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.

Day 41

Friday, February 10, 2012

Welcome to Day 41 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Leviticus 13, 14; Acts 17 (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

Leviticus 13 and 14, regulations about defiling skin diseases and defiling molds and the proper methods of cleansing. (The NIV is translated using the terms, “defiling skin disease” and “diseased person” vs. using the terms “leprosy” and “leper.”)

Not going to focus on this today… Too much in Acts that jumped out at me.

Acts 17, Paul and his entourage pass through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they stopped in Thessalonica… until the crowds were stirred up. They moved on to Berea, but some of the Thessalonians heard they were there and traveled to listen to them. Paul then sailed on to Athens…

O bservation

Love the story of Paul in Athens… How he used their own culture to reach them… “I saw an alter with the inscription, “TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.” This is the God I proclaim to you! He even quoted their own philosophers and poets!

“For in him we live and move and have our being.” (Cretan philosopher Epimenides)

“As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.” (Cilician Stoic philosopher Aratus)

v 32-34, “When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.” 33 At that, Paul left the Council. 34 Some of the people became followers of Paul and believed.”

How will people respond to the Gospel?

A. Some will sneer.

B. Some will want to hear more.

C. Some will believe.

D. All of the above. Some will always sneer, mock, roll their eyes… Some will want to hear more… And some will believe!

Why should we be surprised at people’s reaction? I know people sneer at me. I know some are curious, and some will believe. That has never changed. No matter how we package the message, no matter how “culturally current” or hip the presentation, the results will always be the same. At least I know what to expect. Paul, Peter, Jesus… all got the same reaction, even when miracles, signs and wonders followed.

Funny that it says, “Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica.” Scripture also states in Titus 1, “One of Crete’s own prophets has said it: “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.” Imagine being from Crete! Or being Jewish living in Berea (not Berea, KY!) Having something like that recorded in scripture for all of eternity!

Thinking about all the laws concerning leprosy… Luke 17:11-19, “11 Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” 14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. 15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—a

nd he was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

A pplication

Our reputation often precedes us…

As Paul said in Colossians 4:5-6, “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.” Paul demonstrated this strategy in Athens. (Greece, not Ohio or Georgia!)

P rayer

Give me that kind of wisdom… to know my audience and to tailor the message for their ears. That I would be wise in the way I act toward outsiders…

That I would build bridges… not walls…


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10 thoughts on “Day 41

  1. Which are you better at building? Bridges or walls?

    • Walls? I don’t see any walls. I have gone from being overly sensitive to being kind of callous. When people put up walls I don ‘t see them. I go barging through them. If I do see them, I don’t respect them. A wall put up between me and thee is a waste of time. A while back my sister put a wall up between us. I kept calling and writing and emailing. I sent a Christmas card and a birthday card. I sent her a few forwards of animals since she loves animals. Knocked that wall all the way to the ground. She never would say why she was upset. Being me I am sure she had reason, but if I don’t know, I can’t explain. Now she is like my best friend again.

      I can put with almost anything except a cutting off of all communication, or a wall. I HATE walls.

    • I. Scripture: Leviticus: 13-14

      Observation: The mental picture I have of what these people must have looked like is not very pretty.

      Application: (I can’t resist and I truly apologize in advance) For skin rashes, APPLY once daily.

      Prayer: Thank you God for modern medicine! Thank you for bestowing your gifts upon us and giving us to courage to use them to bring You glory!

      II. Scripture: Acts: 10: “That very night the believers sent Paul and Silas to Berea. . . .”
      Acts 14-15–“The believers acted at once, sending Paul on to the coast, while Silas and Timothy remained behind. Those escorting Paul went with him all the way to Athens; then they returned to Berea with instructions for Silas and Timothy to hurry and join him.”

      Observation: Escape artists. Getting way with seconds to spare! Jesus was an escape artist. The Gospels detail several occasions when angry crowds meant to cause Jesus harm and He just slips away somehow, unharmed. Some of my favorite movies contain narrow escape scenes so naturally, these details have always stood out to me.

      Application: Run all ideas past God. Ask Him for His guidance in ALL things–not just the ones we think merit His attention. Follow the path He promised to provide for us if we just trust in Him for everything.

      Prayer: Thank you God for showing us the way out. Thank you for protecting and guiding us. Thank you God for making life exciting!

      III. Scripture: Acts: 16 “While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was deeply troubled by all the idols he saw everywhere in the city.”

