Hearing + Believing -> Eternal Life

August 3, 2021: SOAP #4261:  Nahum 1-3; John 5

SCRIPTURE:  John (NIV) 5:22 Moreover, the Father judges no-one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him. 24 “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.

OBSERVATION: As we hear the words of Jesus AND believe the Father who sent Him, we have eternal life.  That is in keeping with John 3:16. 

The Son is to be honored as God, the same as the Father is honored as God.  For the sake of redeeming man, the Son submitted Himself to being sent by the Father to become the Son of Man and to endure the cross as the sinless sacrifice for the sins of man.  What love the Son had for the Father to provide Him a family of redeemed people whose sins are forgiven.  They are not just swept under the rug, but their penalty is properly covered by an adequate sacrifice.  No wonder the Father has given the Son a name above every name! 

APPLICATION:  Eternal life is received as I hear what Jesus said and believe the Father.   From living a life separated from God, I have crossed over to a glorious life in relationship with God the Father, through the working of God the Son, and by the indwelling of God the Spirit! 

PRAYER: Almighty and All-wise God, you have, and are, working your plan to perfection.  May my life fit into your plan to honor you.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

Interruptions or Opportunities

August 2, 2021: SOAP #4260:  2Kings 21; 2Chronicles 33; John 4

SCRIPTURE:  John (NIV) 4:6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour. 7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “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.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”

OBSERVATION: I like this passage; it shows the humanity of Jesus.  The Creator of the universe had laid aside his deity.  Now walking on the dusty road in Samaria, he became tired, hungry, and thirsty. 

He came across a place to rest and sent his disciples to look for some food.  When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, he asked her for a drink.  Being a Jew, he would not be expected to carry on a conversation with a Samaritan, especially a Samaritan woman who came by herself for water.  Being tired and hungry, we would not expect him to take his resting time to minister to this woman. 

But Jesus used the opportunity provided by his limitations (tiredness, hunger, and thirst) to minister to this lady.  He saw a person who was hurting and in need of what he had to offer. 

APPLICATION:  How do I respond when someone interrupts my personal time.  What is my attitude like when people interrupt the time I need to care for my “hunger” and “thirst.” 

Can see their interruption as a divine appointment?  Then after the encounter, like Jesus I can say, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” (verse 32) 

PRAYER: Lord, help me to see interruptions as you see them.  Help me not to miss opportunities to let your presence in me flow to others.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

Something Good to Know!

August 1, 2021: SOAP #4259:  Isaiah 65-66; Psalm 62; John 3

SCRIPTURE:  Psalm (NIV) 62:11 One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, 12 and that you, O Lord, are loving. Surely you will reward each person according to what he has done.

OBSERVATION: God said it, that settled it!  The psalmist heard it.  Now he was repeating it.  God’s one thing contained two things worth remembering.

One thing:  God is strong!  He is mighty!  He is the Almighty!  He is omnipotent!  Nothing is impossible with God!  No one can stop Him.  He does what He pleases—what He determines should be done. 

The second thing:  God is loving.  His strength is used within the bounds of His love.  We are the object of His love.  He cares for us. 

APPLICATION:  God has sufficient power to take care of all any needs, any health issues, any enemies, and whatever else may rise against me.  AND God’s love makes Him inclined to help me.  He may not take care of my needs in the way I think He should, but His way is always better!  He can turn a terrible defeat into a wonderful victory!  He turned His gruesome death on the cross into a glorious victory. 

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, it is wonderful how a little knowledge works such peace and joy in my heart.  Knowing your power and love builds my faith and gives me courage to face each day.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

I AM THANKFUL!

July 31, 2021: SOAP #4258:  Isaiah 63-64; Psalm 107; John 2

SCRIPTURE:  Psalm (NIV) 107:1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. …
8, 15, 21, 31 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men. …
43 Whoever is wise, let him heed these things and consider the great love of the LORD.

OBSERVATION: God is eternal.  His love endures forever.  It will never run out.  Even when His holiness demands retribution, He acts out of love.  He loves His creation too much to let it be destroyed by sin.  …a reason for thanksgiving! 

God is omniscient.  He is all wise!  His love is unfailing.  It will always accomplish His purpose.  God expresses His love for our good.  God understands tough love.  God’s wisdom is expressed in love. …another reason!

