My goal

January 10, 2019 (rework from 2010): SOAP #3325:  Gen 25-26; Ps 6; Luke 10

Scripture:  Luke (NIV) 10:41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Observation:  Jesus was in the village and Martha had opened her house to him.  The visit seems not to have been planned, so now that he was present, there were many things needing her attention, very likely the preparation of a meal.   Martha needed more help.  Her sister Mary should be helping, but, where was she?  Mary was with the honored guest, just listening!  In Martha’s mind, Mary was doing nothing—but to Jesus what Mary was doing was the most important.  Martha was doing something for Jesus (“making preparations”); Mary was doing something to Jesus (listening).  Martha was serving, but Mary was pleasing.

Application: Today, I too will have many things demanding my attention.  I too have that same “Honored Guest” in my life.  I too will be misunderstood.  I too need to take time from my busy-ness and listen to Him!  I want to do more than just serve Him, I want my serving to please Him!

Prayer:   Lord, many things will demand my time today.  You are the Honored Guest in my life.  I want to listen to you!   Your pleasure is my goal.   Amen.

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

Doing HIS Ministry

January 9, 2019: SOAP #3324:  Genesis 23-24; Luke 9

Scripture:  Luke (NIV) 9:1 When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. 3 He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic. 4 Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. 5 If people do not welcome you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave their town, as a testimony against them.” 6 So they set out and went from village to village, preaching the gospel and healing people everywhere….
10  When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done.

Observation:  Jesus called the apostles together.  Jesus gave them power and authority.  Jesus sent them out to preach the truth of the kingdom and to heal the sick.  Jesus gave them instructions for their journey.  They went out.  They preached the gospel.  They healed people.  Then they returned and reported back to Jesus.

It was HIS plan.  They obeyed HIS directives.  They went out under HIS authority.  They continued HIS ministry.

Application:  In these verses, I see a good plan for my personal ministry.  I must listen to HIM.  I must hear him speak HIS plan.  I must obey HIS directives.  I must move under HIS authority.  I must minister in HIS name.  And I must report back to HIM!

Prayer:   Holy Spirit, anoint me to fulfill Jesus’ ministry in the world where I live.  Help me keep Jesus at the center of all I do.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

A Good Seed-scatterer

January 8, 2019: SOAP #3323:  Genesis 20-22; Luke 8

Scripture:  Luke (NIV) 8:4 While a large crowd was gathering, and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: 5 “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. 6 Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.” When he said this, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Observation:  Jesus went on to explain: “The seed is the word of God.” (vs 11) The different types of ground represented the different hearts that would hear the word of God.  Their response would be in accordance to the condition of their heart.

Recently in considering Jerry Gano’s devotional thought on these verses, I noticed that something was missing.  There was no warning for the sower to be careful as to where he sowed.  The sower was not warned about wasting the good seed on ground that would be less fruitful.

Application: The Lord of the harvest is not willing that any should perish, so He sends us into all the world and to every field.   As one of the laborers in my Father’s field, I am to be generous in spreading the seed.  When talking about the Lord with another worker, I do not know who might be listening behind my back or around the corner.  It is more important that I be a seed scatterer than a field judge.

Prayer:   Holy Spirit, make me a good seed scatterer.   Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

He still does!!!

January 7, 2019: SOAP #3320:  Genesis 18-19; Psalm 3; Luke 7

Scripture:  Psalm (NIV) 3:4 To the LORD I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill. Selah 5 I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me. 6 I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side. 7 Arise, O LORD! Deliver me, O my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked.

Observation:  In Acts 12, Peter experienced this verse.  He had been thrown in jail and was sleeping chained to two guards. A few days earlier, James had been killed.  The plan was to do the same to Peter.  I wonder if Peter meditated on the above passage before going to sleep that night?  When the angel arrived to deliver Peter and the cell filled with light, Peter was sleeping so soundly that the angel had to strike him on the side to wake him.

