Sunday, May 31, 2020

Thoughts For Pentecost Sunday

Today is Pentecost Sunday! It is the day the Holy Spirit descended on fearful disciples and apostles. The day the help for which they had been praying had arrived. The day that changed their lives and renewed their hope. 

As we face the threats of the Corona virus on our world, we are also facing civil unrest.  Our city, and many cities nationwide, had devastating rioting and looting during the long nighttime hours.   

As I read about the riots across our beloved nation, indeed, our world, my tendency is to 'huddle in fear.' 

I choose, instead, to believe. 
To believe that the same God that appeared to those disciples in the form of the Holy Spirit, is here now, with us, amidst the chaos and devastation. 

I take comfort and hope in scripture. I retreat to my garden, immersed in it's gift of plush, fresh new life. The choir of birds sing their message of hope as butterflies flit from bloom to bloom, oblivious. This simple, tranquil peace fills my heart and renews my spirit.

I cherish THIS DAY. I will not let fear rob me of TODAY, of being in the moment now.  Of course I am concerned; I am human. But I hear my Lord say, "Do not be afraid." 

May we, today, hear that gentle, calming voice in our chaos, in our fear. May we know, deep inside, that the God who made heaven and earth, walks with us, knows us, and loves us deeply. 

I pray for those who are living in fear. For those who harbor hatred in their hearts. For those who suffer at the hands of self righteousness. For those who need to hear a message of all-inclusive love and hope. That we may be united, as God intended we should be when he created our beautiful world.

God be with you, with us, my friends.


Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Bible Journal Romans 8:31-39

"What, then, shall we say in response to these things?  If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, and gave him up for us all - how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?  It is God who justifies.  Who then is the one who condemns?  No one.  Christ Jesus who died - more than that, who was raised to life - is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  As it is written:

     'For your sake we face death all day long; 

        we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.'


No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." 

Romans 8:31-39

I was at a retreat through Sunday last week.  It was four glorious days at a Christian Camp retreat center.  For me, it was a spiritual escape, time to be away from distractions of every day life, and spend time with the Lord.  

There were trails to walk, the beautiful Silver Lake to sit beside for contemplation, a chapel for prayer and reflection, a special scripture time with discussion each day, prayer time, and, to top it all off, there was a large room where we could set up and work on a craft, quilting, or art as we wanted at any time during the retreat.  I brought my journaling Bible and art supplies.  I also brought some sketch books, and my Zentangle journal, neither of which I spent much time working in.  My focus was on journaling in my Bible.

Each day we were treated to three delicious, hot, home-cooked meals.  The staff thought of every detail to assure that our four days were filled with comfort, peace, and that all of our 'creature needs' were taken care of.

This page is the last one I made on Sunday morning, just after breakfast.  It really sums up all that I was feeling during my time there.  I felt God's presence and comforting love each day.  He comforted me as I worked through some difficult areas I had been dealing with in my life.  He was there when new friends gathered round and we prayed for each other.  He laughed with me through fumbled drawing attempts.  He walked with me as I bared my soul to Him.

One of the hymns we sang was 'It Is Well With My Soul.'  I have always loved this song, and I just cannot get it out of my head now.  It sums up my feelings perfectly.  I knew I just had to journal that in my Bible.

I know that nothing can separate me from God's mercy and love.  He is there with me, always, just as he was there with me throughout those four days.  I can conquer anything with Him!  I wanted to journal that, so when I am feeling alone, or lost, I can come back to this page and reflect, and remember.

For my page, I drew my flower and wrote my journaling with a Micron Pigma pen, and colored with Polychromos colored pencils.  For the artwork, I took inspiration from some of the lovely quilts the girls were working on.

A couple of pictures from my retreat....

Thank you so much for visiting today.


