Listen #BibleJournaling

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At the beginning of each year I choose a word for the year. My word for 2017 is LISTEN.

I also always choose a Bible verse to go with that word. My verse for 2017 is John 10:3,4, where Jesus talks about the Good Shepherd calling his own sheep by name and the sheep recognizing his voice:

“To him (the sheep’s real shepherd) the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.

When I started Bible journaling some months ago, my first entry was on those verses from John. I illustrated them in an old journaling New Testament I had from way back (the copyright date in that Bible is 1973). The owls in that entry signify the wisdom of listening to Jesus’ voice.

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Bible Journal entry for John 10:3,4 NIV (Photo © 2017 by V. Nesdoly)

When I got my NKJV Journal the Word Bible, I illustrated that verse again. This time I did it with a cartoon-type lamb, delighted when she hears the shepherd calling her by name. How wonderfully personal it is to know that Jesus my shepherd leads me individually and personally and by name!

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Bible Journal for John 10:3,4 NKJV (Photo © 2017 by V. Nesdoly)

I have done other entries on listening this year too. One is from Isaiah 50:4,5. It is in a passage prophetic of Jesus:

“He awakens Me morning by morning,
He awakens My ear
To hear as the learned.
The Lord God has opened My ear;
And I was not rebellious
Nor did I turn away.”

 

Though this is a prophecy about Messiah, I have experienced this in my own life over the years I’ve written and posted devotional writings on the blog Other Food: Daily Devos. Every morning I wake early (without an alarm clock) and as I read and study the Bible, I get something for my own life and to share with others.

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Bible Journal for Isaiah 50:4,5 (Photo © 2017 by V. Nesdoly)

I am really enjoying this year’s focus on LISTEN. I’d like to find some more listening verses to journal before the year draws to a close. Any suggestions?

Materials used in these doodles:
Top: black pen and pencil crayons.
Middle: Pigma Micron pens, pencil crayons, water colour crayons.
Bottom: Pigma Micron pens, pencil crayons, washi tape.

We’re all works in progress #BibleJournaling

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If you love the Bible, I’m sure you have some favourite verses. I know I do. One of mine is Jeremiah 29:11.

Rebekah R. Jones’ Bible Art Journal project for this verse is HERE and gorgeous (as usual).

Limited by my supplies (also as usual), I cast about for some way to picture in my own way God working His thoughts and plans into life.

A page done by Karla Dornacher in the The Complete Guide to Bible Journaling gave me an idea. (It’s p. 61 in The Complete Guide, or you can view the graphic as a bookmark in Dornacher’s etsy shop HERE—second from the left.)

Here’s what I came up with:

 

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Bible Art Journal entry for Jeremiah 29:11-13  – V. Nesdoly

I combined the wording from two different Bible versions of Jeremiah 29:11. The NKJV speaks of God’s “thoughts” toward us, the NIV of God’s “plans.” I wanted both.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.'”- Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” – Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

God is not finished with me yet. That’s a comforting thought to me as I contemplate so much in my life that still needs work.

 

Hospitality #BibleJournaling

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Are you the kind of person who likes surprises thrown into your day? Or are you a scheduler who prefers to have your day outlined in your planner and then proceed according to plan?

I’m definitely the latter. So, a few weeks ago when I read, in Matthew 14, about Jesus’ botched up day plans, I took notice.

His relative John, who had baptized Him, had recently been arrested and imprisoned by Herod. Then, through the trickery of Herod’s partner Herodias, John was beheaded. His disciples disposed of his body then went to tell Jesus.

On hearing of John’s death, Jesus’ plan was to get away to a “deserted place by Himself,” no doubt to process this sad news and to grieve.

When He got to that deserted place, however, it wasn’t deserted at all. Instead, throngs were waiting for Him there with their sick.

Did Jesus express disappointment or frustration at having His plans changed? Did he dismiss the crowds or get His disciples to do it with “Sorry! The healer isn’t seeing people today”?

No. Instead, He was moved with compassion over their conditions, spent all day healing, and at day’s end, when the disciples wanted to send the crowds home, challenged them to feed everyone before they set off.

You have to be hospitable to the core to react toward the crowds like Jesus did in the face of grief, disappointment, and wrecked plans. For hospitality is first an attitude before it comes out in action. Jesus’ hospitality was the focus of my art journal entry for Matthew 14.

To make the illustration I transferred an online image of cupped hands onto tracing paper, then drew, cut out, and pasted the loaves and fishes into them. I attached the hands to my Bible page with Washi tape as a tip-out. They symbolize Jesus’ heart of hospitality.

