September 2 Ezekiel 17,18,19; Revelation 7

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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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Righteous in Deed | Kelley Deases

S~ He [a righteous man] does not oppress anyone, but returns what he took in pledge for a loan. He does not commit robbery but gives his food to the hungry and provides clothing for the naked. Ezekiel 18:7 (NIV)

O~ God instructs Ezekiel to instruct the people that each one is accountable for his own behavior — not for the actions of his father before him or his son after him. In his description of what it means to be righteous, God enumerates some of the things we are to refrain from but also what we are to do. God esteems not just that we flee from sin but that we affirmatively act to show God’s love.

A~ I was just offered a position as a grant writer at a local Christian mission and food pantry. While I have never actually written a grant, I have done legal writing for almost two decades and expressed to my interviewer my passion for the ministry of the mission and the lives impacted for the kingdom. I was told this is why they extended the job offer to me — my heart for God and His people came through.

P~ Jesus, Thank You for making a way for me to marry my employment with ministry. Help m to be righteous in word and deed as I set out on this new endeavor and that my motives would remain pure to assist in the serving of the underprivileged in our community and not just clock time for a paycheck. Bless the work of my hands that I might in turn bless my fellow staff members, the mission, the clients we serve, and ultimately You Lord.

I Asked, You Answered, I Did Not Listen | Michelle Myers

S~ Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and new spirit.  Ezekiel 18:31 (NIV)

O~ God is letting us know that we are responsible for our own sin and our own salvation.  He will even give us a chance if we have never followed him and did the evilest of evil.  He will give us another chance if we were following Him, backslid, and then returned to Him.  None of that may be just or right in the eyes of people or the world, but it is in the eyes of God.

A~ I have been struggling with my scheduling, commitments, and focus lately.  I have also had, “You have not because you ask not.” in my head for the last week or so.  I had no idea why.  I tried to get the root of it.  I tried to understand it.  Eventually, I thought it was just like a song that gets stuck in my head because I have recently heard it.  Yet, this verse came out of nowhere, made no sense, but wouldn’t leave my head!

As I was praying yesterday, I asked for some clear guidance in what You want me to do and not to do with my scheduling and commitments.  I also asked for a sign that I can trust You, because some of the things that You were asking me to give up, hand out, let go of control over was leaving me anxious.  In some cases, You were telling me to give it up to my husband.  Although he has made a lot of progress, I wasn’t sure.  Then You reminded me that it is You I am trusting, not necessarily him.  I also asked for some sort of sign that I will get a break and some rest from the on-going struggles that have left us in “survival mode” with our time, money, emotions, and spirit.  I just needed something to reassure me.

A few hours later, my phone rang.  I didn’t recognize the number, and normally would not have picked up.  On the other side, was a friend that I had not talked to in awhile.  Last time I saw her, she was a mess.  She is an alcoholic who was making very poor decisions and really struggling with sobriety.  All of which she denied to me, and lied about.  Her marriage and family were in chaos.  She presented it as it being mostly her husband’s inability to forgive her and see how much she has changed.  Of course, I eventually found out the truth from others, but I never called her on it.  I saw her rarely after I found out, and honestly just did not know what to say.  I felt for her.  I know all too well the struggles of addiction and the destruction it causes.

She was actually calling to confess everything that she lied about 3 years ago.  She apologized for manipulating.  Her and her family had moved to a different state, and she has been sober now for over two years.  Her marriage is doing well.  Her family is healing.  They are closer than they have ever been.

I was happy for her, and happy to hear from her.  Yet, it didn’t dawn on me that it was YOU answering my prayers for reassurance, until she said that she can’t believe some days where she is in life.  She thought at this point, she would either be dead or divorced.  That when one bad thing after another happens, you kind of just start to expect another and another, and another.  I knew exactly what she was talking about, and I also knew that this was Your way of reassuring me that YOUR light is at the end of this tunnel.

Then today, I am battling it out with You in regards to a ministry that I am involved in, and You told me to give up.  I was supposed to text the leader yesterday, but I didn’t.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to let it go.  Circumstance after circumstance showed me that I just couldn’t do it, which meant, You didn’t want me to do it.

