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 226

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Welcome to Day 226 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Jeremiah 16; Jeremiah 17; Psalms 96; John 16 (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

Jeremiah 16:10, “What sin have we committed against the Lord our God?’ 11 then say to them, ‘It is because your fathers forsook me,’ declares the Lord, ‘and followed other gods and served and worshiped them. They forsook me and did not keep my law. 12 But you have behaved more wickedly than your fathers. See how each of you is following the stubbornness of his evil heart instead of obeying me. 13 So I will throw you out of this land into a land neither you nor your fathers have known, and there you will serve other gods day and night, for I will show you no favor.’”

Jeremiah 17:10, “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.”

(I like how Jeremiah quoted from Psalm 1, almost verbatim… “like a tree planted by rivers of waters…”)

Psalm 96:12, “Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy; 13 they will sing before the Lord, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his truth.”

John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

O bservation

Each of us stands on our own merits before the Lord…

A pplication

I have one particular reader that sends me messages that pertain to my journal entries on a pretty regular basis. They are a very thoughtful person, giving much thought to each day’s readings… Like most of you… they read the blog, but comment to me privately, not publicly.

Many of you approach me at church, or elsewhere to tell me how much you appreciate the blog, a particular post, insight or just that I do it and it has been a good resource for you… Every week someone comes up to me in this way… someone who I had no idea had been reading the blog all along.

I’ve had a bit of an ongoing dialog with this one reader… They ask me questions and offer their insights as well.

One point that sticks with them in particular, as with so many, is “What about those who never hear the Gospel? What about those in Africa? What about those from other cultures, whose parents who practice other religions?”

I answered their email before I started todays reading… Then sent them a second email after reading from Jeremiah.

It really speaks to this… while not exactly, in general terms it gets to the heart of very difficult questions we all ask. The two passages I cited above bear repeating…

Jeremiah 16:10, “What sin have we committed against the Lord our God?’ 11 then say to them, ‘It is because your fathers forsook me,’ declares the Lord, ‘and followed other gods and served and worshiped them. They forsook me and did not keep my law. 12 But you have behaved more wickedly than your fathers. See how each of you is following the stubbornness of his evil heart instead of obeying me. 13 So I will throw you out of this land into a land neither you nor your fathers have known, and there you will serve other gods day and night, for I will show you no favor.’”

Jeremiah 17:10, “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.”

First, salvation is pretty simple. One must answer the question, “What did I do with Jesus?” Did I accept him or reject him? Romans says, “If you confess with your mouth, the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:8-9

Salvation isn’t complicated, but we make it complicated with all our add-ons. Once a person accepts Christ, we confuse “sanctification” with salvation. Sanctification is the process of becoming like Jesus… “Christ-like.” Not perfect, but being conformed into the image of Christ.

It’s easy to confuse the two issues, because we are all still in process.

But if a person claims to be a Christian, but doesn’t “regularly” attend church, we may question whether or not they are even saved at all.

What if they attend church but don’t serve regularly?

What about tithing?

What about their language?

What if they struggle with addiction?

What if they are living with someone, not married?

Can a person be gay and be saved?

All great questions…

Do I think people should attend church regularly? Obviously. Do I think people should tithe? Of course. (Yes, it is a New Testament principle… 🙂 ) Is it ok to live with someone and not be married? Not the best scenario… Do I think there should be a change once a person has submitted their life to Christ. Yes.

Romans 12 speaks to the transformation of our minds (in addition to our spirit being renewed) and living our lives as a sacrifice. We are now both priest and sacrifice. (Paul refers to believers as “priests” and Peter proclaimed believers as a “royal priesthood.”) We choose, as priests, to lay our lives down as a sacrifice.

Do you realize a sacrifice has no choices?

In the Old Testament, the sacrifice gave its life without a choice.

Jesus, by his own choice, gave his life as a sacrifice for us. He paid for my sins…

Now, I have the choice to live as a sacrifice. Not as a slave, but as a son, willingly serving. A living sacrifice!

Paul said at one point we slaves to sin, now we are to be slaves to righteousness! (Romans 6:18).

Yet, at the same time, we are sons… adopted into God’s family, with all the rights and privileges that go with that. God runs to us, puts a ring on our finger, a robe on our back, embraces us and throws a party.

