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.

Archive for the month “October, 2012”

Day 294

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Welcome to Day 294 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Job 9; Job 10; Acts 13; Acts 14 (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

Job 9:4, “His wisdom is profound, his power is vast. Who has resisted him and come out unscathed?”

Job 10:3, “Does it please you to oppress me, to spurn the work of your hands, while you smile on the plans of the wicked?”

Acts 13:44, “On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.”

Acts 14:3, “So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to perform signs and wonders. 4 The people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews, others with the apostles.”

19 “They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead.”

O bservation

When you share the Gospel message, you never know what you’re going to get…

Or, maybe you do?

A pplication

I’m sure I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating… The reaction is always the same to the Gospel. Some believe. Some want to hear more. Some sneer. (See Acts 17.)

In one city, word spread and everyone gathered to hear. The Gentiles were overjoyed, while many of the Jews got upset. Ultimately, there were “expelled from that region.”

Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

Throw in the complexity of Jews vs. Gentiles and you have a recipe for conflict. Paul and Barnabas were in the thick of it. Paul was stoned in Lystra/Derbe after being proclaimed a god (Hermes) then the Jews turned the crowd against him…

Such is life.

Proclaimed a god one minute, stoned within an inch of your life the next…

You have to keep in mind that Paul initially was a persecutor of the church. So this was not new to him, except now he was on the receiving end of the persecution.

And yet, we get upset when someone makes an issue at our job that we have our Bible on our desk. Or someone makes a joke at you because you are a Christian.

Welcome to my world.

People either proclaim you a god (metaphorically) or would rather you be stoned.

The hero or the goat.

Actually, it doesn’t bother me. I know at some point everyone will need the service of a pastor and God is waiting to open that door for me. (And for you, too…)

And I already know the result every time I present the Gospel.

You got it… Some will believe. Some will want to hear more. Some will sneer.

Every ONE that believes is a win for the Kingdom.

 

P rayer

I pray for open doors to preach the Gospel!

Day 293

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Welcome to Day 293 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Job 6; Job 7; Job 8; Acts 12 (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

Job 6:10, “my joy in unrelenting pain—that I had not denied the words of the Holy One.”

15 “my brothers are as undependable as intermittent streams, as the streams that overflow 16 when darkened by thawing ice and swollen with melting snow, 17 but that cease to flow in the dry season, and in the heat vanish from their channels.”

29 “Relent, do not be unjust; reconsider, for my integrity is at stake.”

Job 7:4, “When I lie down I think, ‘How long before I get up?’ The night drags on, and I toss till dawn.”

15 “I prefer strangling and death, rather than this body of mine.”

Job 8:4, “When your children sinned against him, he gave them over to the penalty of their sin.” [His kids weren’t killed because of their sin. This is Bildad the Shuhite’s misunderstanding of what had happened to Job’s children. He does make some good points, though, as you will see.]

21 “He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.”

Acts 12:6, “Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. 7 Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.”

14 “‘Peter is at the door!’ 15 ‘You’re out of your mind,’ they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, ‘It must be his angel.'”

21 “On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. 22 They shouted, “This is the voice of a god, not of a man.” 23 Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down…”

O bservation

Job or Peter? Both are in tough situations.

A pplication

Both Peter and Job are in tough situations. Job has lost everything and has been physically stricken. Peter is imprisoned and facing a certain death. (After his escape, the guards were all killed!)

Jobs friends are giving him a mixed bag of advice. A mixture of short-sighted opinions and good, godly insight! (“He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.”)

Peter’s friends are “earnestly” praying for him… yet when he showed up at their doorstep, they thought it must be his angel.

Now that’s faith, eh? Earnestly praying for your friend, then when they escape prison and the sword and show up at your doorstep, you figure it must be their angel. (Even though when we die, we don’t become angels. Angels are created beings, not the souls of those who have passed.) Would have been better translated as “Peter’s spirit,” I think… imo.)

I think Job’s friends get a bit of a bad rap though… They did sit with him for SEVEN days… Job 2:12 “[Job’s friends] began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. 13 Then they sat on the ground with [Job] for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.”

I have never experienced anything like that. I have never sat with a friend for 7 days, nor have I had a friend sit with me for 7 days. Not that I have ever been through anything that warranted that…

It’s easy to fill the air with our own frustration or earthly wisdom. (After 7 days they were probably thinking, “Ok, Job, time to move on!”) I probably sometimes give a mixture of godly wisdom and Scott’s best attempt to help someone (my own thoughts…) We are only human, of course… There’s nothing worse than a friend giving you irritating, bad advice in a tough situation… is there?

They probably would have done well to have just sat with him and said nothing… and consoled him in the process simply by their presence.

Truth is, nothing and no one, but the LORD can console us through the toughest of situations as Job has gone through, losing all his cattle and his kids, then stricken with a horrible physical skin disease…

But I would still want my friends available, just in case.

(Keep in mind, even though Job appears after the Psalms in the Bible, the Psalms hadn’t been written yet. It is estimated that Job was a contemporary of Moses, and that it is possible that Moses was the author of Job. Solomon is another possibility as far as authorship. gty.org.)

What I’m saying is that Job’s friends couldn’t even read him a Psalm to console him, as they hadn’t been written yet!

Did the angel rescue Peter because of the prayers of his friends? Or were they simply praying in concert with the Lord’s plan and will?

Either way, friends are so vitally important in our lives.

Even if and when they may be irritating to us.

P rayer

Lord I thank you for my friends that pray for me and support me through difficult times.

Day 292

Friday, October 19, 2012

Welcome to Day 292 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Job 5; Psalms 108; Acts 10; Acts 11 (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

Job 5:27, “We have examined this, and it is true. So hear it and apply it to yourself.”

Interesting, though… Eliphaz’s take on Job’s situation was wrong! God wasn’t correcting Job… He was validating his faith to make a point to Satan!

Psalm 108:4, “Great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.”

Acts 10:33, “I [Cornelius the Centurion] sent for you [Peter] immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.”

Acts 11:2, “So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him 3 and said, “You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.”

18 “When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, ‘So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.'”

O bservation

Situations like Peter was invited into is what I live for…

A pplication

“Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.”

Ok, Peter… er, Scott… the floor is yours. We are waiting…

I pray that an angel visits people around Dayton and says, “Send for Scott… A holy angel told us to have you come to his house so that we could hear what you have to say.”

I have been in similar circumstances… people are often curious about faith and are looking for someone they can trust to tell them about it.

Sometimes it comes in the form of “needling.” “Hey, Scott over here is a pastor… What are you doing here, hanging around us heathens??”

I’ll make a joke back to them to break the ice and let them know I can take it.

Something like, “I love heathens!”

At some point, I’ll usually say something like this… (There are a lot of Catholics/former Catholics in Dayton…) “I almost converted to Catholicism just for the fish fries!” (That almost always gets a big laugh. If you’ve been to a fish fry, you know why!)

But then, they will start telling me their personal stories of how they grew up in church, used to teach Sunday school, or how they were hurt in church… Usually in a one-on-one situation…

People are people.

I am now operating under a new set of assumptions…

That people, deep down, want what we have.

I am happy. A fun guy. I live a purposeful life. I care for people. I love what I do. I have been happily married for 26 years…

There are a lot of people out there who can’t say much of that…

When you can strip away all the religious facade and just be a normal person who is a Christian and can still relate to those who aren’t… People will open up to you.

Trust me on this…

This is the world I live in, outside the Vineyard.

Even many people who attend our church are still searching.

Billy Graham said it best, “Evangelism is one beggar showing another beggar where the bread is.”

Be a normal person, generous, full of the Spirit and the love of God, not judgmental, always ready to give a reason for the hope that you have… with gentleness and respect…

And God will use you…

And people will listen.

P rayer

Lord, I will go anywhere you want me to go to share the faith that I have. Anywhere.

