Bible Journaling: The Wind

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My women’s Bible study class is working through Beth Moore’s new study on 1&2 Thessalonians. This week, we did some thinking about the Holy Spirit, and how He is sometimes metaphorically referred to as wind.

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I first started thinking about the meaning of this verse back in college in 1789. My undergrad degree is in dance and theater. I choreographed a piece for the annual dance concert one year, using John 3:8 as inspiration.There was no music, and I made these props for the dancers Lynn, Paulie, and Pam. They were plastic drinking straws stitched on long pieces of elastic. The dancers used the props with many kinds of movement qualities: whipped them around, softly moved them back and forth,with rhythm and without. They made their own music, simulating the wind; sometimes whispers and sometimes near roars. Just like the Holy Spirit. It was pretty cool.

Back to class this week in 2014….Beth gave us an assignment to write down characteristics and things we know about the wind. Think about how these words that describe the wind, relate to the Holy Spirit:

ebbs and flows

soft or strong

a powerful source of free energy

can move objects

you can hear it coming

the sound can be soothing or frightening

you can hide from it

you can’t see it

you cannot control it

and my favorite: it can feed a fire

Can you think of any more?

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This page in my journaling bible was done with watercolor pencils (tutorial), a water brush, and a black micron pen.

I am praying for the Holy Spirit to feed the little fire in me.

Count it all joy (James 1:2),

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My Man Nehemiah: 2

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Nehemiah card #2. Print, size, and tuck into your envelope.

Wanted! Project manager who has a heart for his people, is willing to relocate, is a planning and organizational genius, can motivate his team, is a creative problem solver, and has a strong desire to serve God..

That’s Nehemiah. God hired him for the job and Nehemiah got it done.

Nehemiah chapters 3 and 4 are some of my favorite chapters in the bible. As a project manager, I could not love more the way Nehemiah inspires his people to join the team, present a united front,  and together, get the job done. No matter what it takes. Even the goldsmith, the perfumer, the high priests, the politicians, and Shallum’s daughters are rebuilding walls and gates.

These chapters do not tell us Nehemiah’s motivational techniques, but they do tell us some things about working in service for God:

  • Everyone has an important part to play. Even if the project is not your strength, it is God’s, and if He calls, He will give you what you need to contribute. The entire chapter 3 is full of the names of people and how they each played an important part.
  • Work together. Take a look through chapter 3 and see how many times it says, “next to him.” We are not in this alone.
  • Serving God sometimes requires humility.  Eliashib the high priest built the sheep gate (3: 1). Shallum, who ruled half of Jerusalem, got his daughters out there and made repairs (3:12). It could be hard to garner respect from your constituents and parishioners when you are dirty and sweaty, and limping from dropping rocks on your toes. But this project was bigger than their reputations.
  • Work willingly. Even though the haters were loud and obnoxious opposition, the israelites had a mind to work. And they kept at it. (4:6)
  • Pray and make a plan. (4:9)
  • Be steadfast in your work. Nehemiah’s team had to build with one hand and carry a spear in the other. The threat to their safety was spoken loudly, so they stayed up all night guarding, and made repairs all day, they carried their weapons wherever they went, and never let their guard down. That is not the easiest way to repair a city, but they got it done. (4: 21-23)
  • Trust God for success. When the going got tough, Nehemiah reminded them who God is, and for whom they were building and fighting. (4:14)

When you look at what Nehemiah and his people had to overcome when rebuilding the city of Jerusalem, it makes delivering a meal, tutoring a child, or serving in the soup kitchen look like a walk in the park. You can do it!

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. (Colossians 4:2 ),

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My Man Nehemiah: 1

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My small group is studying our way through Kelly Minter’s Nehemiah: A heart that can break. Nehemiah is one of my favorite guys in the bible. I can relate to some parts of his story. I have learned and am continuing to learn from him. You know how every time you study some passages, you find something new? Nehemiah is like that for me. And Kelly’s study has tons of life application.

