S O A P

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Job 18:21 Surely such is the dwelling of an evil man; such is the place of one who does not know God. O-bservation: These are the words of Job’s so-called friend Bildad. Initially, he came with two others to console Job. But in time, he decided to place the blame on his friend for the suffering he had been enduring. He accused Job of wickedness and said  because of his sin the light of his life was extinguished and the memory of him was completely gone from the land. He said people abhor Job from the east to the west that he would be childless and this was the way it is for a truly evil man. A-pplication: I believe when a person is truly suffering and in severe pain, loss, and regret, a true friend should give them a pass, so to speak. None of us are God. So why should we try and operate with judgement and severity of response? That’s God’s prerogative should he choose to do so. However, for you and me, our words should be few and out tears many. Jesus said we are to mourn with those who mourn. I can’t...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Acts 26:32 Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.” O-bservation: After the King and his associates had left the room and Paul was moved temporarily back to prison, King Agrippa said to Festus, the Governor, “If only Paul would not have appealed to Rome, he could have been set free right here. He did nothing to deserve death or imprisonment.” But please remember my friend, “In God’s Work There Are No If Onlys.” A-pplication: Either we believe the words of King David when he said, “The steps of a good man are ordered of the Lord,” or we don’t. I don’t mean to be abrupt here, but the truth is that for the child of God, the two words “If Only” shouldn’t be a familiar statement for us. I believe my steps are ordered of the Lord. Paul had told the Saints in Ephesus in Acts 19:21 that he wanted to go to Rome. So when Paul appealed his case to Caesar, it was his way of saying, “No matter what happens, I will get to my God-given calling to visit Rome even if it is...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Acts 22:30 The commander wanted to find out exactly why Paul was being accused by the Jews. So the next day he released him and ordered the chief priests and all the members of the Sanhedrin to assemble. Then he brought Paul and had him stand before them. O-bservation: Whether or not Paul was a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin before his conversion is somewhat sketchy; however, there is a real possibility he was. That being said, can you imagine the joy Paul must have felt when he was brought before this same group that he had left to follow Jesus instead? Some may think Paul was scared, but in my estimation, nothing could be further from the truth. For Paul, it was “Every Leader’s Dream.” A-pplication: If a person purports to be a leader but then runs from the leading group of influencers in their sphere of influence, that person is not a true leader. When St. Paul stood before King Agrippa sometime later, in Acts 26, his opening remarks were, “I consider myself fortunate to speak with you!” Another translation says, “I think myself happy to speak with you!” That’s leadership. True leaders step up...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Acts 20:22 And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. O-bservation: St. Paul was a man led by the Spirit of God. How else could he have moved beyond the Jewish tradition into a world of Gentiles to spread the glorious love of Jesus? Yet, wherever he went, he went under the direction of the Holy Spirit. He calls it being “Compelled By The Spirit.” A-pplication: This walk of faith that we Jesus followers have embraced often feels as if there is no rhyme nor reason to it. I cannot tell you how many times in my life I have awakened in the morning knowing I must do something or go somewhere that day, or meet with someone I haven’t talked to in a year, and I have responded because I was “Compelled By The Spirit.” The times I’ve resisted the Spirit’s leading, I’ve had no rest until I did what I was compelled to do. Sometimes, doing what I was compelled to do by the Spirit made sense after I did it, and other times the reason for doing it didn’t become clear to me...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Job 13:5 If only you would be altogether silent! For you, that would be wisdom. O-bservation: Job had suffered such physical and emotional duress it’s amazing he lived through it. During his terrible ordeal, three friends came to visit him. Each of them had ideas as to why Job was suffering as he was. But their offerings so frustrated Job that he finally told them to be quiet because if they silenced themselves, it would be much wiser than what they were saying. A-pplication: I suppose this verse is implying that often “Silence Is Wisdom.” It was Mark Twain who made the statement, “It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt.” These so-called friends of Job had never experienced tragedy and grief and physical sickness all at once, as had Job. Yet they were pontificating on things they had no proof about as to why it had all happened. There have been times when I have spoken to issues in another person’s life. Even though I’ve never experienced those issues, I’ve spoken to them as if I had. And today, I regret having ever done so. So perhaps....

