Joy equals Fun? Can it be?

I remember hearing workers speak about joy now and then and I’m sure I spoke about it myself as a worker.  What I remember joy being described as was something experienced deep within; it was a private feeling between yourself and God.  Others could perhaps sense you had it but it wasn’t really talked about much BECAUSE too much joy meant you weren’t taking God seriously enough!  It was not OK to be too happy. Honest!  Serving God was meant to be a life of sacrifice above all. Oh my.

I also remember early on in my new Bible studies outside of meetings hearing about having fun and about God having a sense of humor.  Gasp.  It almost sounded sacrilegious and it made me very uncomfortable.  But people were seeing God everywhere and He was fun and life could be fun and not be sinful.  This was a side to God I knew very little about and it took me a long while to even want to explore that part of Him because I didn’t think it was OK to do so.  To discover that walking through my day with God didn’t always have to be heavy and dead serious but instead, that life was meant to be enjoyed and light and carefree at times. What a delight and a relief!

I never thought about what it meant to delight myself in the Lord other than when I was praying or meditating.  Finding out I could delight myself in Him by watching my puppy play or seeing a gorgeous rainbow or smelling the morning air was all a part of finding out that God was so much bigger and so much better than I had ever given Him credit to be.  Of course He wants us to delight in Him and in His creation!  Why on earth wouldn’t he? (Pun intended)

Which brings me to another subject of having fun with God that I am so excited about.

There is a new hobby available that I am loving.  It is adult coloring books and for me, it has meant two new beautiful Bibles (one is KJV and the other is NLT) with hundreds of illustrations each that are drawn in ready to be colored in.  This Inspire Bible is the NLT one

and it is available on Amazon.  The other one, My Creative Bible is also available on Amazon.

Here is a sample page from this Bible.  Not only is there the picture to color but there is also a wide journaling space on the opposite page.  I would have loved having a Bible like this when I was in the group.

I have to share with you what was written on the box the Inspire Bible came in.  “The Bible is God’s inspired Word and it is a powerful tool that God uses to speak to us….this Bible offers space for reflections and creative art journaling in the two-inch wide ruled margins. Leave traces of your faith scattered throughout your Bible for a treasure that ill inspire you and everyone around you.”

Now, everything in my old professing brain would have again screamed that the very idea of coloring in a Bible is WRONG WRONG and very disrespectful.  But I do not feel that way now at all and here is why.

When I am coloring, I might be thinking about the Scripture I am working on and sometimes that portion of Scripture will come alive as never before.  I will think about it in a new way perhaps or ponder deeper about what it might mean to me today. The place I get to inside is just like athletes feel when they get in the zone and the endorphin’s kick in. Another reason I know this is not “wrong” is the peace and rest I feel while I’m working on a page.  I love the feeling and I know God loves it when I am at peace and resting in Him. Also, several months ago I had a very definite awareness that I needed something creative to do in my quiet time because it brings me such joy and rest of mind.

When I am done with a page, or a dozen, I will have a pretty and fun Bible.  I have lots of Bibles now contrary to when I only had one; the black leather very expensive Bible we got from England.

Now, there is one more layer to this that I am so excited about and that is for the young kids who still go to meetings.  When I was a kid I remember going off to convention with a bag with new coloring books, a new notebook, pens, pencils, crayons,  my very own Bible and hymnbook and lots of candy!!  Well, they now make Bible coloring books for kids!  They are many different kinds also available on Amazon.  How FUN would it be to be coloring Bible stories as you sit in meetings at convention!  I can bet that if kids had those nowadays, by the time they were through with a page, they would have that verse memorized and a visual in their minds to go along with the verse.

Conventions begin in California in May in the US and I hope some parents are brave enough to get some of these for their kids.  If my nieces and nephews were still little, I would be sure and get them a bunch.

I don’t know…I just think something like that would make convention even more fun for kids and yes, convention was fun but this would just be something new to do and have.

These are just some of my rambling thoughts about how convention could be so much better if only new ideas were allowed in.  If only.

 

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8 thoughts on “Joy equals Fun? Can it be?

  1. This verse caught my attention just lately…’The joy of The Lord is our strength’….To lose our joy would be easy to lose our strength

    When we think about the many restrictions we had as kids and even adults in the meeting system,we understand why some things were not so appealing to a young person….
    It is just awesome to find out that God wants us to be a HAPPY people….
    There is even a verse that says…
    Happy is the people whose God is The Lord!
    And yes,serving God can be a very joyful and pleasant experience…

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  2. Beautiful, Darla! I may have to find one of these myself! I am not naturally artistic at all! But I may try just a simple one from the bookstore and see how it goes……But I love the post, and does it ever bring back memories of convention! Unfortunately, I was a bit of a tomboy at convention and the new school/convention dresses my grandmother had spent the summer sewing often had their hems torn from my jumping onto and off of the big iron tent stakes at convention! Between convention tent stakes and the playground slides at school……my grandmother nearly despaired! As for enjoying God……I tend to feel that God smiles in flowers……their amazing colors and delicate beauty. What human could express themselves in that way?? Each petal hand-painted….And then there is birdsong……..birds going about their springtime nest-building, just bursting with song! Their joy is unmistakable!! And their song! One little guy where I grew up was always in the nearby meadows calling for “Bob White!!” And the little wren just bubbling with her song as her tail feathers bobbed up and down! Best of all, the mockingbirds we have so many of here in Florida: God gave most of the birds just a few distinctive notes, and the mockingbird just perches on a tree limb and says, “Listen to this…..I can sing all the songs!” And then he proceeds to rehearse his entire repertoire! (Sometimes when I am trying to nap by the pool, I want to say enough!!!!) Is the mockingbird illustrating God’s sense of humor, maybe? And when we arrive back in Minnesota, the loons will be calling on the lake with their hauntingly beautiful song…….for me, all these creatures speak loudly of their Creator!! Praise be to Him!! Joy!!!

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  3. Darla this is an amazing and exciting post!
    I still find the “God has a sense of humour” thing, and even if you are discussing something scriptural with some, if you have a fun joke and say things like “I wonder if God was grinning when they said that” etc etc… That even mainstream Christians will look uncomfortable! I usually feel I may have lost some reputation at that point! Hahaha!!
    I’m not sure yet if this is right or wrong, but I am tending to stay away from any of this kind of negativity for the moment (those people), until I am built up much more.
    The colouring Bibles!! Oh my goodness what beauties! What a fantastic idea! Wow!!!!!
    My personal favourite Bible is the Amplified Version… I’ll be definitely purchasing one of these WHEN (positively speaking) it comes out in these creative forms!
    Thanks so much for sharing all this!
    Caroline

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  4. That was our experience as well. One of the eye opening things for me was to hear that serving God added misery to our days but we were just going to have to do it or suffer the consequences. At the end of the “gospel meeting” someone gave thanks for the privilege of sharing the gospel story again. I almost snorted out loud. There was NO glad tidings shared that day!

    I know we weren’t allowed to have children’s Bibles or coloring books because the stories weren’t portrayed accurately. I agree with you, this would be a great option for kids.

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