What A DIFFERENCE!

April 23, 2021: SOAP #4159:  1Samuel 27; 1Chronicles 9; Psalm 141; Matthew 10

SCRIPTURE:  Psalm (NIV) 141:8 But my eyes are fixed on you, O Sovereign LORD; in you I take refuge— do not give me over to death.
9 Keep me from the snares they have laid for me, from the traps set by evildoers.
10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by in safety.

OBSERVATION: The people around David were setting traps for him. They were intent on destroying him. But the eyes of David’s soul were fixed on the Lord.

David knew the source of the help he needed!  He was not going to let other things pull his gaze from the Lord!  He was not going to be distracted!  His eyes were fixed on the LORD! 

He was not going to look elsewhere for help.  Why waste his time by looking elsewhere for help?  Others may not be able or willing to help, but David knew the LORD to be both willing and able! 

APPLICATION: When I fix my eyes on my problems, they become bigger. They become bigger than they really are. When I fix my eyes on the Lord, He also becomes bigger. But, what a difference! He never becomes bigger than He really is!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, you amaze me. However big my problems, you are bigger still.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

My God!

April 22, 2021: SOAP #4158:  1Samuel 25,26; Psalm 63; Matthew 9

SCRIPTURE:  Psalm (NIV) 63:1 A psalm of David. When he was in the Desert of Judah. O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
2 I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.
3 Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.
4 I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name, I will lift up my hands.
5 My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
6 On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night.

OBSERVATION:  God was not a god to David.  He was not just any god.  God was his God!  The God of creation was David’s God!  

How did David communicate to God that David considered Him to be David’s God?  Part of the answer is found in the remaining verses of this chapter. 

First of all, David told Him.  He spoke words of appreciation to God.  He spoke a picture of how much he desired God. Then David backed up his words with action.  He went to the sanctuary, he glorified and praised God.  He lifted his hands and sang praises to God.  He thought about him at night on his bed. 

Surely God knew what David thought of Him.  God did not have any doubts about David.  God knew that David was committed to him.  God knew that David loved Him and considered God to be David’s God!  

APPLICATION:  So, what about me?  Does God know that He is Leon’s God?  What do I do to communicate that truth to God?  What about others…do they know that the God of creation is my God? 

PRAYER:  O God, you are my God. I want my words and actions to demonstrate to you and to others that you are my God.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

He is AMAZING!!!

April 21, 2021: SOAP #4157:  1Samuel 24; 1Chronicles 8; Psalm 57, 58; Matthew 8

SCRIPTURE:  Matthew (NIV) 8:25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” 26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. 27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

OBSERVATION: What an amazing change happened at Jesus words.  From a storm that caused seasoned fishermen to fear, to “completely calm!”  No wonder they were amazed, asking, “What kind of man is this?” 

They were amazed at His power over the wind and the waves, but that was only one area over which He had power.  They would see His power over sickness, over provisions of food, over death, even over His own death!!! 

APPLICATION:  I have witnessed the power of God to calm a raging storm in the heart of a person.  From uncontrollable to “completely calm.”  God is indeed AMAZING!!!  There is nothing I will ever encounter that is greater than God. 

He responds to my faith.  God likes for me to believe Him.  God likes for me to depend on Him.  My faith activates God’s power. 

PRAYER:  Lord, I believe you.  I believe you can calm storms in the weather.  I believe you can calm the storms in me.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

Backing up my words

April 20, 2021: SOAP #4156:  1Samuel 23; Psalm 31,54; Matthew 7

SCRIPTURE:  Matthew (NIV) 7:28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

OBSERVATION: The multitudes were not amazed that Jesus was a teacher, for they had many teachers. They were astonished at his authority. The scribes often referred back to traditions and the writings of their fathers.

Jesus spoke the truth, defined the truth, applied the truth, and explained the truth.  And He spoke like he had personal knowledge of what the scriptures meant.  We would expect the Living Word to know the Written Word.  Jesus also backed up the spoken word with healings and miracles.  He spoke the truth about the Kingdom of God; then He demonstrated the authority of that same Kingdom!

APPLICATION: My actions give authority to my words. I must live my life in such a way that people believe what I say.

PRAYER:  Lord let Your words become my words and help me demonstrate my words by my actions. Amen.

