SOAP Reflection

soap b

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Welcome to everyone that has decided to join along in our bible study!  For those that don’t know, I’ll be posting a SOAP entry once a month during this devotional (although sometimes, I may decide to do more than one post).  I know Leslie has covered what SOAP journaling is but for those who would like a reminder, this is what SOAP stands for:

Scripture:  Select a verse or verses that stuck out to YOU in your reading

Observation:  What did you observe about the scripture that struck you.  This can be one sentence or a whole book.

Application:  How can you apply the observation so that it affects your life today.

Prayer:  Write out a prayer to God based on what you just learned and ask him to help you apply this truth in your life.

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Please keep in mind that the SOAP entries I post apply to ME personally.  There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to this part of the study.  It’s completely up to YOU to decide which scripture speaks to you and how you interpret and apply it to YOUR life. 

With this being week two of the devotional, I had to think about which lesson I wanted to focus my study on.  For me, personally, week one really resonated with me because I place a VERY high value on friendships (which I will get into during the Observation and Application steps).

Scripture:  Ecclesiastes 4:10 “For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.  But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up.”

Observation: Like I mentioned earlier, I place a VERY high value on friendships.  To me, friends are family and I would do anything for them.  I also firmly believe that everyone comes into our lives for a reason.  They are either there to teach us something or to guide us in a new direction. 

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had people come in and out of my life but always with a purpose.  For example, the supervisor that hired me for my first banking job, Margie.  I had no experience whatsoever but she believed that everyone should be given a chance to demonstrate their capabilities.  She gave me a shot when she clearly could have gone with someone who actually had experience.  That job lead to me doing every possible position within the banking industry but most importantly I met a person who would today be one of my best friends and a key player in my grieving process (I’ll come back to that).

Of course, there is my late husband, Mike.  We were together 10 years when he died.  One thing many people don’t know is that I met him in a chatroom before they were so popular lol He lived in Kansas City and I lived in Washington state.  We fell in love and made it work.  We got married the day of my high school graduation and then the next day, I left my family in Washington to be with him in Kansas.  We bought our first how together at the age of 22 and we had two beautiful daughters.  He taught me that I am stronger than I think I am and that if I want something, I need to be the one to go for it.  Take risks for you never know where they will lead.

My sister, Nancy dropped her life in Washington to move in with me after Mike died.  Mike’s family had completely abandoned us and she stepped up.  My nephew was only 3 months old when she moved in and I will forever be grateful to her for that choice.  She helped me raise the girls and our kids are as close as siblings which is something we were dreading when she found out she was pregnant.  She was there for the girls when I couldn’t be emotionally or mentally.  I don’t think I could have done that without her.

Then there’s my supervisor, Lindsey, at my last job.  She was amazing!  She was willing to give me the chance to work in accounting within the banking industry without having any experience and she ended up showing me SO much more.  She was the type of supervisor that wanted to see me succeed, wherever my career took me.  She was the one that introduced me to the world of auditing and thanks to her, I am now an auditor, which is something I LOVE doing day in and day out.

I’ve had family be there for me but like I said, I place a high value on friendships because these are people that we CHOOSE to have in our lives.  We select them to be a part of OUR story.  Which brings me to one of my best friends, Jon.  I met him when I started working at the bank back in 2003 and we hit it off right away.  He’s the kind of friend that if I need something, anything, he would do what he could to help.  We could go months, heck! I think we even went a year without talking but when we talked again, it was like NO time had passed.  He was there for me after Mike died.  He came by and fixed anything in the house that needed fixing that I couldn’t do. 

For that summer and for my first holiday season without Mike, he called or texted almost every night just to check up on me.  He was the ONLY one that didn’t talk to me like I would break at any moment or that I would completely lose my mind.  He would make me laugh and would listen if I needed to vent.  For a long time and even still to this day, I get angry about Mike’s death.  Suicide is not something you get over so easily but Jon listened.  He didn’t need to say a word like others or give an opinion about how suicide is selfish (which I heard A LOT while grieving and it’s something you NEVER say to a grieving widow).  He’s the definition of a great friend and had I not taken that leap of moving to Kansas and applying for that banking job, I would have never met him and who knows if I would have gone through the grieving process differently.  To this day, I am glad to call him one of my best friends.

