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 111

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Welcome to Day 111 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: 1 Samuel 24; Psalm 57, 58; 1 Chronicles 8, Matthew 8 (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 24:5 “Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe. 6 He said to his men, “The LORD forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the LORD’s anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the LORD.”

Saul asked, “Is that your voice, David my son?” And he wept aloud. 17 “You are more righteous than I,” he said. “You have treated me well, but I have treated you badly. 18 You have just now told me about the good you did to me; the LORD delivered me into your hands, but you did not kill me. 19 When a man finds his enemy, does he let him get away unharmed? May the LORD reward you well for the way you treated me today. 20 I know that you will surely be king and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hands.”

Psalm 57 is another psalm written from a cave. It could be today’s passage or the previous in the cave of Adullam. No matter, David certainly has a formula for his psalms. Lamenting his situation, crying out to God for help and praising Him.

Psalm 58 this psalm can easily be (prophetically) associated with Jesus before the Sanhedrin… “Do you rulers indeed speak justly? Do you judge people with equity? 2 No, in your heart you devise injustice, and your hands mete out violence on the earth.”

1 Chronicles 8 gives the genealogy of Saul, who was of the tribe of Benjamin.

Matthew 8, Jesus heals a man with leprosy, the Centurion’s servant, Peter’s mother-in-law, and many who were demon-possessed. He cast some demons into a herd of pigs… He also calmed the storm.

8 “The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.”

O bservation

When Jesus makes a statement such as, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” I take note of it.

The centurion was a Gentile! Yet he had more faith than Jesus had seen in all of Israel. Then when Jesus said, “11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.”

A pplication

That us! You and me! Of course we (again) have the benefit of knowing the whole story, start to finish. We have already seen Paul’s writings about going to the Gentiles. The Old Testament makes mention of this idea that others will take their place… But when Jesus said this, it had to have sent shock waves through all the Jews! “What?? Gentiles seated with our fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?? Are you kidding me?? Who does this guy think he is??”

I don’t know how great my faith is. I wonder if Jesus stepped into my life and followed my around for a few days if he would make a statement like that regarding me. “Wow! I’ve not seen such great faith in all of Dayton!”

But it wasn’t only the centurion’s faith, but his understanding of authority. He knew that Jesus was a man under authority and that he only did what he was told. He knew that Jesus also had great authority, and all he had to do was say the word and his servant would be healed!

And how cool was it that this centurion came to Jesus on behalf of his servant? He obviously cared very deeply about that person. He could have just sent someone else to fetch Jesus… But he was the one who had faith.

Imagine a city councilman tracking down Jesus for him to heal the person cutting their grass. That’s what this is like. Someone of some governmental importance, with some authority acting on behalf of one of their servants.

I just think it’s such a great show of humility and concern…

Jesus said to his disciples in the boat, “You of little faith.”  (Some versions he asked, “Where is your faith?”) Luke 8:25.)

P rayer

Lord, I want to be like this centurion, who had great faith, but demonstrated great concern for one of his servants. Help me to understand authority as well… that you only did what you saw the father doing, and you acted accordingly. Fill me Lord with your Spirit afresh today!

Day 110

Friday, April 20, 2012

Welcome to Day 110 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: 1 Samuel 23; Psalm 31, 54; Matthew 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 23:14, “God did not give David into his [Saul’s] hands.” 22, “They tell me [Saul] he [David] is very crafty.”

1 Samuel 23:17, “You will be king over Israel, and I will be second to you. Even my father Saul knows this.” 18 The two of them made a covenant before the LORD.”

Psalm 31:1, “In you, LORD, I have taken refuge.” 2 “Be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me.” 20 “In the shelter of your presence you hide them from all human intrigues; you keep them safe in your dwelling…”

Psalm 54:7, “You have delivered me from all my troubles, and my eyes have looked in triumph on my foes.”

Matthew 7:9, ““Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

v 24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.”

O bservation

I should change the heading to O bservation(s). The scriptures are loaded with wisdom and great stories from which to draw insight.

