Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14 (ESV)
One of the first things I encouraged at Good Shepherd was daily Bible reading. There is no substitute when it comes to hearing from God. There is no better way to connect with our Savior and Lord on a daily basis. There are many great reading plans to help you engage the Scriptures. Good Shepherd even has it’s own daily reading plan that will take you through the New Testament in a year. You can find the reading plan at philresler.com/biblereadings.
It is so important we consistently hear from God. Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the word’s of eternal life?” (John 6:68) In many ways the Bible is our playbook. Imagine a football player going onto the field without the knowing playbook. When we fail to consult God’s Word, it is much like going onto the playing field of life without consulting the playbook. You will not have much of a chance of success.
A great way to get even more out of your daily discipline of daily Bible reading is journaling. Often the difference between reading and studying is a pencil or keyboard. There is something about writing which helps you internalize and take a message to heart. Keep in mind journaling is different than keeping a diary. Journaling is about wrestling with the text to help you take away life application. It is about asking yourself what God would have you do in response to your daily reading. It causes you to reflect upon what you have read. That is where it starts to connect with life.
You can use a simple notebook. I personally use an app on my computer and phone called Evernote to record my daily journals. When I journal, I use a template I learned from a book called The Divine Mentor by Wayne Cordiero. It is a simple template that uses the acronym SOAP. It stands for:
When you read your daily Bible reading pick one verse, phrase, or single word that resonates with your heart. Write it down.
What are some general and specific observations you have regarding the Scripture you recorded. Consider the people involved and what the Scripture might have meant to the people who originally heard it?
What is one thing you can do as a result of reading this text? Be specific. If your application is to be more grateful, write down what that looks like. How will you practically show gratitude this day as a result of the reading?
This is the opportunity to offer to the Lord whatever it is upon your heart. Your prayer may or may not relate to the text.
In the end, it is not about Bible reading or journaling in itself. It is about connecting with our God and living out his will in our daily lives. Journalling is a wonderful tool to help us do this, but there are other ways. What are some methods or tools you use to help you apply God’s Word to your daily life?