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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The Plant | Kelley Deases
S~ On the mountain heights of Israel, I will plant it; it will produce branches and bear fruit and become a splendid cedar. Birds of every kind will nest in it; they will find shelter in the shadow of its branches. Ezekiel 17:23 (NIV)
O~ The Lord tells Ezekiel He will plant a new shoot from the top of a tall cedar He describes how the lowly tree will grow and bear much fruit while the tall tree will be brought down. This prophecy is fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
A~ In the early days of my marriage to John, the pastor at our church encouraged us to pray and ask God for a vision for our lives. I had never really done such a thing, but immediately after church, I got alone so I could do my “homework” and pray for a vision. Though it’s been ten years, I can remember clearly what I saw in my mind’s eye: It was a tiny green shoot, resembling the seed-in-a-cup science project a kindergartner brings home from school, and its rapid-progression growth into a full, lush plant, filling a large pot, with leaves and branches reaching this way and that. I took that as a maturing I would see in my walk with God. Now that some years have passed, I now think God was showing me, since I was now planted in the fertile soil of a good and godly marriage, He would grow my faith and my reach. He would lead me to a different church where I would be introduced to The Divine Mentor and discover how to read His Word. From there, it was writing for this blog and teaching classes and seminars as often as I have opportunity to share with others this joy I have found.
P~ God, I had forgotten all about this vision You gave me of the plant, healthy and thriving, until reading this passage today. With this refreshed memory, I am inspired once again to sit with You in concentrated prayer some time this week and ask for another!
A New Heart | Kim Chipman
S~ Put all your rebellion behind you, and find yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O people of Israel? Ezekiel 18:31 (NLT)
O~ The people of Israel were not taking ownership of their faith. They were blaming previous generations for their situation – that they were bearing the consequences for the sins of their fathers. This chapter makes it clear that we are each accountable for our own choices.
A~ Blame is spiritually stunting. I don’t see growth to maturity with spiritual fruit in the lives of people who do not take personal responsibility for their own life and heart. It feels good in the moment to find someone else to blame for stuff, but it just keeps you stuck.
You are making it clear to Israel – and to me – that I am accountable for my own heart. “Find yourselves a new heart an a new spirit” No one else is responsible to make that happen. You practically BEG the Israelites to choose well…v 32 I don’t want you to die, says the Sovereign Lord. Turn back and live!
You don’t want me to die either! But I have to choose well. Every choice has a consequence. Every. Choice. And You are serious about sin. You hate it.
P~ You are just, Lord. Help me to remember how much You hate sin and continually find a new heart…Your heart! Help me to not blame others for things, but take responsibility. I love You!
Overwhelmed | Marisa Tomlinson
S~ Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more He did so, the more they kept talking about it. Mark 7:36 (NIV)
O~ Jesus healed a deaf and mute man with a look to heaven and a “deep sigh.” Why does He instruct the man to not tell anyone? Is He weary of healing? Probably not, Jesus has great compassion for His people. Is He trying to keep secrets? Unlikely. His mission is to restore humanity to God. My best guess is that He’s been so demanded upon that He just craves some time alone with God. Telling more people with bring more people demanding His time.
A~ I know that when I get overwhelmed I just want to escape from everyone. Jesus, in His humanity, has those feelings too. Jesus has the full power of God to heal and help the people, but like any other human, He gets tired. Having to balance being fully God AND fully man must have been somewhat of a challenge. The Bible talks about Jesus wanting to escape the crowds in Matthew 14, but they keep following. Jesus handled everything perfectly and with great compassion.
P~ Lord, help me to remember that even Jesus felt overwhelmed sometimes. I pray that I continue to honor you in every feeling and situation I must process. Thank you for giving the Holy Spirit as our guide. Thank you that you tune our ears to listen. You are good and so good to me. Amen
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