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 “February, 2012”

Day 59.5 (Leap Day)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Welcome to Day 59.5 of our Life Journal!

The Life Journal reading plan apparently didn’t make provision for February 29, 2012 (Leap Day!) lol… Ummm… OK.

We have now completed two months of our Life Journal journey together!

Since we have a “day off,” here’s what I thought we’d do…

What if we all review our journals and share the one thing that has stood out to you thus far… the one insight or observation, the one thing you think the Lord has been showing you through this process.

What has God been showing or speaking to you about?

Day 59

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Welcome to Day 59 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Numbers 22, 25, 26, 27; 1 Corinthians 13  (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

Numbers 24, Balaam speaks prophetically against all the nations of Canaan (the inhabitants of the Promised Land) in which Israel is about to enter. Balak is none too happy about it either!

“Now when Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, he did not resort to divination as at other times, but turned his face toward the wilderness. 2 When Balaam looked out and saw Israel encamped tribe by tribe, the Spirit of God came on him 3 and he spoke his message…”

Balaam was prophesying by the Spirit of the Lord, but he also had no problem using “divination” in the process. In this case, he didn’t… but overall, Balaam is not considered a true prophet.

NOTE: Peter warned against “the way of Balaam,” Jude against “the error of Balaam” and John against “the doctrine of Balaam” (2 Peter 2:15Jude 11Revelation 2:14).

Numbers 25, this is insanity… Israel has now completely lost their mind! v 1 “The men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women, 2 who invited them to the sacrifices to their gods. The people ate the sacrificial meal and bowed down before these gods. 3 So Israel yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor. And the LORD’s anger burned against them.”

Keep in mind, they are within SIGHT of the Promised Land…

One guy (the son of one of Israel’s leaders) brought one of the Midianite women into his tent… Very bad idea. They are both killed, which incidentally stops a plague God had sent upon the Israelites! 24,000 people died that day…

Numbers 26, God tells Moses to take another census of all men age 20+… Remember what God said? “No one over age 20 will enter the Promised Land, the land of inheritance… except for Caleb and Joshua… v 64 “Not one of them was among those counted by Moses and Aaron the priest when they counted the Israelites in the Desert of Sinai. 65 For the LORD had told those Israelites they would surely die in the wilderness, and not one of them was left except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.”

Numbers 27:1-11 is a great picture of justice! And, the reward for their father NOT sinning as all the others had done! “Our father died in the wilderness. He was not among Korah’s followers, who banded together against the LORD, but he died for his own sin and left no sons. 4 Why should our father’s name disappear from his clan because he had no son? Give us property among our father’s relatives.” 5 So Moses brought their case before the LORD, 6 and the LORD said to him, 7 “What Zelophehad’s daughters are saying is right.”

Moses is then given additional laws about inheritance because these girls stood up and made their situation known. Love it.

Interesting left turn from the book of Mark to 1 Corinthians 13… (Would love to know their thinking on this.)

v 1 “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”

Note to self…

O bservation

Two observations stand out to me today…

The first is yet again how easy it is to fall into sin… Israel did it over and over. One would think with all they had seen over a generation (parting the Red Sea, manna, glory cloud, hearing His voice, etc, etc, etc…) that it would have prevented them from turning away so quickly… But no…

The second is works without love are just works. They are good, but = nothing. They are just noise. We gain nothing and it says, “I am nothing.” Good works without love are just good works. But insert love, and the purposes of extending God’s Kingdom, and fruit is produced. Fruit that will last!

John 15:16, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit thatwill last…”

A pplication

Be on the lookout… live a measured life. Live a life of purpose to extend the Kingdom with LOTS of LOVE.

P rayer

Yet again I come to you, asking for strength… Let me see things as you see them. I want to bear fruit that lasts, not just good works, not just feeding the hungry, but extending your Kingdom to those in need. To the lost, broken and hurting of our city. Our city needs a lot of love…

Please post a comment : )

Good morning everyone!

