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 51

Monday, February 20, 2012

Welcome to Day 51 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Numbers 7; Psalms 23; Acts 27 (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 7, Offerings at the Dedication of the Tabernacle… One leader from each tribe brought the offerings on behalf of that tribe. All twelve tribes were represented.

vs 89, “When Moses entered the tent of meeting to speak with the LORD, he heard the voice speaking to him from between the two cherubim above the atonement cover on the ark of the covenant law. In this way the LORD spoke to him.” No record of what was said… But I’m really curious. Something to do with the offerings being accepted by Him. Perhaps further instructions? Hmmm…

Psalm 23 is THE classic Psalm… Maybe the most quoted and recognized of all the Psalms…

1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Acts 27, Paul is put aboard a ship sailing for Italy but is lost in a storm along the way. I love that Paul said, “I warned you not to sail.” vs 21… ““Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss.” Gotta love a good, “I told ya so.”

O bservation

God spoke to Moses at/over/near the Ark… “from between the two cherubim.” Throughout scripture, God spoke to people. In Acts 27, an angel appeared to Paul to let him know that the ship would be lost, but the crew would be saved through the storm. God often used angels to send messages…

David was a shepherd himself. He knew how to care for sheep. How to protect them. What their needs were… He wrote this Psalm out of that knowing… That God was HIS shepherd. “He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside still waters.”

David saw his cup running over. Not half empty. Not half full. Running over.

Note to self.

God could have calmed the storm, right? I mean, Paul was on board… why did the ship have to run aground? They lost the ship and all its cargo… only the men’s lives were spared. Perhaps they should have listened to Paul? Perhaps God was giving them a clue ahead of time, but they didn’t listen?

Perhaps God doesn’t want to calm every storm in our lives. Sometimes we have to go THROUGH the storm and trust Him through it? vs 24 “God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ 25 So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. 26 Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.”

God is not “one size fits all.” Not all stories turn out the same. Some were imprisoned and died (John the Baptist, James, son of John). Some were let out of prison (Peter/Paul/Silas).

We can’t just assume that because one story turns out one way that all stories will end the same. (Or that my personal situations will turn out anything like a story from the Bible.)

God could have simply calmed the storm, right??

I love the story and the faith of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego… they said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “We do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (See the whole story in Daniel 3.)

A pplication

Why should we be surprised when things don’t turn out the way we expected. An angel spoke to Paul ahead of time… so he knew how it was going to play out… Unless an angel, or God himself speaks very clearly to me, I am only hoping… speculating… as to how my situation might play out.

That’s where trust kicks in. Do I trust him to lead me beside still waters? Do I trust him for provision? For my safety? (Not just for my eternity?)

I think faith is, “I know you can calm this storm… but even if you don’t, I’m going to trust you through it.”

P rayer

Thank you for being MY shepherd.








Day 50

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Welcome to Day 50 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Numbers 5, 6; Psalms 22; Acts 26 (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 5 is all about purity of the camp. Making sure that people who had skin diseases or discharges or had come into contact with a dead body were outside the camp, so as to not defile it.

Much was written about how to handle unfaithfulness… even suspicion of unfaithfulness. But it only deals with the unfaithful wife…

Numbers 6 is all about the “Nazirite vow.” A special vow of devotion to the Lord for a certain period of time. Two keys during this time, nothing from grapes was to be consumed, wine, juice, seeds… nothing. And one was to not cut their hair.

Classic verses from Numbers 6:

22 “The LORD said to Moses, 23 “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them: 24 “‘The LORD bless you and keep you; 25 the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; 26 the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.”

Psalm 22 is the Psalm Jesus quoted on the cross. It’s a prophetic Psalm regarding the Christ, his suffering and his glory. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Acts 26:28, “Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”

O bservation

My observation today is that some days, it can be tough to find inspiration in the readings… Actually how the woman in Numbers 5 was treated was really bothersome to me. Even if the husband suspected her cheating, she was subjected to this humiliating process of being brought before the priest. Wondering about the unfaithful husband… what happens to him?

