Bible Journaling

Creative Retreat Kits | He Overcomes All

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 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

-John 16:33

In college I studied journalism. I loved stories and I loved being a story teller. As a result, I watched and read the news A LOT. I devoured the newspapers in the morning and poured over the news in the evening. I liked knowing what was going on in the world and I liked thinking about how I would tell the stories if I had the chance. I was young and the stories captivated me.

As time went on and I grew older, I navigated my career away from journalism and in to advertising and marketing. Though the storytelling part of the news still appealed to me, I noticed that there was not much “good news” on TV. Every night was a back to back agenda of crime, destruction, hatred, theft, war, death and suffering. It was all too much. This compounded as the years passed and peaked when I had my children. I almost never watch the news or read news stories anymore. According to the news, there is almost no good left in the world.

I of course know that this is not true. But what really encourages me is knowing that even if the world is filled with hate and war and crime, there is the knowledge that our Lord and Savior has overcome it all. He overcame through his sacrifice and death on the cross. And I believe he overcomes for us every day. Because he overcomes, we have PEACE. Peace among all the things we see on the news. Peace and promise that we are going to be met in paradise. Pain and suffering are big. But our God is much bigger. Thank you Jesus! You overcome!

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The colors in this month’s Faith Art Box are so summery and bright. They make me smile! I ADORED the cute pattern on the back of the devotional card so I set about trying to recreate it. I used Target’s Hand Made Modern paints swirled on using some sponge daubers. After those dried, I used the ADORABLE texture stamps from the kit and stamped in using a black Versafine ink pad and white Craft ink.

I laid down a few titles including “Take Heart Jenn” using the stickers and alpha stickers in the kit. I recently read a devotion that talked about how important and powerful it is to personalize scripture. This is most easily done by adding your name to scripture and I must tell you, it really does feel powerful and like our God is speaking directly to you. I don’t know about you all but I definitely needed to heart the words “take heart”.

DSC_3464 I’ve gotten really interested in looking up the dictionary definitions of words so I looked up the word overcome and found that it meant defeated, prevailed and overpowered. Amen! I added that into my journaling and then layered in some washi tape and the rest of my titles, finishing the page with the SWEET striped bow (STRIPES ARE MY FAVORITE!).

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My prayer for each of you reading this is to know that our God is so much bigger than the ugly that we see on the news. He’s bigger than the pain and suffering in our days here on earth. He has overcome, and he will continue to overcome, for you, every day. He wants you to know the peace that he offers and to know that his peace covers ALL. Be blessed, friends!

Have you seen all of the amazing ways you can use Faith Art Kits? Follow @creativeretreat on Instagram and follow the hashtag #creativeretreatkits to get inspired. While you’re there, let’s be friends! Check out my IG @bibleartgal.

Bible Journaling, Other Fun Stuff

Creative Retreat Kits | Gentle Shepherd

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“The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
for his name’s sake.”

-Psalm 23:1-3

For years I have thought of my father as a “gentle giant”. Towering at over 6 foot 4 inches, my dad’s presence is not something you typically miss in a room. In fact, I feel like it might have been quite a big factor in me never having many suitors during my dating years. 😉 Though he’s built like a linebacker, I never thought of him as an enforcer. I always thought of him as my protector. My guide. My source of wisdom when the world didn’t make sense… which in my teen years, was often. He is truly, a gentle giant with a heart for his family and an even bigger heart for Jesus.

We often think of leaders needing to have a commanding presence, or needing to instill a dose of fear in order to be respected and followed. But real leadership is not found in a commanding, order-barking presence. It’s found in gentle giants. It’s found in shepherds, guiding foolish and meek sheep like us. A good leader creates a love and trust that makes you WANT to follow them and allows you to have faith that you are in good hands.

I love the countless references you find in scripture describing our Father, Son and Holy Spirit as a shepherd (the good shepherd, the one shepherd, chief shepherd). There is something truly remarkable about the peaceful but fierce guidance of a good shepherd. He tends his flock and will not lead them astray or allow them to fall into an enemy’s hands. The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. He also leads his sheep to wells of living water so they will not be thirsty. What a precious gift, the love of a shepherd gives us.

I’m truly thankful for the gift of my earthly father and all of the years of his gentle shepherding  to make me the woman that I am today. But I’m completely speechless when it comes to the love and sacrifice of our Lord and Savior, the one true shepherd of each and every one of us.

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I decided to dive into my hymnal with the May Faith Art box and found this beautiful hymn called Gentle Shepherd written by Gloria and William Gaither (1974). The words are beautiful:

Gentle Shepherd, come and lead us, For we need You to help us find our Way. 
Gentle Shepherd, come and feed us, For we need Your strength from day to day. 
There’s no other we can turn to, Who can help us face another day;
Gentle Shepherd, come and lead us, For we need You to help us find our Way. 

