Monday, June 29, 2020

Heal our Land

O beautiful for pilgrim feet, whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat, across the wilderness
America, America, God mend thine every flaw
Confirm thy soul in self control, they liberty in law.
America the Beautiful, verse 2

Hi Friends,
America has been going through difficult times. I pray daily that we can be united rather than divided, that this nation will repent and turn to Jesus. As the song lyrics say that "God mend thine every flaw." Because all the faults of the U.S., everything that's wrong, can be answered and made right in Jesus. Simply, He is the answer. If we all lived the way He wants us to, there would be no inequality, division, or unrest. I pray that God will heal our land both spiritually and physically. We should not be fighting each other. We need to remember who the real enemy is. It's not people who don't agree with us. It's not one political party or the other. It's not people who don't look like us or live like us. We are not each other's enemy. Satan is the enemy. And he is behind all of this. This is a spiritual battle, and we need to remember that. We need to put on the armor of God and fight for Him. America can be a such beautiful nation when we're following our Lord and Savior.

Page Details: This page was inspired by one Amanda Hargrove had done. I used the following Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps sets: God Bless America, Women of Praise, All in All, and Healer of my Heart. To make the mountain background, I used distress oxides and torn paper. I started with the red sky, then placed the torn paper on the page, and started sponging the mountains. I started from the torn paper and brushed onto the hymnal page. Diane Noble showed this technique in a video on the Creative Worship FB page. Click here to see the video. This technique is about 10 minutes into the video. I then stamped the words and highlighted them with a Uni Posca white pen.

Pray for America, my friends! Have a blessed week. Andrea

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Forgive my Hidden Faults...

Hi friends,

I've been thinking a lot about the relationship between apathy, silence and complicity lately. Often these sins go unnoticed because they are hidden and not easily seen or identified within ourselves. I'm reminded of Psalm 19:12 where the psalmist prays, "But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults" and Psalm 139:24 where the psalmist asks God to "see if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting."

In the times in which we find ourselves, being faced with the challenge of racial prejudice, I know it is all too easy to not see these hidden faults and offensive ways within ourselves. That's why we need to have the courage to ask God to reveal these dark corners of our hearts, and not be surprised or offended when he uses our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ to shine the light.

The willingness to open our heart to God's scrutiny requires humility and courage, because we need to acknowledge that we do not know all there is to know about ourselves, and that we may well have hidden sin that will be ugly and painful to confront. One of the ways that God reveals our hidden faults is through Scripture, whether through our personal devotional reading, or through preaching, or by listening to or reading the teaching of those who have studied Scripture and share the wisdom they have gained through books, podcasts or videos. I am grateful for how God speaks through these brothers and sisters in the faith to reveal truth about himself, as well as about me.

I used my gel plate with acrylic paints and stencils to create the background on this page. I stamped the dandelion from Blessings in Disguise over the background and stamped the text with a combination of All of Me Alpha, Let's Do This and Healer of my Heart, along with some alpha stickers. I stamped the broken heart image from Healer of my Heart and coloured with pencils. I stuck a printed Blue Morpho Butterfly in light grey onto the back so it looks partially hidden and blended into the background. Here are the sets I used:

I pray that we would all have the courage and humility to ask the Lord to search our hearts for hidden faults and to forgive us and teach us how to live our lives cleansed of these sins. Thank God that he is faithful to answer our prayer!

Be blessed...

x Amy x

Friday, June 26, 2020

Shine Bright

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Matthew 5:14-16

From the time I was young, I have always loved a good book. You can ask my mom – I’ve been an avid reader ever since my first grade teacher read The Boxcar Children aloud to us in class. Even now, one of my favorite things to do at the end of the day is to curl up with a good book and get lost in someone else’s story. A series that I am currently (re)reading is The O’Malley Chronicles by Dee Henderson. The series is about a family in which all the siblings have high-profile jobs: US Marshall, Hostage Negotiator, Forensic Pathologist, etc. and the story line follows their lives and experiences. One night, while I was reading, I came across this passage:

“He’d been a Christian a long time, but some of his friends were not Christians. It was a dichotomy he had accepted over the years as the place God had put him. He couldn’t be a light among a sea of candles. It wasn’t a comfortable place to rest, constantly having to tug a dark world toward God while not getting sidetracked by it….Life was about choices, the toughest ones involving where he would put his time.” (The Truth Seeker)

For several weeks I couldn’t get that passage out of my mind. Over and over I kept hearing, “you can’t be a light among a sea of candles.” You know, God calls us to be the light of the world, to shine bright in the darkness. And the more I pondered the passage from that book, the more I asking myself, where am I trying to shine? Am I trying to shine among a sea of candles? Am I trying to shine brightest among other believers? Am I trying to present the gospel to people who already know and believe it or am I trying to penetrate the darkness with the light of Christ?