Numbers 6 speaks of making special vows, which is a good thing… Wondering about this… and how it might apply to my life…

Psalm 22 speaks of difficulty and asks tough questions… tempered with faith and hope and belief that God is over all and in control.

But what really jumped out at me today was again, how Paul conducted himself while under great duress… and how God allowed him to speak with officials and give his testimony of Jesus appearing to him and of his (Jesus) resurrection from the dead. Took note that had Paul not appealed to Caesar, they would have set him free.

A pplication

There may be times in my life when I may have the opportunity to appear before some important people and have the opportunity to give my testimony… I need to use those times wisely, and trust the Lord to give me the words, as he opens those doors.

P rayer

Lord, if you open those doors, I will walk through them and trust you along the way… I know you have given me opportunities to appear before officials around our city… I pray that you would use me for your purposes. That is my vow… that I am available and will walk through those open doors.

My prayer for each one who reads this entry today… “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.”

Day 49

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Welcome to Day 49 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Numbers 3, 4; Acts 25 (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 3:6-8 “Bring the tribe of Levi and present them to Aaron the priest to assist him. 7 They are to perform duties for him and for the whole community at the tent of meeting by doing the work of the tabernacle. 8 They are to take care of all the furnishings of the tent of meeting, fulfilling the obligations of the Israelites by doing the work of the tabernacle.”

Numbers 4 “The Gershonites were responsible for the care of the tabernacle and tent, its coverings, the curtain at the entrance to the tent of meeting, 26 the curtains of the courtyard, the curtain at the entrance to the courtyard surrounding the tabernacle and altar, and the ropes—and everything related to their use.”

The Kohathites were responsible for the care of the sanctuary. 29 The Kohathite clans were to camp on the south side of the tabernacle. 30 The leader of the families of the Kohathite clans was Elizaphan son of Uzziel. 31 They were responsible for the care of the ark, the table, the lampstand, the altars, the articles of the sanctuary used in ministering, the curtain, and everything related to their use.”

The Merarites were appointed to take care of the frames of the tabernacle, its crossbars, posts, bases, all its equipment, and everything related to their use, 37 as well as the posts of the surrounding courtyard with their bases, tent pegs and ropes.”

16 “Eleazar son of Aaron, the priest, is to have charge of the oil for the light, the fragrant incense, the regular grain offering and the anointing oil. He is to be in charge of the entire tabernacle and everything in it, including its holy furnishings and articles.”

Acts 25, Paul’s imprisonment and getting jerked around sounds very familiar… Jesus was treated the same way. Trumped up charges against him. Wanting him to be put to death with no formal trial.

O bservation

God was very specific as to which clan (subset of a tribe) was to do what. The Gershonites, the Kohathites and the Merarites were all given specific responsibilities regarding the Tabernacle. They are to do THIS, but not that. Very clear instructions, with very clear consequences if they violated them…

v 20 “But the Kohathites must not go in to look at the holy things, even for a moment, or they will die.” They were allowed to go into the Tabernacle and had charge of the Ark, but they still had boundaries as to what they could not do, or even LOOK at.

1 Corinthians 12:4-6, “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.”

Romans 12:4-6, “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.”

A pplication

This stresses to me the importance of being content in what I am called to. Not being concerned with what anyone else is called to… on staff or otherwise. Some are called to international ministry, others aren’t. The goal is not to get to do whatever, but to DO what God has already called me/us to do.

We all have different gifts… or are called to do certain things. Sometimes we may not even be “gifted” to do a certain thing, but we can be called (simply part of that clan, in my job description, etc).

The lesson here is to be content in what God has called each of us to. Not not look at what others are doing as being the goal, or as better… or even more interesting or whatever.

P rayer

Lord, help me to always be content in what you have called me to. To walk faithfully in those duties…

Day 48

Friday, February 17, 2012

Welcome to Day 48 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Numbers 1, 2; Acts 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

Numbers 1, Israel was being formed into a “kingdom” with God as their King. A “theocracy.” A general overview: 1. Orders given to Moses to number the people, Num. 1:1-4. 2. Persons nominated to assist him herein, Num. 1:5-16. 3. The particular number of each tribe, as it was given in to Moses, Num. 1:17-43. 4. The sum total of all together, Num. 1:44-46. 5. An exception of the Levites, Num. 1:47-54 [Excerpt from Matthew Henry’s Commentary.] (I find this resource helpful as I try to get my head around each new book I am about to read, or individual passages that aren’t making sense to me.)

Numbers 2, Instructions are given as to where each tribe was to camp in reference to the Tabernacle. Only the Levites were to camp near the Tabernacle. They were responsible for its care, as well as moving and setting it up. 603,550 men over age 20, able to serve in the army, were numbered. That alone is larger than the population of Montgomery County, Ohio! That’s a lot of people to count and organize.

Acts 24, Love Paul’s testimony about the resurrection of the dead, his presentation and how he tailored it to his audience, Felix in particular. Told them he himself was a Pharisee, having once persecuted “the Way.” Paul is kept under house since Felix didn’t quite know what to do with him… (Did you note Felix was “hoping Paul would offer him a bribe?”) Two years later…

O bservation

Interesting exercise that God had Moses and the tribes do… Counting, preparing, organizing. Those are important leadership qualities… Administration. Remember Jethro’s advice to Moses some time earlier in Exodus? “Appoint leaders of 10’s, 50’s, 100’s and 1,000’s.” I’m sure this advice came in handy at this particular time!

The funny thing to me is, God already knew how many people there were. He knew each one by name and their tribe. He could have simply told Moses, but instead, had them do this exercise…

Matthew 10:30, “And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” God is very detailed… and yet he is very big picture at the same time…

A pplication

I am learning so much as I read through Acts about how Peter and Paul shared the message of the good news about Jesus… How Paul spoke in Athens, versus how he spoke to Felix and others. How they conducted themselves while in jail… how they related to one another. How they lived life.

P rayer
Lord, I thank you that every person matters… that each one of us is called to serve you. I thank you that no matter what my circumstance may be, that you… are in… control.

Day 47

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Welcome to Day 47 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Leviticus 26, 27; Acts 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

Leviticus 26 is simple math. If… and, but…

If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands… [edited just to hit the highlights].

4 I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit… 6 I will grant peace in the land, and you will lie down and no one will make you afraid. I will remove wild beasts from the land, and the sword will not pass through your country… 8 Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you. 9 I will look on you with favor and make you fruitful and increase your numbers, and I will keep my covenant with you. 10 You will still be eating last year’s harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new. 11 I will put my dwelling place among you, and I will not abhor you. 12 I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people.”

14 “But if you will not listen to me and carry out all these commands, 15 and if you reject my decrees and abhor my laws and fail to carry out all my commands and so violate my covenant, 16 then I will do this to you: I will bring on you sudden terror, wasting diseases and fever that will destroy your sight and sap your strength. You will plant seed in vain, because your enemies will eat it. 17 I will set my face against you so that you will be defeated by your enemies; those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee even when no one is pursuing you. 18 If after all this you will not listen to me, I will punish you for your sins seven times over. 19 I will break down your stubborn pride and make the sky above you like iron and the ground beneath you like bronze. 20 Your strength will be spent in vain, because your soil will not yield its crops, nor will the trees of your land yield their fruit.”

But if they will confess their sins and the sins of their ancestors—their unfaithfulness and their hostility toward me, 41 which made me hostile toward them… then when their uncircumcised hearts are humbled and they pay for their sin, 42 I will remember my covenant.

Leviticus 27, Is like going above and beyond… to make a special vow. (Excerpts from Matthew Henry’s Commentary) The law concerning what was sanctified to God, persons (Lev. 27:2-8), cattle, clean or unclean (Lev. 27:9-13), houses and lands (Lev. 27:15-25), with an exception of firstlings, Lev. 27:26, 27. Concerning what was devoted, Lev. 27:28, 29. Concerning tithes, Lev. 27:30-34.

