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 “July, 2012”

Day 212

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Welcome to Day 212 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Isaiah 63; Isaiah 64; Psalms 107; John 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

Isaiah 63:1, “I will tell of the kindnesses of the Lord, the deeds for which he is to be praised, according to all the Lord has done for us—yes, the many good things he has done for Israel, according to his compassion and many kindnesses. 8 He said, “Surely they are my people, children who will be true to me”; and so he became their Savior.”

Isaiah 64:5b, “How then can we be saved? 6 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags…”

8 “You, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.”

Psalm 107:13, “Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress.”

43 “Let the one who is wise heed these things and ponder the loving deeds of the Lord.”

John 2:10, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

O bservation

Pondering, “but you have saved the best till NOW.”

A pplication

God is a God of now. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

Jesus only did what he saw the father doing. John 5:19

Doing. Not “did.” Doing… now.

This is my message for the upcoming weekend. Been thinking about a few different topics, but I think this is a message for our church, now. (Sorry, couldn’t pass that up…)

Put the past behind me.

Look to the future.

Live in the now.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

I’m sure that “now” in Hebrews 11 is transitive in its meaning… it’s not really “Now-faith” it’s “Now, faith…” as in “Now, moving on from there, faith is…”

But I like the “Now-faith” aspect. My friend Steve Bowen often refers to this verse in this way… It’s NOW faith. Faith for now. This moment. When God is present and doing something.

What is God doing in your life?

That’s a very different question than, “What has God done in your life?” That’s your testimony… And that’s good! It’s your testimony as to what God has done. But what is God doingnow… in your life?

Doing is present tense.

Done is past tense. (Sorry for the elementary English lesson…)

“Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” John 8:58 (Jesus quoting from Exodus 3:14 when Moses asked God, “What should I say when they ask me your name?”

New Testament, “I am” Greek: “Eimi.” “To be, to exist, to happen, to be present. I am. I be. I have been.”

Old Testament, “I am” Hebrew: “Hayah.” “Be, become, come to pass, exist, happen.” Then He added, “the Lord” (YHWH/YaHWeH or “Jehovah” “the existing one.”) “God” (Elohyim, a plural, masculine noun) of your fathers.

God is a God of “now.” God of the present…

Be filled with the Spirit.” Ephesians 5:18… is present tense, “Be” filled.

“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:17

How about this for a “now” verse! “LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our dayin our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.” Habakkuk 3:2

God is most certainly the God of now!

P rayer

Give me eyes to see what you are doing!

Advertisements

Day 211

Monday, July 30, 2012

Welcome to Day 211 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Isaiah 60; Isaiah 61; Isaiah 62; John 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

Isaiah 60:1, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.”

10 “Foreigners will rebuild your walls, and their kings will serve you.”

Isaiah 61 is the passage Jesus quoted in Luke 4…

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me… Read on…

4 “They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.”

Beauty instead of ashes… The oil of joy instead of mourning… A garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.

Isaiah 62:11, “The Lord has made proclamation to the ends of the earth: “Say to Daughter Zion, ‘See, your Savior comes! See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.’” 12 They will be called the Holy People, the Redeemed of the Lord.”

John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

O bservation

Once again, Isaiah delivers mind-blowing scripture! (No wonder Isaiah is quoted in the New Testament 66 times!)

A pplication

Nearly ten years ago I travelled to Rwanda to attend a conference. If I recall accurately, 23 nations were represented at this gathering. There we only a handful of Americans in attendance. My brother-in-law, Dave was with me, and a couple of other guys from the east coast.

As I was preparing for my part in the conference (I was asked to speak to the youth on purity, and to do a seminar session on “How to Reach Your Culture for Christ.” That still strikes me as funny… a middle-age, white guy from Ohio, speaking in Africa on that topic. Must be God…) the Lord gave me this passage from Isaiah 61. Not a deeply prophetic word, as Rwanda certainly needed “to rebuild the ancient ruins” as their cities had been devastated from the Genocide in 1994, and “the oil of gladness instead of the Spirit of despair.” (I could go on as to all the applications from this chapter as it relates to Rwanda.) Even the conference title was “Arise, Shine, Africa!” from Isaiah 6o:1.

But one can never lose sight that these passages are first and foremost directly related to Israel, first as they relate to their return from exile in Babylon, and ultimately God’s everlasting covenant with Israel.

Any time I am a part of doing what the Bible says, I am honored. Even if it’s as straightforward as “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat,” Matthew 25:35.

But this was a little different. This was much bigger… To be invited to help with the recovery from the genocide was a huge honor, not that I felt I really had anything huge to contribute.

But as we recently read in Isaiah 6, “Here am I, send me.” (When God asked, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?”)

I’m convinced that a willing heart goes a long way. It opens doors and makes us available. God is always asking that same question, “Who will go for us?” There are always opportunities, no shortage of mission trips or conferences to attend around the globe.

The challenge is knowing which one or when?

One day as I was walking down the road near where the compound where I was staying, I was asked why I was there. (I was handing our bottles of Coca Cola to see how that would be received in another part of the world. Bottom line? People love a free Coke wherever you go!) I simply replied from Isaiah 61, “God wants to pour out the oil of joy in your lives and in your country.” (Note: I was the only “mazoongoo” or “white man” within sight…) My presence there created quite a stir… I drew a crowd and had the opportunity to pray for dozens of people, right there on the street! (This, after being watched closely by a group of locals who were hanging out at an abandoned gas station!)

But it’s not just in Rwanda that God wants to “rebuild the ancient ruins.” What about in your life? What about in our city? Who doesn’t want (or need) the oil of gladness?

This is what God does… He rebuilds, restores. He is into divine exchange: Beauty instead of ashes… The oil of joy instead of mourning… A garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.

He wants to “restore the places long devastated!”

P rayer

I praise you Lord for your loving kindness, and your desire to rebuild and restore.

I am compelled to pray for our city, Dayton, OH. That innovation would be restored to our city. That you would rebuild its walls and lift the Spirit of despair.

Day 210

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Welcome to Day 210 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Isaiah 57; Isaiah 58; Isaiah 59; Psalm 103; 2 Peter 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

Isaiah 56-66, These prophecies are addressed to the exiles returned from Babylon before the rebuilding of the temple in 520 b.c. (64:8–12). They still suffer from idolatry, hypocrisy and indifference. Isaiah prophesies concerning their responsibilities toward the coming glorious kingdom and the certainty of its arrival. Reformation Study Bible Commentary

Isaiah 57:13, “When you cry out for help, let your collection of idols save you!” (Ouch!)

Isaiah 58, “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? 8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. 9 Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.”

11b “You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. 12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.”

Isaiah 59:19, “From the west, people will fear the name of the Lord, and from the rising of the sun, they will revere his glory.”

Psalm 103:2, “Praise the Lord, my soul, and

forget not all his benefits—

3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, 5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

2 Peter 3, continues his rant against false teaching and his call to righteousness… declaring the Day of the Lord. 14 “So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.”

O bservation

Isaiah 58 is an amazing passage of scripture about the type of fast that God desires.

A pplication

Isaiah 58 is an amazing passage of application, taking a deep spiritual discipline, fasting, and making it practical.

Isaiah 58:5, “Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?”

He is basically saying, when you fast, you are doing your own thing and calling it a fast. That is not fasting. Then he gives clear, practical application as to what a fast should be.

Ironically, it is to share your food with the hungry…

… to provide the poor wanderer with shelter…

… when you see the naked, to clothe them…

… and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood.

It is clearly to care for the less fortunate.

I would add that a fast goes beyond this social justice to also drawing close to the Lord. Spending time in the word, in worship, being in His presence. Waiting on Him. Listening…

Often times people (or groups) fast for a purpose… to prepare for a mission trip, for instance. Or for an upcoming conference. That is good, and even makes sense, as long as it is not to try to manipulate God to do what we think should happen, versus seeking His face for what He wants to do. Seeking Him for wisdom and guidance.

Jesus fasted for 40 days in the desert, then he began his ministry.

Caring for the poor has always been a part of our church’s DNA…

When John the Baptist sent word to Jesus from prison, asking if he “was the one who was to come?” Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and

the good news is proclaimed to the poor.” Matthew 11:4-5

God has always had a soft spot for the poor. Jesus said, “You will always have the poor with you.” Throughout the Bible, justice is a common theme. Why? Because the poor are often taken advantage of. They don’t have the resources to fight back. We are called to “loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke,” Isaiah 58:6.

