December 30, 2017 Malachi 1,2; Luke 23:44-24:12

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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Un-Breaking Faith | Kelley Deases

S~ Have we not one Father? Did not one God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our fathers by breaking faith with one another? Malachi 2:10 (NIV)

O~ This chapter of Malachi condemns broken relationships, whether that be divorce of spouses, dissension among believers, or unfaithfulness to God. The Lord is grieved when we fail to do all we can to live at peace with everyone and in communion with Him.

A~ This holiday season has been a very good one. We enjoyed the gathering of family and gift-giving and delicious food at Thanksgiving. We traveled safely to Chicago to watch our eldest son graduate with highest honors. We have had get-togethers with friends and family during some time off from work and the annual candlelight service on Christmas Eve. But of all the memories I will take from this year, the most profound moment was quite an unexpected one. After the December 24th service at my parents’ church, a church I had left along with many others amidst a disastrous season of strife and disunity, I was approached by someone with whom I had once been close but our families became divided in all the unfortunate church politics. He embraced me Christmas Eve and asked me to forgive him, if possible, for things he had said and done to hurt me and others. I was literally stunned and speechless, but at the same time happy he’d had the courage to say those words and try to repair the breach. And I will definitely be following up with him as we seek to restore relationship.

P~  Father, You call us to unity because this helps us be our best selves. Forgive me for my own pettiness and lack of forgiveness sometimes. Help me in this (and every) relationship to be able to live in peace and unity.

Do I Weary God? | Joni Tyner

S~ You have wearied the LORD with your words.

“How have we wearied him?” you ask.

You have wearied him by saying that all who do evil are good in the LORD’s sight, and he is pleased with them.  You have wearied him by asking, “Where is the God of justice?”   Malachi 2:17 (NLT)

O~ Malachi is frustrated and warning the Israelites that God sees their disobedience.  They have arrogant and showed contempt for God’s name, led others to sin,  kept offerings for themselves,  and in this verse, called evil activity good.

A~ More scripture that sounds like it could have been written yesterday.  I feel like the Christians of 100 plus years ago would barely recognize 2017 believers because the world’s views have so greatly infiltrated our lives.  I personally struggle with the correct response to sin.  I know what the Bible says about sin, and  yet, I also see Jesus being among the fringes of society and loving the sinners where they are.  I don’t want to come across as judgmental,  but I don’t want to be in this category either.  I also don’t want to live in a Christian bubble and exclude myself from those who don’t know Him—I certainly don’t believe that is what God asks of me.  Ughhhhhh! This is a tough area to walk. I would welcome any response about how other readers do this.

P~ Dear Lord, I ask for Your Spirit to fill me and take over because I am a weakling.  I want to be used as a vessel that points others to You and reflect a life that gives You glory.  Please forgive me when I’ve wearied You by not being bold with sin.  I want to do a better job, please help me!

Don’t Forget | Deanna George

S~ “He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words.” ‭‭Luke‬ ‭24:6-8‬ (‭NIV)

O~ It is hard to remember what Jesus has told us when we are in the midst of a battle, a struggle, and/or a period of self-doubt.

A~ It’s so natural to get caught up in my pain, misery, and frustrations that I forget what Jesus has told me that I am capable of, what he wants me to do, or what he wants me stop. All that he wants me to do is remember and act on those things he has promised me, told me I am capable of, and step out in faith that I am not alone in walking this life. I need to have faith that his words are true and his plans for me are attainable. I need to remember his words!

P~ Lord Jesus, thank you for always speaking the truth. Thank you for always being honest. Thank you for always being there for me, even when I don’t feel like remembering what you said to me. I’m a runner Lord when I’m scared of doing what you ask me. I try to figure out the how, when, where, and who all by myself and then it seems impossible. Do I doubt you know me well enough to know if I can handle something? If you are asking me to do something that scares me to death, then yes doubt kicks in. Help me to break through that doubt and trust you and your words, whether it be your words in the Bible, something you have laid on my heart, or a nudging of a call to action. Help me to remember! I want to be obedient.

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