Growing up my family attended a local Baptist church. I have fond memories growing up there, specifically of a certain family, Larry and Dee. They had children close to the same ages as my sister and I; Lynette, Brett and Brian, and Dee worked with my mother. We were close with them. We would often go to their home, and we would play together. I remember Larry was retired from the military, and very proud of it, rightly so. I noticed one day while at their home, Larry had stacks of small spiral notebooks. Stacks upon stacks of them. It is a memory engraved into my brain. It would serve me well.
Fast forward a couple decades, my husband and I were attending the same church, again, with this family. We often sat behind them and would enjoy talking with them after service. One Sunday, I was being more observant than other Sundays, I noticed Larry had a small spiral notebook with him. Upon further observation, he was journaling notes during the sermon. I began to wonder if the small spiral notebooks I remember seeing in their home as a child, were used for the same purpose. I decided to ask about them. Sure enough, he kept every journal from every sermon he has ever sat under, his ENTIRE adult life, even while serving our country.
This intrigued me. It also inspired me to begin doing the same. Since 2015, I have kept a small spiral notebook/journal and have written sermon notes, things I don’t want to forget.
This morning’s verse of the day from the YouVersion Bible app:
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
Romans 15:4
As I sit in Sunday service now, writing down the things from the message I am hearing, I am encouraged by Larry’s diligence in keeping up this practice. Imagine being those who were part of writing down the scriptures we read now? Matthew, Mark, Luke and John telling of their experiences ultimately writing the first books of the New Testament. Being a part of something that has endured so much through the centuries and even now, is the best-selling book of all time, is remarkable.
The Bible is printed and translated into several languages; some portions of the Bible have been translated into 3,589 languages.
It is difficult to wrap my brain around just how profound that number. Even more so, how many people throughout generations have gotten the chance to read the scriptures. That is a lot of encouragement and hope.
Paul, the writer here for this verse in Romans knows a little about endurance. He was after all a scoundrel before giving his life to follow Christ and take His message to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8) Even taking it beyond prison walls, because he was able to tell others through letters.
Larry now has dementia. I am often curious if he remembers some of the things he wrote about in his sermon journals (that’s what I call mine).
Even if he doesn’t at this point, they are there to look back on. I look through mine when I can’t remember something from a previous Sunday. I can also look back and reflect on any given message when I need some encouragement or hope in the moment.
Be in God’s word, write down the thoughts it evokes, take time to look back at those things when you can. If you’re like me, you don’t want to forget them!

Carol Frear