It’s right there in black and white…

Yet, it has to be more than just social justice… more than a bag of groceries. There has to be concern, justice, prayer, relationship. Genuine concern for others. “Share” your food with the hungry. (“Don’t turn away from your own flesh and blood?” Ouch.) Offer shelter… Not merely a handout.

Relationship.

That’s the point of the fast… relationship. Seeking His face, not just His hand.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s ok to ask. He is a generous father… but in the context of relationship. He’s not a butler or an ATM.

Relationship with the poor. Relationship with Him.

Relationship.

Relationship. Relationship. Relationship.

P rayer

Help me to never lose sight of this…

Thank you Father for your heart of compassion. And for all the benefits in Psalm 103!

Day 209

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Welcome to Day 209 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Isaiah 53; Isaiah 54; Isaiah 55; Isaiah 56; 2 Peter 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

Isaiah 53:5, “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” 7 “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.”

11 After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.”

Isaiah 54:9, “So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again. 10 Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.”

Isaiah 55:1. “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. 2 Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.”

5 “Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations you do not know will come running to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.”

6 Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.

8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

11 “… So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Isaiah 56:8, “The Sovereign Lord declares—he who gathers the exiles of Israel: “I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered.”

See previous verse 6, “And foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants.”

2 Peter 2, wow, Peter is on a rant today about false teachers and the damage they do.

O bservation

Today may be the most impossible day to pick ONE verse that stands out. Isaiah 53-56 is loaded with amazing verses!

Isaiah clearly states that we (as “foreigners”) will be gathered along with Israel-exiles!

A pplication

So, here is today’s pick… Hard to find any other verse in the Bible that speaks of God’s love and mercy and His desire to pour out his love on us, to care for us and to provide for us!

It speaks to the possibility of having a deep, meaningful relationship with God… Not distant, cold or harsh.

Isaiah 55:1. “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. 2 Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.”

I like the verse, “you will delight in the richest of fare.”

I’ve had some great meals lately… Some of our favorite restaurants around Dayton include Brio at the Greene, Thai 9 in the Oregon District, Amelia’s in Bellbrook, the Wellington Grille in Beavercreek. I could go on and on…

I have really begun to enjoy food, and fellowship with friends.

I used to eat for fuel.

Now, 25 lbs. later, I have learned to relax and just enjoy a good meal.

“You will delight in the richest of fare.”

I love that imagery… it shows how much he cares for us. It implies friendship and intimacy. Closeness.

I really like that!

P rayer

Thank you Lord that you are not far off, distant or unconcerned. You are close to me!

Day 208

Friday, July 27, 2012

Welcome to Day 208 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Isaiah 50; Isaiah 51; Isaiah 52; Psalm 92; 2 Peter 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

Isaiah 49-52 outline the Servant’s mission. Speaks of Cyrus and Israel’s liberation from Babylon, but also prophetically speaks of Jesus, THE servant.

Isaiah 50:6 is a clear reference to Christ. “I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting.”

Isaiah 51:11, “They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads.”

Isaiah 52:15, “so he will sprinkle many nations…” A crystal clear reference to the blood of Christ, the spotless lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

Psalm 92:1, “It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, 2 proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night…”

2 Peter 1:19, “We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.”

O bservation

Isaiah 52 is an amazing prophecy about the (then) coming Christ. Of course we have the benefit of looking back and reading with a different perspective, seeing it’s fulfillment in Jesus, from his birth (Isaiah 9) to his crucifixion. (Isaiah 50.)

A pplication

“So he will sprinkle many nations…”

When John the Baptist announced, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” this had special meaning to the hearers… They understood that phrase, language and the implications.

“He [Moses] sprinkled some of the oil on the altar seven times, anointing the altar and all its utensils and the basin with its stand, to consecrate them.” Leviticus 8:11

Consecrate means “to sanctify, prepare, dedicate, be hallowed, be holy, be sanctified, be separate.”

That is to what God is calling us! To be set apart. To be prepared, dedicated, holy… separate. Set apart for Him and His purposes in our lives.

The crowd knew EXACTLY what JtB meant by “the Lamb of God” whose blood would (metaphorically) “sprinkle many nations.”

As western Christians, centuries later, we have to really work to connect all those dots…

Yet we also have a huge advantage! We have the benefit of looking back over millennia, seeing the big picture, how the Old and New Testaments fit together, how the New completes the Old. The fulfillment of all those prophecies!

These are exciting times in which we are living!

I often think about what Jesus said to Thomas (after the resurrection!), “Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

We fall into that category… “those who have not seen and yet have believed.” We are blessed for our having faith in what we haven’t seen. Jesus’ disciples saw with their own eyes, all the miracles and his coming back to life after being crucified. Israel had centuries of history of following the pillar of cloud and fire, seeing God move and act on their behalf, Parting the Red Sea, providing manna every day. Water from a rock. Seeing thousands of bulls and goats sacrificed… their blood sprinkled on the altar for the (temporary) covering of sin.

Jesus’ blood removed, forever, our sin! And not ours only, but also “the sins of the whole world!” (1 John 2:2b). (All one has to do is put their trust in Jesus. “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 2:2a).

Let’s walk in the blessing of having NOT seen, and yet believing!

P rayer

Thank you Lord for the price you paid for us! For your blood that was shed, and sprinkled on the nations!

Day 207

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Welcome to Day 207 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Isaiah 46; Isaiah 47; Isaiah 48; Isaiah 49; 1 Peter 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

Isaiah 46:3, ““Listen to me, you descendants of Jacob, all the remnant of the people of Israel, you whom I have upheld since your birth, and have carried since you were born. 4 Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain  you and I will rescue you.”

Isaiah 47:4, “Our Redeemer—the Lord Almighty is his name—is the Holy One of Israel.”

Isaiah 48:11, “For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another.”

Isaiah 49:15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! 16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.”

26 “I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh; they will be drunk on their own blood, as with wine. Then all mankind will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”

1 Peter 5:5, “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,

“God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

O bservation

Yet again, God’s faithfulness is on full display! Isaiah 49 is a beautiful passage, comparing Israel to a newborn and God to a faithful, loving mother.

A pplication

Amidst all the judgment and unfaithfulness of Israel (and Judah), what remains after the dust settles is God’s faithfulness.

Period.

God is faithful, because he can’t NOT be faithful. He is not just faithful, he IS faithful.

Because of his faithfulness, we can rest assured. “If God is for us then who can be against us?” Romans 8:31.

I love the imagery of God as a faithful mother. So much of the Bible portrays God as a father or the Holy One… a consuming fire. Here we have a beautiful verse of God caring for Israel as a mother nursing her baby.

That paints a different picture, doesn’t it…

One of my favorite pictures is of me with my oldest daughter, Natalie (23, Air Force) when she was just an infant. She was asleep on my legs as I slept on the couch. Sometimes that was the only way she would settle down.

This is so important to having a well-rounded, full picture of who God is.

It’s so easy to over-simply who a person is… For someone to say, “Scott is a pastor and worship leader, husband and father of four” captures in a nutshell a few of the roles that I play in life, but that hardly captures all of who I am. My personality, desires or character.

What a great image for us to remember. That God could no more forget Israel (or us!) than a mother could forget her newborn child.

(And did you catch the part of the verse, “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands?”)

“I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…” Brings the imagery of a tattoo… (the closest thing to an “engraving” I can imagine) on the palm of His hand. A photo, a drawing, a picture? Super-imposed on the palm of his hand.

Bottom line? He can not and will not forget us.

Ever.

P rayer

Thank you Lord that you have me engraved on the palm of your hand!

 

 

Day 206

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Welcome to Day 206 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Isaiah 43; Isaiah 44; Isaiah 45; 1 Peter 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

Actual scroll of Isaiah.

S cripture

Isaiah 43 is such a great chapter!

Isaiah 43:2, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. 3 For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”

11 “I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior. 12 I have revealed and saved and proclaimed—I, and not some foreign god among you.”

25 ““I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”

Isaiah 44:19, “No one stops to think, no one has the knowledge or understanding to say, “Half of it I used for fuel; I even baked bread over its coals, I roasted meat and I ate. Shall I make a detestable thing from what is left? Shall I bow down to a block of wood?”

(Doesn’t make much sense when you put it that way, does it?)

Isaiah 45:5 “I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me, 6 so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting men may know there is none besides me. I am the Lord, and there is no other.”

9, “Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’”

22, “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.”

