A Written Record

The Journal

At the Lord’s direction, Moses kept a written record of their progress. These are the stages of their march, identified by the different places where they stopped along the way. (Numbers 33:2)

Read: Numbers 32:1-33:39, Luke 4:31-5:11, Psalm 64:1-10, Proverbs 11:22

Relate: It was found in his house after the plane crash and two years later it was published. After reading it, one man said it was “the noblest self-disclosure of spiritual struggle and triumph, perhaps the greatest testament of personal faith written”. The funny thing is, this was not written by some great theologian. It wasn’t written by a famous pastor. The Markings found at his desk were personal reflections… a journal. Their author was Dag Hammarskjold, the second and greatest secretary general of the UN.

There have been plenty of other great men of God who have kept journals. I would go so far to say that almost everyone who has achieved greatness in good ways has kept some form of journal. John Wesley, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Soren Kierkegaard, Gandhi… virtually all of my heroes kept journals. As Dag Hammarskjold wrote in his own journal: “We are not permitted to choose the frame of our destiny. But what we put into it is ours.”

React: It is all too easy to get caught up in the drudgery of day to day living. The stuff of life can so bog us down that we forget to truly live and we find ourselves enduring it instead. Journaling is a way to break free from that. It is a way to step back, look at where you’ve been, where you’re going, and how you will get there. It provides an opportunity for reflection and introspection. It helps you to refocus on your vision. It is an essential tool for an essential life.

In a time when literacy was rare and not much was written down, Moses kept a written record of Israel’s progress. Specifically he was talking about the specific places they stopped along their travels, but in a way much of Exodus through Numbers is a written record. God took that record and used it to teach Israel, and countless others more about Himself. In the same way He can teach me through my discipline of journaling and who knows how many other lives it might bless after I have shrugged off the coils of this life?

Respond: 

Rather than reading and praying a prayer along with me today, take a moment to write your own. Grab an old fashioned pen and some paper and write out a letter of gratitude to our Father for where He has brought you.

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15 thoughts on “A Written Record

  1. I love it! Journaling is the whole theme of my blog. I have kept a journal since we first got married almost 20 years ago and still love to read those old journals and see all that God has done. My journaling experience has evolved much over the years. Whereas before it was mostly expressing my feelings, prayers and scripture God was using to speak to me, now I focus on Rhema He gives me every time I journal. Thus my journals now are dialogues between me and Him. Great post!

  2. Journaling is therapeutic and a time of reflection. I have not done it in a while…there are many things I have not done in a while.

    I like the way you integrate your musc into your blogs. Awesome!

  3. I used to journal at least once a day. In my desk upstairs is a drawer full of journals. I haven’t journaled in years, this post is inspiring… I may start to fill up one of those new books I haven’t touched. thank you.

  4. My blog is a journal of sorts. While it is not totally spiritual, it is a means of finding peace in my past, present and destiny. You’re right about it helping us to refocus. I try to look at them as a map, helping me realize that I am not in this world to just live, but live with purpose.

  5. I’ve been keeping a diary since I was 12. I began to journal in earnest though from the age of 18. It can remind of of happy times & also Gods intervention in trying times. Great post.

  6. Perhaps it’s overconfidence when I say I know myself very well. But those years of journalling — being very honest about my thoughts and feelings– have made me see myself in a way that nobody else will.

  7. Great post and so true; it is said that truth will set you free, and well that is true writing will do so as well. Write and keep writing, don’t ever stop and write about everything from the mundane to the profound.

  8. BJ, thanks for this. I find writing really helps me process the things in life that can so easily be forgotten. It’s taking pictures of out thoughts!

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