S.O.A.P ~ Day 3

 Genesis 6-8 and Luke 3

S ~

Genesis 6:8, Genesis 6:18, Genesis 7:15 and Luke 8:11

O ~

  • Genesis 6:8, 18 ~ God regretted creating man yet once again He was faithful to the man who found favor with Him – Noah.  If we are looking to God, He will always be faithful to us.
  • Building of the Ark:  a good friend pointed something out yesterday about this that really made me stop and think here is what she had to say:   “One of the ideas that caught me was how obedient Noah was. He built that ark in the middle of dry ground…no water was anywhere nearby. I can only imagine the ridicule he got. . .yet he obeyed. That is what I want to do. Hear God’s voice and obey.”  I couldn’t agree more.  And after stopping and thinking about it, I wonder could I do that today if God asked it of me…..
  • Genesis 7:15 ~ God’s faithfulness and love is spoken once again “pairs of all creatures in which there was the breath of life entered the ark…”  The breath of life that God first breathed into existence.  Even though His heart was grieved by man, since we are made in His image He didn’t destroy everything.  He left just enough behind not only to repopulate the earth but to supply Noah and his family with food.  Really digging into this story and thinking about it really shows how much God loves us and the great lengths He goes to for us – even if at first glance a situation seems devastating
  • Genesis 8:11 ~ I love the visual image of this – the dove presenting Noah with an olive branch. I imagine how when arguments and disagreements occur, someone ultimately has to offer an olive branch to the other person so that the relationship can heal.  I see God, through the dove, doing that with Noah, as in “Noah, I know you don’t understand but just keep having faith in Me.”  I wonder in our busy and chaotic filled lives how many olive branches have we missed that God has been holding out to us?
  • Luke 3:8-9 ~  John the Baptist is trying to show the people, that their actions need to be in line with God’s Word and not just rely on family heritage to Abraham to save them.  That alone is not enough, they must also produce good fruits – bringing God to others, living a life for God.  Not just a rulebook that has no feeling behind it.  Here too is a reminder to me that just because I am saved by Jesus I need to bring the Good News of Jesus to others and live my life as a reflection of Him.  Not because it will “buy” my way into Heaven, Jesus already paid that price, but because as His follower I am called to go above and beyond what’s expected.  I want to be so filled with Jesus that I desire everyone to know and want Him in their lives.  I want to live in expectation of His return.

A ~

  • How will I apply today’s Scripture readings to my life?  I will remember and focus on how faithful God has been to me in the past and present.  I will give Him my future knowing He already has it secure, no matter what happens.  I will take advantage of any moments throughout the day (a long stop light, traffic jam, long check out lane, doctor’s waiting room, carpool line, etc.) to listen for God and look to Him, not man and man’s opinion as Noah did while being ridiculed by those around him. 
  •  I will search my heart and extend an olive branch to those I need to forgive. 
  • In all things I am responsible for daily I will measure my success not by man but by asking “have I given God the very best I could in this area today?”  Knowing that it will differ due to task and circumstances. Some days giving Him my very best in say the area of housework will be to clean every room completely.  Other days my very best would only be to say clean out my sock drawer.  It’s not a matter of how much I do, it’s what condition my heart is in towards God.  One of my favorite lines in the movie Facing the Giants is when the coach tells his star player “it’s easy to walk off the field when things are going good but when things are against you and you stay on the field – that’s who you are!”  Not the exact words but that’s how I remember it.  So some days doing the smallest task with a full heart for Jesus and letting Him control my day is the biggest accomplishment.

P ~

Dear Jesus once again, I thank You for this time spent with you, for the ability nd freedom to openly read Your Word.  I can not imagine not begin able to own a Bible or read Your Word with fear of losing my life.  I ask your special protection on all Christians who are living a life for You in areas where it cold cost them their lives.  I pray for all Christians who are not able to have Your Word in their possession.  Please be with them today and everyday, keep them safe from all harm, extend to them an olive branch so they know they are not alone and bless them with extra courage. 

