Wednesday, March 3, 2021

No Rain No Rainbow


Philippians 1:29
"For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only 
believe in him but also suffer for his sake."

Apostle Paul writes a lot about his suffering during his time on earth and following Christ. Not for any sympathy of course, but to show and teach others about the Lord. Paul understood and taught others that we will and are suppose to suffer in the name of the Lord sometimes. There are times when we will suffer at the hands of the world because we are following God's word, and not the will of man. In general, as a whole, the world wants to reject God's word. As a result, as followers of Christ we will face persecution for it! 

 2 Timothy 3:12 states, "Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." Personally, I have to say the world we are currently living in is getting more and more filled with sin, hate, and people who aren't following the word of God. Or in some cases, people may think they are following God's word but instead are following "false teachers" that are telling them the things their ears want to hear instead of the truths of God's word. Paul says in 2 Timothy 4:3-4, "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up themselves teachers, and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables."


Here in Philippians 1:29, Paul wrote, 
"For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake." There have been many cases in history where people have suffered and been persecuted for their Christian beliefs. Some more severe than others of course, but persecuted none the less. And right now, I believe us Christians are being pushed and challenged by the world. The world is watching to see how we react, so we must not falter. We must not give in. When we are faithful to Christ, he will fulfill his promises he has made to us. 

Though we will face storms of all kinds, he will be by our side, 
and we will find rainbows when the storm breaks. 


xoxo,
Stephanie Gammon




Count Your Rainbows 



 

Monday, March 1, 2021

Sometimes Blessings Come Through Raindrops

 "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."
James 1:2-3

I love to journal song lyrics, and this month's new stamp set "Count Your Rainbows" immediately made me think of the song "Blessings" from Laura Story. If you've not heard the story behind the song, you should go look it up. It's a beautiful reminder of how God uses the most difficult moments of life to bring us closer to Him. James says that the testing of our faith produces steadfastness.

*Steadfastness = the quality of being resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering. 

What hard times have you gone through that have brought you closer to God? There have been several hardships in my life that have brought me closer to God. Going through them, they didn't feel that way, but looking back I can see how God used those circumstances to make me more steadfast in my faith. 

If you're going through a trying time right now, take James' advice and count it joy - God is working and using whatever it is you are going through to draw you closer to Him and make you more steadfast in your faith. 



Here are the lyrics to the song "Blessings" by Laura Story:

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things
'Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise
We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe
When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not our home
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

Page Details

I had a ton of fun using the new releases from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps for this page! There are a ton of new releases for this month and I'm so excited for them all!! 

I had a bit of watercolor bleed through from the other side of the page, so used acrylic paint to make a white, peach, and blue background to help cover some of the paint. I then used my Sizzix Sidekick to cut out the word "blessings" using the new word die. I'm new to using dies, so my little Sidekick is perfect for these little dies. 😊 I then figured out where I wanted the word "blessings" on the page and stamped the phrase around it. Once I had my title stamped out, I added the rainbows, clouds, and raindrops. 🌈

Here are the stamp sets used: 

  
 


May you count your rainbows this March!

Janelle

Saturday, February 27, 2021

A Morning Sacrifice...

Hi friends,


Sometimes when we read the Bible, and in particular the Old Testament, it can be difficult to translate the text's meaning into our modern life. That's why we need both the Holy Spirit (who illuminates the Scripture for us and shines light into our hearts) and the Church (who teaches us through the gifts God has given). When I was looking at passages that included the word 'morning' (prompted by the new Good Morning stamp set) I came across Psalm 5:3 which says 'O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.' 


The first part of this verse is fairly simple to understand: David prayed (or sung) to God in the morning, and sets a good example for us to follow. But what does it mean to prepare a sacrifice today? We certainly don't want to be slaughtering animals on the front lawn at dawn! As I was thinking about this, I thought of the time and the discipline it takes to have a regular Bible reading/study habit. Perhaps this is an example of what it means to prepare a sacrifice to the Lord in the morning? As well as lifting our voice in prayer, we can sacrifice our comfort, our sleep, and our desire to do easier things, in order to prepare our hearts in God's Word. Then after we have prepared our sacrifice in the morning, we can watch throughout the rest of the day to see how God works in our lives, how he illuminates his Word in our hearts, how he uses us to bless others with what we have received and learnt through his Word. What sacrifices can you prepare for the Lord in the morning?


