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 “May, 2012”

Day 151

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Welcome to Day 151 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Proverbs 16; Proverbs 17; Proverbs 18; Romans 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

Proverbs 16:2 “All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord.”

Proverbs 17:22, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

Proverbs 18:21, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

Romans 12:1-2, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Romans 12:6, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.”

Gifts mentioned: Prophesying, serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, leading, showing mercy…

O bservation

I think it would be possible to do a SOAP on every verse in Proverbs… One about motives, one about a cheerful heart and one about the power of the tongue.

In lieu of that : ) I am pretty much giving honorable mentions to verses that jump out at me. I could easily do a lengthy application for each one…

But I can’t pass on Romans 12.

“In view of God’s mercy, offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”

A pplication

After having read all the Law for the first few months of this year, all the sacrifices, all the rules and regulations about those sacrifices, when, where, how, what we are left with today is this…

Jesus, the Lamb of God, paid the ultimate sacrifice for us.

Now, what we do, is present ourselves (our bodies) as LIVING sacrifices.

Do you realize that makes us both the priest AND the sacrifice at the same time??

By my own choice, I choose to follow Christ. To take up my cross daily and follow him. To lay down my life, my rights, my will… for His. Peter talked about “entering into his suffering.”

That doesn’t exactly make my heart “cheerful.”

But what does, is seeing changed lives and walking with others through that process!

I always say, it’s not my job to change people. (That’s the Holy Spirit’s job.) My job is to love people.

“A living sacrifice” means we do whatever needs to be done. (That is, what God is calling us to.) That doesn’t mean we have to say, “Yes” every time the phone rings. It means that we have given up our rights, because we are already dead. We lay ourselves on the altar every day, in essence, saying, “I am yours.”

The sacrifices in the Old Testament had no choice in the matter. They were killed.

We “die to ourselves.”

Galatians 2:20 states, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

I have been crucified… with Christ… and I no longer live…

I’m already dead.

Yet I still live!

(Are you getting this??)

One of my favorite passages is Isaiah 6 when Isaiah sees the Lord in the temple and is undone. He confesses his sin, is forgiven, then, when the question is asked, “Who will go for us?” he simply answers, “Here I am. Send me.”

I remember starting the Vineyard… I said to Doug, “Hey, are you going to Dayton to start a Vineyard? I’ll go with you.”

I had no idea what I was saying.

I had no idea what was in store for us, or what the longterm ramifications of that offer would bring. It didn’t matter to me.

The Great Commission in Matthew 28 is, “Go…”

We are all “sent.” Doesn’t matter if you are called to “the nations,” or to Dayton. That’s just geography… (If you’re a believer in China or Russia, Dayton IS the nations! Justsayin’…)

Over the course of the past ten years, I have been to Rwanda, Mozambique, England and Ukraine. I guess you could consider those “the nations” but I am called to Dayton. I am happy to go when invited. I go anywhere and do just about anything God asks me to do… I kind of like the deep end of the pool!

But I am perfectly content right here in Dayton. (Content, not complacent.)

The question God is always asking is, “Who will go for us?” (Isaiah 6.)

Here am I. Send me.

P rayer

Let your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Not my will, but thy will…

 

 

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Day 150

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Welcome to Day 150 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Proverbs 13; Proverbs 13; Proverbs 15; Romans 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

Proverbs 13, 14 and 15 continue the broad scope of wisdom. (Chapters 10-22 will be this way, a somewhat random collection of sayings…)

13:20, “Walk with the wise and become wise…”

14:8, “The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways…”

14:16, “The wise fear the Lord and shun evil…”

15:2, “The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge…”

15:7, “The lips of the wise spread knowledge…”

Honorable mention: 15:22, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” The Scott Translation, “A wise person seeks insight from those around him.”

Romans 11:36, “For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.”

O bservation

The thread comparing the wise and the foolish, those who love wisdom and those who lack it, continues.

A pplication

I am constantly amazed at the situations in which people find themselves. Most are avoidable.

Not to be too simplistic, but it often comes down to making poor decisions that have lasting impact on not only their life, but also on those around them.

Considering an affair? Not a great idea…

Drinking and driving? Also not a great idea…

Quitting your job? Have you talked to your spouse about this decision?

Do you have ample resources to hold you over until you find another one? Is the issue really work related or is it more internal, perhaps an issue that you have not dealt with? If it’s with a coworker, have you actually talked to that person directly about it?

