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Archive for the ‘SOAP’ Category

Watch out for false teachings

Scripture: 2 Peter 2:1

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them-bringing swift destruction on themselves.

Observation:  Not all who claim to speak the word of God really do. Watch out.

Application: I need to be on alert for false teachings and teachers. It is easy to get caught up in reading something or hearing something and using my own judgment to determine if it is true. That is not enough. My own “judgment” leaves a lot of room for error.

Before I hold anything as true, I must hold it up to Biblical standard. If I can find support for the message in the Bible (without manipulating anything) then it is God’s true word and guidance. If it is truly God’s direction I should follow it.

Prayer:  Thank you, Lord, for this warning about false teachers and prophets. Please keep me on guard so that I will not follow false teachings by mistake, but instead will only follow truth. Thank you for giving me the Bible as the ultimate tester. Please continue to guide me in using it. 

Also, Lord, please keep my writings pure so that I will not unknowingly mislead any who hear my thoughts. I don’t want to make any incorrect assumptions myself and then share them with others. Please, Lord, help me hear you when I am on the right path, and help me to hear your warnings when I am not.

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Scripture:  2 Peter 1:3

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

Observation: Everything I need to live and to follow him he has given me through him. All I need is from him.

Application: I must realize that all I need I already have through him.

I am pretty distracted right now. I’m staying at someone else’s house and in the same room as my youngest. She just woke up and wants to be with me. Writing and praying while snuggling is a bit of a challenge! Plus I’m wondering if the other two are awake and how much longer I have this morning.

Prayer:  Lord, please guide me back to this verse and anything else you want me to take to heart throughout the day. Don’t let my mediation stop in the busy-ness of the day. Instead please stay with me and guide me. Please forgive me for not giving you the proper focus this morning and help me to find that focus even when it is challenging.

Thank you, Lord, for all you have given me and continue to give me. Thank you for giving me all I need and for helping me to understand that more fully.

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Stay alert

Scripture: 1 Peter 5:8

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Observation:  I must be aware of my behavior and thoughts, keeping them in line with God’s plan as best I can. Satan is lurking, ready to take advantage of weakness.

Application: I can only remain alert to His plan by staying close to Him through intentionally listening and studying his word. I need to also be aware that Satan is there, watching and waiting. Rather than let him have any opportunity, I must tune myself in to the voice of the Holy Spirit and follow that.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for calling me to study your word and carry it in my heart. These last few days I have really felt a tugging to do as you direct, rather than as I might choose on my own. Please continue to prompt me to follow the direction you have already given me. Guide me in staying alert to your direction and growing in my relationship with you, pushing away the urges to not change that come from the enemy. Thanks for those whispers in my ear and in my heart that come from the Holy Spirit.

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Scripture: 1 Peter 4:9

Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.

Observation:  Serve others without complaint.

Application: God presents opportunities to serve him throughout my day in serving my children as well as others. Hospitality is not just hosting guests and throwing parties. Hospitality is giving myself to others in a gracious manner. It is anticipating needs and meeting them. It is helping others feel welcome and loved.

 I should offer hospitality without complaint not because I want to or because I feel those to whom I offer hospitality deserve it, or even because I might get something in return, but because I am instructed to do so.

Internal grumbling counts as grumbling. I must stop myself when I begin to grumble even if it is inside my head. I need to stop myself and have a change of heart, remembering all Christ did (and does) for me and all my Father does for me every second. No grumbling allowed. I must serve, offering hospitality as I am instructed to do, without grumbling in any way.

Prayer: Oh, Heavenly Father, how you do so much for me and ask so very little! Yet I sometimes grumble when I am in the middle of something and my child asks for something so small. Thank you for this reminder that I am instructed to offer all sorts of hospitality without grumbling. Please guide me and continue strengthening me so that I will end those complaints from entering my thoughts. Remind me that I am serving you in serving others. And that I should do so in joy. Always.

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Be beautiful

Scripture: 1 Peter 3:3-4

3Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4Instead it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

 Observation: True beauty is a state of heart and a state of mind, not merely an outward appearance.

 Application:  I should focus more on making my heart right and on God’s plan and wishes for me rather than what clothes to wear and my physical appearance.

 Prayer: Heavenly Father, your will is that I become truly beautiful, focusing on you and living with a gentle and quiet spirit-not that I conform to the world’s image of beauty. Please guide me in aligning my thoughts that I may see me as you do and that I may increase my desire to grow in the beauty you see, not in the beauty this world covets.