Don’t get me wrong. We need other candles around us. We need to surround ourselves by those who are strong, bold lights so that we can learn from them, encourage them and get strength from them when we are weak. We need those other candles to help us make the light be a little bit bigger. But we have to be very careful that we are not focusing our energy on trying to shine brightest among other candles. Light is not brighter than light. Light is brighter than dark. At the end of the day, when we return to our candle stand, we need to have the confidence that we worked our hardest trying to penetrate the dark. We need know without a doubt that we did everything in our power to show them the love that Christ showed us. We need to know that we extended His mercy and grace towards others. We need to read our Bibles and live out what we post on social media. We need to be the “real deal” – not a fake image of a perfectly put together Christian who never struggles or gets things wrong. We need to show the world that despite our failure, there is still hope and there is still a never-ending love that we can rest in. We need to step out of our little “Christian bubble” and go to the uncomfortable places and face the hard things so that we can make a difference. 

So I will ask you: where are you shining? What are you doing today that will make a difference for Christ? Are you comfortable staying in your jar shining brightly? Or are you leaving that zone of comfort and providing light for a dark world? We can’t be a light among a sea of candles…. but we can be a light to a dark world. Let’s take it there. Together we can make a difference!

Crafty Details
I started this page by stamping the candle image from Birthday Borders at the bottom of the page and coloring them in with my Prismacolor colored pencils. I then stamped the words with a combination of BittyMinnie Alpha and Bold & OutlineAlpha. I finished with some neocolor ii splatters of yellow, carmine, greenish blue and cobalt blue and a messy border drawn with my Micron pen.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Perfect Peace

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27 

Dear Friends,
Peace. It's what we all want, right? There are different definitions for peace. One is freedom from disturbance or tranquility. Another is a state in which there is no war. It's probably safe to say we'd like both. The peace Jesus is talking about in this verse is the freedom from disturbance- no matter what's going on in the world. In this context, peace is not the absence of trouble, but the presence of God.
From Peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22). When the “God of all peace” comes to live inside a believing heart (1 Corinthians 6:19), He begins to produce His own characteristics in that life. Inner peace comes from knowing that circumstances are temporary and that God is sovereign over all (Isaiah 46:9–11). Peace comes from exercising faith in the character of God and His Word. We can have peace in the midst of challenges when we remember that “all things work together for the good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). We can choose peace rather than give way to fear and worry. Inner peace resulting from a relationship with God allows us to keep things in proper perspective. We can accept difficult situations on earth by remembering that our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20). We are commanded to “live in peace” with others, as far as it is up to us (Romans 12:182 Corinthians 13:11Hebrews 12:14). To live at peace means we interact with those around us in accordance with our own wholeness of mind. Our reactions to circumstances can bring peace to an otherwise chaotic situation. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9). And James 3:18 says, “Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” God’s desire is that we who know Him learn to live in peace within ourselves first. Then we can radiate that peace to others, bringing calmness and wisdom to tense situations, and in so doing be lights in the world (Matthew 5:14Philippians 2:14–15).
The world is pretty chaotic right now. But Jesus gives us perfect peace. We just have to rest in Him, and share His truth with others. And, boy, does this world need His truth now more than ever. Rest in Him. Love others. Share Jesus. Be at peace.

Page Details: I used the following Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps sets: Way Maker, Send Me, Gear Up, Texture Tiles 1, and Faith Wordfetti. I stamped the texture stamps around the world to symbolize the division and chaos that seems to be consuming us. I used watercolor crayons and Prismacolor pencils.

Have a blessed week. Andrea

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Stay Afloat

Psalm 121:1-8
I lift up my eyes to the mountains---
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD, 
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip ---
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Isreal
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD watches over you ---
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The LORD will keep you from all harm ---
he will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore. 

I recently watched a sermon from Joel Osteen. I always enjoy his sermons because they are so easy to relate to and understand. The page I journaled here is from a sermon he preached back in April of this year. In April, we were still newly entering into and trying to navigate the coronavirus shutdowns happening across the country. Stress and anxiety levels were high. We were being beaten over the head with news and questions. Conflicting information and concerns at every corner, not knowing who or what to believe. Heck, we still don't know who or what to believe, and it's now mid June! 

Joel Osteen started preaching about the current time and situation we find ourselves in. He reminded us that God is not surprised by anything! God knows everything that is going to happen to us before it even begins to happen.  We need to stay at peace because God is always in control. He has always been guarding our souls since the beginning, and he will continue to guard us even if sickness does come. 

