Journaling: 4 Reasons Why You Should Start.

journal why you should start

Ever since 12th grade I’ve been journaling. Poems, notes, a few drawings with a multitude of thoughts and prayers have filled about 20 journals over the last 28 years. Why am I such a big proponent of journaling? Here is a short list of why I think everyone should practice this discipline.

It’s easy.

For even the least creative, artistic individual, journaling has never been easier. With apps that can voice record or phones that can video, saving your ingenious concepts to silly moments has never been simpler.  For many, the thought of journaling is synonymous with handwriting or long form records of the day, but it doesn’t have to be. What if you looked at journaling as saving your to-do list and simply giving commentary? Or taking pics posted to Instagram and cataloging them? Or even using an online journal/blog to keep a record by easily dragging and dropping pics or status updates you or friends have posted? Because there are so many ideas, thoughts and to-do’s throughout the day, journaling them is an easy way to ensure you follow through or follow-up! Most of the time we have our phones or tablets with us, so why not employ them to save a few thoughts along the way? It’s as easy as pushing a button!

It’s creative.

Nowadays there is no reason for any person to use the cop out: “I’m not that creative”. Journaling doesn’t have to be creative per se, meaning that you don’t have to be extremely elaborate in decorating your pages etc. Simply using a different font or color, (colored pens or markers for handwritten) adds creativity. Stretching yourself to use a journal does allow you to be creative. Your creative juices will flow more and more as you use journaling and you will see that what was once a drudgery is now a delight! Journaling allows the creativity within each of us to be uniquely expressed. It forces us to slow down, reflect and evaluate, which effectively inspires creativity.

It’s historic.

Keeping a journal allows you to chronicle your life story. From mountaintops to valleys, my journals include joys and sorrows, praises and prayers. I have poems of all sorts, Bible study notes, pictures, and important records saved in journals. When I get nostalgic I read through my journals and reflect. When I need some encouragement as to God working in my life or answering prayers, I can search through handwritten journals or search tags in my electronic journals. Keeping records of my life events is not something I have ever regretted doing because in many ways it is my autobiography. I have a record or not only the events but my feelings, and inner most thoughts. In some cases I have my own voice or pics which makes it very accurate on all levels as I can instantly recall what I meant or thought or felt.

It’s something you won’t regret.

There are moments in life we will never forget. Record them. And there are tons of things that we will never remember…unless you have a record! Journaling increases your memories vastly and gives you a flashback guide. Sometimes I spend a few minutes writing/ journaling, while other times may be more like an hour. But at this point, I don’t regret any amount of time I used creating these wonderful words penned/typed by my own hand as a testament of who I am and what I’ve done with my life. I don’t think you’ll regret your investment of a few moments each day either. Start your journal today!

If you are looking for resources on journaling or tips, let me know. I can send some samples. Otherwise, here are a few apps I would recommend if you are serious about getting into this discipline for life using your smart device or tablet.







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George ProfileGeorge Lockhart is a missionary with Vision 2 Hear and serves as the creative arts and missions pastor at New Vision Church in Fayetteville, GA


Devotionals For Leaders: Where? What?

Devotionals For Leaders (2)

It was by faith Abraham obeyed God’s call to go to another place God promised to give him. He left his own country, not knowing where he was to go. Hebrews 11:8

Obedience Is The Key.

Where do I need to be and what do I need to do? I have struggled with those questions often throughout my time on earth. You may have too. They are very important questions. However, I’m finding this to be true over and over again; God is more concerned about my obedience than my location.

Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that God has specific places for specific people. This does not negate the fact that God carries those people there. He sends those people there. He somehow manages to get those people there as would be the case for Jonah and the great fish.

Who I Am? vs. Where I Am?

The issue with God is not can He use me where I am or where He’s taking me. The issue is who I become along the way and through the situations. God’s greatest ambition is conformity to that of His Son. There is none who was or is more obedient than Jesus. Obedience is a benchmark of Jesus, even obedience unto death on a cross (Philippians 2).

God seems to have a greater concern about developing me into a certain person than taking me to a certain place. How does He do this? No other way than through the revelation of Himself. So often, I want God to reveal His plan instead of Himself. I want to know the in’s and out’s, the details, the lowdown but God does not cave into my desires. He instead fulfills me with Himself. For me to become all that God wants, I have to stop looking ahead and start looking up.

