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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.

From Racing Heart to Racing According to the Heartbeat of Jesus

Scripture
Then Moses set up the courtyard around the tabernacle and altar and put up the curtain at the entrance to the courtyard. And so Moses finished the work. - Exodus 40:33

Observation
• Our resting heart rate is the heart pumping the lowest amount of blood we need because we are not exercising. Our heart rate is normally between 60 (beats per minute) and 100 (beats per minute).  

• Read the last chapter (40) of Exodus.  Imagine how excited Moses was after he put in the last piece of details for the tabernacle. Moses came a long way. He led the Israelites to do as the Lord commanded him, from crossing the Red Sea to following the Ten Commandments to the building of the Tabernacle. “33 Then Moses set up the courtyard around the tabernacle and altar and put up the curtain at the entrance to the courtyard. And so Moses finished the work.”

• Moses’ heart must be pounding hard in his chest, racing so fast, “Will God be pleased?” Then the moment is here! Moses received the affirmation from none other than the LORD “34 Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.” Moses must be over the moon.

Application
• Recently I had a bad episode of cough and had difficulty in sleeping, as my heart was racing and beating very fast. Heart beats are unnoticeable by me until they are off beat - too fast, too slow.

• I was confronted with these questions – Am I racing according to the heartbeat of Jesus? While my heart is beating, which rhythm is it beating according to?

• When my heart is offbeat, i.e. when it does not race according to God’s heartbeat, do I notice it?

Prayer
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for this lesson on heartbeat. Forgive me as all too often, my heartbeat was not in sync with Yours. I was not moved with love by the same people Christ died on the cross for, just because they are different from me. How dare I preferred only to love the ones lovable in my sight and left behind the “unlovable - 麻烦份子”. Lord forgive me and help me to love first. Lord help me to see them through Your lens colored by love. In Jesus’ name I ask and pray. Amen.

Giving With A Grateful Heart

Scripture
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”
- Malachi 3:10

Observation
• Tithing as a duty
• Tithing with grateful heart
• Receive the blessings from God
• “Test me in this”

Application
• Fatherhood increases understanding of Father’s heart
• The happiness from receiving ang-pows from daughters
• Results: makes me want to bless children more
• Helps to appreciate the daughters’ heart even more
• But blessings have to come at appropriate time and place to ensure proper lessons learnt

Prayer
Dear God, Thank you for the experience of fatherhood. This has helped me understand the Father’s heart so much. I understand that my tithing (or lack of) does not bring profit to you. It is more of a demonstration of relationship between You and I. You desire nothing more than an obedient heart and my devotion. Help me to be a better husband, father and Christian in this journey. Amen



Total Submission

Scripture
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. ”- James 4:7-8

Observation
• Submit yourselves to God - He is the boss of my life, I have to submit myself to Him.
• Resist the devil, and he will flee from you – Our God is a powerful God, therefore there is no room for the devil.
• Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you – If we turn to Him, He is always there for us.
• Cleanse & Purify – Sin is an obstacle in our walk with God, we have to turn away from them and repent to God.

Application
To submit myself to God to do his work, when faced with temptation I will pray and turn to Him for help. To truly repent my sin and allow Him to work in my life.

Prayer
God, help me to submit myself to you everyday, to live for your purpose.  Help me resist temptation, and help me to turn to you for help and to truly repent my sins to you, in the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

Setting Goals

Scripture
Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil. - Proverbs 4:25-27

Observation
Goals gives us direction. They serve as reminders of what is really important to us and help to keep us on track.

Application
I asked God for 2018 what is his plan and purpose for me to thrive spiritually, physically, mentally etc.

Here are 3 simple goals 
- eat well
- think well
- rest well

Prayer
Lord, help me in the area of discipline to achieve the above goals that I have resolved to do. Amen

Fulfilling vows

Scripture
And she made a vow, saying, “O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give  him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.” - 1 Samuel 1:11

Observation
• A humble but depressed servant, crying out to God for emotional support.
• An intimate relationship with the Lord with a bargain type of prayer; “if” (her request) and “then I will” (her promise).
• Willing to give God forever, her only child, whom she longs for, knowing He will definitely take care of her child.  