With all of the media and information that is swirling around us on television, social media, radio.....everywhere...... it's way too easy to get overwhelmed by all the information and all the negativity. I loved the visual Joel Osteen gave in his sermon. He explained it as this:

"It's not the water around a ship that causes it to sink, but when you let what's outside in!"

If all you do is watch the news constantly, the negativity will seep in and cause you to sink. The negativity will fill in any little holes of doubt you may have. Instead, stay informed but then turn off the news. Only feed yourself with God's word and positivity. That will keep your boat afloat and your head above water! 

We need to announce to the enemy that it can't control us! Sickness or sadness may come, but it doesn't have to stay! Don't make it welcome. You don't have to accept it in your mind and make it a permanent place to stay. You have to have faith that it is only temporary. Convincing yourself that its only temporary will help you to move through it till we reach the end. The enemy means for this to harm us,  but if we keep the faith until it passes, God will bring you out stronger than ever before.

Stephanie Gammon

Bold & Outline Caps Alpha 
Landscape Silhouettes 

Let's Do This 

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

God's Timing for God's Glory

"It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it." (John 11:4)

Hey guys! It's Deeds!

So glad that you're here today.  My life has settled into yet another new normal for now; my kids have all finished up there schooling, grades are completed, and smiles are big!  Including my own!

Today, I'm in John 11.  This is a recent favorite passage of scripture.  The story of Jesus picks up where a dear friend Lazarus has fallen sick, then dies.  Why is this a recent favorite? I'm so glad you asked.  It's such a sweet yet gripping account of love, time, grace, confusion, death, life, and so much more.  Much more, I've been convicted by seeking God's glory in all things, especially His timing. This chapter reads...

"Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.
 It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 11 After saying these things, he said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.” 12 The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. 14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, 15 and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16 So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” 17 Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. 20 So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”  28 When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29 And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32 Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. 34 And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. 36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?”  38 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days. 40 Jesus said to her, Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God? 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 44 The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” 
(John 11:1-44, italics mine)
Are you moved?  Can you join these hearts as they go from a weeping hopelessness and confusion, to full on shock and wonder?
This indeed is a mighty passage of scripture, showing us plainly that Jesus as God the Son has full power, full control, full authority in heaven and on Earth. He commands the physical realm as well as the spiritual realm.  Raising someone from the dead is just one of MANY things He does in response to the pleas that surround Him.  I encourage us all to look a bit more deeply into the context of this story, for there is extensive reasoning behind the works of Jesus on our behalf...
When darkness looms, tragedy strikes, pain ensues, trouble comes, someone dies, we look and pray to God to heal and fix the problems; restore the good; bring about comfort; renew our condition.  Don't get me wrong; we are unmistakably encouraged to pray, to take our petitions to the Holy Throne of God, with thanksgiving.  There is help and hope, connection and communion with the Lord when we seek Him earnestly and consistently.  However, the approach to our prayer life may need to be considered: are we coming to God to fix up our lives and change the bad, the ugly and the difficult into right, bright and lovely? Or can we say that our prayers reflect the desires of our heart to get closer, go deeper and know more clearly, the person and glory of Jesus Christ our Savior?
In the passage above, we see that Jesus indeed performs the miracle.  After both Mary AND Martha fall to His feet in tears, He indeed is moved to make things good again by raising Lazarus from the dead.  He has compassion, love and tenderness toward a group of people devastated by death and loss.  It's a difficult thing to experience, and He feels it with them.
But in Jesus' own words, we also see a reason and purpose for His miracle of resurrection which is far beyond the perspective of the "here and now."  We see a call to a greater view of a grander picture that exceeds and is ultimate in all things: the glory of God.
In verse  41, JESUS prays to God.  JESUS petitions the Father.  JESUS lifts His voice to bring His requests to Him.  "Father, I thank you that you have heard me.  I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me."
There are a couple of things to note here.  Firstly, Jesus is not asking God to raise Lazarus from the dead.  In fact, we've already seen in prior verses that He's planning on doing so, willing that Lazarus be made alive again to walk the earth.  But secondly, He's bringing a magnificent opportunity to the people around Him to see that He is indeed who He says He is.
The Resurrection.
The Life.
The Son of God.
The Light of the World.
And ultimately, the One who stands outside and above all creation, using the element we know as "time" as a tool to glorify Himself and bring honor and glory to God.
When we bring our petitions to God, sometimes we (at least I know I do) forget that God is outside of time and space.  He's beyond our world and our tangible experience.  He's both near and far.  He's both here and there.  He's both the beginning and the end.  He's both now and forever.  Time is of value to Him, but He is not constrained by it.  As we seek the Creator God in Jesus' name for the overabundance of situations that we know as "life," the tendency is to think and relate in terms of our present. The glory of God is made manifest in our present to be sure.  But as God who establishes everything, makes everything beautiful in its time, is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, God's purposes in our lives extend all the more wonderfully and unfathomably into eternity.  Past this life.  Past death.  Past our here and now.  Past our shake-able, broken world.  Past our loss, suffering, struggles and pain.  Past our hopes, dreams, and aspirations.
In John 11, Jesus is moved in His spirit for the humanity that surrounds Him.  He is touched with the difficulties of mortality. He is brought to tears over the brokenness that covers our hearts, our homes, our gravestones.  But He is not stopped by death.  He is not inhibited by darkness.  He is not forbidden by loss, depravity, failure, hopelessness, confusion and chaos.
As the Resurrection and the Life, Christ welcomes the opportunity to reveal God's glory in all things, here in the life of Mary, Martha and Lazarus, and now in your life and mine. 
The Gospel Transformation Bible puts it this way,
"The Gospel is a story of our God doing all things well, not all things easily.  His name is Abba Father, but this does not mean that he leads his children in a life of complacent ease and comfort.  Indeed, upon hearing about Lazarus's sickness, Jesus waited to days longer before responding -- apparently so that his compassion could be revealed by a more glorious expression of divine power, expressed according to divine wisdom and timing.  God's ways are not our ways.  They are much better."
And then later, "The more deeply we know and walk with Jesus, the more readily we accept God's glory as our greatest good, even when it feels like such a momentary bad.  As 'the resurrection and the life,' Jesus is always writing better stories than we could ever pen.  Martha and Mary would soon find this to be true." (p. 1428)
As those who seek God, may we be those who trust God in all things - even His timing.
As those who trust God, may we be those who seek His glory.

