S O A P

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Isaiah 15:1a A prophecy against Moab. O-bservation: The prophet Isaiah begins a prophecy AGAINST Moab in this verse. The prophecy fills two full chapters of the book of Isaiah. And, of course, the scathing prophecies all came to pass in time. Immediately after this prophecy, Isaiah gives another prophecy, and this time it’s AGAINST Damascus. Many of the prophecies of Isaiah are against someone or some people group. A-pplication: This is largely the story of the prophets in the Old Testament, whether the major or the minor prophets. God’s word was scathingly delivered through these men and usually AGAINST the leadership of these nations and what they stood for and what they were doing. I’m going to ask you a question. Doesn’t it seem like God is more upset in the Old Testament than in the New Testament? In the Old Testament, the Lord is always laying down the law, men are perpetually breaking it, and in the end,  something has to die to atone for the breaking of the law. But in the New Testament, there seems to be so much more joy in the camp. Yes, Christians are persecuted as a way of life in...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Isaiah 13:19 Babylon, the jewel of kingdoms, the pride and glory of the Babylonians, will be overthrown by God like Sodom and Gomorrah. O-bservation: Isaiah, the prophet of God, predicted that just like Sodom and Gomorrah, Babylon’s great nation/city would fall. Nebuchadnezzar was a ruthless king. What he built in Babylon was beyond description. This great king built the city into an art, literature, and science center. It became the splendor of the Middle East and the envy of the Assyrians. Yet Babylon became so full of itself that it imploded. In one night, under the rule of Belshazzar, the Medo-Persian ruler came in and destroyed it. Quite like Sodom and Gomorrah. A-pplication: I don’t believe it had to be that way. I truly believe I will see Nebuchadnezzar in heaven. His change from Daniel chapter one to the end of Daniel chapter four is one of the greatest conversion stories ever. After seven years of living like an animal (which Daniel had foretold would happen), he was restored in every way to his kingdom. When he was, he gave glory to God. Here was a heathen king who truly repented and served the God of Israel....

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Isaiah 8:19 When someone tells you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? O-bservation: Isaiah speaks to some of his own followers who were being pressed to seek spiritual help from the other side. Isaiah asked, “Why would you get your spiritual help from mediums and soothsayers who fake that demons are talking to them with weird sounds? Why would you seek help for the living among the dead?” A-pplication: Israel had, at one time, served the only true and wise and living God among all other nations. Yet the people of Israel had such a desire to be like the world that they forsook the living God of all the ages for fake sounds from the grave. Isaiah asked, “Why would you do that?” Yet we see it happening here in our nation again. Every weird and wacky spiritual crock gets a pass from the media and people in general, but if it has to do with Jesus, the living God, they balk. It’s as if our country is “Enamored With Death.” Anything weird having to do...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Micah 7:11 The day for building your walls will come, the day for extending your boundaries. O-bservation: Micah, the prophet, speaks for God in this passage and proclaims that though Israel has sinned and has messed up in a terrible way, by the grace of God, the country will rise again. When the prophet said that a day will come when you will build your walls and extend your boundaries, he was saying, “Your Best Days Are In Front Of You.” A-pplication: Here’s what I want to say to you, “Your Best Days Are In Front Of You!” That’s right! However, you have to believe that. You have to believe that God is a forgiving God. You have to believe that God takes your messes and turns them into dynamic messages if you will let Him. You have to believe that God is in the restoration business. If you will believe those statements, then I’m telling you, “Your Best Days Are In Front Of You!” You may be saying, “But Rich I’m in my sixties and it feels like everything is over.” My wife’s Auntie, Huldah Buntain, went to heaven this past week. She was 96! Her...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Hosea 13:5-6 I cared for you in the wilderness, in the land of burning heat. When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me. O-bservation: As the Lord speaks through the prophet Hosea, we see “Satan’s Temptation Pattern.” First, God takes care of us in our darkest hour until we are finally free. We know Satan won’t since he was the one who bought about our darkest hour. Then God provides for us out of nothing in the worst of conditions. Once that happens, we turn our back on God, somehow believing we were the ones who pulled ourselves out of our trouble. That’s exactly what Israel did. And that’s what we do today. Because that’s “Satan’s Temptation Pattern.” A-pplication: No matter how desperate we are, God has always been there as our refuge. More often than not, most of us turn to God out of crisis. During our season of crisis, God responds to our cries. He sticks with us in the worst of times, and then out of nowhere, His provision comes our way. We are amazed and initially give Him praise and thanksgiving. But after...