Light a Candle for Peace

I’ve been working through the Advent Devotional written by Catholic women for Catholic women called “Rooted in Hope.”  There are two main reasons that I chose it:

  • Over the past five or six years, I’ve made it a personal tradition to go to Midnight mass after I get my kids to bed and light a candle; it seems there’s always a prayer concern on my mind at Christmas.  This tradition began when our next door neighbors invited us over for a fish dinner and then let me tag along with them to the service, which was so beautiful that I’ve kept going even when they’ve been out of town.  I thought maybe this devotion would be a good way to prepare my heart.
  • The second reason has to do with what I do at mass: I can’t take communion at a Catholic church since I am Presbyterian, so I always just use the time to pray for unity among Christians.  One of the things that has warmed my heart the most about the Bible journaling movement is to see Christians from all denominations and backgrounds sharing art and supporting each other.  I have this deep hope that our art helps us see what we share in common:  our love for the Word and our love for Jesus.  As I light a candle for peace, I give thanks for the tie that bind us all together!

Here’s a window into the Bible Journaling I’ve been doing this week.  I’ve just been following the daily readings.

This passage from Isaiah 11 is a strange prophecy, one that seems to go against all the laws of nature: a wolf dwell with a lamb? But when we follow Jesus, we often do the unexpected: we choose forgiveness over getting even; we choose loyalty over just looking out for ourselves; we do what is right even when it’s hard or our actions might be misunderstood; we go the extra mile and turn the other cheek; we keep praying until our adversaries become friends; and we do not intentionally hurt or destroy. It may not make the headlines, but I am sure quiet moments of reconciliation made possible by Jesus happen all the time. From today’s devotion: “Salvation history unfolds one yes at a time.”

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The next devotion took me to Exodus where God meets Moses in the burning bush.  I never made this connection before, but Moses is much like the shepherds in the Christmas story, just tending his sheep when he hears God’s voice calling to him.  It is great encouragement to know that God is with us in whatever we are called to do.

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The next Bible story was unfamiliar to me.  When I have a tough time with a passage, I’ll often read it in a children’s Bible.  The Action Bible does a nice job with all of the book of Judges.  The mighty warrior, Gideon doubted God’s promise to him, and asks for a sign and then another sign.  So many times in life, we want God to give us a clear sign that we are on the right path.  God shows great patience to Gideon by filling his fleece with dew on one day and letting it be dry the next though the whole ground was wet with dew.  God still gives him the victory and St. Paul still lists him in the Hall of Faith.  That being said, I still think it’s best to walk by faith, not by fleece.

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I have read the story of Hannah in the temple many times.  Reading it again, what I noticed is how she prays; then she talks to the priest; and then she feels relief. She is a beautiful example of someone who casts all her anxiety on the Lord and then trusts that he cares for her.  I’ll light at least two candles this Christmas Eve, one for a dear friend, who is a faithful saint, and one for a tiny baby growing strong in the NICU.  These two pages gave me time in advance to pray for both.

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The following passage was selected for the Feast of Immaculate Conception.  I did not know what the feast of Immaculate Conception was all about.  I decided the quickest way to find out was to simply go to early morning mass on Friday.  I sat in the room for crying children because the church was surprisingly full and listened to the homily. As luck would have it, the school kids were there and the priest did a nice job teaching about the feast day. The priest explained that God had a plan for Mary from the moment of her conception to be the Mother of Jesus. I love how this ties into the Scripture passage chosen for today in the devotion: “He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and blameless before him in love.” It is easy for me to accept that God had a plan for Mary. God also has a plan for us to be adopted as God’s children.  That is something to celebrate!

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I’m in awe of the beautiful calligraphy by Carolyn Svellinger found in “Rooted in Hope”. I did my best to copy her handwriting from the book and then had fun with my Bible Journaling supplies.

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I went to bed last night reading the first chapter of Mark.  I was a little surprised that my pastor preached on this passage at church today.  She begins almost every sermon telling us the passage just read is one of her favorites, but today she confessed that she was preaching on a passage that was just ok for her.  She made me laugh when she said: “Everyone at Christmas wants to see the angels with tidings of joy, but there’s not as much enthusiasm for the man in the camel hair that eats honey and locusts and reminds us to confess our sins and repent.” Advent is a good time to straighten out what is crooked and smooth over what has been rough. It’s not just homes that need to be clean and ready; more importantly it is our hearts. We lit a candle for peace today; Peace on earth begins when we make peace with our God.

I am learning to love St. John the Babtist for how he chose to live a life of austerity and penance and how he prepared the way for Jesus and pointed others to him.  Is there such a thing as a St. John the Baptist Christmas ornament?  I’d love for him to make an appearance every Advent!

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I read the passage about John the Baptist before bed and woke up thinking:  “Remember that you are dust.”  This is a bit of a paradox because I know that God loves and cherishes me.  I know my worth is measured by this:  Jesus paid the price for me.  And at the same time, I know that I’m dust relative to the power and glory of God.  And there’s a freedom in that, which is hard to explain.  Remembering that I’m dust simply helps take the focus off of me and allows my heart to focus on Jesus.  And this gives me true peace.

 

 

 

Rooted in Hope

Welcome to Advent, the start of the liturgical year.  I always think of Christmas as the end of the year, but really, it’s just the beginning.

We start the season of Advent by lighting a candle for hope.

At our home here’s how that looked:  My parents came over for dinner last night and helped us decorate our Christmas tree.  We held an impromptu Advent candle lighting service.  My house was a little cleaner than usual, but my kitchen table was surrounded by the ordinary mess of too many craft supplies.  I quickly picked a Scripture to read.  My mom suggested singing a Christmas carol.  It turned out that none of us knew all the words to the first verse of “The First Noel”.  My daughter randomly ran from the table to get some bells.  For some reason,  some of the potatoes in my soup failed to get soft.  My mother concluded our Advent lighting ceremony, by saying in a solemn voice:  “God, we give you thanks that there is hope.”

And we all burst out laughing.  We start the liturgical year with hope, but we all know too well how things will go.  Sometimes having hope can seem comical.  When things don’t go as planned, I am grateful for friends who laugh, and when the situation calls for it, cry with me.  And I have to believe that even our clumsy attempts to honor God in our homes and with our lives are pleasing to God.