And finally, there’s Leslie  She reached out to me at a time when I first started my blog and was trying to figure out what I wanted to say.  I was trying to get back into my faith and believe in God.  I wanted a good study that would help with that and God heard me because she came out of nowhere! Lol I’ve loved the journey we’ve been on with this study and I’ve met some amazing people with amazing talent (Nicole especially!)  This study has truly been a blessing ❤

I think back to so many people that have come in and out of my life but if I listed them all, I’d never end this post! Lol  The ones I spoke about have played important roles in my life and that is why I agree with the scripture.  Sure you can do things alone but why would you?  Friendships and any other relationships that you build help you in one way or another.  Sometimes is for career advancement and sometimes it’s an emotional growth you need to go through.  The point is that without relationships, you just don’t learn the lessons life is meant to teach you.

Application:  I don’t regret fully investing in my friendships because I know that it’s not always about getting something out of it.  Sometimes you’re the lesson to that person.  Be willing to meet new people and help others out.  I will continue to build friendships and meet new people because after all, isn’t that what life is about?

Prayer:  Lord, please continue to place the right people in my path that you choose for me.  Allow me to learn from them and teach them at the same time for that is how we grow.  Amen.

After reading this, did any relationships or friendships stand out to you?  If so, I’d love to hear about it!

Love Must FLOW!!

LOVE MUST FLOW!!!

The BEST way to study God’s Word and REALLY Absorb it is to somehow allow it to flow THROUGH You as you read!!

LOVE is a verb- it is ACTION…  it is not STAGNANT!!!

Consider for a minute the difference between the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee. Life does not exist in the Dead Sea, yet The Sea of Galilee THRIVES.  What is the major difference between these two bodies of water….  The Dead Sea has NO outlet!!!

We must remember this fact and apply it whenever we spend time with the Lord!

One way to allow God’s LOVE to flow through you as you study the Bible is to DOODLE or COLOR as you read!

There is something very powerful about reflecting and creating while reading!

I challenge you to JOIN our Doodles and Devotions Group on Facebook today:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/1447039392265675/

Bible Stories from the Heart Doodle

Here is a free DOODLE coloring page to download and color!!!

Feel free to post your finished picture on our Facebook group page wall!!!!  🙂

We have new doodles and devotions every week…  join us today!!!  🙂

Meditate On The Word of God……. DAILY

The Word of God should be savored not gulped.  The concepts given to us come from the Holy Spirit himself!  They are meant to guide us and change us, but it is up to us to actually allow that. In order to read God’s Word as intended, we must be intentional and take the needed time to MEDITATE on its concepts.

David learned this in his life as did Joshua:

Psalms 119:15-16
I will meditate on Your precepts And regard Your ways. I shall delight in Your statutes; I shall not forget Your word.

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. Joshua 1:8 NKJV

This week we spent time reading and reflecting on Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12New King James Version (NKJV)

The Value of a Friend

9 Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Each day this week we focused on a different word or words from the passage.

Today we will continue that process.

Here is your weekly SOAP assignment:

Choose a word or words from these verses that stands out to you.  Look up the actual definition of that word.  REFLECT on it.  How does that word relate to the passage?  What is the Holy Spirit wanting you to learn about THAT WORD in your life? What insight are you gaining from this scripture in its entirety by focusing on a few words at a time?  Think about these questions today as you read Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12.  Fill out the designated “boxes” given in the SOAP reflection format.

I would LOVE to study with you!!!  If you are not yet a member of our online group- please join us: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1447039392265675/

After you complete your SOAP activity- take a picture of your page and post it to our group page!  We learn SO MUCH MORE when we study alongside other children of God!!  🙂

SOAP

For your SOAP reflection:  we have a page available to download and print-

SOAP_Love Drops_Master

or feel free to make one yourself.  The most important part is just to DO IT!!!  Take time to MEDITATE ON GOD’S WORD! 🙂

Have a blessed day!!!  🙂

Leslie

Their Labor

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12New King James Version (NKJV)

The Value of a Friend

9 Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

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Devotional Study in 3 parts:

History Behind These verses

Key Words

Relevance to Us Today

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History Behind These Verses

The book of Ecclesiastes was written by King Solomon toward the end of his life.  Early on in his life, King Solomon earnestly sought after God. Because of this, God blessed him with both wisdom and riches. Solomon was happy and fulfilled until he started putting his wealth and success above his relationships.  From the outside it looked as if
Solomon had everything a person could ever want.  The book of Ecclesiastes proves otherwise.  This book is full of Solomon’s realizations of how his earthly pursuits were meaningless. Solomon had turned from God and his other healthy relationships and began seeking “things” instead of seeking God. He then began to realize that all of his wealth was pointless without relationships! The book of Ecclesiastes is Solomon’s warning to us.  He wants us to learn from
his mistakes.  Solomon wants us to know that the only way to have true happiness in life is to seek a life FULL of loving relationships both with GOD and with others.

