S O A P

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Daniel 6:10 Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. O-bservation: Evil men who were jealous of Daniel, the man of God, had the king sign a wicked decree that stated that anyone in Babylon caught praying to any god other than King Darius for the next thirty days would be thrown into the lion’s den. Of course, they knew Daniel prayed to Jehovah three times a day. They wanted to be rid of him. But when Daniel read the decree signed by the king, the first thing he did was to go to his room and kneel and pray to his God three times a day. A-pplication: As godlessness spreads in my country and worldwide, I do not doubt that the Christian Church will be persecuted. And in other parts of the world, persecution will increase. As persecution and mandates from leadership come that go against your faith and culture of worshipping God, “Do It Anyway!” Daniel knew the pain...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Luke 2:37b She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. O-bservation: These are the thoughts of St. Luke as he reminisced over what he had been told by others who were there. He is speaking about an 84-year-old prophet named Anna. After seven years of marriage to her husband, he died and she remained a widow the rest of her life, worshipping in the temple and fasting and praying. When she saw Mary and Joseph present baby Jesus at the temple, she prophesied greatness over the baby. A-pplication: Not much else is known about this woman of God named Anna, except that she was “A Real Prophet!” For sure, she was the first female prophet named in the New Testament. I hear a lot about modern churches taking a hard stand against female preachers. My family has never gone that way. My parents and my grandparents didn’t go that way either. The New Testament church didn’t have large buildings; they had small home gatherings. Women like Prisca, Euodia, and Phoebe led those house churches. They weren’t called pastors, but neither were Silas and Timothy. So please, let’s open our hearts to anyone...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Luke 1:34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” O-bservation: This is the story of the angel announcing to young Mary that she was blessed and highly favored. Then, the angel told her the Holy Spirit would come upon her and conceive the Son of God within her womb. He then said, “His name shall be called Jesus, and He will sit upon the throne of his father, David.” When the prophecy was finished, Mary had questions about how this would happen since she was a virgin. It was like she had just heard the greatest news in the history of humankind to date, but she responded by saying, “Yah, But,” and then the questions began. A-pplication: No one in history had ever received such astounding and alarming news as Mary, the mother of Jesus, received that day. News that would change the course of history for all humankind. You can say what you want, but an Angel? Really? Then: you’re going to become pregnant by the Holy Spirit, whom you will not be able to see or touch. Then: God, in the form of a baby, will be born to...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Revelation 22:5a There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. O-bservation: The prophet, John the Beloved, gives some very interesting information concerning heaven when he tells us that in heaven, we will no longer need everything we depended on for light in the past. There will be no night there, and God will bring the light like nothing we have ever witnessed in the past. A-pplication: When my sons were young and their birthday rolled around, or Christmas came, I’d always take a trip to the toy store. I’d look at toys for boys their age, and once I found one that I knew they would like, I’d check the small print to see if the toy needed batteries. Often, the box would say batteries needed. Other times it would say batteries included. But the one I liked the beat was “No Batteries Needed.” There is coming a day when we’ll finally step into heaven and fully understand how our great God is the source of all power in the universe. We will experience a profound...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Ezekiel 41:4 And he measured the length of the inner sanctuary; it was twenty cubits, and its width was twenty cubits across the end of the main hall. He said to me, “This is the Most Holy Place.” O-bservation: One bible commentator says chapters 40-48 of the book of Ezekiel are the most difficult in the entire word of God to interpret. In Ezekiel 40:3, a man is introduced in a vision to Ezekiel. It appears that this man is Jesus. He takes Ezekiel on a journey into a new Jerusalem. He shows the prophet some buildings that, by measurement, replicate Solomon’s Temple. Many believe Jesus was showing Ezekiel a picture of the Church and not the Old Testament religious interpretation. Here, as he takes Ezekiel into a certain part of the inner temple, he says, “This is The Most Holy Place.” A-pplication: As I pen this post, our church here in Miami is getting ready to celebrate the Old Testament “Day of Atonement” this coming Sunday. It is the Jewish New Year, better known today as Yom Kippur. It was the celebration during which, once a year, the high priest was allowed to go into the...