Today’s Scripture Ecclesiastes 11:10; English Standard Version (ESV); available on Bible Gateway
Remove vexation from your heart, and put away pain from your body, for youth and the dawn of life are vanity.
Welcome I think I’m in a unique group of people that thoroughly enjoy reading the book of Ecclesiastes. As I spent some time recently working in this Old Testament book, I added some more scripture to my “personal verses” list. I have this list of verses that I have read that are extremely personal for me and my life. I believe that any and all Bible verses have this power to speak to us personally, to become our daily mantra or even our defense against the world’s ugliest and severest criticisms. I think we all need this list of personal verses, our most dependable Bible comforts and wisdoms. I’ve even starting using the #personalverses for social media posts when sharing from this list. Today I am going to share why Ecclesiastes 11:10 has become one of my personal verses.
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Food For Thought I was actually reading in Ecclesiastes because it comforts and balances me when I start falling into my “nothing matters, it’s all meaningless” depressive phases. I ended up being drawn to chapter 11. I read the entire chapter multiple times, trying to get a good grasp on its meaning. But I wasn’t really interested in the whole chapter as much as I was verse 10. It was the word vexation that caught my attention.
As you can see, I don’t just use my journaling Bible (I use the ESV Journaling Bible from Crossway Publishers, available from Amazon) to draw and paint. Some particular verses I am journaling with words. As my attention was brought to the word vexation, I had to look up what the word meant. I’m sure it was no mistake that on this particular day, God knew I needed to not only study this verse, but become aware of the word vexation and how it plays a role in my life. It turns out that vexation means a state of annoyance, frustration, or worry. On this particular day I was finding myself struggling with all three of these traits. And then, low and behold, right there in verse ten I am told to “remove vexation from my heart.” So this is my “to do.” I have to get this annoyance, frustration, and worry out of my heart because it is definitely weighing me down, but also leading me to be harsh with my family and friends, behaving in a way that is less than beautiful.
I also know that I need to pray about this, as these struggles, I’ve learned, are much bigger than I can take on myself. So, I pray for God to give me strength and perseverance in my times of need. I jot a quick prayer note in the margin of my Bible, but then I take my sincere, personal prayer to Him again later, knowing that removing vexation from my heart isn’t going to happen in a few minutes, a day, a week, or even a month.
While studying some of my personal verses, I will use a set of Bible journaling stickers (like this kit from Illustrated Faith, available from Amazon) to outline three tasks: to read, to do, and to pray. In the case of Ecclesiastes 11:10, I will read chapter eleven. What I need to do is remove vexation from my heart (an ongoing task, I might add.) I need to pray for God to help me not let disappointments and setbacks fill my heart with this worry and annoyance. This is a great way to approach the verses on a personal level, how I can apply them to my life here and now.
What are your personal verses? What are some of your favorite ways to apply these verses to life? How do you make the most of them during your Bible study time?
Bible Journaling I share a lot of Bible journaling pages here on the blog. You can see most of them on the Arts and Crafts page of the website. I only started this hobby in early March of this year. I love this time I use each week to creatively contemplate words and verses of scripture. I can honestly say it has helped me in my learning and study. Today I want to share a couple more pages from Ecclesiastes, just to show the versatility of Bible journaling.
Like I shared above, some pages I use to “pick apart” verses, spending time understanding the meaning of the words and how to apply their meaning to my own life, my own spiritual walk.
Other pages I use for illustrations. These drawings and paintings help me contemplate on the beauty of God’s word while also committing the passages to memory in an easier way.
As I worked through this famous passage of Ecclesiastes, in chapter three, I was able to contemplate on the beauty and uniqueness of each season we experience, not just in nature, but also in my life. It is very easy for me to get bogged down during a season of waiting or struggle. Rather than focus on the negative of the current season, I can think about the beauty (there’s always something to be grateful for!) of the season. I can concentrate on what I know is special about this particular period of time I’m going through, along with the fact that seasons are always changing and evolving, as the stages and phases of our lives do, as well.
Another page from my Bible journal in Ecclesiastes shows a focus on hand-lettering. Research has proven that writing words, even copying them, can help commit them to memory. That’s why so many teachers are big on note-taking.
With this particular verse, I am writing, boldly, the words that are key for me to remember. I use color and layout as part of the memory trick. My mind will be able to envision this page and how the words appear on the paper, helping me recall the words I need during times of struggle.
That’s why I think God is okay with me writing and drawing in my Bible. It took me some time to come around to the idea, believe me (check out my post, Bible Journaling: Yay or Whoa for more information). But the point is, I am diving deeper into the words and remembering them better, even down to chapter and verse, although I’m far from a Bible scholar in that department. I believe He wants me to actually USE these words, and not just as I’m flipping around in my Bible during church service or Bible class. If my doodles and side notes bring more meaning of the Word, I’m really not sure how it could be a bad thing.
More Bible journaling products available on Amazon: