It’s worth asking — what inspires you or energizes your faith? There really are a myriad ways for us to keep our time with God fresh. Bible journaling is one powerful invitation, drawing the heart into God’s Word, and closer to Him. Jann Gray travels the country holding workshops to share her love for illuminating the text in her Bible with what God is writing on her heart. It’s a grace to welcome Jann to the farm’s front porch today…
Every Bible I have ever owned has become the repository of all sorts of evidence that I have met with God on the pages of His Word.
If you were to do a quick flip through one of my Bibles, you would find that sermon notes, prayers, word studies, and cross references have been scribbled in the margins and that words and even whole paragraphs have been underlined, circled, and color coded.
These marks on the pages of my Bibles were not put there to distract from the Word of God — but rather to remind me of who God is, as I studied and meditated on His Word.
It now also contains illustrations—a creative expression that I call illuminated journaling.
Bible journaling is an expressive way to study the Word of God by writing or drawing on the very pages that inspire our creativity.
It was my love of photography and the way a picture can transport me back to the moment that a precious memory occurred, which has led to my love of journaling in my Bible using words and images.
Journaling like this captures the moments I have met with God on the pages of His Word and allows me to return to that meeting again and again—refreshing my memory and reinforcing the truths I have learned.
Illuminated journaling allows me to capture my own picture—a selfie if you will—of myself with God as we stand together admiring the work of His hands.
Sometimes the picture is of me before I knew what the future would hold. Sometimes it is of the celebration of completing a task. Other times, it captures the moment when the truth finally sank in and I got it. Still others record the time I missed it yet again.
As I flip through the pages of my Bible, I see where I’ve been and anticipate where He will lead me, and I rejoice in His constancy, presence, and love for me every day, every moment of my life.
And if my fickle heart even tries to forget, I have the evidence right there on the pages of my Bible that He never forgets, never fails, never leaves, and always loves. Click and there in the viewfinder of my Bible is our silhouette . . . Him loving me and me loving Him right back.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and tell you that I think this could be the single greatest thing that you can do to improve your personal relationship with Jesus! As bold as that sounds, my personal experience (and the experience of hundreds of my friends) gives me the confidence to want it for you, too!
But, to be totally transparent, there have been times when that curiosity in God’s Word waned.
I remained in love, but I got distracted by life.
I got distracted by ministry. I got distracted by sin. I got distracted by thinking I could rely on all the work I put into getting to know those words in past years.
I began to approach the Bible with familiarity and slowly decreased how intensely and intentionally I pursued the Word, . . . and I was unaware that there was so much more. Bible journaling has brought me back to a place of curiosity and exploration in the Word of God.
Bible journaling has not just reinvigorated my Bible study, but also brought me to a new spiritual depth.
The art and the words placed on the pages of my Bible instantly bring to my present memory the impact they had on me when I first learned them.
They literally renew my mind.
Sometimes people are uncertain about their ability to journal in their Bibles.
They worry about not being creative or not knowing where to begin. But there’s something important to remember: You absolutely are a creative person! We were each made in the image of God and He is the ultimate Creator!
Creativity is not just found in cream of the crop artists, designers, dancers, singers, writers, doodlers, and illustrators.
Creativity is in you. This spark of creativity was placed there by God. You are the only one who can present a sacrificial offering of your creativity back to Him.
Don’t miss that opportunity.
The paralysis of perfection and uncertainty of beginning are reasons that I love encouraging new journalers to sit a bit with the Inspire Bible. The Inspire Bible has more than 400 beautiful Scripture art illustrations printed in the margins that help even the most timid journaler to be confident and successful.
It is a melding of the latest coloring interest and Bible journaling. The Inspire Bible takes the uncertainty out of it—you can just open it and begin drawing or start with the beautiful end papers that have additional line-art illustrations for coloring.
All you need to do is pull out your colored pencils and begin. You will also find plenty of room to add your own illustrations, doodles, and hand lettering.
Once you begin, you will look forward to bringing the line-art illustrations to life with your choice of color and color medium, and soon you will forget that you were at all nervous in the first place.
The most important thing is just to start!
It could happen for you — or for those you love– as you exhale with these pages — a deepening of relationship and intimacy with God almost immediately.
And that could come as a gift too — like the richness of old family photo albums, this looking forward to returning to the familiar pages and remembering in great detail the impact God’s Word has had on all the days — all of a life.
Jann Gray has been part of the Bible journaling movement almost from its inception. Her 25-year background as a missionary with the Josh McDowell Ministry has given her a unique perspective into how God is using Bible journaling to draw people into a fresh and vibrant relationship with Him through His Word.
Inspire is a single-column, wide-margin New Living Translation Bible that will be a cherished resource for coloring and creative art journaling. It is the first Bible of its kind―with over 400 beautiful line-art illustrations spread throughout the Bible. Full-page and partial-page Scripture art is attractively displayed throughout the Bible, and the illustrations can be colored in to make each Bible unique, colorful, and customizable.
If you would like to know more about the Inspire Bible, visit InspireBible.com. You’re also invited to visit IlluminatedJournaling.com to read a sample chapter, watch free tutorials or register for an online Illuminated Journaling Workshops to help you begin your own illuminated journaling adventure. This could be the year to meet Him in a fresh and reviving way with the Inspire Bible
[ Our humble thanks to Tyndale and their partnership in today’s devotion ]