Friday, March 29, 2019

Death, where is your sting?

Hi friends,

Many of us who have been in church for a while have heard the verse 'death, where is your sting?' and know it to come from 1 Corinthians 15:55, written by the apostle Paul to the church in Corinth. But when I looked up this verse, I discovered that it is a quote from Hosea 13:14, which in the NIV translation says:

“I will deliver this people from the power of the grave;
    I will redeem them from death.
Where, O death, are your plagues?
    Where, O grave, is your destruction?

Here's the interesting thing that I learnt when reading the notes in my study Bible: the original Hebrew language of this text can be read as either a statement or a question (Hebrew doesn't use punctuation, and the grammar could mean either in this case). So the NASB translation of this verse says:

Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol?
Shall I redeem them from death?
O Death, where are your thorns?
O Sheol, where is your sting?

But in the New Covenant, because of Jesus' triumph over death and the grave, we have certainty about this statement - no more questions! Paul's quotation of this verse from Hosea puts his readers in no doubt about the answer to this question:

When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
 “Where, O death, is your victory?
    Where, O death, is your sting?”
 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
(1 Cor 15:54-57)

Amen and amen! Thank you Jesus for removing the uncertainty of the past and giving us assurance of victory!

I wanted to create a page that looked like the darkness of death being taken over and swallowed up by the light, so I used some acrylic paints to create the background on this page. I stamped the main image from Victory in Jesus onto watercolour paper, coloured it with watercolours then fussy cut it out, sticking it onto the page with some Matt Gel Medium. The question marks are from two different alphabet sets (one coming new next month!) and I used Distress paint to stamp them over the black, going over the thinner ones with a white gel pen.

Let's remember that Jesus has removed all doubt when it comes to the fact that God has redeemed us from the power of death - thanks be to God!

Be blessed...

x Amy x

Thursday, March 28, 2019

All In All

I love this song and the truth it speaks. Here are the lyrics:

You are my strength when I am weak
You are the treasure that I seek
You are my all in all
Seeking You as a precious jewel
Lord, to give up I'd be a fool
You are my all in all
Taking my sin, my cross, my shame
Rising again I bless Your name
You are my all in all
When I fall down You pick me up
When I am dry You fill my cup
You are my all in all

He is my strength and everything that I seek. I don’t want to forget that. To live distracted and forget who   He is and what is most important. I don’t want to forget the cross and how He took on my shame. I want to be consistently focusing on my relationship with Him. 
I’m coming out of a season, where I have seen the emptiness of dry cup. When I’ve waited too long to seek Him first. To have him be my cup... my ALL IN ALL. 

For this page I used distress sprays and watercolor. I love art journals to create in. I find so much freedom to use different media and just go where the page takes me. I used the All in All stamp set, Typewriter Text Background and the Texture Tiles 1.


Monday, March 25, 2019

He is Risen!

He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Matthew 28:6a

Hello Friends!

Our Savior is risen! And since we have the whole story in the Bible, we understand what happened. But, can you imagine what Jesus' friends and disciples were thinking as they experienced His death and resurrection? Yes, He had told them what was to come. But they didn't understand. They didn't have our hind-sight. And they had their own expectations and assumptions of what Jesus was there to do.

So imagine...imagine that the Man you had followed and learned from and loved, the Man you had dropped everything for and devoted your life to, was killed. He was arrested, beaten and whipped horribly, and then crucified- an awful death. And you saw it all. Can you imagine watching a loved one endure that? I can't. You're broken. You're desperately sad. You're disillusioned. You're alone. You really can't comprehend what just happened.

His body is taken down from the cross and prepared for burial. He was laid in the tomb and a huge stone was rolled against the entrance. It was over. Jesus was gone. You thought you'd never see Him again. Your expectations and assumptions of what and who Jesus was were dashed. Can you imagine?

After the Sabbath, early in the morning, you go to His tomb, and WHAT??!! The stone is rolled away and an angel is sitting on it? How do you respond to that? Can you imagine what those women were feeling and thinking?

