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S.O.A.P.

FEED YOURSELF!

We have found journaling to be an excellent way to help members feed themselves spiritually. Writing out our devotion in a journal helps to both record and process what God has spoken to us. Through sharing our journal, we look deeper into what God is speaking, gain new insight and even encourage others. One simple way to journal is using the “S.O.A.P.” method, made popular by Pastor Wayne Cordeiro through his book “The Divine Mentor”:

S for Scripture
Open your Bible to the allocated chapter in the Bible reading plan. Take time reading and allow God to speak to you. When you are done, look for a verse that particularly spoke to you that day, and write it in your journal.

O for Observation
What do you think God is saying to you in this scripture? Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you and reveal Jesus to you. Paraphrase and write this scripture down in your own words, in your journal.

A for Application
Personalize what you have read, by asking yourself how it applies to your life right now. Perhaps it is instruction, encouragement, revelation of a new promise, or corrections for a particular area of your life. Write how this scripture can apply to you today.

P for Prayer
This can be as simple as asking God to help you use this scripture, or it may be a greater insight on what He may be revealing to you. Remember, prayer is a two way conversation, so be sure to listen to what God has to say! Now, write it out.

To get you familiar with doing S.O.A.P., we have added members' journals which were presented at the recent church services for your reading pleasure.

Radical Obedience

Scripture
You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. I do not accept glory from human beings, but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God ? - John 5:39‭-‬44

Observation
• This was Jesus’ comment to the Pharisees for objecting to Him healing the lame man on Sabbath. The invalid had been lying beside a “magic pool” for 38 years, hoping to be the first in the pool once the water is disturbed (supposedly touched by angels), and be cured.

• Jesus simply asked the man “do you wish to get well?” and healed him when he said yes.

• In the same way, Jesus is saying that we simply need to come to Jesus to be healed. It is not our study of scripture, just like waiting beside a magic pool, that will save us, but having the love of God in our hearts and accepting of Jesus Christ.  

Application
• Jesus is warning us that it is easier to put our faith in prophets and great men of this world, than Jesus.

• It is also easier to subscribe to the letter of His scriptures, than to follow the God that the scriptures testify about.

• Can we simply be obedient whenever God commands us to ‘pick up our mat and walk’, or will we reject Jesus when He appears before us because we believe He must come in a certain way, through a certain person, or at a certain time?

Prayer
Dear Jesus, I give thanks for Your willingness to come to us, to walk among us, and save us through Your sacrifice. Forgive us for putting our faith not in You, who come in Your Father’s name, but in those who come in their own names. Forgive us for seeking the glory in each other, but not in You. Help us to recover the love for God in our hearts and teach us to be obedient, that we not look in other people or things, even Scripture, for eternal Life, but only to You, Lord. Amen.

Through you, others can see Him.

Scripture
Their wives could win these men [for Christ] by the way they live without saying anything….

Rather, beauty is something internal that can’t be destroyed. Beauty expresses itself in a gentle and quiet attitude which God considers precious.
- 1 Peter 3:1-4

Observation
• God’s good character or image of Him in you will win over, encourage, motivate and bless people.
• These verses not only apply to wives but everyone.

Application
God has blessed Grace (my wife) with a quiet and gentle attitude, and she has won over and blessed me. She has never wavered despite all the trials and tribulations.

I ask myself, “What’s the kind of character God has blessed me with or given to my loved ones, friends?” Be thankful for them. Use them to be God’s examples.

Prayer
Dear Lord, continue to mould us to shine not for others to see us, but let us shine so that through us, others can see You. Lord, teach us, guide us, transform us. Amen.



Peace

Scripture
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. - 2 Thessalonians 3:16

Observation
• Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. - John 14:27

• Paul reminds the Thessalonians of the promise of peace by Jesus in the midst of persecution and troubles.

Application
Peace is never the absence of trouble but knowing the presence of God.

Prayer
God I pray that I will learn to be still and know you are God, that I wait upon the Lord to renew my strength and invite Jesus to my ‘boat in the midst of life storm” Amen.