This morning at Sunday school, the story for the children was the three visitors who came to see Abraham and Sarah.  Abraham believed the visitors when he heard that he and his wife would have a child in their later years, but Sarah laughed.  I don’t blame Sarah at all for laughing.  I know too well the pain of waiting month after month for a common enough little miracle.  I think she laughed, not so much in disbelief, but to hide the pain of so many disappointments.  I have always loved the story of Sarah and Abraham and how thousands of years later her descendants still tell the story of how much Sarah wanted a baby and how long she waited.  Her story is also my story and I pray that my children will always know how I prayed for them, longed for them and hoped for them.  What always fills me with awe about the story of Sarah and Abraham:  through Jesus Christ our brother, we are living proof of the promise that God made to Abraham that his descendants would be more numerous than the stars.

We always start to prepare for Christmas with hope.  By spending more time in the Word this Christmas, my hope is that no matter what happens, my heart will be focused on Jesus, my true hope in all circumstances.  I’ve been following along a devotional, called appropriately enough: “Rooted in Hope.”  I love how the Illustrated Faith Advent kits work together with the Scripture readings.  Here’s the first of my Advent Bible Journaling Entries.

The St. Andrews Novena found its way into the margins of my Bible.  Praying a Christmas novena is a new experience for me, but I’m enjoying this simple meditation on the night that Christ was born.  I’ve been working in the “My Promise Bible” from King James Bibles.

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I was surprised at the simple way the prayer from the Illustrated Faith Advent kit was met by the Scripture in the “Rooted in Hope” devotional.  If you want to keep your heart on Christ through the Christmas season, there’s no better way that to have Scripture in your mouth and in your heart!  Spending time in the Word is the best gift you can give yourself this Christmas!

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I loved this assurance from the “Rooted in Hope” devotional:  “The Lord will strengthen you to the end.  It’s a journey and he’s taking it with you.”

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The page below will always remind me of the night that we put up our Christmas tree.  May I wait for Christ’s return with the same hope and excitement and eagerness to prepare that my children have for Christmas and always live as the servant he expects us to be, loving God and one another.

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May you be filled with hope (even if it comes mixed with laughter or tears) this Advent!

 

 

 

Gratitude Documented

It’s been a November with much journaling in my Bible thanks to Illustrated Faith and the Gratitude Documented project.  It was really satisfying to journal prompts (almost daily) together with other people from the Illustrated Faith community.  I loved seeing how people took the same idea and had such different responses.  It is wonderful to be strengthened by a community of believers sharing the same praises.  It was fun to make new connections and get to know others better through the art they shared.  Personally speaking, beginning my day with gratitude and a few minutes in my Bible improved my frame of mind all day.  I’m looking forward to beginning an Advent devotional, but I’m a bit sad this month is ending!

If you haven’t done so already, I would encourage anyone to join the Illustrated Faith Bible Journaling Community.  This group has over 43,000 members.  I can’t even imagine administrating a group like this, but from my experience, it has been a positive and uplifting way to connect to other people who are journaling in their Bibles, too!

Here’s just a few of the pictures I’ve done over the past month…I’m so grateful that we are created in the image of God to be creative!

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I am eternally grateful for my two children…

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And grateful for a home to take care of…

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And for the friend that I have in Jesus and all my friends.

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And grateful for God’s command that we take time to rest!

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I am grateful for the opportunity to share the margins of my Bible!  Thank you for following along.

I decided to do the Rooted in Hope Bible Study this Advent, written by a Catholic mama.  It’s a bit of a change for me, but I like how daily planning is combined with Scripture selections for the month of December.  I’ll be posting as often as I can through the month of December on my instagram page.  Historically, December has not been an easy month for me to do quiet time!  But maybe with the combination of good planning and good scripture it will happen.  Blessings!

 

Colors of Faith with Sherri Chan

Guest post by Lisa Nichols Hickman

Recently, the Bible journaling pages of Sherri Chan caught my eye.  On the Illustrated Faith Facebook page, Sherri posted an image of a Japanese cracked pot mended with gold.  Her image displayed the beauty of the practice of kintsukuroi.

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Once I saw those pictures, I had to get to know her!  She does not know any other Bible journalers in Asia, if you are one, or know someone, please let Sherri know!  You can enjoy Sherri’s artistic pages at her “Colors of Faith” Instagram page.  Here is the story Sherri shares about her experience with Bible journaling:

I was born in Taiwan, grew up in the U.S., and now live in Hong Kong. I’m married to a wonderful Godly husband, and a proud mother of two beautiful children. Ever since I became a Christian, I have always served in my local church. When I moved to Hong Kong 11 years ago, I have had the privilege of being a part of a global ministry called “Family Journey (Homecoming).” I do large-scale conference/gathering coordination and a lot of on-stage translation (mainly from English to Mandarin and vice versa.)

A few years ago, I came across a photo of someone’s pen drawing of an angel’s wing on a Bible. I thought it was a nice picture but the person must have gotten bored with reading or something. Then, I was invited to teach DTS at a YWAM’s base in India in December 2016. I stayed at the base leader’s home and his American wife showed me her journaling Bible and art journals. I never knew that such a thing (Bible journaling) even existed! I have seen people draw prophetic art at gatherings, but on a Bible as devotions?!? That was really an eye-opening time for me, and I realized that it could be something that I would enjoy.

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Immediately after returning from my trip to India, both caretakers for my parents-in-law suddenly left and my father-in-law’s health quickly deteriorated at the same time. I had to cut most of my travels to be at home for them. For the same reason, I found time for Bible journaling. I used to travel abroad two or three weeks in a month. If it weren’t for this, I don’t think I would ever have time to develop my Bible journaling, even if I wanted to. It was like the Lord made a sharp halt for me so that I could get started on this.

When I first met Pastor Bill Johnson in 2012, I asked him about how he reads his Bible so that he can get so MUCH more out of the same book that I am reading. He told me that he just loves the Word of God to a point that he reads the Bible as a leisure book whenever he has time. My first reaction inside was “You must be kidding!” I like reading the Bible, but reading it as a leisure book?!? I couldn’t picture myself loving it that much!

However, ever since I started Bible journaling, the Bible has come alive to me again but in different forms—in pictures, colors, symbols, and sounds. It sharpens my spiritual senses to His Spirit. Now, whenever I see nature, I think of some scriptures. When I hear songs or listen to sermons, I see pictures. Literally, I can sense how everything (the world) was “created and held by His Words” and I am immersed in His grace and power every day.

It also helps me to process emotions. One night, I couldn’t fall asleep after the doctor at the hospital told us to prepare for the worst for my father-in-law. I got up in the middle of the night and did the lion page. It reminded me how our God will always triumph gloriously even in the most difficult spots of life.

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When I started in Feb 2017, I didn’t know how to do art journaling in my Bible (nor had I done any type of art for over 30 years), so I browsed through the work of others to get ideas. When I experimented with some art media that I read about online, the result was often not what I had expected. The first time (see this link for information on using gelatos) I used gelatos, I didn’t know that we could blend colors with a wet towel… All I saw were crayon-like smears! Then I drew the lines wrong. Yet, in the end, I heard the Lord say, “It’s ok. Nothing is wasted when you are with me.” To this day, that page remains as my favorite one because “I am safe when I take refuge under His wings.” (Referring to Ps 36:7-9 “feather” page.)

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At another time, I tried out a new technique using Tombow brush pens. I had learned from my previous experience that I should try everything on another piece of paper first. The result came out great on a card paper. But when I repeated that on my Bible, it was NOTHING like what I had achieved a few minutes ago. But it was too late. I didn’t know how to save it and had nothing bright enough to cover up the strong colors. I tried and tried… nothing seemed to work. I finally realized, in frustration, that this is my choice of worship… so will I choose to remain in His presence and continue to drink from the “fullness of joy”, or be anxious about a “messy-looking” page? It was then that I realized I can always choose joy over a “good” work, and nothing I do together with the Lord will be a waste, even when things do not come out as I had expected. (Referring to the “Psalm 16 Joy” page.)

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Now, instead of browsing online, I stay with what the Lord impresses on my heart. For one, it helps me to stay away from the trap of comparison. It also encourages me to spend more quiet time before God, which is actually the main purpose of my journaling.

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I sometimes get a picture, scripture, or concept at random times, so I always log them on my cell phone first. When I have time to do a page, I will go through that list and pray about which one to do, search online for a photo to serve as a base, then start. I still have some ideas that I probably can never draw, but it’s ok. More importantly, it’s getting that download from the Lord.

Doing bible journaling allows me to discover how I tend to stay with colors that I feel comfortable so I would intentionally break out of my comfort zones sometimes. Also, it helps to remove my fear of writing and provides a way to share what Papa Father deposited in my life over the years.

One of my favorite scripture verses is Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” I have done two pages on the same concept—my first page (I Cor 2:16, “Mind of Christ”) and the butterfly page (Rom 12:1-2, “Be Transformed”). Understanding the significance of this verse has really changed my journey with the Lord.

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Though I have been a Christian for over thirty years and served extensively for over ten years, I still find myself struggling with identity. Maybe because of my Asian background, I would often subconsciously define my value based on what I do (or what I can do), rather than who I truly am in Christ. If you ask me, my head knows all the correct answers, but they are not true beliefs in my heart. (I always shared that the greatest distance between me and my God is only 14 inches… from my head to my heart. Well, in my case, maybe 12 inches because I am not that tall. Haha.)

In 2014, the Lord told me to pay attention to my negative emotions and ask myself why I have them in the first place. Practicing this, I was surprised to discover how many lies of the enemy I had unknowingly believed, and how little faith I had in the words of God!

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For instance, I realized that I often get frustrated when things don’t go as I planned (totally not much faith in Rom 8:28), or feel insecure when I am no longer being needed (reflecting that I build my worth not on what He says about me in the scripture, but on what or how well I could perform.)

The mind is also the target of the enemy and where most of our spiritual battles take place. I have come to realize that, without having a transformed mind, we will never know who we are, who He is, or whose we are. We will always interpret life based on our history, our abilities, and/or our possessions (wealth, education, job, talents, etc.) Though saved, we are still orphans without a true connection with our loving Father. I would like to recommend a small book by Wendy Backlund, “Living from the Unseen: Reflections from a Transformed Life”. This book verbalizes many of the same experiences that I have gone through and it truly is a great resource to help anyone who wants to live with a transformed mind of Christ.

 

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Bible journaling is not popular in Asia. You cannot even find a single-column Bible in HK. (I had to order my ESV single-column Bible from Amazon in the States, which my son carried back to Hong Kong for me.) Soon after I started, the Lord told me to post my journal pages on Facebook. I felt really reluctant at first because it was like exposing my personal diary to the world. But the Lord said He wants to use this to encourage others to do the same. So I obeyed. For months, I only posted for my own friends. It was only last week that I felt led to post in the “Illustrated Faith-Bible Journaling Community”.

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I feel SOOOOOO surprised and honored to be interviewed/introduced like this. While I thought the Lord only wanted me to encourage my friends, I would have never known that I may one day be an encouragement to people whom I don’t know by using my art. Thank you so much for inviting me. It is a tremendous encouragement.

 

 

 

Connie Denninger, Visual Faith and Creative Havens

Many of you know the amazing work of Connie Denninger and her vision for “Visual Faith.”  Recently I had a chance to ask her about the story behind her work.  Here’s what she had to say:

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I have been a visual kinesthetic learner since my earliest memories. SHOW me and let me DO IT. Then it connects. I have been teaching Visual Faith practices for over twenty years with Keep the Faith projects that connect my personal faith story and His faithfulness, After meeting Sybil MacBeth at a Praying in Color event we hosted, I have been teaching Visual prayer practices for ten years. I jumped into the Bible Journaling communities when it first started. I think I was #43 in the Illustrated Faith Community that now has 42, 900 members. One of the early fascinations was the incredible need for community in the Bible Journaling world.

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Often members could not find anyone else that was “processing” life and Word this way. It was both permission-giving and affirming. The Holy Spirit used both of those in such a way that people were not able to “be silent” about what they were seeing and learning. They HAD to tell others.

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I had finished reading Lisa Hickman’s Writing in the Margins about 6 months before I stumbled onto Bible Journaling online. When I found out that Shanna Noel and Lisa didn’t know about each other and how the Lord was working in their own lives, it was time to bring them together. So Illustrated Faith- Virginia happened in Nov 2015, in Northern Virginia and I saw what it could possibly mean to raise up teachers and coaches to bring these visual faith practices to our families, churches and neighborhoods. Now that has evolved into the launch of Visual Faith Ministry- a website and ministry that brings together resources and a coaching and encouragement team that seeks to raise up the gifts of the laity in the Kingdom in a collaborative learning community. The Lord has been faithful. My role in all of this has been to be a “condoit” of grace that connects the gifts of His people.

