S O A P

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Psalm 51:3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. O-bservation: This fifty-first chapter of the book of Psalms is King David’s repentance prayer for his sin with Bathsheba. In it, he speaks of his regrets and the wretchedness of his sin. It didn’t involve only adultery but also a planned murder of the woman’s husband to cover what he had done. The average Israeli would have been executed for what the king was guilty of. But here, in his brokenness, he tells the Lord, “My sin is always before me!” A-pplication: Through my many years of ministry, both as a traveling evangelist and a pastor, I’ve had people come to me as if I was their priestly confessor and tell me of sins they had committed. On just about every occasion, like King David and with tears, they’ve said to me, “My sin is ALWAYS before me.” Repentance before the Lord, and in some cases restitution, are the action steps I believe are required to start on the healing pathway. The goal in all of it is to get the FAILURE (sin) from being in front of you at all times. You...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: 2 Samuel 10:12 “Be strong, and let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. The Lord will do what is good in his sight.” O-bservation: Joab was the leader of King David’s army for the entirety of David’s rule. Yes, he made many mistakes, which he paid for after David died. But during David’s lifetime, he remained faithful to God’s man. Here he responded to David’s command to assemble the troops of Israel for battle against the Ammonites. He told the army to be strong. They were fighting for their people and the cities of their God. Then he said, “The Lord Will Do What Is Good In His Sight!” A-pplication: When you examine the words of General Joab, you find no fear in his words. The WHY he gives for fighting is so defined that you feel in your heart that the general gave “A Good Approach For Winning.” They were fighting for their people. They were fighting for their people, and they were fighting to keep the cities of their God, Jehovah, intact. Anytime you’re taking territory for the Lord or holding the territory that’s already been taken for the...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: 1 Chronicles 18:17b And David’s sons were chief officials at the king’s side. O-bservation: In the Old Testament Jewish tradition, sons were connected to their fathers in ministry, in tribal leadership, in business, and even government leadership. We are told that David’s sons, though not mentioned in this passage, were chief officials at the king’s side. A-pplication: I know that the king’s offspring (i.e., Absalom) hurt the family’s reputation in some cases. Yet Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob built a nation from their descendants. In the New Testament, the gospel and many parts of Jewish culture broke out beyond the Jewish nation and into the world of the Gentiles. For the most part, Gentile people had not built a legacy by bringing their children into business or ministry with them. The practice became more common with the spread of the Church. When the Catholic popes came to power in the Middle Ages, and as late as the 17th century, they gave top government jobs to nephews and other relatives as they could have no children of their own. This practice became known as Nepotism, and the term comes from a Latin word meaning nephew. Because of misuses of...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Psalm 2:12 Kiss his son, or he will be angry and your way will lead to your destruction, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. O-bservation: Theologians have a mixed review of this passage related to the word “Kiss” and “Son.” The word kiss is really an oriental word in this original rendering, which would mean to pay homage or honor. The word Son, I believe, is the literal “Son of God” in this passage. In other words, “Pay Honor To Jesus.” I do like the term “Kissing Jesus” better. A-pplication: This one verse could be easily discussed for about an hour, but instead of getting into the middle portion of this passage, let’s look only at the beginning and the end of verse 12. The Psalmist David says that when we pay honor to Jesus, the Son of God, we are blessed beyond measure. That last line says that ALL who take refuge in Jesus will be blessed. In the context we now live in, the growing gap between the haves and the have nots could be greatly healed if people the world over would turn...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: 1 Chronicles 16:22 Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm. O-bservation: On this particular day, David had brought the Ark of the Covenant into the tent he had prepared for the Ark. He then commissioned some of his prominent Psalmists to sing praises to God that included strong warnings. Here is one command that the Lord spoke through one of the Psalmists, “Do No Harm To God’s Anointed Ones.” A-pplication: This is one command the people of God had a hard time obeying. In fact, as Jesus entered Jerusalem to begin His final week leading up to His crucifixion, He prayed over Jerusalem these words, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing” (Luke 13:34). Jesus is reporting the sad truth of Israel’s history: that they had rejected the prophets God had sent to them, and in many cases, had harmed and killed them. Of course, who could know this history better than the One who very soon would be put to death just...