Application
Greatly encouraged to keep to my words, just like what Hannah did in v27-28. Her reward: from a mother of 0 to a mother of 6.(1 Samuel 2:21)  

Prayer
Help me Lord, to fulfil whatever vows I made, just because You’re a covenant keeper. In Jesus’ name, I ask and pray. Amen.

God’s Word - The Anchor of My Life

Scripture
Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Saviour, and my hope is in you all day long. - Psalm 25:4-5

Observation
• David asked the LORD to teach and guide him through His Word.
• David told God that all his hope is in Him. 

Application
• Learn to anchor my life in the Word of God.
• God’s Word purifies and guides my heart. It also renews my mind.
• God’s Word re-aligns me to His heart.

Prayer
Dear Lord, I pray that I will learn to dwell richly in your Word. Help me to seek your truths daily with great delight by cultivating regular devotions and reflecting on your Word. Let me take your Word as a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. For I ask all these in the most precious Name of Jesus, 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.

TRUST

Scripture
But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes, its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. - Jeremiah 17: 7-8

Observation
When we trust the Lord, He provides all we need. He expects us to trust him always; that kind of trust takes time - like a tree sending out its roots so that we are well-positioned to rely on Him, drink from His waters during tough times.

Application
Whenever I’m worried about anything, I must remove the worry and trust Him. Even though when situation seems hopeless but we have hope in the Lord. We must cling on to Him and his promises. He wants nothing but the best for all of us.

Prayer
Dear Lord, we put our trust and hope on You. Lord cause us to be a tree planted by the waters, bringing nutrients into our life. Let us continue to be fruitful in your kingdom. In Jesus name, I pray 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.

Guard Your Heart

Scripture
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” - Proverbs 4:23

Observation
• “Above all else”- Suggest as being important and of utmost priority. An instruction not to be taken lightly.

• “Guard your heart”- Suggest an intentional and deliberate effort is needed for us to stay vigilant and safeguard what we allow or disallow  into our hearts.

• “Everything you do flows from it” - Our action begins way before the act. It begins with the conditions of our hearts.

Application
• We need to constantly guard against what we allow into our hearts. This include what we watch, what we hear and what we think. 

• If we guard our hearts well, our actions will overflow from within, leading us to do the right thing.

Prayer
Lord, help us to constantly watch over our hearts. Let us not be deceived by what the world has to offer, but instead stay guarded over what we watch, what we hear and how we think.  It’s only with a right condition of our heart will we be able to speak and act in a manner that will glorify your name. Amen!

Living In Community

Scripture
And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching. - Hebrews 10:24-25

Observation
The word “spur” means to encourage one another in our Christian faith in doing good deed and not to give up in meeting together because only in meeting together can we find the needed strength to overcome difficulties in our life. 

Application
Meeting together in group give me the needed strength to continue this journey of faith in my life. 

Prayer
Father God, we are make not to be alone but for community so that we spur one another in our Christian walk. In Jesus name, Amen

Broken Heart

Scripture
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. - 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Observation
• Why are there troubles in life? Sometimes, it’s my own doing; some troubles God allows for our own good.
• God will be there for us, he will comfort us.
• Seek Him, we will find peace

Application
Man throws away broken things but God uses someone who is broken.

Prayer
Dear God, thank you for all the comfort I receive. Help me to count the blessing. And knw that what I experience and all the comfort I receive is to be passed on to others who need to be comforted. In Jesus name, I 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.

LOVE and OBEDIENCE

Scripture
“Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” - John 14:15

Observation
• God keeps His covenant of love to those who love him AND keep (obey) his commands.

• Love and obedience come together.

Application
My love for God shows in my obedience to Him. When I come to obey God’s statutes and decrees, it has to be the result of my love for Him. The more I obey, the more I WANT to obey. The more I love God, the more I WANT to love God. Therefore, I will definitely know that God loves me.

Prayer
Oh Lord, thank you for your faithful covenant of love for me. Through the Holy Spirit, enable me to obey your commands that I may truly love you. Amen