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I don’t consider myself an artist in that I can draw “images”, but delight in using creative approaches for making a section of Scripture highlighted in a way that makes it easier for me to see and remember. These tools have been very helpful in dealing with my diagnosis of “spiritual amnesia” and the challenge to remember God’s faithfulness to me on a daily basis. Many of my additions in the margins center around events and celebrations and worship services. That connects to may support role to my husband who serves as a Bishop of the Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod in the Southeastern District. Often the entries are just the lectionary connections to the readings for a worship service. We refer to this as the simple practice of “worship into the week”. How does a worship service experience become the center of my meditation in His Word for the rest of the week? This has brought me much Joy- to simply spend more time in God’s Word.

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Most of my margin work is simply rewriting a small section of a Scripture reading that “stands out” in my reading. I often use an ancient practice called Lectio Divina that moves me to read a portion of Scripture a number of times and seek the words the Holy Spirit needs ME to SEE. One of the things I teach people is to turn their own handwriting into a font. So the words often are simply my own handwriting, with a “wild outline” that creates a space for adding colored pencil. I have not done well with looking at a font and “recreating” the letters. This has been my simple adjustment to allow my own writing to be the center of my marginal interactions. So a margin might start out with a rapid writing in the margin during a worship service and then the rest is finished during the week. It became an amazing blessing to realize that those scribbles, when pinned on Pinterest or shared in an online community becomes a witness of blessing to hundreds and thousands of people. My go to supplies are regular colored pencils, alpha stickers, a Micron or non-bleeding fine-point Sharpie and washi tape. However, anything is game to be in the margins- from magazine photos, to worship service images, or a pretty napkin.

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I love hosting open studio events called Creative Haven that invite a host of people to stop by, pick up a new visual prayer handout, try a new product or assemble a Make and Take project.

In November 2016, I got an email from Joanne Fink asking if I would help to take an editing look at her book- The Complete Guide to Bible Journaling. She found me on Instagram. She saw that my work is to teach others to teach others about visual faith engagement practices. What a fun experience and the forging of a wonderful relationship with Joanne. Our team now seeks to design ways to use her product line for Michael’s Stores in our Visual Faith communities. It has been a blessed connection to share in the 14 Facebook Visual Faith Communities in the United States and one in Israel outside of Jerusalem.

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One of my greatest joys is that Visual Faith connections have blessed the lives of my three daughters as they personally use these tools of engagement and bring the practices to others. It is truly a gift that blesses from one generation to another as we gather around tables in our homes and worship centers.

Connie Denninger—November 2017

My Promise Bible

Just when I thought that I had reviewed every coloring Bible, I received a request to review one more!  Christian Arts Gifts was kind enough to send me two copies of their new coloring Bible:  “My Promise Bible.”  I’ll be giving one away on Facebook soon!  Watch for it.

This Bible is in the King James Version and is the successor Bible to “My Creative Bible” with all new line art.  The Bible has a theme of God’s promises through both the art and the selection of verses that are illustrated.  It has two cover options:  Blue Butterflies and Pink Roses:

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The translation is the King James Version (KJV).  Much has been written and I can hardly do justice to the impact the KJV of the Bible has had on our culture and the English language.

I woke up this morning reflecting on what has helped the King James Bible stand the test of time.  (I was an economics major, so the exact question I was thinking: “What has given the KJV its durable advantage?”  As a matter of practical reality:  The KJV Bible has spent a seriously long time on the best seller list!  Why this 400-year-old version?)

  • The translation uses a word-for-word approach that must capture something of the rhythm and beauty of the original Greek and Hebrew.
  • It has been read aloud in congregations and been absorbed; it has a comforting familiarity.  Hundreds of words and phrases from the King James Bible have become part of our every day language.  If you are interested in just how many, I would encourage you to read the book:  Begat:  The King James Bible & the English Language by the linguist David Crystal.  The hymns we sing often include verses from the KJV.  Even with its “thees” and “thous”, which have fallen out of contemporary usage, the KJV still reads like one expects the Bible to read.
  • One English word that first appeared in the KJV is “network.”  I think the KJV of the Bible may be the first example of what’s known in the business world as “a network effect”.  The fact that so many people have used it over time increased the “value” of reading it.  There was a time when many people had just one book in their home and it was a King James Bible.  And the King James Bible has been read widely by influential thinkers, writers, and poets.  There are countless stories about the Bible changing the lives of individuals; it could be said without too much hyperbole that the King James Bible transformed the language and culture of the English-speaking world.
  • Another reason behind the success of the KJV must be Tyndale.  I just began reading a wonderful biography of Tyndale by David Teems.  In his own life experience, he shared much in common with the early Christians who wrote the New Testament.  He lived in exile and was burned at the stake as a heretic in 1536 because he translated the Bible into English (Latin was the language of the church).  His work of translating the Hebrew and Greek into English helped created the demand for an English Bible and demonstrated the beauty and power of the Word of God in English.  His life was cut short, so he did not translate the whole Bible, but many of the most memorable verses from the King James Bible, published in 1611, were first found in his work.  How the Bible spoke so clearly to him in his trials and his colorful gift for language still shape how we read the Bible in English.

Just as an example regarding the power of word choice:  Tyndale first crafted the heroic question:  “O Death, where is thy sting?”  Before Tyndale, Wycliffe translated the Latin Bible into English.  Here is his translation of 1 Corinthians 15:55:  Death, where is thy victory? Death, where is thy prick?  “Prick” just does not work as well!

I loved reading this whole passage from Tyndale…

Deeth where is thy stynge? Hell where is thy victory?  The stynge of deeth is synne: and the strength of synne is the lawe.  But thankes be vnto God which hath geven vs victory thorow oure Lorde Iesus Christ.  Therfore my deare brethren be ye stedfast and unmovable alwayes ryche in the workes of the Lorde for as moch as ye knowe how yt youre labour is not in vayne in the Lorde.

Spelling had not yet been standardized, but the words are totally and completely familiar, and it’s a comfort to me to think of Tyndale penning these words as so much of his work was thrown into the fire and he himself faced death.  In the Lord, his work was not in vain.  Nearly 500 years later, his work endured; praise God!

Thinking of Tyndale inspired my first page in this Bible…

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This “My Promise Bible” is a joy to work in.  I’ll share just a few more pictures.  I can hardly wait to color the inside cover.  At this point, I have seen many illustrations of the first passage of the Gospel of John.  I think this is my favorite!

