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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.

Made Ready

Scripture
There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord.The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord.
- Proverbs 21:30-31

Observation
This proverb refers to preparing for battle. God is sovereign, all efforts in my life is in vain if without His approval and blessings. Yet God’s sovereignty does not negate my responsibilities. With God’s help I still must contribute and play my role. 

God determines who wins! The result may not be always what I wish for. But ultimately it will still be a victory that God demands for, according to His works and His timing.

Application
Be a “smart horse”. Be sensitive and obedient to master’s calling.

Prayer
God, set my mind and heart right before you. Strengthen me that I will not circumvent my responsibility in fulfilling your plans you have for me. I will be joyful and thankful in this journey of faith because You are the great “I AM”. Amen.



Believing & Trusting in God

Scripture

Psalm 23:1 NIV - The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

Hebrews 13:6 NIV - So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”

John 14:1 NKJV - ”Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.

Philippians 4:6-7 - “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Observation

• Believing Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior 

• Confess to God that I am a sinner, and only through the blood of Lord Jesus Christ that my sins are forgiven. 

• I am no longer condemned.

Application
Humble myself before God. To trust Him in His plan for me. Avail myself to serve and worship Him. For I am weak, but He is strong.

Prayer
Dear God, please help change my vision and seek You first. I see myself blessed with your love, favor, wisdom and knowledge. I believe and I receive in faith. Lord Jesus is my Lord and my Savior. Thank You, Abba Father. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Why Do I Serve?

Scripture
We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. - 1 Thessalonians 1: 2-3

Observation
• Work produced by Faith
• Labor prompted by Love
• Endurance inspired by Hope

Application
Love In Action

Prayer
Dear God, thank You for loving me. Because You first loved me, I can love You and enabling me to serve others. When I serve like Jesus, I become more like Him. Amen.

The Lord Establishes My Steps

Scripture
The plans of the heart belong to man,    but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. - Proverbs 16:1

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. - Proverbs 16:9

Observation
The Lord establishes my steps.

Application
• Seeing how God’s plan unfold - In this fast and ever-changing society, the key is to get in-tune with God.
• Listen - Discern what is from God and what is not. Pray and not rush.
• God’s power - Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. Eph 3:20

Prayer
Dear Lord, we pray as a church to be humbled before you. Our pride, health, wealth, family and all that we have belongs to you. Help us to be a good steward of what you have given to us. We submit to you ,our Father in heaven, with all our heart, mind, soul and strength Giving thanks from the bottom of our heart to our almighty Lord and creator.

Freedom From Fear

Scripture
I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me, freeing me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy, no shadow of shame will darken their faces. - Psalms 34:4-5

Observation
Fear is a powerful thing. It can undermine our faith and is capable of robbing us of joy and peace. We have God and He is near. God loves us and He wants us to trust Him, come to Him to pray for help and lay down all our fears to Him.

He promised to answer our cries for help and in His grace fill us with His love, hope and joy. Because joy comes from God, peace and safety come from Him as well.

Application
I need to learn to run to God whenever I encounter any form of fears or troubles and seek His help. It is God who will protect me from dangers. I will continue to pray constantly and earnestly so as to increase my faith in the power of prayer. It is prayer that help me to overcome my fear.God reminded me to trust Him, have faith and to believe that through prayer, the impossible becomes possible.

Prayer
Heavenly Father, thank you for loving me. I surrender all my fears today and look to You for help. I know that Your perfect love will cast out those things that strike fear in me. Thank You for Your promise to answer me when I call to you, to free me from fear and shame and to make me radiant with joy. In Jesus’ mighty name I pray, 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.

Fear Not

Scripture
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hands. - Isaiah 41:10

Observation
• When nations are in fear, they help one another and worship idols (Isaiah 41:1-7).
• As God’s chosen ones, we need not fear as God will help us (Isaiah 41:8-16).

Application
• No matter what we face, we can depend on God’s promise: “Fear not, for I am with you.”
• Faith is the key that unlocks the door to God’s power.

Prayer
O Heavenly Father, thank you for being with us always, giving us the strength and help needed, holding us dearly in your right hand. We will trust in you for everything, and soar with you. 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.

