November 30 Romans 1,2,3,4

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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The Best Way | Robin Laney

S~ For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. Romans 1:21,24-25 (ESV)

O~ God’s eternal power and divine nature are made known to each and every one of us through Creation. We must each choose whom or what we will serve. If we don’t choose God, He will turn us over to our own desires.

A~ I have told my story a few times in the past month and have used the phrase, “He gave me over to my desires.” I had a very clear choice to make as a high school aged girl. I knew there was a God and my heart was drawn to Him over the years. I was presented with the Gospel several times and on one particular night I considered His invitation to me, knew that it was the right choice to make, and said, “No.”

My friends and my lifestyle were my comfort and my idol and I chose to believe the lies the enemy was whispering to me, “You won’t have any friends, you won’t have any fun, you will be all alone.” It was a pretty desperate time in my life and I couldn’t stand the thought of losing all I thought I had. I exchanged the Truth for a lie. I chose to serve myself rather than the Creator.

For the next five years, He gave me over to the lusts of my heart. My thinking was futile and my heart was dark. I dishonored my body and the bodies of others. When I think back about that time, I am so sad. Sad to have missed time with Him, sad to have missed out on the life He had for me, sad to have been enslaved to sin by choice, sad for the genuine relationships I missed out on that I traded for superficial ones, sad that I did not fulfill His purpose for me during that time, sad that the life of my child was destroyed for my own sake. Some people say they have no regrets. I can honestly say that if I could have one do over it would be to have said, “Yes!” to Jesus that night when I was 17.

That’s certainly not to say I regret my life now or that I would trade it for anything at this point. God not only preserved my life through many dangerous situations but He has poured out His incredible mercy and grace on my life and given me more than I could have ever imagined or hoped for. However, I most certainly would advise anyone, wavering in their decision, to follow hrist rather than serving themselves or others. There is no better way.

God will not force Himself on you. Satan will do everything in his power to dissuade you. Do not trade the Truth for lies. Follow Jesus!

P~ When I consider my past I am completely humbled and grateful for God’s great love and patience, mercy and grace. I pray that my story gives hope to others who have lived in darkness and persuades those who are just learning of Jesus to follow Him fully. He is the way, the Truth, and the life.

The Stuff of Christmas | Joni Tyner

S~ They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Roman 1 :25 (NLT)  (emphasis is mine)

O~ Paul wrote the book of Romans. The people of Rome were mostly Jews with some Gentiles.   When I read this scripture this morning, I felt like it could have  been written to me in 2016.

A~ As I write this entry, it is Thanksgiving weekend.  I’ve been bombarded with Black Friday advertisements and enticed with Cyber Monday deals.  On Facebook, I see many posts of Christmas decorations and shopping excursions.

I like to decorate for Christmas and going shopping to get a good deal, I really do…but

I don’t know, there is something that just bugs me about the energy, time, and money that is spent of the stuff of Christmas.  It seems like a lot of the time, the things of Christmas are being worshiped over the Child of Christmas.

I do it myself.  I’ve been searching for recipes for our Christmas dinner and walking the aisles of Hobby Lobby in search of new porch decorations.  I’ve liked pictures on Facebook of friends’ Christmas trees and I’ve been thinking about ideas for my Secret Santa gift exchange at work.  I don’t think this is worshipping stuff instead of God, yet… it has occupied a fair amount of brain space—

I don’t know what the exact balance is. I probably don’t get it right.   I love Jesus and I like partaking in the festivities of the season.  Again, I’m probably not getting it right, thank goodness for the Grace of the Jesus.

P~ Dear Lord, thank you for coming to earth to save me.  I know this is personal and You are the true reason behind all the stuff.  I pray Your Holy Spirit guides me this holiday season to see You in every celebration, in every decoration, in every interaction.  Please help me to worship You instead of the stuff of Christmas.

Stop Judging Others | Deanna George

S~ So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgement? Romans 2:3 (NIV)

O~ Do not forget that God sees all that I do, and he will pass judgement on my sins! It is not my job to pass judgement on others because I have my own sins that I am dealing with.

A~ I need to focus on my sins, seek God’s forgiveness, and change my behavior and attitude so that I may stop repeating the sin. God can and will take care of everyone else!

P~ Lord Jesus, please help me see my own sin before I try to point out someone else’s. Forgive me Lord for trying to do your job and ignoring my own faults! It is so much easier to look at someone else’s problems than face the music in my life. I am ready to work on the next sin you want me to tackle and overcome. Please guide me, teach me, and please be patient with me.

Contempt for God’s riches? | Nikki Metzger

S~ Or do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance? Romans 2:4 (NIV)

O~ Paul is questioning someone who passes judgement on someone else.  He eludes that God’s timing, or God seemingly not doing anything is actually leading someone to repentance.

A~ I have been up in arms about a few things this season.  Christians who have strayed from God’s Word, Christians spewing hate over the election, and believers not trying to walk in another’s pair of shoes who is different than them. In those times of heightened frustrated emotions, for me, I have been quick to judge.  I have also wondered why God doesn’t ‘do’ something about the people so clearly going against His Word.

I’ve been pondering this for quite awhile now.  Here’s the answer when I have those thoughts and emotions about others, and it comes in the form of a question. Do I (Nikki) show contempt for the riches of God’s kindness, tolerance, and patience?  His kindness, tolerance and patience should lead me to repentance!  And how many times did God withhold Himself from striking me dead because I judged someone or sinned greatly against Him?

Ummmm, A LOT!!!

So, when I’m frustrated with others, have found myself judging them, or confused to why I didn’t see God’s arm intervening….He is probably showing them kindness, tolerance, and patience, leading them to repentance.  But that’s none of my business.  Those things are wrestled with the Most High.  And I need to remember ALL of those times God led me to repentance by being kind, tolerant, and patient with me.

P~ I love You!  I love Your Word!  I am so sorry for being so quick to judge!  And thank You for always showing me kindness, tolerance, and patience!

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