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There are many whole pages to color.  Here is one:

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Here is the same page after adding some color.  I used Prismacolor Premier colored pencils and some gelly roll pens for detail…

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Many pages have line art in just the margins…

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The Bible provides an introduction to each chapter:

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At the back of the Bible is a section all about God’s promises with coloring pages for each theme…IMG_8363 1

The Bible also has some pages with room to write prayers and notes at the back:

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The very back page has a pocket with stickers and really pretty Bible tabs, pink for the rose Bible and blue for the butterfly Bible.

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The My Promise Bible is a relaxing and beautiful way to spend time in the King James Version of the Bible.

Growing up, I remember my mother telling my father that there were newer translations of the Bible, which took into account more recent scholarship and were easier to read, but my dad always read his King James Version.  I called him up today to ask what he liked so much about it.  He said that the Bible was his favorite because it was given to him by his grandmother, and it had her handwriting in it.  He went on to tell me about her kindness, her life of faith, and her complete dependence on God.  When I called, he was preparing for a Bible study on aging, and of all things, he was reading the passage:  “O death, where is thy sting?”  He said that was the last chapter on his book about aging.  We enjoyed a good laugh about the word “prick.”  God wink!

The KJV connects the generations.  I hope to give this Bible to my son so that he knows what it meant to my great grandmother, grandmother, father, and me!  My hope is to highlight in this Bible all the ways it has impacted our family and our culture and our language.  My prayer is that he will know the promises of God are for him, too!

Choosing a Journaling Bible

When I started Bible journaling, there were only a couple of journaling Bibles to choose from, and I am so glad that was the case!  I don’t know how I would choose today.

I hope to simplify the choices for you.

If you already have a translation of the Bible that you prefer or that is used in your church, you might start by looking for a journaling Bible in that translation.  To start searching, just go to Amazon and enter the translation you prefer and “Journaling Bible”.  (Catholic friends, a New American Bible, Revised Edition, will soon be available as a Journaling Bible.)

If you don’t have a strong translation preference, then I would recommend the English Standard Version (ESV).  Like the King James Version, this is a word-for-word translation of the Bible.  The Bible is suitable for scholarly study, reading in worship, and devotional reading.  I like this translation of the Bible in every way.  The Revised Standard Version (RSV) and the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) are the previous generations of this Bible.  The RSV is the translation my church gave me when I was little, and the NRSV is what I studied in college.

Crossway makes beautiful ESV journaling Bibles that hold up well to all kinds of art supplies.  Don’t be confused by the number of different covers.  There are just three basic models:

  1. Double column, a smaller Bible (Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.5 x 7.2 inches)
  2. Single column, just the right size with plenty of room for art (Dimensions:  6.5 x 1.6 x 8.4 inches).  There are large print options, too!  (Dimensions:  6.7 x 1.6 x 9.8 inches)
  3. Interleaved, a bigger Bible with a whole blank page for art (Dimensions:  7.1 x 2.5 x 10.1 inches)

Personally, I prefer the single column.  I like the way that the art and the text intermingle with the single column format.  If you want lots of room for art, you might prefer the interleaved.   I find the big blank page to be intimidating.

Below is a picture of the three Bibles to help you see the relative size…

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And here is the inside so that you can see the different format options…

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Beyond the basics, there are now coloring Bibles and so many to choose from.  Coloring Bibles are fun because they draw you right in.  You don’t have to plan out or design the page yourself; you can just start coloring and spending time in God’s word.  If you don’t like how a page is decorated or you just want to do something different, you can either add a tip-in or just cover up the original artwork.  I just find it’s nice to have a starting point.

I’ve been quietly collecting coloring Bibles.  Often people say that the best place to begin reading the Bible is with the Gospel of John, so I started there and colored the first page of the Gospel of John in seven different Bibles.  What surprised me was how each version helped me to reflect on the opening passage from the book of John in a new way.

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The coloring Bibles come in different translations.  Just to provide some perspective I’ve listed some common translations from the most literal word-for-word translation (King James) to the most paraphrased (The Message).

  1. The King James Version (word-for-word)
  2. The New King James Version (word-for-word)
  3. English Standard Version (word-for-word)
  4. The Holman Christian Standard Bible (a balance between word-for-word and thought-for-thought)
  5. The New International Version–More Bibles are sold in this translation than any other.  (A balance between word-for-word and thought-for-thought)
  6. The New Living Translation (Thought-for-thought, a successor Bible to “The Living Bible”)
  7. The Message (Paraphrase)

We are blessed as English-speakers to be able to read the Bible in our own language at just about any reading level. I think the goal of all Bible translators is to convey the original meaning of the ancient texts while making Scripture inviting and readable.  And if we have questions, about a specific translation we can compare it to others or even go online and explore the original Hebrew and Greek.

I’ll share a little about my experience with the various coloring Bibles…

The Inspire Praise Bible:  This is a brand new edition of the Inspire Bible with all new line art and a theme of Praise.  It is available in the New Living Translation.

What I liked?  This is a wonderful devotional Bible.  The illustrations are fresh and fun.  The Bible has a youthful feel.

Who would like this?  This is a good choice for most women, of any age, and a fun Bible to share with those that may be new to the Bible.

How I plan to use it?  I plan to use this in my every day devotions.  I’ll use it together with my Illustrated Faith Bible Journaling kits, starting this month with Gratitude Documented.

The Inspire Praise Bible devotes a whole page to this passage.  The verse that stood out to me with this illustration:  “And his life brought light to everyone.”

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The Inspire Bible:  This is the first edition of the Inspire Bible.  I thought it was wonderful.  I can’t believe they started from scratch!  And I like the new one even more.  It’s available in large print.

What I liked?  My favorite thing about the Inspire Bible is the selection of verses that are illustrated.  They are verses that have spoken to generation-after-generation.  I love being about to open the Bible and just start coloring.

Who would like this?  A good choice for most women, of any age.

How I plan to use it?  I haven’t filled this Bible up, so I’ll continue to use it for my daily devotions when I’m not using the Praise Bible.

In the Illustrated Faith Word Nerd Devotional Kit, the author suggested journaling the first passage of John and focusing on something new.  Every time I read this passage, I discover something new!

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The Message Canvas Bible:  The Message now is available as a journaling Bible and the editors and artists did an amazing job.