Friday, January 18, 2019

Bible Journal - Luke 21:29-31

He told them this parable:  "Look at the fig tree
and all the trees.  When they sprout leaves,
you can see for yourselves and know that summer
is near.  Even so, when you see these things
happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.
Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away
until all things have taken place.  Heaven and earth
will pass away, but my words will not pass away."
Luke 21:29-33
When I go through disturbing and uncertain times in my life, I take hope in knowing the Kingdom of God is near.  That God is with me in sorrow and in joy.  

Just as the fig tree bears fruit every year, God's promises, His faithfulness and love, never leave us.  He is true and certain.  God's word offers us a rock on which to stand when the forces of evil in our culture threaten us and rock our world. 

My prayer is to be part of the kingdom that Jesus is inaugurating.  I want to belong, and to make it my life's work to spread his kingdom.  Then, no matter when he comes, I will be ready. 

For my Bible journaling today, I used Polychromos colored pencils to draw and color my image of the fig branch.  For my journaling, I used Micron PN pigma pens.  


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Bible Journal - Mark 8:27-35

"Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny 
themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  
For whoever wants to save their life will lose it 
but whoever loses their life for me and for the 
gospel will save it."    
Mark 8:34-35

I chose to journal today's gospel reading from church this morning.  The reading was replete with of nuggets of wisdom and life lessons, so I decided to focus on verses 34 and 35.

Give control of my life and submit my entire being to God.  Sounds easy?  It should be, right?

Yet, when I think about it, Jesus calls me to deny myself - EVERY DAY.  

To die to my desires, dreams, hopes and fears - EVERY DAY. 

To pick up my cross and follow Him - EVERY DAY.  

Wow...that's a lot of denying and submitting!  Yet, if we truly trust Him, and want to be with Him in eternity, it is what He calls us to do.  

I did due diligence with my study of these verses today.  I understand the reasons, and the rewards, of denying my own ways and following Jesus.  What I was searching for was HOW to do this.  
The physical and emotional part of my being is weak.  I want to think, reason, and act with my spiritual side, and God knows I try, but my human tendancies get in the way more often than I care to admit.   I'm sure I'm not alone in this.  So, how do we make our lives more lives of service to God, and less about the 'I wants?'

Jesus taught by example.  He lived a selfless life of service to others, and followed His father's will.  Here are some thoughts I came up with to help me stay on track.   
  • Jesus prayed, often alone, sometimes with others.  Prayer kept Him close to the Father.   Prayer is a gift God gives us to keep us close to Him - it is our life-line.
  • Faith, commitment, and daily devotion to God's will and purpose for my life.  Jesus spent time with His Father.  He sought God's will in His actions and plans.  Do we spend time with God, and seek His will for us daily?  Do we ask Him to place us where He wants us each day, and to open us to His plan?
  • Commitment.  Taking up our cross is an intentional act.  We must purposefully choose to give our time, talents, and resources to God.  Each day!
  • Jesus promises to be with us.  He wants us to take His yoke upon our shoulders, and trust Him to give us rest.   His Holy Spirit is always 'on call' to lead and guide us.
  • Jesus offered a glorified life, and eternity, at the end of the journey.  An eternity with God!  Enough said.
So, yes, it may be difficult to follow Jesus.  But, if we trust Him, we will follow Him.  He will place His anointing on us.

God bless,

Friday, July 27, 2018

Bible Journal - Romans 5:5

"And hope does not put us to shame, because 
God's love has been poured out into our hearts 
through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."
                                                                      Romans 5:5

This is my final lesson in the Seeing The Scriptures class by Sandy Allnock.  I have really enjoyed this class.  It has taught me ways to dig deeper into Scripture, to analyze what I am reading, determine what God may be saying to me, and finally to brainstorm and create artwork to express God's revelation visually in my journaling Bible.

If you struggle with Scripture, and want to read more deeply and grasp what God is saying, I highly recommend this course.  You can find all of the details about the class, and be able to sign up for it HERE. 

For this page, I felt the Lord encouraging me.  His Holy Spirit is always with us, guiding, loving, and bringing us hope.  Because of God's love, I have hope in the Lord.  My trials produce perseverance, which, in turn, develops character, and character, hope.   

