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 “April, 2012”

Day 120

Monday, April 30, 2012

Welcome to Day 120 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: 2 Samuel 6; 1 Chronicles 13; Psalm 68; Matthew 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 oap

2 Samuel 6, the Ark of God is brought to Israel with much rejoicing.

1 Chronicles 13:3 “Let us bring the ark of our God back to us, for we did not inquire of it during the reign of Saul.”

v 7 “They moved the ark of God from Abinadab’s house on a new cart, with Uzzah and Ahio guiding it. 8 David and all the Israelites were celebrating with all their might before God, with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, cymbals and trumpets. 9 When they came to the threshing floor of Kidon, Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the ark, because the oxen stumbled. 10 The LORD’s anger burned against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he had put his hand on the ark. So he died there before God.”

Matthew 17, Moses and Elijah appear to Jesus, Peter, James and John… Jesus heals a boy, rebukes the disciples for their lack of faith, instructs Peter regarding the temple tax… Sends Peter fishing to get the money to pay the tax. From the mouth of a fish?

O bservation

It may initially appear unjust that Uzzah died unjustly, due to reaching out to steady the Ark… the problem wasn’t that, it was more that this was not the way God had instructed them to move the Ark. They were supposed to use poles to carry it, not put it on a cart pulled by oxen. (Keep in mind these instructions were given to Moses 400 years earlier.)

Numbers 4:15 states, “After Aaron and his sons have finished covering the holy furnishings and all the holy articles, and when the camp is ready to move, the Kohathites are to come to do the carrying. But they must not touch the holy things or they will die. The Kohathites are to carry those things that are in the Tent of Meeting.

A pplication

It’s hard for us to grasp Uzzah’s death until we put it in its proper context… God is holy and requires obedience. Seems simple enough to follow the instructions as to how to carry the ark. However, it’s hard to know if they knew this… I’m wondering if they just didn’t have the poles? Or were the gold rings even still attached to the Ark. Were these instructions common knowledge? Did they have a scroll of Numbers?? Were they so excited to have the Ark back that they just didn’t handle it with its proper care?

Seems to me that if David knew, he would have insisted that it be carried properly. To offer a burnt offering every six steps while being transported improperly makes no sense to me.

It can be difficult to reconcile these issues… and to know how to apply them to our lives 3,000 years later, while living under a different covenant.

I always look for the timeless principle in any passage, to answer the question, “How does this apply to my life today?”

It’s about obedience and holiness. But how do obedience and holiness fit under the new covenant? Well, first, obedience is obedience either way. God says it clearly. We do what he said. Holiness is imparted to us under the new covenant… but our behavior still can be either holy or unholy, depending, right? It doesn’t change our standing before God… He still sees us as righteous, because of the work Jesus did on the cross.

But still, when he said, “Don’t touch any of the holy things.” it seems pretty simple to me.

Don’t touch them.

P rayer

Lord, help me to never have disregard for your holy things… help me to keep my hands off the things you would rather I not touch.

Day 119

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Welcome to Day 119 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: 2 Samuel 4, 2 Samuel 5; Psalm 139; Matthew 16 (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

2 Samuel 4, yet another instance when someone tries to win David’s approval by killing an adversary, but when they expect a reward, they find judgment. David has them killed for “killing an innocent man, in his own house, in his own bed.” (David has no need of human assistance, as the Lord is with him in all he is doing.)

2 Samuel 5, David is now king over all Israel, conquering Jerusalem, then defeating (finally!) the Philistines!

Psalm 139:1, “O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.”

v 7 “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?”

v 23 “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Matthew 16:16 “Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

v 23 “Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”

O bservation

Ok… enough about David for now. We’ll come back to him soon enough. He’s finally king over all of Israel.

Let’s focus on Peter today. Isn’t it strange how he make this great confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God!” Then, when Jesus is explaining that “he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” Then Peter pulled him aside and began to rebuke him!

Let me get this straight… Peter knows that Jesus is the Messiah? Then he rebukes him?

Imagine how Peter must have felt when Jesus said to him, “Get behind me Satan!”

A pplication

Yet again, people give Peter a hard time for having foot-in-mouth disease… But how much like him am I?

Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound one minute, then the next… wham!

Spiritually in tune one minute, then the next… wham!

My own thinking… My will, not thy will. My thoughts, not his thoughts. My plan, not his plan.

Jesus told the disciples to “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees…” (Their teaching.) The disciples thought he was upset that they had forgotten bread (this, after they had fed multitudes, twice, recently!)

I think we have to give ourselves a little space to “not get it” once in a while.

Even with the Spirit of God living in us, and having the benefit of studying all the disciples’ mistakes, we still make our own share of them, don’t we?

The danger comes when I begin to think I have it all together…

“Well, if I had gotten out of the boat, I would know better than to take my eyes off Jesus and I would never focus on the wind and waves!” I would have known Jesus was talking about the Pharisees’ teaching, not bread. I would have known that Jesus had to suffer many things and be crucified, being the Christ, the Messiah. I would never deny Jesus… On and on and on and on it goes…

Best to walk in a little humility… dontchathink?

Let’s give the disciples a break?

Just imagine if someone recorded a few your blunders for generations to come to read about!

P rayer

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Thank you!

Just a quick note to say “Thank you!” for hanging in there with me on this journey, and for your comments.

Wednesday, April 25, we had 9 comments!

I want you to know your comments are like wind in my sails!

I don’t want to put pressure on anyone to comment… I just want you to know, the more comments there are to the blog, the more I am inspired to keep going myself. (Like when Jonathan tasted the honey with the end of his staff and his eyes brightened, in 1 Samuel 14.)

Have a great Saturday everyone!


Day 118

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Welcome to Day 118 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: 2 Samuel 3; 1 Chronicles 12; Matthew 15 (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

2 Samuel 3, (Joab and his brother Abishai murdered Abner because he had killed their brother Asahel in the battle at Gibeon.) 31 Then David said to Joab and all the people with him, “Tear your clothes and put on sackcloth and walk in mourning in front of Abner.” King David himself walked behind the bier. 32 They buried Abner in Hebron, and the king wept aloud at Abner’s tomb.

All the people wept also.

33 The king sang this lament for Abner: “Should Abner have died as the lawless die? 34 Your hands were not bound, your feet were not fettered. You fell as one falls before wicked men.”

And all the people wept over him again.

35 Then they all came and urged David to eat something while it was still day; but David took an oath, saying, “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if I taste bread or anything else before the sun sets!”

36 All the people took note and were pleased; indeed, everything the king did pleased them.

1 Chronicles 12 David is rallying support, gaining momentum toward his kingship. David waited patiently to take the throne. It didn’t happen overnight, even after the death of Saul… Saul’s youngest son sat on the throne for two years. Many battles will have been hard-fought for David to take his rightful place.

Matthew 15, Jesus clarifies what makes a man unclean, the faith of the Canaanite woman, they again feed the multitudes with a few loaves and fishes.

v 10, “Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. 11 What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean.’” For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what make a man ‘unclean’; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him ‘unclean.’”

O bservation

I love how honoring David was… even toward the commander of Saul’s army when he was killed. He died an unfortunate death by being murdered by they brothers of one he had killed in battle, but not while on the battlefield.

David recognized this. Even though Saul had hunted David, trying to kill him, David was honoring toward Saul in the end, and toward his commander. No gloating. He fasted for him. Note to self.

A pplication

In moments like those, we learn what we are really made of. What’s inside ultimately leaks out. Whatever is in the tube comes out eventually. If David were itching to sit on that throne, it never showed. He had ample opportunity to kill Saul himself but he didn’t. He was determined that Saul was still God’s anointed and would not lay a hand on him.

I think this is what Jesus was talking about when he talked about what makes one “unclean.” It wasn’t about ceremonially washing of hands before one east. Eating with unwashed hands does not make one unclean.

What come out of our mouth makes us unclean… because it comes from our heart. THAT is what makes us unclean…

Evil thoughts are right next to murder. Slander in the same list as adultery. All of it makes us unclean before God.

That’s why I’m uncomfortable whenever someone says, “Oh, Scott… I just love your heart for the Lord.” I squirm a little bit. I know what they’re saying… they appreciate what I do. They have been touched by God’s presence when I led worship, etc… but I know what goes through my head at times.

None of us are perfect… and simply thinking thoughts is not sinful in and of itself. Thinking slanderous thoughts and speaking slanderous words are two very different things.

But if I try to justify myself…

I’ve never committed adultery. I’ve been faithful to my wife for nearly 26 years now.

But if I begin to believe that somehow makes me better than someone else, and I begin to believe my own press, Jesus would say, “But Scott… Have you ever looked at a woman with lust in your heart?”

