…firmly resist…

September 23, 2018: SOAP #3216:  Daniel 11-12; Luke 6

Scripture:  Daniel (NIV) 11: (Daniel’s vision of the last days.)  31 “His [the king of the north] armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation. 32 With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.

Observation:  From the prophetic verses above, I believe we find a characteristic that God desires in all of those who know Him.  It is not a characteristic of people who know ABOUT God, but of those who KNOW God.  They firmly resist evil!

Ephesians (NIV) 5:11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.

Application:  When I was born again, the God’s Holy Spirit took up residence in me.  His nature is now in me.  The Holy Spirit and myself are working to align my thoughts, words, and deeds to the holy nature of God.  Living in an unholy world where sin abounds results in a battle as to who is control of this human Leon.  Does Leon follow the temptations of the world or the direction of the Holy Spirit?  Does Leon follow the patterns of the carnal flesh or the prompting of the Holy Spirit?

By following the leading of the Holy Spirit God wants me to lovingly, yet firmly resist evil!

Prayer:  Holy Spirit, I need your help with this.  Give me wisdom and boldness to speak when your truth when confronted with evil.  Help me not to shrink back, but to stand firm for truth.  Your Word is truth!  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

Through ONE He reached MANY

September 22, 2018: SOAP #3215:  Daniel 9-10; Psalm 123; Luke 5

Scripture:  Luke (NIV) 5:27 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, 28 and Levi got up, left everything and followed him. 29 Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them.

Observation:  Jesus saw ONE tax collector.  A short time later Jesus was eating with A LARGE CROWD of tax collectors.  That is the way Jesus often works.  He uses the relationships of the one to reach many.

Application:  Jesus wants to do the same with me.  He wants me to follow Levi’s example.  Levi used his resources to invite his friends into his house to meet Jesus.  Jesus wants me to use my resources to invite people into my living and working spaces to meet Jesus.  When the people entered Levi’s home, they met Jesus.  When people come into my home, or my space, may they too meet Jesus!

Prayer:   Holy Spirit, make me aware of how I can use my resources to make a way for people to meet Jesus. Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

Living Like Jesus

September 21, 2018: SOAP #3214:  Daniel 7-8; Psalm 137; Luke 4

Scripture:  Luke (NIV) 4:17 The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, 21 and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Observation:  Jesus enters His home-town synagogue and rises to read from the prophets.  To find a specific portion of scripture on a scroll that did not contain any chapter and verse breaks speaks of the readers intimate knowledge of the scriptures.  Jesus’ knowledge of the scriptures, His understanding of what He has just been through, leads Him to read this passage as His own announcement.  “Isaiah was writing about today!  Isaiah was writing about me! You are witnesses of the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy.”  The Sprit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me.  You will now become witnesses of how the Spirit of God leads those whom He anoints.

And from that time on they were witnesses of the Power of the Holy Spirit working through Jesus.  The remainder of the book of Luke can be understood in these terms.  Luke has now set the stage for understanding the ministry of Jesus.

Application:  Here is what is needed today:  disciples of Jesus living and walking in the world today filled with the same Holy Spirit as was Jesus!

Prayer:   Holy Spirit, I want to be like Jesus.  So, fill me as you filled Jesus.  Live in me as you lived in Jesus.  Work through me as you worked through Jesus.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

How does God see it?

September 20, 2018: SOAP #3212:  Daniel 5-6; Psalm 130; Luke 3

Scripture:  Daniel (NIV) 5:1 King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for a thousand of his nobles and drank wine with them. … 3 So they brought in the gold goblets that had been taken from the temple of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines drank from them. 4 As they drank the wine, they praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone. 5 Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote. 6 His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his knees knocked together, and his legs gave way.

Observation:  They did not consider that these goblets had been dedicated to the One True God who was watching them at that moment!   They did not consider that this God might take personal offence at their obvious disrespect!

