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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.
A Cautionary Tale | Kelley Deases
S~ When his [Joseph’s] brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him. Genesis 37:4 (NIV)
O~ This verse is just the first in a series of verses which describe how a hatred — borne of jealousy — took root and escalated from unkind words all the way to a plot to kill. While there may have been some culpability on the part of Jacob, who was blatant in his favoritism of one son over the others, and of Joseph, who spoke of his dreams to an already hostile audience, the brothers allowed their feelings of anger and jealousy to fester, become hatred, and fester some more, until it consumed them to the degree they made an attempt on his life.
A~ What strikes me about this twisted family dynamic is how we can (and should) be careful to control our reactions. However justifiable the brothers’ feelings may have been, they were responsible for what they did with those feelings. I can definitely see the parallel to my own life. As a parent, my son may give me ample reason to feel angry and frustrated. But it remains my responsibility to control my own responses and actions. I can meet bad behavior with bad behavior or I can choose to be the mature one; to rise above my emotions and not succumb to them.
P~ Lord, You offer me peace and patience and self-control. Help me gravitate to those instead of letting my feelings, especially those of anger and frustration, overtake and get the better of me.
God’s Helper | Deanna George
S~ As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt. Genesis 37:25 (NIV)
O~ You may never know you are a vessel of God in someone else’s life. God has a plan, and he is directing it from heaven.
A~ The Ishmaelites were just going about their lives. God used them in a much bigger plan that they knew nothing about. God still works this way today. God has used my everyday life to help someone else, and I never knew it until years later. This scripture tells me to be ready and willing because he may want to use me in his plan for someone else’s life. That just excites me thinking about it.
P~ Lord Jesus, please use me! I don’t care if I ever know, but I want to be your hands and feet on earth. I want to make a difference for you here. Please shape and mold me into your servant. I’m yours to direct!
God works it out | Nikki Metzger
S~ If we let Him go on like this, everyone will believe in Him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation. John 11:48 (NIV)
O~ Religious leaders are in a meeting about Jesus.
A~ The religious leaders are trying to control the situation. They are controlling because they don’t want Jesus in power because it will affect their place in society. God uses these men for His glory, and my good.
I recently rewatched a movie that came out 20 years ago. Back then, it was one of my favorite movies. But as I was watching it last night, I was really taken aback at the themes. The movie valued material things, moving ahead at any cost, and casual sexual relationships. Twenty years later, I’m wondering if movies like that played a role in what I really believed. Of course it did! What I focus on, will ultimately take my life in that direction. And even though I was filling my head with movies that valued worldly things, God still worked in me!
P~ Father, thank You for that walk down memory lane and for changing my life! You are so good!
Don’t Miss Out | Tara Wiley
S~ “If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.” John 11: 48
O~ The Sanhedrin were acting like spoiled brats. They were so focused on what they had (which they didn’t even like! They were oppressed! The temple they had was built by a man who hated God! Their nation was under Roman authority!) that they were about to miss out on what God truly had in store for them. They were so focused on the tiny freedoms they currently experienced – so afraid of losing them – that they couldn’t see Jesus offering them a freedom so far beyond their wildest dreams, a freedom independent of religion and government.
A~ When I am focused on my personal interests, and determined to find my own personal comfort, I lose out on living in the freedom God has in store for me. I’ve already experienced the freedom of new life in Christ. Now He wants me to be TRULY free – and that means, following Him in obedience. Not focusing on myself. Eyes on Him, doing what He calls me to do, even when it doesn’t make sense. Even when it’s uncomfortable. Even when it means saying no to what I think I want and need. My friend just shared a fantastic CS Lewis quote that emphasizes this so well:
‘It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.’ C.S. Lewis
P~ Lord, I want to live in humble surrender to You, but my pride and my flesh… my opinions… my narrow and short sightedness gets in the way. Forgive me, Lord, for putting my interests above Yours. I think these small things will bring me lasting joy – but I know that true joy is found in chasing hard after You. Show me what it looks like TODAY to live in obedience to You.
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