In lesson 1, one of the things that really struck me was the importance of intercessory prayer. When Nehemiah found out that his people were in great distress and the wall of Jerusalem was broken down, he prayed. He seriously prayed with weeping and mourning and fasting for four months. He prayed God’s character to Him, he prayed God’s own words and promises back to Him, he confessed the sins of the Israelites, and he really believed that God would move in response. Day and night! Four months of this! And God did move in response to Nehemiah’s heart for his people….in amazing ways.

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(Card #1, print, size, and put inside your envelope)

It made me think about the way I pray. Wow, I am really lazy compared to Nehemiah. But, it made me realize that God does appreciate when we are really moved by something. Maybe I can’t tell Him or ask Him too many times. After all, what God wants most from us I think, is our attention, our time, our desire to be in relationship with Him. God called Nehemiah to pray and he did not stop praying until God gave His answer.

My small group loves to make their own visual reminders with me as we study, but this time, because I missed them all summer, I have made each of them these cards….one for each lesson (print them out for yourself if you want!), tucked in a velum envelope. You can make an envelope very easily. Print out the pattern. Size it as desired. Cut it out and trace it on a piece of vellum scrapbook paper. Cut it out. Fold where the lines are.

Use any paper adhesive you like. I used double stick tape to hold it together.

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Print out these words, or design your own. Slip it inside the envelope, trace on the front of the envelope with a Sharpie. Slip your cards inside.

Take time today to pray for your country.  (1 Timothy 2:2 NIV),

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Postcard from God: Clothing

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Today’s postcard, and this one.

Make this postcard that you can keep in your purse, or bible, or wherever you will see it often. Print the front and the back on card stock, or photo paper, or 90 lb. watercolor paper. Print them front and back on one piece of paper, or to make it sturdier, print two pieces and glue them back to back.

Then keep an eye on the mailbox, you never know when we might get another postcard.

 

 

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Rejoice always (I Thessalonians 5:16),

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5 Minute Friday: Whisper

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I found this phenomenon on Kate Motaung’s blog and I am giving it a try! This is my first 5 Minute Friday. The rules are to write for 5 minutes on the given topic. This week, it is Whisper. From Kate’s instructions, “This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.” So, here goes nuthin’.

Whisper

Two weeks ago I went with a couple people from church to deliver filled backpacks to kids at a local trailer park. The kids were excited and polite and it was a joy. While there, I chatted with a young single Mom who was preparing her daughter, who seemed to be about 6 or 7, to have surgery in a couple days. The daughter was clingy and did not speak. Mom said this would be her 23rd surgery.

What Mom and I talked about was how hard it was for her to be present during all this hospital time. Each time, she had to skip work, throwing her farther and farther behind in being able to afford necessities.

It has been two weeks and I cannot get that young Mom out of my mind. I thought maybe I could help her and asked the office at the trailer park to give me her name and address, which of course turned out to be against the rules. They said they would deliver a note to her if I wanted. I really wanted to be anonymous in this. ……..

In my house, growing up, there was no yelling. In fact, the quieter our Mother was, the more trouble we knew we were in. It made us have to get right up to her, where she could look into our eyes. And we had to listen carefully.

God is doing this to me in regard to the young Mother. “Is this about you, or about her?” “Maybe she needs someone to talk to, not just an anonymous gift card now and then.” “How about putting a face and hands and feet to My work on this one?”

ACK! I sometimes ask God to be undeniably clear so I know exactly what He is saying or asking. But, clearer does not necessarily mean louder, right?

Being a little introverted, I never like this message from God. But, there is no doubt, it is how He grows me, and also no doubt that the blessings might be amazing. So, I am giving up my plan to be anonymous to go with God’s quietly whispered, looking into my heart, words of direction. I am writing that note.

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I confess. 8 minutes.

Be kind and compassionate (Ephesians 4:32),

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Abiding in His Shadow

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Because sometimes it is hard to figure out exactly what scripture is telling me to do, I try to pay attention to the verbs. Action words. If there is an action I can follow, it feels like a good starting place to finding a way to make the scripture practical in my life. In this verse, Psalm 91:1, there are two good action words: dwell and abide.

  • What does it mean to dwell in the shelter of the Most High? Dwell = to sit down, in quiet. You live there, and feel comfortable there.

To run in and out when you need something? No.

To stand there with your arms crossed, expecting? Nope.

To take a knee, telling God your list of needs and wants? Probably not.

To sit down, take a load off, rest, plan to stay a long while…in quiet, waiting to see where He leads, conversing with God, turning your face to His? Yes.

  • What does it mean to abide in God’s shadow? Abide = stay overnight, remain, lodge, move right in.

Stop in for a minute? No.

Wave as you run by? Don’t think so.

Phone in a quick prayer once in awhile? Hmmm, no.

To make it your permanent residence, enjoy it as your safe place, want to spend as much time there as you can? Yes.

God’s shelter is a secret place, a hiding place, a place of protection. When you are close enough to God to be in His shadow, to feel His shade, you are tucked right in there next to Him. You feel His presence as He protects you and allows you fear-free rest. It’s a great place to live life.

And yet, sometimes I wander off. As always, a visual reminder of dwelling in God’s shadow is good. At the top of the page is a doodle of Psalm 91:1. Please feel free to make it any size you want, and print it out on a piece of white card stock or 90 lb. watercolor paper. Cut the shape out. Add more color, or use it as it is. Pin it to your bulletin board, add a ribbon and hang it, glue it to the front of your journal, use it as a bookmark.

Show us how you are using it!

In all your ways, acknowledge Him (Proverbs 3:6),

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Peace is Yours

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Peace. Shalom. Being at ease internally and externally.

My word for 2014 is peace. This year I have been studying how to find peace, and how to hold on to it.

Some things I have learned about peace:

  • Having peace does not mean that the problems have all been solved. Having peace means that the problems have all been given to God with faith that He will handle them, and so they are no longer viewed as problems.
  • God’s peace is always available to me. God is unchanging and the Holy Spirit does not take a vacation. So, if I am missing peace, it’s me causing it.
  • When I am most in need of peace, the fastest way there is to focus on the proven character of God. There are plenty of examples of that in the bible.

When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were asked if they were ready to worship Nebudchadnezzar’s golden idol or be thrown into the fiery furnace, they said,

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From the boys, I learn that the peace they have about being thrown into the furnace comes from the fact that no matter the outcome, God is in control of the situation. He is bigger than the fire and the furnace. The boys were not worried, they were at ease. They had peace.

I know peace jewelry reminds some people of a turbulent time in the 70s, but it reminds me that peace is mine whenever I need it.

You can make these peace sign earrings in 10 minutes. If you have never made jewelry before, you can make these in 10 minutes. If you have made a zillions pieces of jewelry, you can make these in 10 minutes. No tools are required but a pair of scissors.

You need:

  • 2 peace sign charms: any color, any size
  • 2 beads: any color, any size (I had these gorgeous jasper beads. Use any beads that make you happy)
  • 2 ear wires: any color
  • 8″ of embroidery floss: any color
  • scissors
  • clear drying glue (optional)

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10 minutes. Start now:

1. Separate the floss so you have two pieces of three strands each. String a charm to the center of one piece and tie a knot to hold it in place.

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2. Hold both ends of the floss together. String a bead over both.

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3. Separate the floss pieces. Slide an ear wire over one piece. Knot floss ends together, keeping the ear wire close to the bead.

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4. Trim the ends of the floss.

Repeat steps 1-4 to make the other earring. You can add a tiny drop of glue, if you want, on the knot at the ear wire. Use jewelry glue or any glue that dries clear.

You’re done!

Do you have a favorite story of personal peace from the bible? Who and what is it about? Share!

Pray about everything. Philippians 4:6,

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Standing on the Promises of God

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(colored with watercolor pencils, see tutorial)

I love this old hymn, Standing on the Promises of God. Recently, I read someplace that God has made almost 7500 promises to us in His word. I don’t know if that number is accurate, but there is no doubt that God makes us many promises and keeps every one.

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(colored with colored pencils)

 Which of God’s promises do you need today to get you through? There is one for everything you need…not everything you want, but everything you need.

