Bible Journaling

Creative Retreat Kits | Refuge and Strength

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“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.”

Psalm 46:1-2

Getting and staying in shape has always been a big challenge for me. For starters, I don’t enjoy exercise at all, and everything in my genes and metabolism is seemingly fighting against me. I recently acquired a gym membership and as part of the onboarding process, I was offered a free physical consultation and comprehensive testing. This was a pretty thorough test and involved all different facets of health (blood testing for glucose and cholesterol, measurements for BMI, fat caliper testing, blood oxygen testing, endurance testing, etc.).

I had done most of that before but I had never been through any strength testing. Though I wasn’t surprised at most of my physical results (like I said, I’m healthy but I know I’m out of shape), I was really surprised to see that my strength testing was pretty solid. In fact, for someone so out of shape in every other way, I have above average strength.

But physical strength only counts for so much. As I’ve grown older and endured much more adult problems and responsibilities, I’ve realized that emotional and spiritual strength is invaluable. Fortunately, I am pretty strong in both those areas too… but I definitely need a Savior. I need the strength of my God to cover me when my humanness makes it feel too hard to endure. In this life, those times are pretty often. God created us as beings who need him.

Scripture is very clear in stating that there is no one and nothing more powerful than our God. I love Psalm 46 and how it describes our God as both a refuge (safe place, protected, shelter) and strength – a very present help in time of trouble. AMEN! It goes on to describe how we need not have any fear even if the earth gives way and oceans roars and the ground trembles beneath us. God is in control of all things. That is POWER and that is the only power I want in my life.

I wanted to do something a bit different for this entry so I pulled out my little Psalms book. I also wanted to keep the entry pretty simple because there isn’t a lot of space on these pages and I didn’t want to cover the text.

I started with a soft wash of pinky purple watercolor from Dots and Dust‘s Cupcakes and Cocktails palette (Shade: Manhattan). This actually has a lovely golden shimmer to it that you can’t see in the photos but added a really nice pop. I then used a matching marker to make very rough circular shapes, similar to the circles on the back of the devotional card in this month’s kit. Let’s be honest, mine are just scribbles but that’s exactly what I wanted.

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Next, I highlighted my verse with the same pen. I grabbed some of the wordfetti and stamps from the stamp set to spell out a few titles (faithful strength, and In My Weakness You are Strong). I couldn’t resist adding in a few random strips of my favorite mustard yellow striped washi tape. I wish I could remember where I got it because I’m quickyl running out. I sprinkled in a few enamel shapes from a previous kit, as well as some of the heart stickers.

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I journaled in a prayer at the bottom of the page with a blue pen. Lastly, I added that super cute jumbo bow (which is started calling a jumbow) and a sticker, with more of the washi tape, mostly to secure the big bow in place. This was a super quick entry but really fun to jump into this Psalms book. I might have to pull this one out more often. Don’t you just love the Psalms?

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Friends, my prayer for you is that you know and feel the strength of our God. It is beyond imagination how powerful he is and how much he loves us. When you are weak, call out his name and feel the refuge that is provided in his strength. You need not fear with the Lord on your side.

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For more inspiration using the September Faith Art box follow @creativeretreat on Instagram and follow the hashtag #creativeretreatkits. Be sure to check out our Facebook Insiders group for more inspiration and some fun freebies! Check out my IG @bibleartgal.

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Bible Journaling

Creative Retreat Kits | One True King

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“But the Lord is the true God;
he is the living God and the everlasting King.
At his wrath the earth quakes.
and the nations cannot endure his indignation.”

Jeremiah 10:10

I’m not a huge consumer of junk food… but I do have a mean sweet tooth. Do you remember several years back when Hostess announced that it was closing it’s doors? Now, I wouldn’t say I was devastated or anything, but I will admit that I was bummed. Bummed because those chocolate cupcakes with the white swirl on top were one of my guilty pleasures. We all have those little things that are probably just not that appealing, but end up being a bit of a vice.

I used to allow myself a package of those every once in a while as a treat, OR when I donated blood. I could always count on the blood bank to have my favorite treats. So when Hostess announced it was quits, I thought I would be devoid of my indulgence forever. It wasn’t a short time later that that “imitators” started popping up in vending machines and storefronts.

