How to S.O.A.P. your quiet time

SOAP-Quiet-TimeOver the years, I have been involved in many MANY Bible studies. I’ve always appreciated the accountability that studying together brings with it. Whether the facilitator or participant, I enjoyed the fellowship and the insights/questions from others in the group.

For the past couple of years I have been blessed to be part of an online study group called Good Morning Girls. It is designed to get women into the Word by reading small sections of Scripture and then meditating on a few assigned verses. I can honestly say that this S.O.A.P. approach to Bible study has been a delightful discovery for me.

The next study begins on January 20. Please click this link to the Good Morning Girls blog and learn what S.O.A.P. is all about.

And, if you’re interested in joining a group, let me know. I co-facilitate an international group on facebook…we would love to have you join us!

Lessons from Mark

“…rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.”

mark02So many important lessons learned from just the first chapter of Mark.

But probably none so crucial as the fact that Jesus was a man of prayer.

Or should I better say:  Jesus IS a man of prayer. Sitting at the right hand of the Father and interceding for you and for me.

How can any one of us believe that we can do anything of value without prayer?

Make a plan. Work hard. Reassess. Work. Work. Work.

Jesus certainly didn’t just work, work, work. He sought the will of his Father and through prayer he discerned what to do next. Why wouldn’t we??

Lord, help me to remember that it’s YOUR strength that I need, not mine.

And it’s YOUR sovereign plan, not mine.

And it’s for YOUR glory, not mine.

Why read the Bible?

I was just reading an article about why to have babies…and the reasons that people give for delaying starting their families (Why Have Babies?). I am always a bit sad when I realize that I was listening to people/culture when we stopped having children after only three in just under two years. Yes, twins were first. Then a handsome singleton to go with his beautiful sisters. Not being a believer at that time, we could only wrestle with financial/energy/whatever issues from our own experience and those around us.

But that’s not what hit me in the article. A closing paragraph spoke such truth about ANY issues, not just whether or when to bear children:

“It’s not that we weren’t reading the Bible. We were, but we were reading with an eye toward what we hoped to get out of it, rather than coming to it to learn what the Bible says about God. We are people of our age — influenced by the world around us that says you read the Bible for what you can get from it. God calls us to something different. Scripture tells us that we are responsible for studying God’s Word, for hiding it in our hearts, for knowing what God commands and obeying Him.”

191How often we ‘use’ the Bible to support our personal agendas (or ignore it if it conflicts with already-made decisions). As we start a new year — often with fresh goals of digging into God’s Word on a regular basis — may we pray for each other to slowly taste the WHOLE counsel. Chew on what you’re reading. Meditate. Pray for understanding. Get to know God this year. He has so much to tell you about what He’s already done for you. Throw away your agenda. His is so much better. And He will be with you to give you the strength and wisdom and joy to see all things through. After all, He did ordain all things.

So looking forward to amazing insights this year.

The will of God and evil

220px-John_Calvin_2As we continue going through John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion, I find myself thinking and rethinking what we are reading. Like, for example, this excerpt from a section on God, His will, providence and evil.

“For it would not be done if he did not permit it; yet he does not unwillingly permit it, but willingly; nor would he, being good, allow evil to be done, unless being also almighty he could make good even out of evil.”

And this:

“For our wisdom ought to be nothing else than to embrace with humble teachableness, and at least without finding fault, whatever is taught in Sacred Scripture.”

Just because we might not understand everything that is written in Scripture concerning God — some will always be a mystery — does not give us the right to change it. Oh, we hear so often about how a good God wouldn’t allow that, or an almighty God would certainly prevent that from happening, or a loving God would never permit that. (Not to mention the oft-stated comment that a loving God will certainly not send anyone to Hell.)

God reveals Himself to us through His Word, His creation and His Son. It is not for us to make God into the God we would prefer, but to ponder who He says He is.

And then fall on our knees as we realize the love and grace He abundantly pours out on us, his rebellious children.

Lord, have mercy.

Growing in grace and knowledge

Justin McGuire brought this to my attention through Jeanne. The post was written two years ago, but the suggestions are relevant always.

191If you truly want to grow in grace and knowledge in this new year, may I recommend you read this article and put the suggestions into practice. The first four:

1. Read your Bible before you read your email, log in to Facebook, turn on
the radio, etc.

2. Start attending the church events you normally miss.

3. Begin and stick to a pattern of daily family worship.

4. Start reading systematically through the Bible.

Read why the author suggests these things and also the other six points by reading the whole article here.