Tag Archives: SOAP Journal

Lord, write these tablets

  • Exodus 32:1-33:23
  • Matthew 26:69-27:14
  • Psalm 33:1-11
  • Proverbs 8:33-36

The tablets were the work of God; the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets.

Exodus 32:16

The old testament reading is pretty familiar to those who have been exposed to church or the Bible. (I separate those purposely because I know from experience that just because people are exposed to one, they may not be exposed to the other) The Exodus writings are of the famous golden calf. Just a few days ago in chapter 24, Moses & Aaron, along with Nadab and Abihu and 70 elders, had gone up to the mountain and “saw the God of Israel.” (Ex 24:9); they saw God and they ate and drank. (vs 11)

Then today, the readings open up with

When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.

Exodus 32: 1

The Israelites, who God called out of slavery, were getting impatient with Moses because he had been on the mountain, in a cloud for forty days and forty nights, according to Ex 24:18. Moses had been receiving instruction from God on how to proceed through the desert, how to worship and how God was going to provide for his people while going to the promised land.

While Moses was up on the mountain, the people grew impatient, so they put on the peer pressure to Aaron. Yes, the same Aaron who had just ate and drank with God, about 40 days ago, less than 2 months!!

I want to ask, “OH, you mean by this fellow, you mean Moses….the one who dragged your ungrateful self out of slavery? The one who went to bat for you before Pharoah and taught you how to protect yourself from the plagues of death? The one who, by the hand of God, appeared to have parted the sea? You mean THAT fellow? Geez, what an impatient bunch of Israelites you are! No wonder you stayed in slavery so long!”

But the truth is, I get impatient too. I build golden calves too.

I’ll get on a roll in my health and fitness program, start feeling good, but then the scale doesn’t seem to reflect a weight loss quick enough. I get frustrated and quit, or find the next quick weight loss program. GOLDEN CALF. The key to health and fitness is consistency, it takes time. If I’m constantly starting and stopping, how can I ever expect long term results? Consistency! Which reminds me, I really need to get back on that consistency thing. (deep sigh)

When I started selling real estate back in 2007, it was a horribly bad market. There was a crash that happened in the market and houses in the Houston area were sitting for months and months and selling way below market value. I picked a bad time to make that move. (again, deep sigh) But that didn’t stop the get-rich-quick- mongers from trying to sell realtors stuff. I heard someone say one time there were 3 ways to make money in real estate, 1) sell property 2) invest in property 3) sell stuff to realtors. YEP! There seemed to be emails and mailings coming all the time to me while I was getting my license and afterwards, saying if I bought and followed such-and-such program I could make a million bucks in a year! I thank God, that He led me to an agency owned and led by God fearing people who cautioned me to steer clear of those schemes, because honestly, I don’t know, maybe I WOULD have bought in to their manipulations?!?! My mentors told me to just stay the course, follow the plan, work hard, market my product, learn, grow, stay consistent….and so I did. I am proud to say I did well in real estate by selling property. But it didn’t come quick. There were a couple of really lean years. By the grace of God , through prayer and hard work, I eventually became successful. In the end I felt grateful for those hard years because later in my career, before we moved to Kansas, I was able to mentor others with the same advice my leaders said to me.

Sometimes, I think God wants us to just work hard and work through it. Ya know?

Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not disregard it. Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. For those who find me find life and receive favor from the Lord.

Proverbs 8:33-36

So ANYWAY, back to the Word. Furious with the apparently still in slavery, Israelites, God sends Moses back down the mountain with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands. They were inscribed on both sides, front and back. The tablets were the work of God; the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets. ( vs 15-16). Honestly, God was about to wipe them out, and Moses stood in the gap for these wayward wanderers and the Word says “God relented” (Ex 32:14)

But Moses didn’t. He went ballistic! He destroyed that golden calf and rebuked his relative Aaron. Whew boy, I encourage you to read this because its pretty descriptive what Moses did. Yikes!

As I write this seventh post of mine, I have 5 followers. One of which is my husband. I’ve had 9 readers, and 3 of those have been my husband and my two daughters. The desire that God has put on my heart is for people to find my website and grow closer to God through my writings. I pray that this tablet be the work of God; the writing be the writing of God, engraved on the tablet. I want people to find it and find hope in Christ.

