Sing … #BibleJournaling

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Music plays a big part in my life. When I’m not doing brain intensive work, I almost always have music playing. I do listen to some oldies from the past, but mostly praise, worship, and gospel music is the sound track of my life.

The challenge to do an art journal project on Psalm 98—a very musical psalm—came from Rebekah Jones (Original Bible Art Journaling Challenge Week 4). She used stamps of piano keys and a musical score to create a stunning illustration for her Bible.

I decided to use my own imagination in a doodle that included some of the instruments mentioned in the psalm, along with others.

When I did this project (mid-May) I had just received a set of water colours and I wanted to try them out. So I treated the page with gesso (though I’ve been told that water colour doesn’t bleed through even without treating).

The image in my mind was a waterfall of music, tumbling down the margin of the page, from my focus verse (conveniently situation at the very top). I included a harp, other stringed instruments, a pipe and, because I think it’s so important to start early, a drawing of the Fisher Price rainbow xylophone my kids loved, along with a child’s drum. Of course people, belting it out had to be in there too, along with notes.

I sketched all with pencil, painted everything in, and used my micron pens to sharpen the details. I highlighted the verse with a BibleJournaling highlighter, coloured the green area beside the waterfall with water colour pencil and then added water to create a wash effect. I finished everything off using my white gel pen to make glistens in the drops.

This is still one of my favourite Bible art journal pieces. It makes me feel like singing!

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Bible art journal project – Psalm 98:5,6: “Sing to the Lord” (Photo © 2017 by V. Nesdoly)

 

Casting out Fear #BibleJournaling

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Hi! It’s Tuesday again–already!– and time for another Bible art journaling project.

The challenge:

In the Rebekah Jones Original Bible Art Journaling Challenges that I’ve been getting, Week 7 focused on a verse from 1 John that I’ve always struggled with: 1 John 4:18:

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18 NKJV).

I do not live a fear-free life and have often berated myself with this verse. What’s wrong with me!? My imperfect love notwithstanding, I welcomed a chance to meditate on this verse in a visual way.

The project:

Rebekah’s blog post and video lesson is HERE

If you check it out, you’ll see that her visual is a set of tags (like one would find attached to new clothes), with the words “Perfect love casts out fear” on them. The word “fear” is untied from the rest, and about to slip to the ground. It’s simple and beautiful.

As at other times, I didn’t have her supplies but loved the idea of getting rid of fear in some way. As I pondered this, a picture came to mind of “Love” as a heart, pushing “Fear” off the page.

I sketched it with pencil, outlined with Pigma Micron pens, and used pencil crayon to do the coloring.

I added the house at the top, from which fear was cast, as a symbol of my life. For in verse 16 I see:

“God is love and he who abides in love abides in God and God abides in him.”

That tells me that God lives in me and if He is there, there is no room for fear in the same house.

Fear’s chain and leg irons symbolize Fear’s torment, which are thrown out together with their master.

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As I worked through the process of illustrating these verses, I believe I came to a better understanding of this difficult (to-me) passage than I ever have before. I continue to be surprised by how art journaling is adding life, color, and relevance to my Bible study.

#BibleJournaling about Job

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The Meditation

About six weeks go I signed up for Rebekah R. Jones’ Bible journaling instructional videos. A few days ago Lesson 4 in the Deeper Still series (2017) arrived by email. This tutorial is a meditation and art journal project on the book of Job.

Rebekah is uniquely positioned to hold forth on Job considering her own mysterious multi-year illness. Much of that time she was bedridden and her case seemed hopeless. You can read the story of her illness and healing HERE.

I appreciated her faith and tenacity in holding onto her belief in the goodness and love of God in spite of how she felt and how bad her circumstances looked. Her conclusion was to look at how God’s love shines through even in our suffering. Here’s her sum-up from the project meditation:

“… let’s use this study as a moment in personal history to step into a new understanding of God’s beautiful love for us. Let’s go deeper still with Him and invite Him into areas of our lives that seemed scary to trust Him with before today” (read the entire devotion HERE).

