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.

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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


S cripture

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Hebrews 8:13, “By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.”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


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


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.”

Day 345

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Welcome to Day 345 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Philemon 1; Hebrews 1; Hebrews 2; Hebrews 3; Hebrews 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

Philemon 1:8, “Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, 9 yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love.”

Hebrews 1:3, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being…”

14 “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?”

Hebrews 2:3,

“How shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation?”

11 “Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.”

Hebrews 3:8,

“Today, if you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts.”

12 “See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end.”

Hebrews 4:9, “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest…”

16 “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”


O bservation

I am reminded, yet again, of who Jesus is and what sets him apart from the angels, Moses and all of the priests…

A pplication

Hebrews 1:3, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being…”


Our Great High Priest, making intercession for us… (See Hebrews 5). In 1 John, Jesus is called our “advocate” with the Father… He is our attorney with the Father! He pleads our case on our behalf! He declares us not guilty!

In terms of relationship, Jesus, on one end of the continuum is the radiance of God’s glory. His only son. On the other end of the scale he is our brother and friend. Jesus said, “I no longer call you servants, I call you friends.” (John 15:15).

The radiance of God’s glory <———————–> My friend

Both are true.


Think of how many roles you play in life. I am a husband and father, a brother and a son. I’m a friend, a neighbor… a pastor, a member of the community.

How do we relate to One who is both the Son of God, our Great High Priest AND our friend and brother??

Every now and then I have someone call me and say, “Can I talk to you as a friend?” (What they are saying is, can you take your pastor hat off for a moment?) It’s not really possible for me to do that, because it’s not like I ever put the pastor hat on or take it off. It’s not like as a Christian we can put that hat on or take it off. They only reason I am a pastor is I have been reading and applying God’s word to my life, and been sharing it with others for two decades now.

My kids don’t need me as a pastor… they need me as a Father. But in that role, it’s my job to set an example for them to follow. As they were growing up, I was consciously aware that I was modeling for my daughters how their future husband should treat them, talk to them. I was modeling for my sons how to treat their future wives and kids.

We all play many roles in this life… and it can be tricky at times to know which role we are playing.

Actually, I don’t want to be known as a pastor. I want to be known for being a man of integrity, who is trustworthy, faithful. The fact that I attempt to live my life according to God’s word should come way before the fact that I am a pastor. Right?

More than a friend, I want to become a father in the faith. I want to be the “go-to” guy that someone would call when they are hurting. More than all the official stuff (weddings, funerals), just when they need someone to talk to. Then I can slip in some sound scriptural advice.

Do you realize you don’t have to quote chapter and verse for it to be “biblical?” It’s still God’s word, even if you don’t cite chapter and verse.

People will say, “Wow! That’s great insight!”


I was interviewed several years ago by the Dayton Daily News for an article on opposite sex friendships. I quoted several verses that got printed… because I didn’t say, “Well the BIBLE says…”

Here’s my best advice… Don’t get caught up in position. Walk in humility. Live the Bible. Rely on God’s Presence, His Spirit to breathe life into all your situations.

Just be yourself.

P rayer

Thank you Lord that You are both my Great High Priest and my friend and brother!

Day 344

Monday, December 10, 2012

Welcome to Day 344 of our Life Journal!

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

BIBLE 2Timothy

S cripture

2 Timothy 1:5, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.”

9 “He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.”

12 “I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.”

2 Timothy 2:22, “Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace.”

2 Timothy 3:1, “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents,ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power.

Have nothing to do with such people.”

15 “From infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”

2 Timothy 4:2, “Be prepared in season and out of season.”

5 “Keep your head in all situations.”


O bservation

Paul uses the example of a soldier, athlete and a farmer to make his point…

A pplication

Seems to me it’s about focus?

Not getting caught up in civilian affairs…

Compete according to the rules, go for the winner’s crown.

Expect a harvest…

Fight the good fight… run to win… work hard like a farmer.


That’s ministry…

For leaders, this is the standard, and in a broader sense, for all of us who are believers.

Yes, there is a greater expectation for those of us who are leaders, but the baseline standard is the same for all of us.

Paul gives Timothy great advice… Both 1 and 2 Timothy are short books/letters loaded with simple, straightforward insights on how to live in such a way that honors Christ.

