New Bible!

The other day, I came home to a package on my front door.  I opened it and found a brand new journaling Bible.  It’s  the New King James Version from Holman Bible Publishers, and it’s just beautiful.  I love the layout and that it’s the same version my grandmother read.  It includes some really helpful and useful tools:  a concordance, a daily reading plan, and maps.

new bible


The Bible was sent to me by the little brother of my oldest and dearest friend.  My friend and I have been through every major joy and sorrow together since the first day of kindergarten.  It’s such a blessing in my life to have a friend for those moments when emotion hits unexpectedly.  I can call her up and she knows the whole back story.  She understands and has just the right words to say.  Even though we live too far apart, she is always in my heart and prayers!  As I was thinking about my dear friend, I reflected on the countless hours we spend as children, drawing and coloring together.  Truth be told, when we get together we still break out the coloring books and markers!  No doubt, our experience together is how I know that doodling in my Bible is the very best way to grow in friendship with God.  I am feeling so grateful for the gift of this new Bible and also the gift of friendship!  James 1:17 felt like the right place to celebrate both!

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What Is a Luminous Life?

I was looking back over my recent posts about a luminous life.  I picked a take away from each reflection to write an answer to the question:  What Is a Luminous Life?

A luminous life is filled with warmth and love.  We can look to the light, even in the midst of troubles, have faith in God’s greatness, and remain open to learning from all life’s experiences.  God’s light is healing when we’ve been misunderstood.  We know that God knows the truth about us and sees our heart.  Instead of troubled nights, God’s light gives us joy and peace.  God’s light can also shine on the dark places within us to help us clean up our act as needed.    A luminous life is one that is plugged into the source of true light so that we shine brightly.  God’s light helps us to see the image of God in each person we meet and helps us see ourselves more clearly, too.  God’s light allows us to bloom and be ourselves in front of any audience.  It is a light that brings us out of hiding and gives us fellowship with God and one another.

Walk in the Light

The original question that prompted my series of posts about light was:  “What would a ‘luminous’ life look like for you?”  Lisa Nichols Hickman then listed six Bible verses for reflection.  When I heard the question, the verse that first came to mind for me was 1 John 1:7:

But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

I would say that luminous life is walked in the light, where we have fellowship with God and others and we can be assured that whatever causes us shame has been nailed to the cross.  There’s never a reason to hide or lurk in the shadows.  We are always welcome.  We are always surrounded by love, light, and power.

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Light of the World

When I first illustrated this passage, I did so while reflecting on how Jesus sorted out the problem of the woman caught in adultery, how his light helped everyone look inward and see their own nature more clearly, leaving no one to throw stones.  Today, I kept reading through John, Chapter 8, and was filled with a bittersweet feeling, sadness mixed with love and admiration for Jesus.  Things turn ugly quickly in the chapter between Jesus and those who seem blind to who stands before them.  I could feel the jeers and mock interest, the sense of superiority from those who questioned him.  Here are the comments of the crowd (it’s like they are throwing verbal stones at Jesus):

  • You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.
  • Where is your Father?
  • Will he kill himself, since he says, ‘where I am going, you cannot come’?
  • Who are you?
  • We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone?  How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?
  • Abraham is our father.
  • We were not born of sexual immorality.  We have one Father—even God.
  • Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?
  • Now we know that you have a demon!  Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say ‘If anyone keeps my word, he will never taste death’ Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died?  And the prophets died!  Who do you make yourself out to be?”’
  • You are not yet fifty years old and have you seen Abraham?

If I were more of a theologian, there’s a lot of interesting food for thought in the conversation between Jesus and his detractors.  Jesus shares relatively clearly that he is the messiah, that he and the Father are two persons, but also one in their divinity.  Here are just a few of the replies from Jesus:

  • I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.  (This verse recalls the prophet Isaiah and his description of the messiah–Isaiah 49:6.)
  • In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true.  I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.  (Two persons of the trinity discussed.)
  • Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was I am.  (Quite possibly the clearest declaration of the divinity of Jesus by Jesus—“I am” is God’s holy name.)

And those who hear him say these words are really ready to throw stones at him, so shortly after they walked away from the lady caught in adultery, but Jesus hides himself and leaves the temple.