But I’m new here right? I’m having to fumble across how to build a blog, then how to build a following. Do I have to invest in the “upgrade”? Do I need to promote it through social media? Should I be submitting this somewhere? I think I may have felt this way when I built my real estate business, too. I wonder if I could find those spiral bound journals if they could give me hope for my dreams?

I have a desire to write a book, and share my testimony. A couple of weeks ago, Jared, my pastor, encouraged me to “just start writing”. “Start with now” and then see where it goes, see where God leads you, he suggested. So that’s I’m doing. As I’ve been writing for the past seven days, I’ve been thinking of perhaps putting together a “devotional idea” and submitting to publishers. I have all kinds of ideas…..I pray to look back on this journal in a couple of years and affectionately remember “the lean years” like I do with real estate.

But Oh, Lord, don’t let me build any golden calves! Don’t let me fall for any “get published fast” schemes. That’s not what this is about. Its about you, my dear reader. Its about you growing closer to God. If God can use my testimony and reflections to draw you closer to Him, then mission accomplished! If God can build this, and or a book to take us in to retirement…..even better.

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.

He gathers the waters of the sea into jars; he puts the deep into storehouses.

Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere him.

For HE spoke, and it came to be; HE commanded, and it stood firm.

The Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.

But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.

Psalm 33:6-11

Lord, I trust that you inspire the hearts of your people. I trust that you have inspired my heart. I trust that you have great plans to prosper your people, to give us a hope and a future, as promised in Jeremiah 29:11. I pray for the person reading this today, that you give them encouragement to stay the course. Hold fast to the vision that you have given them for their lives. I am sorry for the times that I get off track, and I thank you for guiding me back to the path you have set before me, and I pray that for the reader too.

What idols have you looked toward to rescue you when things aren’t going your way? Is there an action step you need to ask and pray that God help you with?

Has God set a desire on your heart? Have you prayed about it and it just doesn’t seem to go away? Perhaps God is calling you to a leap of faith.

Have you spent money or time in programs that just are feeling like a waste of effort and resources?

Slavery comes in all forms, friends. Drugs, alcohol, pornography and other addictions that may seem like they’re going to help us feel better, however, trust me when I say, I KNOW this is not the answer. These addictions are mind altering. Mark 12:30 says “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your MIND and with all your strength“. God wants to free you from slavery. Please get some help with a professional or seek out the pastor at a Bible based church. PLEASE, its never too soon or too late to get help.

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Small Town Drama

  • Exodus 30:11-31:18
  • Matthew 26: 47-68
  • Psalm 32:1-11
  • Proverbs 8:27-32

“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.”

Matthew 26:52

We are at the point in the gospel of Matthew that Jesus is being arrested. The betrayer, “Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people.” Mt 26:47. Judas, his friend had gathered a crowd and come after Jesus. Jesus had been betrayed by someone he spent time with, worked with, ministered with, loved and trusted. Have you been betrayed, friend? If so, I encourage you to keep reading…..

Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: 
"The one I kiss is the man; arrest him."
 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, "Greetings Rabbi!" and kissed him.
Jesus replied, "Do what you came for friend."
Mt 26:48-50

How do you like them apples?!?! This guy had just eaten the Passover meal with Jesus, even dipped his bread in the same bowl as Jesus (vs 23). Jesus had warned them all that one of them would be the betrayer, and HE knew which one it was. But my understanding of the scriptures tell me, that the other Eleven didn’t. At this point, not only did Jesus feel betrayal, hurt and anger, but the others did too.

So naturally, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. vs 51 Wouldn’t you?

I have been known to have a hot temper. I’m not always proud of that, to be honest. You see, when I was growing up, we moved around alot. It was hard to make friends. Especially because of my appearance. I am 6’0 tall. That’s tall for a woman, right? Well, I grew this tall by the time I was in junior high school. We moved twice when I was in junior high school, so forever being the new girl, I got made fun of – ALOT. I really needed someone to come to my aid during those days, but of course, I was the new girl. It was a really difficult time.

