Monday, March 30, 2020

Trust. Pray. Repeat.

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Colossians 4:2
Hi Friends!
I don't know about you, but I've had a lot to pray about lately. One of the positives about staying home is I have a lot more time to focus on prayer. The Bible tells us time and again to talk to God. Even though, He already knows our situations, He wants us communicating with Him. It doesn't matter how small the issue may be, God wants us coming to Him. First. We can trust Him as we can trust no one else. And He will answer our prayers for His purpose and for our good.

So, I saw a lovely idea of making a small prayer booklet from Allie Trumpower from Allie Scraps.  She mentioned carrying hers with her in her purse so that when someone has a prayer request, she can jot it down. I thought that was a great idea! It could also be used just for our own prayer requests for ourselves and loved ones and for praises. Allie has prayer card printables on her website. However, my printer is not working, so I had to improvise. I used stamps!
One of the Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps sets I used for this project is part of the April release. And, Korin has made the release available early!! WOO HOO!! It's called Your Story. I absolutely love it. Two of the stamps are a library card and a piece of notebook paper. EEEP! So I used those stamps to make the pages of my booklet, stamped on scrapbook paper. I used 10 pages, but really, you can as many pages as you like. I also used a set called Texture Tiles 5. Once I had all the pages stamped and cut out, I punched holes in the corners, and attached them with a book ring, and added ribbon to the ring. Ta-da! Prayer booklet! Now all I need to do is start writing.
I think this will be a great way to keep track of what I'm praying for and the praises I have. I walk my dog every morning, and pray while I'm walking him. This booklet is small enough to take with me on the walks. They would also make sweet little gifts for others!
With the extra time we all have now, we can make these little booklets for ourselves and to share. But, most importantly, let's make sure we are focusing on prayer. God has a purpose in all this. May His will be done.

Have a blessed week! Andrea

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Trust in Him at All Times...

Hi friends,

Our world is looking pretty alarming right now isn't it? Whether it's from a health perspective, economic perspective or relational perspective, things are tough for a lot of people right now. It is so easy to read the news about the spread of the virus and worry about what this means for us, for our families, our jobs or our country.

For me personally I have found it difficult that the college where I have been working and studying for the last three years was closed abruptly for 12 weeks, which meant that I had to leave with no farewell parties or even farewell hugs, because in 12 weeks I am due to have started a new job in a new city. But that requires us selling and buying a house, which at the moment is not exactly easy. There are so many reasons to become anxious about the future and what may happen, and so many emotions to process in the present.

Psalm 62:8 tells us to "Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us." This phrase "at all times" really struck me as I've been thinking and processing over the last week. Times like this are a real challenge to our faith: can we trust the Lord at all times or just in the good times? Can we trust him when things seems hopeless or when we have no control over the situation we are facing? That is the kind of relationship we are invited to have with our Heavenly Father - one of complete trust, no matter what.

As difficult as this season is, it is also an opportunity to grow in trust in God, and to practice casting our every anxiety upon him (because he cares for us!). Every time fear or worry creeps into our mind, we have the choice to entertain it and meditate on the negatives, or we can choose to fix our minds on the Lord and meditate on his goodness and his power and his faithfulness. It is only by meditating on these things that we can learn to trust him in ALL times.

I created this page in my Journaling Psalter by creating a background with acrylic paints and stencilling a clock image with white paint over the top. The pretty flowers from Lovely Lotus were stamped on watercolour paper, coloured with watercolours, then cut out and glued onto the page. The verse was stamped using a combination of Trust in the Lord, Messy Stamped Alpha and Outline Alpha. I added a dragonfly from Dragonfly Dreams which I embossed on vellum using platinum embossing powder. Here are the sets I used:

May we all seek to trust in the Lord at all times, and may his Holy Spirit guide us through this time and teach us to trust our Father in heaven with every aspect of our present and our future.

Be blessed...

x Amy x

Friday, March 27, 2020

Lord, heal our land!

