With a Thankful Heart

 

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S – “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Colossians 3:16

O/A – Let the word of Christ abundantly live in you. His word should fill my heart to overflowing. When His word fills my heart, I can teach and admonish others with wisdom as they teach and admonish me. To admonish is to warn, exhort, or caution. When His word fills us then we are able to teach others with wisdom. At the same time singing praise to Him, singing the Psalms and being filled with thankfulness in our hearts. My heart should be filled with thankfulness, not worry, complaints, judgments etc.

I need to let His word abundantly fill me and live in me.
I need to teach and exhort others.
I need to sing psalms and hymns continually in my heart.
My heart needs to be filled with thankfulness to God.

P – Jesus, please help me live this way. Help me make your word an absolute priority in my life so that it fills my mind and heart and comes out in exhortation and song and thankfulness. Thank you that you are so incredibly patient with me. I love you Lord.

SOAP Bible Study

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Living For More Than Self

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S – “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:15-17

O – We should take careful thought about how we walk, how we live our lives, and not just foolishly trip along, not examining our actions. We need to be wise and make the best use of our time not wasting it just living for the moment, living for ourselves. To make the best use of our time is to understand the will of the Lord. This is imperative because the days are evil. This is not Leave it to Beaver. These are evil days. People are suffering on earth, dying, and going to hell. We can’t just skip through life picking out paint colors, and drinking tea. There’s something greater going on. It’s not sinful to enjoy the gifts we have, but it is sinful to pretend that’s all there is to life. There will be no reward in heaven for just enjoying the simple pleasures of life.

A/P – Father, I need this truth in my life. I need to live for more than just taking care of our house, decorating, shopping, cleaning, eating, and going my merry way. I know this isn’t all there is. I know people all around are hurting. I know so many in the world don’t have the gifts I do. I don’t want to live like the “princess in the tower” or the “girl in a bubble”. Open my eyes to see, to give, to sacrifice, and to be willing to serve. Thank you for all the gifts you have given me! Thank you for the privilege to learn, study, and grow. Thank you for your love.

This is a message straight to me, to my heart. I pray God will help me move beyond where I am and live more wisely. 

Please share your thoughts.

Click to read about the SOAP Bible Study method. (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer)

 

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The Birth of a Story

Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud

I sure spend a lot of time clinging to my safety nets, for one who talks so often about living God’s great adventure. Although, I do eventually drop them, and take that next step, and then the next, though my hands might be clammy and my legs may quiver every step of the way.

This was me, when our family joined our former church for a week-long mission trip to El Salvador back in 2011. My biggest angst? I hated flying. I’ve gotten much better, but back then, every trip felt like torture. While the other passengers slept or read books or chatted with one another, I’d obsess. On every plane crash I’d ever heard of, on every bump or dip as we soared through the sky, on how high our plane flew and how long it’d take us to spiral to our deaths.

Ah, the joys of the writer’s…

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Mama Bear Love

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“That brings out the mama bear in me,” a friend exclaimed!

Parental love is scary strong. Love hits a new parent like a tidal wave. It’s often said that becoming a parent is like having your heart walking around outside your body. Such fierce love struggles with children growing up in a world filled with danger, evil, and pain.

Parents decide to take control and guarantee their child’s safety. An impossible task. Knowing our children have free will to make bad choices adds to our fear. Even when our children are grown, we still want their safety, well-being, and happiness.

Once a parent, always a parent.

Our twenty-four year old son described a health issue he had but that he had no plans to see a doctor. I was sleepless as I imagined him headed to an early grave because of his choice to ignore the problem.

The next morning, reading about Abraham, Sarah and Hagar in Genesis 21,

I found hope.

God promised Abraham and Sarah a son, though past childbearing years. Sarah offered her servant, Hagar, to Abraham so he could have a son by her, planning to raise him as Abraham’s heir. Hagar had a son but a few years later, God fulfilled His promise and by a miracle, Sarah also had a son, the intended heir. When conflict arose between the two sons, Sarah insisted Abraham get rid of Hagar and Ishmael. So, Abraham (with God’s blessing) gave them water and bread and sent them into the wilderness.

