S O A P

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Zechariah 11:16 For I am going to raise up a shepherd over the land who will not care for the lost, or seek the young, or heal the injured, or feed the healthy, but will eat the meat of the choice sheep, tearing off their hooves. O-bservation: Many theologians believe the prophet Zechariah was seeing a vision far into the future. One which initially would have included the Roman Empire that lorded over Israel and allowed the rule of the Pharisees who rejected Jesus and had him crucified. But also much further into the future, when Israel would one day face the Anti-Christ because of the rejection of Jesus. This world leader will have one thing in mind: world domination and the complete destruction of anyone who gets in his way. A-pplication: When you read this entire eleventh chapter, it speaks of Zechariah’s vision of a nation and a world in a time that completely rejects Christ. This verse in particular, when read by peaceful Christian people, is a brutal vision that actually ended up in the canon. Yet it’s imperative that we remember that God is God. His mercy is beyond our ability to reason, but...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Luke 13:17 When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing. O-bservation: Once again, Jesus had healed a woman on the sabbath. The Pharisees were furious that He would do work on the sabbath. Jesus said, “Don’t you untie your donkeys on the sabbath and lead them to water?” He let them know that was a form of work none of them would argue about, yet they argued against this Israeli woman He had healed. At that moment, the Pharisees were humiliated and had to silence themselves while the crowds of people rejoiced at what Jesus had done. A-pplication: I never cease to be amazed at what happens “When Jesus Steps In.” In many ways, the people of Israel in Jesus’ day were living under two tyrants. First was the Roman Empire, mentioned in verse 1 of this chapter. Second, they were living under the Pharisees’ unyielding interpretation of Old Testament law. After that, you had the Jewish masses trying to eke out an existence free of governmental and religious interference. Jesus was the one ray of hope during that time. He seemed always...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Zechariah 5:11 He replied, “To the country of Babylonia to build a house for it. When the house is ready the basket will be set there in its place.” O-bservation: In another translation, instead of calling this a place of “Ungodliness,” Babylonia, it instead is called Shinar. This place was located in southern Babylon and is believed to be the place where the people rose up to build the Tower of Babel. It was there that God confused their languages so they could not fulfill their mission to build a tower into the heavens. A-pplication: Zechariah had been given a vision by God of a woman who was earlier called WICKEDNESS (v. 8). It signified that wickedness was being  given a permanent home to always fight against the purposes of God in the world. I must say that whether Zechariah’s vision actually meant that, it’s true that there has ALWAYS been a spirit of Ungodliness on the earth. It seems we who stand with Jesus must and will stand against this spirit until we are called home to heaven. Whenever you are inclined to ask, “Will this spirit of Ungodliness ever end?” Please know that it will...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Luke 11:43 Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and respectful greetings in the marketplaces. O-bservation: Jesus condemned the Pharisees concerning their desire for NOTORIETY. He said, “You want to have the best seats in the Synagogues so everyone can see you and for people to greet you with respect in the marketplace.” A-pplication: Later on in the book of Luke, Jesus told His disciples to sit in the back when they entered a wedding feast. That way, if they wanted, the host would come and invite them to a better seat. Don’t take the most important seat because it may be reserved for someone else, and you will be humiliated when asked to move. He then said, “For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” (Luke 14:11). But this was not the way the Pharisees operated. They, instead, were concerned about personal NOTORIETY! How does this impact you and me? My best answer is, “Do what Jesus would do.” You know our Lord would humbly and admirably let someone go before Him. He knew that the power and authority His...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Haggai 2:8 “The silver is mine, and the gold is mine,” declares the Lord Almighty. O-bservation: This happened when God’s people were in the process of rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem. God sent word through the prophet Haggai to the governor of Judah, Zerubbabel, and the high priest Joshua. This was another Joshua, not the one who conquered Jericho many years before. He asked the people to consider their ways because they were living in paneled homes while the temple of the Lord lay in waste. In this passage, the Lord says, “What are you worried about? All of the gold is mine, and all of the silver is mine!” It was almost as if the Lord was saying, “Please, I’ve Got This!” A-pplication: My friend, today, as you read this short post, remember the words of the writer of Hebrews when he said, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever!” (Heb. 13:8). Nothing has changed since Haggai made this statement to the governor and high priest of Judah! Whatever money issues you may be facing today, Jesus is telling you right now, “Please, I’ve Got This!” He is our elder brother, the scripture says....

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Ezra 4:24 Thus the work on the house of God in Jerusalem came to a standstill until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia. O-bservation: This event happened during the ministry of the prophet and writer Ezra. Ezra was a contemporary of Nehemiah who was commissioned by the King of Persia to rebuild Jerusalem, which had been destroyed under the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar. While they were rebuilding in Jerusalem, men who were against them got a stop order from the King of Persia, and the work of God came to a halt. A-pplication: In my life, I have witnessed over and over that when people are doing good work for the Lord, there will always be OPPOSITION! I’m sure in your own life, you’ve experienced times when you knew you were on a mission of the Lord, and in the middle of doing what he called you to do, OPPOSITION suddenly arose. Why is this? Under Ezra and Nehemiah, everything the Jews were doing was a good thing for the kingdom of God, and they had been given permission and orders to rebuild Jerusalem by the King of Persia. Yet in the middle...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Luke 8:53 They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. O-bservation: Jairus was the synagogue leader. He came to Jesus for help. The associate he brought with him said, “Jairus, your daughter is dead, let’s don’t bother the teacher.” But when Jesus heard that, he looked at Jairus and said, “Don’t be afraid, just believe, and she will be healed.” When Jesus got to Jairus’ house, people were crying, and Jesus said, “Stop crying, she isn’t dead she’s just sleeping!” At that point, people started laughing at Jesus because they were sure she was dead. A-pplication: The people were laughing because of what they thought they knew. They didn’t know they were dealing with God and that God had just spoken. That being said, how many times have you and I laughed at something we didn’t know the whole truth about? We thought we knew the whole story, but we really didn’t. And what about the fact that sometimes God makes a statement through a friend or family member, and we laugh?  But when we laughed, we didn’t know God was using that person to help us. I can tell you this, the older I get,...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Psalm 84:10 Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. O-bservation: The Psalmist describes the absolute best thing that any Follower of Jesus can possibly experience “On Your Best Day.” He said his best day is any day he is in the presence of the Almighty, and it’s better than a thousand days anywhere else. A-pplication: What does your best day look like? For a young person, most would probably say finding that special someone. Or perhaps if you’re in the middle of a huge transaction, closing the deal may be your best day. As you age, healthy days are one’s best days. Yet right here, the man who controlled the nation of God’s people said it’s not money, it’s not my family, it’s not power, it’s not continuously winning battles. Instead, on his best day, He’s in the presence of the Lord. He said, “Just one day in the house of God is better than a thousand days anywhere else!” As I stop and ponder my own life this AM, I’m not sure...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Luke 6:26 Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets. O-bservation: While Jesus was giving the Beatitudes to His disciples, He warned them to be on guard with people who were constantly speaking well of them. He said their forefathers used to speak well of the false prophets. In other words, when people are building a leader up with “False Honor,” it’s usually towards someone who is in on their sin with them. A-pplication: We see “False Honor” in our country regularly. People build others up who are pretty wretched characters. But because they are aligned with them for some personal gain, everyone applauds. Here’s the problem, you can’t hide sin. Eventually, the truth will come out, and someone will lose their life, or for sure their credibility, because it wasn’t gained through hard work and honesty. I’m reminded of Jesus talking about the two builders: one who built his house upon a rock and the other built his house upon the sand. Both houses look somewhat equal for a time until the storm comes. The one whose foundation is a rock will stand. The one...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Daniel 7:27 Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him. O-bservation: The prophet Daniel was given a vision by the Lord of the activities that will take place after the second coming of Christ. What he saw, in conclusion, was the final destruction of Satan himself and the ultimate triumph of Jesus and the eventual obedience of all in authority on earth to Jesus the Messiah. But, of course, we Followers of Jesus know that He is Lord “And He Shall Reign Forever!” A-pplication: Francis Schaeffer was a man of God during my formative youthful days, and I adored his writings. He wrote a book asking the question, “How Should We Then Live?” In it, he traces history from Ancient Rome until the writing of his book in 1976. All of us who call ourselves Christian have heard it said of our Lord and Savior Jesus, “And He Shall Reign Forever,” which comes from Handles “Messiah.” But since we know that one day that will happen,...