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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.
Misunderstood | Kelley Deases
S~ This is the same Moses whom they had rejected with the words, ‘Who made you the ruler and judge?’ He was sent to be their ruler and deliverer by God himself through the angel who appeared to him in the bush. Acts 7:35 (NIV)
O~ Stephen is passionately speaking in defense of his devotion to Jesus Christ to the high priests at the Sanhedrin. One message he tries to convey is how people across generations have misunderstood God’s chosen prophets — who they were and what they were sent to do. Just as they misunderstood who Jesus really was and what He was offering, so steeped were these leaders in tradition, fear, and the desire to remain in power. In the case of Moses, he was taunted with these words, “Who made you ruler and judge?” as was Jesus when the people spat out, “Who do you think you are, King of the Jews?” What Moses did not know in that moment he was ridiculed and outcast was God had exactly this purpose for him — to make him a ruler, a deliverer, and a judge.
A~ What this speaks to my heart today is not to concern myself with what anyone else has to say about me, but only have in mind what God would say. For the good and the bad. The world can affirm or excuse my actions when God wants to hold me to a higher standard. Or, conversely, the world may question my choices or priorities when I am seeking to align them with what God wants from me.
P~ Father, Help me to be clear that my identity is rooted in You, whether or not others support or approve of my life choices. Let me live a life which pleases You, so that I may hear You say at the end of my life on earth, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
The Peace Only You Can Provide | Michelle Myers
S~ But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. Acts 7:55 (NIV)
O~ When my time comes, I want to experience this. This has to be a peace that only You can provide. As Stephen was about to die, from an angry mob stoning him, “he fell on his knees and cried out, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ ” (Acts 7:60)
A~ I am beginning to realize that I still have some resentment towards my family. It is easy to ignore and not deal with it, when I am not in contact with them. However, You want my heart and part healed. You want me to have enough peace to be able to say, regardless of what stones they are throwing at me, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” I am not there.
P~ I am grateful for the healing in me, that You have provided in regards to my complicated and dysfunctional extended family. Yet, as we have a few family events coming up, I need Your help and guidance in regards to the extent in which I am to participate in them. Most importantly, I need Your peace, when complicated and dysfunction turns crazy and when me, my husband, and my girls are getting hit with stones.
Compassion | Kim Chipman
S~ Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep. Acts 7:60 (NIV)
O~ Stephen was being stoned by the Sanhedrin. Stephen was filled with the Holy Spirit and he could see Jesus in heaven. As he was being stoned he asked the Lord not to hold it against the people who were killing him. It reminds me of when Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:47
A~ I want to have this heart toward people who hurt me: compassion. Even while Stephen was being stoned (and Jesus crucified) he prayed on behalf of the very people causing him pain. It is easy to pray for people I like and who like me. It is much more challenging to pray for people who hurt me, especially repeatedly or intentionally.
P~ Lord, change my heart. Make it more like Yours. Help me to see people the way You see them. Grow my compassion and love. I love You!
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