God is omnipresent.  He is everywhere present.  Wherever God is, His love is also there.  God dwells among people and his love motivates Him to do wonderful deeds on their behalf.  …another reason! 

God is omnipotent.  There is all powerful.  His love is a great as His being.  His strength can express limitless love.  …and yet another reason!

APPLICATION:  All of God’s eternal, ever-present power, wisdom, and knowledge are expressed in holiness and love.  God’s power, knowledge and wisdom are amazing, but God’s holiness and love are beautiful. 

If the God who knows everything about me and has all power…if that God wanted to terrorize me, there would be no way for me to appease Him.  But the God who has all power and knows everything about me is totally holy and totally loving.  He loves Leon!  As Gary Wilkerson wrote, “The devil is not as eager to destroy you as God is to deliver you.”   I AM THANKFUL!    

PRAYER: Lord, You give me so many reasons to be thankful!  More than the minutes in an hour; more than the hours in a day, and more than the days in a week… Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

Our Assignment

July 30, 2021: SOAP #4257:  Isaiah 60-62; John 1

SCRIPTURE:  John (NIV) 1:35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”
37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus….
40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).

OBSERVATION: The previous day, Jesus had been baptized by John and the Spirit in the form of a dove descended onto Jesus.  Quite probably John’s two disciples were with him and were witnesses.  Now on the next day, John was back in the area with two disciples.  “When he saw Jesus passing by” he drew his disciples’ attention to “the Lamb of God.”  With that announcement, John lost his two disciples, Andrew and probably John.  They became the first disciples of Jesus. 

Matthew 4 shows Jesus calling Andrew and Simon from their work as fishermen.  It seems logical to me that the above encounter happened earlier and prepared them to leave everything to follow Jesus. 

John’s assignment was to prepare the way for Jesus.  (John 1:7-8.15,23)   Many people came to hear him and be baptized.  He was not called to build a large organization of many disciples.  He was not called to build an evangelistic center.  He was not offended that his disciples were following Jesus.  That was His purpose in ministry. 

APPLICATION:  The same must be true of my ministry.  If they are going after Jesus, it is my purpose and joy.  When children leave our home to follow what Jesus is showing them and to go where He is calling them…that is our joy.  We have fulfilled our assignment in their lives. 

PRAYER: Holy Spirit, help me keep in focus the purpose for my life to introduce people to Jesus.  Use me for your glory.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

Growing in Grace

July 29, 2021: SOAP #4256:  Isaiah 57-59; Psalm 103; 2Peter 3

SCRIPTURE:  2Peter (NIV) 3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

OBSERVATION: This is the closing verse of Peters second letter to the church.  It is God’s desire that I grow in my knowledge of Him.  He loves to reveal Himself to His people.  But my attention was drawn to the phrase, “…grow in the grace…”  God wants me to grow in grace. 

First:  I must grow in my understanding of grace.  It is God’s undeserved favor.  He is kindly disposed to me, especially when I have made His Son, Jesus, to be the Lord of my life. 

Second:  I must grow in living a grace filled life.  God’s grace is a foundation for my trust.  I can look at everything through God’s grace.  I live because of God’s grace so I should live in honor of God’s grace.  Others should see the difference God’s grace makes in my life.  God’s grace in my life should result in a life of thanksgiving!

Third:  I must grow in giving grace.  I have received grace; I should be graceful to others.  God loves to give grace to me, but even more He loves to give grace through me.  Kindness and forgiveness should be readily extended to those around me. 

APPLICATION:  The thought of God’s amazing grace should be mixed with all my thoughts.  They should be a part of every conversation.  Gratitude for God’s grace should be identified with an attitude of thanksgiving.   Even when going through the toughest times, I have sufficient reasons to be thankful for God’s grace. 

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, your grace has been abundantly provided by your Son, Jesus.  Holy Spirit, help me grow in grace.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

A Lesson from the Locomotive

July 28, 2021: SOAP #4255:  Isaiah 53-56; 2Peter 2

SCRIPTURE:  2Peter (NIV) 2:18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.

