Courage to Continue the Battle

Hanging out with a few of my Divine Mentors this afternoon. Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego. 

They have really given me a lot of wisdom in a situation over the past couple of weeks and I’m very grateful that I have friends and mentors in the Bible that I can turn to for sound advice when I need help.

They have given me the courage to walk out my faith in the face of adversity. But, today as I spent time hanging out with my friends again it was King Nebuchadnezzar who encouraged me the most and solidified in my heart that every decision I’ve made made to be single minded in my faith has been the perfect decision.

King Nebuchadnezzar said to me today about my friends and mentors: “They trusted in God and defied the king’s (Nebuchadnezzar’s) command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God…” He further said of our God: “No other god can save this way!”

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SOAPing Your Way to Intimacy

At our church we practice a form of daily devotions called SOAP.  This is an easy way of connecting with God by just taking one scripture and allowing God to speak to you.  Doing this helps us to develop a more personal relationship with God through His word.  This practice was first taught in a book by Wayne Cordeiro called, “The Divine Mentor.”

SOAP is an acronym. S=Scripture, O=Observations, A=Application, and P=Prayer

It’s just that simple.  Basically, you select a passage of scripture to read and when a scripture catches your attention choose it as your SOAP topic for the day.  That’s your “S”.

Then, write down your observations about the scripture.  Whatever you see in the scripture from any perspectives.  That’s your “O”.  Next, write down how this applies to you and your life on a personal level.  That’s your “A”.  Then, write out a prayer concerning these things.  That’s your “P”.  It’s that simple.

I’ve decided to share my SOAP from yesterday because I’m always transparent in my blogs and because I want you to understand what this looks like in practice.  However, yours may look and sound a lot different because this is personal to you.  God will speak to you in your own personality and your relationship with him will look different than mine.

I encourage you to start SOAPing because this practice is very effective for really connecting with God.  But I don’t encourage you to try to have my relationship with God.  I encourage you to have your own that looks like the way you relate to God.  Talk to God the way you talk to Him.  Write as much or as little as your personality dictates you write.  Let Him speak to you in the language you understand.

Here’s my SOAP… I hope this is helpful and encouraging for you.

 6/13/14 – Obscurity

Scripture:

GW – John 1:5 The light shines in the dark, and the dark has never extinguished it.

KJV – John 1:5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Comprehend:
From G2596 and G1983; to take eagerly, that is, seize, possess, etc. (literally or figuratively): – apprehend, attain, come upon, comprehend, find, obtain, perceive, (over-) take.

Observations:

I see something new and different here today that I’ve never noticed before.  In the past when I’ve read this scripture I’ve read it as the light came in (Jesus) and shines in the darkness and I interpreted that as “ before the darkness”.  The mental picture I always had in my mind when I read this was that we, the people, were the darkness.  It was our darkened minds.  Jesus came and shined the light in front of us but because our minds were darkened we comprehended him not – we didn’t receive him.

But that’s not what this scripture is saying at all.  When I read this in the GW translation at first I thought that it had been misinterpreted because “comprehended” in the KJV was translated as “extinguished” in the GW.  But when I looked closer at this I realized that the GW was right and I was wrong.  What I had thought, or maybe what I had been taught, was wrong.  The darkness isn’t us.

The original word for darkness here is From G4655; dimness, obscurity (literally or figuratively): – dark (-ness).

So the scripture says that Jesus shines his light into the dimness, into an obscure place, and the obscurity does not seize or take possession of his light.  What it is saying here is that the obscurity (even if it is the obscurity of our minds) does not have the power to overpower the light of Christ.

This is why Christ came into the world and he was just a small obscure baby.  Just one man.  He never tried to make a name for himself.  He didn’t have to seek fame.  He walked in humility.  Even in obscurity.  But the obscurity could not consume him.  It could not extinguish him.

His power was so great that obscurity would never cause his power to be extinguished.  His light is so bright in contrast to the darkness that the darkness can never consume it.  That one baby.  That one man – brought salvation to the world and transformed everything.  His power still reigns and his message is still spreading powerfully across the earth.

Application:

We don’t need to be concerned with making a name for ourselves in order to be effective as a church or as ministers or as Christians.  This is such a confirmation for me.  I already know this and I’m fully persuaded but temptation is always right there before me.  People intend for their statements to be complements, but what they really end up being for me are temptations implanted in the back of my mind waiting for an opportune moment of weakness to pounce.

Genesis says it so eloquently, “Sin crouches at your door waiting to pounce.  It wants to control you, but you must master it.”  These temptations come in the form of: “You should be preaching on TV,” or “You should be preaching to thousands,” and “You remind me of Joyce Meyer.”

I feel like God gave me the perfect response the other day to the “You should be preaching to thousands” compliment, even though I am probably not supposed to say it out loud to other people, it’s more like an inside joke between me and God, “Well, if God thought that too then, I would be preaching to thousands.”

I don’t have any lofty desires.  I just want to love God and love God’s people.  I just want to help people and preach the Word.  I want to teach and help people take the chains off their lives.  I want to let God use the stuff I’ve experienced to others’ benefit.

Prayer:

Lord, when you gave me that response the other day it just filled me with joy, set me free, and made me laugh so hard!

I’m perfectly content to preach and teach in obscurity.  Because I’m scared, ashamed, have low self-esteem, or any of that stuff?  No, of course not.  I just have no need to become famous.  I want you to be famous.  I want to see people’s lives changed.  Obscurity can’t wash you out!  Obscurity can’t extinguish your power.  And fame can’t make you any more powerful than you already are.

I will pour your love and truth out to one.  I will pour your love and truth out to three.  I will pour your love and truth out to twelve.  I will pour love and truth out to fifty or a hundred.  I will do the same for a thousand or ten thousand.  I won’t know the difference anyway.  I never count how many people are in the room because I truly don’t care.  I don’t care how many – I care WHO.

Help me to always touch each one as if they are the only one.  I never want so many that I forget whose they are — they are yours not mine.  They are not my disciples – they are your children.  They don’t need me – they need you.  There’s nothing I can say that will help them – but plenty I can say that will hurt them if I have my own interests in front of theirs.

Obscurity can never hide or extinguish your power but it can only magnify your power in me.  I choose.  I choose to walk in obscurity.  I choose.  Whether I preach to one or one thousand or one million – I choose to be obscure.

If and when you observe me doing otherwise, shut it down.  Shut me down.  Don’t allow me to continue.  Don’t let me bring harm to your people.