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S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: 2 Corinthians 7:2 Make room for us in your hearts. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have exploited no one. O-bservation: In his second letter to the church at Corinth, St. Paul justified himself as their leader in this passage. He had to deal with some really difficult issues of moral impropriety, doctrine, and how a Christian stands against society’s tide and for the Kingdom of our Christ. Because of this, he came under all kinds of condemnation from people within and outside of the church. Here he said, “Listen, say what you want, but we never harmed you, we never corrupted you, and finally, we never exploited any of you.” A-pplication: Spiritual leadership requires that the man or woman of God stands for the Lord no matter what. For many years, I was a traveling evangelist to our nation and other parts of the world. I found it quite easy to speak to hard issues from another leader’s church’s borrowed pulpit. I knew I was leaving in four days. When I became a pastor myself, in one location, I realized that I would take those same stands but not leave at...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Psalm 64:1 Hear me, my God, as I voice my complaint; protect my life from the threat of the enemy. O-bservation: Whatever it was that King David was going through at the time, he began by stating that he was about to “COMPLAIN” to the Lord Almighty. When I read this statement by the king, I always think to myself, “At Least He Admitted It!” A-pplication: The idea of confessing, or admitting, or acknowledging that you’re about to do or have done something that isn’t looked upon very highly, is disappearing from our society. Pointing the finger at someone else, or blaming someone else, or lying about it all together is what’s, unfortunately, becoming the norm. That wasn’t the case with King David. When he sinned, he admitted it. He wrote about crying unto the Lord into the midnight hours because of his failures and sins. He also called out people he felt God needed to kill so he could be successful. Here he’s about to complain to God that God hasn’t helped him out of his present troubles soon enough. He was the best “WHY?” complainer in the Bible. I guess that’s why I love King...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old one has gone, the new is here! O-bservation: The Apostle Paul was determined to impress upon the church at Corinth that their decision to follow Jesus was indeed NEW! There was nothing that they had ever tried before that came anywhere near that of being a Jesus Follower. When I read this passage, I always believe that Paul is saying, “Don’t Even Think About Looking Back.” A-pplication: When Jesus is given first place in an individual’s life, He sets a course for that person that is straight ahead. The straight-ahead life God planned for each one of us is filled with new challenges every day. It’s alive. It’s fresh. It’s invigorating to the point that the only thing that can defeat this life in Jesus is when the individual begins looking back to his or her old way of living. That is the devil’s lie each time the temptation comes. “Just go back to the way it used to be,” he says. “Your old friends are waiting for you.” But what’s really being said is failure is waiting there too. That’s...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Judges 19:12 His master replied, “No. We won’t go into any city whose people are not Israelites. We will go on to Gibeah.” O-bservation: These are the words of a Levite who had taken his wife from her father’s home in Bethlehem as they began a long journey back to his home in Ephraim’s hill country. As night was approaching, his attendant said to him, “We should spend the night in Jebus,” which was Jerusalem. But Jebus had not been fully taken over by the Israelites, and the Levite said, “No! We won’t stay anywhere but where Israelites control the territory.” So they went to Gibeah, where the tribe of Benjamin lived. An elderly man invited the traveling team of three to stay with him since it was quite late. They did, and while they were enjoying the evening at the older man’s house, evil men from Gibeah came and took the Levite’s wife and raped her until she died!! A-pplication: This is a long story that doesn’t find its conclusion until the end of the next chapter. Yet, there is a point that I want to make that seems appropriate. This Levite, because of the tribe...

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...