And then the angel speaks. He tells you not to be afraid. He tells you that Jesus is risen. He tells you to tell the disciples and that you will see Jesus in Galilee. What does this all mean? Could it really be true? Can you imagine?

Our God is such a big God that He can do the unimaginable. It was true. Jesus rose from the dead. HE IS ALIVE! And because He is alive, we can have eternal life. Thank You, Lord! He is the Giver of life, the Forgiver of sins, the Redeemer of anyone who comes to Him. He is our glorious God. He, and only He, deserves all praise. Let us be grateful and joyous in this Easter season. He is alive!

Page details: I used a new set from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps called He is Risen. I LOVE this set! I made the tomb mosaic by drawing different shapes with a Micron pen. I also used watercolor crayons and Prismacolor pencils.

Have a blessed week! Andrea

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Go and Tell, Girls!

Hi friends,

One of the details I love about the account of the resurrection of Jesus is that it was women who were told to go and tell others that he had risen. It was women who tended the body of Jesus and who visited the tomb faithfully, and it was women who the angel told and Jesus met after he had risen.

Often women can feel inferior or exempt when it comes to the preaching of the gospel or the bold declaration of what we have seen and experienced, but here in Matthew 28, it is the women who are commanded by both the angel at the tomb, and the risen Lord Jesus himself, to go and tell the disciples (the brothers!). 

Girls, whatever words we can find we need to declare to our brothers and sisters concerning the good news of the Gospel. Whether that be our own testimonies of God's goodness and salvation in our lives, or the words of Scripture that tell the salvation message (what a good reason to meditate on and memorise Scripture!), we need to GO and TELL. Those who hear us might be incredulous, or unbelieving, or even scornful, but their response is not our responsibility: our responsibility, our mandate from Jesus, is to go and tell.

I thought that these sweet girls from Girl Power 2 would be perfect to 'tell' the messages that are included in the Victory in Jesus set. I stamped the girls, cross and text, then drew the speech bubbles around the words. All the colouring is done with Prima watercolours, and the butterfly is stenciled using VersaMagic Ink. The 'go and tell' was stamped using Skinny Minnie Alpha.

I hope you feel encouraged by this resurrection account to go and tell the good news to others, whatever that looks like in your particular context. We serve a risen Saviour and the world needs to hear that!

Every blessing...

x Amy x

Friday, March 22, 2019

All to Him I Owe

"Jesus Paid it All, All to Him I Owe"

I grew up singing those familiar words. Yet somehow, they continue to challenge me more and more as I grow older. They remind me what Jesus did for me, and what I should do for Him.

Luke 23:45-47 describes the last moments of Jesus's life and His last words. "...'Father, into Your hands I entrust my spirit.' Saying this He breathed His last."(CSB). Jesus gave His all for me, for the human race. We therefore owe our everything to Him. Our eternal salvation. Our present reality of grace. I owe my life and my love to Jesus. My all! 

As I live my life, and go about my day, I need to keep that in mind. I need to surrender my every thought and desire to Him. That doesn't mean that EVERY word I say has to be about God. But it does mean that I keep Him in the forefront of my mind. As I'm watching shows on Netflix, I should remember what He sacrificed for me. (Ouch--will I still watch the same shows if I remember that?!) It's about keeping Him in mind as I'm shopping, and thinking about the way I spend my money.  As I'm at work, I need to remember that He gave His best for me, and so I do my best at my job, and in my interactions with others. When I wake up in the mornings, I must give Him my first attention, before the emails, the likes on Instagram, or the news in my feed. 

Jesus paid it all. All to Him I owe. I choose to live my life--my ALL--for Him!

I used several sets for this page in Luke 23 in my Illustrating Bible. I began by creating a background with some distress oxides in Mustard Seed, Tumbled Glass, Cracked Pistachio, Broken China, Stormy Sky, Faded Jeans, and finally Concord Purple. I laid the color down with a blending took and pads, blended the inks, then sprayed the page with water to activate the oxides in the inks. Then I took each ink and applied some with water directly to the page, either with a wet paint brush, or by smooshing it with some plastic packaging. I also splattered some of the ink. This gave the speckled, textured look.  

