Getting  Started  with  Journaling

There are many types of journals that can be purchased at any bookstore or a plain notebook will do as well. The Life Journal that we make available (for $7) at our Information Table each Sunday and through our church office is helpful because it offers "how-to journal" instructions to help you get the most out of your daily reading and devotions. If you choose to use the Life Journal, there's a section for special prayer requests where you record the day you began praying and the day God answered your prayer. There is a Bible reading plan also included at the back of these journals. This plan includes readings from the Old and New Testament to guide you through reading the entire Bible in one year.  You can also pick up a free bookmark with the reading plan for that quarter or use our online Daily Bible Reading section which links you directly to the verses for that day.

Next, set aside a certain time in your schedule each day and find a quiet place where you are not likely to be distracted. You make it an important part of your day. We encourage you to use the part of the day when you are most productive and receptive. For morning people, this is a great way to begin their day. For others, it's a 20-minute lunchtime appointment with Jesus. For the night person, as the final act of their day, it's a great way to quiet their hearts and hear God's voice.

Now, open up your journal and get started. Today's date is...

Now what? Who talks first, me or God? One way to do your devotions is to follow the simple acronym S.O.A.P. which stands for Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer.

"S"  is  for  Scripture

Open your Bible to the reading found under today's date on your Bible bookmark or that is located online (the link to this is found on this page as well as the pull down menu on our home page - under tools for growth) Do your reading and allow God to speak to you. Highlight, underline or in some other manner, place a mark in your Bible next to the Scripture that stands out. When you are done with that portion of your reading, reread the scriptures you have marked, look for one that particularly spoke to you that day, and write it in your journal. Helpful Hint: If you are having difficulty understanding what you've read, you might find that a study Bible with notes is useful.

"O"  is  for  Observation

What speaks to your heart? What do you think God is saying to you in this scripture? Ask the Holy Spirit for help and to reveal Jesus to you through the passage. Paraphrase and rewrite this scripture down in your journal.

"A"  is  for  Application

Personalize what you have read, by asking yourself how it applies to your life at this time. Perhaps it is instruction, encouragement, revelation of a new promise or correction for a particular area of your life. Write how this scripture can apply to you today.

"P"  is  for  Prayer

This can be as simple as asking God to help you use this scripture or it may be you asking 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.

Journaling is an excellent way to both record and process what God has spoken to you and is also a useful tool to use at a later time to reflect on and review some of the things you have received. Without writing them down, you may forget those blessings and the important lessons. And while journaling is a very personal time with the Lord, You can share some of your daily journaling in your Life Transformation Group, ministry team or family and friends. Through these discussions, you may be able to look deeper into what God is speaking to you, and then use this insight to even encourage others.

If this seems a little overwhelming, take it slow and keep it simple. No matter where you decide to do your devotions, the important thing is to show up for your daily appointment because God is always waiting for you!

Keep growing in Jesus!