Bible reading plan

 A great way to dive into the scriptures is by using the S.O.A.P method. Here's what S.O.A.P consists of:

Scripture: As you read the verses for the day – Find a verse or two that were meaningful to you and write them down.
Observation: What is God pointing out in the verse(s) you found? What is God Saying? What did you learn?
Application: How can you make the verse(s) personal? What is something you can do today to apply it to your life?
Prayer: Write out a prayer to the Lord.  Ask Him to help you with the application, or to reveal more about the text, or to find ways to share what you are learning with others.


That’s it! Start short. Keep it simple. Be consistent... and patient. God promises that those who seek Him will find Him. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing from the Word of God.

Study of Romans 5-8

We have been looking at the book of Romans on Sunday mornings this Summer and it has been an amazing study! Starting on August 5th, we will walk through Romans 5-8, three chapters that are packed with amazing truths. Our prayer is that as we walk through this study as a church is that we would begin a rhythm of reading God's word every day and seeking Him. 

Day 1

Purpose in the Pain

 

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings…”

 

To “glory” means to “take great pride or pleasure in.” Admittedly, we hate pain, and pretty much avoid it at all cost. For most people, claiming to “glory” in our sufferings would be a stretch. This is not an easy thing to do, and it probably doesn’t come easy for you either. We were not created for pain and suffering. But this is a broken world, and pain comes to all of us in one way or another. 

 

Most of us would never choose to walk through the suffering we’ve experienced again – however, God has a way of showing us new depths of His goodness and faithfulness, not in spite of our suffering, but because of our suffering. It is in the midst of our dark and broken places when we are often given the privilege of seeing him meet our most desperate needs. It’s in those places where we can more clearly see God’s love persevere, know more of his character, and see him breathe hope into hopeless circumstances. 

 

Pain and suffering are universal. We all know what it is to hurt. But praise God that in his kindness, he didn’t run from the suffering of this world. He entered into it all, by sending his Son into death itself, so that he could defeat death. Therefore, we can have hope! Suffering is NEVER the end of the story because of what Jesus accomplished.

 

Praise God that we don’t have some flimsy or feel-good version of hope. We have a hope that is grounded in an empty grave. Death doesn’t have the final word. We can “glory” in our suffering because we know that suffering is never the end, and we have the same power that raised Jesus from the dead living inside us! What joy!

 

Think of someone in your life who is currently going through a difficult time. Pray and ask God how you can encourage them in their suffering. Take time this week to reach out and help them.


Prayer – Father, thank you that through your Son I have peace with you and have been given access by faith into your amazing grace. Thank you that because of your love, I can trust you with my life. Even when I am experiencing difficulties, I can have confidence in your goodness and mercy. Use this time to show me more of your love and grow my faith in you. Open my eyes to see more of your goodness. Teach me what it means to rejoice and glory in my sufferings as Jesus did. I love you Lord! Amen.

Day 2

Lasting Love

 

“How can I know for sure that God really loves me?”

 

More than likely you have asked yourself this question at least once in your life. If so, you are not alone. God knew that we are forgetful people and that our understanding is weak, so He graciously filled the Bible with verses that prove and remind us of his love for us.

 

It would take a very loving person to die to save someone else. It is extremely rare that anyone would die in place of someone who is noble – though it might happen if they are also selfless, and kind. But who of us would even dare to die for the sake of a wicked person?

 

This is why the death of Jesus is so radical. This is the single action which completely proves that God is crazy about us. While we were still sinners – completely rebelling and resisting him – Christ chose to lay down his life for us. 

 

He did not simply say that he loved you, he died the most horrific and painful death to show that he loves you in the most powerful way imaginable. Therefore, when your feelings or the appearances of your life circumstances cause you to wonder, remember the Cross where Jesus sacrificed everything. Beyond any doubt, God loves you so much.

 

Spend some time writing out a love letter to God. Tell him how much you love him and what attributes you appreciate most in this season of your life. Ask God to bring someone to mind who needs to be reminded of his love for them. Pray for them to experience his love and then send them a text of this passage to encourage them!