I used the cross image from the Victory in Jesus stamp set as the focal point for this page. I stamped the cross in Versafine Black Onyx Ink, and painted it with a combination of watercolors and some distress oxides.  I then stamped the title from the Timeless Hymns set. 

I wanted to add more to emphasize the "all" aspect, so I took three word images from the All in All stamp set: ALL, 100% and all. I wanted these words to be part of the background, so I stamped them in the same colors as the background, but randomly around the margin.  I loved the effect it produced!

I made a tab for the page by stamping the second main image from the Victory in Jesus set. I stamped it in the same Concord Purple because that was the color at the top of the page, and I wanted to continue with that color.  I cut that out with the my tab punch, and then stamped the words "genuine love" from the Genuine Love stamp set. Finally, I stamped some texture with the grid pattern from Texture Tiles 1 set, added some journaling, a date stamp, and a hand-drawn border around the page.  

I pray as we near Easter weekend that you can contemplate the sacrifice Jesus made on your behalf, and the challenge--and invitation--that we are offered.  


(Affiliate links)

Victory in Jesus

Timeless Hymns

Genuine Love

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Peace in Him

John 16:33
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. 
In this world you will have trouble. 
But take heart! I have overcome the world."

      Peace! The dictionary defines Peace as: freedom from disturbance; tranquility. Seems like a simple concept right?!? Would you say that your soul is at peace? Peace is a concept I really never spent much time thinking about honestly. I've always considered myself a happy, content person. But with a huge loss in my family recently, I have turned to scripture for comfort. So many comforting verses talk about peace through our father. After losing someone you love, especially in a sudden, unexpected way, you most likely are struggling with the concept of "peace" like I am. 

This verse John 16:33, has popped up numerous times throughout my studies recently since my Dad passed in January. And what a perfect verse it is to focus on during a time of grief! Here, he explains.... Yes, I have told you that you will have trouble in your life, it won't be perfect and it won't always be easy, I haven't promised you anything different. But you can take comfort in knowing the I have overcome all of the terrible things of this world, and when you lean into me and seek peace in my name, you too will find peace.

I do find so much comfort just in the fact that Jesus admits, yes we will have trouble, that's going to happen. It makes me feel a little less alone and that he knows we will face troubles but that He will be there with us through it all. Last summer I learned about the word "Tharseo". It's a Greek word meaning "take heart or have courage", which is found all throughout the bible in many different circumstances. I have that word engraved on a necklace now because it is such a great reminder throughout your day, when you feel like you're struggling and need a little help. I whisper "tharseo", like a little reminder to myself that, I've got this, I can do this with God's help!

When creating this page, the scripture cross stamp reminded me of the crosses that hang at the bottom of a rosary. And for some people, when they are heavy hearted and lay their prayers at God's feet, they hold a rosary and give their prayers to God! So I stamped the scripture cross on card stock, backed it with some brown paper and cut the cross out. I attached a metal fastener to the top so you can twist the cross on the page like the rosary is just laying on top of the page. 

The background of the page was created using 3 different colors of Distress Ink (Vintage Photo, Antique Linen, Walnut Stain) around the edges and blended together. Then I randomly stamped Typewriter Text Background and a Texture Tiles 3 stamp on the edges of the page, and softened the stamps with a little white acrylic paint on top to smudge it a bit. After I was pleased with the background, I used pencil and prismacolor pencils to hand draw the beads of the necklace, adding some shadow under the beads to help it look a little more 3-D. Then I secured the cross to the bottom of the necklace and my page was finished! I didn't want to background to be very complicated so the scripture verse is what stands out the most and is most important!

If you are struggling and going through a rough point in your life, I pray you many find some comfort from this verse and this page! He will see us through it, we just need to remain next to him and give him our troubles!

