S O A P

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Judges 18:31 They continued to use the idol Micah had made, all the time the house of God was in Shiloh. O-bservation: This is the story of the Danites needing a place to call home, so they attacked a people of a little-known geographical location known as Laish. They burned it to the ground and killed all the people. On their way to do this, they stopped at the home of a man by the name of Micah. They took his handmade idols and his personal priest, threatening to kill him if he resisted. He turned with his men and went back home. The Danites were victorious and gave credit to the little Levite priest and their handmade gods. A-pplication: What in the world was a tribe of Israel doing stealing another man’s idols and claiming those idols as their own? That in itself broke several of the Ten Commandments of Moses right there. But get this. The Danites hired Jonathon and his sons to be their priests. Jonathon was the son of Gershon, who was the son of … are you ready? MOSES!! Here they were, worshipping an idol made by the hands of a man...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: 2 Corinthians 2:4 For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you. O-bservation: Paul is like a father who must discipline his son. After scolding the child, and while the child is crying, the father goes into another room and sheds tears. I’m not speaking here of child abuse. I’m speaking of child discipline. The child believes he or she is the object of their father’s displeasure, yet they are actually the object of their father’s unparalleled love for them. A-pplication: In St. Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth, he wrote and dealt harshly with issues that had to be corrected. Issues such as divisions in the church, immorality, the do’s and don’ts of love, why marriage is important, the cross, the resurrection, and I could go on. The city of Corinth was a narrow stretch of land separating the Ionian Sea from the Aegean Sea. Because of its location, the Greek, Roman, and even Oriental peoples were continuously in and out of the narrow peninsula. There was a temple to the...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Judges 12:11 After him, Elon the Zebulunite led Israel ten years. O-bservation: This line is all that is said of the judge who ruled Israel for ten years. It simply states that Elon was a Zebulunite from the tribe of Zebulun. He ruled for ten years. It doesn’t say that he was good or bad, right or wrong, or much of anything other than he reigned for ten years. But here’s what I say, “Thank God For Elon!” A-pplication: I’m sure you’re wondering why I said that. Well, this man was part of a four-man team of judges who ruled Israel for 31 years. Elon was the third and ruled the longest of the four. During his tenure, no uprisings were recorded. His people lived at peace, and no known famines or droughts took place. The people of Israel prospered during his rule, and they continued to serve the Lord and follow the laws Moses had established. Nothing is recorded of him that speaks disparagingly about his morality or his family. In fact, nothing is said at all of his family. Here is a man that all we have are three factoids about his life. His name,...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Judges 9:16 “Have you acted honorably and in good faith by making Abimelek king? Have you been fair to Jerub-Baal and his family? Have you treated him as he deserves?” O-bservation: None of us would say that Jerub-Baal (Gideon) was a pure and virtuous man. He was, however, the man God used to set Israel free from the terror of the Midianites. He had seventy sons by a myriad of different women, and one of them was the son of a slave woman from Shechem named Abimelek. He felt like a castoff, so he went to his brothers in Shechem after his father Gideon’s death and asked them for help. They agreed and with their assistance, he killed his seventy brothers. The Israelites then made Abimelek their king. But the youngest son of Gideon, Jotham, escaped. Sometime later, Jotham stood on a hill and challenged the people of Israel with the questions in Judges 9:16. Abimelek heard of it and started destroying everyone in Israel who did not support him. On one occasion, while he was trying to burn down a tower housing many people,  a woman dropped a boulder and crushed his skull. He...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Judges 8:35 They also failed to show any loyalty to the family of Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) in spite of all the good things he had done for them. O-bservation: This is a sad conclusion to a rather glorious bible character. Jerub-Baal is actually another name for the man we know in scripture as Gideon. Gideon had brought strength and prosperity as one of the judges of Israel. However, after the end of his 40 years of service, when Israel never went to war and lived in peace, never once did these people honor Gideon or continue to serve the Lord after his death. A-pplication: Yes, it is true that Gideon did not live a perfect life. After his victory over the Midianites, he began to lead the Israelites and immediately set up a golden ephod that the people at times worshipped. This caused the Lord’s anger to boil, yet for the most part, Israel served the Lord during Gideon’s reign. However, for some reason, the people did not honor or remain loyal to Gideon after his death. They turned to complete idolatry. What if the people instead had chosen to honor this great man, as they...