Journaling with Jesus
Reading can often be a passive activity, where we take something in one day and forget it by the following. One way I have found to help me better remember what I read in the Bible and to make reading more active, is to journal. I am sure there are lots of ways to do this, but I use a method designed by Pastor Wayne Cordeiro of New Hope Fellowship Church, Honolulu. He explains it fully in his book ‘The Divine Mentor’, but the basic principle is summed up in the mnemonic ‘SOAP’ – Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer. From our daily Bible reading, we note down a scripture that seems to stand out, make an observation about it, apply it to our lives and finally pray into it. It’s very straightforward and really helps engage with the Bible. I thought it might be useful to model this method, using the scripture that God highlighted to me in today’s bible passage (which of course, would be different for everybody, because God speaks to us individually and with different verses at different times!) Have a look and have a go for yourselves!
Scripture: ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John1:1
Observation: The purpose of John’s Gospel is to show that Jesus came from heaven and to encourage us to believe that He did. John tells us that before there was anything else, in the very beginning, there was the Word (‘logos’, in the Greek). The Word was in existence before time and creation. Rabbis often spoke of the person of God in terms of ‘logos’, the Word of God, and the Greeks used the word ‘logos’ to denote the power to put the world in order, so John was addressing both Jews and Gentiles. John informs us that there is an eternal being ‘The Word’, who was with God from the very beginning, but who was also one with God, therefore God himself. He later goes on to say that ‘the Word became flesh’(v. 14), so we know that Jesus is the Word and God is the Father. John 1:1 reveals the eternal nature of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and the extent of the closeness of their relationship. Until the point that Jesus came down to earth, they had been together forever.
Application: This Scripture speaks to me on different levels. Firstly, it gives me confidence to know that God has been around for such a long time. He is not ‘here today and gone tomorrow’. He’s a God in whom I can trust – he’s not going to lose interest and leave me! He’s not going to get bored and wander off! He won’t rush me faster than I can go! He is someone who is dependable, patient and timeless. Secondly, the harmony of the Holy Trinity, and the intimacy of their relationship, is so comforting and appealing because we know through Jesus’ prayer, before He was arrested, that His desire is for us to be in Him and He in us, in the same loving way as the Holy Trinity enjoys. In John 17:20-21, He says “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me”. It’s completely mind-blowing that the eternal God of creation wants to love us and be in as close a relationship with us as the Trinity are together! The unity of love between God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit is not closed and exclusive, despite their mighty power and majesty, but open and inclusive for all who want to be part of it by loving Jesus.
Prayer: Father God, I thank you that I can trust in you because you have been around forever and you will continue to be so! I thank you that you show us through the Holy Trinity how to live in close relationship with you and with one another and that your deepest desire is to be in relationship with us. Lord, I pray that you help me to be as inclusive towards others as you are to me. I thank you for your eternal love and that we, too, will now be together forever. In Jesus’ name. Amen