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!


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!


November 06, 2018: SOAP #3260:  Job 30; Psalm 120; Galatians 3,4

Scripture:  Galatians (NIV) 3:26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Observation:   Probably the most obvious differences that stood out in Paul’s day are listed here.  The difference between the Jews and Gentiles, the difference between slaves and freemen, and the difference between men and women.
People today often try to take the big groups and further break them into many smaller groups.  They emphasize the unique characteristics of small groups within the larger groups.  They emphasize the differences.
In Christ, we emphasize the similarities.  We are all sinners.  We all can be saved through the sacrifice of Jesus.  All who believe are all vessels of the same Holy Spirit.  All believers will be united in heaven.

Application:  There is no major difference that can separate us from each other in Christ.  I am to make sure that what is true in Christ is also true in my life and in my area of influence.

Prayer:   Jesus, thank you for your unifying work on the cross.  Thank you for making me a part of the church.  Thank you for the unifying work of the Holy Spirit.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!


November 05, 2018: SOAP #3259:  Job 28-29; Galatians 1-2

Scripture:  Galatians (NIV) 2:16 [We, Jews by birth,] know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So, we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no-one will be justified.

Observation:   There was a special privilege of being born a Jew.  They were born into a culture that recognized God; and that understood that God was interested in them.  But, even Jews, to whom the law was given through Moses, have come to understand that no man, Jew or Gentile, will be given a right standing before God on the basis of how well he kept the law!

There are no exceptions — no one will be justified (made just-as-if-I’d never sinned) by keeping the law.  Faith in Jesus is the only hope of justification!

Application:  I had broken the law before I ever understood its regulations.  I was guilty.  Once the law has been broken, it cannot be unbroken.  It can only be satisfied by death.  Since Jesus had no sins of his own, His death can be accepted as payment for my sins—and for the sins of all who accept Him as their Lord and Savior.  It is an amazing plan to demonstrate both the holiness and love of God.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, I have been the beneficiary of many good things, but none can compare with what Your Son, Jesus, did for me.  He paid for my sins.  Now I am justified in your sight!  Thank you seems so little to say. Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

Awaiting Resurrection

November 04, 2018: SOAP #3258:  Job 26-27; Mark 15-16

Scripture:  Mark (NIV) 15:42 It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. 44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. 45 When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. 46 So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.

Observation:  Joseph of Arimathea had a unique place in history.  He is the only one recorded who touched the dead body of Jesus.  Many had touched Him while he was alive, but Joseph touched Him while dead.  He treated the body with respect.  He honored Jesus by placing His dead body in a tomb prepared for the wealthy as prophesied in Isaiah 53:9.  It was from Joseph’s tomb that three days later, Jesus came back to life!

Application:  When someone tells me that God gave them a dream that has become impossible and even has died, may they find me respecting God’s plan.  I should help them lay it in a place of honor and treat it with respect.  The Resurrected One is very able to resurrect things we consider too far gone to ever be useful.

Prayer:   Holy Spirit, revive your work in me.  Bring to life Your plans for me.    Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!