An Eternal Truth

January 17, 2019: SOAP #3332:  Genesis 42-43; Psalm 5; Luke 17

Scripture:  Psalm (NIV) 5:1 For the director of music. For flutes. A psalm of David. Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my sighing. 2 Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray. 3 In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.

Observation:  These verses rest upon a simple truth:  God can hear!  God is not deaf!  He hears my words.  He hears my sighing.  He listens, He hears with the purpose of understanding.  He recognizes my voice.

This is an eternal truth.  It is as true today as it was the day David wrote this song.

Application:  This means that I can talk to a God who recognizes my voice and understands my requests, then go out into the day with an excited anticipation to see how He will answer my prayers.

Prayer:   Heavenly Father, how special to know that you hear me with understanding.  You understand my words.  You know my heart.  With your perfect wisdom and proven love for me, I know you will be with me all day and will work through all things for my good and your glory.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

Blessings in unexpected places

January 16, 2019: SOAP #3331:  Genesis 39-41; Luke 16

Scripture:  Genesis (NIV) 39:20 Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined. But while Joseph was there in the prison, 21 the LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warder.

Observation:  Joseph was in prison, but he was not there alone.  God was with him!  Prison could not prevent God’s blessings and favor from reaching him.  God not only blest Joseph in prison, God also made Joseph a blessing to the warden and to the other prisoners.

Being in prison was God’s perfect plan for Joseph.  He was prevented from the temptation to return home.  He was readily available when Pharaoh called him to interpret his dream.  He had no loose ends to complete before moving into Pharaoh’s assignment.

Application:  Nothing can prevent God’s blessings and favor from finding me.  Even if people treat me wrongly, I can know that God is with me.  He can bless me and make me a blessing wherever I am.

The only thing I could imagine greater than being transferred from an Egyptian prison to being second in command of all of Egypt would be to be transferred from a death bed on earth to the Throne Room of Heaven.

Prayer:   Heavenly Father, like Joseph in prison, I may not have freedom to go where I want to go and do what I want to do, but there nothing that can stop your blessing and favor from getting to me!  Holy Spirit, help me take my eyes off what limits me and see what blesses me.  May I be ready and available when you call.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

A New Name for an Old Story

January 15, 2019: SOAP #3330:  Genesis 37-38; Psalm 7; Luke 15

Scripture:  Luke (NIV) 15:17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you…. 20 So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

Observation:  The Father was not surprised when his son walked in the door.  He had been watching for him.  He was a Father who would sit and watch the road for a sign of his son returning.  When busy, he would take a break to go to a place where he could watch the road.  And when “he was still a long way off” He spotted His son!  Was the Father excited?  He ran to his son.  He gave him a big hug and kiss.

The Father did not wait for the son to come through the gate onto the property and through the door into the house.  No, the Father went out of the house and through the gate.  He ran down the road to His son!

Application:  With this story, Jesus described the great love the Heavenly Father has for us.  This well-known parable is commonly called “The Prodigal Son.”  But to me it would more properly be named “The Prodigal Son’s Father.”

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, your love is amazing.  You go out of your way to draw me to you.  It brings great joy to your heart when I respond to you.  You are the prodigal’s Father and you are my Father!    Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

We Are “Benjamins”

January 14, 2019: SOAP #3329:  Genesis 34-36; Luke 14

Scripture:  Genesis (NIV) 35:16 Then they moved on from Bethel. While they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth and had great difficulty. 17 And as she was having great difficulty in childbirth, the midwife said to her, “Don’t be afraid, for you have another son.” 18 As she breathed her last—for she was dying—she named her son Ben-Oni. But his father named him Benjamin. 19 So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).

Observation:  Rachel had so longed for children.  Her first born she named Joseph (Jehovah has added) and her confession was that God would add to her another son.  She had difficulty in childbirth and died shortly after giving birth to her second son.  In dying she named him Ben-Oni (son of my sorrow).  But Jacob, the father, would not have the son of the woman he loved going through life being a reminder of his mother’s death.   He cancelled Rachel’s name and gave him the strong name “Benjamin” (son of the right hand).

Application:  What a picture of how God treats us.  The world has many degrading names to identify us: failure, looser, Mr. No-good.  Sometimes even loving parents will use words or phrases that are degrading.