Day 291

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Welcome to Day 291 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Job 3; Job 4; Acts 8; Acts 9 (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

The first two chapters of Job, that we read yesterday, provide the framework for the entire book. How God wanted to prove the character of believers to Satan himself. (Funny, every time I type “Satan” I recall a time that I typed “Stan” and I chuckle to myself.)

Job 3:25, “What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me. 26 I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil.”

Job 4:7, [Eliphaz] “Consider now: Who, being innocent, has ever perished? Where were the upright ever destroyed?”

Acts 8:1, “And Saul was there, giving approval to his [Stephen’s] death.

3 “But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison.”

The story of Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch gets an honorable mention here… Love that the eunuch was reading a scroll of Isaiah and needed help understanding it, and Philip just “showed up” to explain it to him, then he was baptized. Great story!

Acts 9:1, “Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples…”

17 “Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—

has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized…”

O bservation

Never underestimate the power of God to transform a life!

A pplication

Saul’s conversion on the road to Damascus is classic!

He does a complete 180, going from persecuting the new church to championing its cause as, God’s chosen instrument “to carry my name [Jesus] before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel.”

Go figure…

Just like God to take someone who is passionately against something and use them to champion that same cause.

Imagine being Ananias… and Jesus appears to you and tells you to go pray for Saul… Ananias was not excited.

“‘Lord,’ Ananias answered, ‘I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.'”

Then, when Barnabas vouches for Saul, the disciples were not quite ready to just (no pun intended) blindly accept him into their group. It took some time.

(Acts 13 is where it is first mentioned that Saul was also called Paul.)

In my life, it took some time for those around me to accept the change that had taken place in my life. Some said, “You’ll be back.” Others I think just waited to see if the change “stuck.”

It did.

I had given my life to Christ as a 12 year old. But the change took place at age 22 when I prayed a simple prayer on an airplane, “God, I don’t know you the way my friend Tom does… but I want to.”

I stepped off the plane a different person.

Not unlike when Ananias prayed for Saul and he regained his sight and was filled with the Holy Spirit.

BAM!

I don’t think one has to have a radical experience to do great things for God. I certainly didn’t change my name… But if you are open to what God wants to do in your life… (In Paul’s case it was to “to carry my name [Jesus] before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel.”)

In my life it was to begin leading worship and teaching the Bible. In a small group.

Then to help start a church…

I always say that God’s will is more easily seen in the rear-view mirror…

I find myself saying, “Oooohhhh… THAT’S what you were doing!! I get it now!”

One of my favorite “What is God’s will?” verses is 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Pretty clear.

Just like Job, eh?

His wife said, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!” Job 2

How encouraging! And what great advice… NOT!

“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

P rayer

Lord, help me to always be thankful, in the good times and bad, to always trust you.

P.S. If you are changing… and you have a past… your past gets farther and farther behind you with each passing day. Don’t let those around you remind you of your past. Remember God has a hope and a future for you!

Day 290

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Welcome to Day 290 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Job 1; Job 2; Acts 6; Acts 7 (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

Job 1:8, “Then the Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.'”

Job 2:3b

‘And he still maintains his integrity,

though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.’ 4 ‘Skin for skin!’ Satan replied. ‘A man will give all he has for his own life. 5 But stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

Acts 6:5, “They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit…”

Acts 7:57, “They all rushed at him, 58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him.”

O bservation

Notice the descriptions of Job and Stephen…

Job, is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.

Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit

A pplication

All I can say is wow…

I don’t know why things like that hit me the way they do. I just think it’s so awesome when a person has something so amazing recorded about them in the Bible. It’s so seldom that a person doesn’t fall into some crazy sin… (There’s still time for Job… But Stephen will forever be remembered as a man full of wisdom and the Holy Spirit.)

I could go off on how I love that God knows my name… right up to the point where he brings my name up to Satan himself! Seriously?

“Hey… Satan… Do you see my servant Scott there?”

Not crazy about that…

P rayer

Lord, I would just as soon have you not mention my name to Satan if that’s ok with you… 🙂

Day 289

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Welcome to Day 289 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Malachi 3; Malachi 4; Psalms 148; Acts 5 (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

Malachi 3:8, “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’

“In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,” says the Lord Almighty. 12 “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the Lord Almighty.”