Prayer – God, I believe you love me, but sometimes my life circumstances prompt me to doubt. Thank you for sending Jesus to die for my sins and prove your great love for me. Help me in my unbelief to remember this amazing act of grace. May I never forget the Cross.

Day 3

One Hope

 

Every single one of us falls short of God’s standard, and we are all deserving of his penalty (Romans 3:23). We were all dead in our trespasses, and only the amazing grace of God has the power to transport us from death to life. No amount of human effort could ever accomplish this. But God loves us too much to leave us to our own demise. From the moment sin entered the world, He had a rescue plan. He was coming for us.

 

Since we have no ability whatsoever to save ourselves, there had to be a Savior. We might be able to escape bad situations, unsafe locations, and harmful relationships, but it’s impossible to escape from ourselves. By now you have probably come to the realization that you cannot run from who you are, what you have done, and what you deserve. Our only hope is that our God’s redeeming love will move towards us and do what we are incapable of doing.

 

God sent his only Son to be the second Adam. Jesus Christ entered into this broken world and faced the temptations that Adam faced, but he did not fall. Our Savior would obey perfectly where Adam failed, and surrender his life to take on himself Adam’s punishment. The second Adam chose to die in our place. Jesus met God’s righteous requirements and fulfilled the whole law, which opened the way for us to have an eternal relationship with God again. Everything he did, he did for you.

 

Confession and repentance are the keys to living in the light and experiencing full freedom. Spend some time confessing to God where you fall short of his standard and thank Him for His forgiveness and abundant grace.


Prayer – Father, thank you for rescuing me from death and giving me life in Jesus. Thank you that you didn’t leave me in my shame, but you came after me and embraced me in all my brokenness. Your love is amazing. I want to experience more of you and be transformed by your grace. Help me to worship and honor you with the life you’ve given me!

Day 4

Forever a Slave

 

Slavery can seem like a foreign concept to us. Many of us have not personally witnessed or experienced slavery in the historical sense. Being born in or close to the 21st century, we never lived through the horrors of the African slave trade or the enslavement of Jews and others in concentration camps. Even though we have not experienced this type of slavery, Scripture tells us that everyone is a slave. We are either ruled by the master of sin which results in death, or we are ruled by the Master of Grace which leads to new life.

 

Jesus’ death and resurrection made a way for all people to experience a new life no longer chained to sin. If you put your trust in Jesus, you are united with him in his death and resurrection. You will no longer experience separation from God. You will be with him for eternity! As believers, we still struggle daily with sin, but we are not ruled by it. We are ruled by Jesus, who gives us hope and freedom even when we struggle with our old ways. True freedom from sin happens when we fully surrender to the Holy Spirit’s work and leading in our lives. 

 

Take five minutes to praise God for what he has done for you and through you. Take five minutes to confess your sins to the Lord and think of someone else you can confess to for the purpose of encouragement and accountability. 


Prayer – God, I used to know a life without you. I used to be ruled by my earthly desires and passions, but you made a way for me to escape the things that held me captive. Thank you for not leaving me in despair.

Day 5

Made New

 

Our life has a new purpose once we become children of God – to help people find and follow Jesus. Everything we do and everything we say will either lead people towards Him or lead people away from Him. Take a moment to take that in. We have countless opportunities to participate in God’s eternal work. Unfortunately, Paul reminds us that we all have a desire to rebel and disobey God that can be traced back all the way to Genesis 3.

 

In the book of Exodus, God wanted his people to know and understand how holy He is and their desperate need for a Savior. The Law given to Moses revealed God’s holiness and Israel’s desire to disobey God. No one was ever able to fulfill the law except Jesus. He did everything perfectly, so now we are not under the law. By God’s grace, he reveals his holiness through Jesus, which is both comforting and convicting!

 

Reflect on how God’s grace has changed your life. Share with someone this week how Jesus’ death and resurrection has given you a new purpose.