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I think it is vital as we read the Bible to slow down and mediate on some of the key words.

Let’s look at one of the key words from our scripture today.

Key Word:  Labor

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12New King James Version (NKJV)

The Value of a Friend

9 Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.

Labor:  work, especially hard physical work. Our daily lives are FULL of work.  No matter how fast and furiously we toil, our WORK is NEVER complete.  God sometimes “calls” us into a certain field of work.  It is important for us to remember that the WORK is never as important as the RELATIONSHIPS.  God places us in our field of work so that He can use us to build RELATIONSHIPS there.  The labor will never end, so our chances to build relationships will NEVER end either!

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Connection to Us Today

I hear so many people today searching for the perfect career that they feel passionate about.  This isn’t necessarily wrong, I am all for feeling passionate about your labor,

BUT I think we should reconsider the TRUE purpose of our labor.

 According to Solomon, the  true purpose of labor is relationship building.

A person can build relationships WHEREVER they are and in whatever career they choose!

Let’s be careful to not focus so much on the JOB that we miss out on the LOVE  that we could be building!!

Two are Better than One

 Ecclesiastes 4:9-12New King James Version (NKJV)

The Value of a Friend

9 Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

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Devotional Study in 3 parts:

History Behind These verses

Key Word

Relevance to Us Today

__________________________________________________________________________

History Behind These Verses

The book of Ecclesiastes was written by King Solomon toward the end of his life.  Early on in his life, King Solomon earnestly sought after God. Because of this, God blessed him with both wisdom and riches. Solomon was happy and fulfilled until he started putting his wealth and success above his relationships.  From the outside it looked as if Solomon had everything a person could ever want.  The book of Ecclesiastes proves otherwise.  This book is full of Solomon’s realizations of how his earthly pursuits were meaningless. Solomon had turned from God and his other healthy relationships and began seeking “things” instead of seeking God. He then began to realize that all of his wealth was pointless without relationships! The book of Ecclesiastes is Solomon’s warning to us.  He wants us to learn from his mistakes.  Solomon wants us to know that the only way to have true happiness in life is to seek a life FULL of loving relationships both with GOD and with others.

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I think it is vital as we read the Bible to slow down and mediate on some of the key words.

Let’s take a few moments to notice some important words in Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12 and discover their significance.

Key Word:  BETTER 

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12New King James Version (NKJV)

The Value of a Friend

9 Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.

Better:  this word is a comparative.  It means better than good, but not as good as “best”.  As I look at the word “better” in this passage, I consider all 3 words:  good, better, and best.  We do receive a reward for work that we do.  Seeing an accomplishment and knowing that our hands helped achieve it definitely brings a GOOD reward (a feeling of usefulness). In this passage Solomon uses the word BETTER, so working with others must somehow surpass working alone. I think working in pairs or teams surpasses working alone because it is a way for us to  invite LOVE into our toil! When we work with a partner or team we not only are achieving something (which is good), we are ALSO allowing a relationship to occur (which is even BETTER).  As I continue to mediate on this verse, I begin to wonder what would need to happen to change the word “better” to “best”…  THEN I notice the LAST sentence….  “a cord of THREE strands is not quickly broken”…..  it is then that I realize the answer. In order to turn the word BETTER to the word BEST we need a CORD OF 3!!!!  THREE ARE THE BEST!  To have a cord of 3 we need a 3 way connection:  we need ourselves for the first cord (of course), Christian friends for the second cord, and a strong dependence on GOD for the third cord!  Having a cord of 3 will bring the BEST reward possible for our labor.  With the “cord” of 3, we achieve the MOST- we feel useful because of our work, we build a relationship with another person, AND we grow closer to God!

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Relevance To Us Today

How often do we let our relationships suffer as we try to BUILD our own individual success?

Let’s learn from Solomon!  He had wisdom given to him from GOD Himself!

From this day forward let’s vow to put our focus BACK on RELATIONSHIPS!

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If you have not already done so, we would LOVE to have you join our Bible study…

For more information, visit our  Facebook Group page.

There you will find MANY new friends ready and willing to LIFT you up as we study God’s Word together!!!  🙂

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1447039392265675/

Bring back the WARMTH!

