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.

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?

Springtime of a new habit (SJfT)

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Hi, and welcome to my blog this Spiritual Journey (first) Thursday of April. I’m your host today.

Have you ever experienced things coming together in your life in surprising yet seemingly meant-to-be kinds of ways? That has just happened to me.

Late last year I felt the urge to again pursue an old love of sketching and drawing. My son gave me a sketchbook and set of drawing pencils for Christmas and I have since spent many hours making pencil sketches from photographs.

Then, a few weeks ago, I got an email from the publicist at Fox Chapel Publishing, asking if I’d be interested reviewing a book they’ve recently published—Complete Guide to Bible Journaling.

I had seen journaling Bibles for sale but was never sure how they were meant to be used. This might be a good opportunity to find out, I thought. And any kind of how-to combining journaling and the Bible into perhaps some kind of spiritual practice or discipline interested me, so I said, yes, I’d review the book.

61dwrZAkbaLIt arrived about two weeks ago. On opening it, I was immediately smitten. For I quickly discovered that Bible journaling is a movement (and you might all know this, but it was news to me) that is not concerned with just writing reflections, thoughts, sermon or lecture notes in the roomy margins of specially designed journaling Bibles, but drawing, sketching, illuminating, decorating, lettering, scrapbooking, and even painting in one’s Bible!

“In its simplest definition, Bible journaling is a way to express your faith creatively. Putting pen to paper is a great way to remember and record biblical concepts that are meaningful and relevant to your life” Complete Guide to Bible Journaling, p. 8.

The guidebook is helpful and beautiful with sections on what Bible journaling is, tips, tools and techniques, eleven profiles of Bible journaling artists, a gallery of amazing Bible journal pages, and a bonus section of stickers, line art objects to copy, and many pages of traceable banners, borders, flowers, animals, words, etc.

I promptly looked through my bookshelf and found an old wide-margined notebook New Testament from my student days. Though I have since ordered a complete journaling Bible, while I wait for it to arrive I’m already experiencing the springtime of a new-to-me spiritual practice.

And it does seem like a set-up from our loving Heavenly Father! For here is a very meaningful and fun way for me to put my enjoyment of the graphic arts to use in Bible reading, meditation and worship.

Here are a couple of my early efforts. Explanation of my thought process is in purple.

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My first Bible journaling effort–my OLW “Listen.”

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Phil. 4:6,7 is my life verse. I had to illustrate that next.

I have often imagined taking off  worries and concerns in prayer as taking off a backpack and leaving that pack loaded with my cares with the Lord. In this illustration, I pictured that as leaving them at the cross.

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Detail 1 of previous page.

The thought of leaving cares at the cross brought to mind a snippet of a verse that talks about that. Google to the rescue and I soon had the verse’s reference–from Isaiah.

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Detail 2 of previous page.

On further reflection, I realized that one doesn’t go from prayer with a merely lightened load, but with new clothes! Another verse from Isaiah speaks of that. (In my sketch, I didn’t want to draw a person or a robe, so chose to illustrate this idea with an empty box–just tissue paper left.)

And now I’m eager to find out what spiritual adventures you’ve been having.  Please leave the links to your Spiritual Journey (first) Thursday posts with Mr. Linky—and thanks so much for joining in!


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