S O A P

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: 2 Chronicles 10:19 So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day. O-bservation: This passage is speaking past tense, to one terrible decision made by Rehoboam, the son of King Solomon. After his father had passed, the crown was placed on his head. There was a disturbance among the ten Northern Tribes of Israel, who Solomon had treated harshly by forcing heavy labor on them to build the temple of the Lord and his own, much larger, palace. They needed to hear from the new YOUNG king. So the old wise men of the Northern Tribes said, “We’ll follow you if you will just make the load a little lighter.” When he went to his young counselors to see how they responded to what the wise men had said, these young men, all spoiled, wealthy sons of powerful men in Israel, responded by saying, “You tell them that if they think your father whipped them with whips, I will whip you with scorpions.” So he did, and the leaders of the north said, “Israel, everyone to your tents. Judah and the house of David, you take care of yourselves!” And...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Song of Songs 6:3a I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine. O-bservation: Here the wife says of her husband, “We are so In Love, that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am his and he is mine.” Even though the words are geared toward marital love in this context, many theological writers tell us that this is speaking of the Church’s relationship with Jesus and that there should be no question that this love is binding. A-pplication: Every day, throughout the day, I believe that you and I should continually ask ourselves, “Am I continually engaged with my Savior Jesus, and am I so In Love with Him that people around me know it?” No one doubts my love for my dear wife Robyn or her love for me. We are constantly together. Wherever I go, she is usually with me. When it’s dinner time, and we’re out, we’re out together, the locals see us, and they know us as together and “In Love.” At church, she speaks, and I speak. Seldom are we discussed as individuals, but as a couple who are In Love. This is who I want to...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Song of Songs 1:5 Dark am I, yet lovely, daughters of Jerusalem, dark like the tents of Kedar, like the tent curtains of Solomon. O-bservation: Solomon had three hundred wives and seven hundred concubines. It’s no wonder that at least one of them was black. Some have said this is the Queen of Sheba, mentioned in other places of the Old Testament. This seems unlikely, yet this woman here is real, and most believe she was from the North Arabian tribes and descendants of Ismael. She was black, by some translations, and most likely a country girl who had immigrated to Jerusalem. Living in the hot sun of that part of the world, her skin was darkened even more by work in the fields, but here in this love story, it’s quite obvious that “Black Is Beautiful.” A-pplication: No doubt there was an instant comparison of her skin to the local Jerusalem beauties. When the wisest king who ever lived, the author of three Old Testament books, married a beautiful black woman, maybe it’s time for many to reconsider their personal views on what is and is not ok concerning marriage among different ethnic peoples. A friend...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Ephesians 5:21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. O-bservation: The Apostle Paul gave these words to the young church at Ephesus, which he had planted some years earlier. This admonition was no easier to follow then than it is today. Ephesus was a city of unusual business activity. The Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the world, was erected there. And sin was rampant. So submitting to anyone except the law of the land was just as much a reach for them as it is for people today. St. Paul says, “Submit to one another If You’re A True Christian.” A-pplication: Because of the misuse of the concept of submission by some Christian leaders, the word SUBMIT quickly raises red flags for many. I love the word YIELD instead. Yet either way, God has called all true believers to submit to one another “If You’re A True Christian.” It’s often hard for me to yield my way to your way if I don’t like your way. All of our ways seem right to us, but only God’s purposes will truly prevail. So instead of fighting for your, or my, positions, it’s...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Ecclesiastes 8:15 So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun. O-bservation: King Solomon, known by most as the wisest man to ever live, said some pretty outrageous things, in my opinion. But he’s dead on with his statement here. Men and women receive the opportunity, from time to time, to have an unusually wonderful time on the town. As is stated in this passage, it may be that they have a wonderful meal together. After the dinner is over, Solomon says, “Be Glad!” If you “Be Glad,” JOY will accompany you from that point on in your life. A-pplication: I’m not predisposed to “Be Glad” because I have lots of different categories of people I lead at this stage of my life. People are your greatest asset, but they can also be your greatest potential source of frustration. Solomon doesn’t give HOW to Be Glad. Also, he doesn’t give the three potential threats to Being Glad. NO! He...