As we begin this new year, the first year of the second decade of the 21st-century, it’s quite overwhelming to think 20 years have passed since the turn of the century. How time flies...which means the return of Jesus is that much closer! Plus, many individuals are very happy to put 2020 in the rearview mirror. Sadly, very little seemed to be in focus for a year that should have been crystal-clear with a number like 2020! Moving forward we should be doing everything we can to live up to our God-given abilities and calling, and part of our journey is the time we spend daily with the Lord. There are multiple ways this can be accomplished and by no means am I suggesting the “S.O.A.P.” system we have begun our fourth year, is the only right answer. We are offering it as “a” solution, one of many choices or options a person could use for daily devotions. Whether you just open your Bible and read as the Spirit leads daily or wait upon the Lord with your Bible near you and spend time in prayer, however you decide to accomplish a daily gathering with our Heavenly Father is up to you.
As a reminder, the S.O.A.P. system stands for 4 points which can help us in our daily growth. Here are the 4 anchor words; #1 Scripture, this is where we spend time reading the Word. Not just to increase our level of information, rather we are looking for transformation. #2 Observation, as Pentecostals we believe the Holy Spirit speaks to us regularly. We are reading the “Logos”(written) Word and we should believe it will speak to us as the “Rhema”(living) Word. The Word is alive, but in a personal sense, we want the Scripture to speak directly to us. #3 Application, during our time of meditation or introspection, which includes the leading of the Holy Spirit, we believe God is going to use this passage to reveal Jesus in a life giving way to us or for others. #4 Prayer, communicating with God includes listening. During this time we also pray back the scriptures declaring their promises towards us. These four steps have no perfect order; sometimes we are praying and the verses we read finally makes sense, sometimes we are reading scripture and the Spirit reveals a step of faith to accomplish, or sometimes we're involved in ministry and the Spirit of God brings to our remembrance a passage we read. The most important point of this entire article is we don’t just read the Bible to read the Bible. Our Bible is our companion. It should be a part of our daily walk with God. Most of us would not leave home without our cell phones, since our communication device with the world is very important. So why would we go out in the world without the Word of God near us? As we begin 2021, I’m believing you have or will have some method in place for daily devotion, knowing the ultimate purpose for our time with God results in a renewed follower of Christ. WOW! Half of January is already in the history books. Here are some additional resources to consider in 2021. For those who use their cell phone, tablet type device, and/or computer for reading the Word of God, an excellent option including options like the S.O.A.P. reading is found at resourceministries.org which includes a daily devotion. This resource comes from believers who are part of the Foursquare Church International which is very similar to the Assemblies of God. “You Version” has great reading plans on their website bible.com. They provide multiple versions and languages of the Word of God free of charge, plus multiple other excellent biblical resources. They have an app for both Apple and Android smartphones and tablets. As always, be lead by the Spirit of God, and not just what the internet says is the truth! If you just want an online resource for daily Bible reading check out www.mydailysoap.org. It does not line up with our Ready Set Go handouts but it would be a good option for those who prefer online reading. “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11