Friday, December 28, 2007

2008: Fifty Journaling Possibilities



I have kept a journal for quite a few years and find it to be a very helpful thing. It is mainly as an aid to my scripture reading but also serves as an encouragement. However hard the journey gets looking at my journals reminds me of the distance I have already travelled. I have read lots of books on journaling and this is not a bad one. The best one to get you started is Ron Klug's 'How to keep a spiritual journal'

Here are 50 suggestions I found in the appendix and I share them to, at very least, stimulate your looking ahead to 2008. Starting a journal might a good thing to do so why not try. I can recommend Moleskine's which you can buy on line or in Waterstones. The large plain in my journal of choice.

1. On a scale of 1-10 (10 being intimate), how close do you feel to God today. Write for a while to figure out why you are, say, 6 rather than 10
2. Try paraphrasing a familiar passage of scripture
3. Turn a paraphrase of scripture into a poem
4. Copy the Lord's Prayer into your journal expand on it.
5. The Gospel writers record Jesus asking over one hundred questions. Find some of those questions and pretend that he is asking them of you. How do you respond?
6. List all the roles that you play; your talents, your education, your experience, your expertise, your friends, your ministry. Try to write several pages answering the question who am I?
7. Create a page of goals and dreams. Don't be worried about practicality, just dream. If you could be anyone, who woould you want to be? If you could have any job during your lifetime what would it be?
8. What do you want to be remembered for?
9. Go back to the pages where you listed who you are. Now imagine that you are unable to d any of those things. Spend some time pondering the truth that Jesus' love for you would not change. If you were in accident and had to spend the rest of your life unable to move, Jesus would love you no less than he does today. His love is not contingent on what you do. He loves you fully. Write for a while to let this truth sink deep into your soul.
10. Write about a time you felt ashamed?
11. What is "the Gospel"?
12. Select a parable of scripture and draw it
13. What ministry has God uniquely entrusted to you? What goals can you set for this ministry?
14. Consult a concordance and write out several NT verses that use the word ashamed. What does Paul say about being ashamed in 1 and 2 Timothy? Is Jesus ever ashamed? Reread what you wrote about a time you felt ashamed.
15. Write a letter to Jesus. Begin with "Dear Jesus" and tell him anything you want. The only requirement is to be honest. Use his thoughts from the scriptures and have him respond in a letter back to you.
16. Are you feeling squeezed into someone else's mould? Write
17. Write out a passage of Scripture. Note your fleeting thoughts and reactions as you copy it.
18. Give yourself permission to be confused. Ask Jesus a hard question. How do you think he would answer it.
19. Write a conversational dialogue between yourself and an unsaved friend or family member. How might you open a conversation into spiritual things? How would you anticipate they would respond?
20. Draw a picture of your spiritual journey. Write about it for 20 minutes
21. Write a prayer for someone in your family
22. Write down some ideas from a scripture passage you have been studying. Write down the things that have been happening to you at work and home and church. Write down what you have been thinking about. Reflect on what the Lord might be saying to you through his word, your circumstances and his still small voice. Can you boil this down to one sentence?
23. Read Isaiah and find fifty questions God asks
24. Brainstorm a list of characteristics of a soldier. What does it mean to be a soldier in your Christian life?
25. What are you afraid of?
26. What one thing is frustrating you the most? Why might you want it to be that way? What's in this problem for you?
27. Dialogue journal through a passage. (John 1:29-34, John 1:35-42; Luke 7:36-50, Luke 19:1 are great passages to begin with)
28. Write five to ten pages of notes as you read a book. Be sure to include what you think as well as what the author thinks
29. Write your own parable
30. What personal risks or fears or people stand in you way of truly being able to follow hard after God
31. What are some motivations you may need to confess?
32. Select a topic that you'd like to learn more about, a question you would like to answer or a problem that you'd like to resolve. Write about it. As new questions come to mind, keep pursuing the answers.
33. Find something in nature that can remind you of a quality or a character quality you would like to grow in. Take a photograph of it. Hang it on the wall. Write about it. What are the characteristics you'd like to develop? Why is this image especially meaningful to you?
34. Create a place for your devotional items; it may be a basket, or a bag, or a place at your desk. Stock it with 3x5 cards, pens, pencils, calligraphy pens, markers, paper etc
35. Choose a favorite passage of Scripture. Make a picture using just the words of scripture
36. Write a letter to someone you love and send it
37. Create a poster, not for the finished product but to enjoy the process of creating
38. What is God speaking to you about these days. Write to discern his voice
39. Write your testimony in a thousand words or less
40. Whom do you admire? Choose someone you know personally. What can you learn from them?
42. Find a secular non-fiction book n a topic of interest to you. Read it with the perspective that the author is you mentor. What can you learn from him or her?
43. Keep a travel log of your next trip
44. Write a prayer of confession that you could use for the rest of your life.
45. What can you learn about hearing from the parable of the sower in Luke 8:1-15? How does the rest of chapter 8 relate to the parable?
46. Create a book of worship of your own
47. Create your own extended metaphor of the Christian life.
48. Add an illustration to a journal entry
49. Write a villanelle ( I confess I don't know what this is !)
50. Reread Song of Songs. Choose a favorite chapter to mediate on. Write yourself and the Lord into the story.

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