Monday, September 16, 2019

Donut Worry, Trust God's Promises


"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:4-7


I was a worrisome child growing up. I worried about anything and everything. I worried about car accidents, and weather, and tests, and sports, and illness - literally everything. I worried about things that were within my control and things that weren't. Finally, when I was in my early teens, I had a talk with my mom about my worrying habits and she encouraged me to spend some time in God's Word studying what He has to say about "peace" and to pick a verse to hold onto when I'm in my worrying mode. I spent quite a bit of time looking through every single verse that discussed the topic of peace and finally settled on John 14:27, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (See my illustration of this verse in my recent Instagram post here.) This verse became my life verse and I still reference it frequently. 

Philippians 4:6 tells us exactly what to do when we are filled with worrisome thoughts -- take it to the Lord in prayer. Don't worry, but take everything (whether big or small) to the Lord in prayer, making your request known to him with a thankful spirit (JRV, Janelle Rodriguez Version 😉). Our all-knowing God already knows each request before we even think it, but He wants us to learn to communicate with Him all our wants and needs. 1 Thessalonians tells us to pray without ceasing. That means an ever-constant stream of communication with our Heavenly Father, sharing every aspect of our life with Him. When we are in constant communication with God, praying about everything, it will become easier to give our worries over to God and trust Him to care for our every need. 💛 



You wouldn't know it by looking at the page now, but this page was a hot mess all week. Seriously. It took me about a week to finish. 😲 I started the page when I had some alone time, but then my teenage boys came home from soccer practice and my house went into an uproar. I should have just set it aside and come back to it, but I didn't - I tried plugging along and ended up smearing and smudging my way through the page. 

I was so exasperated, I finally did end up setting it aside for a few days and came back to it later in the week. (If I could just offer a bit of advice here: if you're working on a page and you have too many distractions or your heart just isn't in it, set it aside and come back to it when you're ready. Trying to force your way through finishing a page takes all the fun out of it, and ruins your fellowship time with your Heavenly Father.)

   
   

There was no fixing my donut smudge, so I prayed about it and tried to think of a way to creatively cover it up and keep with the theme of the page. In comes the texture paste!! 😊 I took a little blob of texture paste, mixed it with some purple acrylic paint and dabbed/smudge it in a couple different spots on the page, with a particularly large dab over my smudged donut. I then splattered the page with a bit more purple ink and positioned my donut ephemera how I wanted it on the page. I taped it all down, added white gel accents to my stamping and called it good. 

When it was all said and done, it turned out fairly decently, and knowing the story behind how the page came to be even further illustrates the verse. Don't worry, trust God, and bring everything to Him in prayer - even if it is something so inconsequential as a smudged bible journaling page. 😉

Have a wonderful week in the Lord!

Janelle
@journalingjoy


I used the Donut Worry and Trust in Jesus stamp sets to create this page. I LOVE these stamp sets! They have so many uses. The Donut Worry stamp set is the September Stamp of the Month and is FREE with your $75 order. While you're shopping, take advantage of the Sweet & Sentimental sale going on through the end of September!


  









Monday, September 9, 2019

#carblover

Jesus said to them, "I am the Bread of Life; 
he who comes to Me will not hunger, 
and he who believes in Me will never thirst." John 6:35

Hi Friends!!

So, I have to say, I LOOOOVE me some donuts. When I saw this new set, Donut Worry, I just had to have it! And, I wanted to have some fun with it. I needed some donuts in my Bible! LOL

More importantly, I LOOOOOVE me some Jesus! And He is the Bread of Life. Why does He call Himself that? Bread is basic food; and people can survive quite a while on just bread and water. In fact, in the time frame Jesus was on earth, most people primarily lived on bread and water. He was giving the people who were listening (and eventually reading) an illustration they could relate to. When He said He is the Bread of Life, He was saying that He is essential for life. He gave us physical life. But He also gives us spiritual life- and we can only get that through Him! When we come to Jesus and believe in Him, take Him as our Savior, we are filled with His Spirit and take on His righteousness. We will never be spiritually hungry or thirsty again because He indwells the believer! We have such an amazing God!

The people who were following Jesus, were looking for a free meal. He had just miraculously fed thousands of people. And Jesus knew what they wanted. But He wanted more for them. And He wanted them to see that He could do so much more than just physically feed them. And He wants the same for us. Donuts may taste good. But they leave us unsatisfied and wanting more. Jesus satisfies in a way nothing else can. He fills that hole in our souls and leads us to life.Thank You, Lord Jesus!

Page details:
As I mentioned above, I absolutely love this new Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps set Donut Worry! Through Sept. 30, 2019, it is FREE with a $75 order! I also used Mini Grunge Type Alpha. I love alpha sets and SNSS has many to choose from! I wanted to put the donuts in a box, so I searched "donut box drawing" online and found an image I liked. Then I sized the image to what I wanted on the page and traced it through the page. That's one positive thing about thin Bible pages, it makes it easy to trace! Then I stamped the donuts inside the box and used a Micron pen to shadow. I used watercolor crayons and alpha stickers too.


Have a great week, friends! Enjoy a donut while studying God's Word! Andrea

Saturday, September 7, 2019

My whole being waits...

Hi friends,


I've got to be honest with you: patience and waiting are not my strengths. In fact, I am very impatient and cannot stand being bored (my smartphone has become a convenient, if not very helpful distraction when waiting in queues!). So when I read scriptures in the Bible that talk about waiting, I am convicted about my lack of willingness to wait patiently.


When I read Psalm 130:5 the other day what struck me is the phrase 'my whole being waits'. I began to meditate on what that means, and how it would look if every part of my being was willing to wait for the Lord. I may be able to wait physically, in that I don't force things to happen by my actions, and while that is good, it is only one part of what waiting needs to include.


My biggest challenge, to be honest, is my mind. Even if my physical being is waiting by not rushing into action, my mind is so often in overdrive trying to process and work out every possibility. What if this happens? What if there's a delay? What if it never comes? The questions and possible answers go swirling around my head incessantly. But instead, I need to learn to wait with my whole being, including my mind. Waiting means trust and stillness, knowing that God is more than able to supply what I need, and no amount of stressing or striving on my part will make any difference to the outcome. I am slowly learning that in the waiting process I need to continually turn my thoughts and emotions over to God, submitting to his timing and trusting that he will answer.


I love the chair image in the new Warmth of Christmas set - it goes so well with the themes of trust and waiting, which I have a ton of verses I want to journal on using the new Trust in the Lord set. I used the beautiful Birds & Blooms set for the flowers and bird, as well as School Days Alpha and Teeny Alpha for stamping the verse.




I don't know about you, but I am pretty challenged about my whole being waiting for the Lord. I need to grow in this, but I know that the Holy Spirit is faithful to remind me in my waiting to trust and submit my whole being to God.

Be blessed...

x Amy x


Tuesday, September 3, 2019

A Thoughtful Christmas



Full Process Video available on my Youtube Channel: Mercies Journaled

Hello, friends!
Times are definitely changing!  The seasons are upon us that beg our attention to holidays.
Can you believe it?  Can you even believe that we're into September, days are shorter, nights are cooler, leaves are taking their flight, and birds are taking their leave?
My children start school in a few days, and I'm just aching over how quickly this has come.  But, God has said - and said repeatedly - that life is a vapor.  In the time He's allowed us, we should be finding ways to make the most of all situations and all seasons.

Today, I am hoping to give the gift of inspiration once again.  I find that as I look more into God's Word, the heart behind my creating and writing changes a little bit more.  The Sweet n Sassy Stamps Creative Worship team are working hard to bring you a well-rounded smattering of supplies for your everyday crafting and journaling needs!  (Please feel free to shop via my affiliate links below, located under the stamps sets used.)

I'm hoping to not get TOO much back-lash for posting about Christmas today.  I know, I know, it's somewhat too soon to be getting into THAT holiday.  It's too soon to be thinking on THAT time of year.  I grant you: the more I think about what Christmas entails in light of the ever-pressuring consumer-based culture, I morph into panic mode.
What does so and so want for Christmas?
How do I make sure my house as well lit as the "Joneses" down the street?
How do I make such meals in keeping with ALL the festivities at ALL the gatherings, while making it Instagram and caption worthy?
How do...
How much...
How must...

On and on, my mind could spin from the details of what makes a wonderful Christmas for just my family, let alone the groupings we plan and participate.
But one thing God has laid on my heart recently - and I mean something like yesterday - is how self-involved I really am when it comes to something like Christmas.

I didn't realize until AFTER I put this project together, that my heart was situated in a place of self, self, and more self.
In my process video on my Youtube channel, I get into the creation process of the Christmas and encouragement cards I make, as well as the hope that I have for myself this holiday season: to reach out to those who still NEED a Savior; to bring Light and Life to someone who we as Christians would call, "lost."
And in that sense, Christmas doesn't come too early.
Christ doesn't come too early.
The spreading of the Gospel of Grace doesn't come too early.
The giving of hope and love of God doesn't come too early....
I think you get my point.