God’s Presence

Scripture
And He said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” - Exodus 33:14

Observation
• Background – Israelites turned away from God and worshipped idols. God said His presence will not go with them, instead He will send an angel. Moses pleaded.
• God’s presence provided us safety, strength, courage and joy during trials.
• God’s presence provide us direction and comfort.
• Enter His rest so that our hearts will not be filled with anxiety/fear or restlessness.
• Enter His rest knowing that God will be with us, there is nothing to fear.

Application
• How do we know God’s presence is with us?
• My mother fell and injured with blood clots in her brain that lead to swallowing issues.
• God comforted me with this verse during my devotion and even the worship song that happened to play on that night is about “Rest entered in our heart”.
• God promised that if we come near to Him, He will come near to us.
• Thanksgiving – God healed my mum, blood clots disappeared and she can swallow once again.

Prayer
Dear Heavenly Father, we want to thank You, Your presence comforted us during our trials and Your presence provided us the assurance and security. Help us Lord to soak in Your presence each day. Give us the rest that the world cannot provide but only You Lord can give. Amen.

Hiding Your Word

Scripture
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” - Proverbs 22:6

Observation
• Children learns, observes and applies every second.
• “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” Ps 119:11 (NIV)

Application
• If we don’t teach, others will • Anecdote
— Children using scripture against parent (Gen 50:20 “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good…”)
— Children praying in the face of “adversity”
— Bible-reading annually  

Prayer
Dear Lord, let Your word so richly dwell within me that I may be a better Christian, better father, and better husband that Your glory be shown to the people around us. Amen.

Be Still & Trust in Him

Scripture
Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes. - Psalm 37:7

Observation
God is asking us to wait upon Him and be patient. He knows and He will take care of everything. He asks us not to worry especially those evil people prospering with their evil deeds. He knows and He will take care of it.

Application
I need to lay down my worries onto Jesus’s feet and trust in Him that He will take care of it. I will wait patiently upon Jesus too and not rush into doing things my own.

Prayer
Lord, I pray for Your patience to be in me. I want to fully trust in You and not half-heartedly at times. Help me Lord, help me to build my trust and faith in You. I pray also that You will take care of things especially when the evil ones are doing wrong to me or others. I pray for strength that comes from You. Amen!

Listen

Scripture
“let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” - Proverbs 1:6-7

Observation
Wisdom is more than knowledge; it is the ability to discern and judge which aspects of that knowledge are true, right, lasting, and applicable to your life. It’s the ability to apply that knowledge to the greater scheme of life. It’s also deeper; knowing the meaning or reason; about knowing why something is, and what it means to your life.

Application
It is not enough for me to just build up my knowledge in the material things but I also have to build up my wisdom and to listen more to the people God has placed in my life to guide me and to not get “puffed up” on my knowledge and think myself smarter than all my friends and teachers because I think I am more knowledgeable than them. This way I will be able to combine my knowledge and gain wisdom in order to gain insight and this way get closer to God.

Prayer
Dear Lord Jesus, I pray that I will be able to gain the wisdom to heed the counsel of my friends, teachers and those you have placed in my life and that I will never grow proud and turn a deaf ear to their counsel and forget that you are the Source of all knowledge, in the name of Jesus I ask and I pray. Amen.

Power to Make a Difference

Scripture
“..and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,..” - Psalm 128:1-5

Observation
• Paul’s prayer and thanksgiving to God for what He has given the church.
• He has vested in the church a great the power.
• This power and authority extends to all things.

Application
• God has vested in us the power to “make a dent in the universe”.
• This power is not just for within the local church but to usher God’s kingdom into all realms and domains - as a Church.
• We are called and empowered to make a difference and usher His kingdom into the domains that He has placed us in.

Prayer
Father, thank you for making such great power available for us. Help us make a difference and glorify you wherever we are with such a power. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Weapons Of War

Scripture
I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does… - 2 Corinthians 10:2-5

Observation
We do not live by the lowly standards that have been set by this world. We rise above these standards by the power of our Lord Jesus Christ. The world fights with guns, grenades and missiles. We fight with a spiritual arsenal that is far more advanced and superior than the nuclear weapons that Trump and Kim can possibly fire at each other in their lifetimes. We have been given the power to demolish strongholds – power that is way beyond the frontiers of post-modern science, engineering and worldly philosophy.