First thing I noticed is a matter of perspective. From the writer’s perspective, “God did not give David into Saul’s hands.” From Saul’s perspective, David was “very crafty.” God’s protection was viewed by Saul as David being crafty…

I’m wondering why David didn’t stay and fight Saul. Why run and hide? God had already anointed him as king. Could Saul kill him and thwart that? Perhaps. He did kill the 85 priests…

I often then wonder, why didn’t God stop Saul from killing those innocent priests??

In David’s hiding, his perspective wasn’t that he was hiding in a cave. He was hiding under the wing, in the shadow of the Almighty! Same place, different perspective.

David proclaimed victory as he was running and hiding. Some days, just surviving is a victory, isn’t it?

I love how Jonathan came into agreement with what he knew God had already spoken regarding David and his kingship. That was Jonathan’s rightful claim. He could have turned out just like his father, Saul. Angry and jealous. Fighting to keep hold of what God had already removed from him. Instead, he flowed with what God was doing. He offered to be David’s #2. To serve the one God had anointed.

Smart man.

A pplication

Coming into agreement with God has spoken to us, either through his word, or perhaps even prophetically is vital to our lives and to fulfilling his will for our lives.

Jesus said that when we put his words into practice, it’s like building (our life) on a solid foundation. That when the storms of life make landfall, our house will stand.

If we really believe that God is good, that he has our best interests in mind, that he wants to give us good gifts, that he will protect us, then we will live life differently, by trusting in him. Knowing that he is like the best father ever.

I’ve been thinking a lot about perspective lately…

For instance, our band rehearses every Wednesday for the weekend services. We practice, not so that we can play perfectly, or to impress anyone. The focus is on ushering in God’s presence not on our performance.

Don’t get me wrong, we want to play well, with excellence… but that is not our focus.

If we play well and there is little evidence that the Spirit is moving (subjective), i.e. people’s participation and response, the atmosphere in the room changing, the people out-sing the band, there is a sense of awe or celebration (beyond clapping and hooting…), these are evidences that the Lord is in the house.

Keep in mind, his promise is that he “inhabits praise.” So it’s not like we have to beg him to show up, or crank it up to make it happen… It’s more that there’s an undeniable sense that he is there with us. Delighting in our praise to him. There are often people with eyes closed, hands raised, tears of repentance, or joy!

Blank stares or people leaving to get coffee are never good signs.

Is my perspective that God is good? Or do I doubt that?

Is my perspective that I have to beg God to show up? Or that he wants to be with us?

Is my perspective that I’m hiding in a cave? Or under that wing in the shadow of the Almighty?

I prayed for someone yesterday who has Lymphoma… Is my perspective that God wants to heal them? Or that it may not happen? Am I praying with hope and faith, believing? Or throwing in little disclaimers, “Well, Lord… You’re in control. If it’s your will… would you maybe, kind of, possibly, perhaps…”

I believe it is God’s will. We have no idea what effect our prayers have in lengthening a person’s life, whether they are “healed” or not.

I went to Hospice three years ago to pray for a friend’s 90-year-old mother. She went home soon after. Very few people leave Hospice alive. People go there to die.

She lived another THREE years. I did her funeral a few weeks ago, age 93.

Was she healed? I don’t know, but I know she lived three more years!

That puts things into perspective.

My favorite saying this year, “God hasn’t called me to be realistic, he’s called me to be hopeful.”

Psalm 31:24, “Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD.”

P rayer

Help me Lord to see things through your eyes. To have a “heaven to earth” perspective. To see the possibilities in every situation. To build my life on you and your word!

Day 109

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Welcome to Day 109 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: 1 Samuel 22; Psalm 17, 35; Matthew 6 (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 22:18, “The king then ordered Doeg, “You turn and strike down the priests.” So Doeg the Edomite turned and struck them down. That day he killed eighty-five men who wore the linen ephod.”

Psalm 17, a psalm of refuge. v 7 “Show me the wonders of your great love, you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes.”

Psalm 35, a psalm of lament as David’s life is threatened… v 17 “How long, Lord, will you look on? Rescue me from their ravages, my precious life from these lions.”

Matthew 6 covers giving to the needy, prayer, fasting, storing up treasures in heaven, and not worrying.

The Lord’s Prayer v 9

“This, then, is how you should pray…

“Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts [trespasses], as we forgive our debtors [those who trespass against us]. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (KJV)

O bservation

Saul continues his downward spiral… the pinnacle of his desperation being having 85 priests killed in retaliation for only one of them helping David. Sad… David has gone into hiding. This is quite a story…

David puts his pain to good use by penning some great psalms along the way, very honestly pouring out his heart to God, lamenting his situation, finding refuge in the Lord, and expressing his thanksgiving for God’s protection and care.

A pplication

I have always used the Psalms as a model for being honest with God. (Often as I’m driving…) Simply telling him where I’m at emotionally, spiritually… He already knows… might as well be honest.

But to say, “I’m really angry or hurt by this person,” or “This situation is putting a knot in my stomach” and then to not deal with it, is not trusting God, it’s letting a situation fester. Jesus said, “If your brother has something against you, go to him.” Shouldn’t it be the other way around?? Why do I have to go to HIM?

Jesus said I should. Doesn’t say exactly when… but it does say before I give my offering. Maybe not literally, but more figuratively, “Do it soon.” Paul said “Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath.”

Point taken. Deal with stuff… I get it.

But life is not that simple, is it… Some situations can’t be fixed. Abuse is often left unreported. Hurts that are decades old, that have never been dealt with probably won’t be fixed in one meeting or by sending one greeting card. And it can only be “fixed” if both parties are willing.

The point is, often times when I am pouring out my heart to God about something, he’ll give me an assignment (I just know in my heart) and I have some work to do. More often than not, it’s not fun. Often times difficult and with no resolve.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t try. I keep in mind that “obedience is better than sacrifice” right? So my obedience to working on stuff is more important than my offering. I think that’s why Jesus said to go work things out (as best as we can) THEN give our offering.

The problem is, sometimes I like things the way they are. They don’t talk to me. I don’t talk to them. They don’t seem to care, and neither do I. I don’t want to work on it, or go to them. Let sleeping dogs lie, right?

Ummm, no.


P rayer

Lord, help me to deal with the things in my heart that require attention. To not just let sleeping dogs lie… But to take your word to heart and work things out. To keep short accounts. To be quick to forgive.

Day 108

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Welcome to Day 108 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: 1 Samuel 20, 21; Psalm 34; Matthew 5 (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 20:30 “Saul’s anger flared up at Jonathan and he said to him, “You son of a perverse and rebellious woman! Don’t I know that you have sided with the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the shame of the mother who bore you? 31 As long as the son of Jesse lives on this earth, neither you nor your kingdom will be established. Now send someone to bring him to me, for he must die!” 32 “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” Jonathan asked his father. 33 But Saul hurled his spear at him to kill him. Then Jonathan knew that his father intended to kill David. 34 Jonathan got up from the table in fierce anger; on that second day of the feast he did not eat, because he was grieved at his father’s shameful treatment of David.”

1 Samuel 21, “But the servants of Achish said to him, “Isn’t this David, the king of the land? Isn’t he the one they sing about in their dances: “‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands’?”

Psalm 34 has a historical title, “Of David. When he pretended to be insane before Abimelek, who drove him away, and he left.” This is a prophetic Psalm regarding the Messiah, “not one of his bones will be broken.”

Funny how this was written in the same timeframe as when David was pretending to be insane? 

What a great Psalm!

v 4, “I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.”

v 8, “Taste and see that the LORD is good.”

v 14, “Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”

v 18, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted.”

Matthew 5 The Sermon on the Mount (How much time do we have for today’s SOAP??)

v 14 “You are the light of the world… 16 let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”

O bservation

Wow, today there is an overwhelming selection of scripture of which to do one’s SOAP!

