Monday, November 30, 2015

Advent Journal - Wonder Magnified!

Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent and our pastor spoke on the theme, "Wonder Magnified." Oh how wonderful it is to know that because of Jesus' coming we can dwell with God without fear. The debt for our sins was paid in full when Jesus died on the cross. Zechariah's words in Luke 1:67-79 examine this wonder as he rejoices, "we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days." He describes the coming of our Savior as a sunrise reaching us who sat in darkness. Ponder this good news with me as we enter into this Advent season!

During Advent I have set aside a special notebook for my journaling and devotions. I will be using many devotions to lead my bible (I just couldn't settle on one this year). I am hoping to be consistent, but knowing our moving date is soon (Dec 18th!) I'm not going to be too hard on myself. I also know, however, that staying rooted in the Word during this busy season and an especially busy time for our family will keep me strengthened, less stressed out, and help me be looking for Jesus in all of the craziness.

I found this little notebook at Tuesday Morning for just $5. I just added a few stickers to the front of the journal. I like the size and having a lined page next to a blank page - perfect for a little writing and a little creative journaling.

This morning I read the Advent devotion on My Kingdom Come (here) and journaled this page in response. What a great reminder to use this Advent time to examine and prepare our hearts, heeding the voice calling out to prepare the way!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Reflecting on a Year of Bible Journaling

It's been almost a year since I began this new way of connecting to the Word through Bible Journaling. I'm so grateful for this process and how God has used it to draw me in closer. God has used the time to rebuild and reform and reestablish how I see myself - as His child - worthy, loved, valued, included, and created for a purpose. That outlook will be important this next year as my family establishes a new home in a new state. (Yes, we are moving again after just 2 1/2 years in this house.)

God reminded me this year that He is trustworthy and faithful. People and circumstances of this world can hurt and disappoint us, but when we put our full trust in Him, our outlook changes and we can face those trials of the world as we keep our eyes on Jesus and our hearts rooted in His love for us. I've experienced some personal hurts this year and broken relationships, but I believe God is using these experiences to make my heart a little more tender towards others and give me courage to step out and trust in Him as I build new relationships in West Virginia. (Yes, we are crossing the border - but only a little bit.)

God has walked with us each and every step as we've investigated and considered this move. For me, Bible journaling has been an important part of my prayer time and discerning His voice as we took each step forward. Truth be told, I wasn't a fan of the idea of moving when my husband brought it up last summer, but I promised to pray about it. God met me there and changed my heart. He also began to line up events that kept leading us in this direction. He revealed Himself to us and let us know he is with us as we walk a new path.
We are excited and looking forward to what God has in store for us in Harpers Ferry, WV. We go forth knowing that whatever happens (for certainly in this world there is bad with the good) we need not fear for we have planted ourselves in faith and our God is near to us.

Friday, November 13, 2015

What a Friend...Bible Journaling

"No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you..." John 15:15-16

I read a devotion about friendship recently (see it here). It talked in part how friendships can sometimes fall apart and how painful that can be. This just tugged at my heart as I have recently gone through the demise of a friendship I treasured so much. Yes, opening up yourself and loving people who are human, messy, and mortal, can hurt when they (and/or we) fail, sin, mess up, leave, die. It hurts - a lot. It's confusing, painful, sad. We can easily become fearful of loving and opening ourselves up to those kind of relationships where we make ourselves so vulnerable.  As I was reading and lamenting my own broken frienship (as well as loved ones I've lost through death), I found the words I needed. The words I needed were the ones found in my bible spoken by the ultimate and true friend - Jesus.
Jesus is faithful. Jesus is true. Jesus is love. Jesus calls me his friend. And when our earthly relationships don't work out as we had hoped, we just have to go hold Jesus' hand and walk with him for a bit. He is our friend. He is the friend that willingly laid down his life to give us eternal life. His love is so true and deep and strengthening that spending just a little bit of time with him fills up our tanks enough to step out again, let go of that fear, and love like he does (or at least keep trying).

As I look at these open pages in my Bible I am so grateful for how God has been pulling me in close. There are several entries on these two pages (many of you ask how you can do this). Using 1/2 pages or smaller areas to respond to the Word is one way. I love how the pulled out passages work so well together. Do you see it? Adding the acetate (clear plastic) insert (this one alread had the "together" printed on it and is from Simple Stories) just adds another dimension and reminder of God's close presence to us.

After journaling this message in my bible and looking through my camera to take a picture I saw peeking through my clear insert another message from my friend, Jesus. "Your sorrow will Turn to Joy" is the heading before John 16:16. Jesus takes any pain we feel - rejection, loss, grief - and turns it into joy. He's that big! He's that kind of friend!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Little Red Cup Doesn't Speak For Me - I Confess "Jesus Saves!"

