Joy and Strength

3053_001

I like Nehemiah. I like his book, it’s maybe my favorite. Every time I read through it, I find something encouraging. Reading through Chapter 8 today, I was encouraged about a topic that has been a tough one for me the last couple of years: corporate worship.

In Chapter 8, the people of Jerusalem are coming off a tough year. They rebuilt the destroyed walls of their city in 52 days…every one of them worked nearly non stop…the politicians, the priests, the skilled artisans, even girls pitched in. They did not have backhoes or cranes, they did it by hand. Their lives were threatened during it. They had to work and stand guard with swords at the same time. It was physically hard and mentally exhausting.

But they are done in chapter 8, and this is a day set aside for God. Ezra came to preach. Everyone able to understand, showed up. When Ezra opened the book to read, they all stood up. They stood up out of respect for God and His word, and out of respect for Ezra. They stood up because in that day, servants stood before their masters to receive instruction. By standing, they were ready to move out immediately to begin what they were charged to do.

Ezra read from daybreak to noon. Remember, they were all standing. He brought priests to explain to the crowd what he was reading, while he was reading it.

The people began to weep…not because Ezra was going over the scheduled hour and 15 minutes, and dinner was in the oven at home. They wept because their hearts were tender and they understood how they had broken God’s laws and grieved Him. I understand this feeling of not being able to be the Kim that God has made me to be, not being able to follow all of God’s commands, and grieving the Holy Spirit in the process. It is easy to mourn my guilt.

But Nehemiah stepped in. He reminded them it was a day set aside for God, a sabbath, holy day set aside for celebrating with joy and praise for all God had done for them. Nehemiah and Ezra told them to get rid of their heavy heartedness and to testify to the joy they have in God.

They ate and drank and shared what they had with people who had none, so those people could have joy too. They remembered the joy of being favored by God and living in His grace. They remembered first hand what it means to be God’s chosen, to be provisioned and protected by God Almighty. Nehemiah and Ezra helped them to shake off the funk, forget about their shortcomings for the day, and praise God with joy.

Nehemiah teaches us an important thing in chapter 8. We have joy in being God’s chosen. Expressing that joy corporately, magnifies it. It is good for us, and on the day we set aside for God each week, we should praise God with joy and celebration. Praising God with joy gives us hope, makes us remember what it means to belong to our God, brings to mind how He blesses us. It pushes away they guilt and remorse, and makes our connection to Him stronger.

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 1.57.20 PM

The joy of the Lord is our strength!

I invite you to print out the piece from verse 10 up at the top. Size it and print it on white card stock. If you want it heavier, print it on 90 lb. watercolor paper, or print it on card stock and glue it to watercolor paper or poster board. Get creative if you want to add a background or a ribbon. Use it as a bookmark, pin it to your bulletin board. Shrink it and make it into a pin to wear. Go for it. And when you feel guilt for not praying enough (or whatever triggers your “I’m not worthy!” complex), get it out and remember that you have amazing joy in just being chosen and belonging to the One True God. I’ll bet it will trigger the remembrance of tons of blessings.

Let Him fill your heart with joy (Psalm 28:7),

Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 7.47.06 PM

 

 

Cell Phone Transfer TUTORIAL

IMG_1174

This is a cool, fun, fast way to transfer drawings or letters. It works great on the pages of your Bible because they are thin. You could also do it on vellum or tracing paper.

IMG_1166

There’s this app called VRSLY. It cost 99 cents. I loaded it to my iPhone because it is just the right size for the words to fit in the margin of my journaling Bible. I am thinking about loading it to my iPad for larger transfer projects, too.

If you find other words or drawings you would like to use, just take a pic of them with your phone, and do the same technique.

VRSLY gives you inspirational words/sayings that you will have no trouble fitting into your bible journalling.

IMG_1168

So, here are the words I want to use. I positioned my phone under the page where I want the words to be and ……

IMG_1170

…trace them with a pencil. Fast and handy, right?

IMG_1174

I colored the words with Pitt pens. They are fine point pens. They don’t bleed through the thin pages. Use colored pencils or watercolors, or whatever you like.

Screen Shot 2014-10-24 at 11.12.47 PM

Wait hopefully and expectantly for Him (Lamentations 3:25a), 

Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 7.47.06 PM

Faith is the Foundation

DSCN0922

DSCN0923

Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 7.30.30 PM

It started last Sunday with a sermon on perseverance. Timely. I had a week at work in which I could not catch up or even feel like I could get my feet under me. Perseverance was on my mind, and in my prayers. On the day I was thinking about finding a corner and hiding, I walked past Frank in the warehouse and he said, “I have a thought for you.” He looked right at me and said, “self-control.” Really? I had not spoken to Frank at all yet that week. But, I knew that self-control was in the verses I had been pondering.