13 “You have said harsh things against me,” says the Lord. “Yet you ask, ‘What have we said against you?’ 14 “You have said, ‘It is futile to serve God. What did we gain by carrying out his requirements and going about like mourners before the Lord Almighty?”

Malachi 4:6, “He [“Elijah”] will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.”

Psalm 148:13, “Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.”

Acts 5:38, [Gamaliel, a Pharisee addressed them, saying…] “Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”

O bservation

“Will a man rob God?” certainly is a compelling question, isn’t it?

A pplication

“You have said harsh things against me,” says the Lord. “Yet you ask, ‘What have we said against you?’ 14 “You have said, ‘It is futile to serve God. What did we gain by carrying out his requirements and going about like mourners before the Lord Almighty?”

I hear statements like this made pretty often. Usually people have been hurt in church or are angry at God for something. (Usually the tragic loss of a loved one.)

Isaiah 45:9 comes to mind, “How terrible it will be for those who argue with the God who made them. They are like a piece of broken pottery among many pieces. The clay does not ask the potter, ‘What are you doing?'”

Yet we do it all the time, don’t we?

Somehow we all seem to get by, and get through. No matter how bad things may seem…

I wonder how many people who are struggling financially aren’t tithing. I wonder how their situations might improve simply by being obedient to this one scripture?

But we aren’t supposed to give to get. That’s a wrong motivation. We should give out of worship, not simply because “we have to.”

People often will ask, “Is tithing in the New Testament?”

The answer is simple. Yes.

When Jesus was confronting the Pharisees, he said, ““Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.” Matthew 23

Yet I think the New Testament calls us to a higher standard… Generosity. We just read how a couple sold a piece of land and gave the proceeds. Their issue was lying about the price, but the principle is that people sold pieces of land and shared it with others, not just a percentage.

(I really don’t like talking about tithing any more than I liked talking about divorce in yesterday’s blog.)

Tithing clearly is giving to the local church, “the storehouse,” to support its work. (Not to Feed the Children or the United Way.) Offerings are above tithes. (Tithe means, “tenth part.” or 10%)

Abraham tithed to Melchizedek, 400 years before the time of Moses and the Law, and according to Romans 4:12 we are to walk in the footsteps of the faith of Abraham. If tithing was good for him, it should be good for us, too.

We give tithes like Abraham gave them—

not by the Law but by faith.

And beside that, if the people of God gave ten percent before the Law, and ten percent under the Law, shouldn’t we, who live by grace, be doing any less when we have a better covenant (Hebrews 7:22)?

I have heard it said that the most sensitive nerve in a person’s body is the one that runs from their heart to their wallet…

As I pondered today’s four chapters, I was like, “Really?? Tithing?? Is that what jumped out at me??”

There are few statements as compelling in the whole Bible as “Will a man rob God?”

P rayer

Lord, help me to always be faithful in this regard, and to be a generous person!

 

Day 288

Monday, October 15, 2012

Welcome to Day 288 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Nehemiah 13; Malachi 1; Malachi 2; Acts 4 (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 13:23, “Moreover, in those days I saw men of Judah who had married women from Ashdod, Ammon and Moab. 24 Half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod or the language of one of the other peoples, and did not know how to speak the language of Judah. 25 I rebuked them and called curses down on them. I beat some of the men and pulled out their hair. I made them take an oath in God’s name and said: “You are not to give your daughters in marriage to their sons, nor are you to take their daughters in marriage for your sons or for yourselves.”

31 “Remember me with favor, my God.”

Malachi 1:7, “But you ask, ‘How have we defiled you?’ ‘By saying that the Lord’s table is contemptible. 8 When you offer blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice lame or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?’ says the Lord Almighty.”

Malachi 2:16, “‘The man who hates and divorces his wife,’ says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘does violence to the one he should protect,’ says the Lord Almighty.”

16 “‘I hate divorce,’ says the Lord God of Israel…”

Acts 4:14, “But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say.”

