Making It Personal!

September 16, 2018: SOAP #3209:  Ezekiel 40-41; Psalm 128; Revelation 21

Scripture:  Ezekiel (NIV) 40:1 In the twenty-fifth year of our exile, at the beginning of the year, on the tenth of the month, in the fourteenth year after the fall of the city—on that very day the hand of the LORD was upon me and he took me there. 2 In visions of God he took me to the land of Israel and set me on a very high mountain, on whose south side were some buildings that looked like a city.

Observation:  Most of us can remember where we were when something dramatic took place.  I remember where I was when President Kennedy was assassinated. I remember where I was when planes were flown into the side of the World Trade Center in New York City.  I also remember many specific times and places when God spoke to me.  I remember when I first knelt at an altar and arose a new creation.  I remember looking at the brown tile floor to see if my feet were touching the floor.  I was floating!  I was too young to be able to explain what had happened, but I cannot forget that time.  Ezekiel remembered the dates AND what God said and showed him.  I remember the locations and settings AND what God showed me and said to me.

Application: As I consider this, too many specific times come to my mind to write them all in a SOAP devotion.  The memory of the specific settings indicates the importance of Who was speaking to me and what He said.  I remember where I was when God revealed to me that a major characteristic of God revealed in the Bible is that God is a Speaker!   He talks!  From Genesis 1:3 to Revelation 20:22 we find passages recording His spoken words!

Prayer:   Holy Spirit, thank you for refreshing my memory of the times you have clearly spoken to me.  You make it personal!  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

Each Person

September 15, 2018: SOAP #3208:  Ezekiel 38-39; Psalm 145; Revelation 20

Scripture:  Revelation (NIV) 20:12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15 If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Observation:  Everyone, “great and small.”  Everyone who had died at sea or had been buried at sea.  Everyone who had been buried or whose body was never found and left hidden on earth.  Everyone!  Each person was judged according to what they had done.

Good deeds or bad deeds.  Many deeds or few deeds.  What makes the difference?  Names written in the “book of life!”  These people are bona-fide carriers of the resurrected Life of Jesus!   They have been born again and their birth recorded in heaven!

Application: “Each person” includes me.  I am thankful that the “book of life” includes me also!   My name has been there since I asked Jesus to forgive my sins and to live in me as my Lord.  He has veto power over my decisions.  When I walk in agreement, I am blest!   When I go my own way, I suffer the consequences.  When I confess my sins, He is faithful and just and continues to forgive me and cleanse me from all unrighteousness!  We are definitely in this together!

Prayer:    Heavenly Father, thank you for loving for me and providing for my eternal life.  Jesus, thank you for dying for me and living your resurrected life in me.  Thank you for allowing me to consider your righteousness as mine.  Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

It’s Practice Time

September 14, 2018: SOAP #3207:  Ezekiel 36-37; Psalm 110; Revelation 19

Scripture:  Revelation (NIV) 19:11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. …14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean….
19 Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army. 20 But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshipped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulphur. 21 The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.

Observation:  This chapter covers the culmination of wars: The Rider, known as Faithful and True, on the white horse followed by the armies of heaven verses the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies.  It will be a one-sided war; it could be said “a one-individual war.”  One army will be observing, and cheering on, its Champion; the other army will be wiped out.

Application:  It goes without saying, “The key is to be in the right army!”  I do not have to wait for that day to cheer on my Champion!   Let’s get some practice here where we now live.

Prayer:   Jesus, you are the amazing Rider on the white horse!   You are Faithful and True!   You are the Living Word of God!  Your holiness directs your justice.  You are ever at war against sin.  In death you defeated satan!  With the word of your mouth you will defeat all satan’s armies!  Your life is MUCH MORE POWERFUL than your death!  And it is your life in me!    Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

A Warning and A Thanksgiving

September 13, 2018: SOAP #3206:  Ezekiel 33-35; Revelation 18

Scripture:  Ezekiel (NIV) 33:18 If a righteous man turns from his righteousness and does evil, he will die for it.
19 And if a wicked man turns away from his wickedness and does what is just and right, he will live by doing so.

Observation:  God is faithful to give warnings.  I cannot live a life of selfishness and pride and expect God to give me His blessings.  Sin is sin and has always been sin.  God judges sin.  Just consider what it cost Jesus to pay for freeing us from sin.  Jesus did not die so that we could ask Him to live in our life and then continue to sin!

