After they prayed…

January 28, 2020: SOAP #3708:  Exodus 21-22; Psalm 12; Acts 4
After they prayed… (from October 15, 2011.  I do not like to repeat, but God is speaking to me through this earlier SOAP.  May God use it in your life too!)

Scripture:  Acts 4:31 NIV After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

Observation:    Sometimes we want God to work before we pray.  But the move of God came AFTER they prayed.  And it was not just that they prayed, but it is good to note how they prayed.  They acknowledged God’s sovereignty and that the worst man could do to Jesus only worked for the furtherance of God’s will.  They acknowledged the threats against them, but only asked for boldness to speak His word.  They did not ask for an easy life without pain or suffering.  Finally, they asked for God to do things in the name of Jesus, for His glory.

Application:    Sometimes in prayer I am so taken up with what I want that I forget there may be something He wants.  I usually have a plan on how God could work out my problem, but surely, He already has a plan.  In prayer I should agree that His plan is obviously better than mine and I should surrender myself to be a part of His plan.

Prayer:   Lord, you are so much wiser than I am.  To first stop to pray and let you take the lead allows me to move in your wisdom.  Amen.

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

 

Working Through Me

January 27, 2020: SOAP #3707:  Exodus 17-20; Acts 3

Scripture:  Acts (NIV) 3:9 When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. 11 While the beggar held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon’s Colonnade.
12 When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? …
16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.

Observation:  The beggar was well known, and everyone recognized him even when out of his usual character.  The change could not be ignored.  God had done something that only God could do!  Peter had a great question for the people.  “Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness w had made this man walk?”

Application:   God wants to do things in my life that make people take note.  Things for which I will need to say, “Why are you looking at me as though I am doing this on my own?”  It might be walking joyfully through a difficult time, or through great trials.  It may be in dealing with a tragic loss.

Prayer:  Holy Spirit, you live in me.  I surrender to you.  Use my hands, feet, and words to accomplish your will.  Help me to live my daily life and face my daily challenges with faith that you are working through me.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

Depending on Him!

January 26, 2020: SOAP #3706:  Exodus 14-16; Acts 2

Scripture:  Exodus (NIV) 14:12 [Israelites complaining to Moses when trapped between Pharaoh’s army and the sea] Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” 13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

Observation:  Again, I see that God was not depending on the ability of the Israelites to fight the Egyptians.  God was not depending on their weapons, or strength, or ability.  God was not depending on Moses to do something heroic!  God had His own plan!  Although it seemed a disaster was in the making, everything was working just as God had planned it!  God had the Israelites, and the Egyptian army, right where He wanted them!!!

Application:   Often, when there is no way to escape a disaster, I need only to keep my eyes on Jesus.  He probably has me right where He wants me!  He has prepared something wonderfully great for me.  He is not depending on me to bring about the victory.  He is not waiting for me to come up with a plan.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, what peace fills my troubled heart when I stop to acknowledge that you are in control.  My life is in your hands!  I am depending on you!  You have decreed my victory.  The victory will be mine to enjoy; all the glory will be yours!  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

The Plan

January 25, 2020: SOAP #3705:  Exodus 12-13; Psalm 21; Acts 1

Scripture:  Exodus (NIV) 12:3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family …
5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect…
7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the door-frames of the houses where they eat the lambs. …
12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn—both men and animals—and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.

Observation:  God’s plan for freeing the Israelites from Egypt would force Pharaoh to demand they leave his country; even Pharaoh’s first born would die.  God was not only making an open door for the Israelites to leave Egypt; He was painting a portrait of His plan to free all mankind from sin. The blood of the sinless Lamb of God would be crucified to pay for our sins.  And when, by faith, that blood is applied to our lives we are set free from Satan’s dominion!

Application:  What joy fills my heart when I read the above verses.  If God spared the Israelites on the basis of the blood of an animal sacrifice, how much more will he spare my life on the basis of the blood of His own Son!!!!

Prayer:   Heavenly Father, you are amazing; and your plans display your wisdom.  Your plan included Israel in Egypt; your plan included sending Jesus to be the Lamb; and your plan includes me!  What a privilege is mine to fit into your plan!  Holy Spirit, thank you for revealing truth to me.  Jesus, thank you for being my sacrifice and forgiving me.  Heavenly Father, thank you for including me!  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

It is important!

January 24, 2020: SOAP #3704:  Exodus 9-11; Luke 24

Scripture:  Luke (NIV) 24:49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
Acts (NIV) 1:4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with {Or in } water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
Acts (NIV) 2:1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues {Or languages} as the Spirit enabled them.

Observation:  Luke records the last few comments of Jesus before he left earth and returned to heaven.  In the first chapter of Acts, Luke repeats the promise of Jesus.  And in the second chapter, Luke reports how that promise was fulfilled!

Application:  It was important for Jesus to be filled with the Holy Spirit, as Luke recorded in Luke 3:21-22 and 4:1 & 14.  It was important for the early church to be filled with the Holy Spirit, as Luke recorded in Luke 24 and Acts 1 & 2.  Obviously, it is important for me to be filled with the Holy Spirit today.

Prayer:   Jesus, thank you for filling me with the same Holy Spirit that descended on you when you were baptized.  He has been sent to enable me to continue your ministry where I live.  May you be glorified by the Spirit’s ministry through me.   Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

The Victory vs. The Glory

January 23, 2020: SOAP #3703:  Exodus 6-8; Luke 23

Scripture:  Exodus (NIV) 6:1 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country.”

Observation:  God had sent Moses to Pharaoh to inform him that God wanted them to take a three-day journey into the wilderness to worship him.  Pharaoh accused them of being lazy and increased their work requirements, making it very difficult for them to meet their quotas.  The Israelites complained to Moses; Moses goes to God.  The above verse is God’s answer to Moses.

Pharaoh, in response to what God was going to do, would “drive them out of his country.”  God was not depending on what Moses could do.  God was not depending on what the Israelite nation could do.  God was only depending on what God could do!!!

In the end, Israel got their freedom and God got the glory!

Application:   God loves to show His power and wisdom on behalf of His children.  He loves it when I depend on Him.  He loves to challenge me with things beyond my capabilities, all the time knowing how HE is going to make it happen.

Prayer:  Lord, Sometimes I wonder how things will get accomplished, but when I look at the situation with faith, I like the way you do things.  I get the blessing of victory, and you get the glory! Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

 

Strange Sight

January 22, 2020: SOAP #3702:  Exodus 3-5; Luke 22

Scripture:  Exodus (NIV) 3:1 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight— why the bush does not burn up.” 4 When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.”

Observation:  God is a speaker.  He talks.  He created man to have fellowship with him.  God wants to interact with man.  Moses was not in a “church” setting.  The tabernacle had not yet been set up.  Yet God spoke to Moses.

Moses was a shepherd.  Moses was out in the wilderness with his sheep. Moses saw something different, something that caught his attention.  He left his place, went out of his way, to see this “strange sight.”  His life was not so hectic that he could not take time to check it out.

Application:  I should be open to God speaking to me in my every-day settings.  As I go through my normal daily routine, something catches my eye, something looks strange, something looks out of place.  Something makes me curious.  If my heart is open to God, I may hear, “Leon, slow down and pay attention, do not be in such a hurry to keep your own agenda! I have something to show you.  I have something to say to you.”

Prayer:  Holy Spirit, check my heart when I start to run off.  Help me not to be frustrated with interruptions.  Help me to see the strange things you put in my pathway.  I want to hear what you are saying to me.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!