The Project

I used the drawing of the girl looking at a heart that Rebekah provided as a free download. But because my Bible doesn’t have any empty space at the end of Job (like hers did) and because I try to keep as much of my Bible’s text readable as possible, I transferred the drawing to tracing paper, colored it with pencil crayons, cut it out and taped it into my Bible as a tip-in.

I hand-lettered “LOOK AT LOVE” sideways in the margin using a letter style I liked from the Complete Guide to Bible Journaling.

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More Study

Questions from Job still niggled at me, however, and I felt I needed to search for more answers to the questions posed by Job’s suffering and how God’s love related to his suffering and ours.

One of the commentaries I read was the “Introduction to Job” in my favorite study Bible. These points from the “Personal Application” section repeated and reinforced what Rebekah said about viewing God as love, even in suffering.

I copied the points in brief on the under-side of the page as a reminder to myself of how the questions raised in Job, suffering—including ours—and God’s love fit together.

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Creative God #BibleJournaling

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One of my favorite psalms is 104. It’s full of pictures—God laying the “beams of His upper chambers in the waters,” chariot clouds, angels that appear as “a flame of fire,” mountains, valleys, beasts, trees, birds… I wanted to do an art journal entry, but where to start?

I decided to focus on the latter half of the psalm which describes the creation and movement of the cosmos—earth, moon, stars, sun. The words that jumped out at me were sum-up ones:

“O Lord, how manifold are all Your works!
In wisdom You have made them all,
The earth is full of Your possessions” – Psalm 104:24.

I found a black-and-white globe online (with North America facing), printed and cut it out. Then I sketched with pencil and pen on the white “ocean” parts, with white gel pen on the black “land” parts. Pencil crayons and paints finished the graphic.

As I was working, a thought occurred: But God never made the boats, ships, planes, skyscrapers, and vehicles.

Ah, another answered, but it was He who planted within mankind the creative spirit to design, re-form and use elements He had created in their raw forms and states. He created us humans to remake, reuse, recycle.

Night and day, stars, moon, and sun entered the drawing above and below where I attached the globe.

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What to put on the underside?

The words just a bit further down in Psalm 104 remind me that God has never left creation but continues to sustain it: “These all wait for You.” Still further along we read the very real end of any creature that was but is no longer sustained: “You take away their breath, they die and return to their dust” – Psalm 104:29. Who of us hasn’t experienced that in the reality of physical death—of pets, of loved ones?

As I contemplated how I might finish the back of the globe, another reminder of God’s ownership came to me in the words of Psalm 24:1: “The earth is the Lord’s and all its fullness.”

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Father God, I remind myself that the earth is Yours and all its fullness. In wisdom You have made them all. These all (I included) wait for you. Along with the psalmist I say: I will bless, praise, and sing to the Lord as long as I live – Psalm 104:35,33.

Strong tower name #BibleJournaling

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A short while after I was introduced to Bible journaling, I was reading through Proverbs. When I came to Proverbs 18:10…

“The name of the LORD is a strong tower,
The righteous run into it and are safe”

a picture popped into my head of a tower, the bricks of which would be inscribed with the names of God.

I sat on this idea for a while, fearful that my limited artistic skill wasn’t up to reproducing the picture in my head. But then I decided to give it a try.

To draw the tower, I found photos of an actual tower in Portugal that looked sturdy and strong enough to be a place of refuge. (As I write this and search for the tower image again, I discover that it’s actually called the “Tower of Belem” in English: Bethlehem!)

I copied it as best I could, and then found a list of the names of God in my Thompson Chain Bible. Not all of them fit on the bricks, but many did. Some, like “I Am,” are repeated several times, because that name, associated with God and Jesus comes up many times and in different ways.

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In the Bible, the name of someone represents the essence of all he or she is. We are kept by all God is—His attributes of omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, love, holiness etc. It’s an amazing and comforting thought!

Presence Blessing #BibleJournaling

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Some of the things I’m putting in my journal Bible are pieces I’ve written in the past about Bible characters and events. One such is a poem I wrote in 2003—“Presence Blessing” sparked by 1 Chronicles 13:14.

The backstory: David wanted to move the Ark of the Covenant from someone’s house to Jerusalem, the centre of worship. Instead of moving it in the prescribed way (carried on poles by the priests) he had it placed on an ox-pulled cart. In transit, when it shifted and threatened to fall, a man reached out to steady it. When he touched it, he fell dead. God’s power, that was on the Ark, was not to be tampered with.