What I liked?  The illustrations are amazing and so much fun to color.   I love how the thoughtful illustration made me reflect on the text.

Who would like this?  Anyone who loves The Message or who loves to color.  The illustrations are less flowery than other coloring Bibles.  I would feel comfortable giving this to either a man or a woman.

How I plan to use this?  This is a Bible I would grab to relax, read, and color.  It’s a joy!

The illustrator combined the ideas of light and life in this sun with vines.  I love the light bursting over the open grave as an image of a light that darkness cannot overcome.  As I colored I thought of Jesus as the life and the light.  I wondered about the “I am” statements of Jesus in the gospel of John and wrote them all out:  The bread of life, the gate, the good shepherd, the resurrection and the life, the way the truth and the life, the vine.  This was my very favorite page for coloring and meditating on scripture.

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My Creative Bible:  This is a coloring Bible in the King James Version with many nicely done illustrations.

What I liked?  I enjoy coloring and reading the beautiful language of the original King James.

Who would like it?  Anyone who prefers the King James Version of the Bible.

How I plan to use it?  The Bible has a bit more of a vintage feel to it, so I was thinking of using it together with my Distress inks and markers to create a Bible that has the feel of an art journal.

The Creative Bible puts the most famous verse from each chapter of the Bible on the first page of each chapter.  I wanted to focus on John 1, so I made a tip-in inspired by an art journalng page from kath-allthatglitter.blogspot.com.

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Praise:  A Creative Journaling Bible:  This is another illustrated Bible of the King James Version.  The illustrations are largely plants and flowers.  One strange thing about this Bible:  Most journaling Bibles have faint lines for writing.  This Bible has thick black lines, thinly spaced.  I’m not sure who writes that small?

What I liked?   All the artwork is drawn by artist Laura Elizabeth Marshall, which gives the Bible a cohesive feel.  I love the gold edge on the pages.

Who would like it?  Gardeners and people who like flowers.

How I plan to use it?  I’ve been dreaming of doing a Bible journaling project on plants of the Bible.

I colored each of these leaves with three shades of green.  As I colored this simple illustration I was filled with awe about how much color and detail goes into all of creation. Since I plan to use this Bible to celebrate God’s creation, I thought it made sense to focus on the verse:  “All things were made by him.”

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The Beautiful Word:  The Beautiful Word Bibles from Zondervan are a series that comes in both small and large print and in two versions (NIV and New King James Version).  Some Beautiful Word Bibles come with full-color art.  Check and double check that you have the version you want!  (Zondervan also produces lovely journaling Bibles without line art in the NIV translation.)

What I liked?  I like the simple art.  It provides a good beginning for adding detail.  For a verse selection starting point, this Bible worked with BibleHub to identify the most searched for Bible verses.  The art will draw you into the Bible verses that people are searching for!

Who would like it?  Sunday school teachers.

How I plan to use it?  The NIV is the translation currently given to children at my church. Since I teach Sunday school,  I plan to journal the memory verses and the Bible stories in this Bible.

I added some artwork from Karla Dornacher’s book Bible Journaling – Everlasting Hope to the simple illustrations already on the page.  The verse is:  The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”  I enjoyed how the message paraphrases this:  “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.”  As I worked on this page I thought about how hope lives in the Gospel of John and also how hope lives in our neighborhoods as Christ lives in each of his followers.

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The HCSB Illustrator’s Notetaking Bible for Teens:  This Bible says that it is for teens; I think what makes it for teens is that there are some pages inserted with questions that teens often ask about Christianity and the Bible with thoughtful answers.  I think this Bible would be fine for any age.

Just speaking personally, I don’t find HSCB translation as inviting as some of the easier to read translations like the New Living Translation.  And it doesn’t have the comforting, familiar feeling of word-for-word translations like the King James or the English Standard Bible.

What I liked?  I like that the illustrations are more abstract, the text is nicely laid out on the page, and the paper is a crisp white.

Who would use it?  Suitable for men or women.

How I plan to use it?  I was thinking of using this Bible to write prayers, thoughts, and memories for my husband.

I pulled some colors from the cover of the Bible and just focused on God’s grace.  I do love how the HCSB translates John 1:16:  “Indeed, we all have received grace after grace from his fullness.”

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Can you have too many Bibles?  It may take me the rest of my life to fill these in.  I think each of these Bibles will end up having a distinct feel and purpose.  All of them gave me plenty of inspiration.

Thoughts on Journaling Bibles for Children.

For my kids, age 5 and 10, I simply bought them each a Crossway ESV Journaling Bible.  Once a child starts coloring in a Bible and adding stickers and detail, any Bible becomes a children’s Bible.  I think The Message Canvas Bible would be a good choice for boys or girls.  The Inspire Bible would probably appeal more to girls.  Another option for younger children who want to join you in Bible Journaling is My Own Keepsake Bible, a storybook coloring Bible…

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Ultimately, the best Bible is the one that you will use and my prayer is that you find one that fits your needs and draws you into the Word and closer to Jesus Christ, light of the World, the Word made flesh.

 

The Inspire Praise Bible

I signed up to receive an early release copy of the new Inspire Praise Bible.  (I’m not sure if they are still available or not, but I got the Inspire Praise Launch Team Package.)  When I saw the purple cover and heard that it had all new line art and thicker pages, I couldn’t wait!

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When it arrived, I looked at my Illustrated Faith “Word Nerd” kit and I looked at my “Inspire Praise Bible” and froze with a silly fear:  “I don’t know how to do purple.”  Don’t get me wrong, I really like purple, but I’ve been working with Illustrated Faith supplies since they were introduced, and historically, purple has been missing for the most part.

I took some pictures of my Bible and started a Pinterest board to get some color inspiration.  Now that I am over that initial hurdle, I am delighted!  (And I’m finding that most of my Illustrated Faith supplies still work great.)  This Bible has a theme:  Praise!  And it just feels natural to want to add my own words of praise as I illustrate the passages.  The Bible is just a little big bigger than the original Inspire Bible.  The pages are slightly thicker, but still feel like Bible paper.  I can still trace images through the paper.

What I love most about the Inspire Bible:  The illustrators of both the original Inspire Bible and the new Inspire Praise Bible have selected wonderful Biblical texts.  They have highlighted the verses from each book of the Bible that have spoken to generation after generation.  Someone new to the Bible could literally get drawn right into these beautiful passages.

