Good morning! (or afternoon), my fellow friends in Christ. We hope you are faring well, here in Virginia we are in the middle of some quite cold weather! We have wonderful full four seasons here in the Old Dominion. Thankfully there are some perks to being cooped up inside a warm home, we have time to spend with family, to read, and to write! As I am enjoying doing myself right now. It seems today we will finally get to talking about biblical journaling and tips on how to get more out of your daily devotionals...
First we would like to introduce the concept of biblical journaling. Some of you may already be doing something similar to this, or may already know of this concept.
The Lord gave me this answer, ‘Write down clearly…
what I reveal to you…’” Habakkuk 2:2
Now, I do not believe we should expect our private bible journal to be as eloquent as the King David, but it is an inspiration to what we are capable of doing as we use this outlet as a way to pour our heart out to the Lord and to learn more about the scriptures on a personal level. Now let's get started!
WHERE do we start!? Prayer - A suggestion to starting it out the right way, would be to send up a little prayer. Pray that the Lord would be in your journaling, with you as you venture, and for His will be done as your take this step forward into a more intimate relationship with Him.
Materials - Personally, I went to a book store and picked out the perfect study bible for what I needed, I also took my time in the journaling section to find the ideal journal that would fit my writing style and my needs. I even took the initiative to pick the perfect pen, as all of these things factor into your experience when you journal. Your materials can either enhance the experience, or hinder. Use the old fashioned pen and paper, or go digital.
Time & Location - All of us have very different lives, preferences, and schedules. Some women will want to do this early in the morning, with their tea on the couch snuggled up in a blanket, as the sun comes up, right before it is time to wake the children. So they can have the Lord prepare them for the task at hand. Or some men will have to wake up in the wee hours of the morning, with a cup of joe and go to their office and spend time with the Lord to give them the strength and the wisdom to deal with an ungodly world, so they can be a shining light in the darkness as they move forward into the day. Or late at night, when all is calm in bed or at a coffee shop, or outside in the crisp air. But most importantly, make it a habit. Pick a special spot, at a special time, with your favorite drink 0r snack and get rid of all the distractions. And, do it every day.
What to Write - EVERYTHING! I personally read a chapter in the bible, then read it again with the intent of writing about whatever sticks out to me. I also write out how I myself interpret a verse. Often is written down questions that I need to ask my Pastor, or a specific verse I do not understand that I wish him to explain or to do further research on by myself. Once you read through the bible, you will be able to look back on these pages as you read the bible again through another cycle and see what you have learnt since that date and how you now interpret it as your life experience has changed.
Write Raw - As you read the Psalms you will see that David includes just about every emotion known to the human race: envy, jealousy, lust, greed. Why? Because he is honest. He's not writing what he thinks he should write; he's writing what he honestly feels. We should be honest, too, when we talk to God about our problems. Write out your pain, or questions you know that only God has the answer to. There is healing when you give it to Him.
Prayer List - Along with devotionals, people usually also set time aside to pray. This will be a good place to write down the people and things you need to be praying for that you might forget, as our minds often are fogged by the issues at hand.
Another couple of helpful tricks: Try to spend time with the Lord first thing in the morning when you wake up. If we check our emails or phones first, that becomes a distraction. My personal experience has been that my time with The Lord is not as fruitful if I don't give Him first place in the morning. For some reason once your mind has been placed on other things, it is not as settled before The Lord. Also, reading the Bible before spending time praying is a great way to prepare your heart for prayer, spending time physically on your knees also is a great way to become totally engulfed and enjoy your prayers more. A great idea is to also find a verse that stands out to you during your devotional time, try to memorize it and meditate on it throughout the day. It becomes a tremendous blessing!
We hope you enjoy journaling or anything similar during your devotional times, as much as we have! If you have any questions about biblical journaling or devotional time tips, please send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing."