Have you been following along with Good Morning Girls on their latest bible study, Intentionally Focused? If so, how have you been doing with it?
This is the second week, and I want to encourage you to follow along and participate by writing it all out and doing your SOAP daily. If you’re not sure exactly what that is, I will explain it here in my own words. You are supposed to take the Scripture (S) and write it or type it out. Then you write down your Observation (O) about the scripture. Next, you write down the Application (A) and just how you can apply this verse to your life. Finally, you write a Prayer (P) concerning the scripture, observation, and application.
I will be honest and tell you that I did not do so well the first week. Why? Because although I decided to join a group this time around versus doing the bible study solo or “just” blogging about it (which I do love, by the way, as you all know), I failed to participate in the group this week. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be a part of the group. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The issue actually had to do with me not feeling good enough. I am not a bible scholar. I haven’t studied it cover to cover, front to back. I don’t have markings all over my bible nor do I have verses highlighted throughout. While I grew up in the church going every time the doors were open, and while I did study the bible and memorized verses, etc. I still feel inadequate in this area. My fear of how I would be perceived by the others prevented me from participating. I am shy, and it does take a while for me to feel comfortable sharing in a group setting. I used this as my reason throughout the week as to why I would just observe and then I would eventually join in when I felt comfortable. I did attempt at one time to write in the group, but I am extremely long winded. Instead of posting it there, I carried it over to my blog here and wrote this first post sparked from the very first bible verse: Be Imitators of God.)
Ah, but our fearless leader had other plans! Talk about accountability!
She called me out on it right away! At first, I was taken back by this. I’ll admit that I was a little offended, too. There. I said it. I am being completely honest. I am sure she sensed this, so having her read these words will not come as a surprise to her. (She has read my blog before … she told me so!) Initially, I had this feeling of them not wanting me in the group, of not being welcomed. I wondered if I was being rejected already. This has been a very sore spot for me in the past. Everyone hates rejection. It hurts! And I did feel the sting of rejection for a moment. Then I stopped to consider where she was coming from. I realized that I did join this group for the accountability aspect, and here it was in my face! It would have been easy to let the initial feelings of being offended and feeling as if they didn’t want me in the group, the feeling of rejection and hurt to cause me to remove myself from the group immediately. What would I have gained from that? Sure, it would have gotten me out of the line of fire. But, wasn’t that just the point of this group? To BE held accountable during this bible study?!
And so … I stayed.
I ventured out of my comfort zone. I rolled all of this around in my head all weekend, and then the group leader posted the bible verses for the second week. She posted it early in an effort to allow us to get a head start. I was actually very excited by this and looked forward to it. When I saw the verses, I immediately set out on looking them up and soaking it all in. It’s just so convenient these days that even if you don’t have your bible with you every second of the day, chances are that you DO carry your cell phone with you every where! Well, right there on your handy little cell phone, you can pull up YouVersion.com to read your bible verses! There really is not any reason or excuse at this point on NOT doing this or any bible study!
After looking up the verses, reading them, and pondering on them, I posted my first SOAP this week in the group. My SOAP followed that of the leader. How intimidating, right? Her words were written so eloquently, and then there was mine … I’m so new at this, but I began to write … and although it all ran together on Facebook (I could not get it to display properly at first), there it was for all of the group to see. I took a chance and wrote it all out as follows:
S – Mark 1:35 NLT Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.
O – It makes a difference when we realize that Jesus made sure to take time away to be with His Father. We, too, need to do the same.
A – Although we live hectic and busy lives packed with so much activity, we do need to have this precious time alone in prayer. I will be more intentional as there is no excuse of being “too busy” to spend time in prayer and with Jesus.
P – Dear Father, forgive me for the times that I rushed through my day without stopping to spend quality time with you. Help me to push all other things aside and devote my time and attention on You, Father. You are so good to me. Thank you for loving me despite my many faults and shortcomings. Thank you for desiring a relationship with me. Thank you for keeping Your hand upon my life and that of my family. In Jesus’ precious and holy name. Amen
S – John 15:5 Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.
O – Wow. This one says it all, doesn’t it? How true – apart from Jesus, we can do nothing! Absolutely nothing! Our strength and help comes from the Lord. If we remain in Him, we will produce such fruit that others will be able to see God in our lives and will want what we have.
A – I need to lean more on His strength instead of that of my own.
P – Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of this precious day. Thank you for your hand of protection over my entire family. Thank you that we can come to you and cast all of our cares on you. Often times I take things and worry over them when I should just turn them over to you, God. Help me to give them all to you and rest in Your loving arms knowing that you have It all under control! Whether I’m walking through a difficult valley or climbing the highest mountain, my strength comes from You, Oh Lord. I can do nothing on my own, but I can do all things with you, Lord. Thank you for your wonderful, mighty power over our lives. In Jesus’ precious and holy name, Amen.
S – John 4:13-14 13 Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. 14 But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”
O – Things of the world will never fulfill us or give us satisfaction. Only God can give us eternal life through His Son, Jesus. We will be forever changed when we drink from His Well that never goes dry.
A – When Jesus came into our hearts and lives, people around us should have noticed a difference in us. We should have seen a difference in ourselves also. We should have been made a new creation, washed by the blood of Jesus, the recipient of eternal life with Him in Heaven. May we strive to let our lights shine for Him for all of the world to see.
P – Dear Father, thank you for the gift of eternal life. Thank you for sending Your Only Son to die on the cross for all of our sins. He bore it all for us and died a cruel death so that we may be forgiven of all of our sins and have the gift of eternal life! Let us not take that for granted. Let us not stray from Your loving arms. Be with us, Lord, as we strive to do Your will. In Jesus’ holy name. Amen
For those that have been holding back, who have been reserved and were just not sure they wanted to share because their words might not be “good enough,” I have this to say now: The ONLY thing that matters is that you are being intentional here and are focusing on Jesus Christ, Our Lord! You are trying to set time aside to spend with Jesus. You are working on your relationship with Him! That is a beautiful thing, dear ones. Your words don’t have to be perfect. They just have to be your words straight from YOUR heart to God’s ears. You cannot go wrong here. Whether you write a long SOAP or one word that sticks out to you. It is still precious!
For the group leader that gave me the push I needed and held me accountable, I thank you. Today I thank you for including me, for pushing me to interact with the group. I thank you for the accountability that you provided. I thank you for leading such a wonderful bible study and for us all striving to be Intentionally Focused.