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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Remove MY High Places | Kim Chipman
S~ The high places, however, were not removed; the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there. 2 Kings 15:4 (NIV)
O~ Even before Israel crossed the Jordan into Canaan the Lord told Moses to instruct the Israelites to “ drive out all the inhabitants of the land before you. Destroy all their carved images and their cast idols, and demolish all their high places.” Numbers 33:52 (NIV) The warning? “those you allow to remain will become barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will give you trouble in the land where you will live.” Numbers 33:55 (NIV)
A quick google search revealed that King Uzziah was the 11th king of Judah and he reigned for 52 years. So 10 kings before him, and 52 years in charge and the high places still remain. v3 says he did was was right in the eyes of the Lord…except for that one thing. High places were not harmless shrines. They enticed God’s people to sin there.
A~ What are MY high places? What is in my life that needs to be removed? That pulls me away from worshiping You alone? Comfort? Pride? Selfishness? Need to control? Lack of trust? Food? Laziness? Complacency? My thoughts…believing lies?
In ways it would be easier if there was just a pole to cut down or an altar to smash. Today, my temptations are just as enticing and even more subtle…and just as destructive to my relationship with You. Really all of it is a heart issue. Those are harder to smash, but crucially important to continually destroy.
P~ Lord, help me see what pulls my heart away from You. Anything. Help me identify and remove the high places in my heart and worship You alone. I love You!
Finish Strong | Tara Wiley
S~ She must be well respected by everyone because of the good she has done. Has she brought up her children well? Has she been kind to strangers and served other believers humbly? Has she helped those who are in trouble? Has she always been ready to do good? 1 Timothy 5:10 (NLT)
O~ Oh boy. It’s another one of –those- lists. You know the ones. Proverbs 31 immediately comes to mind. The ones that make you look at your own life and think, how can I ever live up to this?!
A~ I’m encouraged that in this instance, at least, Paul is describing a woman who has lived a long life of faith. She has walked with Jesus, and over the years, He has transformed and used her in multiple ways. She has become His image-bearer.
Well, the fact that she’s a mature woman used to encourage me. Now that I’m in the second half of my life, now that other women come to me for advice as the ‘older’ woman… oh yeah. This is hitting more squarely between the eyes. It’s still an aspiration, but I put a higher standard on myself, because truth be told, I have walked with Jesus for decades now. He should show up all over my life. I should live a life of deeper transformation with each passing day.
I am so grateful for journaling over the years. Reading back over those journals is a source of encouragement to me, because I can see that, although I have a long way to go, I have made it a long way already. I am grateful for what God has already managed to do in stubborn ol’ me. I am looking forward to what the next several decades will bring… and this verse motivates me like never before. I want to FINISH STRONG. I don’t want to be a woman who gets into her silver years and decides it’s time to sit back and let everyone else serve her. I want to love Jesus and love others and live out this God life to the very end. I want to KEEP ON growing, KEEP ON changing, KEEP ON transforming.
P~ Lord, thank You for never giving up on me! Thank You for the work You’ve already done in my life – nothing I’ve done, but only what YOU have done, God. Help me to continue to submit to Your refining work…. to never shut You out or shut down… to always be growing and learning and becoming. I want to be that woman who shines out Jesus in every aspect of my life. Help me get one step closer to that today.
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