Reconciliation’s Focus

May 24, 2017: SOAP #2729: 1Kings 9; 2Chronicles 8; Psalm 136; Romans 5

Scripture:  Romans (NIV) 5:11 Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Observation:   What God has done on our behalf is fantastic!  It is beyond comprehension.  It is something for which one should rejoice. However, in this verse, we rejoice not in what God has done for us, but in God Himself. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, we have come into relationship with our Heavenly Father, and what a Father He is!!!

It is through the work of Jesus that we have been reconciled, not just to Jesus, but through Jesus to the Father.  Through the words of Jesus as recorded in the gospels we see how Jesus stressed His relationship to the Father, His purpose being to do the will of the Father, His actions as fulfilling the command of the Father, His desire to glorify the Father, His plan to return to the Father having glorified the Father by doing the Father’s will.  Clearly the one priority of Jesus was His Father.

The reconciliation spoken of in this verse is a reconciliation that comes through Jesus but it’s focus is the Father.  It is to the Father we have been reconciled!

Application:  In studying the life of Jesus, I should not only be asking myself what is Jesus like, but what is the Father like!

Prayer:   Heavenly Father, you loved me so much you sent your “Only Begotten Son” to die in my place for my sins.  And now through Jesus, I am reconciled to you!!!  What an amazing privilege to be your son! Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

Amazing love; Amazing grace

May 23, 2017: SOAP #2728: 2Chronicles 6, 7; Psalm 135; Romans 4

Scripture:  Romans (NIV) 4:2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God.  3 What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

Observation:     Had it been possible for Abraham to have worked hard enough to stand before God completely righteous, then he would indeed have something about which to boast.  He would have been able to do what no man had ever before, or has ever since been able to do.  Ever since sin entered the picture it has been impossible for man to stand by himself before God.  The very best we can offer is like dirty rag in comparison to God’s perfect holiness.

God judges perfectly and knows how far short our works come in purchasing the righteousness needed to stand before a holy God.  Abraham may have impressed people, but he would have never been able to boast before God!

Application:  I am totally dependent on the righteousness God has provided for me through Jesus’ death on the cross.  What grace!   I have no reason to boast, but every reason to humbly dedicate my life to please Him!  How amazing the depths of God’s love for man!

Prayer:   Heavenly Father, my life is yours!  You provided for me what I could never provide for myself—righteousness that meets your standard! Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

Righteousness provided by God

May 22, 2017: SOAP #2727: 1Kings 8; 2Chronicles 5; Psalm 99; Romans 3

Scripture:  Romans (NIV) 3:21 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.

Observation:  What an amazing gift is given to those who receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior!   It is forgiveness and cleansing from God!   If anyone knows how much forgiveness and cleansing is needed, God does!   If anyone knows what it takes to atone for sin, God does!  If anyone knows what sacrifice will be accepted at the judgment throne in heaven, God does!  If anyone could provide such a sacrifice, only God could, and God did!!!

Application:  If the righteous standing I need is provided for me by God Himself, I can have perfect confidence that it is appropriate and sufficient!  In faith, I can stand before God without fear!

Prayer:   Heavenly Father, in love you created man to share loving fellowship with you throughout eternity.  We broke that fellowship by breaking your holy standard.  Yet your love still desired fellowship with your creation.  Your holiness could only be satisfied with an appropriate and sufficient payment for my sin.  And in your love, you sent your son to be that for me!  I am amazed and humbled!  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

God’s Faithfulness Displayed!

May 21, 2017: SOAP #2726: 1Kings 7; 2Chronicles 4; Psalm 98; Romans 2

Scripture:  Psalm (NIV) 98:3 He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to the house of Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

Observation:  No matter where people live in the earth, if they can read a newspaper, if they can hear a radio, if they can look on the internet, they are very likely aware of the small nation of Israel.  It exists today as a display or testimony to God’s love and faithfulness in keeping His word.

Application:  Israel’s God is my God!  He kept his word to Israel; He keeps his word to me!   His faithfulness to Israel is not because they have been so perfect.  His faithfulness to Israel is because He is faithful to Himself and His word!   His faithfulness to me is also based on his faithfulness to Himself and His word.

Prayer:   Heavenly Father, you are, and will be, faithful in dealing with sin.  You will fulfill your word that the wage of sin is death.  You are also faithful in dealing with those who confess their sins.  You are faithful and just to forgive and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness. (1John 1:8-10)  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

Declared with Power!

May 20, 2017: SOAP #2725: 1Kings 6; 2Chronicles 3; Psalm 97; Romans 1

Scripture:  Romans (NIV) 1:1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God—2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, 4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God, by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.

Observation:   Through the prophecies in the Old Testament we are assured that Jesus, as a descendent of David, is fully human.  It was the resurrection that “declared with power” that Jesus is the Son of God.    His death proved His humanness.  His resurrection proved His divinity.   His death showed Him to be the Son of man.  His resurrection showed Him to be the Son of God.

Actions speak louder than words.  There are no words of Jesus that are more powerful than His resurrection.  No one was at the garden grave calling Jesus to come out of the tomb.  No one was speaking to His dead body to come back to life.  The only ones at the tomb were ones making sure no one would steal His dead body.  By His power as God the Son He rose from the grave!  He had laid down His life and He picked it up again.  What a powerful declaration!!!

Application:  Jesus, the Son of God, has already been and returned from where I am headed.  He is with me now and from this moment on!

Prayer:   Jesus, how powerfully you have spoken.  The truth of who you are fills my heart and life.  Your presence in my life assures me that I have nothing to fear! Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

The Blessing of Work

May 19, 2017: SOAP #2724: 1Kings 4,5; 2Chronicles 2; Psalm 101; 2Thes 3

Scripture:  2Thessalonians (NIV) 3:7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, 8 nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, labouring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you.  9  We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow.  10  For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.”

Observation:  Paul could have required that those who were being blessed spiritually bless him physically.  That would have not been improper, but Paul desired to set an example of a good attitude toward work.  He was not afraid of work.  He was not lazy.  His example would include his demeanor while working.  Those for whom Paul worked would have said, “Paul sure is a good worker.”  If he made tents in Thessalonica, those purchasing his tents would have said, “Paul sure does good work.”

Application:  Work is important.  It is a privilege to invest my time, talent and effort in that which provides for the essentials of my physical life.  My work is a testimony to those around me.  In watching me at work, they should see the difference God makes in my life.

Prayer:   Holy Spirit, may you be seen in my life at work.  May people get a good impression of you when they see me at work.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

The Kind of God I Serve!

May 18, 2017: SOAP #2723: 1Kings 3; 2Chronicles 1; Psalm 78; 2Thes 2

Scripture:  1Kings (NIV) 3:9 So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” 10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. 11 So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, 12 I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart…  13 Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for— both riches and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. 14 And if you walk in my ways and obey my statutes and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.”

Observation:   God took special notice of what Solomon DID NOT ask for.  God listed things that would be common for a king to request—long life, wealth, victory over enemies.   Solomon only asked for what would make him more useful to God and to the people he was to serve as king.  God was so pleased with Solomon’s prayer, that He promised to give him what he requested, AND the other things not requested also!

Application:  That is the kind of servant I want to be—one who asks God for things that make me more useful.   That is the kind of God I serve—One who loves to show His approval by doing more than I ask.

Prayer:    Heavenly Father, that is the way you are!  You like to be believed.  You like to be asked.  And when my requests please you, you like to do even more than I ask.  You are amazing! Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!