Granted, my thinking may be somewhat over-simplified… But the truth is, life is one long series of decisions.

Making good decisions is key.

That’s what Proverbs is all about. Applying practical wisdom to everyday life.

“See that woman over there? Stay far away from her.”

“Saving some money is a good idea.”

“Hanging out with trouble-makers will only get you into trouble.”

“Tell the truth.”

This is not rocket science…

There is a book called, “All I really Need to Know I learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum. In it, he applies simple principles to everyday life… Share everything, play fair, don’t hit people, put things back where you found them.

If life were really that simple.

Life isn’t simple, but one can avoid a lot of heartache by applying simple wisdom.

OK, I have to admit something that’s not easy to say out loud…

If you ask Doug what his top spiritual gift is, he will tell you “evangelism.” (His number two is “faith.”)

My top gift is “wisdom.” (I know, right?) My number two is “administration.”

Things just… make sense to me. Solutions to problems are not hard. I can just sort of “see” how things are going to play out given different scenarios.

But even knowing what to do, what not to say, etc, it all still comes down to choosing to do what is right. To say the right thing. (I hate that… It’s exhausting at times.) To not be harsh or sarcastic or too pointed…

Sometimes I just want to let it fly…

Not wise.

P rayer

Lord, give me wisdom for all the situations I am facing. And the courage to walk them out with integrity.

Day 149

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Welcome to Day 149 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Proverbs 10; Proverbs 11; Proverbs 12; Romans 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

Proverbs 10:1–22:16 This section consists mainly of single-sentence proverbs. There is no evidence that these are a form of wisdom writing from a different time than the longer instructions of chapters 1–9. They are simply different forms, and function in different ways. Aphorisms are often stated categorically, without the qualifications that might allow them to cover every conceivable situation. (Reformation Study Bible.)

Proverbs 10, wisdom, righteousness, wealth, prudence, integrity, security, love, discernment, knowledge, discipline are all topics in this chapter.

Proverbs 11 and 12 primarily contrast the righteous and the wicked.

(The random nature of this section of Proverbs, combined with the wide range of topics makes it hard for me to focus on any one or two verses.)

Romans 10:4, “Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God.”

v 9, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved… 13 “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

O bservation

I took note in Proverbs 10, 11 and 12 the number of times the words, “mouth,” “lips,” and “words” were used. Additionally the glaring contrast between those who seek wisdom and those who lack it. 10:19 states, “Sin is not ended by multiplying words.” or as the New Century Version puts it, “Sin is not ended by multiplying words.”

The Scott Translation, “Talk less. Sin less.”

Again the book of Romans does not disappoint with classic verses contained in today’s chapter 10! I have heard Romans described as a legal document explaining the law versus grace. v 4 is a concise example; “Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given.”

As we read in Romans 8:3, “For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.”

A pplication

It’s easier for me to apply Proverbs than Romans. Period.

Romans is this amazing book comparing and contrasting the Law versus grace. The flesh versus the Spirit. I could go on about how I want to live according to the Spirit and how thankful I am about the work of the Spirit in my life.

(I am especially looking forward to Romans 12 and 14! Easily two of my favorite chapters in the whole Bible.)

But what strikes me today is how easy it is to get ourselves into trouble, simply by talking too much.

I am acutely aware of this…

For us extroverts, holding our tongue is easier said than done.

I think out loud most of the time.

James 1:19 says, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak.”

I find that when I’m tired, my “filter” seems to not work quite so well. In other words, I am more likely to say things I would normally “filter out.” (Not say them…)

This is also true when I am around my family and close friends. I am less guarded…

I have one verse that I have held on to for many years. I find this one verse to contain so much wisdom, and I refer to it often…

“Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down.” Proverbs 26:20.

In other words, when you want to stoke the fire in any situation, it’s probably not a good idea. Better to bite your tongue. Sometimes something has to be said, but I often ask myself, “Am I merely stoking the fire if I say this?”

Facebook would be a better world if people caught that one verse…

Some things are simply better left unsaid.

I’m not talking about having poor boundaries or not avoiding a situation that needs addressed… I’m talking about not stoking a fire.

P rayer

“Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3

 

Day 148

Monday, May 28, 2012

Welcome to Day 148 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Proverbs 7; Proverbs 8; Proverbs 9; Romans 9 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

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

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

S cripture

Proverbs 7 gives us yet another warning against an adulterous woman. (Sorry ladies…)

v 21-22, “With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk. All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter…”

Proverbs 8:35, “For those who find me [wisdom] find life and receive favor from the Lord.”

In Proverbs 9, Solomon compares foolishness to an “unruly woman” calling out to those who pass by…

Romans 9, Paul expounds on the rejection of Christ by Israel and his personal anguish over this rejection.

O bservation

Men, as a general rule, lack wisdom and are far too easily led astray. (Sorry guys…) And you can’t blame the wayward woman for that… Men own their own actions. That’s why Proverbs 5:8 states to stay far from her door!

The young man in Proverbs 7 is compared to an ox being led to the slaughter, a deer stepping into a noose, and a bird in a snare, “little knowing it will cost him his life.”

A pplication

I have one observation regarding affairs… people really don’t consider the long-term consequences of their actions. An affair has life-long consequences that just aren’t considered upfront. Too often people succumb to the mindset, “Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious!” not knowing it is a path that leads to destruction.

That little phrase in Proverbs 7, “little knowing it will cost him his life.” is so true. And it works both ways, doesn’t it? It does take two…

The affair itself is like pulling the pin on the grenade… and when it is found out, the explosion occurs. How widespread the destruction often depends on whether one or both parties are married.

No matter, someone’s life is destroyed and it goes from there.

The breach of trust is immense. Trust is a highly volatile  commodity… once it is broken, it takes years to rebuild, and yet, is hardly ever entirely regained. There is always a question that lingers, “Can I really trust you ever again?”

I like what Doug Roe, our pastor at the Vineyard says, “If you struggle with alcoholism, don’t go to the bar to eat the peanuts.” In other words, have good boundaries. Be smart and careful.

For men, an affair us more often simply about sex. It’s physical. There can be emotional attachment, of course, but it typically begins with the physical aspect.

But for women, it’s more often about emotional connection. Fulfilling an emotional need not being met at home. Her husband is distant, cold, unconcerned. Her guy friend from work pays attention to her. Comments on how she looks. Listens when she talks about how her husband is never around. A spark ignites…

If my needs aren’t being met at home, perhaps I am not giving what the other needs? Perhaps I need to make my needs known? A little communication goes a long way…

My wife, Bonnie and I talk about this often. I am quick to tell her if I feel someone has thrown a lure in my direction. She is quick to tell me if I’m not meeting her emotional needs. (Yes, I’m still a guy…)

If we can’t or don’t share our inner thoughts and feelings with our spouse, we are asking for trouble.

I choose to be faithful not because I’m a pastor, although the destruction caused when church leaders fall is huge… I’m first a Christian, called to a life of righteousness and holiness. Not perfection, but a standard. We are all called to the same standard. And aside from that, I want to model to my kids that marriage can work. Not merely “staying married for the kids.” But a thriving, loving marriage. A lasting friendship and partnership with mutual respect and admiration. With conflict and forgiveness. With fun and warmth.

I like what Paul said, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” I firmly believe all of us as Christians are called to be an example. An example for others to follow.

I often hear that I make being a Christian look, “fun, doable.”

I have always wanted to be the kind of father and husband that my sons would want to grow up to become. That my daughters would look for a guy who would treat them the way they have watched me treat Bonnie as they have grown up.

That’s the target I have been shooting at for 26 years. Again, not perfect, but in process.

How can you hit the target if you don’t know what you’re shooting at?

P rayer

Lord, my prayer today is for all those looking on, whose hearts may be heavy because their marriage is not great, or perhaps they have gone through what I described and are reeling from the effects of an affair or a divorce. May your healing power and grace rest now on their hearts.

Day 147

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Welcome to Day 147 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Proverbs 4; Proverbs 5; Proverbs 6; Romans 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

Proverbs 4 outlines wisdom as the most precious acquisition, the path to true life, and the way of uprightness. (Did you notice, there is no reference to God or religion?)

v 18, “The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. 19 But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.”

In Proverbs 5 “wisdom” urges us to avoid the life-destroying adulteress and to find sexual and emotional satisfaction through faithfulness in marriage.

v 8, “Keep to a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house…”

I love the title of Proverbs 6 , “A Warning Against Folly.” (Just strikes me as funny…) There’s a wide range of instruction in this Psalm, including another warning against adultery.

