Thursday, December 25, 2014

Ministry Journal Strengthens Faith

"Now glory to God!  By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope."  Ephesians 3:20

I’ll never forget the first diary I received as a gift at thirteen years old. It was a small green one with a little lock and key. It was bursting with what I considered important private secrets and adventures. It would be obvious to any reader I was more than a little boy crazy! Many years later, while in Pakistan, I kept a journal during my first three months of cultural adjustment there.  Unfortunately I did not continue journaling the ten years overseas. Regrettably an unrecorded decade  passed in Pakistan and then personal and family journaling was picked up once again.

About five years ago I decided to keep a ministry journal which I do on the computer. Names are not used but rather an initial.  Some information is too sensitive to write about.  Consequently not everything is recorded, even though the ministry journal is meant only for myself. A few days of “time out” during the last week of December are set aside for reading through the past year’s adventures.  Reading about and reflecting on the past year has been beneficial for a couple of reasons.  First of all it has encouraged me to see how God has steadily been at work. Sometimes when I write regularly a fuller picture of what God has been up to is eventually recognized.  Some unhealthy thought patterns about ministry are picked up which will need to be changed.

There have been answers to prayer, accounts of signs and wonders and miracles, dreams or mental pictures have been documented which have had spiritual meaning, surprising provisions received, joyful witnessing encounters spilled out in excitement too difficult for me to contain silently, interesting conversations written down, prophetic experiences pondered about, spiritual battles understood better which were fought, fears, confusion, and disappointments walked through, and victories and failures written about transparently. It leaves me awed every year by the time I get to the end. The journal sounds a little bit like the book of Acts -  well…,kind of.  Every Christian should write their own book of “Acts” because it really has a way of strengthening faith in God.  Then at the end of the year it is printed up off the computer, a cover is designed, and the local printer spiral binds the journal.

It is thrilling to read what God has accomplished in the past year.  I might not realize what all He has accomplished nor remember what all happened if I had not kept a journal.  Keeping a ministry journal has become a faith building exercise for me. One day all these journals, like everything else in life, will  disappear but faith will endure. The journals will be left behind when I go to heaven but not the faith which was born and cultivated.  There are three things that will endure – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love. First  Corinthians 13:13

Dear heavenly Father, when I look back on everything you have done in my life this past year I can clearly see my faith has grown stronger. It really has been all about YOU!  Amen and Amen.