A few thoughts about the translation:  The Bible is in the New Living Translation, which conveys the meaning of the ancient Hebrew and Greek on a thought-for-thought basis as we might speak today.  I find that translations that strive to stay word-for-word like the King James Version and the English Standard Version (which evolved from the Revised Standard Version) have a rhythm about them that is familiar even when the exact wording is slightly different.  That being said, the New Living Translation is inviting and clear.  As I read it, I find myself checking it against other translations, especially when I hit a passage I may have memorized before.  Generally, I have been pleased with how the thoughts are expressed, especially in terms of preserving the meaning while making the text easier to understand.

The combination of the illustrations with the easy-to-understand text make this a good Bible for both beginners and people who want to hear and experience the Word in a fresh way after having heard it all their lives.

Let me show you some pictures.  Here’s the inside cover…

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The back cover has a little pocket with some ready-to-color stickers….

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There is line art in the margins, but there are still plenty of pages with blank journaling space.

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And full pages to color.

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The Inspire Praise Bible also has some elegantly illustrated full-color vellum pages with room to journal…

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To get started, I printed out some different pages from the Illustrated Faith Print and Pray Shop.  I held the pages up to the Bible and found one that harmonized with the purples.  When the color is right everything just pops, and for me, it takes a little trial and error to find that magical moment of “Yes!”.  The page below is from the Seek Inspiration Journal Kit.

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Then I looked for colors in my art supplies to match the colors in the printable.  I’ve discovered that when I am drawn to a piece of artwork done by others, it’s often the colors that I love.  If I stick with the same color scheme in my own work, I’m almost always pleased with the final result.

After printing out the printable onto card stock, I cut the shapes with scissors, leaving a border of white around the edge, which makes cutting easier and also tends to look better than cutting too close the design.

Here’s my first page…

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I plan to be following along with Illustrate Faith’s Gratitude Documented this November, and I’ll be sharing my pictures on Instagram if you want to follow along.  I’m a little late to the Instagram party, but I so enjoy seeing the many, many Bible Journaling posts there.

Here’s a link to the free printable with prompts for the month of November.  Shanna Noel is hosting a pop-up group for this challenge if you would like to join in!

 

 

The Fullness of God Is Grace upon Grace

I am a little bit artsy, but I am over-the-top nerdy.  When the Word Nerd kit from Illustrated Faith Kit came out, I couldn’t wait for it to arrive.  I have been blessed as I let my inner nerd guide me through the devotional.

The first page I did was the dedication page in my Inspire Bible

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Week one of the Word Nerd kit from Illustrated Faith suggested reading the first chapter of John and responding to the text by taking note of something new.  I opened my Inspire Bible and the page had some line art on it.  I thought, I never thought about that verse before, so I’ll just color this page.  As I did so, something about the following translation of John 1:16 did not sit right with me:  :  “From His abundance, we have all received one gracious blessing after another.”

So I opened a ESV translation, which read. “From his fullness, we all have received, grace upon grace.”  And I felt a sigh from my heart:  “Ah, yes.”  But I didn’t fully understand.

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I looked at the “Week 4” card next:

Open to the Psalms and find one that speaks right to you.  What stirs your heart about it?  How does it feed you?

The Psalm that I picked for the “Week 4” card was Psalm 119, which seemed like a good idea at the time, since it fit the “Word Nerd” theme.  I ordered some cute background paper from the Illustrated Faith Print & Pray shop along with some additional printables that fit the Word Nerd theme.  The alphabet paper made me think I should learn the Hebrew alphabet as I journaled through Psalm 119, which is an acrostic poem and mentions a letter of the alphabet at the beginning of each 8-line section.  I practiced writing in Hebrew.  (I hope that I wrote:  “Blessed be God who teaches my hand to write.”)

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A minister who travels often to Israel told me that all Hebrew letters aren’t just letters, they represent a picture of something and the names of the letters are used as words and the letters all correspond to a number, so I decided I would make myself a little table.  What I didn’t know when I started this project is that people have spent decades studying the Hebrew alphabet and nobody agrees about all the pictures or the meanings.  What I was trying to do was not neatly possible.  I tried, but I left the table below in pencil so that I can revise it as I learn more and clarify my thinking.  For the spelling of Hebrew letters, I just used what was in my Bible, but don’t be surprised if you see alternative spelling elsewhere.

The letter “Beth” made it all seem so simple:  Early forms of Beth looked like a tent; the word is translated as “house” and the letter represents the number “2”, which is about division and the appearance of choice.  The chart below is as far as I could get in one week…

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If you look into the meaning of Hebrew Numbers, there are countless interpretations! I took what I read into consideration and then simply anchored the meaning of the first 10 numbers to the creation story.  Beyond 10, I held to the rule that the fullness of a number multiplied by 10 must show the fullness of meaning.  I have a deeply held conviction that numbers need to make sense and relate to one another!  (The numbers associated with the letters is part of a system called gematria, which seems to have emerged after the Bible was written.)

1 = God creates light and saw that it was good (God is one and God is good!).

2 = God separates the heavens from the earth (it’s the only day not declared good).

3 = Green life starts to grow (strength and hope).

4 = God puts the sun and the moon in the sky to mark the seasons (seasons).

5 = God creates the graceful birds of the sky and makes the water alive with fish (grace).

6 = God completes the work of creation (the whole of creation).

7 = God establishes us the Sabbath; a rest reminds us that God is sovereign; the world carries on without us (God’s sovereignty?).

8 = One beyond (life and eternity).

9 = New beginnings (Adam and Eve are told be fruitful and multiply; 9 months is the length of pregnancy).

10 = The fullness of God.

Curiously, once I finished my table, I understood why I struggled with the New Living translation of John 1:16:

God’s fullness (10) = Grace (5) + Grace (5)

I wondered if other combinations adding to ten would tell me something about the fullness of God.  I may be full of beans, but for me personally, it was a very satisfying result:

10 = The oneness of God (1) + new beginnings (9); God created this world and could start again.

10 = Choices (2) + life and eternity (8); God shows us fullness in that He gives us choices; the right choices lead to life and eternity and God gives us the Word to guide us.

10 = Hope (3) + Sovereignty (7); God is the one who gives us hope and is on the throne no matter what happens in the world and working all things together for God’s purpose.  (As a Presbyterian, this combination held a strong resonance for me.)

10 = Seasons and elements (4) + the whole of creation (6); God’s fullness is seen in the seasons and elements that make up this world and how everything in this world is connected.