 *******

Last night I began packing for a trip. Every time I do this, I pull out all the potential clothes and think about how I can be comfortable and look nice while traveling and while at my destination. And inevitably, I always find holes in my wardrobe and wonder how ever I could look nice using just what is in my closet.

And I have a pretty well-stocked closet, my friends, so this is ridiculous.

Sure, it is nice to look nice, but how much importance should I be placing on that? How much time do I spend every day putting together what I will wear? And how much time do I spend criticizing my ‘shortcomings,’ wishing my body was more toned, smaller here and there, and wondering what image I am projecting.

Isn’t the image I am projecting from my spirit more important?  And really, is it even up to me to judge?

 God is telling us right here that what is important is inner beauty: He says that a gentle and quiet spirit is of great worth in God’s sight. He clearly says that beauty does not come from the way we wear our hair, our jewelry or even fine clothes.

Sure, you and I might think that all those things contribute to beauty. And all those others around us with whom we are trying to fit in, and possibly impress, may feel that way, too. But God speaks the truth.

Go ahead take care of your exterior, just realize that is not where you will ever be truly beautiful, so don’t spend too much time and effort there.

Instead, focus your efforts on living as God designed you and as He wishes: Exercise your heart and your mind. And achieve a gentle and quiet spirit through Christ. Then you will be beautiful in God’s sight. And isn’t that the best?

No, it won’t be easy. I see myself as the world sees me (or as I think the world sees me). And it’s not realistic to assume that I will be able to give zero thought to outward appearance anytime soon.

Perhaps I could say I prayer every time I find myself worrying if my appearance matches up with those around me, asking God to remind me of what he sees as true beauty. And asking Him to mold me in that form and experience the transformation.

This sounds easy, but it’s a tough one. I’ll be praying for you (and me).

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My church’s senior pastor shared a simple, yet meaningful journaling format called SOAP back in December to help us get more from our daily reading. It took me a few months to fully adopt it, but since I have, it has made a tremendous difference in my prayer life.

I am applying it to a Bible in a year reading plan, but you could apply it to any study or reading format to go one step deeper and really listen to what God might have to say to you through your reading. And by logging your entries, it will be a snap to look back later on and see what you have learned.

All you need for your study/ journaling time is your Bible, a notebook, pen and about 20 minutes, depending on the length of your passage.

Here’s what I do:

Pray, asking God to guide me through His Word and clear my mind of distractions.

Read the passage and find the one thing I believe God is telling me that morning. Then I journal about it using the acrostic SOAP as a guide.

S: Scripture-Write the ONE scripture that I feel God is using to speak to me in today’s reading

O: Observation-What might He be telling me with that scripture?

A: Application-How can I apply it to my life?

P: Prayer-What is my prayer to ask God in helping me to make that application?

When I am finished, I look back over the entry and come up with a short title and write it on the top of the page. Then I go back to the front of my journal and log the title. This way, I can easily look back and find the messages God has sent me.

As you try this out, feel free to get as detailed as you like, but simple answers are perfectly acceptable. This journal is only between you and God and whomever else you may want to share it with, no need to try to impress. Just write from your heart. And try your best to really listen to Him. Clear your mind and listen. Then write.

I log all of my entries in a spiral-bound notebook and then I expand on them here in my blog. Yes, blogging about it probably does change my responses a bit because I am inviting an audience to join me. But by journaling on paper first, I can get out all of my thoughts without worrying what all of you might think. Then I listen to what God is directing and type away.

If you haven’t read any of my entries, just scroll through my blog or do a category search for SOAP. You’ll find one for each day and see how simple it can be… and yet also very enlightening.

This journaling format has really worked for me. I hope that it can lead you, too, to experience a fuller relationship with Christ and our Heavenly Father.

And if you’d like to check out all sorts of real-life solutions to all sorts of other things, check out Works for Me Wednesday at Rocks in my Dryer.

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Crave spiritual milk

Scripture: 1 Peter 2:2

Like newborn babies, crave spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.

 Observation: He wants us to want to grow in our knowledge of Him, to crave it and be unsatisfied until we get enough.

 Application: I need to remain in a good reading and journaling habit so I am continually fed and consequently continually wanting (and getting) more. When I’m in the routine, I’ll notice when I fall out-and I’ll correct myself.

 Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for showing me how to remain in a good study of your word. Please keep feeding me and encouraging my appetite as I depend on you to grow.

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