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S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Nehemiah 9:2 Those of Israelite descent had separated themselves from all foreigners. They stood in their places and confessed their sins and the sins of their ancestors. O-bservation: This is the story of the Israeli people who had returned to Jerusalem over many years from their captivity in Babylon. Towards the end of their return, Ezra the prophet came to lead them back to their faith in God, as many had strayed from the Lord to follow the foreign gods of the Babylonians. Nehemiah then returned to repair the walls around Jerusalem. And when it was complete, Ezra read the Books of the Law. The people wept in sorrow for what they had done. This passage tells us that there came a point when the leaders of the land stood and confessed their sins aloud to God. A-pplication: If you continue to read this book to the end, you see that after they confessed their sin before the Lord, the people repented and made promises to the Lord concerning what changes they would make. A true Old Testament revival of sorts took place around them. But nothing happened until they CONFESSED their sins to the Lord. Confession...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Acts 1:21 Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us. O-bservation: These are Peter’s words to the 120 disciples in the upper room in Jerusalem after Jesus ascended into heaven. He told them how Judas Iscariot had died by suicide and that he needed to be replaced. Peter referenced the words of the Psalmist from 109:8, but it wasn’t concerning Judas, only to anyone who would reject Jesus as the Messiah. A-pplication: At one point, Judas Iscariot had wielded much power within the ranks of the twelve disciples of Jesus. He not only was one of THEM, but he was also solely in charge of the money bag that held the disciples’ money. To our knowledge, he was the only one who knew what was in it, and the scripture tells us that he was known to steal from it (Jn. 12:6). But there came the point where his love for money erased all love for the Master, and he betrayed the Lord for money. When he woke up to what he had done, he hung himself. Jesus then died,...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Luke 24:31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. O-bservation: This is the story of Jesus joining two of His followers on the road to Emmaus on the same day He was resurrected. The two men did not know it was Jesus as they talked with Him on the way to Emmaus. His insight into the laws of Moses and the words of the prophets astounded the two men. As they arrived in Emmaus, Jesus wanted to keep going, but they compelled Him to stay since it was getting late. When they sat down to eat, Jesus took bread, gave thanks, and broke it, and began to serve them. Immediately they recognized who it was, and Jesus disappeared. A-pplication: Emmaus was about seven miles from Jerusalem, so it wasn’t a long trip. Yet usually, you plan when you’re going to walk for seven miles and spend the night. What a day it had been for Jesus. He arose from the grave very early in the morning. He then appeared to Mary, and sometime during the day, He joined these two disciples who were on the road to Emmaus. It...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Luke 23:12 That day Herod and Pilate became friends—before this they had been enemies. O-bservation: As Jesus was paraded in front of Herod before his crucifixion, Herod decided to be friends with Pilate. They had been bitter enemies before this event. But in hating Jesus and wanting him dead, they had finally found common ground. So today, they would be called CO-BELLIGERENTS! A-pplication: For instance, two nations could be at odds. But when a third nation each of the original nations hates worse than they hate each other is introduced into the mix, they can join forces temporarily to fight the nation they both hate. However, I believe it’s an absolute anathema that their hatred of Jesus could bring these two former enemies, Herod and Pilate, together to force his execution. I wonder if they had it to do all over again if they would have changed anything. The Jesus we know, the Rose of Sharon, the bright and morning star, the Lily of the Valley, the great Shepherd of His people, the hope for all humankind—how could this man be so hated? Yes, politics and idiocy had a lot to do with these two BELLIGERENTS coming...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Ezra 10:44 All these had married foreign women, and some of them had children by these wives. O-bservation: This is “A Sad Sad Situation.” When Ezra the prophet returned to Jerusalem with a host of exiles from Babylon, he began fasting and praying in public with loud weeping because of the sins of the people of God, and the people noted it. So they started to break in the Lord’s presence as well and repent! It was then announced that a number of the men had taken foreign wives during their time either in exile or back in Jerusalem. The Bible says some of them had children, which meant that a number of the women were barren. Ezra said that if they were serious in their repentance, they would have to put these foreign wives away and their children with them as well. And it was agreed. A-pplication: Earlier in this text, a hundred and thirteen men are named and were guilty of this sin against the Levitical law of Moses. Noting that 80 years earlier, when the first wave of Israelites was allowed to return home to Jerusalem, the number who returned was 42,360. Therefore the...