2:22 “Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace.”

Doesn’t get much simpler or clearer than that, does it?


Don’t do these things… Do do these things.

Got it.

P rayer

Thank you Lord for your word, for how simple and clear it is… (most of the time!)

Day 343

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Welcome to Day 343 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: 1 Timothy 5; 1 Timothy 6; Titus 1; Titus 2; Titus 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

1 Timothy 5:1, “Treat younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.”

1 Timothy 6:6, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”

10 “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.”

Titus 1:5, “The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you.”

15 “To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure.”

Titus 2:11, “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age…”

Titus 3:3, “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”


O bservation

I love how Paul’s letter to Titus echoes similar themes as his letters to Timothy.

A pplication

I had coffee with a young man yesterday. He shared his story with me a while back and I was following up with him… He is just beginning to figure out life. His parents didn’t set him a very good example to follow. Quite the contrary…

I shared some of my story with him… I told him (and I really do believe this) that just below the surface we are all pretty much the same.

I told him I just try to make good, godly decisions, day in and day out.

He looked at me kind of funny as though I were exempt from sin…

Although I have been running this race for a long time, I still have a long way to go…

I told him I decide every day to follow the Lord… to not cheat on my wife. To be an example my kids or others would want to follow. To not blow my life apart. To do the right thing…


Then I joked, “I live my life… a quarter-mile at a time.” (Vin Diesel, Fast & Furious.)

But that’s actually true. The traps are the same for all of us. To become consumed with our stuff… to pretend we are better than we are. To say one thing and do something else.

There is temptation all around us!

Integrity, character and love are the marks of a believer… or should be.

Just as Paul told Timothy to “set and example for the believers,” he would say the same thing to us. Not just to me because I’m a pastor, but for all of us as believers.

Setting and example doesn’t mean I’m perfect. It just means (to me) that when I blow it… and do… that I set an example as to how to clean up my mess. When I’ve been short with someone, or simply modeled something other than what is “Christ-like,” I have a “mess” to clean up.

We all get short-tempered, irritable… It’s easy to not tell “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

Although some use truth as a club…

I find most people to be gracious and understanding toward me… More apt to let me off the hook than I am willing to myself…

Set an example…


I have found often in cleaning up a mess that it means so much to people. So few people are willing to simply do the right thing, just because it’s the right thing to do. We justify what we say or do based upon what another person said or did.

Whatever you said or did does not give me the license to respond in like manner. Many people think it does…

I am always responsible for what I say and do, regardless of what you said or did to me.

I own my side of the fence. You own yours.

We all try to justify ourselves… “Well, do you know what THEY said to ME? Do you know what they DID?”

Just because you went off on me doesn’t give me the right to go off on you…

I own what I say and do.


I can never blame my words or actions on someone else…


P rayer

Lord help me to own my actions… to not blame others for what I say or do.


Day 342

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Welcome to Day 342 of our Life Journal!

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

1 Timothy 1:5, “The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”

1 Timothy 2:1, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior…”

1 Timothy 3:7, “He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.”

1 Timothy 4:16, “Watch your life and doctrine closely.”

O bservation

“…That we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”

A pplication

Godliness and holiness…

Now there’s a tall order. We are getting down to it now…

Keep in mind that Paul is mentoring young Timothy. Paul told him to not let anyone look down on him because he was young, but to set an example for the believers “in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”


People love to make the Christian life complicated, mystical… hard.

Of course, Paul IS talking here about how to conduct ourselves… and who can or cannot be a deacon or overseer in the church. There were, are, requirements based upon the fruit of our lives. There is a standard for us as believers and for leaders in particular.

I don’t think it’s hard. I think it’s easy. Godliness and holiness aren’t easy, but when you are a son, you don’t have to strive to earn acceptance or be “worthy.” When you are a son, you ARE a son. I am only made holy and righteous by what HE has done. Not by what I do.

Jesus said all the Law and the prophets hung on two simple commands: Love God and Love people. When we do that, it simplifies things a bit. When I live my life trying to do what is right, I become more “righteous.”

Paul told Timothy to “set and example.” In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul stated, “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ.”

He basically told Timothy to do the same. Become an example for others to follow.

Good advice for all of us, dontyathink?

