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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People-pleasing | guest post
S~ So in your prostitution you are the opposite of others; no one runs after you for your favors. You are the very opposite, for you give payment and none is given to you. Ezekiel 16:34 (NIV)
O~ The Lord is comparing Jerusalem, the capital of His nation to an opposite-prostitute. Prostitutes do things for payment. The Lord is saying that Jerusalem is doing things and then paying for it, opposite of what a prostitute does. It doesn’t make sense.
A~ This verse made me think of people-pleasing. ‘No one runs after you for your favors….You give payment and none is given to you.’ In the midst of trying to please others; it’s depleting, exhausting, and never-ending to get that attention of who you want praise from.
I call it people-pleasing, the Lord calls it something along the lines of prostitution. (Gulp!)
I do this through social media. When I post something, I always check who clicks my ‘likes’ and then I analyze why or why not this particular person clicked ‘like’ or why they didn’t. What is happening in my head and heart, the Lord calls prostitution. That is serious and matters to the Lord! He wants my whole heart, the whole day!
P~ Father, thank You for calling out my people-pleasing as what it really is: prostitution. Forgive me for ALL those times I’ve done that. Do I need a social media break? Lord, I want to repent, change, give You my full heart! What does that look like for me? I pray this in Jesus’ Name!
Misappropriation of Funds | Tara Wiley
S~ Sodom’s sins were pride, gluttony, and laziness, while the poor and needy suffered outside her door…Your sins are so terrible you make your sisters seem righteous… Ezekiel 16:49,52 (NLT)
O~ In the military there’s a term for misusing the budget given to a certain task: misappropriation of funds.
The story in Ezekiel 16 is a breathtaking example of egregious misuse of God’s blessings – a misappropriation of all He had given them. What a vivid word picture! God uses sexual perversion to demonstrate Israel’s abuse of their relationship with Him, and yet when He brings up Sodom – a place where we know actual perversion took place – He doesn’t bring up their sexual sin. He goes right to the heart of the matter: pride, gluttony, laziness.
A~ I can say, “My sin is not as egregious as that person’s,” and yet, the root of my sin is the same as Israel’s in this passage: pride, gluttony, laziness. A misappropriation of the abundant blessings God has given me.
P~ Lord, I am guilty. I’ve let preoccupation and entertainment, easy living and spoiling of myself, become idols in my life. I have misused Your lavish gifts in my life.
My mind wants to quickly judge others I think are worse in this area than I am, to soften my own shame. Yet I am not accountable for them. I am accountable for me. Help me know how to combat this self-centeredness that makes me obsessed with the blessings and myself instead of with you, my Blesser and Husband.
I want to be faithful to You, Lord. Show me how I can live with the right perspective of humble gratitude that leads to generous giving. Help me demonstrate this to my children. In the small daily choices, let me deny myself and serve you in direct opposition to America’s current culture and climate.
If I’ve Ever Needed You | Kelley DeAses
S~ Hasten, O God, to save me; O Lord come quickly to help me. Psalm 70:1 (NIV)
O~ You can almost hear the desperation in David’s voice as he penned this psalm to his God. It’s as if he is saying, “I’m dying here…..do something PLEASE!”
A~ Well, it finally came — college move-in day. My husband, my son and I loaded up the SUV and headed for a big city almost 8 hours drive from home. And after a day of on-campus activities and unpacking boxes and suitcases into his dorm room, we left… and he stayed.
I know this is exactly how it’s supposed to happen. I am so proud of this young man I have helped to raise and I know he is up to the challenges and adventures that lie ahead for him. But it’s just so hard to let him go! In the middle of my hurt, I texted a sister in Christ who herself knows this experience. She offered sweet and empathetic words so I knew I was not alone. My husband, too, offered to listen if I wanted to share my feelings (which I didn’t). But he has not raised this child from birth as I have, and cannot fully know a mother’s heart in a time such as this. Ultimately, I needed Jesus in that desperate moment. And I am sitting with Him still — letting His peace wash over me, His comfort envelope me, and His view on my son’s life and future take root in my heart.
P~ Father, the words to a Casting Crowns song come to mind: “If we ever needed You, Lord, it’s now. Lord, it’s now. We are desperate for Your hand reaching out.” We are wired to need You. Nothing and no one else can soothe that ache. I am so grateful I can cry out to You and know You hear me, know me, and fully comprehend my need.
Hypocrite? | Kim Chipman
S~ Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’ Mark 7:6-7 (NLT)
O~ Jesus calls the Pharisees hypocrites for picking at Him for not following the hand-washing ceremony.
hypocrisy [hi-pok–ruh-see] noun 1. a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess. 2. a pretense of having some desirable or publicly approved attitude.
My study Bible says, “Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites because they worshiped God for the wrong reasons. Their worship was not motivated by love, but by a desire to attain profit, appear holy, and increase their status. We become hypocrites when we: 1. Pay more attention to reputation than character 2. carefully follow certain religious practices while allowing our hearts to remain distant from God, and 3. emphasize our virtues but others’ sins.”
A~ Ouch. I, unfortunately, am a hypocrite at times. Some days more than others. I was raised in a religion that actually very much promoted hypocrisy, actually. There was very little concern for the condition of my heart as long as I was performing properly. They also ABSOLUTELY taught man-made ideas as commands from God. As I realized this in my college years it repelled me from church…and from God.
The only antidote for any of this is to read, know, and apply Your Word for myself. When I do I can quickly identify tradition taught as truth. Also, when I come to Your Word humbly, listening, ready to apply Your truth to my life – I cannot walk in the Spirit and hypocrisy at the same time. I do have a heart desire to live a life of character and integrity before You and to walk intimately close to You. Your Word has changed my life. It hasn’t made me perfect, or even close, but it has made me closer to You, more authentic, and less Pharisee hypocrite.
P~ Thank You for your life-breathed Word! Please continue to transform me. I need You. I love You!
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