I was reluctant, but I gave them a try. They were NOT my indulgence. They were dry. They were sort of tasteless and weirdly sticky. They were not Hostess. They were in fact just imitators. There are SO MANY imitators in our life. Things that promise they are real and satisfying. But when you look down deep, they are just that, fakes. Thankfully we have the Holy Spirit to guide us to truth. There is nothing that reveals truth better than our God!

Jeremiah 10:10 describes our God as the ONE TRUE GOD. There is nothing artificial, tasteless or fake about Him. He is great. He is powerful. He is above all. Better than that he is the LIVING GOD that is above all. Living means that he still acts and intercedes for us every day. He doesn’t just sit back and watch our lives unfold. He is active and present in them.

For my page this week I decided to go royal and honor our one true King. I started by using the ink smooshing technique (smooshing ink onto plastic packaging, spraying a bit of water on it and “smooshing” it on the page several times). I used Distress Oxide ink in Faded Jeans. I LOVE this color of blue and it coordinated with the kit just perfectly.

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Next I decided to do a little bit of hand lettering with a gold American Crafts marker. Lettering is NOT my strength but I felt like that was the only way to do it for spelling out the title King and I’m actually happy with how it turned out. I added a few other alphas and wordfetti from the kit to spell out “He is the one true King”.

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I went in drew a box around my verse and drew a few little gold stars with the marker and then hit the whole page with some gold splatters using a Kuretake Gansai Tambi watercolor in Blue Gold.

I finished the page off with a little sparkly gold washi tape, that sweet blue bow from the kit and the One True King medallion sticker.

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This was a quick and simple entry but I really like how it turned out. The blue and gold combo is one of my faves.

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Friends, I pray that you know and celebrate the one true God and King in your lives. I pray that you know of his power and might but feel his compassion and love for you. Do not settle for cheap imitators and fakes to full any holes in your life. He is above all and will cover all. He is the King of your heart.

Be blessed, friends!

If you’re looking for inspiration using the Faith Art Box, follow @creativeretreat on Instagram and follow the hashtag #creativeretreatkits. Are we friends yet? We should be! Check out my IG @bibleartgal.

Bible Journaling

Creative Retreat Kits | Let’s Build Up

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For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us. Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever. So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” 

1 Thessalonians 5:9-11

I was just a kid when my dad built a solid brick wall to contain some garden beds he wanted to cultivate in our Southern California back yard. I watched him in amazement, and a little bit of boredom, as he laid brick by brick. His motions became almost robotic as he meticulously spread just the right amount of mortar on each brick, carefully placed it in its designated spot and gently tapped at its corners to make sure it was even, level and flush with its neighboring bricks.

I asked my dad, “why don’t you just spread a whole bunch of that mortar stuff and lay down a whole bunch of bricks at once?” My dad patiently replied, “Because that wouldn’t work. The wall would slope uphill or downhill, the mortar wouldn’t set properly and it wouldn’t be even at all. A wall built that way wouldn’t stand for long.” As a child I probably rolled my eyes and walked away to find something more interesting to do.

As an adult I’ve reflected on that moment a lot. Every time I see a brick wall in fact. Brick, done well, seems to last a lifetime. We have brick walls in my town that are over a hundred years old and are standing strong. The secret to a brick wall is that precision that my dad talked about. Each brick has its exact spot and they have to be laid just so, or the whole wall will fall. They need each other to form a unified stronghold.

As I read this verse in Thessalonians I thought of us, as people. We are not meant to navigate this world alone. We need each other. Together is the only way we can truly be built up. It’s made me so grateful for the friends that I have by my side. Doing life TOGETHER is the only way to do it. When I am weak, my friends are strong. When my friends are sad, I bring them joy. We navigate the good, the bad, the happy, the sad… together. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. I think our Father in heaven is so encouraged when we, as brothers and sisters, invest in and build each other up.

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I started my entry with a prayer, using this super cute sticker from the Faith Art kid and a few hearts to form a colon. There were a couple of verses on this page that I found really fitting to the theme of encouraging and building up so I “fenced them in” using a black journaling marker.

