My Measure of Success

August 19, 2019: SOAP #3546:  Jeremiah 45-47; Psalm 105; John 21

Scripture:  John (NIV) 21:4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. 5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered. 6 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

Observation:   How long had Jesus been watching their futile efforts?  If they noticed him standing on the shore, they did not recognize who he was.

He was interested in what they were doing.  He initiated the conversation.  He called out to them.  If he had waited for them to call to him, they would have returned to shore with empty nets and empty boats.

He had the key for their success.  When they followed his directions, they immediately had overwhelming success.

Application:   Jesus is interested in me.  He died for me.  He has taken up residence in me.  There is nothing I do that Jesus is not interested in.  He is interested in everything I do—everything I will do today.  Knowing that he is interested, it is worthwhile for me to wait and get any instructions he has for me.

I must let Him measure my success by His standards.  Success may be a boatful of fish.  Success may be just two fish that he multiplies.  Success may be my faith-filled, victorious, attitude when I return with nothing.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, the measure of my success is your smile. There is no boatload of fish that could ever measure up to your, “Well done.” Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

Surrounded With Evidence!

August 18, 2019: SOAP #3545:  Jeremiah 26, 35-36; John 20

Scripture:  John (NIV) 20:26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” 28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Observation:   Evidence in the miracles of Jesus.  Evidence in the healings.  Evidence in feeding the multitudes.  And now, evidence in his face!  It was time for Thomas to consider the evidence, stop doubting and start believing!

Application:   Evidence in the lives around me.  Evidence in my past.  Evidence in my body.  Sometimes I just need to consider the evidence around me, stop doubting, and start believing!

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, you have been faithful to surround me with evidence.  I have no reason to doubt and every reason to believe!  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

Faithful with HIS Word

August 17, 2019: SOAP #3544:  Jeremiah 23, 25; John 19

Scripture:  Jeremiah (NIV) 23:29 “Is not my word like fire,” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces? 30 “Therefore,” declares the LORD, “I am against the prophets who steal from one another words supposedly from me. 31 Yes,” declares the LORD, “I am against the prophets who wag their own tongues and yet declare, ‘The LORD declares.’

Observation:   How important it is for those speaking for the Lord to make sure that the word they bring is from the Lord.  With today’s technology, it is so easy to get a message from someone else’s book of sermons or online from some web site. But as Tozer put it so well: “It is God’s present word to a particular people that the preacher is to bring.”  (Emphasis mine.)

Application:   It is so important to hear what God IS SAYING to me and to those to whom God sends me.  Tuning my heart to the voice His spirit is done by daily and prayerfully reading the Bible.  Many times, what He is currently saying to me is found within those scriptures.  He also speaks to me through what I hear, what I see, and what I read.   Sometimes God places a thought in my mind or guides my thought progression to His conclusion.

Prayer:  Holy Spirit, watch over my SOAPs that I faithfully write what you are saying to ME.  Watch over each one who reads these SOAPs that they faithfully hear what you are saying to THEM.  The SOAP may not contain your word to them for today, but you do have something to say to each one today.  Help them to hear YOUR word.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

The What and The Why

August 16, 2019: SOAP #3543:  2Kings 24; Jeremiah 22; Psalm 112; John 18

Scripture:  John (NIV) 18:2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. 3 So Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons. 4 Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?” 5 “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “I am he,” Jesus said. …

Observation:   Jesus knew the terribleness of sin.  Jesus knew what it would take to make a sacrifice that would suffice for ugliness of sin.  Crucifixion was not a pretty thing.  Even more, taking on the sins of the world was totally contrary to His holy character.  Jesus had just been praying, “Father if it is possible, let this cup pass from me, nevertheless, not my will, but your will be done.”  Could there be any other way to atone for sin?  God’s holiness demanded a perfect and pure sacrifice.  God’s love demanded that it be available to those who could never gain it by their own efforts.

If anyone would have known of another way, surely the Father would know.  But there was no other way.  Jesus understood that.  He moved forward knowing the what and the why.

