Journaling With God (Writing It Down)
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
In the life of Mary, the mother of Jesus we see a prophetic principle that ties in closely to the spiritual discipline of journaling. “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2: 16-19
Supernatural occurrences surrounded the birth of Jesus, and Jesus earthly parents were in the midst of many of them. Joseph, a righteous and devout follower of God was pledged to be married to the virgin Mary, or so he thought, when he received the shocking news that his wife to be was pregnant.
Rocked and shocked by the news of his fiancés apparent infidelity he decides to quietly leave the woman he loves being careful not to disgrace her publicly.
19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. Matthew 1: 19
But Josephs plan is disrupted when an angel appears to him in a dream and reveals to him that Mary is pregnant by the Holy Spirit. On waking he obeys the angel and commits to marrying Mary.
Mary on the other hand was a humble teenage woman in a patriarchal culture when she was visited by an angel who declares to her that she will be the mother of the Messiah, that he will be called Jesus, and will be conceived in her through the Holy Spirit. Wow!
God’s hand was all over this humble family, whom He chose to steward God in the flesh, the Saviour of the world, from conception, to birth, to childhood to adulthood. Their heads must have been spinning as they rode the rollercoaster of God’s plan for them in their generation!
Joseph and Mary courageously stay together as her stomach gets bigger and it becomes obvious that she is pregnant. Can you imagine the sneers and whispers of the religious people? Can you imagine them walking into the Temple, the contempt and judgement they must have faced, and the false shame they must have endured?
Then the time comes, they have nowhere to stay, the contractions get stronger, and the pain increases. How could this be? Where will the Saviour of the world be born? Could the promised Messiah be born on the side of the road? When thankfully, at last this humble couple is given a manger to stay in, and it is here amongst the stink of dirty, smelly animals, that the Messiah will be born.
Then Mary exhausted from giving birth is lying in the manger with her family when Shepherds arrive uninvited and excited. You see they had seen an angel, and this angel had told them the identity of her child.
10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2: 10-12
They tell Mary the prophetic words spoken by the angel about her baby boy and it is here that Mary recognises the weight and the truth of the angelic declarations made about him and chooses to:
Treasure up all these things and ponder them in her heart
Mary had heard God’s voice about her child and chose to treasure, to highly value the words spoken, and to think on those things to receive further revelation from God about them.
She chose to hide those words in her heart, to protect and value those words highly and to explore them with God in prayer. Those words started as seeds but I’m sure that as Mary pondered, meditated and reflected with God on those prophetic words and declarations that she received greater insight and understanding from her Father in Heaven. And that’s the value of journaling.
By recording the words, pictures, visions, revelations and insights God speaks to us we are highlighting to God that we treasure His words. Having recorded what God is saying to us, we have the opportunity and privilege of returning to what He has spoken into and over our lives, so that we can pray, ponder and meditate further with him about what he has said, and is saying to us.
What we focus on grows, and in a generation of distraction and information overload what we focus on matters more than ever. If we focus on the media and the negativity that runs rampant in our culture, our love for God will grow cold. BUT, if we focus on his words and his voice to us, our identity in Him will grow, our relationship with him will grow and we will grow strong and mature spiritually.
Mary chose to focus and what God said and set an example for all believers after her to do the same.
So how we can train our children in this important principle?
Model it: We can’t expect our children to practice something we don’t practice. How can you set aside time each week to journal with God?
Incorporate journaling into your child’s devotional time: For young children you might have them write a sentence or draw a picture when they do their devotion with you at night. For older kids you could buy them a journal and encourage them to use it every day when they read the bible.
Encourage you children to listen to God’s voice and to write down or draw what they feel/think God is saying to them in a journal: In addition to reading the Bible this cultivates their relationship with the Holy Spirit and helps them learn to discern God’s voice.
Encourage your children to revisit/reread their journal once a fortnight or once a month and to meditate, ponder and pray about what God has been saying to them.
By building these four habits into your, and your children’s lives consistently and regularly, you will help your kids cultivate intimacy with the Holy Spirit, clarity about how God speaks to them, and will allow God to build their identity in who they are in Christ. In today’s culture of flippancy and doublemindedness, what a wonderful habit to develop in your children!
Being His Presence In Every Place