I spent last quarter working with the 1st-3rd grade class studying the book of Job. You may be thinking, “That’s a THICK book for elementary kids,” and you’d be right. Job’s tough. But it contains a ton of great lessons, AND we’re preparing for Lads to Leaders Bible Bowl competition this April. Considering the January theme of hope, there’s no better book to walk through the ups and downs of life and come up on top.
The first passage I chose for today is often taken out of context. As it stands alone in the meme above, it’s a picture of complete positivity. Like the tree, we have hope. If we’re torn, we can regrow. Rebuild. Renew.
Job 14 is a continuation of what many Bibles label “Job’s Despondent Prayer.” He doesn’t utter these words because he’s being encouraging or uplifting. Rather, this is a point where Job’s spirit is low because he’s lost hope. It begins with desperation in verse 1:
Man who is born of a woman is few of days and full of trouble. He comes out like a flower and withers; he flees like a shadow and continues not.
And following this thought in verses 7-9, Job is pointing out that there is hope for a tree, while there is no hope for man. In verse 10, he laments that “man dies and is laid low, and where is he? As waters fail from a lake and a river wastes away and dries up, so a man lies down and does not rise again.”
This might lead a flailing Christian to believe that there is no hope at all. But thankfully, we have the second verse in the entry, which appears in Romans 5:5-6:
Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
My journaling thought for today:
- Draw a budding branch in the margins close to Job 14:7-9. Write Romans 5:5-6 beside it to remember that these two verses are connected in our entry
- Draw this same branch in Romans 5:5-6
- In Job 14:7-9, circle the phrases: hope, sprout again, and it will bud. Remember that this is what our Christianity does for us. It allows us the renewal through Christ because he died for our sin.
- In Romans 5:5-6, circle: hope does not disappoint, the love of God has been poured out in our hearts, and “Christ died for the ungodly”
- Write the phrase “Yes, there is hope. In Him.” in decorative text.
*Mine ended up spanning two pages, so I wrote the link to Romans at the top of the next page and carried a little of the tree over to there.
Carrying on with the theme of hope…
Lamentations 3 has always been one of my go-to chapters when I get discouraged. Reading that first line where the prophet says, “I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of His wrath.”
The book of Lamentations is about the destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon, and every time I get discouraged, I try to remind myself that none of the obstacles that I ever face are as terrible as the events leading to such devastating words as “even when I cry and shout, He shuts out my prayer” or “He has also broken my teeth with gravel, and covered me with ashes.”
At first, reading this chapter, one might ask how it could possibly bring encouragement. Well, true. Prior to verse 20, it’s definitely a valley. But then, you read these powerful words.
What an amazing thought, to be renewed every day. And, to have the promise that we are not consumed.
For the journaling today:
- Circle the phrases: never ceases, never come to an end, new every morning, and I will hope in him. I chose blue for this because blue skies in the morning always bring hope of a brighter day.
- Lightly sketch a sunrise over the text. I kept mine muted because I didn’t want the sky to take over the sun. Also, when I shaded, I tried to make “I will hope in Him” stand out and didn’t add much shading there. Now, when I look at that passage, it’s the first thing I see.
- Add some hearts coming down from the sky to the horizon. I actually didn’t take this to the horizon because I drew the line below verse 24, so my hearts stop right as it says the steadfast love of the Lord. A lot of times, I picture his love as raining down on us and covering us, so I wanted to continue that thought.
My 2017 resolution is to spend more time reflecting on the scripture that I read. To do this, I’ll be doing some journaling and sharing on the blog. Feel free to join in and post your pictures/variations/thoughts in the comments. Be kind 🙂
Here’s today’s thought:
God is forever. Eternal. Everlasting. No matter what troubles you face or burdens you carry, God transcends them. Therefore, I need to learn to let go of my day-to-day, minute-to-minute petty issues and focus on what God has called me to do.
Disclaimer: Sometimes I draw well, and other times I draw like a third grader.
And, I’m kind of new at this myself. When I first started, I felt a little overwhelmed and needed step-by-step instructions.
So, here goes. Bible Marking 2017 #1 Theme: Hope
Psalm 90:1-2 reads:
Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.
- Highlight in green: “Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations” and “from everlasting to everlasting.” The color green was chosen for this thought because it represents nature, and specifically the earth, which God created for us as our dwelling place. And yet, this verse points to God himself as a dwelling place. Sometimes we get so caught up in the fear of natural disasters that we forget our security in him. So in 2017, I want the color green to remind me that God is in control of all nature. I have no need for worry. He calmed the storm, He called the rain in the flood, and He created everything that comprises nature.
- Circle the phrases: “in all generations,” “before the mountains,” and “from everlasting to everlasting” to emphasize that God is forever.
- Lightly sketch mountains over the two verses
- Choose one phrase to write in the margins with decorative text. I chose everlasting to everlasting. The (badly drawn) squiggles are supposed to represent continual growth. Something like a plant that continues growing and never dies.
Take away: I can place my hope in God because he is eternal.