September 12, 2017 Proverbs 19-21; 2 Peter 1:1-11

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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Wisdom gives patience | Kelley Deases

S~ A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.” Proverbs 19:11 (NIV)

O~ The Proverbs are so rich in truth; the longer I am on this journey called life, the more of these verses resonate with my personal experiences.

A~ This proverb encapsulates a new plateau my husband and I have reached in our marriage recently.  He had prayed at the turn of the calendar year this year that we might achieve greater oneness — and God is really answering that prayer in spades!  We got away on a marriage cruise back in February, which was our first trip alone (without kids) since our honeymoon eight years ago.  In addition to just prioritizing that time to be together and focusing on our relationship, we received some great teaching which we were able to bring home with us.  A month later, in the middle of a conflict we were having, God gave my husband a vision.  He saw a picture of how he was wounding the very heart (mine) God had entrusted to him to protect.  Since then, we have had a transformed marriage, one in which we are patient with each other, give gobs more grace, and are not so quick to take offense at every little thing.  I guess Solomon would call that wisdom (on both of our parts); and long overdue, too!

P~ Father, Thank You that we are all works in progress and that You never cease working in areas of our life that need Your transforming touch.  I am so grateful to experience some measure of victory in this aspect of my marriage, and we owe it all to You.

Lending To the Lord! | Kim Chipman

S~ If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lordand he will repay you! Proverbs 19:17 (NLT)

O/A~ Sometimes I have a mental block about giving. Not because I don’t want to be generous – but because I get stuck in wondering if I am really helping or just enabling. I’ve been taken advantage of before and that makes me gun shy. But if I can embrace the right heart…that You see me. You know I want to help. By giving I am giving to You. This can help me get unstuck. I’m not responsible for anyone else’s heart but my own. You will use it how You need and I may never see or understand. You have already given me everything I have. My money is Your money. Nothing is really mine anyway.

P~ Lord, help me to get unstuck about being generous. Help me to not focus on being strategic ALL the time but just trust You more. I love You.

Refine Me, oh Lord! | Robin Laney

S~ In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 1 Peter 1:6 (NIV)

O~ Peter wrote this letter to Jewish Christians who had been scattered into Asia Minor by persecution. In the verses before this one, he encouraged them by reminding them they had received a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, an imperishable inheritance waiting for them in Heaven, and a great gift of faith in which they were shielded by God’s power until the day of their salvation. In verse 6, he recognized that their faith journey had not been an easy one and he went on to tell them that there was a purpose in their trials – the refining of their faith.

A~ What a glorious hope we have in Jesus! What peace and joy come with knowing him as we do! Yet, he never promises that our walk will be easy. We are as foreigners in this land, set apart to be Holy as He is Holy. In that, there is bound to be trouble for us because we are called to be counter-cultural, to be in the world but not of it. Many people don’t understand and many are offended by the Truth of the Gospel and what it asks of them. An encounter with Jesus Christ requires a response and to follow requires a sacrifice many won’t offer, a full surrender of self.

The Christians who lived at this time, faced an emperor who demanded they worship only him. Pagan temples made their money off of the worshipers who frequented and with the spread of Christianity came a downturn in profits. Followers of Jesus did not subscribe to the immorality of the day and the ideals of power and self. They didn’t fit in and lived their lives out for the glory of God who was unknown and offensive to the pagans and so they were targets for ridicule and persecution. We, as the Church, are experiencing more and more of this in our days.

Peter’s letter, written to encourage our brothers and sisters so long ago, is a clear message to us as well. We should not expect our walk with Christ, here on earth, to be an easy one but we can be assured that each trial we face will serve to strengthen our faith and prove it genuine resulting in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. (v.7)

P~ Lord, thank You for the hope You give, the inheritance You promise, and the power of Your protection over my faith. Open my eyes to see each trial as a refinement of my faith which brings me closer to You, glorifies You and honors You so that the people around me can see You more clearly.

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