Application:  Thank the Lord he allows U-turns.  I do not need to follow a path of sin to destruction.  God so loved me that He send His one and only Son to die for my sins!   When I accept his forgiveness and make Him my Lord, He sends His Holy Spirit to live inside me and help me to overcome sin!   It is important for me to allow the Holy Spirit to teach me how to live.

Prayer:    Heavenly Father, you have provided twice for me.  You provided your Son, Jesus to die as the payment for my sins.  AND you provided your Holy Spirit to live within me to enable me to do what pleases you and to resist temptation.  You knew me, and You knew what I needed.  You thought of everything!  Aman

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

Learning from others

September 12, 2018: SOAP #3205:  Daniel 3-4; Psalm 81; Revelation 17

Scripture:  Daniel (NIV) 4:34 At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes towards heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation.
35 All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No-one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?”

Observation:  King Nebuchadnezzar is writing his testimony to the nations of the world.  He had just experienced 7 years of being driven from his throne and living in the wild like an animal.  Now his sanity has been restored and he is willing to honor the God of heaven.  Through what he experienced, he learned an important lesson.

Understanding God’s sovereignty is a lesson we all need to learn.  “No one can hold back his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”  He answers to no one.  He works according to His own loving wisdom.  No one can hold back His power!  He will do what He has determined to do!

Application:  Thank God, in His wisdom, He created us to learn from our own experience, OR to learn from the experience of others.  I want to learn from King Nebuchadnezzar’s experience (here in Daniel 4)!  My response to such an awesome God is to walk in humility! (Daniel 4:37)

Prayer:    Holy Spirit, I pray you find me a teachable servant.  I know there will be some lessons I will learn from the personal experiences through which you take me.  However, I pray that I may be pliable in your care and learn from the experience of others.    Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

The guard gave… God gave…

September 11, 2018: SOAP #3204:  Daniel 1-2; Revelation 16

Scripture:  Daniel (NIV) 1:11 Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” 14 So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. 15 At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food.
16 So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.
17 To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.

Observation:  It was the guard’s responsibility to sharpen these four young men physically and mentally.  He fed them as instructed with the best food in the land, food from the king’s table.  Daniel asked for a diet of vegetables and water.  After a trial period, the guard agreed to give them vegetables, BUT God gave them knowledge and understanding!   The guard honored God by giving them what was in his power; God honored the guard by giving what only He could give.  After reading verses 18-20, I am sure the guard was honored for preparing such fine young men!

Application:  I need to honor God by using what I have; God will honor me by giving what only He can give!  What God wants of me may seem totally inadequate.  How can my part ever fulfill what is needed?  But God is not looking for my great gift; He is looking for my obedience!   If I honor Him by being obedient, He will more than make up for the lack seen in my part.

Prayer:   Heavenly Father, I want to honor you by being faithful to do my part.  You will be glorified when you take my little and make it sufficient! Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!

The THEME of their song!

September 10, 2018: SOAP #3203:  Lamentations 3-5; Revelation 15

Scripture:  Revelation (NIV) 15:2 And I saw what looked like a sea of glass mixed with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and over the number of his name. They held harps given them by God 3 and sang the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb: “Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the ages. 4 Who will not fear you, O Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

Observation:  Having no way to record the music and having no way to put notes on a five-line musical staff, John describes the music the best he can with words.  He tells us who is singing—ones who ended up in victory over the beast.  He tells us of their instruments—harps. And he tells us the words of their song!  The theme of their song is none other than the Lord God Almighty!   They sing of his accomplishments and of his character.

Application:  The book of Revelation shows me that God likes music!  In my heart there rings a melody!  It was sent from heaven above!”  So, as I drive the school bus up and down the dusty roads of Kansas, I can practice my songs for heaven.  I can sing about the works of God that I see all around me.  I can sing of his love and holiness.  I can sing songs I have learned in the past, and even make up songs from my heart.

Prayer:   Heavenly Father, I am glad I do not have to wait until I get to heaven to sing of your love and justice!  You have placed “a melody in my heart” and you “keep me singing as I go!”   Amen

Pastor Leon
Making friends for time and eternity!