July 7 Hosea 10,11,12; Psalms 73; Hebrews 4

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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Pulling, Lies, and False Promises | Michelle Myers

S~ Israel was a spreading vine; he brought forth fruit for himself.  As his fruit increased, he built more alters; as his land prospered, he adorned his sacred stones.  Hosea 10:1 (NIV)

O/A~ There is a lot that I don’t understand in regards to the fruit that You give to some people.  It is obvious that their only intention is to acquire more and more fruit for themselves, intending to do nothing good with it.

Yet, I have gotten to the point where I don’t let trying to figure that out, consume me.  I have accepted it as Your plan.  I choose to focus on myself.  I know that I am accountable for what I do with my fruit.

I also try (and sometimes fail miserably) to be joyful about and content with the fruit You have given to me.  I do know that I am very blessed, have way more than many others, and really have no reason to not be content.  Yet, I am not immune to the pull, lies, and false promises of this world.

P~ Thank you God for the blessings that You have provided for me and my family.  Please help me to not be deceived into thinking that the things of this world will fulfill me.  I have been there before, and I know that it is a lie.  It is never enough.  Please help me remember that You are the only one who can completely fulfill me.

Perspective | Nikki Metzger

S~ So injustice springs up among them like poisonous weeds in a farmer’s field. Hosea 10:4b (NLT)

O~ I think Hosea is speaking of a blessed nation here.  The more blessings they get, the more they turn from God and worship other things.  Eventually, injustice pops up, and it’s poisonous.

A~ I think of many injustices that have happened this summer nationally.  The shooting in Miami, that little boy grabbed by an alligator, three Kenyans martyred.  And there have been private injustices this summer too, those that I’ve seen and felt in my own life.

The description of injustice as poisonous is so fitting!  As I’ve been hurt by something being ‘not fair’ – it has poisoned some of my thoughts, and maybe relationships.

I am so thankful for this visual of injustice being like a weed.  Because that weed is in the farmer’s field.  The farmer is smart and will take care of the weed and all the other crop in the field.

The Lord is the farmer, He sees all the injustice going: in my life, in my friends’ lives, in the world.  He is in charge and everything will be better than ok!

P~ Father, thank You for Your Word!

His Firm Grip | Tara Wiley

S~ Yet I still belong to You. You hold my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. Psalm 73:23-24 NLT

O~ This Psalm takes us through Asaph’s season of deep spiritual doubt and despair. He admits that he lost perspective in life – first, with jealousy and envy; then, with bitterness. The progression led him to despair: “I almost lost my footing. My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone.” (v. 2) His own trials just compounded his bitterness – how could his life be so miserable while he sought God, when others who were wicked seemed to have it all?!

Then, he found perspective in a time of corporate worship: “I went into Your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood…” (v. 17). Worship brings perspective. He went into that secret place of the heart, allowing God’s truths to speak life and hope and healing to his soul. In that moment, he recognized the tender love of God the Father, who never let go of him, even in this season of doubt and despair.

After coming to God in humility, he discovered a new sense of hope and purpose: “You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny!” (v. 24) In this moment of new clarity, he recognized that no matter what the external circumstances were (“my heart and my flesh may fail”), he could rely on God’s constant presence to be his strength, and God’s promise to be his hope. Asaph’s response: pure praise – and testimony!

A~ This Psalm speaks so deeply to me because in many ways, it is my story. I found myself in this place of despair and lost perspective in the fall of 2006. A series of circumstances left me feeling devastated and hopeless. I began to question God in ways I never had before. Why wasn’t He coming through the way I knew Him to in the past? What else could I do to to make Him bless me and my grieving friends? (THIS was the heart of the matter – I thought I could manipulate God! But I didn’t see that for quite some time). I became so angry and bitter. Hope drained away. I kept going to church; kept doing Bible study; kept going through the motions… but nothing felt genuine anymore. My foot was slipping and I wanted to know why God would allow me to feel this way. I felt abandoned. He seemed…gone.

