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  1. Baby Bear's first view of snowOn Tuesday night as I headed to bed I glanced through the frosted glass in our front door and just saw nothing but white - slightly confused I went back into the living room and drew back the curtains to see that since I had closed them snow had fallen, settled on the ground and was still continuing to fall in big fat fluffy flakes. I went up to bed wondering how deep it would be when I woke up! By Wednesday morning, when baby bear got her first sighting of snow, we were fully wrapped in a thick blanket of it. However I got a sneak peek of it before that, at 2:30am I got woken by my sweet baby bear's teething pains! After I had comforted her back to sleep I had a look out of the back bedroom window - the gardens were lit up by the moon reflecting off all the snow now thickly covering everything and still falling. It was a beautiful sight, fresh snow - completely undisturbed, no foot prints, tyre marks or holes where school children have forged out snowballs. Almost magical and reminiscent of Narnia.

    Pure white and untouched snow, always reminds me of a favourite line in scripture "...though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;" [Isaiah 1:18, ESV] such a wonderful and incredible promise from God. That all sin, although it appears deep dark red, can be wiped out by the hand of God leaving us perfectly clean, like freshly fallen snow. Joy to my soul! I adore the song from Bethel Music called "For the cross" that uses the words - you can listen to it on YouTube here. Have a listen and soak in the truth and pure joy of the lyrics! [& I am always amazed how when I am down on myself remembering past mistakes and feeling I've failed the Lord yet again, I will get in the car and start the engine - the music system pops on and the CD starts at that this exact track, like a gentle comfort from the Lord!]

    Back to Isaiah... As this is one of my favourite verses, it's one of the first I chose to 'illustrate' in my journaling Bible. Earlier that morning I had been sat in Starbucks with a friend who was asking me about my journaling Bible - wasn't I scared to stamp in it?! What if it went wrong? How did I get it all so straight etc. I laughed and assured her I had never thought about it that much, if you flick through you'll see all the stamped letters are not perfectly straight - but that's part of it, they are at jaunty angles at times, that's their character - quirky and you have to embrace that. Life's not perfect...
    Isaiah Chapter 1 verse 18That afternoon I sat down with Isaiah open before me, my favourite alphabet stamps in hand and a deep red ink pad I had bought especially to echo the words. The letters would be really visible on the page, to shout out this perfect promise from God. I started stamping out the verse and on the very first word I messed it up!! The "G" in "though" did not fully stamp out. Rather than leave it I thought I could be clever and line it up perfectly to have a second go and make it perfect - what did that do? I totally messed it up, so the "G" just became a big red blob! I carried on and then ran out of space for "shall" so the second "L" drops down like it is falling off the page! I looked at the page disheartened and cross with myself I had messed up a page containing such an important verse [all of the Bible is important of course, but this verse is especially important to me]! I then thought back to my conversation that morning and had to laugh at myself wondering what had happened to my 'embrace it' attitude.

    This page in my journaling Bible is in fact a perfect illustration of the verse. I messed up, then tried to sort it out myself which lead to me making a bigger mess! How many times have I done this in my life, honestly I have lost count! But if you turn back to the Word of God [in this case, the original printed text] you can see it there perfectly laid out. Life isn't perfect, we make mistakes - some big, some small. We all commit sin [Romans 3:23]. But all of those mistakes can be forgiven by Christ, and our scarlet sins can be made as white as snow.

    _oOo_

    If you want to find out more about my journaling Bible and what supplies I like to use, you can in my previous post and you can see some pages from it in the gallery here.

  2. "...the joy of the LORD is your strength" Nehemiah 8:10 (ESV) has been a real key verse these past two weeks, it's become a bit of a mantra almost! So this evening I decided to start reading Nehemiah and there in v5 was "steadfast love" AGAIN. I keep reading it, no matter where I turn in my journaling Bible I read "steadfast love" - so I looked up the definition of "steadfast" and as I read the definition I felt like I'd been bowled over with a massive hug from God!

    The definition of steadfast

    Those synonyms... A wonderful reminder of God's unfailing love. Forever and a day His love is unwavering. No matter what is going on around you, God loves you. No matter what you do (or don't do), God loves you. Even if everyone else, that you thought loved you, has hurt you or let you down - He never will. God's love is never ending and never changing. You cannot make him love you any more, or any less - the same steadfast love of yesterday is here today and will be there for you tomorrow.

    Steadfast love journaling

    195! If you search "steadfast love" on Biblegateway (in the ESV) there are 195 results. Why not go and read some of them as a reminder of how much God loves you!

  3. In the Little book of encouragementLittle book of encouragement

    In my pursuit of love [in line with my verse for 2015 ~ 1 Corinthians 14:1 "Pursue love..."] I have been looking for more ways to let my husband know I love him and I'm supporting him in all he does. This has involved simple daily things like getting up a bit earlier to make his lunch and thinking about how to make it more interesting than a repetitive cheese sandwich, as well as more one off things... The most recent of which was making him a little book of encouragement for his business trip this month. I bought one of those tiny Moleskine notebooks and flicked through my journaling Bible [my BIG book of encouragement] pulling out 30 encouraging verses to fill it with. So he now has an arsenal of memory verses without having to remember them!

  4. 1Cor14:1Growing up I never understood the idea of making New Year's resolutions; it seemed like making a list of promises to break. But this year (last year now!?) I have sat down and thought about the last twelve months and what I would like to improve upon and then set a few goals based on them. Such as wanting to be intentional in prayer - so I've written down four names of friends I want to commit to praying for regularly. Four seemed like a manageable amount rather than a huge aim I would fail on early and get disheartened about. (We shall see how that pans out!) and then, yes, there is also one about food I will admit.

    Trying to encompass most of my goals in one place, I decided to pick a verse for 2015. When I read 1 Corinthians 14:1 recently it really spoke to me, so felt it was the right verse for this new year.

    1 Corinthians 14:1
    "Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy."

    This is my verse/aim for 2015. To actively pursue love, mainly to have the love of God for others (I'm not always a "people person" shall we say)! If I really manage that one, that should in theory cover all New Year's resolutions there and then! But the second part of the verse is also something I really want to do this year which is to focus on the incredible gift of prophecy God has blessed me with - to use it to show His love, bring others closer to Him and bring Him glory. I need to focus on stretching myself and be active not dormant, because when I'm being intentional with my prophetic gift I always see God do amazing and encouraging things!

    So that's my verse for 2015, how about you?

  5. Psalm 116:2In my Boxing Day post I mentioned there are quite a few people in our family gathered together this Christmas, which can be a challenge for me as an introvert. So tonight, everyone else is downstairs in the games room, (apart from Baby Bear who's tucked up in bed) whilst I'm enjoying quiet time with my journaling Bible by the log burner with the hounds. Just soaking in all the goodness from the Psalms, which are so full of great truth and very easy to dip imams out of if you don't have much time.

    I really love the ESV translation that my journaling Bible is, however every now and then other translations hit the nail on the head a little bit more for certain verses. Tonight's I've been meditating on Psalm 116:2. In the ESV it reads: "Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live." Whereas the New Living Translation reads: "Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!" Personally I just love the visual conjured up by the NLT.

    Because he bends down to listen

    Firstly the idea of God bending down to listen to me, like a Daddy bending down to be on the same level as his small child - possibly because I see my husband doing this with our daughter a lot at the moment. Even though she cannot speak yet, he still bends down to listen to her little chatterings. Which in turn reminds me of myself and God. Sometimes I feel like I cannot put into words what I need to say - but I know He still listens and in fact He has given the Holy Spirit to us to express when we cannot (Romans 8:26 "...the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words").

    Secondly the idea of praying as long as I have breath - so dramatic, but so true! My Lord & Saviour is loving enough to bend down to my level and listen to me, of course I will keep praying!

    Recently as a family we have seen some wonderful answer to prayer. I was very specific in my request and things played out just as I requested. There's a lot more prayer needed as these things unfold further over the next few months and I will keep praying - and praising God for the answers we have already seen! At the same time there are prayers I have prayed daily which we still wait to see answered... and I will keep praying them as long as I have breath!

     

     

  6. Psalm 25:1&2Seven adults, one baby and three BIG dogs all in one house is a lot, for most people I would have thought. Even if they are your family and you love them! As an introvert I can find it rather overwhelming at times! So I have to grab whatever peace I can. Morning nap time I stay with baby bear whilst she sleeps and have some quality time with my journaling Bible. Reading Psalm 25, verses 1&2 really grabbed me, before I Even turned over to read the rest of the Psalm.

    "To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul,

    O my God, in you I trust;"

    I just thought, what a great way to start the day! I think I need this written out beautifully to stick on my mirror as a little reminder each morning. Put the day into His hands and trust!! (I haven't read the rest yet, but if it's as good as verse one and two we are in for a treat!)