Learning to Pray the Jesus Way (A blog series on The Lord's Prayer) Part 5: A People Forgiven

Learning to Pray the Jesus Way (A blog series on The Lord's Prayer) Part 5: A People Forgiven
9 Our Father in Heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts, 
as we also have forgiven our debtors...
 

As we move forward in this series on The Lord's Prayer, we come to what may well be one of the most daunting topics of all--forgiveness.  Forgiveness is a topic that lies at the very core of Christianity.  We believe that as sinful human beings we are unable to reconcile ourselves to a holy God.  But relentless in His pursuit of us, God sent us One who can reconcile us to Himself.  

Ephesians 1:7 explains how Jesus secured sinful humanity's forgiveness before a holy God.

"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace..."

That verse makes a connection for us that we absolutely cannot miss.  It's the only way that this forgiveness thing is ever going to work out right.  Go back and read the verse again, this time more slowly.

"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace..."

Because of Jesus God extends us forgiveness according to grace.

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Learning to Pray the Jesus Way (A blog series on The Lord's Prayer) Part 4: Our Daily Bread

Learning to Pray the Jesus Way (A blog series on The Lord's Prayer) Part 4: Our Daily Bread
9 Our Father in Heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread...

When I began writing a study on The Lord’s Prayer several years ago, I expected verse 11 to be one of the simplest verses of the entire prayer.  "Give us this day our daily bread" seemed pretty straightforward to me.  After the mammoth challenge of unpacking verses 9 and 10 on God's name, kingdom, and will, I was hoping to coast for a bit.  I may have even muttered the words, “Oh, finally!  Thank you, Lord, for an easy week of Bible study!”  

Little did I know that verse 11 would unveil some of the most difficult heart-work of the entire prayer.  

As Jesus encourages us to ask God for the things we need, He also leads us to consider those needs.  

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How to Draw 15 (Effortless) Flowers for Bible Journaling

How to Draw 15 (Effortless) Flowers for Bible Journaling

Hi guys! 

For today’s blog post I made a video for you showing you how to draw some simple flowers to add to your bible journaling pages. 

You can take all of these flowers that I have drawn separately in the video and put them together to make little bouquets, wreaths, and bundles to make your bible pages super pretty!

These are just a few different kinds of flowers you can draw. There are so many different ways you could draw flowers that I could never begin to show you all of them, but I think that these will help you get started.

Just like my banner video, I thought it would be easier if you watched me draw them instead of trying to read a written description (although I did add short descriptions below), especially because there are so many!

Please keep in mind that I drew these pretty quickly AND I sped the video up about 2x, so do what I do in the video…except way slower! :)

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15 Bible Journaling Supplies for the Non-Doodler

15 Bible Journaling Supplies for the Non-Doodler

Lately I have been sharing a lot of “how-to” posts that have all included tutorials on doodling or drawing different things like banners and lettering.

I’ve focused on these things because they’re what I do and what I know best, but I know that isn’t everyone's style. So, today I wanted to share something a little different.

Knowing that not everyone is a doodler and not everyone feels comfortable with drawing, I wanted to share a blog post with supplies that you can use when you’re NOT someone who enjoys doodling or drawing but still wants to do Bible journaling.

With these supplies, you can almost think in terms of scrapbooking or card making. Stickers, stamps, tip-ins*--you name it; it will totally work.

In my last post about supplies, I pointed out pencils, pens and erasers that I recommend, which would apply here too! So make sure you go check those out!!

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Learning to Pray the Jesus Way: (A blog series on The Lord's Prayer) Part 3: His Name, His Kingdom, His Will

Learning to Pray the Jesus Way: (A blog series on The Lord's Prayer) Part 3: His Name, His Kingdom, His Will

Jesus was the kind of guy who got straight to the point.

When Martha came to Him complaining that her sister, Mary,  wasn't putting in her fair share of work, He quickly redirected Martha’s priorities,

"Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary.  Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her."  Luke 10:41-42

When the crowds of Capernaum closed in around Him, begging that He would stay and heal their physical maladies, He drew their attention to His greater work and their greater need,

“I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose."  Luke 4:33

When His disciples cried out to Him from the boat, fearful that the squall would take their lives, He sternly corrected them,

“Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?"  Mark 4:40

Jesus never shied away from cutting through our insecurities, ignorance, or fear to get to the heart of the matter.  

