March 23, 2018 Numbers 33,34; Acts 20

“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.

Printable reading plan: Discover One Thing Reading Plan

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You Are Powerful | Kim Chipman

S~ …for the Lord had brought judgement on their gods. Acts 33:4b (NIV)

O~ I don’t know that I’ve ever noticed before that the plagues sent over Egypt were a judgement on their gods – not the people. My study Bible refers me to Exodus 10:22 where the commentary says: “As each gloomy plague descended upon the land, the Egyptian people realized how powerless their own gods were to stop it.” They had a god of water and cows and sun and frogs but none of their gods could do a thing.

A~ Often I have the realization that there is truly nothing new under the sun. Our human nature isn’t any different and God still allows and orchestrates circumstances designed to get our attention. We (I) worship all kinds of gods that are powerless. Fro me I default to comfort, pleasure, fun, security in money, and relationships with people. When these things are all going well I forget my need for You – my desperate, continual need for You.

Also, while I don’t understand so much about this world – so much suffering, evil, and hate – I can see how You can use things to get our attention. You guide us to a place that we see clearly our “gods” are powerless. When facing a health crisis all the money in the world doesn’t heal – but You can. When jobs are cut or financial crisis hits all the scrambling and hustle we can muster doesn’t always provide – but You can. In our deepest sorrow, grief, fear, shame or pain people don’t always care, understand, comfort, or say things we need to hear – but You do.

I need You and you will allow suffering to help me remember that. You will allow it to draw people to You who don’t know You. You will do whatever is needed to reveal Yourself to us.

P~ Thank You for orchestrating circumstances that reveal my need for You. Thank You for loving me enough to show me. Help me to give You the glory. Help me to effectively witness to my next ones that don’t yet know You. They need You but they don’t know what they don’t know. Use me to guide them to You. I love You!

The work assigned | guest post

S~ But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus – the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.  Acts 20:24 (NLT)

O~ Paul is talking to the leaders of a church, saying goodbye to them and encouraging them.  He knows he has a difficult road ahead of him, but Paul counts his life as nothing unless he finishes God’s work.

A~ Can I utter these words of counting my life as nothing unless I’m finishing the work assigned to me by Jesus?  Does my life look like I’m doing Jesus’ work?  Am I ready to lay down my life and give Him everything?  To actually do the work of telling others about God’s grace?

What is my assignment?  Who do I talk to?  I’m not sure……….  Well, that’s not really true.  God, You’ve spoken to me and You have given me an assignment.  Lose weight, be respectful to husband, and to memorize some scripture.  Those are my next steps.

P~ Lord, thank You for Paul’s heart and Spirit!  May the same Spirit speak to me so I can confidently share that my life is worth nothing unless I finish (or sometimes start) the work assigned to me by You.  I pray this in Your name!  Amen!

Innocent | Kelley Deases

S~  Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men.  Acts 20:26 (NIV)

O~ The Apostle Paul here is speaking his parting words to his friends in Ephesus. He says he is innocent of everyone’s blood because, as he says in his next breath, he has been faithful to preach the Gospel wherever God has called him. But what struck me about this verse is it also speaks to Paul’s freedom from the sins of his past. Prior to his miraculous conversion, Paul/Saul persecuted the followers of Jesus and was certainly responsible for many deaths. However, he declares his innocence for all of that because he walks in the freedom of God’s grace and forgiveness. From that point on, he is aware that his obligation is to share the Gospel in obedience to the Father’s leading. What a beautiful thing to be so unencumbered by sins of the past and confident that you have done exactly what God has laid before you to do!

A~ I feel at the same time encouraged and convicted as I read Paul’s words. I have not walked out this truth quite so perfectly. I am, at times, haunted by past sins and failures and even now don’t always walk the walk I know I should. What’s more, I am certain I have not seized every opportunity to point to Him when I should have. But, o, my heart desires to walk in this same confidence and Paul’s life tells me it is possible when fully submitted to God.

P~  Father, Help me walk in the freedom and confidence of knowing my old sins are far from me and I am grabbing hold of every opportunity to speak on His name in the here and now.

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