I started my entry with a very soft wash of a few Hand Made Modern acrylic paints from Target, using a baby wipe to apply. This give such a sheer lovely, easy application. Next I got out some texture paste and mixed the yellow acrylic paint in and then smeared it over the crosses stencil that is cut into my bible journaling mat from Illustrated Faith. I wanted a little extra dimension and texture paste works like a charm!

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I then laid down a few titles using the stickers and alpha set in the kit, first “Jesus Leads – Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Trinity” and then “Follow in Faith”. I accented with my yellow striped washi tape (I use this one so much!) and outlined with a black journaling pen.

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I then used the devotion card to make this little “garden” at the bottom of the page, using various stickers from the kit to make the flowers. I layered it with a little strip of green scrap paper I had laying around and affixed the little “follow him” title on the bottom. I used this to do a little private journaling on the back.

I finished with a tab punch from the devotion card as well as that adorable yellow gingham bow. I really like hymnal entries and how they tie so beautifully into the scriptures I’ve been studying.

Friends, my prayer for you is that you know the love, provision and protection of the good shepherd. Know that you are being led down the best possible path and that you are under the constant and vigilant eye of the shepherd who loves you more than anything. Be blessed, friends!

There are so many fun and creative ways to use Faith Art Kits. Follow @creativeretreat on Instagram and follow the hashtag #creativeretreatkits to get inspired. Let’s be friends! Check out my IG @bibleartgal.

Bible Journaling

Creative Retreat Kits | Even in Rain, He Reigns

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“And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, ‘Save us, Lord; we are perishing.’ And he said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? O you of little faith?’ Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying ‘What sort of man is this, that even the winds and sea obey him?”
– Matthew 8:23-27

The past several weeks have brought my home state of California a series of back to back late-winter storms, bringing much needed rain to our drought-ridden lands. It’s been a dry season and this is rain that we’ve prayed for, sometimes desperately, so we don’t dare complain or fret. Though these storms have brought unexpected flooding, mudslides and worries of their own, we are still grateful for the life-giving rain. Storms, by nature are dark and brooding, sometimes downright terrifying. It can be hard to see benefits hidden in the darkness.

Can’t we say the same about the storms of life? I know that I can. The past few years have brought the same back to back storms that we’ve been experiencing lately where I live. But instead of life-giving rain, I’ve felt the pain of depression, anxiety, job loss, extreme financial stress, a terminal diagnosis of a loved one, new demanding jobs, marital discord, and the constant roar of “overwhelm” that often comes with life as a wife, mom, caregiver and more. I have often been tempted to shake my fist in the sky and shout, “Where are you God???”

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My local pastor recently preached on the passage of Matthew 8:23-27 and pointed out something so simple and profound, but something I had definitely missed the gravity of when studying it in the past. Jesus was in the boat! The Savior of the world, Messiah, Son of God, was right there, in a state of total peace, sleeping. How often do we run about frantically when the storms of life hit? Screaming, crying, begging for help. But forgetting that God is right here. He’s in the boat. He’s got us under the same hand that he can stretch out over a roaring storm and speak words of peace, and it’s over. It’s calm. Storms are inevitable, but so too is the love of our God. Without the storms, we wouldn’t need him like we so desperately do.

The winds and the sea obey him. He’s calling us to do the same. To trust and obey that he’s in control and that the calm is coming. We need only have faith.

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To say that I love everything about the kit this month is an understatement! The bows, the colors, the stamps, the powerful devotional. I started off my entry with a soft wash of pastel that I “massaged” very well into the page, wiped over with a paper towel and then set down with a very light wash of clear gesso.

I then stamped those adorable raindrops and hit them with some white embossing powder for an extra pop. I set my title down, which is my favorite part… when I saw the kit, two words jumped out at me, “rain” and “reign” and I thought… “Even in the rain, he will reign.” I traced around it in a blue Micron pen, hit it with a few splatters of white acrylic paint watered down just a bit for optimal splattering.

I found this cute cloud in my stash and layered it over that adorable white bow for a really big tag. I love a big, loud tag. Lastly, I wanted a few extra big white raindrops but wasn’t sure how to make them, then laid my eyes on the plain white hearts that came in last month’s kit. Did you know that if you cut a heart in half, you get two perfectly, cute raindrops? They were the perfect addition!

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I pray that even in the storms of this life that each and every one of you can find peace and know that you are not alone. He’s in your boat. He hears you. He knows you. He loves you. And you can trust that he will bring calm to your weary heart. Be blessed, friends!

Want to see other ways to use products from the Creative Retreat kits? Follow @creativeretreatkits on Instagram and follow the hashtag #creativeretreatkits to see how others are using them! And please check out my Insta account @bibleartgal while you’re there.