JOURNALING IN JULY.

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One of my favorite aspects about journaling is that afterwards, you are left with a collection of all your old thoughts, agendas, and insights. Our ability to retain information and memories is slimmer than we’d like to believe, and a record of old words serve as a time portal back into the yesterday’s. Past journals offer perspective: a better understanding of where you are going and an attitude of thankfulness for how you have gotten there.

I looked back at all my journal entires of July on the train one day, and I was shocked of how eventful the month was without even realizing it. As I knew it, another month had just came and went. Weekends seemed too quick and workdays were too long, but as I read through my prayers and recollections, I was reminded of both little and big things that had taken place. I was filled with thankfulness and inspiration. It was cool. (:

Here is a peek at some of my journal entries: (click to enlarge)

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If you don’t journal already, I encourage you try it for the month of August! If you have ever asked yourself if God’s hand is  present in your life, this might help you. Journaling forces you to slow down, and in those moments of reflections is when God’s presence is evident.  You see the promises the Lord has declared over you, and how they are personally manifesting in your life! God is always, always working, slow down or you might miss it.

Journal about anything and everything. (: Talk about the highlights of your days and your weeks, and even vent about the worries that consume your heart. Share your blessings and express your wishes. God hears all of it. I believe that putting language to your emotions has the ability to pull them from the depths and hidden corners of your heart, onto the surface where it’s accessible to be touched, processed, and communicated. And when you are able to communicate it with yourself, you are more able to communicate them with God.

Good luck! (:
I’d love to hear your journaling adventures, please share below.

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reading the ot : why grace is so sweet

[ exodus and leviticus ]

Since last month, I’ve been going through the OT. Started in Genesis, now I’m almost done with Numbers. (< to be read as “started from the bottom, now we here). Just kidding. I mentioned in an earlier post that I was learning a lot and I decided to share what the Lord is revealing to me as I read each book. Starting with exodus and leviticus. (:

in a nut shell: (exodus) God declares the ten commandments as well as a very extensive code of conduct by which the people must obtain in order to keep the promise land pure and pleasing to Him. (leviticus) God explains the practices and rituals that must occur in order to abstain from and compensate sin. And the harsh consequences if they were to disobey. And boy, there’s a lot.

After reading 7+ chapters a day about which part of the animal is pleasing to the Lord, how many times to flicker blood at a curtain, and the specifics of what a robe should look like, I was EXHAUSTED. Exhausted and exhausted — and pretty bored. There are several instances when God strikes down people because they disobey, and each time I read that, I make a face. “No, my God would never do that…” I got this impression that God was petty and difficult, and I didn’t see why this was relevant to me. So, I wrestled… and wrestled, and wrestled. I would read, wrestle, read, wrestle. Rinse and repeat. (I could have just said I wrestled a lot, but I didn’t think that quite hit the mark of what this wrestling looked like.)

Then I realized I was asking myself the question: is sin really THAT big of a deal? Is it that bad that God would just cold knock out people… because of a, because of a technicality foul? And I think the moment that phrase formed into a complete sentence and left my mouth, I knew my answer. And I knew why I couldn’t see the relevance. And I knew I needed to repent.

Reading those chapters was exhausting because God exhausted every code of conduct and ritual… because sin WAS that much of a big deal. It was so much of a big deal that He needed to send his only son to save us all from it. And I didn’t see that.

If you’re like me, then at the first glance (and maybe the second and third, too) the OT seems outdated and stale. And you’re right, your walk and growth is not of the OT, but it is certainly not void of it. In order to appreciate and understand Jesus’ crucifixion, and why the grace came out of it is so sweet, you need to know what it looked like before grace. How can you call news good when you don’t know what news bad looks like?

And this, this is surely good news.

A friend of mine once painted this illustration about a baby eating really good food. Let’s call the food steak because I really like steak. Sure, the baby can enjoy the steak (because it’s steak, and who doesn’t enjoy steak), but the baby doesn’t know just quite how GOOD that steak is, because he hasn’t acquired a palette to appreciate and discern yet.

In a similar way, I am like that baby. I live and walk in grace, but do I fully know what that costed? Am I thankful for freedom because I “like” it the way the baby likes steak, or am I thankful because I understand what I am free from? God struck down those people in the OT because He HATED sin. And God is a God who doesn’t change, He STILL hates sin. But what did change was that He didn’t want us to just compensate and cover our sin with sacrifices and practices, but He sacrificed his son so that he could cleanse our sin. Once and for all. Now God looks at me (and you!) and sees someone pleasing to His eye.

Each day, the gospel is meaning a little something different for me. I pray daily that the cross will be relevant and real, and not just in my faith and growth in an arbitrary way, but specifically and exactly for what THAT day entails. Both the little and big.

More gospel, please.