Well, those childhood memories have created a warrior, of sorts, within me. One of the ways in which my temper can flare is when one of my friends or family gets hurt. When I see someone I love being betrayed, I can become a companion like Jesus and draw my sharp tongue and lash out at the betrayer.

Have you ever felt the need to draw out a sword to protect those you love?

Yesterday, actually God brought this verse to my mind, which I’m grateful for, because I remembered it when I needed it most. I live in a small town. Very small town. And there is a “feud” between two women in this town. There was some real betrayal by one of them toward the other. In fact, I’m sure that on both sides of that argument, you can find feelings of betrayal. One of them was being seen as taking advantage of a situation, the other came to the rescue of the situation. Things were said and done….and now 8-10 years later there’s still a feud. Because its a small town, these two women live near each other, they go to the same church, they share the same facebook friends, they shop at the same places, and visit the same venues. This conflict is like salt, it just keeps on rubbing and rubbing those wounds.

Well, I’m still kind of new here in this town, I’ve only lived in this town for going on five years, and so this situation that “everyone knows”, I have just come to know about over the past couple of years, and now I find myself right in the middle of it. One of the women has become my friend, and the other woman is stirring up hurt feelings and trying to “get back” at my friend.

Recently, very clearly during a conversation about the most current pot stirring, in my head I hear the words, “Put your sword back, Theresa, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” Which I did obey. I just shut my mouth. I must admit that I really wanted to say some stuff, ya know what I mean? Because, Lord knows, I can rant and rave at some people when you hurt my friends!! But Thank you Lord, for the reminder to be quiet.

In understanding today’s readings we see that this situation HAD to happen in order that the Scriptures be fulfilled:

But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?

Matthew 26: 54

But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.”

Matthew 26: 56

I’m not saying or comparing the conflict between these two ladies as fulfillment of the Scriptures, no not at all. Jesus said “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34. What I am saying is that Jesus knows our conflicts. In fact, He knows them even before they happen, just like he knew in advance about Judas being his betrayer. He knows our heart and he knows how we tend to react. This makes me think about Psalm 139:

You have searched me, Lord and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord know it completely.

Psalm 139:1-4

As we move forward through the gospel verses for today we find that in verse 63 “Jesus remained silent.” He knew the crucifixion was going to go through, just how God intended it. He knew every person and their heart, mind and soul in this entire upcoming horrific fulfillment of prophecy . He had told his disciples that in the end he would rise again. He’d already told them!

But friend, I’m with you. Its hard to remain silent sometimes. I promise you though, Jesus is present in your difficult situation. He knows it, even on the other side of the pain you are going through. He will see you through it, if you will just lean on him, and his promises of redemption and resurrection.

Oh Lord, I pray for the two women in our town, and I ask you to mend their hearts. In no way to I minimize their pain. If there is any evil in either of them or their households, I command in the name of Jesus that it quietly leave. Lord, I pray for a miracle of reconciliation between them. They were friends one time, a long time ago. I don’t know the whole story, but you do, Lord and I pray for you to give each of them exactly what they may need to heal. I thank you that you spoke to me yesterday and reminded me that YOU are in charge of this situation, and that I can rest in you, knowing that you make all things good for those who love you. I pray for the reader that stumbles upon this journal entry. I pray that it would minister to him or her in a very special way, and bring healing and hope for the future. Amen.

Is there a situation in your life that seems impossible to fix? Pray Psalm 139, I promise that God hears your prayer.

Is there a conversation in your life that needs to happen in order to bring reconciliation? I encourage you to read Matthew 5: 21-26, well, all of Chapter 5 really.

I’m praying for you, and all who read this. Is there something specific that I can pray for you? Comment below.

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Above all else, get Wisdom

I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.

Proverbs 8:17

Solomon, (and other wise men) in his book of Proverbs implore their readers to get wisdom. ALOT. They tell us that many times throughout this book. In fact, all of Chapter 8 is about Wisdom. It started out in yesterday’s verses with a question to us:

Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice?

