Hand Lettering Tips – Bible Art Journaling Challenge Week 44
Hello Everyone! Welcome to week 44 of the Bible Art Journaling Challenge! I am so amazed that we are in November already. I feel like the year has flown by for me. I remember at the beginning of this year posting my first Bible Art Journaling Challenge, on January 6th and telling myself how much I was looking forward to the day, where I’d have at least 40-50 blog posts with videos. That would feel like I’d finally managed to get a start at sharing with you, some of the devotionals on my heart and some favorite Bible art journaling techniques and tools.
And here we are! I do feel like I’ve made that start and am so grateful for the journey I’ve been on with you as a beautiful growing community. And if you’re new to me, welcome! I hope you’ll grow to love joining me often. This week my goal and heart is no different than the previous 43. My heart is that you would become more in love with Jesus and His love letter to you, (the Bible). And, that creativity might be a tool to unlock your heart for Him, that much easier.
In my Bible Art Journaling Challenge so far, I’ve shown you how to use the Inktense Pencils and the Faber-Castell Pitt Pens. I’ve used them again today for a fun, easy and simple background before providing some simple hand lettering tips.
Today’s Bible art journaling supplies
Before I head into the meat of this post below, here are the supplies I featured in this weeks video. I hope it helps you find anything you may want to try out. Where there is just one link, it’ll lead to Amazon. Where there are two links, you’ll see SB for Scrapbook.com, AZ for Amazon and CB for Christianbook.com
Click links to view or purchase
Bibles and supplies for Bible art journaling
There are always those who are new to me that find their way to various blog posts so, I’ll again mention for those who are new and interested… There are several wide-margin Bibles and supplies which I recommend for this art form. I’ve created a linked recommendations collection on my Bible Art Supplies page, to make your starter choices easier. I hope they will help you.
I used the ESV Journaling Bible for this Bible Art Journaling Challenge today. Psalm 19:9b-10 is where we’ll put our focus, but I want you to see it here in the context of the full statement which King David was making. I’ve underlined what specifically I’ve focused on…
9 the fear of the Lord is clean,
the rules of the Lord are true,
and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
The rules of the Lord are sweeter than honey and drippings of the honeycomb; in keeping them there is great reward.
If you’re not looking at this scripture in the same ESV translation which I’m showing you today, then your Bible will likely say, “the judgements of the Lord are…” sweeter than honey. Rather than the, “rules of the Lord”. That word judgements, means in the original language, a verdict, formal decree or divine law. I can see how the translators of the ESV, came to the conclusion that, “the rules of the Lord”, would be a simple way to convey that.
Those who have gone before us
Would you allow me to take you on a little rabbit trail here? I want to talk to you about the rules of God and God Himself. The man who makes those rules and His feelings for us.
If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you may realize that my husband and I have a love for learning from those who have God before us. I have more books than shelf space and love to frequent the used book section of Christian book shops, for those old classics which reveal things from a time whose people cannot sit and have coffee with us any longer. There is so much to learn about how we got where we are in society today, by studying the life and time of those who have gone before us.
A time before us
In more recent Christian history, followers of God have taught a rather intense version of the “judgements of the Lord”. As if, he only ever judges harshly. As if He only ever offers punishment or swings the vote against us. You may be reading my post and cheering that comment as if you agree whole-heartedly. But, in honesty, that is not the God I have come to know. Please stay with me and allow me to elaborate here as I feel this topic is so important for us.
This concept of God’s feelings toward us being that of anger, is something which many people believe came from a very famous sermon preached by Jonathan Edwards in 1741. It was titled, “Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God”. He was an incredibly influential revivalist preacher, philosopher, and Protestant theologian in His time and has been remembered as a real father of modern Christianity. He played a critical role in shaping the First Great Awakening.
Much of Edwards teaching and spiritual leadership was exactly what was needed in that time and was very sound. Yet, I believe this most famous sermon of his, has had a really negative effect on us in this period of Christian history that we live in. It’s that old children’s game of telephone gone bad. The story and ideas have been conveyed more and more improperly as history has unfolded.
You see, Edwards shared a message that made a huge amount of sense in the time and place which he shared it. The First Great Awakening was a revival which swept across America and Britain particularly, where God was focusing in on the hearts of those who called themselves followers of Him. It was a revival directed at Christians and so many who were, “living on the fence” made a commitment in that revival, to surrender all to God. The impact of the revival was felt internationally. It wasn’t until the Second Great Awakening began, (35 years after the 1st finished), that God corporately focused in on those who did not yet call themselves followers of Him. This made sense since He now had dedicated followers to help bring in those whose hearts were ready to say “Yes” to Him for the first time. So simply put, the First Great Awakening was directed at Christians and the Second Great Awakening was directed at “pre-Christians”.
So, Jonathan Edwards preached a sermon called, “Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God” which was directed at those who were already Christian and who were corporately, “living on the fence”. Many who heard his sermon were convicted of their choice to “live in sin” and re-dedicated their lives to God afresh. How wonderful! Yet, I believe Edwards’ rather intense depiction of God, has gone on to have an impact in the Church that has been sadly destructive.
The Bible shares a story of a God desperate to be able to connect with His people. A God willing to pay any price to get past that barrier of sin and have rich and deep relationship with His creation.
I believe God hates sin, but loves the sinner. And, I also believe that since Jesus came to die on the cross and was resurrected from the dead, we have a choice. We can stay a sinner, or we can be adopted as a son or daughter of God. Christians often believe that we are terrible sinners all our life. “Sinners in need of a savior”. But, my Bible says that when we come to God, and renounce our sinful life, surrendering to Him, then He washes us white as snow and then tells us to “go and sin no more”, like the woman at the well in John 8:11.
I realize the cultural perspective of this topic is deeply ingrained in Christian society and that I’m writing things which may be uncomfortable to hear. But I feel an obligation to God, that I not quietly sit by, while this negative perspective of Him roams wildly free to hurt more peoples’ relationship with Him.
I like to keep things simple. God created humankind. They sinned, which separated humankind from Him. After much history of His people making sacrifices to atone their sins and have relationship with Him, God sent His only Son to once and for all, create a simple way for us to connect with Him, without sin between us. Now, (in New Testament times), we have a great privilege of being able to simply surrender to God, ask Him to wash us clean from sin and to then, “go and sin no more”. When we embrace this free offer from God, we are no longer slaves to the law of sin and death, (Romans 8:2).
While Jonathan Edwards may have felt that an intense message of the eternal consequences of choosing sin over Christ, was needed to convict hearts, that message should not have gone on to be the goal post from which our perspectives of God come from.
Edwards was speaking to people who had hardened their heart to God and his sermon became a theological goal post, for two important perspectives in modern Christianity. Firstly, that we are always sinners regardless if we surrender to Christ or not and secondly, that we are in the hands of an angry God. I feel that these two things have ruled so much of Western Christian perspective since that time and really need to be put in balance.
Still a sinner?
We must ask ourselves, why on earth, (literally), would God send His only Son to die on a cross to save us, if He really doesn’t like us anyway? Or if He is just looking to get space from us out of anger? I believe we must challenge anything that depicts God as one who is seeking to push us away from Him, or who is still looking at us as if we are sinners. It’s like a pendulum that has swung from one extreme to the other and it is time it came to the middle and became balanced.
In 1 John 3:3-10 (NASB) John says,
3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. 4 Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. 7 Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; 8 the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.
In reality, we cannot embrace relationship with God and be in His family, yet still be sinners. We are asked to choose between sin or coming to God. So, why is it that after coming to God, so many Christians still go around saying they are sinners? Well, sometimes we mess up! But the key here is that when we become a Christian, we no longer have the nature of a sinner because we have been made a new creation in Christ, (2 Corinthians 5:17). All the “old stuff” has passed away and we are made new. Our nature is now in Christ and that means we are not prone to sin. We can still make mistakes because we have been given a free will, but that does not make us “a sinner”. It means we are in Christ and we made a mistake.
The beauty is that when we come to God and become that new creation in Him, we get a clean slate. Old things pass away and we get to start fresh. The best part, is that it is no longer in our nature to be sinful. So, we have to make a conscious effort to choose sin once a new creation in Him. Before it came naturally, now we have to go against what is natural for us, to step out of His great grace. And, even then, we can simply come back, repent and all is made new again.