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Ezra 7:18 You and your fellow Israelites may then do whatever seems best with the rest of the silver and gold in accordance with the will of your God. O-bservation: These were the words of King Artaxerxes of Persia, who sent the second wave of Israelites back to Jerusalem under the leadership of the prophet Ezra. He had given so much money to the returning exiles by the hand of Ezra and encouraged him what to do with it. When he was finished, he then said, “Do Whatever Seems Best with the rest of the money.” A-pplication: After 70 years of Babylonian rule, King Cyrus of Persia took over the Babylonian country. He freed the exiles of Israel, allowing them to return to Jerusalem, but not all of them wanted to leave. In the first wave, 42,360 Israelites returned to Jerusalem and found it in shambles. They began rebuilding the temple Nebuchadnezzar had burned. Some 80 years after that, Artaxerxes saw that his nation had been blessed by being kind to the Jews, and he sent another group led by Ezra, the prophet, back to Jerusalem. He gave them more than enough resources to do what needed...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Esther 9:4 Mordecai was prominent in the palace; his reputation spread throughout the provinces, and he became more and more powerful. O-bservation: This truth became established after the devil’s plan had been thwarted. The enemy had raised a wicked man, Haman, up to destroy the Jewish people who lived in King Xerxes’ domain. But, instead of Haman’s will being established, his plan backfired, and he was destroyed on the very gallows he had erected for Mordecai to die on. It was then that Mordecai moved in to establish power under Xerxes and save the Jews. So, what the devil meant for bad, God turned around for good! A-pplication: Perhaps you’re facing an uphill challenge today that has turned into a massive mountain. It may seem as if you are at the end of your ability to cope with this thing anymore. Don’t lose heart. It’s usually when we have exhausted our ability to make things happen on our own that God steps in to save the day. “IF” we will let Him. That’s The Big IF. As in IF we let Him. There’s always a choice when we’re at our breaking point. One choice is to press...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Esther 5:12 “And that’s not all,” Haman added. “I’m the only person Queen Esther invited to accompany the king to the banquet she gave. And she has invited me along with the king tomorrow.” O-bservation: This is the story of the wicked man named Haman, the chief assistant to King Xerxes of Persia. He hated Esther’s uncle Mordecai and wanted him dead. However, Esther had prayed, and all of the Jewish people had fasted and prayed, and she had devised a way for Haman to be trapped in his plan to destroy her and her people. You can usually tell when something is wrong with an individual you are concerned about “When A Person Can’t Stop Talking About Themself.” A-pplication: Haman was a very powerful person within Xerxes’ kingdom. Yet, that’s often the problem. Once a person has experienced unusual power, it’s hard to do anything but long for more power. Haman was obsessed with himself. He had been invited to the first banquet with Xerxes and the king’s wife, Queen Esther. And now, upon leaving, she invited him back the next day with the king for another banquet. He came home talking about himself to his...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Esther 1:12 But when the attendants delivered the king’s command, Queen Vashti refused to come. Then the King became furious and burned with anger. O-bservation: King Xerxes of Persia had thrown a giant party, and during the party, he and his royal friends had become drunk. This happened because they had been on a seven-day binge. Finally, on the seventh day, and in very “High” drunken spirits, he sent for Queen Vashti so that he could parade her beauty before his inebriated friends. When she was sent for, she refused to come. The King was told, and he burned with anger. A-pplication: You may already know the end of the story. King Xerxes had a meeting with his advisors, and they told him Queen Vashti must be deposed, and a new Queen found, or the women of the country would despise their husbands because of what she did. This is how Queen Esther, a Jew in a Persian court, succeeded Queen Vashti. At that time in history, the king was celebrated by all. At least we think he was. But here’s a question. When the king, while on a seven-day drinking binge, demanded his good-looking Queen be...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Zechariah 13:1 “On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity.” O-bservation: This is a continuation of the previous chapter beginning with verse nine. And it seems to be speaking of Jesus, who in time would come to the Jews and be crucified for their sins and those of the whole world. “The Fountain Filled With Blood” are the words of an old hymn that speak of the riven side of Christ. A-pplication: In a previous post, I spoke about Zechariah chapter eleven and Zechariah’s vision of the futuristic Jewish people who would reject Christ’s sacrifice and one day face the Antichrist yet to come. And we fundamental believers certainly believe this to be true. But this passage is the hope of every Gentile because the Jewish nation as a whole rejected the sacrifice of our blessed savior. Let me say this AM,  “The Fountain Filled With Blood” is still available to every human on the planet. Anyone who wants forgiveness and cleansing from sin can come right now and be washed in the blood of Jesus Christ. Yes, I’m serious....