Set Up to Step Up

I am so blessed to be a part of our Monday Morning S.O.A.P. group. This morning our S.O.A.P. reading was Matthew 4. Just a  few words to

explain what S.O.A.P. stands for: each day we take one chapter of the Bible and we read it prayerfully to see what the Lord will say to us or

show us through that passage. S. is for scripture, so the first step is to read the passage; O. stands for observation and we journal what we observe

in the passage, basically what stands out specifically to us on this day; A. stands for application, how we can or will apply what we have learned in

our lives; and finally P. is for prayer, asking God to help us apply what we have learned in the passage.

It is by far the  best Bible reading plan that I have ever tried! Most I have tried require reading 3-4 chapters at one sitting and if you miss one or two

it is easy to get behind and not catch up, with this one it is only one chapter most times and it is easy to really focus on what you have read, rather than

breeze through just to check it off of your to do list. Once a week we come together to do our S.O.A.P. together and then spend time sharing what we

have learned. It is so beneficial to hear how God speaks in each other’s lives and how He uses what we share to help someone else who may be struggling

in an area of life.  After sharing my S.O.A.P. today, one of these sweet sisters suggested that I share my entries and another confirmed this. My husband

had also been telling me this for a while. Now, you have to know what my prayer section was for today and when I share it below, it will be more clear

why I felt compelled to share these personal musings of mine. So here goes:

Matthew 4

S. After He had fasted 40 days and 40 nights, He was hungry. Then the tempter approached Him and said, “If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” (Matthew 4:2, 3 HCSB)
From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near!” (Matthew 4:17 HCSB)
Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. (Matthew 4:20 HCSB)
Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed Him. (Matthew 4:22 HCSB)
Jesus was going all over Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. (Matthew 4:23 HCSB)
Then the news about Him spread throughout Syria. So they brought to Him all those who were afflicted, those suffering from various diseases and intense pains, the demon-possessed, the epileptics, and the paralytics. And He healed them. (Matthew 4:24 HCSB)

O. This chapter is so rich and chocked full of information. For starters, before Jesus began His ministry, the Holy Spirit led Him out in to the wilderness to be tested! Notice, it doesn’t say the devil led Him out but the Holy Spirit led Him. The devil did test Him, and he picked the end of the 40 day period when Jesus was weakest. Satan always uses our weakest time to sweep in whether it’s hunger, emotional or physical pain, or some other time of weakness. But even more, I note that the Holy Spirit was the one in charge of the encounter. Also, note that Jesus did not argue with the devil out of His own power, but used the power of God’s Word! When the devil saw that Jesus resisted him with the Word three times, the devil gave up, and left Jesus alone! At that point, Jesus withdrew for a time and shortly after began His ministry, announcing the Kingdom of Heaven. He began calling disciples and they immediately accepted His invitation! Again, it seems the theme continues of immediate obedience, Jesus’, and the disciple’s obedience! I can’t help but also notice testing, obedience, elevation…repeat testing, obedience, elevation… We are responsible for our obedience, passing the tests before being given additional responsibilities.

A. We are told that trials and temptations will come, we must be ready, arm ourselves with the Word of God. Only in the Word of God can we learn who we are in Christ and only by knowing it can we use it as a weapon against the onslaughts that we face in life. When we become familiar with His Word, we place ourselves in a position of power to stand against the fiery darts of the devil and resist the temptations he throws our way, when we resist him, he will flee!! Also, when God takes us to a new level in Him we have more responsibility and greater accountability and that requires a new level of obedience but also brings us to greater faithfulness and greater maturity in Him.

P. Lord Jesus, my prayer today is to be faithful, quick to hear and obey You. I pray for ears that are quick to listen and hear Your Word, Your voice and the Holy Spirit speaking into my life. I also pray for wisdom when fellow followers speak into my life through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, sometimes even through the voice of one of my sweet grandchildren! I pray for wisdom and discernment so that I won’t miss You or the opportunities You send me!
In Jesus’ Name!! Amen!

 

Not all readings have multiple scriptures that stand out like this one did for me and some days it is a specific verse that stands alone. Based on what spoke to me this day, the responses of my sweet sisters, and the prayer for God to use His Word, His Spirit and those He places in my path to speak into my life, I have decided to act in immediate obedience. I am certain that this is why God tells us to not neglect fellowship with one another! As we are often heard quoting in our group:

Proverbs 27:17 (HCSB) Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

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