“There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:42 (NLT) The heart of this ministry is to inspire a love for God’s Word and encourage the discipline of daily Bible reading and SOAP journaling. 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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Set Free | Tara Wiley
(and a few side notes about my SOAP process)
S~ He will take the live bird, the cedar stick, the scarlet yarn, and the hyssop branch, and dip them into the blood of the bird that was slaughtered…When the priest has purified the person, he will release the live bird in the open field to fly away. Leviticus 14:6-7 (NLT)
O~ I don’t know about you, but these Leviticus passages are pretty tough to slog through sometimes. Then, something like this ritual comes along and I can’t get the picture out of my head. This isn’t just another sacrifice. The symbolism immediately spoke to me, but I also knew I wanted to know more.
So, this is one of those days where my SOAP took a life of its own. I found myself snatching many moments from my busy schedule to think, to pray, and to look at multiple commentaries and online sources. (Here’s the cool thing: the commentaries were helpful, but not nearly as helpful as simple cross-referencing to see where else these items show up in Scripture. God’s Word really DOES speak louder than any one person’s! And much of what I gleaned from the passage was identical to the commentary. I don’t say that to brag on MY interpretation – I say that to brag on the Holy Spirit who promises to lead and direct us as we read and pray. Don’t ever feel that you don’t know enough to be able to accurately study God’s Word!).
I’ve learned more than I have space to share here, so I’ll just pick one piece of the puzzle that beautifully illustrates the way God’s Word is woven together to tell the most amazing Redemption Story: the mention of hyssop and wood immediately took me to the Passover story in Exodus. In it, the Israelites take a hyssop branch soaked in blood from a sacrificial lamb, and use the branch to sprinkle the blood on the wooden door-frames of their home. Hyssop – blood – wood. The blood spared them from a judgment of death (just as the second bird in Leviticus was spared and set free). Jump forward into the New Testament, and you’ll see the ultimate sacrifice, bleeding on a wooden cross, that you and I might be spared from death – might be set free.
A~ I am in awe of God’s Word! Sometimes it leaves me shaking my head, saying, “I don’t get it, but I trust You anyway.” And then, moments of clarity come along and I see the big picture rise up from the details, singing so loudly God’s redemption song… and all I can do is worship.
P~ Almighty God, Your Word never ceases to amaze me. YOU never cease to amaze me! From Genesis 1 to the last words of Revelation, You are whispering – sometimes SHOUTING – “I am Life-Giver. I am Rescuer. I am Redeemer.” And today You are calling ME to be a part of Your redemption story! Just as the Israelites were spared from death; just as the bird was set free to fly – You have spared me through Jesus, and you have set me free. I am filled with gratitude. Thank You. Help me live in that gratitude and the freedom it gives me today.
He understands our pain | guest post
S~ From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli,lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”) Matthew 27:45-46 (NIV)
O~ Jesus is on the cross. He has been repeatedly taunted and ridiculed by a people He chose to die for. Many of his most trusted friends have left him. He is physically feeling the pain of nails through his body as he experiences his own weight pulling down on him. On top of this, He chooses to feel the weight of all the sin of every person who is chosen by his father. He, who never sinned, took on the pain and judgement for each of my sins and the sins of all those God loves. He has taken on that burden and feels the weight of it on his body, the effects of sin on his soul. He feels the way sin twists his mental state, etc. He who had never sinned, now clearly understands how it feels to take on the effects of sin. In this moment He cries out to God, “Why have you forsaken me?”
A~ Watching the Passion of the Christ years ago really opened my eyes to the pain of the crucifixion. As I saw a representation of what it could have been like acted out before me, I became overwhelmed by the weight of my sin. When I read the Bible and pray, God helps me to understand a little more each time about the pain and victory of this day. I am not sure where, but at one point I read somewhere or another Christian shared with me, that when Jesus took on the sin of all of us, he was for the first time in his life separated from God. As God is holy, God can’t himself be in the presence of sin. Therefore, Jesus, who had always been a part of the trinity, and felt God’s presence, was for this moment, left totally alone. He not only chose to take on our sin but he also did so feeling the separation from God himself for the first time in his existence. In his worst, most painful moment…when the world was taunting him….when he was physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually broken…he chose to allow himself to be separated from God, so that in MY worst, most broken moments, I would never have to feel that separation. In days like today, when I am broken hearted, I know I can run to God’s arms. I know I can call out to Jesus as my counselor and comforter. Because He loved me so, I am never beyond his love…never beyond his peace..never beyond his truth and never beyond his comfort. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, I can cry my heart out in our eternal daddy’s arms.
P~ Thank you God for sending Jesus!! Thank you Jesus for choosing to take my punishment and to do so knowing you would have to experience the effects of sin and a separation from God. I can’t imagine what that would feel like, and thanks to you, I never have to. Thank you for loving me this way. Help your love shape me so that I be more and more like you each day. Help me to love more, to care more, to seek you more. Please don’t let me take for granted that I have the ability to be in your presence every day. Set my mind and heart on you so I am not content to take even one breath without you. Help me to feel you…I want to know you more each day. In Jesus’ precious name.
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