Monday, April 11, 2016

He Refreshes My Soul

One of the things I like best about Bible art-journaling is that God refreshes me through it.  It of course takes me into His Word, and if I ask for a place or a passage that God wants me to dwell on, He always delivers.  There is always something that leaps out and speaks to me in a new and fresh way.

A favorite verse of mine seemed perfect for what is called "mini-journaling."  I love the simplicity of it.  Mini-journaling focuses on the verse, not the art so much.  So the technique is to be very simple and small with the artwork.

Psalm 18:30, "As for God, His way is perfect," has been on a magnet on my refrigerator for as long as I can remember.  It's a great prompt every day to set my perspective on God and His plans and purposes for me.  The next part of the verse is, "The Lord's word is flawless." I believe that with all my heart.  There is no error in God's Word.  The sovereign God of the universe can certainly keep intact all that He wants recorded, all that He wants revealed to man.  It's preservation alone speaks to the power of God to ensure that His Word endures.  We can depend on His Word, for it is the full revelation of His story, His will. His way is perfect, ALWAYS! 

While I was working on illustrating Psalm 18:30, I continued reading and meditating on the next page.  It's a beautiful passage in the Psalms.  As always happens on nearly every page of Scripture, a verse or passage will leap up to grab my attention.

Psalm 19:7-8 expanded my featured verse on the previous page, "The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making the wise simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart."  A flood of remembering washed over me, and I recalled the countless times I ran to God's work for refreshment, encouragement, wisdom and counsel.  God has answer my inquiries of Him again and again as I sought Him through prayer and His Word.  So I wanted to preserve this portion of scripture as well, and personalize it through illustration.

I used a cut out for an art-journaling mat.  First I created the background of color by inking some of my acrylic stamp blocks with ink and spritzing with water.  I placed the inked side of the block directly to the page.  By using different size blocks, you get a nice geometric look to the multi-colored background. 

I used Sweet 'n Sassy stamps (Message of Hope, Worship the Lord) for the decorative words, "Lord" and "Soul", and the rest is hand-lettered.  I felt like making this a very personal page.

Using the cut out as a tip-in, I could lift that up and continue more personal journaling underneath.  While the writing is brief, I spent a long time just remembering the many ways God had delivered me through His Word, or directly by His hand.  It was a beautiful time of worship.

After working on this page, I wondered what I had created on the other side by using so much ink and water on my blocks. And sure enough, there was quite a bit of bleeding.  Rather than being upset by that, I thought..."Another page background already done!"  So I set about studying the passage of scripture on THIS page...and that's when my worship/prayer time went even deeper.

David and I have been in a season of prayer while considering the possibility of another ministry opportunity.  David has felt called to the transitional pastor ministry for several years.  His skills and heart are well suited to go into a hurting church and help them heal and prepare for their next permanent pastor.  It can make all the difference for a pastor if he steps into a healthy church rather than a hurting or even dysfunctional one.  David had guided a church through the process over the last 2-1/2 years; the church called their new pastor and David preached his "farewell" sermon on March 20.  He had been invited to preach the next two Sundays at a church that was also without a pastor.  He was being considered as an interim pastor there.  Following his second sermon, we met with the search committee, and they went into prayerful deliberations following that.  We anticipated hearing back from them on Wednesday, April 6th or later.

Reading this section of scripture was so naturally a prayer.  And it quickly became my prayer for David.  I went line by line and prayed the heart of the prayer over David in regard specifically to the church who was also praying over him.  Not having another position right away would create some new financial challenges for us, so of course I prayed that God would meet our needs. If our help could come for that particular "sanctuary" it would be a double blessing, for we were certainly feeling positive about our being there.  I've long since learned that we cannot base our actions or decisions on feelings.  Those must be rooted in God's will as best as we can discern through HIS actions and Word.  As I read and prayed I felt He was confirming what He would do.  I knew that God would answer directly, that both the church and we would know what God's will was, and that He would make that will evident.  I knew it!  And I took such joy in knowing that God would move in the situation.  We would not have to lean on man's ways or plans, but that God was going to step in and take control of this situation.

Note again though the structure of this prayer in the psalms.  The latter part of chapter 20 is obviously a prayer, but chapter 21 begins with God's answer.  And I immediately knew God had already answered the prayer.  I am no prophet, and I can't see into the future.  But in these moments God confirmed to me that the answer would be HIS.  And I knew that whatever it was, we would find joy in it, that God would provide for us and care for us.  You'll note that I put a bracket around the answer, and journaled specifying that portion was God's answer.  I even dated it...the date we thought we'd hear from the committee.  But notice the date 4-6-16 is in pencil!  I thought that as certain as I was, perhaps God was moving just as certainly with the committee and we might hear sooner.  David preached and we met with the committee on 4/3.  I did this journaling early the morning of 4/4. The committee met early, and gave David their answer on 4/5!  Seeing God move in this way was THRILLING!

The final design/journaling work I did on this page was to record my confirmation.  I believe that God had already answered.  And through every circumstance was moving to confirm that with both the committee and with us.  I absolutely LOVE the way God works and can't even describe how excited we are to be following His lead to serve at this new church.

When we pray, we can all pray believing He has already done it!  God moves behind, beside and in front of us all the time.  He already knows His plan and we pray in concert with His Spirit and His Word, He will reveal himself to us.  That's just how God works!

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