“The last verse seems to have reference to this whole book. Many of the precepts in it are moral, and always binding; others are ceremonial, and peculiar to the Jewish nation; yet they have a spiritual meaning, and so teach us; for unto us, by these institutions, is the gospel preached, as well as unto them, Heb 4:2. The doctrine of reconciliation to God by a Mediator, is not clouded with the smoke of burning sacrifice, but cleared by the knowledge of Christ and him crucified. We are under the sweet and easy institutions of the gospel, which pronounces those true worshippers, who worship the Father in spirit and truth, by Christ only, and in his name. Yet, let us not think, because we are not tied to the ceremonial rites and oblations, that a little care, time, and expense, will serve to honour God with. Having boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, let us draw near with a true heart, and in full assurance of faith, worshipping God with the more cheerfulness and humble confidence, still saying, BLESSED BE GOD FOR JESUS CHRIST.”

Acts 23, Paul is before the Sanhedrin… a diverse group of Jewish leaders that didn’t agree on the resurrection or angels and demons. (Sound familiar?) So Paul used that against them… which only worsened his situation. A plot to kill Paul is in place, but is thwarted by him getting an armed escort out of the city.

v 11 “The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.” How cool is that?

O bservation

These chapters in Leviticus are about humility vs. pride. Obedience vs. unwillingness. Blessing vs. hardship.

(Did you note that a tithe (tenth part) is 10%, but to redeem your child, ox, house or land was “add a fifth.” 20%!)

A pplication

Humility, obedience, faithfulness are always, always, always a better idea than selfish pride and unwillingness to obey. Seems simple enough to me, obey and be blessed. Or not.

Do I want to walk in peace and blessing or experience hardship every step along the way? Hmmm… Let me think about that for a minute…

Obedience is not just an Old Testament theme… Jesus said, “Follow me…”

P rayer

Lord, help me to trust and obey… for there’s no other way… to be happy in Jesus. But to trust and obey.

Day 46

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Welcome to Day 46 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Leviticus 25; Psalms 25, 26; Acts 22 (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

(There was a discrepancy between my YouVersion reading plan and the reading plan. I verified that the above plan is correct. (Lev 25; Ps 25, 26; Acts 22… NOT Lev 25, 26; Ps 25; Acts 22. I simply checked tomorrow’s reading plan. : )

Leviticus 25:2-4, “‘When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to the LORD. 3 For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. 4 But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the LORD. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards.”

v 8, 11, “Count off seven sabbath years—seven times seven years—so that the seven sabbath years amount to a period of forty-nine years… The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines. 12 For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you…”

v 55, “the Israelites belong to me as servants. They are my servants, whom I brought out of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.”

Psalm 25, “In you, LORD my God, I put my trust.”

Psalm 26, “I have trusted in the LORD and have not faltered. 11 “I lead a blameless life…” That’s a bold statement, coming from a guy (David) who had a man (Uriah the Hittite) killed so he could take his wife as his own! justsayin’

Psalm 26:2 “Test me, LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind…”

Acts 22 Paul gives his testimony… Never under-estimate the power of your testimony.

O bservation

I can’t imagine taking off one out of every seven years… then, the year of jubilee!

Note: God wanted the land to also have a sabbath rest! His promise was provision and protection.

The whole idea of redemption… That slaves or land could be bought back, or redeemed… Jesus redeemed us! Galatians 3:13-14, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us… 14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.”

We have been “bought at a price” according to 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

A pplication

In a sense, we are also slaves… but no longer slaves to the law or to sin, but to Christ, to righteousness… to the law of the Spirit that sets us free! Romans 6 addresses this at length. What a great chapter!

Still chewing on the sabbath rest… This is so impressed upon my heart of late. Obviously it’s not possible today for us to simply take a year off… but I believe it’s God’s heart for us to take a sabbath, not because it is lawful, but because it is His  desire for us to rest. Even God rested on the seventh day. Not because He was tired, but to model this concept for us! Don’t get me wrong, I really try to take a day off, but it’s what I DO (or don’t do) on that day that is the issue.