Couple of things that stood out to me today…

Continuing yesterday’s line of thinking regarding Saul… (btw, I weighed in on the question regarding “the evil spirit from God” discussion on yesterday’s blog)… Did you notice that Saul got so angry that he even tried to kill his own son, Jonathan?? He’s really a mess at this point.

Even thinking that by killing David that his own kingdom, through Jonathan, would be established (in spite of Samuel telling him that God had chosen another) by whom the kingdom would be established! Saul is not thinking clearly at this point… He’s going downhill very quickly.

David runs away…

And somewhere along the way pens one of the greatest Psalms ever… Psalm 34!

Fast forward to Matthew 5 when Jesus delivers the Sermon on the Mount. Another amazing passage! I can’t wait to see what you all come up with today!

One thing I always like to point out… Note that Jesus said, “YOU are the light of the world. Let YOUR light shine…” I often hear people say things like “we reflect his light” but the reality is his light is in us and shines through and from us! That is done through our good works that others see and recognize… and are… “inspired” perhaps? to glorify God!

Let YOUR light shine…

A pplication

I must admit, today was a little overwhelming for me. Hard to focus on ONE thing that jumped out when every verse jumps off the page!

Having said that, I really don’t want to end up like Saul… an angry person. His anger and jealousy are going to be his undoing… I much prefer to “let my light shine before men that they may see my good deeds and glorify my Father in heaven.” THAT’S life application… To me, THAT is the goal of being a believer. To draw close to God and stay close… so I don’t end up chucking a spear at my son or the next king.

Also worth noting, that in the midst of David’s difficulties, he put pen to paper and wrote a timeless psalm. That’s putting your pain to good use!

P rayer

Thank you Lord for your faithfulness through my difficult times. Help me to stay in that place under the shadow of your wing… that place of safety.

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.

Day 106

Monday, April 16, 2012

Welcome to Day 106 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: 1 Samuel 18; 1 Chronicles 6; Psalm 11; Matthew 3 (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 18:12 “Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with David but had departed from Saul.”

1 Chronicles 6, yet another genealogy of the Levites.

Psalm 11, a psalm of refuge.

Matthew 3:13 “Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. 16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

O bservation

Here’s the situation between Saul and David… Saul was disobedient and was rejected as King by the LORD. David has been anointed as King, although he has yet to realize his future role. In the meantime, David was invited into the King’s service to play the harp for him. Fast forward to David slaying Goliath then rising to immediate fame, surpassing Saul in that regard.

Not to mention that David and a few others killed 200 Philistines just for their, ummm… foreskins. (Saul required 100 for David to marry his daughter… hoping that David would be killed in the process. No such luck.

This only solidified David’s celebrity with people cheering, “Saul has killed his thousands, but David his TEN thousands!” Ouch.

Now Saul hates David… Everyone around Saul loves David. His own son, Jonathan, loves David. His attendants love David, his daughters… the people.

Saul is considering pegging David to the wall with a spear… as David is playing the lyre for him, but David managed to elude him.

All that having been said, it makes me think of when David says that he would not harm God’s anointed… even when he had the chance. Saul’s reaction to that is pretty amazing, too… But we’ll get to that in the next week or so… Regardless of how Saul treated David, David refused to strike against him.

There’s a great lesson to be learned here…

A pplication

Interesting situation between Saul and David. Saul recognizes that David is anointed… But instead of embracing David, taking him under his wing, he feels threatened by him.

In ministry, we are called to “equip the saints for the work of the ministry.” (Ephesians 4) Called to empower those around us that God is raising up.

Where the rubber meets the road is when they succeed, even outshine us.

That IS the point. To see people outshine us… To see them succeed at what God is calling them to do…

I can either embrace them and promote them, or, out of spite, jealousy, fear, insecurity… hold them back…

While this mindset may be challenging, especially at one’s secular job, it’s still a great principle to live by. To see others succeed around us, to find satisfaction and gratification by investing ourselves in others.