There has been much dialogue lately over a red cup. My pastor published a short devotion and I journaled this page in response.
Romans 10:8-10 states: "The word is near you, in your mouth and in yoiur heart" (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if yoiu confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
It's not up to a secular business and a little red cup to declare Christ to the nations - it's US who confess with our mouths the faith held in our hearts. It is WE who are called to speak of Jesus and his saving grace!

(These are my pastor's words as he published on our church facebook page.)
“Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved” (Romans 10:9-10). “I am outraged as a Christian I tell ya! Outraged!” It seems that for the last few days the word of choice has been – “outraged”. About what you ask? Coffee cups. Yep, plain ol’ coffee cups that are red. Can you feel the rage welling up inside? Are you seething yet? Starbucks cups are red because of the approaching season and that’s ok. Why get all bent out of shape about what is (or is not) printed on a cup. Their purpose is to serve customers regardless of the type of holiday they will celebrate in December. It is their business to sell you coffee and how they package their product has nothing to do with Jesus. They are a secular company, selling a product that is enjoyed by a variety of different people who may or may not share your religious views. When did it become the job of a secular company to share Jesus? Really, when did it become the responsibility of a coffee company to go out into the world and bring the light of Christ? This really got me to thinking about responsibility and confessing faith. As Christians it is our responsibility to share the hope, joy, promise, love, mercy and forgiveness of Jesus – not Starbucks. Paul points out to us that there is a connection between an expression of faith and what our hearts possess. The heart of Starbucks – profit. Your heart – faith in Christ. The mouth of Starbucks – enticement to buy more coffee. Your mouth – a confession of faith in Christ. To place the responsibility of the Gospel on a company with a heart for profit is not at all beneficial or acceptable. From their heart comes a confession of their faith – profit and market share. But from your heart and mouth comes a confession of faith in Jesus Christ and the salvation He won for you on the cross. The coming Christmas season will have all kinds of different messages ringing in our ears. Why add unnecessary noise about cup colors that will simply blot out a more important message? If you want to add to the conversation why not boldly and unashamedly confess Christ who humbled Himself to the point of death on a cross? Why not confess His resurrection from the dead and His ascension into heaven? Leave the secular corporations to their thing and the silly outrage to others while you confess what you believe in your heart….that Jesus saves!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Aw, Man...I Journaled That Page Already!

"You are surrounded! Come out with your hands up!" This was the sermon message from our pastor this weekend. It was based on Psalm 8 and I could hardly wait to journal in my bible with this Psalm and theme. When I opened my bible, I saw that the page was already completed by me - but that's no stopping how God wanted to get this message out, into my heart, and onto the pages of my bible. Even when a page has been "completed" this doesn't mean that you can't revisit your page, add to it, change it up, add a tip in or continue the lesson on another page.
This Psalm emphasizes how majestic our Lord is and how tiny we are in comparison to His great works. "...what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?" verse 4 asks. When we look at the majesty of God's creation, we can easily feel small. I had previously journaled this page after a visit to the mountains where I did feel tiny compared to the majesty of God's creation in which I found myself. Funny, but we just enjoyed another trip to the mountains on Saturday and then woke up Sunday to this Psalm and sermon. As I looked at my watercolor mountains in my Bible while I listened to the sermon, I immediately thought to put a little tiny figure on the side of the mountain with hands raised in praise. How can we look at the wonderous works around us and not come out with our hands up?
Even though we may feel small, we are assured throughout scripture that we are part of God's creation - a super special part! Later at home I decided to continue the mountain scene onto the next page of my bible and add the ideas and lessons from the sermon to that page. Not only are we surrounded by this great visual beauty, but our pastor talked about being completely surrounded by God's love and presence.  He walks with us through all of life's ups and downs. There is nowhere we can go to escape His love. WE ARE SURROUNDED! And how wondrous the thought!
To praise Him. To give thanks. To surrender yourself to Him. 
To receive the blessings He wants to shower you with.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Choose This Day! Bible Journaling

This past weekend my family was out and about and we attended a new (to us) LCMS church. It was warm and inviting and a wonderful worship experience. The pastor preached on Joshua 24 when Joshua pressed the Israelites to make an open declaration, with clear hearts and minds, about whom they serve. He challenged them, as the pastor did to us, to make a heart examination and get rid of any idols that may threaten to take God's place in our hearts. Journaling that text this morning, I emphasized verse 15 "choose this day" and found a perfect little stamp from Heidi Swapp "has my heart" to which I added the "who" and turned it into a question.  I love this page as it reminds me to daily examine my heart and daily place our God as priority #1 in my heart.  It's a daily, ongoing struggle, but God promises to give us grace for each day and strength for each battle.
So, who (or what) has your heart today?