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(colored with markers)

Some of God’s unfailing promises:

God will keep His eye on you and teach you how you should live. Psalm 32:8

Nothing can separate you from God’s love. Romans 8:38-39

He will always forgive you. Just confess. I John 1:9

He will neither fail nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:8

He will help you endure temptation and will provide a way to escape it. I Corinthians 10:13

His peace, even when it makes no sense to feel peaceful, will guard your heart if you ask. Philippians 4: 6-7

He is your refuge, strength, and help. There is nothing to fear. Psalm 46:1-3

But my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Isaiah 40:29-32

If you seek Him, you will find Him. Deuteronomy 4:29

You can find the other 7490 promises in His word. Google or look in your concordance for the address of what you need.

And write the promise you love or need, on the back of the bookmark you are going to make.

You need:

  • cardstock or 90 lb watercolor paper (8 1/2 x 11″)
  • the free pattern
  • something with which to color in the pattern: colored pencils, markers, watercolor pencils (and water brush), crayons, pastels, whatever you like
  • hole punch
  • scissors
  • ribbon to tie in the hole
  • Optional: cardstock or scrapbook paper (in a color or pattern you like) for a backing, and whatever paper adhesive you like

Make it:

1. Put your cardstock or watercolor paper in the printer. Print the pattern. Size it as desired. Trim on the lines.

2. Color in or out of the lines!

3. Glue to a backing of colored paper if you want.

4. Punch a hole in one end. Tie a ribbon or piece of yarn in the hole.

Stick it in your bible or any book, and every time you look at it, remember God’s promises to you.

Be still and know…. Psalm 46:10,

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Salt and Light

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the Salt of the Earth

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and the Light of the World!

Last Sunday, the message at church was on Salt and Light. This is not a new lesson for me, as it is probably not for you either. But, it really made me think.

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I learned some things from Pastor Dave.

We know that to be salt is to be an example of Jesus…to be a blessing to others…to add flavor to your world.

And we know that to be light is to let others see God in you…that it is not always easy to show people who Jesus is…and that it is a choice to hide it or to let it shine.

And here is where I began to think. And I started writing a list of things I could do that would make me salt and light. What things have I done in the past that would qualify as salt and light? And what things am I doing now; ministries, serving, random acts of kindness, that make me salt or light?

Then it hit me. Probably because God told me. Being salt and light is not a list of activities. Being salt and light is a lifestyle. Shouldn’t it become such a part of my life that I no longer have to think about it because it is who I am? And when I don’t have to write a list of list of how to make myself salt and light, and when being a blessing to others and letting other people see God in me, are ingrained in my life, then I will be where God wants me to be. Salt and Light.

Are you there yet? How did you arrive? How will you get yourself there? Be aware of ways to be a blessing to people, of ways to share Jesus, to create relationships with people not in your sphere, to think about what your neighbor needs that she can’t do for herself, take groceries to the guy at church who is on crutches. You know what to do. God sets up Divine appointments for you all the time. When you find it hard to make it a part of who you are, remember that “fake it till you make it” is not a bad thing, and that a habit is built in 21 days. Start now with me?

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To make the oh so very easy, salt and light project in the photos, you need a salt shaker, a wick, and some white granulated wax. This takes 30 seconds to make. Really.

Hold the wick in the center of the salt shaker. Pour the wax in to fill up the shaker. Trim the wick if it is too long.

If you want to make it an even better reminder, print out one of the verses above, punch a hole in the paper, and tie it around the salt shaker. These are an inexpensive give-away to go with a lesson on salt and light.

Set it on a shelf in the bathroom so when you see it every morning, you are reminded what it means to be salt and light, and how great it is going to be when you are there.

Listen to our teaching pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Canton MI, Dave Riddle, on salt and light.

Share each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:2),

Kim

The One Who Goes Ahead

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I am in Charlotte for the She Speaks Conference. I arrived today and was assigned the smallest car I have ever driven. It feels like driving my Dad’s lawnmower. Zippy and fun!

On the plane, I had a reassuring chat with God about where this is going…what I will take away from this conference…if I am ready for meetings and classes…what did I forget to prepare. In the end, I knew that it was not anything to worry about. So, I will go and enjoy the experience. God has been here before me and that’s all I need.

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Serve wholeheartedly (Ephesians 6:7),

Kim