A Fresh Awareness…with the “It’s Personal” Daily Journal
I never get tired of hearing the stories of victory and how God used the “It’s Personal” Daily Journal to help people develop a dynamic walk with the Lord. I have noticed that no person’s background, age, or any other factor has stopped this tool from being used to “spark” and maintain fire in your walk with God.
I recently had a Reformers Unanimous representative present the RU ministry in a church and the pastor was so moved by our journal that He challenged his entire church to start using it! Over 80 copies of the journal was shipped and they are off to a wonderful opportunity of developing structure in the Holy Spirit’s power as they search for this dynamic walk.
After reviewing the “white pages” of the journal, which were two of Steve Curington’s sermons in print in the front of every journal, we simplified the instructions by combining and reducing these two sermons by our beloved ministry Founder. This new simpler instruction is now being placed in the front of every journal. You can still hear Steve preach and teach on the journal on the CD that comes with every copy. You can also listen to a DVD sermon about our Journal here:
Praise the Lord for this wonderful “tool” that God led Steve Curington to produce. May God continue to use it to build and strengthen relationships with Jesus!
The “It’s Personal” Daily Journal is also designed to help a Christian develop a personal love relationship with Jesus Christ, God’s Son. The word “personal” means belonging to. Such as, my Bible is my personal property. Likewise, I am the personal property of Jesus Christ. But just because you belong to Him doesn’t mean you KNOW Him. To really KNOW Him, you must spend time with Him and communicate with Him.
Let me illustrate. In the spring of 1994, as a 28-year-old bachelor, I joined the Singles Adult Sunday School Class at our church. Within a few months, I met a young lady named Lori. Lori and I began to date and over the course of the next few months, and she really got to KNOW me. She did this through these five different, discernible ways. These ways are similar to how we get to KNOW God and His Son. To help you understand this journal, I will explain how my wife got to know me and then give you a practical, biblical way in which to use that form of communication to get to know God.
1. Start your day with Bible reading. (Daily Bible Time)
The first way in which Lori got to KNOW me was when she would write me notes. They were often simple, short notes with questions that required responses. I would write her back with all my thoughts on any given subject – long notes with long responses. We would discuss the notes at later dates only to find that she had read them so well, she had my words memorized! She used this written form of communication to get to KNOW me.
God will communicate to you through His written Word (His love letter to you). That is His favorite medium in which He communicates. God’s Word is intended to be a one-way communication route from God directly to you. So, in your “It’s Personal” Daily Journal, you need to begin by spending time in the love letter God wrote to you.
Begin by reading a chapter in Proverbs. This book was written by the wisest man on earth and tells you how to make wise decisions. I suggest you read the chapter that corresponds with that day’s date. (Chapter 4 on the 4th day of the month, etc.) This will allow you to read the whole book of Proverbs in one month and every subsequent month thereafter. List in the spaces provided any Insight, Conviction, or Application that the Spirit may have “communicated” with you during your reading.
Conclude by reading a couple chapters of the Bible. Read whatever section you feel God is leading you to. List in the spaces provided any Insight, Conviction or Application that the Spirit may have “communicated” with you during your reading.
The next section of your communication with God through His Love letter to you is the area of Scripture meditation. Psalm 119:11 says, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Do you know what your heart is? Your heart is your meditator; it’s what you are thinking on. We may say to someone who is deep in thought, “What is on your heart?” You are asking what they are pondering upon, or thinking upon. God’s Word in your daily mediations will keep you from sin. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop! Psalm 10:4, “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.” Prepare your heart and mind to meditate on His Word throughout your day. To this end, we have designed your Daily Prescription Cards found in the back of your journal. Just as a doctor would give you daily prescriptions when you are sick, these Daily Prescription Cards are your “spiritual” medication. Side one of your card is your “Daily Meds”. Write down on this side exactly what you are meditating on for that day. On the second side of your Daily Prescription Card is your daily memory work. Use this side to write out a Bible verse you may be memorizing. Each morning, fill out the card and carry it with you all day.
2. Preaching and Teaching. (Time with God’s Teachers)
The second way in which Lori got to KNOW me was going wherever I was going to be. Whether I was at a ball game with the guys, at the park with friends, church or church activities, she wanted to be in my presence whenever possible. It helped her get to KNOW me better.
God will communicate to you if you attend the functions He attends. I’m obviously talking about church attendance. Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Faith is based on your knowledge of the object. The more you know about someone the stronger or weaker your faith can be in that personal, because you KNOW them.
Hearing people who know God teach about God will increase you knowledge of God. Besides church services, other forms of communication, in which God will use His teachers, are Bible studies, RU programs, audio/video, and books. Stop and ask God WHO He wants you to listen to today. God wants to use His teachers to speak to you. He has prepared a message for you every time if you’ll but listen for it.
3. Continue with Prayer. (Personal Prayer Time)
A third way Lori got to KNOW me was during our phone conversations. I remember she would ask me questions. These questions were not simple “yes” or “no” questions, but questions that would take explanations—10-15-20 minute explanations. She really wanted to get to know me by listening to my responses to her questions and comments.
Another form of communication with God is through prayer. Real prayer. Did you know that prayer is a two-way street? Did you know that God wants us to talk to Him and that He in turn wants to talk to us also? I know that when I first realized this I was in awe of our God. I had spent nearly a decade bringing God the same “grocery list” of needs nearly every day. Some were answered, some were not, and almost never during my timetable. That led me to misunderstand much about prayer. It caused me to underestimate the importance of my prayer time. After all, He knew what my needs were and praying for them every day made me feel as if He wasn’t listening. This was not true. The Bible indicates that the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, was given to us so that God could communicate to Him and He would then communicate with us. That is the real meaning of praying in the Spirit.