Application
The devil constantly tries to sow lies in my mind to discourage me from carrying out the purposes of God. He tells me that I’m not good enough, not worthy enough to do God’s work, and that God’s grace is insufficient to live by. He magnifies my weaknesses so that I do not believe that I have the strength to face my challenges.

I need to remember that not only have my sins been put to death when I was crucified with Christ, but that I have been given special weapons after I rose with Him from the dead. So I can now demolish any thoughts that are depressive and untrue and not from God. Armed with this power that is based on God’s truth and promises, I have the courage to face my enemies and have the ability be obedient to whatever God wants me to think and do.

Prayer
Pray for God to remind us that through Christ, we have the power to overcome our fears, inadequacies and our difficulties. Pray that we will test our every thought and intention against God’s word and discard what falls short of His standards.

Stay Humble

Scripture
So people will be brought low and everyone humbled, the eyes of the arrogant humbled.  But the Lord Almighty will be exalted by his justice, and the holy God will be proved holy by his righteous acts. - Isaiah 5:15-16

Observation
• This is part of God’s charge against the nation of Judah. Judah was prosperous under King Uzziah’s reign, but they have no regard for God. They depended on men rather than looked to God. 
• The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.  (Psalm 14:1)
• …That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” (James 4:6b)

Application
When we are doing well in our work and family,  it is easy to forget God and think that we can live our lives on our own without depending on God. It is easy to let our successes or blessings cause our heads to swell up.

Prayer
Lord, keep me humble, guard my mind from prideful thoughts. You see through my heart, my thoughts, my motives. Hold me and keep me pure. Remind me constantly how much I need you every day. You are the one who gives me hope, life and the reason to live.

Thank you for loving me so so much, help me to love You back in words and actions. I surrender myself to Your Lordship. I pray You would teach me to be sensitive to Your voice, I will follow Your calling to serve You in my weaknesses and strengths. I rely fully on You in the fulfillment of Your purpose in my life. In Jesus’ name I ask and pray. Amen.

Through you, others can see Him.

Scripture
Their wives could win these men [for Christ] by the way they live without saying anything….

Rather, beauty is something internal that can’t be destroyed. Beauty expresses itself in a gentle and quiet attitude which God considers precious. - 1 Peter 3:1-4

Observation
• God’s good character or image of Him in you will win over, encourage, motivate and bless people.
• These verses not only apply to wives but everyone.

Application
God has blessed Grace (my wife) with a quiet and gentle attitude, and she has won over and blessed me. She has never wavered despite all the trials and tribulations.

I ask myself, “What’s the kind of character God has blessed me with or given to my loved ones, friends?” Be thankful for them. Use them to be God’s examples.

Prayer
Dear Lord, continue to mould us to shine not for others to see us, but let us shine so that through us, others can see You. Lord, teach us, guide us, transform us. Amen.

Remembering God’s Goodness

Scripture
Let all that I am praise the Lord ; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!
- Psalms 103:2-5

Observation
Key statement: “May I never forget the good things He does for me.”

When we are well and everything goes smoothly according to what we want, we tend to forget about the goodness of God easily. We forget how He had healed us, forgiven our sins, clothed us with His tender mercy and Love, and renewed us like the eagle’s. 

Application
May I never forget about the goodness of God – how much He loves me and cares for me. 

Prayer
Lord, You are our good Father! Even though we sometimes forget about Your Goodness, yet in Your tender love and mercy, You never forget us. You love us still even when we follow the wrong path. Help us to remember Your goodness.  In Jesus’ name, amen!

Think Abundance

Scripture
“They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights.” - Psalm 36:8

Observation
Our God is a God of Abundance. In Him, we will find no lack. We can feast at His table and find all our needs met according to His riches and glory.

Application
As a child of God, I must learn to think abundance. For without an abundance mentality, I’ll most likely settle for a poverty mentality.

When I think abundance, I become more gracious, generous and magnanimous. I will also be quick to overlook any offence and not hold grudges.

Prayer
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for all Your blessings in my life. I have feasted on the abundance of Your house; You gave me drink from Your river of delights. Help me to have the mind of Christ and learn to think abundance. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

Surrender Sinful Anger to God

Scripture
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. - James 1:19-20 (NIV)

Observation

• Our tongue has incredible power
• We can use it to bring blessings and life or curses and death
• Trials/triggers will become the occasion for sinning against each other/one another as they stir our fear, self-pity, envy, confusion and especially anger
• James wanted Christians to change undesirable habits and behaviours to bring about the righteous life that God desires as human anger and divine righteousness are typically at odds with each other
• Anger will tempt us to do evil and we must recognize that such temptation is neither originating from God’s will (James 1:13) nor achieving anything for God’s will.

