Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Glory to God

I cannot even imagine the great and glorious night of Christ's birth throughout the heavens and earth.  Everything  would be forever different because the long-awaited Messiah had arrived.  Who could truly understand God's plan to display His glory in the form of an infant born of such modest means?  Wrapped in swaddling clothes, nestled in the wonder and awe of the moment, this one baby caused the sky to fill with heavenly hosts who gathered above a simple stable to worship the new born king.  When God's shining glory broke through the night sky it simply had to be dazzling.

God's glory still breaks through the darkness of man's heart and again and again changes everything.  We give glory to God because Christ didn't stay immortalized as a baby.  Our hearts break forth in hallelujahs each time the risen Lord redeems another lost soul.

Glory belongs to the Lord not only for what He does, for miracles, for healing, for provision and protection.  He deserves glory for who He is...King of kings, Lord of lords, Immanuel--God with us.  We never have to be alone because His glory breaks through every darkness to shine the light of His love.  May this Christmas be all about His glory and the works of His Spirit in the human heart.  May each new day of the new year bring a song of hallelujahs to our lips.  May our lives bring Him glory until we circle the throne with the angels in heaven and sing in unison with them, "Glory to God in the highest."

Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps: Chunky Alpha (left page), Celebrate the Savior (right page)
Color Mediums: Gelatos (background, colored directly to page then blended with baby wipe), Copic markers (to color stamped images), black fine-line marker, Memento Ink for stamps, white paint pen from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Choose Optimism!

Worry. What good does it do? Matthew 6:25-27 clearly says worry will not accomplish a thing. In fact, it inhibits our faith. If you read the passage (pictured below), I hope you'll notice that Jesus is instructing us not to worry about anything...neither the big things (your life and sustenance) nor the little things (what you will wear). Worry of any kind is a disruption to our reliance on God and His provision for us. Jesus goes on to describe how the birds of the air and flowers of the field flourish under His care, and states we are by far more important than they are. Our times are in His hand (Ps. 31:15), so we can't add any time to our days or life by worrying. We might even impair our health and shorten our days by worry. 

I have to confess. By nature, I'm a worrier. My imagination goes wild some days when I contemplate all the ways life could go awry. Most of the time it doesn't, and when it does, it's usually temporary. The small percentage that does come about isn't half as bad as I thought it would be. How much more enjoyable is the life of the eternal optimist? We can certainly choose that. In fact, when we consider God, the certain hope we have in Him and all that He has already done for us, isn't optimism the only course?

Believers, let's choose joy and hope today...and choose not to worry about anything today!
The background of this Bible page is done with Pan Pastel chalks. The stamped images (Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps) are colored in with Copic markers. (Yes, they bleed through and no, I don't worry about it!).

 Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps is still celebrating 9 years of operation all month long. Check out their FB page for details on Korin's great deals.

How Tweet
Furry Friends

GET FREE STAMPS with purchase. Hurry offer ends soon.


Saturday, November 19, 2016

His Banner Over Me is Love

How has God shown His love to you? Romans 5:8 offers one very powerful description of His unfathomable love-- "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." That truth is the essence of unconditional love, amazing love, endless love. We've done nothing to deserve His love. In fact, we've done everything to deserve His disfavor.

Once we accept Christ, we are His and we identify totally with him. In Biblical times an army would march out and a designated soldier would be the flag bearer...he would hold high the banner of the king with whom the army identified. It was a visual way an army was distinct from all others. Song of Solomon: 2:4 says, "He brought me to the banqueting house, and His banner over me was love." 

Song of Solomon paints a masterpiece of a beautiful love story. We can see how the groom loves His bride, and holds a banner of love, protection and provision over her as she become his. God's banner over us is love and believers (the Church) are His precious bride. He holds the banner above us every minute of every day. He never tires of of sheltering us with His banner of love. He will not only love us, He will provide, protect and fight for us. He has already gone to the extreme limit of love by giving His one and only Son to carry the penalty of our sin. 