P rayer

Lord help me to become an example for others to follow…


Day 341

Friday, December 7, 2012

Welcome to Day 341 of our Life Journal!

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

Colossians 1:15, “The Son is the image of the invisible God.”

21 “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22

But now…

… he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.”

Colossians 2:9, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.”

Colossians 3:1, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ…”

12 “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved…”

Colossians 4:2, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”

5 “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

looking into a microscope

O bservation

Devote yourselves to being… thankful…

A pplication

Funny, I get “devote yourselves to… prayer…

But to being thankful? Now that’s an interesting order, isn’t it.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:16 Paul wrote, “Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

THIS is God’s will for you… Rejoice always, pray continually (to prayer) give thanks in all circumstances (being thankful)…

THIS is God’s will for me. Rejoice ALWAYS, pray CONTINUALLY, give thanks in ALL circumstances.

Ever want to know what God’s will is for your life?

Well, there is your answer.

P rayer

Lord help me to give thanks in all circumstances…

PS Obviously, God’s will for us goes on from there… but this is foundational to our life, regardless of where we work, live, who we marry, kids or no kids, etc…


Day 340

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Welcome to Day 340 of our Life Journal!

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

Philippians 1:3, “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

7 It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart.”

21 “For to me,

to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

Philippians 2:3, “In humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

Philippians 3:5,

“Have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing    by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!

9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

12 “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters,

I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.

But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:5,

“The Lord is near.”

O bservation

Philippians is an amazing letter/book. So full of wisdom and insight easily applied to our lives.

A pplication

Having said that, my application for today is not even from the verses I posted above… As amazing as all those verses are…

However, in 3:4 Paul wrote, “If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more.”


That’s a bold statement, isn’t it? That’s what jumped out at me today…

I thought, “Wow! That’s… bold.”

One of my favorite movie lines is from “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.” Matthew McConaughey says, “Not cocky… confident.”

There’s a fine line there…

Paul said he put “no confidence in the flesh.” In his skill, education, background or social status. He considered himself a slave to Christ… a slave by choice, which is very different that being a slave that was purchased, with no choice. He said we used to be slaves to sin, now we are slaves to righteousness. Slaves to doing what is right.

Paul said “If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more.” Another VERY bold statement.

He talked about a mindset that is like Jesus… “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself…


Now there’s a life goal for you. To become nothing. 

Not that we ARE nothing, but we should have a proper perspective regarding ourselves… Jesus considered himself nothing. Jesus, who was sinless, when someone addressed him as “good teacher” Jesus said, ““Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.” Mark 10:17-19.

Again, not that we should walk around with an “awe shucks” mentality… thinking less of ourselves, either. We are co-heirs with Christ! Adopted sons and daughters into his royal family! I am a minister of the Gospel! A worship leader! A pastor! I am his chosen elect!

But that should not be the focus. To keep things in proper perspective… in humility regarding myself as nothing.

(Since this is our 2nd trip through Philippians, I am tempted to go back to earlier in the year and see if I blogged similarly when we read these same passages.)


Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

That’s not an “awe shucks” mentality. That’s confidence. But our confidence comes from Him! Not from our flesh, our own abilities, talents, skills, education or effort.

I’m learning more and more to lean on Him. To allow Him to work through me.

I’m finding a place of peace and confidence because no longer does it rest on MY effort, but His Spirit. His power! That really takes the pressure off!

Just remember this, “Not cocky, confident!”

… but not confident in our flesh, confident in His Spirit!

P rayer

Thank you Lord that you want to do the work… That I can simply rest in you!


Day 339

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Welcome to Day 339 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Ephesians 5; Ephesians 6; Psalm 119:1-80 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

Ephesians 5:3, “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.”

21 “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

Ephesians 6:11, “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”

Psalm 119:1-80:18, “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.”

O bservation

Not even a hint of sexual immorality. Or impurity… or greed. Not a hint.

A pplication


I like to cook. That may surprise some of you…

For me it’s a creative outlet with an edible end that many can enjoy. (Hopefully.)

When I read that word “hint” it made me think of salting a dish. I think a “hint” may compare to a “dash” or a “pinch” It’s just the tiniest amount…

Jesus talked about yeast or leaven… that it only takes a small amount to leaven the whole batch of dough.

