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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Transformation #BibleJournaling

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Today’s Bible art-journaling project is another Rebekah Jones Challenge (OBAJC Week 13). The focus verse is a favourite of mine. It’s a challenge to illustrate but even more to live:

“And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2.

For her art project Rebekah traced a vintage line-drawing of the brain onto the Bible page, then used the stencil of a splash to superimpose neon colour splashes (with acrylic paint) onto half of that brain drawing. The words “Be Transformed” completed the stunning image.

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To do my Romans 12:2 project, I gave some thought to how I might use the brain image but show transformation in a different way than colour splashes.

A butterfly came to mind. (Cliché? Yes, I know, but butterflies are so much fun to draw and colour.) Instead of drawing a realistic chrysalis from which my butterfly is emerging, I tried to make it resemble a brain. I used pencil crayons to colour my drawing.

  1. Rom 12_2-1

Later I recalled a poem I wrote over ten years ago, on the topic of transformation. Written from the viewpoint of a caterpillar in the process of being changed into a butterfly, it seemed like a good companion to my butterfly sketch.

I drew and coloured (also using pencil crayons) a chrysalis image I found online onto the opposite Bible page, wrote the poem on tracing paper and attached it to the Bible with washi tape as a tip-out.

Rom 12_2-2Rom 12_2-3

TRANSFORMATION

Shut away inside this silken crypt
I long for undulation on the pavements
wriggling up trunks and along branches
munching leaf to leaf.

Those carefree sunny days
have given way to terror
as motionless, deaf and blind
I feel Your acid-enzyme melt my heart
liquefy all that is earth-bound.

So I abandon any hope of preservation
as, redefined and reinvented
in this dark and secret vault
I’m given a new heart, antenna, legs – and wings?

Entombed–for what?
It’s surely death.
Could it also be
a new and unimagined life?

© 2006 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

Thinking about our transformation, that renewing of the mind, I wonder, is it ever done? Until we die physically it seems we must keep dying many little mind-deaths to the sinful thoughts and attitudes that so naturally emerge. We need to keep having our minds renewed and transformed, even though it sometimes feels like death.

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.

The Parables of Jesus Coloring Book (review)

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Parables-CBThe Parables of Jesus Coloring Book Devotional by Laura James

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Parables of Jesus is a coloring book and devotional in one. Each of its 46 readings focuses on one of Jesus’ parables. The coloring picture that follows relates to the reading.

The devotional readings begin with the parable or part of it quoted from the Bible. The entry lists, as well, other places in the gospels where Jesus tells the same story.

The devotional readings include a variety of things such as explanations of the first-century customs behind the word pictures in Jesus’ story, how the people in Jesus’ day might have understood the parable, and a practical application from Jesus’ picturesque stories to our twenty-first century lives.

Devotions end sometimes with a prayer, sometimes with a question to answer, and sometimes with a challenge of how to apply the parable to life. Devotional pages are framed on one corner with a leafy border—also to color.

The pictures that follow each devotional illustrate the parable. There are lots of scenes with people as well as objects. The style of the people in the pictures reminded me of figures found in Egyptian art. The “About the Author” section of the book’s listing identify the style: “… reminiscent of Ethiopian Christian Art.”

Each devotion and coloring picture is printed on the right-hand (odd-numbered) side of the page with the opposite side blank—except for when the devotion needs more than one page, and it completes overleaf. The book is printed on heavy white paper, suitable for a variety of coloring media.

The book concludes with two lined pages for notes.

I found the devotions drew me in and helped me to know how to better relate to and apply these familiar but sometimes mysterious stories.

The format with its left-side pages of white space made the book feel uncluttered and peaceful. Users could write their own thoughts and responses to the devotions in the space or leave it blank.

The consistent style of the drawings throughout gives this coloring book the appearance of an illustrated picture book. The illustrations would only be enhanced with color added, making it a perfect book to color and give away as an illustrated devotional.

This is a beautiful and inspiring book, designed to provide hours of coloring meditation.

I received The Parables of Jesus Coloring Book Devotional as a gift from Hachette Book Group for the purpose of writing a review.

View all my reviews

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.

Ps 104-24a

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.

Prov 18_10-tower

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!