Application:   Sometimes the Father’s way is not pleasant.  Sometimes it requires sacrifice.  It may not be pleasant, but it is always worth it!   My suffering might open a door from someone else to hear how wonderful My God is.  Time in a hospital may reach a doctor or nurse.  Time repairing a vehicle may be the opportunity to reach a mechanic.  Time with a broken appliance may provide a witness to a repairman.  Difficulties may reveal the life of Jesus to family members who do not love Him.

Is suffering worth it?  For the Father, Jesus says, “Yes!”

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, …and I say “yes” too.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

Jesus’ Hero

August 15, 2019: SOAP #3542:  Jeremiah 18-20; Psalm 93; John 17

Scripture:  John (NIV) 17:4 [Jesus prayer to His Father] I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. …
10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them.

Observation:  Jesus brought the Father glory here on earth.  He was expecting the Father to glorify Him in heaven.  Jesus considered everything He had to belong to the Father.  In response, Jesus could consider everything the Father has is His.

Jesus was revealing His heart and priorities in His prayer.  He had glorified the Father before He expected the Father to glorify Him.  He considered all he possessed as belonging to the Father; before expecting that everything the Father possessed as His.

Application:   If I am going to be like Jesus, I need to align my priorities with His.  The Father was His priority; the Father should be my priority.  To Jesus, the Father was everything.  That is what Jesus desires of me, to make the Father everything.  As Jesus reveals His Father to me, it becomes more and more obvious why Jesus was willing to go to such great personal sacrifice to reveal the Father’s love.  The Father is amazing!  The Father is perfect love and perfectly holy.  Jesus thought so much of the Father’s love for sinful man that Jesus was willing to carry the responsibility to fulfill it all the way to Calvary!

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, you are amazing!  And you have an amazing Son!  How he loves you.  You are His Hero!  Because of Him, love and honor for you are increasing in my life.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

He sees the outside AND knows the inside.

August 14, 2019: SOAP #3541:  Jeremiah 16-17; Psalm 96; John 16

Scripture:  Jeremiah (NIV) 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? 10 “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.”

Observation:   God is the perfect judge.  He judges us according to our actions.  But more than our actions, He searches our heart and our thoughts.  He is not only interested in what we do; he is interested in why we do it.

Application:  Many times, when people condemn us for our actions, we respond that our heart is right.  We claim to have the right motives, even if our actions do not work.   We can be glad that God sees our heart.

Then there are other times when what we want to do is far less than what we do.  We try to cover it up, but our heart is full of hatred and our mind full of ugly thoughts.  We do not want God to see our heart.

Prayer:  Lord, I know that you are the perfect judge.  Your holiness will not allow you to be less than perfect in judging.  You see my actions and you know my heart.  You know my thoughts.  And best of all, you love me completely!  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

The Way of Fruitfulness!

August 12, 2019: SOAP #3538:  Jeremiah 13-15; John 15

Scripture:  John (NIV) 15:1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.
2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
3  You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.
4  Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

Observation:  When something I do not like happens to me, or I miss something I wanted to attend, or I lose something I really liked—In those times I can feel that God must be punishing me.  I probably did something He did not like.  But according to verse 2 above, God may be working in me to make me more fruitful.

God must have known that some of his children would think like me, so He quickly added verse 3 to reassure us that we are already clean.

His pruning is not to rid us of something bad; pruning often involves cutting back healthy growth.  The pruning is to make room for more fruit!  The energy of the plant is being focused on that which will bear large, healthy fruit, not just more leaves.

Application:  It is a blessing to receive from the Lord and enjoy His abundant supply.  It is easy to look at God’s generous supply and be thankful for His blessings.  But…may I never lose sight of this…
…if I want my life to be a blessing to Him, I must allow Him to remove things from my life.  The loss may open doors for future fruitful ministry.  The amount of time I invest in one activity/ministry might be better invested in another ministry.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, I trust my life to you.  Do your pruning as will be most fruitful for your kingdom. Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!