I met some new friends recently who mentioned that the idea of daily Bible reading and journaling was a little intimidating. I think this is pretty common, which is why I created The Simple Journal, a starting place for encountering God each day. In this journal, I share my daily process and provide 30 days of inspiration from one of my own journals a couple years ago, as well as space to write your own experience with the scriptures and topics. Since The Simple Journal is only available at the campuses of The Crossing Church, I promised to share a quick guide here this week.
Here's the format I use. Maybe it will help you get started on your own.
pause. Before you read your Bible each day, pause and ask God to clear your mind of worries and distractions, and ask Him to talk to you. This is important because otherwise you might miss the voice of God's Spirit in this time with Him...and then what would be the point?
read. Finding a place to read can be daunting. You can find suggested daily verses in lots of places online, but I'd suggest BibleGateway.com and the YouVersion app. Caution: If you're new to scripture, beware of read-the-whole-Bible-in-xx-days plans, because the focus is accomplishing the reading rather than finding something that means something to you as you start your day. STOP when a verse or topic stands out to you.
ramble. After you connect with a particular verse, ramble a bit about it. Just write what you're observing in scripture or thinking about faith/life. I often copy the verse into my journal because it helps me absorb it better. Don't worry about what you write. You never have to show it to anyone.
pray. I like to finish by writing out a prayer. Just use your regular words and tell God what you are thankful for, what you think, what you need. Writing out your prayers helps you stay focused and also gives you a way to keep up with your requests and His answers!
pause – read – ramble – pray
You can do it!
Here's a sample of what this looks like from a page in my journal:
Journal entry - September 1, 2013
But God made the earth by His power, and He preserves it by His wisdom.
With His own understanding He stretched out the heavens.
When He speaks in the thunder, the heavens roar with rain.
He causes the clouds to rise over the earth.
He sends the lightning with the rain and releases the wind from His storehouses.
The whole human race is foolish and has no knowledge!
Just a reminder of the power of God…and the powerlessness of me.
This isn't about being down on me. It is about being up on Him!
He's Creator. His wisdom established the cycles that preserve the earth. He invented photosynthesis, reproduction, the water cycle, the solar system, the seasons. He causes things to grow and die and go back into the earth so something else can grow.
And He offers me His wisdom. WHOA.
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask Him, be sure that your faith is in God alone…
Don't try a combo of God's wisdom and my human logic.
God, I need wisdom. Your wisdom is infinite, and you promise to give it to me without making me feel stupid for asking.
So… could you give me some today, please?
Thanks. I'll be listening.
My book, The People Mover, is available on Amazon and Kindle. In it, you'll find Bible verses in each chapter, that you can use as a starting place for Bible reading as well.