Waves over me #BibleJournaling

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With the recent rains and cooler temperatures it feels like summer is over. But what a summer it’s been! In our little corner of earth it’s been unusually hot and dry with hundreds of wildfires burning in the hinterland of the province. Thousands have had to leave their fire-endangered homes to take refuge in temporary shelters till the threat passed.

In other places hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes have been the threats—threats that are ongoing for some.

Psalm 42 seems like an appropriate expression for so many people:

“My tears have been my food day and night,
While they continually say to me,
‘Where is your God?’” – Psalm 42:3.

and

“Deep calls unto deep at the noise of your waterfalls
All your waves and billows have gone over me” – Psalm 42:7.

Rebekah R. Jones tackled this psalm in her Original Bible Art Journal Challenge series, Week 20 blog post and video. Her interpretation was a double-page spread of stylized waves, rendered in brilliant Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pens. So pretty!

I decided to go realistic instead and, using pencil and pencil crayon, journaled a wave with a person standing just below it, about to be swamped by its breaking force. I’m sure that’s how many people have felt as they’ve faced this summer’s natural (and other) disasters.

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Bible Art Journal entry for Psalm 42:7,8  (V. Nesdoly)

But God is still in the house, despite what it looks or feels like. With the Sons of Korah we can say:

“The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime,
And in the night, His song shall be with me—
A prayer to the God of my life” – Psalm 42:8.

 

(Note the sun rays peeking out behind the cloud and spray.)

May your “prayers to the God of my life” lead to “songs in the night,” whatever life is throwing at you.

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.

 

Promises for new beginnings #BibleJournaling

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The day after Labour Day (that would be today) always feels like an end and a beginning: summer vacation has officially ended, the new school year begins.

New brings excitement and anticipation. But it can also hold dread, worry, and anxiety, especially for students and their parents.

Two passages that have meant a lot to me when I face the future, worrisome or not, are from Isaiah 41 and Matthew 6.

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Bible art journal for Isaiah 41:10 (© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly)

“Fear not for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10.

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Bible art journal for Matthew 6:25-30 – (© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly)

“‘Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body what you will put on…

Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them …

Consider the lilies of the field how they grow: they neither toil nor spin ….

Now if God so clothes the grass of the field… will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith’” – Jesus in Matthew 6:25-30.

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“teach me” poem tip-in (© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly)

And the tip-in poem:

teach me

the sweet leisureliness
of being a lily
the implicit trust
of my child-hand
in Yours
the unlikely joy
that sings sparrow-songs
even when I’m on the ground

VN – 2007

The lettering and doodles were done with pen, coloured with pencil crayons. I printed the tip-in poem on tracing paper and stuck in place with Washi tape.

Wishing all students and their parents a “God-with-you” first day of school!!

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Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

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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When you don’t have a clue … #BibleJournaling

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Do you believe in prayer? Or a better question might be, do you believe that God acts in response to our prayers?

Prayer was the sermon topic at church on August 6th. Jason, one of our talented young pastors, began his talk by reading the story of Peter encountering the lame beggar on his way into church. The beggar asked for money. Peter replied, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you” – Acts 3:6. Then he brought the man healing in Jesus’ name.

Jason suggested this, I think profound, paradigm for Christ-followers: “When we’re out of our resources, we’re not at the end of our service.”

So true! We may not have a clue about what to do and may not have anything to give. But we can invite Someone into the situation who has more than a clue and can make every difference!

Jason’s talk was a challenge to bring Jesus into situations through prayer, not only during formal prayer times but for each other in unlikely places, during and about the ups and downs of life. Through prayer, we can invite God’s limitless resources and power into difficult, even impossible circumstances. (You can hear/watch all of Jason’s sermon “Intro to Prayer Ministry” HERE.)

I journaled Jason’s statement in my Bible so I wouldn’t forget.

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Bible Art Journaling – Acts 3:6-8 (Photo © 2017 by V. Nesdoly)

Fire Test #BibleJournaling

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You may have heard about the wildfires that are devastating the interior of B.C. Here in the southwest corner of the province we have been getting a daily reminder of those fires in hazy, smoke-filled skies. Though we’ve had a stretch of clear weather, the sky lights up late and darkens early under an other-worldly red sun.