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Ezekiel 38:8 After many days you will be called to arms. In future years you will invade a land that has recovered from war, whose people were gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate. They had been brought out from the nations, and now all of them live in safety. O-bservation: Whenever you are professionally taught in a theological university or seminary, the professors will tell you in every class that when studying the scripture to read it in context first! In other words, what was happening on that day that would cause the reader to understand what was being said? After that, you are taught to read the passage for enduring truths and prophetic words that could impact present-day life. This passage really had little bearing on the listeners of that day because Israel was already decimated and scattered everywhere. So, it appears this was truly a word for far into the future. A-pplication: I believe it can be safely said that the Early Church fathers would have been somewhat clueless when they read the Revelation of John, and certainly this passage. In fact, it wasn’t until late in...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Ezekiel 37:14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord. O-bservation: The prophet Ezekiel was given a vision of Israel lying dead in the “Valley of Dry Bones.” Then, the Lord showed the prophet a future spiritual resuscitation of Israel that would mean spiritual renewal first and political renewal in time. All of it was predicated for “When His Spirit Comes.” A-pplication: One could argue that the world saw the political renewal of Israel in 1948 when it became an independent nation once again after several thousands of years. Yet, the spiritual renewal prophesied in this verse certainly has not happened for Israel as of this writing. But like we often do in these daily posts, let’s bring it home and make it personal. How is it that you and I have a life with Jesus at all? It happened by the power of the Holy Spirit. You and I are powerless to make our dead selves come back to life in any fashion. However, “When His Spirit Comes,” life comes, joy...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Ezekiel 34:15 I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign Lord. O-bservation: If you take time to read this entire chapter, you will find that our great God was weary of watching Israel’s spiritual leaders grow fat off of the backs of His people. He said that the spiritual leaders of Israel had grown fat eating the finest foods and dressing in the finest clothes while the sheep (the people of Israel) were scattered through poor spiritual leadership and were subject to wild beasts (false teachers.) Moreover, the people of Israel had become targets of Satan himself because they were scattered due to spiritual leaders who cared more for their own concerns. So God said, “I will now Shepherd my own people.” A-pplication: Sometimes, as I look across the church world in my own country, I think that perhaps we are in danger of soon being in the same condition God’s people found themselves in during Ezekiel’s day. Leaders must ensure that their first thought and concern after their relationship with God and their family is their sheep. Sheep need love, leadership, and care. I’ve found in my own life that...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Daniel 3:30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon. O-bservation: Many know this story of the men known as the three Hebrew children. They had been taken brutally from their homes in Jerusalem and placed in the palace of King Nebuchadnezzar because of their brilliance. One day, the king made a ninety-foot-tall golden statue of himself and forced the people of the land to bow down to it when the music played. But when the nation bowed to the statue, these three men stood. They refused to kneel to any God but Jehovah. As a result, they were thrown into the fiery furnace for their rebellion. Yet, the Lord himself showed up in the fiery furnace and kept them from any damage. When the king pulled them out of the fire, he acknowledged that the God of Israel was real, and he promoted the three men to places of authority. A-pplication: “The Purpose Of Testing” is God’s way of preparing you for promotion. If you’re against the testing, it is an indication that comfortability has set in, and growth has ended. On the other hand, if growth is what you desire,...

S. O. A. P. Here’s Your 90 second AM Devotional! S-cripture: Daniel 2:18 He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. O-bservation: Today is the 20th anniversary of the Twin Towers Tragedy in NYC. I’ll say more about that in a minute. In this verse, we see part of the story of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon having a dream that troubled him. Not one of his wise men was able to interpret it. So he decided to kill all of them, and Daniel and his three Hebrew brothers as well. When Daniel heard about the king’s plan, he said, “Give me some time, I believe my God will give me the interpretation.” The King said, “OK.” Daniel then asked his friends to pray with him so God would intervene. They did, and God gave Daniel the answer, which spared their lives as well as the lives of Babylon’s wise men. This passage teaches us that, “When You’re In Trouble,” the first thing to do is gather friends around you and pray to God for help. A-pplication: Seldom on American soil has the...