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 273

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Welcome to Day 273 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Zechariah 7; Zechariah 8; Zechariah 9; Luke 13 (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

Zechariah 7:8, “And the word of the Lord came again to Zechariah: 9 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. 10 Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other.'”

Zechariah 8

This chapter is a picture of the ultimate state of the kingdom of God, when God brings His final and fullest blessings on His people. RSB

13 “As you have been an object of cursing among the nations, O Judah and Israel, so will I save you, and you will be a blessing. Do not be afraid, but let your hands be strong.”

Zechariah 9:9, “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

(Sound familiar? See Mark 11.)

Luke 13:14, “Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.” The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? 16 Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?”

O bservation

Seems Jesus loved healing people, especially on the Sabbath… it really irritated the religious leaders! They didn’t have compassion or understand the true purpose of the Sabbath.

A pplication

As western-Christian-Gentiles, it’s not easy for us to fully understand the Sabbath and its significance.

Keep in mind, in the Old Testament, the keeping of the Sabbath was critical. One could be stoned to death for not “keeping” the Sabbath! (See Numbers 15.)

Just like when the priests asked Zechariah if they should continue fasting… They had missed the point. Why were they fasting? Was it a ritual? Or did it have meaning and purpose?

Jesus was amazing at getting to the heart of a matter. His comparison of healing to letting your ox or donkey out to get water… unbinding them… setting them free. He said there was no difference.

Again, it sounds ludicrous to us, because we are not bound by the Sabbath as they were. But the principles still apply. It is still easy to become religious and miss the point. God desires mercy, not sacrifice and obedience is better than sacrifice. Love God. Love your neighbor.

I hope I never become like the Pharisees, hardened to my own shortcomings and yet, really good at pointing out other people’s. Binding up burdens and laying them on people’s backs and not being willing to lift a finger to help them. They “washed the outside of the cup” but “the inside of their cups was filthy.”

It’s pretty easy to put on a show. To put on my best Christian face. To say all the right things. To give the appearance of having it all together when, in reality, we could be falling apart.

I guess that would still be better than the Pharisees who didn’t even try. They were blinded by their own pious attitudes… confident of their own righteousness. And missing the point every step along the way.

It’s funny, I’m not sure it’s really any easier to live under grace than the law…

At some level, we all default to, “It’s ok… God will forgive me.”

Fill in the blank yourself as to what the “it” is.

Honestly, in recent weeks, I’ve had a hard time staying motivated to write this blog. I really want to do it well… not just do it because I have to, or because it’s expected. And I don’t want to see it as “being obedient” and thinking that is good enough. I really want to give it my best every day.

I have found myself extremely tired of hearing about Israel and Judah and all their ups and downs, disobedience and turning away. Slavery and exile.

Then God restoring them… again. I mean that’s great news, but following their 1,500 year roller coaster ride hasn’t been easy for me, personally.

Don’t get me wrong, I love that God keeps his covenant! And that he forgives and restores!

We all need that. I need that!

We have all been at this now for 273 days. Fewer than 100 days left on our journey!

I am determined to finish strong.

I just wanted you to know, if you have been struggling a bit to stay engaged or to keep up… so have I. I feel like I sound like a broken record…

By sharing my struggle with you, for me, it helps me to make sure that I am not simply cleaning the outside of the cup, while the inside is dirty. That was the issue. No transparency. Pretending they were better than they were.

If you don’t mind, I’d rather just keep it real.

P rayer

Lord, thank you for your word. That it gives life… I thank you that you speak to me regularly, daily as I do this journal. Help me to never lose sight of that you want relationship, not just obedience. It’s about spending time with you, not writing a blog.

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6 thoughts on “Day 273

  1. Zech 8:13 do not be afraid let your hands be strong.19) therefore love truth and peace. Father thank you for surrounding me with your grace. Thank you for my family and my church family. I ask for you to continue to guide us in your word that we might encourage one another in truth. Thank you Scott for keeping it real and being honest. I personally have been encouraged daily by your wisdom and guidance here and at church. Thank you so much.

  2. Thanks Scott!!!!! Keep it coming! I have been doing the Life Journal reading all year, but this is the first time I have read your blog!!! I am doing good to just get the reading done on some days. But I just want to encourage you to keep writing because each day might be the first day for someone to read your blog and it may make all the difference in their life. You are such a blessing!! Can’t wait for worship today!

  3. Nicole Marvin on said:

    Scott, Yes, it can be difficult to keep your heart in the reading and not just add it to the day’s “to do” list. This year of reading the word has been life changing for me and your blog has been a real encouragement.Thanks for all you do!

    Zechariah 8:23
    “We want to share in your destiny, because we have heard that God is with you.”

    Lord, this is my prayer today. Let your light shine through me. May your presence in my life be seen by others-to bring glory to you.

  4. The OT is like a broken record. Your words every day are a great encouragement to so many people and has helped keep us all engaged (more than you probably realize). I probably would have fizzled out a while back. Carry on my friend. We are right here with you. Hopefully we can gather as a group in the Lodge soon.

    Jesus compares the kingdom of God to a mustard seed that is very small, but grows into a large bush or tree big enough for birds to live in. Also to yeast which makes bread grow much bigger than when it started.

    When we plant small seeds on earth they keep growing and growing. God’s kingdom grows. I think praying “Your kingdom come.” is more of a call to action of ourselves rather than a request that God make everything right. That’s what He does. What He did on the cross.

    Pause to listen after praying “Your kingdom come.” and listen for direction. Plant more seeds.

    Lord, show me where to plant.

  5. Thanks Julie, Shane, Nicole… You all have been a great encouragement to me along the way! Patty, I appreciate the kind words. 🙂

  6. Mark Long on said:

    I’ve struggled along the way as well and have gotten a couple of days behind recently, but have managed to catch back up! Stay strong and thanks for the encouragement and transparency!

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