S.O.A.P. – The Pay-off

I SOAP. No, this is not a reference to my personal hygiene. Rather, it has to do with my spiritual cleanliness. SOAP is an acronym for Scripture, Observation, Application, and Prayer. It is a method of reading the Bible advocated by author Wayne Cordeiro in his book, The Divine Mentor. SOAPing is simply an intentional framework for digging into God’s Word. Having been someone who believes my Heavenly Father has limitless wisdom and Truth to impart to me day in and day out, for years I have come to His Word for life direction and instruction. But when I started SOAPing about a year ago, His voice in my life elevated to a new level of intensity. Now when I sit down and open His Word, I have a heightened expectation and anticipation that He is going to speak to me in those moments in an unmistakably personal manner. I am naturally predisposed to journaling and recording my thoughts and introspections on paper so SOAPing fits me perfectly and I am grateful that Wayne Cordeiro followed through and wrote his book that carries the tag line, “Growing your Faith as You Sit at the Feet of the Savior”. I can testify that that is exactly what I have experienced and continue to experience each and every time I meet with my Father.

I’ve decided to start sharing some of my SOAP entries here. I have a two-fold purpose: First, to share with anyone interested my daily life “lens” through which my Father’s guidance is seen and applied. Secondly, to further solidify what I hear Him say and the instruction He delivers into my daily life. The first point hopefully serves as an encouragement to others. The second point encourages me.

So, here we go! The title of my SOAP entry yesterday (09.15.11) was The Pay-Off. As a prelude to this entry, I offer this lead-in. Football season is now in full swing, which means a lot of banter with virtually everyone you come in contact with as to why your team is going to achieve peak performance this week and produce extraordinary results…boiled down, you make the case for why they will WIN. From now til early February, all this chatter boils down to WINS and LOSSES, VICTORIES and DEFEAT. There’s that word…victory. Another variation is this…victorious. What does it mean to be victorious? What awaits those who are victorious in life in the eyes of our Father? Why would anyone place ALL of their hope, faith, and trust in an invisible God? What’s the pay-off? Turn with me to the last book of the bible, the book of Revelation chapters 2 & 3. I count the word “victorious” used seven times! That gets my attention. Specifically Jesus, through John (the writer of Revelation), repeatedly uses the phrase, “to all who are victorious…”. Don’t you want to know two things? First, who ARE the victorious and second, what do they get?! I’m pretty simple-minded and that’s what I want to know.

Well, let me try to paraphrase it all for you. Everyone who is victorious will – eat VERY well from the most perfect fruit-bearing tree, which is situated in a place that is literally paradise who’s host is The Host, Our Heavenly Father. Furthermore, everyone who is victorious will not be hurt by death! Do we need anymore benefits?! No, but there are more, can you believe it? We get right back to food (this is shaping up to be a really good dealJ). Everyone who is victorious will eat this amazing food that has been kept aside and hidden. Have you ever had some food you didn’t want any of your pesky family members to eat so you hid it? Yeah, I thought so. Me too.

For you power-mongers, this will get your motor running. Everyone who is victorious and is obedient to the end will have authority over all the nations! Did you ever dream of being President of The United States when you were a kid? Well, our Father is ready to take it a step further! And on that note, Jesus goes on to say that all who are victorious will be people of stature in the Temple of God and they never have to leave! They will also have new citizenship in a city that won’t need a mayor, councilmen, or anyone else for that matter because this is the city of God called the new Jerusalem. As we continue, when you talk about “the best seat in the house”, could there be a better seat than Jesus’ very own throne?! He tells us that he will invite everyone who is victorious to sit with him in that very spot. Amazing food, amazing health, amazing and fulfilling responsibilities, an amazing place to call home, and one amazingly comfortable chair! I’m overwhelmed just writing out this list. But that’s not all. The best is yet to come and here it is.

“All who are victorious will be clothed in white. I will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and his angels that they are mine.” Revelation 3:5

That takes my breath away. That leaves me speechless and in awe.

Here’s my SOAP from yesterday:

The Pay-Off

S: “All who are victorious will be clothed in white. I will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and his angels that they are mine.” Revelation 3:5

O: Talk about wanting to see your name in print! Talk about wanting to hear your name announced! There’s nothing wrong with wanting Jesus to provide the ink (his blood) that allows my name to be recorded in my Father’s Life Book! There’s nothing wrong with wanting Jesus to get on the PA system in the heavens and announce my name before my Father! In fact, there’s everything right about that!

A: What am I living for today? The approval and applause of the people around me? Or the the approval and applause of my Lord and Savior? I’ve read several passages in Revelation 2 and 3 that speak of what’s in store for “all who are victorious”. I want to be counted among that number! To be victorious…what does it take? (more than turning the dial to the latest Teen Nick show by the same title…sorry, I have a young daughter). To be victorious, it takes EVERYTHING that He IS and NOTHING I do or give.

P: Father, I need to continually, day after day, die to my own selfish ambitions, worries, anxieties, fears, insecurities, jealousy, envy, and discontent. The list could go on. Father, strengthen me please to make MUCH of you at all times everywhere. I pray for your Holy Spirit to pour out on me with a fresh assurance of His leading and fresh reminder that I am to follow diligently and obediently. I love you and NEED you, Father. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.