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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It’s in Him | Robin Laney
S~ “…where then is my hope? Who will see my hope?” Job 17:15 (ESV)
O~ Poor Job. He is absolutely devastated. He has lost almost everything and, in his view, really has nothing left to live for. He is out of hope that anything will ever be right in his world again when he has lost so much. His wife’s answer was for him to give up, to curse God and die. His friends were trying to help him figure out what he did wrong to deserve these tragic circumstances. Job’s friends wrongly believed that God’s approval of one’s life could be measured by the amount of earthly success and prosperity. Job knew that was wrong thinking yet still felt hopeless and there was no one speaking Truth to him – the Truth that there is more to life than this life, the Truth that God promises an eternity with Him past this life, the Truth that if this world holds nothing for us we still have hope.
A~ In the midst of deep grief, it can be almost impossible to hang on to what we know about God. The hurt blinds us to the truth of things. In those moments, we need reminders of who He is and what He promises. We need to soak in his word and believe that it is for us. We need to consider our own testimony to his love and faithfulness in the past as well as the faith stories of others. We need people in our lives who can share the hope of the Gospel in a way that encourages us and keeps our focus on Him. I know these things, like Job did. Will I remember them when tragedy strikes? If I were to lose everything, would His grace be sufficient for me? I pray so. If I were to ever get lost in my grief, I hope there are people near who will drag me out and remind me who He is, who I am, that He is my hope. I hope I will have the wisdom to listen.
P~ Lord, my only hope is in you. You give generously and you sometimes take away the great gifts you have given. I pray that you will give me a heart that appreciates the good, fully, along with the bad and that no matter what this life brings, that I hold on to the hope that cannot be taken away, my hope in you and my salvation.
Destructive Obsession | Michelle Myers
S~ In my obsession against them, I even went to foreign cities to persecute them. Acts 26:11 (NIV)
O~ Paul has been arrested. He is explaining who he was before, how he persecuted Christians, and how he was transformed into being a believer.
The word “obsession” stands out to me, because it is a pretty extreme word, that describes a pretty extreme state of being. According to the on-line dictionary, obsession is defined as, “an idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes a person’s mind”. Synonyms for the word obsession are….fixation, ruling/consuming passion, mania, compulsion, preoccupation, infatuation, addiction, fetish, and craze.
A~ Obviously, the only thing I am to be obsessed with, is You….following You, living for You, and doing Your will. Obviously, You have not been my one and only obsession. The definition is so fitting. How many other things have continually preoccupied and intruded my mind? Too many to count!
I am pretty sure that any obsession, besides an obsession with You, is straight from the enemy. The enemy can even turn an obsession with You into something so twisted and wrong. I have seen people who are obsessed with serving You, following You, and doing Your work; become the Bible police for everyone else. In doing so, they persecute a lot of people. That too, is from the enemy!
I have made a lot of spiritual progress in regards to recognizing when I am obsessing over something. I have made a lot of progress in accepting people for who they are, and not persecuting them for having different opinions, beliefs, etc. I have learned that “doing battle” with them is not going to bring them to You or represent You well. Yet, I know that the enemy knows my weak spots, and He will continually try to preoccupy and intrude my mind.
P~ Thank you God for the parts of my mind that You have healed. The struggle with obsession and my mind is an on-going one, and I will need Your help in “letting go” of certain thoughts. My obsession with and focus on You, is what is truly going to help me win these battles. Please help me fight them, in a way that brings unity and not division.
Demonstrate Repentance | Kim Chipman
S~ I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds. Acts 26:20b (NIV)
O~ Paul is on trial for things he didn’t do, but he is explaining what he DID in fact do. He had a vision from God and he did what God told him – to preach this message. This same truth is still a foundational message today. Pretty simple really. Repent and live differently as a result.
A~ This principle is hitting me hard lately. My life should look different because of what I believe.
John 13:17, James 4:17, Gal 6:9, James 1:22, Ps 34:14, Isaiah 1:17, 1 Cor 10:31, Col 3:17
I know that what I DO will not save my soul eternally – that is by faith alone. I know, however, that how I spend my life matters to You. I live differently when I demonstrate my repentance by my deeds. There is blessing in living out a transformed life. Do I really even believe if I’m unchanged? If I’m really convinced then my life has to change. What I do does matter. I have to demonstrate my repentance.
P~ Help me to do this well! Help my life to honor and glorify You! When I remember all I have to repent of this humbles me and changes how I live. Help me to remember. I love You!