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 97

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Welcome to Day 97 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: 1 Samuel 1, 2; Psalm 66; 2 Corinthians 7 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

S cripture

1 Samuel 1:6 “Because the LORD had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival [her husband’s other wife!] kept provoking her in order to irritate her. 7 This went on year after year.”

v 26 “She [Hannah] said to him [Eli the Priest], “Pardon me, my lord. As surely as you live, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the LORD. 27 I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. 28 So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD.” And he worshiped the LORD there.”

1 Samuel 2 “Eli’s sons were scoundrels; they had no regard for the LORD.” (They treated the offerings with contempt, and they slept with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting.)

Psalm 66:8 “Praise our God, all peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard!”

2 Corinthians 7:5-6 “We were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within. 6 But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus…”

O bservation

I love Hannah’s prayer. This is such a real-life story… a woman grieving because she is childless, and her rival (her husband’s other wife… sigh…) rubs it in her face, day after day, to the point that she was in “deep anguish.”

She prays to the Lord and he hears her cry and gives her a son, that she dedicates to the Lord… Samuel (becomes a prophet!) He serves in the tabernacle from his youth. (An alter boy, of sorts?)

By the way, did you notice? Hannah had THREE sons and TWO daughters later in life.

A pplication

It’s not hard to insert myself into this story. We’ve all had people who relentlessly throw things up in our faces. Our shortcomings, our station in life, our chosen occupation, etc, etc, etc.

I once had someone email me and tell me that I “should step down and let a true man of God step in. Someone like ________ or _________ or ________.”

Their harsh words still ring in my soul from time to time.

I am fairly confident in what God has called me to do. I know I’m just me. I went to art school, not seminary. I’m a worship leader at a local church, not Chris Tomlin or Michael W. Smith… And I’m ok with that.

Two years ago I inherited The Hope Foundation of Greater Dayton. A non-profit, member agency of the Foodbank in Dayton. It’s how we get most of the food that we give away at our Vineyard outreaches.

I knew nothing about being an Executive Director. But I had run my own business for six years and being on staff at the Vineyard has taught me a lot.

The Hope Foundation now distributes more food than any of the other 80 member agencies in Greene and Montgomery counties in Ohio. In February we distributed 17.5 TONS! (In large part thanks to the Vineyard, of course.)

Here’s a link to our facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/Hope4Dayton

Jesus told a parable in Matthew 25 about a business man who went on a journey. As he was leaving, he gave varying amounts of money (“talents”) to different people. Each took the money and earned more. But the one who had the least amount hid his in fear, and gained nothing.

It wasn’t about the amount. It was about what they did or didn’t do with it. He did nothing. It says he buried it!

I have always been determined to just not bury what God has given me. It’s not up to me to say how many “talents” God has given me, but to simply do the best I can with what he has given me. To do anything but bury it.

Our senior pastor, Doug Roe would agree with me by the way… Someone once said of the two of us, “Doug and Scott… they do the best they can…” (They didn’t mean it to be flattering, by the way.)

No one can ever accuse me (or us) of burying what God has given me. That’s for certain.

I’m very much of the mindset “slow and steady wins the race.”

At the end of my life, I long to hear those words, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

Keep in mind, life is a marathon, not a sprint. There’s a reason why roads should not be named after someone until after they have died. Just sayin’… I just take it a day at a time, and give it my best shot. I want to finish well.

Be who you are. Use your talents to serve the Lord. Be faithful to your family. Don’t get caught up in titles or position. Keep in mind that “Even the Son of Man didn’t come to be served but to serve.” Mark 10:45.

Let those around you who antagonize or belittle you… well, just be part of the din. I have a saying, “Let the dogs bark.” People can say whatever they want, and it only affects us if we let it.

I can tell you this, if we listened to our critics, there would be no Vineyard church in Dayton. And it’s not there because Doug or I are anything special. It’s because we have worked hard and God is VERY faithful.

Hannah had her “rival…” I’ve had mine, and you probably have too…

Let the dogs bark.

P rayer

Thank you Lord that you hear our prayers and answer us in all of our afflictions. That though we may be “harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within,” you comfort us and lift us up, for your glory!

My trust is in you, Lord… not in me… or my talents.

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6 thoughts on “Day 97

  1. As I was reading Hannah’s prayer in 1 Sam. 2, I suddenly thought “wow, that sounds a lot like Mary’s ‘magnificat’ in Luke 1!” I flipped over to read that passage again, and was startled by how similar they are in the themes they lift up. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%201:46-56&version=NIV1984

    I’m humbled by their humility. Both Hannah and Mary were completely surrendered and available to God. Both were women of worship – not just “oh yeah I go to church worship” – but they lived lives of worship. They received the blessings of God not to hoard and cherish them but to immediately offer them back to God. Hannah said, “She who was barren has borne seven children, but she who has had many sons pines away.” I was struck by the truth in that statement – so many people who have acquired wealth and abundance take it for granted and suffer in spite of it, while those who humbly receive from God rejoice and are satisfied.

    Once Hannah actually had Samuel in her arms, I can only imagine how she must have longed to cling to him, to raise him herself, to enjoy him through all the years of his growing up. But nowhere in this text does it say that she tried to bargain back with God or to try to wiggle out of her vow. I contrast that with folks we’ve read about recently like Achan who received blessings and tried to selfishly hang onto them.

    Both Hannah and Mary herald the Gospel message – “The Lord brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up . . . the Lord humbles and he exalts. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap.” (2 Sam. 2:6-8). “He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.” (Luke 1:52-53) I want to manifest this paradox more completely in my life.

    God, I long to become more humble. I surrender and submit to you anew this day. Lord, I pray that I become like Hannah and Mary, women who received blessings from your Hand with open hands – hands ready to return the blessings right back to You, God.

  2. I couldn’t help but notice that when Hannah prayed, the priest Eli could only see her lips moving but heard no prayers and thought she was drunk. In Samuel1:17 He sends her away in peace and said may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked him. Was it because she cried in anguish that he couldn’t hear her prayer? It was after he spoke that blessing and she cried out to God that her prayer was answered. Father let me be a shining example of your love. And when the dogs bark, as pastor Scott says, let em bark. Help me let their words and deeds against me not affect me negatively.

  3. Silvia on said:

    “You let the people ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance.” ~Psalm 66:12
    The dogs might be barking, I might be burning or drawning, but God has promised a place of abundance. A place where LOVE and peace flow freely. I look at you Daddy, please help me not be distracted by the barking and to remember that fire can only refine me. Amen

  4. Mark Long on said:

    I’m as amazed at Hanna’s story as I am with Abraham taking Isaac to be sacrificed. They faithfulness that they both show in following what they have promised or what God has asked them to do is incredible. Especially when it was the one thing that they had longed for! Hannah reminds me that everything we have comes from God and that I need to give it back as freely as it was given no matter what the circumstance.

  5. Distress that drives us to God does that. It turns us around. It gets us back in the way of salvation. We never regret that kind of pain. But those who let distress drive them away from God are full of regrets, end up on a deathbed of regrets.

    It’s often to easy to wallow in self-pity when things aren’t going well. We have a choice to make in times of distress. We can turn from God, or towards.

  6. You never know what the future holds, but Praise the Lord, we know the one who does. We are called believers. We are to believe or trust. I will focus on that this week. I will do my best and leave the rest to God. I hope others can see Jesus in me.

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