When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land” 2 Chronicles 7:13-14

God, we are appalled at what is going on in our world right now. Lives are being claimed, countries are shutting down and I can’t help but think that the powers of hell are laughing thinking that they are winning the battle that has ensued. And, God, it is a battle. It’s a battle against fear. It’s a battle against anxiety. It’s a battle against the leaders of our world.  But, Lord, we know that our fight is not against flesh and blood. Give us the strength to fight it. We want your name to be known to the nations. We are suited up in your armor and we are bowing before you, ready and willing to fight with the most powerful weapon we have: prayer. 

First and foremost, Lord we pray for all the people who are currently sick or are recovering from this illness. God, give them strength to fight. Increase their immune system so that the virus can be eradicated from their body. Give them a renewed sense of hope where there is none. Give them a determination to fight this illness well so that you will be glorified through it.  

Lord, we also lift up all the medical workers and first responders. They are facing a giant with what seems like a small stone, but we know that you know the outcome and that you are the true Healer. Lord, we also lift up all of those who are working tirelessly to make sure that our lives can continue on in a somewhat normal manner: truck drivers, grocery store workers, mail carriers, utility workers and the list goes on. God, they are also in the front lines. They are dealing with increased work demands and irritated customers. Lord, we pray for their physical and mental stamina as well as the patience to deal with extreme working conditions. 

As selfish as it may be, God, we pray for ourselves. For our own health and safety. For our own battles with fear and anxiety. God, sometimes it’s not the virus that scares us, it’s other people. It’s the media. It’s the general public who have escalated this whole situation and have caused us doubts about whether we will be able to feed our families or gain access to household items that we used to take for granted. God we don’t know if our businesses will survive or if we will be able to make ends meet. God, give us a stillness and a peace that no matter what, you are Jehova Jirah. God, let us see your goodness in all things and give us the boldness to declare it. Let us set aside our questions of “why” and trust your heart. Lord, for those who refuse to cooperate with the regulations in place, I pray that you would soften their hearts and help them to realize that regulations are in place for the good of everyone. We have created a world where we think it all revolves around us, and Lord, that’s not the case. You called us to serve each other and if serving my neighbor means staying home, God give me the desire to do that. Lord, as we wonder around in this wilderness, show us the streams. Lead us to them and give us opportunities to bless others while we are here. 

And finally, Lord, we pray for our nation and the rest of the world. The healing that needs to occur is so far beyond the physical. Our world is desperate for spiritual healing. We have lost our way, chased after our own dreams and created idols out of the everyday. God break our hearts. Drive us to a place where we see our sin as you see it and are desperate for change. In ways that only you know, you have already stripped us of many things – schedules, busy lives, work, school, security – and we are in a place where we can listen more closely to you…God, let us listen! Give us the desire to turn off the TV, turn off our phones and open your Word instead. Open our eyes to see how you see. Open our ears to hear what other people are saying. Open our hands and feet so that we learn how to serve. Lord as we are in a place where the church cannot physically be together, help us to shine your light through so that the world sees that the church is a group of people who love you and desire to serve you. Help us to reprioritize our lives and return to our first love – YOU. For those that do not know you, Lord we pray that this situation will turn their hearts towards you in a way that they have never experienced before. Heal us, Lord in the way that only you can! 

As the battle rages on, Lord, we are humble. We are expectant. And we are desperate for You. Show us your glory. Amen.

Have a blessed weekend, friends!

Crafty Details

I started this page by stamping the earth image from Send Me and the heart and bandage image from Healer of my Heart onto cardstock, coloring them with colored pencils and cutting them out. I then used the smooshing technique with Salty Ocean and Twisted Citron distress oxides to create the background. I stamped the grid from Texture Tiles 1 with Salty Ocean and the dots with Black Soot. I underlined my verse and aligned the images and words. The words are stamped with a mixture of Messy Stamped Alpha, Mini Grunge type alpha and Typewriter Blocks alpha. I finished off my page with a tab, date stamp and prayer. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Suffer A Little While

Hello friends!  I pray everyone is safe and doing well.  Life is looking a little different for most of us currently thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, am I right?  We are all trying to adjust to our new routines.

Conditions in our area, are like many places...most grocery store shelves are bare, schools are closed, and restaurants are all drive-ins or open to pick up orders only.  Though there have been some inconveniences, so far things have changed little in my household.  My husband, myself and our two sons are still able to go to work as usual, we have the necessities and we are healthy.  Sadly, I know that is not the case for many people. 

As I prayed over this post, I was led to 1 Peter 5:6-11.  I hope you find it encouraging as I give my thoughts on these verses. 

6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
In verses 6-7 Peter instructs us to lay aside our pride and give our fears and worries to God, the God who loves us.  What anxieties do you have today that you can hand over to the Father about the coronavirus?
8Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
Peter warns us in verses 8-9 that the devil is on the prowl, ready to tempt us and destroy us in our suffering.  Do not be fooled.  The evil one is searching for us even now, looking to tear us down and fill us with fear.  He would love to discredit us and our testimony during this time.  Use the truths you know about God to fight the fears and lies the devil tells you.  God loves you and wants to prosper you.  He sent His only Son to save YOU.  Peter also urges us to keep strong in our faith and reminds us, we aren't suffering this alone.  Children of God around the world are all being affected by Covid-19 and are under attack from the devil.  
10And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
God, in his unfailing grace, is using our suffering to perfect, prove, and strengthen us.  Thankfully, we get hope from this verse, that we will only suffer a little while.  He will bring us through this pandemic in His timing, which is perfect. 

Perhaps, He is even using this virus, to turn the world back to Him.  Maybe He is reminding us of the importance of the time we have and how we use it.  Through the changes in our routines, we have been pushed back in to our homes, with our families, eating around our table.  We have had to give up idols that come in the form of sporting events, concerts, movies and even our jobs in some cases.  Let's use this time, as Christians, to show the world what we are made of.  We are called to love and honor God above all else, love one another and deny ourselves, and pray continually.  We are never alone in the battles we face. 


Page Details:
I started this page by blending distress oxide inks on to my page. I stamped dandelions from the new Blessings in Disguise set across the bottom.  I colored the stems in with a green Faber Castell pen and used a white Uniball Signo gel pen to add some white highlights to the seeds.  I stamped a sentiment from the Peony Cluster set above my dandelions.  I used the Loop da Loop Alpha and Mini Grunge Type Alpha to stamp out my title.  I finished my page by journaling a prayer and drawing a sketchy box around my focus verses.

I pray God protects and blesses each of you in these uncertain times.  Encourage and help each other when you can.  Remember to wash your hands and say your prayers because Jesus and germs are everywhere.  

Until next time, you can catch up with me on Instagram @simplyjillsjourney.



Monday, March 23, 2020

Know God

And so I will show My greatness and My holiness, and I will make Myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord. 
Ezekiel 38:23

Dear Friends,

Ezekiel 38 tells us about a future time when Israel will be attacked; and God will supernaturally protect and save them. The final verse of this chapter tells us God's purpose- that the world will see His greatness and holiness, that He will be known around the world as the one true God.

A lot can change in a couple of weeks, can't it? Personally, I've gone from working in a school to being at home and waiting to see what role I will have to continue to educate the students in our district. I moved my college daughter home as the university housing and campus closed to go to online only classes. And my husband will be working from home more. I'm sure you have had similar experiences. We've all seen empty shelves and reports about COVID-19. We've all had our lives disrupted in some way. So I asked myself, what is God trying to teach
We can't depend on our jobs. We can't depend on our finances. At this point, we can't really depend on each other in ways we have in the past due to social distancing. But, we can depend on God now, forever and always. These are difficult times, but what an opportunity for us to focus on God, depend on Him, trust Him, and share Him with others. I loved how our team members started the faith over fear project. I love how people are helping each other in ways they may not have before. While it's sad we can't meet with our church families in person, now that many are online, think about how many people those online services can reach! God is with us in this. And He has a purpose in it. And I believe that purpose is exactly what Ezekiel 38:20 says, "And so I will show My greatness and My holiness, and I will make Myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord."

I'm praying for everyone infected with this virus and those who know someone who is. I'm praying that we all can use this time to draw closer to God. I'm praying for the governments around the world, that they make wise decisions. And, I'm praying that God will stop the spread. Right now, we all must trust God and pray. He has a purpose. Let Him be known to all the nations!

Page Details: I used the following Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps sets: Messy Stamped Alpha, Dragonfly Dreams, and Texture Tiles 1. The background was done by applying distress oxides with a sponge dauber. The colors I used are Scattered Straw, Spiced Marmalade, and Abandoned Coral.

Have a blessed week! Andrea

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Jehovah Jireh

Happy Saturday sweet friends! 
This past week has been a continuous episode of crazy hasn't it?
While we are still dealing with what is happening and what will continue to happen over the next few weeks, I wanted to pop in and give you a reminder.
God is our provider. 
Jehovah Jireh.

Generally speaking, having a relationship with Christ, we expect Him to provide our needs. Almost like a waiter in a restaurant, we expect to receive what we ask for from God. When we pray for a new job, a new car, a new house, more money, etc, we automatically expect God to make those things happen. 
But God our provider is so much more, so much deeper, than those things.

Let's talk first about Abraham. We all know the story of Abraham and how God told him to take his son Isaac to Moriah and offer him as a burnt sacrifice. 
I don't know about you, but if God asked me to do that, I would have to ask God some questions. Why God? Why would you take away my only son whom I love so deeply?
But Abraham had faith and he did not question God. 
Even as Abraham and Isaac walked to the place they would present the offering, Abraham didn't question God. 
And when Isaac asked his father where the lamb was for the offering, Abraham responded "The Lord will provide."
I don't know about you but that gives me the chills! 
And you know what, God provided! 

One part of God's provision is to provide our daily needs. In this current season we are living in, we question whether our daily needs will be met. We get up early, stand outside the grocery store praying that they will have toilet paper or ground meat when we finally get inside. I know how stressful it is and how out of control it makes you feel but God will provide. 

The other part of God's provision is that He has rescued us from sin. The immeasurable gift God gave us was the sacrifice of His only son to save us from our sins and allow us life in eternity with Him.
Do you see the parallel? 
God asks Abraham to sacrifice his only son and Isaac was saved by God's provision.
Jesus, God's only son, was sacrificed as the provision for our sins.

Thank you God! 

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Fear the LORD Only

It's surreal, right?
This time we live in is completely foreign - alien! - to our sense of peace, hope, comfort, convenience, health… The list goes on and on of just how many challenges have eroded the security we once felt. 

It's surreal.
Even as a Christian that attempts to maintain while others around me scurry, hurry, shuffle and hurt, my mind cannot help but be distracted by the waves of panic.  Those waves are big.  Bigger than anything I've ever known. 
What waves? 
The waves of fear. 
Fear that injures.
Fear that cripples.
Fear that mortifies.
Fear that terrorizes.
Fear that terrifies.
Fear that confuses.
Fear that deceives.
Fear that squeezes.
Fear that breaks.
Fear that weathers.
Fear that darkens.
Fear that blasphemes.
Fear that taunts.
Fear that ridicules.

These waves crash into the supermarkets, drugstores, libraries, nursing homes, arenas, and schools. 
These waves leave no survivors. 
These waves cause massive hysteria.
These waves bring onslaughts of mania.
These waves break walls of security.
These waves press hard on faith.

What are we afraid of?
We're afraid of something we don't know. 
Something we have no control over.
Something swift, painful, stealthy and pervasive.
A virus.
Something that the medical field hasn't prepared for. 
Something our brains haven't prepared for.
Something our bodies are not ready for.
Something our homes are not ready for.

Let me get to the point more quickly as I can sense the light is dimming on the hope that we say we have in Jesus, as Christ followers. 

Because this swift and swiping medical phenomenon - though "novel" - is still not a surprise.  Though unknown and unprecedented, it's still known and controlled.  By God.
There is no sense in fearing something that can be created, controlled, killed, obliterated, instilled, and changed. 
The greater sense of fear, the Bible says, is due the One who has the power to "kill the body and the soul in hell." 

Is that supposed to be helpful, Deeds?
Actually, yes.  And refreshing.  And encouraging.

Proverbs 9:10
"The FEAR of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.  And knowledge of the HOLY ONE is understanding." 
If we know, trust and believe the One who we know made heaven and earth and everything in it, we have started on the wonderful course of obtaining wisdom and understanding of the One who has the power over all things, including BODY and soul.   

Look around you.
Look inside you.
Do you see fear of the Lord in our world?   
Do you see people living, reacting, responding, treating each other in understanding? In wisdom?
Do you see results of life, peace and hope?  
When we fear God, it means that we have entered into a relationship with Him wherein He remains the Sovereign, the Ruler, the Good, and the Wise over our lives.  Fearing Him means the fear of other things (Coronavirus included) diminishes the waves of confusion, hurt, crippling, anxiety, panic, stress, darkness and wandering.
The Proverbs are a great source of encouragement to choose "wisdom."  She, as the book puts it, is what gives you life, hope, joy, and the blessed produce of more wisdom!  When we gain wisdom, which the Bible says is totally available to us from God Himself, we gain more understanding of who God is!  Fear of God = wisdom = life!
The fear of God is the beginning of life.
The fear of God is the beginning of joy.
The fear of God is the beginning of hope.
The fear of God is the beginning of light.
The fear of God is the beginning of peace...

Fear the Lord only; trust Him in this messy time.
Fear the Lord only; bring Him into all your life's agendas, tasks, and concerns.
Fear the Lord only; begin thinking, acting, and speaking like Him.

You may hate me for this, but I am THANKFUL that the Lord is bigger than the virus, and He's allowed it to shake our world.  
Because the sudden onset of this virus triggered an onset of prayer warriors from around the globe.  
Bands of Christians have come together to fall before the Lord and give Him honor and glory due His name.  
It has brought me to my knees in my own unbelief to lean more heavily on the provision and power of my Mighty God.
It has crushed walls of division, creating unity under the same hope of something better and brighter.
I have seen the church of God BE the church of God, extending beyond the boundaries of Sunday fellowship!

Tell me that this is the Satan's doing.
Absolutely not.  
The Satan will not get the credit for this.
My God who is above all holy and awesome, worthy of all fear and reverence, will receive the glory for even something like COVID-19!!

"Trust in the LORD with all of your heart, and lean not on your OWN understanding.  In ALL of your ways, acknowledge HIM and HE will make your paths straight."  That's a promise from Proverbs 3:5-6.

It is your life!
Much love,

PS -
God is good.
God is in control.
God is sovereign.

Whom (what) shall I fear?

Monday, March 16, 2020

Faith Over Fear Project

Faith Over Fear Project

The past couple days have been crazy to say the least. I’m not sure where the tipping point was when everyone decided Friday was the day to lose it and start hoarding supplies and groceries but here we are none the less. I started creating a journaling card for myself and my family as a reminder where our faith comes from during this difficult and confusing time. Then I realized after seeing too many videos and pictures of the state our country is in, that now more than ever, other needed this reminder as well. 

