Thursday, September 20, 2012
Welcome to Day 263 of our Life Journal!
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
Daniel 5:13, “the king said to him, “Are you Daniel, one of the exiles my father the king brought from Judah? 14 I have heard that the spirit of the gods is in you and that you have insight, intelligence and outstanding wisdom.”
“Then Daniel answered the king, ‘You may keep your gifts for yourself and give your rewards to someone else.'”
Daniel 6:4, “The administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent. 5 Finally these men said, ‘We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.'”
23 “The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.”
26 “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. “For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. 27 He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.”
Psalms 130:3, “If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? 4 But with you there is forgiveness.”
Luke 3:10, “What should we do then?”
What a great question, “What should we do then?” (In response to the Good News, the message of the Kingdom that John the Baptist was sharing.)
“The administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so.”
The point of the SOAP exercise is to find the nugget that God is speaking to me (you, in your case)…
When I did my journal in private, I would do that… find the one thing that stood out. Often times, though, in doing this exercise for myself, yet posting it on the web, I reach a little further, in that there are several passages each day that one might draw from.
I tend to notice and look for the common denominator in the texts.
Sometimes it’s obvious, as we looked at passages from Kings and Chronicles that basically recorded the same events in separate books. (Keep in mind the Bible is a collection of 66 books under one cover.)
Today, however, I noticed how John the Baptist answered people’s question, “What should we do?”
He told the tax collectors, “Don’t collect any more than you are required to.”
To the soldiers he replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”
I noted that when they accused Daniel, they could find no corruption in him because, “he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent.”
That’s basically what John the Baptist was saying… Be trustworthy, don’t be corrupt or negligent in your duties… whatever they may be. This was true for soldiers and tax collectors alike.
Regardless of what our lot in life is, this would be a great goal: Don’t collect any more than you are required to. Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay. Be trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent.
1 Timothy 3:2 says, “Now the overseer must be above reproach…” (It goes on to include, “the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect.”)
This is basically what John the Baptist is calling people to. Honesty. Integrity. Sharing our resources with others…
Those are the fruit of repentance.
We are not called to perfection… But it is a high calling to which we have been called.
The average person (who is not a Christian) may not understand the bumper sticker, “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.” I know what it means, so do you, but others? Not so much.
It sounds like a license to do whatever we want. Then all we have to do is ask for forgiveness?
That’s true to an extent, but the price Jesus paid on the cross was a high price.
We should be different. We should treat others differently, conduct business differently.
I often use the “high jump” as an example… setting the bar higher and higher and higher for ourselves and those around us…
… until we fail on the last attempt.
That always happens with high jumping…
You always fail on your last attempt.
(The Pharisees, Sadducees and Teachers of the Law were known for putting burdens on people’s backs and not being willing to lift a finger to help them. They set the bar higher for those around them, but lowered it for themselves! See Matthew 23.)
But if we walk in grace… and it’s not easy… because we can be viewed as being “soft on sin” (and trust me, we have been accused of that…)
We are not “soft” on sin, just big on grace! Sometimes sin has to be confronted… in my life or others… But it’s how we approach it that matters most.
It really is a fine line to walk… being gracious, yet striving for integrity… saying no to sin, making good decisions.
I find a little humility and transparency goes a long way to not coming across as perfect or “holier than thou.” Just being real, not pretending we are better than we are, not hiding our sin, but not spreading it around either or making excuses for it.
Everyone around us knows we are not perfect, so why try to come across as though we are?
Just be yourself. And be honest. Trust in the Lord “continually” as Daniel did. He was known for it.
Wouldn’t it be great to be known for that as Daniel was by those around him?
Lord help me to live with integrity as Daniel did…