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 “December, 2012”

Day 355

Friday, December 21, 2012

Welcome to Day 355 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: John 9; John 10; John 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

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John 9:30, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes.” (This man was born blind… See verse 1.)

John 10:11, “I am the good shepherd.”

19 “The Jews who heard these words were again divided. 20 Many of them said, ‘He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?’ 21 But others said, ‘These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?'”

John 11:21, “‘Lord,’ Martha said to Jesus, ‘if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.'”

viewer

O bservation

Interesting what Jesus said about himself, and what others said about him.

A pplication

“Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes.”

People are rarely neutral about Jesus.

They either are believers, or not…

Here Jesus had just healed a man born blind. Yet they were questioning where he had come from… not “Nazareth” but in a larger sense. (That he had come from God.) They were more concerned that Jesus had “broken the Sabbath” than the fact he had performed an amazing, creative miracle! They were upset that Jesus was stealing their thunder…

Imagine a man getting healed, who was born blind! And they are struggling over who he is and how he did it??

In yesterday’s blog, I was pondering why some people believe, and others don’t.

I don’t think there’s a simple answer for this.

Is it upbringing?

Is it hardness of heart?

Is it our society? That “whatever you believe” is ok?

Is it that no one properly shared the message in a way one could understand or hear it?

This is an amazing time of year, when the focus is on the Christ child. (This should make Ricky Bobby happy.)

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Many people will attend Christmas eve services all over the world and hear the message of how God sent his only son to die for us.

Some will pass off the message and walk away…

Some will want to hear more…

prayinghands

Others will believe and follow him.

I have no idea really what causes one to believe and another to turn away… all I know is, Jesus said,

“I know my sheep… and my sheep know me.”

He made a way for all of us to know him…

P rayer

Lord, I thank you that you are the Good Shepherd. Thank you for laying your life down for me.

Day 354

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Welcome to Day 354 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: John 7; John 8 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

BIBLE 1John

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John 7:5, “Even his own brothers did not believe in him.”

20 “You are demon-possessed,” the crowd answered.”

John 8:12, “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'”

O bservation

Why are we surprised when people don’t believe in Jesus? “”Even his own brothers did not believe in him.”

A pplication

Now I want to revisit these verses in John 4…

“Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers. 42 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”

There’s no real rhyme or reason as to who believes. People either do, or don’t.

I often refer to Paul’s experience in Athens in this regard… Acts 17, “When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.” 33 At that, Paul left the Council. 34 Some of the people became followers of Paul and believed.”

believe

Some need more information and time.

Others simply sneer and walk away.

Others believe.

What possessed Peter to leave his nets and follow Jesus? Why did the “rich young ruler” go away sad and not follow Jesus as Peter did. (I know the right answer is he had great wealth… But it’s more than that. Some, like Zacchaeus had great wealth and still followed Jesus… So did Matthew (Levi).

Why do some believe and others walk away?

What causes some to be drawn and others to turn away?

There are so many factors, it’s not one size fits all.

But it’s an interesting topic to ponder…

P rayer

Lord, I pray for those around me who may not know you, that you would draw them to yourself and that they would answer your call on their life.

Worship

Day 353

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Welcome to Day 353 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: John 5; John 6 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

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John 5:18, “For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.”

19 “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”

23 “…that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father.”

John 6:41, “At this the Jews there began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”

O bservation

Jesus, the bread of life. The true bread that came down from heaven.

A pplication

The chasm between Jesus and Moses is beginning to widen. It only took to chapter 5 for the religious leaders to have decided Jesus needed to die.

They were jealous. Blind. Selfish. They loved power more than God. Jesus said, “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life.These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 30 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” (John 5)

Salvation is not found by knowing the Bible… the scriptures themselves. The scriptures point to Christ, and salvation is found in Jesus. In believing in him.

The difference is knowing about God versus knowing God? Information versus transformation perhaps?

lincoln-books-white-3_4_r560

I can read a book about Abraham Lincoln, but that is very different from having spent time with him.

The religious leaders of Jesus’ day knew the scriptures. Of them he said, ““Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.”

Ouch.

They didn’t get it.

“The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.”

Ouch… again.

And don’t miss this one… Matthew 23 is full of “woes” agains the Pharisees, Sadducees and teachers of the Law. 13 ““Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.”

One more?

23:23, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. 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.”

Ok, ok, I get it!

P rayer

Lord, help me to know you better… to not just rely on my knowledge of scripture to give the illusion of knowing you. I want to know you…

Holy-Prayer

Day 352

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Welcome to Day 352 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: John 2; John 3; John 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

old_book_King_James_Bible_literature_r

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John 2:17, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

John 3:14, “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up.”

John 4:9, ““You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

39 “Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers. 42 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”

O bservation

Q. Am I “zealous” for God’s house?”

born-again

A pplication

I wonder…

Not sure I consider myself “zealous” for God’s house… for the things of the Lord.

I think it’s the word “zealous” that I am tripping over…

I consider myself passionate, focused, determined and a strong believer. Perhaps the equation works out like this?

Passionate + Focused + Determined + Strong Believer = Zealous(?)

Zealous in our day has a negative connotation to it.

He’s a zealot = Not good reputation (overbearing + obnoxious)

According to dictionary.com, zeal is defined as “fervent or enthusiastic devotion, often extreme or fanatical in nature, as to a religious movement, political cause, ideal, or aspiration.”

Perhaps it’s the “often extreme” part of that definition that I don’t particularly like. I don’t want to be seen as “extreme” or “fanatical.” But that’s a matter of perspective, right? I’m sure to some I am “zealous.” To others, not so much.

To my non-Christian friends? I don’t want to come across as “extreme” in my beliefs. I prefer to be thought as “level-headed, thoughtful.”

But as I read through the definition of “zeal” some of it certainly applies… “fervent or enthusiastic devotion… I am not zealous about a “religious movement” though, as some may think. I am not “zealous” for the Vineyard as some may perceive. Only for the Lord… Yet, I do love the Vineyard movement of which I have been a part since the late 80’s.

Zealous… hmmm…

Take the term “born again…” It’s right there in John 3 that we just read. “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are

born again.”

But in today’s society, that term has a negative connotation. It carries an “extreme” feel to it. But all believers have been born again… Right?

Hmmm…

Once I was walking through Times Square in New York, when a guy carrying a guitar case  asked me, as we were crossing the street at a red light, if I was born again.

He didn’t ask if I was a Christian… Interesting.

(I answered, “Of course!”)

Catholics probably don’t use that term to define themselves. If you ask, “Are you a Christian?” They may answer, “I’m Catholic.” (Or “Roman” Catholic.) If you ask someone who is Baptist, they may answer, “I’m southern Baptist!”

But if you ask some Christians, they may answer, “I’m born again!”

(Roman) Catholics and (southern) Baptists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Pentecostals all can/could have been/may be born again. “Born again” is not limited to a denomination. It’s not a self-imposed badge of honor to set me apart from other believers who may not use that term, yet certainly could be born again.

Anyhoo, I digress?

But I think this is a pretty important discussion. It bothers me when people wield terms like “born again” to make a point or to set themselves above or apart from other believers.

Ok, so, yes, I’m born again…

Are YOU?

P rayer

Lord, I want to be “zealous” for your house… in a good way!

Youth-Worship

Day 351

Monday, December 17, 2012

Welcome to Day 351 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: 2 Peter 1; 2 Peter 2; 2 Peter 3; John 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

Boy Reading the holy bible

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2 Peter 1:3, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”

5 “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith

goodness; and to goodness,

knowledge; 6 and to knowledge,

self-control; and to self-control,

perseverance; and to perseverance,

godliness; 7 and to godliness,

mutual affection; and to mutual affection,

love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.”

2 Peter 2:1, “…there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies,

even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them…

2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

14 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”

O bservation

I just read one of the greatest verses in the whole Bible.

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A pplication

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” (Ok, that’s two verses…)

Jesus is the Word. The Word was WITH God and the Word WAS God… (IS God!)

What a great reminder of who Jesus was… is. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us!

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!

This IS… THE Christmas story. “Behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be for all people.”

ALL the people!

Joy to the WORLD!

The Lord is come…

P rayer

Thank you Lord for sending your only son… for me!

man-praying1

Day 350

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Welcome to Day 350 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: 1 Peter 1; 1 Peter 2; 1 Peter 3; 1 Peter 4; 1 Peter 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

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1 Peter 1:18, “It was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed [purchased] from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”

1 Peter 2:4, “As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

1 Peter 3:17, “It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.”

1 Peter 4:7,

“The end of all things is near.”

8 “Love covers over a multitude of sins.”

1 Peter 5:7, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

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O bservation

1 Peter is an amazing book, simple, clear, yet sprinkled with deep truths. Some great one-liners!

A pplication

I have often wondered what the verse, “Love covers over a multitude of sins.” really means…

The verse that precedes that verse is about loving one another deeply…

Does it mean that we should overlook the sins of others?

Does it mean that we should never confront one another over such matters?

Does it mean that we should simply turn a blind eye?

