November 24 Matthew 17,18,19

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

Want to walk through the Bible one book at a time? Head over to Discover One Thing Online Study!

No Checklist, but Faith | Luisa Penaherrera

S~ Afterward the disciples asked Jesus privately, “Why couldn’t we cast out that demon?”  “You didn’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. Matthew 17:19, 20a (NLT)

O~ Jesus sees out hearts not just our actions.

A~ Am I aware of where my heart is?  Am I trusting God in what I’m doing, am I following God?  Am I expecting him to show up?

P~  Father, you know my heart.  Please help me not get caught up in routines or go through the motions without faith.  Help my faith to grow.

Be Like a Kid | Deanna George

S~ And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. ” Matthew 18:3 (NIV)

O~ God wants us to be childlike in our faith. Kids are dependent. Kids soak up knowledge. Kids crave to learn more about things they desire. Kids get so excited about things they love. Kids want to share their excitement with anyone that will listen.

A~ God wants this from us! He wants us to be dependent on him! He wants us to read, study, and learn his Word. He wants us to be excited about him and share that excitement with others. Where is my level of excitement? To be honest, it fluctuates with my circumstances. When I am battling something, adulthood takes over and frustration, worry, and even anger sets in. I need to remember that these are the times to be childlike. I need to stop trying to do it on my own. I need to take a breath and seek God in prayer and get in his Word. Then when he meets me, I need to listen, obey, and be patient.  I see regularly how this is not easy for my kids, and it will not be easy for me either, but it is necessary for my walk of faith with Jesus. God wants me to be dependent on him! When I follow him, then I get to see his hand in my life and that brings excitement and joy to my soul.

P~ Lord Jesus, I want to be childlike. I want to get so excited that I can’t keep my joy a secret. My desire is that my joy be so evident that others ask why I am so happy , and then I can share about how well you take care of me in the good times, and especially, during the hard, bad times. I want to be like my 7 year old who can’t contain his happiness, so he laughs, sings, dances, and talks our ears off. Please mold me into a childlike believer in you.

Forgiveness | Kim Chipman

S~ Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. Matthew 18:22 (NIV)

O~ Jesus is teaching about forgiveness. Peter asked Jesus how many times he had to forgive someone. My study Bible says that rabbis taught people needed to forgive 3 times. With Jesus? notsomuch

A~ With the holiday season upon us I think of family relationships especially. There are often “special” family tensions around the holidays. Often old hurts and offenses are (at least mentally) rehearsed. An imaginary measuring stick is erected to determine if standards are met. Eyes roll. Deep breaths. Hurting hearts. Sometimes families don’t even get together.

Here Jesus commands forgiveness. How often to forgive? All the times. And here’s what Jesus DOESN’T say…

All the times if they are sorry.

All the times if they are repentant.

All the times if they ask forgiveness.

All the times if they understand your hurt.

All the times if they recognize your pain.

All the times if they show compassion and empathy and promise not to do it again.

All the times if…if ANYTHING. There are NO IFs. Just forgive. ALL the times, no matter how many times. I do believe restoring relationship is separate from forgiveness. That DOES require repentance, validation, understanding, etc. But forgiveness is commanded and cannot depend on the actions of another person.

P~ Lord, help me to forgive well. Help me to trust you deeply so I can release my hurts especially when the offender isn’t repentant. I believe, but help my unbelief! Help me to pull out any root of bitterness or unforgiveness so I can love like you love. I love You!

God’s Word is the ultimate authority | Nikki Metzger

S~ “Haven’t you read,” He replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’. Matthew 19:4 (NIV)

O~ Jesus is being confronted with the religious leaders about marriage.  Several weeks ago a Christian leader vocalized her belief about marriage and it seemed to go against Scripture.

A~ I am still wrestling this.  Not so much on the issue of marriage, but God’s Word being interpreted to fit someone’s desires.  And as I peel back the layers of my heart, trying to understand why I’m so emotional about this, I think it reveals something in me that’s not so pretty.

As I read God’s Word, I recognize that I’m a sinner.  But, not just a sinner, truly the worst sinner ever.  My sin runs deep!  The Lord Jesus’ grace is bigger than that deep sin that runs through me.  His love for me is strong and powerful and mighty, I am His.  Even though I still am a sinner and continue to sin.

My particular sin of choice isn’t who I am attracted to; it’s gluttony and arrogance (pride) – that my time and body are really my own.  And I try and I try and I try to work this out; on my own and with the Lord.  But I fail.  It’s like it’s a part of me; I will always be gluttonous and prideful about who is really in charge of my body.  But what if my pastor told me that gluttony really isn’t a sin?

That would be awesome!

But would I be missing something beautiful in my struggle against the sin of gluttony and pride?  Or would it be better to really believe that I am faultless in being a glutton? Honestly, taking a hard look at past sins in my life…..As the Lord has called me out of those sins, He has worked something beautiful and miraculous in my heart.  I can’t explain that.  He has changed me and He has never left me. But maybe the whole point of me wrestling with what this leader said, and what my heart has revealed goes back to what Jesus said at the beginning of this verse: Haven’t you read

Have I read God’s Word?  Is His Word the ultimate authority in my life?  Or is it someone who reads the Word and then tells me what it says?  Who is in charge of my spiritual growth?  So many questions that I need to answer for myself.  God’s Word is a gift, I can never ever forget that.  One day all things will burn away, but the Word of Lord will stand forever.

P~ Father, thank You for the Word!  I pray for an anointing on every single believer who has proclaimed Jesus as their Savior to read Your Word with a renewed passion and understanding and application to their lives.  Lord, let us be governed by love, united in one mind and body!  I pray this in Jesus’ Name!

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