The whole passage begins, Jesus got up early and went to the Temple.  He just seems to have planted himself through all kinds of tests and questioning.  His light was shining, and most of those around him did not seem to like it at all.  This is a hard passage to read because it hurts to imagine myself being where Jesus is, telling truth to unreceptive ears.  This is when I retreat into my turtle shell, and just put my light under a basket.  But Jesus always shows a better way!  The passage reminded me of C.S. Lewis saying that all of us need to make the decision, was Jesus a lunatic, a liar, or Lord?  I’ve answered that question for myself, and I wish I could have been in that crowd just sending Jesus my love.  I feel like this passage is also a reminder to not look past others or see oneself as superior, but to see the image of God in each person that we meet, not to think better of ourselves than we ought.  Jesus reminds us that whatever we do for the least, we do unto him.

LIGHT OF THE WORLD

I just used copy paper for the tip-in.  I cut letters out of masking tape and colored over them with gelatos.  I used stamps from my new stamp set from Growing Meadows, too.

The prayer on the inside of the tip-in reads:

Jesus, you are the light of the world.  Help me to by myself always without worry of what others might think.  Teach me to trust God’s timing as you did and to shine for you in front of any audience.  Open my eyes to your image in each person I meet.

Let Your Light Shine

I am continuing on the theme of Bible verses that speak to an illuminated life.  The next verse listed in Writing in the Margins on this topic is Matthew 5:16:

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

For this verse, I waited for a set of stamps that I ordered from Tai Bender’s Growing Meadows Etsy Shop.  They are super cute and a perfect size for Bible Journaling!  Clear stamps are totally the way to go for Bible journaling because it is so much easier to position them correctly!

I’ve illustrated this passage before, but sometimes it’s nice to come back to the same verse and read it in a new way.  When I first read the passage, I read it as speaking to followers of Jesus as a group.  Today it spoke more to me personally.  I feel like most of the time the light that burns so brightly in me is under a basket.  One of my biggest worries is that people will say about me only:  “She’s a nice person” without being able to see clearly that I am a Christian, a disciple of Jesus.

I know personally I find myself feeling alone as a Christian in a secular world quite often.  Even this blog is something of an open secret; it doesn’t come up in conversation often with family and friends.    I’ve spent so much time in a secular world that I am honestly very quiet about my faith.  It pops out now and again if I feel comfortable and if I feel the other person will be receptive, but most of the time I talk about the things normal people do.  Meanwhile, on the inside, my head, heart, and imagination are always spinning.  I feel blessed by a rich interior life.  Sharing my random thoughts on this blog is a small step toward letting my light shine!

I am not sure what holds me back from shining more brightly for Jesus.  Praying for the light in me to always be connected to its source and to shine bright and clear!!!  I did a tip-in and show both front and back below…

light

The Light Shines in the Darkness

I’ve shared my reflections on the first chapter of John earlier in my post “A Prayer for the Lover of Truth.”  As I looked again at verses 3-5, thinking about what a luminous life might look like, the thought that came to me is that a luminous life is connected to the source.  The passage tells us that all things were made through Christ and that Jesus is the light of men.  Everyone has this light in them.

Reflecting on the light shining in dark places tonight seems to have the light shining on dark places inside me and the cobwebs that lurk there.  I was talking with a friend recently and she said to me, “You are a worrier.”  At first, I protested:  “No, no, I trust God.  I don’t worry about my life or the little things.”  But she corrected me saying “No, but you worry about the world.”  And I couldn’t argue with her there.  I walked away from the conversation thinking, if I can trust God with my life and the things that matter most to me, I ought to be able to trust that the whole world is in good hands.  Most of the things I worry about feel so far beyond my reach, my ability to touch a life or make a difference.  I need to learn to turn my worry into prayer and my prayer into trust and willingness to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit.  To illustrate this passage, I just did something simple.  I wrote the verse in white gel pen on deep purple origami paper and painted a light with acrylic paint.  On the inside I wrote this prayer:

Lord, May I always be plugged into the source of the true light!  Teach me to trust you in always.  Remind me when I start to worry that you are a mighty fortress!

It’s time to sweep out the cobwebs and remember that “Perfect love drives out all fear.”

mighty fortress