In the past 10 (ten) months, I have not missed a single day in spending quiet time with the Lord God using this devotional journal. I spend at least a full hour each day, usually more; and I feel that it is always never enough. My prayer is that the Lord God will somehow use this tool/spiritual discipline (journaling) to enrich your spiritual life and deepen your walk with God. I do not claim to be ahead of others in such a practice. Instead, I consider myself a novice completely dependent on God and His loving grace on a day-to-day basis for such a habit and divine-ordained passion.
This devotional journal is divided into ten sections/headings to guide the believer in his daily walk with God. All you need are a pen, notebook, and a Bible -and that desire to be intimate with the Lord God. However, if you do have the resources such as a laptop with Bible software, and several other devotional journal notebooks located (so you can journal anywhere) in your car, office, etc.; don’t hesitate to use them. Or, you may want to invest in them as a gift for yourself on your birthday or this coming Christmas.
The whole idea of constructing a devotional journal for ECMI started with a need.
I was getting frustrated that for long periods of time sometimes as long as five months, I would be able to engage in daily devotional time. I also planned to regulalry update my devotional journal. But it always got broken. Thus, I sought and experimented with devotional journals that were already cut out for ready use. The exercise was likewise not fruitful. I thought that maybe I could design one that I could not keep my hands away from. And, as an additional motivator, this tool would be user-friendly to share with ECMI brethren.
There are two saints I am greatly indebted to: Becky Tirabassi, whose patented devotional journal has ten (10) sections. Incidentally, I have read four of her books and she has influenced me a lot. The other is ECMI’s Senior Pastor: Dr. Val Natcher, whose mentoring, pulpit preaching, and S.O.A.P. method; have given me a tremendous godly impact.
The EVision Devotional Journal begins with entries such as these:
September 2, 2010=Thursday (Date and Day)
(7:30AM-8:37AM) (Time started to Time ended )
Note: Go for an hour daily even if you don’t total to sixty minutes. Remember that you can engage in your own devotional journal in a segmented or incremental fashion, that is, not in one sitting throughout the whole day.
WORSHIP (First Section/Heading)
I am very grateful to my best friend – Pst. Mel Caparros; the Senior Pastor of Living Word Christian Churches Cebu International. Since the time he recommended to include this part of a devotional journal, I have experienced more fruitful and refreshing encounters with God.
· On Sundays, you can include the very songs you worshiped God in the worship service. You may also indicate Giving and offering on a Sunday devotional.
· Sing songs on your own from your heart expressing how you glorify God.
· Use CD/MP3 praise and worship songs and sing along or just reflectively listen to them. My three favorites are “His Word” from Integrity music, “Amazing Love” from Hillsong, and “Songs for Devotions” by Maranatha music.
· Listen to and meditate on Scripture using Bible on CDs or Bible Gateway.
· Memorize and meditate on Scripture verses
· Worship God through His awesome names and divine excellencies. You can use the books: “The Names of God” and “Praying the Names of Jesus”
· Use Bibles that focus on worship such as the “NIV Worship Bible”
· Read “The Worship-Driven Life” by A.W Tozer
Fasting and watching praise concerts (dvd/vcd/live) instead of watching TV on certain days
CONFESSION (Second Section/Heading)
Ask the Lord God to examine your heart before you rush to record your confession to God. Psalm 51 and 2 Corinthians 7 may be read and internalized to prepare and set your heart on confession
On Sundays when you celebrate the LORD’s Table, you may record as such in your devotional journal.
Messages spoken by others (Third Section/Heading; write here name of
person you are quoting from)
On a Sunday or from the Prayer Meeting or a conference, you can choose to indicate the highlights of God’s message from the preacher. For the rest of the week, you can quote from any reading you’ve done or from your Bible study guide or cell group or any Christian video you’ve seen, or even a conversation with a fellow believer.
OLD TESTAMENT READINGS / NEW TESTAMENT READINGS
(Fourth and Fifth Sections/Headings)
The objective in the readings is not quantity but in what you get from the exercise. I am very grateful to Pst. Val for his S.O.A.P. method.
The acrostic stands for
You don’t need to strictly follow a set of prescribed readings on a daily basis for. Legalism, whether you are referring to updating your devotional journal will get you nowhere. Although a goal of reading the entire Bible in a year or two is very doable. Ensure that your reading is done in context. Try to get first the “big picture” of the book from which you are reading so that your reading will be better appreciated. You may also want to quote the textual highlights of your readings and post them in your devotional journal.
Thank HIM (Sixth Section/Heading)
There are innumerable things and reasons to thank the Lord God for. The rule is there is nothing that is too trivial to mention. This section in my devotional journal will always have gratitude expressed to the Triune God. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the three Persons in one God are exalted and are the objects of my gratefulness. Always keep in mind to be grateful first and foremost to the Giver, and then the gifts.
To do (Seventh Section/Heading)
The content of this section in the devotional journal is an important thing you cannot afford not to do. Examples are: speak in a meeting, counsel someone, invite someone to an activity, family devotion, tutor son, visit someone in the hospital and witness, lead an evangelistic crusade, give Bibles, forgive someone . . . . .
Listen to the Holy Spirit (Eighth Section/Heading)
As the heading suggests, this part of the devotion requires more listening, more silence and solitude, more stillness in your heart, soul, and very countenance. The resources I use on my own are the following Bibles: “Experiencing God Study Bible”, “Spiritual Renewal Bible”, “NIV Quiet Time Bible”, “Life in the Spirit Bible”, and the “Life Principles Bible”. This quiet time requires the Bible because God can speak to you at any time in His Word. Other excellent resources you can refer to are “Relying on the Holy Spirit”, a Bible study by Charles Stanley; and the “Be Still”, a devotional recommending repetitive reading of the same passage with a different spiritual objective each time (Read/Reflect/Respond/Rest). Look for a quiet and undisturbed place for you to listen to God. Perhaps, it is more of a time issue for most. The early hours or late hours must then be blocked for your appointment with the Lord of the universe. If this is not plausible, I advise that you apply the (R.A.S.) the Reticular Activating System- this is a fancy term for the ability to focus on a task in spite of external distractions or noise. Have you ever wondered how those who live near airports or railroad tracks manage to deal with the noise while effectively doing activities including sleeping. It’s the same principle that you can apply in your listening time if your external environment won’t allow you to do devotions with such a privilege as utmost silence.
SUPPLICATION (Ninth Section/Heading)
The most effective prayer occurs when we are:
1) Praying the Scriptures (Recommendation other than the Bible: Book of Stormie Omartian “Praying the Scriptures”, and Books by David Kopp);
2) Praying God’s will (Romans 12:1-2);
3) Praying as a righteous person before God (James 5:16) by first having positional righteousness (Ephesians 1/Romans) and a deepening relationship to God and intentional and resolute obedience to righteousness/a slave to righteousness (Romans 6); and 4) Praying always in the Spirit (Ephesians 6:18)
EVision: BECOME AND EMPOWERED (Tenth Section/Heading)
I am grateful to Pst Val Natcher for ECMI’s EVision. Evangelize=Believe, Establish=Belong, Equip=Build, and Empowered=Become.
This section of the devotional journal should always be the last one. From the (9) nine previous sections, you are now going to write in a concise manner the “who” you are to become. An example would be if your New Testament Reading focused on Galatians 5, then you would write Spirit-controlled life and Fruitful in the Spirit as one of your entries here.
Putting it all together in a devotional journal
You may want to look at my entries (September 1, 2010 and August 24,2010 as examples) from my own devotional at our family’s website.
The best time to start with daily powerful devotions is today. God is speaking to you. God loves you. God wants you to respond to His call with a spiritual journal. I will repeat what I wrote earlier in a different way. Journaling, daily for at least an hour, has made a profound effect in my life in my response of desiring to intimately walk with God. There is no greater joy than a life of simple and pure devotion to Christ. A spiritual devotional journal, may just be that turning point, for you to indeed experience a life to the full as God planned for you all along.
Plan and write your personal devotional journal today.