I happen to love doing this. I feel very good when the spotlight leaves me and shines on those around me.

But still… deep down inside of all of us, (I think this is a safe assumption on my part) there’s still that tendency to protect our position, to keep the spotlight on ourselves… the “what ifs” creep in… They may be younger, cooler, very talented, have a few great moments that feed one’s insecurities.

Instead of managing the “what ifs” it’s important to embrace the value of raising up those around us. I believe that value (regardless of our internal struggles) outweighs the negative feelings that may rear their ugly head along the way…

Does that make sense?

Bottom line, we’re all human… But making the choice to build others up and see them succeed is a great way to live life!

P rayer

May I always be used to build others up… to see them succeed. I’d love to be known for THAT!

The is how I make my morning coffee, every day!

What happened with yesterday’s blog?

Good morning,


I must have deleted all my text when I posted the picture into the blog yesterday morning.

I had posted the S criptures and had begun to post my O bservations… but when I went back last night to finish, all that was there was the photo! It was that way all day…

That has happened before, but I usually catch it.

Sorry about that. It’s a little late, but it’s all there now. I couldn’t miss posting about David and Goliath!

Have a great day!


Day 105

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Welcome to Day 105 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: 1 Samuel 17; Psalm 9; Matthew 2 (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 17 “David asked the men standing near him, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

v 34 “But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. 37 The LORD who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”

v 45 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the LORD will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” 48 As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. 49 Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground.”

O bservation

I love this story of David and Goliath. It’s not just that David’s a kid, and Goliath is this huge warrior… It’s about David’s perspective. He didn’t see a huge warrior, he saw someone who defied the armies “of the Living God!” He put him in the same category as a lion or a bear… he had experience in killing both to protect and retrieve sheep under his care.

He didn’t go out in Saul’s armor, that was unfamiliar to him. He went out with what he knew and had experience with. A sling and a few stones. He said, “You come against me with a sword and a javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord!

Funny how Saul didn’t seem to even remember that David had been in his residence, playing his harp before him. Did you notice that? He asked David, “Whose son are you, young man?” Saul asked him. David said, “I am the son of your servant Jesse of Bethlehem.” And Saul had been told about David before he was invited to play the harp for him.

A pplication

There are many ways to fight a battle. Sometimes with a torch and a jar (Gideon). Sometimes with a trumpet and a shout (Joshua). Sometimes God just confuses our enemies… Sometimes we need just a few small stones, some good experience and having our confidence in the God of the armies of Israel!

I love David’s somewhat brash approach… “David asked the men standing near him… “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

In the SPT (Scott’s Paraphrased Translation) it would say, “Why doesn’t someone go out there and shut this guy up? He’s an uncircumcised PHILISTINE! What’s your problem! I’ll take this guy right now!

David’s older brother basically said, “Why don’t you just go tend those few sheep and leave the fighting to us?”

Goliath taunted David, “Am I a dog that you come at me with a stick?” And he cursed David by his gods…

So much can be drawn from this passage. Some much in one chapter.

P rayer

Thank you Lord that even though we may have to show up for the battle, you give us the strategy, the strength, even the experience we need. Help me to always have my confidence in you, not in my own strength or abilities.

P.S. There is a saying, “All that is needed for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing. I don’t want to be that guy… who does nothing!

Day 104

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Welcome to Day 104 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: 1 Samuel 15, 16; 1 Chronicles 5; Matthew 1 (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 15:1 “Samuel said to Saul, “I am the one the LORD sent to anoint you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the LORD. 2 This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. 3 Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’”

7 “Then Saul attacked the Amalekites all the way from Havilah to Shur, to the east of Egypt. 8 He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and all his people he totally destroyed with the sword. 9 But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs—everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed.”

24 “Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned. I violated the LORD’s command and your instructions. I was afraid of the people and so I gave in to them.”

2 Samuel 16:11 “So he [Samuel] asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered, “but he [David] is tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.” 12 So he sent and had him brought in. He was ruddy, with a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the LORD said, “Rise and anoint him; he is the one.” 13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power. Samuel then went to Ramah.”

