“Journaling & Self-Examination” February 1

 

Journaling & Self-Examination - As January comes to an end and the second month of 2017 begins, many of us will be thinking about the goals and resolutions we made just a few weeks ago. We'll examine our progress (or lack of it) concerning a new diet, exercise plan or some other goal. And when it comes to our health, we get numerous examinations and tests to ensure we stay as healthy as we can. When we go to school, we take examinations to test our proficiency in those subjects. But how many of us take time to examine our lives spiritually?As January comes to an end and the second month of 2017 begins, many of us will be thinking about the goals and resolutions we made just a few weeks ago. We’ll examine our progress (or lack of it) concerning a new diet, exercise plan or some other goal.

And when it comes to our health, we get numerous examinations and tests to ensure we stay as healthy as we can. When we go to school, we take examinations to test our proficiency in those subjects. But how many of us take time to examine our lives spiritually?

 

Today’s Readings:
Exodus 13 & 14
Psalm 18.13-19
Proverbs 6.6-11
Matthew 21.1-22

 

Journaling & Self-Examination

 

& :

The Value of Memorials

 

lightstock communion sq

As the Lord delivered the Israelites out of their 430 years of slavery in Egypt, he gave them several things that were to act as memorials for them. First, was the Passover itself.

He, also, told them the first born of all their children and animals belonged to Him. They were to sacrifice the “clean” animals (more about that later) and were to redeem or offer another sacrifice in place of those animals not appropriate for sacrificing (13.13) and they were to offer sacrifices for their firstborn sons. This was to remind them of how the Lord had spared their sons and animals when He brought the final plague on Egypt.

As we continue with our Old Testament narrative, we will repeatedly see God instruct the Nation of Israel to set up memorials. We, too, need our own memorials. It’s so easy to forget what God has done for us and, instead, get focused on what we think He hasn’t done: the prayers He hasn’t answered our way or how He hasn’t blessed us like He has blessed someone else. We need to remind ourselves about the things from which He has already delivered us and the things He has done for us.

Even, if He never did another thing, we should remember the price He paid so our sins could be forgiven. That is the central focus of the Lord’s Supper, the New Testament counterpart to the Passover. It is a memorial to the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:

23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. (emphasis mine)

 

Self-Examination

 

Memorials & Self-ExaminationAnother focus of the Lord Supper is to remind us to examine ourselves. In the Old Testament leaven or yeast represented sin. As the Israelites prepared to leave Egypt and each time they took the Passover, they were to examine themselves and see if there was sin in their lives. We, too, are to ask God to show us if there is unrepentant sin in our lives before we take the Lord’s Supper.

27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. (1 Cor. 11, emphasis mine)

This isn’t the only time we should examine ourselves. The Psalmist prayed in Psalm 139:23-24Continue reading

“Worry & Other Emotions: How Journaling Can Help” April 14

 

Worry & Other Negative Emotions: How Journaling Can Help

 What’s going on in your heart and mind? Is there peace and trust? Or worry and anxiety? How should we respond when anxiety or other negative emotions threaten to have their way? How might journaling help you in this area?

Even if you haven’t followed along lately, I hope you’ll take the time to read this post. Our thinking is so important and learning to think biblically makes all the difference in our emotional condition.

 

Today’s Readings:
Joshua 17 & 18
Psalm 45.6-17
Proverbs 14.6
Luke 12.1-31

 

:

Our thinking controls our emotions

Verses repeat much of what we read in about worry and trust in God, but we can never hear these things enough. Verses 29-31:

29 “And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. 30 For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. 31 But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.

I especially like verse 29, “And do not … have an anxious mind.” Why are we so often anxious? What controls our emotions? It’s our thinking.

Matthew 15.18-19:

18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.

We could extend that list to add many other things, good and bad, including worry and its opposite, trust. The Sovereign God who watches over all the details of life is watching over us. He knows what we need. Our focus is to be on doing the things that advance His kingdom. But if we’re not purposefully thinking and meditating on those things, our default modes of worry, anxiety, anger, gossip, etc., will take over.

