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 107

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Welcome to Day 107 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: 1 Samuel 19; 1 Chronicles 7; Psalm 59; Matthew 4 (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 19, Ok, we get it… Saul despises David. Saul is jealous, angry and tormented.

1 Chronicles 7, In this chapter there are genealogies of Issachar, Benjamin, Naphtali, Manasseh, Ephraim, Asher. There no account either of Zebulun or Dan. Not sure why there is no account of Zebulun. Dan may have been omitted due to idolatry began in Laish. (Remember when they took the idols from Micah’s house, he had the personal priest?) Dan is not included in the list of tribes in Revelation 7:4-8!

Psalm 59 “You are my strength, I sing praise to you; you, God, are my fortress,

my God on whom I can rely.”

Matthew 4, “After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.” (Do you think that could be the understatement of the century?)

Jesus calls Peter, Andrew, James and John. All four left their fishing boats immediately when he invited them.

v 23, “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.”

O bservation

We could talk about Saul’s continued assault against David, even his subsequent prophesying episode (while, ummm… naked…) or how Jesus handled temptation in the wilderness by quoting the scriptures to the devil.

But what really stood out to me was how Peter and Andrew (brothers), James and John (brothers) simply got up and left their fishing boats to follow Jesus. Seems Peter and Andrew may have been alone, but James and John were with their father. But upon Jesus’ invitation, they just… left. The boat, the family business… their father.

Doesn’t say that the father objected in any way. Not that he didn’t react or even say anything… it’s just not recorded if he did say or do anything.

I think the Bible is intentionally silent at times. There is no other reason. Sometimes a person’s life is condensed into a few verses, other times, one specific situation is spelled out in great detail over a few chapters. I think it has to go beyond the author’s personal preference, to what the Holy Spirit intended to be recorded?

Did they really just “up and leave?” Did they simply walk away leaving their father there to clean up? To continue their business without them? Was he at all concerned? Did he send them off with blessing? Did they exchange words at all? Did they hug or shake hands? Were there any tears shed?

A pplication

I’m looking at this passage today through the eyes of a father, letting go of his kids.

This is not hard for me. I left home three weeks after graduating from high school to begin college in Pittsburgh, PA. After college I moved to Dayton, OH and began my advertising career six weeks later. After two years, I quit my job, sold everything and moved to New York City (Manhattan.)

I’m, by nature, pretty adventurous. Been on some great adventures over the course of my first 50 years.

My kids grew up with my desire for them to become who God created them to be… to follow the path that He has for them.

The difficulty is that God’s will is subjective, isn’t it? Was it God’s will for my oldest daughter to go into the Air Force? For my youngest son to go into the Marines?

Only time will tell.

It’s certainly easier to know what isn’t God’s will than what is… I often say, “God’s will is more easily recognized looking in the rear-view mirror… (Looking back vs. looking forward.) It’s often easier to see God’s fingerprints on a situation or to understand what He was doing or trying to teach me, after the fact.

There’s obviously no doubt that it was God’s will for James and John to follow Jesus… but what I’m chewing on this morning is their father’s reaction.

I think there’s a reason why Jesus said, “When you pray, pray in this manner… Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” God’s will is not always done, is it? We all have a choice… we are all interconnected.

I am rarely 100% sure that I am doing God’s will… I try to not do anything obviously outside what his will is for all of us. And, as Doug would say, “I’ll take the next assignment that God sends my way.”

Sometimes it’s a funeral for a four-day old baby. Other times it’s having coffee with a guy struggling in his marriage. It may be leading worship or giving the message on a weekend, leading a staff meeting…

I would say, at this point in my life that it’s God’s will for me to be on staff at the Vineyard… the details are flexible. Looking at 1 Timothy 3, here’s a good filter for God’s will in my life:

“Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. 2 Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect.  5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7 He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.

8 In the same way, deacons are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. 9 They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.”

One time I was talking with Doug (our senior pastor) and I told him that I felt I wasn’t managing my family well… that the Bible was clear that it was a requirement to be an overseer… He said to me, with all grace and mercy, “If you didn’t have any problems, you wouldn’t have anything to manage.”

We’re all in the same boat, trying to figure it out as we go. I think that’s why the Bible says to encourage one another daily. Because we all need it. That’s why we are to pray, “not my will, but they will be done.”

Praying in that direction sets us up for success.

