Vineyard Life Journal

An online forum for our church family to connect around our 2012 daily Bible reading plan using the S.O.A.P. method.

Archive for the month “January, 2012”

Day 31

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Welcome to Day 31 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Exodus 28, 29; Acts 7 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

S cripture

Exodus 28 describes the priestly garments (ephod, breastpiece, robe, plate, tunic and under garments, sashes and caps.)

v 29, “Whenever Aaron enters the Holy Place, he will bear the names of the sons of Israel over his heart on the breastpiece of decision as a continuing memorial before the LORD. 30 Also put the Urim and the Thummim in the breastpiece, so they may be over Aaron’s heart whenever he enters the presence of the LORD. Thus Aaron will always bear the means of making decisions for the Israelites over his heart before the LORD.”

v 35 “Aaron must wear it [the robe] when he ministers. The sound of the bells will be heard when he enters the Holy Place before the LORD and when he comes out, so that he will not die.

Exodus 29, the consecration of the priests (Aaron and his sons.) ““Take from this ram the fat, the fat tail, the fat on the internal organs, the long lobe of the liver, both kidneys with the fat on them, and the right thigh.” So specific!

The specific parts of the bull (kidneys, liver, etc), what they were to do with it before the Lord (wave it, sprinkle blood on the alter), and what they were to do after (putting blood on their earlobes and big toes?) and then burning up the offering, except for the hide and intestines (had to be burnt outside the camp.)

Grain offerings, drink offerings, burnt offerings… all very specific instructions, 29:44 “So I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar and will consecrate Aaron and his sons to serve me as priests. 45 Then I will dwell among the Israelites and be their God. 46 They will know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them out of Egypt so that I might dwell among them. I am the LORD their God.

Acts 7 ends with Stephen giving the Jewish leaders a tongue-lashing! Acts 7:51, “You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52 Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him— 53 you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.” And Stephen is stoned to death… His last words? “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

Isn’t Jesus usually seated at the right hand of the father? Was he standing in honor of Stephen? To receive him??

O bservation

Very in-depth studies of the tabernacle, its furnishings and the priestly garments and accessories have been done. Way to much to go into in a SOAP exercise… However, it’s worth noting that all the details are significant. Noticed the twelve gem stone each representing one of the tribes of Israel. They were close to his heart!

Hebrews 4, “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 10, “…and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”

A pplication

I still land on the overall purpose of all of this was to make a way for people to be right/consecrated before God. That atonement could be made for their sins. That God wanted to “dwell among.” Not look down upon, but be among… with. God wanted them (us) to KNOW that he is the Lord our God. It all points to him!

P rayer

Lord, I am so thankful that you want to dwell among your people. I thank you that you don’t dwell in tents or buildings any longer, but you dwell among us by your Holy Spirit. Help me to “hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”

Lord that I would have the boldness and determination of Stephen…

Hang in there!

As we near the end of our first month, I just wanted to encourage you to hang in there!

I am publicly committed to this blog, which gives me little license to skip a day here and there… But last year, I struggled to keep up, just like most people. I’d miss a day and try to make it up the next… But what I have found, is that it is much easier over the long haul to simply make time each day.

I’d like to encourage you to do the same. It was so discouraging to fall behind… then someone asks you about how your reading is going and you might feel a little embarrassed when they do. Or you hear others talking about their reading when you have fallen behind a few days…

I’ve heard several people say they’ve kept up with their reading but not the journaling. Take that extra few minutes and jot down what stood out to you, how it applies to your life and the prayer that comes out of it. There’s something about simply writing it down…

Don’t get discouraged. Hang in there!

Does any of this resonate with you and your experience thus far?


Day 30

Monday, January 30, 2012

Welcome to Day 30 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Exodus 25, 26, 27; Acts 6 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

S cripture

Exodus 25, 26, 27 are the instructions for the Ark of the Covenant, the Tabernacle, and all its furnishings…

Click on image for best readability.

25:8-9 “Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. 9 Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.”

Acts 6:1, “In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews… choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them.” (Great example of going from “me” to “we.” Ephesians 4, “equipping the saints for the work of the ministry.”)