We, in this God-graced, growing bubble of Christian folk, need the reminders that there is a lost and dying world chalk FULL of people who long for Someone to fill that longing in their hearts.
I know it's not a pretty thing to hear one say, "You need to be more intentional about those outside the household of faith."  But - as surely as I've been convicted of this - Christ did not just die for you and for me.  Christ did not just pay for my sins and yours.  Christ did not soak the ground in precious blood and tears for just us.
The Bible says that "while we were still in our sins, Christ died for us." (Rom. 5:8)
And again, "While we were still weak, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly." (Rom. 5:6)
And maybe once more, "For if, while we were still enemies we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled shall we be saved through His life!" (Rom. 5:10)
I guess Romans 5 says it best that all people - including those who are already Christians - are at one time alienated from God.  We are strangers and enemies of the One True God.
Our need is a desperate one, and only One can bring us back into relationship with God.
There is only One True King who stands in the gap between God and man, and His name is the one we must proclaim!
Those of us in the household of faith in Jesus Christ, must take the gifting of the Holy Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control) to the mission field in which God has placed us.

God is good.
God is always good.
We know that.
We hope in that.
We trust in that.
And our commission is to bear that in our lives to the ones who have not yet tasted and seen that Jesus Christ is good!

I'm praying this over myself, y'all.
I'm praying for this holy conviction to be too powerful for me to handle, and too powerful for me to just ignore.
I'm praying that we can uphold each other in encouragement and prayer as we take the Power of Jesus' name to our world.  He is mighty to save!
He IS the meaning of Christmas!


Much love,
Deeds

Affiliate Link for Deck the Halls, here.

Affiliate Link for Adore Him, here.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus

"'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, 
Just to take Him at His word,
Just to rest upon His promise, 
Just to know, "Thus saith the Lord."
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him, 
How I've proved Him o'er and o'er!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus! 
O for grace to trust him more!"


Hymnal journaling is so much fun, and this month's new release stamp sets "Donut Worry" and "Trust in the Lord" immediately made me think of the timeless hymn, "Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus". I love to listen to music, sermons, and podcasts while I journal. How about you? Do you like to listen to music or enjoy some quiet time with the Lord while you journal? I'd love to connect with you to hear more about your journaling time. 😊



I used the Donut Worry, Trust in the Lord, and Jesus Rocks stamp sets to create this page. I used my trusty Tombow dual brush markers and Distress Oxides for stamping and coloring, and then splattered a little blue and purple to finish out the page. I did gesso the page first to make the colors go on a little more smoothly. Be careful with stamping after gessoing though! It's easy to smudge. 😉

    

Love in Christ,
Janelle
@journalingjoy

Friday, August 30, 2019

Fear not!

Hi friends,

I want to talk about something today that I believe is really important to reflect upon for those of us who engage in creative worship. I have lost count of the amount of times I have read comments from people on social media, often commenting on my artwork, that express worry or fear about doing something artistic in their bible.






These kind of comments make me sad because fear should not play a part in our creative worship of God. I've thought a lot about what is behind those fears, and the main driving reason for fear seems to be fear of making a mistake, fear of failure, fear of 'messing up' the bible. In response to this I want to share a little of my journey and what I've learnt about why we do what we do when we draw, paint or stamp in our bibles.

I started Bible journaling over four years ago with simple stamping and stickers. I look back on the pages I did then and some of them I like, others of them I most certainly do not. There are even a few I wish I could tear out because of the disaster they were artistically! But for me this has been a journey in overcoming perfectionism. My natural disposition is one that never wants to make a mistake, is petrified of failure, of looking foolish. This would be the case even if I wasn't sharing my art on social media, but with that added factor the perfectionism tendencies are even more of an issue. But as I've consistently created in my Bible, I've learned a few lessons along the way...



1) It's about the heart before it's about the art. The purpose of this artistic activity is not primarily the production of beautiful artwork. It is about spending time meditating on God's word and hiding it in our heart. It is about creating time for God to speak to us through his Word and for us to respond in praise, prayer and obedience.

2) Mistakes remind us that we are not God... and that is a good thing. When we hold on to the desire for perfection we forget that only one is perfect and that one is God. We are most certainly not perfect, whether artistically or behaviorally! This is good to meditate on because it keeps us humble and it reminds us of the grace and love of God, who loves us unconditionally, despite our glaring imperfections.

3) Skill in anything takes time to develop - time and a lot of practice! I know this with playing and teaching the piano. Many people would like to play beautiful piano music but are not prepared to put in the practice required to be able to do so. The same goes for art. To colour beautifully, stamp accurately and design pages with balance and creativity requires practice, practice and more practice. Often we learn best when we make mistakes and we realise that certain things don't work. That's all part of the journey of increasing in knowledge and skill!