Stephanie Gammon

Scripture Crosses

Typewriter Text Background

Texture Tiles 3 

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

All-Present God

Hey guys, tis I, Deeds!
I'm very blessed to be writing on this platform today, and the stamp sets for this month have been so perfect for my study time!

I started Esther.  I have always had a special place in my heart for this book of the Bible.  Even as a child, not very aware of its importance and significance in the Holy Inspired Word of God, I loved the idea of "pauper turned princess!"  Always, always, always I love royalties and stories of banquets!
I loved hearing how someone of no consequence whatsoever was brought into the house of a King.  She was clothed in riches. Her hair would have been smelly with all sorts of flowery scents, and her gowns?  Oh, her gowns.  Flowing.  Slow-motion effect dresses that match the movement of her soft long curls in her hair.  Yup.  THAT Esther. 
I started Esther, as I said.  I love it now as I ever did, but now I see something very different in this book.  Something NOT of fairy tales.  Something NOT of gowns and flowing, magical hair.  I don't very much see Esther as the main focal point, nor do I see her as the featured character.  She's not the heroine, though I would certainly love for her to be.  Her place in this book is consequential, but it's NOT the most important. 
In fact, the real and true Hero goes unmentioned, un-adored, and unsung. 
He's the main Focus, though He does not speak.
He's the Centerpiece, though He seems absent and on the outskirts of all activity.

God is the focus.
God is the main.
God is ALWAYS the Hero.

Organizing, orchestrating, and manipulating events in real time, while working His glorious, timeless will.  He's pretty incredible, y'all, no doubt about it.

So, as I begin Esther, I'm reminded of a couple of things. 
Firstly, that Esther is what we would call a "means to an end."  She's definitely a person with real emotions and intellect, and I am not dismissing her; she has a place and purpose in the story of the Almighty.  When it is her time to come through for her people the Jews, she acts in bravery and security in her God.  I truly admire this young girl, precariously placed.  But, though the book bears her name, it's the loving and gracious action of God which placed her in a "royal position for such a time as this" (Esther 4:14). 

Secondly, GOD IS FAITHFUL.  All the time, He is "El Emunah."  From the very beginning of the book called, "Esther," we read detail after detail of a setup which landed all characters within a part in His plan; a plan that, hands down, could be among the top 3 of redemptive historical accounts!  It was not the first, and it certainly would not be the last event circling the salvation of the Jewish people.  And throughout scripture we are reminded of the power of God's covenant with His people; with the Jews, and also with Christians today.  He is ever-mindful of His purpose and plan for all things - good and evil - to work His good pleasure and bring glory to Himself. 

It definitely puts a different spin on any films about our friend, Esther, doesn't it? Precious girl, I'd like to meet her one day. 

With this in mind, I find the study of Esther even more beautiful than gorgeous gowns and silver goblets.  It's alluring simply because though God seems absent, He is completely and perfectly present.  From the dawn of this new queen that assumes her throne, to the shakedown of the villain (Haman), Yahweh, the covenant Lord of the Israelites is moving…working…acting.  What He has promised, He will do. 
Here's to the Lover and Keeper of our souls!
Everywhere present.
Always present.
El Emunah.

And on that note, happy studying! Much love,


Monday, March 18, 2019

From Darkness to Light

Matthew 27:45, "Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice saying, 'Eli, Eli, lema sabach-thani?' that is, 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?'" 

From noon to three on the day of our Savior's death, darkness covered all of Judea. We don't know how this darkness occurred, but it is clear that God caused it, and it's clear that it was more than just a natural darkness - it was a physical and spiritual darkness. This isn't in the Bible, but if you take a moment to imagine, I'm sure you can see the darkness descending and all of Judea going still. No birds chirping, no dogs barking - all of nature silently testifying to the gravity of Jesus' death. 

"It is finished." With those three words, our Lord gave up the ghost. The veil was torn from top to bottom, the earth shook, the rocks broke, the saints rose from their tombs, and the whole region knew that something significant had occurred.