Yep, Self-control supplies perseverance.

This afternoon, I was working through part of my weekly Bible study for class. God led me through His plan that when we believe, we clothe ourselves with Christ. See Galatians 3: 27. This week’s lesson was about shucking off all of the old horrible things, like bitterness, clamor, unwholesome words, and slander…to name a few. All of these popped up during crazy week at work.

The thing about believing the gospel and clothing ourselves with Christ is that we have the tools to do away with those old things and be renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of God, our Creator. OK, yes, knowledge is also in the verses of the week.

Knowledge supplies self-control.

I see that God is backing me up through the verses, so if I continue to back up on my own, I reach moral excellence, and then faith.

So, in that amazing way that God has of teaching us, exactly when and how we need it, I have learned this:

  • Faith, as always, is where it begins. God has put me where I am for whatever reason, and I just need to have faith that His plan is perfect.
  • Moral excellence will make me feel better about myself if I can’t deal better about work just yet. Getting rid of the bitterness and the clamor will be a great start. I can do that because I have faith that He is working His plan.
  • Knowledge is supplied by moral excellence. I have the knowledge that God is with me and leading me because I cannot achieve moral excellence on my own. No way.
  • Self-control is easier when I apply the knowledge that God is in control of all of this. I just have to mind my thoughts and actions. He will take care of the work stuff.
  • And perseverance seems easier when I don’t need to expend energy on whining and complaining. All He is asking me to do is keep going.
  • Then I can work my way to godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. That will be great, and I am praying for continued help with all of this.

My visual reminder of all of this is pinned up on the wall of my cube, right above my computer. If you are learning these same things and want to make this……

What you need:

  • watercolor paper, 8″ x 10″ – I tore the edges of mine, against a ruler, you can make it any size
  • cake watercolors – inexpensive ones work just fine
  • waterbrush
  • white crayon
  • pencil
  • white eraser
  • fine point marker – I used a blue PITT pen from Faber Castell, nice fine tip
  • printed pattern
  • sea salt

Do this:

1. print the pattern for faith. You can change the size to fit your paper.

Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 8.44.48 PM

2. Transfer the word to the center of the watercolor paper. Here are some instructions to do that quickly. Use a light hand in doing this. You want only very faint pattern lines on your watercolor paper.

3. Color in the word with the white crayon. It doesn’t matter if it is perfect, but heavier is better than lighter. I can’t show you this because white on white = you can’t see anything.

4. Using your water brush and watercolors, and working quickly, apply paint to cover the entire background. The crayon will keep the paint from coloring up your faith. (There is a spiritual lesson in there someplace.) If you use more than one color, working quickly will help the colors blend into each other better. Sprinkle a little sea salt on the wet watercolors here and there to add some texture to the background. Let the paint dry completely. Brush the salt off the paper.

Scan 1Scan

                        See what the salt does?

Scan 1

5. Use the fine point marker to write whatever parts of the verses you want to remember. I did not write across the crayon, so it looks like the words are under the big word faith.

Before I did that, I used a ruler and a pencil to make very very faint horizontal lines across the paper, so my words went straight across.  I used really light pressure on the eraser to remove them after I finished writing.

I pinned mine to the bulletin board, but you can punch holes at the top and add a ribbon or wire to hang it. And I am praying for moral excellence this week.

Be near God (Psalm 73:28),

Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 7.47.06 PM

 

Bible Journaling: Walking with God

Scan2

I worked on this page in my bible last night while watching a video in my bible study class. We were talking about walking with the Lord.

 Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 7.19.56 PM

 

I did a word study on “walk” to find out in the original Hebrew it has a much broader meaning than putting one foot in front of the other. Halak (hawlak) means to go…continually….be conversant…follow…grow.

Walking with God is a constant process, not something we do only when life is sunny. We should walk with our Lord when we are mad, sad, glad, and everything in between.When you are hurting, frustrated, exhausted…don’t stop walking with God. He will be there with you.

Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 7.16.22 PM

 

Scan

This is done with plain old colored pencils and a micron pen. It is located at Psalm 116:9.

Put on your cute rain boots, grab an umbrella, and take a walk with the Lord.

Give all your worries and cares to God, (1 Peter 5:7 NLT)  

Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 7.47.06 PM