The Bible is a Book of LOVE

Why Our Studies Work
The Bible is a Book of LOVE. 
If we are not careful, we may neglect to see God’s Love in the scriptures that we read.  
At Bible Stories from the Heart we never want this to happen.  It is our goal to view every word found in the Bible as a piece of a love letter written especially for us.  Because of this, we are very intentional in the way that we write and pace our lessons and art activities. 
The devotions we will be studying will move us very slowly through certain passages of the Bible.  In each lesson we will spend time reading and reflecting upon key words found in our focus verses.  Doing this will help you to actually relate God’s Word to your life and will help you to feel His love on a much deeper level. 
We believe that the BEST way to study God’s Word and REALLY absorb it is to take the time to reflect upon it and then 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 and no action! 
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.  

Our Strategy: Reflective Bible Study
Each week we will focus on a different scripture.  You will read and re-read that scripture several times over the week.   
The purpose behind re-reading scripture is for you to intentionally spend time reflecting and meditating on God’s deep and powerful love for you.  
We believe that we should meditate on the Word of God DAILY.  
We believe that the Word of God should be savored not gulped.   
We know that the concepts in each verse are given to us from the Holy Spirit!  They are meant to guide us and change us.   
It is up to us to actually allow that to happen.  
In order to read God’s Word as intended, we must intentionally MEDITATE on its concepts. 
David learned this in his life as did Joshua: 
Psalms 119:15-16 (NKJV) I will meditate on Your precepts and regard Your ways. I shall delight in Your statutes; I shall not forget Your word. 
Joshua 1:8 (NKJV) 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.  
Our Goal  
Our goal is to help you establish a deep and loving relationship with our Savior. Relationships are intentional!  The best relationships develop slowly over time. 
As we continue in this study, we do not want to rush through the lessons.  Let's intentionally take our time and enjoy every moment that we spend in the presence of the Lord!  Let's remember that we are building a relationship, not earning a grade.  So, let's just relax and enjoy the journey! 
How can we build a deeper relationship with Christ? 
Consider this: 
When you first meet a new friend or co-worker do you automatically trust this person?   
Of course not!  Trust is something that is built and grows over time.       
The more time you spend with a person, the more time trust has to grow.  As you spend time together, this new person will have various opportunities to display their loyalty, honesty, and abilities to you.   
If enough of these qualities are displayed, trust begins to grow.  Then every time you notice these qualities displayed again, trust grows deeper. 
It is the same with God.  Authentic trust is built over time. To build this trust, we must take the time to observe and discover the true character of God. 
We can accomplish this by using two simple strategies: 
1. Intentional Bible Study (searching for God’s love) 
2. Reflective Journal Writing (reflecting on God’s love / S.O.A.P.) 

Our Love-Directed Approach
Intentional Bible Study   
Bible study which intently looks for the character traits of God is vital. 
God is LOVE! God never changes! He is and will ALWAYS be LOVE! 
So, what exactly is love? 
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NKJV) 4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  8 Love never fails… 
LOVE-Directed Bible Study Strategy
Read each verse of the Bible with a specific purpose - To see LOVE! 
If we focus on this, we will see that EVERYTHING God has ever done or will EVER do; he does out of his intense LOVE for his children.  
Wherever there is LOVE - there is God! 
S.O.A.P. (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer)  
Reflective Journal Writing  
S.O.A.P. is an acronym which stands for Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer.  This technique is a powerful way to reflect on and absorb more of the verses from each lesson that speak to you.  
There is a SOAP reflection page near the end of each lesson which you may use to write down your own thoughts. We’ve included an example below to better illustrate how the SOAP pages might be used.                                                              The following scripture in this example is not in this study.       It has been chosen for demonstration purposes. 
SOAP Reflection (Scripture) 
(S) Scripture: 
Exodus 14:13-14 (NKJV) 13 And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” 
SOAP Reflection (Observation) 
(O) Observation: 
As a result of bad choices made by the Israelites, they were taken as slaves in Egypt for several years.  After receiving word from God to do so, the Israelites are attempting to escape from their Egyptian captives.  The Israelites are scared.  They know that if they are caught they will be tortured or even killed for their rebellion. 
I observe GOD’S LOVE in this verse! Moses is telling the Israelites to not be afraid, to stand firm, and that God will deliver them from their enemies.  God is willing and able to lead them to safety - this is LOVE! 
This verse PROVES that God was willing and able to rescue his children from hardships.  Since God NEVER changes, he is still able and willing to rescue me!  This strong anchor will help me stand firm when any future strong winds blow. 

SOAP Reflection (Application) 
(A) Application: 
Just like the Israelites I made some bad choices in the past which led me into captivity.  Unlike the Israelites, my captivity was more mental than physical.  My mental captivity was a result of a past affair and other bad choices which surrounded that affair.  As a result of these bad choices, Satan was able to temporarily bind me!  During and even after the fallout from my affair, the devil worked to convince me that I was an evil person who was unworthy of love. 
Even though I knew that God had forgiven me, Satan tried to keep me captive to my past. For a while I felt trapped in self - loathing!  Eventually through my pain I reached out to God.  I began reading and studying the Word of God like I never had before. 
I had read the Bible in the past, but this time was different.  This time when I read scripture I was actually reading for a purpose.  My goal was to see if I was indeed unlovable!  What God revealed to me was the EXACT opposite!  God LOVED me more than I could ever even begin to understand.  Through the blood of Christ, my past sin would not keep me shut off from his love! 
This was so beautiful to me!  God used water to rescue the Israelites and he used BLOOD to rescue me! I began to feel lovable again.  I found that the more time I spent in God's Word the less I felt trapped in my past. 
Eventually I felt totally free!  God RELEASED me! 
All my Lord needed was for me to grow DEEP roots in his LOVE.  Then he did the rest.  Now God's LOVE is able to both FILL me and FLOW through me!  I now know that I am indeed LOVED! 
I am now able to both receive true love and to give love. 
This is because God has filled me with HIS LOVE! 
I now know that nothing I will do will make my Heavenly Father love me any less! 
I feel so FREE!  I am no longer a CAPTIVE! 
SOAP Reflection (Prayer) 
(P) Prayer: 
Dear Lord, thank you for loving me.  Thank you for forgiving me of my past sin and setting me free!  Please help me to continue to grow my spiritual roots deeper and deeper into your love.  Please be with me during this study.  Speak to me in bold new ways.  Help me to hear and respond in positive ways to your loving voice.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen. 

Our God ADORES each one of us! Our God is LOVE!  Take a few minutes now to write your own SOAP reflection journal entry on this same verse. As we continue in this study, let's focus our hearts and minds on GOD'S AMAZING LOVE! 
We encourage you to use these "LOVE-DIRECTED" Bible study strategies throughout this study (and beyond). 
Reflection Questions: 
1. What am I hoping to get from this Bible Study? 
2. Do I feel like I have an actual relationship with Christ? Why or why not? 
3. What have I done in the past to try to build a closer relationship with God? 
4. Am I willing to try a new approach to Bible Study?