O bservation

So many options today… So many things standing out…

* Offering substandard sacrifices

* The topic of divorce

* Healing speaks for itself

A pplication

I think I’ll dive into the difficult topic of divorce…

“I hate divorce,’ says the Lord God of Israel…”

First, let me ask this… Who doesn’t hate divorce?

This particular verse has been used to “persuade” people into staying together for centuries. Does God hate divorce? Obviously, it says so very clearly.

But again, I ask, who doesn’t?

I am the product of a divorce when I was 12. It was a very difficult time. So much pain…

But did you notice Malachi 2 states that the man who divorces his wife, “does violence to the one he should protect.”

I know relationships are a two-way street. Marriage takes two. Both have to be fully committed every day.

I know many women whose husbands just decided to leave. (Not that women never walk out…)

That’s just… well… wrong.

For sure, God doesn’t want men abusing their wives or walking out on them. That certainly isn’t “loving our wives as Christ loved the church.”

But I also notice a diminishing value of men in our society. You hear women say, “Who needs a man to have a baby?”

4 out of 10 babies are now born to single moms. 4 out of 10…

We are becoming a fatherless generation… And that breaks my heart.

There is one particular reader of this blog that, when I see him with his wife, I am inspired. I watched them walk out of church yesterday holding hands. I noted it and said to myself, “I love how he treats her…” With gentleness and respect…

More men should treat their wives that way.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bashing on men…

(There’s plenty in the Bible about the “wayward” and “unfaithful” wife in the Bible… It goes both ways…)

Everyone knows that the divorce rate is about the same in the church as it is outside the church. People hear the message of grace and make a case for their divorce saying, “God will forgive me.”

And it’s true, he will…

But the collateral damage of a divorce is huge, and people underestimate it. It’s longterm and widespread.

Who can blame people for leaving when their spouse has cheated on them? Or has repeatedly abused them? Who wants to live in an atmosphere of intimidation or fear? What woman would want to live with a man who belittles her day in and day out?

Then, when people who have both been previously married and divorced get together and marry, they bring into a new marriage a lot of baggage and pain… and relational difficulties. And if there are kids and shared parenting, etc, etc, then it gets even more complicated. I know many people who are into their third marriages… with kids from multiple partners.

It’s exhausting just thinking about it, let alone living it day in and day out, year after year…

God says, “I hate divorce.”

I say, “Who doesn’t?”

P rayer

Lord I pray for those who are struggling in a marriage right at this moment. May your grace, love, forgiveness, peace, protection, repentance and restoration be present in their lives…

Day 287

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Welcome to Day 287 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Nehemiah 11; Nehemiah 12; Psalm 1; Acts 3 (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 11:1, “Now the leaders of the people settled in Jerusalem. The rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of every ten of them to live in Jerusalem, the holy city, while the remaining nine were to stay in their own towns. 2 The people commended all who volunteered to live in Jerusalem.”

Jerusalem, while now walled-in, still needed more inhabitants to care for and protect it. Chapter 11 gives the account of who returned to Jerusalem.

Nehemiah 12 is the dedication of the walls of Jerusalem…

Psalm 1 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible…

1 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, 2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. 3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.”

Acts 3:6, “Then Peter said, ‘Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.’ 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.”

12 “When Peter saw this, he said to them: ‘Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?'”

O bservation

Delighting in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night has its benefits!

A pplication

Blessed is the one… whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. ”

“That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—

whatever they do prospers.”

I don’t know about you, but that’s what I want! To be a fruitful tree whose leaves do not wither… and…

“whatever they do prospers.”

That a great promise… But it’s conditional upon the first part of that passage…

One who does not…

1. Walk in step with the wicked or

2. Stand in the way that sinners take or

3. Sit in the company of mockers but

4. Who delight is in the law of the Lord, and

5. Who meditates on his law day and night.

Whew…

That sounded much easier before I broke it down into separate thoughts… Some don’ts and dos there…

Funny how we all want the blessings, the fruit, to prosper… but am I willing to pay the price?

