“Write down the vision Clearly upon the tablets, so that one can read it readily.” (Habakkuk 2:2, NAB)
Nearly every day I empty my heart and soul in my journal. In those words are selections from the Bible, the books I’m reading, my dreams, conversations with others, photographs, receipts for special events like a symphony or dinner out. There are my little sketches and drawings that help me think creatively. I create mind maps for solving problems, thinking through a project or a blog post. My writing is certainly not canonical but they are hopefully deeply influenced by the Bible. For I want them to be affirming to my family one day when I’m finally in heaven.
Most important are the prayers and deep thoughts about life, family, ministry and our community. Those thoughts and dreams become creative inspiration for the days ahead. They become the innovative answers for the challenges that God allows into my life. Challenges that are meant to be overcome.
I love rereading the entries of the conversations Becky and I’ve had. The things one of the children said as they came running into my study years ago. Now its the things my grandsons are saying. Recently my oldest grandson said to a handyman, “I’m a kid, my brother is a toddler, and we have one that is ready to pop out and he’s a him too!” There are the prayers that others have prayed over me and those I prayed for others. I owe a great debt of gratitude to a literature professor in college that challenged me to write those dreams.
There is such inspiration and power listening obediently to the voice of God in the Scriptures. Applying those thoughts leads to life lived in the Spirit. A life of growing holiness, power and inspiration. It’s a life of joy! Thankful doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel deep within tonight.
In case you’re interested I use two journals. One is an app called DayOne on my iPhone, iPad and Mac. It’s simple and enjoyable to use. One of the great features is the ability to tag entries. I carry a hardback journal with a pouch for slipping various items in throughout the day until I can deal with it later. I write almost everyday in it. I use a multicolored ink pen (the colors are the same that I use in my daily life), each color indicates if I’m writing about my family, the congregation I pastor, etc. My sketches are done with pencil. I don’t mind scratching out a word, but with a sketch I use a good pencil and good eraser. A quality eraser is important.
When I write with a pen I’m forced to slow down and think clearly. As I understand it, C.S. Lewis would not use a typewriter. He would write a phrase, then think about the next phrase and write some more. It really works for me.
“But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:4–6, NLT)
God, rich in mercy and such great love give us life! …freedom! … free in Christ!
United with Christ. In that great exchange when Christ shed his blood for us on the cross, we receive his righteousness by faith in exchange for our sin. I shiver with excitement as once again, I remember tonight, “For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21, NAB)
It’s why I can sit down with my journal; dream, envision, prayerfully plan to live with a community for God’s glory. Each day brings me a little closer to heaven, I want to go with dreams fulfilled and dreams left behind that others will want to own!