Day 3 of ByTheWell4God’s I Am: The Seven Signs devotional study provides an overview of the structure of John and sets up the next 11 lessons that will cover the 7 “I Am” statements and the 7 signs of Jesus. While the text for the day focuses on Jesus’ “I Am” statements and the reactions to them, then and now, I spent most of my devotional time the past two days reflecting on John 20:30-31:
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.
What a beautiful, succinct picture of the gospel! The words of John were given to us, not just so we would have stories about a great man named Jesus, but so we could come the knowledge that Jesus is the Christ–the Anointed One–the Messiah–the Son of God. That piece of news by itself is a big deal–a big, powerful truth. But the cool thing is–there’s more! Through faith in Him, we have life.
As this year is beginning and I am thinking about living a fearless life, I know that begins, for me, with Christ. It is not up to me to design a plan to “live my best life.” As Paul said, “to live is Christ” (Phil. 1:21a). But there is so much beauty and excitement in knowing that central to Christ’s mission was not only rescuing me but freeing me to have life–an abundant and eternal life.
Again, I am struck that there is no room for fear when someone else (Jesus) has already paid the ultimate price for my life. Truly what do I have to lose when what I can gain is more of Him. There is abundant room to go all out, wholeheartedly after Him and His plan for me.
I am so grateful for His promises and the gift of life in Him. I spent some time journaling about it in my new Illustrating Bible from Dayspring and Illustrated Faith. The process was straightforward as I was able to use the gorgeous floral stamps from the kit as well as a few others in my collection.
I had some confirmation while journaling this page regarding what I should do with this Bible. I was gifted this beauty for Christmas, and I have wanted to be intentional about how I approach this Bible. This Bible is pretty and large and could very easily become an art journal rather than a Bible if one isn’t careful. It has also required some thought for me because it is outside of my normal process. I typically journal in the Bible I am using for every day reading and studying. For me, the Illustrating Bible is too large for every day use. I do have a large workspace, but I share that space with a 7-year-old artist-ninja-engineer, so the idea of leaving these big pages exposed on the table all day would be nice but probably would not be my brightest idea. So it is on the shelf, and I want to make sure that when it is off the shelf that I am not just pulling it down to “make a pretty picture.”
Bible journaling has not been about that for me, but there is something about the big, white, blank canvas-like pages of this one that could easily make it so. I have been taking my time with this one–wanting the process to still be true to what I like to do (pray, read, study, write, create) while knowing that it might be different.
All of that to say, I have been praying about my process for this particular Bible. More and more I am being led to use this Bible for just prayers–particularly those connected to the insights and thoughts I have about the word “fearless” and prayers about the people God has encouraged me to love more fearlessly this year. So although the majority of my reading and studying and writing is happening in other Bibles, I am excited to have this one to return to just to pray and create (pray, create, repeat)!
How is your year starting in the Word? What new insights have your gained or reminders have you been given? Do you have a new Bible for the New Year?