“…try to excel…”

November 13, 2018: SOAP #3267:  Job 39, 40; 1Corinthians 13, 14

Scripture:  1Corinthians (NIV) 14:12 …Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church.

Observation:  The people in the church at Corinth were eager to have spiritual gifts.  They saw the gifts as valuable and desirable.  So, Paul writes to them to “try to excel” in gifts that build up others.  God’s gifts are not to be used in a selfish manner.  The gifts God gives are for us to use in helping others.

They were to “try to excel.”  That speaks to me of growing.  At first, they may be clumsy in using the gifts, but as they use the gifts, they will improve.  The more they give opportunity for the gifts—the more they take opportunity to express the gifts—the more they will improve.  They should continue using the gifts until they excel.

Application:  The gifts mentioned in this chapter are for all Christians.  As they grow in their Christian life, they will grow in loving others and wanting to serve them.  As they grow in a desire to serve others, they will find the benefit of these gifts.  As they use these gifts, they will “excel.”  The gifts will be useful in serving others.

Prayer:  Holy Spirit, thank you for the wonderful gifts.  With these gifts, help me improve and help me to excel in building up others.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

Source of Value

November 12, 2018: SOAP #3266:  Job 37, 38; 1Corinthians 12

Scripture:  1Corinthians (NIV) 12:13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink…
20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body…
25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.

Observation:  Although Paul mentions the many different parts and many different assignments, there is ONLY ONE BODY!   It is the differences that make us useful and beneficial to the body.  But it is the LIFE that gives us value!  The LIFE makes us members of the SAME BODY!

Application: There are no insignificant parts!  I am to have “equal concern” (“anxious concern:” Wyeth) for all the parts of the body.  There is no place for favoritism in the body of Christ.  Each part’s value is not set by its function, but by the life that flows through it.

It is easy to have favorite parts of the body.  Some are better at giving aid and comfort.  Some see things just the way I see them.  Some are better at ministering to my needs.  So, I must grow up and mature to have “equal concern” for each member.

Prayer:  Holy Spirit, help me grow to see the life that flows through each believer.  Use me to minister to all the members of your body.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

Received From & Passed On To

November 11, 2018: SOAP #3265:  Psalm 122; 1Corinthians 9-11

Scripture:  1Corinthians (NIV) 11;23  For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

Observation:  In his letter to the church in Corinth, Paul gives instruction about communion.  His lead remark is a note-worthy stand-alone thought.  “I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you.”

Application: This should be the goal of every preacher who stands in a pulpit to deliver a Sunday sermon.  This is my goal as I write these SOAP devotions every evening.  I listen to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying to me.  These SOAPs are what the Lord has spoken to me…has drawn my attention to…has made to spark an interest in my heart…has used to open a new thought in my mind.  They may not be for everyone, but they are for me.

These devotions are not the result of a scholarly study of the scriptures, but the result of open ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to Leon.  I use my knowledge of the character of God and of the Bible to judge if the thoughts are in agreement.  Sometimes He stirs my curiosity to study a word or a passage to see what others have written.

If the SOAPs are a blessing to others, it only to God’s glory.  If they contain words of wisdom, they came from God so He gets the credit.  If they contain words of encouragement, receive them as from the Lord.

My prayer is that these SOAPs will spark and interest in your heart to write your own SOAP.  Write down what God is speaking to you.

Prayer:  Holy Spirit, help me faithfully pass along what you give me.  Help each parent to pass along to their children what they receive from you.    Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

Free to do – Free not to do

November 10, 2018: SOAP #3264:  Job 35, 36; 1Corinthians 7, 8

Scripture:  1Corinthains (NIV) 8:8 But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do. 9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling-block to the weak.

Observation:  Freedom provides opportunities for us to prove and demonstrate our love for God.  It is in freedom that one can best bring joy to God as they freely choose that which honors Him.

In the previous verses we see:  knowing that idols are not really gods, gives freedom to eat food that may have been dedicated to them.  In verse 9, Paul was encouraging the saints in Corinth to exercise their freedom by not eating certain foods if it would offend a weaker believer.  The weaker believer might think they were honoring the idols to which they had been dedicated.

Application: My freedom can be exercised in two ways. First is by participating in that which God has given me freedom to do. The second is by not participating in that which God has given me freedom to do if it would hinder another believer. The first way demonstrates my freedom; the second demonstrates my love.

I need to be careful how I demand my rights!  May I never demand my rights as a citizen of the United States of America in such a way that it hinders someone from experiencing their right to become a citizen of heaven!

Prayer:   Holy Spirit, help my life to benefit others and not hinder them in loving and serving God!  Help me be wise in demanding my rights. Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

His Favorite Home!!!

November 09, 2018: SOAP #3263:  Job 34; 1Corinthians 4-6

Scripture:  1Corinthians (NIV) 6:19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body.

Observation:  This passage is about the body people call “Leon.”
…temple of the Holy Spirit.  He went to all that trouble to purchase me so that I could fulfill His original plan in creating man.
…who is in me, whom I have received from God.  The one who took such pains in creating me, the one who sent His Son to purchase me by His death, He is the one who gave me the Holy Spirit to live in His temple.
…not my own.  I belong to the One Who bought me!
…bought with a price!   What an amazing price that was!  He was willing to pay far more than I thought I was worth!

Application:  What does that mean for my everyday life?  How am I to respond to such amazing love?  “Therefore,” Leon, “honor God with your body!”  Talk and act like your body is the favorite castle of the Creator of all the Universe and He is presently in His favorite home!

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, your enemy, satan, has tried to convince me that I am not worth very much but the price you paid for me proves I am worth a lot to you!  You did not purchase me to be a place you visit on vacations, but a favorite place where you can enjoy living!  I know it is taking a lot of patience and effort on Your part to remodel me for your glory.  May the outside of this temple honor you and the inside please you.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

Amazing Grace/Amazing Wisdom

November 08, 2018: SOAP #3262:  Job 33, 1Corinthians 1-3

Scripture:  1Corinthians (NIV) 1:21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.

Observation:  In considering that Jesus was crucified, both the Jews and Greeks had trouble believing.  Jesus did not look very wise or powerful as He hung on the cross.    He looked foolish and weak.  But what a victory was won on Calvary!  What wisdom is displayed in the courts of heaven!

On the cross, God’s holiness was clearly on display!  The only payment for sin is death!  There was no special deal for the sinless Jesus making the payment!   On the cross, God’s love was clearly on display!  God, himself was dying in the place of sinful man!

Application: I may not understand God’s will or His ways, but I can completely trust His wisdom and His love for me!   “I know, I know He loves me!  This He proved at Calvary!  He gave His life that I might live.  He cares that much for me!”  (Unknown)

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, how true it is that Your foolishness is greater than the wisdom of man!  How true it is that I can trust you completely!  Thank you for loving me and using Your wisdom on my behalf. Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

Free!

November 07, 2018: SOAP #3261:  Job 31, 32; Galatians 5,6

Scripture:  Galatians (NIV) 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Observation:  Freedom is so important to God.  Of course, He, being God, is free to do whatever pleases Him.  He is free but has limited Himself to a life of holiness and love.  He designed man to be free.  When man used his freedom to commit sin he found that sin becomes a destructive bondage.  God gave us the Ten Commandments and the Law to keep us from the destructive nature of sin.  But that was not God’s original plan.  He did not want man living under laws that placed bondage on man.  God set man free from sin to be able to live under the influence of the Holy Spirit.  Some Jews who lived under the Law of Moses, were taking some of the Law’s requirements and forcing New Christians to follow the ways of the Law.   God is greatly pleased when our love for Him holds us to live in a way that pleases Him.

It because God loves man to be free that He set us free.  It is because God wants man to be free that He sent His Son to die on the cross to fulfill the demands of the Law that bound us over to die.  He did not set us free to become in bondage to the Law of Moses or any other “law.”

Application: Free from the demands of the law yet bound by love!  Love for others causes me to joyfully serve others.  Love for God affects everything I do.  I do not use my freedom to destroy another person.  I do not use my freedom to make this Most Wonderful Resident living in my heart to become uncomfortable.  I want Him to feel at home in my life.  I use my freedom to please Him!

Prayer:   Heavenly Father, I am free!  I am free to please you.  I am free to serve others.  I am free to know the great joy that comes from pleasing You! Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!