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 228

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Welcome to Day 228 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: 2 Kings 24; Jeremiah 22; Psalms 112; John 18 (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 24, moving toward the utter destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians.

Note: The Jeremiah mentioned in v 18 is a different Jeremiah than the Prophet. There are ten different Jeremiahs in the Bible. For more info, CLICK HERE.

Jeremiah 22 (chapters 21-24 outline the end of David’s dynasty, toward exile and destruction.)

V 13 “Woe to him who builds his palace by unrighteousness, his upper rooms by injustice, making his countrymen work for nothing, not paying them for their labor. 15 “Does it make you a king to have more and more cedar? 16 “He (King Josiah) defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well.

Is that not what it means to know me?” declares the Lord.”

Psalm 112:6b, “A righteous man will be remembered forever. 7 He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. 8 His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes.”

John 18:38, ““What is truth?” Pilate asked. With this he went out again to the Jews and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him.”

O bservation

So many different directions we could go in today…

A pplication

“Does it make you a king to have more and more cedar?”

Great question. What makes a king a king?

“He (King Josiah) defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well.

Is that not what it means to know me?” declares the Lord.”

There is something to be said for defending the cause of the poor and needy. To not treat them as though they are poor and needy, but to offer respect as to anyone else.

When we honor others, we then are able to receive honor.

Make no mistake, people are watching. In my case, there are many sets of eyes watching my every move. I make it pretty easy, thanks to facebook, twitter and FourSquare… But that’s not really what I mean.

“People” all around us are taking note of how we treat others. Our families, strangers… the poor and needy.

This is a big part of why, as a church, we invest so much into caring for the poor. We can’t fix the economy. We can’t hand out checks to pay everyone’s DP&L or rent… but we can, and do, do something.

Every week now, we distribute groceries to 250 families all over Dayton. We don’t do it for marketing, or to get people to come to our church.

We do it because it honors God. The poor and needy are close to God’s heart. And He is watching how we treat them. He also takes note of how we walk it out…

Who I am trying to impress by where I live, what I drive or what I wear…

“Does it make you a king to have more and more cedar?”

There is absolutely nothing wrong with having stuff. Nice house, nice cars, nice clothes.

But God is more concerned about how we treat the poor and needy. Did I “build my palace” by unrighteousness, my upper rooms by injustice, making my countrymen work for nothing, not paying them for their labor?

Some people consider “evangelism” as overseas missions. By supporting a missionary and calling that evangelism. And it is!

But for me, evangelism starts right here at home, in our city. Doug and I and our families moved here as missionaries. We felt called to come back to Dayton to start a church that would be a place for the hurting, broken, wounded… for the single moms… to find healing. To find the Lord, and to be able to get healed up and begin serving Him. A church that presented the Gospel in a clear, understandable, applicable way, with worship that was engaging, that drew people into and welcomed God’s Presence. A church that would be known for what it gave back to the community, more than what it took from the community.

I’m not gonna lie… it took me many years to “get it.” To understand God’s heart for the poor.

And it’s not about the numbers… We started with seven bags of groceries in the back of Doug’s car…

God is pleased when we give and do what we can. Any feeble attempt to care for the poor, He applauds. But if we patronize them, minimize them, talk down to them or brush them aside…

After our last Dayton food outreach, a guy that I knew had been in trouble with the law, asked me for a ride.

“Hop in…”

I drove him to downtown near the “Y” and as he was getting out, he asked me for $5. (He said he pays his rent daily and it’s $8 per day…) I pulled out a ten and gave it to him. I gave him twice what he had asked for…

Then he asked if I would give him $2 for bus fare! I said, “You asked me for $5… I just gave you TEN…”

We went back and forth a few times. He was relentless…

I told him, “You know this is why people don’t want to give you money, right? You asked me for $5. I gave you $10, then you ask me for more?”

I stuck to my guns and he got out and walked away. He did his best to make me feel guilty for what I had shorted him. But I felt good about what I HAD given him.

Jesus said, “You will always have the poor with you.” Truer words have never been spoken… We could all empty our bank accounts and give it all away, and the poor would still be with us. 20% of the US now lives at poverty level.

I never feel pressured to give money to everyone who asks. I can smell a story from a mile off. (It usually involves a bus ticket or insulin. This is where wisdom and discernment come into play…)

(It wasn’t about the extra $2… I was actually irritated that I had given him double what he asked for and then he had the nerve to ask for more, and wouldn’t back down.)

At the end of my life, I’d rather be known as a generous person, than a stingy tightwad…

P rayer

Lord, give me your heart for the poor and the hurting…

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3 thoughts on “Day 228

  1. Mark Long on said:

    Scott – thanks for sharing your heart. I know you are just doing what you are led to do, but your example and openness is uplifting and inspiring. Thanks.

    • Agreed! I would say that your prayer has already been answered. It’s awesome how you lead others in this as well.

      I bless the works of Doug and Scott in the name of Jesus and ask that you multiply the resources available to them. Lord, touch the hearts of those serving as well as those being served. May these humble acts of kindness be a light in their lives and lead everyone closer to You. Not for our glory but for Yours.

  2. It was during his reign that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon invaded the country. Jehoiakim became his puppet. But after three years he had had enough and revolted.

    We have been reading the warnings about this for a few days now. God was desperately warning them to change their ways to avoid calamity. They wouldn’t listen and here we are. Why wouldn’t they listen? Do we suffer from this same selfish stubbornness today?

    “Your father got along just fine, didn’t he?
       He did what was right and treated people fairly,
    And things went well with him.
       He stuck up for the down-and-out,
    And things went well for Judah.
       Isn’t this what it means to know me?”

    Treating people fairly and sticking up for the down-and-out is what it means to know God. Modern logic states that it is a dog eat dog world and we have to look out for number 1. Looking out for number 2 – infinity is what it means to know God. When we know God, things go well for us. When we look out for others, then God looks out for us. I prefer God looking out for me than me looking out for me.

    “But you’re blind and brainless.
       All you think about is yourself,
    Taking advantage of the weak,
       bulldozing your way, bullying victims.”

    It is important to not be selfish. Pagan religions are about self-deification and power coming from within. In The Church of Satan, a practitioner’s birthday is the most holy day. The Thelemist’s mantra is “Do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.” In contrast, Jesus said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.”

    Listen and see what God is doing. Look out for others and God has my back. Deny myself and obey the will of God no matter what the worldly consequences.

    Help me turn from my selfish ways and put others before me. Let me see and hear clearly what You are doing and do it without fear.

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