Hmmm… You see, that’s where the rubber meets the road in all of our lives.

It’s not about perfection. It’s about how we try to justify ourselves and try to make ourselves look better than we really are.

Is there a difference between looking and actually having actually committed adultery? Obviously, yes!

But when we try to justify ourselves like the rich young ruler, “I’ve kept all these from my youth! What do I lack?”

Jesus will always have an answer…

P rayer

Lord, help me to always be real… help me to clean the inside of the cup, not just the outside.

Day 117

Friday, April 27, 2012

Welcome to Day 117 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: 2 Samuel 2; 1 Chronicles 11; Psalm 142; Matthew 14 (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

2 Samuel 2, things are heating up between David/Judah and Saul’s kingdom of Israel…

1 Chronicles 11:1, “All Israel came together to David at Hebron and said, “We are your own flesh and blood. 2 In the past, even while Saul was king, you were the one who led Israel on their military campaigns. And the LORD your God said to you, ‘You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler.’” 3 When all the elders of Israel had come to King David at Hebron, he made a compact with them at Hebron before the LORD, and they anointed David king over Israel…

as the LORD had promised through Samuel.

Loved reading about the exploits of David’s mighty men! Amazing exploits!

Did you know that the largest category of Psalms are referred to as “Psalms of Complaint (lament or cries for help?) Psalm 142 is no exception… Honestly, I get tired of reading about David’s troubles. He always ends them well, with praises to God, but he really knows how to complain, and he asks a lot of tough questions.

Matthew 14, John the Baptist is beheaded… Jesus feeds the multitudes, walks on water…

v 29 “Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.” (We all know he looked at the wind and waves and his head got the best of him, but let’s just leave it at THIS verse for once!)

O bservation

How unjust is it that John the Baptist is BEHEADED?? This is Jesus’ cousin! Keeps things in perspective for the rest of us when we go through hardships… there are no guarantees, are there…

And I suggest we give Peter a break for once! He’s the only one who took the risk and got out of the boat! Let’s leave it at that. Go Peter! Hard for me to understand why Jesus asked Peter “where is your faith?” He should be asking that to the other disciples who DIDN’T get out of the boat! Just sayin’…

A pplication

I want to be like Peter. Taking risks! Or even one of David’s “Mighty Men!”

Not quite so excited to end up like John the Baptist…

P rayer

Help me to not look at the wind and the waves, but to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith! Give me the strength and courage of David’s mighty men of valor!


Day 116

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Welcome to Day 116 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: 2 Samuel 1; Psalm 140; Matthew 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

2 Samuel 1:9 “Then he [Saul] begged me, ‘Come over here and put me out of my misery, for I am in terrible pain and want to die.’ 10 “So I killed him,” the Amalekite told David, “for I knew he couldn’t live. Then I took his crown and his armband, and I have brought them here to you, my lord.” 15 Then David said to one of his men, “Kill him!” So the man thrust his sword into the Amalekite and killed him.”

v 23 “How beloved and gracious were Saul and Jonathan!”

Psalm 140:12, “But I know the Lord will help those they persecute; he will give justice to the poor.”

Matthew 13, The Parable of the Sower, The Parable of the Weeds, The Parables of the Mustard Seed and the Yeast, The Parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl, The Parable of the Net.

v 58 “And he did not do many miracles there [Jesus’ hometown] because of their lack of faith.”

O bservation

So, this Amalekite comes upon Saul’s lifeless body, before the Philistines find him, and he takes his crown to show that he’s dead… is he trying to write himself into his death story, hoping to earn favor (or a reward?) from David?

In 1 Samuel 31:4-5 it states, “so Saul took his own sword and fell on it. 5 When the armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he too fell on his sword and died with him.”

It could be possible that Saul wasn’t dead, dead… and that the Amalekite finished him off, but these verses indicate otherwise. Saul’s armor-bearer would know the difference between an injured warrior and one who was dead. Having said that, even if Saul was hanging on to his life, and the Amalekite actually did

end Saul’s life as he told David, telling him ended up not working out so well for him. David had him struck down on the spot.

Had he told David that he simply came upon Saul’s body and retrieved the crown and armband, he would have likely been let go… Maybe even received that reward he may have been seeking.

None of this is important, really… his story if fabricated, cost him his life.

A pplication

I wonder how often we try to write ourselves into a story for one reason or another. Usually to make myself look better, or whatever?