Proverbs 8:1

By the way, I love that the writer referred to wisdom in the feminine, don’t you? But to be honest, sometimes, when I read the Proverbs, I feel like a complete and utter failure. I oftentimes screw it up. Spend my money on the latest and greatest supplements, programs, and products, thinking that’s the “wise” choice. I teeter down a path of ideas that lead to just something else to quit later, thinking it was a “wise” idea. I “think” this is what “God is calling me to do” with my life…wisdom, right? Only later to see that I wasted yet another few weeks and dollars on a frivolous idea.

Like this one time, back when the kids were young, I was looking for a small business idea. I wanted a career that I could make money at and still stay at home. Somewhere, I saw about how much money I could make with vending machines. The profit margin was huge….think about it, a big box of gumballs cost about $10 and had a bazillion gumballs in it. Each one sells for a quarter. Boom! Tons of money! I remembered as a kid I knew a girl, whose dad and mom had vending machines. They’d travel around town filling those machines up. I remember seeing all those boxes of yumminess and drooling as a kid. So I thought, if they could do it, so could I!!

So, I invested a bunch of money in to machines that I got on Ebay. But, I was wise, right? I wasn’t just going to buy a bunch of candy until I had the buy in from places that agreed to let me put my machines in their shop. (see I’m smart like that) Anyway, when I got my machines I piled them in my car, and drove around to businesses in the area pleading to put my machines in their operations.

Can you say #bigfail? Nobody. NO BODY. Not even one place gave me the time of day. I really did (well kinda) give it my best shot, but no one allowed me to put my candy machines in their place.

I wonder if the places that I went to “get Wisdom” were actually handing out AKA selling Wisdom at all? Maybe, JUST MAYBE, they were actually just selling gumball machines. Ugh. Misled again.

So, perhaps the internet isn’t the place to get wisdom. uh oh, am I shooting myself in the foot here? My blog is on the internet! Wait! Don’t stop reading! Please. I give you my word, that the direction I am pointing you here, is to the direction of getting Wisdom. TRUE Wisdom. Lets circle around with the verse that I started out with. It says, “I love those who love me,….” Who’s the “I” in this sentence, its Wisdom. Who is that? Who is this Wisdom?

The Lord brought me forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old; I was formed long ages ago, at the very beginning, when the world came to be. When there were no watery depths, I was given birth, when there were no springs overflowing with water; before the mountains were settled in place, before the hills, I was given birth,”

proverbs 8:22-26

So before the creation of the earth, Wisdom was given birth.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty and darkness was over the surface of the deep and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

Genesis 1:1

This Wisdom is the Spirit of God….who later was with God when God said in Gn 1:26 “Let US make mankind in our image, in our likeness….” The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit is Wisdom. Not the guy selling stuff on youtube.

With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity. My fruit is better than fine gold; what I yield surpasses choice silver. I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice, bestowing a rich inheritance on those who love me and making their treasuries full.

Proverbs 8:18-21

Boys and girls, Jesus is Wisdom. Jesus loves those who love Him and those who seek Him find Him. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33. Back in my gumball machine days, I was so worried about my kids, money, always worried if I was “doing the right thing”. I honestly think I caused myself more stress with money by “investing” in the THINGS that I thought I was supposed to be doing.

Lord, forgive me when I chase after things, instead of chasing after You. Help me and my readers to understand what it means to love you and seek you. That feels so foggy when money is tight or the kids are demanding. We believe your word when you say that you were here before the beginning of time, but how does that apply to us today? When my heart and those of my readers get restless and are seeking answers guide us to what is the true delight of our heart. I thank you Lord, that you rescued me from the gumball machine debacle, what a mess I got myself into that time chasing after pipe dreams. I thank you that you took my mess and turned it around for the good, as you promise you will. I pray that any reader that might stumble upon this writing find comfort in knowing that You make all things good for those who love you.

Have you ever fallen for a false promise of hope that has led to a mess? Can I pray for you in that situation?

How are you seeking Wisdom? Is it in the right place?

Are you seeking worldly riches or are you seeking enduring prosperity?

Is God asking you to take a leap of faith? I want you to know that the gumball machine mess actually did turn out for the good, in the long run. If you would like more information about how God made that into good, comment below, and I am happy to share that testimony.

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