I hope the image of loaded hands stays with me next time someone’s needs come between me and what’s written in my planner!

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“But Jesus said to them, ‘They do not need t go away. You give them something to eat'” – Matthew 14:16 (© 2017 by V. Nesdoly)

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We need the rain! #BibleJournaling

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Who would think, after the long, cold, wet winter and spring we’ve had, that our province (B.C.) would be panting for rain? Yet the hundreds of wildfires that have been burning for several weeks now have us praying for the relief of a physical downpour.

Hubby and I spent last weekend at a series of gospel music concerts in Red Deer, Alberta. Our drive home, though on a route well away from the fires, took us through kilometre after kilometre of smoke-filled air.

 

And so today I am attracted to the Bible art journal entry I made on July 6th. It was in response to this refreshing verse:

“For I will pour water on him who is thirsty,
And floods on the dry ground;
I will pour My Spirit on your descendants,
And my blessing on your offspring.” Isaiah 44:3.

The verse brought to mind a cloud pouring drops of rain. Rain is falling on the willows (Isaiah 44:4) which are already green because they live beside the river.

My Bible study in relation to it had me hunting for passages that spoke of how Holy Spirit’s rain benefits us. I printed the verse references inside the droplets and the description beside:

A Gift – Acts 2:38
For Prophecy – 1 Peter 1:10-12
On Young and Old – Joel 2:28
We can ask – Luke 11:13
Life-Giver – Romans 8:11
Baptizer – 1 Corinthians 12:13
Prays for us – Romans 8:26,27
Spirit of Grace and Supplication – Zechariah 12:19
Helper – John 14:6; 16:7
Teacher – John 2:27: Luke 12:12
For Power – Luke 24:29; Acts 1:8

I used Pigma Micron pens for the drawing and lettering, and pencil crayons to add color.

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Bible Art Journal for Isaiah 44:3 – (Photo © 2017 by V. Nesdoly)

Our surroundings—the tinder-dry forests and grasses, the smoke-filled air—are eloquent reminders of how we need physical rain. Do we as readily recognize our need for the rain of the Spirit? How might our spiritual drought manifest itself?

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.

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?

A new focus—Bible Journaling

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For the last little while things have been quiet on this blog as I haven’t been reading and reviewing as many books as I used to. However, the discovery of a new “art”—Bible journaling—will be changing that.

A little over a month ago I received, for the purpose of review, The Complete Guide to Bible Journaling. As someone who has always loved the graphic arts (though I’ve never excelled at them) this book with its examples of people’s visual responses to the Bible inspired me to try my hand at it.

As I’ve started Bible journaling and checked it out online, I’ve discovered it’s a big and only-getting-bigger area of interest for, especially, women who love the Bible, are visual learners, and good at making beautiful things. There’s so much to learn and so much to be inspired by.

I don’t expect I’ll ever reach the skill heights of lettering and drawing that many of these journalers show in the creations that illuminate the margins and sometimes entire pages of their journaling Bibles. But I love how the practice challenges me to interact with the God’s Word in a new way. And since the focus for my writing over the last few years has become “Bringing the Bible to Life” and I have this blog, I’ve decided to share a weekly Bible journaling post here. I have met other Bible journalers and hope to also feature some of them and their work.

To get started with this I searched my bookshelf and found an old Notebook New Testament from the 1970s. It’s only slightly used and with its wide margins is perfect for lettering and drawing. (I have since also bought an NKJV Journal The Word large print Bible, pictured below.)

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My first entry was for John 10:3-4—the verse connected with my one-little-word LISTEN for 2017. (I used ballpoint pen and pencil crayons.)

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Entry for John 10:3-4

My second entry was journaling my favourite passage in the whole Bible, which I think of as my life’s verses – Philippians 4:6-7. When I recite these words to myself, I envision taking off all my cares, worries, anxieties, and fears as I would a backpack, and leaving them with Jesus.

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Philippians 4:6-7

Verses from Isaiah came to mind as I worked. I especially wanted to remind myself that when I left those cares behind, I could leave wearing something far more wonderful. (I used ballpoint pen and pencil crayons for these drawings as well.)

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The 2-page spread.

I’m finding that in addition to being a lot of fun, these lettering and drawing exercises inspired by Bible passages are quite stickily helping me retain what I’ve learned.

Are you a Bible journaler? How did you discover it? What is it doing for and in you?