Archive | June 2012

SOAPing

What do you get when you have 41 Jr High girls, 3 showers, 3 toilets, 2 long mirrors, sand-burs galore, and triple digit temps for 5 days?…… Lots of giggles, fun and games, new friendships, and heart-to-heart discussions.

I just returned from Kan-Ok Bible Camp; the week I eagerly anticipate each summer. These young ladies come from many different backgrounds yet have one common interest – to learn more about God. Granted this might not be their main reason to come, but by the end of the week it is evident that God has worked to soften hearts for growth, repentance and forgiveness.

I not only got to hang out with all these young ladies, but served as a counselor with 6 amazing college women. I love getting to mentor them, and I usually learn a thing or two from them as well. Our mornings at camp are started with personal devotions.  Many of the girls have not incorporated daily Bible reading, devotions and prayer into their daily life, but by the end of the week they want to know how they can continue at home. This year one of the counselors taught them about “SOAPing”. It is such an easy way to learn and grow that I want to share it with you.

To begin all you need is: a Bible, notebook, pen or pencil.

1.  On the left side of your notebook page write the letters S O A P horizontally leaving a few lines in between each letter. These letters stand for S-Scripture, O-observation, A-application, P-prayer.

2. Read one chapter in your Bible. This can be any chapter at random or begin reading a specific book of the Bible. After reading one chapter choose one verse that stands out to you.  Write this verse beside your “S”.

3. Beside the “O” write your observation. What does this verse mean, or what is the main point?

4. Beside the “A”, answer the question, “How can I apply this verse and observation to my own life?”

5. Pray – Ask God to help you make this application.

That’s all there is to it! By keeping these notes in a notebook, you will be able to refer back to it and see how God has been revealing His truths to you.

The campers and staff have gone home, and most probably slept in this morning. We are now back to real life with all its joys and problems; it is time to apply all we learned this week.

R U Ready?

I’d love to hear how God impacted your life through a Bible camp, even if it was 30 or 40 years ago. I’d also love comments if you begin “SOAPing”.

 

Sleepless in the Prairie

Last night with Kansas wind whistling through the open window and Hubby by my side serenading  with his rhythmic snoring, I was Sleepless in the Prairie. I tossed; I turned. I prayed for everyone that came to mind. I reflected on my day, and planned out the next, yet I remained Sleepless. I finally decided to go down stairs and read.

I thought about finding something boring to read, but my Bible caught my eye first.  There’s nothing like reading God’s Holy Word in the middle of the night with no disturbances. Opening my Bible I felt prompted to revisit Hebrews 12, a familiar passage full of challenges and guidelines.  The beginning of the chapter talks about discipline, and verse 10 and 11 really stuck out to me.

“…but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

Can you imagine the change in our homes and relationships, if we face those unpredictable and inconvenient challenges that seem to trip us up with an attitude of JOY? Not a fake joy with smile pasted on face and saying it’s  a wonderful day, when in reality everything that can go wrong is. Rather a joy that comes from knowing that God is bringing us closer to sharing in His holiness through discipline.  With this attitude the harvest of righteousness and peace will be produced much quicker than when we complain and worry.

As I continued to read, verses 14 and 15 stopped me short.

14 “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”

I began breaking this verse down with questions.  Do I really make an effort to live in peace with ALL men? How many times have I argued my case out of selfishness instead of being a peacekeeper? Holy? How can I be holy, and what does it mean?  Well, I found my trusty “Webster’s Vest Pocket Dictionary” and looked it up.  Holy – “evergreen tree or shrub”. Oops! That was holly.  Holy – “sacred, spiritually pure”. Though I will not reach perfect holiness here on earth, striving to follow Jesus’ example and being obedient to what the Bible instructs is  my goal.

Verse 15 says “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble.”

Have you known someone that was bitter, or have you been bitter? Bitter people are not pleasant company! As I pondered these verses that followed one another, I realized that at times one may be “living at peace” with others, but resent being the peacekeeper. When that happens the bitter root takes hold, and it is difficult for others to see Christ.

At this point, I had to stop and search my own heart, and have a talk with God.

The wind was still blowing, Hubby was still snoring, and I felt challenged, cleansed and renewed. I felt invigorated enough to clean house from top to bottom, but it was very early morning, the alarm would be ringing to soon, and I still had not slept! So Sleepless in the Prairie returned to bed and promptly fell asleep.

Finish the Race

Fine sandy beach, waves slapping, light breeze, an abundance of sunshine, dolphins passing by, ship on the horizon…this was our sanctuary for Sunday morning worship. Part of Hubby’s family joined us in this beautiful setting to worship God and to be challenged. Hubby began by giving some examples of starting off strong, but then just cruising to the finish.  He then challenged us to finish our life’s race strong, to avoid coasting. I’ve been pondering this topic these past few days.

Reflecting on the past, I can think of times I was tempted to simply cruise until that particular race (or phase) was over. Would you like to take a walk along memory lane with me?

Let’s start when I was a young mom with 4 children 5 years old and younger. Most days I loved this stage, but other days… I felt I would always be tired. Tired of changing diapers, cleaning up messes, squelching squabbles and tired of being tired. On those days, I couldn’t wait until they were all in school. However, it was important to finish this race strong, because they would all be in school sooner than it seemed. I had a mental list of “things to know & do before going to Kindergarten”, and my kids weren’t going to learn them on their own. I had to finish this race strong so they were ready to meet the world of school.

As the children got older the race had different dynamics. While feeling like a failure with one of my strong-willed children, I wanted to through up my hands and say I quit! Other times, I wanted to stick my head in the sand and not acknowledge the current problem. I knew those really were not choices. I believed God blessed me with these children to not only help guide them, but for my own growth as well. My dependence on God grew as I sought Him and His word for guidance and as my children’s shenanigans kept this Momma humble.

Now that my children are grown, there are knew and different obstacles along the course. However, the goal is still the same; finish the race strong.

 Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I Corinthians 9:24-26 NLT