September 23 Daniel 11,12; Luke 6

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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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When Giving to Others… | Joni Tyner

S~ Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for He is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. ~Jesus speaking to a large crowd during the sermon on the Mount. Luke 6:35  (NLT)

O~ Jesus is teaching about loving our enemies.  In verse 32, He points out the even sinners love those who love them and do good to those who are good to them.  He points out that anyone will loan money out if they get a full return.  (can I just take a moment to point out crazy credit card and loan sharks who are more than eager to loan money…all with about 22% or money interest attached to it?)   sorry for the bunny trail!!!

A~ Total transparency here.  I like my nice gestures to be noticed.  It’s not exactly that I want this big Facebook acknowledgement that I did something thoughtful or helpful, but I do like to be told “thank you” when I give someone something. (a gift, my time, ect)   As I read this passage, I think I need to give without the expectation of a thank you.  If I loan someone money, cook them a meal, give them a ride, or whatever, I should just do it because I am reflecting Jesus’s example of servanthood.  I need to stop judging others when they appear ungrateful—I really do.

P~ Dear Lord, help me to give of myself without expecting ANYTHING in return.  I need lots of help in this area!  I want to get to a place in my spiritual walk where I give with a completely grateful heart, where there are never expectations of a positive response.  Lord, help me to see others as you see them.  Also, please forgive me for the gazillion times I’ve felt entitled by the gifts You’ve given me.  I am blessed and so grateful to be Your chosen child. Thank you for everything.

Be Compassionate, As Our Father is Compassionate | Kelley Deases

S~ “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”  Luke 6:36 (NIV)

“You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.” Luke 6:36 (NLT)

O~  So many times in Scripture, we are instructed to behave a certain way or take on a certain attitude, not as a random edict from a harsh taskmaster, but because it is the behavior or character of our Creator and King. To do so makes us more like Him, and ultimately is for our own good.

A~  I am observing this principle demonstrated in small measure in our home. As I am beginning to show greater compassion — to reflect my Father’s heart — it is restoring peace to our family. This school year started off a little rocky for my third-grader. Not in terms of keeping up with his studies or even getting in trouble at school. But his behavior at home was extreme and unpredictable. A particular homework assignment, being asked to do a small household chore, a play date fell through — pretty much anything that didn’t go his way — and he might fly off the handle. Tears, screaming, hurling insults, total meltdown. (Sometimes me right along with him!)

But a friend sent me an article which brought great perspective to this situation for me. It discussed how children, especially at the start of the school year, feel a sense of having to “keep it together” for 8 hours at school all day — not hit fellow classmates, follow the cafeteria rules, stay in line, perform well on tests and quizzes, and listen carefully to the teacher for instruction on what to do, what to study, and what to expect the next day/week/year. At the end of the school day, he is hungry and tired and wants to be able to “let down” in a safe place, with Mom and Dad at home. Here, he feels freedom, even if it is to be mouthy, procrastinate on his responsibilities, whine, or yell and scream. To get it out. While he cannot be permitted to devolve into disrespectful and obnoxious behavior, when I can show him compassion and understanding, recognizing he did well on his school work and praising him for it, making sure he has a snack and some down time to decompress, and speaking in a softer, kinder tone, the fruit of that is really beginning to turn our afternoons and evenings around!

P~ Father, the closer I can emulate You, the better it is for me and certainly for those around me. Help me to have and show Your heart of compassion more and more.

Disobedience | Nikki Metzger

S~ But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins. ~Jesus in Luke 6:49 (NLT)

O~ This is the end of the parable about building on a solid foundation. And it’s also about obedience. I honestly and arrogantly never thought this parable applied to me. By the time I even cared what the bible said, I was already pursuing the things of God. When I didn’t pursue God, I never heard this parable and if I had heard of it, I probably wouldn’t have cared.

A~ But I care now! I want Him in my life, pursuing Kingdom things. This description of the house falling into a ‘heap of ruins’ reminds me of how I talk about life sometimes; my relationships, my feelings, my messes in life. While I am fully confident in my salvation, I wonder if these ‘hot messes’ in my life, or me itself, could be traced back to my disobedience? I’m always saying, ‘life is hard’. And life is truly hard! But could some of the hardness in life be because I’m being disobedient? Because I’m hearing and not obeying, and so my house comes tumbling down?

If I am peeling back layers in my heart, I think disobedience is lurking and alive and I cover it up with, “life is hard”. I know this, I do this. This past weekend and for the past two weeks, God has been whispering a task for me to do in my heart. During Sunday service, I couldn’t escape it, I knew what I had to do that very day! It was a sacrifice, putting someone above me (who didn’t deserve it, btw.)

Long story short, I obeyed.

And the blessings from that small act of obedience have left me speechless. Maybe I should be obeying more often?!? Dang! Jesus says a person who hears and doesn’t obey will have a house in a heap of ruins. He was telling the truth, I’ve just been hearing, but not obeying Him. So a lesson for me; if I am saying, life is hard or feel like everything is chaos around me, maybe I ask myself this: Am I hearing Him, but not obeying Him?

P~ Oh boy God! You have just removed another layer of scales off my eyes and heart. Ugh! I have been disobedient to You and Jesus in several areas of my life. Flood my heart and mind with my unconfessed disobedience so I can confess and repent of it. God, I want to be an obedient daughter. Not because I have to be, but because there is so much confidence in me of who Jesus and You really are, that I have nothing to fear. I pray this in Jesus’ Name!

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