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Hosea 10:12 Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you. O-bservation: When Hosea spoke of sowing righteousness, he was speaking to the nation of Israel. This word, righteousness, means to sow all the good things you know God would have you sow. When that command is obeyed, what follows is a harvest of God’s unfailing love and grace. For this to happen, Hosea said we literally must be willing to break up all the spiritually hard places in our lives so God can shower us with everything good that he has for us. A-pplication: Some years ago, Robyn and I went on a cruise together. During that cruise, she said I want you to get a massage. That wasn’t something I was accustomed to. But I can tell you this that guy just about killed me. I said, “Man, why do you have to hurt me like that?” He said, “I’m breaking up places in your muscles that have accumulated some kind of something in them.” (I can’t remember.) He said, “You’ll...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Hosea 6:6 For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings. O-bservation: The prophet Hosea speaks for God. The word “Mercy” is better translated as “Love.” The prophet said that what God really wants is for His people to love others all the time and not continually look to their burnt sacrifices as a scapegoat for their sins, which resulted from their hostility toward their fellow human beings. In other words, they were saying through their actions, “I know I’m going to sin. Let me get my sacrifice ready beforehand.” A-pplication: My third son, Graham, is the joy of our lives. At 6 months of age, he was stricken with spinal meningitis. He’s almost completely well but did suffer some amount of Brain Damage due to the infection. In his case, it means that he does a couple of things wrong that he knows are wrong, but he can’t seem to help himself. There appears to be almost an addiction to messing up in these one or two areas. He comes, he cries, he repents, and says, “Dad, I’ll never do it again!” I forgive him, we pray, and he goes and...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Hosea 5:5a Israel’s arrogance testifies against them. O-bservation: The prophet Hosea assesses Israel’s sins that have been used as a line for people who try and cover their sins for ages. He said that the arrogance or pride of Israel was a testimony or a witness to anyone against the nation that their own “Actions Speak Louder Than Words.” You can’t always identify an individual’s pride by a single action they commit. Instead, it’s a series of things they do that make it evident they didn’t need to say a thing because their “Actions Speak Louder Than Words.” A-pplication: Birds fly south for the winter. They don’t announce they’re packing up for the trip, NO! It’s what they do. I recently had my right knee replaced by one of the greatest orthopedic surgeons in South Florida. Years ago, he had performed the same surgery on my left knee. The results were so amazing I trusted him for my right knee. I didn’t look for who was a good orthopedic surgeon in my vicinity. That’s not something you would trust to the best marketing firm. NO! My doctor’s actions speak louder than any amount of print or digital...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: 2 Kings 15:34 He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father Uzziah had done. O-bservation: The person being discussed in this passage is King Jotham, the son of King Uzziah. Uzziah was one of the greatest kings in Judah’s history. He ruled and reigned in Judah for 52 years! Along the way, he was also a good father because the son who took his place also did what was RIGHT in God’s eyes, just like his father Uzziah had done. A-pplication: I was thinking this AM of all the good things that happen “When You Do Right.” Of course, there’s an exception to every rule, but here are a few things that happen When You Do RIGHT. First, people will know they can trust you. That’s the first thing that happens When You Do Right. But what’s even more important than that is “When You Do Right,” you will know that you can always trust yourself. I can’t think of anything else right now, but what else do you need? P-rayer: Dear Jesus, I thank You this AM that doing the right thing helps others trust me, and even more than that, helps...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: 2 Chronicles 26:5b As long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success. O-bservation: The writer of the Chronicles tells us concerning King Uzziah that as long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success. Uzziah began leading Judah at the age of sixteen and led the people for forty-two years! That’s a long time to be successful, but it was also a long time for Uzziah to be faithful in seeking the Lord. If you wonder how this works in people’s lives today, “I Believe It Works For All!” Not just great leaders and powerful, influential people, but for ALL people who will take the time to seek the Lord. A-pplication: How do you and I apply this in our own lives today? That’s a great question. I think the first thing we do is make Him first when we wake up each morning. We spend time with Jesus. We seek Him. We ask Him for direction. We tell Him our concerns and empty it all on the Lord each morning. In fact, that’s what you’re doing right now. By reading this short devo, you are putting God first in the AM. But then,...