Bottom line, church growth always creates problems. ‘Nuf said…

Again, I know how this story of Stephen turns out… “the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. (Paul.)

O bservation

Today’s readings again reminded me that God is not, and does not want to be far off. He wants to be WITH us. With me… Not distant. Near.

Revelation 21:3, “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.”

Matthew 27:50-51, “And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. 51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” (The curtain separating the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place or The Holy of Holies

Hebrews 10:19, “…we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus…”

A pplication

Today’s application is easy. I need to remember, every moment, that God wants to be with me.

P rayer

God I thank you that you want to be with me. Thank you for tearing that curtain that kept man separated from you… that kept us from entering into that Most Holy Place. Thank you that you don’t dwell in buildings or tents… but that you live in us, and abide with us by your Spirit. Thank you for your son Jesus, the Lamb of God, and our great high priest who made this possible according to your plan.

Day 29

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Welcome to Day 29 of our Life Journal!

I hope you’re hanging in there with me! : )

Click here for today’s reading: Exodus 23, 24; Psalms 14; Acts 5 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

S cripture

Exodus 23, More laws of justice and mercy, Sabbath laws, Festivals…

v 20 I wonder what the angel God sent looked like? The one he sent to lead and to guard… Was he obviously and angel, or would be pass as a human if God hadn’t said anything?

Exodus 24, “Then the LORD said to Moses, “Come up to the LORD, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel. You are to worship at a distance, 2 but Moses alone is to approach the LORD; the others must not come near. And the people may not come up with him. 3 When Moses went and told the people all the LORD’s words and laws, they responded with one voice, “Everything the LORD has said we will do.” (Easier said than done…)

Psalm 14, “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God… The LORD looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.”

Acts 5:41, “The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.”

O bservation

So many laws, and we’re barely getting started!

(24:1-2) I’m so thankful we all get to draw near in worship now… That we may all “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16 It’s not just for the elite or the powerful, but it’s for everyone… I love that God invited Moses into His presence, on the mountain.

I wonder what the people thought when Moses sprinkled blood on them… I wonder if it was on everyone?

A pplication

I want to be one of those who, when God looks down, sees me seeking him… to be one who understands. To be one who “never stops teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.”

P rayer

Lord, I only have any understanding because of You… I will continue seeking You… and worshiping You.

P.S. I have come to a conclusion as we near the end of our first month… This works better for me if I read all the passages first, THEN do my SOAP. Otherwise my SOAP becomes a blow by blow commentary, vs the intent of the SOAP to discover and share what stands out, not giving my observations verse by verse… I’m curious how yours is going?

Day 28

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Welcome to Day 28 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Exodus 21, 22; Psalms 12; Acts 4 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

S cripture

Exodus 21 and 22, laws about Hebrew servants, personal injuries, protection of property and social responsibility.

Exodus 22:22-27, “Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless. 23 If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. 24 My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless. 25 “If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not treat it like a business deal; charge no interest. 26 If you take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge, return it by sunset, 27 because that cloak is the only covering your neighbor has. What else can they sleep in? When they cry out to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate.”

Psalm 12:5, “Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the LORD. “I will protect them from those who malign them.”

One of my favorite passages in the entire Bible, Acts 4:12-13, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” 13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”

4:31, “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”

4:32 reiterates 2:42, “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.”

O bservation

Funny that all these laws were given immediately after the ten commandments were given… Easy to see where “an eye for an eye” came from. It’s right there. The Israelites observed these laws for 1,500 years. No wonder when Jesus came and picked grain on the Sabbath they got upset. But they missed the point. The Sabbath was given for man, not man for the Sabbath.

God’s heart has always been for the fatherless and the widows and the poor…

After the healing of the lame man, another 2,000 believers were added. Funny how the resurrection has always been the trigger for debate. The Sadducees didn’t believe in resurrection, so when Peter spoke of it, they threw them into prison.

A pplication

Acts 2 and 4 both paint a picture of the early church and is a good target for what church could be or should be.