It’s funny how the story of Doug and I planting the church over the past 22 years has taken shape. Doug and Marcie were planting the church and I was the worship leader. He would go out of town and I would do the message in his stead. Over the years it became, “When Doug and Scott moved to Dayton…” Now it’s “When Doug and Scott planted the church…” which, is true, to an extent… but actually, I had little to do with it. I was there. Serving, supporting… and yes, Bonnie and I did move to Dayton for this purpose. But make no mistake, Doug and Marcie planted the church.

When Doug and I would travel to a pastor’s conference, I would introduce myself, “Hi, I’m Scott… I carry Doug’s bag.” Because I honestly had little to contribute. But over time that has changed. And how I was written in to that story and the role I played has morphed. It’s all true, but what we say now is different from what was said then.

I always say, the Vineyard would not be here were it not for Doug. And it may not be here were it not for me. I know I’ve been a steady source of encouragement for Doug over the long haul. He never had to wonder if I was going to be there and do what needed to be done. I’ve learned and grown. We’ve learned a lot along he way. Seen people come and go. Seen the Lord do many great things along the way.

We have always just been determined to not bury the one talant that the Lord gave us.

We are called to extend the kingdom, not to grow a church.

Today’s parables talk about sowing seeds and the kingdom of God. That’s WAY bigger than “church.” It’s how we live life. It’s our mindset that it’s impacting our city for the sake of the kingdom, not to get people to come to our church.

Doug’s life motto is “to leave Dayton better than we found it.”

We know we’re not perfect. We’re not theologians. I’m not a trained musician. Our desire has always been to simply read the Bible and do what it says… Put it into practice… and teach others to do the same. To demonstrate God’s love to our city. To create a safe environment where people can grow into mature followers of Jesus Christ. To pass our faith (and the church) on to the next generation.

That is all happening.

Did you know every month we distribute more than TEN TONS of food to nearly a thousand families in Dayton, Huber Heights, Fairborn, Beavercreek, Kettering, Jamestown, Cedarville, etc? Families receive not only groceries, but prayer and hope. Love and acceptance. Smiles and encouragement.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.”

The kingdom has a place for everyone…

We believe as we do these things, the church will grow. In Acts 2 it says, “and the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Our job is to remove the barriers to that happening, and to make a place for those coming to Christ.

I have a few friends who tease me and call me “Mr. Dayton” because I have a facebook page called “I Love Dayton!” and I’m Executive Director of The Hope Foundation of Greater Dayton (a member agency of the Foodbank, Dayton). It’s how we acquire much of the food we distribute, in addition to the food that Vineyardites regularly donate. I’m also on the Board of New Media Dayton, an affinity group of social media professionals and enthusiasts that help small businesses.

Why am I telling you all of this? None of this would have happened had I not offered to be Doug’s worship leader 22 years ago. Had Doug and Marcie not helped Bonnie and I and our fledgling young family through some difficult times…

My life story likely would have turned out very differently.

I’m convinced the Lord has had his hand in it every step along the way. It’s because of him and his grace that I get to do any of what I get to do. That’s true for all of us.

And I believe Dayton is getting better, thanks to hundreds of generous, faithful people coming alongside and extending the kingdom with us!

P rayer

Thank you Lord for your faithfulness to me and my family, and to our church! You are faithful!


Day 115

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Welcome to Day 115 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: 1 Samuel 30, 31; 1 Chronicles 10; Matthew 12 (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

1 Samuel 30, David fought the Amalekites and retrieved all the plunder taken from Israel. Note that he inquired of the Lord before he fought this battle. (Always a good idea…)

1 Samuel 31, all three of Saul’s sons were killed and Saul is wounded, then throws himself on his own sword to avoid torture and humiliation… This wraps up the book of 1 Samuel.

1 Chronicles 10 recounts the death of Saul and Jonathan in very similar language as 1 Samuel 31.

Matthew 12, Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath, picking heads of grain and healing on the Sabbath. Jesus is accused of healing by the power of Satan (I mentioned this in yesterday’s blog…) The Jewish leaders begin asking for a sign and trying to trap him. In Matthew 11 Jesus mentioned Sodom, today it’s Nineveh… Jesus says of himself that he is greater than Solomon and Lord of the Sabbath.

v 46 “While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” 48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.””

