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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.

A Nurse Really?

Scripture
The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. - Isaiah 58:11

Observation
• God is our guide
• He knows what’s best for us even if we don’t
• His guidance is valuable and can bring us more blessings than we can imagine if we follow His wisdom and guidance  

Application
• A tough decision when I got my O level results
• Insecure, confused, unsure about the future
• Prayed for guidance from God
• Eventually led me to a path I never expected
• Proved to be a right choice in the end

Prayer
Dear God, thank you for the amount of guidance you have given me throughout my life. May I receive more guidance from you and obey your words even if it may seem tough or ridiculous to me as you are my God, the all powerful God who knows my past, present and future. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Serving the Lord Joyfully

Scripture
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.
- Psalm 37:4-6

Observation
Serving the Lord is not an obligation but an outpouring of gratefulness and reverence to His holiness.

Application
A service that is done to comply to an obligation cannot be a joyful one as there’s a feeling that you might fall short of the expectation. Whereas when it is done out of sincerity and gratefulness there’s a joy and delight as you know that the God you are serving does not measure the quantity of your service but the condition of your heart. 

Prayer
Dear Lord God Jesus, thank you for your love. Teach me to always take delight in seeking your presence so that I will always be joyful in serving you. In Jesus name, Amen.



Lean Not

Scripture
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight. ”- Proverbs 3:5-6

Observation
Being young I often look to the future and feel uncertain as to what it holds. This verse calls my own understanding into question and suggests that I should instead submit to God in whatever I do, and trust Him, for my own understanding may fail but He will not. In doing this, my path will be made straight and thus I have nothing to be anxious or worried about.

Application
Whenever I come across a difficult or uncomfortable situation, my natural response is to overthink or worry about the possible outcomes. Instead I should commit every decision to God and focus on doing my best, and doing what is right. I realize that I shouldn’t agonize over things I cannot control but rather, I should put my trust in He who presides over my future, whilst also doing my part in walking the straight path.

Prayer
I pray that I may learn to put my trust in God instead of my own strength when it comes to my future. May I walk in His path and commit my worries to Him, so that I can live untroubled, safe in the knowledge that my future is in good hands. I also pray for the wisdom to navigate whatever may come in life, and hope that He will make his plans for me clear. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Restoration

Scripture
The man who brought the news replied, “Israel fled before the Philistines, and the army has suffered heavy losses. Also your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God has been captured.” When he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell backward off his chair by the side of the gate. His neck was broken and he died, for he was an old man, and he was heavy. He had led Israel forty years. His daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant and near the time of delivery. When she heard the news that the ark of God had been captured and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she went into labor and gave birth, but was overcome by her labor pains. As she was dying, the women attending her said, “Don’t despair; you have given birth to a son.” But she did not respond or pay any attention. She named the boy Ichabod, saying, “The Glory has departed from Israel”—because of the capture of the ark of God and the deaths of her father-in-law and her husband. She said, “The Glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.” - 1 Samuel 4:17-22

Observation
The Israelites thought that the Ark will never leave them, they were surprised that the ark can be captured by the Philistines and the sad story of God’s glory departing from Israel, the ‘Ichabod’ moment.

Application
We must not substitute the glory and presence of God in our life, church and ministry by a outward form of Christian practices. If God’s glory is not in it, we are only going through the motion and we will find it a struggle to keep up what God is asking us to do.

Prayer
May You restore your glory to our church and life as an approval of your plans in what we do, may You rebuild our walls, renew our spirit and restore the glory of God in our lives. For whhe that happen revival will come. Amen.

Be Thankful

Scripture
Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. - Psalm 103

Observation
Bless the Lord, O my soul and forget not what he has done for you. Many times in life, we pray that the Lord to bless us to prosper us. But when we’ve received the blessings and the promotions, we think that it was our own abilities that has brought us where we are. We forget without the Lord we are nothing. 

Application
We need to learn to be thankful of each and every blessing from the Lord.  

Prayer
Bless the Lord oh my soul, I’ll worship Your Holy name. You are rich in love and slow to anger. Your name is great and Your heart is kind. For all Your goodness I will keep on singing. Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find.

And on that day when my strength is failing. The end draws near and the time has come. Still my soul will sing Your praise unending. Ten thousand years and then forevermore. Amen.

The Lord is my Shepherd!

Scripture
Know that the Lord He is God, it is He who made us, and we are his and we are his people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter the gates with thanksgiving and his court with praise! Give thanks to Him Bless His Name. - Psalm 100:3-4

Observation
• The Lord our God created us perfectly through His image with great purpose.
• He knows everything in me, He directs me, He always sees the unseen in me that others doesn’t see.
• He holds my future as well He is my God!

Application
As a sheep to His pasture, I have to always enter His gates/church to praise Him, to worship Him with gladness and a joyful heart with thanksgiving.

Prayer
Dear Heavenly father, your love to us endures forever. I want to thank you for keeping us safe under your protection. I know we can never be perfect but through your love and direction we can be a better one. Thank you Father. In Jesus Mighty name, Amen.

Conscious Trust In God In All Circumstance

Scripture
“For i am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers,nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor heightnor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able toseparate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” - Romans 8:38-39

“And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” - Colossians 1:17

Observation
• Nothing can (ability) separate us from God and His love for us.
• Nothing will (certainty) separate us from God and His love for us.
• All things, and not just some things.

Application
Conscious trust in God in every circumstance, big or small.

Prayer
Dear Lord, it is indeed you that holds all things together. There are so many things that are out of my control, but i declare that you are still God – God over me, God over those whom I love, as well as those whom I don’t, and God over my every circumstance.

Thank you for bringing me thus far, and please continue teach me to consciously choose to look to you, especially when everything around tries to drown you out. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

When God Speaks, Obey Him

Scripture
Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him. You will eat the fruit of your labour; blessings and prosperity will be yours. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. Yes, this will be the blessing for the man who fears the Lord. May the Lord bless you from Zion; may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life. - Psalm 128:1-5

Observation
• Walking in obedience requires active listening
• The challenge is to act according to what I hear
• If I give up my pride, act according to His words and choose to do what I do not want to do, the good result is near

Application
• Open up my ears to be ready to listen
• Be courageous and act according to His words

Prayer
Dear Lord, I pray for courage to act upon your word. I pray that I will be mindful of my words and actions that it will be constructive in building relationships . Remind me to be humble and be slow in anger. Thank you Lord! Amen!

Can I Still Praise God?

Scripture
“…Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” - Job 1:21

Observation
• When Job got the news of his cattle, sheep and camels were gone and his 10 children had died this was what he said. “ The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. May the name of the Lord be praised”

• Job acknowledged that every good thing in his life is from God.

• Job did not sin against God by blaming Him .

• Job continued to praise God when disaster fell on him.

Application
• Indeed God is the one who gave me a job, gave me a wonderful family to enjoy.

• God is sovereign. His ways are higher than my ways. He sees the full picture, I only see part of it. He allows things to happen for reasons that I do not know for now.

• God is good, He is just, He is faithful even when we are faithless. Trust in God’s character that things happen for the good of those love him.

Prayer
Dear Jesus, Thank you for dying on the cross for me. Thank you for loving me and my family. Time passes quickly, but the pain of losing my brother has not gone away. But I want to remember your character, your goodness, your sacrifice, your love. I want to thank you that you have given my brother to be such a blessing to all of us. Thank you that he has set an example for many to follow. Thank you that his life have touched many others for you. Help me to cope with the challenges ahead – give me strength. Help me be a blessing – I can only do this with you. Help me live the way you want me to live. In Jesus’ Name Amen

Spiritual Eyes

Scripture
You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? 
- Galatians 3:1-3

Observation
“Before your very eyes” - I don’t think the church in Galatians witnessed the actual crucifixation. But as Paul prays in Eph 1:18 for the ‘eyes of our hearts to be enlightened’, I believe Paul is referring to our ‘spiritual eyes’. We believe what we hear and read, and see Jesus as revealed in the bible. 

