What Sacrifice!

July 01, 2018: SOAP #3132: Isaiah 1-3; Titus 3

Scripture:  Isaiah (NIV) 1:11 “The multitude of your sacrifices—what are they to me?” says the LORD. “I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats….  16 wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, 17 learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.

Observation:   The neighboring nations around Israel served idols.  They worshipped their idols by bringing sacrifices.  They brought food and drink that their god might need. But their idols were dead, needing nothing.

Israel worshipped the one, true, living God.  He also needed nothing!  Not because He is dead, but because He is the Creator of all things! The purpose of Israel’s sacrifices to the living God was to teach them about the One promised to come.   God would send His Son, Jesus, to be the sacrifice for their sins.  God did not need their sacrifices for Him, but. how THEY needed His SACRIFICE for them!!!!

Application:  God was not so interested in the sacrifice they made; He was interested in THEM!   And God is not so interested in what I can give Him; He is interested in me!   I cannot give God something He needs, but I can give him someone He loves—me!

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, I am the sacrifice you desire.  May my life be pleasing to you.  When I please you, I have the greatest joy and You have the greatest glory.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!


Rejoice in His works!

June 30, 2018: SOAP #3131: Amos 7-9; Psalm 104:  Titus 2

Scripture:  Psalm (NIV) 104:24 How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. …
31 May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works —

Observation:   This is a song about creation.  The glory and wisdom of God is seen everywhere in the world He created.

Everyone should be able to enjoy their works, and so should God.  His works should bring him joy.  Man is the part of creation that has the power to bring Him the greatest joy, also has the power to bring Him the greatest sorrow. \

Application:  My joy is to bring God joy.  I know there is much in this world that has broken with His purpose.  I know there are things that bring Him sorrow.  May my heart be a place He enjoys.

Prayer:    Heavenly Father, I want to live this day in honor of You.  May I bring joy to your heart and a smile to your face.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

Our Common Faith

June 28, 2018: SOAP #3129: Amos 4-6; Psalm 86,87; Titus 1

Scripture:  Titus (NIV) 1:4 To Titus, my true son in our common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

Observation:  The Apostle Paul was writing a letter to Titus.  Although Titus was young and still in the learning process, Paul realized that both he, Paul, and Titus were connected by a “common faith.”   It was not common because it was something cheap, but common because they had the same faith, indeed it is common because every true believer in Christ Jesus has the same faith!

It is a faith that God the Father sent Jesus to die in payment for our sins (John 3:16) and if we ask Him, He will forgive our sins and come to live in our lives (Romans 10:9&10) (1John 1:9).  The proof of His presence is that we now live our lives to please Him.  He gives us the undeserved honor of sharing our lives.  His life becomes more important than our lives.  At times we say “no” to what we like and do what He likes.  And as we do, we come to experience the power, and joy, and peace that can only come from the Holy Spirit!  We experience the pleasure of sharing His life.

Application:  Along with the Apostle Paul, and Timothy, every believer today shares that “common faith!”   Those who have known Jesus for 50+ years and those who just accepted Him as their Savior and Lord yesterday—we all share the “common faith.”

Prayer:   If you are not sure that Christ has forgiven you, pray with me:  Lord Jesus, I believe you are God.  I believe you came to earth as a man and died on the cross to pay for my sins.  I have sinned; I ask you to forgive me.  Come live in my heart.  Share my life with me and by the presence of your Holy Spirit, empower me to share your life.  Thank you for forgiving me.  Thank you for coming to live in my heart.  I know I will not be perfect, but I know your grace is sufficient.  I ask you to teach me and help me grow.  I set my life goal to please you as my Lord.  I pray this in Your Holy Name, Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

Making Peace

June 28, 2018: SOAP #3129: Amos 1-3; Psalm 80; 2Timothy 4

Scripture:  2Timothy (NIV) [Paul from prison writing a letter to Timothy] 4:9 Do your best to come to me quickly…11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.

Observation:    In Acts 15:37-39 we read that Paul and Barnabas went separate ways because Paul did not want Mark to accompany them on their next missionary journey.  Now that Paul is in prison and about ready be executed for his faith, he calls for Mark.  We can only speculate about the change in Paul’s heart toward Mark.  Has there been a change in Marks attitude and ministry that cause Paul to see the value in having him nearby?   Or has the change come to Paul in desiring Mark to have his blessings and encouragement before he is executed?   Either way, it appears that Paul and Mark ended on a good note, appreciating each other and serving together.

