Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth! (Psalm 46:10 NKJV)
I enjoy all of Deb's photos, but this one reminds me of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. And within the lovely Florida sunset, there is the suggestion of a dove hovering over the scene. I hope you enjoy it too.
"Every man's life is a fairy tale written by God's finger." Hans Christian Andersen
Journaling can be fun and even profitable thing to do. Most of my entries were, and continue to be, talks with the Lord about daily happenings. Similar to a diary, it's a place where you can dump your heart daily. It can be a catharsis, but it can also become an endless source of ideas and fodder for devotionals, articles, short stories, even novels. I've reached way back into the 80s to pull out a few for you to read. After I got into using the computer, The Notebook evolved from being loose leaf and handwritten into being typed into my computer as often as time allowed. (And it continues.)
Below is an example, an excerpt from my journal. They're notes from a Sunday school lesson created and given to my 11th/12th grade class in May of 1986. It's an example of an entry I could use as a devotional or article.
There, within you, lies a seed of greatness. Each of you were conceived and created by God, and sealed to the purpose of individual greatness. God has a special love for just you and He has a purpose for your life. Your special work is first to love Him back, then to find that purpose. Without fail He is the Source of the wisdom you shall receive in learning that purpose and in the fulfillment of that purpose.
Part of my purpose is to serve Him and you by showing you His great love for you. He lights both our ways to guide us into the great storehouse of the knowledge of His wisdom.
Scripture: LB 1Kings 3 entire chapter--a story of wisdom.
What is the beginning of wisdom? Psalms 111:10 KJV
What does wisdom act like? James 3:17 KJV
How can you tell a wise person? James 3:13-18 KJV
First among Dr. Carver's list of discoveries was the peanut, a restorer of worn-out soil. He developed over 300 uses for the peanut. Later, Dr. Carver told the story behind the discovery of peanut by-products. He asked the Great Creator,
"Dear Mr. Creator, please tell me what the universe was made for." The Great Creator answered, "You want to know too much for that little mind of yours. Ask for something more your size." Then he asked, "Dear Mr. Creator, tell me what man was made for." Again the Great Creator replied, "Little man you still are asking too much. Cut down the extent of your request and improve the intent." So then he asked, "Please Mr. Creator, will you tell me why the peanut was made?"
There are lots of one-liner thoughts and ideas that will never be lost because of journaling. Here are some other samples from The Notebook:
May 6, 1983
This morning, I perceive what You have for me to re-learn about "life's interruptions." Peter and John were interrupted on their way to the temple to pray. Jesus was constantly interrupted to touch and heal. People are more important than events in process.
June 14, 1987
We have many "cross-overs" in our lives, many Jordans. The Lord has plans for us. We can choose to cross-over or cross Him. (From a Sunday school lesson created for 11th/12th grade.)
July 5, 1987
Samuel--the King Chooser (A thought while preparing a Sunday school lesson.)
And then there are meditations:
August 22, 1973
A truth has become ringing clear to me as I read and meditate the Bible this dark early morning. Heavenly Father, you have opened my eyes to an understanding of your Word. While reading Matthew 10:27-38, I came to that hard, hard group of verses, and it was opened for me to see as I never have before. "Don't imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! No, rather a sword" (Matthew 10:34 TLB).
I had just finished reading the Worldwide Bible Reading in the Upper Room for today: Isaiah 41:10-13. It reads in part that, "enemies lie confused and shattered."
Who are my enemies, Lord? I don't have any enemies!
Yes, you do! They are not mortal--they are intangible, unseen; they are the anger, the impatience, the vanity--all those are the enemy. They keep you from doing my perfect will.
So this is what it is all about! Of course that's what it means, "a man's worst enemies will be right in his own home."
All of us do things in our own home and say things in our own home, which would never be done nor said anywhere else. We take off our "front" or "facade" when we're in our own home. We show our true self, we vent fury on those the closest to us, those we love. We hurt the people who should be dearest to us. This is the battleground; we forget that God knows our hearts, minds--our total self--wherever we are, and he sees us truly, in our own homes.
The fruits of the Spirit are defeated more at home than anywhere. We withhold love, we are spiteful, even exercise and indulge ourselves in a bit of hatred; we feel free to lose control of our temper, too many times we are not patient at all with those we love most.
That "enemy," call him the devil, Satan, evil spirit, sin--whatever, gains more ground at home than anywhere else we find ourselves.
Also, at home we can love too much. We can find ourselves at the altar of a daughter or son or mother or father. We can love them more than we love the Lord. He must be first. Then all else will follow. We can love these earthly somebodies and let go of them too. We think they belong to us, and they do not. They are only one more piece of work for us to dedicate to you, to love in your name, and to trust to your care and keeping. Our own life is the only one we can live.
August 23, 1973
So this is what it means--the sword is the power--Jesus working through us when we are totally committed to him, to defeat the enemies within, to penetrate and deflate them, shaking off any hold they have in our lives. He gives my dedicated spirit insight to see where there is vanity or impatience or anger or any other "enemy."
In his Name, through his power and grace, he fills the void with the fruit of his Spirit in humility, patience, serenity, and peace.
Journaling Hints and Tips
Remember, journaling is a stream of thought--informal, unedited feelings and reasonings and understandings and more that come to you and you want to save. Just pour them onto your pages as you think of them and don't hold back.
I suggest always dating your notes and entries, and if you are commenting on how a Bible verse speaks to you, make a note of the Bible edition. Years later when you refer to these entries, you probably won't remember which version you were using. It saves time not to have to research it when you are in the midst creating a devotional for The Upper Room, for example.
Keep a small notebook and pen at your bedside to captures those elusive thoughts that the Lord drops into your mind in the middle of the night. If you are traveling, tuck a pocket-sized voice recorder into your purse or computer case to help you remember people, places, or things of interest. Or use it to record your thoughts when you see those things or use it to grab that poetic line that comes to you as you gaze at a glorious view God places in your way.
Periodically organize your entries, but never interrupt a creative moment to do it. That moment may never come again. Title them if you'd like to and get creative with that too. I have a dozen plus Folders named: Encounters, Sensing Angels, Seasons of Sundays, Dream Weaving, Family Things, and more. In the Folders I eventually place the Files I make of my journaling notes.
If you are using your computer to journal, don't forget to back up often!
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"A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged, it is the skin of a living thought and may vary greatly in color and content according to the circumstances and the time in which it is used." Oliver Wendell Holmes