      Observation: I get the impression that Paul had no prior plans to preach solo and was waiting for the others to arrive to begin teaching. I wonder if Paul’s passion to preach re: the false idols earlier than planned blossomed from an afterthought? What if it began as a whimsical notion that could have easily and justifiably been dismissed? What if Paul ignored the prompting from God to speak on His behalf? What will I do next time God sends an idea my way that I don’t particularly like? Will I dismiss it yet again?

      Application: Disect all ideas that come you way regardless of how crazy they may seem at first. Many may certainly be coming from our own brains but many are from God and if we can learn to listen for and recognize God’s voice we too can play a part in this action-packed adventure called life.

      Prayer: Thank you God for even wanting to speak to us at all let alone desiring to have a relationship with us! Thank you for always delivering on Your promises no matter how long it takes us to get with the program. Please make us more able to hear and distinguish Your voice from the voice of the world.

  2. I try to build bridges before I lay a foundation without God being in the center and my plans become walls before I realize that God wants me to pray about my plans before I act. I struggle with this. I pray that God slows my plans down and that I pray for his direction before I act.

  3. Thinking about all the laws concerning leprosy… Luke 17:11-19, ”11 Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” 14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. 15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—a

    nd he was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
    O I love this scripture so much. God loves a grateful heart. Only one of the ten…and a Samaritan at that. Ever notice the Samaritans got healed and received all kinds of miracles that the self righteous Jews could not receive? I am so afraid I will become self righteous. When I first got saved God answered every single prayer of mine right away. I couldn’t really believe he loved me so I would make the next prayer more specific. The next one more specific. I made them so specific that there was absolutely no doubt but that HE was answering my prayers. Being someone who tells everything…people from all around started coming to me with their prayer requests. Something horrible happened. I prayed only for the prayer requests that I wanted to be answered. I must always remember that it’s not ME.

    A God I want to always have a grateful heart toward you.

    P God please keep me from being self righteous. Let me keep my eyes on you and know that all I have, all I am, is because of your kindness you have shown toward me. I know you love me more than I can understand. Give me more love that I can show toward your people. Amen

  4. Lisa Green on said:

    To An Unknown God also stood out to me. It was in the midst of all the other idols. Perhaps it was inscribed as a remembrance and hope that with all the different gods they had, there was still an unknown one. They, in the deep of themselves, as our hearts cry out, knew there had to be more. It is deep within me, I realize to know and be known. Paul gave a name, face and the living answer to the God of the universe. All can know Him, in Him live and have being, and be known in the most intimate heart to heart.

    Thank you Lord God of the universe I know you by name, personally.

  5. Nicole Marvin on said:

    Acts 17:25-27 “…he made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark but actually find him. He doesn’t play hide-and-seek with us. He’s not remote, he’s near. We live and move in him, can’t get away from him.”

    Plenty of time and space. Slow me down, Lord. There is plenty of time…for what is important. Thank you, Lord, that you are near. I live and move in you. Your arms surround me. I feel the warmth of your presence.

  6. The word “justice” just keeps jumping out at me. In Acts 8 my translation read “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so He did not open His mouth. In His humiliation He was deprived of justice.”
    Today Acts 17:31 “For He has set a day when He will judge the world with justice by the man He has appointed.” So Jesus suffered pain and death on the cross but also He was deprived of justice. He will return to judge. But in the meantime I can ask God for justice for myself and fir others because of what Christ suffered. I love that.

  7. Walls are easier to build but highly restrictive. I have built many walls in my life, but as I walk with Christ, I find that I have to tear them down and build bridges to get where He wants me to go.

    Thoughts on OT: When I read about leprosy in the OT, much like yesterday, I believe God is communicating regulations to keep the community healthy by preventing transmission of communicable skin diseases. It wasn’t meant to be a punishment to those who had a disease. Fast forward to the NT – leprosy seems to have a social stigma to it. I am of course reading between the lines here, but God didn’t say to call someone unclean and treat them bad. I also get the sneaky suspicion that priests were mistreating the authority to call people clean/unclean. If that was true, Jesus coming on the scene and cleansing leprosy would have put a serious kink in the establishment. We assign similar social stigmas and stereotypes with people today (head lice, MRSA, bedbugs, cancer, HIV/AIDS, homosexuality, etc.) We certainly need to take precautions to prevent further spread if it is a communicable disease, but should never make them an outcast.

  8. Over time God has helped me tear down walls I had built to protect myself. They weren’t doing a very good job. Now He is my defense.

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