July 11, 2018: SOAP #3142: Isaiah 8-10; Hebrews 8

Scripture:  Hebrews (NIV) 8:6 But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises. 7 For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. 8 But God found fault with the people and said: “The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. 9 It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord. 10 This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 11 No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. 12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” 13 By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and ageing, will soon disappear.

Observation:   The greatest novel ever written is the progression of God’s work down through history.  The environment, the temptation, the crisis, the plan, the first stage to solve the crisis, the characters, both villains and the heroes, the drama, the victory.  It is all there.  And it is reality.  It is truth.  No fiction here!  At times it is written as prophecy and other times as history.

Application:  As I consider the progression of God’s plan in history, I know that God has a progression for my life.  My life is not static, but fluid.  It is flowing through days, weeks, months, years.

Prayer:    Holy Spirit, I trust you to direct the flow of my life.  You know what is ahead and how to prepare me for the future.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

Better, much better!

July 10, 2018: SOAP #3141: Micah 5-7; Hebrews 7

Scripture:  Hebrews (NIV) 7:18 The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19 (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.

Observation:   When Jesus died on the cross, the law given through Moses was set aside.  The required animal sacrifices could never pay for the sins of a man.  So, they had to be repeated year after year.  The sacrifice was a way man could acknowledge that he had sinner, but the sacrifice did nothing to help him do better.  What a wonderful difference—the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

Application:  That one sacrifice truly covered the debt of my sin.  With my sins properly forgiven, I stand before God and God, by His Holy Spirit, comes to live inside me!!!  The presence of the Holy Spirit convicts me when I do something wrong and helps me resist temptation.  This is so much better!

Prayer:   Heavenly Father, how blest I am to be living after the cross instead of before the cross.  How blest I am to have your Holy Spirit sharing my life, teaching me, warning me, pointing out when I sin, leading me to repent, and helping me to walk in victory. What a fellowship we enjoy.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

Do I know what He thinks?

July 09, 2018: SOAP #3140: Micah 1-4; Hebrews 6

Scripture:  Micah (NIV) 4:11 But now many nations are gathered against you. They say, “Let her be defiled, let our eyes gloat over Zion!” 12 But they do not know the thoughts of the LORD; they do not understand his plan, he who gathers them like sheaves to the threshing-floor.

Observation:   Down through the years, many nations have wanted to wipe the nation of Israel off the map.  Even today, nations that surround Israel do not acknowledge that Israel should have a homeland.  They do not know God’s thoughts.  They do not know that God has claimed Israel for His purpose.  God’s love for Israel is greater than their hate.  God takes their hatred against Israel as personal, which puts them in a very bad place.  But the truth also is: God loves the individuals in those nations with the same love He has for all individuals.  He paid the same price for their salvation as He did for every individual in the world.  (John 3:16) Anyone from any nation can become God’s child through faith in Jesus’ death as payment for their sins.

Application:  I should not claim to know everything about anything until I know what God thinks about it.  My final answer about any matter must include God’s input.

Prayer:   Holy Spirit, you have the mind of Christ.  So, put a hold on my tongue when I start to speak in error.  (1Corinthians 2:15)  I need you to guide my thoughts. Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

The Faithful Truth-speaker!

July 08, 2018: SOAP #3139: Hosea 13-14; Psalm 100, 102; Hebrews 5

Scripture:  Psalm (NIV) 100:5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Observation:   God’s faithfulness is as eternal as God.  It is His nature to be faithful and continue to carry out His word.  When He blesses, He is being faithful.  And when He punishes, He is being just as faithful.

People in heaven will sing of God’s faithfulness.  They will rejoice in His faithfulness to apply the death of His Son, Jesus to cover all the sins for which they have repented!   They will rejoice in His faithfulness!

People in hell will also have a fresh appreciation for God’s faithfulness.  God was truthful when He said the wages of sin is death.  God was faithful when He warned them of the torment of hell.  They will have a new appreciation for God’s faithfulness when they look around and cannot find some of their partners in sin.  Their partners had repented, asked and received God’s forgiveness.  God was faithful to “forgive their sins and cleanse them from all unrighteousness!” (1John 1:9) They will appreciate God’s faithfulness when they see people who claimed to have repented but did not make Jesus LORD of their lives and continued to live as though sin did not matter.

Application:  God is faithful to Himself.  He is a truth=speaker!   He is faithful to His Word.  I can count on His faithfulness.

Prayer:   Heavenly Father, I count on your faithfulness.  You are faithful to your Son, Jesus.  You will honor the sacrifice He made for my sins.  Because of Jesus, I am forgiven and cleansed from sin. Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

What I Could Never Provide for Myself!

July 07, 2018: SOAP #3138: Hosea 10-12; Psalm 73; Hebrews 4

Scripture:  Hebrews (NIV) 4:8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.

Observation:  Joshua led the children of Israel into the promised land, giving them rest from war, and rest in having their own land.  But a greater rest awaited.  A rest from making the sacrifices required by the law.  By placing one’s faith in the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, we have rest from the requirements of bringing sacrifices to the tabernacle.

Jesus told the woman at the well (John 4:21) that people would be free to worship God in any place, and at any time.  They would have rest from relying on their own works as they would come to rely on the work of Jesus!

Application:  There is no way I can save myself.  There is nothing I can do that would make amends for my sins.  I can never do enough good deeds to outweigh my sins.  Praise the Lord, there is one deed that has enough value to outweigh my sins—and all the sins in the world.  It is the death of Jesus on the cross.

Prayer:    Lord Jesus, thank you for making the sinless sacrifice that has the value needed to cover sin!  With humility and thanksgiving, I accept from you what I could never provide for myself.  Thank you for forgiving my sins.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

Never Stop Growing!

July 06, 2018: SOAP #3137: Hosea 6-9; Hebrews 3

Scripture:  Hebrews (NIV) 3:14 We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.

Observation:   The goal mentioned in this verse is that our faith is just as strong at the end of our life as it was at the beginning of our spiritual life.  Hebrews 11:13 speaks of people “still living by faith when they died.”

Application:  After years of prayer, Bible reading, and joining with other believers to worship and study God’s Word, my faith should be stronger today than when, as a young child, I first received Christ as my Savior.  And, my faith should continue to grow as I continue to grow older.

Prayer:   Heavenly Father, every day, speak to me and through me.  Every day may it be easier for others to see You living in me.   Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

The Main Story

July 05, 2018: SOAP #3136: Hosea 2-5; Hebrews 2

Scripture:  Hebrews (NIV) 2:10 In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11 Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So, Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.

Observation:   The main story of the Bible is not what man can do for God, but what God has done for man!   History is truly “His story!”  The above verse deals with the part of the story where God so loves the mankind He created that He sends His sinless Son, to become a man and die for man’s sins.  In this way people can become part of the sinless family of God!  Now when man’s sins have been properly covered with a sinless blood sacrifice—now when man is forgiven, the living Jesus is not ashamed to identify with man as brothers.

Application:  After all that Jesus suffered for me, I should live my life as being honored to be a part of God’s family.  The cost payed to release me from sin proves that I am loved and that I have value to God.  The main story line is not what I can do for God, but what God has done for me! –and what He has prepared for my future!

Prayer:   Jesus, forgive me for taking my place in your family so lightly.  Such a high honor deserves my deepest appreciation.  Thank you for forgiving me and accepting me. Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!