I’d like to think I am, but if I score myself point by point…

Hmmm…

P rayer

Lord, I want to be that kind of person who does those things regularly…

Day 286

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Welcome to Day 286 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Nehemiah 9; Nehemiah 10; Acts 2 (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 9:35, “Even while they were in their kingdom,

enjoying your great goodness

to them in the spacious and fertile land you gave them, they did not serve you or turn from their evil ways.”

Nehemiah 10:39, ““We will not neglect the house of our God.”

Acts 2:37, “When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

O bservation

I think it was Dr. John Maxwell who said,”Everything rises and falls on leadership.”

A ppliation

Notice how Nehemiah and Peter both took on leadership roles. Nehemiah went from being a cupbearer to a King, to being Governor and rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. Peter was a fisherman, who after being with Jesus 3 years, denied even knowing him, is now empowered by the Spirit and taking on an Apostolic role, and after preaching to a crowd, led 3,000 people to Christ.

Interesting how after betraying Jesus, Judas hanged himself. Yet, Peter, after denying Jesus, spent time with other believers… and, after seeing Jesus that morning after the resurrection, when Jesus showed up on shore while they were fishing… Peter then restored and empowered. He could have gone out and hanged himself, but he chose not to… Just imagine if he had?

Two very different outcomes, Judas and Peter…

I love stories of how God plucks one out of obscurity and thrusts them into a role that would be unattainable otherwise.

Like Joseph, for instance… from imprisoned (innocent-yet-convicted) rapist to Vice Pharaoh.

Daniel was a cultural transformer. Brought into Babylon as a slave, interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and was promoted into the Royal Court. Ultimately, a decree was given that everyone had to worship the God of Daniel. (Remember the lion’s den ordeal?)

In one message, Peter led 3,000 people to Christ. That’s pretty amazing. I love how he quoted from the Psalms and the Prophets (Joel) as he wove in the story of Jesus, leading everyone to a point of repentance, when they asked, “What should be do?”

Nehemiah led the people to a point when they stated, “We will not neglect the house of God.”

Pretty good outcomes…

Stories like these always give me… I was going to say, “hope,” but I think “confidence” is a better word. What God calls us to, he empowers us for. He gives us the wisdom and the gifts we need to accomplish the call on our life.

Whether we are a cup bearer or a fisherman… A Governor or an Apostle…

P rayer

Thank you Lord that you use ordinary people to do extraordinary exploits!

Day 285

Friday, October 12, 2012

Welcome to Day 285 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Nehemiah 7; Nehemiah 8; Acts 1 (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 7:2, “I put in charge of Jerusalem my brother Hanani, along with Hananiah the commander of the citadel, because

he was a man of integrity and feared God more than most people do.”

Nehemiah 8:1, “All the people came together as one in the square before the Water Gate.”

Acts 1:8, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

O bservation

I love how Nehemiah qualified the man he put in charge as being “a man of integrity and feared God more than most people do.”

A pplication

I guess that would be a pretty good endorsement and perhaps even a good legacy…

I wonder how that would look on my tombstone?

“Here lies Scott Sliver

A man of integrity and feared God more than most people do.”

For some reason, that statement “more than most people do” just struck me as well… funny.

Wouldn’t it be a stronger statement to just read, “A man of integrity and feared God.”

(More than most people do.)

idk…

I imagine that being mumbled under someone’s breath as they are walking away… Know what I mean?

Although it’s not unlike what was said about Noah in Genesis 6:9, “Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.”

I still like the statement concerning Noah much better.

How about this one in Acts 9:36, “In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha; she was always doing good and helping the poor.”

(More than most people do.) It’s not there, but it sure lessens the above statement.

Doesn’t really matter… not really important…

I just wonder from time to time what I will be remembered for.

I hope it’s for more than just my hair or my shoes… or my ability to pull Bible application out of just about any movie…

I hope to be remembered for my integrity… and fearing God…

(More than most people do.)

P rayer

Lord, help me to always look to you. To care more about what you think than the people around me.

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