When Jesus forgives us and comes to live in our lives, we gain a Heavenly Father that is better than Jacob.  He calls us His children!  We are His sons and daughters!   We are “Benjamins!” We are children brought into His family by the One on His right hand!

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, when you look at Jesus and see His scars, I know you are reminded of how much he paid for my place in Your family!  Because of Him, I am your child.  I am your servant.  Know that I count it a great privilege to be a part of your family!  May my love and devotion be easily seen!    Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

 

See you there!

January 13, 2019: SOAP #3328:  Genesis 31-33; Luke 13

Scripture:  Luke (NIV) 13:23 Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. …  28 “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. 29 People will come from east and west and north and south and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God.

Observation:  Jesus made it very clear that God’s plan has always been to reach the whole world.  It was through the Jews that He sent His Son to be the ONE sacrifice for the sins of all who would believe and receive Him as Lord.

Jesus was speaking to Jewish leaders who did not accept Him or believe that He was sent from God.  But He clearly said that Old Testament believers would be in the kingdom—along with people from the Orient, people from the Americas, people from Euro-Asia, and people from Africa, and all places in-between.  They will be seated in places prepared for them.  They will not be unwelcome outsiders but welcomed as people whose arrival was expected.

Application:  There is only one way to enter the Kingdom of God.  It is believing that Jesus death on the cross can be accepted as the payment for my sins.  I acknowledge that I am a sinner and ask Him to forgive me.  Through the confession of my mouth and belief in my heart I set Him as my Lord.  Then I live each day knowing that He is with me.  And in heaven, I expect to meet Old Testament saints, as well as SOAP readers from around the world.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, as my Savior, I confess that I have sinned.  Please forgive me.  I ask that your sinless death on the cross be the payment for my sins.  As my Lord, I humbly submit myself to you and commit myself to live my life according to your will.  Holy Spirit help me understand the Bible and to live in ways that please Jesus and bring Him joy.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

…worth more…

January 12, 2019: SOAP #3327:  Genesis 29-30; Luke 12

Scripture:  Luke (NIV) 12:6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. 7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Observation:  Even the parts of creation that we consider very insignificant have value to God.  If we realize the value of the insignificant, then the value of everything else is raised.

And the opposite is true.  If we lessen the value of that which has great value, then that with lesser value ends up having no value.

Application: Although it carries the image of God, abortion is the judgment that life in the womb has no value.  It can be destroyed and discarded with no lingering affect.

We cannot let anyone fool us, “if not one of them (sparrows) is forgotten by God” surely we must believe that “not one of them (aborted babies) is forgotten by God.”

Each man, woman, and child is “worth more than, not just one, not just five, but many sparrows.”  We have great value to our Heavenly Father.

Prayer:   Heavenly Father, it is good to be reminded that you personally value me.  As an individual, I am worth more to you than many sparrows.  You sent your son, Jesus, my Lord to die for my sins.  Just thinking about this causes my heart to flutter.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

The “Certain Place”

January 11, 2019: SOAP #3326:  Genesis 27-28; Psalm 4; Luke 11

Scripture:  Genesis (NIV) 28:11 When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. 12 He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.

Luke (NIV) 11:1 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray…”

Observation:  Jacob was tired so when he reached a “certain place” he prepared a place for sleep. It was a certain place, because it had a unique location.  It was not another place.  It had no specific characteristics to make it a special place.  It was just a certain place.  It is special because of what God did!

Jesus was with His disciples in a certain place.  It was not the temple.  There was nothing special about the place.  There is no mention of what made it a special place—except He was praying.  The disciples were watching and listening to His prayers and were stirred to say, “Teach us to pray.”  It is what Jesus did that made it a special place!

Application:  There are special places in my life that are special only because of what God did in that place.  The place was not very notable before, but He made it unforgettable!  In one place He spoke to my heart.  In another place He healed me.  And in another…

Today my path will take me to places that do not look very interesting.  I have been to them before.  There is nothing special.  But I believe God will make one or two of them special—they will become that “certain place.”  It might be a place where I can pray with someone.

Prayer:   Lord, I sure do not want to miss the places you speak to my heart.  I do not want to miss your “certain places.”  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!