The Story We Tell

20130101-101458.jpg

Here’s how this will work.

Each day I’ll read and S.O.A.P. one chapter of Romans. S.O.A.P. is a simple way to focus on what God is speaking to you through what you read. It stands for Scripture, Observation, Application, & Prayer.

Every time I read a chapter God always focuses my heart and mind around a specific part of that chapter. Sometimes it’s just a verse. Sometimes it’s more than that. That verse or group of verses becomes the focus of my devo.

There’s one other practice that helps me know, understand and follow scripture – memorization. Consider memorizing the verse or verses you S.O.A.P.


Here we go – Romans 1

SCRIPTURE
Romans 1:8, “Let me say first that I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith in him is being talked about all over the world. (NLT)”

OBSERVATION
I’m thankful for those men and women who have lived an incredible example of faith and faithfulness. They are as different as night and day, their stories as unique as they are, yet they demonstrate a humble and uncommon confidence in every situation. My faith is stronger because of theirs.

Last week I spoke with a widow who was married 63 years before her husband passed away. I led a funeral service for a man who was a combat medic in WW2 and was married for 49 years. Their faithfulness challenges me and gives me an example to follow in my life and marriage.

Faithfulness gives us a front row seat to all the promises of God.

APPLICATION
What do people say about my faith? When they talk about me is my faith in God even part of the story? If everything about my life can be explained apart from the work of Jesus Christ in my life then my faith is too small. I believe God wants to do something in me and through me that can’t be explained because of me.

That’s how Believers in Rome lived. Their faith was spoken of all over the world. Something was happening in their lives and their church that could only be described as God at work. That’s the story I want my life to tell.

PRAYER
Heavenly Father,

Thank you for the examples of faithfulness you have given me through friends and family and through your Word. Bless the widows I was with last week. Encourage them today. Allow them to know your presence and comfort. Let them know the significance and influence of their faithfulness.

Increase my faith. Grow in me an uncommon confidence in you. Help me to recognize that every decision I make, every challenge I face, is an opportunity to strengthen my faith.

Let my life be so wrapped up in who you are that when people talk about me they can’t help but talk about you.

I love you, in Jesus name –
Chad


There’s so much more in this chapter…what did God speak to you?

2 replies
  1. Kasey
    Kasey says:

    I love Paul’s passion for the people in the first half of Romans 1. He truly loved those he was called to teach. He sincerely cared for them and felt an obligation to their spiritual health. He was real and transparent with his own challenges. He loved them with the love of Christ and had such a desire to invest and grow with them.

    I think today we have falsely stereotyped what being a person of faith looks like. I won’t talk about the false specifics, but of what I think Paul illustrates. A person of faith is one who loves, prays for, and encourages all those he/she comes into contact with, in direct cause of the love of Christ they have experienced. For instance in your story, illustrating a life of faithful marriage that cannot help but show Christ’s leading. I rarely approach others at my work directly with scripture, although I do inform many that I pray for them. In my review this year, my boss unexpectedly closed the door and informed me, “I know you are a believer, and I simply feel I need to tell you that your light shines in your work.” What a humbling experience, and I felt so encouraged. Who care what else the review said. 🙂

    My take, Paul had an overwhelming love and passion for the people due to his love and passion for Christ. As followers, we should share in that passion and obligation to pray for, encourage, spend time with, and love our fellow believers. It grows us to do so, and also grow them.

    Chad, although I don’t know you all too well, from what I do know of you and your family, you are one that makes my faith stronger. Thanks for all you do.

  2. Chad Balthrop
    Chad Balthrop says:

    Hey Kasey,

    Thanks for the kind words. I think the same of you and I’m proud of the testimony you shared about your review.

    Stereotypes become stereotypes because at some point there was truth to the type. My hope is that we can change the stereotype of what being a person of faith really looks like. The Bible tells us they will know we are Christians by our love. That’s the starting point for influencing the stereotype in the right direction.

    I appreciate the comments and the insight you share. THANKS!

    God Bless,
    Chad

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply