November 15, 2018 Ezekiel 22-24; Mark 8:22-38

“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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WHAT IS “IN ME” | Michelle Myers

S~ In you are slanderous men bent on shedding blood; in you are those who eat at the mountain shrines and commit lewd acts.  In you are those who dishonor their fathers’ bed; in you are those who violate women during their period, when they are ceremonially unclean.  In you one man commits a detestable offense with is neighbor’s wife, another shamefully defiles his daughter-in-law and another violates his sister, his own father’s daughter.  In you men accept bribes to shed blood; take usury and excessive interest and make unjust gain from your neighbors by extortion.  And you have forgotten me, declares the Sovereign LORD.” Ezekiel 9-12 (NIV)

O~ The words “in you” are what stick out to me.

A~ Yikes!  What is in me?  I can easily fool myself into thinking that since I am not doing the sinful acts described in Ezekiel 9-12, that I am OK, not as much of a sinner as someone else, or morally better somehow. Those are lies from the enemy that can easily puff up my pride, to the point where I am not dealing with my sin, because it ‘isn’t that bad’. , This can be just as damaging as the lies that I am never good enough or there is never anything good in me.  Of course, on my own those things are true.  I need Jesus to fill the “good gap” for me.

When I really examine what is in me, especially the parts that aren’t always seen by other people, like my thoughts, emotions, and motives,  because there is not always an overt action that exposes them, I am really kind of surprised at how much sin I have in me.  I am also surprised at how much I don’t deal with these sins, mentally pass over them, excuse them, etc.

I may not be bent on shedding blood, having an affair with my neighbor, or extorting someone, but I know that there is disobedience in me.  There are things that You have been dealing with me to give up for along time, and I blow it off (essentially, blowing You off). I make excuses for it. I minimize it. I do something that will divert my attention from it.  I know that there is selfishness in me.  I know that I can easily have the wrong motives in me.

These are all the yucky blackheads and cysts that I described yesterday, that You want to drain and extract from my life.  Yet, before they are drained and extracted, I have to examine me from the inside out to know exactly what and where they are.  Then, I have to be willing to work with You to drain, extract, and heal them.

P~ Thank you God for Jesus.  Without Him, my blackheads and cysts would be enough to keep me out of Heaven.  With Him, they are made right, but I will remain stuck and not living up to the potential You have given to me.

Rebuke Jesus?! | Kelley Deases

S~  “He [Jesus] spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.” Mark 8:32 (NIV)

O~ Just a short while (and only three verses) earlier, Peter had declared the truth that, “You are the Christ.” (v. 29) But after hearing Jesus speak some hard-to-hear words about suffering, rejection, being killed, and rising from the dead, Peter had the gall to rebuke Jesus.  Seriously?!  How strange the thought that any mere man would get in the Lord’s face and argue with Him about the plan….until it hits me…how many times have a done that very thing?

A~ It’s easy for me to want to judge the people I read about in the Bible, with all their errors in judgment, bad decisions, doubts, weaknesses, and confused thinking.  But then I peer into that same Bible, using it as a mirror, and discover, sadly, that these shortcomings are all found in me, too.  Have I rebuked the God of the Universe? Certainly. Every time I knew clearly what He wanted me to do and chose my own way — not to forgive someone until I felt like it (make ’em suffer!), not to give or serve when the opportunity arose (gee, my time and money are valuable, after all!), not to share His love at every occasion (I have a to-do list awaiting check-marks!), or not to consult Him at all in life decisions (I got this!).

P~ Holy Spirit, Convict me in those moments when I can either choose to cooperate with You and Your purposes or I can rebuke You through either willful disobedience or mere apathy.

Carrying your cross | guest post

S~ If any of you wants to be My follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow Me.  ~ Jesus in Mark 8:34 (NLT)

O~ I think some of this verse is pretty easy to understand.  Jesus called together the crowd and was teaching about what it looked like to be His follower.  Turning from selfish ways and following Him are the parts that I understand what to do.  It’s the taking up your cross part that has me curious for more.

To me, a cross is  a sign of hope, a relationship with my Savior, it’s what He did for me.  I see life, joy, peace when I think of a cross.  But Jesus said this before He died, and in His day, a cross was a killing device.  A painful,  horrible way to kill the worst criminals of those times.  What is Jesus saying?

A~ I’m not sure if this right or not, or if I’m totally messing up what Jesus is really saying.  Please forgive my randomness!  Taking up my cross, carrying the thing that kills me.  What are the things that kill me?  Maybe not physically kill me, but things that separate me from God?  My selfishness, my pride, my constant desire to be in power, lust, my need for other’s approval, My impatience, lack of love for others, my fight for comfort for me, my desire to run away when things aren’t looking so good in life.  Ok, I recognize that me, and me alone had enough sin and shame to put Jesus on the cross.  So yes, I’m a criminal, and it should have been me on that cross……

But He chose to go to the cross instead.  (Thank you, thank you, thank you!)  So I follow You!  I need to put to death those things that kill me spiritually!

P~ Jesus, You see so deep in me……I’m so thankful that You go into those dark places of my heart!  Teach me how to take up my cross and follow You!  Thank You for  choosing the cross, so I could have life!  I pray this in Your Name!  Amen!

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