Hagar went as far as she could, until the water ran out. “Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot, for she said, ‘Let me not look on the death of the child.’ And as she sat opposite of him, she lifted up her voice and wept.” Genesis 21:16

I feel her pain. She’s done all she can. She’s convinced her son will die. How does a mom watch her son die of thirst?

But… “And God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, ‘What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Up! Lift up the boy, and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make him into a great nation.’” Genesis 21:17-18

“Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water.” Genesis 21:19

Why did Abraham agree to send Hagar and their son into the wilderness? Unbeknownst to Hagar, God had already given Abraham a promise. “And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring.” Genesis 21:13

Before Hagar entered the wilderness, before she ran out of water, before she collapsed in pain and sorrow, expecting her son to die, God knew what would happen and had planned to make a nation from Ishmael. God had a plan Hagar didn’t know about. Then, He opened her eyes.

As a mom, I can think like Hagar: because of this obstacle, my son will die. But God is sovereign. He’s the one who knows what the future holds and He holds each of us in His hands.

I can trust Him.

I can pray.

God hears my prayers as He heard Ishmael (v. 17). I pray for our son and I give him advice when he wants it, but God already knows what will happen. He already has it covered. He had a plan for Ishmael from the beginning and He has a plan for our son.

I don’t have a guarantee bad things won’t happen to our son. Trusting God doesn’t mean everything will work out as I want or that our son will live to be a hundred years old. It means God already knows the future and He’s already there.

I can trust God no matter what.

Father, thank you that you knew the day you placed our son in our arms how his whole life would play out. You knew from the day he was born every obstacle he would face, each weakness, and each choice he would make. I know he belongs to you and you hold him in your hands. Thank you dear Father! I know I can trust him to you.

Already There      by Casting Crowns says it so well.

 

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Known

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S – “O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.” Psalm 139:1-3

O  – David knew how much God loved him. He trusted God wholeheartedly. What a beautiful account of how God knows us.

A – Everyone wants to be known. We all want someone to know us, really know us. It is so wonderful to know God knows me inside and out. He even knows my thoughts before I do. He knows what I will say before I speak. He surrounds me. I can’t go anywhere where He won’t be there. I can’t hide from God. He knew me when I was being formed in the womb.  He knew me the instant that egg was fertilized and knew what my life would be. I’m never alone, Never abandoned. I always have His love.

P – Thank you dear Father. You know everything there is to know about me. I’m your child. Please show me if there is anything in me that is hurtful or wicked or that gives you grief. Lead me the way you want me to go.

SOAP

 

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You’ll Love Mercy Inn

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I want to visit Mercy Inn! I could visualize the cabins and surrounding beauty as I read Lee Warren’s novella, Mercy Inn. What a beautiful sight! And I would love to meet Ray and Alma and enjoy Alma’s cooking. This is a beautiful story, well written, and it touched my heart. I appreciate that Lee included a character that is disabled. Characters who are disabled are so often left out of books and movies.

Three people find themselves stranded at Mercy Inn during a blizzard in Colorado. Megan, who has Cerebral Palsy is 20 years old and struggling to get by, Brad is a middle-aged former baseball player who has regrets from his past and Sarah is a former music star who has lived in seclusion for many years. The three come together and find themselves in the care of Ray and Alma, the elderly couple who run the Inn.

Is it a coincidence that these three people find themselves here or was it a divine appointment? Will Megan, who has been hurt so often, be able to trust these people she is stuck with? Can Sarah move past her hurts from the past? Yes, there is romance! Loved that. There is a wonderful theme about how we need each other and are here to encourage each other. I loved the game, created by Alma and Ray, which the group plays. A game that becomes something of a therapy session. I highly recommend this novella. If you enjoy stories about people finding healing of past hurts, that inspire you to reach out to others, and that have a wonderful budding romance, then you will love this story. I can’t wait to read about Mercy Inn again in coming books!

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Discover One Thing

Some great thoughts from the Discover One Thing team today!

Discover One Thing

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!

The path we walk | Nikki Metzger

S~ So Ruth went out to gather grain behind the harvesters.  And as it happened, she found herself working in a field that belonged to Boaz, the relative of her father-in-law, Elimelech.  Ruth 2:3 (NLT)

O~ I wonder how many barley fields there were.  As Ruth got to the road out of town, how did she know to turn left or right?  I wonder if anyone encouraged her to…

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