Prayer – Father, thank you so much for sending Jesus to die in my place. You have given me a new life and a new purpose. I pray that I can walk in this newness of life and not indulge in the things that used to have a hold on me. 

Day 6

The Wages of Sin

 

To survive in this world, most people need money. You need money to buy the necessities of food, water and shelter. To receive money, most people have to spend time working. Paychecks result from working which allow someone to eat, drink, live, pay your bills, and have fun. The work you do earns a wage that results in life.

 

Paul also teaches us that the wages of our sin is death. Sin never produces life. Everything that sin produces will ultimately lead to death. This is where we all started, but it’s not where we have to end. Jesus does not leave us without hope. Our sin and rebellion earned us death, but His death and resurrection earn us life now and forever. This does not mean our life on earth will be perfect. However, it does mean we do not fear what life will bring because we know that we will spend eternity with the Father. 

 

As a follower of Jesus, we have to make a choice every day to use our bodies for evil or to use our body for righteousness. Paul is affirming that our wickedness can produce death, but if we allow the Holy Spirit to take hold of our desires, our faith can produce holiness, which leads to life!

 

Make a list of everything you’ll spend money on over the course of the next week. Pick one thing you’ve written that’s not an absolute necessity and consider how you could use that money to bless someone else if you sacrificed your personal desire for it. Now go be a blessing!


Prayer – Father, help me recognize my daily need for the forgiveness found through faith in Jesus Christ.


Day 7

Forbidden Fruit

 

It’s been said that forbidden fruit tastes the sweetest, but it never sits well in the stomach. How many times have we seen those words to be true after choosing a path that others warned us to avoid? Sometimes we don’t even want something until we’re told we can’t have it, and there’s really no clearer example of our sin than that simple fact!

 

Paul uses this inherent flaw in humanity to expose the ultimate failure of the Mosaic Law to provide eternal salvation. While it served its purpose in illustrating the holiness of God, it was never meant to preserve our souls, no matter how much the Jews wanted it to do so. If anything, the law displays our need for a savior, and our full dependence on the mercy of God. 

 

Write out three ways you failed to obey the Lord in the past 48 hours. Now write out three ways God has blessed you in the past 48 hours. Spend some time thanking God for the forgiveness you get to experience through Jesus Christ!


Prayer – Father, give me your wisdom as I seek to understand Your Word. Let me rest in the forgiveness found through Christ today!

day 8

Divided Nature

 

Every person makes mistakes. And every Christian is saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. So what happens when a Christian makes mistakes? They find themselves stuck in the same trap Paul describes in Romans 7!

 

Paul explains the difficult division every believer will experience between following Christ and following their own hearts. God promises to transform our hearts and minds to be more like his, but this process takes time as we continue to surrender to the working of the Spirit in our lives. We have to continue to rely on the Holy Spirit to give us strength to resist temptation, trusting God’s promise that he will always provide an escape. 

 

Fighting sin alone is never ideal. Talk with a person you trust about how you could better pursue holiness together!


Prayer – Father, give me your wisdom as I seek to understand your Word. Transform my desires to match your heart today!

day 9

The Soul Solution

 

What are you proud of accomplishing on your own? We live in a society where independence is championed, so people strive to do things on their own. This is not necessarily wrong, but it can make asking for help difficult because people think it displays weakness. One of my friends grew up on a farm, and his father tried to do a task one day that resulted in a fall and a cut up his leg. Afterwards, his wife asked a simple question, “Why would you try to do this all on your own?”

 

Sometimes we need help. As much as we want to do things on our own, we simply cannot do everything. As we read in these passages, attempting obedience by our own power will not restore us to who God made us to be. God desires for us to be His image bearers within His creation. Paul reveals that Israel’s inability to obey the law made it clear that evil has hijacked the human heart. The law was meant to expose the wounds in the human heart in need of healing. 

 

Thankfully, God made a way to find healing. Now His Spirit, who resides in every believer, will give you the same life that raised Jesus from the dead. If we are led by the Spirit of God within us, what is true of Jesus becomes what is true of us.