I have a favor to ask… I know you are all busy, and I am well aware of the amount of time it takes to read and do the SOAP exercise…

We have more than 200 views of this blog EVERY DAY. There’s not a day that goes by when someone doesn’t say, “Hey, I read your blog!” or “I do my SOAP then compare it to yours.” So we know people are looking on…

But I have a favor to ask…

Once in a while, take a moment and post a comment, however brief. Share your insight, an observation…
This is meant to be community-building, but in order for that to happen, we need to know who’s participating!
I’m not asking you to comment every day, but once in a while, ok? This journal is not supposed to be about me, but about US, sharing this experience together.
I look forward to hearing from you!
God bless!

Day 58

Monday, February 27, 2012

Welcome to Day 58 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Numbers 21, 22, 23; Mark 6, 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

L O N G reading today… five chapters, loaded with amazing stories!

Numbers 21, Israel is about to enter the Promised Land… but not before another incident of grumbling against Moses and God. (You’d think they would have learned by now…)

Numbers 21:6, “Then the LORD sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. 7 The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the LORD and against you. Pray that the LORD will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. 8 The LORD said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.”

Jesus mentions this event while talking to Nicodemus in John 3:1-17

“Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again. 4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” 5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

9 “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

Israel marches on to take possession of their land… Several battles along the way.

Numbers 22:20-22 God is not happy that Balaam is going to go with the elders of Moab and Midian… (Remember back in the day that Moses stayed with the Midianites… and married a Midianite woman? (Exodus 2)

Funny, the donkey saw the angel before Balaam did… 30, “The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?” “No,” he said.”

So… why are you beating me??

As it turns out the donkey saved Balaam’s life… otherwise the angel would have struck him down!

What a great story.

(Funny, no record of Balaam saying, “Ummm, my donkey is speaking to me! Did you hear that?? He SPOKE!”)

Side note: Balaam is considered to be a pagan prophet that had some regard for the LORD. He is actually a prime example of a false prophet and teacher… that God used for His purposes to thwart their plan against Israel. (See Numbers 24:1, “Now when Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, he did not resort to divination as at other times, but turned his face toward the wilderness.”) Seems Balaam saw the benefit of blessing Israel… that it pleased the Lord…

v 27, you gotta love Balak’s response to Balaam’s blessing of Israel… Paraphrased, “Let’s go someplace else… perhaps God will let you curse them from there!” (More on this tomorrow!)

How often do people (I/we?) try to manipulate a situation until we get the answer we want to hear?? Not a great idea. Note to self.

Mark 6, we see Jesus rejected by his own people, sending out the twelve, his cousin, John the Baptist is beheaded (at the request of Herod’s wife… because his DAUGHTER danced for him and it pleased him??) Jesus feeds the 5,000, walks on water.

56 “And wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.” Not just the woman with the issue of blood was healed that way… ALL who touched him were healed!

Mark 7, the Pharisees are still trying to figure out Jesus… He heals people, gives amazing teachings, but doesn’t follow the letter of their law (tradition, not the Law of Moses… add ons, if you will…) He is eating with hands that are ceremonially unclean…

He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:

6-8 “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 7 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ 8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” (Emphasis is mine…)

O bservation

Most of my observations are already above… Here are a few additional thoughts…

Moses prayed for his people all the time…

Jesus can provide for us miraculously, multiplying food, etc.

Faith and familiarity come into play at some point in terms of how much God can do in one’s life. They didn’t regard Jesus as a prophet or healer in his hometown (even though they acknowledged his wisdom and the other miracles he had performed!) so he couldn’t do much there. It limited his ability to heal… Only a few sick people were healed because of their lack of faith. (Mark 6:5-6)

I still would like to know why God allowed John the Baptist to be beheaded… What a horrible end… and based upon the request of Herod’s wife, via his daughter that danced for him?? This one just makes me shake my head. This is a great example of “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Still seems wrong to me…

I have a category I put this into…

It’s not how I die that matters. It’s how I live.

In the end, we are all going to leave this earth. I’d rather not die “before my time,” but I’m sure many in John the Baptist’s time thought he had… I’d rather not die of cancer, in a fire or a car crash… or some other tragic end. But how I go matters far less than how I live now. John was considered to be the greatest among men!

Keep in mind, he was Jesus’ cousin, too. One would think he may get special treatment, right?? Apparently not…

Wow, lots to chew on today…

A pplication

I don’t want to be a person that observes human rules and traditions… I want to be a person who honors God with a heart that is near Him, not far from Him. Not just giving “lip service.”

P rayer

Lord, help me as I process all that I have read today… So much to take in…

Day 57

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Welcome to Day 57 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Numbers 19, 20; Psalms 28; Mark 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

Numbers 19, Arrangements for cleansing those ceremonially unclean are presented. Under the direction of Eleazar the priest, a red heifer without blemish (v 2) is taken outside the camp and killed (v 3). The priest performs a prescribed ceremony (v 4) and the heifer is burned (v 5–6; See Heb. 9:11–13). Then the ashes are gathered up and put in a clean place outside the camp, to be kept for use in the water of cleansing (v 9–10). Situations of uncleanness requiring ceremonial cleansing are discussed in v 11–16, followed by the procedures for use of the water for impurity (v 17–22). (Reformation Study Bible)

v 7-12 “The LORD said to Moses, 8 “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.” 9 So Moses took the staff from the LORD’s presence, just as he commanded him. 10 He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” 11 Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.

12 But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”

Numbers 20, In his exasperation with Israel, Moses acted presumptuously and failed to honor the holiness of God (v 9–11 note; Exodus 17:6 notes). The seriousness of Moses’ sin is evident from the resulting judgment—he was not allowed to enter the Promised Land (v 12). (Matthew Henry’s Commentary)

v 21 Instead of them trusting the Lord, and him stepping in on their behalf to provide safe passage, the Israelites are turned away from passing through Edom… But at least they weren’t attacked by them, only turned away.

Mark 5, Jesus restores the demon-possessed man… and raises the synagogue leader’s daughter from the dead. The woman with the issue of blood is healed as she reached out to Jesus as he was on his way to pray for the little girl. What a great chapter!

O bservation

In Moses’ frustration with the people, he sinned against God. Funny how that happens. He knew better than anyone to follow God’s instructions to the letter. But instead of SPEAKING to the rock, he struck it… not once, but TWICE. And it cost him passing over into the Promised Land. He will only get within sight of it…

(Am I the only one who noticed that Miriam and Aaron both died within a very short time of each other??)

Could produce a SOAP on each story in Mark 5…

How Jesus restores our lives (the demon possessed man).

(Wonder how the owner of those TWO THOUSAND pigs reacted to this news??) Legion, for we are many… Wondering if it was one demon per pig, or how that worked… When Jesus was being arrested, he told his disciples in Matthew 26:53, “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” (In terms of soldiers, a legion of Roman soldiers was 5,000.)

How we can be healed, simply by reaching out and touching Jesus. (Woman with the issue of blood). (Did you note that she had been to many doctors and spent all that she had? Nothing has changed in this regard in 2,000 years…

How Jesus raised the dead. Nothing is impossible for/with Jesus.

A pplication

So much that applies today…

But what stands out for me, as a leader, is the consequences of our actions… Moses allowed his frustration with the people to affect him. (And this was right after God had appeared to Him and Aaron and spoken to them!)

Being in God’s presence doesn’t necessarily free us from our own sin, does it? You would think having been IN God’s presence… that God having appeared to Moses that Moses would have calmed down… been set free from his frustration and anger… instead He went straight from in God’s presence into sin, that cost him his entrance into the Promised Land.

This makes my heart very heavy… It’s one thing to run the race. It’s another thing to finish well. This life is a long journey… a marathon of following the Lord. Many run the race. Few finish well…

Wow… BIG note to self.

