Wednesday, March 6, 2013

James W. Goll: Journaling As a Tool of Retaining Revelation

      I have kept a journal off and on for the past 30 or 40 years.  I think it is a wonderful tool, but it IS a discipline and I have not been good at disciplining myself these past few months.  Busyness interferes.  After reading this article by James Goll I have new determination to start again.  If you've never journaled give it a try.

                                          James W. Goll:
Dr. James W. Goll    Do you need help retaining what you have already received? Then I have a simple remedy for you –journal! Yes, it is one of those awesome spiritual disciplines! Journaling is a tried and tested spiritual tool that will help you retain revelation and grow in your capacity to discern the voice of the Holy Spirit. I have tried it, and it works!
     Basically, journaling is simply a method of keeping notes for future reference. It can take many forms. Your journal may consist of your prayers, a record of God's answers as you perceive them, and/or a record of what you sense the Holy Spirit is saying to you through His various delivery systems. Journaling is a fundamental and clearly useful Biblical discipline.
     Some Believers express concern that journaling is an attempt to put subjective revelation on the same level of authority as Scripture. This is not the case at all. The Bible alone is the infallible Word of God. Journaling is just another tool to help us retain and be more faithful with what He speaks to us.
      God speaks to His children much of the time! However, we do not always differentiate His voice from our own thoughts, and thus we are timid at times about stepping out in faith. If we clearly learn to retain what He is speaking to us, we will know that He has already confirmed His voice and Word to us. Thus we will be enabled to walk out God's words to us with greater confidence. Journaling then becomes a way of sorting out God's thoughts from our own.
     As it has been for so many, the simple art of recording revelation may prove to be one of the missing links in your own walk of hearing God's voice. Continuity of language, divine suggestions and reminders, and also learning the proper interpretation of symbols, will occur as you use journaling as a creative tool of storing up, and later deciphering, revelation.
I strongly encourage you to start journaling now if you have not already done so. The principles, tips, and suggestions in this chapter will help you get off to a strong start. Those of you who are already engaged in journaling, I urge you to continue!
     To encourage you as to the value of journaling, let me share some thoughts on the subject from another elder friend, Herman Riffel. Herman is one of the "patriarchs" of modern-day visionary revelation – an authority not only on dreams and their interpretation but also on journaling as an effective method of retaining revelation.

      In life we keep the treasures we value. Unwanted mail that comes is tossed away with just a glance. But bills, whether we like them or not, are carefully laid aside until we pay them. Checks are deposited in the bank so that no money is lost. Diplomas and certificates of recognition are hung on the wall for others to see.
What do we do with the promises the Lord gives us? They are worth more than any amount of money. What happens to the lessons we have learned through difficult and costly experiences?    Too often we forget within a day or two the words of encouragement God gave us. The promises vanish away in the midst of new problems, unless we make a proper record of them.
     I know by personal experience. Lillie and I pray for our children regularly, often for specific needs. Then we wait on the Lord for His answer, and graciously He gives us a word of encouragement.
     Recently one of these words came to us: Salvation shall spring forth like the grass and you will rejoice with joy unspeakable, for I will do what I have promised. Therefore, wait in patience and trust in Me, for I am faithful.
      This was an encouraging word and we did rejoice in it. Just a few days later, however, I asked Lillie if she remembered what the promise was that God had given. She did not remember, and neither did I, for problems had absorbed our attention again. Since I keep a journal, however, we were able to check it, find the promise, and again receive encouragement.
[Herman H. Riffel, Learning to Hear God's Voice (Old Tappan, NJ: Chosen Books, 1986), 147-148]
A Personal Note
      One of the treasures I found upon the departure of my dear late wife Michal Ann, was her personal, revelatory journals which were sitting in her nightstand beside our bed. To my delight, I found the original handwritten notes telling of her nine weeks of angelic visitations in the early 1990s. In it she wrote how the Holy Spirit promised her that next time He came to visit her, not only would the angels come, but Jesus Himself would come for her. It brought such comfort to me to realize this is exactly what had happened. Jesus Himself had come for her. Her journals gave me comfort, insight, and hope.
      Therefore, I urge you to begin keeping a journal if you are not already doing so. What to include in a personal spiritual revelatory journal? One of the first things we may record in the day are our dreams from the night before. Some use digital recorders and others use computers; devices today help in their journaling experience. I still use notebooks and "journals" for the most part. I write down the date, the place I am in, the time I woke up and the summary of the experience. Often later, I reflect on it, after prayer and waiting on the Lord, and compose a short potential application of the prophetic experience.
      We may record a Scripture which God speaks to us that day. A burden, a heartfelt urgency as well as dreams and visions and visitations may be noted. You see, your journal is a track record of your spiritual adventure, not simply a diary to record daily activities. So we take time to listen to what God is saying to our hearts. We might meditate on the Scriptures, or we might sit in contemplation before our Lord Jesus Himself. We learn to "waste time in our lives on Jesus," from the world's viewpoint, in order to hear what God wants to say to us.
      I'm glad my Annie left me a journal! Now I have a treasure chest full of jewels that I can go back to and glean the many lessons He was teaching us those many years ago. The lost art of journaling is a key to receiving and retaining revelation.Ready to start! Let's get going!

This is Lesson One from my new book Exploring Your Dreams and Visions – Your Personal Revelatory Journal.
With expectation!
Dr. James W. Goll
Encounters Network • Prayer Storm • Compassion Acts Team


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