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 166

Friday, June 15, 2012

Welcome to Day 166 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: 1 Kings 16; 2 Chronicles 15; 2 Chronicles 16; Colossians 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 Kings 16, Israel is in upheaval, experiencing revolution after revolution. All are compared to Asa, King of Judah’s reign. It seems as though every king did more evil than the previous, “causing Israel to sin.”

v 31, “He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him. 32 He set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal that he built in Samaria. 33 Ahab also made an Asherah pole and did more to arouse the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, than did all the kings of Israel before him.”

2 Chronicles 15:8 “When Asa heard these words and the prophecy of Azariah son of Oded the prophet, he took courage. He removed the detestable idols from the whole land of Judah and Benjamin and from the towns he had captured in the hills of Ephraim. He repaired the altar of the Lord that was in front of the portico of the Lord’s temple.

9 Then he assembled all Judah and Benjamin and the people from Ephraim, Manasseh and Simeon who had settled among them, for large numbers had come over to him from Israel when they saw that the Lord his God was with him.

10 They assembled at Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of Asa’s reign. 11 At that time they sacrificed to the Lord seven hundred head of cattle and seven thousand sheep and goats from the plunder they had brought back. 12 They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, with all their heart and soul. 13 All who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, were to be put to death, whether small or great, man or woman. 14 They took an oath to the Lord with loud acclamation, with shouting and with trumpets and horns. 15 All Judah rejoiced about the oath because they had sworn it wholeheartedly. They sought God eagerly, and he was found by them. So the Lord gave them rest on every side.

2 Chronicles 16:7, “At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him: “Because you relied on the king of Aram and not on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped from your hand. 8 Were not the Cushites and Libyans a mighty army with great numbers of chariots and horsemen? Yet when you relied on the Lord, he delivered them into your hand.

9 For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.

You have done a foolish thing,

and from now on you will be at war.”

v 12 “In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was afflicted with a disease in his feet. Though his disease was severe, even in his illness he did not seek help from the Lord, but only from the physicians.”

Colossians 1:15, “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.”

Colossians 1:27, “God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

O bservation

I can’t get over how person after person followed after the Lord for years and years, then, something happens and they make a huge mistake (Asa’s pact with Ben-Hadad king of Aram by removing the silver and gold from the temple and not inquiring of the Lord. Ouch.) and seemly turn from God in an instant, to the point that Asa didn’t even turn to the Lord when he was ill!

A pplication

Kind of makes me wonder, “Is there hope for any of us (to finish well)??” Moses didn’t get to enter the Promised Land. Solomon became cynical. King after king turned from the Lord. The people worshiped false gods, built high places and Asherah poles…

There, but for the grace of God, go I.

This now-common phrase was uttered by John Bradford, an English Reformer and martyr in the 1500’s (“There, but for the grace of God, goes John Bradford.”) while imprisoned in the Tower of London when he saw a criminal on his way to execution; Bradford was in the Tower of London for alleged crimes against Mary Tudor for his Protestant faith.

I often say this life of faith is a marathon, not a sprint. Now, as I am about to turn 50, I wonder how anyone stays the course for their whole lifetime.

I know how it works, and I know the right things to say… Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Stay in his presence. Serve the Lord with gladness. Stay humble. One step at a time. One day at a time. Encourage one another daily. Pray without ceasing.

But I still wonder how anyone finishes well… This is a L O N G race. Much longer than 26.2 miles…

Billy Graham remains the shining example of one who ran the race well and finished well, too. (Even Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II had their doubts, if you read their memoirs/journals.)

He had an amazing impact on the kingdom and the world around him. It is believed that 3.2 MILLION people have accepted Christ due to Graham’s ministry. That’s incredible.

Presidents Harry S. Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton sought his counsel, as did the Bush family. In 2010, President Barack Obama visited Rev. Graham at his home in Montreat, North Carolina where they “had a private prayer.”

He even fought for civil rights alongside Rev. Martin Luther King Jr, and invited him to speak at a SIXTEEN WEEK long revival in New York City. In the 50’s, that was unheard of, and quite a risk.

Somehow Graham managed to stay married, avoid scandal, and not get caught up in his own fame. Remaining a humble minister. (Still living at age 93!)

He still tops polls of most admired Americans.

That’s kingdom impact.

Graham must have taken these verses to heart… “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14

I think those are the key verses for all of us to hang on to. “I press on… toward the goal… to win the prize…”

That’s all I’m trying to do.

Glad to be pressing on with you…

“Christ in you, the hope of glory…”

P rayer

Lord help me as I run this race. To be faithful minister of the Gospel. To make an impact on the kingdom and the world around me.

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3 thoughts on “Day 166

  1. Nicole Marvin on said:

    2 Chron. 16:9 (Msg)
    “God is always on the alert, constantly on the lookout for people who are totally committed to him. You were foolish to go for human help when you could have had God’s help. Now you’re in trouble—one round of war after another.”

    God gives me his strength. I need to stay fully committed to him.

    Col. 1:9-12
    “Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.”

    I want the glory-strength of God.

    Lord, I can’t live this life well, without you and your strength. I need you. Lord, I need you. I need you to fill the emptiness in my life. You are my strength, my breath and I count every day as a gift. Please give me wisdom and direction so that my life will make you proud. Thank you for your strength, thank you for your attentiveness, thank you for for the way you care for me. I love you!

  2. 2chron.15:7 but as for you, be strong and dont give up for your work will be richly rewarded. 15) so the Lord granted them rest on every side. In spite of the issues that I recently faced, I’m grateful that He does’nt look on in anger or disgust when I make a wrong call. That He doesn’t change His mind about me or change the promises or stop being my friend. Father thank you for your love and GRACE.

  3. King Asa also deposed his grandmother Maakah from her position as queen mother, because she had made a repulsive image for the worship of Asherah. Asa cut it down, broke it up and burned it in the Kidron Valley.

    As I read more and more about Asherah poles, I turned to Google to see what one looked like since they are so detestable to God and should be avoided. I stumbled into a world of conspiracy theories claiming that Christians have been duped into worshiping pagan gods. The Asherah pole is a phallic symbol used to worship a pagan goddess of fertility. There are those who claim that the Christmas tree, the steeple, etc. are all examples of modern day Asherah poles and that by their use, we are engaging unknowingly in pagan worship. There are accusations that the Washington Monument is a pagan obelisk (used to worship the sun god, Ra).

    It’s easy to get caught up in all this and possibly be afraid to go to church. Getting fixated on things like this serve more to shatter our faith than build it. God knows our heart. When a group of Christians gather around a flagpole to pray for our country, it is not a pagan practice. When we pray, no matter where it is or the circumstances, when we pray in the name of Jesus, His name supersedes all else. Philippians 2:9-11 says

    Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
    that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
    and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

    I think I can rest assured that when we put up a Christmas tree in our home, we do so to remember and celebrate of the birth of Christ Jesus, the Lord and the savior of my soul. I certainly do not feel any conviction from the Holy Spirit that there is anything wrong with doing so. When I put the tree and begin preparing for Christmas (only 192 days left btw) my soul gets and extra dose of happiness and joy. The bottom line is that Jesus reigns over ALL creation.

    Jesus, You are the Lord of all creation. You know our hearts and our motives. Whatever sacrifices we offer, we do so in your glorious name.

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