I chose a chrysalis of a butterfly to illustrate this verse.  It was the image that came to mind in my brainstorming phase of this lesson.  The caterpillar goes through the trial of being in the dark chrysalis, losing it's form, and then, finally, breaks out as a glorious butterfly.  

God's Holy Spirit in us helps us trust Him, and gives us hope.  He is leading us to new life!

For my page, I drew the chrysalis with Polychromos colored pencils, and journaled with a Sakura micron pen.

Thanks so much for visiting.


Friday, July 20, 2018

Bible Journal - 2 Timothy 1:7

"For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, 
but gives us power, love and self-discipline."
                                                             2 Timothy 1:7

I spent a couple of days pondering and studying today's class verse.  I really felt the Lord encouraging me to spend time with it.  It seems there is a lesson here that I need to reinforce in my life!

For years, I have been a 'closet' anxiety sufferer.  I think I just didn't realize what it was, or that 'it' had a name.  I deal with frequent adrenaline rushes, stress, and sometimes crippling fear.  Social events and even things that I enjoy lately bring on anxiety issues.  When I teach an art or Zentangle class at the local town hall, a church or library, I stress about it for weeks before.  I love to lector at our church, but I start tensing up days before I am to read.

I feel embarrassed talking about my 'condition.'  But I have discussed it with a couple of close friends.  I'm not sure they really understand, however.  I feel that people think it's something I can control, or that I allow.  It's neither.  I certainly don't want to feel this unmitigated fear and stress daily.  If I could control it, I would.  I have tried medication, however, that brought it's own little series of issues (even worse than the anxiety).  I am trying some relaxation techniques.  With the help of my doctor, diet and exercise, and lots and lots and LOTS of prayer, I am working through my anxiety issues.  It's a daily struggle, and an uphill battle.  But, through God's love, and the Holy Spirit, I have hope.  

Which brings me back to today's verse.  God wants me to be courageous and brave.  He gives me power daily, through His gift of the Holy Spirit, to overcome my fears and anxiety.  I do a better job some days than others calling on His power.  He wants me to serve Him, and has gifted me with time and talent to do so.  I want to serve Him with power, love, and self-control.  I can do this by staying close to Him, reading and studying His Word, and calling on the Holy Spirit.  

I am sharing my story here, as I know that others suffer from this condition, as well.  I pray my story will help others find the hope that I have found.  If you are a fellow-anxiety sufferer, know that there IS hope.  And you don't have to do it alone!  I would love to hear from you.  Please comment below and I will get back to you. 

"The Spirit of God does NOT make us timid (fearful), but gives us POWER, LOVE, and SELF-CONTROL."

I believe this with all my heart.  

JOURNALING NOTES:  For my page, I used Gansai Tambi watercolors, painting them on randomly around a hand-drawn dove that I penciled in.  Then I added my notes and the verse with a micron pen.  I dried the page with a heat tool, then pressed it with an iron to flatten the page and remove some of the wrinkles.

Monday, July 2, 2018

The Restorer Of My Joy

"But you, LORD, are a shield around me,
my glory, the One who lifts my head high."
                                                             Psalm 3:3
These 17 words are packed with meaning.  Isn't it interesting that the short verses often have so much 'meat' to much meaning, filled with nuggets of wisdom?! 

I thought of a sunflower when I studied this verse.  The sunflower follows the sun.  It keeps its corolla upright.  It's radiant beauty shines it's brilliance outward.

That's how I want to be.  Keeping my eyes upright, firmly planted on the Lord.  I do not want to stray.  I want to glow with my love for Him, through His love for me.  

When there are storms in my life, I will remember that nothing comes through God's shield around me that He does not allow.  God has a purpose for the trials He allows in my life.  I purpose to trust Him, and sleep content in His glory!


I am adding my page to the World Watercolor Month challenge.

I used Lyra Aquacolors to watercolor my sunflower.  After painting, I outlined with a micron pen.