Thursday, December 29, 2016

Love . Love . Love

This is how God showed his love among us: 
He sent his one and only Son into the world 
that we might live through him.
 1 John 4:9

If you'd ask people to offer a definition of love, you'd get as many different answers as the number of people you asked.  Most would connect love with a feeling or a commitment one makes to another person.  Any definition of love that does not emanate from the person of God is not a real, lasting love. God IS love (1 John 4:8).  Without the presence of His love, there would be no love among us at all. Man has distorted all that is good about love, and those of us who know God grieve over the deception about love in our culture today.  I believe that's why it's so important to gain an accurate perception of what true love-- God's love for us and the believer's love for others--really is. We have to read the whole counsel of God's Word to glimpse His enormous love for His own.  Even taking snippets from scripture gives us an incomplete picture of His love.  I would challenge each of you to find a reading plan that works for you and commit to reading the Bible through this year.  It will be one of the most meaningful and most productive uses of your time!

For my SNSS design projects this week, I decided to focus on God's love and how that love is to be reflected by His children.  I also wanted to have some fun with the digital stamps offered at Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps.  I wanted to remind you of how versatile digital stamps can be when doing Bible journaling.  So I have a few different pages to show you today.

One of the best features of a digital stamp is its versatility.  You can easily resize, rotate and flip a digital image.  For Bible journaling this is invaluable.  Had I needed to, I could have flipped the puppy image here to have it facing inward on the opposite page in my Bible.  And I can always insure that digital images will fit my margin perfectly because they are so easy to resize.

It's sobering to consider the command Jesus gives us that we are to love one another as He loved us.  His love is incomprehensibly big!  My husband and I often laugh about our dog's love, how she loves so unconditionally, so completely and how she never tires of welcoming us when we come home, even if we are only gone for 15 minutes!  People know so much about us by the way we love others. When we see others through the eyes of God, we too can love without reservation.

For my puppy love page, I simply printed the digital stamp image, laid the paper behind my Bible page and traced it in pencil first, then outlined it and colored in with Copic markers.  I could have printed it, colored it, cut it out and affixed it to the margin as well.  I also did my hand-lettering in pencil first, then wrote over it with marker, and erased the pencil afterwards. 

I fell in love with this little birdie the minute I saw him.  One of my favorite verses of Scripture comes from 1 John 4:19, "We love because He first loved us." Without God's love in our hearts it's impossible to love others in the purest sense.  We are only capable of that kind of love it we have the Holy Spirit indwelling us.

I also printed out this digi stamp and traced it onto the margin in my Bible.  I sponged the hearts using a heart stencil, and did hand lettering (still practicing...ugh...that's the hardest part of journaling for me).  The leaves are from Words of Life: Collection 2 (stamped on) and everything in the margin is colored with Copic markers. The LOVE comes from the clear stamp set, Give Praise.

For my final December entry, I used the digital stamp, Cocoa Sends Love, and here, I reversed the image and traced.  I used PrismaColor pencil for color and sponged the clouds with ink/stencil.  The hearts are stamped (How Tweet, SNSS).

Really, isn't little Cocoa one of the sweetest images ever?  I hope you'll try out some of the digital stamps at Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps because they are so perfect for Bible journaling.  Rebecca Rios has created several for that specific purpose and I'll be showcasing one of those in January, but you can check those out HERE.

Here are the digital stamps used for today's projects, but if you go to the SNSS digital page with all the digi Valentine's sets, you will definitely drool...and probably start filling your cart!! May I add here too, that another helpful feature of digital images is their affordable price.  They are very inexpensive!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

God's Steadfast Love

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; 
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, 
“therefore I will hope in him.” 
(Lamentations 3:22-24, ESV)

As we look to the start of a new year, I'm so grateful for the truth of this passage. Because God's love for me does not waver, I can trust completely in His steadfast character, provision and concern. I know He is with me, that He will not disappoint, He will never fail me. 

I recently spent some time having a sweet conversation with my precious grandson, Daniel, while my husband listened in. Daniel's topic sprung spontaneously as we chatted and suddenly he dove headlong into an amazingly deep theological discussion with me. He said, "Grammie, I'm not really afraid of anything, not even dying. I'm not afraid because I know God is with me. He is with me all the time, so I don't need to worry about anything. I know He will protect me and even if I die, I will just go straight to heaven, so it's good, Grammie. It's all just good."

