January 8, 2017 Genesis 15,16; John 5:1-30
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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.
Just Believe | Kim Chipman
S~ Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness. Genesis 15:16 (NIV)
O~ Romans 4:18-24 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.
A~ I know I overthink/overcomplicate things. Often. And I struggle with keeping my heart focused on trusting You. A feeling rises up in me that I need (or want?) to do more. I’m a do-er. Sometimes it is a genuine outflow of gratitude and worship to You. There are times, however that I just don’t feel like trust is enough. I’m not worthy. I know the root of that is a lie, but I go there. Often.
Abram believed when what You promised seemed impossible. Your love and acceptance of me, Your grace, Your holiness…it all seems impossible. Too good to be true, really. The concept is so simple…but NOT easy. Not for me anyway.
I’m reminded of a women’s retreat I attended a number of (5? 6?) years ago. We had a wonderful speaker, Terri Schenzel, who is with You now, but the ripple effects of her life linger. She gave a powerful message about love, then shared this video…
P~ Lord, help me to believe. I believe, but help my unbelief! Grow my trust. For Your glory. I love You!
Fight the Urge | Deanna George
S~ So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. Genesis 16:3-4 (NIV)
O~ This was a common practice to give a slave to your husband to ensure heirs if you are not able to conceive. Sarai started feeling the consequences of taking things into her own hands after God promised Abram a heir.
A~ There are consequences to taking matters into our own hands. God promised Abram heirs, but Sarai wasn’t comfortable with his timing (which was taking a very long time!) or that she would be the one to birth the heir. She took it into her own hands by giving Abram a servant to conceive with. When her planned worked, she stared to despise and hate Hagar and the son that was born. This is not a peaceful situation. How many times have I been inpatient and tried to solve the problem? Too many to count! How many times did I know God was saying to be patient, but I chose not to listen? I am learning he hard way that my way is NEVER better than God’s. Not only does it turn out bad, or at best mediocre, but heart ache and stress usually accompany it. What am I trying to take control of? To be honest, too many things right now. This is a reminder to be patient and listen because God has the best plan for me.
P~ Lord Jesus, please help me learn from Sarai’s life. Sometimes it can be so hard to be patient, especially when it takes longer than I think I can handle. It’s so easy for the thoughts, “I can handle it,” “I have a solution,” or “it’s not going to happen correctly if I don’t do it,” to plant in my head and then act on it. I need a lightening bolt to stop me from acting on those thoughts. Thank you for being patient with me, even though I’m not always patient with you!
The God Who Sees Me | Kelley Deases
S~ She [Hagar] gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” Genesis 16:13 (NIV)
O~ In the midst of her deep pain and seemingly hopeless predicament, God revealed Himself to Hagar personally. He acknowledged her hurt and pain and instructed her how to proceed. This speaks to the cry of all of our hearts — that, in the end, we are not alone and forsaken in this world, even when it may seem like it. Someone sees us and cares deeply if we are hurting and in despair.
A~ Hagar’s testimony of meeting God really mirrors the experience many of us have had. God met me in the dark and desperate place I was in when my first husband cast me aside for another relationship, leaving me alone with our young son to raise. God met my second husband in a jail cell, falsely accused and facing an uncertain future. God met a fleeing Jonah in the belly of a fish. God met Joseph in a dungeon, as a slave in a foreign land, despite the fact he had committed no crime. God has a way of showing up when we need Him most, and then demonstrates His goodness and mercy and deliverance.
P~ Father, I thank You that my testimony echoes Hagar’s testimony: “I have seen the One who sees me.” You revealed Yourself to me when I desperately needed to know You saw me, knew what I was going through, and had compassionate on me, Your child.
God is working in that person | Nikki Metzger
S~ Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” John 5:17 (NIV)
O~ Jesus had just healed a man on the Sabbath and the Jews wanted Him dead.
A~ Father God is always working! In fact, everyone I meet is in the middle of God working in them. From proclaimed atheist to a lifelong follower of Jesus, God is always working in their life.
Yesterday, our bible study sent a fellow friend off to Greenland for a year. A year! In Greenland! Even though I won’t see my friend I can rely on this promise from Jesus: Father God will be doing a work in her and around her.
It’s the same for me. God is always working in me and around me. Even though I mess up 9 out of 10 times during the day, He never gives up on me. That same beautiful, refining, lovely patience the Lord shows me; I can give that to others too!
P~ Father, thank You for always at Your work! I appreciate that You never stop Your pursuit of me, You are good, good Father!!
Resting in Him | Tara Wiley
Today is one of those days where I just needed to plant myself in a passage that reminds me of God’s promises for my present circumstances. Like the man at the pool in John 5, I need healing today – physical, emotional, and spiritual. God immediately brought me to a favorite passage in Psalm 34.
S~ I prayed to the Lord, and He answered me.
He freed me from all my fears.
Those who look to Him for help will be radiant with joy;
No shadow of shame will darken their faces. Psalm 34: 4-5 NLT
O~ What do I need to remember about God from this passage? He listens when I pray, and He answers with freedom, help, and renewed joy. He removes shame because of His amazing love and grace.
A/P~ Lord, I am so weary today. This muscle in my neck is causing me such pain, no matter what I do to try to alleviate it. The tension is a physical representation of the emotional and spiritual exhaustion within me. I am weary, and because of that, my weaknesses are near the surface. I am tempted to let my thoughts drift to anxiety and fear about the future. Instead of my word of the year, ‘Prepare,’ bringing hope and comfort, it feels like a dagger poking at the future disruption of our lives. I know worry is my vice, and I refuse to give into it! I will look to you today, Lord. I am putting my weary body, spirit and mind into Your hands. I am exhausted, but You are the giver of freedom, help, joy, and redemption. So, I will trust You to bring the nourishment my soul so desperately needs. Show me how to rest in You and find the best refreshment today.
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