Your social media feeds may be flooded with both panic and peace, but there may be some people who are only seeing panic everywhere they turn. So I placed cards in the grocery store where the bread, toilet paper, and bleach once sat. I also put a couple at the gas pumps. Each card had one of the many bible verses us Christians turn to in times of worry and anxiety. Did you know the phrase “fear not” is in the Bible at least 365 times?! Just another reminder that we will have hard times, that is guaranteed. But God will be there through it all.

John 16:31-33
“Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; l have overcome the world.”

It is my hope that the people who come across these cards will pause in their chaotic and stress filled day and think. Yes, they may just crumble it up and throw it away, but maybe...just one person will carry it home with them, or pass it to a friend, or share it on social media. A small reminder in the world that God has us in his hands. He will not leave us nor forsake us. We will all be ok, we just have to get through this, together! 

I challenge you! Is there something YOU can do to ease the fears or tension of others right now instead of adding to it? Yes we’re practicing “social distancing” right now, but there are many ways you can still help others. Maybe if you have extra toilet paper, DONATE it to them instead of charging them for it! Haha. 

I have teamed up with Illustrator Rebecca Rios and Korin Sutherland and we have created a FREE printable for you all! Inspired by the cards I made above, you can print these cards AT HOME for FREE! Print them and wrote an encouraging note or bible verse on the back. If you are out and about, leave them random places for others to find and be encouraged during this trying time for us all. If you are staying in your home, mail them to friends and family! We can even get this kids in on this and show them how to spread God's word and positivity in the midst of this mess. 

If you choose to share on social media to help spread the word
use the hashtag #FAITHOVERFEARPROJECT so we can see where this movement goes!

We can all be a light during this dark time! Prayers for health and safety for us all.

Stephanie Gammon

Be a Blessing

"So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith."
Galatians 6:10

In all honesty, I had a completely different topic planned for today's blog post, but recent events have moved me in a different direction. I'm not going to talk about the response to the virus - anxiety, panic, trust, confidence, or faith. Those topics have all been covered by biblical scholars and authors far more qualified than me, and I think as Christians we know what our response should be to the crisis that lies before us. What I am going to challenge you (and me) on today is being a blessing in a difficult time

In yesterday's sermon, our pastor spoke on Galatians 6, and verse 10 really jumped out at me. There are lots of opportunities to be a blessing right now, aren't there? Whether it's calling to check in on an elderly church member or relative, sending a friend a 'thinking of you' card, picking up groceries for a neighbor, offering to help babysit for a friend whose children are unexpectedly home for the next three weeks due to school closures - whatever it is, you can be a blessing. Take a minute to think of what you can do to be a help and encouragement to those around you. 

I created the background of this page with Distress Oxides, embossing powder, and stamps. 💜

Praying you all stay safe and healthy during the coming weeks,

You can find the stamps sets used through the links below: 


Saturday, March 14, 2020

We Preach Christ Crucified...

Hi friends,

'For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.' 
1 Corinthians 1:22-25

Paul is really clear about what his message is: it is to preach Christ crucified. He didn't compromise this message, he didn't water it down, take away from it or add to it. He stuck to the simple truth, despite being misunderstood and ridiculed. He knew that even though this truth was a stumbling block to some and folly to others, Christ was both the power and wisdom of God, and his crucifixion is central to the expression of God's power and wisdom.

When I reflect on this scripture it makes me wonder about how we proclaim the message of Christ. Do we water it down? Do we compromise on truth? Do we avoid speaking certain truths because we are worried about what people will think or how they will respond? It is all too easy for the message of the Gospel to be diluted or polluted, and Paul was very aware of this. He shows us how to proclaim the simple Gospel message. Let's join him in preaching Christ crucified.

This was a pretty simple page to put together with a couple of stencils and some acrylic paint. I stamped the cross from Rustic Easter onto watercolour card and coloured with watercolours then cut it out and glued it over the stencilled background. The text is a combination of Skinny Lowercase Alpha, His Name and Teeny Alpha.

May God help us to preach Christ crucified in whatever way he gives us opportunity.

Be blessed...

x Amy x