Romans 8, one of the classic passages in all the Bible… “Therefore, there is now

no condemnation

[no condemning sentence] for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”

v 15, “And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

[“Daddy”]

16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”

v 28, “And we know that in

all things

God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

v 31, “If God is for us,

who can be against us?”

v 37, “No, in all these things we are

more than conquerors

through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth,

nor anything else

in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

O bservation

Romans 8 is definitely one of the greatest chapters in the Bible. It’s rich with insight as to living life through the Spirit vs. in the flesh. Throughout Romans, Paul often compares the Spirit (freedom and life) and the Law (sin and death.)

It’s funny to me that Solomon, considered to be one of, if not the wisest man ever, is writing about adultery… He had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines! (See 1 Kings 11.) I guess he is writing these warnings from firsthand experience!

A pplication

Our focus over the past year or so has been on God’s goodness. That he is for us. That all things DO work together for our good!

It’s so easy to slip into a mindset that God is angry at us for one reason or another. Or that he will take things from us!

In Job there is a verse that is condensed into “He gives and takes away.” We even sing that…

I heard someone say the other day, “If I don’t use the gift God gave me, he’ll give it to someone else…”

I don’t buy that. Not for a second.

If I give a bicycle to one of my kids, it’s a gift. It’s theirs. God has no shortage of gifts, in that, if I don’t use my gift, he has to take it back because it’s in limited supply. He has MORE than enough.

I can’t imagine taking that bicycle back…

Sure, in our humanity, you could make a case like, “Hey, if you don’t ride that bike I’m giving it to the kid down the street that can’t afford one!” That’s not what I’m talking about.

With a gift, there is a transference of ownership. If I give you a gift, it’s YOURS.

People don’t often get this…

Because more often than not, there is an expectation that goes with the gift.

If you give me a $100 to take my wife out to dinner… but you have no idea that we need to pay a certain bill… You may get offended when you ask me how dinner was and I tell you we paid a bill with it. But that would be your issue. In that case, you should have given us a gift card… : )

If I give you a car, it’s yours. If you sell it the next day, that’s up to you. I gave it to you to do whatever you want.

I’m not talking about being callous or being a jerk, I’m simply talking about ownership. If I give you a gift, it’s yours to do what you want.

He is our “Abba” translated, “Daddy.”

He has plenty of bikes. I’m sure it gives him pleasure to see us riding that bike, but he has so many bikes that he doesn’t need to take ours away to give one to someone else!

Where would the grace be in that?

Having said all that… Pull that bike out… dust it off, oil it up, hop on and give it a whirl!

Give Daddy the pleasure of seeing you ride it!

P rayer

Thank you that You have more than enough

for me!

Day 146

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Welcome to Day 146 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Proverbs 1; Proverbs 2; Proverbs 3; Romans 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

Proverbs 1:1, “The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: 2 for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight; 3 for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair; 4 for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young—5 let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance—6 for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise.

7 The fear [reverence] of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

Proverbs 2:1, “My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, 2 turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding—3 indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding… v 9 Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path. 10 For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. 11 Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.”

Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.”

Romans 7:6, “We serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.”

v 21, “So I find this law at work:

Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.

22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

O bservation

I love how today we started Proverbs along with Romans 7…  Paul (the author of Romans) puts his personal struggle with sin out there for the whole world to see. And in Proverbs 2:11 it states, “Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.”

A pplication

Paul asked the question, “Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” Discretion and understanding may guard us… may keep us out of trouble, but salvation itself is only provided through Christ.

At my very best, I am still not that great.

I really don’t like using the term, “sinners saved by grace.” Because once we accept Christ we are no longer called “sinners.” In fact, Paul calls the believers,

“Saints!”

(See 1 Corinthians 1:1, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in all Achaia…” Ephesians 1:1, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1 and Colossians 1 both have the same greeting! To the “saints!”)

Do we still sin? Yes. Are we perfect? No.

The difference is our sins are washed away by the blood of Christ. (Remember the Passover? “When I see the blood, I will pass over you.”)

Wisdom, understanding and discretion may guard me, but Jesus saves me. As we “trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding; 6 in all our ways submit to [acknowledge] him, and he makes our paths straight!”

I know people who don’t know Christ that are very moral people. And I know people who know Christ who are still working out their salvation and trying to put their sin behind them. Just like Paul…

What both have in common is that our “sin nature” that came into the world through Adam, can not be dealt with by avoiding sin or being a good person. Salvation only comes through the work that Christ did. (See Romans 5.)

Just like Paul, we can say, “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

P rayer

Thank you Lord, that it’s by your work, not ours that we are saved. That you are the one who rescues me from this body of death… wretched man that I am!

