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 198

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Welcome to Day 198 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Isaiah 29; Isaiah 30; Isaiah 31; James 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 29:13, “The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.”

16, “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, “He did not make me”? Can the pot say of the potter, “He knows nothing”?

v 1 refers to “Ariel” the city where David settled. In this case it’s Jerusalem, but Bethlehem is also referred to as the City of David.

Isaiah 30:18, “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!”

21, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

Isaiah 31:1, “Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsemen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, or seek help from the Lord.”

James 1:22, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.”

O bservation

So much in today’s readings! Could go in many directions… The potter and the clay, trusting God, hearing God’s voice, not just being a hearer but a doer of God’s word…


A pplication

But aren’t those the topics every day? Aren’t those always the challenges? Not just being a hearer, but being a doer of his word? Trusting in God, not in our stuff or our own ability. (The metaphor Isaiah used was “trusting in Egypt.”) Hearing God’s voice (note is says, “You will hear a voice behind you…”). And, who am I (the clay) to tell God (the potter) that I know better, or that my ways are better?

These are always the challenges of being a believer. The day to day struggles.

I am often prone to thinking my ways may be better. I am often challenged to make sure I am trusting in Him, versus myself. I can get ahead of Him and ignore His voice behind me as He is calling out to me…

Seems to all fit into one tidy package…

Seems easy enough…

Then why can it be so hard to actually walk this out?

I’ve been doing this for a long time. I know better. I know all He wants is for me to trust Him. It’s easier some times than others… but why not all the time? Why are we all prone to go our own way? To just ignore His voice and do our (my) own thing?

Is it simply that we’re human? Psalm 103 says that “He knows our frame. He remembers that we are dust.”

This is not an excuse, it’s a reality. We really are just human. I think it takes focus and dedication to walk with God, day in and day out, week after week, month after month, year after year.

My default thinking is “You can’t go wrong if you do what’s right.” I often say that to myself when I’m contemplating going off on someone, or pressing the boundaries of what is good or right. In other words, “Scott, just do the right thing.”

Sometimes I just don’t want to. Why is that?

I saw a bumper sticker the other day: Love God. Hate sin.

I can hate sin and still do it. (Ask any addict.)

I can love God and still not listen to his voice.

I like the analogy in James 1… a person who knows the word, but doesn’t do it is like a person who looks in a mirror, then forgets what they look like.”

That’s not possible, is it?

I can describe myself in detail. Oval face, graying hair, brown eyes, glasses, soul patch, thick lips, etc…

But we all do it. We know what the Bible says, but then don’t always do it.

I think more than weakness, it’s maybe an issue of determination? Maybe if I were stronger, I would be more determined, but I can be weak and determined, right?

I like that Paul said, “When I am weak, then I am strong.” Then, it’s about His strength, not mine.

Then it becomes about trust. Do I trust him to help me through my weak times?

But I love the promise in James 1:25, “But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.”

Sounds good to me!

P rayer

Help me Lord to walk with you. To know you are always with me. To apply your word to my life…


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4 thoughts on “Day 198

  1. Nicole Marvin on said:

    Isaiah 30:21
    “If you wander off the road to the right or the left, you will hear his voice behind you saying, “Here is the road. Follow it.””

    James 1:5
    “But if any of you lack wisdom, you should pray to God who will give it to you.”

    If you wander…you will hear his voice
    If you lack wisdom…pray and he will give it to you.
    Two fabulous promises…
    We will hear his voice. He will give us wisdom.

    Lord, I want to hear your voice. I want to go where you want me to go. Please help me to stay on the narrow path. Help me to quiet myself so that I can hear your voice. Thank you for your wisdom. Please speak to me, so that I know how to go about life. Give me wisdom to be who you want me to be. I love you!

  2. My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

    I come from a long line of quick tempered people. I used to have a nasty temper. I had VERY low tolerance for bad drivers in particular (that would be pretty much everyone else on the road). The closer I get to Christ, the less this is a problem. This wasn’t a conscious effort to be less angry. It just happened over time. By His strength, I can’t remember the last time I blew a gasket.

    There are so many things that can just make us mad in the world today. A presidential election can bring out the worst in us. This was also an area where I would easily loose my temper in the past. Looking back now, I don’t know why I became so angry. For the most part, I avoid discussions of politics now since they tend to only go downhill.

    I think the key is improvement. We can’t be perfect and thinking we are perfect or even close to perfect is simply not true. They say that people can’t change [for the better], and I agree if they try do so on their own. Getting close to Christ will change us and always for the better.

    Thank you for upgrading my circuit breakers from fast-blow to slow. Guard my lips so that the words I speak are the exact words that you would have me speak. I know that I will never be perfect, but I want to be best me that I can be, not for my glory, but as a testimony to the changes that only come from You.

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