Matthew 28: 1-6, "Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb..... But the angel said to the women, 'do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.'"

On the dawning of the third day, Mary Magdalene and Mary went to the tomb and encountered an angel who gave them the greatest news of all time. "He is not here, for he is risen, just as he said." The darkness was not the end, it was only the beginning! Jesus' resurrection ushered in the hope of light and life for all who believe on Him. Praise God!

I designed this two-page spread to illustrate the transition from darkness to light and life in Jesus. I used the He is Risen and the Bitty Minnie clear stamp sets and Distress Inks and Oxides to create this page. I stamped the images first and then blended the Distress Inks Oxides around the stamped areas. I used crayons to color in the tomb and colored pencils to add more color to the He is Risen letters, as well as a white gel pen to add some dimension around the letters. I stamped the word 'alive' from the He is Risen set on to a tab and added some washi tape and stickers to finish out the page. 

My friends, I pray you take a moment today to reflect on the the light and life found in Jesus. 💚

Love in Christ, 


Saturday, March 16, 2019

ALL knowing, ALL present, ALL powerful...

Hi friends,

I love how the psalmist meditates on the awesome knowledge, presence and power of God in Psalm 139.

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.

No matter how far we may have wandered, or how dark our circumstances might be, or how insignificant or alone we feel, God is always with us and he knows and rules over all things. May these truths bring our hearts joy and peace.

I had fun in my Journaling Psalter creating this mixed media spread in Psalm 139. I created a background using acrylic paint, then added stenciling and some sponged ink around the edges. The text comes from the fab new All in All set, and the leaves I stamped along the edges are from the March Stamp of the Month: Doodle Florals.

I pray that we would all grow in our knowledge and confidence in our all-knowing, all-present and all-powerful God, who loves and cares for his children so faithfully.

x Amy x

Friday, March 15, 2019

The Sweetest Privilege

The privilege of praying for others is one of the sweetest gifts. When someone you know is struggling, carrying their needs to the Lord is a blessing. Not only is it a blessing for them, it blesses the person praying as well.

Paul, the apostle, with Timothy at his side is writing a letter to their brothers and sisters in Colosse. In the greeting of the book of Colossians, starting with verse 2, Paul asks for God to give them grace and peace. Then the next words from Paul’s hands are words of precious encouragement. He tells them “we always pray for you and we give thanks to God.” 

I had to stop right there. Do I ALWAYS pray for my brothers and sisters? Do I always give thanks to God for them?

He goes on to talk about the hope they have of heaven. He tells he has heard such good things about them and the love they have for others. He then says again “we have not stopped praying for you.” He goes on to say he asks God “for complete knowledge of his will and spiritual understanding.” 

Do I pray like that? Do I ask God to grow my brothers and sisters? 

In verse 11, Paul prays they will be “strengthened, and have all the endurance and patience they need.” Lastly he prays that they will be “filled with joy always thanking the Father.” 

Recently a sweet sister of mine was going through a tough spot. The Lord drew me to these verses. I had been praying for her for a couple of years...since right after I met her. 

Now I had the sweet privilege of praying for her to be strengthened, and have patience. I got to pray for her to have wisdom in some decisions she needed to make. Most of all I prayed that she would be filled with joy and that she would always be thanking the Father. 

Who has the Lord put on your heart today that you needs your prayers? It’s a sweet privilege. Don’t miss your opportunity! Remember the example of Paul.

“So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding.

We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father..”
‭‭Colossians‬ ‭1:9, 11-12a‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Art behind the story:

For the background, I used distress inks and the smooshing tecnique. The flowers are the Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps set of the month called Doodle Florals.  Like I often do, I stamped them on card stock, colored them with a water brush and distress ink, then fussy cut them. The word "remember" is from the set called Note This. 

If you're interested in this technique, be sure to join the Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps VIP Facebook group.  I'll be doing a LIVE there at the end of March to show how to do this.  Would love for you to join us!

Until next time,