Illustrated Faith: John 15:1-17

I’ve wanted to illustrate my Bible for years now and I finally started doing so in the last couple of weeks. It really helps me to meditate on what I’m reading and think about what God is trying to tell me in what I’m reading.

Most of what I’ve done so far has been pretty simple, just one item that resonates from the passage or some of the words that really stick out to me. I’d like to share what I’ve done, starting with my page from John 15:1-17.

It says:
I am the true vine, and my Father is the winegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.”

Now I know it’s very long but it is a really awesome passage to read! My favorite part is towards the end where Jesus talks about how he calls us friends because we know what he knows. He is willing to share with us the love of God and bring us to Him in order to save us and to allow us to grow and bear fruit. Like seriously, how cool is that? I just love reading about the work Jesus did, he had so many awesome stories to share and there’s so much to learn!

The picture I drew to go along with this is of course a vine that has bore fruit. I want more than anything to be that fruit bearing vine, to be pruned and shaped by the Lord and know God’s love. This passage is very special to me and I hope you all enjoyed reading it as well.

I’m planning on posting something similar to this every Sunday, so I hope you guys like it!

Have a great week everyone!

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God is Good

I’m currently reading a book called Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst and I’ve been learning A LOT. It’s all about “living loved when you feel less than, left out, and lonely.”

Recently I’ve been dealing with a lot of turmoil in my personal life and I picked up a lot of “self-help” books. While wandering the nonfiction section at Target, this book immediately caught my eyes and I felt in my heart that I had to read it.

This book is all about relying upon God and turning to Him rather than earthly goals or gratifications when things get rough. Over the past few days I have felt more renewed than I have in years. Though I am still struggling greatly, I feel secure knowing that God is looking out for me.

The last few mornings I have been waking up and making coffee and then spending time in the word. I’ve started to illustrate my Bible and I think it’s turning out beautifully. It really allows me to get creative in the way I worship and I really appreciate the time I get to spend in the word really deliberating it while I color or paint.

So in the book, Lysa highlights how good God is. How He is good to us and that He is good at being God. We need to learn how to trust in God and ignore the enemy that makes us feel rejected and low. The enemy steals our confidence and our happiness. When we put all of our confidence and hope into earthly relationships and items that’s when we begin to feel scared, left out, lonely, less than, hurt.

Our God is an awesome God and He will never abandon us, turn us aside, or leave us broken if we turn to him. That is what brings me so much joy and hope and I pray that you all find that yourselves. We are so loved and so blessed to have an amazing Father creating our life page by page. My heart feels so full.

When our foundation is broken, we feel broken, which is why we need to build our relationship with God before anything else. My brokenness cannot make me stable, but building a relationship with God and fixing myself from the inside out can make me stable. This is what will bring out the best in me and provide me with a life that I will love living.

Here’s a really great video on this topic by a sweet, sister in Christ, Emma Mae Jenkins:

The song that I’m including in this post, The Stand by Hillsong UNITED, started playing as I was writing this post and I felt I had to share it. How beautiful is our God that loves us so dearly.

I want to offer up a prayer of love and peace for those who might need it and a prayer of thanks for the God who gave it all so that I may live. And if you’d like to pray here’s a little something:

I am yours, God

I am faithfully yours

God, I am going to trust you because you are good, and you are going to be good to me

Amen.

I hope you all have a spectacular night and feel the heartwarming embrace of a God that truly loves you.

I’ll leave you with a quote that really stuck with me:

I don’t have to figure my present circumstances out. I don’t have to fill the silence left behind in another person’s absence. I don’t have to know all the whys and what-ifs. All I have to do is trust.” Lysa Terkeurt, Uninvited, Pg. 23.

And trust is what I shall do.

Break of Day

Break of Day Picture

Romans 8:38-39 says:

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow- not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below- indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ our Lord.

So last night I was on Twitter and saw a tweet from Tenth Avenue North announcing the release of their new song “Break of Day”. I immediately stopped everything I was doing and went onto iTunes to listen to it. I had another post all planned out for today but as soon as I heard that song I knew I needed to talk about it.

One of my favorite lines from the song is:

“That if the demons come at night, and I can’t feel you by my side, even if I fall a thousand times, I’ll keep calling your name, waiting for the break of day.”

I feel like it’s such a powerful thing what they chose to talk about. When you’re struggling with things, night is often the worst time for you. It’s so easy to let yourself fall back on all the progress you’ve made because you’re all alone with your thoughts. You let the demons take control and you let them hurt you because you convince yourself that you’re all alone. I know on many occasions I have dreaded night time because I feel like I’ve been completely deserted.

Sometimes it feels like it’s impossible to reach out to someone, God included, because you feel like it’s too late and you’ll only be bothering them. So many nights I have let myself believe this and I’ve sat alone being consumed with negative thoughts until I feel like I would never feel happy again.

