As we happily turn the calendar page to 2021, it's a good time to consider our ways. Even though we should always start our new year tomorrow morning, I get especially excited about the process of planning a new year. But the process excites me more than the actual planning.
Any process begins with proper tools. For example, I have an amazing collection of fountain pens. Last year I returned to my first love and resolved to only write with fountain pens.
Last January, my desk was peppered with 12 blank journals. For some reason, blank journals at my fingertips bring me peace.
This is also the time of year that I heavy-up my reading plan. Three books I recently read include:
The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch. This is the third edition of the classic book that laid out the Pareto Principle. I assigned it to my classes for many years. The update addresses the move toward 90/10 or even 99/1.
Born for Significance by Bill Johnson. This quote continues to inform my plans for 2021: "We must first discover our insignificance to discover our significance, knowing there is nothing we can do to save ourselves or improve our lives in light of eternity apart from God." One of my personal margin notes is "self-improvement comes through the power of the Holy Spirit."
The Scribe by James Goll. "Journaling is a strategic tool that has been used throughout the generations as a means of capturing and retaining special moments, special thoughts, special prayers and special revelations in a personal manner," Goll writes. His book has reenergized me to journal as I study the Word every morning.
"Journaling is not a boring task. Oh no! Journaling is full of adventure and life," Goll writes. "It has at least three different expressions: 1) Devotional; 2) Revelatory and 3) Historical. So whether journaling is used to increase your personal devotional life with God or used as a tool to retain dreams and visions or recording lessons from life, each style and format is very important."
I believe Goll's teaching, "revelation comes through journaling."
"My heart overflows with a good theme; I address my verses to the King; my tongue is the pen of a ready writer" (Ps. 45:1b, NASB). Goll divides this verse into three logical parts. (The next section has been adapted from his book.)
"My heart overflows with a good theme." "Is your heart overflowing? When your heart is overflowing with God's goodness, it is looking for a place and a people to impact."
"I address my verses to the King." As you journal through devotions, you will find inspiration and direction as you follow the King.
"My tongue is the pen of a ready writer." It is a unique experience to create flow with the Father as we write words of praise to Him and receive a tap of the shepherd's staff, then write what we hear. As the ink pours across the pages of my journal, I recognize with gratitude what a gift it is to communicate through the power of the Holy Spirit.
I write freely in my journals because I know no one will ever read what I scribble. On some mornings, I have trouble getting started. I don't believe in writer's block so I've learned to respond to prompts to start the flow. Here are five helpful prompts:
One takeaway I received from this morning's Bible reading is ...
I feel God is leading me to ...
One area in which I'm praying for transformation is ...
The Lord is leading me to talk to __________ about __________ .
I've been keeping this from my journal ...
There is so much to write about as we begin this year filled with hope. We are "hidden under the shadow of His wings" and have nothing to fear. Dot your desk with a few journals and plenty of pens. Sing a new song unto the Lord.
Dr. Steve Greene is the publisher and executive vice president of the multimedia group at Charisma Media and executive producer of the Charisma Podcast Network. His Charisma House book, Love Leads, shows that without love, you cannot be an effective leader. Sign up for his free "5 Things I Learned Last Week" and "Greenelines" newsletters, and download his Greenelines and At Work With God podcasts at greenelines.com.
This article was excerpted from the December issue of Charisma magazine. If you don't subscribe to Charisma, click here to get every issue delivered to your mailbox. During this time of change, your subscription is a vote of confidence for the kind of Spirit-filled content we offer. In the same way you would support a ministry with a donation, subscribing is your way to support Charisma. Also, we encourage you to give gift subscriptions at shop.charismamag.com, and share our articles on social media.
Dr. Steve Greene is the publisher and executive vice president of the multimedia group at Charisma Media and executive producer of the Charisma Podcast Network. His Charisma House book, Love Leads, shows that without love, you cannot be an effective leader. Download his Greenelines podcast at cpnshows.com
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