Day 74: March 15, 2014

Today's Reading(s)

Psalm 1
1 How happy is the man who does not follow the advice of the wicked or take the path of sinners or join a group of mockers! 2 Instead, his delight is in the Lord ’s instruction, and he meditates on it day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted beside streams of water that bears its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. 4 The wicked are not like this; instead, they are like chaff that the wind blows away. 5 Therefore the wicked will not survive the judgment, and sinners will not be in the community of the righteous. 6 For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to ruin.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.



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Journaling as a Means to Meditate on Scripture
by Lee Swartz, Member of Brentwood Baptist, Brentwood Campus

We love the Psalms. We sing the Psalms. People often quote the Psalms without knowing they’re quoting the Psalms. One reason I believe we appreciate them so deeply is their capacity to speak to us in an intimate way, while at the same time indicating universal attitudes and sentiments.

Likewise, we love David, who is directly credited with writing over seventy of the Psalms. His poetry is filled with his most spiritual moments as well as his deepest regrets.

In addition to being part of the Scriptural canon, one of the reasons the book of Psalms is so worthy of our meditation and reflection is its honest account of the reality of human experience and its practical guidance for us today.

Psalm 1 touches on two such realities: the path of the righteous and the path of the wicked. This is a theme that is prevalent in the wisdom literature, and also throughout the New Testament. Since Genesis 3 we have lived in a world that tries to convince us that there is no distinction between the two and that we can ultimately be our own God.

While man’s aptitude for lying to himself seems to be incalculable, anyone who has lived this lie has found upon this lesser road an inconvenient reality. As Christians, it is true that we currently “see through a glass darkly,” or in journaling terms, it seems that we spend a lot of time staring at a blank page. On the other hand, to choose the path of righteousness is no search for comfort.

The road is the formula and our journals are like the scratch paper we use to show our work. Not work in the legalistic sense, but the piecing together of clues to a great mystery where the blessing is as much about the present as the future.

We journal for the same reason we pursue God in His Word. We are archaeologists, removing layers of filth and human reasoning to discover the original narrow road—to find bedrock. We will also discover that our aptitude for joy and understanding is directly proportional to our knowledge and application of the Word.

We do not journal because we are journalers. We journal to someday find that we have become a journaler. 

Praxis

  • Obviously the most valuable starting point for your journaling to become a means to meditate on scripture is to READ SCRIPTURE. Journaling, at least initially, has very little to do with a pen and a notebook, but with reading. And the Psalms are a great place to begin, because they are often David’s reflections on God, His ways and David’s occasional stumbles.
  • While numerous websites and books about journaling tell you to set a time each day to sit and reflect, my particular brand of insanity is to have mine with me at all times.  An overwhelming majority of what is contained in my notebooks arrived when I wasn’t sitting around thinking about journaling.
  • Meditation on the truth of Scripture and how it has impacted our lives should fill us with a tremendous sense of gratitude. We may not always have grand reflections to record and we may not always want to write down our prayers. One thing we should have an abundance of is gratitude. Maybe a gratitude journal is a great place to start your adventure in spiritual journaling.

About JourneyOn Today

Today's devotional series accompanies the Spiritual Practices Foundations Curriculum which deals with 24 different spiritual disciplines. We will break for an Advent series in December and continue the second half of Spiritual Practices during the first quarter of 2015.