Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Life Journal

For my New Years Meditations go here..

For years I tried to read through the bible in a year only to come up frustrated when I missed a few days and the reading list would grow and grow and be so overwhelming that I would give up. I had such a strong desire to systematically go through scripture and gain wisdom and understanding that I would continue to try each new year only to end up feeling like a failure.

Several years ago through a conference and other events in our life we discovered the "Life Journal". It was originally created by New Hope Church in Hawaii. It is a systematic approach to reading through the scripture and a simple way to journal what God's word may be speaking to us personally.

It has and continues to be a wonderful tool in my life. The journal provides a reading guide which you can also find here
under on-line devotions. (I also have a link on my side-bar) The reading takes you through the Old Testament once in a year and the New Testament twice. After the reading for the day has been done the acrostic S.O.A.P. is used in a journal to record what God is speaking through the scriptures. Here is how it works:

S for Scripture
Open your Bible to the reading found under today's date. Take time reading and allow God to speak to you. (This can be used with any scripture reading, not just this particular reading schedule) When you are done, look for a verse that particularly spoke to you that day, and write it in your journal. I have often found several scriptures and had to narrow it down to one or decided to include all of them in my journal for the day.
O for Observation
What do you think God is saying to you in this scripture? Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you and reveal Jesus to you. Paraphrase and write this scripture down in your own words, in your journal.
A for Application
Personalize what you have read, by asking yourself how it applies to your life right now. Perhaps it is instruction, encouragement, revelation of a new promise, or corrections for a particular area of your life. Write how this scripture can apply to you today.
P for Prayer
This can be as simple as asking God to help you use this scripture, or it may be a greater insight on what He may be revealing to you. Remember, prayer is a two way conversation, so be sure to listen to what God has to say! Now, write it out.

I usually can do this on one page, but occasionally will use two. This can be done in any journal or a word processing program. The Life Journal encourages you to title your entry and date it of course and record each entry under a table of contents at the front of your journal. This is for easy future reference.

But, the best part of all is if I miss a day, I don't worry about it. I don't go back unless I absolutely want to. I am not doing this for a year, but rather a "LIFE" time. I have been using this tool for almost five years and I am not tired of it at all. I have a stack of journals that are full of God's words, promises, prayers, and testimonies of what he has done in my life. What a heritage for my children. I would never of accomplished this any other way. (I know me!) Journaling God's word has been life transforming. I purposely show others the gaps in my journals where maybe life has forced me into a particular topical study, or other season. But when I come back I start with today.

Developing a daily time with the Lord is as my husband said Sunday morning, "will be the fight of your life".

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 2 Timothy 3:16


Mrs. Julie Fink said...

Thanks for sharing this wonderful "tool" with the rest of us!

Darlene Schacht said...

I love the line, I'm not doing it for a year, but for a LIFE. That seems far easier to acheive. I should apply that to areas of my life.

Kelly said...

Thanks for sharing abou this journal--looks great. I love finding new study resources!

Anonymous said...

I am so glad I stopped by this morning. I really enjoy the Bible reading plan I am using but it is only Week one and I am two days behind..however, last night I decided I would not stress. You see, I too look at it as a "life" plan and one day's reading results in several pages in my journal. I read my passages along with a bible commentary. Anyway, to make a long story short, I had printed off the SOAP from the Hope website several months ago and stashed it in my "inspirational articles" binder...it is exactly the tool I need to go along with what I had planned to do with 2007...be able to express myself well on each of my beliefs. Thanks for the reminder!1 Sorry for the novel ;)Thank you for stopping by my Front Porch!!

Karen said...

Thank you for this, Chris! I just ordered myself a journal. I'm excited about it too. I'm like you, there are just days that it doesn't happen and then I fall so far behind I give up. So, no more, just pick it back up! Blessings,

Susanne said...

This is very good! I'm sure I've got an unused journal here and I'll think I'll start this too!

Rae said...

Thanks for sharing this! Great idea. Happy New Year =)

Anonymous said...

Great idea. Your post has inspired me to get out my journal and get back into this life habit.

Dianne said...

Really good post Chris. I posted a similar idea that I've been doing and linked to your post. You had some great perspectives on doing this for "life."

Katherine@Raising Five said...

Love this, Chris. I like the added structure to the journaling process. I'd like to try this!

Angie said...

I have been trying to read the whole bible the last few years too and like you I get so upset and mad at myself when I miss a reading. This sounds like a great approach and I'm going to try it! Thanks for sharing with us!

Lori said...

Hmmmm this is something to mull over. I love this.