Both Blessed and Repaid!

October 01, 2018: SOAP #3224:  Zechariah 10-12; Psalm 126; Luke 14

Scripture:  Luke (NIV) 14:12 Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. 13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Observation:  If we invite people to our party who are able to invite us to their parties, they MAY invite us to theirs.  There is a possibility that we might be repaid.

But when we invite those who have no means of inviting us to a party, FOR SURE we WILL BE BLESSED—and FOR SURE we WILL BE REPAID when we get to heaven.  It may be a delayed return on our investment, but it is a guaranteed return!

Application:  To invest for future return in this life seems logical when my mind is controlled by the world’s economic system.  But to overlook investments that have eternal returns is completely foolish!  I have God’s promise to meet my needs in this life.  It is my privilege and joy to invest in God’s kingdom for an eternal return.

Prayer:   Heavenly Father, investing is important to You!  Thank you for the privilege of making deposits in the bank of heaven.  When I give to those who cannot repay me, I am assured of your blessing and future return.  Holy Spirit, help me not to be short-sighted with the money you provide.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

All are guilty!

September 30, 2018: SOAP #3223:  Zechariah 7-9; Luke 13

Scripture:  Luke (NIV) 13:1 Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

Observation:   Governmental leaders often to terrible things to people.  Natural disasters happen to people.  These things are no indication that those who suffer under evil governments or die in natural disasters are worse sinners than other people who have not suffered in similar ways.

The truth is that all who live have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).  Every person needs to confess their sins (Romans 10:9-10).

Application:  Earthquakes, tsunamis, government sponsored terrorism, etc.—those suffering are not worse sinners than the rest of men.  The horror of such suffering is terrible, but it pales when compared to eternity in hell.  We have all sinned and will perish in hell unless we repent and receive Jesus as our Savior and Lord.

Prayer:   Heavenly Father, thank you that you have been faithful to show me truth.  Jesus, thank you for providing the means of my forgiveness.  Holy Spirit, thank you for continuing to reveal areas for which I need to repent and receive the available forgiveness.  Thank you for the wonderful gift of salvation!  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

It flows two ways!

September 29, 2018: SOAP #3222:  Zechariah 4-6; Luke 12

Scripture:  Luke (NIV) 12:35 “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him.
37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them.

Observation:  The master serves his faithful servants.  As a child waits with great anticipation for its parents to return home from work so we should watch and wait with anticipation for Our Lord’s return.

My wife tells of her father’s return from work each day when she and her sisters would eagerly wait to greet him.  He always saved something from his lunch each day just for them to eat.

Application:  Jesus has already done so much for us.  He died on the cross in our place.  He forgives our sins.  He has blest us in so many ways.  This verse speaks yet of another time when he will serve His faithful servants.

One of the joys our Lord receives from His servants is that He likes to serve them.  He enjoys their appreciation.  He is like parents who love to serve their children and are blest when they say, “Thank you.”  And when they see their children do something exceptional, they go out of their way to do something special for the child.  The love and service flow two ways.

Prayer:   Heavenly Father, it is my joy to serve you.  And I am amazed that you have joy in serving me.  It should not surprise me, because you have served me in so many ways!  May my gratitude bring joy to your heart.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

So Blessed!

September 28, 2018: SOAP #3221:  Zechariah 1-3; Luke 11

Scripture:  Luke (NIV) 11:2 He said to them, “When you pray, say: “‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. 3 Give us each day our daily bread.

Observation:  It is not a weekly supply of bread for which we are told to pray, but for a daily portion.  Surely this is a good indication that the Lord likes for us to be dependent on him daily.  He likes for us to communicate with Him daily.

Asking for a daily portion of bread today, is almost a promise that I will be back tomorrow asking for another daily portion.

Application:  When I was a senior pastor, I liked to have my Sunday sermons ready several days in advance.  But when I started writing the daily SOAP devotions, I learned not to work ahead.  I am learning that I can trust God to give me a thought for each day; He is giving me my daily bread!  I do not work a week or month in advance.  They are prepared daily.  They are fresh!

I am keeping current with God.  Knowing that I have just heard from Him, assures me that He knows that I am ready to face whatever is coming.  If not, He would have told me!  Knowing that I heard from Him a few hours ago assures me that I can hear from Him when I find myself in the middle of a hard place.

Prayer:   Heavenly Father, thank you for a DAILY relationship.  Thank you for making your Word so available in printed Bibles, in audio media, and on the internet!  We are a blessed generation!   Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

Now, there is the reason to rejoice!

September 27, 2018: SOAP #3220:  Haggai 1-2; Psalm 129; Luke 10

Scripture:  Luke (NIV) 10:17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” 18 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Observation:  Jesus had sent them like an advance team to the places He would later visit.  They were to heal the sick and tell the people that the Kingdom of God was among them.  They returned rejoicing with stories of great success.  Jesus brings them back to reality.  They had something much more important over which to rejoice!   Their names were written in heaven!

Application:  My name is written in heaven!   Just saying that—just typing that—causes my heart to rejoice!   It is written there because Jesus died for my sins.  I can say, “My name is written in blood, the blood of Jesus!”

Just knowing that my name is written in heaven should be enough to keep me a happy Christian no matter what my circumstances!

Prayer:   Jesus, because of you I have the greatest reason to rejoice!   It is not what I can do for you, but what you have done for me!  Forever grateful, I serve you with joy.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

A Day of Praise!

September 26, 2019: SOAP #3218:  Ezra 4; Psalm 113, 127; Luke 9

Scripture:  Psalm (NIV) 113:1 Praise the LORD. Praise, O servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD. 2 Let the name of the LORD be praised, both now and for evermore.
3 From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised. 4 The LORD is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens.
5 Who is like the LORD our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, 6 who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?
7 He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; 8 he seats them with princes, with the princes of their people. 9 He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the LORD.

Observation:  WHAT is to be done?  Praise the Lord!
WHO is to do it?  The servants of the Lord.
WHAT are they to praise?  The name of the Lord.
WHEN is this to happen?  Now and for evermore.
WHERE is this to happen? Anywhere the sun shines.
WHY is this the right thing to do?  The Lord is exalted.
WHY? There is no one like Him.  He sits enthroned.  He is so high that he stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth!
WHAT does He do?  He raises the poor. He lifts the needy.  He gives children to the barren.

Application:  So, what am I going to do?  I am going to praise the Lord!  May the day become a week, the week a month, the month a year, and the year a life-time of praise.  He is worthy of a million lifetimes!

Prayer:   Lord, today is a good day to honor You with my praise.  I want to be so close to you that you fill my whole vision.  I do not want to see around you, over you, or under you.  Holy Spirit, fill my thoughts with the praise-worthy deeds that have been done for my benefit.    Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

Starting with what I have

September 25, 2018: SOAP #3218:  Ezra 2-3; Luke 8

Scripture:  Ezra (NIV) 3:3 Despite their fear of the peoples around them, they built the altar on its foundation and sacrificed burnt offerings on it to the LORD, both the morning and evening sacrifices. 4 Then in accordance with what is written, they celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles with the required number of burnt offerings prescribed for each day. 5 After that, they presented the regular burnt offerings, the New Moon sacrifices and the sacrifices for all the appointed sacred feasts of the LORD, as well as those brought as freewill offerings to the LORD. 6 On the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to the LORD, though the foundation of the LORD’s temple had not yet been laid.

Observation:  A large group had returned from their captivity to rebuild their temple and re-start the feasts and offerings.  In verses above we see that they built an altar and started making sacrifices even though they had not yet laid the foundation of the temple.

Application:  I cannot wait until everything is perfect before I start serving the Lord!   I must start where I am and with what I have.  There is nothing more I need in order to obey His will for me!  Lack of resources or facilities is only an excuse the enemy uses to stop me from stepping out to do God’s will.  If I am faithful using what I have, God will bring growth in ministry and available resources.  I need to let God prove His faithfulness by stepping out in faith by using what I already have to do as He directs.

Prayer:   Holy Spirit, remind me of this when I hold back from doing what you have assigned me to do because I cannot do it perfectly, or because I am lacking what I think I need.  Show me how to use what I have for your glory. Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!