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Judges 7:18 “When I and all who are with me blow our trumpets, then from all around the camp blow yours and shout, ‘For the LORD and for Gideon.’” O-bservation: During Gideon’s time, the Midianites had stolen seven years of harvests from the people of Israel. This is the story of how Gideon and his band of three hundred men destroyed one hundred and thirty-five thousand Midianites and then had peace for forty years. Just before they went into battle. The Lord had told Gideon to carry a jar and a trumpet into battle. At just the right time, the three hundred men who were surrounding the hundred and Midianites soldiers in the valley were to break their jars and sound their trumpets and shout, “For the Lord and for Gideon.” That’s exactly what they did. The lights surrounding the soldiers caused them to think they were being attacked from everywhere, and they turned on and killed each other. A-pplication: In Ezekiel’s day, God spoke through the prophet and told the people of Israel that He was seeking a man who would stand in the gap that He could work with, and He found NONE! “God Is...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: 1 Corinthians 12:11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. O-bservation: St. Paul had just finished presenting the Holy Spirit’s nine gifts to the young church at Corinth. He talked about the gifts of wisdom and knowledge and faith and healing and miraculous powers and prophecy and distinguishing between spirits and speaking in other tongues and the interpretation of tongues. He then said, “When You Need A GIFT, The Spirit Will Give The GIFT.” A-pplication: First of all, let me say I was raised in a Pentecostal church by Pentecostal parents. We believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the nine gifts of the Spirit.  Most young adults would look at my age and say, “Wow, you come from way back!” And maybe they would be right. The reason I say this is because I’ve seen and experienced a lot. For the most part, it was all good. Yet some of the things I’ve witnessed were just human-made hype. That said, I remember people preaching in my father’s church who would say, “I have all nine gifts of the Spirit.”...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Psalm 44:9 But now you have rejected and humbled us; you no longer go out with our armies. O-bservation: The writer of this Psalm laments that God had always fought Israel’s battles for them in past times. They had not put their hope in their own ability because they knew it was the Lord who fought for them. Yet now, for some unknown reason, it felt like God had left them. Even though they still had everything they did before, they did not have the Lord. A-pplication: Perhaps this series of events is around the time Josiah, Judah’s most righteous king, insisted on fighting Egypt even though God had told him not to. Because of his sin, in the middle of such an unusual victory for Judah, Josiah was killed in battle! In a moment, nothing was fun for the people of God anymore. They hadn’t sinned, but they knew God had left them. I’m just guessing because few commentators, if any, can specify why this unusual passage occurs. Let’s leave this story aside. I’ve referenced it because I want to ask a question. “Have You Ever Felt Like God Has Left You?” Let me be very...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Joshua 22:2b “You have done all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded, and you have obeyed me in everything I commanded.” O-bservation: This is the unique story of the Eastern Tribes of Israel. These tribes included the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. Before going across the Jordon River to take over Jericho and the rest of the land, these two- and one-half tribes of Israel asked if they could possess the land on the Jordon’s east side. Moses said yes, “IF.” The IF was a long list of “have to”s they would need to follow if they were going to stay on the east side and not go across the Jordon with their brothers. One of the major concerns was that to receive the request they asked for, they must always fight with the other tribes, and they must always follow the Lord’s ways. These tribes promised Moses they would. Not long after, Moses died, and Joshua took his place. The tribes followed after Joshua as hard as they had followed after Moses. When it came time for everyone to return home after the big war, Joshua said he wanted...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Joshua 20:2 Tell the Israelites to designate the cities of refuge, as I instructed you through Moses. O-bservation: These were the Lord’s words to Joshua concerning the designation of cities of refuge. Years earlier, he had commanded Moses to designate “A Place Of Refuge” for anyone who had killed someone accidentally and was running to escape the avenger of blood. Now Joshua is reminded by the Lord to designate the cities as Israel is settled in their promised land. A-pplication: Even when it’s an accident, and someone is killed, there will be people related to or best friends with the one who dies who will seek the supposed perpetrator to bring them to justice. Our Lord knows there will be accidents and was and always will want justice for those accused. He always seeks to provide “A Place Of Refuge” for anyone 0n the run. But this AM, let’s talk about something more serious. What about those who are running spiritually and have resisted the way of God’s righteous will for their lives? What about them? Well, that’s why Jesus came. That’s why He sacrificed His life. And that’s why He will always be “A Place Of...