January 2, 2017 Genesis 3,4; John 1:29-51

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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.

Exaggeration | Joni Tyner

S~ One day he (the serpent) asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”

“Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden.” The woman replied, “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allow to eat. God said, “You must not eat it or even touch it: If you do you will die.” Genesis 3:1-2 (NLT) (emphasis is mine)

O~ The serpent, who is Satan, is tempting the woman (Eve) by questioning God’s reasoning.  She replies with an exaggeration.

A~ Exaggeration.  It’s everywhere and it feels like everyone does it.  I know I’ve occasionally embellished a story to make it more interesting, to make me look smarter, funnier, more …something.

As I start the new year, I want to make a renewed effort to not exaggerate because it’s dishonest and dishonesty is sin.  It’s root is pride—making myself look better than others and that makes God sad.  I want to be careful to say what I know to be true and be clear when I’m not sure about something.  It’s become  almost a habit to use over the top adjectives when talking and not even think about it.  I know I’m not going to get it perfect, but God will give me grace.  I believe the first step in change is to be aware of a behavior and at least try to change.  I think I’ll throw in grumbling and complaining too to try to eliminate from my speech.  And gossip and talking about others…goodness,  I think I have a tongue issue. 🙂 This verse comes to mind from James.

“If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself and your religion is worthless.”  James 1:26 OUCH!!

P~ Dear Lord— please forgive me for being careless with my tongue.  It’s a pretty pathetic witness for You and I want to attract people to want to follow You—not cause them to roll their eyes at my foolishness. Please help me speak with accuracy, humility and gratitude.

Blame Game | Deanna George

S~ The man said, “The woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” Genesis 3:12-13 (NIV)

O~ From the beginning, humans placed blame on someone else, instead of owning their decision.

A~ Why is it so much easier to blame others for my actions, when in reality it was 100% my decision to act or say something? God knows the truth, so why try to pass the blame?  Unfortunately, I think my pride is the culprit. I don’t want to admit I made the wrong decision. I don’t want to look like I’m being disobedient. I don’t only do this with God. I do it with others as well. I broke my stance on purchasing certain items. I purchased them from a legitimate looking website, but I ended up receiving counterfeit products. I was and still am sick to my stomach. I couldn’t return them because the merchant never responded to my email. I blamed the purchase on my frustrations over a situation I was going through. I justified it at the time by saying “I deserve it.” And to top it off, I chose to believe the lie that I needed to look “the part.” All the while, I was feeling a nudge to delete the email about the sale. I chose not to. I chose to make the purchase! There are consequences to this disobedience: wasted money, monitoring my credit, and disappointment with myself. There have been lessons learned: 1. Be obedient 2. Take ownership of my actions, and 3. Live with the consequences. This blame game has been around for a long time, but that doesn’t mean I need to partake in it.

P~ Lord Jesus, I’m sorry I was disobedient to your nudging when I made the purchase. I’m sorry that I came up with excuses to ignore your guidance. I’m sorry that I blamed my circumstances for making the purchase. I accept responsibility, and I’m dealing with the consequences the best I can. Help me to be diligent in accepting my role in my decisions. Thank you for loving me through my disobedience.

Rule Over Sin | Kim Chipman

S~ If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it. Genesis 4:7 (NIV)

O~ 1 Peter 5:8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

1 John 4:4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

Ephesians 6:12-13 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

A~ Temptation is everywhere. The spiritual battle is real and it. is. ON. The good news? Free will. Often I really don’t like free will because I mess it up (and people around me do, too). The good news of great joy is that You came for me! If I choose You I will be made right!  You are in me and You are greater than ANY force that may try to come up against me. You made a way for me to stand, to overcome, to rule over it. Often it doesn’t FEEL that way, but it’s true!

P~ Lord, help me to remember and focus on truth today! Temptation is everywhere but in and through You I can rule over it. Help me to choose well – it is my choice, I am not victim to circumstances around me! What freedom! Thank You, I love You!

Sarcasm | Nikki Metzger

S~ Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”  “I don’t know,” he replied.  “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Genesis 4:9 (NIV)

O~ The Lord rejected Cain’s offerings and accepted Abel’s.  Cain murdered his brother because of this.  When the Lord confronted Cain, he was sarcastic in his response to the Lord.

A~ I used to think that sarcasm was a recent cultural thing, but nothing new is under the sun.  Sarcasm has been around for a long while.  I once heard Patty Clairmont, a Christian speaker, say that ‘sarcasm is hidden anger.’ After I heard that, I really started reflecting on my words and tone, because sarcasm used to be my native language.  Jesus was really clear about anger.  And God’s Word tells us that our words are a reflection of our heart. (Matthew 12:34)

And if I think about Cain’s sarcastic response to the Lord, he is very angry.  Angry because the Lord rejected his unacceptable offering.  And why did Cain give an unacceptable offering to the Lord?  Probably goes back to Cain’s true heart.

P~ Father, thank You for this insight about sarcasm!  When I hear sarcasm, please let me see beyond the words and tone and see the person’s heart!  And please don’t let sarcasm come out of my  mouth!

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