My message for you today is to not let yourself ever believe that you are alone in your walk. Nothing will ever separate you from God, and even if you think that he has deserted you in those late hours of the night, know that he hasn’t and that he loves you more than ever. Even if you are afraid to ask a friend for help, never be afraid to ask God for help. He will always be there for you, there’s no reason he would ever neglect you.

Remember, you are beloved children of God, and no matter what you are struggling with, there will always be someone there for you to call on.

Have a wonderful week everyone.

Here’s the full version of the song:

Brave

 CSS

On Saturday I’m moving into my dorm at CSS and officially starting life as a college student. I’m really excited about it but also very nervous. I’ve never been away from home for more than two weeks and I’m definitely looking forward to the challenge of being independent and just to college life in general.

With this upcoming change I’ve been turning to the Bible a lot more for advice and I continually come back to one particular verse. Back in November of last year, some friends of mine picked it to be our central verse for a weekend church retreat. It definitely stood out to me and has come to be a favorite verse of mine.

Joshua 1:9 says:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

I’m a very shy and nervous person in general and it’s often hard for me to act the way I want to in new situations. If any of you have read the book Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell you’ll understand what I mean when I say I’ve convinced myself I’ll end up like Cath. (If you haven’t read it, Cath, the main character, is a freshman in college and is incredibly shy and won’t find the dining hall and basically just hides out in her room all the time.) Now I don’t think I’ll be that extreme but having to put myself in new situations, meet new people, and develop a new routine really scares me. I’ve spent a lot of my time in the past two years trying my hardest to step out of my comfort zone every chance I could but it’s still a huge challenge for me.

As a personal goal of mine I’ve decided to use this verse as a motto and use it whenever I need encouragement. God will be with me in every aspect and He will help to guide me when I need it. There’s no reason for us to dwell on what has happened and use it as a hindrance to our futures. This is something that I need constant reminding of. We should be brave in all aspects of our lives and not be discouraged when things don’t go the way we plan them to.

I want to share this video for the song Brave by Moriah Peters. Her music is so upbeat and motivating and always has such a great message. Some of my favorite lines from the song are:

“The worry is weighing on me, would you help me break down all these question marks and make me brave.”

I’ve definitely found a lot of peace in this verse and this song lately knowing that no matter what I have to do, God will be with me and there is no reason to be afraid of discouraged.

Have a great week everyone.

Oh, and here’s the video:

Oceans

Lake

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever you would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.”

Proverbs 3:5 says:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.

It’s easy to get caught up in making your decisions and to get frustrated with all that is going on in life. Whenever I get to this point I try to take some time to focus on the bigger picture.

What is God trying to do with my life? What direction am I being lead? What do I need to do in order to make myself trust God?

Music has always been a very big part of the way I worship. Something about these songs makes me feel overjoyed to have my faith and I always feel so happy when I listen to Christian music. The song Oceans by Hillsong UNITED has such a powerful message that I couldn’t help but want to share it with you all. I feel like the lyrics that I shared at the very beginning of this post really tie into the Bible verse for today.

If we trust in God, we can be taken whatever direction we need to go. If we don’t try to make our own paths we’ll be taken out into the ocean, deeper than ever before, and we’ll be made stronger for it. Don’t be afraid to let God take over once in a while.

Have a great week everyone.

Here’s the link to the song on YouTube if you want to listen to the whole thing:

Solitude

 
My favorite mornings begin when I wake up to a quiet house. I love walking downstairs, making myself a cup of coffee, and then sitting on the couch with a good book. Being the introvert that I am, I relish in any alone time that I can get.

Psalm 46:10 says:

Be still and know that I am God.

Not very many people take time out of their days to slow down and reflect. To slow down and rest. To just sit and be. It’s easy to get caught up in the craziness of life and forget that solitude is just as important as the company of others.

When you take the time to be alone, to be still, you can see all of the things that God has done. To me, anyways, I worship best when I am alone. Don’t get me wrong, I also love singing along with others who love God but that’s a post for another day.

Those days I wake up home alone I let myself relax, I take my time going through my morning routine and feel at peace. At the other end of the day, when I’m driving home from work during sunset I roll down my windows, turn on my Jesus Music playlist and sing as loud as I can. I get such an overwhelming feeling of love, and joy that I sometimes wish I could drive more just to continue this.

Solitude allows for us to experience things that we may not when we are with others. It’s easier to let yourself go and feel free when you are alone. Be still and know that God is God.

I’d like to challenge anyone reading this to at some point this week watch a sunrise or sunset and do nothing else. Feel free to listen to music or nothing at all. Just watch it and relax. Be still and let God show you something beautiful.

Have a wonderful week everyone.