When I became a Christian at age of 20, I was a mailman delivering mail in downtown Palm Springs, California. There were two ladies on my mail route that significantly influenced me as a new follower of Jesus.
One owned a small Christian bookstore and would periodically recommend books for me to read. The other was an avid supporter of world missions and pointed me toward books about young men in their 20s who left to serve Jesus in far-flung places.
For several years, I devoured books about young men who were on fire for Jesus and committed to His command to take the gospel to the ends of the earth, regardless of personal cost. It resulted in, among other things, serving Jesus in Sweden for eight years with my wife Susan. Three of our four children were born in Stockholm, Sweden.
A second thing it resulted in was being a life-long journaler.
There were many attributes and characteristics that the young missionary visionaries in these books shared in common. One was that most of them kept daily journals of what they were hearing from God, what God was doing in their lives and what God was doing through them. Some of these men were: Jonathan Goforth, Hudson Taylor, J.O. Fraser, CT Studd and Jim Elliott. Much of what we know of these faith-filled, adventurous young men we get from their journals.
Keeping a journal of what I am hearing from God and how He is shaping me has been a great source of strength and encouragement in my walk with Jesus over these 50 years.
Here is a journal note from just a few days ago. I copied it from my online journal in Evernote.
October 5, 2011 - 1 Kings 9-11
Jesus, I was struck that in spite of everything Solomon seemed to have going for him, he still fell away from you. He had it all: Wisdom, Wealth, Love, Your favor and promises and, lastly, a godly (though not perfect) example in his father.
When I see his prayer in I Kings 8 and then read in 1 Kings 11 that he turns from you, it is hard to believe. “How the mighty fall,” as Jim Collins wrote.
I am more motivated than ever to finish well with a good heart toward You and to not let
8. Discouragement sideline or sidetrack me.
By Your grace, with eyes fixed and focused on You, I will finish well, for Your honor. I will be aware of the fact that the enemy is always lurking in the shadows to devour me (1 Peter 5:8) and will use any of the things on the above list to accomplish that!