P.S. I love this picture… Every time I end with a prayer of thanksgiving, I think of this picture!

Day 145

Friday, May 25, 2012

Welcome to Day 145 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: 1 Kings 10; 1 Kings 11; 2 Chronicles 9; Romans 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 Kings 10 and 2 Chronicles 9 both recount the story of the Queen of Sheeba’s visit to Solomon, including their extravagant exchange of gifts.

1 Kings 10, “She said to the king, “The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true.6 But I did not believe what they said until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half the greatness of your wisdom was told me; you have far exceeded the report I heard. 7 How happy your people must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! 8 Praise be to the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on his throne as king to rule for the Lord your God. Because of the love of your God for Israel and his desire to uphold them forever, he has made you king over them, to maintain justice and righteousness.”

1 Kings 11, “King Solomon,

however…

loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. 2 They were from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. 3 He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. 4 As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. 5 He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. 6 So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done.

7 On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable god of Moab, and for Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. 8 He did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and offered sacrifices to their gods.

9 The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. 10 Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command. 11 So the Lord said to Solomon, “Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. 12 Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. 13 Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.”

Romans 6, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Slaves to sin, or slaves to righteousness?

O bservation

With all Solomon’s incredibly great wisdom and understanding, his downfall was women… who worshiped foreign gods! They led him astray… to the point that he also participated in worshiping foreign gods??

(After building the temple for the LORD?? How wise was that?)

A pplication

I don’t even know what to say today… If Solomon, with all his great wisdom, given to him from God, over the course of time was led astray to the point of worshiping foreign gods, strictly forbidden in the Law, can there be hope for us finishing well??

Why, yes… Yes, there is!

“Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” 1 Corinthians 15:57

Paul said to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”

I’m so glad that we are fighting the good fight, together! Let’s keep “spurring one another on to love and good deeds!” (Hebrews 10:24.)

P rayer

“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” Ephesians 1:17-21


Day 144

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Welcome to Day 144 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: 1 Kings 9; 2 Chronicles 8; Psalm 136; Romans 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 Kings 9:1, “When Solomon had finished building the temple of the Lord and the royal palace, and had achieved all he had desired to do, 2 the Lord appeared to him a second time, as he had appeared to him at Gibeon.”

v 4, ““As for you, if you walk before me faithfully with integrity of heart and uprightness, as David your father did, and do all I command and observe my decrees and laws, 5 I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.’”

v 6, ““But if you or your descendants turn away from me and do not observe the commands and decrees I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, 7 then I will…”

2 Chronicles 9 echoes the same content as 1 Kings 9.

Psalm 136 is a great psalm of thanksgiving, similar to Psalm 135, but this one is responsive in nature. Affirms the goodness of God, his creation and all his mighty deeds! A great reminder.

Romans 5,:1, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

v 6,  “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.”

v 19, “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. 20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded,

grace did much more abound:

O bservation

I always take note of the “ifs” and “buts” in scripture… But it’s so easy to slip into performance mode in those instances. This is just stating the results of our faithfulness or turning away from him. Even though in just a chapter or two, Solomon becomes jaded and his heart turns away from God, God remained faithful to his promise. Jesus, son of David, sits forever on the throne. His house firmly established forever!

Romans 5 is one of the great chapters in all the Bible! States that through our faith we are at peace with God. There is no longer hostility. No more judgment. Only grace!

A pplication

Weighing our behavior against God’s grace is always difficult. God has already forgiven me. I am forgiven. Period.

Even for whatever transgressions I may commit in the future. It’s all covered by his blood. I have already been pronounced forgiven at my trial. I can not be tried for the same crime twice…

I once heard someone describe Jesus’ sacrifice in this manner…

Imagine someone paying your electric bill for you. They mail enough to cover your bill for the rest of your life. You account is paid. In full.

You can send a check, but they will send it back stating that your account is over-paid. The bill has already been paid in full. You owe nothing.

You could call customer service and state that you weren’t the one who paid the bill, but they don’t care. Someone paid it. It’s PAID. IN FULL.

Are there results to my sins? Sure. Sin always has a price tag, but is not about my forgiveness or salvation. My salvation is secure. It has nothing to do with what I do or don’t do. The account has already been paid. In full. It’s about what HE has done.

(If someone commits a crime, God will forgive them, but they will still go to jail…)

As the old hymn states, “Jesus paid it all… All to him I owe… Sin had left a crimson stain… He washed it white as snow!”