I'm sharing a couple of journal pages I created recently so I could record some of the many ways God has demonstrated His love to me and the way He provides and protects me. I've used a Smash Album for these journaling pages and decorated the pages with roses/leaves that I finger painted (acrylic paint) and cut/tore out. The tip-ins, and small stamped posies are images from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps. Korin is offering a really sweet deal that includes these beautiful singles. Check out their Facebook page to see how you can get them FREE

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

When You Need Truth

Where would you go to find truth on which you could completely rely? In a world of relativism, few are interested in absolute truth. Yet, absolute truth is our only reliable source for determining reality. Everything else is a shifting shadow and relies more on feeling and human experience than what is real. In John 14:6, Christ addresses this question of truth, "Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'" Truth is not an ideology; it is a person. Jesus became the Word, the Truth, and apart from Him there is nothing that will last, nothing that is rooted in true reality. 

One of my all time favorite scriptures echos this reality. Isaiah 40:7-10 shows us that the concrete "realities" of life as we know them will pass away. They don't endure. The grass withers, flowers fall, and human life is as the flowers of the field. We will pass. Yet one thing remains constant, will never change, fade or die. The Word of our God endures forever. His Truth. If we trust in that Truth, and the One who embodies the Way, the Truth and the Life, we enter into the enduring life He has prepared for us. We come to the Father through the Son. No other way. What God has spoken will happen.

I've chosen a fall theme to highlight this passage and used a stamp from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps that I've had my eye on all summer--Leaf Silhouettes. I lightly sponged both pages with Lucky Limeade ink from Stampin' Up! then used fall colors of ink for the leaves--SU Tangerine Tango, Lucky Limeade, Crushed Curry, Cajun Craze. I also used SNSS's Furry Friends for the stamped word, forever. Because there are so many ministers of the Gospel in my family I highlighted verses 9-10 as well (sponged with Crushed Curry) then underlined the key phrases with my glittery Spica pens.
If you hurry, you can still make the sale that Sweet 'n Sassy Sassy Stamps is offering this week to get all Fall and Christmas stamps sets at a 20% discount.

 Leaf Silhouettes

 Furry Friends

Monday, November 14, 2016

Take Refuge, But Don't Worry!

It's wonderful to be creating again with the Sweet 'n Sassy stamps designed specifically with Bible journaling in mind.  There were so many options in the November releases, but I'd been drawn to the focal passage below anyway, and I love to design according to my worship first and find stamps that fit the bill.

We are living in tumultuous times from several vantage points. But God's people have experienced unrest and troublesome circumstances, even devastating circumstances throughout the centuries. God's Word points us directly to Him when we are in trouble.  Again and again, God tells us to lay our worries and fears at His feet and take refuge in Him, because He is sovereign.  God shows us what fear and faith look like in His Word.  Regardless of our circumstances, God is good and the one who takes refuge in Him, His character, His promises will be blessed. 

For my DT submission, I used the fabulous new set, Faith Quote Blocks, the delicious Chunky Alphabet and a couple of stamps from the new Furry Friends set. They all pulled together to accurately express my heart's response to the passage of scripture in Psalm 34 and 35.  I'd been looking at these chapters anyway, and when I saw the stamp for Ps. 34:8 and C. H. Spurgeon's quote...well, they were perfect.  I love the way the passage describes "trying out" God as "taste and see."  If we only come to Him, give Him a place in our minds and hearts to work, He will take all our fear and replace it with assurance, comfort and a place of refuge.  We really do not have to worry.

Laying down worry doesn't mean we will not experience hardships or times when ungodly people come against us.  As a matter of fact, if we are following Christ, we are certain to make enemies.  It's normal to have times of fear, but we can't hang onto them.  We have to trade our fear for faith and let God work through our circumstances.  He can ALWAYS do a better job anyway.  He does a PERFECT job!

As a pastor's wife, I've encountered spiritual warfare up close.  We've seen spiritual battles in our own churches, and in those of many pastor-friends.  The enemy, through ungodly people, seek to kill, steal and destroy.  Sometimes it seems an enemy is under every rock.  King David was not being paranoid in Psalm 34 and 35.  He had real enemies because there are always enemies of God and His followers.  Our response of faith will cancel out the fear and intimidation the enemy wants to use to entangle us.

Regardless of how much our assailants try to slander, mock or deride believers, we can give thanks to our God that He is always with us and for us.  The battle is His.

Our God contends for us...He engages the resources of heaven to free us, vindicate us and seal our position in His heavenly courts.  Christ arranges all of that on the cross when He paid the debt of our sin.  Now His righteousness is our righteousness.