Which Way Do I Go?

Abraham went out not knowing where He was going but He knew Who he was going with. He was going with God. I wonder how many times I have gone without God…knowing where I was going but oblivious that God was not with me? The knowing of the Christian walk is not to a place but with a Person, the person of Jesus Christ. As we walk with Him we become. We move forward at times but we move inward all the time. Obedience is an inward job and the only way to accomplish it is to obey.

Maybe God is not sending me anywhere except to Himself? Maybe that’s the ultimate destination?

Observations Of A Prodigal #4


“When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, 19 and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’ Luke 15:17-19

Centless And Senseless.

When he came to his senses. Why is it that sometimes it takes losing a whole lot of dollars to bring us to our senses? And not just dollars but opportunities, relationships, and friendships? It’s not surprising that the boy came to his senses, I mean they should have all been working well: the sounds of pigs squealing, the smell of manure, the feel of mud in-between his toes, the sight of a pig pen, the taste of humble pie. Sometimes the only way God gets our attention is when we begin to pay attention to our surroundings. It’s been said often, either change your environment or your environment will change you.  We must muster the courage to really look and admit that we are not where we want to be, need to be or were created to be!

This boy was the heir of a wealthy man. He was not made for this. And neither are we! We are heirs to the King of Kings, yet often we live like pigs. We live for so much less than what we were created for. It’s time to quit the nonsense! Maybe that’s it, you have no sense: no sense of direction, purpose, meaning in life. Maybe the joy, the pleasure of the Father’s house is a distant memory. What has to change?

At Last Will.

Well, his will was where he started. He asked for the father’s last will and testament but now it was his. He had to “die”. He had to lay aside all the earthliness and become one with the earth: a servant. He was willing to identify with the meekest, humblest, of His father’s employees, just to be back in his father’s care. How much more for us? It’s easy for me to think that I can or will only serve God in certain ways. But this is not the case. One who is a servant has no say in what, when, how, where, things get done. They just simply follow the wishes of the Master.

Back To The Beginning.

He went back to where he started. There are times when this is impossible but when it is possible, I think it’s very important! Go back to where you started off wrong. Figure out why you went down that path and make the necessary adjustments so you don’t do it again! Backtracking can be a great tool to keep us from backsliding! I’m sure as the boy traveled back home, he remembered certain parties, women, “friends” that helped lead him astray. The trip home was a lesson in remembering how much he lost. He grew from this time traveling back home. He became wiser, more mature, and turned his loss into gain.

Don’t Pay Out Without A Payoff!

I must admit that I have wasted invaluable lessons by not taking time to learn the necessary lessons God had for me. Let me encourage you that in each difficult time you pass through, make note of the mistakes; no sense in paying twice! You wouldn’t do it at the store, why do it in life? Turn your pain into gain. He came to his senses and made his mistakes pay off!


Can you think of a time when you made a serious mistake? Do you remember how you felt? What you ate that day? What you were wearing? What you were listening to? What you were watching?

How about now? In a place you don’t like? What senses is God using to reveal that to you? What senses is God using to reveal Himself to you?

Does anything make sense to you right now? How much nonsense do you have in your life?

Where do you want to be? Need to be? Where are you created to be? Has God’s sense revealed that to you? If so, why have you not obeyed?

How much of your will is still alive? Why not let your last will and testament be to please God in everything?

Have you ever died to your flesh and sinfulness? How do you die daily? Are you more dead than alive?

How have you changed your environment for Christ? Has your environment adversely affected you? How does your environment reflect your current standing with God? Do you think it does reflect your standing with God?

If you could go back to the future, where would that be? What mistakes would you fix? What do you need to take a mental journey back and take note of? What lessons can you pass onto someone else?

Is there any way that you are paying twice or three times for something? Why not end the trend now? How can you make your mistakes pay off? What will you do with it?

Devotionals For Leaders: No Clones Allowed

no clones allowed

As leaders it’s vitally important that we encourage people to be like Jesus and not try to make them “like us”.  God has created each person as He likes and gifted each one uniquely and differently. This means that each and every person is not only a one-of-a-kind but created with intention and purpose. And that purpose is not to be like you or me but like Christ. God is not into making clones: No clones allowed.