You gift me with all the good gifts that make me the person You created me to be.  help me to know and find your will and to trust that You will help me to understand the path You call me to journey in life.  Where there is doubt give me courage.  Give me a heart open to Your quiet voice so that I can hear Your call to me.  Help me to know Your faithfulness and help me to be faithful to that which You call me to.  In Jesus’ Name, I pray.  ~AMEN.

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S.O.A.P ~ Day 2

Genesis 3-5 and Luke 2

S ~

  • Genesis 3:3, Genesis 3:6, Genesis 3:12, Genesis 3:21, Genesis 4:5-6, Luke 2:14

O ~

  • Genesis 3:3 ~ “…even touch it, lest you die”  God never told Adam and Eve that they couldn’t touch the fruit on the tree.  Eve’s mind was already open to satan’s attack.
  • Genesis 3:6 ~ Desiring more than we need, desiring more than we already have, focusing on something other than God and justifying our rebellious actions are all the ways we continue to be open to satan’s attack.
  • Genesis 3:12 ~ How many times do we reply the same way as Adam “….she gave me the fruit” instead of taking responsibility for our own actions?  We immediately set about looking to place the blame on others.  I believe that is one of the reasons our country is in the state it is.
    • Don’t look at the fact that thousands purchased homes way out of their price range, nope blame the bank for approving the loan;
    • Don’t look at yourself wondering why you desired more than you already had and financing that desire maxed out your credit cards, nope blame the credit card companies and their high interest rates;
    • Don’t take responsibility for ignoring your vows and breaking up your family with adultery, nope blame your spouse.

It seems we have forgotten how to take responsibility for our own decisions.  Eve didn’t force Adam to eat the forbidden fruit.  He knew it was wrong but he blamed Eve.  The loan officer didn’t for people to come in and apply for a loan that ultimately they couldn’t afford.  The credit card companies didn’t force people to max out their credit cards and your spouse did not make you commit adultery.  It’s called living responsibility, living with integrity and standing by the decisions you ultimately make in your life.

  • Genesis 3:21 ~ Although they disobeyed God, He still took care of them by “making them leather garments, with which He clothed them.”  He was still there, even though they had to live with the results of their actions.
  • Genesis 4:5-6 ~ Cain resented Abel because the LORD looked with favor on Abel.  But why resent Abel for serving the LORD with his heard and not a “I have to” attitude.  God tried to tell Cain to get rid of his resentment otherwise he would leave the door open for satan’s attack.  God instructed Cain to hold his head up by doing well, I take that as “give me your very best, that’s what I want.”  How many times do we carry jealousy and resentment for the person we believe God has favored more than us?  Instead of being resentful and jealous I believe we need to take a look at ourselves, talk to God and focus on our own walk.  If not we open that door to satan and hand him the control.
  • Luke 2:14 ~ I love this verse, it’s always been one of my favorites.  The peace that passes all understanding when we offer everything up to God – our joys, sorrows, hopes, dreams, disappointments and struggles.  When we live fully in faith and trust we have the peace that passes all understanding.

Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those whom His favor rests.  ~ Luke 2:14

A ~

  • Instead of focusing on all things I would love to have – the newest electronic gadgets, the home of my dreams, an organized closet system and an immaculately clean house.  I will focus on all that I have – which is much.  I will take my eyes off of the earthly ways and put them on my Savior.  Instead of being so wrapped up in obtaining (and failing) for that immaculately clean house I will spend time with my family and enjoy that our house is a home filled with real people doing their best to give the LORD their very best.


Thank you LORD for this time with You this morning, for all the ways You take care of me and my loved ones.  Help me this day to give you everything so that I may have that peace that passes all understanding.

I ask You to watch over all my loved ones, may Your hand rest on them today; may their eyes, ears and hearts be opened to You in all ways; may they be protected from all evil and may they be Your light to others today.  In Jesus’ Name ~ AMEN.

Glory to God in the highest

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S.O.A.P ~ Day 1

S.O.A.P stands for Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer. It’s a great way to dig deep into your Bible while recording your thoughts, emotions and connecting with scripture.  S.O.A.P. is meant to be a journal you create with your regular Bible reading.