David was shocked and grieved. He stopped the Ark right there and left it in the house of Obed-Edom.

It was in Obed-Edom’s house for a mere three months. Yet during that time, it was obvious to everyone that God’s blessing was on him and his family (1 Chronicles 13:14). How might that have looked and felt, I asked myself. “Presence Blessing” was the result of my musing on those questions.

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Rubber stamps

Method and Materials: To do my Bible journal entry I decided to use some decorative rubber stamps of fruits and vegetables I had from years ago (typifying the bounty I imagined Obed-Edom experienced as God’s blessing). The glaze that came with them is long dried, but I found that loading them with brush marker ink worked fine.

I tried it out on scrap paper and saw that the ink bled through even copy paper, so I knew it would wreck the thin, unprotected pages of my Bible. Thus I prepped my page with transparent gesso before doing any stamping.

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Page, stamped & outlined with pen.

The plan was to decorate the right margin of the Bible page and attach the poem, hand-printed on tracing paper, as a tip in. I stamped the page fine, but then the washi tape wouldn’t adhere to the gesso-treated page. Need a Plan B.

I decided to attach the poem to the facing page instead. Once attached, it felt like it needed a little decoration behind, but nothing with words as the tracing paper is pretty thin and words under would make the poem hard to read.

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Pencil-crayoned rainbow.

I came up with idea of a rainbow, which I coloured with pencil crayons.

After it was all done, I was happy with the look of it. And on second thought,  I realized the rainbow is a wonderful symbol of God’s presence.

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The thin tracing paper allows the rainbow to shine through.

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The two-page spread.

Some rainbows in the Bible:

  • Gods first rainbow was a covenant with the people of Earth – Genesis 9:12-17.
  • Rainbow light surrounded God’s throne in both Ezekiel’s and John’s visions – Ezekiel 1:28; Revelation 4:2-3.
  • A little article I found on rainbows in the Bible concludes with this thought about them:

    “All mention of rainbows in Scripture have a direct connection to the power and glory of God.

    “The sign of the rainbow was meant to be ‘for all future generations’ (Genesis 9:12). When we see a rainbow now, we can let it be a reminder of our covenant-keeping God and His indescribable beauty.”

    And so with that little experience, I’m finding that Bible journaling is not only fun and creatively challenging but it’s taking me, sometimes consciously, sometimes intuitively, in good, even prophetic directions!

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IS IT KIND? #BibleJournaling

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Mother’s Day has just passed and I would be surprised if, in the last weekend of honouring mothers, you haven’t bumped into some reference to the model mother and wife of Proverbs 31.

In a Bible Journal instruction email I get regularly, Rebekah R. Jones challenged us to journal about this chapter. She demonstrated what she did in her Bible using a lettering stencil with a phrase from Proverbs 31.

Trouble is, I don’t have the stencil or the space on my Bible page needed for it. So instead, I thought about my favourite (and probably most challenging) verse from Proverbs 31:
“She opens her mouth with wisdom
And on her tongue is the law of kindness” – Proverbs 31:26.

Considering the space I had on my Bible page, I decided to frame my response to this verse as a short question I can ask myself: “IS IT KIND?”

I made the letters by typing the words in Cooper, font size 120, printing, then tracing them in my Bible.

I noticed a reference to this woman making tapestry (vs. 22) so doodled tapestry-like designs inside the letters using various sizes of Pigma Micron pens.  At first I was going to add colour as well but after doing the flower and heart decorations (pencil crayons) I felt the page was busy enough, so left the words in black and white.

Prov 31-26 IsItKind

This isn’t the first time I’ve meditated on the “law of kindness.” My 2015 Mother’s Day meditation in Other Food Devos was on that very subject. It even contains a list of some of the things that are part of the “law of kindness.” You can read it HERE.

I asked myself then, and still today: If someone wrote about me in a Proverbs 31 way, would they say my tongue was governed by kindness? I know the answer. A little more adding and diligence is definitely in order (2 Peter 1:5-7). What about you?