 

In Ezekiel, we can see that God has replaced our heart of stone – a heart that has no desire to obey – with a heart of flesh – a heart sensitive towards the word of God. With the Holy Spirit, we have the healing power to break the shackles and seal the wounds of sin and death in our lives!

 

What are things in life you are attempting to handle on your own that you can give to God? Is there sin in your life you have been trying to handle/defeat on your own? What are you trying to hold onto rather than let God’s Spirit transform your heart and mind?

 

Take time to write out your answers to these questions. Share these answers with a spiritual mentor, friend, or someone who is in relationship with you. Partner with them in confession and surrender.


Prayer – Father, open my eyes today to your Word. Reveal to me sin in my life that I have been trying to handle on my own. Increase in me, a reliance on Your Holy Spirit. God, you are so good. You pursue, transform, and restore our hearts.

day 10

When Everything Is Not Okay

 

Everything is not always okay. Life doesn’t always work out the way we plan. We experience pain, loss, anger, frustration, and unmet expectations. Paul wants the audience of this passage to understand that our suffering is worth enduring to the end. God, through Paul, promises us a day where “creation will be set free from its bondage to corruption” (v.21 ESV). Further on, he lets us know that things will be made right. We can see that God works for the good of those who love Him.

 

It would seem reasonable to read this passage and hear, “Suffering is hard but everything will turn out okay in the end for you, so keep your head up, because God will work everything out.” However, we must be careful, because this passage does not promise that God will turn everything around in your life at some point. In this life, we will have trouble, and we are not guaranteed that God will balance the scales in our life on this side of Heaven. We might live a long time with unmet expectations, unfulfilled dreams, pain, and loss.

 

So where is the hope in this passage? Paul is telling us that even though life will come crashing down at some point, we have a hope that transcends our temporary time on Earth. We will have trouble in this life, yes, but this life is not the whole story: Jesus has overcome this world. We are able to endure this life with a hope that even when everything is not okay, and even when we feel lost and destroyed, Jesus offers us the victory that He bought on the cross, and when we put our trust in Him, we are promised we will be raised in glory and restored after this life. 

 

Write out five hopes you have for the next five years of your life. Spend time asking God to help you trust Him even if none of those hopes are fulfilled. 


Prayer – God, I ask that you would give me peace through the suffering I endure. I thank you that even though life may come crashing down on all sides, I have your uplifting hand sustaining me. I recognize that I will never fully understand how you work, so increase my trust in You. I ask that even if life doesn’t turn out the way I plan, I would recognize and trust in Your power and plan. Thank you for the hope you have given me in Jesus and the victory you promise!

day 11

God is For Us

 

We know from the past few days of reading that God has given his followers an unbelievable gift: those who are in Christ are not just spared from condemnation but are granted the status of co-heirs in His inheritance. Nothing can stand in the way of God providing the very best for His children. God sent His Son to die in our place because it was the only way to save us from the mess we made. God is the only one with the authority to charge us with the guilt we deserve; however, He chooses not to. Why? God is for us. He wants the best for us. He doesn’t want us to perish – He wants us to live and to love Him. He wants us to turn to him for protection in every circumstance. 

 

Even though God is for us, we will still face hard times. Jesus promised His followers that if we are to share in His glory, then we also must share in His suffering. God loved His Son, but He still allowed Him to suffer. We can see that Paul is not a stranger to this concept. He endured incredible suffering to the point of death with certainty that the world could not condemn him. Paul held fast to God’s love, which was proven to him on the cross.

 

Nothing can separate us from the love of our Father. Not the grave, not any created beings, not space or time, nothing that the present or the future may hold, not even the good or bad things we do. Nothing can separate us from His love!

 

Think back to a time when you have suffered or have faced a trial. How was God there during that time? How did you endure that suffering?


Prayer – Lord, thank you for constantly pursuing me with your steadfast love. Thank you for not making me stay separated from you, but giving me a way to be with you forever. I pray that as I face daily hardships and trials that seem unbearable, I would remember that I am more than a conqueror with you by my side. Please continue to teach me about how much you love me and show me how I can love you more.