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

Something for me to do!

April 19, 2021: SOAP #4155:  1Samuel 22; Psalm 17,35; Matthew 6

SCRIPTURE:  Matthew (NIV) 6:30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

OBSERVATION: In verses 2-3 we read ”when you give.” In verses 5-7 we read “when you pray.”  In verse 16 we read “when you fast.”  In verses 30-33 we read about when we have a need. 

There are needs that can cause us to worry.  “Worrying” and having “little faith” are paired together.  Worrying causes us to question God.  We need to increase our faith and talk like God loves us; talk like He knows what we need; and talk like He will provide! 

Note: these promises are not made for everyone.  These promises are for those who “seek his kingdom and his righteousness.” 

APPLICATION:  I like the promise that God will provide what I need!  So, I must be faithful to do my part: seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness! 

PRAYER:  Heavenly Father, you are perfectly holy.  Out of your holiness, flows your faithfulness.  First, you are faithful to yourself and to your word.  When I seek first your kingdom and your righteousness, I can trust you to provide my needs.  When I put other things first in my life, I cannot count on you to provide my needs, and I have to worry about taking care of them myself.  Holy Spirit, help me grow in setting my priorities according to the above verses!   Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

Good Questions

April 18, 2021: SOAP #4154:  1Samuel 20-21; Psalm 34; Matthew 5

SCRIPTURE:  Matthew (NIV) 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

OBSERVATION:  This verse tells me how I am to live in the world where people who do not personally know God hear my words and see my actions.  (Note verse 14.)  I am not to hide my life in such a way that people will not recognize me as a Christian.  (Note verse 15.) 

APPLICATION: I should live my life in a way that people in the church give glory to God because of me.  But they should already be glorifying God.  They should not need my good works to glorify God.  They should be doing that already. 

If I am going to “let my light shine before men” then I must live, walk, and work where people can see me.  Living a daily life that honors God will cause light to shine in the world. 

Good questions for Leon:  How long does it take for a new acquaintance to see that I am a Christian?  According to my friends who see me every day, what priority does Jesus have in my life?  Have any of my acquaintances ever asked me about Jesus? 

PRAYER: Holy Spirit, work in me so my words, my actions, and my attitudes help people see Jesus. Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

How He Made Us…

April 17, 2021: SOAP #4153:  1Samuel 19; 1Chronicles 7; Psalm 59; Matthew 4

SCRIPTURE:  Matthew (NIV) 4:18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.
19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”
20 At once they left their nets and followed him.

OBSERVATION: First: in these verses we have a command: come follow me. This was more than just an invitation to join Him.  Their response shows that they took it as demanding obedience. 

Second: in these verses we have a promise: I will make you.  It is a powerful statement: I will make you fishers of men.  Jesus did not say, “I am going to try to make you…”  He did not say, “Let’s see what you can do.”   Jesus called them for a purpose.  He took the responsibility to “make them…” 

So, how did Jesus go about keeping His promise?  He lived with them.  He taught them.  He answered their questions.  He had them watch him.  He used them as his helpers.  He sent them out on assignment.  He had them report back.  But greatest of all, He gave them the Holy Spirit to live in them when He returned to heaven!   This was the same Holy Spirit that descended on Him when He was baptized in water at the beginning of His ministry. 

APPLICATION:  The same Holy Spirit that descended on Jesus…  The same Holy Spirit that filled the early church on the day of Pentecost…  That is the same Holy Spirit that came to live in me when I got saved.  It is the same Holy Spirit that baptized me and empowers me today.  The Holy Spirit motivates me and empowers me to be a “fisher of men.”

PRAYER:  Holy Spirit, continue working in my heart.  Help me see the people around me who need Jesus.  Flow through me to touch each one. Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

Holy/Loving

April 16, 2021: SOAP #4152: 1Samuel 18; 1Chronicles 6; Psalm 11; Matthew 3

SCRIPTURE:  Psalm (NIV) 11:4 The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD is on his heavenly throne. He observes the sons of men; his eyes examine them. 5 The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked and those who love violence his soul hates. 6 On the wicked he will rain fiery coals and burning sulphur; a scorching wind will be their lot. 7 For the LORD is righteous, he loves justice; upright men will see his face.

OBSERVATION:  In John 3:16 we read that God loves the world—so much that He gave His only Son!  In Matthew 3:17 we read that God loves His Son, Jesus.  In the verse above we read that the LORD loves justice.  God is love!  

God is just as holy as He is loving.  It is the combination of perfect love and perfect holiness that makes God “good.” If He was just holy, or just love, we could not call Him “good.”  Being holy means that He loves justice.  Having the nature of love and loving justice results in hatred of wickedness.  Those who “love violence” are contrary to God.  Those who destroy what God loves, stand in danger of God’s holy anger and judgment.  Sin destroys the man God created.  Sin destroys the man for which he has so many great plans.  Sin destroys what God loves.  But being perfectly holy required that the sacrifice for sin had to be sinless.    The sacrifice could not be paying for his own sin! 

God’s holy and intense anger is logical when one considers God’s intense love.  (A mother’s intense love for her child results in intense anger at the animal who would harm the child.) 

APPLICATION: To think of God as only loving is to ignore half of His character.  To think of God as only holy is to ignore half of His character.  When I grow in my relationship with God, I get to know Him, not just about Him. 

The beauty of God’s character is indescribable.  It is beyond our words. 

PRAYER:  Heavenly Father, Oh the beauty of you.  Your perfect character amazes me.  Your intense love for me.  Your perfect holiness guides your plan for me.  You are always working for my good!  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

A True Assessment

April 15, 2021: SOAP #4151:  1Samuel 17; Psalm 9; Matthew 2

SCRIPTURE:  1Samuel (NIV) 17:31 What David said was overheard and reported to account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.” 33 Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a boy, and he has been a fighting man from his youth.”

OBSERVATION: Saul was king.  He was the commander of the army.  He was responsible for the battle plan.  He might have been a good judge of character, but he surely misjudged David. 

His assessment/evaluation of David was correct, David was “only a boy.”  His assessment of Goliath was also correct, Goliath had been “a fighting man from his youth.” 

But something was missing.  There was no assessment of David’s God!  There was no assessment of the battle.  Saul thought it would be between a nine-foot tall giant and a little boy.  Saul knew how that would end.  But the battle was really between a nine-foot tall giant and God!  David knew how that would end!       

APPLICATION:  I need to reassess the battles I face.  God is not on my side; I am on God’s side.  When I see where the battle lines are drawn, I too can have faith that God will win!   I will never have a true assessment of the battle until I consider God’s involvement! 

PRAYER:  Holy Spirit, keep my thoughts centered on God’s part in my daily life and the things that trouble me.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

“…what the Lord had said…”

April 14, 2021: SOAP #4150:  1Samuel 15-16; 1Chronicles 5; Matthew 1

SCRIPTURE:  Matthew (NIV) 1: 22 All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”— which means, “God with us.”

OBSERVATION: It is not what the prophets said, but “what the Lord had said through the prophet.”  God is not bound to honor the prophet’s word; He is bound to honor His word. 

The gift of prophesy is one of the nine gifts listed in 1Corinthians (14;31.) It can be ministered through any believer.  They speak forth what God is saying in the present.  It may be a word of exhortation, edification, or comfort.  It may be recognized as a gift of prophesy or not, but it brings God’s desired affect to the hearers.  What it does is more important than what it is called!

A prophet must be careful to speak for the Lord.  He must limit himself to just what the Lord is saying.  (1Corinthians 12:10)   It may be easy to get carried along with the energy of a prophesy, but when the “prophet” goes beyond what God is saying, and it does not come to pass, it hinders the validity of the true word of the Lord. 

I do not believe that a prophet is a prophet because he claims to be a prophet.  God honors the true prophets by bringing His word to pass.  People can recognize prophets by seeing God’s words brought to pass. (1Samuel 3:20)

APPLICATION:  Speaking for the Lord is a high honor; it is also a great responsibility.  To think that God would use a man to communicate to people is amazing.  To think that a man could speak for God is fearful.  I am honored that God uses these daily SOAPs to speak to people (myself first).  I am also fearful/careful to write out only what He gives me.  Many times, they are prophetic, not that they foretell the future, but in that they give forth the Word of the Lord to someone. 

PRAYER:  Holy Spirit, guide my words as I present God and His Word in these daily SOAPs.  I desire to faithfully communicate your truth and your love.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!