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 83

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Welcome to Day 83 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Joshua 18, 19, 20; 1 Corinthians 9 (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

Joshua 18-19, Final allotments of land being distributed to the remaining tribes…

The tent of meeting was set up again. (Wondering how much time has passed since they crossed the Jordan? Days? Maybe weeks?)

Joshua 20, the cities of refuge are established. (Good to know God is looking out for people who have accidentally killed someone so they are safe as they await trial…)

1 Corinthians 9, “Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak.

I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.

23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”

O bservation

I like when the Old Testament readings make it easy for me to focus on the New Testament reading for the day. I love the letters Paul wrote to the Christians/churches in all the different cities…

For some reason, Paul felt the need to defend his “Apostleship.” At one point, he even used the term “super Apostles” (2 Corinthians 11 and 12) to refer to the other Apostles… haha. So he gave his resume over and over about the work he has done, the hardships he has endured and finally, in this chapter, he exclaims, “Have I not seen our Lord, Jesus?” (One of the marks of the early Apostles.) He even quotes “Don’t muzzle the ox when it’s treading the corn” in Deuteronomy 25:4, to justify his receiving support to continue his missionary work.

Paul was a straight shooter. But I love his approach to reaching people of all kinds. Remember in Athens in Acts when he saw the altar to the unknown god… he used that as a point of ministry. “This unknown god is the God I proclaim to you on this day! Jesus.”

Paul was willing to do whatever it took to preach the gospel. “Gospel” means “good news.” It’s always good news.

A pplication

I don’t like preaching doom and gloom. I don’t like talking about Hell. I would much rather tell the good news of how Jesus changed my life! I’d much rather talk about how much God loves us.

Paul was focused and used two analogies to describe that focus. A runner and a boxer. He said, “Run the race to win.” And, no shadow boxing. Be focused. Work hard. He told Timothy to work hard like a farmer, expecting a crop for your hard work.

He said, “I beat my body into submission.” That’s determination…

As believers, sometimes we have to do that… for the sake of the Gospel.

P rayer

Lord, give me THAT kind of determination. THAT kind of focus. THAT ability to connect with all kinds of people… that I might win some.

P.S. Someone told me last night that I am an “overachiever” in regards to my Life Journal… haha. I just want you to know that it’s easy to be an overacheiver when you have a few hundred people looking on every day.

This has been a great journey for me thus far. I am getting so much out of this trip through the Bible… and I’m so thankful to have you all on this journey with me… I believe this is going to have a huge impact on our church now, and in the future.

I appreciate your taking the time to read and comment to this blog! It keeps me running… yea, it keeps me running. (Doobie Brothers reference there! haha)

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4 thoughts on “Day 83

  1. It’s interesting to me how the Old Testament and New Testament readings complement each other today in a sort of mirrored way. In Joshua 20, the Lord reminded Joshua to establish cities of refuge, as He had instructed Moses. These were safe places for people to stay while awaiting trial for having killed someone unintentionally. You might say the person lacked knowledge, or at least lacked planning and forethought. In this case, the guilty person’s mind was innocent, but their hands were guilty.
    Contrast that with Paul’s freedom in choosing to exercise his rights as an apostle (1 Cor. 9). He knows his rights, but he chooses not to act on them in order to better serve the people. This train of thought from Paul flows out of yesterday’s reading in 1 Cor. 8 – “knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” I must be careful that my exercise of the freedoms (and knowledge) that I have in Christ does not become a stumbling block to someone else. I can have knowledge that something is ok to do, but I need to restrain my hands from action.
    So, Lord, today my prayer is that you will keep me from stumbling blindly into unintentional sin. Even though I might cry out, “I didn’t mean to!” that ignorance does not excuse me from guilt. Show me the times that I’ve sinned unintentionally so that I can confess my sin to You. Also, God, I pray that You will help me to be motivated by my heart and not my head in serving others. Forgive me for the times that my faith is an intellectual exercise. Fill me with compassion, Lord Jesus, so that like You I am quick to love and serve. Thanks, God!

  2. Nicole Marvin on said:

    1 Cor 9:19 “I am a free man, nobody’s slave; but I make myself everybody’s slave in order to win as many people as possible.”

    This is so contrary to our society today. Which is filled with “Me, me, me.”, “I’ll sue you, if you wrong me.”, “What are my rights?”, etc. Being a slave to others, willing to serve them, putting one’s self aside. What a blessing to be able to do that.

    1 Cor. 22 “Among the weak in faith I become weak like one of them, in order to win them. So I become all things to all people, that I may save some of them by whatever means are possible.”

    Meet people where they are at, to be Jesus to them.

    1 Cor. 26-27 “That is why I run straight for the finish line; that is why I am like a boxer who does not waste his punches. 27 I harden my body with blows and bring it under complete control, to keep myself from being disqualified after having called others to the contest.”

    Run straight for the finish line. Stay focused. Don’t look to the right or left. Have blinders on-looking just at Christ.

    Bring my body under complete control. Self-control. Saying no to my flesh.

    Oh, Lord, thank you that you showed me how to serve others, by bringing Jesus to the earth. Help me to be a servant to others, help me to stay focused on you. I want to have self-control. Thank you for your Spirit. Thank you for your presence in my life.

  3. Cathy Guerrant on said:

    Paul is someone I’ve been getting to know since September 2011 because we are studying the Acts of the Apostles, mostly books written by Paul, in Bible Study Fellowship. To be like him – WOW! In I Cor 9, Paul is correct – He had the right ot be financially supported by the churches, but he chose not to do so. Which meant he did his day job (tent-making) and preached while others relaxed. He easily could have been burned out, inpatient, and all other things, but he constantly shows his humbleness in his writings. Oh, to be so humble and not feel like others owe me something!

    “Even though I may not be an apostle to others..” – Some of the Corinthians were questioning his equality with the other apostles because he did not take advantage of certain privileges, but Paul didn’t want others to think he was preaching the good news for the money; he did not want to give any opportunity for someone to say God’s grace is not a free gift. He was more interested in advancing the cause of Christ. That’s all it was about for him! Amazing.

    I can’t wait for all of you to read II Cor 11:24 and following to see all of Paul’s trials. How did he stand it? Only by staying focused on the prize – of telling others about Christ and making sure he did nothing that would hinder someone from believing in Him. And he had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, who helped him to deal with all of the physical and emotional suffering. And Paul knew that, no matter what trials he faced in this life, they would be nothing compared to what Christ, Himself, faced.

    “Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave..” Paul limited himself to help weak Christians and unbelievers – he was a very learned man, but he didn’t use his vast knowledge to “wow” anyone – he spoke plainly so all could understand. And he died to his “rights” so that others would see Christ in Him, just as Christ died for us.

    So – show sacrificial love, work hard, and finish the race well – so that you have gifts to give to God when you are restored to Him.

    Oh Lord, help me to be as humble as Paul and quit worrying about my “rights” and worry more about why you put me here in the first place – to be an example to others, as Jesus was an example to us, so that others may believe in You because they see You in me.

  4. I cannot help but to think about the half-marathon I ran in September. I had such high hopes after that run. My husband and I expected to keep on going with our high level fitness activity. However, the half-marathon really took a toll on our bodies. We believe that we over trained before the race. I can relate that to worry. We labor trying to address a problem or fear when really it is out of our hands. I ran the race. I finished, but my running is not over. I am giving serious thought to running again. We have not arrived, but I am trying so hard to enjoy this journey of life.

    Lord, for a half of a day this week, I enjoyed peace among the storm. Please may that peace return that I might be an example to others. You are my anchor, my corner stone. I will not fear while running this race for you are with me!

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