January 28, 2018 Genesis 49,50; Psalm 8; John 18:15-40

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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Deeper Blessings | Tara Wiley

S~ May the God of your father help you, may the Almighty bless you with the blessings of the heavens above, and all the blessings of the watery depths below, and blessings of the breasts and womb. Gen 49:25 (NLT)

O~ If anyone knew that blessings could come from unexpected places, it was Joseph! Yet here his father takes this moment to remind him – in the heights, in the depths, in relationship and in life-giving, blessings are found in all.

A~ I’ve discovered this in my life in so many ways – but the reminder is still needed, especially after a mountaintop (‘blessings of the heavens’) experience. Just because circumstances shift and cause me to dig deep, I am not abandoned or rejected by God.

This ‘blessing of the watery depths’ phrase took me to one of my favorite verses in the Psalms:

Passing through the Valley of Weeping, they make it a place of springs; the early rain also fills the pools with blessings. (Ps 87:7, AMP)

Springs come from deep places. Blessings found in the dark are deep, deep blessings – ones that stay with me, ones I wouldn’t trade for the world, not even for the mountaintop (but I sure am looking forward to DWELLING one day right in the center of those blessings of the heavens above!).

P~ Lord, You know I am discouraged today. Thank You for the reminder that blessings come in many disguises. I give my anger and frustration, my disappointment, and my fear to You. I can find Your blessings here if I surrender. Joseph found blessing in the dungeon. I bet that last year was the hardest, when he’d had a glimmer of hope after the cupbearer returned to Pharaoh, then promptly forgot Joseph! Some days I feel like that – like I’ve had a glimmer of the good life, then had it snatched back. The truth is, in You, ALL of life can be filled with blessings. Some of it just requires a little digging and a lot of patience.

And the mountaintop has its own topography too, Lord; its own dips and turns. I’m sure once Joseph reached this high position with Pharaoh and was reunited with his family, there were still times of doubt. Certainly the deep grief of losing his father so soon after reuniting with him had to cause him great pain. But the promises his father spoke over him had to bring great comfort.

There are blessings in the watery depths. Lord, let the blessings You have spoken over me bring comfort to me as well.

Truth | Kim Chipman

S~ Pilate said, “So you are a king?”

Jesus responded, “You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.”

“What is truth?” Pilate asked. John 18:37-38a (NLT)

O~ Jesus is standing trial before Pilate. Jesus is explaining that He is a king, but not of this world. Pilate seems either confused or cynical – so are you a king? what is truth?

A~ I see these attitudes in the world we live in still, even among believers sometimes. Really, is Jesus that big of a deal? What is truth, really? It seems popular/common to create our own truth. It’s all relative anyway, right? Many paths lead to one end? Blah, blah, blah. I mean, really, who wants to be such a Jesus freak anyway? Aren’t you taking this a little too seriously?

Awhile ago I read a book by Andy Stanley called “The Principle of the Path”. In it he says this: “Our problem stems from the fact that we are not on a truth quest. That is, we don’t wake up every morning with a burning desire to know what’s true, what’s right, what’s honorable. We are on a happiness quest. We want to be – as in feel – happy. And our quest for happiness often trumps our appreciation for and pursuit of what is true.”

I think this was true for Pilate and it is often true today. The quest is to be right, to be liked, to be comfortable, to have a peaceful home, to make it look good on the outside anyway…the quest…is that what the quest should be? It’s easy to see around me, but what about IN me? Where am I pursuing happiness over truth? Comfort over truth? The external over the internal? The truth will always be the truth whether I pursue it or not. Gravity doesn’t stop holding me in my chair just because I stop believing it is true.

Your truth can set me FREE if I remain faithful to it.

P~ Lord, help me see! Help me see where I am choosing comfort over truth. I know sometimes I avoid things when I get overwhelmed – or when I ‘know’ I’m doing the right thing. But my heart is deceitful above all things…help me to keep a soft, sensitive heart so I can hear You AND Your truth and choose it. Help me to have a discerning heart. I love You!




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