Obvious application about looking to Jesus for our healing and trusting him in all things…

P rayer

Lord, I want to run this race and finish well…

Psalm 28:7, “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.”


Day 56

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Welcome to Day 56 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Numbers 17, 18; Psalms 29; Mark 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

Numbers 17:10-13, “The LORD said to Moses, “Put back Aaron’s staff in front of the ark of the covenant law, to be kept as a sign [reminder] to the rebellious. This will put an end to their grumbling against me, so that they will not die.” 11 Moses did just as the LORD commanded him.

12 The Israelites said to Moses, “We will die! We are lost, we are all lost! 13 Anyone who even comes near the tabernacle of the LORD will die. Are we all going to die?”

Numbers 18:26-29, “The LORD said to Moses, 26 “Speak to the Levites and say to them: ‘When you receive from the Israelites the tithe I give you as your inheritance, you must present a tenth of that tithe as the LORD’s offering… 28 In this way you also will present an offering to the LORD from all the tithes you receive from the Israelites. From these tithes you must give the LORD’s portion to Aaron the priest. 29 You must present as the LORD’s portion the best and holiest part of everything given to you.”

Psalm 29:1-2, “Ascribe to the LORD, you heavenly beings, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. 2 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.”

Mark 4, the parable of the sower and the seed… should be called the parable of the soil. It’s about the condition of each type of soil (heart), except for the seed that is snatched away by the birds (enemy). Also about the lamp on a stand… that we are to let our light shine for all to see… to bring light into any situation!

O bservation

The Lord gives yet another reminder as to who he had chosen… to stop the grumbling. Even though he said the people wouldn’t die, they were in panic mode, convinced they were toast. They had seen God’s wrath and now knew what it meant to “fear” the Lord. God, yet again, spared Israel in his mercy.

One can choose to see that 14,700 died as a result of their disobedience, or one can see that he spared over a million people. God swore that no one over age 20 except for Joshua and Caleb, would enter the promised land. We’ll see how this plays out over the next few days…

Regarding the tithe that went to the Levites… I noted that even the Levites themselves were commanded to give a tithe from their portion to the Lord… the “best and holiest portion.” This really struck me.

The parable of the sower and seed reminded me of Paul in Athens… the result of people hearing the message is, as always, “some believe, some want to hear more, some will sneer.” And even out of those who believe, the enemy loves to snatch that word or that seed away keep it from ever taking root…

I think we are all prone to weeds… v 19 “the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.”

BUT… others “hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown!”

A pplication

Wondering… do I really give the “best and holiest” portion of everything I receive from the Lord back to Him? It’s one thing to give my “first fruits” or “off the top.” But this is a matter of perspective, a heart issue.

Interesting in Corinthians it uses the analogy of sowing and reaping in terms of giving and generosity. Today’s reading is about the tithe of the Levites… and the sower and the seed of the word of God… and being FRUITFUL.

Producing a crop “some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown!” In order to reap a crop, one has to sow seed, right? If I want to reap a harvest of 30/60/100 I have to sow seed… and not let my desire for “other things” get in the way of what God wants to do in my life.

It’s about focus. It’s about priorities. It’s about the soil of my heart being ready. It’s about not letting life get in the way. It’s about living a life of generosity, giving my best to the Lord.

Remember the blue tassels and now the budding staff? Alters were built, the

Passover meal observed. All are REMINDERS.

P rayer

Lord, I want to be fruitful… Help me to be one whose heart is ready to receive… and to give!

