How SOAP Journaling Has Made My Quiet Time with God Even Better!

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When I was a new Christian I heard about the importance of having quiet time with the Lord. My morning devotions routine has changed over the years. I might pray, read a chapter in the Bible and wonder if that was enough. Sometimes I'd read from a favorite devotional book, like Chuck Smith's devotional, Wisdom for Today.


In 2 Peter 3:18 we are called to grow in the knowledge of God. Fortunately there are many ways we can grow in our knowledge of God and His Word. In this article I want to share one way that has upleveled my morning devotions, helped me grow in the knowledge of God and deepened my faith and trust in Jesus.

 THREE REASONS I LOVE SOAP JOURNALING

1. For me S.O.A.P Journaling has taken my quiet time with the Lord to a whole new level. Rather than reading a Bible chapter and forgetting what I even read five minutes later S.O.A.P Journaling has helped me to pay attention to what I'm reading in the Bible, and note what God is showing me within that Scripture. 

2.By mentally chewing on a verse, I begin noticing things I never would have seen had I just read through the chapter and called it good. 

3. When I think about a verse that stood out to me in the passage I read that morning, I'm internalizing the verse which allows me to easily recall what I read that morning as well as what ministered to me within the passage I read. 

SO WHAT IS S.O.A.P JOURNALING?

S.O.A.P stands for: 


Scripture
Observation
Application
Prayer
 Photo courtesy of First Baptist Church of Royal Palm Beach
To S.O.A.P journal, all you need is your Bible, a notebook, and a pen. Start by reading a chapter in the Bible. Here are the steps to journaling:

1. S: Write out an S on your paper and then jot the verse that stood out to you during your reading.

2. O: Next write out an O on your paper and note what you observe about the verse. What is God showing you about that verse?

3. A: Write out an A on your paper and write how the verse applies to your life and practical ways you can put this verse into action in your day to day life. 

4. P: Finally, Write out an P on your paper and a prayer in relation to the Bible verse you are journaling on.

Here’s an example of one of my S.O.A.P Journal entries to give you a better idea of this.
Take comfort that your S.O.A.P Journal entries don't have to be as wordy as my example below. If you like to keep things short and sweet, by all means do so! However much the Lord leads to journal is what is best. 

AN ENTRY FROM MY S.O.A.P. JOURNAL
Recognizing the Call of God on Your Life—Numbers 17:1-11 
  
S (vs.5) "The staff belonging to the man I choose will sprout, and I will rid myself of this constant grumbling against you by the Israelites." (vs. 8) "Aaron's staff, which represented the house of Levi, had not only sprouted but had budded, blossomed and produced almonds." (Numbers 17:5, 8b)

O In the previous chapter, Korah and his followers rose up against Moses and Aaron claiming they should be placed in an esteemed ministry position as Moses and Aaron were. They argued that Moses and Aaron shouldn’t be the only ones in leadership over the people—they were holy too. (Numbers 16:3) In the end the Lord showed these spotlight hungry men that Moses was indeed chosen by Him when the earth opened up and swallowed the men and their households alive. 
Despite this, the Israelite community still grumbled! So in chapter 17 the Lord has had it with their grumbling over leadership and instructs Moses what to do that will put an end to the people's complaints once and for all. 
The Lord instructed Moses to collect a staff from each leader from twelve tribes and write the name of each leader on their staff. The staffs were put in the Tent of Meeting in front of the Testimony, where God met with them on a regular basis. The next day “Aaron's staff, which represented the house of Levi, had not only sprouted but had budded, blossomed and produced almonds.” 
It would have been clear enough if Aaron’s staff had simply sprouted. It would have stood out among the eleven staffs that hadn’t. But God wanted to drive the message home that Aaron was indeed the exact man He had chosen. Had Aaron's staff only sprouted, and not also blossomed and produced almonds, God knew the people would still find a reason to complain—explaining away why Aaron's staff sprouted. “You call that a sprout? That doesn’t mean anything. That could have happened because…” 

Instead God not only made Aaron’s staff sprout, but in case someone would explain it away, refusing to believe God chose Aaron to co-lead with Moses, God had the staff also bud, blossom, and produce Almonds. It was a miracle. There was no way the people could deny God’s choosing. No more could they wonder who should be in leadership over the people. It couldn’t have been clearer.

A When God calls us to a ministry, He will not only communicate that choosing to us, impressing a specific ministry on our hearts, but He will make it known, confirming it to others. 
One way to recognize God’s call on our life is by looking for fruit in our life. What areas of our life are we witnessing the most fruit? If we are not sure, we can reflect on what is it we do that people give us the most compliments or call us “a natural.” Maybe it is when we exercise our gift of helps, hospitality, or encouragement. What ever God has called us to do, when we step out in faith and follow the Lord's leading for us, the area to which God has gifted us in and called us to will not simply be evidenced by a single sprout, but it will be further evidenced by budding, blooming, and even fruit.

When God reveals your calling to you, and further confirms it to the people around you, “…Do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” (Col. 3:23-24) There is no higher calling, and more fulfilling work, than to do that which the Lord has called us to do.

Lord thank You that when You communicate to us that ministry which you’ve called us to do, you make it abundantly clear, giving us “many infallible proofs, so that there is no question in our minds what You have called us to do. Help us not to miss those proofs, but like the people who witnessed Aaron's staff sprout, bud, blossom, and produce fruit, we’d know beyond a shadow of a doubt that special work that you’ve called us to do. In Jesus name, Amen.


SIMPLE S.O.A.P JOURNAL IDEAS

Here are some S.O.A.P Journal ideas to get you started:

* If you are reading through the Bible in a year, pick a verse that especially ministers to you during your reading that day and journal on that verse.

* Journal on verses related to an area you’d like to grow in or an area of weakness you’d like to overcome. This is a great way to grow in your knowledge about what God says on a specific area you’d like to grow in or overcome. For instance, if you’d like to grow in patience, you could journal on verses about patience. If you’d like to be more joyful, journal on joy verses. If you’d like to be more self-controlled, journal on self-control. So what area in your life would you like to grow in or overcome?

* Journal on the names of God to grow in your knowledge of Him. You could even journal on the names specific to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. If you journaled a different name of God each day, imagine how much you could learn about God in a month! Years ago I studied with the Ladies Bible Study group at church the names of God. We did Kay Arthur's Lord, I Want to Know You: A Devotional Study on the Names of God. It was a wonderful study on the names of God! I highly recommend it!

* Journal on the promises of God.

* Pick a list from the Bible to journal on. You could journal on the days of creation (Genesis 1), the ten commandments (Exodus 20), the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), the characteristics of love (1 Corinthians 13), the seven churches in Revelation (Revelation 2-3)

* Journal on who you are in Christ

* Journal on what the Bible says about your high calling as woman after His own heart—or even more specifically, as a daughter, a wife, a mother, or a grandmother—whatever role God has put you in.

* Journal on verses you are working towards memorizing. Journaling on each verse will help cement the verses in your mind as you meditate on the verse to journal about it. For instance, if the Lord leads you to memorize Psalm 23 you could journal through the Psalm at the pace of one verse a day. Your journaling would help reinforce the verses you are hiding in your heart. By the end of the week, you’d know Psalm 23 so much better than you did before.

Hopefully this article sparked in you a desire to start SOAP Journaling, or a desire to get back to SOAP Journaling, if it's been a while since you last did it. Whether you feel led to SOAP Journal or not, however the Lord leads you to spend your quiet time with Him and His Word is what's best. God bless your week! 

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