To be like Jesus

June 09, 2019: SOAP #3475:  Ecclesiastes 10-12; Psalm 94; Ephesians 5

Scripture:  Ephesians (NIV) 5:1 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Observation:   Chapter five continues the thought about our being raised with Christ and what that means in putting off some things and putting on others.  Although the thought is not finished, we have here an “all inclusive” thought.  What does it mean, this “putting off” and “putting on?”  Basically, it means that we become imitators of God.

We are His children, His dearly loved children.  He takes joy in us.  And as a little child tries to imitate their parents, so we should set about imitating our Heavenly Father.  No one has done it better than Jesus!

Application:   I often wondered why all the scriptures about the tabernacle in Exodus 25-30 are repeated in Exodus 36-39.  It is because the tabernacle was central to what God was doing in Israel.  It was a dwelling for God to live among them.  This was the reason for coming out of Egypt and entering the Promised Land.

I used to wonder why there are four gospels, three which are very similar?  They are NOT the scriptures of Jesus in heaven; they ARE the scriptures of Jesus on earth.  And on earth is where I am living.  I need to know how to live here.  I need to know how to face temptations and trials here.  I need an example of how to live here.  Living like Jesus is central to what God is doing in Leon today.  Allowing the Holy Spirit to direct my daily life even as He did Jesus is the key for Leon to live the Christ-life God desires.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, as earthly parents take joy in their children imitating them, may you take joy in me as the Holy Spirit helps me to imitate you!  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

Maturing Where Planted

June 08, 2019: SOAP #3474:  Ecclesiastes 7-9; Ephesians 4

Scripture:  Ephesians (NIV) 4:14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.

Observation:  When we first come to Christ, we are spiritual infants.   We know little about God.  Our experience in following the ways of the world is much greater than our experience in following the ways of Christ.

God is very interested in our growth.  The previous verses in this passage (8-13) tell us that God has given gifts to the church to help us grow and mature.  These gifts are people that God has placed in the church to teach us and guide us as we grow in Christ.  They set examples and encourage us as we get involved in the ministry God has for us.

Application:   Infants are attracted by many things.  They need parents to help them focus on what is good and safe.  (I still have a small scar on my hand from not following my mothers warning about a hot stove.)

There are many winds of Christianized teachings blowing out from TV and radio today.  There are many waves that are so enticing to surfers who like to try this church, then that church.  But I need to be careful and listen to the Spirit anointed pastors and teachers God has placed in the body of believers where God has me.

Prayer:  Holy Spirit, you have placed me in your church where I can best glorify you.  Stop me from running off after some new apostle, teacher, evangelist who has something to entice me away from my spiritual home.  Help me mature where I am planted.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

Not to, but from

June 07, 2019: SOAP #3473:  Ecclesiastes 4-6; Psalm 18; Ephesians 3

Scripture:  Ephesians (NIV) 3:10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Observation:   God’s wisdom is displayed in the working out of His eternal purposes. They are purposes He has had since eternity past and will reach into eternity future!  NOTE:  It is not his eternal purpose which he is going to accomplish—NO—he has accomplished it (past tense) in Christ Jesus!  It was accomplished on the cross!   There is nothing more to be done for them to be accomplished! We need only accept them by faith and walk in them, enjoying their benefits, and praising God for His GREAT GRACE!

Application:   On June 6, much of the world celebrates D-Day.  It was the day set in 1944 for the invasion of Europe to defeat Hitler’s army.  Thirteen months later (May 8, 1945) was VE Day (Victory in Europe). The war was over; the German army surrendered; the fighting was ended.  But there was still much to be done.  The re-building started.  A new government had to be established.  Trials had to be held for war criminals.

On the cross, Jesus defeated the enemy!  The war is over!  There is now no doubt about who won the war!  Jesus won complete victory!  He is the Victor over death, hell, and the grave!  The war is over, but there is still much to do.  Now the Holy Spirit is working in and through me to enforce the Lordship of Jesus in my life, my family, and my circumstances.  We are not fighting to win victory but working to enforce the victory Jesus won!  We are not working to victory, but from victory!  Victory is not our goal; it is our starting place!!!

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, your Son, Jesus fought my battle and won the victory for me!  Now, in your wisdom, you have sent the Holy Spirit to enforce that victory in and through me.  Let the anointing of the Holy Spirit work mightily in me.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

God At Work

June 06, 2019: SOAP #3472:  Ecclesiastes 1-3; Psalm 45: Ephesians 2

Scripture:  Ephesians (NIV) 2:6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

Observation:   Praise God for languages ability to distinguish between the past, present and future! Verse 6 is all past tense. Verse 7 is future!

Verse 7 is based on verse six. What will happen is based on what has already happened! In the coming ages God will set the church as a prize trophy of His amazing grace. We are to the praise of His glorious grace, not to the praise of our great knowledge or ability to save ourselves!