Be careful of putting demands on people that God doesn’t place on them. As leaders we push people toward Christ, not pull them toward us. We compel people with Christ, the real Christ, not our version of Him. People become like Christ when we lift Him up and not ourselves. People don’t want to hear or see us; they want and need to see Christ. As the Greeks said in this verse: “Sirs, we would see Jesus.” (John 12:21)

When Jesus was dealing with “sinners”, His command was simply “go and sin no more”. Jesus never gave them a list of things to do to feel or become more spiritual. He simply told them to go and live life to the glory of God. Jesus’ way of life was far beyond a spiritual discipline. Jesus is the only standard by which any of us should measure.  Just because someone doesn’t do life with God the same as I do, does’t mean they are not right with God. As a leader, the goal is not that everyone become like you but that everyone would be like Christ. And Jesus was more concerned about loving God and loving others; serving them and modeling a relationship with His Father than the rues of the Pharisees.

Our goal as a Christian leader needs to be seeing Christ formed in those around us. Yes Jesus had “spiritual disciplines” which He did consistently, but did Jesus ever give any other other “discipline” outside of loving God with our heart, soul, mind and strength or neighbor as ourselves? Sure the disciples prayed and went to temple and they knew Torah but these were not requirements to following Him. These were not even things that made His disciples, His disciples.  In fact, several of the “disciples” failed out of the religious school and were sent back home. Jesus didn’t call His disciples to follow Him into a routine of spiritual disciples. Rather He introduced them to routinely seeing God at work among them. His call/command was to follow Him and He would make them what they were meant to be, i.e. “Fishers of Men”. Jesus will do the same with our followers but we must trust God is making them and not we ourselves.

There is liberty that comes from obedience. Helping others know and understand the word of God is part of our role as a Christian leader. However, we are not to weigh people down with this kind of “yoke”. Jesus told people to take up His yoke as opposed to the yoke of the Pharisees because His yoke was “easy and light”. (Matthew 11:28-30) What did Jesus mean by this? I believe His intention was relationship. As they walked with Him, they would learn. They would grow in relationship not in or by rules. They would become like Him and not like the Pharisees. They would hence know God instead of trying to become god.

Helping people grow in love and wisdom is better than teaching a set of dogmatic rules. In his letter to the church at Corinth, Paul admonishes them to do all things with love, otherwise it benefits them nothing (1 Corinthians 13). Presenting truth can be done without demanding people that people learn it or apply it the way you do. Our opinions as leaders may be important but we should never become so caught in them that we forget to demonstrate grace along with “truth”.  Christ has commissioned us to make disciples but this is not the same as making “clones”. God is not looking for clones or even “converts”. He is looking for “little” Christs.

Developing The Desire Of Discipleship

Java Printing

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. —Matthew 5:6

Jesus’ word is quite clear that when we are hungry and thirsty for righteousness, we will be filled. But why aren’t more people hungry and thirsty for righteousness? Why aren’t more disciples pursuing God’s ways?

I read this very interesting quote this morning:“The average Christian is so cold and so contented with His wretched condition that there is no vacuum of desire into which the blessed Spirit can rush in satisfying fullness.” Born After Midnight, 8. A.W. Tozer.

Missing The Vacuum Of Desire Sucks!

Tozer says that we have become so contented with our own wretched condition that the vacuum of desire is missing. I rarely use the word “sucks” but it fits well here. Simply looking at my own life, I can easily see how I have shrugged off sin in the past. Not only that but I have settled for some less than ideal states of my heart, rather than dealing with them.  When I ignore or allow sin to remain, it sinks deeper and deeper, as dirt and stains in a white carpet. My spiritual zeal, zest, and zoom disappears and spiritual desire dries up like a desert when I fail to address the trouble spots in my life. The heavy sin traffic areas require attention to detail. Otherwise, I will live out a mediocre life and succumb to a lackluster, meager existence not intended by God.

Repairing The Belt Of Discipline Hurts Sometimes

One of the most basic malfunctions of a vacuum is a simple broken belt. The snapped piece of rubber doesn’t turn the head and allow the agitation of the carpet which needs cleaning. In the same way, when I ease off the belt of discipline in my life, I find that  dirt can be lodged in the recesses of my heart, even though others may never even see it. Paul was clear when he spoke of  the need for personal discipline when he said;

26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:26-27 ESV

There are times when I have failed to bring out the belt on myself as I needed. Whether it’s failing to see sin the way God does or shrugging off sin as “natural” , failure to repent is evidence of a broken belt. Not that there must be tears and sobbing over every sin, a spiritual brokenness and contrite heart is what brings me into right standing with God. Confession, contrition, and Christ are what repairs what is broken within me.