I don’t think so.

I think it means that we love each other through all situations. That in love, we help, serve and when necessary, confront one another. I also think it means that we don’t pick each other apart… That we don’t remove the speck from another person’s eye when we have a log in our own.

Hand Reaching

Amen?

I think it also means we don’t spread each others’ stuff around… In my love for you, I keep your stuff to myself. My love for you “covers” your back. I protect you… We “bear one another’s burdens.”

This in no way means that we “hide” each other’s sins. (There is nothing worse than a cover-up, is there?) It simply means that in love, we guard each other. We believe the best in each other. We mine the gold from each other’s lives.

Love believes the best.

We are all on this journey together.

I think we need each other more than we realize…

P rayer

Lord I thank you that you have put people all around me to watch my back. To love me, to bear my burdens, to cover me, and to help me!

Youth-Worship

Day 349

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Welcome to Day 349 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: James 1; James 2; James 3; James 4; James 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

keeping-journal-coffee

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James 1:22, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

James 2:13, “Mercy triumphs over judgment.”

19 “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.”

James 3:6, “The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.”

James 4:2, “You do not have because you do not ask God.”

7 “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

James 5:17, “Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.”

O bservation

How are we supposed to boil the book of James, 5 chapters, into one observation?? James is one of the most practical books of the Bible. Lots to apply to our lives.

A pplication

There are several applicable verses in these five chapters! So much wisdom for day-to-day life. James is so practical…

But for me, the one that I think outweighs them all is James 2:13,

“Mercy triumphs over judgment.”

This speaks to me as to how to live life, how to apply the Bible, and how to treat others.

Jesus said, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Luke 6:36. Jesus taught many parables on mercy… The Pharisees, Sadducees and Teachers of the Law did not get this… Jesus told them they “neglected the weightier matters of the Law. Mercy, justice and faithfulness.” Matthew 23:23

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The prophet Habakuk 3:2 wrote, “In wrath remember mercy…”

Good advice for all of us…

For “We all like sheep have gone astray. Each of us has turned to his own way.” Isaiah 53:6

I could go on and on about this one topic, maybe more than any other…

Mercy is not getting what we deserve… (punishment.)

Grace is getting what we don’t deserve… (forgiveness and favor.)

At the end of my life, I would rather be found to have been overly merciful toward others… versus judgmental and harsh.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences to our actions… what it means is that “in his wrath, he finds mercy.”

In the end, how we treat others will define how God treats us. If I have been merciful, I will receive mercy.

If not…

P rayer

Thank you for your mercy toward me!

love2012

 

Day 348

Friday, December 14, 2012

Welcome to Day 348 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Hebrews 12; Hebrews 13; Jude: 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

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Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men,

so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

10 “Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.”

28 “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”

Hebrews 13:15, “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”

Jude 1:24, “To him who is able to

keep you from stumbling

and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.”

O bservation

Wondering to whose “great joy” Jude was referring?

A pplication

“… and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy…”

Whose great joy??

Mine? In being presented faultless?

Or his, in presenting me?

Does it bring him great joy in finding me faultless?

Or is the joy mine for having been made faultless by him?

Sometimes scripture is not clear as to what is being modified…

The New Living Translation puts it this way, “Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault.”

The New Century Version states it, “God is strong and can help you not to fall. He can bring you before his glory without any wrong in you and can give you great joy.”

Ok, so the NCV clearly translates it as though the joy is mine.

I beg to differ. (Just for fun…)

I believe he has great joy in presenting me faultless!

How about this verse to back up my translation theory…

“Enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Matthew 25:23

Psalm 16:11, “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.”

joy_to_the_world

There is no question about his joy, the question is my joy… I am certain that when I stand before the Lord and he finds me not guilty, and he says to me, “Well done thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” that I will be overwhelmingly filled with joy…

I think he will be too. (Filled with joy, that is…)

The word joy appears in scripture 242 times. 57 times in the Psalms alone… (I thought most of those times would have been in the Psalms!)

Someone quoted this during our staff prayer time the other day, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come!”

Luke 2:10, “Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

“I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.”

All people!

… great joy… to all people!

This is not “good” news…

This is GREAT news!

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!

P rayer

Thank you Lord for this great news that is for all people!

kneeling-in-prayer-at-sunrise

Day 347

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Welcome to Day 347 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Hebrews 9; Hebrews 10; Hebrews 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

bible-hebrews

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Hebrews 9:28, “Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”

Hebrews 10:19, “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

O bservation

Wondering how confident I really am to enter the Most Holy Place…

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A pplication

Here’s what I know… I am not confident in myself. I am smart enough to know how and why I am able to enter His presence. It’s certainly not because of anything I have done, but because of what HE has done.