I used the sweet Be a Flamingo set for the images on this page, and combined the Sweet & Simple Alpha and Walk by Faith sets along with some tiny alpha stickers for the verse. I couldn't resist adding some Faith Wordfetti for finishing touches! I used Inktense blocks from Derwent to colour the images, using an aquabrush to pick up the colour. The background was also created using these blocks by spritzing some water on my glass mat and rubbing the block into the water to create a little coloured ink puddle. I then picked up some of this colour with a piece of acetate and 'smooshed' it onto the page until I was happy with the overall effect. Here are the stamp sets used on this page:




Can I encourage you to say 'no' to fear when it comes to expressing your faith in creative worship and instead to embrace the process of learning about God, yourself and creativity?

With every blessing...

x Amy x


Thursday, August 29, 2019

Created to Glorify God | Psalm 34

"I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips."  (Ps. 34:1)

It's the end of August, and we're wrapping up the different projects and pages shared here on the blog.  We've been so pleased with the God-honoring, God-centered posts we've seen all over the Sweet n Sassy facebook pages and Instagram!

Y'all...
This was a crazy - CAAARRAZY - month on so many levels.
The entire summer has been difficult with all sorts of camps, retreats, church events, vacations, and birthdays of many!
By now, we've wrapped up the summer with our final vacation that lasted for 10 days total: 6 days travel, 4 days stay.  Whew!  I'm still recovering, and not quite up to speed, but I'm much better than I was when we pulled into our garage.  
I'll never forget that night.  
I'll never forget that feeling.
I'll never forget that surreal-ness...
And ya know what?  I'm glad.  I need to remember what happened because it's what happened that brought me to my senses regarding God's overall care and control of a situation.  
My house what not as I'd left it.  It was not as I remembered.  When we pulled in, the floor of our garage was under water, inches deep.  Through the door into our laundry room, and turning the corner into the boiler room we saw the damage.  And we saw the source.
A leak just over a mist had popped on our hot water heater.  It sprayed so peacefully into our boiler room onto the neighboring wall, saturating ultimately all that hung on it, and causing sadly mold to develop on the wall of the next room.  Oh... boy...

There are not enough words for how my countenance had fallen; not enough words to explain that feeling that encompasses tired, weak, depleted, drained, bitter, and sad all at the same time.
My enemy was after me, and I knew - I KNEW - that his battle would rage against me somethin' fierce as I worked with the hubster to settle in and deal with some 100+ gallons of water from our garage floor.

"Singing Praises" stamp set from Sweet n Sassy Stamps.  Affiliate link below.

The morning after this all happened, I awoke with unease and that sinking feeling... you probably know that feeling I'm talking about.  As I mentioned in my processvideo on my Youtube channel, God drew me to my Bible that was lying open on my dining room table.  It was like something out of a movie as I moved from room to room, dismal and drained, to find the Word of God waiting for me among the piles of things still to unpack.  Even more surreal was turning to the next passage in my Bible reading plan, and seeing Psalm 34 in a completely different and relate-able way.

"I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise will always be on my lips. I soul will boast in the LORD; let the oppressed hear and rejoice! Magnify the LORD with me; let us exalt His name together.  I sought the LORD and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.  Those who look to Him are radiant with joy; they shall look to Him and never be ashamed.  This poor man called out and the LORD heard him; He saved him from all of his troubles." (vv.1-6)

"In His Image" stamp set from Sweet n Sassy Stamps.  Affiliate link below.

There are far less words I can muster on just how faithful God is and was during this time.  We've not yet done full repairs to what was damaged and cannot recover what's been lost, but His hand, heavy and glorious, lifted my burden and I felt a weight transferred elsewhere.  It was unreal, supernatural and completely welcome.
David wrote of tragedy and loss, despair and attack, but usually from the posture of praise!  Usually, his position in the LORD of all Lords, and the God of all gods, reminded him often (as it should the rest of us who are in Christ) that he was protected, watched, cared for and loved.  His heart was safe, secure in the hands of God the Creator and Sovereign.
The flooding of my downstairs was bad, but it could have been worse.  PRAISE!
The damage to our house was awful, but it could have been so much more.  PRAISE!
The loss of goods and items was countable, but we are still being taken care of by a good God. PRAISE!
"Let's Do This," stamp set by Sweet n Sassy Stamps.  Affiliate link below.

Dear God, your praise will ever be on my lips, so far as it is in my power to do so!  I count on Your Holy Spirit to continually nudge and convict me of how much You have blessed, that I may praise You all the days of my life, sun up to sun down.
I love You, LORD.  
I adore You, Yahweh.
I praise You El Roi, the God who sees.  Amen.

Much love,
Deeds
Links to stamps below!


Link to "In His Image," here.

Link to "Singing Praises," here.

Link to "Let's Do This," here.