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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.
God Sees Our Heart | Joni Tyner
S~ For You look deep within the mind and heart, O righteous God. Psalm 7:9 (NLT)
O~ David is reflecting that God looks deep within the mind and hearts of man.
A~ I’m currently participating in a 21 day fast with our church. This year I’m focusing on the quality of my free time and I’ve decided to eliminate tv watching and listening to the radio.
By replacing my leisure tv watching with reading and listening to Christian speakers, I am increasing knowledge of the things of God. I also wanted to increase my prayer life so I started praying in the car instead of listening to Christian music. I am so surprised and humbled as I have prayed for people and situations that I am driving to—I honestly have never prayed for many of the people and situations before this week. I think God wants to grow my faith in this area!
P~ Dear Lord, I desire to have close fellowship with You and grow in my prayer life. Please forgive me for the many times I’ve been distracted or chosen activities that dishonor You. I need Your Holy Spirit to help me stay focused on thoughts and activities that honor You. Please help me complete this fast with a grateful heart that chooses to worship You!
Comfort and Warning | Robin Laney
S~ Behold, the wicked man conceives evil
and is pregnant with mischief
and gives birth to lies.
He makes a pit, digging it out,
and falls into the hole that he has made.
His mischief returns upon his own head,
and on his own skull his violence descends. Psalm 7:14-16 (ESV)
O~ The theme of Psalm 7 seems to be David crying out for justice against slander. He was being accused of trying to kill Saul and take his place. Instead of fighting back, He called on God who is the perfect judge and promises to punish those who persecute the innocent.
A~ This election cycle has brought out so much ugliness. People lie so blatantly, are so harsh in their judgments of others, bandy around gossip like it’s of no offense, and the name-calling, it’s simply awful. It amazes me the things people say to and about each other and sometimes I get so frustrated I just want to scream or fire back. I want to defend the person being destroyed and that is usually about the time that God reminds be that He is a God of justice, that vengeance is His and His alone, and that prayer not arrows is the best defense.
I have watched so many leaders spout off about a situation or a person only to later be exposed themselves. Person after person wanes in credibility as their own misdeeds or hypocritical ways are exposed. These verses, to me, are a comfort and a warning. A comfort to know that, when offended for myself or for someone else, the fight is not mine and a warning to be sure I don’t get caught in the trap of evil, mischief, and lies.
P~ Father, I am far from perfect. Give me wisdom to know when to speak up and when to stay quiet. Nudge me when it is not my place to fight back, reminding me that You are just. Keep me humble so that anger does not build within me when I see another’s wrongdoing. Guide me on Your path so that You are glorified by my words and actions. Protect the hearts and minds of those who suffer persecution and give them faith to persevere.
Are we making Jesus smile? | Trisha Baker
S~ Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in Him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human praise more than the praise of God. John 12:42-43 (NIV)
O~ As long as there have been men on earth, there have been people that have been more concerned with what people thought of them than what God thinks of them. People are always very concerned of what others around them think of them and they opinions and thoughts they share. I myself have been guilty of this, but often times look back at those moments and wonder why I was so weak minded because I should be much more fearful of God than I am of another mortal man.
A~ When we are talking about God and our spiritual beliefs to others, whether they agree with us or not, we need to be courageous with our words. We need to not cower to the fear and intimidation that the devil puts in our mind. The devil would like us to believe that if people really knew how we felt out about these matters that they would not talk to us or want to associate with us anymore. We need to remember that Jesus told us to go into all the world and preach the Gospel. This cannot happen if we are worried about the praise from others. We need to always remember that even in that moment we are speaking the truth about Jesus that others may make fun of us or ridicule us for what we believe and hold so dear to our hearts, but in the end we are making our Jesus smile; and this is what we need to always keep on the forefront of our minds….Are we making our Jesus smile?
P~ Dear Jesus, thank you so much for sending us the Holy Spirit who will give us the courage we need in those moments when we are speaking to others about You. Help us to always keep you in the forefront of our mind, and be more concerned with what You think than with what others think. We thank you for everything you do for us every day. In your precious name, Amen.
WORDS/PRAYER | Vicki Burns
S~ (Jesus says) “For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to
say and how to say it. I know that his command leads to eternal life…” John 12:49-50
O~ Even Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, did not speak off the cuff whatever He wanted. It was not necessarily His own inclination to speak at all; rather He was at every turn fully in tune with His Father’s every concern, bearing the full burden for each soul He came in contact with. He received freely the message of the Father as well as the very way it was to be communicated. Then, He spoke.
Proverbs 25:11 A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.
A~ I have not been a good follower of Christ in either what I have had to say nor in how I said it. I have incurred guilt in speaking “my heart” with unkind words at inopportune times and in destructive ways. In the not so distant past I allowed a seed of bitterness to grow within my heart to the point it came spilling out at a simple nudge from another discontent. I knew better but the dam had been breached and now it has overflowed its banks. Three souls overheard my rant and I am grieved. Yes, I apologized and I know we all fall short but there is no excusing this….sin. I knew better. I could’ve, should’ve walked away. I should’ve RUN away.
In John 12:36b, Jesus said His piece and, “When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.”
I believe in stealing away for various reasons…especially temptation and for a way of escape…and for prayer. desperate. prayer.
God will instruct both me and my tongue as I first, fervently and foremost yield it to Him in desperate prayer. Why desperate? Because anything less does not encompass the reality of my desperately sinful state. And the reality…the real prayers are the most effective ones, I’ve found. They’re the ones where I am not only aware of my lost state, but the ones where I can almost begin to feel the darkness that is warring for my soul. That desperate!
P~ Where can I go from the presence of the Lord? Behold! You are there! The Holy One! Maker of Heaven and Earth! You are there! You are here! Now! Uproot from me any bitterness that longs to overtake my soul. You are my divine husbandman. Teach me that Your Words ARE my life. Instill in me an inclination to pray without ceasing knowing that I have an enemy roaring about for whomever he may devour. Grant me self-discipline to bring my every burden first to You. Teach my mouth what to say and how to say it. You, as always, are my o n l y h o p e of righteousness. It is in Your Name and for Your glory I ask these things and give You praise.
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