He(art) Notes: I did prep my page a bit with matte gel medium, then added the watercolor background. My verse is hand-lettered with my micron pens. Heidi Swapp "has my heart" stamp and arrow stamp from Illustrated Faith, outlined in gold sharpie.

Here are some additional pages that I completed last week:

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A Week of Bible Journaling - Wrap-Up!

I journaled a lot this week! Praising God for being an ever-present source of wisdom, comfort, inspiration, reflection!!!

Monday John 6 - acrylic paint, gold paint pen, stickers
Tuesday Galatians 5:16-25 - acrylic paint, colored pencil, micron pen, stickers, stamps
Wednesday Exodus 16 - colored pencil, micron pen, traced a Cricut die cut, alpha stickers
Thursday - Ephesians 1:7-8 - distress ink, micron pen, alpha stickers, washi tape
Friday 1 Corinthians 55:58 - acrylic paint, micron pen, white Signo pen, colored pencils

Saturday Luke 22 - tip-in card, stickers, washi tape

Monday, August 3, 2015

Bible Journaling Wrap Up

Here is some of my Bible art from the last couple of weeks. I love paging through my Bible to look at all the art, but find myself stopping to read the words, too. I also find that I am able to bring forth the verses I've worked on much easier in my mind. This Bible Journaling has helped sink God's Word into my heart and I am excited and grateful for that. 
Acts 17:28 watercolor, stickers, white pen

This is one of my favorites! Psalm 42 Watercolors, micron pen, stamp

2 Corinthians 5:17 Acrylic paints, stickers, micron pen

Mark 6:50-51 Boat Tip In/Page Flap - micron pen, water colors

inside of tip in - poem by Martin Luther

A little challenge for myself to draw this whale across the two pages of Jonah. Micron pen, watercolor pencils, white pen

Amos 5 acrylic paint and washi background; altered stamps, micron pen, gold sharpie

Sunday Sermon Bible Journaling - The Bread of Life

Sunday's gospel reading was from the book of John, Chapter 6.  
"Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life..." 6:27

"Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven,
but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven." 6:32

Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger,
and whoever believes in me shall never thirst." 6:35

Journaling supplies - acrylic paint, gold paint pen, tab and stars from Simple Stories "I Am" collection, letter stickers, micron pen.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Journaling with Colored Pencils

Get out your colored pencils! The Bible Art Journaling Challenge over at Rebekah Jones (Rebekah Jones - here) features colored pencils and the book of Proverbs.
I love Prismacolor Pencils - smooth, creamy, lots of color without having too press down hard. Perfect for the thin pages of my bible. For my page, I used violets, a grey, and a white pencil. I like to lay a bit of white on top of my other colors - it gives it a smoother, bletter blend.
The book of Proverbs is such a rich (yay for purple symbolism) collection of wisdom, so on this first page of Proverbs I pulled out the first part of 1:5 "Let the wise hear" for my focus. I used my computer to print my words first, placed it behind my page and then traced, just as Rebekah did in her video - super easy!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Morning Motivation...Sunday Reflection

Do you know what got me out of bed this morning at 5am? In the interest of being completely honest, it was the thought of a cup of coffee.  BUT immediately following the thought of coffee, it was the thought of revisiting my notes from Sunday's sermon and journaling in my bible (with a cup of coffee).
Yes - I wanted to get out of my comfy bed because I wanted to delve into the Word.  I wanted time with Jesus. I wanted to reflect on and talk about some of the things my pastor said on Sunday.
Do I say this to brag? Absolutely not! I share this because I'm excited that journaling in my bible does this to me and it's done this to LOTS of others (see the 16,000+ members of the Journaling Bible Community on Facebook, the hundreds of bible journaling pins and testimonies on Pinterest, just to start.)  It can do this for you, too.
Very often I'd go to church on Sundays and though I thought I was listening at the time, later I'd have a hard time remembering what the pastor said in his sermon (sorry Pastors).  It wasn't necessarily the pastors, it was more me.  Distracted, daydreaming, making mental lists or plans for later in the day/week. Now I attempt to listen not just with my ears, but also my heart and a pen. Write down notes, references, main points, questions for later. Underline. Doodle. Sketch. Now I look forward (even at waking at 5am) to looking at those notes, rereading scripture, and responding with creative bible journaling.
I'm excited to get "artsy" in my bible, but I know that just getting artsy is not the heart of this motivation. This morning motivation stirring in my heart has been placed there by the Creator Himself. He made me this way and He's drawing me closer this way. I'm honored that sometimes He uses what I create with my hands to bring others in, too.  That's why I continue to post to my blog and Facebook and Pinterest.
Yeah, I like this morning motivation. Keep it coming, Lord. Keep teaching me, guiding me, using me.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Bible Journaling Wrap Up...

