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S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Matthew 18:1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” O-bservation: The disciples of Jesus, before His crucifixion, were a work in progress. This passage tells us that the disciples asked the Lord who the greatest in heaven would be. Can you imagine such a question? They weren’t wondering if God was the greatest in heaven or any of the angels, who we have been made just a little lower than (Heb. 2:7). They were asking which human would be the greatest in heaven. They were wondering if any of them would be considered the greatest! A-pplication: Think of these disciples of Jesus. Jesus had called Peter out to be a rock. James and John had asked if they could sit on either side of Jesus in the new heaven. And, of course, Judas, who betrayed Jesus for cash. These men were nothing if they weren’t all guilty of COMPETITION. As I look across the church in the Western hemisphere, I believe this is one of the most significant challenges the church faces. COMPETITION stands in the place of church unity. It took Christ’s death...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Matthew 16:26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? O-bservation: Jesus spoke to His disciples and asked them, “What good is it if a person gains the whole world but loses their soul?” Then he followed that question with, “What would a person give in exchange for their soul?” In each case, the answer strikes concern in the hearts of the listeners because it reminds us all that this life is being lived in preparation for the next life. A-pplication: As a pastor who serves a number of people in my community, I’m always in preparation for the message I will deliver each weekend. Often, in the middle of my sermon prep, I’ll almost wake up to the fact that I’m giving these precious people guidelines for eternity. It’s not just about having a good life on this side of heaven. Are they preparing for the other side? Am I giving them what they need? I believe people need a continual awareness that their soul must be ready to meet the Lord. If that isn’t in place, then...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Matthew 11:18-19 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, “He has a demon.” The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, “Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” But wisdom is proved right by her deeds. O-bservation: Jesus was speaking to the crowd that gathered, and he talked to them about John the Baptist. He told them, “When John’s ministry was captivating all of you, he never ate or drank, and you said of him, ‘This man has a demon.’ Then when I came eating and drinking, you said of me, ‘Here is a glutton and drunkard. He is a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’” Jesus then told them that wisdom is to wait and see the outcome of these men of God. A-pplication: It was impossible to speak about just one of these verses because it’s difficult to show one without the other. The point I want to make is, “It’s Impossible to Please Everyone!” John the Baptist was a prophet in the Old Testament sense of the word. There was little pleasure or fun exhibited in John’s ministry. The people criticized...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Matthew 10:8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give. O-bservation: There are two things I want you to notice in this verse. First, the gospel is an action gospel and has no limitations. These direct commands to the average Christian seem insurmountable, yet done in faith in Jesus’ name, it’s possible. Second, everything done for Jesus is done for free. He told His disciples, “What I’ve done for you has been freely given to you; now I want you to go and do likewise.” A-pplication: The work of God on earth is accomplished through tithes and offerings. There should be no pressure placed on people of God to have to pay for the gospel freely given by God. To me, that means there should be no trickery or shenanigans done in the preaching of the gospel. The preaching of the gospel includes salvation, divine healing, miracles of all description, and deliverance from devilish bondages. Yet, some would like to market these gospel gifts for money. That’s when the Spirit lifts, and the feel of humanness comes on the ministry of whoever is doing such...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Matthew 5:44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. O-bservation: During His famous “Sermon on the Mount,” Jesus instructed all of us who claim to be His followers to “Love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.” But, unfortunately, when I look around me, I don’t see much obedience to this command. More and more, I see the opposite. It looks more like hate your enemies and curse those who persecute you. That’s why I’m asking today, “Have We Forgotten This Mandate?” A-pplication: When you read the words Taliban, Antifa, China, Russia, and Palestinian/Israeli peace talks, what is your initial thought? Now let’s bring it a little closer to home: racists, BLM protesters, LGBTQ, and drug dealers. There I said it. Here are my questions. As Jesus’ present-day disciples here on earth, was His statement in the above verse a MANDATE or a SUGGESTION? I believe it was a MANDATE. Second, which of those people that I mentioned do we stop LOVING or PRAYING FOR? Did Jesus categorize which groups to leave out when He said to love your enemies? By enemies, I mean those you feel are...