…still waiting.

July 14, 2020: SOAP #3876:  Isaiah 19-21; Hebrews 11

Scripture:  Hebrews (NIV) 11:39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised.

Observation:  Each lived in a different time, each had a unique challenge. Yet, they ALL were commended for their faith!  Each one was faithful in their place and time.  God’s plan stretched over the span of time they all lived—and it continues over today.  God is still commending people who are faithful meeting the challenges of today.  Those now in heaven are still waiting.  The full reward will not be received until all who have, and all who are, and all who will be faithful in God’s plan are gathered in heaven!   What a day that will be!!!

Application:   My place in this world is to be faithful in fulfilling my assignment in God’s overall plan.  My part today is just as important as those of other generations.  If I die before Jesus returns for His church, I will join the Old Testament saints in waiting for the full reward God will give to His complete body.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, find me faithful serving my generation I pray. Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

Maintaining Hope

July 13, 2020: SOAP #3875:  Isaiah 15-18; Hebrews 10

Scripture:  Hebrews (NIV) 10:23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

Observation:   For hope to be beneficial, it must have a good foundation.  Hope is only as good as the foundation on which it rests.  My hope does not rest on my good works, by my abilities, my understanding. 

Faith is being certain of the specifics God has spoken to us.  Hope is the basic confidence that everything will work out for good.  It is a positive attitude.  It is knowing that God will bring all things together, both good and bad things.  He will bring them together and work them together for my good.  (Romans 8:28)

Application:  Some people cannot carry the weight of hope that others place on them.   At times the weight of hope that I place on myself is too heavy for me to carry.  I must let the weight of expectation rest upon Him.  I must remember, it is not what others expect, but what He expects.  Others with expectations for me may not be able to help me.  BUT God is faithful to help me with the expectations He has for me! 

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, I can always have hope because I know you are faithful.  You have promised to be with me.  You remain true to your character and promises. I may not know the specifics, but I know you!  Amen.

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

It is AMAZING!!!

July 12, 2020: SOAP #3874:  Isaiah 11-14; Hebrews 9

Scripture:  Hebrews (NIV) 9:14  How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! 

Observation: Bringing a sacrifice for sin in the Old Testament days did not cleanse me from that sin.  It only reminded me that sin brought death—death to the sacrificed animal.  That sacrifice did nothing to relieve the sense of guilt or the weight of my guilty conscience.   It was my sin, and it was my sacrifice.  There was no sacrifice I could ever make to atone for my sin.  I needed someone to do for me what I could not do for myself. 

Like the song we used to sing in Hawaii: “I owed a debt I could not pay; He paid a debt He did not owe.  I needed someone to wash my sins away.  And now I sing a brand-new song, Amazing Grace.  Christ Jesus paid the debt that I could never pay!”  (unknown) 

Application:  There is no sacrifice that I could bring to make me un-guilty.  But when I stop justifying myself and admit that I am guilty, the forgiveness that comes from Jesus’ sacrifice of Himself of the cross cleans me from all unrighteousness.  I am justified.  In God’s eyes (the only eyes that matter) I am declared un-guilty!  It is AMAZING! 

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, there is nothing I could ever give you to match the value you gave for me.  Thank you for reminding me of the great love you showed me at Calvary.  I give my life to you—to serve you, the Living God.  Holy Spirit, help me show my love by living a life that honors the Father and pleases the Son.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

Hi is planning a great celebration!

July 11, 2020: SOAP #3873:  Isaiah 8-10; Hebrews 8

Scripture:  Isaiah (NIV) 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

Observation:   What a wonderful prophetic scripture about the birth of Jesus 2000+ years ago and about His coming reign as King.   Singing verse six has become one of my favorite Christmas song.  But today, the last phrase of verse seven captured my attention. 

In sending His Son, God did it because He wanted to.  It was His joy!  He was accomplishing something of great value to Him.  It was His pleasure to redeem His creation, even though it cost Him so dearly. 

The zeal of the LORD Almighty accomplished the first coming of Jesus as a baby; it will also accomplish His second coming as King of kings and Lord of lords!  

Application:  In amazing wisdom, God’s perfect holiness and intense love came together to accomplish His perfect plan.  His zeal drove Him to make the perfect plan to raise a body of believers to rule and reign with His Son.  His zeal moved him to send Jesus.  His zeal will send Him back to gather those who have honored Him. His zeal is working even now to prepare for the return of Jesus!   Are you ready?  

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, zeal provides motivation, anticipation, and great rejoicing when the goal has been reached.  I am looking forward to the great celebration Your zeal is planning when we all gather around Your throne.  What a day that will be!  Amen!

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

But as for me…

July 10, 2020: SOAP #3872:  Micah 5-7; Hebrews 7

Scripture:  Micah (NIV) 7:7 But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.

Observation:   As the prophet comes to the end of his prophecy about the judgment of God coming to Israel, he makes a personal statement.  “But as for me…”  Trouble is ahead; judgment is coming; “but as for me…”   He had thought about it.  He had faith that God was worth waiting for.  God would hear him. The prophet had a plan of how he would face the future. 

God had clearly led me to leave Bible College and join the US Navy.  After boot camp and hospital corps school, the Navy sent me to Camp Pendleton for training to serve with the US Marine Corps.  Then about a year later, I arrived in Viet Nam.   With my understanding of what lie ahead for me, I had a “But as for me…” talk with God.  What should I do when confronted by the enemy?  I could not wait until the heat of the battle to decide if I would use the 45-pistol assigned to me.  Having determined my course of action, I had peace about whatever was ahead.  I had a plan of faith.

Application:   Troubled times are ahead for our nation and for the world.  Troubled times are ahead for believers.  I need to be prepared to face what is ahead.  To be prepared, I must be walking in step with my Lord.  Since nothing takes Him by surprise, He will make sure I have been prepared.  More than that, He has promised to be with me. We—He and I—are in this life together!  I have a faith plan.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, I do not know what is ahead, “but as for me” I am counting on your presence.  I am counting on you to keep Your Word.  “But as for me,” I will fear no evil, for you are with me!  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

Moving Ahead!

July 09, 2020: SOAP #3871:  Micah 1-4; Hebrews 6

Scripture:  Hebrews (NIV) 6:1 Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2 instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And God permitting, we will do so.
4  It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6 if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.

Observation:   Chapter 6 continues with the subject of maturing.   In the first three verses we see steps in the progression of maturity.  In the next three verses we see the danger of not progressing in maturity and falling back. 

It is not how we start our life as a believer; it is how we finish.  To fall back as we progress toward maturity can have dangerous consequences.  To deny the truth we previously confessed leads to breaking faith in other areas of life.  To forget terribleness of sin and the great cost Jesus paid for our forgiveness and redemption leads us to think that sin is no big deal. 

Application:   Jesus emphasized the need for us to “continue” and to “abide” in our relationship.  God knew how hard that would be, so He sent the promised Holy Spirit to dwell in us!  God has taken the lead in making sure we can move ahead in our relationship.  Treat the Holy Spirit like He is your best friend riding in the car with you.  Talk to Him about everything.  Listen to Him.  Value His input.   

Prayer:  Holy Spirit, Share my daily life.  I need your continued presence and input.  Lead me on a path of maturing to become a more-profitable servant of God. Check me when I start to slip back.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

Active On The Team

July 08, 2020: SOAP #3870:  Hosea 13-14; Psalm 100, 102; Hebrews 5

Scripture:  Hebrews (NIV) 5:13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

Observation:   Becoming a Christian and growing as a Christian is like our growth as a human.  As an infant we begin on mother’s milk.  Soon our parents introduce us to baby food.   We do even know what we should be eating.  Our parents make all the food decisions for us (and all other decisions too!)  From the first bite of baby food that our parents placed in our mouth, they knew that in six months to a year we would begin picking up our own food and placing it in our mouths.  They fully expected a day would come when we would not need their help eating our meals.  More maturity comes as we train ourselves on what is good and what is bad for our individual bodies. 

Application:   The Word of God is food for each believer.  The more a believer reads and meditates on the word the better they, with the help of the Holy Spirit, TRAIN THEMSELVES to distinguish good from evil.  When the pastor preaches to the “baby believers” and mature believers are not getting “fed,” it is no problem—they know how to feed themselves!  They can spend time praying for the anointing on the pastor to spiritually feed the younger believers.  They are mature!  They did not go to church to get fed, they went to church already fed.  They went to church to be a blessing rather than to get a blessing.  They may not have an official ministry position in the church, but they know they are on the Holy Spirit Ministry Team!  

Prayer:  Holy Spirit, lead me into the Bible where I find the food necessary to be active on the Holy Spirit Ministry Team.  Then make me a blessing everywhere I go. Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

Finding Mercy at the Throne of Grace!

July 07, 2020: SOAP #3869:  Hosea 10-12; Psalm 73; Hebrews 4

Scripture:   Hebrews (NIV) 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Observation:  Jesus had to correctly answer every question on the test.  Jesus had to fulfill every requirement perfectly.  He walked in love and purity.   Getting 8 correct out of 10 questions is generally accepted in many schools.  But even 9 out of 10 was not acceptable for Jesus.   10 out of 10 was the only acceptable mark.  If His death would be acceptable on my behalf, He could have no sin of His own for which he would need to pay. 

I go to the throne of grace, looking for some help in dealing with my troubles.  I have no way to clean myself; I must go just as I am.  I have reached the end of faith in myself to live this life.  When I arrive at the throne of grace, I find I need something more.  The holiness of God convicts me of my sin.  But, I cannot un-do my sin.   I am trapped in sin.  To stay at the throne of grace, I need mercy.   There I discover that the wonderful Heavenly Father, had foresight for my need and sent His son to die on the cross to provide a sufficient supply of mercy. 

Application:   At the throne of grace, I found mercy!  His loving mercy paid for my sins.  He now offers me forgiveness on the basis Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross—it is sufficient to pay for my sins.  I believe His offer is true and with a grateful heart I say “Yes! I receive your forgiveness.  I thank you.  I make you my Lord!  I will live my life to please you.  Come live your life in me. Amen!”

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, hear my prayer and make my heart your home.  Make your presence noticeable in my life, noticeable to me and to those around me.  May I bring joy to you Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

What God Likes!

July 06, 2020: SOAP #3868:  Hosea 6-9; Hebrews 3

Scripture:  Hebrews (NIV) 3:1 Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess. 2 He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. 3 Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself.

Observation:   Jesus is faithful.  Faithfulness is proved by submission to another.  Faithfulness is proved with assignments that are less than desirable.  Faithfulness is proved when the assignment is inconvenient.  Faithfulness is proved when the assignment seems insignificant.  Faithfulness is proved when the personal cost is great. 

Jesus submitted himself to His Father even to the point of praying, “If it is possible, let this cup pass from me, but not what I will but your will.”  On the cross, faithfulness can be seen in the words, “It is finished!” 

Application:   Faithfulness makes one attractive to God.  A servant is only as valuable as he is faithful.  May I be a valuable servant of the Lord. 

Prayer:  I pray as I sing, “Keep me true, Lord Jesus, keep me true.  Keep me true, Lord Jesus, keep me true.  There’s a race that I must run; there are victories to be won.  Give me power, every hour, to be true.”  (Anonymous) Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

What Special Gifts!!!

July 05, 2020: SOAP #3867:  Hosea 2-5; Hebrews 2

Scripture:  Hebrews (NIV) 2:3 …This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4 God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

Observation:  The message of salvation came from Jesus.  Jesus had returned to His Father’s side in heaven.  Now those who had seen and heard Jesus passed along their testimony to the one who wrote the book of Hebrews and those who would be reading this book.   AND even more, God Himself was involved in sending the Holy Spirit with gifts to validate their message. 

The miracles in the Bible demonstrated God’s concern for people and His willingness to get involved.  The miracles were proof of His presence and involvement.  In thinking through the Old and New Testament miracles, they were always beyond the possibility of man.    

Application:   When I hear people praying for a revival of miracles, of signs and wonders, my thoughts are drawn to a time of trouble coming that will force us to trust God alone.  With doctors unavailable, we may only have God on whom we can depend.  With a shortage of food, we may be forced to trust on God’s provision.  As governments become more anti-Christian, we may soon be persecuted and forced to trust God’s miraculous care.  There may not be a shortage of doctors and food, but a government mandate not to service people who are considered “harmful to the state.” 

May the testimony of our faith come from God Himself with “signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” 

Prayer:  Holy Spirit, prepare me for the days ahead.  Make my life a living testimony of your presence.  Teach me to walk in faithful obedience.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!