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Genesis 1, 2 and Luke 1

S ~

  • Genesis 1:2, Genesis 2:7, Luke 1:18, Luke 1:25, Luke 1:34, Luke 1:42, Canticle of Mary and Canticle of Zechariah.

O ~

  • Something I never realized until this morning, maybe because I know the story so well, I never took time to really let it sink in, but Genesis 1:2 is my life! Without God it’s a “dark and empty wasteland” but when I allow God into my heart, mind, body and soul He “creates” me just as He did the earth.  Slowly day by day He calls “good” each time I progress.  He creates me until I bring His light to others, until I bear fruit from His seeds, He takes me out of the darkness and most importantly He created and formed me in His image from the very start.
  • How many times I have read Genesis 2:7 but today was an eye opener:  God breathed His breath of life into us – literally!!!  We were created with God’s very breath, stop for a minute and really take that in!  Why in difficulties do we let our feelings tell us He isn’t there?  He gave us His breath!!!  Close your eyes for a moment – imagine saving someone’s life by giving them CPR – what would you feel for that person for the rest of your life even though you know nothing about them?  Now multiply that by thousands and that’s just a small taste of what God feels for us.
  • Luke 1:18 Zechariah questions the angel of the LORD “how shall I know this?”  I always thought:  how can he have disbelief – it’s God’s angel.  But God showed me something this morning.  How many times do we let our feelings direct our behavior?  Maybe we should ask “how shall I know this” more often to make sure we are in line with God’s Word. If the answer to that question can be backed up by His Word than we know it’s from God.   However, if the answer is only backed by man’s feeling, wants and way of life we know it’s not from God.
  • Luke 1:25 it’s always according to His timing and His plans. We just need to wait, trust and be patient.
  • Luke 1:34 Mary questions the angel “how can this be?” we need to start asking questions instead of allowing our feelings to control us and opening the door to satan since we know he uses our weaknesses to trick us.
  • Luke 1:42 I absolutely love the prayer based off of this verse ~ the Rosary!!  It brings me such peace and a closeness to Jesus.

My soul proclaims the greatness of the LORD; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.  ~Luke 1:46-47

A ~

  • Instead of allowing my feelings to control me I will start asking God “how can this be?”  I will allow His Word to guide me and give to Him my impatience, tiredness, hurt feelings and ask for His Word to soothe my soul so that I can proclaim His greatness and rejoice in Him as my Savior.  I will give Him my best and praise Him at all times.

P ~

Oh dear LORD, Father of heaven and earth I thank You for opening my eyes to Your Word, for showing me the things I needed to see, for opening Your Word up to me in a new way.  LORD I ask for Your strength to be able to step back from any and all chaos that surrounds me – to give up my feelings and emotions to You, to ask “how can this be?” to await Your guidance so that I can be formed, shaped and created by You.

Thank You for breathing life into me.  Thank You for always walking beside me even when I don’t deserve it.  Thank You for Your perfect timing.

As I go through this day I want to give You the best in everything I do – for Your glory.  Help me, strengthen me and when temptation closes in – remind me that You will fight the battle, all I need to do is cry out to You.

Guide my steps today, show me what You have planned for my day…..In Jesus’ name Amen.

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Temptation ~ Joyce Meyer Devotion

The question is not “will I be tempted?”  The question is “when you are tempted will you be ready?”  Take CAN’T out of your vocabulary.

There are 5 things in overcoming temptation:

  1. Think about your choices you are making and the consequences.  Wisdom looks ahead.
  2. You have to believe that you can resist temptation.  Condemnation, guilt and shame work off of momentum.  If you stop them early they lose their power, once they get rolling, they are hard to stop.
  3. Think of facing temptation as normal life.  If you are expecting a fight, you will always be ready.
  4. Avoid areas of weakness.  Don’t put yourself in situations where you can easily fall.  If you struggle with managing your money, don’t go to the mall when you can’t afford to buy anything.
  5. Don’t give yourself too much credit.  We don’t graduate from being tempted.  It’s so easy to think you’ve matured beyond stumbling and once that happens you make yourself an easy target.


