December 3, 2018 Hosea 7-9; Luke 2:1-40

“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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As Useless as a Crooked Bow | Tara Wiley

S~ The people of Israel have become like silly, witless doves, first calling to Egypt, then flying to Assyria for help…They look everywhere except to the Most High. They are as useless as a crooked bow. Hosea 7:11,16 NLT

O~ Part of the Israelites’ downfall came when they turned to godless nations for counsel and military assistance. They stopped relying on God’s direction and provision, turning FIRST to Him. Instead, they turned to other people and powers to protect them. Sounds ridiculous – until you think about how we do that every day!

A~ Whether I’m relying on myself or others to solve a problem, I am just like Israel. I may think I’m garnering strength, but in the end, when I don’t turn to God first and rely on Him for strength, wisdom, and power, I’m just ending up “as useless as a crooked bow.” Funny – as a violinist, I don’t think of the weapon of warfare the verse is referring to: I think of a violin bow. And a crooked violin bow is basically kindling. You can’t create a smooth, consistent tone. You can’t use any challenging techniques – all you end up with is a bouncing, unreliable, scratchy sound that no one wants to hear. It’s basically the equivalent of musical impotence. Wow. That’s what happens when I don’t stop to seek God’s approval and direction in my life, trusting Him to strengthen and equip me to be productive, useful – powerful and beautiful, like the pure tone from a skillfully crafted, straight bow.

P~ Lord, thank You for this reminder. You want to strengthen and equip me – just as You wanted to do for Israel. But they wouldn’t have You! They went everywhere BUT to You! I wish I could say I don’t relate. But I do. All the time, I manage to turn elsewhere for the gifts that are most purely and perfectly given by You. God, remind me again, as I go throughout my day. Keep that image of a crooked bow in my mind, so I can stop before running to others or relying on myself before I pray. And when I falter and fear – remind me that You are the perfect equipper of all I need!

Obedience During the Journey | Joni Tyner

S~ When Jesus’ parents had fulfilled all the requirements of the law of the Lord, they returned home to Nazareth in Galilee.  There the child grew up healthy and strong. He was filled with wisdom, and God’s favor was on him. Luke 2:39-40 (NLT)

O~ Luke, the author of this book,  was a doctor that was a close friend of Paul’s.  He was also a Gentile Christian. It is thought the book of Luke was written about A.D. 60.  In chapter 2 Luke describes the preparation and birth of Jesus by his parents. They traveled to Bethlehem for the census and when he was 8 days old, they took him to Jerusalem to be circumcised. (Jewish custom).  Later in chapter 2 it covers the family traveling to Jerusalem for the Passover and losing Jesus for 3 days.

A~ There was so much going on in Luke 2 and I’m pretty familiar with many of the passages.  What stuck out this morning, for the first time, was that Mary and Joseph were faithful to keep walking forward in being faithful with the everyday life “stuff”.  They had both heard very specifically from God that Jesus was the Messiah and they were a part of His perfect plan, yet it was going to take time,  life didn’t radically change the moment the angel came. They were obedient and patient to wait for God’s leading and continue to do what needed to be done. They still had to do all the things required of them for living out life over a period of about 30 years while Jesus grew up and began His ministry.  They lived out their faith by keeping Jewish customs and responding to God’s direction as along the way.

I wonder if maybe we are so programmed in the 21st century lifestyle to expect instant results?  Mary and Joseph were faithful for  30 years!!!!!—that’s a long time.   Mary and Joseph probably didn’t see weekly or monthly signs from God. They saw lots and lots of everyday life as Jesus grew.  Yes, I’m sure they absolutely knew He was different because He was sinless, but he still was human and required food, laundry done, supervision to be safe, on and on.  I think they had to have had many hardships along this blessed journey, probably questions too?    Yet, they kept  moving forward and were obedient in what God was calling them to do.   Mary and Joseph were obviously a part of God’s perfect plan for saving the world and they were faithful in their assignments.

P~ Dear Lord, thank you for another Biblical example of faithful obedience when the journey is confusing.  Please help me to stay on course with what You want me to do.  Thank you for Jesus!

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