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Learning to Pray the Jesus Way: (A blog series on The Lord's Prayer) Part 2: A Father in Heaven

Learning to Pray the Jesus Way: (A blog series on The Lord's Prayer) Part 2:  A Father in Heaven

In Part 1 we established a fundamental truth about prayer that will place the rest of this series in its proper context.  

The truth about prayer is this:

God gave us prayer in response to our very great need for it.  

It is something He did for us, not something we do for Him.  

Yes, the God of heaven and earth, who made and designed everything--who knows how everything fits together and works-  tells us to pray.  But not because He is lacking something we can somehow provide Him through prayer.  

He tells us to pray because He designed us to work this way--to function and thrive in relationship with the God who created us. 

We need prayer not because it’s the means through which we get more things from God.

We need prayer because it is a means through which we get more of God.  

And through prayer, because of the great work Christ accomplished on our behalf, we have full access to Him.  

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.  Hebrews 10:19-22

Through prayer, we get to draw near to God.  This is no small thing. 

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5 Verses to Help You Overcome Comparison in Your Bible Journaling Pages

5 Verses to Help You Overcome Comparison in Your Bible Journaling Pages
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” Theodore Roosevelt 

Comparison is an ugly game that we all have played at least once in our lives (but more realistically, probably daily). 

Envy is usually the result. 

We all know that envy is not fun and God isn’t a fan of it.

The internet makes it worse. 

It can encourage you and discourage you in the same breath. 

We know what everyone is doing, or at least what they want us to know (the good things). 

It’s so easy to scroll and scroll and have disappointment and jealousy grow with every thumb swipe.

Bible journaling is one of those things that can very easily make you discouraged. Here you are trying your best to worship and find encouragement and all that you find is that you’re disappointed.

I have been there…often. In fact, that’s the whole reason I’m writing this. 

Just the other day, I was scrolling through Instagram looking at other people’s gorgeous Bible pages, reading their inspiring captions, and I got this twinge of “I’m not _________ enough.” You can fill that in with anything.

And believe me, the devil will try to force you to fill that blank.

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Learning to Pray the Jesus Way (A blog series on The Lord's Prayer) Part 1: A Disciple’s Request

Learning to Pray the Jesus Way (A blog series on The Lord's Prayer) Part 1:  A Disciple’s Request

Several years ago I wrote a 6-week study on The Lord's Prayer.  

I wish I could say that it was divinely inspired.  

That I felt a particular calling to write this particular study at that particular time to the specific group of women I taught that spring. 

The truth, however, is that I was more inspired by the practical demands of the situation than the Holy Spirit of the Lord who ordained the whole thing anyway. 

This last-minute coming together of details had me on the edge of my seat.

There are times when the Lord works in the least convenient way possible, demanding that we drop everything and make a complete about-face to follow Him in a particular situation. 

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How to Draw 5 (Super Simple) Banners in Your Bible

How to Draw 5 (Super Simple) Banners in Your Bible

It’s been a while since we first talked about bible journaling. I pray that you’re chugging along really well and finding tons of blessings along the way!

I thought that while you’re making some extremely amazing pages, you might want a few tips on some elements to add to your pages!

I’ve already gone over hand lettering, another really fun element to add to your bible pages. You can find that blog post here.

So now, I wanted to give a few tips on how to draw banners.

Banners are something I really like to add to my bible pages. They can really add dimension, interest, and fun to your artwork!

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5 Simple Tips to Start Hand Lettering

5 Simple Tips to Start Hand Lettering

I am often asked if I use special pens to make the words on my Bible pages look the way they do. While there are special pens and markers to allow you to achieve the same look, I usually don’t use those in my bible. You CAN; I just normally don’t. Below is an example of the lettering I’m talking about.

What I am doing in my bible is called hand lettering (or sometimes called faux calligraphy).  Hand lettering is different from dip pen calligraphy and brush pen calligraphy. These ARE done with special pens and markers, which I may go over in the future, but you can hand letter with supplies you probably already have around your house!

Today I wanted to give you a very basic overview on hand lettering. Hand lettering is a very popular way to add verses in an artistic way to your journaling bible pages, address envelopes, or even create pieces to give to friends and family as gifts!