O bservation

Knew it was coming… Saul’s death. I had forgotten that Jonathan died as well. I find I get so wrapped up in these stories that my heart sinks when I read, “Saul took his own sword and fell on it. 5 When the armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he too fell on his sword and died. 6 So Saul and his three sons died, and all his house died together.”  1 Chronicles 10:4

It’s ironic to me that Saul and Jonathan were killed by Philistines… whom David had singlehandedly routed when he killed Goliath.

Jesus is now really stirring things up, breaking the Sabbath by picking grain as they walked along. Then he is asked if it is lawful to heal on the Sabbath. What a ridiculous question, to which Jesus asked them if they had a sheep that fell into a ditch on the Sabbath, wouldn’t they pull it out? (Thereby breaking the Sabbath!)

Then, to be accused of casting out demons by the power of Satan… (Every time I type “Satan” I want to type “Stan.” lol) Which Jesus dismisses as a ridiculous notion that would make no sense at all…

He tells them, “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” (Another translation says it this way, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.”)

That is true for all of us. We always have a choice. I can choose to bless people or curse people. I can choose to build others up, or tear them down.

The Jewish leaders were full of jealousy toward Jesus, and all they really wanted to do was get rid of him.

There were a few that recognized Jesus for who he was, Nicodemus in John 3, and Joseph of Arimathea who was a “prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body.” Mark 15:43. They got it. Most didn’t…

A pplication

It’s so easy to look backward, knowing what we know, to ask how Saul could be so bitter toward David, or how the Jewish leaders could not see past their own jealousy to see Jesus as the Messiah. Or how the people could see all the miracles Jesus did and simply walk away, not believing…

I think it’s important to remember, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” To learn from what I am reading, to apply it to my life. Most of it is cautionary for me… Don’t be hard-hearted like Pharaoh, jealous like Saul, judgmental and legalistic like the Pharisees, Sadducees and the teachers of the law.

Note to self. (Have you noticed, I make a lot of notes to self?)

Be more like Jonathan who recognized God’s anointing on David, who was a faithful friend.

What always strikes me is that the church really is a family. To the point Jesus almost (if not obviously) insults his mother, Mary and his brothers by stating that “Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Pointing to his disciples!) Ouch.

P rayer

Lord, I really, really don’t want to end up like Saul or the Pharisees… It’s only by your grace every day that I can stay on the right path.

Day 114

Monday, April 24, 2012

Welcome to Day 114 of our Life Journal! ;

Click here for today’s reading: 1 Samuel 28, 29; Psalm 109; Matthew 11 (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

1 Samuel 28, Saul consulted a medium (after he had driven all of them out from Israel…) to inquire of Samuel…

v 13 “The king said to her, “Don’t be afraid. What do you see?” The woman said, “I see a ghostly figure coming up out of the earth.” 14 “What does he look like?” he asked. “An old man wearing a robe is coming up,” she said. Then Saul knew it was Samuel, and he bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground. 15 Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?””

1 Samuel 29, David offers to fight with the Philistines, but finds himself again, rejected. The Philistine army doesn’t trust him, even though he has earned King Achish’s trust, the other leaders don’t want anything to do with him…

v 4 “But the Philistine commanders were angry with Achish and said, “Send the man back, that he may return to the place you assigned him. He must not go with us into battle, or he will turn against us during the fighting. How better could he regain his master’s favor than by taking the heads of our own men? 5 Isn’t this the David they sang about in their dances: “‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands’?””

Psalm 109, David is yet again being persecuted…

“My God, whom I praise, do not remain silent, 2 for people who are wicked and deceitful have opened their mouths against me; they have spoken against me with lying tongues. 3 With words of hatred they surround me; they attack me without cause. 4 In return for my friendship they accuse me, but I am a man of prayer. 5 They repay me evil for good, and hatred for my friendship.”

Matthew 11, John the Baptist is imprisoned… Jesus refers to the miracles he has done in various cities and makes an incredible statement, v 23 “For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. 24 But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.””

O bservation

Wow, today is LOADED with content. Not going to focus on David today… But two things require mentioning.

1. Was that really the spirit of Samuel?

There is great disagreement about this, because God strictly forbids this type of activity. (Leviticus 19:31,

“Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them.

I am the LORD your God.”) While many believe this is a demonic spirit, other’s believe this could actually be the spirit of Samuel.

