For the past few years now I have become more engaged in the Bible, more engaged in life, and hence more engaged in my personal relationship with our Father. Not entirely without struggles and study gaps, but I have filled a few note books with thoughts, reflections, insights, and prayers based on what have I read. More importantly, by doing this journaling my relationship with God has become intensely enriched.
I realized I needed to understand His Word better when a friend, who had been mad at God for decades, questioned me about what I believed. From time to time we engaged in discussions, which only strengthened my realization that attending church and Sunday school were not enough. It was much like watching professional golfer on TV and expecting to play just as well. I lacked the discipline and structure in my life to read the Bible. In short, God made me realize that what I really lacked was the desire to truly follow Him.
As Jack Palance said to Billy Crystal in the Movie City Slickers, “The secret of life is one thing, just one thing. If you stick to that everything else doesn’t mean shit.” Billy’s character asked, “What is that one thing?” The old cowboy, seasoned by life, answered, “That is something you will have to figure out.” Well, I have not “figured out” life yet, but one thing is clear to me, and that is my pursuit to know Christ as my Savior is my “one thing”.
I started to attend a church closer to our home where our pastor shared how SOAP-journaling helped him grow. The idea of SOAP journaling originated with a pastor in Hawaii named Wayne Cordeiro. SOAP was an acronym for scripture, observation, and application, and prayer. I needed this simple four step concept to help me focus my study and write my own daily devotionals. In short, to come clean with God. I personalized their basic concept and adapted it to meet my need to grow. You can do the same. You can write a few sentences or pages, as long as you learn, grow, get personal, and spend quality time with God.
Journaling helped me in my daily walk with Christ. Each day, after I read a chapter, I copied one verse that stood out to me. I discovered, the key was to study less, more. I kept my study simple in focus and SOAP made it easier for me.
I found it was very rewarding, and made my time with my Father more meaningful, when I came up with a title at the end. The more I learned, the more I learned how little I still knew. Being a Christian is a way of life, not a destination. Eternity is a long time to be wrong; so make your choice a good one.
I am no longer just “sitting and getting.” I study and learn from the Bible, with Christ at my side. There are times when I literally lose myself in His Word. There are times when His presence is so close that I can’t contain myself. I continue to learn about my Savior and His incredible unconditional love He has for me. My life has truly changed. My walk with Him has drastically improved. Although Satan’s attacks have increased, my Savior’s book remains and His presence is always just a prayer away. The good news is that I am more dependent upon Him than ever.
Frankfort, Indiana was the best place for me to grow up. When my mother lost her teaching position for getting a divorce, she brought my older brother and myself to Frankfort when she had an interview for a new teaching position. My mother made sure we were raised in a Christian environment. God provided my mother with a new teaching position and a year later with a man who became our real Dad. Then a year later, God blessed me with a sister.
I left home at eighteen to attend the University of Indianapolis and follow my first love, science. I have always been in awe of God’s imagination. The more I learned, the more my curiosity about His creation grew. It was as though God whispered His little secretes to me every time I learn something new in science. While at the University of Indianapolis, my first love was replaced by the love of my life.
After graduation with a BS degree in Biology and Chemistry, I worked as a Chemist for a few months. Regretfully, the position did not provide the income to support myself, let alone my future wife. I took a position at Wal-Mart which provided me the income to support myself and my wife, who worked at the public library. However, I was not satisfied and knew I needed to return to my first love, science. So my wife and I went to Ball State University, where I extended my degree to include a teaching certificate.
God has blessed me with three children, twenty nine years of marriage with a wonderful Christ centered wife, and years serving as a school administer and science teacher. We moved to Texas at the end of 1999. My years as an educator has provided me opportunities to serve as a leader, manager, teacher trainer, coach, and public speaker. However, though the thick and thin in my life, I have grown to know Christ as my personal Savior.