P rayer

Thank you Lord for redeeming me. For freeing all of us from the law of sin and death! Thank you that it’s your heart for us to rest…

Day 45

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Welcome to Day 45 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Leviticus 23, 24; Psalms 24; Acts 21 (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

The appointed festivals: The Sabbath, The Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread, Offering the Firstfruits, The Festival of Weeks, The Festival of Trumpets, The Day of Atonement, The Festival of Tabernacles.

The Sabbath; Leviticus 23:3, “There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a sabbath to the LORD.”

The Day of Atonement; Leviticus 23:28-32 “Do not do any work on that day, because it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before the LORD your God. 29 Those who do not deny themselves on that day must be cut off from their people. 30 I will destroy from among their people anyone who does any work on that day. 31 You shall do no work at all. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live. 32 It is a day of sabbath rest for you, and you must deny yourselves.”

Leviticus 24:15-17, “Say to the Israelites: ‘Anyone who curses their God will be held responsible; 16 anyone who blasphemes the name of the LORD is to be put to death. The entire assembly must stone them. Whether foreigner or native-born, when they blaspheme the Name they are to be put to death.

17 Anyone who takes the life of a human being is to be put to death.”

Ironic, isn’t it? It was ok to stone someone for their sin, but otherwise if you killed someone, you were to be killed. “Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.”

Psalm 24, a psalm of the greatness of our God. “King of glory, strong and mighty!”

Paul’s journey takes him to Jerusalem… and to being arrested. Yet again, the people are stirred up (the Jews) about his teaching that Jesus was the Christ. Before he left, there was a prophetic word that he would be bound… Paul simply said he was prepared to die for the gospel. Wondering if God was warning him to not go and he ignored it? Acts 21:12, “the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 14 When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.”

But was the Lord’s will done? Just wondering…

O bservation

You have to admire Paul’s determination… No question there. Just wondering about the wisdom (or foolishness) about his execution of his calling. Was that prophetic word he got, v 11, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’”

The word didn’t say, “Don’t go.” Only what to expect if he did. Perhaps the Lord was simply preparing him for what lay ahead so he would be ready? Perhaps his friends’ reaction to the word was THEY didn’t want him to go… to go through that… perhaps it was THEIR will for him to not go, not God’s will?

Or when Paul stood before the Lord, did God say to him, “What were you thinking?? I told you what was going to happen if you went there.” Now, he didn’t die in Jerusalem… he was beaten many times…

2 Corinthians 11:16-31 Paul gives his resume of hardships he endured. “I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, etc, etc, etc…” CLICK HERE to read the entire passage.

A pplication

I hear people all the time talking about difficulties they are going through for being a Christian. Being asked to take down a bible verse hanging at their desk… being told to not talk about their faith at work, etc…

I understand “persecution.” But none of us has ever come close to what Paul endured for his faith. None of us has endured what Christians all around the world endure today for their faith. None of us fears for our life for being a Christian. We may lose our job, suffer a little public humiliation… I get it pretty often as a pastor. Or simply for being a Christian. (I really try to wear my pastor title very, very lightly.) I just want to be a guy out in the community, out doing good. Known for love and good works. I want to be the go-to guy when someone who doesn’t go to church, or isn’t a believer is going through a tough time and they need someone to talk to, or someone to do their loved one’s funeral.

Remember how the people in Athens responded to Paul? “Some jeered. Some wanted to hear more. Some believed.”

And how does the sabbath apply to my life? I think it’s critical for my life. Been working on this of late. And it’s not easy… there is SO MUCH that always needs to be done… at home and at work. Work is not just at work. How often do we take our day off and “work around the house?”

Keep in mind, God gave SIX days to work. Ok, so a work week is typically five days? That gives one of the two remaining days to catch up around the house. But the seventh day belongs to the Lord… He wants us to rest. It’s over and over and over in the bible. Including Hebrews 4. I am working at “laboring to enter into that rest.” I think it takes work to find rest. It takes determination. It takes a decision to rest.

I have determined there is ALWAYS work to be done. But I am working at taking a sabbath. Not to get out of working… I could work 24/7. (Ask my wife, Bonnie…) But I feel God is calling me to enter into His rest.

