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Use the H.E.A.R. Journaling Method for Spiritual Growth

I’m really excited to start a Monday through Friday devotional study through Numbers and Deuteronomy starting Monday, November 25th! Subscribe on my blog or like my facebook page and join me studying select passages through these two very practical books.

As I talked about in yesterday’s post, there are many incredible benefits to being in God’s Word using journaling as a method.

Today I want to tell you about a new journaling format for studying God’s Word called the H.E.A.R. Journaling Method. I’ve really enjoyed it. There are 5 components to this method that make it a great way to stay in God’s Word consistently in a way that helps you grow spiritually.

Component #1- You need a plan.

To stay in God’s Word daily you need a reading plan. There are many ways to systematically read through God’s Word.

  • Some people like to read through the Bible in a year. My church puts a reading plan like this in the bulletin each week.
  • Some people like to read a book at a time. On this blog I will be going verse by verse through the text I’ll be teaching each Sunday in our groups. We are on a 9 year plan to study through every book of the Bible.
  • Some people like to read through a topical plan. You can find reading plans that take you to passages that deal with specific topics you are interested in. I take people I’m discipling in groups through a 16 week plan to learn the fundamentals of the Christian life.

Component #2- Highlight.

The H.E.A.R. Journaling method is formatted based on this acronym. The H stands for highlight. This is where you’ll write out specific verses that you’ve read. Before you read pray and ask for God to speak to you through His Word. As you read through the text pay attention to what you’re reading. After you read decide on a verse or verses that you’ll want to include in your journal. You’ll highlight this verse in your journal by writing it out.

Component #3- Explain.

E stands for explain. Once you’ve chosen the verse to highlight and written in out, you’ll explain this verse in your own words. You definitely want to seek to understand the text in its context. Here are some questions to help you think through it:

  • Who is the original author and audience? What did the author mean by writing this? How would the original audience have understood what was written?
  • What are the key words in the scripture I highlighted?
  • How do the verses that come before and after affect the meaning of the text?

Component #4- Apply.

A stands for apply. Now that you have explained what the verses mean, you’ll want to think about how they apply. Here are some prompting questions to help you think of the application to your life.

  • What is true for me because of the meaning of the text?
  • What should the reader of this text do in response to this verse?
  • How does this apply to my life?

Component #5- Respond.

Now that you’ve read the scripture, highlighted it in your journal, explained it in its context, and thought through how it applies, it’s time to respond in your own life. What are you going to do today in response to what you’ve read, understood and applied? It’s time to be obedient to what God is teaching you through His Word. Give yourself homework, and put God’s Word to action.

One of the things I love about this method is that it expands with the experience and spiritual maturity with the person that is doing it. With the right reading plan a person who has known the Lord for a long time, and the person who is new in their relationship with Christ can both read and get something out of it.

The point is to read, understand, and ultimately to obey. God’s Word brings life as we are obedient to what it says.

What method have you used to get into God’s Word consistently? What has worked for you?

4 Benefits to Journaling God’s Word Daily

If you’re like me you have had seasons of your life where you’ve not been as consistent in your devotional life as you should be. The Bible is so powerful, and we need His wisdom and guidance every day. Yet, for much of my life I have not had a daily habit of Bible study.

I’ve recently been using a journaling method to help me stay more consistently in the word of God.  God has used it in a substantial way. I’ve started and stopped with journaling several times in the past, but after finding the H.E.A.R. Journal method and tying that to my daily routine that has changed. I have found that it has brought me several benefits, and I believe it can do the same thing for you. Here are four of the many benefits I have found to journaling.

Journaling makes your quiet time more substantial. It’s good to read God’s Word, but by journaling about what you’ve read you go from just reading to studying. You ask and answer questions about the text. You meditating on the meaning of the text and how it applies. You are more likely to actually do something about what you’ve read when you have written down what you ought to do. I’ve found I’m also more consistent because I can hold myself accountable for how often I’m studying because I can see the dated entry in my journal.

Journaling helps you to be closer to the Lord. Because I’m spending more time and getting more out of God’s Word each day, it has impacted my prayer life. Bible reading and prayer go hand in hand for the child of God. More Word in my life means more life change, which means more consistency in reading and applying, which means more prayer, and a better relationship with God.

Journaling helps you to lead others in discipleship. Jesus commanded us to make disciples of all nations in the great commission. He said that we should teach those are reached “to observe whatsoever I have commanded you.” Discipling people apart from the Word of God is impossible. As you are consistently in God’s Word you are able to teach others to do the same, and you can hold them accountable for doing it. It’s hard to get people to do something that you are not doing. When they get into God’s Word consistently they will grow!

Journaling helps me be a better teacher and writer. I don’t claim to be the best teacher or writer. I have found that writing things out every day, and meditating on God’s Word using pen and ink has helped me to grow in my ability to organize my thoughts and communicate. I’m not great, but I’m getting better.

There are certainly other benefits that I’ve found to journaling God’s Word every day. Do you journal? What benefits have you found?

Get On God’s Plan!

Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. -Psalm 37:3-5

20100105-moleskineHave you ever felt overwhelmed with a particular task, project, or role that you have in your life?  I’ve been there many times.  I have to remind myself often that any success I am going to experience is going to come because of what the Lord does.  I don’t need to merely ask him to bless my plans.  I need to make sure my plans are God’s plans for me.  I need to get on board with what He is doing and wants me to do.

Here is a great, simple prayer- “God, what do you want me to do today? Give me wisdom and discernment to know what decisions I need to make!”

It’s short, and simple, but sometimes tough to remember and do!

Galatians Day 12- God Keeps His Promises

medium_2232897539Have you ever made a promise that you had a hard time keeping?  I heard a story about a dad who was training his son to give him the business he started.  “Son, 2 things have made this business successful- reliability and wisdom.  If you say you’re going to do it by next Tuesday then no matter how many hours, how much pain, and how difficult it is, you have to have it done by Tuesday.”  The son replied, “Well, that’s reliability.  What about wisdom?”  The dad replied, “Wisdom is not making that kind of promise in the first place.”

It is difficult for us to keep our promises at times, but we expect that when promises are made to us they will be kept!

In today’s reading, Galatians 3:15-18,  Paul talks about the promises that God made to Abraham.

15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.

  • If people make a promise, especially a legally binding contract, we expect it, and enforce it to be kept.

16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.  17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. 18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.

  • Even the covenant promise that God made to Abraham was the gracious response to Abraham’s faith.  Abraham didn’t earn it by works.
  • God will keep His promise to Abraham!

Action Step:

  • God can be trusted.  If He says He will do something, it will be done.
  • Do you keep your promises?  Is your word your bond?  If we are to reflect the character of God we keep our word!  Maybe today you need to go make good on a promise you made.