This morning, as I still was battling it out with You, I tried to do the compromise thing.  I texted the leader and at first said, give me 2 weeks.  I felt You nudge me and heard You say, “That isn’t what I told You to do”.  So, I went back and actually texted that I will be back when my schedule calms down, to pray that it does soon, and I want to be back ASAP.  About 5 minutes later, I noticed that I had missed a phone call from my husband.  He wanted to tell me that in a month his tax prep class is going to be starting.  It is on the same night this ministry meets, and is a twelve week class.   My kids have commitments that they need to be driven to on Tuesday nights, making impossible for me to go back until after Christmas, and even then, during tax season…..Yea, I probably won’t be back.

After I hung up the phone, and was reflecting on that loss, I heard You say, “For the LOVE Michelle, You wanted clear direction on what I want you to do and not to do.  So, have I finally made it clear that this is NOT the ministry I want you in?  Plus, it does NO good for ME to give you clear direction, if You are going to refuse to listen and still try and  do it your way!”

Point taken God!  I shouldn’t try and compromise with half-caff, when You told me to give up caffeine all the way around.  You don’t go for that.

Finally, I got to the point where I could put all the dots together and I realize that all of this is where that, “You have not, because You ask not” came from, that had been swirling around in my head.  Once I asked, You answered.  I didn’t always listen, and am so sorry for that.

P~ Thank you God for answering my prayer, even if I am slow at comprehension and obedience.  I am so thankful that I heard from Amy.  I am so thankful that she and her family are doing well. Please just help me navigate through this season of transition, so I can get to where You want me to go, and do what You want me to do.

Our Choice | Robin Laney

S~ “For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone,” declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!” Ezekiel 18:32 (NIV)

O~ The people of Judah did not have a clear understanding of God’s perfect justice. They were under the impression that they were being punished for the sins of their fathers, based on the teaching of the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:5.) God spoke through the prophet Ezekiel to let them know that He was a just God. He would punish those who sinned against Him and reward those who obeyed Him. None would suffer for their family’s sin and none would benefit from their family’s righteousness. The choice was theirs, alone, to make and God’s heart was that every person would turn from their sin and live.

A~ I have been asked about and struggled with the “sins of the father” being passed down through generations. This clarification of God’s heart spoken through Ezekiel clears up so much in my heart and mind. Exodus 20:5 has always been one of those verses that I wrestle with. Allowing people to suffer for the sins of their ancestors seemed, to me, to run counter to the Truth that God wants all to be saved (1 Tim 2:3-4.) Honestly, it seemed a bit unfair and a hope killer to those whose families turned their backs on God. But alas, God’s heart shines through here and blasts forth, “I take pleasure no in the death of anyone. Repent and Live!”

Each one’s salvation is in our own hand. If we choose to turn from evil and towards God (repent), we live, abundantly, and He remembers our sin no more. If we choose to go our own way, we die. It’s up to us to choose Heaven or Hell, life or death. His heart is that we would ALL choose LIFE!

And then, on top of that, Jesus. What Hope!

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. ~ 1 John 1:9

P~ Oh Father, You are just, faithful, compassionate, forgiving, and loving. Father, I pray Your heart for Your people, Lord, that they would come to know Who You are and would turn from their own ways to follow You. Lord, the life You offer, here and now, is so much more than anything this world has to offer us. Help me to be faithful in sharing Your great love and promises of forgiveness and salvation. Give me opportunities to share, words to say, and boldness to speak of You so that each one I cross paths with knows of the choice before them and has knowledge of the Truth.

Worship | Nikki Metzger

S~ And they fell before the throne with their faces to the ground and worshiped God.  They sang…. Revelation 7:1b (NLT)

O~ A crowd, too many to count, from every nation, tribe, people, and language are standing before the throne.  They are dressed in white robes and hold palm branches in their hands.  Can you imagine that sight?  Falling face to the ground and worshiping and singing to God?

A~ A friend has been emailing updates about her adoption of her sweet baby boy from another country.  It has been filled with ups and downs, waiting, tears, frustration.  Her last email was filled with worship song lyrics that were playing in her heart.

I think we were built for worship.  Falling before the throne, worshipping God, singing to just Him type-of-worship.  Somehow, it puts the order of things in the right way.  I bet that’s why people love worship so much at church!  We were designed for it!

You know, my worship music in my car has been off the last couple of weeks.  I’m on the phone, thinking in the quiet, or listening to something else.  I think it’s time for a new worship CD and start listening to that!

P~ Father, I love how You mark seasons in my life by worship CDs.  Here’s to the next season!  Grow my heart towards You through these new worship songs! Thank You!

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Posted on September 2, 2016, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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