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Matthew 4:17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” O-bservation: Shortly before Jesus began to preach His gospel message of salvation, John the Baptist was thrown into prison, and it appeared that the gospel would soon be forgotten. However, as soon as John was thrown into prison, Jesus appeared on the scene preaching the gospel. No matter what, “The Gospel Will Always Be preached.” A-pplication: The power of this passage has to do with the fact that “The Gospel Will Always Be Preached!” Through the centuries, we have read of Christian men and women who have been martyred for their faith. They gave up their lives instead of giving up their faith. Almost immediately, there were scores, if not hundreds, who would stand up to take their place. The gospel is like that. It’s organic. When the Good News of Jesus is in you, it can’t be bottled. It must be shared. Never weary of sharing your Good News with those who only have bad news. Even when the Lord takes you home one day, someone will step up to take your place. Because “The Gospel Will...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: 2 Corinthians 11:5 I do not think I am in the least inferior to those “super-apostles.” O-bservation: This is a short story concerning “Paul And The Super-Apostles.” This was Paul’s attempt to defend himself to the young church at Corinth (which he had started) against phony preachers claiming to be apostles. He then gave, throughout this chapter, an impressive report on why he was their true father in the faith and for them not to be duped by the “Super-Apostles,” as he called them. A-pplication: In no way was St. Paul referring to his original apostolic friends such as Peter, James, and John. No! He was talking about men who had shown up after the heavy lifting of church planting had been accomplished by Paul and his associates to take advantage of the young church financially through false claims about what God was saying through them. Paul even told them he had done his work at no expense to them personally. What Paul is speaking about here is exactly what has happened throughout the centuries within the body of Christ. There have always been charlatans who will arrive on the scene with their spiritual dog and pony...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: 2 Corinthians 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. O-bservation: St. Paul was adamant about people’s thoughts running their lives and keeping them in bondage to the things of this world. His message in this passage is, “Take Hold Of Your Thoughts,” because if you and I don’t, our thoughts will take hold of us. A-pplication: Everything starts in the mind. You can’t get out of bed without your brain sending the signal to your body that it’s time to move from a prone position to a walking position. You can’t walk without your brain sending the legs and muscles in that region of your body the signal to walk. So obviously, when it comes to a person’s moral convictions, your brain has to change from one’s old life to one’s new life in Christ. There will always be mixed signals to the brain. One will come from hell, which until salvation always called the shots in one’s brain. The other signal will come from heaven that has worked in your brain before but to little...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: 2 Corinthians 6:10 Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything. O-bservation: In this short passage, St. Paul let the young church at Corinth know how taxing life was for a church planter like himself. His summation was “A Tale Of Extremes.” As he concluded this polarized view of church leadership, he said, “We’re sorrowful and yet rejoicing at the same time. We’re poor while making others rich. We have nothing, but really we possess everything.” A-pplication: After serving for close to half a century in the work of the Lord, I love the Apostle’s summation of his ministry.  I can tell you that in my life, my wife and I have been included in “high society” dinners for some of the wealthiest people in town while wondering how we were going to pay rent in a couple of days! There have been times in my life where physical pain was so present, yet I was thrilled at what had just happened in a Sunday service. Let me say this. Your life in Christ is not unlike mine. Like me, you have experienced mountain tops and valleys, sometimes in the...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Job 41:11 Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me. O-bservation: In this passage, God Almighty is still questioning Job. He was upset with Job for believing that He (God) was in any way unjust. So the Lord asked Job, “Who has a claim against me that I must pay?” That’s an interesting question, but the statement that followed the question put Job in an impossible place to try and argue against the Almighty. God said, “Everything under heaven belongs to me!” I suppose you could say that God was telling Job, “You Owe Me!” A-pplication: In all actuality, humans have little opportunity to question God. What if He (God) turned off the sun tomorrow? What if He destroyed all food sources tomorrow? What if He made the water run dry tomorrow? How long could we exist without heat (power), food, and water? Yet, we humans think we have a good argument for ownership of stuff for some strange reason. The truth is if God cut our access to our power, our food, and our hydration, it wouldn’t matter what we owned. He is the Maker and Giver of...