Much love,
IG: @mercies_journaled

Stamps used:
Bold & Outline Caps
Time Well Spent
Grunge Elements 2

Texture Tile 2
Classy Script
Sweet n Simple
Mini Grunge Type

Monday, June 15, 2020

Way Maker

"Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in the plain path, because of mine enemies." - Psalm 27:11

It's not clear exactly when Psalm 27 was written - whether it was early or late in David's life - but one thing is for certain, David faced his fair share of trouble during his whole life. Some of his trouble was brought on by his own foolish choices, but some was brought on by circumstances completely out of his control. 

In Psalm 27:11, David prays for the Lord's divine guidance in his life. He acknowledges his own lack of understanding, and asks the Lord to show him the way. This prayer shows David's humbleness and obedience of heart. He knew he couldn't make it through the trials of his life on his own - He needed God to show him the way. 

I read this passage in my devotional time the other day and was so convicted. I'm really good at going my own way. I decide what I want to do and then do it. It's very difficult for me to stop and seek guidance and direction from others, even the Lord. I want to have a heart like David. One of humble obedience that seeks the Lord's guidance and direction in every area of life. 

It's fun to create big, elaborate, messy pages, but sometimes simple is best. This page is a simple page using only stamps, washi, and a paperclip. I used the Women of Praise and brand new Way Maker stamp sets to create this page. (Side note: if you're like me and have had the song "Way Maker" stuck in your head for weeks, you should definitely pick up this stamp set!! 😉)


Much love in Christ, 


Saturday, June 13, 2020

Blessed Justice...

Hi friends,

I've been thinking a lot about justice lately, particularly in the light of events going on in the world at the moment, with many people being treated unjustly because of skin colour. I did a search for the word 'justice' in the Bible and there are so many scriptures that show God's heart for justice.

One of the verses I found was in Psalm 106:3, which says 'Blessed are they who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times.' God is just and he desires that his children are just in all their actions. There are so many scriptures that demonstrate God's heart for justice. Over and over again God tells his people to look after the orphan, the widow and the stranger, and to do justice for the oppressed.

Psalm 89:14 and Psalm 97:2 say that righteousness and justice are the foundation of God's throne. These qualities and related actions are the foundation of God's rule and as his children, they should be the foundation of how we live our lives on earth in relation to those around us. Psalm 106:3 emphasises the 'all times' nature of this way of living - this is not something we can dip in and out of when convenient, but it how we should be desiring to live every day, in every decision. The only way we can do this is through the help of the Holy Spirit, who leads us in God's ways when we ask him for wisdom and yield to him in obedience.

I created this page in my Journaling Psalter using acrylic paints; stamping and embossing the clocks from Time Well Spent (June's Stamp of the Month) with white embossing powder. I added some stencilling with Nuvo embellishment mousse. The text was stamped using All of Me Alpha, Bold & Outline Caps Alpha, Armor of God and Typewriter Blocks Alpha. Here are the sets I used:

I pray that we would follow after God's heart for justice and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and the commands of Scripture to observe justice and do righteousness at all times.

Be blessed...

x Amy x