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Acts 16:18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her. O-bservation: Paul and Silas had traveled to Philippi and were experiencing great success in preaching the gospel there. All the while, a young woman who was demon-possessed and could tell the future followed them for days crying out that Paul and Silas were men of God and that people should listen to them. As this passage says, Paul finally got so frustrated he turned on the woman and commanded the spirit to come out of her in Jesus’ name. Immediately, her chains of spiritual bondage were broken because the spirit left her. A-pplication: When the woman was finally free of her chains of bondage, it meant that she could no longer help her bosses, who used her demonic talents to make money. Their livelihood was compromised by these two preachers, who they saw as problem makers for them. Soon Paul and Silas were thrown into prison because of these men’s complaints. That’s another...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Job 10:18 Why then did you bring me out of the womb? I wish I had died before any eye saw me. O-bservation: These are Job’s words, who perhaps suffered more than any man in history. In one day, he lost his huge business, enterprise, his house was leveled, and all 10 of his children were killed! He was then stricken with boils across the entirety of his body. He scaled the boils with broken pottery while his friends encouraged him to curse God and die. It was so bad that Job said, “God, why did you let me be born? I wish I had died before anyone even saw me!” But here’s what I want to say from my six decades of living, “In The Worst of Times, It’s Not Over!” A-pplication: In all of my life, I’ve never met a successful person with some age on them who has completely escaped suffering of any kind. It just hasn’t happened. Why? Because it’s the tremendous pressure of life’s uncertainties and surprises that develops true grit. Job was begging to die. He hated the thought of his existence when at one time, he walked in triumph. However,...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Job 7:17 What is mankind that you make so much of them, that you give them so much attention? O-bservation: Job, in a very desperate state, asks God why He cares about humankind. In contemporary  terms, Job might as well have said, “What’s The Big Deal About Humankind?” Job had encountered the absolute worst experience a man could have in the history of forever. He had lost everything and was now sitting in an ash heap as sick as a dog. A-pplication: This verse sounds almost like a replica of the words of King David in Psalm 8:5, yet when David asked the same question Job is asking here, David was asking it more in terms of adoration for our great God Almighty reaching down to love us every minute of the day. David was saying, “You’re so amazing because you love us.” Whereas Job is almost saying, “We’re such idiots and such low-class failures that it calls into question why YOU, who claims to be all-powerful, would do that?” Job is discouraged when he asks the question, and David is encouraged. With my limited understanding of Holy Scripture and my weak understanding of history as recorded,...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Acts 11:21 The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord. O-bservation: After Stephen was martyred for his faith, Jesus’ followers scattered everywhere preaching the gospel. Most went to Jewish people to deliver the Good News, but the scripture tells us in the previous verses that some disciples broke off into Antioch and started preaching to Greeks (Gentiles), and the Bible says, “The Hand Of The Lord was with them.” A-pplication: Two things must be noted here. First, Cornelius and his family were NOT the first Gentiles to receive the Good News in the New Testament. This group from Antioch was the first group of Gentiles to be saved. The second thing that must be acknowledged is that “The Hand Of The Lord” was on these unnamed messengers of the gospel. There is so much done by the hands of humans in this current age, but so often, it doesn’t last or is not sustainable. However, when “The Hand Of The Lord” touches one of His messengers, be they male or female, be they name or unnamed, it will have an ongoing effect on people’s lives. Whatever you...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Acts 9:25 But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall. O-bservation: This is the story of Paul the Apostle, who became a zealous young believer in Jesus as the Messiah. Paul, formerly known as Saul, was a young Jewish lawyer who, before his salvation, was zealous for his religious faith to the point of taking Christians from their homes and having them tried and jailed for believing in Jesus. But the tables were turned, and his friends lowered him through a hole in the wall to protect him from Jewish leaders who wanted him killed for preaching that Jesus was Messiah. A-pplication: Jesus taught us that we are to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. But I remember when my life was forever changed at the age of 19, and I was so zealous for Jesus that there were several times I almost got into some real trouble. Sometimes “Zealous Inexperience” can do more harm than good. Paul had been so zealous for his religious faith that he had become somewhat of a poster boy for keeping everything Jewish. But after his conversion to...