The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. Jesus gave permission, that the sabbath wasn’t legalistic… he picked heads of grain on the sabbath as they were walking along… that one could pull their ox out of a ditch on the sabbath… who wouldn’t?? He was accused of breaking the sabbath for healing a man! He asked, “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath?”

Yes it is. And sometimes that takes “work.” To help a friend move. To do an outreach. To help your neighbor with their yardwork. It’s lawful to do good on the sabbath.

But if I fill EVERY day off with helping others, is that a good thing? I think it’s a moving target with the principle that we need rest and time with family…

I’m working at it.

P rayer

Lord help me as a sort all this out. To find that place of rest that you are calling me to. Thank you that it’s your heart for us to rest. To not run ourselves into the ground. Forgive me for the times I have simply ignored this principle.

Day 44

Monday, February 13, 2012

Welcome to Day 44 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Leviticus 20, 21, 22; Acts 20 (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 20, 21 and 22… More reiterations about various laws. What defiles or makes a person unclean… Who was to be put to death and for what. Some of this was very hard to read…

Hard to imagine that people would actually sacrifice their children to the god, Molek (or Molech).

Acts 20:24, Paul said, “I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” His mission statement for his life… “To complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me.”

O bservation

I noted the number of times the phrase, “I am the LORD” or “I am the LORD your God” appears in these chapters of Leviticus…

v 8, “I am the LORD, who makes you holy.” 

It’s not by sacrifices or doing anything that we are made clean or holy. HE makes me holy. I can’t achieve it on my own. I can’t earn it. They could never sacrifice enough to BE holy. They were only made clean for a short time…

Under the new covenant, we are called a “kingdom of priests,” offering our lives, our bodies as LIVING sacrifices. Romans 12:1-2.

One still has to go to Hebrews (and Romans) to keep all this straight and in its proper perspective for our lives today. READ Hebrews 7. What an incredible chapter! (If I were to have designed this reading plan, we would have read Hebrews before Leviticus, maybe even Exodus… or at least alongside them.) If you are reading this blog today, I suggest you take a minute and read Hebrews 7, or better yet, read all of Hebrews. It’s a pretty quick read and it puts all the Old Testament sacrifices into perspective. v 22 states that because of Jesus, we are under a “better covenant.” Praise God for that!

A pplication

I need to keep this in mind… “Holiness” is imparted by God. He is holy and HE makes us holy. We are called to “holiness” but I can’t make myself “holy.” I am called to be “sanctified,” to be “set apart” for His use. To avoid all the traps that cause one to stumble… To not be drunk with wine… to avoid sexual immorality… to not slander people… called to love… to serve the poor… be an ambassador of Christ in the community. To be salt and light.

P rayer

God, I thank you that you are the One who imparts holiness. Thank you that we are under a better covenant today! I can’t imagine living under the Law… under that weight. Thank you for setting us free!

Romans 8:1-4, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 for what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”









Day 43

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Welcome to Day 43 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Leviticus 18, 19; Psalms 13; Acts 19 (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 18 is the chapter of “Do nots…”

Speaks over and over of that which is detestable, wicked or perverted. Of things that defile and dishonor one’s self or another.

Makes me think of a former president who went on tv, looked into the camera and said, “I did not… have… sexual relations… with that woman…”

Leviticus 19:2, “‘Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy.” When we strive toward this (holiness), you don’t need all those laws. Jesus said all the Law and the prophets could be boiled down to two things, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” And,  “love your neighbor as yourself” (v 18).

This chapter is filled with a long list of don’ts… ranging from don’t trim the hair on the sides of your beard to do not use dishonest weights on your scales, not to lie or spread slander. And just about everything in between… including again repeating to not eat meat with blood.

In other words, be holy, honest and honorable. Most of these one would not have to worry about… except wearing clothing with mixed fabrics, etc.

v 26 and 31… “Do not practice divination or seek omens…” “Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them.” I am constantly amazed at how many people check their daily horoscopes or have their palms read, “for fun.” I remember playing on a Ouija board when I was a kid. I had no idea what I was opening myself up to. It’s easy to minimize things as though they are harmless. At best they defile us… at worst they may lead us astray, because it’s not looking to the Lord. It’s looking elsewhere for direction or answers.

