August 16 2 Kings 24; Jeremiah 22; Psalms 112; John 18

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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Look at that guy! | Kelley Deases

S~ He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Psalm 112:7 (NIV)

O~ Wouldn’t we all love to be like the righteous man depicted in this psalm? One who confidently strides through his days, assured in the knowledge God is in control and will orchestrate all things for the good. We want to be that guy, but … Well, what about that broken relationship? This diagnosis? The corruption of those in authority? And on and on…

A~ I tend to vacillate between two mindsets. Depending on which day (or hour or minute) you catch me, I am either “blessed and highly favored,” or feeling everything is bleak and will result in a worst-case scenario. A minor spat with my husband has me mentally dividing our assets and devising a visitation schedule for our son. A moment of sass or defiance from my eight-year-old sends him to juvenile court in my mind.

Yesterday was a day like that. Early on, I was basking in the glow of my birthday shopping spree with my momma the day before and anticipating more “spoiling” with dinner out and more gifts later that day. By the end of the night, my kid was melting down after a crazy, busy weekend, and my husband, in his frustration, snapped at me right in front of my whole family at the birthday party. Well, just that quick, my cheery outlook turned sour and clouded the whole day and into the night.

I am pretty sure that “righteous psalms guy” would have had enough faith and good sense to know this momentary downturn was a mere blip on the radar and not the signal for the end of days. I could learn a few things from him!

P~ Father, You know how my heart and mind, when left to their own devices, are easily swayed by the circumstances of the moment. Help me, when I actually start to  go off the cliff, to see my life as You see it — imperfect, but replete with blessing upon blessing.

All the Externals | Tara Wiley

S~ But a beautiful cedar palace does not make a great king! Your father, Josiah, also had plenty to eat and drink. But he was just and right in all his dealings. That is why God blessed him. Jeremiah 22:15 (NLT)

O~ All the fine trappings in the world do not make a person great. Actions motivated by a pure heart: that’s what defines a true leader.

A~ This verse reminded me of an experience I had in college. I spent my first year at a large Christian university. The pressure to look the part was fierce – so much so, that many girls in my dorm would dress to the nines before going to the cafeteria for lunch on Sunday, so that it would appear they were arriving from church (when instead, they’d been sleeping off a hangover). Sadly, this is often so true within the Christian community. We try to dress up our external behavior to make ourselves look good, primping and prepping our family to look the part whenever we are out and about. We do our best to hide the mess, and we show up to all the right events and say all the right phrases. But God doesn’t look at the trappings. He looks first at the heart, then at love in action in our lives. The challenge to me today: is my heart pure? Am I living out my faith in my actions today? Am I just and right in all my dealings? That’s more important than whether or not my family is perfectly presentable at all times (I say this as I notice the stains on the outfit my daughter chose to wear today as we ran errands. Ha!) or has all the good-life stuff, or shows up and plays the part while hiding disaster underneath.

P~ Lord, I am tempted sometimes to get discouraged by the externals. My house is not perfectly kept. My kids don’t behave perfectly in public and can’t quote Shakespeare. I have recently been publicly shamed twice by a woman – first, she didn’t care for my manner of introducing myself to her a couple of weeks ago, and then last weekend, she was blatantly offended when my eight year old daughter didn’t perfectly follow Emily Post etiquette (at an air show, mind you, not a formal dinner!). Although I know this is all symptoms of her own heart issues, not mine, it’s easy to let pressure like this get to me and send me off track. I have friends who can work full time jobs and have perfectly kept homes. I’m not one of them. Again, I need to remember what really matters. So, Lord, help me focus on You. I bring my weaknesses to You and ask that You help me grow in the areas I need to grow in with grace without letting external trappings steal my joy. As we head into this new school year, I pray that I would be faithful to be disciplined both in my heart attitude and my behavior to reflect what matters most to You in my roles as wife, mother, friend, mentor, and teacher.

My Heart | Kim Chipman

S~ He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 22:16 (NLT)

O~ The Lord is addressing heart issues. The Lord’s people have gotten way off track and He is reminding them what is important. To obey Him. To get their hearts right. It doesn’t matter what it looks like on the outside if we aren’t following His commands. What does it mean to know You? To defend the cause of the poor and needy.

A~ How’s my heart? Am I just putting on a good show? Keeping my secret sins secret, making it look like I’m godly when I’m really a selfish prideful mess? I feel like a mess lately.

P~ Lord, I really want to KNOW You. Not just give You lip service. Help me to see my own heart. Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. I love You!

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Posted on August 16, 2016, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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