Journaling & Devotional Reading #3

Using the devotional reading outline below, read and respond the following verse:

Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Remember, LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from the old.
Psalm 25:4-6 TNIV

Enjoy spending time with God as you savor the words of this Psalm.

Journaling & Devotional Reading #2

Read the following passage using the Lectio Divina practice noted above.

Here's a quick reminder to follow:

1. SILENCIO: Begin by quieting your heart and allowing yourself to become aware of God's presence.

2. LECTIO: Read the passage of scripture slowly and out loud. Listening for a word or phrase. Write down the word or phrase that stands out to you.

3. MEDITATIO: Read the passage a second time out loud, linger and listen for any places you sense God inviting you to explore.

4. ORATIO: Ask yourself, why this phrase or word? What might you need to explore. Ask God to open your eyes to more.

5. CONTEMPLATIO: Contemplate as you rest and wait with God allowing the words to sink deeply into your heart. Take some time to write down what you sense God is prompting in you and journal your thoughts and prayers.

Answer me quickly, O LORD; my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit. Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Rescue me from my enemies, O LORD, for I hide myself in you. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.
Psalm 143:7-10

Enjoy meeting with God in this passage and the pages of your journal.

Journaling & Devotional Reading #1

Journaling is a way of connecting with God as you become more aware and attentive to Him. Consider these words as you explore journaling as a spiritual practice:

OPEN my eyes so I can see what YOU show me of YOUR miracle-wonders.
Psalm 119:18 The Message

There are lots of different approaches to journaling. But remember our purposes are about cultivating a deeper relationship with God as we grow to know him more.

Join me over the next several weeks as we take a look at a variety of ways of journaling and prompts to begin our writing. So, let's begin.

Our first step into journaling connects our writing to a portion of scripture.

Lectio Divina

In this journal practice, you'll be reading a portion of scripture as a way to enter into journaling. Think in terms of attending to Scripture not necessarily studying scripture. Sometimes we refer to this type of reading as "devotional reading" or "lectio divina". Essentially, reading and reflecting on scripture in this way invites us into God's presence to listen for his word to us at this particular moment in time. As we engage with God, we'll be recording and reflecting on our experience in our journal. Ready?

Grab a journal and a pen. Or you can record your thoughts here in the comments section below.

1. SILENCIO: Begin by quieting your heart. Slow down and consciously come into God's presence. You can do this with a simple prayer and a few deep breaths.

2. LECTIO: Read the passage of scripture. Read it slowly and out loud (if possible), take your time, linger over words or phrases. If a particular word or phrase stands out to you, stop and attend to what God is saying to you. Write down the word or phrase that stands out to you.

We'll be reading Matthew 11:27-30 (THE MESSAGE)

27Jesus resumed talking to the people, but now tenderly. "The Father has given me all these things to do and say. This is a unique Father-Son operation, coming out of Father and Son intimacies and knowledge. No one knows the Son the way the Father does, nor the Father the way the Son does. But I'm not keeping it to myself; I'm ready to go over it line by line with anyone willing to listen.

28"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. 29Walk with me and work with me--watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. 30Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

3. MEDITATIO: Read the passage a second time out loud. Linger awhile. Soak in the words and images that come to mind. Listen for any invitation you sense God inviting you to explore or discover.

4. ORATIO: Take this time to respond and pray as you read the passage a third time. Now, dialogue with God as you journal. Begin by writing down the word or phrase that stands out to you. As you respond you might explore your feelings or thoughts you're experiencing? Invite God to open your eyes and ears in deeper ways. Talk to God as you journal about what you are thinking and/or feeling.

5. CONTEMPLATIO: Contemplate as you rest and wait with God. Give yourself time for the words to sink deeply into your heart. Maybe you need to get real about something that you are experiencing today. Do that! You may need to bring something to God and hand it over to him. If so, do that! Likely, we all need to surrender or lay down the fears, concerns, and circumstances that weigh us down. Take some time to write down what you sense God is prompting in you.

Would love to hear your thoughts as you explore this way of journaling...

Journaling: A Way of Watching God at Work

Does the idea of journaling sound sweet or just give you sweaty palms?


Open my eyes
so I can see what you show me
of your miracle-wonders.
Psalm 119:18 The Message

Journaling is a way of;

  • paying attention to our lives,
  • reflecting on God's presence and guidance, and
  • creating an ongoing record of our soul's journey into God.
How To:
"There is no right way to journal. You don't need to journal every day or even every week. Find a rhythm of journaling that suits your phase and stage of life. If writing isn't your thing, make a journal of photos or drawings or articles. Assign key words or thoughts or themes to the entries. If you don't write well, remember that you don't need to write beautifully or use complete sentences. Journaling is a way for you to be with God and your thoughts, not an exercise in language arts. Tell the truth to God and to yourself as best you can. Review what you write on a regular basis. As you do, you will begin to recognize life themes, desires, frustration and patterns of interaction. These insights become matters for dialogue with God." Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun

An Example
I am embarrassed to tell you that a few days ago I wanted to journal and I couldn't find my current journal. I searched a few of my favorite places and came up empty handed. I walked away sad and couldn't bear the idea of starting a new journal because I wanted to pick up where I had left off. I've learned over the years that one of the places where God and I do the best work on changing me is when I spend time journaling. Sometimes I start writing as a continuation of some scripture I've been reading or studying. Sometimes I just need to write down what I've been thinking so I don't forget. Regardless of where I begin and my reasons for journaling, I always find God moving and realigning the pieces of my heart and soul.

Making It Your Own
There are so many ways to journal. Here are a few ideas to consider:

  1. Read magazines, newspapers, articles, or books -- cut out or record anything that touches you. Paste clippings in your journal. Use them to prompt your prayers.
  2. Read a selected passage of scripture and keep a record of your observations. This is not a Bible study but rather a means to connect to God. (you could use the acronym SOAP -- Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer)
  3. If you enjoy art, create a collage journal by expressing your thoughts and feelings to God through pictures, textures, and colors.
  4. Keep a prayer journal by recording your prayers and thoughts.
  5. Keep a gratitude journal by recording daily a list.
  6. Divide your journal into sections. You might consider: your journey with God, events of the day/week, prayers for the world, prayers for those you love, desires of your heart.
  7. Just write and/or record what is going on in your life and heart. Please record your unedited thoughts, feelings, and reactions -- and be willing to wait on God to respond to your heart.
  8. Just start writing something, somewhere.

ideas adapted from Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun

Where We Are

I love the beach. Everything about it. The smell of the salty air. The soothing sounds of the surf. The softness of the sand. The respite I experience while meandering around the shore. Although my soul feels peace and deeply connected with God while I'm there, I must fight against the idea that there is external positional peace.

My peace doesn't come from where I am. Gerald Locklin pens these words in his poem WHERE WE ARE... "there is always the anticipation of the change, the chance that what is wrong is the result of where you are." His words elude to the false belief that what is wrong or right in our lives is dependent on the external environment as opposed to the internal landscape of our soul.

Each morning, we awaken and step into our day. Some days feel safely within our control. We march in with our to do list and schedules confident at the end of the day we will have accomplished much. Other days are more loosely held with options and time for wandering a bit. Some days we step toward the day with anticipation welcoming what will transpire. Other days we are unsure of how we can endure.

Luci Shaw in her book, THE CRIME OF LIVING CAUTIOUSLY, says this "... every conversation, every action, every reaction to individuals and dealings in the hours that lie before us will be unique-- never before experienced in quite the same way and therefore unpredictable. The unexpected lurking around the bend. We may well need to take a deep breath before we plunge into what God has planned for us."

Life is risky. Life is exhilarating. Life is a discovery.

We don't know what we'll be facing today or tomorrow. That's true. Yet, I take comfort and find courage in the story told in the Old Testament book of Joshua. This story encourages us to forge ahead into new territory trusting as we follow God's lead we will know which way to go. He beckons us to follow!

you are to move out from your positions and follow. don't be afraid, I know you've never been this way before. Trust me and follow me, then you'll know which way to go.

my translation
Joshua 3:3-4

I'm guessing it's not so much where we are -- but who we are following.

Here's to... following along and forging ahead into new territory.