Monday, June 24, 2019

Make a Pie, Y'all!

If Your law had not been my delight, 
I would have perished in my affliction. Psalm 119:92

Hi Sweet Friends!
Today, I'm in Psalm 119. Oh, the wisdom that is in this long Psalm! Specifically, I'm focusing on verses 67, 71, 75, & 92. They all deal with affliction, those difficult and often painful circumstances we at one time or another all find ourselves in. Afflictions can be small, or they can be life changing. But one thing we probably all agree on is we don't "want" our lives consumed with afflictions. But, guess what? Our troubles, our afflictions, are not about us. They are about God, sent to teach us things that we wouldn't be able to learn any other way. God uses our troubles to teach us His Word, build our faith, and draw us closer to Him. Let's look at these verses....

Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey Your word. 
Psalm 119:67
What the writer is saying is that before he was afflicted, he was doing his own thing, going his own way, focused on himself and not really focused on God. God can stop us in our tracks and use our troubles to draw us to Him. This verse is saying that the psalmist was led back to God through his afflictions. He had lived for himself before, but after he obeyed God's Word.

It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn Your decrees. 
Psalm 119:71
How hard is that to say??!! How can this psalmist call his affliction good? Until difficult times come, our knowledge of God and His Word can be rather theoretical. The psalmist is saying he experienced God's Word, he learned it, through his affliction. Just because we may not like a certain circumstance doesn't mean that we don't need to be there. God has a purpose in ALL things- and that most definitely includes our struggles. Instead of praying, "change my struggles," maybe we should be praying, "teach me through my struggles."

I know, O Lord, that Your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness You have afflicted me. 
Psalm 119:75
We know God is good. He is righteous and faithful. We can trust Him in the bad times because of who He is. God works through the bad times as well as the good. Nothing surprises Him. Nothing is a mistake. We live in a world full of sin. So bad things are going to happen. But our God is sovereign and He can use everything for His purpose.

So how do we make it through our affliction without it defeating us? Verse 92 gives the answer:

If Your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. 
Psalm 119:92
God's Word. The Holy Bible. Immerse yourself in it. Delight in it. Study it. Pray it. Know it. Obey it. Cling to it. Let your troubles drive you deep into His Word. You will be drawn closer to Him and your faith will grow.

We can't escape the pains of this earthly life. But there is purpose in that pain. That pain is never wasted. God is good. He has a good purpose. Abide in Him.

Page Details:
I used Life & Lemons and the coordinating Squeeze the Day Printable from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps. All orders for the Life & Lemons set June 1-30 will receive the printable for FREE! If you have already ordered the stamp set, please send SNSS an email with your order number and the printable will be emailed to you.

I used a sponge dauber to apply distress oxide ink onto the page. Then I stamped the lemons and lemon slices to complete the background. I stamped the lettering. After printing the printable, I cut out the elements I wanted to use and glued them to the page. You can print them on sticker paper, but I didn't have any, so I just printed it on plain paper. I love both this set and the printable- so many fun uses for both Bible journaling and cards!

I based this post off a sermon on called Why Your Troubles are a Gift from God if you would like to read the complete sermon.

Have a blessed week, dear ones! Andrea

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Mature thinking...

Hi friends,

I came across this verse in 1 Corinthians 14:20 a while ago and it really struck me:
"Do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature."

There are some things we are supposed to be childlike in: this verse tells us clearly that one of those things is evil. We are also supposed to be childlike as we come to Jesus (Matthew 18:3-4) and we are to find our identity as children of God (Ephesians 5:1, 8). But there are also important aspects of life in which we need to be mature. One of those is in our thinking.

When I was meditating on this concept of maturity in thinking, two images came to mind that could illustrate this. One is solid and strong trees that have grown and been established over many years, which cannot be blown down in the storms of life and continue to provide shade to others. The way we think needs to develop in like manner. Mature thinking takes time to learn and develop, but when it has flourished and been established, it guards us from being blown around by every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14) and it provides wisdom and protection for others.

The other image was that of a butterfly. The process of transformation a caterpillar goes through to become a butterfly includes a lot of hiddenness and shedding of old skin. The result is a creature that is no longer bound to the earth, but can fly through the air with beauty and grace. In reflecting on becoming mature in our thinking, I realised that this process involves being hidden in Christ, and often times hidden away from the spotlight of prestige and the world's accolades. It also includes shedding old ideas and ways of thinking that belong to childhood (oh how I've been learning this painful lesson over the past two years as I have studied theology!). The result though, after the hiddenness and loss of old identity, is a wondrous new ability to fly like never before, and to demonstrate the exquisite beauty of God's wisdom when lived out on a daily basis.

I used both the butterfly and tree images on my page (from Made New and Thrill of Hope) and created the text from the new Sweet & Simple Alpha as well as His Love. The background was created using gelatos and blended them with a baby wipe. I added some subtle background texture using a couple of stamps from Texture Tiles 1. Here are the sets I used:

Can I encourage us all to embrace God's work in our life in bringing us to maturity in our thinking? We can be intentional about this call in the way we occupy our minds and what we feed them daily. Food for thought? I think so!

x Amy x

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Life is So Sweet

Galatians 5:22
"But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, 
kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. 
Against such things there is no law."

I think most of us are familiar with this verse about the fruits of the spirit! It's essentially a list of the traits God wants us to portray in our lives. I mean what's easier than a checklist to follow right?!? Last year, our women's ministry at church focused on this verse and each time we met, we broke down a different trait from the verse. And along with each trait we associated a piece of fabric, so by the end of the year we had a collection of fabrics that we called our "Grace Clothes". 

Every morning, each of us wakes up and can decide for ourselves how our day is going to go. Do we have control over the things that happen to us every day? No of course not. But we do have control over how we react to what happens. 

God calls for us to show:
  • love
  • joy
  • peace
  • patience
  • kindness
  • goodness
  • faithfulness
  • gentleness
  • self-control
Am I able to check off every item on that list EVERY day?? Nope. I'll admit it. I sure do try to though! It the busyness and fast pace of today's society, it's really too easy to lose sight of what's important and especially how we treat others. It's real easy to throw some nasty words or comments towards someone online when you don't have to see them face to face, but there's still a real person on the other side of that screen. Our daily actions say a lot about us and who we are as individuals. 

The ladies in our women's ministry looked at it like this: " Today, when I wake up I'm choosing to shed these nasty clothes of the materialistic world like Greed, Hate, Jealousy, etc.... and I'm going to put on my Grace Clothes! The fruit of the spirit!" That's a great way to think about it right?!? Taking off the old ways that aren't working for you and replacing them with the new! Life is too sweet to be sour! Our lives are full of amazing blessings from Him, and we need to spread his love and his word through our own actions and the way we live our daily lives. We want someone to look and see the light inside of us, and want to know more about where that light comes from!

Stephanie Gammon

See below for the stamps I used and their links to grab them for yourself! 😉

Life and Lemons

Life in Jesus

Teeny Alpha

Outline Alpha

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

the YOU of Isaiah 26:3

Hello dear friends!  
Welcome back to the Creative Worship Blog for Sweet n Sassy Stamps!

Today, I put together a bit of a tutorial as to how to make a tip-in that looks like a small piece of artwork for your Bible, for a frame, for a friend...
Let me tell you that it is NOT difficult, it is NOT complex, it IS fun, and it DOES help when it comes to learning how to work with water and pigment. 
I pulled a couple Distress Oxides from the shelf and began working in a watercolor technique by just adding water.  Simply, you stamp the entire pad onto a smooth working surface (craft mat, piece of acetate, etc.) and spritz  water into the pigment until it's nice and wet.  Don't over water; you could potentially lose all that wonderful color!  
Begin by masking the edges for a straight border

Add water to the Distress Oxide and apply liberally, using more
pigment in places than others.
Then start painting like you would with actual watercolor discs, crayons, or pencils.  They work pretty much in the same way, only for some reason I LOVE how easy and fast it is to work with Oxides.
Blending colors is big - make sure that when you use a blue, you also incorporate a bit of the blue into the other colors used, particularly when trying to achieve a sunset/sunrise.  Most sunrises/sunsets are not one color on top of another, but rather several colors intertwined to produce a beautiful sighting of God's glory!
I used Landscape Silhouettes and Sweet and Simple Alpha
(Affiliate link below)

I filled in the bottom of the image with a Faber Castell brush pen
to produce a greater horizon.
Layering is key, so after the initial color is laid down, allow it to dry (or use a heat gun) and continue to add more color as you desire.  Typically I use a deep blue, a nice purple, a yellow and a red for an image like this one.  Once that step is done, you can begin stamping those lovely silhouette images for a drastic contrast and lovely portrait!
Sisters and brothers, a couple weeks ago, God handed me yet another verse that blew me away though I'd read it and thought on it numerous times beforehand:
"YOU will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is dependent on YOU, because it trusts in YOU."  (Isaiah 26:3, emphasis mine to help us see the centrality of this verse)

Can I tell you something God's Word says about God's Word?
"The Word of the Lord is living and active.  Sharper than a double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. "  (Hebrews 4:12)
So when the Lord hands over a piece of His heart, you know that it can only mean one thing: it's GOING TO WORK!
This working had its place in me; a timely word spoken!  A necessary word breathed straight into my marrow!  The life that it gave me at that time was enough to take a heart full of trouble and a mind full of lies, clean them up, and set them back up again.  I was burdened - OVERLOADED - with thoughts that were simply not true, and worries unfounded as, according to the Bible, those that have no place!
The verse in Isaiah was what brought a mind whirring with doubts about the future back into focus on God's love. 
Perfect love casts out fear, and as promised, those who fear only God will indeed have peace. 
I used a white gel pen to give a highlight to the word, "YOU"

Remove the masking and trim down to the desirable size card.

When I posted a page from my Bible a couple weeks back, I asked two questions:
The pre-occupation of my heart…who is it?
The thoughts of my mind…what are they?
IF the answer to EITHER of those questions is ANYTHING other than the Lord God Almighty, then I WILL NOT have peace; this promise will go waiting for me to grab hold and make it mine. 
When giving ourselves over to "what if's" and "who knows," our minds become the very place our adversary - the Devil - can play the game he's always played with the souls of man: doubt God, and deny God. 
BUT if we are staying our minds - thinking on "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable if anything is excellent or praiseworthy," (Phil. 4:8) - on the eternal, loving Father, we will be at peace.
We WILL have peace.
WE will HAVE peace.
We will have PEACE.
Just think about the last time you encountered something disconcerting, terrifying, confusing, destroying, disappointing…
Were your thoughts about His truth?
Were your thoughts right?
Were your thoughts lovely?

Refusing our natural inclination to worry already sets us ahead of the situation and the ploys of the one who wants to devour us. 
Rejecting the lies our enemy sets as snares, to listen to God's voice on a matter, places us in the hands of the One who can fight and win!

Peace comes to us by keeping our preoccupations on His word, because His yoke is easy. 
Peace comes to us by letting the Lord do His work, because ultimately it pleases Him to do so.
Today, are you worried?
Ask yourself, what are you thinking? 
Who are you thinking about?
Remember, peace for a troubled heart comes by way of fixing our eyes - our very THOUGHTS - on the Lord that loves you, and cares for your precious heart so very much!

Much love,
IG: @mercies_journaled
Affiliate Link for stamps:  (Thank you very much in advance!)

Landscape Silhouettes

Sweet and Simple Alpha Stamps

Monday, June 17, 2019

God's Word is Life

"Moses came and recited all the words of this song in the hearing of the people, he and Joshua, the son of Nun. And when Moses had finished speaking all these words to all Israel, he said to them, 'Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law. For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess." - Deuteronomy 32:44-47

Deuteronomy 32 is a beautiful and eloquent passage commonly referred to as the Song of Moses. There are seven themes in Moses' song, which take us on a journey from the great goodness of God to the horrible sin of humanity to the grace and kindness of the Lord. It's Moses's exhortation to the children of Israel (and modern day Christians) to acknowledge God's greatness and mercy, and embrace it as their very life. 

David Guzik's commentary has this to say about verses 44-47:

One of Satan's great lies to us is that it is a futile thing to serve God and obey His word. It often seems that those who are against God prosper more than those who are for Him. Yet, we need to see and understand - from an eternal perspective - that it is not a futile thing to love and obey God. 

Chuck Smith follows it up with this comment: 

This word is not an empty thing; it's you're life. This is a matter of life and death, not something to pass off lightly.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 says, "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." 

In Paul's letter to his dear friend Timothy, he says, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." (II Timothy 3:16-17)

Loving God and His Word is more than just a good Christian thing to do - it is life itself. God's Word gives us everything we need to live a life that is holy and pleasing to God, and He wants us to embed His Word in every aspect of our heart, mind, and life every single day. As a person, you can't live without food and water - as a Christian, you can't live without God's Word. 

The beautiful thing about this thing we call Bible Journaling is simply this: it brings God's Word into our lives in a visual and vibrant way, which brings us closer to Him. And that's just what He wants for us. ♡

I used three of my all-time favorite stamp sets to create this page: Scribble Flowers, Sweet & Simple Alpha, and Teeny Alpha clear stamp sets. The Sweet & Simple set is new this month and is quickly becoming my go-to alpha stamp set! The Scribble Flowers and Teeny Alpha sets are so versatile and add great elements to just about any page. I use them all the time! 😏 I taped off the text I wanted to illustrate, then blended distress oxides, splattered with water and watered down ink, stamped, and finished the page with some gel pen highlighting, washi tape, and stickers. Super fun, easy, and MESSY - which I love!! 😍


May you enjoy the life provided through God's Word this week and every week.

Much love in Christ, 
Janelle ❤

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Wildly loved

Hello all! It's summer here in Iowa and as you read this I am returning from a week long vacation. Summer time can be really hard on my creative I picked up my acrylic paints and tried a few techniques I tend to forget about. It was such a fun breath of fresh air, to be spontaneous, and different. I hope you enjoy...

This page started with the acrylic paints. I used a credit/ gift card to squish the paint on around the page in broad strokes. Then while my paint was drying I stamped the hymn word art stamp in three colors on to plain white cardstock. I really wanted the wording to pop so I mounted it on pink cardstock that I actually repurposed from my mothers day card. Side note...I am so guilty of cutting up cards I get and using them in my Bible or other crafty adventures....they are sooo pretty I hate throwing them away. Ok after I mounted the stamped image I used puffy foam tape to pop it up even ever so slightly more. The big bold title I found in my stash from a print and pray printed on clear sticker paper. Finally comes my favorite part all the little fun details....the puffy hearts, washi tape, tabs, wordfetti and art marks created using my markers.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 
Romans 8:37-39

I have so enjoyed looking up all the hymns in this stamp set and really digging into the words, meaning and scripture behind the words! This song is no exception. The lyrics made me really pause and think about how much my Father God truly loves me. He loves me so much that nothing...absolutely nothing on heaven or on earth can keep me from his wild love. Wow! I know I have read that passage of scripture tons of times but do I really sit and dwell on the magnitude of those words? Summer can be a crazy time for many of us, but if you can steal away a few precious moments read, reread and read again....let the words soak in and penetrate your heart. Let God illuminate truths and fill you with joy! I want to leave you with a few lyrics from this can go listen to it Here if you like.

Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus vast, unmeasured, boundless, free! 
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me! 
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of thy love 
Leading onward, leading homeward to thy glorious rest above! 

Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus spread His praise from shore to shore! 
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore! 
How He watches o'er His loved ones, died to call them all His own; 
How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o'er them from the throne! 

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best! 
'Tis an ocean vast of blessing, 'tis a haven sweet of rest! 
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, 'tis a heaven of heavens to me; 
And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee! 

Love and prayers,
Jenn @creativegurl85

Monday, June 10, 2019

Delighting in Jesus, Y'all!

Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord and delight in His salvation. 
My whole being will exclaim, "Who is like You, Lord?" 
Psalm 35:9-10a

Hello Friends!

I was born and raised in Texas. And let me tell you, the summers in Texas are HOT! Nothing tastes better to me than a cold glass of sweet tea. Yum! Have you had southern sweet tea? If you haven't, let's just say, we like our sugar. Southern sweet tea is big on sugar- the more, the better! LOL Well, in my life- and I bet yours too- the more Jesus, the better!

These verses speak to rejoicing and delighting in Him. I looked up the definition for delight: to take great pleasure, to give joy or satisfaction. Don't those definitions sum up nicely what we have in Christ? We can take pleasure in Him. He brings us joy and satisfaction like nothing else. Just like sugar sweetens tea, Jesus sweetens our lives. Verse 10 asks who is like the Lord. Resoundingly, the answer is NO ONE! No one can compare to Him. When I feel like I'm missing something, I can't find  lasting satisfaction in any worldly thing. But I can find that lasting satisfaction in Him. He's just waiting for me to come to Him and ask. He's waiting for you too. And, He'll never turn us away.

Thank You, Lord Jesus, that You want to be part of my life. Thank You for the joy You bring me and for the satisfaction I can only find in You. There is no one like You, Lord. I praise You always. In Your sweet name, Jesus, amen.

I had a lot of fun with this page. I absolutely LOVE the new Life & Lemons set designed by Rebecca Rios. It was part of the June release and is SO much fun to use! I also used two other favorite Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps sets: All in All and Texture Tiles 4.

I started out by using the plaid stamp to stamp my tablecloth. Then I stamped my tea glass. I used watercolor crayons to paint the tea and background. I always paint the background first and then stamp the lettering on top of the watercolor for a couple of reasons: 1) that way the lettering pops since it isn't dulled by a thin layer of watercolor, 2) it helps the black ink not bleed through or shadow. For the lettering, I also masked a couple of stamps- the "sugar" and "sweet tea" stamps. To mask, I just use left over label paper that's sticky on one side. I cover the words that I don't want inked with the label paper, ink the stamp, then remove the label paper and stamp. It helps make your stamps a lot more versatile! I finished the page by highlighting the letters in "Jesus" with a white pen. And finally, I stamped the lemon on label paper, cut it out and added it to the glass.

Delight in Him, my friends. And enjoy some sweet tea too!

Have a blessed week! Andrea

Saturday, June 8, 2019

What are you asking for?

Hi friends,

Have you ever thought about what you would ask God for if he stood before you and asked you what you would like? I mean - if you could ask for anything, what would that be?

King Solomon had just this opportunity. In 2 Chronicles 1 God appears to Solomon and says to him, "Ask what I shall give you." This question really does reveal what is in our hearts doesn't it? Would we ask for money? Success? A relationship we have been longing for? Peace and security? Justice? I suspect that Solomon's answer is not one that would be quickly chosen today (or throughout history probably!). He asks for wisdom and knowledge to be able to lead the people over whom God had placed him as king.

God was so pleased with this request that he promised Solomon not only that his prayer would be answered, but that he would also be given riches, possessions and honour (the things he could have asked for but he chose wisdom and knowledge instead). You see, our priorities in prayer matter to God. He is willing and more than able to give us many things, but he wants our requests to reflect his heart. Solomon's request showed that he desired to lead people well and therefore to honour God. This prayer for wisdom and knowledge is one that we need to pray too. Our own understanding is so limited and is not sufficient for the tasks to which God has called us. The good news is that God loves this prayer and answers it extravagantly!

When I received the beautiful Stamp of the Month for June (Happy Irises) I decided to look up the meaning of the iris flower and found that it means royalty, wisdom, faith and hope. I thought this verse from 2 Chron 1:10 would be perfect to illustrate with these irises, so I stamped them and coloured with Inktense pencils. The text was stamped with the new Sweet & Simple Alpha.

I hope you are encouraged and challenged to consider what you are asking God for... Ask for wisdom and knowledge... and ask boldly!

x Amy x