10 = Grace (5) + Grace (5); God’s fullness is grace upon grace.

What still kind of astonishes me about the last equation:  the letters represented by the equation form God’s name.

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The “yah” is the number 10.  The “he” is the number 5.  “Vav” can mean “and”  Like I said, I may have made many wrong turns, but I understood or think I understand (on a very deep level!) what seemed not quite right about the New Living Translation of John 1:16.

I think that John may have tried to express his understanding of the meaning of God’s name. He was saying something that he held to be as true as 5+5=10.  I’ve seen grace defined as “unmerited favor.”  God is the one who gives favor to whom he pleases.  God will do what God will do.  God is who God is.  Praise God’s Holy Name!!!  God’s fullness is “awe” and “awe”!

That was my major blessing and discovery:  A sense of feeling God revealed in a most curious way.  And I just set out to learn a little about the Hebrew alphabet!

As I journaled my way through Psalm 119, I found it was very easy to learn new Hebrew words once I learned the alphabet.

One of the things that I love about Psalm 119 is how the whole Psalm affirms the relationship between virtue and happiness.

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I looked up the Hebrew word for love, which is “ah-ha-VA”.  But it turns out the word I should have been looking for was “chesed”, which is translated below as “unfailing love.”  My pastor tells me that “chesed” is the most frequently used Word in the Old Testament and that it is often translated as “loving-kindness.”  I suspect the New Testament writers were thinking of “chesed” when they wrote about love:  Love is patient; Love is kind.  We use the word “love” to describe all kinds of likes and fleeting feelings, but God’s love for us is the kind that never lets us go, that holds all of creation in a loving embrace.

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I just enjoyed reflecting on the goodness of God and God’s Word as I made this page.  There is truth to Psalm 119:45:  “I will walk in freedom for I have devoted myself to your commandments.”  As more and more people live by the ten commandments, we all experience greater freedom.

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The verse:  “You have done many good things for me” made me think of the Johnny Appleseed song that’s often sung as grace.  My favorite word that starts with “Teth” is “tob”, which means “good”.

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I am very blessed to have my grandmother’s Bible.  I pulled out her Bible to read Psalm 119 in it and found these notes from her:  “Why read the Bible?  To know salvation, to know how to be holy, to find comfort, to get values, to get wisdom, to have joy.”  I can tell from the notes in my grandmother’s Bible, how much comfort she took from the Word of God.

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There were too many fun verses to illustrate on this page!  I played around a little with trying to better understand the way that God’s word is a light.  The word for light is made up of the characters “aleph”, “vav”, and “resh”.  I got a little frustrated with the various definitions people provided for “aleph”.  I broke down and bought a Biblical Hebrew dictionary with Scripture references.

By far and away, the most common use for the word “aleph” is “one thousand”, which is a little confusing because the character “aleph” is used to represent “1”.  “Vav” is a connecting symbol.  And “resh” means beginning, but the picture represents a head.  So I was thinking of light and the Word as “strength for our heads.”

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I like how The Message translates Psalm 119:130.  “Break open your words.  Let the light shine out.  Let ordinary people see their meaning.”  Learning just a little bit about Hebrew has helped me break open some words, to see nuances that I didn’t see before, and to have better understanding.

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I could find eight different words for “The Word” in Psalm 119.  The number 8 is often about life and eternity.  The “chet”, the eighth letter of the alphabet, looks like a doorway.  Maybe the Word is a doorway to life and eternity.  (When I go looking for meaning, I often find it; I’m not always right!).

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Psalm 119 keeps giving me more and more reasons to love the Bible!

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Just learning the Hebrew letters gave me so much food for thought.  I had so many “ah-ha” moments.  I feel like I have a deeper understanding of many passages in both the Old and New Testaments.  I’ve felt God revealed in a way that I did not expect.  God wants our hearts, more so than our heads, but it can be a delight to make connections and seek out meaning.  I’ve discovered that it’s not about having the right answers, but about the journey of discovery as we continue to seek out the fullness of God.

If you would like to learn Hebrew Alphabet, make it easy on yourself and begin with a song.

I learned to write the Hebrew letters by watching a YouTube video by a Baptist pastor.

The website Ancient Hebrew Research Center, which was created by a man who simply got pulled into the study of Hebrew letters, shares what he has learned from looking at the history of the Hebrew alphabet from early forms of the letters to its present from.

Rabbi Trugman will take you deeper into the alphabet with his YouTube video series Secrets of the Hebrew Letters.

The best sight I found online was Hebrew for Christians.  He shares what he has learned from the Jewish tradition in a respectful way and yet see things from a Christian perspective.

If you want to see the Hebrew for a verse, Bible Hub shows it side-by-side with a word-for-word translation.  (Type in any verse.  The first page will be parallel translation.  Just click on the word “Hebrew”)

It’s been a great journey, but the final page I journaled on Psalm 119 is just a simple prayer to return to the ordinary focus of my days.

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Everlasting Hope by Karla Dornacher

I pre-ordered a copy of Everlasting Hope by Karla Dornacher because I love her inspired art and I knew she would create a great Bible journaling resource.  It arrived yesterday.  Just looking through the pictures, stickers, and images made me want to play in my Bible.  So many fun ideas.

Here’s some pictures from the book and below I’ll share the page I did this morning.

There’s the cover…

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Karla shares some illustrations from her Bible and also pictures to trace…

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There are two alphabets to practice.  Here’s one of them…

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And teacups!  Oh how I love teacups!

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Several pages on vellum to cut out and trace…

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And stickers!!!

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Every time I open my Inspire Bible, I turn to a page that has been colored on one side with oranges and greens and on the other side with pinks, purples, and bright yellows.  It’s a small thing, but I keep thinking that I need to redo the right side of the page with colors that match…

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Karla’s book gave me just what I needed for a redo!  I copied one of the illustrations onto cardstock and colored it with Distress inks and markers.  I cut it with a paper trimmer and glued it to the page.

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Problem solved!

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I’ve been asking for a way to fix this page and found an answer!

Whenever you aren’t happy with how a Bible page turns out, just keep working on it until it makes you happy.  There are many ways to fix a mistake.

The book is not a comprehensive introduction to Bible journaling, but with so many ideas and illustrations it will give you plenty of inspiration to spend time in your Bible!

There are two other books by the same publisher with a similar format.  One features the beautiful art of Krista Harnrick and the other has illustrations by Anita Haines.  So fun!