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The sun Sunday, 8:00 p.m. (Photo © 2017 by V. Nesdoly)

But I’m not complaining. Especially not when I think of the hundreds that have been evacuated from their homes and those who have lost them altogether to the flames.

The recent smoky skies have brought to mind a Bible woman who lost her home to fire. Lot’s wife reacted like I can see myself acting when strangers hurried her, her husband Lot, and their two daughters from their home in Sodom. She didn’t want to go. I think we can say that her look back showed how conflicted she was about leaving home (read the story in Genesis 19:15-26).

Last week I did a Bible art journal entry on Lot’s wife. I drew her frozen in time, looking back at her burning city.

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Then I added, as a tip-in page, a poem I wrote about her nine years ago. In it, I tried to imagine what was going through her mind as she was being pulled away from her home.

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Fire Test

Who are these strangers to command we leave?
Right now? You wear the embroidered robe
I’ll take the pouch. What about food
and drink, our girls’ betrothed?

Why are we rushing from all we’ve ever wanted?
My beautiful home, the market so handy,
your place at the gate, our hope of grandsons?

Wait! I’m hot and thirsty, out of breath,
Reminds me of those desert days—
the dusty road, the heat
my sweaty body, my sore feet.

Where are we going? I’ve had enough of traveling!
I refuse to take another step. Turn back
to everything I own, have ever wanted, loved.

What? Is that smoke on the horizon?
Are those flames? My house, my dreams
my things—all I’ve ever lived for!
My beloved Sod—

VN – 2008

The implied question I ask myself—and the reader—through the poem is, could it be that my life is also too bound up in earthly things—my possessions, position, lifestyle, home? It’s a question that occurs to me again as I see people forced to leave their homes in real life.

It also reminds me that God will someday pass our lives through a real fire test (1 Corinthians 3:11-15). If all we’ve put our faith and hope in is our physical life on earth with all its accessories (including our houses, things, lifestyle, position, career) they will burn up then, even if they last through this life.

Let’s be sure we invest our time and talents in things that are inflammable. What would you suggest those things might be?

I will remember #BibleJournaling

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In her video series on Bible Journaling, Rebekah R. Jones remembers the story of her miracle healing in a Bible art journal project connected to Psalm 77:11:

“I will remember the works of the LORD;
Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.”

She demonstrates, on the video, how to make a striking rainbow page out of vellum, colored with gelatos and the word “REMEMBER” at the bottom. (You can watch it below.)

She challenges her reader, in the accompanying blog devotional:

“Will you take time to think back to a time in your own life when God reached out and poured His goodness on You? Will you thank Him again for it … Create something this week that helps you remember God’s wondrous works.”

Thinking back over my life, I can’t say I have a story of a miraculous healing or provision. But I am thankful for a quiet miracle of sorts.

Just over 20 years ago, when my kids were finally both in school and my home-based medical transcription business was established, I revisited a teenage dream—to be a writer.

All my life I’ve been a reader and for years had promised myself someday I’d be a writer—a published writer. Approaching a milestone birthday back then, I decided to do something about my dream.

I enrolled in a correspondence writing course and lo-and-behold, less than two years later, in March of 1997, I sold my first piece—a devotional to Keys for Kids. (Believe it or not, they’re still around!)

All these years later, I’m still writing. No, I’m not famous, but I do have three binders of clips to show that God has helped me realize a teenage dream.

My art journal drawing is an old-fashioned feather quill pen and a few books, including the Bible and My Utmost for His Highest (a fav devotional).

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The verse I chose to put on the scroll (Psalm 102:18) expresses what reading and writing have meant and still mean to me. I have been impacted spiritually far more by especially memoirs and biographies than any lecture or Bible study class. What a supernatural thing God does with words, quickening them within the reader to spiritual life though they may have been written decades earlier and continents away!

The dove with a leaf in its mouth, signifying the life-giving Holy Spirit, is what I desire for the devotions, articles, poems, blog posts, and books that I write.

What life memories does Psalm 77:11 evoke in you?