]“ (NIV) [ ] brackets and underlines mine. Condemning judgment that does not first face its own shortcomings and need for grace, brings judgment as harsh and in the same way as what it vetted out.

A~ I used to play King-on-the-Mountain with my brothers as a child. Boys surrounded me then as I had only 3 brothers, boy cousins and all their friends to play with. Why I would take the challenge is beyond me…except for having the base urge to be that king on the mountain no matter how fleeting. I just love to be on top the mountain. That may be why I later took up backpacking in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. But I digress. It seldom, if ever happened that I topped that childhood hill, yet the thrill of it was powerful elixir! My sinful, human condition might tempt me to “knock” a fellow contender off the hill by passing a harsh judgment on them. It happens. My soul then wavers in very tenuous waters unless I notice it and choose to drive my thinking back to the Instruction Book. Then, by God’s grace, He faithfully shines the Light of His Word on my life…my broken, backwards, confounding life, and I find once more, my place…beside my poor striving sibling who is simply trying to find their way as I am. If you take me out of the Word for very long, however, sinister inclinations seem to climb out of the pit and seep straight into my heart to lodge accusation against a fellow believer…among other torments. To be honest, a part of me feels I paint this far darker than it is. Yet I fear not painting it dark enough because Satan is, after all, called the accuser of the brethren.

P~ What if Your warnings were not made available to me? Your tender mercies astound me! You put up fences for us and show us where they are and why we must keep ourselves behind them. Keep my heart tender to Your warnings. Soften the crusty places, I pray. Forgive me my hard-heartedness in assessing those fellow sojourners around me. Keep me in Your Word and remind me of my desperate, constant need. You, indeed, are my only hope of righteousness!

Wasting what is holy | Nikki Metzger

S~ Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy.  Don’t throw your pearls to pigs!  They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you. Matthew 7:6 (NLT)

O ~ I looked this verse up on commentaries about the meaning because I don’t quite understand this.  Use discernment when sharing what is holy (gospel, discussion about the Word, religious talk) to violent and oppressive people who have no intention to really hear the truth, they just want to use it to attack.

A~ Except my testimony.  My story is my story is my story, and Jesus’.  But this verse is true!  It reminds me of that one person in my life who hears about Jesus and he attacks.  His heart is not ready for the gospel.  So I need holy discernment when our discussions turn to the things of the Lord.

P~ Father, thank You for endless wisdom!

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

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