A little over a year ago, I received a journaling Bible as a gift. I already had one that I was working through, and I wasn’t quite sure what to do with a second. I put it on the shelf for a while, contemplated giving it as a gift, but then I randomly had an idea….
What if I read and journaled through this Bible specifically with the purpose of learning who the Lord was and worshiping Him for those things?
I decided it seemed like a good endeavor and this extra became my “Adoration Bible”. My daughters actually know which one I’m asking for if they are fetching it for me by that name. (I find that kinda sweet.)
So I set out on this journey over a year ago adoring the Lord as He has revealed Himself in the Scriptures using this little black journaling Bible. I had no idea at the time what a great impact it would have on my heart and spiritual life.
Fast forward a year later, and I can’t imagine life without this practice. It gives my heart a solid anchor to cling to moment by moment.
3 things Adoration Bible journaling does for the believer
1. It stirs up enjoyment and delight in God.
The Westminster catechism says that the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. I tend to be a “what do I need to do” kinda girl when I read the Bible, which is not a bad thing. In many ways, we should read the Scriptures with a submissive heart that says, “not my will, but Yours be done” and realizing that the Scripture is where the Lord has revealed His law and will to us. It’s an important piece, Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” What we do (our obedience) is important, but that is only one piece of the puzzle. To enjoy God, how do we do that? Well we have to meditate on who He is and let those truths permeate our hearts, then they will flow from our lips and thoughts. Nothing quite sustains our hearts on the darker days like meditating on who God is and praising Him for it. We should be praising the Lord often in our hearts and with our mouths, or our little typing fingers… however it is we are communicating, we should be communicating how wonderful the Lord is because that should be flowing from our hearts. But those things will not be the meditations of our hearts if we aren’t intentionally seeking them out.
Now one quick thing about obedience, I dare say that the two things, obedience and adoration (loving and enjoying God) go hand in hand. You really can’t have one without the other. You may find people who are filled up with obedience ideas and that is their heart focus. They talk about how they live this way and that and they have the Scripture to back it up, but they have no love and delight in God Himself. That’s a huge red flag! Often times that means they love those laws because of the way their obedience is self-exalting above those who don’t obey. And then on the other side of this cliff, there are those who get extremely excited to talk about the things of the Lord, they lift hands high, dance, jump, leap, and shout about how great and wonderful God is, but do not seek to know and obey His commandments. That is not true love for God, because again remember that Jesus said if we love Him we will keep His commandments. True love for Him seeks to say, “what are the commandments, and oh Lord help me to keep them!, with all my heart I want to!” We definitely need both sides of the coin. We should love and delight in the Lord, and if that love and delight is genuine then it will be lived out in our obedience to the Lord.
2. It helps us to guard our hearts against lies about who God is or isn’t.
For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. -Romans 10:2
This Scripture often jumps off the page to me when I read it. In the context Paul is talking about the Jews, how they worship God by trying to keep the law in order to be made right before the Lord. They are zealous for the Scripture and the Law without the knowledge of Jesus Christ and how He is our righteousness and fulfillment of the law.
In a similar but different way I see this same problem of zealousness without knowledge in our own culture. Modern America has a different problem than the Jews. Here we have so many brands of Christianity, some of those sadly are nothing close to the Bible and what it says. They alter their lives, they live with zeal, but sadly it is zeal without knowledge. I find myself often puzzled by certain “christian” bloggers who will say God is like this, Jesus is like that, the Lord approves of this action or that one, and they have absolutely no Biblical basis for the claims they are making. Not a Scripture one is mentioned. Just making up a god of their own ideas and liking, an idol to put it more accurately, and they are calling it, “Jesus”. This is so dangerous. And it is everywhere. Too often because of the popularity of these types of unscriptural claims there are even Christians who will believe these and begin sharing them with their brothers and sisters. People tend to like their ears tickled. The feel good messages with “Jesus” stamped on it tend to make rounds quite quickly. Oh how easily we can be deceived when we are not guarding our hearts and holding fast to what the Lord has revealed in the Scripture. That is another reason adoration Bible journaling is such a valuable practice. It not only stirs up our hearts to love and enjoy God by seeing clearly who He is, but it also teaches us what is true about Him so that when deceptions come we will be able to fight against the schemes and lies of the evil one and those who are under his influence.
3. It gives a solid place to fix our hearts, hope, and joy no matter what happens in our lives.
Awhile back I wrote a post on rejoicing in the Lord. This has been instrumental in enabling me to do that in the throws of motherhood. Children are a blessing, but there are also many challenges that come with serving, teaching, and training these sweet children day in and day out. When the house-work piles up, the kids act up, and I feel utterly exhausted, I still have a steady place to fix my heart. Although my situations change moment by moment, there is no shadow of turning with the Lord. He remains the same beautiful and magnificent Lord.
It took me a little while to get a method, but now here is what I do:
- I choose a book of the Bible to go straight through. (Usually it’s something we are going through at church or in family devotions) In between books or for a change of pace, I will go through a Psalm.
I think it’s important even while focusing on adoration to go straight through books of the Bible, also it’s just as important to pick books you wouldn’t necessarily think of such as Deuteronomy, and remembering that God is the same today as He was then, but now the covenant has been fulfilled through Jesus Christ. You can look for the promises of the Savior to come, but also pay close attention to the holiness and righteousness of God. The reason I believe it is important to do this is to keep us from picking and choosing certain attributes to focus on to the neglect others. God has many attributes, and we should seek to worship Him for all of them, not just the ones that make us feel warm fuzzies. All of His attributes are good. Also this method keeps us understanding the Scripture in context. It is important that we know what God is really saying about Himself, and not just an idea we get from a sentence or two pulled out of context.
- I pray that the Lord would reveal Himself to me and cause my heart to delight more in Him.
- I read through the passage a bit; analyze what it is saying in general, and specifically what it is saying about God. Then I go back through a second time with a highlighter (colored pencils tend to make the best in my opinion because they do not bleed through). I highlight the sentences that tell me something about the character of God.
- I then read those over and over, meditate on many different aspects of those truths and begin praising the Lord for those things. At this point I also start journaling prayers and praises of who He is in the journaling space.
- Throughout the day or next few days I try to keep focusing on these things. Often times I will find a place to keep my adoration Bible opened to that page so that I can come back to it and bring my mind back to those truths in the chaos of kids and homeschooling and house cleaning. This is why the journaling and highlighting is so helpful. I can simply take a quick glance at the page and remember what I learned.
An Example of Adoration Bible Journaling with Psalm 16
Psalm 16 is one of my favorites. I recently went through it in my adoration Bible and although I’ve had it memorized for over a year and have meditated on it many times, this brought new things to light for me that I had not seen before. Here is a look at the page.
Now I don’t do this every single day, although it would be a fabulous thing to do every day! …..but many days I just read and pray through my Bible reading plan using the Bible app on my phone, and I try to work this in whenever I can. I always find the 10 to 30 minutes I spend on it to be time very well spent. It’s the perfect pick-me-up when it’s been a crazy day- when my hubby gets home, I often ask if I can have 30 minutes of quiet in the bedroom before we all move into dinner. Adoration Bible Journaling is one the best actives to fill that time with for me. Another time I love to do it is when my children are playing outside in the evenings after dinner. If everyone is playing nicely then I can sneak this in and it’s so refreshing. I share this tid-bit to say that even busy moms can do it! And it doesn’t have to be this all or nothing thing. Just do a few verses at a time.
I hope this concept of Adoration Bible Journaling is helpful!
Blessings to you as you grow in knowing and adoring the one true living God!