Confession Of Sin

Thinking about sin is not the same as talking about sin. God wants us to SAY what we have done. He wants us to ADMIT it. It is not enough to nod in agreement. Confession is made with our mouths. Whether it’s acknowledging my sin to another or simply saying it out loud before God, hearing what I have done wrong arrests my heart and stops me in my tracks.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 ESV

The word “if” in that verse is huge. Confession must happen if cleansing is to come. When I am sensing a lack of spiritual desire I must start here. Developing the habit of audible confession is the pathway to restoring desire.

Contrition Over Sin

Being sorry for being caught is not the same as being sorry for being wrong. When spiritual desire wanes, I become more concerned about what I can get away with instead of what God says for me to do or not do. God who is rich in mercy and grace often allows me multiple chances to repent. He is gracious in forgiveness. However, God is also holy and just and He hates sin and the effects of sin on humanity. When I lack spiritual desire, I fail to see how sin affects me and others. I can become numb to its effects on my outlook, heart and life when there is a spiritual dryness. Perhaps the dryness can be slaked by tears of contrition.

17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirita broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Psalm 51:17 ESV

Spiritual desire will return when I truly repent and see sin the way God does. Understanding that sin not only hurts me and others but also hurts my relationship with God, will most certainly move my heart to tears at times. The blood of Jesus cleanses my heart, the tears of my eyes cleanses my soul.

Christ Overcomes Sin

Dietrich Bonhoffer said: “When Christ calls a man, He bids Him come and die”. The call of Christ is not to simply stop sinning but ultimately to stop “living”. Bonhoffer contends that the call of Christ is death to self, which is replete throughout the New Testament. Scripture tells me to “mortify” or put to death certain things in my  life. Moreover Paul admonishes me  in Romans 12:1 to be a “living sacrifice”, meaning to allow Christ to embody me in such a way that sin is no longer my desire but Christ alone. Spiritual desire will return when I return to Christ and His cross.  Having the right and proper view of Christ will always increase my spiritual desire and renew my passion, developing a greater spiritual hunger for righteousness. Spiritual desire dies when I allow Christ to remain on the cross instead of myself. However when I bear my own cross, casting myself at the feet of Jesus, I am restored. Repentance leads to restoration which leads to a renewed spiritual desire. Ultimately, I must understand that it is Christ alone who will empower me through the Holy Spirit, to overcome sin. Spiritual desire is developed through confession and contrition over sin but Christ alone overcomes sin as He disciplines and disciples me.

Questions For Reflection:

Is there any sin hidden in the recesses of your heart? Pray and ask God to search your heart and know your thoughts.

Have you confessed your sin out loud lately before God or to another?

When was the last time you were moved to tears over something you did wrong or a hurt that you inflicted?

What sin traffic areas do you need to give attention to?

How has the belt been broken in your spiritual vacuum?

Is your spiritual desire developing or waning?

Questions For One Thing To Rule Them All pt. 2


What good things get in your way on a daily basis?

How can you better prepare for your day?

How do you view problems and people in your life?

Have you considered your problems as a way for God to get glory?

What most pulls you away from your focus on God?

If there was one thing you could do today to refocus what would that be?

Questions For One Thing To Rule Them All


If you had one thing to say as advice to others before you left the planet what would you advise as the most important thing to do?

Do you have a list of resolutions or goals for the year? Why or why not?

Is the number one thing on your list, the number one priority in your life?

Do you have a plan to achieve your resolutions/goals?

Have you ever considered why you don’t reach your goals or fulfill your plans?

What things prevent you? What are your distractions?

How could paring down your vision to one thing to rule all things help you achieve more or become more?

In the story of Martha and Mary, who do you identify with most? Why?

Do you think Mary was right or wrong? Martha, right or wrong?

Should Jesus have asked Mary to help Martha?

Should Mary feel guilty for not helping Martha?

Do you feel guilty about your service? or worship?

Do you complain about your service? or worship?