Temporary vs. Eternal

July 23, 2017: SOAP #2789: 2Kings 20; Isaiah 38-39; Psalm 75; 1Peter 2

Scripture:  1Peter (NIV) 2:13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.
16 Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. 17 Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king. 18 Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.
19 For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God.

Observation:  In the Bible, our temporary earthly status is of little importance in comparison to our eternal heavenly reward.  Our status in this temporary place cannot limit or guarantee our status in our heavenly dwelling.  Our relationship with Christ will be all that matters and we will be rewarded for what we have done for Him.  The bondage of living in North Korea cannot keep a person from heaven.  The privilege of living in the USA cannot keep a person out of hell.  All that counts is a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

Application:  I must keep my eyes on the eternal prize.  I must live as a citizen of heaven and as a servant of the King of kings.  I am His representative here on earth.  I must have proper respect for every person created in God’s image.

Prayer:   Holy Spirit, keep reminding me of these truths.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

Truth & Facts

July 22, 2017: SOAP #2788: Isaiah 36-37; Psalm 76; 1Peter 1

Scripture:  Isaiah (NIV) 37:15 And Hezekiah prayed to the LORD: 16 “O LORD Almighty, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 17 Give ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O LORD, and see; listen to all the words Sennacherib has sent to insult the living God.
18 “It is true, O LORD, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste all these peoples and their lands. 19 They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands.
20 Now, O LORD our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O LORD, are God.”

Observation:  There is truth that is much greater than facts.  For example, the truth/law of applied aerodynamics is greater that the fact of gravity.  In the Lord’s prayer (Luke 11) Jesus taught us to pray truth about the Father before praying the facts about our needs and sins. The truth in verse 16 above is much greater than the facts in 18 and 19.  Verse 36 shows how much greater the God of verse 16 is than the Assyrian kings of verses 18 and 19.

Application:  When I know the truth that Jesus is a forgiver, it is right for me to confess the fact that I have sinned.  When I know that Jesus is a healer, it is ok to confess that I am sick.  I do not need to fear making a negative confession when I know the One Who is the Truth.

Prayer:   Holy Spirit, teach me eternal truth from the Word.  Teach me the truth that drives away the fear of any facts that I may face.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

Holding fast…

July 21, 2017: SOAP #2787: 2Kings 18-19; 2Chronicles 32; James 5

Scripture:  2Kings (NIV) 18:5 Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. There was no-one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him.
6 He held fast to the LORD and did not cease to follow him; he kept the commands the LORD had given Moses.
7 And the LORD was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook.  …

Observation:   What a special phrase to describe King Hezekiah: “He held fast to the Lord.”   To me that says in good times and bad times Hezekiah did what brought joy to the Lord.  It says that the Lord’s point of view was priority with Hezekiah.  He did not look back to evaluate how things had gone and asked himself, “I wonder what God would have done.” Before he started he asked, “Lord, what would you have me do?”   To me it says, he did not let things entice him to take an easier way.  His advisors could not convince him that there was a better way than the Lord’s way.  His desire to please the Lord held off temptations to do other than the Lord’s will.

Application: “Hold fast to the Lord!”  That is the way I want to live each day.

Prayer:   Heavenly Father, to hold fast to you is the way I want to live my life.  But I am convinced that my success will be because you held fast to me! Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

The Passion of the Spirit

July 20, 2017: SOAP #2786: 2Chronicles 29-31; James 4

Scripture:  James (NIV) 4:4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred towards God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?

Observation:   The Holy Spirit has perfect understanding of what Jesus sacrificed for us in leaving heaven to be born as a baby, to live without sin and to die for the sins of man.  He knows the pain that was in the Father’s heart when the Son suffered.  So, when people who have been born again and in whom the Holy Spirit dwells—when God’s children turn their attention to the things of the world and give more time to the things of the world than the things of God…surely it grieves the Holy Spirit.  He is jealous for God the Father!  He is jealous for Jesus!  He “envies intensely!”

Application:  I want Jesus to be always first in my life, not just on Sundays and not just when I am having my devotional time.  Jesus is to be first every day, all day.  Throughout the day, I am to carry on a conversation with Jesus in my thoughts if not with spoken words.  When my thoughts are applied to other things, I can ask myself, “How does Jesus see this?”  I want Him to make me conscious of His presence…but I realize that I must keep myself conscious of His presence!

Prayer:   Holy Spirit, put in my life your passion for loving the Heavenly Father and Jesus the Son.  Speak to me when I give too much time to the world.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

Basis for Humility

July 19, 2017: SOAP #2785: 2Kings 17; 2Chronicles 28; Psalm 46; James 3

Scripture:  James (NIV) 3:13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.

Observation:  Wisdom and understanding are two characteristics that are not boastfully proclaimed by those who possess them.  Yet they are easily recognized by others.   Wisdom and understanding are seen in the way a person lives their life, conducts their business and the way they treat other people.  Wisdom and understanding naturally lead to humility.

Application:  The source of all wisdom and understanding is God.  When He gives me wisdom and understanding, the logical response is to give Him the glory and walk in humility.  True wisdom understands that there is no place for pride.

Prayer:   Heavenly Father, you are so generous to share your wisdom with me.  You know better than I how much I need your input.  Thank you for understanding me and my needs. Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

See-able Evidence

July 18, 2017: SOAP #2784: Isaiah 32-35; James 2   

Scripture:  James (NIV) 2:26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

Observation:  Life in a body is easily recognized.  If they are moving, if they are talking, if they are breathing, if they have a pulse (heart beat)—they are alive!

According to James, it is just as easy to identify faith.  We may not be able to properly describe faith, but it is not difficult to determine if faith is alive or dead.  Evidence of faith is seeable!
Application:  There are ways to determine the presence of life.  When I finished Navy boot camp, I was sent to Balboa Naval Hospital for training as a Hospital Corpsman.  Although we never had a class on “life” we were carefully instructed on the vital signs of life.  The two we were able to easily identify were pulse and breath.  Were they breathing and was their heart beating.  We could breath for them and could compress their heart to circulate the blood.  A third vital sign is to check for brain waves, but it takes a special recorder to identify the waves and record them on paper.  Those readers are available in hospitals, but were not available to company corpsmen in Viet Nam, nor were they on the three Navy ships where I served.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, I pray that my faith will be as easily seen as the life in my physical body.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

What an Honor

July 17, 2017: SOAP #2783: Isaiah 29-31; James 1

Scripture:  Isaiah (NIV) 29:15 Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the LORD, who do their work in darkness and think, “Who sees us? Who will know?”
16 You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, “He did not make me”? Can the pot say of the potter, “He knows nothing”?

Observation:   Isaiah was writing to people who are like many people today.  How foolish it would be for a piece of pottery to claim that the potter did not make it.  It sits on the shelf above the potter’s wheel next to the supply of clay on the floor.  The marks of the potter’s fingers can be seen in the pottery, yet the pottery claims the potter had nothing to do with its creation.

Application:  It is about the same as people who claim that God did not create them.  Man is made in God’s image, but man looks everywhere but to God for evidence that may indicate how he was created.  They follow one theory after another that might explain how man came to be on this earth.  They run away from even considering that God created man in His image.  If they accept that as truth, they will be required to answer to Him for how they lived their lives.

Prayer:   Heavenly Father, what an honor and privilege to be your creation and to carry your image.  I was created for your glory, to bring you pleasure.  Today that is my goal, to make you smile.    Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!