February 8, 2017 Exodus 19,20; Matthew 8
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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.
Don’t Force Your Way Into Someone Else’s Ministry | Tara Wiley
S~ The Lord replied, “Go down and bring Aaron up with you. But the priests and the people must not force their way through to come up to the Lord, or he will break out against them.” Exodus 19:24
O~ Each person was to encounter God during this incredibly important time. But they were to do that in their specified places, and in the way God intended for each of them. Their roles were each unique, and if they chose to step over those boundary lines into someone else’s role, the consequences would be dire. This was an exercise in respect of God’s holiness and obedience to His specific directives.
A~ I’ve been forced to do a lot of thinking recently about my roles in ministry. Certain tasks that I’ve been called on to do have felt well beyond my ability, and have stretched me to maximum emotional capacity. As I have worked through these things, I have learned a LOT about myself and about my relationship to God and to others in view of the path God has led me down in my past. I’m having to evaluate what I should say yes to, and what would be best for others to do, not me. It’s hard for me to say no to anything, but especially hard for me to admit, “I’m not made to do this – even though it is something very dear to my heart, something I am passionate about. It just may be that the role I play here is one from a different angle.” Reading this passage about Moses, the priests, and the people was a good reminder: God has different roles for different people for different seasons. Each one is uniquely suited to that person’s place in His plan. Who am I to force my way into a role that may not be suited to His calling in my life?
P~ Lord, the real issue here is that I don’t want to excuse my way out of hard places. I want to be sure that I am hearing YOUR voice saying ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ From the beginning, I had a check in my spirit about this specific ministry opportunity – I knew it would be excruciatingly difficult for me. Yet, I am glad I went through it. I am glad for all it has already taught me about myself, and taught Mo and me about doing ministry together. It’s all GOOD, in the end, Lord. So I choose to trust Your direction, and I will refuse to step ahead of or lag behind You. Just make it clear, Lord, for next time. Thank You for Your assurance that You have a specific place for each person in Your plan. Just because my role may not be of Moses or Aaron doesn’t mean You can’t use me, among the people or priests. Help me see what that role looks like now and in future ministry.
Healthy Fear | Kelley Deases
S~ Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.’ Exodus 20:20 (NIV)
O~ The Israelites were so afraid of God’s presence, accompanied by thunder and lightning and smoke and trumpet blares, they shrunk back. They asked Moses to continue to be the intermediary between them and God because to hear His voice directly was too terrifying. However, they didn’t seem to be too scared when, the minute Moses turned his back to go and talk with the Lord, they abandoned the rules and built themselves idols of their own making. Through Moses, God tells them the seemingly contradictory statements: “Don’t be afraid,” and have “the fear of God.”
A~ This makes me think of getting pulled over for speeding. As soon as I hear that siren and see in my rear-view mirror that it was meant for me, my heart begins to pound and I instantly regret the rush I was in. And for some time after I interface with that officer, I am transformed into the world’s most conscientious driver — signaling every lane change, coming to a complete stop, and never exceeding the posted speed limit. Until some time passes, I begin to lose that fear, and revert back to sloppy driving habits once again.
It’s like this with God. I can get too casual and cavalier about following His commands. Just going through the motions. Then some experience, maybe a death or a birth or an accident or a report on the news, jolts me into the reality that God is Mighty and I am frail and mortal. I need to live in that place of healthy fear and awe as a permanent condition.
P~ Lord, You don’t desire that I cower in fear, as a child shamed by being caught with his hand in the cookie jar. But You do desire that I maintain a reverence and awe for Who You Are.
My Time Without, My Time With You | Michelle Myers
S~ Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning. Exodus 20:20 (NIV)
O~ Fear started to come over me last night, as I realized how much I have gotten away from own routine of being in the Word everyday. I didn’t have some big fear that it was going to lead me toward the sin of knocking off our neighborhood liquor store or trying to seduce my neighbor’s husband. My fear had more to do with my mind, my emotions, and my joy. I need You and Your Word, or I know that it is only a matter of time before my mind becomes a mess, my emotions take me to a place that isn’t stable or rational, and I am struggling with my joy, regardless of my circumstances.
