Thursday, March 31, 2016

5 reasons I love Bible journaling

"Wherever love goes, there the heart and the body follow... 
Love itself will teach meditation... 
It is the mode and nature of all who love to chatter, 
sing, think, compose, and frolic freely 
about what they love and enjoy hearing about it." (Luther)

When God's Word breaks into a heart, things happen. 
Typically, for me, His Words go in, and my words pour out. But not lately.  The angle of the light here is different. I'm busier. I have too much to say, and not so much, and I am just tired. My world is still wonky, and I'm still readjusting after our move to Michigan.

But I've found another way to think and reflect and frolic. It's called Bible Journaling. 

I consider this type of journaling as a form of meditation: sloppy, imperfect, playing-with-paint prayer time.  And I do it with my kids. It has become, for me, another way to steep in Sundays.

5 reasons I love Bible Journaling

Meditation, but with paint
Bible Journaling is a way of dwelling on the Most Important Thing: Jesus

"Blessed are those who hear the Word and keep it." Luke 11:28
It is easy to hear only law in this passage.  As if Jesus were saying, obey, obey, OBEY you sinner, otherwise you have no part with me.  But He --the one who came not to abolish the law but to fulfill it-- gives this Word and all of His Words to us as a gift.

Keep my Word, my child. Treasure it. Carry it with you.  Receive from it life and hope and health.  Make your home in it.  Steep in it.  Let it color your world.  Let it remake your heart.
Chew on it. Think about it. Write, sing, or paint about it. Plaster it everywhere.

Memory Keeping
Once, God held me up with the perfect Word, the exact balm I needed for my particular ache. No, it was more than once, in fact, it happens so often that I can't remember every time.  I wish I could.  Remembering His faithfulness is good for the soul. Bible journaling can be a way for us to catch those moments of grace, and it will help us remember to remember them.

Discernment Practice
Yes, I've seen this practice abused. I've seen entire pages covered dark except the one verse, writ large, which taken out of context means something other than it really means. Musicians and writers do this all the time. Always, the Christian must pay attention, ask good questions, and remember context when handling God's Word. We cannot hide from the need to discern.  This practice has led to good conversations with my own children about the proper use of Scripture. 

Combining creativity and Scripture, with others in the room, leads to some amazing conversation.  Instead of merely discussing brush techniques and ink quality (but we do that too, of course,) we also discuss particular Scriptures, and how God's Word has shined light right into our lives in unique ways.

Sharing the treasure
Illustrating and rewriting the precious words given to us naturally leads to sharing with others. "He withholds no good thing," I am told, and I needed to hear that.  I can think of others who might be uplifted by those words, too.  So, we make a copy. Write it on a note card. Pass it on. 

If you are interested in this, there are a million resources for the details, and I am only just learning them. Google "Bible journaling" or "Illustrated faith."  The Bible I use is an ESV with nice margins. Apparently this is quite a craze these days, so you may have to wait for it if you order one. If you're dying to start frolicking with paint and Scripture, just grab a piece of paper or a blank notebook and whatever supplies you have on hand.  Keep the Word of God, dwell on it, and let it spill out in pictures!

And now, here's a look into our Bible.

Inside the front cover: 

In the beginning, when I write a bit about priorities, respect, and grace.

My first entry. 

Those who sow in tears
    shall reap with shouts of joy!
He who goes out weeping,
    bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
    bringing his sheaves with him. (Psalm 126: 5-6)

An illustration from my daughter:

Response to the Good friday service:

A quick sketch:

Come, Lord Jesus... make all things new...

A nice verse. But I am not quite "adult" enough for black ink. 
Oh well, I guess the fingerprints are a memory too!

In memory of our Indiana home, and the church family there that has left a forever mark on our hearts. This was their theme verse for their 175th anniversary, celebrated last year.  The picture was inspired from a much more beautiful quilted church banner, made specially for the celebration.

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