In 1 John 2:1-2 (NASB) John says,
1 “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.
I would encourage us all, to avoid telling others that we are a sinner, once we’ve given our lives to God. Or, in fact, to believe that we are sinners once saved by His grace. We have become a new creation. The old creation is old and dead. Why would we point to that old nature and declare that is who we are? I believe this makes God’s heart sad. He wants us happily declaring who we are in Him! Not being prone to sin, is a HUGE benefit of being in God’s family. Sin is such a weight on those who wear it and in a moment, we can no longer be prone to its grip. The saving grace of God is so beautiful and freeing.
An angry God?
So are we in the hands of an angry God? I believe what I’ve pointed out already, makes it clear that we are not. This was the name of a famous sermon and became a viewpoint which has been perpetrated in society as God – “that man upstairs” – shaking his angry fist at creation, looking for a way to punish her. NO! I feel at tears just writing this. God is SO in love with each of us. You. Me. Each of us. God has spent all of time, wooing us to Himself.
We don’t put restrictions on our children to punish them. No. Those restricts are there so they can experience the best freedoms in life. We stop them from pedaling their bike in front of a moving car, because we don’t want them to be injured. We do it because we love them and want them to have the best life possible. God feels the same for us. Any rules are there for our protection and freedom. Because He loves us.
Once we come to God and are a new creation in Him, there is no sinful nature that can keep us disconnected from Him. He is our biggest cheerleader and the best friend we will ever have. His rules for us are sweeter than honey and the reward for keeping those rules, in relationship with Him, is truly great.
It would not be appropriate of me to write about this amazing love God has for us, and not invite you to either renew your relationship with Jesus, or to invite Him into your life for the first time. I want to take a moment to share again, what I did earlier this year.
The majority of those who participate in my Bible Art Journaling Challenge, do have relationship with Jesus already. And if you do, wonderful! It was the best decision I ever made. Not everyone has made that choice though. If you have not experienced what it is like to invite Jesus to be in relationship with you and have His free gift, I want to invite you to do so right now. Or perhaps you’ve walked away from God and want to have a meaningful relationship with Him. He loves you so much.
I have this question for you. What would stop you from saying yes to Jesus? Is there really anything worthwhile to lose, in giving Him a chance? Would you let me lead you into the beginning of a life filled with God’s grace and joy?
It is simple. You can just repeat this prayer to God, after me and believe it in your heart. There is no magic in the words, it is about starting a relationship with your Creator who loves you more than we can ever comprehend.
God, I acknowledge that you are real and sent your Son Jesus to die on the cross for me. I admit that I have not always done the right things and have made mistakes. Despite trying to be a good person, I have sinned. So, I need your help. Will you come and wash me clean? Will you come be the Lord of my life and my best friend? I accept you into my heart and welcome you to show me how to live my life in the most beautiful way possible. I give you my life and ask you to make it new. I want to trade my best efforts at this life, for your amazing destiny for my life.
If you just repeated that after me, let me be the first to welcome you into God’s family! The Bible says that when you do what you just did, that all the angels of heaven rejoice. That means heaven is having a party right now to celebrate your decision! What a great start to joining God’s family!
Please let me know in the comments below if you have made a decision to invite Jesus into your life today, or renew your relationship with Him. I would love to celebrate with you! I want to also encourage you to please find some local Christians and let them know about your new decision, so they can be a friend to you in this new season of your wonderful life.
As for the creative techniques I have shared with you today, I would love you to try any if you’re interested in them. I also want you to feel free to gather inspiration in other places for joining me in creating about/on this week’s scripture. The goal is to get in to the Word and spend time with God. I’m looking forward to seeing what you create! You can find answers to most any question you may have about this challenge, on the Bible Art Journaling Challenge page. It also has a full archive! Be sure to head over to our Facebook group and/or Google+ Community, to chat about this weeks Bible Art Journaling Challenge and get started on your own creativity! Many of you ask if it is okay to share these posts with your friends. Please do! It is a simple way you can partner with me to impact lives.
Thanks for joining me today. Please take a moment and say hi below! I’d love to hear from you!
You are loved. x
*Scripture is from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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