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Ecclesiastes 6:7 Everyone’s toil is for their mouth, yet their appetite is never satisfied. O-bservation: King Solomon is driven to return to his previous observation in Proverbs 16:26, where he said, “The appetite of laborers works for them; their hunger drives them on.” Solomon was mesmerized as he watched the common person be driven by their appetite to eat. Yet, he finds that most humans have a “Big Appetite, But No Satisfaction.” A-pplication: I have been blessed to have been raised by successful parents. I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy food. I had to eat. But there has never been a thought in my life that I wouldn’t have a way to get my next meal. That was certainly not true for the average person in Solomon’s day, and even today, I work with people who have often told me, “Rich, I am never sure where my next meal is coming from.” But let’s move from the subject of food to something else. What about having a big appetite for things of the flesh. The Bible talks about “The lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16). These...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Ephesians 1:4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love. O-bservation: St. Paul planted the church at Ephesus about seven years before writing this letter to the young church. He tells them that God had chosen them before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. A-pplication: When any of us read the Holy Scripture, we must realize that the writing was originally for certain people. Yet, because this writing has been deemed Divine, this Word is for everyone in any context at any time in history. Why that is important this AM, is because you need to realize “Jesus Chose You!” That’s right! We’re racing through some two thousand years of history to make this passage just for YOU! Whenever I get discouraged in this life, I read the Bible just for me! I need to remind myself that Jesus chose ME! Way before the world was, you and I were in God’s thoughts. He had us on His mind. Whatever the enemy of our souls (the devil) has tried to put on you this AM, remember,...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Psalm 60:5 Save us and help us with your right hand, that those you love may be delivered. O-bservation: The “Right Hand” of the Lord referred to here was the hand that the sword was drawn with and the spear was heaved with. It represented the strong arm of the Lord to deliver His people from any perilous situation. A-pplication: Who or what is it that you depend on in tough situations? That could be answered in many ways. If you’re a senior, you might say, “My Children.” If you’re a young person, you may say, “My Parents.” If you’re a well-to-do person, you may say, “My Money.” If you’re a movie producer, you may say, “My Writers.” If you’re a doctor, you may say, “My Experience.” But what if you’re on this list or not on this list, and all of your “My Whatevers” have failed you recently? King David had the answer right. He was the most powerful man in his country and had no more earthly answers or help to deliver him and his people. So he called on the name of the Lord, who has always been the One who never fails. If...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Proverbs 25:2 It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings. O-bservation: Solomon was a king when he wrote this Proverb. So he definitely knew what brought joy to the heart of a king. Yet, God had given him such wisdom that he also knew that the very opposite desire of a king was what made God’s heart fill with joy. God loves to conceal a failure in a human’s life, and humans or kings like to dig a past failure up and parade it before their friends. A-pplication: You could say that God loves to save a person’s character, but people are infused as if they were temporary detectives to destroy a person’s character. I could be wrong in this, but here’s what I’ve come to believe. Humans miss about 98% of our mistakes. When we sin and repent of a failure, I believe it’s God’s joy to cover that failure up. But when we mess up and fake our repentance and return to the same old failure, humans, in time, get wind of it. In a way, the Lord says, “I’ve wanted to keep...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Proverbs 23:17 Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord. O-bservation: King Solomon was quick to let all of us who are followers of God Almighty know not to envy anything that unbelievers have. He said that instead of wanting any of their stuff, we should pursue our relationship with the Lord with everything in us. A-pplication: Solomon actually uses a tougher word than we use in this present day. He used the word SINNERS. When I see it in that connotation, my first thought is, “I Don’t Want Their Stuff!” Seriously, after you have been brought out of the darkness that they’re STILL IN and into God’s marvelous light, what could THEY possibly have that would be appealing to you and me? Oh, I understand, maybe wishing to have a nicer house or a nicer car, but you can’t drive more than one or live in more than one at the same time. I certainly wish I had more money in the bank and every bill paid off, but to be honest, at my age, it helps me to keep getting out of bed in the AM...