September 15, 2017 Proverbs 28,29; Psalm 60; 2 Peter 2:13-22

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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Deliver Us From Evil | Kelley Deases

S~ Save us and help us with your right hand, that those you love may be delivered. With God, we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies. Psalm 60:5,12 (NIV)

O~ We know where to turn in times of trouble, fear and persecution. We need to rely on the Lord and His justice, trusting the outcome to Him.

A~ My husband is facing a trial at work. Literally. After a twenty-year career with multiple commendations and awards, he is facing a disciplinary hearing over an matter which is minor at best and trumped-up at worst. While it seems to us like a baseless “witch hunt,” the consequences could be serious. We are in fervent prayer for his protection and, with God’s help, the victory over these proceedings. But even if God chooses to act in another way, we want to be faithful to trust Him and His provision no matter what.

P~ Father, We commit this situation and the outcome, along with our very lives, to Your sovereign care.

A Cure for Anxiety | Tara Wiley

S~ The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion. Proverbs 28:1

O~ The wicked flee though no one pursues. What a powerful metaphor for anxiety.

Anxiety is an American epidemic. I just listened to a podcast recently where Max Lucado (who just published a book on anxiety) stated a staggering number of millions in our nation are being medicated for chronic anxiety.

Having dealt with chronic anxiety in the past, I have a lot of compassion for those millions. I know that personally, much of my anxiety was a medical condition brought on by hormone imbalance and untreated autoimmune disease. However, there is an anxiety that has deep spiritual roots. This anxiety causes me such sorrow as I see it played out in the people around me who do not know Jesus, or who have an incomplete understanding of His grace.

This proverb says the righteous are as bold as a lion. The cure for that unnamed, pervasive anxiety that comes from living apart from Christ is found in accepting His righteousness as a covering for our sin. When we rest in the fact that It.Is.Finished – the striving is finished, the need to somehow measure up for God’s approval is finished, the separation our sin caused is finished – we can find not only freedom from the bondage of sin and death, but liberty and joy because we are His. We are declared righteous! And in this place, peace and boldness replaces fear and anxiety:

Therefore, since we have been justified [that is, acquitted of sin, declared blameless before God] by faith, [let us grasp the fact that] we have peace with God [and the joy of reconciliation with Him] through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed). Through Him we also have access by faith into this [remarkable state of] grace in which we [firmly and safely and securely] stand. Let us rejoice in our hope and the confident assurance of [experiencing and enjoying] the glory of [our great] God [the manifestation of His excellence and power]. And not only this, but [with joy] let us exult in our sufferings and rejoice in our hardships, knowing that hardship (distress, pressure, trouble) produces patient endurance; and endurance, proven character (spiritual maturity); and proven character, hope and confident assurance [of eternal salvation]. Such hope [in God’s promises] never disappoints us, because God’s love has been abundantly poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 11:1-5 AMP)

The enemy of our souls would love to convince the Christ-follower that we are still wicked. He wants us to live in that place of fear, prone to flight. But the truth of Jesus is that we are free. We don’t have to be slave to chronic anxiety. We can overcome it with the truth!

A~ Max gave a great acrostic based on Philippians 4 to describe how the Christian who still battles chronic anxiety can overcome. It’s one I’ve been using to help my daughter overcome her tendency to get fixated on distress. It’s a process I’ve used for years in my own life. Simple and profound – it works:

C~ Celebrate God’s character (“Rejoice in the Lord!”)

A~ Ask for God’s help (“Present your requests to God”)

L~ Leave it with Him (“with thanksgiving”)

M~ Meditate on His truth (“think on these things”)

P~ Lord, I pray for the person who doesn’t know You yet, who is enslaved by chronic anxiety because they are separated from You! Draw them into a freeing relationship with You, Lord. from the enemy! And for the believer who struggles with chronic anxiety, Jesus, I have such compassion! Help them find the help they need – medical, emotional, and ultimately, spiritual help. Thank You, Jesus, for the power of following Your Word. Thank You for the power You’ve given us to overcome anxiety through concentrated focus on You with a grateful heart. I love the comment Max Lucado made that anxiety and thankfulness cannot coexist. Fill me with a continually grateful heart. Help me be disciplined to return to these steps when I feel anxiety creeping in. Empower my daughter to be set free from anxiety, Lord! Thank You for the growth I’ve already seen. Life with You is a process – I’m so grateful for how far You’ve brought me, and I’m looking forward to seeing how You continue to move me to be as bold as a lion for You!

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