At one point in this dark, dark night of my soul, a friend painted a word picture for me that I clung to. It is echoed in verse 23: I still belong to You. You hold my right hand. I had just told her that I felt like I was clinging to the ledge of a cliff, and I could feel my strength ebbing away. I was breaths away from falling into a place where I didn’t know if I could ever get back to trusting God again. I went to a familiar Scripture in 2 Corinthians 4 and bitterly complained, “God promises that I will be afflicted, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. But I crushed! I am despairing! I am forsaken! I am destroyed!” With tenderness, my friend took her right hand and placed it firmly around my right wrist. “You feel all of those things right now, Tara, but here is the truth. You are slipping, and you are weak. But you will not be abandoned by God. Right now, He is there above you on that ledge, and His grip is firmly around your wrist. He isn’t counting on you to hold His hand. He’s got you! And He isn’t letting go. You don’t have to do a single thing to make Him stay. He’s there. He knows your heart. You are His. That hasn’t changed. Rest in His firm grip, and wait on Him. He will restore you in His perfect way and timing.”

I didn’t suddenly feel better. I didn’t suddenly feel God. But deep inside, I was assured once again with this promise. He won’t let go. I was flailing, and floundering, and I wasn’t even sure who He was anymore, but I was determined to see this thing through. I relaxed my already-weak grip on the things I was so foolishly holding onto, and I waited, asking Him to restore me, to help me trust Him again.

And with the steady unfolding of a beautiful flower, the day finally came when I could say – Oh, I am grateful for that night! Were it not for the dark, I would not know Him like I know Him now – Someone so much bigger than I thought before. Someone so much better. He guided me with His counsel, and continues to guide me now. Some of those desperate prayers have been answered. Other trials remain. But I can rejoice because I have a deeper perspective on that glorious destiny than I ever could have before. He has taken the years since and slowly rebuilt my trust in Him to be something entirely new.  So, with Asaph, I have to proclaim, “As for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.” Psalm 73:28

P~ Lord, thank You. Thank You for carrying me with that firm grip of Your right hand. You have proven Your steadfast love over and over again. I know other dark nights will come, but oh, I trust You. You will never let go. And because of that, I can have confident hope in the glorious destiny You have prepared for me, no matter how my current circumstances change. Jesus, if there is one who is reading these words now, who is floundering and flailing and wondering if You really will come through, bring a flickering light of hope to her heart today. Help her to see You there, holding firmly to her, never letting go. Your ways are higher than ours. I do not understand even now why You allow us to go through these seasons – why can’t we learn these things in an easier way? But God, I know the value of my season. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Give hope where it is needed. Bring life-changing perspective. Bring restoration and a new season of worship and humble gratitude. Thank You for doing that in me.

Heed God’s Counsel | Kelley Deases

S~  You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Psalm 73:24 (NIV)

O~ Simple, right? This is the roadmap for a great life: Just go to God and follow His instructions to the letter. Then proceed to heaven to be with Him  for eternity. There you go! Easy Peazy!

There’s a country music song that goes, “Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to go now.” Funny. But with a kernel of truth to it. Who doesn’t want to land in paradise at the end of a long life, but who wants to think about that when they are going about their daily affairs? In the here and now, we are pretty concerned about what we can get out of this life, and not so much what we can offer God while we’re here.

A~ I recently met someone and began to hear a bit of her life story. She shared how she had been married previously, had a son during that marriage, but wound up divorced, and the bitter feuding over visitation and parenting choices had been going on ever since. She described how, following her divorce, she had come to know Christ and was saved. I smiled and nodded, for while I was already a believer when my own marriage came to an unexpected end, I certainly grew much deeper in my faith and dependence on the Lord. Anyway, as we continued to talk, she shared further about her current husband (and father to her two little children), casually mentioning that he is not a believer. “What?!” I thought, but did not say aloud. My heart sank to learn that even though she professed a faith in Jesus Christ, she had not obeyed His Word in the area of being “equally yoked.” Do not hear judgment; hear a sad and heavy heart, for disobedience in this area can have long-lasting and heartbreaking repercussions. And she already bore the scars brought about from one failed marriage!

P~ Father, I pray for this new acquaintance of mine, for her marriage and her little family. I pray her husband might come into a saving relationship with You through Your Son so this couple can be united in their decisions and raise their children on that firm foundation. Lord, Help me too as I seek to be obedient in the big things and the small things, yet too often do what is contrary to Your Word and Your best plan for my life.

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


Posted on July 7, 2016, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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