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.
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JOY! | Kim Chipman
S~ Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10 (NIV)
O~ Ezra read God’s laws to the people in Jerusalem. The people wept when they realized how far away they were from obeying them. Nehemiah encouraged them to celebrate the Lord’s day – for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
A~ JOY. Often Joy is elusive for me. I get easily caught up in life’s burdens, tasks, frustrations, my feeeeeeelings…UUUUGH.
Your JOY is my STRENGTH.
When I’m feeling heavy, stressed, pulled in many directions, Your joy is my strength. What does that look like? What am I thinking about…what should I be thinking about!? Things I’m thankful for…things that are true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Phil 4:8) That would bring me joy!
P~ Lord, help me to choose joy! I love You!
Embracing the Gift of the Holy Spirit | Joni Tyner
S~ He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. “ Jesus speaking to the disciples in Acts 1:7-8 (NLT)
O~ It is within the 40 days after Jesus was crucified and he is telling the disciples that God alone will decide time that His Kingdom will be built, and—while waiting for this to occur, He will send the gift of the Holy Spirit to help them evangelize to people all over the world.
A~ There are many aspects of being a Christian. We are in a continual journey of learning to trust God more, of maturing our discipline and behavior, serving others, and building the Kingdom by telling others about Jesus. As I read Acts 1:7, I am reassured that God has a plan for the “how” and “when” His Kingdom will be fulfilled. My role is not to worry and try to figure out the “when” but to embrace the power of the Holy Spirit that is within me (every believer has this gift) and submit to a life that God has uniquely designed for me, Joni. Jesus is asking me to be a witness for Him with my own unique personality. My witness looks different that everyone else’s, but it is made perfect with the help of the Holy Spirit.
P~ Dear Lord, please help me stay focused with the assignment You have given me to build Your Kingdom. I get easily distracted and want to do everything—yet I know that I’m not going to be effective if I have scattered purpose. Please fill me with confidence, laser focus, and energy to embrace my gifts You’ve given me to bring others to a saving relationship with You.
What’s Next? | Robin Laney
S~ “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David…” Acts 1:16a (ESV)
O~ Jesus had appeared to many and had been taken up to Heaven as the apostles watched. The eleven of them along with the women and Jesus’ brothers had gathered in the upper room in Jerusalem as they were instructed. Peter addressed them as a group and spoke of the prophecy from Psalms concerning Judas and what was to be done next. He used the Holy Spirit’s instruction, spoken through David, to direct them in replacing Judas.
A~ As I read this account today I couldn’t help but wonder where the followers’ minds were going as they found themselves smack in the middle of God’s Great Rescue of humanity. Here, they had walked with Jesus for three years hearing him tell of the future. They were familiar with prophecies of the Messiah and professed belief that Jesus was the One. However, when he was crucified, they mourned as though they had no hope and didn’t really believe. Once he returned, it seems they had some aha! moments and were finally catching on. I can only imagine what I might have been doing and thinking if I was one of them at this time. I believe I would have been searching the Scriptures to see what I had missed and what I would need to know going forward.
As we live in these last days, it will become more and more important to be familiar with what has been, what is, and what is to come. God has given us the incredible gift of His Word in a book. In it, we read stories of the past as warnings, encouragements, and teaching for our lives. We get to know Him as we learn of His character and His greatness. We see the purposes He has for us outlined quite clearly and also visions of the future. Like the disciples that day in the upper room, we would be wise to know God intimately through His Word.
P~ Father, I thank You for Your provision of the Bible. Let us use it wisely so that we might not be caught off guard by what this world throws at us. Give us understanding and wisdom through Your Holy Spirit and the courage to live out Your purposes. Encourage us and teach us everything we need to know as we faithfully explore the Bible. Lord, let us be obedient to Your Word and use it to help guide our lives and grow closer to You.