Exodus passages speak to restitution… reconciliation. Making things right. Taking responsibility for one’s actions in any given situation. I think I’m pretty good at this… I always try to own what’s mine, even if it’s just my 1%. I know I can always handle situations better, say something in a more gentle way, etc. Blame is never a good strategy.

P rayer

Lord help me to always be mindful of others around me. Give me eyes to see others’ needs… to be one who makes things right. To be a man of integrity… To be one who is filled with the Holy Spirit and power.

Day 27

Friday, January 27, 2012

Welcome to Day 27 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Exodus 17, 18, 19, 20; Acts 3 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

S cripture

Exodus 17:1-7, the people are thirsty and want water… God tells Moses to strike the rock and water begins to flow from it. The people were so agitated that Moses thought they were about to stone him!

v 11-12 “As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12 When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset.”

In like manner, Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law came to him and told him there was a better way to solve everyone’s problems… 18:21 “Select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.”

Exodus 18 Moses LISTENED to Jethro’s advice! He could stand the strain and the people would go home satisfied.

Exodus 19, God speaks to Moses at Mt. Sinai, “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, 6 you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”

19:12 “Don’t touch the foot of or even approach the mountain.”

O bservation

Great pictures of God’s ability to protect and provide…

Sometimes he would turn bitter water into good (when Moses threw the log into the water and it became fresh.) This time he told Moses to strike the rock.

Sometimes God would defeat an army by his own hand (Red Sea) or hold them back by the cloud… Other times the Israelites had to fight. The key is to pray and listen to his directives…

“As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning.” Didn’t matter that he didn’t hold them up by his own strength?

The Ten Commandments… Exodus 20.

Acts 3:12 “Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?” Keep this in mind to keep whatever power and authority one may have in proper perspective…

A pplication

Protection and provision

Sometimes I need to let others hold up my hands for me…

We have different strengths and abilities… a spiritual credit card of sorts… I may be a leader of tens, fifties, hundreds or thousands… The key is to be the best leader I can be at whatever level and to whatever I am called.

What does it mean to obey “fully?” Perfectly? Give it my best shot?

The cloud and the mountain/Sinai represented God’s presence… It’s important to not take His presence lightly… They had to consecrate themselves properly to even approach His presence.

P rayer

Lord, I know you want more from me than just keeping rules. You want relationship. You want honor and obedience. I need people around me to hold up my hands. Help me to become the leader you have called me to be.

Day 26

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Welcome to Day 26 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Exodus 14, 15, 16; Acts 2 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

The Life Journal reading plan Bible ap on my iPhone was missing Exodus 15… Just fyi in case you are using the same mechanism to mark your plan… I confirmed on that Exodus 15 IS part of today’s reading. Obviously it was supposed to be…

S cripture

Exodus 14:5-8, “When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds about them and said, “What have we done? We have let the Israelites go and have lost their services!” 6 So he had his chariot made ready and took his army with him. 7 He took six hundred of the best chariots, along with all the other chariots of Egypt, with officers over all of them. 8 The LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites, who were marching out boldly.”

v 26 “Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may flow back over the Egyptians and their chariots and horsemen.” 27 Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea went back to its place. The Egyptians were fleeing toward it, and the LORD swept them into the sea. 28 The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen—the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived.”

Obviously Pharaoh hasn’t learned his lessons. Egypt has been destroyed, all their crops, livestock, death of their firstborn… Now, they have lost their entire army including 600 of their best chariots and officers.

Exodus 15 is the great song of Moses and Miriam… Always a good idea to worship God for his mighty acts!

Exodus 16, Logistics problems… keeping in mind that there were six hundred thousand men, not including women and children!) (Exodus 12:37 (some estimates are as high as two million people!) We are talking about moving more people than are in the entire Dayton region, mostly on foot. That takes a lot of food and water for both people and livestock and coordination! Difficult to find suitable drinking water (wood into the water, it became fresh). Then “what is it?” appeared… Manna. But not before they grumbled about meat.

Exodus 16:14 “When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. 15 When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. The people of Israel called the bread manna…” 31 It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey.