I love this, “in full assurance of faith…” Confident…

Again, not because of anything I have done, but because of what he has done!

He who promised is faithful!

P rayer

Lord I thank you for your faithfulness. You are so good to me!

Worship

Day 346

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Welcome to Day 346 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Hebrews 5; Hebrews 6; Hebrews 7; Hebrews 8 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

bible-hebrews

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Hebrews 5:12, “Though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.”

Hebrews 6:19, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”

Hebrews 7:2, “Abraham gave him [Melchizedek] a tenth of everything.”

18 “The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19 (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.”

25 “Therefore he [Jesus] is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.”

Hebrews 8:13, “By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.”

O bservation

The writer is comparing Jesus to all previous priests and the new covenant to the old.

A pplication

The old regulation (Law) has been deemed “weak and useless.”

The new covenant is better, because it is based upon better promises, and a better high priest who does not need to offer sacrifices for himself. AND, since he raised from the dead, he lives today and is interceding for us still!

One has to keep in mind, though, that Jesus himself said that he did not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill the it. (Matthew 5:17)

Paul wrote that “Love is the fulfillment of the Law.” (Romans 13:8-10)

So then, do we discount all the Old Testament? What about the Ten Commandments??

Romans 5:13 states that “To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law.”

gavel

If there is no speed limit sign posted, you can drive as fast as you want! But if a sign has been posted, there is a law in place.

Parts of the Montana highway system have no daytime speed limits… You can drive as fast as you want… But at night, the law kicks in.

How often do you think you break the speed limit? If its 35 and you drive 36, you have broken the law, right?

At 45 and you drive 46, same thing?

At 55… 56. The law has been broken.

Just one mile per hour over the speed limit makes me a law-breaker… and guilty.

Now, in our society, we think about how fast we can go, or how much over the speed limit we can go before we may get pulled over. Usually 5 mph at 35 mph, or maybe 7-10 mph at higher speeds? At 65 mph speed limit, I can probably go 70 to 72 mph without getting pulled over.

no speed limit

But even if I don’t get a ticket, I have still broken the law. Guilty, regardless of getting a ticket or not.

The good news is Jesus is our attorney, pleading our case with the Father…

That doesn’t mean we get off “Scott-free.” (Sorry, couldn’t resist. Where’s that darn rim shot when you need it?)

Oh, here it is! —-> Go ahead, you know you want to! RIM SHOT

Going back to the Old Testament, when the Hebrew slaves were about to be led out of Egypt, the final plague was the death of every firstborn. The only way to escape this judgment was to kill a lamb, without spot or wrinkle, and put some of the blood on the doorposts of your home. When the death angel was passing by, he would see the blood and “pass over” your home. You were spared the death of your firstborn because of simply obeying the law.

Do this, and you will live…

It had nothing to do with who they were, this was true for both Hebrews and Egyptians. It didn’t matter what they were doing in their home. The only thing that mattered was putting the blood on the doorposts.

(There is nothing in scripture that speaks to this, but I have often wondered how many people simply went into someone else’s home for refuge? Or, I wonder if some said, “Pfft… what could THAT do?? Put blood on my door?? Are you KIDDING me??” But did it anyway…

… and were spared. Simply because they obeyed.

When I see the blood, I will pass over you.

The same concept applies today. God hasn’t changed… When He sees the blood of Jesus on our lives, metaphorically, “on the doorposts of our hearts,” he passes over us, too.

To me, this is the simplest, clearest explanation for why Jesus had to die and how it applies to my life today. (You could draw a similar conclusion with Noah and the ark. (Jesus, the ark… saves me from a certain death. All I have to do is get into the boat!) But that analogy doesn’t speak to the need for blood to be shed… And that’s pretty important.

Remember, John the Baptist announced Jesus as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” (For both Hebrews and Egyptians.)

(I wonder how many Egyptians caught wind of this beforehand and followed the instructions… and lived? Again, it’s not mentioned in the Bible. Purely speculation… but if there were a million Hebrew slaves, there had to be SOME Egyptians who put the blood on the doorposts. But maybe not… That would certainly complete the salvation message though! It just makes sense to me in both a practical and spiritual sense.

See Exodus 11 and 12 for the whole story of the final plague and the Passover.

In tomorrow’s scripture we will read, “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” Hebrews 9:22

man-praying1

P rayer

Thank you Lord for your blood that was shed for me.

Makes me think of the song, “Lord I’m amazed by you, how you love me.”

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