July 27, 2016

What is Faith-booking?

Faith-booking, to me, is documenting my faith journey, my relationship with Jesus, with  a combination of a calendar planner  as well as a scrapbook of my spiritual life which may include photos, a checklist of what I've done during the month,  prayer and gratitude lists, sermon notes, quotes and so forth,  along with creating and keeping Christian art, poetry, or anything that speaks to me of Christ's love for me.  I think I'm going start saving encouraging notes and cards there too that I receive from my sisters & brothers in Christ, so when I get down in the dumps, I can re-read for their cheerful messages.
Faith is my relationship with Jesus, my lifestyle of living, my belief system. The scriptures says in Hebrews 11: 1, 6 "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.. . And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." and Hebrews 12:2a "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. . ." The daily use of my faith-book (and Bible which is the roadmap) helps me do just that.
I've read the Bible from cover to cover like a novel, beginning at Genesis and reading straight through to Revelation, reading about 5 chapters a day. I've also read the Bible by theme, such as Stephanie Ackerman is doing with her thematic scriptures in Documented Faith. A concordance is helpful for that. I've read the Bible devotionally by using Bible study books, however, presently I'm thinking of reading the Bible chronologically which means I'll read it as the events in the Bible really transpired. I found a website called Back to the Bible which lists the daily scriptures that I need to read everyday in order to do that.  They have it set up beginning at January 1 with the first reading, but it doesn't really matter what month and day of the year I begin to read as long as I start at the beginning and read my portion every day.  For instance, I can begin reading January 1's portion today, January 2 tomorrow, January 3, the next day and so forth. I think I will add in the scripture references to my daily planner so I don't get confused.
A faith journey is where we live and what we do everyday hand-in-hand with Jesus. It's the small moments and the big moments too! Like going to church with our family, having devotions with the same, visiting places that relate to our faith such as visiting the creation museum (a place on my to do list), Focus on the Family (been there!), or special traveling exhibits like the Dead Sea Scrolls (did this one) or being enthralled by the Passion play (field trip with the youth group), reading about and  recording the lives of saintly people, our heroes of the faith.
It  can include playing softball with our church family, supervising a canoe trip with a youth group, teaching Sunday School and eating at potlucks during the year (church people seem to do this one the best!). Throwing a shower for the newest baby in the nursery, sending RAKS (random acts of kindness) to people in need of cheering up and visiting the sick. It can be the traditions and rituals we practice like going to district assembly once a year or camp-meeting or youth camp or participating in a foot-washing service or taking communion. A faith life includes the people we love and sometimes the not so lovely we minister to.
It's the relationship I relish the most, being with Jesus in my daily life. He's the lover of my soul. Documenting my faith walk is helping me recognize that my blessings are from the hand of God. I want to walk the walk with Jesus and record it! And I'm committed to that. I've been reading Stephanie's devotionals every week that she sends out by email and keeping my faith-book current as much as possible and watching videos  by other people who are also Documenting their Faith for inspiration. 

A couple of weeks ago we stopped in a Christian bookstore we haven't visited in awhile and I found this little card along with some folded bookmark magnets for the girls in my Documented Faith group. I figured that this little card kinda fits me don't you think? I got the girls various ones for their faith-books for their binder rings although I think it was probably made originally for a keychain to go along with all those little shop discount cards. And they can certainly use it for that if they so desire. I love to share with my girls -- it's my love gift to them and I certainly don't expect anything in return, however, if they feel obligated, I would appreciate a gift of time to craft for our faith-books in exchange! *wink* 

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I had a dream this afternoon -- We were all sitting comfortably in individual chairs lined up in rows in an old church sanctuary which was covered in burgundy carpet and there were the same deep rich red draperies at the tall stained glass windows which were shining brightly. As we began singing our way through a chapter of the Bible,  a visiting woman to the right of me stood up and soon all of us were standing and singing with joy.  Then we sat back down after some ladies left the sanctuary and one woman began handing out forks, placing them on our closed Bibles still in our hands. I looked up and asked what it was for and she said for the pie supper, of course! We were to have pot pie and dessert pie in a few minutes. And wouldn't you know it,  that's when I woke up!
I don't know where that dream came from and I didn't recognize the church as one I had ever been in before, but as I savored it, I realized I was enjoying myself and looking in eager anticipation to the pie supper. I wondered if they would serve it in pie tins to complete the pie theme, but I shall never know.
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1. Do you look forward in eager anticipation for the opportunity to pray for people? I have had such an opportunity to pray for two people this week -- one who stopped by this blog and left a spammy comment in Arabic script. I checked my stats and somebody had visited me from a closed country -- Saudia Arabia.  I'm thankful for the opportunity to pray for this person's salvation and my church family are praying too.
2. The other person I'm praying for is someone at another website that is making my life and other's miserable. This person and other's like him, gives me another opportunity to pray.
And my friends are praying too.
3. I've been coloring this month for Kathy Racoosin's 30-Day Coloring Challenge and one of my gratitude coloring sheets was featured in her Sunday line-up. I never thought in a million years she would like my bright water-coloring, but she did. Thank you Kathy!
4. I'm thankful that I didn't pass out last week from the fumes when my elbow knocked over a brand-new bottle of ammonia as I was pulling the dryer lint trap out to clean it.  And I'm thankful  my husband was able to come home to help me clean it up.
5. And I'm thankful for being able to go to a stamp and scrapbook show with my husband and being able to spend time with our bestie couple friends the next day.
Have a wonderful day!

July 16, 2016

The Black Dot

A friend sent me this story via email today:

"One day, a professor entered the classroom and asked his students to prepare for a surprise test. They all waited anxiously at their desks for the exam to begin.
The professor handed out the exams with the text facing down, as usual. Once he handed them all out, he asked the students to turn over the papers.
To everyone's surprise, there were no questions -- just a black dot in the center of the sheet of paper. The professor, seeing the expression on everyone's face, told them the following:


"I want you to write about what you see there." The students, confused, got started on the inexplicable task.
At the end of the class, the professor took all the exams, and started reading each one of them out loud, in front of all the students. All of them, with no exception, defined the black dot, trying to explain its position in the center of the sheet.
After all had been read, the classroom silent, the professor started to explain: "I'm not going to grade you on this, I just wanted to give you something to think about. No one wrote about the white part of the paper. Everyone focused on the black dot and the same happens in our lives. We have a white piece of paper to observe and enjoy, but we always focus on the dark spots. Our life is a gift given to us by God, with love and care, and we always have reasons to celebrate--nature renewing itself everyday, our friends around us, the job that provides our livelihood, the miracles we see every day.
However, we insist on focusing only on the dark spot--the health issues that bother us, the lack of money, the complicated relationship with a family member, the disappointment with a friend. The dark dots are very small when compared to everything we have in our lives, but they're the ones that pollute our mind. Take your eyes away from the black dots in your life. Enjoy each one of your blessings, each moment that life gives you. Be happy and live a life filled with love!