S O A P

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Isaiah 5:20a Woe to those who call evil good and good evil. O-bservation: These are the words of Isaiah, the great prophet of Israel. Not long afterward, the Babylonians moved in and took them over. After that, the nation of Israel never recovered as a great biblical force for righteousness and power. Only in 1948 did Israel once again regroup and be noticed as a formidable force. A-pplication: What brought the nation that God had called His chosen people to an end? It’s found here in this short warning by Isaiah. Israel had so turned from God that what they had once called evil they now called good, and what they once called good they now called evil. There are other comparisons that Isaiah makes, but all of them are opposites from the way they originally believed. That brings us to “Our Own Mixed Up Society.” We have finally arrived at the same place Israel was before her demise. How has it come to this? There has been a steady chipping away by secularists of the moral truth upon which this society was founded in my lifetime. As far back as I can remember, it alarmed me....

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Titus 3:10 Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. O-bservation: St. Paul told his protégé, Titus, that he should tell the divisive person what they were doing was wrong when he dealt with a person known for causing division among people. Then Paul said if they don’t listen, warn them a second time. Finally, he said in no uncertain terms, if they continue to reject the warning from a fellow believer of their sinful actions, you are to have nothing to do with them again. A-pplication: This seems harsh at first. Certainly, Paul would have had lengthy conversations with his key leaders when he was present with them. Yet in letters written to them, he had to be brief and to the point. Here was St. Paul’s antidote for “Dealing With A Divisive Person.” A DIVISIVE PERSON IS DIVISIVE because, according to verse 11, they are WARPED, meaning that mentally and emotionally, they are scarred. Also, Paul said they are SINFUL and totally SELF-CONDEMNED! So after that person’s unwillingness to admit their personal struggles, the Apostle just said, “HAVE NOTHING to do with them.”...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Amos 7:13 “Don’t prophesy anymore at Bethel, because this is the king’s sanctuary and the temple of the kingdom” O-bservation: These are the words of the High Priest of Bethel, Amaziah, who served under the leadership of King Jeroboam of Israel. He told Amos that this was the king’s sanctuary, not of God, and to leave. He told Amos he should prophesy in Judah, but not to the ten-nation tribes with the king’s palaces in Samaria. The problem that Amaziah and King Jeroboam and all the wealthy Israelites were facing was that they had turned their backs on the God of Israel and were guilty. Never forget, “Guilt Always Runs From Truth!” A-pplication: Amos quickly let this rebel priest know that he had only come from his little farm in the south to this huge, spacious, and wealthy place because God had called him. He let Amaziah know that his resistance against Amos had no effect and that he must preach what God had sent him to declare. Do you see the difference here? One is a wealthy preacher with no message, and the other is a preacher with little or no means who is overflowing with...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Amos 6:1 Woe to you who are complacent in Zion, and to you who feel secure on Mount Samaria, you notable men of the foremost nation, to whom the people of Israel come! O-bservation: Amos, the little farmer from the southern regions, had been called away from his farming by the Lord to prophecy over Israel. His statement to open his prophetic words had God’s booming voice declaring those who are complacent in Zion and those who are secure on Mount Samaria that judgment is coming. A-pplication: This happened during the most prosperous time imaginable for the people of Israel. Never had they had so much territory to themselves. All of this took place under King Jeroboam, the son of King Joash. These prophecies were directed to the wealthiest of the wealthy among the 10 northern tribes. They had taken their earthly wealth and somehow began to operate as though they were the source of their prosperity. They never heard the cries of the innocent and downtrodden. In time, the Assyrians came in and took them over as had been prophesied. COMPLACENCY is the beginning of the end. Whether in business, education, politics, or most of all,...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Psalm 80:19 Restore us, Lord God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved. O-bservation: This is the fourth time in nineteen verses that the Psalmist asks God to “Save Us!” And there is also somewhat of a climax of emphasis because he calls out three different names of God. He says, “Lord, God, Almighty.” In other words, after all of our sinning, including idolatry, immorality, and blasphemy, we promise this time if You would “Save Us,” we would never do those things again. A-pplication: All of us as individuals have prayed this prayer before “Save Me.” That’s right! Why? Because everyone longs for a clean slate. Sometimes in my life, my wife has come to me with bills and said, “Rich, what are we going to do about these bills?” And desiring a clean slate, I’ve said to her, “Why not just go into our savings account and take money from there and we will at least have a clean slate?” Thankfully, she’s figured it out through the years, and we haven’t done that continuously. There’s got to be a better plan than just getting a clean slate of forgiveness, knowing that...