Have you ever taken the time to ask God a question and then be silent and wait for a leading from the Spirit of God in answer to that question? Allow me to illustrate. Who knows my needs better—me, or God? God does, of course! Some things that I think are needs are merely selfish desires and some things that I underestimate as mere wants or pleasures may be something God thinks I need. To this end, a proper time of prayer, in which God shares with me my needs, would consist of me saying something like this, “God, I pray that you would help me with my every need.” Then, in anticipation of His leading, I should just shut up. (Pause) This is like any conversation we may have with another. Ask them a question and then listen to the response. That is a two-way conversation. To keep talking after asking a question and not giving others a chance to respond would be a one-way conversation.
Here is how your daily communication with God in prayer time, as outlined in the Bible, should work. The Lord’s prayer, found in Matthew 6:9-13, indicates that our prayer time should consist of a time of praising God for His goodness (Hallowed be thy name…); listing the needs in our lives (give us…our daily bread); a time where we consider things that need to be cleared up: things said or heard, things thought, things done to others or things done by others that require confession and forgiveness (forgive us our debts…); and a request for protection for you and others (lead us not into temptation). This is a “model” prayer.
In your Daily Journal you will see blanks under each of these categories. Begin by praising God for all the great things that He has done and then pause and allow the Spirit of God to reveal those things to you. Write those things down. As listed above, request the Lord to reveal your needs, then pause and write what is brought to your mind. Things that you or others have said and done. God will remind you of things that you have said that you would have never thought to be wrong or offensive, but under the revealing of the Spirit of God it will be clear. Who do you believe is in need of protection? Ask the Lord! He will reveal names of people or groups of people that are in desperate need of your prayers. You can pray for them and then let them know, later, that you prayed for them. (And really mean it!) Now, after completing this you can take five to ten minutes to go over each of these issues with God that you have written down. You will find that you have had a conversation with God and your prayer life will come alive…finally!
4. Counsel through Christian Friends (Time in Wise Counsel)
The fourth way Lori got to KNOW me was that she would talk to other people who KNEW me. She got the scoop on me. When we would have a disagreement, she would get advice from a friend of mine, someone who knew me better than she knew me. God will allow us to do the same. God will communicate through your Christian friends – other children of God whose spirit is more capable of determining God’s will or God’s leading.
Take a moment and ask the Lord for areas in your life in which you are in need of good advice. Pause and let the Spirit lead you to write down a few questions. They can be on any issue. From God’s will for your life, to how to handle a co-worker, to how to handle your children or whatever your personal problems might be, God wants to lead you! Unanswered questions are one of the biggest triggers that lure people’s meditations away from a personal relationship with God.
As you spend time with other Christians, take the time to ask them questions about things that are confusing to you. They should always give you a Bible verse for the answer to your question. When you do your weekly review you may find that God has revealed the answer to you during a message or Bible reading or as someone spoke to you…even without you having ever asked the question. You see, God speaks to you through wise counsel. It is one of the five ways He communicates. Do not use your friends for fellowship only. Take advantage of this communication process with God to find directions on the important issues in your life. Feel free to write the same questions down every day until God gives you the chance to get the counsel you need from your Christian friend.
5. The Holy Spirit (Leadings and Convictions of the Spirit)
Finally, as our relationship grew, Lori started asking me how I felt about certain things—personal questions on my convictions and where I stood on certain issues. She was focusing on my every opinion so that she could get to KNOW me even better.
This represents a final way that God will communicate to you. It is the most personal and the most important. He will convict and comfort using this medium of communication. It is not audible, but can definitely be noticeable. I have found that when the first four forms of communication are utilized regularly that the fifth form ceases to be a still, small voice and becomes far more discernible.
Encouragement – It is important that we receive encouragement from our friends. It is something we will receive…if we give it. The Bible says to have friends you need to show you are capable of being a friend. The best way to do this is to allow God to show you, as you communicate to Him daily, what encouragement your friends may need. This has changed many of my relationships. I am experiencing wonderful fellowship and encouragement from new friends that God has given me because, during my prayer time, He has brought different acquaintances of mine to my heart and led me to give them a word of encouragement. Having yielded and followed through, it has created some wonderful new relationships for me. In return, I have, at particularly difficult times, received phone calls, letters, or comments from friends or acquaintances that have lifted my spirit with choice words of encouragement that only God could have known that I needed. How did that happen? God communicated with them my need, probably apart from them even realizing it, and they yielded to Him and encouraged me. It is exciting to see God work through a friend and communicate with you. He will do it.
Convictions/Leadings – Having spent time yesterday in communication with God in at least one and hopefully as many as four ways, you can look back over the day and see areas in your life in which God has led you or convicted you. No, it was not audibly, but you felt the Lord work on you during a message or while reading and you made a decision. Pause and ask the Lord to show you the ways in which He led or convicted you yesterday and as He reveals it, write it down. The Spirit of God will never ask you to do anything that is against God’s Word. Spend a few minutes going over God’s leadings and convictions from the previous day and finding Bible verses that prove they are scriptural leadings. This is not only important, but beneficial and fun. It is neat to see God reveal Scripture to you that backs up His leading. Use a good concordance to help you with this. It is beneficial because it will verse you in Scripture that you may use to help other people that God will bring to you for leading and counsel.
I believe that this Daily Journal and the five forms of communication with God will help you have a dynamic love relationship with Him. It will help you to look for fresh awareness of God’s presence every day. I John 5:20, “And we know that the Son of God is come, and have given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.”