Application:  It bothers me when I see someone passing through death’s door without making peace with those left behind.  Showing up at heaven’s gate to meet the one who died to forgive us and make peace with us…showing up with unforgiveness and resentment in our hearts—the Bible does not have a lot of hope for us.  We who have been forgiven are commanded to forgive.  If we do not forgive, Jesus promises to NOT forgive us in the same way we have NOT forgiven others!  Remember the Lord’s Prayer? (Matthew 6:12 and 15)

Prayer:   Heavenly Father, you are The Great Forgiver!  You sent your Son to die in payment for my sins so that you can forgive me when I confess my sins.  Now, your Holy Spirit lives within me; you want me to be a forgiver also.  Make me more like you; make me a forgiver, I pray. Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

Appreciating what I have!

June 27, 2018: SOAP #3128: 2Kings 13,14; 2Chronicles 25; 2Timothy 3

Scripture:  2Timothy (NIV) 3:14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

Observation:   The “holy Scriptures…are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”  A common priority of Christian missionaries is teaching people how to read and then building schools.  I know of no other religion that makes the ability to read such a priority.  It is important that people be able to read the Bible for themselves.  It is important that they can check what they are being taught with what they read in God’s Word.  The missionaries and Bible teachers will come and go, but the Word of God will remain with them.  They may forget what the someone taught them, but they can read it again for themselves in the scriptures.

Application:  The Bible can make me wise regarding salvation and the faith needed to receive what God has provided.  In the scriptures I find wisdom regarding every area of life.  IF I knew that God had deposited gold in my back yard, I would work every day to find it.  I DO KNOW that God has placed His wisdom in the Bible, and I have several copies in my own home!  I must search the scriptures as though I am looking for hidden gold!

Prayer:   Heavenly Father, thank you for your kindness in allowing me to have my own copy of Your Word, the Bible!   I am so blest!   May the way I read it, study it, and hide it in my heart prove my appreciation.   Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

Guarding the Truth

June 25, 2018: SOAP #3126: Joel 1-3; 2Timothy 1

Scripture:  2Timothy (NIV) 1:13 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

Observation:   It was very important for Timothy to carefully guard the truth that Paul had given him.  It was so important that God, the Holy Spirit lives in us to help us guard the truth.

Satan wants to twist it and mis-apply the truth.  Doing so robs the truth of its power.  The same Holy Spirit who moved on men to write the Bible, lives with me to help me understand it and apply it to my daily life.

Application:  Learning to recognize the way the Holy Spirit speaks to me, faithfully reading God’s Word, listening to the Word of God being preached and taught, and discussion with others in the Body of Christ are four good ways to guard what God has placed in my heart.

Prayer:  Holy Spirit, that I walk in truth is so important that you came to live within me. Tune my heart to your voice.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

United States, WAKE UP!

June 24, 2018: SOAP #3125: 2Kings 11,12; 2Chronicles 24; 1Timothy 6
Reworked SOAP #2029 from June 24, 2015

Scripture:   2Chronicles (NIV) 24:23 At the turn of the year, the army of Aram…invaded…Judah…24 Although the Aramean army had come with only a few men, the LORD delivered into their hands a much larger army.  Because Judah had forsaken the LORD, the God of their fathers, judgment was executed on [King] Joash.

Observation:  Many times in the Bible we read that Israel and Judah defeated much larger armies because God was with them.  In the above verses we read that the opposite was also true.  God had forsaken them, BECAUSE they had forsaken God.  A large army with modern and high-tech weapons cannot take the place of the presence and favor of Almighty God.

Application:   Across the southern border of the United States comes an invasion of illegal immigrants.  Some want to join their families who are already in the USA, some want to find jobs, and some who want to do us harm.  As a nation, we easily have the resources to stop them, but God has blinded the eyes of our leaders and tied their hands from taking effective action.  In many ways our nation has forsaken God and now God is forsaking us to judgment.

The Lord showed me that he will bring in one illegal immigrant for every child that has been aborted in our nation.  They will be a blessing or a curse, depending on how we receive them.  Our aborted children are not entering the work force and not donating to social security which the ageing baby boomers are starting to utilize.  Legalized immigrants could be a blessing to a growing economy needing workers and to social security.

Prayer:   Holy Spirit, wake up the church to the great mission field entering our nation. May they be welcomed into Your church.  If they can stay, may they stay as our brothers and sisters in Christ.  If they must return, may they return loving Jesus and empowered by you and full of your presence!   Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!