I am excited about all of us growing in our relationship with the Lord. Studies that measure spiritual development indicate that journaling in personal devotions -- even brief journaling -- is far and away one of the most significant spiritual growth tools for people to learn how to "feed themselves on the Bread of Life.”
Thus, over the course of 2011 I want to send you, via e-mail, 365 daily readings for you to use as you journal in your devotions. Jewels of wisdom for every day of the year, each entry is drawn from Scripture for you to use as you “SOAP up” (This is an acronym for devotional journaling I first heard from a talk by Pastor Wayne Cordero.
I invite you to 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. Type it out right at the computer and then compose a brief prayer and file it in your SOAP email file.
The Bible is the greatest of all books. And best of all, the Bible brings us to Christ. This year the Scripture readings will be laid out, I trust, in a very helpful way. In 2011 we are simply going to read through the whole New Testament in short segments.
I firmly believe this sort of daily interaction with the word of God is crucial to our spiritual growth individually and together as a church. If you are not currently receiving SOAPS, but would like to, please reply to me at the email address below and I’ll add you to the list. (If you are currently receiving them, I’ll leave you on the list unless you ask to be removed.)
Warmly in Christ,
Read more about SOAPS below.
Thoughts on Journaling:
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! And while journaling is a very personal time with the Lord, you may want to share some of your daily journaling with your small group or mentors. Through discussion, you may be able to look deeper into what God is speaking to you, gain new insight and even encourage others.
S for Scripture
Open your Bible to the reading found in your Bible reading schedule. 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. Now, write it out.
If this seems a little overwhelming, take it slow and keep it simple. 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!
When Should I Journal?
It is a good idea to set aside a certain time in your schedule each day and find a quite 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 a 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.
Pastor John Yenchko