December 20, 2017 Psalm 119; Luke 15

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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One Long, Obedient Response | Jessie Papinchock

S~ Psalm 119:32-37

(ESV Version)

32 “I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart!” *ESV notes: make my heart broad- Expanded ability to perceive God’s truth.

33 “Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes, and I will keep it to the end.” *Or “as my reward.”

34 “Give me understanding that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart.”

35 “Lead me into the path of your commandments for I delight in it.

36 “Incline my heart to your testimonies and not to selfish gain.” *ESV notes: ”Incline my heart” indicates the writer knows that God must supply the deepest motivation; “testimonies” speaks of God’s will.

37 “Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things (or vanity); and give me life (revive) in your ways.”

(MSG Version)

32 “I will run the course you lay for me if you just show me how.”

33 “God, teach me lessons for living so I can stay the course.”

34 “Give me insight so I can do what you tell me— my whole life one long, obedient response.”

O~ This psalm was written as a celebration of God’s covenant instruction to us; the perfect guide for life. It serves as an expression of one’s longing to live a life reflective of the goodness of God’s word.

A~ My old self loves the new and shiny, the bells and whistles. My old self likes to make excuses for choices she knows aren’t best. At times, she pretends to not know better at all. Sometimes she thinks immediate gratification sounds so much better than waiting.  What if she misses out altogether, right? This past year I’ve spent a lot of time in my old skin. It was uncomfortable and selfish; distracted and discontent. I paid the price a time or two for choosing to satisfy my wants rather than pray for God to focus my heart on contentment.  I’m so thankful God is graceful and has given us His Word. In an effort to get my heart refocused, I earnestly began to make time to be in my Bible. God transformed me in these quiet moments. He replaced my discontent with joy! If I was selfish, it was with my quiet time. I became hungry for truth and soul gratification; this is what His Word does.  When we cling to His truth, we find transformation and complete fulfillment. This is why we celebrate the revelation of His heart and will for our lives. We have the opportunity to live our entire life, as “one long, obedient response.” In return, we are filled with joy, peace and patience— true soul fulfillment.

P~ Lord, thank you for the gift your divine word is to us. Continue to expand my ability to perceive your truth, that I may faithfully and obediently run the path you’ve set before me. Give me a heart inclined to your will and not to the fleeting things of this world. I’m so thankful for your rescue and that I get to live in the reward of your steadfast love and will for my life.

My response to differences | Nikki Metzger

S~ But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This Man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Luke 15:2 (NIV)

O~ The religious are looking down on Jesus because He spent time with and ate food with the non-religious.

A~ The last two years in Christian culture have opened my eyes and made me question people who call themselves Christians.  Leaders not acting like Christ followers, the Word being twisted or not used as foundational truth, and incredible divide between us (believers are supposed to be united!).

I’ve asked the Lord, what do You think?  What is my response in a continually hostile environment?  I’ve usually landed on love – Jesus would be loving.  Luke 15 tells me even more.  Jesus tangibly welcomed sinners and broke bread with them.  That means He sat around the dinner table and had conversations and built relationships.

The parables of Luke 15 (the lost sheep, the lost coin, the lost son) give me more insight into what my Father and Savior feel when one (ONE!) lost soul comes home.  There is a lot of rejoicing, a party, and unashamed pursuit of the lost.  And isn’t that the purpose of life? getting the lost to their true home?  Jesus models the start of that journey by welcoming sinners and eating with them.

P~ Abba, thank You for more understanding of Your heart!  For taking the complex and making it simple; being welcoming and breaking bread!  Let me a doer of Your Word instead of reader of Your Word!  I pray this in Jesus’ Name!

My Christmas Goal | Joni Tyner

S~ And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. Luke 15: 20 (NLT)

O~ Jesus is telling the parable about the wayward son.  Earlier in chapter 15, we see the younger son requesting his inheritance before his father dies.  He father agrees and the son goes off and parties the money away by living a rebellious, wild lifestyle.  He eventually runs out of money  and decides to return to his father and ask if he can work as one of his servants. In verse 15, it tells us the father saw him coming, he ran to him, he embraced him, he kissed him.

A~ I love Luke 15, Jesus speaks so much hope into my heart.  I  have journaled on it before.  Earlier in Luke 15, Jesus tells the parable of the lost sheep.  How the shepherd will leave the herd of 99 to go out and look for the one who is lost.  Luke 15:7 –“I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who did not need to repent.”

And, also Luke 15:9, the story of the woman who loses one of her coins.

“and when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘rejoice with me, I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

My heart is so tender for the lost person whose story is still be written.  I get this scripture because we this is where we currently live—waiting and watching.  I have shared many times on this blog about the struggles we’ve had as parents. I frequently beat myself up and question decisions we made as parents. It’s such a tough place to be.  Still, the longer I live through this season of waiting, the more God nudges this mama’s heart to just continue to keep it simple and embrace the theme that is woven through the entire New Testament and in this scripture.

Be watchful and filled with compassion.

Model a life that always points our family to Him.

Embrace forgiveness.

Be a mom that is known more for love and hope, NOT shame and guilt.

P~ Dear Lord, as our family prepares to celebrate Christmas this week, flood my heart with gratitude over the blessings we have this year.  Give me a fresh dose of patience with the timing of Your plan for my kids.  I pray you’ll help me have genuine love and appreciation for who they are today instead of wishful thinking of what could be. Please,  PLEASE erase from my mind the temptation to compare them to other people’s kids.  I also pray this afternoon for each reader who has strained relationships with their own kids or perhaps a family member.  Father, open their eyes to fresh forgiveness, to focus on today,  not past mistakes. I pray you give them courage and the words to repair relationships that need forgiveness.  Open all of our eyes to pride that keeps us from saying “I’m sorry” and always believing we are right.  Thank you for the grace you give us when we mess up.  I love You.

Our team would love the privilege of praying for you! Please share how we can lift you in prayer at


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