Acts 2, the fulfillment of the promise of the Holy Spirit… Could do a SOAP just on this piece…

O bservation

The Israelites grumbled thinking they were going to be killed by the Egyptian army or die from hunger. They had issues with following simple instructions, “Don’t gather more manna than you need.”

It’s easy to think, “If I saw a miracle… or if I saw the Lord part the Red Sea… or if manna appeared in my yard as a sign, I would believe. The reality is we all have short memories and it’s easy to forget the slavery of Egypt in our lives and look back (remember Lot?) and think we were better off in slavery because we had meat!

Even with having a pillar of cloud/fire leading and protecting them, they still had a difficult time believing.

Side note: John 20:29, “Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” That would be me!

Acts 2:40, “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.” Whenever I read this, I am put in my place. Our church is in the 2,500 range… Peter preached and 3,000 people were added in one day. Note to self…

Love, love, love this passage: Acts 2:42-47, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

That is what the church is supposed to be… ‘nuf said…

A pplication

It’s so easy to forget from where we came… So easy to not be fully obedient (ie gather more manna than we were supposed to… or grumble about what the Lord has provided…)

Note: The Lord really wanted them to take a sabbath to rest… I really need to work on this. More than just a command, it’s in my best interest… must be for it to keep coming up. Even the Lord rested on the seventh day after creation. And it wasn’t because He was tired…

P rayer

Lord, I want all that You have for me. Give us this day our daily bread (manna). I trust You to provide for me. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of a church like the Vineyard that values Acts 2 in all regards. I want to walk in the power of Your Spirit. Help me not to grumble when I don’t get my way or see what You are doing.

Day 25

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Welcome to Day 25 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Exodus 12, 13; Psalms 21; Acts 1 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

S cripture

Exodus 12:12, “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and…”

“…when I see the blood, I will pass over you.”

Exodus 13 is all about the consecration of every firstborn male to commemorate them leaving Egypt, the land of slavery. (Perhaps better yet, the day they were set free!) Also mentions that they didn’t take the main road that led through the land of the Philistines, but the off-road toward the Red Sea.

Psalm 21, “The king rejoices in your strength, LORD. How great is his joy in the victories you give!”

Acts 1:8 “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.

O bservation

At any point along the way, Pharaoh could have let the Israelites go, and God would have spared them… but because of the hardness of his heart, his stubbornness and “unyielding” mindset, it cost them dearly… including the firstborn male of EVERY household in Egypt. It also cost them livestock and ALL their crops…

And, as this story continues, it will cost them their army, since they are about to follow the Israelites to the Red Sea to get them back…

My key observations today are these…

First, “When I see the blood, I will pass over (Passover) you.” That is all anyone had to do to be saved… If there was blood (a one year old lamb or goat without defect) on their doorway, the “destroyer” would not be allowed to enter.

I wonder… if ALL Israelites did this? I wonder if they didn’t use a lamb (or goat) without defect if they were still passed over? I wonder of ANY of the Israelites died that night?

I also wonder… if any Egyptians heard about it and tried to do it… would it have worked? I wonder if circumcision entered into the equation?

The Greek word for "power" is "Dunamis!" (The same root word for "dynamite!") Power, strength, ability!

Second, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.”

A pplication

Obedience saved their lives. It wasn’t a hard task… only to put blood on the doorposts.

Didn’t seem to matter what anyone had done prior, or even what was happening in the house… only the blood mattered. “When I see the blood, I will pass over you.”

Two words for today, “Passover” and “power.” (Or “promise” of the Holy Spirit).

The Father sent his only son, Jesus, the Lamb of God without spot or wrinkle, as our Passover. (God sees his blood on the doorposts of my heart and passes over me.) And when he ascended into Heaven and sent the promise of the Holy Spirit, we received power.

P rayer

Lord, help me to be your witness “in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Dayton, Montgomery and Greene counties, Ohio and to the ends of the earth.) I need your power to do this… Thank you for passing over me. I know it’s not because of anything I have done, only because of your son.

Day 24

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Welcome to Day 24 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Exodus 9, 10, 11; Luke 24 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

S cripture

Genesis 9, 10 & 11 Plagues: Livestock, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, firstborn…

Exodus 9:1, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: “Let my people go, so that they may worship me.”

