My Reward

November 17, 2018: SOAP #3271:  2Cor 7-10

Scripture:  2Corinthians (NIV) 10:17 But, “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” 18 For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.

Observation:  The true measure of a man is not what he says about himself, but what others say about him.    The true measure of eternal success is what God says about a person.   Men measure success by results; God measures it by faithfulness.

My best boasting is when I sing, “Look what the Lord has done!”  I think the Lord likes to boast, “Look what my child has done!”

Application: To hear God say, “Well done” will erase all the criticisms of others and all the hurt of failures in this life.  His “Well done” will far surpass any commendations received from men.  What can compare with His smile!

Prayer:   Heavenly Father, people did not understand the success of Job in remaining faithful, but you did!  And people may not understand my trials, but you do!  Give me the strength to remain faithful. Your smile is my reward.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

Compelled by love

November 16, 2018: SOAP #3270:  2Cor 3-6

Scripture:  2Corinthians 5:14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

Observation:  Is it Christ’s love for Leon that compels him, or is it Leon’s love for Christ?  Learned people have argued both interpretations of this passage, but it seems both are right!   When I begin to understand the love God has for me, there is something inside me that will not allow me to do other than serve Him!   And as I grow in loving God, my love for Him makes me His servant.

Application:  His love for me, and my love for Him – the basis for the change in verse 15.  I can no longer live for myself, but for Him who died for me. rose from the grave and now, by His Holy Spirit lives in my heart!  He is my ever-constant companion.

Prayer:   Holy Spirit, help me to keep the fire of love burning in my heart.  Help me to accept interruptions and sacrifice joyfully. Jesus, you deserve so much more that I will ever be able to give you, even though I give you my all.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

Grace and Peace

November 15, 2018: SOAP #3269:  Job 41, 42; 2Corinthians 1, 2

Scripture:  2Corinthians (NIV) 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God in Corinth, together with all the saints throughout Achaia: 2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Observation:  The twelve times Paul uses this greeting, grace always precedes peace.  Before we can have peace with God, or the peace of God, we must first experience His grace.  God’s grace, His free offer of acceptance and blessing offered to those who deserve alienation and judgment, is provided for us through the cross.  His grace is the foundation for His peace.  Without grace there can be no peace.

What an appropriate salutation for a letter!

Before two nations long at war can have true peace, grace must be offered and received by both nations.  In winning the war, the victors (who are themselves imperfect) have won the right to be the first to offer grace.   If not offered and received, memories of war will boil under the surface and fighting will break out again.

Application:  What a wonderful thing is peace, especially peace with God!  The only way I can have that peace is by receiving forgiveness and justification through His sacrifice on the cross.

Prayer:   Heavenly Father, thank you for your grace offered to me through the death of Jesus on the cross.  Thank you for making a way for me to live in peace with you!   Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

Enforcing His Victory

November 14, 2018: SOAP #3268:  Psalm 149; 1Corinthians 15, 16

Scripture:  Psalm (NIV) 149:6 May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands,
7 to inflict vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples,
8 to bind their kings with fetters, their nobles with shackles of iron,
9 to carry out the sentence written against them.
This is the glory of all his saints. Praise the LORD.

Observation:  This passage is regarding a high honor for ALL saints.  Not just apostles, prophets, evangelist, pastors and teachers…this is for all believers!  It is the honor of enforcing the victory Jesus won on the cross!  We do not need to defeat the enemy; he is already defeated!  We are like the troops left behind in a conquered land to enforce the victory.  How are we to fulfill this honor?  What is available for us to use?

Application:  In these verses I have two powerful weapons:  praise and the double-edged sword of the Word of God.

The praise flows from my heart but becomes powerful “in my mouth.”  It is declared praise into the realm of the enemy!  It is hearable praise!

The Word resides in my heart and mind but becomes effective when I take it “in my hands” and put it into action.  A sword is a beautifully designed instrument that is useless until it is in the hand of a warrior.

The indwelling Holy Spirit exalts Jesus and inspires me to praise Him!  And He powerfully motivates me to spiritual warfare and anoints me to use the tools/gifts described in God’s Word.  He helps me fulfill Psalm 149:6-9.

Prayer:  Holy Spirit, use me to enforce the great victory Jesus won on the cross.  Anoint me and flow through me to bring glory and honor to my Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus, my Lord. Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

“…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!