Application:  Worry has robbed many people a good night’s rest.  It is rest they will need in the morning.  It is a rest that God has ordained for them.  When serving with the Marines in Viet Nam, I wrote verse 5 on my helmet.  I knew the Lord had sent me there; I knew I could trust Him for protection.  I could lie down; I could sleep; I could wake in the morning BECAUSE the LORD sustained me.  He still does!!!

Prayer:   Holy Spirit, there are times when worry and fear rob God’s sons and daughters of rest.  Bring this Psalm to our remembrance.  Remind us of how capable our Heavenly Father is in caring for us.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

From WITH Him to FOR Him

January 6, 2019: SOAP #3319:  Genesis 15-17; Luke 6

Scripture:  Luke (NIV) 6:12 One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray and spent the night praying to God. 13 When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: 14 Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, 15 Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, 16 Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

Observation:  Jesus called his disciples to him.  They were learners.  They wanted to be close to Him.  They were students.  They wanted to hear what He had to say.  They listened to His teachings.

But that day (Luke 6:12) was different.  They had been called to follow Him, but that day He appointed twelve of them to a higher level of relationship.  These twelve would be His apostles.  Not only would they be with Him, but He would send them out.  They would remain His disciples, but in His plan, they would be more.  They would be sent to represent Him.  They would minister in His name!

Application:  My Lord has a plan for me.  He wants me to learn from His words.  He loves to have me close.  But He has a plan for me that goes beyond my joy and satisfaction in being His child.  He plans for me to grow into a mature son, a servant that He can use for His purpose.  He wants to teach me how to think like He thinks.  He wants me to see things as He sees them.  He wants my words to represent Him.

Prayer:   Lord, you have called me to be your disciple.  You have been working in my life so that I might represent you.  Holy Spirit, help me to speak correctly and clearly in Jesus Name.   Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

One Throw of the Net

January 5, 2019: SOAP #3320:  Genesis 12-14; Luke 5

Scripture:  Luke (NIV) 5:3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” 6 When they had done so, they caught so many fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. …11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

Observation:  Simon and his fellow fishermen had “worked hard all night and not caught anything.”  When they threw out their nets at Jesus command, catching anything would have been an improvement.  Catching a net full would have shown that Jesus had unique power over nature.  Catching enough to sink a boat would been a memorable occasion.  But Jesus went even further—they caught enough to sink two boats!!!

Jesus was not after the fish; He was after the fishermen.  The fishermen were after the fish, they had been fishing all night; but they left the boats, the nets and the fish to go after Jesus!

Application: When He provides abundance and I stay back with the blessings instead of going after Him, I believe I grieve the heart of Jesus!  I must see the abundance as a demonstration of His extravagant love for me.  My actions in dealing with the abundance can demonstrate my love for Him.

Prayer:   Holy Spirit, remind me of this passage when my efforts do not bring about what is needed.  Remind me that the Lord, in one throw of the net, can do for me what He did for Simon and the fishermen.  May I never forget that Jesus is of much more value than the abundance He provide!   Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

…He found the place…

January 4, 2019: SOAP #3319:  Genesis 9-11; Luke 4

Scripture:  Luke (NIV) 4:16 He [Jesus] went to Nazareth…and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. 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 was not handed a book with numbered pages divided into chapters and verses—He was handed a scroll.  It contained only the text of Isaiah.  Chapter divisions were added about 900 years later.  Chapters were broken into verses 300 to 400 years later.  So, without chapter and verses, Jesus “found the place where it is written.”

To me, this clearly indicates that Jesus knew the scriptures.  He had studied the scriptures.  He was familiar with the scrolls containing the scriptures.  He realized that He had been sent to fulfill these very words.  With clarity of understanding of the scriptures, and under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, Jesus announced the beginning of His public ministry.

Application: I need to be able to “find the place” where God has spoken to me.  With chapter and verse indicators, with Bible dictionaries and concordances, with search capabilities on computers it is much easier for me, but I still need to be able to “find the place where it is written.”  I need to be able to say, “This is what it says, AND this is what it means to me.  This is how God wants me to apply this truth. Today I will stop doing/I will start doing this!”

Prayer:  Holy Spirit, you are still speaking through the Word today.  May I be faithful to “find the place” where you have spoken to me.    Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!