Some say it’s not possible for this to be Samuel, but Jesus spoke with Elijah and Moses, right? (although they weren’t “conjured up.” They simply appeared to Jesus, Peter, James and John.) So it is possible that it was Samuel.

If it was a demonic spirit impersonating Samuel, then why did the medium get so freaked out? Either she had never really had this happen before, or she knew it was a genuine appearing? Possibly she knew is was demonic and that freaked her out?

Again, many would land on it was a demonic spirit, but I think one has to be open to the possibility that this could have been the spirit of Samuel… It’s not likely, but it could be possible. Sitting here today, we can’t be 100% sure either way…

And, either way, the spirit gave accurate information to Saul as to what God had spoken to him and what was going to happen.

In the end, it doesn’t really matter if it was or was not, it was wrong to attempt it. For us today, that is the timeless principle that we need to land on. Dabbling in this type of activity, including daily horoscopes (which many people think is harmless) is not wise (defiling), at best… and sinful, at worst.

2. And what about Sodom on the day of judgment?

Just worth noting that Jesus KNEW that if he had performed these miracles in SODOM, they would have repented… What do you make of that?? That their city was destroyed by fire and brimstone and yet on the day of judgment it will be better for them than these other cities… Because these other cities had seen the genuine, they are now without excuse. That’s a pretty powerful statement Jesus made.

A pplication

Dabbling in the occult is dangerous… I had a friend, “George” in college who was into parapsychology and the occult, taking some classes at the local community college in Pittsburgh. He invited me to a home group one time…

I went.

I was probably 19 at the time? They had candles and chanted (and “prayed” for protection)… they asked me to lie down on the floor, one person at my head, one person at my feet. They all gathered around me and began to chant… with only TWO FINGERS EACH, the persons at my head and feet, lifted me to the ceiling! 

That was it, I was out of there. I knew better… but I dabbled… Not smart.

And yes, while checking your daily horoscope may seem harmless enough, it still goes against scripture and defiles you. It opens you up to other influences, other than the LORD.

Each of us is responsible for what we know. Sodom had a different amount of knowledge and experience as Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum. Sodom may be better off on the day of judgment!

And in a weird twist… the Pharisees, Sadducees and teachers of the Law accused Jesus of casting out demons by Satan! (That’s where we get “a house divided against itself cannot stand” that Abe Lincoln quoted from Mark 3 and/or Luke 11.)

Such is life. Jesus did the genuine and was accused of doing it by the power of Satan…

Bottom line, Satan is real. He has (some limited) power…

James 4:7 states, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

P rayer

Lord, I thank you that we are not unaware of the devil’s schemes… We know that he comes as an angel of light, and that he’s a roaring lion, seeking those to devour. Watch over us… and give me wisdom and discernment!

Day 113

Monday, April 23, 2012

Welcome to Day 113 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: 1 Samuel 27; Psalm 141; 1 Chronicles 9; Matthew 10 (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

1 Samuel 27, David settles in the land of Achish… Remember him? He’s the king of Nob… that David acted insane in front of in 1 Samuel 21! What an odd turn of events. David probably knew that Achish didn’t see him as a threat. He stayed in that place 16 months… among the Philistines! Strange… strategy?

v 12 “Achish trusted David and said to himself, “He has become so obnoxious to his people, the Israelites, that he will be my servant for life.”

Psalm 141:8, “But my eyes are fixed on you, Sovereign LORD; in you I take refuge.”

1 Chronicles 9, This chapter contains a selective summary of Israelites who made up the early community of those returning from exile in Babylon. (Reformation Study Bible) This is odd timing to me, since the captivity hasn’t happened yet… (Not for maybe a hundred years or so, if my math is good.)

Matthew 10, Jesus sends out the twelve…

32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.

O bservation

Noted in Matthew 10 the list of dos and do nots that he gave to the disciples… In short, Do: Heal the sick, proclaim this message, freely give. Do not: Go to the Gentiles or Samaritans, take gold or silver or a bag for the journey, do not worry.

I’m still curious as to why David went into hiding from Saul. I mean, I get that he knew Saul was out to kill him, yet he, twice, put himself at risk by going into the cave and into the camp where Saul was…

Perhaps since David had killed Goliath, he simply had the upper hand and was not the slightest bit afraid of Saul when it came down to it? idk

A pplication

Makes me wonder what I hide from in my life…. What am I afraid of? Who do I run from?