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I then grabbed some Illustrated Faith watercolors to make a little wall at the bottom of my page. I drew in the bricks with the journaling pen and used some stickers from the Faith Art kit to serve both as bricks and as my title, “Brothers, Sisters, Be Encouraged, Build Each Other Up”. I added a few splatters with the black watercolor to make the wall and page look a little bit rustic.

I finished the page of with that sweet pink bow and just a little yellow striped washi tape.

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My prayer for you is that you have brothers and sisters to surround you, encourage you and build you up. May you never feel alone and may you never feel torn down by the world around you. Let’s do life together!

Follow @creativeretreat on Instagram and follow the hashtag #creativeretreatkits to get inspired in how to use this month’s kit. While you’re there, let’s be friends! Check out my IG @bibleartgal.

Bible Journaling

Creative Retreat Kits | Faithful to Completion

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“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”  -Philippians 1:6

In recent months I have cultivated a real love for gardening. I’ve always been interested in it but never really had the gumption (or time) to do anything about it. But recently, I went to a garden expo and listened to a gardening lecture and was completely fascinated with how the speaker talked about gardening, as therapy. I could use some therapy. I was hooked. I dove right in and have now been spending regular hours outdoors – weeding, planting, pruning and communing with nature and with our God who put it all into place. It has been so good for my soul!

My sons have been curious as I’ve embarked on this new adventure and have been eager to join in the fun. This past weekend we ventured out to buy some soil and mulch and my 5 year old begged for some seeds to grow his own plant. He picked out some beautiful periwinkle blue morning glory seeds and excitedly dashed home to grab a paper cup and handfuls of damp, dark soil to bury his tiny little seeds into. He watered it, set it in the sun and sat back in anticipation.

It was just minutes later when he declared in frustration, “why isn’t this thing growing yet?” I laughed a little then explained to him that it not only takes sunshine, water and soil for little plants to grow (which is what he’s been learning in school), but that it also takes time. Lots of time. And that we have to be very patient, but that the wait is SO WORTH it when we see that beautiful little plant pop out of the ground.

He wrinkled his forehead and proceeded to ask me about every 5 minutes why the plant hadn’t grown, when it was going to grow and why it was taking so long. I could not help but think of us, as children of God. We are so very eager for the HARVEST, but have no patience as we navigate the planting, watering, weeding, pruning and growing. We want the rewards right now. We want the deliverance of the desires of our heart today. But we become so weary as we labor through the twists and turns that happen as we grow, the pain we experience in the pruning and weeding (of God cutting the useless stuff out of our lives) and the agonizing wait until the bloom.

But the bloom is the best part! That’s the part where God brings to completion the very things that he has planted in us. What incredible beauty there is in that. There is beauty in waiting. There is an exercise of faith in waiting. But we know that the God who starts good works in us will be faithful to complete them. We just have to wait to bloom. And when we bloom, we should glorify the God that planted in us from the very beginning.

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When I saw the May Faith Art kit and the sweet blooms, I just about lost it. It’s crazy how God moves in you and then reminds you of his good in those movements. I needed this sweet reminder that the things that God has planted in me are growing, and that the blooms are coming.

I started my page by laying down my title, “what God planted in me will bloom” with various stickers and the alphas from the kit along with my favorite yellow striped washi.  I then added a soft wash of watercolors from Dots and Dust (how amazing are homemade watercolors?!) to look like soil. I added in some flecks and pebbles with a black journaling pen and added some personal journaling.

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Then I added a small round sticker to signify a “seed” and layered in one of the cute blooms from the kit. For my tag I cut out a coordinating green from a set of paint chips (they make great tags!) , layered in a few stickers and embossed it with the BLOOM stamp from the kit. I anchored it with a little more washi tape and couldn’t resist adding the sweet pink bow from the kit. Finally, I highlighted my verse with a little bit of thin pink washi tape.

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My prayer for each and every one of you to is feel loved, valued and at peace as you wait for the blooms in your life. God has promised to complete these good things in us. Know that you are not alone in your wait and that beautiful blooms are coming! Be blessed, friends.

Inspiration is all around! Follow @creativeretreat on Instagram and follow the hashtag #creativeretreatkits to get inspired. While you’re there, check out my IG @bibleartgal.