1 Peter 4:11, “If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God.”

O bservation

Isaiah continues to be mind-blowing! So deep and so practical…

A pplication

Having said that, 1 Peter 4:11 jumped out at me this morning… I was reminded when the Lord spoke this verse to me many years ago. Certainly more than a dozen…

It occurred to me that when I was doing to message (perhaps Doug was out of town) that I wasn’t merely “filling in for Doug…” that I was speaking because God was calling me to do so, not simply because Doug wasn’t available. However true that might have been early on in our church plant, after God spoke this verse to me, I realized I was to speak as though I was “speaking the very words of God.” Certainly not in an arrogant way, but in a way that I was now certain of my calling. Regardless of the circumstance of which I came to be speaking at any particular time…

I realized I was no less called, even if was “filling in.”

I have always been willing and happy to do whatever needed to be done. Whether leading worship or speaking. Leading the men’s ministry or the children’s ministry. Or writing a daily blog. 🙂

One of my favorite verses (I know, I say that all the time…) is Colossians 3:17, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

What I get out of that is that whatever I say, whatever I do, I am to do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Whatever…

(I don’t mean that in the teen-age, dismissive “WhatEVER!” way… just repeating the word from the verse…)

That’s pretty broad, isn’t it? Whatever I do…

Speaking, leading worship, serving…

… interacting with the community… one of my favorite things to do…

… Do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus.

(The very next verse says that wives should submit to their husbands and that husbands are to love their wives and not be harsh with them… that gives the previous verse a little different context, doesn’t it…)

I love where Jesus said, “Let your light shine before men that they would see your good works and glorify your father in heaven.”

Let your light shine…

We are to LET our light shine… not blind people with it.

But I digress…

When YOU speak, do you speak as one who is speaking the very words of God? Doesn’t have to mean public speaking… It could mean speaking to the person you work with, in line behind you at Kmart or whatever.

We have this authority! Not to be obnoxious and ram God’s word down people’s throats, but to speak as though we are speaking the very words of God! Not simply quoting verses, but we should speak as though we are speaking the very words of God.

Let that sink in…

It will begin changing how you approach conversations and affect the words you might choose, and how you see your part in the kingdom of God… that God wants to speak through all of us, to those around us.

“If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God.” 1 Peter 4:11

P rayer

Lord, thank you that you want to use us to reach others and to speak to those around us! Give us your words… words of life that would build others up!

Day 205

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Welcome to Day 205 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Isaiah 40; Isaiah 41; Isaiah 42; 1 Peter 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

Isaiah 40 begins the section of Isaiah proclaiming the salvation and deliverance from captivity and Israel’s misery.

29 “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 42:1, ““Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations.”

20 “You have seen many things, but you pay no attention; your ears are open, but you do not listen.”

1 Peter 3:15, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…”

O bservation

Amazing how much Jesus quoted Isaiah in the Gospels. There are so many familiar passages in Isaiah, especially chapters 40 and 41.

A pplication

The promises in Isaiah 40 and 41 are amazing in that we all run out of strength. “Even youth and young men grow tired and weary.” This is true for all of us… But his promise is to renew our strength as we hope in him.

Hoping in the Lord is a mutual partnership… knowing that God is for us and that he loves us… As we prepare our resume, send out letters and make calls to potential employers, believing that God will open doors for us.

Can the phone simply ring on its own? Can someone refer an employer to us and they call us out of the blue?

Sure.

I’ve had it happen more than once over the course of my prior advertising career. Maybe three times?

The company I was working for went under. We had just done a big presentation to our largest client when we were met at the elevators, handed a paycheck and were told, “Cash it. Now.”

I decided to just relax for a few days, stay at home with Bonnie and figure out what our next move would be. I was in bed when the phone rang… It was someone from another agency who had heard I was available. They asked me to come in for an interview. I showered, got dressed and drove to Cincinnati, was asked to come back the next day for another interview, and was offered a position.

Yes, it can work that way… but wisdom suggests that we do our part…

In Ephesians 6, the passage about putting on the whole armor of God… it simply states, “after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then…”

We put on the armor of God, do all that we know to do… trusting him along the way. After that, when we don’t know what else to do, or we’ve done everything that we know to do… we stand. Trusting him as we stand… and wait… for the phone to ring.

I love the adventure of trusting God… waiting to see how he will move. I’m all about the story of how God did whatever he is going to do in my life.