To create the background on the left page, I "scribbled" on gelatos in shades of blue and green then blended with a wet wipe.  The cute little worry-mousey is colored with Prismacolor pencils.

For the right page background, I used a sponge and Stampin' Up! ink pads.  The stamps are all inked with SU ink too.

Here are the Sweet 'n Sassy stamp sets I used....LOTS of other options here too!

Faith Quote Blocks                         Chunky Alphabet

Check out more stamps that are perfect for your Bible journaling artwork in the Creative Worship section of Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps.  Thanks for stopping in!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Are You Growing?

Dangerous question, right?  But I'm talking about a good kind of growth...spiritual growth.  I mentioned in an earlier post that I have joined BSF for the first time this year to study the Book of John.  I've studied it many times in many ways, but never for as long as the course BFS designs.  The Gospel of John is amazing...but so is every book, every word of Scripture.  It is all profitable for us. I'm excited to see the opportunities for my own growth that lie ahead. 

I've acquired several new stamp sets from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps to use in my design work for them.  I LOVE the fact that the company is clearly Christian and promotes the Word of God and study through all their stamps, but especially through their Bible Journaling line, Creative Worship.  My design work is submitted for samples in Creative Worship.

The flower and verse from 2 Peter 3:18 will be a part of the Sweet 'n Sassy specials/give aways for their 9th birthday celebration. I love the whimsical look of it.  I used the newly released Chunky Alpha for the acrostic I developed to help remind me of the ways God wants me to continually grow.

I know the journaling part of my Bible art-journaling needs improvement...but it's just another way I'll be growing as I practice and learn.  The important thing is what my journaling says...and what it means to me in my relationship to God as I worship Him through it. 

Here is just one of the MANY deals, Korin will be offering at Sweet 'n Sassy stamps.  But most of the special deals are for a limited time, so head over there to check out the fun celebrations happening right now.  I'm honored and humbled at the same time to be designing for Korin.  I am in the amazing company of seasoned artists.  And I learn from them every day.

Friday, November 4, 2016

He Cares for You!

Life can get hard and sometimes we fall prey to lies from the enemy.  During vulnerable times, the enemy of our soul will strike our soft spots.  He will whisper to us that nobody knows or cares about what we are going through and we are facing disaster all alone.  NOTHING could be farther from the truth of God's Word! 

1 Peter 5:6-7 is a passage I often run to in times of trouble.  It's a balm to my spirit to hear again how much God loves me and to let His good promises pour over my heart and mind. 

Humble yourself, therefore, under the mighty hand of God
so that at the proper time He may exalt you,
casting all your anxieties on Him

What a powerful passage!  God lifts us into His arms like a loving father scoops up a child to give comfort and protection.  The minute I saw the new set, My Friend releasing from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps this month I immediately thought of the 1 Peter passage.  The image of Jesus lifting a little child is a perfect vision of His tender care for us.  We can surrender completely to fact, He requires our submission.  That's really what faith and trust are all about...SUBMISSION.  And that is not something our current culture frequently embraces.  We are seeing all out rebellion in our country at so many levels.  It should do our hearts good to be refreshed by this verse. 

Submission is the starting point of God's mighty hand of protection over us.  Without our submission to His will and ways, God will likely allow us to go our own way so we find out first hand that way doesn't work.  As we submit to Him--our lives, our hearts, our eternity--He scoops us up with a mighty hand and will hold us tenderly, keeping us safe. 

Our surrender requires a humble heart.  We have to come to terms with the fact we are not in control.  God is--always has been and always will be. 

Our surrender requires the relinquishment of everything to Him...all that we are, all that we have.  That means giving up our fears and worries--because we are trusting Him to take care of everything. 

We can leave everything with the Lord...hand it over and LEAVE it there.  This is possible and profitable because He cares for us.  His plans and purposes are for our good.  The second image in the margin is a sneak peek of a set from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps...there will be some amazing singles released soon...PERFECT for Bible art journaling because they fit in the margin of your Bible perfectly.  

I'll address the passage and SNSS image on the facing page in my next post.  But for today, I invite you to surrender again any worries or fears you may have about your future.  Leave each and every one of them with the Lord!

And while you are peeking in at Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps join us all month long for the 9th birthday of operation.  Korin Sutherland, owner/designer, has some amazing specials and give aways.  Peek in each week to see what new.