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 276

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Welcome to Day 276 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Ezra 5; Ezra 6; Psalms 138; Luke 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

Ezra 5

The people rebuilt the altar, resumed the sacrifices (3:1–6), and then rebuilt the temple itself (3:7–6:22). Spurred on by the prophets Haggai and Zechariah (5:1–2) and blessed by God (5:5), they succeed in spite of opposition from the peoples around them (chapter 4) and the governor of “the province Beyond the River,” (5:3–6:12). RSB

Ezra 6

Darius affirms Cyrus’ decree…

12 “May God, who has caused his Name to dwell there, overthrow any king or people who lifts a hand to change this decree or to destroy this temple in Jerusalem.”

19 “On the fourteenth day of the first month, the exiles celebrated the Passover.”

Psalms 138:2, “I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name.”

Luke 16:14, “The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus.”

O bservation

They sure kept good records!

A pplication

Ezra 3:3 states that “Despite their fear of the peoples around them, they built the altar on its foundation and sacrificed burnt offerings on it to the Lord, both the morning and evening sacrifices.” Then, in Ezra 4, King Artaxerxes issued a stop-work order until the matter could be sorted out. King Darius discovered that former King Cyrus had actually issued a decree that the temple could be rebuilt, so the work continued.

I love that they didn’t wait to offer sacrifices until the temple was finished. They built an altar right on the foundation, offered sacrifices, then built the temple around it.

That’s keeping first things first…

Worship should take priority over a building. A building is not necessary to worship, but in the proper time, a building is a good thing. But a building is just a building. But they are way down the list of what’s really important.

And God was pretty specific as to the dimensions and details of the temple. Same with the Tabernacle of Moses. But David got it and instituted worship 24/7 for years and years.

This is a great reminder as our church is headed into a worship conference.

First things first.

P rayer

Oh that I would worship the Lord my God, and serve Him only…


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2 thoughts on “Day 276

  1. Nicole Marvin on said:

    Luke 16:11
    “If, then, you have not been faithful in handling worldly wealth, how can you be trusted with true wealth?”

    This verse make me scan my life looking for ways to tweak things. Am I faithful? Do I please the Lord with how I handle the gifts he has given me?

    Luke 16:19-31
    Lazarus, Abraham and the rich man in hell
    What a picture. The desperation in the rich man’s words-to help his family see the light.

    Lord, I want to be faithful with all that I am given. Please show me how to manage things, to please you. Please open my eyes so that I can see the truth. Help me to remember what is important. Thank you for hearing my prayer. Thank you for caring for me.

  2. Most of Luke 16 shows several examples of worldliness. In the first story, the servant manager is lazy, greedy, and mismanaging his masters money probably for his own personal benefit. When called to account, he is self serving and forgives a debt owed to his master to gain personal favor with them so he would have a place to stay when the master tossed him out. This guy certainly wasn’t concerned with his masters wealth and was taking advantage of his generosity.

    In the second story, the rich man who lived in luxury while a beggar named Lazarus who was covered in sores, barely existed on table scraps right outside the rich man’s door. The rich man’s dogs licked the sores of Lazarus, which I’m sure was quite painful. Clearly, the rich man intentionally ignored the suffering of Lazarus, and notably, Lazarus did not steal from them rich man or expect anything from him. He just held on to hope. The rich man was only concerned with himself.

    Our position or status in the world doesn’t matter. We are stewards of what God gives us whether great or small. Personally, I think there are too many complications with being wealthy. If you have money, are you lording it over others? If you are extremely poor, are you using lies and manipulation to get what you need, or trusting in God.

    I’ve heard some real creative stories from beggars. I saw one guy who was leaning on a cane when I went by in my rear-view mirror walk across the street with it in his hand. I’ve encountered many who are sincere and quite humble. There was a girl going from pump to pump one day at a gas station asking for money. I got the sense that she was truly in need and my heart broke as people shot her down in a nasty way time after time. I knew this girl was in desperate need and I don’t know how. When she got to me, I said, “I’m sorry that all I have is $10 right now. I wish I had more to give you, but I would be happy pray with you if you like.” She looked up with surprise and nodded as tears began to well up in her eyes. I offered my hands and she grabbed hold of them as if clinging to me for dear life and I prayed a blessing over her. It wasn’t an elaborate prayer, buy I know in my heart that her life changed that day.

    So was mine…

    I don’t like to tell that story because it might sound like I am trying to be a hero. I’m far from it. I simply listened to the prompting of the holy spirit on one occasion. Hearing stories from Doug and Scott doing similar things gave me courage. Funny thing is, an unexpected check for $20 came the next day. Now THAT has the Lord’s footprints all over it. =)

    Nobody can touch lives the way You do. I want more of that, to see lives changed by the power of Your name. Not because it feels good, but to see people learn and experience Your compassion and strength and turn to worship You. Only through you can someone who is providing a blessing get blessed twice as much.

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