I stamped the images from Good Morning on watercolour card, coloured and cut out, then stuck them over the acrylic paint background I created in my Journaling Psalter. I used Nuvo mousse with the Delightfully Delicate stencil to create the dotty background over the acrylic paint. The text was stamped using a mixture of Good Morning, Sweet & Simple Alpha and With Love Alpha. Here are the sets I used:



Let's choose to prepare a sacrifice for the Lord in the morning, whatever that might look like in this season of our lives.

Be blessed...

x Amy x


Thursday, February 25, 2021

Delight in the Lord

!

Psalm 37:4 says, "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart."  Is this verse promising that God will give me what ever I really want?  What if I really want a brand new car, or more clothes, or more craft items (I always do!)?  Will God give them to me because I REALLY want them?  If it really is a desire of my heart?  

I do not believe that's what Psalm 34:7 verse means. We have to remember the first part of the verse:  "Delight yourself in the Lord..." I did some verse mapping of this passage to try to understand it more fully.

Here is what I found:

  • Psalm 34 was written by David, a "man after God's own heart"
  • Delight yourself - to be soft or pliable; to be luxurious or lavish
  • give - bestow, add, or commit
  • desires - requests, petitions
  • heart - innermost feelings, will, and intellect
Basically, if I lavish myself in His luxurious love, and bend my will to His will, character, and Word, then my desires--what my heart and mind and will truly desire--will become more in tune and more aligned with God's desires and will. He will gladly commit to these desires.  God does not refuse us things in accordance with His will.

This also means that, as long as I have been seeking God's will and character, then the things upon my heart are worthy to be brought to God.  I can boldly come before Him and trust Him to answer my prayers and petitions.  

I made a faithdex card to illustrate and document this verse and my study.  I used the some Distress Oxide Inks in Spun Sugar, Ripe Persimmon, and Wild Honey to blend a background.  Then I stamped in those same colors the Floral Background stamp.  I also stamped this image on cardstock in Versafine Onxy Black ink and fussy cut a few out.  I colored these with those same inks using my aquabrush.  Then I stamped "Delight in the Lord" from the Faith Phrases stamp set.   I added some ribbon and a tab punch, and the typed verse and title.  


On the back, I wrote out the verse and its mapping.  


Then I decided that I wanted to journal this in the pages of my Bible, so made a quick entry using the same inks and stamps. 


I wrote my reflection of the verse mapping in the margins of the page.  



What a powerful study and reminder to stay in tune with God.  Spend time with Him.  Enjoy His Presence.  Delight yourself in Him.  THEN He will give you the desires or your heart, because they will also be the desires of HIS heart!

Produce Links
(some are affiliate links - thank you!)

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Everlasting Light

The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Isaiah 60:19

Hi Friends!
I don't know if you were affected by the bitter cold of the past 2 weeks, but I was. We live in KS and a couple of mornings the wind-chill was -30! I also have family in TX that experienced cold that TX hasn't seen in many years. The cold went all the way down to Mexico. And with that cold, some experienced power outages and other difficulties. Prayers to all who have been affected.

Power outages bring darkness. And in our day and age, we see that as an inconvenience. The sun and moon can bring us light, or a candle or flashlight. But our world is also full of spiritual darkness. And there's only one Light that can fight that. The good news is that one day our Lord will literally be our light.

Isaiah 60 speaks of Israel at the time of the millennial kingdom. When Jesus reigns here on earth, Jerusalem will be the capital of His kingdom. Israel will be redeemed. And verse 19 tells us that during that time, the sun and moon will not provide light because instead Jesus will and His light will last forever.

I've always loved the illustration of Jesus, of the Word, being the Light because it's something we can experience, and have experienced. Each of us has been in darkness before. We know what happens when a light is turned on. Darkness cannot fight the light. When the light is turned on, darkness goes away. It's that simple. Spiritually, Jesus is our light. When He is in our lives, the darkness flees. It has to. It doesn't have a choice! And not only is He spiritually Light, He is literally Light as this verse describes. In His glory, He shines brighter than the sun. Wow! I can only imagine!

Page Details: I used the following Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps sets: Marquee Alpha, Lollipop Alpha, Love Your Neighbor, Texture Tiles 8, and Trust in the Lord. I LOVE alpha stamps. I'm pretty sure I own all of the SNSS alphas. For Bible journaling, I think they are great to have, especially if you don't like to hand letter or you're still developing that skill. Love Your Neighbor is another versatile set as it has a bunch of common words. It's a cute set with the houses that's great. But I also often use just the common words from it. I used acrylic paints for the back ground. I sprayed my page with water to help the acrylics blend and move on the page. I also used acrylics to stamp the dots. I applied the paint to the stamp with a foam brush. The important thing to remember if you use acrylics with stamps is to wash the stamp as soon as you're done. You don't want the paint to dry on the stamp. Lastly, I used a white pen to highlight the letters.





