April 23, 2017 Joshua 23, 24; Psalm 44; Romans 13:8-14
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.
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Today | Kim Chipman
S~ But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15(NIV)
O~ Joshua is giving final thoughts and instruction to the Israelite people before his death.
A~ The things that stand out to me today are:
“but if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you” – That strikes my heart as harsh, but that’s the reality of it. I serve what is most desirable. Often that is comfort &/or pleasure. I decide that is more desirable. I have a choice.
“choose for yourselves this day” – No matter how many other days I’ve chosen well or how many days I’ve blown it I have to re-choose today whom I will serve. (sometimes multiple times during the day!) The god of comfort and pleasure? The god of ME? The god of lazy? The god of being right? The god of being in control? Who will I serve right now?
P~ Lord, help me to choose You. Help me to remember it is a choice and what is most desirable to me in the big picture. Sometimes the desire for right NOW makes me lose sight of my true priorities. Help me to remember. I love You!
Everyday!| Deanna George
S~ Rather, clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh. Romans 13:14 (NIV)
O~ Everyday! First when I get up, pray and decide how and what I am going to do for the Lord. Turn this into a habit and it will become second nature. If my focus is on representing God, then my desires for making a better me will align with God’s desires.
A~ 1. Make God’s desires for me a daily goal for me. Listen, pray, act.
2. Seek God when my desires seem to be all about me. Pray, read Bible for answers, and act.
3. Praise Jesus everyday for his answered prayers and presence in my life. Look for his hand in my day and say thank you!
P~ Lord Jesus, I want to be your hands and feet on the ground. I want to be wrapped in your presence so that your love is shared with all that I encounter. I want you to be the focus of my day. Please help me to recognize when my fleshy desires become more important than yours. Thank you for meeting me in my quiet time. Thank you for reminding me to pick up my son when my mind got so side tracked that I completely forgot. You are present in my life everyday, and I want to be present with you everyday.
Habit Forming| Tara Wiley
S~ Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh. Romans 13:14
O~ DO NOT THINK ABOUT. Action begins in the mind with what I focus on, what I think about.
A~ This verse in Romans dovetails with Philippians 4, where we read what we SHOULD THINK ABOUT: what is true. Right. Noble. Pure. Lovely. Of good repute. Excellent and praiseworthy things. And thoughts lead to actions – “put these things into practice.”
I found Caroline Leaf’s book “Switch on Your Brain” fascinating. In it, she details the biological truth behind these scriptures – that what we FOCUS on becomes habit… and how, when we form new habits, we create strong mental pathways for the behaviors we are trying to develop. Over time, those behaviors (right or wrong – so I’d better focus on the right things!) become easier and easier as the pathways strengthen through repetition. Craig Groeschel also shared a message recently on the powerful habit of beginning each day with affirmations of who God has designed us to be – and in so doing, training our brain to act not from a place of debilitating lies but from the truth that sets us free. You can listen to that sermon here and develop your own list of truth to clothe yourself with each day: https://finds.life.church/words/.
I am working right now on morning habit-forming with my daughter, and to be honest, it’s just about slaying me. Every day it’s a struggle to get her through her list of tasks – short, simple, practical tasks that could take as little as 40 minutes (and that’s including 15 minutes of piano practice) were she to do them quickly in order. But instead, we struggle for an hour and a half to get these things done without distraction and rebellion. It’s exhausting. Just. Exhausting.
Today I was reminded: the change in her behavior must begin in HER mind. I can offer her the truths, but in the end, she has to incorporate them into her own mind, own them there for herself, and believe she CAN be successful in carrying them out. I know the power of habit, and I know how desperately she will NEED habit in her life to be able to overcome the weaknesses that come with her disabilities. I want her to experience success! And in my desperation, I get irritated. I hound. I beg. I yell. I retreat. I try the Love and Logic approach. I try the Shepherding a Child’s Heart approach. I try every form of negative and positive discipline I can muster. But in the end – I must surrender her and her habits to Jesus, and ask Him to help her transform her thinking, and in doing so, transform her behavior.
P~ Lord, I have my own habits to break and replace with positive ones. I know how deep the struggle lies in me. Help me have grace for my daughter! God, thank You for the reminder that when I pray for her regarding habit forming, what I really need to be praying for is her MIND. That’s where the behavior change begins. So, Jesus, would You work a miracle in her mind? Would you help her to see the value in morning habits that set her up for success? Would you help me inspire her, show me the strategies that will work for her to understand and own this for herself? And God, I am so aware that in this season, You are calling me to form some new patterns of thinking about my ability to parent well – to control my emotions. Thank You, God, for the opportunity to develop new habits alongside of my daughter. Both of us can learn so much from this season! Strengthen my resolve to rise and clothe myself with You and with the fruit of Your Spirit BEFORE I begin my interactions with Kate. Thank You that You give me the power to do this through Your Spirit, and You have already equipped me for every good work You prepared for me to do (Eph 2), so I just need to step into that equipping and live it out. The same is true for Kate, who truly loves You. Help me remember THAT, too, so I can champion You in her instead of focusing on the negative. Thank you, Lord, for this rich time of refocusing my thought patterns through Your Word – for clothing myself with You. I love You!
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