Psalm 13, “I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.”

Acts 19:1-2, Paul asked some believers in Ephesus, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them… Nice.

v 13, “Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” The difference between knowing and knowing about… The people who were doing this got trounced by a man with evil spirits.

v 19, “A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly.” Some things need to be burned, not just thrown away.

O bservations

Love that a riot broke out in Ephesus over their goddess Artemis… “Fellow Ephesians, doesn’t all the world know that the city of Ephesus is the guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of her image, which fell from heaven?” (Hmmm… don’t think so.) Her image did not fall from heaven. It came from someplace else…

Note that they shouted for TWO HOURS “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” In challenge of what Paul was preaching and in worship to their god.

People all over the world worship what they don’t know. It’s easy to worship an idol, or god made by human hands. But we are to only worship the LORD. The Maker of heaven and earth. The One who is over all. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Who sent His only son, Jesus to die for us.

A pplication

“I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.” I will shout ONLY to HIM… YOU are GOOD to ME! I may have to just proclaim that for two hours one day this week…

(FYI, every time I see this pic I think of my friend Josh…)

Day 42

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Welcome to Day 42 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Leviticus 15, 16, 17; Acts 18 (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 15, “These are the regulations for a man with a discharge, for anyone made unclean by an emission of semen, 33 for a woman in her monthly period, for a man or a woman with a discharge, and for a man who has sexual relations with a woman who is ceremonially unclean.”

Nothing quite like reading about bodily discharges and emissions at 6:00 in the morning!

At least Leviticus 15 is a level playing field, addressing both men and women…

v 8 “If the man with the discharge spits on anyone who is clean, they must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening.” Seriously??

Why would a man spit on anyone that this would have to be addressed??

Ok… ‘nuf about that… Let’s move on to the next chapter.

Leviticus 16 introduces the Day of Atonement on the 10th day of the 7th month (Yom Kippur) (10 days after the start of the Jewish new year (Rosh HaShanah).

v 20-22 “When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat. 21 He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—all their sins—and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the wilderness in the care of someone appointed for the task. 22 The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a remote place; and the man shall release it in the wilderness.” (The scapegoat, see v 26.)

What a great preview of the work of Jesus! “John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29

Leviticus 17, now all sacrifices were to be made only at the tabernacle… otherwise, a person was to be “cut off” from the people… (That term appears 147 times in the Old Testament!)

There was to be no shedding of blood unless it was at the tabernacle. And once again, no eating of any blood, because “the life of every creature is its blood. That is why I have said to the Israelites, “You must not eat the blood of any creature, because the life of every creature is its blood; anyone who eats it must be cut off.”

Once again the importance of blood is restated.

“What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” (Click HERE to listen to Matt Redman’s “Nothing But the Blood.)

Acts 18, Paul continues his travels by visiting to Corinth… What a roller coaster ride he was on. Preaching and teaching for a year and a half… but was beaten and falsely accused… goes with the territory.

Love this bit about Priscilla and Aquila, “When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.” Apollos apparently was open to their instruction. Smart man.

O bservation

Who could EVER be clean? There were so many things you couldn’t touch, or eat or do… if you had a rash or a boil, if a woman had her period, or if you had some sort of discharge…

You almost have to see the humor in passages like this. “So… you and your wife couldn’t go to the tabernacle today, huh? You’re “unCLEAN” eh?” And WHY is that??

Everything you would touch or sit on would have to be washed… clay pots were to be broken… man…

What an exhausting way to have to live life!

SO thankful for grace!

A pplication

Is it even possible to be “unclean” under the new covenant?? Jesus is our great high priest! Hebrews 10:11-12 “Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.”

“Jesus paid it all… All to him I owe… Sin had left a crimson stain… He washed it white as snow.”

P rayer

Thank you, Lord…

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