It can be difficult to reconcile the “if’s” and “buts” in the Bible with grace…

I land here… There may be ramifications to my actions, but God’s forgiveness is apart from that.

It occurred to me the other day that I did nothing to become a son. I was born into that role. I am a son. I can never change that. I am my father’s son.

With God, I have been adopted. He adopted me into his family. I am his son, solely because he chose to adopt me.

I am now a child of the King of Kings. If that’s true, that makes me a…

P rayer

Thank you Lord! #thatisall

Day 143

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Welcome to Day 143 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: 2 Chronicles 6; 2 Chronicles 7; Psalm 135; Romans 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

2 Chronicles 6:18, ““But will God really dwell on earth with humans? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!”

2 Chronicles 7:1, “When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. 2 The priests could not enter the temple of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled it. 3 When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the Lord above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying, “He is good; his love endures forever.”

Psalm 135:15, “The idols of the nations are silver and gold, made by human hands. 16 They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see. 17 They have ears, but cannot hear, nor is there breath in their mouths. 18 Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.”

Romans 4:3, “What does Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.'”

O bservation

Thinking about Solomon’s question… “But will God really dwell on earth with humans?”

The answer, “Yes.”

Revelation 21:3 states, “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and

God himself will be with them

and be their God.”

You gotta love that God’s presence was so strong that the priests couldn’t even perform their duties and that they had to go outside! And his presence was “above the temple,” too! (2 Chronicles 7:3) Fire was coming down from heaven consuming the sacrifices! What an amazing sight that must have been!

A pplication

What an amazing thought, truth… That the dwelling of God is WITH men. That he is WITH us. That he is WITH me.

Matthew 1:23, “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

Solomon had it right.

God doesn’t dwell in a building. The building merely housed the Ark which represented his presence. God wasn’t dwelling there… it was more of a meeting place?

Solomon’s temple stood for 419 years until King Nebuchadnezzer of Babylon destroyed it… Another temple was built some time later (at the time of Haggai and Zechariah) and stood until Jesus’ day, but was destroyed in 70 AD by the Romans. That temple had a curtain that separated “the holy place” from “the most holy place” or “the holy of holies.” That curtain was torn in two at the moment of Jesus’ death (see Matthew 27), signifying that there was no longer a veil keeping people from drawing close to God. See 2 Corinthians 3.

Hebrews 4 states that we may now approach his throne of grace “with confidence!”

How amazing is that, that we can approach the Creator of the heavens and the earth, with confidence! That he wants to be WTH us. That we can know him… not just know about him!

P rayer

Thank you Lord for making a way for us to draw near to you!

Day 142

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Welcome to Day 142 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: 1 Kings 8; 2 Chronicles 5; Psalm 99; Romans 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 Kings 8:3, “When all the elders of Israel had arrived, the priests took up the ark, 4 and they brought up the ark of theLord and the tent of meeting and all the sacred furnishings in it. The priests and Levites carried them up, 5 and King Solomon and the entire assembly of Israel that had gathered about him were before the ark, sacrificing so many sheep and cattle that they could not be recorded or counted.”

Solomon’s prayer, and the dedication of the temple.

2 Chronicles 5 also records the Ark being brought to the temple and it’s dedication.

Psalm 99 is another “royal” psalm.

Romans 3:21, “But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.”

O bservation

At last, the Ark has a more permanent home. Keep in mind, it has been over 400 years from Moses to this moment. All that remained in the Ark were the stone tablets… (Wondering what happened to Aaron’s staff, the jar of manna… even the gold rats the Philistines put into the Ark when they had it briefly.)

A pplication

What is jumping out at me today is the timeline. Over FOUR HUNDRED YEARS… This would be a similar timeline as the discovery and founding of the United States, just over 500 years in the making. Keep in mind the Declaration of Independence is just over 200 years old. The Ark was twice that old.

What’s my point? God has a different perspective on time. His viewpoint is “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” 2 Peter 3:8.

People use this verse to stretch out the timeline of creation, however, I believe it was literally six days. “There was evening and there was morning the third day.” That’s 24 hours… (Having said that, who knows how long the spirit of the Lord “hovered over the waters?” That could have been millions of years.)

I try to keep all this in mind when I get in a hurry. The Ark was in Moses’ tabernacle and David’s tent for generations. But when the timing was right, Solomon built a temple.

Timing is everything. It’s so easy to rush ahead of God. To get impatient.

Sometimes a day seems like a thousand years, doesn’t it?

P rayer

Lord give me patience as I wait for you…

2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

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