Tuesday, 29 December 2015

New Things - by Sharon King

Hi, it's Sharon here with some encouragement and a challenge for 2016!

At the end of 2015, as you look back on the year, what do you feel that you have achieved, can you see how God has been working out His plan for you? 

At the beginning of 2015, I was led to discover a word that would be my 'word' for 2015, after a lot of thought and prayer I decided it should be the word 'plan'  this came about through the verse in Jeremiah 29: 11

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

This was to be a significant word for me, for during this year I received a change of appointment within the Salvation Army. After 4 years in Stanford le Hope as Church Leader I was to move to Waltham Abbey to be Church Leader there. A new town, a new challenge, what was God's plan for me in all this change?

After my first visit to Wlatham Abbey I made the following entry in my journal.

In the months between February and July there certainly was a lot of planning, a lot of cleaning!!!! And a lot of preparation and praying. I have now been here for 5 months and I am excited to see the plans God has for me and the congregation at Waltham Abbey Salvation Army, there are still many of God's plans to be discovered including how we can work in our community.

At the beginning of 2015 I started a journal in a very basic notebook, which has proved to be invaluable in helping me to discover how God is working in my life. Allow me to share a few entries with you....

I enjoy journalling,  I may not be able to draw, but I love using words, colours, shapes, stickers and stamps.  If you think you are not able to journal because of limited drawing skills can I encourage you to experiment in whatever way you are comfortable, allow God to speak to you as you journal. Remember what is important is your relationship with God, not how beautiful it looks to others, because if you enter into journalling with a heart of love, your offering to God will be beautiful in His sight.

So the challenge for 2016, why not start a journal, I am sure you will be blessed and encouraged in the process, spending time with the Lord, and then at the end of 2016 taking time to reflect on what you have learnt from God as you review your journal, and the journey you have shared with your loving Heavenly Father.

Friday, 25 December 2015

Merry Christmas!

wonderfully created by Deborah Gregg

Wishing you all a very happy Christmas, full of the blessings of family and friends

with love from all of us at  Bible Art Journaling UK 

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Comfort for God's People - by Sarah Anderson

As I was pondering what to share in today's blog post I found out that my Dad had had to go to A and E after passing out again (it happened yesterday too) for no apparent reason.  I've just heard that all is good and the tests all came back normal so he is home.  :)

 I am so grateful that my first reaction on hearing news like this is praying to my Father God who loves and listens.  I am also grateful for all my praying friends who can immediately (due to the wonders of modern technology and social media)  pray with me.

What also came to mind was this verse that I journaled in my bible last month:

"those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength"
Isaiah 40 v 31

and the knowledge, remembering the feather, that God covers me, and my Dad, with His wings (Psalm 91:4)

 Worry is very draining but God asks us to trust Him and through Him, putting worry aside, we are strengthened.  So today I added some further stamping to this page, emphasising the words 'hope' and 'strength'.  These stamps are from Clarity Stamps' Word Chains 6 and 12.

He is my hope and my strength, no matter what life throws at me, and my Dad's hope and strength too!

I started this page back in November after sketching out a feather shape and carving myself a stamp.  I stamped the feather with black ink that came out quite grey but this allowed me space to doodle or 'barntangle' (see Deborah's post here if you'd like to know more!).  It's what the lovely Carolyn Dube would call an 'oops' - "outstanding opportunity presenting suddenly"!!

 I then added patches of watercolour around the feather before writing the verse out around the image.  Spending time with a verse creatively like this is what makes it stay in my mind - plus it sends me on another adventure  - I'm on a hunt now for more references to wings/feathers in the bible!!

So I pray that you will know God's hope and strength over this festive season.  Christmas doesn't stop people being ill or sad or homeless, but because of the reason we celebrate Christmas  we can feel the love of God in both difficult and happy times, and share His love with others.

Happy Christmas from all of us at Bible Art Journaling UK

Sarah xx

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Jesus our Emmanuel - by Deborah Gregg

Hi everyone! I thought I'd share a little something in keeping with the 'reason for the season', as we are so close to Christmas!

For me there are two aspects of Christmas that I find particularly helpful to remember at this time of year: that Jesus is the light of the World, and that He is our Emmanuel - God with us. Whatever we have walked through this past year, or are walking through now, and whatever lies ahead in the next year - He is our Emmanuel. Our God with us. Shining light into darkness.

So to start with, here's a double spread Faith Art Journal page I created a couple of years ago now:

To create this page, I painted red and green stripes in acrylic paint, which then looked much too bright and glaring, so I toned it down by scraping some white acrylic paint over the top with an old store card (my favourite acrylic paint technique!).

It was after our church Carols by Candlelight service (which I absolutely love and can't wait for this coming Sunday!) so I cut up my used carol sheet and basically mixed up some of the lyrics from my favourite Christmas carols and glued them onto the pages, randomly. (Feel free to play a quick game of 'name that carol' if you want to!)

Across the top of the page, I used a Calligraphy marker pen to write, 'Jesus, our Emmanuel' and highlighted the text with a silver pen.

It's a simple page, nothing fancy, but to me is full of meaning. I just love the name Emmanuel.
GOD with us! 
God WITH us! 
God with US!  
I also came across this Godfrey Rust poem, which I have added into my Faith Art journal (black roller ball pen over acrylic painted stripes, little manger scene in gold pen, copied from a Christmas card!).

It's such a mystery, that the LORD God Almighty - our Creator, holy and awesome in power and might, should be God With Us.

Son of God and Son of Man. The Word became flesh.

He brings us all hope. He brings us all the love of God. And His presence brings Light in our darkness.

And that we can have a personal relationship with Our Father God through Jesus, our precious Saviour - that's worth celebrating!

And to finish here's a little challenge /encouragement for you: over this Christmas time, in the middle of all the busy, try to prioritise some time alone with God. Just rest in His presence and in His grace. Read His Word. Pray. Sing. Create in your Journal or Journaling Bible if you want to, enjoy being creative and expressing your love for Him.

Quote from Ann Voskamp

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Barns and Barntangles! - by Deborah Gregg

Hi everyone, it's Deborah again this week. I thought I'd just share a little bit about 'Barntangles' today, as they are such a lot of fun and are great to incorporate into Bible Art Journaling!

For those who might not already know about this, Barntangles are simply doodles and patterns, like in the header at the top of this blog and the Bible Art Journaling UK Facebook Group page. They are usually done in black ink on white background but really, there are no rules, so feel free to use colours and whatever pens or other art and craft mediums you like! Some patterns are very easy, others more intricate, but they are usually easy to learn and really fun to do.

So why do some of us call them 'Barntangles'? They are fashionably and more commonly known as Zentangles (TM). However - I personally don't like the restrictions and 'rules' around official Zentangles (TM). And as a Christian I'm wary of anything 'zen' due to Buddhist and Far Eastern philosophy connotations. But doodling - well I'm afraid I can't see how anyone can trademark that! People have been doodling and drawing patterns since cave paintings and pyramids...

So, it was at the very first Bible Art Journaling for Beginners Workshop that I ran from my home, that I asked my lovely bunch of new Journalers for ideas of what we could call it, when a group of Christians get together to Bible Art Journal together? As a scrapbooker, I would sometimes go along to a 'Crop' to meet up and craft with friends, and I thought that 'Bible Art Journaling Gathering' just wasn't punchy enough!
The group chose the name 'BARN', and the acronym stands for: 
I love that so much! Isn't that exactly what Bible Art Journaling is all about, reflective nourishment of our souls, along with relaxation of our minds and bodies, and encouragement in our spirits, especially as we share with one another. So we can go along to a BARN event. If there isn't already a group near you, why not invite a friend over and BARN together, and start a little BARN group?

*Please feel free not to use 'BARN' if you prefer another name! I just wanted to explain what it is, and where it comes from and what it means, in case you hear some of us talking about BARNs or Barntangles*

So to finally get to the point (thank you if you are still reading....!) - that's why some of us like to call our Zentangle style doodles when used in Bible Art Journaling: 'Barntangles'.

And here's some Barntangles I drew at a BARN!

I find that they can be a great way to think about a verse, as you doodle while praying and dwelling on something that God has shown you from His Word, it really helps you to relax and reflect on the passage. It sinks in.

You can learn Barntangle patterns from the internet, sites like Pinterest or www.tanglepatterns.com have hundreds of patterns and step by step instructions to try them out. By the way, the official patterns all have funny names (like Mooka and Cadent!), it doesn't really matter but it can sometimes help you to find them. I have a little notebook with squared paper, that I use to practice new patterns and copy out the instructions, then I can refer to this when Barntangling a verse or page in my journal or Journaling Bible.

Be free to create however you like. It can be great to Barntangle the backgrounds around lettering, like in the group header 'JESUS', which is one of my journal pages.

Or you could Barntangle the letters themselves, like this page:

Or shapes and line drawings can be filled with Barntangle patterns to use as decorations.

I personally like the black on white or coloured background, but I have seen beautiful artwork from some of you using coloured pens in your Barntangling - please just have a go however you want to, and post pictures in the group!

I'll close with a challenge:
If anyone feels inspired, please try to come up with some 'Christian/Bible themed' Barntangle patterns and post instructions on how to draw them in the group! I know that would really bless us in our Bible Art Journaling, as we spend time reflecting and being nourished by God's Word.

Can't wait to see what you come up with!

Love in Christ,

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Simply Faith - by Jane Butcher

Hi, Jane here. One of the delights of my early morning routine is seeing all the beautiful and varied posts on the Bible Journaling Community pages, UK and international. Some are nothing short of masterpieces, the work of true artists, amazing drawings, paintings, multi media pictures; some (like mine) are simple, with limited artistic skill. What is important is the heart from which we all work in our Bibles; there are no "levels" of skill, just the desire to spend time with our Heavenly Father and in His Word.

Psalm 51 in my Journaling Bible

I can often be guilty of looking at some of the art work shared and feeling a bit pathetic in comparison. I have to remind myself of the first scribbles or paint daubs of a toddler, when they give them to us we are filled with delight and joy, we praise them and show them to family and friends, we see beyond the limited skills into the heart to please and share.
I once spent a wonderful weekend at a women’s conference where we were constantly reminded of how much God cherishes us, the image we were given was of a baby or toddler coming into our presence, our response is to smile, to say aaaah, to want to reach out and cuddle them; that is God’s response to us when we come into His presence, we are His cherished, beloved children.
He melts when we reach out to Him.
My son Ben - loves to worship God!
Wherever we fall on the scale of artistic ability, 0 – 100 God isn’t going to grade our efforts, He sees our hearts, filled with the desire to know Him more deeply, to walk more closely with Him.

Some people post their Bible/Journal pages very regularly, some not so much, some call themselves “lurkers”, simply enjoying seeing the offerings of others. Once again I think there is a need keep it simple; it’s not for any of us to judge or second guess the motivation behind anyone else’s sharing, though we share publicly our art and our thoughts, at the heart of every post is an intensely private moment between us and our personal Lord and Saviour.

At the end of the day Jesus Himself said we should have a childlike faith, the faith of a child, or an adult such as my son Ben is simple, but, such simple faith is paradoxically also the most profound!

Ben and Claire love to do Bible Art Journaling!

One of Ben's colourful pages about Abraham