Unshakable Hope

Scripture
We have this Hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. - Hebrews 6:19a

Observation
• God is saying to grab hold of this Hope (Anchor)

• Anchor – heavy, firm & strong

• Holds you down firmly and securely

• Anchor is use in storms to prevent drifting
– to be still in one place

Application
• I tend to worry about work, family and even the general things. There are times I grow weary fighting the storms in life.

• Work, in particular, can get overwhelming, at times. I need to constantly draw strength from God to cope with the heavy responsibilities.

• A small boat out at sea can be rather scary, and this verse serves as a reminder to myself that I can drop anchor when I need to be Still.

• God says, Do not worry. Be Still…

“When the oceans rise and thunders roar, I will soar with You above the storm. Father, You are King over the flood, I will be Still, know You are God.”

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.

Stand Firm

Scripture
Those who walk righteously and speak what is right, who reject gain from extortion and keep their hands from accepting bribes, who stop their ears against plots of murder and shut their eyes against contemplating evil — they are the ones who will dwell on the heights, whose refuge will be the mountain fortress. Their bread will be supplied, and water will not fail them.
- Isaiah 33:15-16

Observation
• Image of a Righteous Man - Do no evil; Speak no evil; See no evil; and Hear no evil.
• Protection and Provision

Application
Stand firm in the truth of the bible and “do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Roman 12;2)

Prayer
Our heavenly father, may your will be done on me. Please help me to follow your righteous way, and live a life to glorify your name. I pray in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Thanksgiving and Prayer

Scripture
I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your love for all his holy people and your faith in the Lord Jesus. I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people. - Philemon 1:4-7

Observation
1. Pray for God’s people for love and faith.
2. We are all God’s holy people.
3. We are to share (koinonia) and refresh one another.

Application
Remember to pray for God’s people and to refresh one another in Him. We are asked to impart life, not impress one another so we can be effective in our calling.

Prayer
God, I pray that I will learn to share our life with one another in faith, love and kindness to refresh one another with simple authenticity. 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!

Obeying God

Scripture
”Tell them that this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Cursed is the one who does not obey the terms of this covenant - the terms I commanded your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt, out of the iron-smelting furnace.’ I said, ‘Obey me and do everything I command you, and you will be my people, and I will be your God.” - Jeremiah 11:3-4

Observation
• The Lord said, “Obey everything I commanded you.”
• The Lord said He will fulfill His promises.

Application
Life is not always easy. Personally, I considered it very challenging. There are times that I even had thoughts of giving up and doesn’t want to think or face those difficult trials anymore because it seems that there’s no end to it. But as I sought His face one day, I cried and said, “Lord where are you? Please help. Strengthen me. And the Lord said to me in His still small voice, “Carry on! Don’t give up and I will fulfill My promises.”

Prayer
Dear God, thank You for never leaving me whenever I am in pain. For delivering me and always giving me hope in my darkest valleys. Amen.

Relying On God

Scripture
• “Woe to the obstinate children,” declares the Lord,“to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin; who go down to Egypt without consulting me - Isaiah 30:1-2

• Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsemen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, or seek help from the Lord. - Isaiah 31:1

Observation
• There are consequences if we choose not to trust God. Hezekiah lost many cities! He suffered character defamation. Assyrian cajoled his leaders not to list to him.
• There are consequences if we choose not to trust God, even if a Good King or for Good Reasons.

Application
• Even after you have suffered certain consequences, it is never too late to humble yourself, seek Godly counsel and escalate your situation to God.
• In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.

Prayer
Dear God, we often undermine the need to trust You, Hezekiah got rid of the foreign gods and he was quite a capable king. But he forgot to rely on you in dealing with the toughest enemy. He must have thought, “what is wrong in securing my own protection.” You want us to trust in you with all our heart, and seek you in all our ways, and walk like a 100% authetic child of God. Teach us to humble ourselves before you, and to not wait for desprate situations before coming to you. Teach us to know your heart and to count on you to make our paths straight.  

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.

Avoid Godless Chatter

Scripture
Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. - 2 Timothy 2:16

Observation
• To avoid godless chatter
• Quarreling (v14)
• Words of no value ie. gossip (v14)
• False teachings (v17)
• The power of the tongue
• James 3:5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.

Application
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29)

Prayer
Dear Lord, I surrender my tongue to You so that You may use it to lift others up. May Your Holy Spirit steer me away from any godless chatter and grant me the wisdom to speak life in others’ lives. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.