Application:  My heart is alarmed at so many things in our nation that have disrespected the One True God.  The first colleges in our nation were established to prepare people to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ; now many of our schools are openly disrespectful to God and the teaching of the Bible.  In the womb, children are being formed in the image of God; but 50,000,000+ have been ripped limb from limb and treated as garbage.  Can anyone who knows God not understand that we are disrespecting the One True God!  Does anyone, who knows God, doubt that this matters to Him???

God’s judgment on the USA can be seen in the immigration dilemma.  God is replacing those being formed in His image—those we have destroyed—with others also made in His image.  Because we do not have a good way to receive those who love our nation and would bless us, we are open to the evil ones who accompany them in illegally crossing our boarders or overstaying visits.

Prayer:   Heavenly Father, we have greatly sinned.  Forgive us and help us to receive your judgment with grace and humility.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

His Priority My Priority

September 19, 2018: SOAP #3212:  Ezekiel 47-48; Luke 2

Scripture:  Luke (NIV) 2:45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” 49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (KJV: I must be about my Father’s business?)

Observation:  This passage always makes me stop to think.  Jesus is twelve years old.  He has been growing in his mental capabilities as a young boy.  He has been in the Jewish schools.  His vocabulary has been growing.  His understanding of the scriptures has been growing.  And now, these are the first recorded words out of the mouth of Jesus.

Some people like to study the first places certain subjects or doctrines are found in the scriptures.  Interesting aspects of those subjects can be discovered.

What do these words of Jesus reveal about His understanding of Who he is and His priorities in life?  Jesus spoke much about His Heavenly Father.

Application:  Since I am a believer and Jesus lives in my heart, His priorities should become my priorities.  “I must be about my Father’s business.”  The purpose of my life is to glorify my Heavenly Father.  I need to grow in my knowledge of my Heavenly Father.  I need to know how He thinks and what is important to Him.  He has chosen me to represent Him on earth.

Prayer:   Holy Spirit, help me live in unity with Jesus as we together glorify our Heavenly Father.  Help me better know the Father.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

In Context

September 18, 2018: SOAP #3211:  Ezekiel 45-46; Luke 1

Scripture:  Luke (NIV) 1:5 In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron.
6 Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly.

Observation:  Important things are identified in ways that can be connected to history.  It helps us remember then and place them in the history of our lives.  Looking back, we remember them in the context of other events.  It helps us keep the reality of that happening clear in our mind.  We cannot be later convinced that it did not happen.  We know it did!  We have the history!  We remember important things within the context of the other things that were happening.

Luke here gives the historical setting for the birth of Jesus.  Jesus was not born in a vacuum; He entered the stream of humanity at the time Rome ruled the world, Herod was the king of Judea, and Zechariah was the priest.

Application: Jesus still interacts within the events of life—of my life.  I remember God speaking to me at Wheatstate Camp.  I remember God speaking to me in Bible College.  God spoke to me during my time in the US Navy.  God spoke to me… on a street corner in Wichita, Kansas, USA.

The circumstances often help me remember what God has said.

Prayer:   Thank you, Heavenly Father, for speaking to me.  I know if You speak to me, You will speak to anyone!  I know if I can learn to hear your voice, anyone can learn to hear your voice.  May my life be an encouragement for others to listen as You speak to them. Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

Come!

September 17, 2018: SOAP #3210:  Ezekiel 42-44; Revelation 22

Scripture:  Revelation (NIV) 22:17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of lif

Observation:   As we come to the last verses of the last chapter of the last book in the Bible, we find the gracious Spirit of God, the One there in the first verses of the first chapter of the first book (Genesis 1:2).   He is extending an invitation to join Him.  He is not saying “go,” but “come.”  He is not calling for us to go away, but to join Him!

Application:  It is for those who hear His voice to join him, not only at His location, but join Him in extending the invitation, “Come!”

How ungrateful I would be if I did not extend the invitation that has been offered to me!

Prayer:   Holy Spirit, I see that you and the bride are saying the same thing: Come.  There is power in agreement, especially when my words are Your words!  May I always be sensitive to what You are saying, and may I be faithful to join you in proclaiming Your invitation to “Come!”  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!