Not even a hint of sexual immorality, impurity or greed. Not one gesture, not one joke, not one selfish motive… Greed affects our whole life. Greedy with our position and our possessions. (It may be the difference between giving and loaning money? Hmmm…)

That’s the standard for all of us. (Not just pastors…)

I wonder what a “hint” of sexual immorality looks like? I mean, I wonder what God considers to be a “hint?”

An improper glance?

A suggestive gesture?

Anything off color that’s sexual in nature?

Paul goes on to talk about “obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place…” In other words, there’s no room for any of it in our lives…

A few weeks ago, our pastor, Doug, was talking about purity… he had a bottle of water in his hand. He said, “If you were thirsty and I offered you this bottle of water, you’d probably be very appreciative… until I said, ‘Oh, by the way… there’s just ONE drop of sewage in there.'”

There’s only a “hint” of sewage in there… Just one drop? What could that do? It’s only ONE drop!

Only a hint…

P rayer

Help us to live lives above reproach. That we wouldn’t even have a hint of sewage in our lives…


Day 338

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Welcome to Day 338 of our Life Journal!

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

BIBLE Ephesians

S cripture

Ephesians 1:17, “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation,

so that you may know him better.”

Ephesians 2:4, “Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ…”

10 “For we are God’s handiwork [workmanship], created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Ephesians 3:8, “Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ…”

20 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

Ephesians 4:2, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

29 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

32 “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”


O bservation

Paul wrote amazing letters! Ephesians is loaded!

A pplication

As I looked over the verses above, it was as though I was looking at an outline of my life, my walk with the Lord.

Each verse had some significance to me, beyond the Lord highlighting it this morning.

He made me alive in Christ. Called me to good works. Wants me to be completely humble, gentle, compassionate…

He is able to do immeasurably more than I could ask or imagine!

And he wants me to draw close, to know him better and better.

Paul is so practical… clear in what he wants people to do, or to not do. He is constantly encouraging people to press in. To bear with each other. To forgive others as Christ has forgiven them, us, me.

I think that’s it for me for today. Just a simple reminder of all that he has done for me and how he wants me to live.

P rayer

Thank you Lord for making me alive in Christ!


Day 337

Monday, December 3, 2012

Welcome to Day 337 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Romans 13; Romans 14; Romans 15; Romans 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

Romans 13:8, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

Romans 14:22. “So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God.”

Romans 15:20, “It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation.”

Romans 16:20, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.”

O bservation

Romans 14 may be my favorite passage in the whole Bible!

A pplication

See my previous entry for Romans 14 from June 2.


In Romans 14 Paul is writing about those who are “weak in faith” on certain matters. He addresses celebrating certain days, eating certain foods and other issues like drinking wine… He is addressing matters of conscience, things that may or may not be a sin, depending on a person’s conscience.

One of my favorite verses is “What you believe about these things keep between yourself and God.” 14:22.

It’s so easy to take an issue that we feel strongly about and push it on other people. To try to make them feel the way I feel about any particular thing, that I either do or don’t consider to be a sin, or not, as the case may be.

But that’s great advice for all of us… “What you believe about these things keep between yourself and God.” To not let anyone lead us into something that we feel strongly against. Or to not allow anyone to put down something we feel is ok…

Certain things are clearly black and white. Others, not so much…

Take music for instance…

I burned all my records at one point. I needed to. Music was an idol. I had read in Acts about the 50,000 drachma fire, when the people of the city brought all their books on sorcery and burnt them. I was inspired to purge myself of all my needless records.

It was therapeutic…


As I’ve grown in my faith over the past 25 years, I have been able to relax on such matters. (At least some…) I still have strong feelings about some things, just not everything.

But it’s not been easy for me, really…

I like black and white. It’s clear. Concise. Makes for a nice checklist I can follow.

Do this, don’t do that.

But gray… Gray requires me to think… to ponder. To challenge my belief system. To really sort through things. To arrive at a healthy decision about what I think and feel about any number of issues.

This is when I have an opportunity to grow, to mature…

Isn’t that what it’s all about?

P rayer

Thank you Lord for giving me opportunities to grow. I trust that you will and are leading me in paths of righteousness for your name’s sake.


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