January 17, 2017 Genesis 30,31; John 10:1-21
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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.
Comparison is Dangerous | Deanna George
S~ Then Rachel said, ” I have had a struggle with my sister, and I have won.” So she named him Naphtali. Genesis 30:8 (NIV)
O~ Rachel was having a hard time conceiving a child. She took matters into her own hands and gave Jacob a servant to conceive a child with. Rachel made having children a competition with her sister. Leah responded in kind by giving Jacob one of her servants to conceive a child with.
A~ Competition was alive and well back then as it is today. How many of our decisions are based on what is happening around us? I am skilled at comparing. I compare my body to others. I compare my parenting to others. I compare my volunteer work to others. The list could go on. Why? I hate to admit it, but it’s to feel relevant, needed, and worthy of my existence. Life can get so mundane with cleaning, cooking, laundry, and kid activities. I catch myself comparing myself to people “who are doing so much more,” then I find myself adding to my schedule to make me “comparable” to others. I am caught acting before I pray. I am caught responding before I think. I am caught at living for myself instead of checking first with God. Competitions I “create” are unhealthy, and they lead to unpleasant consequences.
P~ Lord Jesus, please help me to stop making life a competition. I want to be who you want me to be. I want to stop comparing myself to others. Please teach me some warning signs that I am starting down that road. I do not need to add extra work just because someone asked or I think it will make me look good. I love my life! I need to stop making it harder!
It’s Between You and Me | Michelle Myers
S~ Leban said, ‘This heap is a witness between you and me today.’ That is why it was called Galeed. It was also called Mizpah, because he said, ‘May the LORD keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other. If you mistreat my daughters, even though no one is with us, remember that God is a witness between you and me.’ Genesis 31:48-50 (NIV)
O~ Leban also said to Jacob, ‘Here is this heap and here is this pillar I have set up between you and me. This heap is a witness and this pillar is a witness, that I will not go past this heap to your side to harm you and and that you will not go past this heap and pillar to my side to harm me. May the God of Abraham and God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us.’ ” Genesis 31:51-53 (NIV)
A~ The “heap” is a physical symbol of YOU. It is a reminder to them, of their agreement with each other, their covenant with YOU, and the fact that YOU are always watching and aware of what is going on.
So, this whole covenant thing, is a new perspective for me. I know I want to represent YOU well. I know that YOU are aware of everything that I am thinking, saying, and doing.
As YOU know, my thoughts, words, and actions aren’t always pleasant. They certainly weren’t pleasant a few days ago, when my patience with my oldest daughter in regards to her arguing, complaining, and yucky attitude had ran out. I totally don’t understand why my gracious prompts toward her, go unrecognized and she continues to push, push, and push.
Finally, I have enough and I lose it. This results in me sending her to her room, and telling her that I just can’t deal with her today. She sits in her room, and I, in a completely frustrated, angry, and hurt state, go in and out of her saying the same prompting truths to her, that I was saying before, but in a “not so nice way” at this point.
It is an exhausting episode. The battle with her, at the start of it, is exhausting. The trying to keep my cool, and prompt her to “watch it, change it, check herself, etc.” is exhausting (all while trying to cook, home school, do laundry, etc.). The losing it and parading back and forth to “vent” the truths at her, in a not so nice way is exhausting.
Many times, my thoughts turn toward………….
“I used to get paid for this.”
“I don’t need this.”
“Why am I doing this? I used to be home by myself during the day, and it was peaceful.”
“She doesn’t appreciate anything.”
Blah, blah, blah! The truth is, by this time, she has already apologized and truly does feel bad for her attitude. Yet, I struggle with letting it go and getting MY thoughts, words, and actions right.
What YOU showed me through this whole relationship thing between Laban and Jacob, and the pillars and the heap, is that this whole home schooling thing, is more of a symbol for a deeper spiritual covenant between You and me.
P-Thank you God for YOUR clarity on this issue. I love my kids. I want to help them. Yet, there are times that there is nothing more I can do for them, and being their sounding board isn’t beneficial for either of us. Yet, how I respond to them, my reasons for doing what I am doing, and my motivation behind it, changes for the better, when I see it as a covenant between You and me.
I am a very visual learner, so please help me see and remember the heaps and pillars needed to remember that I am serving YOU, not an ungrateful, mouthy, argumentative teenager (whom YOU and I both love).
Freely Sacrifice | Kim Chipman
S~ No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” John 10:18 (NIV)
O~ Jesus is talking about choosing to lay down His life. No one takes it, He lays it down. It is a choice and He did it willingly.
A~ I believe there cannot truly be love without free will. Unless there is the option to sacrifice or not, it doesn’t feel like love, really. The fact that You absolutely had the power to change Your fate, reduce Your suffering, and redeem Yourself if you wanted to, but You didn’t – for MY benefit – is humbling.
I have free will also. I can choose to lay down my life for You – or not. I can choose to put others before myself – or not. I can sacrifice my desires to glorify You – or not. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.
P~ Lord, help me to use my choices to honor and glorify You and show You how much I love You. Because I do!
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