Day 55

Friday, February 24, 2012

Welcome to Day 55 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Numbers 14, 15, 16; Mark 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

Numbers 14:11, “The LORD said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs I have performed among them?” THAT is the million dollar question… v 20 “The LORD replied, “I have forgiven them, as you asked. 21 Nevertheless… …as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the LORD fills the whole earth, 22 not one of those who saw my glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times— 23 not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their ancestors.”

v 39 “When Moses reported this to all the Israelites, they mourned bitterly. 40 Early the next morning they set out for the highest point in the hill country, saying, “Now we are ready to go up to the land the LORD promised. Surely we have sinned!” 41 But Moses said, “Why are you disobeying the LORD’s command? This will not succeed! 42 Do not go up, because the LORD is not with you. You will be defeated by your enemies, 43 for the Amalekites and the Canaanites will face you there. Because you have turned away from the LORD, he will not be with you and you will fall by the sword.” 44 Nevertheless, in their presumption they went up toward the highest point in the hill country, though neither Moses nor the ark of the LORD’s covenant moved from the camp. 45 Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in that hill country came down and attacked them and beat them down all the way to Hormah.”

Note to self.

Numbers 15:32-36, “While the Israelites were in the wilderness, a man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day. 33 Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and the whole assembly, 34 and they kept him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him. 35 Then the LORD said to Moses, “The man must die. The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp.” 36 So the assembly took him outside the camp and stoned him to death, as the LORD commanded Moses.”

Seems pretty harsh, doesn’t it? For gathering wood? The thing is, it wasn’t about gathering wood… it was about disobedience, right? This guy could have otherwise been a great guy! Kind. Generous. Faithful to his wife and kids. But one single act of disobedience cost him his life. Death by stoning. For gathering wood… on the Sabbath.

The Lord speaks to Moses about adding tassels to their garments with a blue cord, v 39 “so you will remember all the commands of the LORD, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by chasing after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes. 40 Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God.” The problem is not that we need a reminder… the problem is the lust in our hearts and eyes…

Numbers 16, “Korah… Dathan and Abiram… became insolent 2 and rose up against Moses. With them were 250 Israelite men, well-known community leaders who had been appointed members of the council. 3 They came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the LORD is with them. Why then do you set yourselves above the LORD’s assembly?”

v 12 “Then Moses summoned Dathan and Abiram… But they said, “We will not come! 13 Isn’t it enough that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey to kill us in the wilderness? And now you also want to lord it over us! 14 Moreover, you haven’t brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey or given us an inheritance of fields and vineyards. Do you want to treat these men like slaves? No, we will not come!”

Did they really just refer to EGYPT as a land flowing with milk and honey?? Hmmm… what about the slavery and oppression?? What about making bricks without straw?? They are within SIGHT of Canaan, the Promised Land! Sigh… this is hard to watch unfold…

v 31 “…the ground under them split apart 32 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and their households, and all those associated with Korah, together with their possessions. 33 They went down alive into the realm of the dead, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community. 34 At their cries, all the Israelites around them fled, shouting, “The earth is going to swallow us too!” 35 And fire came out from the LORD and consumed the 250 men who were offering the incense.” Moses’ response… v 37 “Tell Eleazar son of Aaron, the priest, to remove the censers from the charred remains and scatter the coals some distance away, for the censers are holy— 38 the censers of the men who sinned at the cost of their lives.”

Aaron then offered incense their defense to make atonement for their sin, but a plague had already started… “But 14,700 people died from the plague, in addition to those who had died because of Korah.”

Mark 3, We see Jesus healing on the Sabbath… In the previous chapter, Jesus was picking heads of grain… for which the main was stoned in the wilderness (well, it was gathering wood, but same difference…). v 4 “Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent. 5 He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. 6 Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.” Wow…

Jesus appointed the twelve disciples, but it is only mentioned in passing in Mark’s gospel. Much more detail given in other gospels… Often about each one of them… Jesus’ mother (Mary) and brothers show up at a home where he is ministering… he basically said, “I’m busy…” (The teachers of the Law had just accused him of driving out demons by Satan himself. He had bigger fish to fry at that particular moment…

O bservation

Wow, this could take all day… Again so much that could be said… But the SOAP exercise is about focus… What passage stood out to you. What did God speak to you through that particular passage… How did it apply to your life?