 

Controlling our thoughts

So how do we learn to control our thoughtsContinue reading

“Angry Children & the Heart” + LINKUP

 

Angry Children & the HeartWelcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. Each week I feature a book that I consider a valuable resource. This week’s selection is The Heart of Anger: Practical Help for the Prevention and Cure of Anger in Chldren by Lou Priolo.

 

We’ve all seen them at school, in the grocery store, and dozens of other places. Maybe you have one in your own home. Angry children seem to be everywhere.

The world’s answers to the problem vary. They are labeled, medicated, coddled, and counseled endlessly. Too often angry children grow to be angry adults.

In biblical terms, anger is sin, not a syndrome or a disease. It’s a heart issue.

Chapter 1 of Lou’s book opens with Jim and Linda’s story of their struggles with an angry 10-year-old son. When they came to Lou for counseling, they had lost hope. Lou says: Continue reading

April 20 “Ho, Hum, I’ve heard that before”

Do you allow God’s Word and God’s wisdom to affect your heart intensely or is it too often “Ho, Hum, I’ve heard that before”?

I've heard that before

Today’s Readings:
Judges 5 & 6
Psalm 49.1
Proverbs 14.20-21
Luke 15.1-10

Judges 5 & 6:

Mighty man of valor

Probably one of the most familiar stories in Judges is the story of Gideon. Those who have been brought up in Sunday school have probably heard the story many times. But God doesn’t want us to come to His Word, going “ho-hum, heard that one before.” His Word is “quick” as the old KJV says. That means it’s “alive.” Think of the “quick” under your fingernails—very much “alive” as you know if you’ve ever gotten a splinter under there!

Remember our questions from yesterday and how we can use them to dialog with the Lord. What are You trying to tell me through this passage? Is there a promise here I can claim? Is there a command I should obey? Is there a principle I need to put to work in my life? Is there an example I should follow? Followed by a rereading of the passage. Continue reading

Journal Prompts for your Prayer or Scripture Journaling

In his book How to Keep a Spiritual Journal, Ron Klug said:

“I consider the time spent writing in my journal as Sabbath time – a time of rest and solitude, a time to come apart to be with God and to reflect on his Word, to search for his will, and to record the insights I receive. My journal has been the channel of many blessings” (p.17).

Journaling

Throughout the centuries, some of the greatest men and women of God have kept journals. But journaling isn’t just for spiritual giants. It’s for you and me.

If you find it hard to concentrate in your quiet time, a journal can help you focus on God and His Word.

Recording Scripture in a journal can help you remember and meditate on God’s promises.

If you have a desire to leave a record of your spiritual journey for your children or others, a journal is a great place to do so.

A journal can be a great place to capture ideas and pray for God’s timing and will.

A journal is a good place to record prayer lists, concerns and answers.

So what about you …

Do you keep a spiritual journal? Maybe you call it something else: a prayer journal, a Bible study notebook, or a Scripture journal.

Maybe you’ve thought about keeping a journal. You hear other people talk about it, but you think it would take too much time.

Maybe you hated writing in school and you can’t believe you’re even thinking about writing in a journal.

But a journal can be anything you want it to be. It can be handwritten or in an electronic format. Smart phones and tablets have dozens of apps to fit every personality.

journaling

You can write a paragraph or a page, record a verse or a passage of Scripture, a prayer need or a prayer list. You can write everyday or only occasionally.

Here are some prompts to try as you journal or experiment with journal keeping:

Start with the simple word “Yesterday …” then record the events of the day. At times this may lead into prayer for people or situations.

Continue reading

February 1 “The importance of self-examination”

Sick child

As January comes to an end and the second month of 2014 begins, many of us will be thinking about the goals and resolutions we made just a few weeks ago. We’ll examine our progress (or lack of it) concerning a new diet, exercise plan or some other goal.

And when it comes to our health, we get numerous examinations and tests to ensure we stay as healthy as we can. When we go to school, we take examinations to test our proficiency in those subjects. But how many of us take time to examine our lives spiritually? Continue reading