Before we start, I want you to remember something. We are accustomed to writing a certain way our entire lives. Just think of how long you’ve been writing. Probably since you were about 5! That is YEARS of practice to get to where you are today in terms of how you write. You probably don’t even think about it anymore.

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5 Principles That Will Revolutionize the Way You Study the Bible

 5  Principles That Will Revolutionize the Way You Study the Bible

Bible literacy is a topic that is very near and dear to my heart (which you may have already picked up on if you hang around here a bit). 

I talk a whole lot about what Bible literacy is, why it’s so important, and how we can get there in my book, His Word Alone:  A call to put down your Bible studies and pick up your Bible.  Let me know what you think! I would honestly love to hear from you.  

It is my fervent desire that all Christians would come to know and love God’s Word.  The reason I am so passionate about the serious, intentional, and individual study of the Bible by Christians is because His Word is the very means through which the Lord has claimed my heart and transformed my life. 

His Word has met me right where I was at the time, no matter where or when.  His Word has relentlessly pursued me through the hard work of marriage, the endless delights and difficulties of raising small children, every insecurity and uncertainty a thirty-something-stay-at-home-mom could muster, and all the other ups, downs, ins, and outs of everyday life.  There is no pain to which God’s Word does not speak, no joy that it does not birth.

 

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How to Start Reading and Understanding the Bible

How to Start Reading and Understanding the Bible

For many years after becoming a Christian the greatest struggle I faced in my Christian walk was reading the Bible consistently. I knew I needed to read the Bible on my own. After all, the Bible served as the foundation for the very faith I now confessed. It made sense that I should acquaint myself with what it said. 

And believe me, I tried to read it.  (And failed.) 

And I tried some more.  (And failed again.) 

It seemed to me that no matter how much I read the Bible, I simply couldn’t understand it. Now I’m a tried-and-true, bonafide, genuine, real-deal, type-A perfectionist. 

There’s nothing I hate more than failing. So after several go-rounds of this trying and failing, of all this reading yet not understanding, I simply became disheartened. I threw up my hands and threw in the Bible-reading towel.

So there I was: a Christian who didn't (couldn't? wouldn't?) read the Bible.  

While I had no clue how I was supposed to read, study, and understand the Bible, at the same time, I was becoming increasingly aware of just how necessary Bible literacy was for a Christ-following Christian. This discrepancy sparked within me a crisis of conscious. 

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Bible Journaling: 6 Tips to Help You Get UnStuck

Bible Journaling: 6 Tips to Help You Get UnStuck

It’s been a few months since I shared with you what Bible Journaling is and how to start Bible journaling. I pray that those blog posts encouraged you to dip your toes into the creative world of worship!

However, you may be sitting here a few months down the road and find yourself a little stuck. I’ve been in this same situation many times over the past year and a half. I’ve actually had a tough few months recently, creatively speaking.

Every time I sat down to read, I found myself having a really hard time concentrating. I couldn't focus on the words, the meaning, what I was supposed to learn, and I definitely couldn't concentrate enough to know what I was supposed to journal.

I believe 100% that bible journaling should be spirit led, so when I’m not feeling it, I just don’t do it.

I know that I still need to spend time with God. For almost 2 years, bible journaling has been my favorite way to do that.  I have realized though, that sometimes even when I’m not forcing it, I actually am.

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Meeting Jesus Christ: A Story of Salvation

Meeting Jesus Christ: A Story of Salvation

It was an ordinary Wednesday during the school year of 2007.

My friend and next-door teaching neighbor was absent, so there was a substitute teacher in the room. Her name was Linda Martin.

I had known Mrs. Linda for a while and thought her to be the nicest lady. As we stood by our doors greeting students, she asked if I’d like to go to church that night.

Without even processing the invitation, I said yes.

That evening I stopped at Books-A-Million to get a notebook for church. Being a neurotic note-taker, I figured I’d better be prepared. Prepared for what I did not know.

I arrived at the building and found a seat in the middle toward the front so that I could see the altar and the preacher, whoever he might be. Being studious, I knew I’d get more out of this sitting near the front.

Service began with worship—the small band playing, arms raised in praise, hands clapping. This was familiar to me since I had attended two services here before with a friend. After a few songs, the pastor took the stage, led us in prayer, and began with his message.

I hung on every word this man spoke. He spoke with passion, conviction, and authority. I was hooked. I wanted more.