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: 2 Kings 14:4 The high places, however, were not removed; the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there. O-bservation: Only Hezekiah was willing to tear the “High Places” in the Holy Land down. David as well wanted nothing to do with them. But no other king dared to mess with the High Places. The High Places went back to an ancestral form of homage developed during the time of the judges. No matter how good a king was, the best he could do was to offer “A Half-Hearted Commitment” to our most high God when he failed to tear down the High-Places. A-pplication: In this particular story, Dr. Barnes, a truly historic biblical theologian and commentator famous for Barnes’ notes, says, “There is a curious parity between Joash and Amaziah.  Both were zealous for Yahweh in the earlier portion of their reigns, but in the latter part fell away; both disregarded the rebukes of prophets, and both, having forsaken God, were in the end conspired against and slain.” Isn’t it amazing that both father and son were victims of the same kind of demise? Why? I believe it’s because they each offered, A Half-Hearted Commitment...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Jonah 4:3 Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live. O-bservation: This is Jonah’s sad response after he finished preaching to the people of Nineveh for 40 days. He had been preaching, “Repent, or the Lord will destroy you!” They did repent, and the king did as well. When God saw that they had repented, he relented and did not destroy them. Instead, he spared them. This made Jonah so angry that he asked God to kill him. He told the Lord it would be better to die than to live since God had not destroyed all of the people of Nineveh. At that time, 120,000 people lived there! A-pplication: Nineveh is the ancient city of what is now Iraq. You can see that the hatred of the Jewish people towards the people of Nineveh goes WAY BACK! You can also see the LOVE of God for the people of Nineveh since He spared them when they repented. But for Jonah to be so angry that he wanted God to kill him instead of letting him live is to admit that Jonah was “The Prophet Of God Who...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Joel 3:14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. O-bservation: Most evangelical fundamental theologians believe this Valley of Decision to be the same Valley Of Jehoshaphat mentioned in verse 2. Ultimately, they believe it to be where the Battle of Armageddon will be fought between the nations of this world and even God himself. This will be “The War To End All Wars.” A-pplication: As I write this AM post, I’m reminded that time is of the essence. I believe that whether I die before the coming of the Lord or not, we are still living in the final days. The Bible tells us here that God will draw the nations of this world together to the Valley of Decision, and there Jesus will return riding on a white horse from heaven. He will vanquish the devil once and for all. It will be “The War To End All Wars.” He knows that he can single-handedly whip the devil and all of his minions as well. You can see the nations gathering in this passage of Joel, but even today, the same old players...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: 2 Chronicles 24:10 All the officials and all the people brought their contributions gladly, dropping them into the chest until it was full. O-bservation: When the young boy, Joash, became king of Judah, he desired to restore the temple which had deteriorated under the rule of the ungodly kings who preceded him. He directed the priests to collect money from the people to restore the temple. They failed to do so. Consequently, Joash commissioned a big box to be constructed for the people to drop their free will offerings so that the temple could be restored. Regularly, the box was filled and brought in to be banked. The people gladly gave until the funds were raised and the temple was repaired. A-pplication: Here’s what I’ve learned through the years: “The People of God Want To Give.” You will always have people complain that all the church does is ask for money. But those are the ones who do not give. Or when they do, they do it begrudgingly. They live in a perpetual state of guilt because they know that the few times they pray, it’s for God to give them something, but then when it’s time...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: 2 Chronicles 22:9c So there was no one in the house of Ahaziah powerful enough to retain the kingdom. O-bservation: This is a unique and amazing story. Ahaziah was the youngest son of Jehoram, who was the oldest son of the godly King Jehoshaphat. When Jehoshaphat died, Jehoram was made king, and he had all of his brothers killed. He then married the daughter of King Ahab of Israel. Her name was Athaliah, and she was also the daughter of Jezebel! Her son Ahaziah was killed by Jehu, whom the Lord had chosen to destroy the entire household of Ahab. When Ahaziah was killed, Athaliah killed all of her male children save for the baby, Joash, because his aunt, Ahaziah’s sister, hid him away. For seven years, Judah was ruled by King Ahaziah’s wicked mother, Athaliah!! A-pplication: In no way did I want to confuse you concerning the details of this story, but it’s important that you know how the house of David was preserved when Auntie Jehosheba saved baby Joash. But what’s so amazing about this story is how a wicked witch of a woman, Athaliah, could quickly grab power like her mother Jezebel, “When The...