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 283

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Welcome to Day 283 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Nehemiah 3; Nehemiah 4; Luke 23 (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

Nehemiah 3:13 “The Valley Gate was repaired by Hanun and the residents of Zanoah.”

This chapter underscores an important theme of Ezra and Nehemiah: the people of God as a whole and not just the great leaders are vital for accomplishing God’s redemptive purpose. All of God’s people worked together to rebuild the wall: clergy and laity, craftsmen and tradesmen, by town and by family, each contributing to the completion of the whole. RSB

Nehemiah 4:3, “Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, “What they are building—even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones!”

16 “From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor.”

Luke 23:39. “One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

O bservation

They were watchful while working…

A pplication

I love the story of the rebuilding of the wall. A great picture of cooperation around a shared vision.

But nothing can compare to the story of Jesus and the two thieves on the cross.

One hurled insults, the other, a contrite request. “Remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He took responsibility for his actions, knew that he was deserving of punishment. And that Jesus wasn’t.

This story moves me every time I read it…

I imagine myself standing there… watching… listening. It had to be quite the scene. Then, a brief exchange and one last offer of mercy to one not deserving of mercy… and Jesus breathed his last.

And one of the two thieves entered paradise. The other… didn’t.

Taking responsibility for our actions is huge.

And a little humility goes a long way…

P rayer

Lord, may I always be humble before you… Thank you that you are merciful!

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2 thoughts on “Day 283

  1. Luke 23
    24 So Pilate decided to grant their demand.

    In life, sometimes we are faced with critical decisions that question our integrity and everything we represent. Pilate was faced with this decision, and while he tried to do the right thing, ultimately he caved. Our belief and faith in God must be uncomprimisable, for the cost is too great to be anything less. By way of example, U.S. military men & women pledge their life to the defense of the country, and to people they don’t even know in order to preserve freedom. How then, could we pledge anything less to God, whom we value much more than our country and our freedom?

  2. When Sanballat heard that we were building the wall again, he became very angry. He was filled with anger and he made fun of the Jews.

    I’ve heard Christians and Jews being accused of all sorts of ulterior motives… that we only serve people to shove our beliefs down their throat; that we only want people to come to church to get their money. Adolf Hitler blamed the Jews for the plight of Germany after the first world war leading to the Holocaust. Most of the missionaries I’ve encountered go out to help first and foremost to love and care for others and truth of the Gospel is the cherry on top (the best part IMO). I’m sure that churches focus heavily on numbers, but unfortunately in a capitalist society, church attendees are crucial for survival. But is that the main focus?

    In building House of David, I’ve encountered numerous cases of irrational anger. I’ve caught myself on more than one occasion wondering why I getting frustrated, because like any group, we have our differences. I’ve learned that the key is to focus on our similarities. There are many practices in modern Christianity that raise huge red flags in my mind, but I would rather focus on the fact that we all love God and realize that I have limited understanding of how the Holy Spirit can manifest.

    Application… Never assume the worst about people or look for ulterior motives. However… be watchful and pray for discernment.

    Lord, I know so little about you. Lead me in paths of righteousness, not self-righteousness.

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