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Where was God? - Jeremiah 29:11

Where was God? - Jeremiah 29:11

Often times when something bad happens people say, "Where was God?" 

I've thought it. I bet you've thought it. I don't think you're human if you haven't, honestly. 

Praying recently, I was basically apologizing for always seeing the negative in everything and getting in a rut of expecting the worst to happen. It's one of my biggest obstacles. I am a negative person, plain and simple. 

Yesterday, I was thinking that even through all bad times, I can find at least one good thing despite them or in the midst of them. It might be something so small I almost miss it, but in the hard and trying times, there's almost always something good. 

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Trusting in the Lord: Psalm 125

Trusting in the Lord: Psalm 125

Do you have one little word? A word that you try and focus on for the year? 

My one little word for this year is trust. 

When this word popped in my head originally, I thought it was because of some health issues we’d all been having. Health is the part of life where we struggle most with trusting, so it made sense. But as the year has gone on, I think it’s God telling me to trust Him with a few other things as well--things only He knew about when He gently persuadedme towards this word.

Sometimes we’re presented with tasks or commands, and we aren’t sure if we can do them. Sometimes we’re right; we can’t. 

I’m learning that just because I can’t do something doesn’t mean God can’t. 

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Bible Journaling- Acts: The Power of the Holy Spirit

Bible Journaling- Acts: The Power of the Holy Spirit

I'm going to admit something to you that I’m a little embarrassed about.

The Holy Spirit is something that took me a long time to really understand for some reason. It seemed ghostly, unattainable, and strange until I really sat down to deliberately learn what and who it was.

And when I really think about it, the Holy Spirit is something that’s extremely easy to take advantage of. 

It’s one of those really important things that you don’t realize how much it does for you until it’s gone (Lucky for us, He's not going anywhere!). 

 

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Psalm 107: Breaking Chains

Psalm 107: Breaking Chains

I really like Psalm 107. 

“Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story.” Psalm 107:2 says,

The whole chapter talks about 4 different kinds of people and how God helps them: the wanderers, the prisoners, the sick, and the storm-tossed.

They all bear talking about, but 107:14 really stands out to me.

"He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains."

I think this verse is talking in a literal sense of prisoners, but we can be in prison without sitting in a cell. A prison can take form in so many different ways. 

Anxiety, depression, addiction, temptation, anger, jealousy. 

There are so many things that can make us feel like we’re sitting in darkness. Some things we have more control over than others, but there’s one thing that can bring us out of that darkness—Jesus Christ.

For me the struggle has been with anxiety and mild depression for as long as I can remember. There have been times in my life where it is better, and there are times where I have felt like I was a prisoner to it. I have felt like I had no control over my emotions, happiness, or thoughts. Satan truly knew how to keep me down.

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White Christians + Black Lives: How can we do better?

White Christians + Black Lives:  How can we do better?

Last week's events knocked the breath clear out of me.  

So did the words of the young black man who stood in front of our congregation on Sunday. 

"Silence is violence."  

His voice rang clear, reverberated, and fell full right into the laps of our predominantly white congregation.  Three words out of that man's mouth, and this time I was the one shot point blank.

Convicted.  

Tried.  

Found guilty in 15 seconds flat.  

But this time, justice was served.  I’m guilty as charged.  I have been silent. Conspicuously quiet.  Lacking words.  

What do you say when the wheels come off of a well perpetuated illusion?  

What do you say when confronted with crimes you didn’t even know you were committing?

You say something.  Anything.

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How Jesus Did Friendship

How Jesus Did Friendship

Your best friend—that person you tell everything to, the person included in all your plans.  When you get the job you hoped for, she celebrates with you. When you absolutely must talk it out, she stays on the phone all night with you. When tragedy strikes, she cries with you. 

Your inner circle—those women who have been part of your life for many years. You’ve raised children together. You’ve road tripped together. You’ve buried a parent or planned a wedding together. 

An acquaintance— someone you once worked with, the lady you sit by in church, or the high school classmate you rarely see but always say hi to. The PTA president at your kid’s school.

To me, relationships are like the rings that tell the age of a tree—small circles then larger circles extending outward. At the core, you find the BFF. The circle closest to you are those you do life with, the inner circle. In the outer rings lie a multitude of friendly acquaintances. 

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