September 18, 2017 Ecclesiastes 4-6; Psalm 18; 1 John 1

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.

Printable reading plan: Discover One Thing Reading Plan

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Keep Your Word | Deanna George

S~ When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it. Ecclesiastes 5:4-5 (NIV)

O~ Keep your your word!

A~ Making a vow is serious business. A vow is not bait to try to get God to do something  that I need/want him to do. It is an agreement that I will do something for God. It is between him and me. Sometimes I get busy, discouraged, or frustrated and let my vow to simmer on the back burner or worse yet – flat out forget about it. My dedication, my loyalty, and my honor are on the line with God. I chose to make the vow and I must choose to fulfill it!

P~ Lord Jesus, I am sorry that I let my daily life get in the way of completing my vow to you. Sometimes my vow turns out to be very hard, which makes me less thrilled to fulfill it. You know what? You did not make me weak or faint of heart, so why do I act like that by giving up? You made me a strong and competent woman that is capable of doing so much more than my mind can fathom. I am claiming that strength to complete my vows to you. Let’s get my priorities in order. Thank you for this reminder today. I needed it.

Light Up Our Darkness | Tara Wiley

S~ God be gracious to us and bless us,

And cause His face to shine upon us – Selah.

-Psalm 67:1 (NASB)

…God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.

-I John 1:5 (NASB)

O~ “Is anyone here afraid of the dark?” our park ranger asked. I wondered how many adults’ hands quivered at their sides, wanting to be raised. In an instant, we went from a spotlight-filled room to total darkness. Darkness so thick and complete that no amount of time for eye-adjustment would matter. Our retinas would find zero light sources in this underground room in Wind Cave. He left us there just long enough to feel the unease, then struck a match and lit a single taper candle, all the light an early spelunker would have had. The glow instantly loosened the tightness of my daughter’s grip on my hand. The light, a tiny flickering, reached all the way across the room to us.

A~ We crave light in the darkness.

We need it.

God offers it: perfect light that shines in the darkness of our souls.

Shining-face brilliance that loosens the dark death-grip of fear.

He turns to us when we are desperate and shaking and scared, and we find we are able to walk into the dark places – pain, sorrow, uncertain futures – with confidence and hope because He is with us to light the way.

P~ Lord, today I am filled with both grief and hope. The searing rip of leaving loved ones mingles with the gratitude of having so many to love. My daughter’s recent diagnosis deeply saddens me even as I marvel at Your provision and preparation for me as her mom and advocate. Other hurts and conflicts roil in me, and yet I can cling to your hope and know You will make all things right in the end, even my mistakes.

Lord, when I feel the weight of darkness closing in, shine on me. Shine THROUGH me. Thank You for a perfect source of light within me, the Comforter. Comfort me today. Strengthen me for the journey.

Different on the Inside | Kimi Miller

S~ If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by truth. 1 John 1:6 (NIV)

O~ We cannot profess to be believers – followers of Jesus – and then continue looking like the rest of the world.  This doesn’t mean we have to act a certain way to reach a status quo or that there are set standards we have to follow (aside from loving one another!); each of us is on our own spiritual journey.  As we continue to walk in the Light, the Holy Spirit will reveal to us those things we must change in our lives – and then He will give us the strength to do so, or He will remove those sin/addictions from our life.

A~ It’s not until we surrender our whole life – every aspect to Christ – that we will see true and real change.  If the choices I make require justification as to why they are okay, then maybe they really aren’t.  Maybe my long list of reasons why my actions/choices/behaviors are okay, should be my first indication that something’s not okay.  And maybe that something has more to do with the condition of my heart than it does with anything else.

Maybe the thing that needs to change is my posture.  Instead of standing in my self-righteous pride I need to bow low before the Mighty Gracious King and humbly realize that the only thing – the only One – justified at all, is my Lord Jesus Christ.  If He has started any good work in me, He is faithful and just to complete it!

P~ God, Please forgive my chumpish behavior.  Help me to be different from the rest of the world.  I don’t want to just look different on the outside; I want to be different on the inside – where it matters.  I know you are the Only One who can make that kind of change.  I love you.  Thank you, Jesus.

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