After praying for people, I always ask them to report back to me about their healing, job interview, how God helped them financially, etc…

No one can convince me that God isn’t faithful. I’ve experienced his faithfulness over and over and over in my life!

His promise is, when we are tired from standing, he will renew our strength… to keep standing!

P rayer

Thank you Lord for your faithfulness… not just in terms of providing for my needs, but for your protection, guidance and wisdom.

Day 204

Monday, July 23, 2012

Welcome to Day 204 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: 2 Kings 20; Isaiah 38; Isaiah 39; Psalm 75; 1 Peter 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

2 Kings 20:5, “Go back and tell Hezekiah, the ruler of my people, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the Lord. 6 I will add fifteen years to your life.”

Isaiah 38 and 39 are essentially the same text as 2 Kings 20, recounting Hezekiah’s illness and God’s response.

Psalm 75:6-7, “No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt themselves. 7 It is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another.”

1 Peter 2 is the passage about us being “living stones” that I preached on the weekend of July 14-15. CLICK HERE to listen to the message and to see the notes.

25 “For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”

O bservation

Hezekiah’s story may be one of the most noted in all the bible… it’s in 2 Chronicles, 2 Kings and Isaiah.

A pplication

Peter, quoting from Isaiah 53, “we all like sheep have gone astray.”

I wonder what it must be like for God… Keeping an eye on seven BILLION people?

The world’s population reached one billion people for the first time in 1804. It then took 123 years to reach two billion. Then, only 33 years to reach three billion. Now we add a billion people every 12-15 years!

Doesn’t that seem like a lot of folks to keep track of? All their needs, prayers… and knowing the number of hairs on every person’s head?

This is our God.

I guess if One can create the universe, keeping track of a few billion people isn’t such a big deal.

And what about all those stars out in space? How about this for a big number?

100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, or 100 sextillion stars are estimated.

That’s million, billion, trillion, quadrillion, quintillion THEN sextillion (or 10 to the 21st power.)

And God placed them all there. Or somehow started a chain reaction that continues to this day, expanding our universe moment by moment.

But I digress.

In John 1 it states that, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.”

Hebrews 11 builds on this theme with, “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.”

Jesus was integral to creation. He was there.

Then, he spoke of an intimate God and Father who cares for the sparrows. Not one is forgotten by God. On top of that, he knows the number of hairs on our head?? How is that even possible??

I don’t know. Jesus said it… must be true. (Luke 12:6-7)

What’s my point?

This God, who formed the universe and billions of stars, knows you and me. He is the good shepherd, caring for his sheep.

Jesus said, “my sheep know my voice.”

(I’m sorry, this is blowing my mind this morning…)

Psalm 144:3 captures what I am trying to say, “Lord, what are human beings that you care for them, mere mortals that you think of them?”

We are the apple of his eye! (Zechariah 2:8)

I could go on and on and on…

How amazing that the God of the universe knows each and every one of us?

P rayer

You are amazing, God! Thank you for your concern even for the sparrows!

Day 203

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Welcome to Day 203 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Isaiah 36; Isaiah 37; Psalms 76; 1 Peter 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

I have completed my reading for today, but will finish my SOAP exercise later this afternoon. God bless! Scott

S cripture

Isaiah 36 and Isaiah 37 are Isaiah’s version of Hezekiah’s defense against Assyria and his prayer, very similar text as 2 Kings 18 & 19 and 2 Chronicles 32.

Psalms 76, a psalm of Asaph.

1 Peter 1:3, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade, this inheritance is kept in heaven for you…”

23 “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.”

O bservation

We have been born again of a seed that is imperishable, to receive an inheritance kept in heaven for us!

(I still can’t believe it… 185,000 Assyrian warriors died as they slept. Guess there’s more than one way to fight a war!)

A pplication

1 Peter 1:3 “He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade, this inheritance is kept in heaven for you…”

Let’s break this down…

1. A new birth!

2. A living hope!

3. An inheritance that can * N E V E R * perish, spoil or fade!

4. It’s safely stored in heaven for you, and me!

Now that’s good stuff!

A living hope… a LIVING hope! And an inheritance that awaits us!

I think I’m just going to marinate in that thought today… (Even though it’s yesterday’s reading!)

A living hope…

Let’s walk in that, not discouragement, disappointment or defeat!

P rayer

Thank you Lord for the inheritance you have stored for us! You are so good!

Post Navigation