Have a great week, my friends! Andrea

Monday, February 15, 2021

Start Today and Every Day with Jesus

"O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch." -Psalm 5:3


A couple years ago I read an article about successful people making their bed every morning and decided I was going to give it a try. It's important to note that I never made my bed. Not when I was younger and definitely not as an adult. My bed was just as messy when I went to bed as it was when I woke up that morning. But, this article said that the most successful people in the world had a habit of making the bed and I thought, "Why not give it a try?"

The first couple weeks were tough. I usually forgot and had to go make my bed right before I ran out the door for work. But after that, it got easier and easier and I began to fall into a routine. Now, I make my bed every single morning. It's the first thing I do when I wake up and I don't feel like I can get on with my day until my bed is made. It sounds a little weird, I know, but it makes me feel like I've accomplished one task first thing in the morning and I can't do anything else until that one thing is done. I don't know that it's made me more successful in life in general 😅 but it has made me more productive in the morning. 

Thinking about how consistent I am with this morning habit has convicted me in my morning prayer life. Am I this diligent in spending time with Jesus every morning? Am I this committed to speaking to Him in prayer, and hearing from Him through His Word every morning? Oftentimes the answer is simply, 'no, I'm not.' 

Spending time with Jesus to start my day is far more important than making my bed and has eternal significance; yet, I sometimes feel like it's a chore that can be pushed down on my list of things to do for the day. I took the time and effort to create a habit to make my bed - should I not also take the time and effort to create a habit spend time with my Lord in the morning?

How about you? Do you have a habit of starting each and every day with Jesus? We are only halfway through the second month of the year. It's not too late to start creating a habit of spending time in prayer and in the Word every morning before you head out the door. Will you join me in creating a habit to start each day with Jesus? 🌞



Page Details

I used acrylic paint, stamps, printer paper, colored pencils, and a stencil to create this page. I painted the background with acrylic paint. Once dry, I used a star stencil and sponged over the background with Distress Oxide in Wild Honey. I stamped the page title and sun rays on the page, then stamped the Bible and clock images on plain printer paper, colored with colored pencils, fussy cut and taped them to the page. 😊

Here is the link to the brand, new Good Morning stamp set from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps. I'm loving it!! 💛



May we all start each and every day with Jesus this week. 🌄

Janelle




Saturday, February 13, 2021

Devoted to Prayer

Hi friends,


Our church is currently in a middle of a study on prayer, and a couple of weeks ago the vicar preached from this verse in Colossians 4, where Paul instructs the church to be devoted to prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. This really resonated with me and was very convicting, because if I'm honest, I wouldn't say I am devoted to prayer. I am very much aware of my need to grow in this vital area of my walk with God, and frequently feel like I'm not praying enough.


Something about the word 'devote' got my attention, so I looked up the meaning of the Greek word used in this text, and it means to 'continue steadfastly' - it is even used to describe the attention paid by a slave to their master in another text. The idea of being so attentive to, so devoted to prayer that we continue in it steadfastly is something I fall way short of, but want to move and grow toward. One of the ways I am committing to growing in prayer is by using Bible journaling to help me pray. To that end, I decided to start a new journaling Bible just for prayer. I had this Interleaved Bible that I had bought over a year ago on sale that I hadn't used yet, so I decided to break it open and begin with this verse. My plan in this Bible is to journal scriptures about prayer, but also to use other Scriptures as prompts for my own prayers, so I pray to the Lord on the basis of his Word. I'm hoping that this will help me to become more devoted to prayer, as this verse in Colossians 4 instructs us to be.


This verse also highlights two important accompanying attitudes to prayer: watchfulness and thankfulness. When we pray, we are to watch for God to move, look for where is moving and leading already, but also to watch out for distractions and temptations that would try to lead us away from a posture of prayer. When we accompany this with thanksgiving for what God has already done for us, then we cultivate a heart that is receptive to the ways in which God chooses to answer our prayers in our everyday life. 


I used my Gel Plate to create a background for this page with acrylic paints, then stamped the roses from Rose Banner over the top, colouring them with Derwent Lightfast pencils. The text was stamped with a combination of Prayer Time, Old Fashioned AlphaAll of Me Alpha, Mini Grunge Type Alpha and Playful Alpha. I created some shading around the edge of the page with gelatos and added some butterflies (also from Rose Banner) stamped and coloured on watercolour paper to finish. 

I pray that we would grow in our devotion to prayer, and that God would help us by his Spirit to be both watchful and thankful as we pray.

Be blessed...

x Amy x