Exodus 9:7, “Yet his [Pharaoh’s] heart was unyielding and he would not let the people go.”

O bservation

“Let my people go, so that they may worship me.” “Yet his [Pharaoh’s] heart was unyielding and he would not let the people go.”

I clearly saw God’s mercy through the plagues… For instance, the hail did not take out the wheat and the spelt. (Only the flax and the barley.) The locusts took care of the rest, since Pharaoh’s heart was still hardened after the hail. NOTHING green was left on a tree or plant afterward.

Even when the river was turned to blood and all the vessels filled with water… apparently they could dig along the river for fresh water.

Even when Pharaoh would say yes, he would change his mind, or give conditions, “only the men” or “only the men and women, but not the livestock.”

I wonder what the the first nine plagues cost Egypt? And the tenth is the worst… (firstborn).

Time to hit that pause button again until tomorrow when we pick up on how the Lord draws the distinction between the Israelites and the Egyptians… They didn’t have to do anything to avoid the hail or darkness, but this final plague will be different! (Cue the Passover.)

Luke 24, the resurrection. These events can’t be captured in a few bullet points: The stone is rolled away. Angels appear to the women. Jesus walks with a couple of guys along the road to Emmaus, then he appears to the rest of the disciples.

He is alive… and no one could believe it. “Their words seemed like nonsense!” v 11. But Jesus is alive and begins appearing to people to reassure them that this all had to happen, just as he said it would.

Sidenote: Jesus broke the bread with the people he had walked with, then ate fish with his disciples to whom he had appeared… He clearly wasn’t a ghost! He had a glorified body.

A pplication

One of my favorite verses is in Luke 24:32, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” Hopefully as I read the Word, I experience what they did… THAT is the goal. Transformation not information! I need to know what the Bible says, but not for information, as important as it is to know what it says… I need for it to change me.

P rayer

Lord, may your word sink deep into my soul to change me from the inside out… That my mind would be renewed. That I would know your ways… your heart… your word.

I don’t want to have an unyielding, stubborn or hard heart…

Day 23

Monday, January 23, 2012

Welcome to Day 23 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Exodus 6, 7, 8; Luke 23 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

S cripture

Exodus 6, Moses tells the Israelites what God is about to do, but they are too discouraged to listen. Then Moses’ and Aaron’s family line… And once again, Moses again has his doubts about speaking with Pharaoh, even though God has told him what to say… “Why would Pharaoh listen to me?? I have faltering lips.” (I don’t talk so good…)

Exodus 7 and 8 are all about the plagues God is sending (water turns to blood, frogs, gnats, flies) and how Pharaoh one minute says they may go and worship, then the next minute his heart is hardened and he refuses to let them leave…

The big story today is the Crucifixion in Luke 23… and the thief who defends Jesus and asks Jesus to “remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Luke 23:39 “One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” 42, Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”43 Jesus answered him,

“Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” 

(Also took note that Pilate and Herod “became friends that day” passing Jesus back and forth…)

O bservation

It’s interesting to me that Pharaoh’s “wise men, sorcerers and magicians” could do some of the same miracles… Their staffs turned into snakes, they also turned water into blood “by their secret arts.” They couldn’t produce gnats from dust though… Wondering if Moses, being raised in a Pharaoh’s household, knew that they had magicians and sorcerers available… Can’t imagine this is new to only this Pharaoh…

What an amazing story… one thief hurls insults, the other defends Jesus and asks him, “Don’t you fear God?” then asks Jesus to remember him… Such a great picture of God’s mercy…

A pplication

The common denominator between the Exodus readings and the Luke reading? Hardness of heart. Pharaoh and the other thief (who insulted Jesus). You could also add Pilate to this list… “This man has done nothing to deserve punishment.” But he still allowed them to crucify Jesus…

It’s so easy for our hearts to become hardened…

P rayer

Lord, I don’t want to have a hard heart… I want to be like Joseph, “a member of the Council, a good and upright man, 51, who had not consented to their decision and action… and he himself was waiting for the kingdom of God.” Luke 23:51-52.

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