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Matthew 18:14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish. O-bservation: Jesus had just given the story of the shepherd who had a hundred sheep, and one ran away. He told how the shepherd left the ninety-nine until he found the one lost sheep. Then he said the shepherd was happier for the one who was lost but is now found than for the other ninety-nine who never left. In the same way, our great God in heaven looks down upon this whole world of people and says, “I Don’t Want To Lose Even One!” A-pplication: To me, this passage and others like it in Scripture seem to drive a nail in the idea that God has a certain group of people He has chosen who will go to heaven, and the ones He has not chosen will perish. St. Peter said, “God is not willing that any should perish!” (2 Peter 3:9). This is the God, and this is the theology that I champion. Our God, the lover of our souls. When I say OUR souls, I’m speaking of all of us, red and yellow,...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Psalm 68:5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. O-bservation: These were the words of the Psalmist when he promoted the fact that God is a father to the fatherless and a provider to widows in need. It was much later that Jesus called Him Abba Father, in Mark 14:36, while He cried out to Him the night before His death. It was St. Paul who referred to our great God again as “Abba Father” in Romans 8:15 when speaking of the fact that we have been adopted into God’s family through Jesus’ sacrifice. A-pplication: The term “Abba Father” is the most endearing term linked to God Almighty. He is high and lifted up, and yes, He is seated upon His throne. He never sleeps or slumbers ever. Yet this term, Abba Father, when translated into English, simply means, “Daddy Daddy.” No other words in the Bible help us know the all-encompassing love of God more than Abba Father—Daddy Daddy. In my life with my earthly father, “Daddy Daddy” was the way I addressed my father when I was in trouble, when I was in need, and most of...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: 2 Samuel 4:1 When Ish-Bosheth son of Saul heard that Abner had died in Hebron, he lost courage, and all Israel became alarmed that day. O-bservation: Abner had been a loyal warrior under King Saul’s leadership. He would have been a key man to the king. When Saul died in battle, Abner became loyal to Saul’s son Ish-Bosheth, who ruled the northern tribes of Israel for a short period. Joab was David’s key man. When David became king of Judah, Joab killed Abner. When Ish-Bosheth heard that Abner had been killed, he lost all courage. Not long after, his own men killed him while he slept. A-pplication: Whenever weak people assume positions larger than their capacity to lead, they often bring in a key man or woman who is far more capable than they or running the place behind the scenes. That’s what happened in this case. You could call Abner “The king Behind The King.” Abner had already met with David to bring all of the northern tribes under his leadership. Abner had killed Joab’s youngest brother in a one-on-one battle, and Joab and his brother Abishai had a vendetta against Abner for what he had...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: 2 Samuel 2:4 Then the men of Judah came to Hebron, and there they anointed David king over the tribe of Judah. O-bservation: In this passage, we are told of David’s second anointing. This second anointing by the men of Judah at Hebron made him king over Judah. Then, in 2 Samuel 5, we are told that all the men of Israel came and anointed David king over Israel after his seven-year reign at Hebron as the King of Judah. He ruled all of Israel for 33 years. However, David’s first anointing took place in 1 Samuel 16 in his father, Jesse’s, house in Bethlehem. It was there that the God of all the ages had His prophet Samuel anoint David as the future king. A-pplication: I want to impress upon you this AM about “The Anointing That Really Matters.” Think of David living in a cave known as Adullam. Think of him running for his life from King Saul. Think of him gathering men who were in debt, in distress, and discouraged who would join him and become a well-trained group of warriors under his leadership. Then think of him being anointed at Hebron by the...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Matthew 13:34 Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. O-bservation: Here Jesus had been speaking to the people in parables, which were a story form of communication. The scripture says He did not say anything to them that wasn’t in the form of a story. This was to fulfill the prophecy by the Psalmist in Psalm 78:2. The Jesus-style of parable giving became my favorite style of preaching from the start of my public ministry. A-pplication: When you examine the preaching styles of Jesus and St. Paul, or any of the Old Testament preachers, you will find that Jesus was “The Storyteller.” He wasn’t running naked through the streets like Isaiah, lying on his side for a year or more like Ezekiel, or continuously crying like Jeremiah. He wasn’t a screamer prophet like John the Baptist, telling the people, “The axe has been laid to the root!” Neither was He in the habit of putting people to sleep, so they fell out of a window and died while they were listening to him, like St. Paul. No! He was “The Storyteller.” I have...