Psalm 23 — a lifetime in my Bible margin #BibleJournaling

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I’ve read Psalm 23 many times (perhaps you have too). And so when I saw that David Kitz gave it two chapters in his book Psalms Alive,* I was curious what he’d all find to say about these six familiar verses.

After reading it, my chapters now have many red underlines. Several of those quotes figure in the doodle I call a lifetime in the margin of my Bible.

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Bible art journal entry for Psalm 23 (Photo © 2017 by V. Nesdoly)

The words I printed on the path are a compilation of a couple of sentences from p. 49 which is so true of the Christian life. Working up from the bottom to the top: “Surrendering the leadership role in my life to the Good Shepherd is a daily conscious decision to follow where He leads.”

The many challenges to that daily conscious decision to follow His lead are depicted by the highways (to Ease, Wealth, Pleasure, Fame, Popularity—and I could have added many more) branching off from the narrow road.

Near the top of the path (near the skull depicting the “valley of the shadow of death”) is this bit that I find most comforting: “During our darkest hour He holds us closest” – p. 54.

And finally at the very top, when we’ve reached our Welcome Home banquet and the golden city: “A good life extends through all eternity”– p. 59. (Hallelujah!)

Singer Audrey Assad sings a lovely song based on the memorable phrase “I shall not want” from this psalm. Enjoy!

*The book of Psalms in the Bible and Psalms Alive by David Kitz are the books some friends and I are reading and responding to creatively in a several-week study.

God’s Word #BibleJournaling

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I recently joined a group of friends for a creative Bible study in Psalms. Using the book Psalms Alive by David Kitz, we’ll be working our way through several Psalms in the next weeks. We share our thoughts and creations in a Facebook group (since we’re far apart geographically).

We started our study by reading David’s Preface. I underlined statements like:

“Within the Psalms we hear the deepest longings of the human heart.”

“When we handle the Word of God, we are handling life.”

and

“When we take hold of the Word of God, it takes hold of us.”

That last really grabbed my imagination, so I decided to reflect on it in a drawing. I paired it with Psalm 119:25-32, which is full of how God’s Word, interacting with us, brings changes—positive changes.

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Bible Journal  entry for Psalm 119:25-32 (Photo © 2017 by V. Nesdoly)

Let’s accept the challenge to allow God’s word to revive us, teach us, strengthen us, give us understanding, remove things from us, and more as we move toward the goal of a God-enlarged heart:

“I will run the course of Your commandments,
For You shall enlarge my heart” – Psalm 119:32.

 

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.

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.

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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.

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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.