I just wanted to share a few recent entries from my Bible. I've signed up for Stephanie Ackerman's Bible Journaling and Lettering Class (HERE) and love her lettering approach, which you can see in these three entries. There is so much inspiration right now online, but the heart inspiration found in the Word overpowers the art that come out.  I praise God for what He's doing in my heart and all who are discovering or rediscovering Him through Bible Journaling!

Created after reading Illustrated Faith Bloom devotion booklet. Inspired by galaxy technique presented HERE.  I used Micron pen, Signo white pen, water colors, Mr. Huey's opaque white mist on this page.

I completed this page after reading Rebekah Jones' challenge on her blog. It's colored pencils and Micron pen in my bible.

This was a result of another Stephanie Ackerman lettering tutorial. Micron pens, ink transfered with watercolor brush from Tim Holtz Distressed ink pad.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Bible Journaling - It's Not About the Art

I've been reading several posts lately in various Bible Journaling forums that go something like this, "I'm a horrible artist, but here's my latest page." or "I'm not as good as all you gals, but this is the best I could do." or "I wish I could draw/paint/write as good as all the talented people I see here."

I want to shout, "IT'S NOT ABOUT THE ART!!!"

It's about God.
It's about God speaking to you.
It's about God using the very way He created you to draw you in closer to Him.
It's about reading and interacting with God's Word and letting that Word soak into you deeper.
It's about relationship-building.

Then, after God inspires you, just maybe He'll use you to inspire someone else to dig deeper into His Word. To seek after Him. That's why we share our he{art}. 

I love how God is using Bible Journaling to create a new longing for Him. I'm honored that occasionally He uses something that I've done and shared to stir another to open her Bible that perhaps has been closed for awhile. 

It's not about me.
It's not about my art.

It is about Him and His Kingdom.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Bible Journaling - Trinity Sunday

 Truly, truly, I say to you,
before Abraham was, I am.

In John 8:58, Jesus clearly declares his divinity with this statement. This last weekend was Trinity Sunday in many churches of the Christian faith. In our church, we confessed the Athanasian Creed. This creed especially points out, in detail, our understanding of the Holy Trinity. Through scripture, God reveals Himself as three distinct persons, yet one unified God. We may not be able to fully comprehend this wonderful mystery, but in our faith, we believe. 
In my journaling bible this week, I've completed two pages where I've dwelled on the mystery of the Trinity. The page to the right I complete after Sunday's sermon. My "I Am" stickers from Simple Stories again found a home in my bible, as well as a few paper scraps, stickers, and die-cuts from that collection.  I also used my Micron pen for words and doodling and some miscellaneous alpha stickers to round out the margin message.  The colored background is acrylic paint, scraped across the page and then a few splatters with a brush on top of that.

I completed this page in John also.  Sunday's gospel was John 3:1-17, so I added the Celtic Trinity knot to this page.  I printed one out from online and then traced it. I recently purchased a set of Prismacolor colored pencils and this was my first use of them in my Bible. I really like that they are soft and easy to layer and blend. The colors are strong, but I can still easily read the text underneath, which is important to me when I bible journal. Finally, I outlined the knot with my Micron pen and then wrote out a section of the Athanasian Creed into the margin. 

Once again I find that this way of studying and meditating on scripture connects me so personally to the Word. It may not be for everyone, but I know it's creating in me a longing to open my Bible everyday to see what words and messages are waiting to be revealed.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Bible Journaling...Turn on the Light!

Inspired by my Portals of Prayer devotion this morning, my Bible Journaling entry focuses on John 8:12

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." 

It's so simple, yet so easy to forget. Jesus is the light. Why do we continue to fumble around in darkness when we just need to turn to Him? He is no ordinary light. He is the light of the world, the light of life, in Him there is no darkness.

Feeling lost today?

Just turn on the light.

Turn to Jesus.
Today I drew a lightbulb and colored it with watercolor pencils.
I added the yellow with my waterbrush and a little ink from my Tim Holtz
Mustard Seed mini ink pad.  I used my 08 Micron for the lettering
and then my super fine 005 Micron for additional outlining and the words in script.