P rayer

Let Your kingdom come and Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven… in my life. Today… right now.

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13 thoughts on “Day 107

  1. Its difficult for me to wade thru the family tree but, this morning I noticed that Ephraims daughter ( 1chronicle 7:24) sheerah built lower and upper Beth boron and uzzen sheerah. A woman! Wow that’s encouraging. I noticed twice today (1sam.19:9) that the evil spirit that came to Saul , came from the Lord. Also in Matt. 4:1 Jesus was “led by the spirit” into the desert to be tempted by the devil. Father, let me shine with your love today. I know you have a perfect plan for me and I will be holding on tightly! Seat belt is on just know its gonna be a great ride!

    • I was reading Julie’s post above and the “evil spirit that came to Saul, came from the Lord” really stuck out, even more so than when I read it for my journal reading. I looked this up in several translations and all were about the same (distressing, bad, tormenting, etc…).

      I think we focus a lot on all the glorious things the Lord does in our lives. But here it is very clear when we depart from the Lord, He may still use us for His purpose, albeit in an unsavory way.

      Scott, I was wondering if you could elaborate a little on this verse and how it relates to the New Testament, and Christians today. Some might find it distressing to think the Lord might send a tormenting spirit our way. How can we help ourselves, or more importantly help our Christian brothers/sisters, be mindful of diminishing our walk with the Lord and help prevent something like this from happening to us?

  2. Nicole Marvin on said:

    “One time I was talking with Doug (our senior pastor) and I told him that I felt I wasn’t managing my family well… that the Bible was clear that it was a requirement to be an overseer… He said to me, with all grace and mercy, “If you didn’t have any problems, you wouldn’t have anything to manage.””

    I needed to hear this today. Thank you. I was thinking as I read those verses-“I can’t seem to manage my boys at times.” I’m not an overseer-but I do aspire to be.

    Matt 4:2 (Msg)
    “Jesus prepared for the test by fasting forty days and forty nights.”

    vs.4 “It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of the words from God’s mouth.”

    vs 7 “Don’t you dare test the Lord your God.”

    vs 10 “Jesus’ refusal was curt: “Beat it, Satan!” He backed his rebuke with a third quotation from Deuteronomy: “Worship the Lord your God, and only him. Serve him with absolute single-heartedness.”

    vs. 11 “The test was over. The Devil left. And in his place, angels! Angels came and took care of Jesus’ needs.”

    Instructions for times of trouble, when we feel that we are being tested.

    The Word
    Don’t test the Lord
    Rebuke Satan
    Worship God
    Serve God
    Wait for the angels…

    Verse four is my favorite here. Since starting this journey I feel more alive than I ever have. The daily dose of bread from the Word is far better than any meal I have ever tasted with my mouth.

    Thank you, Lord, for your sacred Word. What a gift. Thank you that it brings me life and renews me each morning. Thank you for angels. I feel them surrounding me just when I need them.

  3. But one day when Saul was sitting at home, with spear in hand, the tormenting spirit [Or evil spirit.] from the Lord suddenly came upon him again…

    I struggle with the fact that the evil or tormenting spirit came from the Lord if we are to read this that God actually directed the evil spirit to go and torment Saul. I accept it since it is in scripture, but I really struggle with it. As I have come to know God over the years, I find it hard to believe that He actually would send an evil spirit to torment someone. I know that God created everything, even satan and the angels that fell with him and that He has dominion and authority over it all. I know that His ways are higher than my ways. It just doesn’t seem right to me. I know that God pulled the Holy Spirit from Saul. I couldn’t imagine what a wretch I would be if that happened. I would be like that guy I used to be or worse!

    We all need a friend like Jonathan… I have a friend who going through some hard times with his marriage, job, family, etc. He has a deep passion for Jesus, yet it seems like he is under trial and tribulation to breaking point. Like Jonathan, I just want to be there for him to lift him up in prayer and raise his spirits. I received a word for him that I passed along, and that was, “It will be alright.”

    Someone once described to me that the Holy Spirit in us like water in glass. When we sin, a stone is dropped in the glass leaving less room for the water. When we confess our sins, the stones are removed leaving more room for water. To take that a bit further, let’s say that this water is flowing into the glass and spilling over and our sinful nature represents stones and sediment pouring in and clogging the flow. Repenting (turning from sin, bitterness, unforgiveness, addiction, etc.) is in essence slowing the flow of sediment pouring into the glass. I think when we worship Jesus in truth and spirit, the water valve opens wider. I guess in the instance of Saul, his extreme disobedience caused the water to be turned off and he was left with muddy crud in his glass.