Application
Be honest about our own anger, but do not give in to one’s temper. To pray and ask the Lord to change us, heal us, and transform us into peacemakers and wise followers of Jesus.

Prayer
Dear Lord, I would like to pray that in whatever difficult circumstances we might be in, You will grant us the wisdom to be slow to become angry so that we don’t say things we don’t mean. Let us be a blessing to others with our words, building people up instead of destroying. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen!

Jesus my Great Redeemer

Scripture
But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. - Ruth 1:16

Observation
• The book of Ruth is a loving, moving story between Naomi, Ruth and Boaz. It speaks of the covenant of love, trust, integrity and kindness.
• There is Hope in Christ. Light will follow after darkness. The chapters speak of Jesus our redeemer who sacrificially died on the cross to redeem me and regard me as his child.

Application
Never ever to take my salvation for granted. Because of redemption for me that I will love His word, love His people and serve the Lord with all my heart.

Prayer
Lord, thank you for accepting me as your child. Thank you that through Jesus you have made it possible for me to be delivered, redeemed and saved. I praise and thank you for your great love for me. Amen

All things Work Together

Scripture
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. - Romans 8:28

Observation
• God’s promise is that if we love God, in all things, and at the end, bad things work out for good.
• Not that bad things are actually good things in disguise.Not that bad things will give way to better things that will overwhelm the bad thing.
• God did not promise us better life circumstances, He promised us a better Life - Tim Keller 

Application
How to have Hope and Joy that is irrespective of bad circumstances.

Prayer
Dear God, thank you for your promise that all things will turn out well in the end. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Amen. 

Others

Scripture
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. - Philippians 2:3-4

Observation
My recent honeymoon trip to Northern Europe has taught me many good lessons. One of the lessons is to look into the interests of others which brought me back to the verse Philippians 2:3-4, seeing how the people (Finnish) live it out. I was told by one of the local guides that their people operate by trust. I cannot fully buy the idea of that because I didn’t experience it yet.

• If you drop/lost your belongings somewhere, you can be almost certain that you can find it back.
• If somebody sees you drop something that you are not aware, he/she will pick that up and return to you.
• Because the roads are very slippery, everyone drives patiently. I don’t remember hearing horns.

Application
I will practice the spirit of looking into the interests of others to be different from the world who teaches “help yourself first”.

Prayer
It is only difficult when comes to practicing Your teachings. So God, have mercy on me when I’m being put to the test. Amen.

Waiting Expectantly

Scripture
Psalm 5
• V2 - Hear my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray.
• V3 - In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly…
• V11 - But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

Observation
• In Psalm 5, King David laid his requests to God in the morning and asked for God to lead him in His righteousness and defend him from his enemies.
• He also waited expectantly for God’s help and protection, knowing that those who put their trust in the LORD will rejoice.

Application
• I can also choose to start my day right by coming to God the first thing every morning instead of rushing off to my daily routine.
• This can help to remind me on the goodness of God every morning, knowing that whatever the day may turn out, God’s protection will be on those who love His name.
• I also need to wait expectantly for God’s providence and guidance throughout the day.

Prayer
Dear God, thank You that we can come to You with our requests. Teach us to start our daily lives in the correct posture by coming before you every morning instead of being caught up by the ‘morning rush’. As we present our requests to You, help us to wait expectantly for Your answers and directions, so that we can rejoice in You as we go about our daily activities. Amen.

Trust and Experience God’s Love

Scripture
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. - Ephesians 3:16-19

Observation
As we trust and rooted in God’s love, we will experience the width, length, height and depth of His love. Though we may not fully understand God’s love, but His love will make us complete.

Application
Learn to trust and look up to God in this modern society, and not rely on solutions / resources or quick resolution which are readily available. Not to fear as God covers us with His love.

Prayer
Dear God, thank you for Your love. Help us to trust and dwell in You, so we can experience the fullness of Your great love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.