OBSERVATION: If one could speak to a locomotive and convince it that it was in bondage to the rail; that the tracks kept the locomotive from enjoying the freedom that was available to other vehicles with wheels.  If the locomotive would leave the track and join the vehicles on the highway, it would soon come to find that what was seen as freedom was actually bondage!   The locomotive was designed to run on a railroad track.  Without the track it is both helpless and useless.  It loses the ability to fulfill its designed purpose.

The world promises us freedom if we just go along with them.  But like the locomotive, we will soon find ourselves bogged down with sin and unable to fulfill our purpose.

APPLICATION:  God designed me to be filled with His Holy Spirit.  I cannot please Him if I let the world set my agenda.  Sometimes His way seems limiting, and the world is always ready to show me a way to be free to do my own thing and live my own life.  But staying on God’s track always proves to be the wise choice.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, you designed me.  Now that I am living is a world that is rebelling against your design, help me remain faithful. Help me not to be focused on what I am missing by staying on your track, but on what I am gaining!  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

Leaving Something Behind

July 27, 2021: SOAP #4254:  Isaiah 50-52; 2Peter 1

SCRIPTURE:  2Peter (NIV) 1:10 Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. …
12 So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. 13 I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, 14 because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.

OBSERVATION: How was Peter going to remind the believers?  He would do it by writing a letter.  Of what would he remind them?  Of things they already knew.  How long would he be reminding them?  As long as he lived…and even beyond his life.  He would remind them in a way that they could remember after his death.  Although he does not tell us how he would do that…he showed us. He wrote them a letter! 

Writing them down was a priority to Peter.  He wrote that he would “make every effort” to see that his reminders would continue. 

APPLICATION:  There are important things that I want to leave behind.  God has given me a unique way through these SOAPs.  From a small child, God began preparing me for this ministry.  His word has been placed in my heart, truth by truth.  God has revealed His character to me and showed me His priorities. 

For me, it is SOAP by SOAP that I can remind believers of truth. 

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, as a parent, as a family member, as a friend, and as a Christian leader, use me to share your Word and to remind others of your Word.  When I am gone, may I leave behind memories that honor you.   Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

Expecting GREAT Testimonies

July 26, 2021: SOAP #4253:  Isaiah 46-49; 1Peter 5

SCRIPTURE:  1Peter (NIV) 5:6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

OBSERVATION: The more one knows God, the more logical this passage becomes.  God’s hand is mighty, and it is better to willing humble oneself than to be humbled by that mighty hand.  It is that mighty hand that will lift us up at the proper time. 

God loves to be believed.  He loves for His people to depend on Him.  He receives the glory when we wait in faith for Him to do as He has promised.  He receives glory when He meets our need!  He receives the glory when we tell others what God has done for us. 

APPLICATION:  My faith based on knowledge is an important foundation for humility.  How foolish to acknowledge God as the omnipotent Creator and then allow pride to fill my heart!  

And if God really is all powerful, all knowing, wise and loving, who better is there to take my anxieties.  My concerns are often too big for me, but NEVER too big for God! 

If these scriptures are true, then the greatest testimonies should come from the areas of the world that have the greatest needs!  The greatest testimony of God’s faithful provision did not come from Egypt nor from the Promised Land, but from the 40 years the nation of Israel was in the wilderness!  If you are serving God in a place of great need, take these verses, and others, to Him in prayer every day! 

PRAYER: Lord, you are able, and willing to meet my needs.  I trust you.  I cast my cares and anxieties on you because I know you care for me.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

Called by Name

July 25, 2021: SOAP #4252:  Isaiah 43-45; 1Peter 4

SCRIPTURE:  Isaiah (NIV) 43:1 But now, this is what the LORD says—he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. 3 For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead. 4 Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for you, and people in exchange for your life.

OBSERVATION: What does it mean that God “summoned you by name?”
1.  It means He knows me.  He knows my name. 

2.  It means He wants my attention.
3.  It means He has a specific assignment for me.  It is personal and unique to me.    

What a privilege it is to know that the Creator knows me by name.  He can identify me uniquely from every other person on this planet.

APPLICATION:  So, what does that mean to me? 
1.  I must never think that I am unimportant to God.
2.  I must be quick to listen to what He is saying to me. 
3.  I must carefully follow through with what He says to me. 

PRAYER: Holy Spirit, keep speaking to me through your word.  Reveal truth to me and through me to others.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!