No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.  God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.  ~ 1 Corinthians 10:13

Study Bible Notes ~ God is Faithful:  a reminder that even the most severe temptations are bearable when we turn to God for help and look for the escape route that He promises to provide for us.  Paul is leaving no room for flimsy excuses, as though sin were sometimes unavoidable.

My thoughts ~

This devotion spoke to me for the simple fact of #4.

I used to have an addiction to shopping, a very serious addiction.  My husband at one point had to refinance our house to get us out of credit card debt that I put us in. 

2 to 3 years after that incident I was so disgusted with myself because I again had my credit cards maxed out.  I hid it from my husband for a long time because I didn’t want to see the hurt in his eyes.  But I couldn’t bear the heaviness of first the maxed out credit cards and the lie I was living with.  I finally told him and of course the hurt was there but also exasperation. 

I decided right there to take responsibility and fight the temptation.  I told my husband to remove me from our joint checking account and set one up that he would transfer a set amount of bill money each month.  I would have to make that and my pay check cover all bills without asking for more money, as well as paying off my credit cards. 

That was 5 years ago and I am excited to say that I will have all credit cards paid in full by March 2012.  Are you wondering how much I owed? To fight temptation and expose it there needs to be honesty and accountability so as much as it embarrasses me to say ~ I had maxed out every card I had to the tune of $10,000!!

Was it easy?  No, absolutely not!  Were there drawbacks?  Yes, absolutely!  The biggest drawback is I don’t go into ANY store alone anymore.  That includes grocery shopping so there have been times our home is out of EVERYTHING including bread and toilet paper!  It causes some extra strain and work on my husband and kids but I know I am able to fall and it wouldn’t be long before I messed up again. 

And in case you are wondering why my husband didn’t cut up my credit cards after he refinanced our home?  It was because he trusted me when I said I wouldn’t use them.  I broke that trust!  Now as I pay off each card I tell him, I close the account AND I shred the card.  So as of March I will not have one credit card and that is so freeing.  I don’t care that my score is subterranean because without credit card payments and interest, with self-control and God on my side I don’t need credit.  I can do it the old fashion way:  SAVE UNTIL I CAN PAY IN CASH!!

Prayer from devotion:

God I realize temptation is a part of life. Help me not to be caught off guard or surprised when it comes.  Thank You for the wisdom and grace to overcome any and all temptation and live in Your victory.  ~ AMEN!


I used portions of Joyce Meyer Devotion from Living Your Eveyday Life.


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Parable of the Talents ~ Matthew 25:13-22

Once again God was leading and directing me to exactly the Scripture I needed.  I have always felt ‘convicted’ when this parable was read at church and I did now too but my eyes were also opened.  It makes so much more sense after reading Renee’s explanation in A Confident Heart and the study Bible notes. 

  • Verse 14-30 explanation in my Study Bible:  This parable of the Talents is about stewardship.  It warns against the dangers of sloth, whereby God-given blessings and abilities are squandered because of fear (25:25) and laziness. (25:26-28).  Personal diligence, however, is greatly rewarded with superior gifts and responsibilities (25:21, 23).  accountability to Christ entails risk and challenges; God’s endowments must be invested in and for the good of others to increase heavenly earnings.
  • Verse 14 explanation:  It indicates one’s lifetime, during which God expects His gifts to be cultivated.
  • Verse 26 explanation:  The servant was presumably insulted when the master entrusted him with only a single talent, when others received more.  This warns against sloth that is fueled by envy.

This not only goes with A Confident Heart but my realization on Monday about what my assignment from God is.  Also reminds me of something that was talked about at Women of Faith this weekend.  Andy Andrews talked about when Moses tried to convince Pharaoh to release the Israelites from Egypt.  Each time there would be a plague, Pharaoh would add more work onto the Israelite people, another plague, more work on and on.  Andy Andrews said that the Israelites didn’t know it but God had them on a training workout.  Not only were they building up strength and stamina for the journey but also to become strong enough to carry out all of Egypt’s gold and treasure.