Application
It’s one thing to merely believe, but quite another to see with my spiritual eyes, the portrayal of Jesus as crucified. When my spiritual eyes are closed, I may be trying to ‘finish by means of the flesh’.

Prayer
Help me to see Jesus crucified, and as my fully sufficient all in all. May I not ‘try to finish in the flesh’ - be it in religious works or worldly works. Amen.

Pray Hard & Work Hard

Scripture
But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat. - Nehemiah 4:9

Observation
• Nothing would make them stop depending on God through prayer. They might have given up, believing the continued attack was a failure on God’s part to answer prayer before – but they had more trust in God than that.

• They also knew that prayer didn’t mean they were to do nothing. They used sanctified common sense to do what they should have, protecting against attack, using willing servants of God to be the wall until the wall was built.

• Nehemiah was determined. He wouldn’t let the security of daylight or the sleepiness of night keep him from the work.

Application
• When we see an area of our Christian life that needs particular attention, it isn’t enough to pray. You need to set a watch as well – give special attention and accountability to that area of your life until you are walking in consistent victory.

• Our prayers do not replace our actions; they make our actions effective for God’s work.

• “Pray Hard and Work Hard!”

Prayer
We give thanks to our Heavenly Father, for His divine arrangement in bringing the two churches: City Gate Church and Shekinah Assembly of God, together for a combined church camp and other activities to come. We have prayed and will continue to pray for wisdom in working together for Your glory. We would make whatever sacrifices necessary to see that Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. We pray hard and work hard, as we love and trust You, Lord, in all that we do. Amen!

No other Foundations

Scripture
By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
- 1 Corinthians 3:10-11

Observation
• Every building has a foundation
• The taller the building the deeper the foundation
• Often it is the unseen that matters in life
• It all depends on what you are building your life upon
• We are all building on something where you like it or not
• Are you building your life on your finances, your career, your children, your spouse, or your talents / giftings ?
• One of these days all these will fall apart. When the chips are down the foundation you rest upon will reveal itself
• Build with care - be wise in how you build your life upon
• The scripture inspired us to build on Jesus

Application
• Nothing must take the very place that only Christ alone occupies.
• I must build my very life on Christ (John 14:6) - He is the Way (there is no other ways to God - Know Jesus Know God), He is the Truth (I must define my life by the truths of God and not the truths of the world) and He is the Life (He is my reason for my very being)

Prayer
Lord, may I never build on things of the world that I deemed to be of more importance than You. I want to put you at the rightful place in my life. Lord, occupy the very foundation of my life that at the end of my life, I can say together with Paul that I have laid my very life on Jesus Christ. Amen.

Malicious Joy

Scripture
Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice, or the Lord will see and disapprove and turn his wrath away from them. - Proverbs 24: 17-18

Observation
• I know that I am to love my enemies.

• However, there were times when I kind of delighted when someone I dislike got in to some form of “punishment”.

• I didn’t know God disapprove such act and he will turn his anger away from them.

Application
• Rejoice not when my enemy fallen.   It makes me a sinner by doing so and my action is displeasing to God.

• There is no different between big sin or small sin in the eye of the Lord.

Prayer
Dear heavenly father, thank you for your words. Sorry for the things which I have sinned against you. Please teach me to love your people and my enemies. Teach me to be wise and walk the way you wanted me to. In the name of your son Jesus, I give thanks and pray. Amen

God Triumphs Over Evil

Scripture
• Hear me, my God, as I voice my complaint; protect my life from the threat of the enemy. Hide me from the conspiracy of the wicked, from the plots of evildoers. - Psalm 64: 1-2

• The righteous will rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in him; all the upright in heart will glory in him! - Psalm 64:10

Observation

David faced the terror of the enemy. He went through times of real trouble, but he is confident that ultimately, God will triumph over evil.