The hope we have as believers elicits this kind of bold assurance, while still pretty amazing for a 10 year old. We can truly trust in a God whose love is steadfast, who breathes new life into each morning. And when we understand and accept His love we know we have enough. He is our portion...He is all we need.

My Bible journaling came in stages on the project. I did the background quite some time ago, and finally decided I needed to finish it. I used acrylic paint to demonstrate a technique I rarely use, simply because I like my color to be transparent so the words of Scripture are never covered. It was a fun page to complete and provided a great way to bookmark one of my all-time favorite passages of scripture.

I used the Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps set, Give Praise for all the images, Cosmo Cricket designer paper, and a lace flower (unknown source). I stamped the birds and banner on designer paper then fussy cut them out for this project.


Friday, December 16, 2016

Give Praise!

Believers who love the Lord cannot help but praise Him! Keeping Christ in Christmas is certainly one of the ways we can give the honor and praise due Him. Seeing Christ as the center of every blessing we experience and acknowledging God as the source of those blessings is another way of giving Him praise. Our private and corporate worship and the praise of our hearts and lips delights our God and Savior. And even those of us who love to do Bible art-journaling have found a way to offer praises to our God through creative art. 

Perhaps of all the ways we express our praise to the Savior we love, music comes from the deepest place in our spirit. We love to sing His praises!

I still struggle with pretty hand-lettering, so I dig into my stash of stamps and combine words to create my message. Here I've combined several sets from Sweet 'n Sassy stamps to reflect the heart of several verses in Isaiah 12, an entire passage on singing praises to the Lord. As long as I have breath I will give praise to God, and though I'm not great at the singing part, God hears the perfect pitch of my love for Him.

The fun stamp set, Give Praise, is being released today at Sweet 'n Sassy stamps as well as an adorable one perfect for Valentines.
  Give Praise

 Words of Life-Collection 1

 Words of Life Collection 2

Words of Life Collection 3

Check out their facebook page for details on these two new sets today.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Silent Night, Holy Night

It was a holy night for sure...but silent?

I've often wondered what would have been silent about the night Christ was born. It probably wasn't too quiet in that stable while the biggest miracle since creation was taking place. Rarely is the birth of a child a "silent" activity anyway! Once the angels broke forth in singing, that had to be gloriously loud. And surely there was a thunderous applause in heaven as the Light of heaven pierced the darkness of a sin-sick world. Salvation had come! Thousands of hallelujahs sung in perfect harmony by a heavenly choir...totally not silent!

Still the Christmas carol, Silent Night remains the favorite of many because it describes the awesome wonder of the event. Perhaps for seconds as the Savior was emerging into our world, the heavens waited silently, breathlessly for the miracle of His birth. But if it was silent, I have no doubt the silence was measured in mere seconds before the universe responded in a holy cacophony of worship and praise.

When we embrace the Savior, our hearts too sing for joy. We cannot be silent when the Holy Spirit grips us. I remember once several years ago while I was driving in my car, a particularly moving song was playing on the radio. I was instantly transported to holy ground and I could not contain my worship. I sang with the music and was so overcome with joy that I almost stopped my car so I could get out, raise my hands in praise and dance in His presence. I'm sure that would have caused many to stare if not to also report the odd behavior of a disturbed woman along the side of the road! But really...have you had a similar experience...a time when your praise could not be confined to silence and you had to break forth in audible adoration? Of course you have! Because when Christ is truly in our hearts, we cannot be silent.

Christmas is a wonderful time to let others know about the Savior of the world. If Christians raise their voices to point to the reason we celebrate, the world might gnash their teeth, but they have to take notice, and they do hear us. Keeping Christ is Christmas is more than a slogan or bumper sticker. It's a real cultural challenge facing believers today. Strong forces seek to remove Christ from every element of our society. If believers are silent, it's easier to acquiesce. So...let us NOT be silent. We can quiet our hearts with the reverence and beauty of the season, but let us covenant to share Jesus with others who do not claim Him as Savior of their souls or Lord of their lives.

My Bible journaling for this project went into an art journal instead of my Bible because I wanted it large. I used Mod-Podge to affix everything to the page. I also enlarged the stamped images (colored with Copic marker), so they were better balanced on the size of the 2-page spread. The verse is from Zephaniah. An unlikely verse for Christmas time, but powerfully prophetic.

Stamps are from Sweet 'n Sassy stamps. For another week, all alpha stamp sets are on sale. Head to their Facebook page for details and more samples.

                 Shake It Off Caps Alpha                         Script Alpha

 Celebrate the Savior

 Thank you for spending some of your precious time on my blog today!

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