S O A P

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...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Matthew 12:25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. O-bservation: Jesus had just healed a blind and mute man and cast a demon out of him. The people watching were amazed and claimed Jesus as the son of David. Quickly the Pharisees said it’s by the name of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that He can drive out demons. But Jesus said, “Why would the devil cast himself out of someone? Any kingdom or government or family that is divided will not endure.” A-pplication: The person who divides is not your friend. Only when people agree is there a potential for victory. Unity is best observed when there is a common cause that demands a forward movement on the part of many. Kind David said, “How good and how pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.” King Solomon said, “Two are better than one.” St. Paul said, “Mark those who cause division among you.” He didn’t say mark the fornicator, or the liar, or the thief. NO! He said, “Mark the one who causes...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: 1 Samuel 29:6 So Achish called David and said to him, “As surely as the LORD lives, you have been reliable, and I would be pleased to have you serve with me in the army. From the day you came to me until today, I have found no fault in you, but the rulers don’t approve of you. O-bservation: In the twenty-seventh chapter of this book, David became weary of running for his life from his own king, Saul. He decided to take his men and move into Ziklag. The king of the Gath Philistine territory was Achish. They became friends and lived for a year and four months. During that time, David’s men would raid Bedouin tribes, those who would be considered Arab today. They would slaughter every human, including children, then take all the livestock and whatever else of value. When he would get back to Ziklag, King Achish would ask him who he had killed, and he would lie and tell him he had killed some Israeli tribe, and Achish believed him. Here it was time for the Philistines to go to war again with the Israelites. It would be Saul’s last...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Matthew 10:16 I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. O-bservation: For most of my life living here in the west, this passage of scripture seemed like Jesus had said it for His disciples only. Or perhaps for people living in a country that forbade Christianity. However, “It Makes More Sense Now.”  Jesus promoted the fact that because of one’s Christian faith, he or she could be canceled at any time. Presently, you and I are the sheep Jesus spoke of, living and operating among a host of wolves ready for lunch. A-pplication: Knowing what we know now, how are we to operate in such frightening times? Jesus answered that with an analogy. He said we are to be as shrewd as snakes and as harmless as doves. The word shrewd is defined as being astute or sharp in practical matters. So we believers aren’t called always to show our true colors when our lives are on the line. Yet, we may be the person holding an entire city together. Harmless as doves mean we have nothing in us that wants revenge. Nor do we...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Matthew 9:35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. O-bservation: Early in Jesus’ ministry, Matthew, His disciple, reported that it was Jesus’ custom to GO, TELL, and HEAL everywhere He went. In other words, Jesus went everywhere in those days that He could walk and still be close to home. Everywhere He went, He told people about the good news of the Kingdom. Then He healed people of every disease and sickness they were carrying. His mission here on earth was to GO, TELL, and HEAL. A-pplication: In the very next chapter of Matthew, Jesus rallied His newly formed disciples together and commissioned them to do the same thing. When we come to faith in Jesus, it’s called being SAVED. But we’re not SAVED to SIT. Everything about loving Jesus is a commitment to action. We weren’t saved to DO, but once saved, we can’t sit. One of the things we were saved from was sitting. The true follower of Jesus is never comfortable sitting on the sidelines. This is a mission that requires all true believers to get...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: 1 Chronicles 8:40 The sons of Ulam were brave warriors who could handle the bow. They had many sons and grandsons—150 in all. O-bservation: This chapter lists the genealogy of the Old Testament patriarch Jacob and his wife Rachel’s youngest son Benjamin. It ends with the offspring of the last major tribal leader Ulam. It says Ulam had raised up 150 male offspring, including sons and grandsons. They were brave warriors who could handle the bow. It begs the question, “Who Are You Raising Up?” A-pplication: This story of Ulam’s descendants happens, it is believed, sometime around 600 BC. Many generations of Israelis had heard that their fellow tribesmen of Benjamin had committed such a heinous crime that the rest of Israel had turned on them and all but destroyed the entire tribe. Now, hundreds of years later, the tribe of Benjamin was again prospering, and here at the last of the tribe of Benjamin. One man, Ulam, had raised up 150 sons and grandsons who were skilled warriors. Before you go saying, “But I’m a single older woman” or “I’ve never married I and have no offspring,” let me tell you, neither did Mother Teresa. Neither...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Matthew 7:7 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be open to you. O-bservation: These are the words of Jesus given during his famous “Sermon On The Mount.” It was a simple acrostic He gave that featured three letters, each of which stands for a word: A.S.K. The letters stand for Ask, Seek, and Knock. This is a holy acrostic because it holds the secret to answered prayer. A-pplication: Through the years, I’ve leaned on this simple formula for answered prayer. I always remember the word A.S.K. As a little boy, when I needed something that only my earthly father could give me, I would first state my need with an ask. Then I would seek him to answer me day in and day out, with the same ask. Finally, I would begin to knock on his office door or his bedroom door with the same ask. When my father knew my heart was right, and it was something that would bring me fulfillment and joy. he would give it to me. That is not unlike our Heavenly Father. He hears us ask. Yet, he is...