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12New King James Version (NKJV)

The Value of a Friend

9 Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

________________________________________________________________________

Devotional Study in 3 parts:

History Behind These verses

Key Words

Relevance to Us Today

__________________________________________________________________________

History Behind These Verses

The book of Ecclesiastes was written by King Solomon toward the end of his life.  Early on in his life, King Solomon earnestly sought after God. Because of this, God blessed him with both wisdom and riches. Solomon was happy and fulfilled until he started putting his wealth and success above his relationships.  From the outside it looked as if
Solomon had everything a person could ever want.  The book of Ecclesiastes proves otherwise.  This book is full of Solomon’s realizations of how his earthly pursuits were meaningless. Solomon had turned from God and his other healthy relationships and began seeking “things” instead of seeking God. He then began to realize that all of his wealth was pointless without relationships! The book of Ecclesiastes is Solomon’s warning to us.  He wants us to learn from
his mistakes.  Solomon wants us to know that the only way to have true happiness in life is to seek a life FULL of loving relationships both with GOD and with others.

________________________________________________________________________________

I think it is vital as we read the Bible to slow down and mediate on
some of the key words.

Let’s take a few moments to notice some important words in
Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12 and discover their significance.

Key Word:  Warm

Warm: of or at a fairly or comfortable temperature. Warm is a word used not only to describe temperature but also used to describe a feeling.  Many people today work so hard without taking the time to build friendships that they are left feeling COLD.  As a result,  they often develop feelings of depression and worthlessness. Solomon does not want this to happen to us!  He is showing us in this illustration the importance of LOVE and RELATIONSHIPS to keep us warm!

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Connection To Us Today

Have you ever walked into a room and the atmosphere is COLD?  It is happening more and more these days. Nowadays we are rushing through life!  Everybody and everything is moving faster and faster but what are we really accomplishing? When we sit still we feel like we are missing out on something.  What we are actually missing out of are relationships!!  Many people are suffering from depression these days due to a lack of warmth in their life. People today may have over 2,000 twitter friends, but still feel cold and sad. This is horrible!  Our fast paced lifestyles are killing the warmth .  Let’s work on fixing this. The next time you are in a public place- (your work place, church, local store) be intentional in the moment.  These moments are  precious and should be savored.  We need to stop feeling like time spent between events or accomplishments is wasted time.  This “extra” time is a gift! Let’s use this gift of down time to add warmth to an otherwise cold world.  Let’s actually look at the other people around us.  Let’s put down our cell phones, make eye contact, smile, and add warmth back to the room.  We can  make a positive change happen. God created us to be relational beings- let’s put our focus back on  relationships!

A Good Reward

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12New King James Version (NKJV)

The Value of a Friend

9 Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

________________________________________________________________________

Devotional Study in 3 parts:

History Behind These verses

Key Word

Relevance to Us Today

__________________________________________________________________________

History Behind These Verses

The book of Ecclesiastes was written by King Solomon toward the end of his life.  Early on in his life, King Solomon earnestly sought after God. Because of this, God blessed him with both wisdom and riches. Solomon was happy and fulfilled until he started putting his wealth and success above his relationships.  From the outside it looked as if Solomon had everything a person could ever want.  The book of Ecclesiastes proves otherwise.  This book is full of Solomon’s realizations of how his earthly pursuits were meaningless. Solomon had turned from God and his other healthy relationships and began seeking “things” instead of seeking God. He then began to realize that all of his wealth was pointless without relationships! The book of Ecclesiastes is Solomon’s warning to us.  He wants us to learn from his mistakes.  Solomon wants us to know that the only way to have true happiness in life is to seek a life FULL of loving relationships both with GOD and with others.

________________________________________________________________________________

I think it is vital as we read the Bible to slow down and mediate on some of the key words.

Let’s take a few moments to notice some important words in Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12 and discover their significance.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Key Word:  Reward

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12New King James Version (NKJV)

The Value of a Friend

9 Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.

Reward:  a thing given in recognition of one’s service, effort, or achievement.  I think the “thing” that is given to us for our labor in this verse is the “blessing” of relationships!  There is a momentary satisfaction in the labor itself, BUT there is lasting satisfaction brought to us through the relationships that we build. Taking the time to involve others (and God) in our work produces the most important reward of all- A LIFE FULL OF LOVE!

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Connection To Our Lives

How many times do we say, “I’ll just do it myself- I can get it done faster that way!”

Or….. ” I will work on my relationships as soon as I am caught up at work.”

The work is NEVER going to end.

You might get a project fished faster, or get closer to being caught up, but what have you really accomplished?

Let’s focus our energy more on building lasting relationships and less on building temporary its!