December 31, 2018 Malachi 3,4; Luke 24:13-53

“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

Want to walk through the Bible one book at a time? Head over to Discover One Thing Online Study!

HOW? | Kim Chipman

S~ Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty. “But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’ Malachi 3:7 (NIV)

O~ Over and over again in the Old Testament the Israelites turn away from God and over and over again He begs them to come back. To return. I don’t think that is any different for us now. I (when) fall away you just want me back.

A~ The sweet promise here is that when I turn back to You then You will also return to me. Unlike human relationships where there is some risk of rejection, You promise that You will return. It doesn’t matter how far I’ve run, or for how long. Here it says they’ve been running away “ever since the time of your ancestors”. That’s a long time!

Like an Israelite, I ask the same HOW question. Just telling me to do something is often not enough. I need the dots to be pretty close together. I need to know HOW.

Please show ME how. I’m looking at a new year. HOW do you want me to pursue You? I feel You leading me to continue daily Bible reading, but add reading more books instead of wasting time on social media. Listen to more podcasts that grow and challenge me. Memorize Your Word. (I’ve tried that before but don’t stick to it well. I want to follow through this year!) What are the other HOW ways You want me to return to You? To keep You in the front and center of my heart and thoughts?

P~ Lord, show me! Thank You for the promise that You will return to me when I pursue You. That brings my heart peace. Continually show me HOW I can return to You. Help my heart to be quiet so I can hear You. I love You!

The one way to test God | guest post

S~ I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and all the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,” says the Lord Almighty.  Malachi 3:11 (NIV)

O~ God allows one test:  Bring our full tithe to His house.  He will pour out blessings that we won’t have room.  A blessing that I overlook is the prevention of things going bad, like pests from devouring crops or vines casting their fruit early.

A~ I want to stand on a table with a microphone and challenge everyone to test God in this area.  Once we started bringing the whole tithe to the storehouse and stopped robbing God, something changed.

Hindsight is 20/20, but I can see God so clearly now once we started fully tithing.  Cars lasted longer, tires go on for more mileage, our dryer has had an extra 10 years of life, amazing people gave us cars!  The Lord has truly prevented pests from devouring our crops and the vines in our field from casting their fruit!

P~ Abba, You are so good!  Thank you for this test to grow our hearts with the biggest competitor of my heart!

Help Me Understand | Marisa Hartman

S~ “He said to them, ‘This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.’” Luke 24:44 (NIV)

O~ Jesus has just appeared before the 11 apostles after being in the tomb for 3 days. They are scared, but joyfully amazed by Christ being with them. He had to go through everything He did in order to fully complete scripture. He tried telling them about this before His crucifixion, but they were unable to understand.

A~ How many things has He tried to tell me that I was unable to understand? Understanding is blocked by stubbornness, hurt, anger, and pride. I am guilty of all. He has a beautiful plan for all of us. He tries to teach us but we keep our hearts and minds closed. Verse 45 says: “Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.”

He is able to reach us. He wants to teach us. We just have to allow it. I am in a season of confusion. I am seeking His will for my life and future but it’s hard to understand. My counselor is helping me see that am blocking that teaching. I doubt myself. I doubt that I’m worth His attention. I believe that I welcome drama into my life. I’ve walked through a lot of hard things in my life. He allows those hard things to teach and refine us. If we’re stubborn and not listening, He keeps trying to teach. As I release the grip of control, He opens my mind to His word.

P~ Father, thank you for continuing to teach and refine me. Help me to listen to those You send to help me knock down my walls that keep me from You. I am so grateful for Your patience and guidance. Amen

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