Scripture: Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. Psalm 34:14 NIV
Observation: This is a good follow-up to yesterday’s SOAP. If we will seek peace we will stop doing evil. We will not delay justice and we will no longer call good bad and bad good.
Application: As I desire to allow God to reign I will automatically seek peacefulness with others and justice will result.
Prayer: Father, help me to desire your will for my life so that evil will not prevail. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen
Scripture: When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, people’s hearts are filled with schemes to do wrong. Ecclesiastes 8:11 NIV
Observation: When justice is delayed, injustice becomes the order or more precisely disorder of the day. All we have to do is look at our society and see the truth in this scripture. Delayed justice has led to a complete flip-flop and the inmates seem to be running the asylum. Isiah 5:20a says, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil…” We have forsaken our Lord and his truth and our upside-down world is evidence of that!
Application: I must pray for God and his justice to reign in my life and our world today.
Prayer: Father, we have caused there to be great injustice in this world. I must take responsibility for my part in allowing it to happen. Reign in my life and help me to be bold in the face of injustice and to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen
Scripture: I will exalt you, lord, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. Psalm 30:1 NIV
Observation: I have to go to drill today. That’s periodically reoccurring school for firemen to hone our skills. I’m old fashioned and my glory days as a strapping young fireman with all of the answers have long-since passed. To put it bluntly, all of us firemen nearing retirement need to hurry up and get there and get out of all of the young guy’s way. As I left for work today, Laurie prayed for me that the Lord would protect my crew and me as we are put through our paces. Psalm 30:1 confirmed for me that God heard her plea and I am protected, “…and did not let my enemies gloat over me.” Psalm 30:1b NIV Thank you Lord!
Application: I must accept the truth and carry on. I’ve done my job for many years. I know my job and I must trust in the knowledge and training that I’ve accumulated over the years to complete today’s exercises. Thank you Lord!
Prayer: Thank you Lord for having my back. I pray that I honor you today. Amen
Scripture: For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Timothy 6:10 NIV
Observation: The conventional usage of this bit of scripture states, “money is the root if all evil.” This is a misstatement of the real scripture. It is the “love” of money that is the root of all evil. I believe that the scripture is actually stating that elevating money to god status is the evil. “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:8 NIV God is love! If a person loves money, their god is money and that is evil.
Application: We must realize that money is a tool and it can be used for good or for evil. Money must be kept in its proper place and viewed in the proper perspective. Love God by using your money to further his kingdom.
Prayer: Father, it’s been a while since I wrote of you or of your word. I’m sorry. Help me to focus on you in my daily reading and help me to remember today’s truth. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen
Scripture: He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the lord. Proverbs 18:22 NIV
Observation: This proverb says it clearly. I can’t add to or take away from it.
Application: I must understand and appreciate the wife that God has given me. I sure don’t deserve her. One more evidence to me that God loves me unconditionally.
Prayer: Father, thank you for giving me Laurie. Help me to be worthy of her. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen
Scripture: Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18 NIV
Observation: This proverb instructs that the arrogant fail and fall.
Application: Take it from me, arrogant people get humbled. It’s not a source of pride for me to admit but I’ve dealt with this myself. I pray for humility from God so that he never has to humble me again.
Prayer: Father, help me to be humble and consider others before myself. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen
Scripture: Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. John 17:3 NIV
Observation: Jesus prays before he is crucified.
Application: Jesus speaks of the meaning of eternal life, to know God the father and Jesus his son. You can’t get to heaven without knowing that truth.
Prayer: Father, thank you for sending us Jesus. Amen
Scripture: Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6 NIV
Observation: Jesus tells his disciples that he is the only way to gain access to God.
Application: Belief in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is the key to heaven. He’s not only the door, he’s the key to the door.
Prayer: Father, thank you for Jesus. Amen
Scripture: So I told them, ‘Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.’ Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!” Exodus 32:24 NIV
Observation: Aaron took all of the blame for the act that he had committed and laid it off on the fire of all things. “I just threw it in and ‘poof’ out popped this calf, it wasn’t my fault!” This lame excuse reminds me of Adam in the garden answering God, “The man said, ‘The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.’” Genesis 3:12 NIV It’s like what I heard a prosecutor say once of an accused’s defense strategy in an up-coming trial, “he’s going to use the S.O.D.D.I. defense…some other dude did it.” I can almost understand Aaron using that excuse with Moses, but Adam trying it with God? Really? When you stop and think about it, Adam really laid it all off on God, “it is your fault God! You gave me that woman.” As my Jewish brothers say, “now that’s chutzpah!”
Application: As Christians we need to man-up and accept responsibility for our actions. “It wasn’t my fault” is a really poor epitaph. When we fail we need to accept it and ask for forgiveness. We need to not make excuses for our behavior.
Prayer: Father, help me to know when I fail and accept that the failure is mine alone. I know that acknowledging sin to you when it is committed and asking forgiveness is what you expect of me. I ask for the strength to accept my failures and humble myself before you. In Jesus’ name. Amen
Scripture: Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So they were divided. John 9:16 NIV
Observation: This passage made it clear to me that some people love the created more than the Creator. In this case the created being the rituals of religion. What does God want, clean hands from proper washing procedures or pure hearts from truly changed lives? I know the answer. The writer aineo from my notes section wrote “Which Are You?”, it makes the point perfectly.
“This made me think of how religious we are sometimes. Ask yourself, if some out of town strangers in an old beat up car were in a bad accident in front of your church right before the service, would your church members dirty up their clothes to help? Would the service be postponed or canceled in order to help those in need? There are all kinds of scenarios that could be painted, but the ultimate question is the same – are you someone that loves people, or are you religious like the Pharisees?”
Application: We need to examine our hearts and know that we are where God wants us to be.
Prayer: Father, help me to know that I am where I should be according to your will. I ask this in Jesus name. Amen