Caleb’s Helper

March 22, 2018: SOAP #3031: Joshua 12-14; 1Corinthians 7

Scripture:  Joshua (NIV) 14:10 [Caleb speaking] “Now then, just as the LORD promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the desert. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! 11 I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. 12 Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.” 13 Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance.

Observation: The land was being divided among the 12 tribes of Israel and Caleb was claiming his portion of the promised land.   He was speaking with a lot of confidence.  Although he was 85 years old, he was still strong and vigorous, and he would drive out the Anakites with their large and fortified cities.   Caleb’s talk was not something he would have to back up.  God would be backing up Caleb’s words.

Caleb was not depending on his strength and wisdom.  He had a Helper!   He was depending on his Helper and his Helper’s promise.

Application:  Caleb’s Helper is my Helper too!  It has been 3700+ years since He helped Caleb take possession of what He had earlier promised Caleb.  Caleb’s Helper is with me and has spoken to me also!

Prayer:    Heavenly Father, you are Caleb’s Helper!  You are still the omnipresent, omniscient, ever present, all wise and all-powerful Helper of those who trust you.  You are holy and loving, faithful and merciful.  I love you.  Thank you for being my Helper. Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

No reason to be alarmed!

March 21, 2018: SOAP #3030: Joshua 9-11; 1Corinthians 6

Scripture:  Joshua (NIV) 11:4 They [all the kings mentioned in verses 1-3] came out with all their troops and a large number of horses and chariots—a huge army, as numerous as the sand on the seashore. 5 All these kings joined forces and made camp together at the Waters of Merom, to fight against Israel.

Observation:   All these kings make an agreement to join their armies to fight against Israel.  God could have confused their plans and allowed Israel to face their armies one at a time.  Surely these kings thought they would have a superior army to defeat Israel.  Working together, they could easily defeat Israel.  They did not realize that the size of their army had no effect on Israel’s God!

I am thinking that God also must have thought this was a good plan.  The Israelites could win one big battle instead of 10-15 smaller ones.

Application:   Israel’s God is my God!  The size of the battle in which I am struggling makes no difference to Him!  I must keep my eyes on Him; keep my ears open to His voice; and be quick to obey.  It might be a big battle because He wants to get it over more quickly!

Yesterday I read of Turkey’s semi-official newspaper calling for urgent action in forming a 57-nation (5-million strong) “Army of Islam” “to besiege and attack Israel.”  They would “greatly exceed Israel’s army in manpower, equipment and budget” BUT they would not have Israel’s God!

Prayer:    Heavenly Father, you are just as big today on my behalf as you were when Israel was taking possession of the land you promised them!  I have no reason to be alarmed!  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

More than Sufficient!

March 20, 2018: SOAP #3029: Joshua 7-8; Psalm 69; 1Corinthians 5

Scripture:  Psalm (NIV) 69:30 I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. 31 This will please the LORD more than an ox, more than a bull with its horns and hoofs. 32 The poor will see and be glad—you who seek God, may your hearts live!

Observation:    The psalmist knew the character of God and what would please Him.  Obeying the Lord, he knew that a proper animal sacrifice would be accepted by God on his behalf.  But he also knew that God was a lover and desired the personal ministry of the worshiper.  The adoration from a worshiper’s heart would be more pleasing to the Lord than the sacrifice of an animal.

Application:   My wife loves children.  We have children in our house two, three, or four times each week.  She could just welcome them at the door, that would be sufficient, but no!  She prepares for their arrival hours before.  Activities are prepared for them to enjoy.  They are not just in our home, they are with Sharon.  They are her focus.  Just doing the minimum would not be acceptable!  No wonder children love to be here!

Those who truly love, are not satisfied with just “sufficient.”  They want to please the one they love “more!”  God is worthy of more than a gift of the least I can give.  He deserves the most I can give.

Prayer:    Heavenly Father, I want you to love being with me as the children love being with Sharon.  I want to please you more!  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

The One Thing

March 19, 2018: SOAP #3028: Joshua 3-6; 1Corinthians 4

Scripture:  Joshua (NIV) 3:7 And the LORD said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so that they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses.

Observation:  It was not important to God that Joshua was not Moses, but it was very important to Israel that the God of Moses was also the God of Joshua!

It was not important that Joshua was not Moses; it was very important that Moses’ God was Joshua’s God!

Application:   It is important for me to quickly learn what things can be changed and what things cannot be changed.

Style of music, lighting, buildings, style of clothing, preaching styles are all changeable.  Worshipping the One True God in spirit and in truth is one thing that must remain the same.

Prayer:    Heavenly Father, give me wisdom to recognize what can be changed and what must remain the same.  May my personal preferences never drive a wedge between me and your children with different preferences.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

The Speaker!

March 18, 2018: SOAP #3027: Joshua 1-2; Psalm 37; 1Corinthians 3

Scripture:  Joshua (NIV) 1:1 After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant:
2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites.

Observation:  Moses had led the people of Israel out of Egypt.  He had negotiated with Pharaoh.   He had been God’s spokesperson in declaring the plagues that destroyed Egypt.  He had led them all the way across the desert, then in the desert for forty years.

Moses was gone, but all was well!  God was still speaking!

Application:   As long as I can hear from God, all is well.  There is no problem for which He does not have an answer!

Prayer:    Heavenly Father, being able to hear you is the greatest asset I have.  Thank you for speaking to me.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

Changed and Empowered

March 17, 2018: SOAP #3026: Deuteronomy 32-34; 1Corinthians 2

Scripture:  1Corinthians (NIV) 2:1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

Observation:    In the final verses of Acts 17 we read of Paul’s very logical presentation of God in Athens.  A few followed him to learn more.  In Acts 18:1 we find Paul leaving Athens and going to Corinth, the city to which the above verses were later written.

Paul came to realize that peoples’ lives would not be changed by an eloquent message, but by experiencing the power of God’s Spirit.

Application:   The world does not need to hear a great sermon as much as it needs to see a great sermon—that of lives changed by the power of God!

Prayer:   Holy Spirit, fill me and use me.  Flow through me in ministry to those around me for the glory of Jesus.  Let people see in me a life changed and empowered by the your presence.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

More on Boasting

March 16, 2018: SOAP #3025: Deuteronomy 30-31; Psalm 40; 1Corinthians 1

Scripture:  1Corinthians (NIV) 1:27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no-one may boast before him.
30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”

Observation:   So much of the church’s ministry is based on what man can do.  Many churches are a monument to what man can accomplish to honor God.   Man uses his wisdom, his strength, what he has available, to do something for the Lord.  We look at the buildings, we look at the organizations and boast about what man has done for God.

How much more could be accomplished when man’s wisdom gives way to God’s wisdom, when man’s strength gives way to God’s strength, and when man’s resources give way to God’s resources.  Then our boasting would be about what God has done through and for man.

Application:   Some people are often testifying about what they have done for the Lord.  I want to put the emphasis on what God is doing.  The work of God through me does not succeed because I am the servant, but because God is the master.  It is not that God is so blest to have me for His servant; it is that I am greatly blest to have Him for my Lord!

Prayer:    Heavenly Father, there are so many places to start boasting about you and what you do!   And there is no place to stop!  What a waste of good breath to boast about myself and what I have done.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!