The prodigal son, as it says, “came to his senses.”

The wrong question is “what can I get away with?” or “How far is too far?”

The right questions is “where is God leading me? or “What is leading me away from Christ?”

God understands all the ins and outs of our lives… all our hurts… all the circumstances that have brought each of us to where we are. He knows our heart. He is able to take all that into account.

I often refer to Romans 1 in such matters… “what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”

This doesn’t speak directly to Christ, but to God, in general. Does a person reject the idea of God, his eternal power and divine nature… After that would come, “Did they hear the message of Christ?” and what did they do with it?

I never feel any pressure to try to speak for God. I get asked to pretty often, when doing a funeral… Often times the family is concerned about their loved one’s salvation… they say something like this, “Well… they claimed to be a Christian, but they never went to church…” or something like that. I always go back to Romans 10…

Beyond that, it’s not up to me.

I have enough to deal with trying to rationalize Matthew 7, “Many will say to me on that day, Lord, did we not prophesy and do many miracles in your name? And he will say, “Depart from me, I never knew you.”

How is that possible? And how does that fit with Romans 10? I’m not sure… It’s verses like that, that cause all of us to scratch our heads, or wonder about our loved one’s salvation. Even our own at times.

Doug spoke over the weekend about the “Jesus Factor.” Ultimately it comes down to what did we do with Jesus.

Then, how did we live our lives…

All I know is, I want to know Him and to be known by Him.

Relationship…

P rayer

Lord, I want to know you more and more… Lord, search me and know me… Psalm 139

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8 thoughts on “Day 226

  1. What a beginning! Jer.16:19 0 Lord my strength and my fortress my refuge in times of distress. 17:10 I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind and reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve. Wow. Sometimes I’m not a very good example of Him when I’m hurrying in my car. Hmmm deeds. Lets see I saw a lady in a wheelchair crying on the corner and when I turned my car around to go back she was gone. I went to Romans 10 because I too have had people I love pass and questioned their salvation. Actually it kept me awake a lot of nights until God (Counselor ) comforted my heart one night. He showed me that His love is perfect. While we all may not achieve the “walk” we need to, He is always there. Sometimes people accept Him at a young age and then “life” happens. They become those seeds talked about that fell by the roadside and died( very little or no fruit) pain, discouragement, loss, mental illness, or even misdirected anger gets in the way of the walk. But, our Father still stands with open arms, the robe, the gentle arm around our shoulder to carry us home. Some people just can’t do it HERE. life is too much. Our Father I believe still takes us in. In broken ness His love is perfect.

    • K M Wetz on said:

      I was baptized several weeks ago at the Vineyard. I had struggled with confessing my faith in Christ. I had wrestled with what I believed, and especially with assurance of salvation.

      I was baptized because I loved Christ and because I wanted to live for Him. All I know is that my life has changed in that I have more peace and more assurance. I know that the Lord has set His love on me, and that He will never let me go.

      He made me for a very special purpose. I want to serve Him faithfully because I love Him.

      • “Do you now believe?” Jesus replied.

        YES!

        “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

        We can have peace even in troubled times. Too often have I tried to create my own peace by overtaking the world. How can I overtake what has already been taken by God. True peace is only found through Christ.

        Just my thoughts on Matthew 7 for what it’s worth. Jesus can see into our hearts and knows our motives. Paul refers to so-called “super apostles” in 2 Corinthians 11 who where much better at public speaking than Paul who was reportedly weak in physical presence because Paul lowered himself in order to lift others up. These super-apostles were more than willing to take monetary gifts from the Corinthians where Paul refused. Paul eludes to them preaching a different Jesus, and delivering a different spirit other than the Holy Spirit. I find this quite interesting given present day impartations that seem, to me at least, less than Holy. Back on topic, perhaps Jesus is referring to these “super-apostles” who use His name to drive out demons and heal the sick for their own fame.

        Lord, thank you for calming the storm in troubled times. I believe and trust in You. Only You know our hearts other than ourselves. You reign!

  2. Great to hear from you Julie! Been a while! Thanks for sharing your insights!

  3. Thanks for sharing your testimony KM! Stop by again sometime soon!

  4. Kelley Flees on said:

    Lord, I know that I know you love me. May others see your love in me today.

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