A~ It is a very busy season. I am struggling to manage everything. I am beginning to see this as more of a test from You. Not only is it a test of faith, but also a test in awareness and recognition.
The testing of my faith comes, when I have to rely on You and Your grace to give my daughter and I what we need to make this homeschooling thing a success. I have felt Your guidance in regards to certain curriculum that I feel You are telling me is important, but not necessarily what the world feels is important. I know that she is also getting from me, a lot of spiritual and life lessons, that I never got from my parents, learned from a text book, or was assessed on, in one of my college courses. Yet, they have helped me grow, succeed, and endure this life, in this world.
My husband is doing part-time, again this year. His increased absence, has made me aware of how much I do rely on him for certain things, and how much he does pick up the slack in certain areas. I recognize that I often take that for granted. He doesn’t necessarily do things the way I would or do what I do (which honestly is sometimes better), yet his contributions help me stay balanced and in a good place, which in turn impacts the entire dynamics of the household and family.
I recognize that my kids are growing and changing. They are helping out more and doing a better job. They may miss something here or there, but the rushed, half-booty job they used to do, isn’t so much the norm anymore. Their attitudes about doing it, have also gotten better. They definitely aren’t perfect, but better. I have also learned that when I have hit my limit with their attitudes, I can get my point across in a firm manner, without going ballistic. Instead of verbally trying to beat things into their head, to the point that we are both utterly frustrated and exhausted, a much better approach is to calmly point out a few truths and then disengage from the situation. At this point in their lives, their father and I have given them many tools for success. How they utilize those tools, do a job, and the attitude they have when doing it, says way more about them and their character, than it does about ours. I have had to learn to let go of ownership of their junk.
I realize how much my understanding of why I need You and Your word, has changed and is more aligned with the spiritual vs. the worldly. I need THIS relationship, so I can be the best whatever it is You have given me to be…………….mother, wife, consumer, Christian, customer, etc. You guide me in everything. You tell me where to “cut corners” because I can’t do it all. You show me where cutting this corner or that corner, isn’t going to be the healthiest for me or my family. You comfort me, reassure me, and give me peace, when my “cutting corners” requires me to tell someone, “no”, and they are not happy about that.
Basically, my time without my time with You, has not been wasted. If anything, it has taught me how much I need You, Your Word, and THIS connection daily. The sin part, I don’t take lightly, but it isn’t what scares me so much. Probably because I know my heart, and there are going to be some days that it is in a stinky, junkie place regardless. I am a sinner and will always be a sinner regardless. But, the enemies ability to use my sin to the point of absolute hurt, destruction, and chaos in my life and the lives of those around me, is limited when I am connected to You The enemies ability to mess with my head, spirit, and emotions, is limited when I am connected to You. When I am connected to You, I am much more aware of my own stink and junk. Stink and junk, I know that I don’t want to assist the enemy in spreading.
P~ God, I am so grateful for these tests that help me grow, become more aware, and recognize what truly matters. There are days, when it seems like it is just too much. There are days that it seems as if what I am doing, doesn’t matter. Then through a conversation with my kids where I can hear their growth, You show me how it does matter. Or, I get an affirmation from You, through my husband or an acquaintance, confirming my path and the purposefulness in it. You show me that what I am doing is too much, on my own, but if I listen to Your will and rely on You, You will guide me. And, when I have done what You have said and it is too much, You will pick up the slack and ease the load. When I am connected to You and obedient, I am ensured success. It may not be “success” as the world sees it, but it is a much more valuable form of success, that serves an eternal purpose. Please help me remember these things, as I continue on in the daily grind of parenting, marriage, Christianity, Americanism, etc.
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