Application
1. Cry out to God - Ask God to protect my life from the threat of the enemy
2. Stay close to God - Take refuge in Him (v10)
3. Praise God at all times

Prayer
Lord, thank you that I can be confident of the ultimate triumph of good over evil and I am never alone and You are my refuge and fortress. Lord, I praise You in all situations and for the protection You give me.

God Is My Defender!

Scripture
“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” - Romans 8:31

Observation
When God is on our side, we are completely safe as there is nothing that can threaten us.

Application
As Long as we obey God, He will protect us and we will be safe. We can trust in the Lord to defend us against evil.

Prayer
Jesus, may you help me trust in you to defend me and protect me. In all things, may I learn to lean on you for protection in the name of Jesus I ask and I pray, Amen.

Relax and Wait on God

Scripture
I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.” - 1 Samuel 13:12

Observation
Because of fear and pressure, Saul took matters into his own hands and disregarded Samuel’s instructions to wait 7 days until he arrived to make the offering to God.

A spirit of self-reliance displeases God. As a result, Saul missed his destiny.

Application
Having faith in God & obeying God at all times is a real test. Whenever I face fear and pressure, it’s time to remind myself 3 ‘R’s:
1. Remember God’s faithfulness & His deliverance.
2. Rely on God. Trust God and avoid self-reliance.
3. Relax and do not run faster than God. Wait patiently for God’s timing.

God’s deliverance is never late!

Prayer
Dear Abba Father, help me to trust You fully as I learn to wait patiently for Your rescue and for Your plan to unfold. Blessed is the man who trust in You. You are the ‘first’ aid in whom I could depend on. In the mighty name of Jesus, I pray. Amen!

Through Christ, I can do all things!

Scripture
Unless the Lord had given me help, I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death.  When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.  When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. - Psalm 94:17-19

Observation
• Written during a time of persecution
• “Dwelt in the silence of death” (17) → not knowing what to do or say
• God’s goodness is the great support in times of trouble
• Divine consolations relieve anxiety, there is no need to worry

Application
• Tells me to seek help from the Lord and I should not keep silent about my problems → pray about it and seek divine counsel.
• God will send help and support through miracles and people.
• Cast my worries upon the Lord.

Prayer
Dear Lord, help me to rely on You more and less on my own strength. Thank You for always being with me and supporting me even through the toughest of times. Through Christ, I can do all thing! Amen!

GOD’S WINGSPAN

Scripture
I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings. - Psalm 61:4

Observation
God does not really have wings but He has a huge span of care. He shelters us under His “wings” like a bird covers its chick. This not only tells us of God’s strength but also His tenderness.

Application
We might say that God is in touch with His “feminine side”, portraying himself here as a mother hen. But of course, the hen can only guard the chick if they are willing to be guarded. If they run out on their own, they just get lost, gobbled up or trampled. And the same is true for me. God can protect me if I stick close to Him. Wander off, and I am bound to get into trouble. Don’t brush off God’s affection or protection. There’s no safer place than under His “wings”. 

Prayer
Thank you Lord for always keeping me under your wings. Help me so that I may never wander off, for there is no safer place than under your wings. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

Transformation

Scripture
Do NOT be conformed to the Pattern of this world, but be Transformed by the renewing your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. - Romans 12:2

Observation
• Do not copy the pattern of this world
• Allow the Lord to work in your life (surrender to HIM completely)
• Understand Lord’s Good, Perfect will for your life

Application
• 1 Thessalonians 5:23 - May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
• Meditation

Prayer
Lord, help me to know your perfect will for my life by renewing my mind as I know Your ways are NOT my ways and Your thoughts for me are NOT thoughts. Amen.