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There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it,
and it will not be taken away from her. Luke 10:42 (NLT)
Welcome to the first step in a journey that will forever change your life! The Bible is God’s gift to us because in it He reveals His plans, His heart, His character, and His love through the person of Jesus Christ. As we read the Bible, the Holy Spirit reshapes the way we think, feel, and live. We begin to see things through Jesus’ eyes and we respond to daily situations in a more Christ like manner. As we read God’s words, we begin to see how God responds to things. Doing daily devotions re-patterns the way we think and transforms the spirit of the mind. Then when we face similar situations as Jesus did, we begin to respond in the same way.
Journaling is an excellent way to both record and process what God has spoken to us. It’s also a useful tool to use at a later time, to reflect on and review some of the ‘gems’ that you have received. Without writing them down, you may forget those blessings and some very important lessons! “Now go and write down these words. Write them in a book. They will stand until the end of time as a witness” Isaiah 30:8 (NLT) “Then the Lord said to me, “Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others.” Habakkuk 2:2 (NLT) And while journaling is a very personal time with the Lord, you may want to share some of your daily journaling with us! Through discussion, you may be able to look deeper into what God is speaking to you, gain new insight and even encourage others. Let’s get started…You’ll need three items: a Bible, a pen/pencil and a journal. (I usually grab a scrap of paper, too. I’m easily distracted. When I remember something I need to do later I can jot it down and refocus on my reading/writing.)
SOAP Method of Journaling (printable)
- S for Scripture (SERMON)
Open your Bible to the reading found under today’s date of your Bible bookmark. (Printable reading plan under Reading plans or see today’s devotion HERE). Following this plan will take you through the Old Testament once and New Testament twice in a year. Take time reading and allow God to speak to you, don’t rush. When you are done, look for ONE verse that particularly spoke to you that day, and write it in your journal. Why is this important? Writing the Scripture passage helps us to remember where key verses came from so we can look back in our journal or memorize them and pull them up from our memory when we need them.
- O for Observation (SERMON)
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. Record the context of the verse. Why is this important? Knowing this information helps us to know the context of the passage. When we know what’s going on, we can feel confident that we understand the Bible accurately and aren’t drawing inaccurate or even false conclusions. Another approach is to pull the scripture apart phrase by phrase and examine each part.
- A for Application (SERMON)
Personalize what you have read, by asking God to reveal 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. Why is this important? Knowing information about the Bible is important, but the real power of doing daily devotions is when the truth of Scripture changes our lives. Taking what we’ve read and applying it in our lives in practical ways helps us to grow in our Christian maturity and deepens our faith.
- P for Prayer (SERMON)
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. Why is this important? Asking God for support, wisdom, guidance, or strength helps us to rely on His power, not our power, to change. Praying is a great way to lean on God throughout the day and it can show us how faithful God is all the time.
If this seems a little overwhelming, take it slow and keep it simple. But DON’T SKIP JOURNALING! No matter how you decide to do your devotions, the important thing is to show up for your daily appointment, because God is always waiting for you! It is a good idea to set aside a certain time in your schedule each day and find a quiet place where you won’t be distracted. It’s not important when you do your devotions, but that you make it a very important part of your day. For morning people, it’s a great way to start your day. For others, it’s lunchtime appointments with Jesus. For the night owls, it’s the final act of the day, the time to quiet their hearts and hear God’s voice. Choose YOUR BEST each day and give it to Him. Jesus reminded Martha there is only ONE THING worth being concerned about, sitting at His feet and listening. Go discover it!
Adapted from Pastor Wayne Cordeiro, shared with permission