Wednesday, June 6, 2018

100 Days of Bible Journaling: Days 50 - 56

At this point I am more than halfway through the 100 Days of Bible Promises Journal! When I started with this challenge 100 days seemed like so long and I worried I would be unable to complete it. Now that I'm past the halfway point, I find myself thinking that 100 days is not long enough, and I find myself looking into other challenges to continue after I've worked through the journal. There is just something really refreshing about having that time spent in the Word being creative... and I love having the prompts and direction that this journal provides.

Here is a look back on this week's journaling:

Day 50: Do Not Stop Meeting Together

I've often heard people say, "I'm a Christian, but I don't feel like I need to go to church."

The reality is sadly, many have been burned by churches. Those experiences keep them from wanting to be burned yet again and so they instead go to podcasts, etc. It's pretty great that these options are available and I don't discount them...nor do I discount that you absolutely CAN be a Christian without attending a regular church. For many years, my family could not attend church. As you know, my oldest is autistic and for whatever reason, churches freaked him out. It didn't matter the size, it didn't matter the style, sound or no sound... even anything in a church like setting (outdoor weddings, etc) had him in full meltdown mode. I honestly can't say to this day the cause, but it was rough for sure. As an autism family, that was an adjustment we had to make. I read my Bible on my own, listened to my worship music, and strived to teach my kids about God as best as I could. Then one say about three years ago, my son decided he wanted to attend Sunday School, and so we went on the search for the right church for us. It took a couple tries, but we finally found one and have been there for three years now. And you know what? You may not NEED a church to be a Christian, but oh what a powerful difference it can make! I am very much an introvert, but I treasure the relationships with my church family and look forward to that time of fellowship each week. I enjoy the connection, I enjoy the encouragement, I enjoy learning from others. Is it any wonder the Bible speaks so highly of fellowship?

For this page, the new Illustrated Faith kit 'Stronger Together' was a perfect fit, being all about community! I was very much thinking of my own Sunday School class when putting this page together, because this is what we do. We gather together. We connect. We encourage. Some days we don't get much accomplished in the way of Bible lessons, but we share our lives, we share our hearts and we pray for one another... and I walk away every week feeling better for it.

Day 51: Quietness and Trust

Quietness. What even is that? I'm pretty sure in my house that doesn't exist. There's always noise, always craziness, always something. I'm sure we're not the only household like this, are we? Is it any wonder so many of us struggle to understand what it is to find rest? We don't seem to know what that can even look like. Still the Bible tells us if we trust in him, we will have peace. He will give us rest.

For this page (on the right), I wanted something that perfectly illustrated that sense of calm and rest. When I found these great ocean stickers in my collection, I knew it was the perfect fit. Oh how many times have we dreamed we could be on a beach far away from the stresses and reality of our every day life. But if we let Him, if we trust Him, we can find that rest wherever we are!

Day 52: What's In The Soil of Your Heart?

Have you ever planted a garden? If you have, chances are you know the quality of the soil plays a huge part in how well anything grows. A few years ago we planted a garden directly in our backyard. We picked the perfect spot where it would get plenty of sunlight, tilled the soil and did our planting... and sadly discovered it didn't grow much. Unfortunately, the soil was too clay filled and tough for anything to grow well. The next year we ditched the in ground garden for a small pool garden filled with good soil and though it was much smaller, we had tomatoes and peppers galore. Having that good soil allowed it to grow. Likewise, our own hearts have to be in the proper place for God to grow in them, and the better conditioned the more God can be seen.

For this page, I wanted to keep it very simple and focus on that idea of growing and blooming. The Illustrated Faith collection 'She Blooms' was naturally a perfect fit for this. (This beautiful collection is actually now available at Michaels, after having been sold out at Dayspring, etc for a LONG time!) It is all about growing and blooming in Christ, lots of florals and lots of messages that go along with this idea. I loved the simplicity of this page, and made sure to leave room for journaling too.

Day 53: Jesus Understands

Do you ever find yourself thinking that no one understand what you're going through? I have to be honest, as I was typing that sentence, I realized how much that sounded like a dramatic teenager towards their parents. But the reality is, even as we grow up, sometimes we really do feel like we're alone. But the Bible reminds us we are not alone. Jesus knows, He understands and He is there for us to call upon.

For this page, I wanted to focus on that idea of calling on Jesus. What do we do when we need to vent to someone. For many, we pick up our phones and call up a friend, someone who we feel will get it and be there to support us. Calling on Jesus is just like calling up a friend, but He is the friend that we can turn to that will ALWAYS be there. He is the friend that will love us unconditionally, even when we feel unlovable. He understands even the things that we cannot bring ourselves to voice to others.

Day 54: God Draws Near To You

Days 53 and 54 seemed to go so perfectly together. During Day 53, I used this idea of calling on God just as you would an old friend, and Day 54 continues on with this idea of Jesus being the ultimate friend. He's not a friend that sits and waits for you to come to him, but he meets you where you are and draws close to you. He is the best friend we could ask for.

For this page, I found myself thinking of that old hymn I knew so well from childhood:

What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!

As I got to the end of the devotion, I discovered this hymn was also mentioned in the prayer that ends each day, and so I decided I really wanted to journal that song with the simple message, 'What a Friend'... What a friend that we can turn to who will lighten the load that we carry. What a friend that doesn't judge, but loves us unconditionally. What a friend that draws near to us always.

Day 55: Your Lifeline of Hope

Turning on the news, we can often find ourselves feeling like this place is pretty hopeless. School shooting have become the norm. People are fighting over everything. Violence is a way of life, nothing out of the ordinary. It's a sad reality. I suppose it's no surprise that so many are struggling and feeling hopeless... just take a look around. But the Bible reminds us that we have hope. We know that no matter what the world throws at us or around us, He is our hope always and forever.

For this page, I wanted something a little calming... a calm in the craziness that is this world. I chose to go with some pastels for this reason. I loved how this page turned out. It's nothing fancy, but a simple message that I think we all need from time to time. I have hope in Christ.

Day 56: Cheerful Giving

I think sometimes the idea of giving can be a tough one for many of us... not because we don't WANT to give, but because we simply don't have enough to do so. Still, the Bible talks often about giving.

"Cheerful givers are the ones God prizes" and "A generous person will be enriched".

But how are we to give when we don't have money to give? The interesting thing about these verses is that they don't say 'give this much'. No, they say to give cheerfully, be generous. To me that means that it's not about WHAT you give, but about how you give. Someone with wealth might give $1000 but not because they desire to do so, but because they should. Does that larger sum mean more than the person with struggles who gives just $1, but does so cheerfully despite knowing that that dollar is less food in the pantry? I must admit though, this is still often something I struggle with... the guilt over wishing I could do MORE.

And you know what, it's not always about the money either. There are more ways to give. Food in the pantry that your family will not eat? Give to a food pantry. Children outgrown their coats? Give to a coat drive. Have a skill that can benefit your church or community? Give of those services. Give of your time. There are many ways that we can give without it costing a dime.

For this page, I wanted big and bold. Initially my thought was having the GIVE in large letters with CHEERFULLY smaller below it, but as I worked I fell in love with the idea of 'GIVE BIG'. But it doesn't mean give the most, but give what and how you can. Give because you WANT to give, not because you HAVE to give. Whether it's money, whether it's things, whether it's yourself... give with ALL of your heart.

Want to join in? Visit the link below to purchase your copy of the 100 Days of Bible Promises Journal, and remember to use code IFSHIPSFREE for Free Shipping!


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"Pleasant words are as a honeycomb: sweet to the soul and health to the bones." Proverbs 16:24