As much as there is (again) in the Mark passages, the Israelite leaders’ insolence is unmistakably what stood out to me… and the subsequent result. They decided they could be their own priests, offer their own sacrifice. Thumbing their noses at Moses. And God. Note to self? Bad idea… They could have kept their mouths shut. Been patient for just a little longer and gone into the promised land…

Easier said than done.

But eventually, whatever is in the tube is squeezed out… under pressure…

A pplication

Pretty obvious… Don’t do what they did. Trust God. Don’t move ahead of Him. (It was OBVIOUS to all when it was time to move, or when to stay put… Just follow the cloud. Not rocket science. I think it’s more difficult for us today to know when to move or when to stay put… We are “led by the Spirit” but how He is leading YOU may be different than how He’s leading ME. It’s not always so obvious to us, is it?

As it says in Galatians 5, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

P rayer

Help me to do THAT. To keep in step with Your Spirit. To not get impatient… to not go ahead of you. To not look back at being enslaved in Egypt as though it’s better than where You are leading me.

Click HERE to listen to one of my favorite acoustic worship songs by Martin Smith of Delirious. “Oh, Lead Me.”

Day 54

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Welcome to Day 54 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Numbers 12, 13; Psalms 90; Mark 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

S cripture

Numbers 12:1, “Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite. 2 “Has the LORD spoken only through Moses?” they asked. “Hasn’t he also spoken through us?” And the LORD heard this.

3 (Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.)”

Numbers 13, Moses sent some men ahead into Canaan to see what was there… They were to report back about the people, towns, how is the soil, bring back samples of the fruit, etc…

v 30 “Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. 33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”

Psalm 90:1, “Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. v 17 May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands.”

Mark 2, Jesus heals, eats with sinners, calls Levi (Matthew) a tax collector, addresses fasting and the Sabbath.

v 27 “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

v 13-17, “Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. 14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him. 15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

O bservation

Amazing story of the men Moses sent into Canaan… Most were fearful upon return, but not Caleb.

Caleb knew, as did David, that the battle belongs to the Lord… 1 Samuel 17:47, “All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” (David facing battle with Goliath).

Once again, instead of trusting God, they were trusting in their own ability, strength, numbers… How about this for a fear-filled statement, “We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes… and we looked the same to them.”

Not only did they see themselves as grasshoppers… they imagined or projected that’s how those in that land saw them. How did they know this? Did someone say this to them while they were there? Even if that were the case, Caleb still said, “We should go up and take possession of the land… for WE CERTAINLY CAN DO IT.”

Every time I read about Jesus spending time with tax collectors and “sinners” my heart is stirred.

How can we be “salt” and “light” if we only spend time with other Christians?

I want to be the one that my friends who don’t know the Lord, call, when they are struggling, or have a question, or are in need of support.

The problem is we, as Christians have the best product with the worst packaging… Granted, some use the “All Christians are hypocrites” excuse to not go to church… but Christians are so fearful of being around “sinners” instead of saying, “These folks will be blessed by my friendship. At some point, they will ask for my opinion on a problem, or ask me to pray for them!”

A pplication

Today, my Application is more of a rant…

Instead of being fearful, instead of seeing ourselves as “grasshoppers” and thinking that everyone around us also sees us the same way… (hopefully we haven’t given them that impression…) or being fearful of “falling into sin” because of hanging out with “sinners,” how about if we intentionally spend time with folks who don’t know Christ? The tax collectors and sinners LIKED being around Jesus… because he wasn’t judgmental… he didn’t look down on them. He viewed them as people in need. “It’s not the well that need a doctor (believers) but the sick (not-yet believers).” The only people who had a problem with him spending time with sinners was the religious crowd… the pious, holier-than-thou who thought it incredible and detestable that Jesus would lower himself, or worse, DEFILE himself by eating with tax collectors and sinners…

Say that with me… “Tax collectors… and SINNERS…” Do you feel the disdain in that statement? He eats with “Tax collectors… and SINNERS…”

Don’t get me wrong… I think it’s wise to not put ourselves in situations that may compromise our character… If you struggle with alcoholism, you don’t meet old friends at Bar Louie or the Wine Loft. You meet them at a place that has less focus on alcohol… Maybe for breakfast or for dinner elsewhere.