When Jesus sent out the twelve, he sent them out with nothing. The closest I have come to experiencing that was when my brother-in-law, Dave, and I went to Rwanda in 2004. I had a plane ticket and rough itinerary. We had NO idea where we were staying… or even who was going to meet us at the airport! What the food would be like, etc, etc, etc. A three-week adventure that pushed every emotional, physical and spiritual button in my body.

Being sent can be a little scary… Paul said in 2 Corinthians 11, “I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?”

Keep in mind, Paul used to be the scary guy… going from city to city persecuting the Believers… having the power to have them killed at his word. (Remember the stoning of Stephen in Acts 7 & 8?)

On another trip to Mozambique, our team was harassed by marauders out in the bush. Doug and I had already left for home (USA) but the rest of the team stayed behind and while traveling out in the middle of nowhere, were accosted by men (with guns?) . Nothing serious happened, but pretty scary, nonetheless… (I am confirming the accuracy of this paragraph to ensure I’m not making it up in my own head, or that the details are not exaggerated.)

P rayer

Give me the strength and courage to carry out all that you have called me to.

Psalm 141, “Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips. 4 Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil so that I take part in wicked deeds…”

Day 112

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Welcome to Day 112 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: 1 Samuel 25, 26; Psalm 63; Matthew 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

Sunday is one of my early days. (We have a sound check at 8:00 AM) so I may have to finish my SOAP later today… God bless! Scott

S cripture

1 Samuel 25:1 “Now Samuel died, and all Israel assembled and mourned for him…” (A sad way to start the day!)

1 Samuel 25:3 “His name was Nabal and his wife’s name was Abigail. She was an intelligent and beautiful woman, but her husband was surly and mean in his dealings—he was a Calebite.”

1 Samuel 26:15 “David said, “You’re a man, aren’t you? And who is like you in Israel? Why didn’t you guard your lord the king? Someone came to destroy your lord the king. 16 What you have done is not good. As surely as the LORD lives, you and your men must die, because you did not guard your master, the LORD’s anointed. Look around you. Where are the king’s spear and water jug that were near his head?”

21 Then Saul said, “I have sinned. Come back, David my son. Because you considered my life precious today, I will not try to harm you again. Surely I have acted like a fool and have been terribly wrong.”

22 “Here is the king’s spear,” David answered. “Let one of your young men come over and get it. 23

The LORD rewards everyone for their righteousness and faithfulness.

The LORD delivered you into my hands today, but I would not lay a hand on the LORD’s anointed. 24 As surely as I valued your life today, so may the LORD value my life and deliver me from all trouble.”

25 Then Saul said to David, “May you be blessed, David my son;

you will do great things and surely triumph.”

So David went on his way, and Saul returned home.”

Psalm 63:1 “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.”

Matthew 9, Jesus heals and forgives a paralyzed man, calls Matthew, addresses fasting, raises a girl from the dead, heals the woman with an issue of blood, heals the blind and mute man, and talks about the harvest.

v 35 “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

O bservation

Yet again, Saul is pursuing David. Yet again, David, out of respect, passes on the chance to kill Saul.

I journaled about perspective the other day… noted today in Psalm 63, David is in the desert, but proclaims thirst for the Lord (not water.) Again, his perspective was heavenward, not on his earthly troubles.

Matthew 9, as most chapters in the Gospels, encapsulates potentially a long time period… almost sounds as if it’s “all in a day’s work.” But obviously he “went through all the towns and villages…” so this was over a longer period of time than just a day or two.

A pplication

I love that David refused to kill Saul… and both times, he let Saul know immediately that he could have killed him. This time, he rubbed in Saul’s guard’s faces that they did a poor job of guarding Saul.

I can’t quite understand why then Saul didn’t kill David… Saul was pretty ruthless. (Remember when he had the 85 priests killed?) But both times, his heart kind of softened toward David. He even blessed him! “May you be blessed, David my son; you will do great things and surely triumph.”

I really think Saul was… conflicted? Everyone around him loved David. I think he probably did too… but his love for David was overshadowed by his jealousy.

Where the rubber meets the road in terms of A pplication? How do I treat those around me? Those in authority over me, and those who succeed around me. Do I show honor and respect or do I get jealous?

Jealousy is a cancer… Grumbling about those in authority over us is too.

Must… keep… jealousy… at… bay… Bless… those… who… curse… you…

P rayer

Lord, help me to always speak blessing and honor. To have a right heart toward those around me.


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