Tools for the Journey

by Pastor Dave on January 16, 2013

Greetings Fellow Journeyers,

Congratulations! First of all, I want to commend you on your decision to read and study God’s Word and join this journey of discovery together. I truly believe that you have made one of the most important decisions of your life. Secondly, if you are receiving this blog post, you have figured out how to sign up for the blog, and you are on your way! Well done!

Last Sunday I shared that reading and studying God’s word grounds us, feeds us, leads us and connects us with Christ. What I would like to share with you is one simple tool that I believe can really make this journey rich, and actually transform your life. You see, The Bible is not a Greek education book, but a Christian transformation book. I would suggest approaching the reading each day with a sense of anticipation and expectation. It is the Living Word of God – it is quite literally God’s word to you, and as you read the pages of Scripture, God actually will whisper his words to you through it. The question remains, how can the Bible be transformative in our lives? How do we meditate on it so that we can be prosperous and successful? How do we hear the whispers of God through the pages of scripture?  Let me pass along a simple tool that might help…

Meditation Tool:  S.O.A.P.

S.O.A.P. is a meditation tool that I discovered about 5 years ago that has helped me to meditate, hear from God, and apply God’s Word to my daily life. Not only does physical soap wash your physical body, but God’s Word washes and nourishes our souls. S.O.A.P. is also an acronym that means:

  •  Scripture – What verse, phrase, or word will I meditate on today?
  •  Observation – What do you observe about this passage – what strikes you?
  •  Application – How does this word from God’s word apply to your life today?
  •  Prayer – form a prayer as a response to God’s word

You can use this Bible Study tool with any Bible passage to help you to meditate on God’s Word. Here’s what I would suggest…  Get a journal or notebook, and use it to journal some simple thoughts as you read Scripture. What? Me, journal?! Please, don’t hyperventilate. (Call 911 if you are having trouble breathing.) YOU CAN DO THIS!! Yep, you really can journal. It is really not painful, or hard, and it can be a meantingful tool. For me, journaling has been the single most transformative tool that the Holy Spirit has used in my own personal growth and hearing the Lord’s voice.

Journaling—how does it work?

As you approach a passage of Scripture, ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you. As you read, pay attention to what words or verses stands out to you, or what strikes you as interesting, or what doesn’t make sense, or what words or phrases really hit you. You don’t need a burning bush, often those little things that stand out to you as you read are God’s voice speaking to you—really!

Then, simply write down the letter S – and write the Scripture words, phrase, verse, or verses that stand out to you word for word. Then write the letter O – and write down any observations that you make as you think prayerfully about those words or verses. This is the essence of meditation. Meditation simply means to think deeply about (literally, “to chew on”). Ask the Holy Spirit to give you insights about this passage of Scripture. Then write the letter A – and ask the Spirit of God how to apply this word to your life today—in the next 24 hours. What are you specifically called to do? Remember what James 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”  How can you practically live out what the Scripture says? Try to be as concrete and practical as you can.  For example, don’t just make your application, “I should pray more.” Try to make it more specific: “This week I will try to pray for 10 minutes a day.”  This is how the Word gets from our heads, to our hearts, to our hands, and into our lives.  Finally write the letter P – and write a simple prayer to God as a response to what he has spoken to you.

Here’s my encouragement to you: Give it a try. This week try this little exercise. You might even want to share with the rest of us any particular insights or words you sense the Holy Spirit speaking to you! God bless you, and enjoy this week in the Word enjoying the book of Matthew!

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