But the point is to not isolate ourselves from people who may need us most… More importantly, the need the Lord… and they may meet him through us.

I get invites all the time for events that are at places in which I may feel uncomfortable. But when I get an invite to an event by my friends who aren’t church-goers, I try to attend. With caution…

1 Corinthians 10:23-24 speaks to being wise and careful… ““I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. 24 No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.”

I love developing friendships with people who aren’t Christians. We are called to BE “ambassadors of Christ.”

How good of an ambassador are you? Who are you reaching out to?

Ambassadors represent their country (in our case, the Kingdom) in a foreign country… I bring light to any situation. I carry the Kingdom of God into every situation. I LOVE that! When someone asks for my opinion (and they do or will) I am giving them KINGDOM perspective. I often quote scripture without anyone knowing it. I was once interviewed by the Dayton Daily News. They printed three verses without even knowing it, because I didn’t point out chapter and verse… By the way, it’s still scripture, even without chapter and verse… justsayin’…

What I’m saying is, let’s take the land… let’s BE salt and light. But not TOO salty… or blind people with our light.

One of my favorite verses, Colossians 4:5, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

P rayer

Lord, help me to never see myself as a grasshopper… to never think less of myself than you think of me. I want to see myself the way YOU see me. As a son… not a slave. That it’s your good pleasure to give me the Kingdom! That when I ask you for bread you won’t give me a stone. Help me to live that out… to walk in your blessing!

Day 53

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Welcome to Day 53 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Numbers 10, 11; Psalms 27; Mark 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

Numbers 10, Orders are given about the making and using of silver trumpets, which seems to have been the last of all the commandments God gave upon mount Sinai… Also, the history of the removal of Israel’s camp from mount Sinai, and their orderly march into the wilderness of Paran. (Excerpt taken from Matthew Henry’s Commentary.)

Numbers 11, the Israelites are dissatisfied, yet again and have begun grumbling. They are tired of manna (understandable) and are asking for meat. They are looking back at Egypt, forgetting the slavery and oppression, only remembering fish and melons and garlic…

Moses goes off on a rant of his own. He’s fed up with these people… Keep in mind this has been forty years… They are nearing the end of their journey about to arrive in Canaan… Numbers (if I remember correctly) is the final year of Moses’ life…

“Moses was troubled. 11 He asked the LORD, “Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? 12 Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their ancestors? 13 Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ 14 I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. 15 If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me—if I have found favor in your eyes—and do not let me face my own ruin.”

“The LORD said to Moses: “Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the tent of meeting, that they may stand there with you. 17 I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the power of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them. They will share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone.”

This was the second time that Moses appointed leaders, in addition to the time when his father in law Jethro approached him about how to better structure his leadership… Public sentiment has swayed and the people are grumbling badly… The Lord burned with anger against them… sent fire from heaven that consumed many on the outskirts of the camp, followed by the plague after He sent the quail…

The long and winding road to the Promised Land...

Ultimately, Joshua and Caleb were the only adults over the age of twenty who entered into Canaan (the Promised Land!). Including Moses… who dies within sight of it!

Love, love, love how Psalm 27 ends… “I remain


of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. 14 Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.”

Mark wastes no time in jumping right in with Jesus being baptized and starting his ministry and calling his disciples. Driving out spirits, healing many, preaching the good news, praying… Only a passing mention of Jesus in the wilderness being tempted.

Could do a SOAP on every piece of this first chapter of Mark!

O bservation

The Israelites began grumbling about their situation and what they were given to eat… then Moses questioned God’s ability to provide that much meat… to which God replied, v 23 “Is the LORD’s arm too short? Now you will see whether or not what I say will come true for you.” I sensed a touch of “watch this!” in that verse.