Now in looking back at verse 6, we do not see any credit being given to us or to our work. God is not going to put on display our works, but HIS! We are His workmanship! We are created to do good works, not in our own strength, but in the power of the Spirit, being motivated and directed by that same Spirit! It is God Who raised us up with Christ. It is God Who seated us in heavenly places in Christ Jesus!  God is showing His grace by working in me!

Application:  It is true, not because I believe it, although if I do not believe it, I will not enjoy its benefits, but it is true because He did it and told me about it! His power and veracity are at stake! He could not have done it if He was not able to do it. He should not have said it if He did not do it! Do I believe He is able? Definitely! Do I believe He would lie to me? Of course not!  So, will I let Him set me in a place where I can work for Him?  Yes!  Will I let Him demonstrate His grace through me?  Yes!

Prayer:  I am singing, “Jesus, use me. Oh Lord don’t refuse me.  Surely there’s a work that I can do. (…that You can do through me.)  And even though it’s humble, cause my will to crumble.  Though the cost be great, I’ll work for thee.” Let your grace be seen in me and expressed through me.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

Two Sacrifices

June 05, 2019: SOAP #3471:  Proverbs 30,31; Psalm 33; Ephesians 1

Scripture:  Ephesians (NIV) 1:4 In love 5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

Observation:   Although grace reached to us through the life and work of Jesus, it is clearly found in the heart of our Father God!  In verse six, the grace that is extended freely to us through Christ is seen as belonging to the Father. How He must have suffered to stand aside while His Son purchased our redemption.  Jesus sacrificed His life; but the Father sacrificed His Son!

Jesus is not the “One He used,” but the “One He loves.” Jesus is here spoken of as the “beloved” or the “One he loves.” Do not think that the Father did not hurt when His beloved Son died!

Who can understand the greatness of God’s grace to us? I wonder if we will even understand it better when we get to heaven. We will appreciate it more, for we will understand better the love the Father has for the Son. We will appreciate it more for we will better understand the glory the Son was willing to leave to bring many sons to the Father!  But will we ever fully understand the motivational depths of that grace? Only then will we know!

Application:   This verse helps me better appreciate: “For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son…”  (John 3:16)   The sacrifice for me of Jesus on the cross is because of the sacrifice of God the Father for me in heaven!  Father God determined that what He would gain by sending His Only Begotten Son would make the sacrifice worth the pain and suffering.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, thank you for your sacrifice in sending your Son to die for my sins.  May you be rewarded in gaining a large family of sons and daughters just like Jesus. Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

…in a way worthy…

June 04, 2019: SOAP #3470:  Proverbs 28-29; Psalm 60; Romans 16

Scripture:  Romans (NIV) 16:1 I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church in Cenchrea. 2 I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been a great help to many people, including me.

Observation:   As the Apostle Paul finishes his letter to the church in Rome, he mentions more than twenty-five names plus others associated with them to receive his greetings.  The first one is Phoebe a lady who has been of help to many believers, including Paul.  They are to receive her and give help as she may need.  They are to receive her as one child of God should receive another child of God.

When asked which commandment was the greatest, Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matthew 22:37-39)

Later Jesus said, A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. (John 13:34)

So the “way worthy of the saints” must be loving her the way Christ loved them.

Application:  Jesus has raised the bar for me.  More than loving my brothers and sisters as I love myself, I am to love them the way Jesus loves me!   If we all obeyed this command, what a difference it would make in the church!!!

Prayer:  Holy Spirit, to do this I need your help.  Fill me with the Jesus-kind-of-love.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity! 

A Steady Flowing Stream

June 03, 2019: SOAP #3469:  Proverbs 25-27; Romans 15

Scripture:  Proverbs (NIV) 25:26 Like a muddied spring or a polluted well is a righteous man who gives way to the wicked.

Observation:  Certain expectations are common from a righteous person.  One expects truthfulness and honesty.  One expects kindness.  One expects that their counsel would be wise and in line with God’s word.  One expects that what flows from their life to be a clear, clean stream.  Receiving their counsel is like a drink of fresh water.

But when it is discovered that their counsel is being tainted by some ungodly friends our faith in their counsel is destroyed.  The stream of wisdom flowing from their life is “polluted” and “muddied.”

Application:  A steady flowing stream of clean water will carry out the mud and debris in the puddle.  I need to keep a steady flow of the scriptures through my heart and mind to carry out muddy and polluted thoughts.

Muddy and polluted thoughts can get stuck in my heart so easily as I walk in this polluted world.  I must be faithful every day to allow the pure and clean scriptures to carry off mud and junk stuck in my heart and mind.

Prayer:  Holy Spirit, help me not to let input from friends, input from what I see and hear, and input from reading pollute what flows from my life.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!