1 Chronicles 5 The tribes east of the Jordan River are discussed. This material is in four sections: Reuben (1–10); Gad (11–17); a brief narrative (18–22); and the half-tribe of Manasseh (23–26). The hope is that these tribes will be included in the nation after the return from exile in Babylon. (Reformation Study Bible)

Matthew 1:16 “… and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. 17 Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Christ.”

O bservation

Lineage is of great importance.

At least is was in Jesus’ case. I believe it is for all of us at some level. Who we are stems, from where we came from. (DNA is a powerful thing.) In Jesus’ case, it was one more validation of his Messiahship. The Messiah had to come from the house and lineage of David.

Our family has traced it’s roots back to 1780, to Pennsylvania, to Isaac Sliver. That’s it. Stops there. ALL THE WAY to Pennsylvania… (just seems kind of funny to me.) When some families can trace their heritage back to England, Germany, or wherever, back to the 1,400’s? I may have to do some more digging…

Seven generations I can go back… But the genealogy of Jesus went back FORTY TWO generations to just Abraham! In rough numbers, Adam was born 4,000 BC, Abraham, 2,000 BC, David, 1.000 BC. Jesus’ lineage is well documented, all the way back to Adam, in Luke 3!

Funny how God chose David…

His father, Jesse, didn’t even bother to bring him in front of Samuel. Samuel had to ask, “Is this all of your sons? Do you have any more sons??” Oh… wait… there’s David… but he’s out tending the sheep… (Like, why bother? It couldn’t possibly be him…)

I always think it’s funny that in 16:6, it says, “Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed stands here before the LORD.”

7 “But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

Then, when Samuel saw David, he still gave a description of him! v 12 “He was ruddy, with a fine appearance and handsome features.” Cracks me up.

Samuel anoints David, then in a strange twist of fate, someone recommends David to play his harp… for the king, Saul. And Saul took him into his service. This is really going to get interesting in the next day or two.

David is anointed the next king. Not Saul’s son, Jonathan… Due to Saul’s repeated disobedience. Sad story…

A pplication

God chooses whom he chooses. It’s not because we are anything “special.” Not based on how we look, or even how talented we are. He calls us based on our heart…

I’m sure somewhere along the way, skill, ability, training, education, etc, all come into play… but it all starts with the heart.

How about this verse? “A person may think their own ways are right, but the LORD weighs the heart.” Proverbs 21:2. And Psalm 44:21 says, “he knows the secrets of the heart.”

I can’t hide anything from God. He knows my inmost thoughts. Every word I’m about to say. What I’m thinking, even the stuff that doesn’t come out of my mouth… What I am really thinking…

Saul’s sin throws him into a downward spiral. Probably a mixture of anger and disappointment. Anger at himself. Anger at God… Probably anger toward Samuel. Disappointed that he was rejected as king… and that his son would never sit on the throne. Disappointed that Samuel never came to see him again… That had to hurt.

As a leader, I can’t get away from wondering how many times, like Saul, I have made a decision based on fear. When I did perhaps only 90% of what God wanted me to do, but the other 10% is what really mattered?

Saul thought it was ok to keep the best of the plunder to be offered as sacrifices. Seems reasonable, even honorable. The problem is that God told him to completely destroy everything. Men, women and children, all the livestock. Not only did he keep the best of the livestock, but he took the king captive.

Samuel had to finish the job. Right there in front of everyone… he killed King Agag with a sword.

This stuff makes my head spin sometimes…

Have you ever made a mistake that you relive to this day? (That is meant to be rhetorical…)

I bet Saul has relived this whole exchange with Samuel over and over. And it only added to the torment he was experiencing… harassed by a spirit… from God. In regret of a few of his decisions that cost him his heritage and his legacy.

P rayer

Lord, help me to do what is right. I know that you desire obedience over sacrifice.

Help me to be obedient to your word and to the leading of your Spirit.