What “training workout” does God have me on and how many times have I skipped my training because in my mind my “one talent” isn’t enough.  Because I am too busy feeling sorry for myself while I see others received more.  But my one talent will lead to 2 talents, which leads to 4 talents, then 6….only when I decide to finally head to the “gym”  When I trust God, quit comparing myself to others and do the work to cultivate what God has given me.  Just because it’s not exactly as I would want and it’s than I want, doesn’t mean it’s less important – in reality my assignment is one of the most important and will do much for God’s Kingdom if I work through Christ and put my “wants” to the side.  Because it’s not about me – it’s all about HIM!

Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master. ~Matthew 25:21

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The Cleansing of the Temple ~ John 2:13-22

Two things struck me while reading this Scripture and reading the study notes:

  • The Temple cleansing – Jesus brings a New Covenant that supersedes the institutions of the Old.  This goes along with what I am learning in Wendy Blight’s study of the Book of Hebrews.
  • John 2:15, the study Bible explains “the sanctuary is the undisciplined soul, filled not with animals and merchants but with earthly and senseless attachments. Christ must expel them to make spiritual worship possible”

This so confirms what I felt God laying on my heart this weekend – that I was placing my faith, value, worth and sadly worship in my friends and family.  Wanting and needing them to fill me up and make me feel special.  So much so that it was interfering with my relationship and worship of Jesus.  I was turning to other things and people instead of running into the arms of Jesus.  And when those didn’t live up to my perceived expectations, disappointment came along with the feeling of being worthless, which opened up an invitation to the devil and all his lies.  A Confident Heart by Renee Swope Chapter 6 says “you can’t put your hope in man, you can only put your hope in God.  A man’s love will always disappoint you.”

I have noticed since I have eliminated the Facebook distraction this week I can feel God more and He is leading me to the exact Scriptures I need. I find myself getting filled up and things starting to make sense.  I am noticing my patterns and when I allow the devil a foothold by my negative thinking.  There is still much work to be done but each day I grow in the LORD and each day I learn a new Truth.  Each day I learn value the princess I am in His eyes.

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He loves you….

From Max Lucado’s Live Loved Devotion: Loved with an Unfailing Love

We love Him because He first loved us.
1 John 4:19

God loves you with an unfailing love.

England saw a glimpse of such love in 1878. The second daughter of Queen Victoria was Princess Alice. Her young son was infected with a horrible affliction known as black diphtheria. Doctors quarantined the boy and told the mother to stay away.

But she couldn’t. One day she overheard him whisper to the nurse, “Why doesn’t my mother kiss me anymore?” The words melted her heart. She ran to her son and smothered him with kisses. Within a few days, she was buried.

What would drive a mother to do such a thing? What would lead God to do something greater? Love. Trace the greatest action of God to the greatest attribute of God—his love…

And, oh, what a love this is. It’s “too wonderful to be measured” (Ephesians 3:19 cev). But though we cannot measure it, may I urge you to trust it? Some of you are so hungry for such love. Those who should have loved you didn’t. Those who could have loved you wouldn’t. You were left at the hospital. Left at the altar. Left with an empty bed. Left with a broken heart. Left with your question, “Does anybody love me?”

Please listen to heaven’s answer. As you ponder him on the cross, hear God assure, “I do.”

—It’s Not About Me

Father God, we bring to you our broken hearts and broken dreams. But you reach out to us with the greatest love of all and assure us you will love us forever. Your kind love heals our hurts. Your sacrificial love forgives our sins. May we open our hearts to receive your great love, amen.

May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ.
2 Thessalonians 3:5

He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17

And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
1 John 4:16

My thoughts: I have heard God speak to me loud and clear on two different occasions (other times I just feel a certain peace in my heart). Both times I was blessed to hear Him it was to tell me how much He did love me!!! I can still remember the awe of the moment and the release of deeply buried emotions. It changed my life — did it make everything perfect and rosy? No as a matter of fact my journey started 8 years ago with Him telling me “I do love you that much!” and in 8 years I have been through hell and back, but I was able to keep going and hoping bc of His love and I don’t regret one moment I spent on this journey. I still have a long way to go but I rather be where I am now then where I was 8 years ago buried in the deepest pit of despair I have ever known.

Thank You Jesus for Your love and for Your life on earth, for being my Savior and my Redeemer!!!

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