I can remember when my kids were little and they didn’t want to eat what was on their plate in front of them…

All God wants is for us to TRUST him.

Our faith can NEVER be based upon our REALITY. Faith sees BEYOND reality. We don’t receive from God based upon our feelings, but based upon our faith. God hasn’t called us to be “realistic.” He has called us to be HOPEFUL!

Faith sees beyond our lack of job to God being our provider.

Faith sees beyond cancer and trusts that God is our healer.

Faith sees beyond our broken relationships to God being the God of reconciliation and forgiveness and mercy.

A pplication

What am I trusting God for… that goes beyond my reality? What do I need to look beyond and for what do I need to look to God?? Do I trust him. We would all say “Yes!” But what do our actions and words say? Do I grumble about my situation at work? Or do I thank him for my job? Do I trust him for my healing? Or am I trusting the doctors?

P rayer

Lord, I want to trust you with all my heart! My hope is in YOU alone. I will be content if all I have to eat is manna for the next 40 years. And I will thank you for it! Every day!

I don’t care what my current “reality” is about anything in my life. I am looking to you! You haven’t called me to be realistic, you have called me to be HOPEFUL!

Day 52

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Welcome to Day 52 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Numbers 8, 9; Acts 28 (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

In the tabernacle… Numbers 8:2, “When you set up the lamps, see that all seven light up the area in front of the lampstand.” (In Revelation 1: 12-13, in heaven… “I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest.”)

v 15 “After you have purified the Levites and presented them as a wave offering, they are to come to do their work at the tent of meeting. 16 They are the Israelites who are to be given wholly to me. I have taken them as my own in place of the firstborn, the first male offspring from every Israelite woman. 17 Every firstborn male in Israel, whether human or animal, is mine. When I struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, I set them apart for myself. 18 And I have taken the Levites in place of all the firstborn sons in Israel.”

Numbers 9 recounts the Passover… yet again. Even foreigners and those who were unclean due to a dead body were permitted to observe the Passover!

O bservation

I think it’s very interesting that one who was unclean could still observe the Passover. An exception to the rule… Same with foreigners… These were not Israelites… they were non-Jews (Gentiles.) God was willing to allow outsiders to Observe the Passover!

Numbers 9:15-23 describes the cloud of the Lord’s Presence and when it would rest above the tabernacle or when it would lift and they would move… there was no telling for how long it would be there… only evening to morning… two days, a month or a year. When it would lift, they would set out.

Acts 28 funny how the islanders on Malta thought Paul was going to die when bitten by a viper… they knew their snakes, and the results… they thought him to be a murderer getting what he deserved… but when he didn’t die, they thought him to be a god. Paul starts healing the sick all over the island. They stayed three months. Interesting.

Paul finally made it to Rome and was under house arrest for two years… No record of him appearing before Caesar… but the angel told him in Acts 27 that “you must appear before Caesar.” Yet, the loop is not closed on that “minor” detail! Nevertheless, Paul was used powerfully during this time, having written several of his letters while in Rome (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians). Once he got there, they had no record of any accusations made against him. No phone, email or internet in those days… or perhaps God was just protecting him? It took a long time for Paul to even show up there! Months and months… Must have been gratifying for Paul, as a Roman citizen, to proclaim the good news and to teach about the kingdom of God to his own countrymen!

A pplication

We are just like the Levites. The Levites were the exchange for the firstborn of Israel. In a sense, the Levites represented what we are today… LIVING SACRIFICES as Paul talked about in Romans 12:1! “Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” Living sacrifices… both a priest and a sacrifice at the same time.

“Where you go, I’ll go. Where you stay, I’ll stay. When you move, I’ll move. I will follow.” Chris Tomlin CLICK HERE TO LISTEN… That’s easy to sing but not so easy to actually live out…

P rayer

That I would see your presence so clearly as the Israelites did… to know when to move and when to stay. I know we have the Holy Spirit, but it sure would be nice to see a visible manifestation of your presence, and just know… To have that kind of clarity…

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