    Lord, thank you for being our supply of living water and filter for sediment. You paid our water bill for eternity. I know my cup will never be clean, but I will try to keep it clean enough for light to shine through. May Your supply of water flow from my cup to others. Thank you for our friends who lift us up and pray for us when we are down. I pray that everyone reading this would be filled with Holy Spirit. In Jesus name.

  4. Mark Long on said:

    I’m with all of you and wondering about the “evil spirit that came to Saul, came from the Lord”. Hmm…

  5. faith kasten-payerle on said:

    I did a life path this weekend. I drew pictures of what I dreamed for my future if time, money, and no other obstacle stood in my way. I drew a picture of the boat, the water, and myself standing on the water.
    Monday I got to work and on my daily flip calendar of church signs was the expression “If you want to walk on water, you’ve got to get out of the boat.”
    I find it no coincidence that today’s reading was Matther 4. Further confirmation that God is up to something BIG. I merely need to keep to step out and join Him. How awesome is that?!


  6. I too have contemplated the “evil spirit” all day. I know that God loved Saul too as it shows in 2samuel 19:23 Saul went to look for David himself to kill him and the spirit of God came upon even him (naked). I hate to guess and maybe Scott could help give us another view as to why God did that. We all do not so nice things and I just wanna be a shining example of Him. Father keep your hand on our lives. We cant do this alone. Give us eyes to are and ears to hear.

  7. Cindy Biggs on said:

    My focus is on “At once they left “. Peter, Andrew, James and John immediately dropped everything and followed Jesus. Why? What had they heard? Maybe nothing, and it was the Presence of Jesus, or the Power of Jesus that drew them. What is it today that draws people to Jesus? The Holy Spirit. Also Christians that act as Jesus’ hands and feet here on earth.

    I pray that people will be drawn to Christ because His light is shining in me.

  8. What I would suggest is that since God had rejected Saul as king, and, since he had become jealous of and angry at David, it opened him up to being harassed by this spirit.

    God lifting his hand of blessing, mixed with Saul’s own emotional issues may have left him open to being harassed by an evil spirit. It may not be so much as God SENT that evil spirit, but Saul opened himself up to it?

    Makes me think of James 4, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” We open ourselves up to this kind of harassment by allowing sinful attitudes to creep into our hearts.

    This is similar in nature to God hardening Pharaoh’s heart. Did God actually harden his heart? Or did by what God allowed (plagues), Pharaoh’s heart become hardened?

    Might be some verbal gymnastics there… But there’s a big difference between God “sending” and God “allowing” the evil spirit.

    If a Christian is sleeping around and they get an STD, did God “allow” them to get it?? Did the devil give it to them? Or by their own actions did they simply reap what they sowed? (A spiritual principle.)

    There are those that believe that all sickness is from the devil, vs. the result of living in a fallen world, coming into contact with viruses or whatever. Did God send that sickness? Did he even “allow” it? Or is it just life?

    Many sicknesses come from emotional issues, ulcers, for example. If I’m upset all the time, worried, I can get ulcers. I can pray, and pray and pray for them to go away, but I need to stop worrying, deal with the root issues and trust the Lord. God didn’t send those ulcers, he didn’t even really “allow” them.

    CAN IT be a spirit that causes those things? Yes, I think so, but more often than not, it’s not an evil spirit or demonic influences that cause EVERY sickness.

    (This can become a huge philosophical/theological debate very quickly.)

    But we do know that sickness is not of God. James also says that every good and perfect gift comes from the father of heavenly lights.

    If we operate from the standpoint that God is good all the time, then the issue is never on his end. It on our end and that we live in a fallen world and that’s why Jesus taught us to pray, “let your kingdom come, your will be done” because we live in a world where the kingdom of God is not fully realized. We see glimpses of the kingdom, some people get healed, miraculously, but not all. We live in this awkward time of the “now” and the “not yet” in terms of the kingdom of God.

    These are tough questions that believers have struggled with for centuries…

    Good questions, everyone! I hope this helps a little…

  9. Mark Long on said:

    Thanks, Scott!

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