Bible Journaling

Creative Retreat Kits | Truth in Good Fruit

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“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.”

Matthew 7:15-20

I was in my pre-teens when I learned a very expensive lesson … rather, my parents bore the weight of the expense while I dealt with the embarrassment and aftermath of my poor decision. I grew up the 80s and 90s when the landline phone was king (long before the smartphone). I just LOVED talking on the phone. I talked on the phone A LOT (sorry Mom and Dad). I was also very young and very immature and very impressionable. An advertiser’s dream, really.

So, when I stumbled across some advertisements for a phone-in psychic, I was dazzled. Someone who could remarkably and accurately tell me my future?! Sign me up! Maybe she would tell me if that cute boy in my class liked me back? Maybe she would would tell me if I was getting that killer boombox for my birthday? I was desperate to know what the future held for me, so I called in. My eyes didn’t even pause over the fine print. The fine print which explained that each call would cost $5.95 to connect and another several dollars per minute to continue. Yes, per minute.

I wish I could say I called just once. I wish I could say I called just twice. What I can say is that well over a HUNDRED dollars later, my parents got the phone bill and confronted me. I was caught and I crumbled under the reality of what I had done. My parents, of course, were upset about the expense they would have to pay. But what they were truly disappointed in was that I was even reaching out to a psychic. I was seeking truth in a place that I would never find it.

Matthew 7:15-16 speaks of false prophets who appear in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are like ravenous wolves. Wolves in sheep’s clothing. A lie. A farce. A predator out looking for prey. It goes on to provide aid in identifying those false prophets – by their fruit, because a healthy tree will produce good fruit and a diseased tree will produce bad fruit. You’d better believe a false prophet is going to be bearing some bad fruit.

In a world full of “fake news” and false prophets, inauthenticity and mirages of “reality”, it can be really hard to tell truth from fiction. But the Bible gives us this incredible road map for truth and markers for finding it. Truth bearers are also good fruit bearers. But what is good fruit? Well, we’ve learned in Galatians 5:22-23  what that fruit is – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Those qualities are pretty clear to see. You will know good fruit when you see it. And similarly, it can be pretty easy to spot bad fruit. What kind of fruit is your life producing? Have you seen bad fruit, in yourself or in others? What kind of fruit do you want to surround yourself with?

I’ve never called or even had the desire to speak to a psychic since. I now know where truth is truly found, and my eyes have been opened to what a false prophet really looks like in this day and age. I’m truly grateful that the word of God has been a light unto my path, giving me a road map to truth and shining a light on deceit.

I started off my entry this month with a very soft wash from a gray gelato just on the left margin of the page, which I buffed in lightly and then set with a light wash of water. I love that gelatos can behave like watercolors and I loved this effect! I then went in with the cute little branch/sprout stamp from the July Faith Art box and stamped with a Versamark pad and white embossing powder to create a nice crisp white embossed background. I used a scrap piece of paper to mask off the right side of the page and again keep everything in the margin.

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After that I went wild with the stickers from the kit and laid down all of the fruit of the Spirit, accenting each one with the fun enamel pieces. I very lightly traced over everything with my white gel pen, and outlined my verse with a black journaling pen.

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I cut out a tab from the devotional card backer and layered it with a bit of washi tape and a few more stickers from the kit.

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I felt like the page really needed a fun pop and I was SO INSPIRED by Julie’s page last month where she created a cute little shaker for her page, so I decided to go for it. I cut out the reflection questions from the kit’s devotional card and tossed it in a pocket page with some buttons, sequins, glitter, and a few of the enamel pieces from the kit layered back to back to form little colorful circles. I sealed it up using my Fuse tool and added a bit of washi and some more stickers to form the fruits title.

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To finish it off, I made a quick clip from some pink and gold baker’s twine and used that to clip the shaker to my page. I was back in my super chunky bible again this month so I didn’t mind the thickness it added and I loved being able to have the reflection questions right there. I had so much fun with this one!

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My prayer for you, my friends, is that you will always look for the good fruit and to cultivate a life in which good fruit springs forth from you. Do not be deceived by false prophets or anyone that tries to convince you that you are anything but a precious and loved child of God. May the Holy Spirit be revealed in you through your good fruit.

Be blessed, friends!

Not sure where to start with the Faith Art box? 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.

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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.