I must admit, I was out of the habit of soaking in the Word.
In college, almost every night before bed, my roommate Cora and I would lay in our separate beds with our separate Bibles and end our days with God. I have such great memories–and journal entries–of this time where I would close my day with my Lord, reading His Word, journaling my thoughts, and lifting up praise and requests to Him.
Seriously, for some reason, this became harder to do once married. I’m NOT a morning person, so it’s very difficult for me to get up in the morning and have enough mental juice to actually sit and read–and process and apply–the Word. Bedtime devotions didn’t seem to work anymore; Erik is a night owl, and I’d stay up later and later to connect with him and then crash into bed.
So, for 6 years, it has been a struggle to find consistent time in the Word. I’ve had my times–when I worked at DeVry, I’d always make my coffee, and sit in my favorite chair and read a little. When pregnant with Joshua, I’d always carve out a time to take a few minutes and read a little something.
Enter a child, sleepless nights, a dry stage in my faith …. and well, let’s just say I lost my enthusiasm a little. And the journaling specific verses and my thoughts on them slowly went out the window.
I’d read bits here and there, and I had a trusty devotional that helped me get what little I could to help me focus on God. But it was rough there for a while.
Then God moved us to Madison. And my oh my, do I need to be in the Word. I mean, need.
And then Dave, our lead pastor, gave a sermon that got me back into journaling about the Word. Not just reading aimlessly and thinking, “Hm, that’s good stuff.” but then forgetting it 10 minutes later. YES! Why did I ever stop doing this?? Pure laziness I tell you. A theme in my life.
He taught on the acronym S.O.A.P (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer)
There are still days where I don’t want to do it. Or I do, but I start to feel like I’m only doing it to say I did it, and then I revolt a little bit because I don’t want to do it just to say I did it … blah blah blah.
But I sure am loving being in the Word, and forcing myself to observe it, apply it, and pray about it. LOVING IT.
So, here’s an entry for you:
S: 1 Corinthians 2:1-2
1And I [Paul], when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
(Love how the Message portrays this too: 1-2You’ll remember, friends, that when I first came to you to let you in on God’s master stroke, I didn’t try to impress you with polished speeches and the latest philosophy. I deliberately kept it plain and simple: first Jesus and who he is; then Jesus and what he did—Jesus crucified.)
O: Paul kept it so simple here! I love how the Message says “first, Jesus and who he is; then Jesus and what he did.” Erik and I often say we Christians too often focus and allow others to focus on all the other stuff–the controversial, theological, social, relational stuff–that keeps people from Jesus. Here’s the deal–cut through it all. Figure out A) Who is Jesus? Liar, Lunatic, or Lord? B) What’s your decision about Him? The rest will follow. First, Jesus and who he is and what he did. Then we’ll sort through your life.
I also love the next part in the Message:
3-5I was unsure of how to go about this, and felt totally inadequate—I was scared to death, if you want the truth of it—and so nothing I said could have impressed you or anyone else. But the Message came through anyway. God’s Spirit and God’s power did it, which made it clear that your life of faith is a response to God’s power, not to some fancy mental or emotional footwork by me or anyone else.
I LOVE that the Apostle Paul was scared! Yippee! I’m not the only one! And yet, the message comes through.
A: We all have our issues. And when we’re sharing the Gospel, so often we Christians complicate it SO MUCH! We need to set aside everything else and help people see and decide about Jesus. We need to be in relationship with people, not just yell at them from the streetcorner, or from some blog on the internet. We need to go to them, get to know their lives, hear their stories, get in their mess, and show them the One who can rescue them. We need to get ourselves out of the way, so the message can be loud and clear.
P: God, give me–and all believers–opportunities to talk about you–and keep it simple!