I am a journal person. While I am not quite convinced the world can be divided into those who put pen to paper and those who do not, I belong to that cohort who record things: dates, thoughts, miles walked (1043.2 last year), lessons learned, ideas untried, frustrations encountered, prayers offered, victories claimed . . . . You get the picture.
My fascination with paper and ink traces to 1977, perhaps earlier. I had not stopped to consider this until today, but apparently my journals now span five decades. They are stepping stones by which I can retrace my life -- part of it anyway -- as the brook of time carries away many of the memories of my experiences.
Shannan gave me a new journal for Christmas. It is 192 pages of lightly lined sheets with a soft black cover and a slim white pocket attached to the inside jacket at the back end. No doubt if something makes it to the pocket it is revered.
Yesterday, in anticipation of the New Year, I was preparing my new journal for service. I had read the last chapter of Paul's first letter to the Corinthians that morning. Paul closes his note to this most gifted and troubled church with this admonition:
Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love. 1 Corinthians 16:13-14
It occurred to me that Paul's closing admonition is a great New Year's charge so it became my very first journal entry. This is a change for me.
In recent years I have been recording goals on the first page of my journals to remind me of all that I want to accomplish. Now the first thing I see is not my goals for life, but God's plan for me. I need that, for I realize that if those words move from the paper of my journal to the pages of my heart it will be a very happy year indeed.
This year, whether you journal or not, I pray that you would write God's word upon your heart. I pray that 2015 will find you watchful and firm in the faith. I pray that you will act with "courage and strength" (as one commentator notes), and that all you do will be done in love to God's glory.
May God favor you with that life in 2015. Happy New Year!
"Courage and strength" -- The ESV Study Bible provides this insightful piece: Act like men (Gk. andrizomai) is a frequent command in the Septuagint and is used in contexts encouraging people (esp. soldiers) to act with courage and strength in obedience to the Lord and with confidence in his power.