Day 103

Friday, April 13, 2012

Welcome to Day 103 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: 1 Samuel 14; 1 Chronicles 4; 2 Corinthians 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

My iPhone Bible ap had another error, it took me to 1 Chronicles 14, not 1 Chronicles 4…

S cripture

1 Samuel 14 “Jonathan [son of King Saul] said to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised men. Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few.” 7 “Do all that you have in mind,” his armor-bearer said. “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.”

1 Chronicles 4 gives a detailed account of the genealogies of the Tribe of Judah. (Becomes increasingly important as David is about to come on the scene… and Jesus is “the Lion of the Tribe of Judah!)

2 Corinthians 13:11, “Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.”

O bservation

I noted in 1 Samuel 14:52 “All the days of Saul there was bitter war with the Philistines, and whenever Saul saw a mighty or brave man, he took him into his service.” This was a difficult time in Israel’s history. “After Saul had assumed rule over Israel, he fought against their enemies on every side: Moab, the Ammonites, Edom, the kings of Zobah, and the Philistines.” The Philistines were especially… pesky… taunting the Israelites… “The Hebrews are crawling out of the holes they were hiding in.”

How humiliating.

Seems they have completely lost sight of who they were, their heritage and God’s promises to them. Their disobedience has cost them dearly. They defeated the Philistines by God’s hand, but they couldn’t finish the job. It says the Philistines “withdrew to their own land” in v 46.

This has been Israel’s downfall every step along the way. On top of that, the army begins eating meat with blood in it… It’s like they take two steps forward and three steps back.

I love the exchange between Jonathan and his armor-bearer… “Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few.” “Do all that you have in mind,” his armor-bearer said. “Go ahead;

I am with you heart and soul.”

A pplication

To me, the Application portion of this exercise is the most important. If we read the scriptures and make all kinds of great, deep observations, but fail to apply it to our lives, then it’s just good information. The Lord may give us deep insights, but if I don’t ask or think through how this applies to my life today, then so what?

That’s the question I always ask, “So what?”

The “So what?” for me today raises a couple of thoughts. So what if they are eating meat with blood in it? Does that really matter? I mean, they’re hungry after a long, hard-fought battle. Really, what does it matter?

They were disobedient. Rather than take a little extra time to prepare the meat properly, they rushed into it… and this, after the Lord had given them a victory. Then, BAM! Instead of worshiping him, offering proper sacrifices and enjoying a meal… they give in to hunger and sin in the process.


It’s like letting our guard down.

It’s easy to get lackadaisical in what we do… offer strange fire, as Aaron’s sons did. Get overly familiar, loose with our comments (one of my personal weaknesses, especially when I am tired.)

The upside of today’s reading for me was very inspirational… It’s easy to focus on all of Israel’s failings and relate them to my life in a cautionary way. That slaps me upside the head every day as I read…

But I love Jonathan’s trust in the Lord and how he expresses it… “Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few.” Putting his trust in the Lord, not in his own strength or numbers.

And his armor-bearer’s response, “Do all that you have in mind,” his armor-bearer said. “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.”

I always say, “Showing up is half the battle. (The other half is showing up for the right reasons…)”

Heart and soul.

Heart and soul…

Heart AND soul…

HEART… and soul…

Heart and SOUL…

I have always served. I’m known for my dependability (I think) and faithfulness (I hear that often.) But it’s possible for me to be someplace geographically, but my mind be a million miles away… Right? People can see through if/when I am just showing up. I hate that… I am always mindful of what I am projecting, because as a leader, do I want our ministry partners “just showing up?” Filling a spot on the schedule? Or do I want them showing up next to me, “heart and soul” ready to take on the battle of leading worship… teaching our kids… Serving the community. Heart and soul…

Heart and soul.

Heart and soul… at home? Not just while I’m out extending the kingdom, doing my job…

Heart and soul… all the time?

Heart and soul.

Now THAT’S Application.

P rayer

Lord, help me to put my heart and soul into all that you have in mind for me to do. Give me energy, courage, strength and vision!

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