Today I'm really busy. Maybe too busy to write this blog. So, I wanted to give you a little tool that doesn't take much time for taking in the Bible devotionally. It requires that you write, read one chapter of the Bible and follow this acronym "S.O.A.P.". A few of my friends have led their churches in adopting S.O.A.P. as a model for prayer and Bible reading and maybe I'll do the same here at First Assembly, but for now, here's how it works.

S for Scripture. Read one chapter from the Bible a day. For our purposes, we'll use Matthew 12. As I read it, I'll look for a verse that particularly speaks to me and write in my journal.

In this case, Matthew 12:50 stands out. "For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."

O for Observation. At this stage, I write down a few observations about what I think God is saying to me in this scripture. I ask the Holy Spirit to teach me and reveal Jesus to me. In my journal, I paraphrase and write this scripture in my own words. In my case, I might write down that the essential DNA of a follower of Jesus are his actions more than his words or beliefs.

A for Application. Here I personalize what I have read by asking myself how it applies to my life right now. I write how this scripture applies to me today.

In this case, I might write something along the line that doing the will of my Father in heaven is most practically and most urgent in the most essential relationships of my life: husband, father, son, friend. When I carry out the will of the Father in these areas, I find myself closer to Jesus and in his closest family.

P for Prayer. This can be as simple as asking God to help me live out this scripture, or may be a greater insight on what he may be revealing to you. I remember that prayer is a two-way conversation, so I am sure to listen to what God has to say and I journal about it.

I hope this brief model of how to pray, journal and read the Bible in a short space of time is useful for you! Look to see something like this emerge in the future of our church life, as prayer and reading the scriptures is a basic way to move your life toward transformation.

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