March 10, 2017 Numbers 7; Psalm 23; Acts 8:26-9:19a

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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.

No Carts & Oxen For You! | Vicki Burns

S~ But Moses did not give any [carts or oxen] to the Kohathites, because they were to carry on their shoulders the holy things, for which they were responsible. Numbers 7:9 (NIV)

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24 (NIV, emphasis mine)

O~ Absolutely every detail concerning the temple building, ministers, furnishings and functions were carefully dictated by the Lord to Moses.  So Moses was instructed to whom to give what and why. When transporting the temple it was the most vulnerable and each item was to be handled in very specific ways by particular people/families. While Moses was busily handing out carts and oxen for the transport effort, it was the Kohathites who received none. None. They were to pick them up and carry them on their shoulders because they were holy.

Holiness is very personal. Holiness is costly. You cannot carry holy things on your shoulders and your own household goods. Everything else must be laid aside for the supreme mission. Your whole body must be 100% devoted to the effort. for. a. long. time. In fact, until the journey was over, say 40+ years! It has weight. And that weight is on you and you are in a place of honor to be appointed to carry it.

A~ Jesus has appointed us, his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  (NIV)

This is a weighty issue. It allows us to look inward and take inventory of our heart and all we value. Item by item, we are invited to lay it all down at our Savior’s feet. This is the place to ponder the cost, grieve the loss and begin to allow the Holy Spirit to turn our hearts to the most precious, the most valuable of all treasures, the cross. How wise to sit in adoration and awe of this holy calling.

P~ Here I am again, Lord. Doing inventory, grieving, counting the cost. But I am also stunned and amazed. Why You choose common and flawed earthen vessels for your work is astounding! Help me. I’m here to lay it all down again. Be my close Companion. Strengthen me to put my hands on that cross and carry it all the way to that glorious finish line where my eyes see You face to face. In Your holy Name.

Spiritual Cadaver | Michelle Myers

S~ The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.  He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:1-4 (NIV)

O~ I have heard Psalm 23 repeated over and over again.  The beginning starts out so peaceful………You are my shepherd, green pastures, quiet waters, and restoring my soul. Whew, who wouldn’t want that!  Then it takes a dark, not so inviting and peaceful turn…..the valley of the shadow of death……Who wants to be there?  However, then it goes on to talk about the protection and peace You provide, while I am walking through this yucky, not so pleasant valley.

I totally understand the peace You provide, no matter what yuck is going on in my relationships, finances, body, or emotions.  But what is this yucky “valley of the shadow of death?” I know that it is more than a physical death; it is a spiritual death.  I really want to avoid this place, so I am not a spiritual cadaver.

A~ For me, that yucky, not very pleasant valley is two things…..the world and my flesh.  Those two entities can kill me spiritually in no time.  I can easily become consumed with the things of this world, and lose perspective of myself spiritually.  I can compare my success health wise, financially, as a parent, and a spouse, by the worlds wacky standards, and forget the precious person You made and who I am in You.  I can forget that I, like everyone else You created, has a special purpose.

I can give in to my flesh, and take the easy, comfortable path, and forget the spiritual growth You are trying to cultivate in me.  There are spiritual consequences when I don’t take care of my body by being lazy with exercise or over indulging in food.  There are spiritual consequences when I skip meals, because I feel that I am too busy taking care of others. However it plays out, all of these situations prevent me from being the best person that You created me to be, and makes fulfilling the purpose You gave me, a lot harder.

The key is my connection to You. It helps me endure and get through the dark valley, by providing me with the protection and peace only You can provide.  Then I don’t have to fear or fret over the standards, opinions, and judgments of the this world.

P~ Thank you God for YOUR peace and protection.  Please help me stay connected to You, and have the courage to be and do, who and what You created me to be, so I don’t become a spiritual cadaver.

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